Battle of Talas

The Battle of Talas, Battle of Talas River, or Battle of Artlakh (Chinese: 怛羅斯戰役; Arabic: معركة نهر طلاس‎) was a military engagement between the Arab Abbasid Caliphate along with their ally the Tibetan Empire against the Chinese Tang dynasty, governed at the time by Emperor Xuanzong. In July 751 CE, Tang and Abbasid forces met in the valley of the Talas River to vie for control over the Syr Darya region of central Asia. After several days of stalemate, the Karluks originally allied to the Tang defected to the Abbasids and tipped over the balance of power, resulting in a Tang rout. The defeat marked the end of Tang westward expansion and resulted in Muslim control of Transoxiana for the next 400 years. Control of this region was economically beneficial for the Abbasids because it was on the Silk Road. Historians debate whether or not Chinese prisoners captured in the aftermath of the battle brought paper-making technology to the Middle East, where it eventually spread to Europe.[10]

Battle of Talas
Part of the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana
Battle of Talas

Battle of Talas
DateMay–September 751 CE
Location
Result Abbasid victory
Belligerents
Abbasid Caliphate
Tibetan Empire[1][2][3][4]
Tang Dynasty
Ferghana
Karluk mercenaries (defected to the Abbasid side during the battle)
Commanders and leaders
Ziyad ibn Salih[6][7] Gao Xianzhi
Li Siye
Duan Xiushi[6]
Strength
? 30,000-100,000[8][9]
Casualties and losses
? 20,000-30,000[9]
Transoxiana 8th century
Map of the Transoxiana area, with the Talas River

Location

The exact location of the battle has not been confirmed but is believed to be near Taraz and Talas on the border of present-day Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. The Chinese name Daluosi (怛羅斯, Talas) was first seen in the account of Xuanzang. Du Huan located the city near the western drain of the Chui River.[11] The war was the contention between Tang dynasty and the Abbasid Caliphate at the Transoxiana area.

Background

Tang Dynasty circa 700 CE
Map of the Tang Dynasty circa 700 CE showing its expanded western territories at that time, connected to the main part of the empire by the long and narrow Hexi Corridor.

Before the battle, there were other indirect encounters between some of the combatants, and the military might of China had been projected beyond the harsh continental climate and the dry desolate difficult terrain of the Tarim Basin, much of which consists of the Taklamakan Desert, as early as the Han Dynasty, when Emperor Wu of Han sent military expeditions to seize horses, which got as far as the Fergana Valley. Then, in 715, Alutar, the new king of Fergana, was installed with the help of the Arabs of the Umayyad Caliphate. The deposed king Ikhshid fled to Kucha (seat of Anxi Protectorate), and sought Chinese intervention. The Chinese sent 10,000 troops under Zhang Xiaosong to Ferghana. He defeated the Arab puppet-ruler Alutar at Namangan and reinstalled Ikhshid. The inhabitants of three Sogdian cities were massacred as a result of the battle.[12]

The second encounter occurred in 717, when Arabs were guided by the Turgesh and besieged two cities in the area of Aksu at the Battle of Aksu (717). The commander of the Chinese Protectorate General to Pacify the West, Tang Jiahui, responded using two armies, one composed of Karluk mercenaries led by Ashina Xin (client qaghan of Onoq) and another composed of Tang regulars led by Jiahui himself.[12] The Tang dynasty Chinese defeated the Umayyad invaders at the battle of Aksu. The Arab Umayyad commander Al-Yashkuri and his army fled to Tashkent after they were defeated.[13][14]

Arab sources claim Qutayba ibn Muslim briefly took Kashgar from China and withdrew after an agreement[15] but modern historians entirely dismiss this claim.[16][17][18]

In the year 750, Abu al-'Abbas al-Saffah (As-Saffah), the founder of the Abbasid Caliphate, launched a massive rebellion (known as the Abbasid Revolution) against the incumbent Umayyad Caliphate from the province of Khurasan. After his decisive victory at the Battle of the Zab and eliminating those of the Umayyad family who failed to escape to Al-Andalus, As-Saffah sent his forces to consolidate his caliphate, including Central Asia, where his forces confronted many regional powers, including those of China's Tang Dynasty.

