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Differences between Xiongnu-Xianbei


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The Xiongnu and Xianbei were barbarian tribes, but there was a key difference between the two tribes.

Han Chinese between the fall of the Eastern Han and the start of Sui considered Xiongnu to be more civilized than Xianbei.

The Xiongnu's practice of giving throne succession to the eldest son was the same as the Han rulers. However throne succession in the Xianbei took a different path. Instead, it went to the most capable son or family member. This capability was measured in terms of warlike, fighting abilities and being the most competent on the battlefield.

The Xiongnu were also more easier to appease than the Xianbei. If the emperor offered brides and gifts to the Xiongnu, they would cease incursions into China Proper temporarily. The Xianbei operated much differently. They could care less about appeasement gifts. They would attack at will whenever they pleased.

But the Xianbei embraced Chinese culture once they became assimiliated into it. Li Shimin was part-Han and part-Xianbei. He deeply resented his father's choice of his brother Li Jiancheng as Crown Prince, since it was he who contributed the most effort on the battlefield to secure the founding of Tang. This resentment reflected his Xianbei heritage where family members in the same clan viewed each other as rivals and schemers for power, with authority and respect given to the one with the highest military prowess.

Furthermore Li Shimin's killing of his two brothers, and kicking his father off the throne, greatly departed from the Confucian values of family piety and was very characteristically Xianbei.

Even the Xianbei women were headstrong. Dugu, the wife of Sui Yangjian, was a possessive and controlling woman who scared Sui Yangjian himself. Yangjian dared not disagree with his wife. She made him swear an oath of monogamy when they were young, promising never to cheat on her. He dared not touch another woman while she was alive.

Later when Yangjian became emperor and flirted with a court lady, Dugu had the court lady killed when Yangjian was addressing a group of officials in a meeting.

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felixthecat

Beganning of early last year,I took interest in Chinese ancient nomadic clans like the Xian Bei,Xiongnu,Tungus-Manchu plus other subdivisions.

I thought Xian Bei was completely absorbed into Han Chinese,recently some on chinesehistoryforum pointed out there is a remnant of them in Xingjia Autonomous Region classified as Xibe.Can I have you clarify this ?

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Furthermore Li Shimin's killing of his two brothers, and kicking his father off the throne, greatly departed from the Confucian values of family piety and was very characteristically Xianbei.

Even the Xianbei women were headstrong. Dugu, the wife of Sui Yangjian, was a possessive and controlling woman who scared Sui Yangjian himself. Yangjian dared not disagree with his wife. She made him swear an oath of monogamy when they were young, promising never to cheat on her. He dared not touch another woman while she was alive.

hmm.... more to do with the individual right?

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I thought Xian Bei was completely absorbed into Han Chinese

They were. At first they resisted being sinicized. Then Empress Dowager Feng of the Northern Wei dynasty, who was Han Chinese herself, began a sinicization campaign that absorbed the Xianbei aristocracy into the Chinese mainstream. This campaign was accelerated under her stepson 孝文帝, who made the Xianbei adopt Chinese surnames and wear Chinese style of clothing. He also encouraged intermarriage between Xianbei and Han Chinese.

hmm.... more to do with the individual right?

By the time Li Shimin was born about 100 years later, people of Xianbei heritage have been "softened" or sinicized to the point where they were no longer the warlike barbarians they once were.

But the Xianbei-influenced mentality still existed, in the sense that members of a family clan viewed each other as competitors and rivals for power. Of course not every Xianbei son would treat his father the way Li Shimin did. Yet Li Jiancheng, Li Yuanji, and Li Shimin all viewed each other as threats, inter-family hostilities that culminated in 玄武門之變.

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amanda530513

How do you know 'LiShiming deeply resented his father's choice of his brother Li Jiancheng as Crown Prince'. There is no chiese history book tell us this. The book-Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government pointed out that LiYuan selected him as Crown Prince, but LiShiming refused. It's not like you said.

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