During the Antiquity, on an unknown date, the Yuezhi founded the first known empire of the Central Asia. They were Tokhariens. The term Yuezhi is Mandarin and results in “line ( zhi ) of the the Moon ( yue )”. He would be explained then by a worship of the moon, but for certain specialists, this term is the true name of Yuezhi pronounced with the Chinese manner, so that one cannot know his significance.
These people lived in the west of current the Chinese province of the Gansu, where Dunhuang is, city whose name is probably of origin yuezhi. Of wandering lifestyle, they moved their herds in summer towards the pastures of the mounts Qilian, which border Gansu in the south. The name of these mountains would be also of origin yuezhi and would mean “celestial”. The Chinese of the Antiquité, which never had to face them, especially knew them as being providers of horses, which they surely had in great number.
Yuezhi fought with horse, with arc S, which was relatively new at their time. Indeed, according to the archaeological data, the people of current Western China used the tank until 7th or sixth century BC It is thus possible that the creation of the empire of Yuezhi was related to that of the assembled Cavalerie. Towards -300, they were probably with the ridge of their power. They mainly controlled the current Chinese province of the Xinjiang or entirely, and in particular the sedentary kingdoms of the Bassin of Tarim, where other people tokhariens as well as Saces lived.
In -176, people come from Mongolia, the Xiongnu, inflicted a defeat to them on their own territory, in the area of Dunhuang, and it tore off to them about thirty kingdoms, large and small size. A few years later, at the conclusion of a new offensive, Xiongnu killed the emperor of Yuezhi and made of sound cranium a cut with drinking. Part of Yuezhi, Large Yuezhi, migrated towards the Tian Shan (or Célestes mounts), in current the Kyrgyzstan. A small portion of them remained there and the different one took again its road towards the Bactriane, in the north of current the Afghanistan. They dominated the people of this area. At that time, they still had one hundred thousand archers with horse. At 1st century a. J. - C., they founded the Empire kouchan.
Another part of Yuezhi, Small Yuezhi, gained the North-East of the Tibet, mainly in the area of Huangzhong, eighty kilometers in the east of the lake Bleu ( Qinghai in Mandarin, Köke Nor in Mongolian), where she lived with the local population. They were the Qiang, people proto-Tibetan. These fragments of the people yuezhi remained during a good millenium. They remained wandering and preserved this warlike character which had made it possible their ancestors to build an empire. Today, one finds in the North-East of the Tibet individuals with the clear hair and the blue eyes, undoubtedly of the descendants of Small Yuezhi. In 1911, Paul Pelliot announced the presence of men of this type in the mountains of Western Gansu.
This division into Large and Small Yuezhi is reported by the Chinese sources. Actually, Yuezhi scattered a little bit everywhere and some probably remained in the area of Dunhuang. Thus, wandering people, called the Huns white or Hephthalites, which lived at the beginning of the Christian era with the north of Tourfan, were considered to go down from Large Yuezhi. The kingdom of Agni, in the area of Karachahr, in the west of Tourfan, was also yuezhi.
The habits of Yuezhi are almost unknown. It is known only that certain kings of Small Yuezhi were qualified the “divine ones”. At the time of a mourning, the close relations of late sacrificed animals and rode a horse to push howls and to gash the face.
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