Battle

The numeric quantities of the combatants involved in the Battle of Talas are not known with certainty; however, various estimates exist. The Abbasid army (200,000 Muslim troops according to Chinese estimates, though these numbers may be greatly exaggerated) which included contingents from their Tibetan ally met the combined army of 10,000 Tang Chinese and 20,000 Karluk mercenaries (Arab records put the Chinese forces at 100,000 which also may be greatly exaggerated).[19]

In the month of July 751, the Abbasid forces joined in combat with the Tang Chinese force (the combined army of Tang Chinese and Karluk mercenaries) on the banks of the Talas river.

Talas River
Modern view of Talas River, which starts in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan and winds down into Kazakhstan. On the right side of the river is the city of Taraz.

The Tang army was subjected to a devastating defeat. The Tang dynasty's defeat was due to the defection of Karluk mercenaries and the retreat of Ferghana allies who originally supported the Chinese. The Karluk mercenaries, two-thirds of the Tang army, defected to the Abbasids during the battle; Karluk troops attacked the Tang army from close quarters while the main Abbasid forces attacked from the front. The Tang troops were unable to hold their positions, and the commander of the Tang forces, Gao Xianzhi, recognized that defeat was imminent and managed to escape with some of his Tang regulars with the help of Li Siye. Out of an estimated 10,000 Tang troops, only 2000 managed to return from Talas to their territory in Central Asia. Despite losing the battle, Li did inflict heavy losses on the pursuing Arab army after being reproached by Duan Xiushi. After the battle, Gao was prepared to organize another Tang army against the Arabs when the devastating An Shi Rebellion broke out in 755. When the Tang capital was taken by rebels, all Chinese armies stationed in Central Asia were ordered back to China proper to crush the rebellion.[20]

Aftermath and historical significance

Shortly after the battle of Talas, the domestic rebellion of An Lushan (755–63) and subsequent warlordism gave the Arabs the opportunity to further expand into Central Asia as Tang influence in the region retreated.[21] The local Tang tributaries then switched to the authority of the Abbasids, Tibetans, or Uighurs and the introduction of Islam was thus facilitated among the Turkic peoples.

It was the An Lushan Rebellion and not the defeat at Talas that ended the Tang Chinese presence in Central Asia and forced them to withdraw from Xinjiang—Talas was of no strategic importance, because the Arabs did not advance any further after the battle.[22][23]

A small minority of Karluks converted to Islam after the battle. The majority of Karluks did not convert to Islam until the mid 10th century under Sultan Satuq Bughra Khan when they established the Kara-Khanid Khanate.[2][24][25][26][27] This was long after the Tang dynasty was gone from Central Asia.

Abu al-'Abbas al-Saffah, whose forces were known to the Chinese as the Black Robed Ta-Shih, spent his wealth on warfare. He died in the year 752 CE. His brother who succeeded him as the second Abbasid Caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur (r. 754–775 CE) (A-p’uch’a-fo) helped the Chinese Emperor Suzong of Tang after he appealed for help during the An-Shi Rebellion in regaining control of his capital Chang'an from the treacherous commander, An Lushan, or his successors in the abortive Yan Dynasty. Abu Jafar al-Mansur responded by sending 4,000 men who helped the Tang troops in recapturing the city and were well rewarded by the Chinese Emperor. After the rebellion was repressed they were allowed to settle down permanently in China which helped in founding of the earliest Muslim communities in China. Some of them married local Chinese people and their descendants became native-born Muslims who retained their religious tradition and unique way of life.[28][29][30][31][32]

In 760, a large scale massacre of wealthy Arab and Persian merchants occurred in China during the Yangzhou massacre (760), at the hands of Chinese rebels led by Tian Shengong. In 879 during the Guangzhou massacre, 120,000 to 200,000 Arab Muslim, Persian Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian foreign merchants in Guangzhou were massacred by Chinese rebels under Huang Chao.

The culture of Central Asia, once a mixture of Persian, Indian, and Chinese influences, disappeared under the power struggles between the empires of the Arabs, Chinese, Turks, Tibetans, and Uyghurs.[33] Islam grew as the dominant cultural force of Central Asia.

