At the back of the hill

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Friday, August 10, 2018


We know that the end of Tang (唐朝 'tong chiu') began with the An Lushan rebellion (安史之亂 'on si ji luen', in which a paranoid sinicised Turkic mutt, possibly Sogdian, who had been a general under the Emperor Xuanzong (玄宗 'yuen jung'), recruited rebels and brigands from both the Khitans and various loathsome Turkic tribes in the north, and marched on Chang'an, proclaiming himself founder of a great new dynasty, Yan (燕朝 'yin chiu').

A dozen years later, with ten millions of the citizenry dead, the spurious emperor of Yan, An Lushan (安祿山 'on lok saan') having been hacked to death by a co-intrigant of his son and heir An Qingxu (安慶緒 'on hing seui'), who was a few years later executed by a family friend and fellow barbarian, Shi Siming (史思明 'si si ming'), and great misery having afflicted a large part of the empire, things finally returned to a semblance normal.

Altogether, it was a rather seedy business, and illustrates why one should never rely on Turks.

Though they do make good stable hands.

Or used to.

The Tang Dynasty itself was partly Turkish. Which explains why they employed so many Sino-Turks and other steppe heathens. The world naturally prefers their successors, the Song (宋朝 'sung chiu').

["The Cathay Hoojigoo"]

All of this is tangential to this morning's reading about the Liao Dynasty (遼朝 'liu chiu'). Which is what the Khitan empire in Manchuria and Northern China called itself. And I cannot find a translation of huldʒi gur, which looks like it should be pronounced 'hoojigoo'. That caught my eye, as well as a Chinese military term that may be related to Turkish: mashi (馬使), as in 兵馬使 ('bing maa si'), which calls to mind terracotta figurines of horse tenders, stable boys, and cavalry men.

The term breaks down as "army-horse-officiate".

The word huldʒi gur amuses me.

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