With the decline of Central Asian Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism was now cut off from Indian Buddhism and developed into an independent religion with distinct spiritual elements. Indigenous Buddhist traditions like Pure Land Buddhism and Zen emerged in China. China became the center of East Asian Buddhism, following the Chinese Buddhist canon, as Buddhism spread to Japan and Korea from China.[33]

Among the earliest historians to proclaim the importance of this battle was the great Russian historian of Muslim Central Asia, Vasily Bartold, of 20th century according to whom, "The earlier Arab historians, occupied with the narrative of events then taking place in western Asia, do not mention this battle; but it is undoubtedly of great importance in the history of (Western) Turkestan as it determined the question which of the two civilizations, the Chinese or the Muslim, should predominate in the land (of Turkestan)."[7]

The loss of 8,000 troops to the Tang empire can be compared to a troop strength of more than 500,000 before the Anshi rebellion.[34] According to Bartold, for the history of the first three centuries of Islam, al-Tabari was the chief source (survived in Ibn al Athir's compilation), which was brought down to 915. (Unfortunately, this important work was only compiled and published by a group of Orientalists in 1901.) It is only in Athir that we find an accurate account of the conflict between the Arabs and the Chinese in 751. Neither Tabari nor the early historical works of the Arabs which have come down to us in general make any mention of this; however, Athir's statement is completely confirmed by the Chinese History of the Tang Dynasty.[35] In all Arab sources, the events which occurred in the eastern part of the empire are often dealt with briefly.[36] Another notable informant of the battle on the Muslim side was Al-Dhahabi (1274–1348).[37]

The Battle of Talas did not mark the end of Buddhism or Chinese influence in the region. The Buddhist Kara-Khitan Khanate defeated the Muslim Seljuq Turks and the Muslim Kara-Khanid Turks at the Battle of Qatwan in 1141, conquering a large part of Central Asia from the Muslim Karluk Kara-Khanid Khanate in the 12th century. The Kara-Khitans also reintroduced the Chinese system of Imperial government, since China was still held in respect and esteem in the region among even the Muslim population,[38][39] and the Kara-Khitans used Chinese as their main official language.[40] The Kara-Khitan rulers were called "the Chinese" by the Muslims.[41]

Professor Denis Sinor said that it was interference in the internal affairs of the Western Turkic Khaganate which ended Chinese supremacy in Central Asia, since the destruction of the Western Khaganate rid the Muslims of their greatest opponent, and it was not the Battle of Talas which ended the Chinese presence.[42]

Later during the reign of Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid, the Arabs terminated their alliance with the Tibetan Empire,[43] and established an alliance with China after sending envoys to China in 789.[44][45]

Papermaking

Making Paper 4
One of the five major steps in ancient Chinese paper making process.

The Battle of Talas was a key event in the history of paper—the technological transmission of the paper-making process. After the battle of Talas, knowledgeable Chinese prisoners of war were ordered to produce paper in Samarkand, or so the story goes.[46] In fact, high quality paper had been known—and made—in Central Asia for centuries; a letter on paper survives from the fourth century to a merchant in Samarkand. But the Islamic conquest of Central Asia in the late seventh and early eighth centuries opened up this knowledge for the first time to what became the Muslim world, and so by the year 794 CE, paper manufacturing could be found in Baghdad, modern-day Iraq. The technology of paper making was thus transmitted to and revolutionised the Islamic world, and later the European West.[47] The paper production was a state secret, and only some places and Buddhist Monks knew the technology. Of course, the paper was transported many kilometers as a Chinese luxury product, and as it was traded, the finding of paper in several places is not proof of production, but of use.

Geopolitical aftermath

Other than the transfer of paper, there is no evidence to support a geopolitical or demographic change resulting from this battle. In fact it seems that Tang influence over Central Asia even strengthened after 751 and that by 755, Tang power in Central Asia was at its zenith. Several of the factors after the battle had been taken note of prior to 751. Firstly, the Karluks never in any sense remained opposed to the Chinese after the battle. In 753, the Karluk Yabgu Dunpijia submitted under the column of Cheng Qianli and captured A-Busi, a betrayed Chinese mercenary of Tongluo (Tiele) chief (who had defected earlier in 743), and received his title in the court on 22 October.[48] The Chinese Muslim historian Bai Shouyi wrote that furthermore, at the same time that Talas took place, the Tang also sent an army from Shibao city in Qinghai to Suyab and consolidated Chinese control over the Turgesh. Chinese expansion in Central Asia did not halt after the battle; the Chinese commander Feng Changqing, who took over the position from Gao Xianzhi through Wang Zhengjian, virtually swept across the Kashmir region and captured Gilgit shortly two years later. Even Tashkent reestablished its vassal status in 753, when the Tang bestowed a title to its ruler. The Chinese influence to the west of the Pamir Mountains certainly did not cease as the result of the battle; Central Asian states under Muslim control, such as Samarkand, continued to request aid from the Tang against the Arabs in spite of Talas and hence in 754, all nine kingdoms of Western Turkestan again sent petitions to the Tang to attack the Arabs and the Tang continued to turn down such requests as it did for decades. Ferghana, which participated in the battle earlier, in fact joined among the central Asian auxiliaries with the Chinese army under a summons and entered Gansu during An Lushan's revolt in 756.[49] Bai also noted that neither did the relations between the Chinese and Arabs worsen, as the Abbasids, like their predecessors (since 652), continued to send embassies to China uninterruptedly after the battle. Such visits had overall resulted in 13 diplomatic gifts between 752 and 798.[50] Not all Turkic tribes of the region converted to Islam after the battle either—the date of their mass-conversion to Islam was much later, in the 10th century under Musa.[51]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Bulliet & Crossley & Headrick & Hirsch & Johnson 2010, p. 286.
  2. ^ a b Wink 2002, p. 68.
  3. ^ Wink 1997, p. 68.
  4. ^ Chaliand 2004, p. 31.
  5. ^ Bai, pp. 210–19.
  6. ^ a b Bai, pp. 224–25.
  7. ^ a b Bartold, pp. 180–96.
  8. ^ http://www.saudiaramcoworld.com/issue/198205/the.battle.of.talas.htm
  9. ^ a b Chinese regular exploited to the area of western protectorate from the Chinese heartland never exceed 30,000 between 692–726. However, the Tongdian (801 CE), the earliest narrative for battle itself by either side suggests 30,000 deaths, whereas the Tangshu (945 CE) accounted 20,000 (probably included mercenaries already) in this battle (Bai 2003, pp. 224–25). The earliest Arabic account for the battle itself from Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh (1231 CE) suggests 100,000 troops (50,000 deaths and 20,000 prisoners), however Bartold considered them to be exaggerated (Xue 1998, pp. 256–57; Bartold 1992, pp. 195–96).
  10. ^ "The Battle of Talas, In Our Time". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 2016-10-23.
  11. ^ Bai, p. 211.
  12. ^ a b Bai, pp. 235–36
  13. ^ Christopher I. Beckwith (28 March 1993). The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia: A History of the Struggle for Great Power Among Tibetans, Turks, Arabs, and Chinese During the Early Middle Ages. Princeton University Press. pp. 88–89. ISBN 0-691-02469-3.
  14. ^ Insight Guides (1 April 2017). Insight Guides Silk Road. APA. ISBN 978-1-78671-699-6.
  15. ^ Muhamad S. Olimat (27 August 2015). China and Central Asia in the Post-Soviet Era: A Bilateral Approach. Lexington Books. pp. 10–. ISBN 978-1-4985-1805-5.
  16. ^ Litvinsky, B. A.; Jalilov, A. H.; Kolesnikov, A. I. (1996). "The Arab Conquest". In Litvinsky, B. A. History of civilizations of Central Asia, Volume III: The crossroads of civilizations: A.D. 250 to 750. Paris: UNESCO Publishing. pp. 449–472. ISBN 92-3-103211-9.
  17. ^ Bosworth, C. E. (1986). "Ḳutayba b. Muslim". In Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E.; Lewis, B.; Pellat, Ch. The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume V: Khe–Mahi. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 541–542. ISBN 90-04-07819-3.
  18. ^ Gibb, H. A. R. (1923). The Arab Conquests in Central Asia. London: The Royal Asiatic Society. pp. 48–51. OCLC 685253133.
  19. ^ The strength of Arabs is not recorded for this battle, but the armies to the east of Khorasan controlled by the Arabs later were estimated by the Chinese in 718 with 900,000 troops available to respond according to Bai Shouyi, Bai however never estimate any Abbasid army figures. (Bai 2003, pp. 225–26).
  20. ^ Bai, pp. 226–28.
  21. ^ Lewis (2009), p. 158.
  22. ^ ed. Starr 2004, p. 39.
  23. ^ Millward 2007, p. 36.
  24. ^ Lapidus 2012, p. 230.
  25. ^ Esposito 1999, p. 351.
  26. ^ Lifchez & Algar 1992, p. 28.
  27. ^ Soucek 2000, p. 84.
  28. ^ A. Acharya; R. Gunaratna; W. Pengxin (21 June 2010), Ethnic Identity and National Conflict in China, Palgrave Macmillan US, pp. 21–, ISBN 978-0-230-10787-8
  29. ^ Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa (2002). Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa, ed. The religious traditions of Asia: religion, history, and culture (2, illustrated ed.). Psychology Press. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-7007-1762-0.
  30. ^ Charles Patrick Fitzgerald (1961). China: a short cultural history (3 ed.). Praeger. p. 332.
  31. ^ Everett Jenkins (1999). The Muslim diaspora: a comprehensive reference to the spread of Islam in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. 1 (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7864-0431-5. Arab troops were dispatched by Abu Gia-far to China.
  32. ^ Stanley Ghosh (1961). Embers in Cathay. Doubleday. p. 60. During the reign of Abbassid Caliph Abu Giafar in the middle of the 8th century, many Arab soldiers evidently settled near the garrisons on the Chinese frontier.
  33. ^ a b Lewis (2009), p. 159.
  34. ^ Bai, pp. 219–23.
  35. ^ Barthold, pp. 2–3.
  36. ^ Barthold, p. 5.
  37. ^ Barry Hoberman (1982). The Battle of Talas, Saudi Aramco World.
  38. ^ Biran 2012, p. 90.
  39. ^ Biran 2012, p. 90. Archived 14 April 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  40. ^ Pozzi & Janhunen & Weiers 2006, p. 114.
  41. ^ Biran 2005, p. 93.
  42. ^ Sinor 1990, p. 344.
  43. ^ Chaliand 2004, p. 32.
  44. ^ Bloodworth & Bloodworth 1976, p. 214.
  45. ^ Giles 1926, p. 138.
  46. ^ Bai, pp. 242–43.
  47. ^ Bloom, Jonathan (2001). Paper Before Print: The History and Impact of Paper in the Islamic World. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08955-4.
  48. ^ Xue, pp. 260–81.
  49. ^ Bai, pp. 233–34.
  50. ^ Bai, pp. 239–42.
  51. ^ Embassy of Uzbekistan to the United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Retrieved 25 April 2007. (The link is broken)

References

Coordinates: 42°31′30″N 72°14′0″E / 42.52500°N 72.23333°E

751

Year 751 (DCCLI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 751 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Al-Mahdi

Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah al-Mansur (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد بن عبد الله المنصور‎; 744 or 745 – 785), better known by his regnal name al-Mahdi (المهدي, "He who is guided by God"), was the third Abbasid Caliph who reigned from 775 to his death in 785. He succeeded his father, al-Mansur.

Battle of Zhizhi

The Battle of Zhizhi (郅支之戰) was fought in 36 BC between the Han Dynasty and the Xiongnu chieftain Zhizhi Chanyu. Zhizhi was defeated and killed. The battle was probably fought near Taraz on the Talas River in eastern Kazakhstan, which makes it one of the westernmost points reached by a Chinese army. The better-known Battle of Talas in AD 751 was fought in the same area.

Du Huan

Du Huan (simplified Chinese: 杜环; traditional Chinese: 杜環; pinyin: Dù Huán; Wade–Giles: Tu Huan, fl. 8th century) was a Chinese travel writer born in Chang'an during the Tang Dynasty. He was one of a few Chinese captured in the Battle of Talas, along with artisans Fan Shu and Liu Ci and fabric weavers Le Wei and Lu Li, as mentioned in his writings. After a long journey through Arab countries, he returned by ship to Guangzhou in 762. There he wrote his Jingxingji, a work which has been almost completely lost. A few extracts survived in Tongdian under volume 192 and 193, an encyclopaedia compiled in 801 by one of his relatives, Du You. In the 8th century, Du You's encyclopaedia quoted Du Huan himself on Molin (North or East Africa):

We also went to Molin, southwest of Jerusalem. One could reach this country after having crossed the great desert of Sinai and having travelled 2,000 li (approx. 1500 km). The people there are black, and their customs are bold. There is little rice and cereals, with no grass and trees on this land. The horses are fed with dried fish, and the people eat Gumang. Gumang is a Persian date. Subtropical diseases (Malaria) are widespread. After crossing into the inland countries there is a mountainous country, which gathered a lot of confessions here. They have three confessions, the Arab (Islam), Byzantine (Christianity) and Zimzim (Judaism). The Zimzim practise incest, and in this respect are worst of all the barbarians. The followers under the confession of Arab have a means to denote in law, while not entangling the defendant's families or kins. They don't eat the meat of pigs, dogs, donkeys and horses; they don't respect either the king of the country, nor their parents; they don't believe in supernatural powers, perform only sacrifice to heaven (Allah) and to no one else. According to their customs, every seventh day is a holiday (Jumu'ah), on which no trade and no currency transactions are done, whereas when they drink alcohol, and behave in a ridiculous and undisciplined way during the whole day. Within the confession of the Byzantines, there are beneficent medical doctors who know diarrhea; they could either recognize the disease before its outbreak, or could remove the worms by opening the brain.

Gao Xianzhi

Gao Xianzhi, or Go Seonji, (died January 24, 756) was a Tang dynasty general of Korean descent. He was known as a great commander during his lifetime. He is most well known for taking part in multiple military expeditions to conquer the Western Regions, over the Pamir Mountains, and reaching the Aral Sea and the Caspian Sea. In 751 he commanded the Tang forces during the Battle of Talas, fighting against the Abbasid Caliphate. The Tang defeat is considered to mark the end of both Tang western expansion and Abbasid eastern expansion.Around the new year 756, Gao and fellow general Feng Changqing offended the powerful eunuch Bian Lingcheng (邊令誠) while defending the Tong Pass against the rebel An Lushan, who had rebelled in 755. Bian then accused Feng of cowardice and Gao of corruption, and both were executed.

History of communication

Since primitive times, significant changes in communication technologies (media and appropriate inscription tools) have evolved in tandem with shifts in political and economic systems, and by extension, systems of power. Communication can range from very subtle processes of exchange, to full conversations and mass communication. Human communication was revolutionized with the origin of speech approximately 500,000 BCE. Symbols were developed about 30,000 years ago.

The imperfection of speech, which nonetheless allowed easier dissemination of ideas and stimulated inventions, eventually resulted in the creation of new forms of communications, improving both the range at which people could communicate and the longevity of the information. All of those inventions were based on the key concept of the symbol.

The oldest known symbols created for the purpose of communication were cave paintings, a form of rock art, dating to the Upper Paleolithic age. The oldest known cave painting is located within Chauvet Cave, dated to around 30,000 BC. These paintings contained increasing amounts of information: people may have created the first calendar as far back as 15,000 years ago. The connection between drawing and writing is further shown by linguistics: in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece the concepts and words of drawing and writing were one and the same (Egyptian: 's-sh', Greek: 'graphein').

Ikhshid

Ikhshid (Soghdian xšyδ, xšēδ) was the princely title of the Iranian rulers of Soghdia and the Ferghana Valley in Transoxiana during the pre-Islamic and early Islamic periods.

Ja'far ibn Yahya

Ja'far ibn Yahya Barmaki, Jafar al-Barmaki (Persian: جعفر بن یحیی برمکی‎, Arabic: جعفر بن يحيى‎, ja`far bin yaḥyā) (767–803) was a Persian vizier of the Arab Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid, succeeding his father (Yahya ibn Khalid) in that position. He was a member of the influential Barmakid family, formerly Buddhist leaders of the Nava Vihara monastery. Along with the rest of the Barmakids, he was executed in 803 at the orders of Harun al-Rashid. It is said that his execution was for allegedly having had an affair with Harun's sister Abbasa, although historical sources remain unclear.

He had a reputation as a patron of the sciences, and did much to introduce Indian science into Baghdad. He was credited with convincing the caliph to open a paper mill in Baghdad, the secret of papermaking having been obtained from Tang Chinese prisoners at the Battle of Talas (in present-day Kyrgyzstan) in 751.

Li Siye

Li Siye (李嗣業) (died March 2, 759), formally Prince Zhongyong of Wuwei (武威忠勇王), was a general of the Tang Dynasty. He was known to have fought valiantly at the Battle of Talas after the defeat of the primary army commanded by Gao Xianzhi, and his efforts allowed Gao to escape from the pursuit of the Abbasid Caliphate forces. Li Siye later died from battle injuries while fighting against rebel forces during the An Lushan Rebellion.

Muslim conquest of Transoxiana

The Muslim conquest of Transoxiana or Arab conquest of Transoxiana were the 7th and 8th century conquests, by Umayyad and Abbasid Arabs, of Transoxiana; the land between the Oxus and Jaxartes rivers, a part of Central Asia that today includes all or parts of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Phantom time hypothesis

The phantom time hypothesis is a historical conspiracy theory asserted by Heribert Illig. First published in 1991, it hypothesizes a conspiracy by the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III, Pope Sylvester II, and possibly the Byzantine Emperor Constantine VII, to fabricate the Anno Domini dating system retrospectively, in order to place them at the special year of AD 1000, and to rewrite history to legitimize Otto's claim to the Holy Roman Empire. Illig believed that this was achieved through the alteration, misrepresentation and forgery of documentary and physical evidence. According to this scenario, the entire Carolingian period, including the figure of Charlemagne, is a fabrication, with a "phantom time" of 297 years (AD 614–911) added to the Early Middle Ages. The proposal has been universally rejected by mainstream historians.

Qutayba ibn Muslim

Abū Ḥafṣ Qutayba ibn Abī Ṣāliḥ Muslim ibn ʿAmr al-Bāhilī (Arabic: أبو حفص قتيبة بن أبي صالح مسلم بن عمرو الباهلي‎; 669–715/6) was an Arab commander of the Umayyad Caliphate who became governor of Khurasan and distinguished himself in the conquest of Transoxiana during the reign of al-Walid I (705–715). A capable soldier and administrator, he consolidated Muslim rule in the area and expanded the Caliphate's border to include most of Transoxiana. From 705 to ca. 710 he consolidated Muslim control over the native principalities of Tokharistan and conquered the principality of Bukhara, while in 710–712 he conquered Khwarizm and completed the conquest of Sogdiana with the capture of Samarkand. The latter opened the road to the Jaxartes valley, and during the last years of his life Qutayba led annual campaigns there, extending Muslim control up to the Fergana Valley. To increase his strained manpower, Qutayba initiated the wide-scale levy of native Khurasani and Transoxianian soldiers who fought alongside the Arab Muslim troops. Following Walid's death, Qutayba, insecure of his position under the new regime, rebelled but failed to secure the support of his army, and was defeated and killed. Most of his conquests in Transoxiana were lost in the years after his death; only in the 740s was the Muslim position restored to the line reached by Qutayba, and only after the Battle of Talas in 751 did the region come solidly under Muslim control.

Talas Region

Talas Region (Kyrgyz: Талас облусу, Talas oblusu Russian: Таласская область) is a region (oblast) of Kyrgyzstan. Its capital is Talas. It is bordered on the west and north by Jambyl Region of Kazakhstan, on the east by Chuy Region, on the south by Jalal-Abad Region and on the southwest by a finger of Uzbekistan. It is basically a U-shaped valley open to the west. The northern border is defined by the Kyrgyz Ala-Too, which also form the southern border of Chuy Region. At the eastern end, the Talas Ala-Too Range splits off and marks the southern border. The Talas River flows through the center of the valley. The main highway (A361) enters from the east over the Ötmök Pass (Can become impassible during winter due to weather) and goes down the valley to Taraz in Kazakhstan. Near the mouth of the valley at Kyzyl-Adyr, one road goes north toward Taraz and the other south over the Kara-Buura Pass to Jalal-Abad Province. Before independence most trade links were with Taraz. The historic Battle of Talas occurred here.

Talas River

The Talas River (Kyrgyz, Kazakh: Талас) rises in the Talas Region of Kyrgyzstan and flows west into Kazakhstan. It is formed from the confluence of the Karakol and Uch-Koshoy. It runs through the city of Taraz in Zhambyl Province of Kazakhstan and vanishes before reaching Lake Aydyn.

The Ili, Chu and Talas are three steppe rivers that flow west and then north-west. The Ili River rises in Xinjiang, flows west to a point north of Lake Issyk Kul and then turns north-west to reach Lake Balkash. The Chu River rises west of Lake Issyk Kul, flows out into the steppe and dries up before reaching the Syr Darya. The Talas River starts west and south of the Chu, flows west and north-west, but dries up before reaching the Chu.

Tang dynasty in Inner Asia

The Tang dynasty in Inner Asia was the expansion of the Tang dynasty's realm in the Inner Asia in the 7th and, to a lesser degree, the 8th century AD, in the Tarim Basin, across the Gobi Desert and into Middle Asia. Wars were fought against the Gokturk Empires and Xueyantuo, but also against the states of the Tarim basin. This expansion was not steady; for example, the Tang did lose control of the Tarim basin temporarily to the Tibetans in the 680s, and their expansion north of the Gobi was thwarted in 682. Emperor Taizong's military success was, in part, a consequence of changes he initiated in the Chinese army, including improved weaponry. The emperor placed a new emphasis on cavalry, which was very important because his non-Chinese opponents used the horse effectively in warfare.

Taraz

Taraz (Kazakh: Тараз, translit. Taraz; known to Europeans as Talas) is a city and the administrative center of Jambyl Region in Kazakhstan, located on the Talas (Taraz) River in the south of the country near the border with Kyrgyzstan. It had a population of 330,100 (1999 Census), up 9% from 1989, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, after Astana and Turkistan.

One of the oldest cities in Kazakhstan and in Transoxania, built and populated by the ancient Sogdians, Taraz celebrated its official 2000th anniversary (recognized by UNESCO) in 2001, dating from a fortress built in the area by a Xiongnu Chanyu named Zhizhi and was a site of the Battle of Zhizhi in 36 BCE. The city was first recorded under the name "Talas" in 568 CE by Menander Protector. The medieval city of Talas was a major trade centre along the Silk Road. Talas was later described by Xuanzang, who passed Talas in 629 and later wrote: Traveling westward from the Thousand Springs 140 or 150 li, we come to the city of Daluosi. The city is 8 or 9 li in diameter; and was settled by Hu ("foreign, non-Oriental") merchants from various nations. The products and the climate are about the same as Suyab. The Talas alphabet, a variant of the Turkic "runiform" Orkhon script, is named for the town. Talas secured a place in history by virtue of the Battle of Talas (751 CE), which was fought between forces of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and those of the Arab Abbasid Caliphate. The battle took place somewhere along the Talas River in the Talas valley. One of its indirect outcomes was the introduction of paper to the west, via the Arab capture of Chinese paper makers.

Timeline of the Turkic peoples (500–1300)

Below is the identified timeline of the History of the Turkic peoples between 6th and 14th centuries. Although the chronology of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm is covered in this timeline, for a more detailed timeline for the Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm see Timeline of the Seljuq Sultanate of Rûm. For a timeline of the modern Turkish state and its legal predecessor see Timeline of the Ottoman Empire and Timeline of Turkish history. Beyond what is described in this timeline, Turkic peoples have lived outside of the Ottoman Empire and Turkey, such as in Azerbaijan and the Central Asian republics of former USSR as well as Russia, China, and Iran.

Turkestan

Turkestan, also spelt Turkistan (literally "Land of the Turks" in Persian), refers to an area in Central Asia between Siberia to the north and Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet to the south, the Caspian Sea to the west and the Gobi Desert to the east.

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