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Forum LockedThe Battle of Talas, 751 AD

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    Posted: 09-Feb-2007 at 15:13

Hello, I am working on the question, whether the time between 614 and 911 AD was a fake written by historians of the 11th, 12th and 13th Century for political reasons. To answer this question, the Battle of Talas between Chinas Tang army and the Muslim army is a important detail. Any comment or criticism will be highly welcome, especially from China and Korea.

Below please find an overview of the circumstances of the Battle of Talas so far as I could do research on it:

 

The Battle of Talas in the perspective of China, Korea and Arabia

 

Abstract

 

On July 10th 751 AD a battle between Chinese troups of the Tang Dynasty under command of Korean General Gao Xianzhi and Muslim troups under command of Persian Governor Abu Muslim of Khorasan together with Muslim General Ziad Ibn Salih from Samarkand started near Auli-Ata on the backs of the Talas river. The Muslims won this battle because the Quarluqs, a Turk contingent of the Chinese troups  deserted the Chinese coalition and changed to the Muslim side while the battle was ongoing. Gao Xianzhi escaped with the rest of his troops into China. After this battle Central Asia was affected by Muslim culture, not by Chinese, for more than 1300 years. The silk  trade between Muslims and Chinese on the silk road became disrupted for some time. Paper making technology was transmitted westward through the Tang prisoners of war into the Muslim and Christian countries.

For these consequences the battle of Talas is known as one of the most important battles in World’s history.

 

The Chinese view of the Battle of Talas

 

Goguryeo, a Korean kingdom in the northern part of Korea had lost a war against Tang China and General Go Sagye of Goguryeo had been captured by the Tang.

His son Gao Xianzhi (Kao Hsien-Chi, 전지) was born in Tang China and in the age of 20 was promoted to assistant commander of the Tang army and served along with his father in the western province of China near Kashgar in the Taklamakan Desert. While Gao Xianzhi had not a powerful build, he became famous as a extraordinary tactician.

The Tang under their reigning Emperor Hsuan-tsung tried to extend their political influence westward towards Transoxania in order to get more control over the Silk Route and to stop enemy attacks from tribes at their western border. Gao Xianzhi became famous by fighting the combined forces of Tibetans and Muslims in the area of Hindukush and Afghanistan in 747. For a few years Gao became the Tang’s counceler of Central Asia, controlling Tokmak, Kucha, Kashmir and Kabul. The petty kings of  Central Asia city-states continued to send embassies and gifts to Chinese emperor Hsuan-tsung. ‚Persia’ sent 10 embassies between 713 and 755, without saying, that Persia was then a part of the Umayyad and after 750 of the Abbasid empire.

 

In 750 Gao fighted against Sogdian kingdom, conquered Tashkent and sent surrendered king of Tashkent to Tang capital Chang’an, where the King of Tashkent was executed.

In 750 the Abbasides had eliminated the Umayad Dynasty in Damascus. The Abassides wanted to export Islamic religion more aggressively into surrounding countries of Unbelievers and in July 751 started a massive Jihad attack against the Chinese on the backs of the Talas river. 150000 Muslim troups marched against 70000 warriors of Gao’s army. The battle lasted 5 days. The Chinese cavalry seemed to initially overwhelm the Arab cavalry but in the midst of the battle, the Quarluq troups, a Turk contingent of the Tang’s army,  deserted the Chinese coalition and changed to the Muslim side. The Quarluqs were allied with the Arabs from the beginning and attacked the Chinese from the rear as part of a battle plan that they carefully had prearranged with Ziyad ibn Salih who had promised wealth and freedom to the Quarluqs in return for embracing Islam and betraying their Chinese masters. The Quarluqs viewed this as an opportunity to throw off the Chinese yoke . The Quarluqs later played a major role in converting other Turkish tribes notably the Seljuks to Islam.

 

Many Chinese soldiers were killed or captured and Gao with the rest of his army escaped into China. Gao inteded to return after one month with a stronger army, but his deputies persuaded him, that they did not have enough resources and the plan was aborted. The same year the Southern division of the Chinese army had a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Thais, opening the once mighty empire for invasion by the Uighur Kha’Khans of Mongolia.

In 755 Gao was ordered to support the Tang during the rebellion of An Lushan and was in charge to defend Chang’an, the Tang’s capital. Gao was executed by the Tang emperor who believed the false rumors of his eunuchs that Gao had moved his troups without the emperor’s approval.

From 1200 onwards, the Mongols launched a fierce counter attack against the Muslims that cumulated in the sack of Baghdad in A.D. 1258  by Hulagu Khan.

 

 

The Muslim view of the Battle of Talas:

 

After the death of Prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632 the entire middle east had fallen to the Arabs. But the conquest of Central Asia was not so easy. Arab soldiers crossed the Oxus River (now Amu Darya) into Transoxania (now: Uzbekistan) in 654. In 705 Qutaiba ibn Muslim became Umayyad governor of Khorasan. He died in 715. Until 750 most of Transoxania had been incorporated into the Islamic realm. This conquest however put the Muslims on a collision course with Tang’s China which exerted hegemony over Turkestan and over Silk Road oases Kashgar, Kucha, Karashar etc.

In 750, two petty kingdoms Ferghana and Cach had quarrels that caused Ferghana to seek the military assistance of China. The Chinese governor of Kucha Kao Hsien-chih (Gao Xianzih) responded by besieging Cach, promising it’s king save passage and then treacherously decapitating him. The son of the executed king of Cach escaped to Abu Muslim, the Umayyad (or then Abassid ?) governor of Khorasan. Abu Muslim was a Persian who had converted to Islam. Sensing a golden opportunity to diminish China’s political role in Central Asia, Abu Muslim quickly mustered his army at Merv (now Turkmenistan), added enforcements from Tukharistan (Northern Afghanistan) and crossed the Oxus to march to Samarkand. There he rejoined the Ghazi army of Transoxania under Ziyad ibn Salih, formerly the Umayyad governor of Kufa in Iraq.  The Chinese had mobilized 100000 men and in July met the Islamic army of 40000 men on the Talas river (near Dzhambul). Arabic records are inconclusive as to the duration of the battle. In the midst of the battle, the Quarluq troups, a Turk contingent of the Tang’s army,  deserted the Chinese coalition and changed to the Muslim side. The Prince of Cach was a cousin of the Quarluq and in advance of the battle had convinced the Quarluqs that they had to help him to take revenge for the Chinese murders of his father.

Many Chinese soldiers were killed or captured and Gao with the rest of his army escaped into China. The Arabs learned from their Chinese captives paper making technology.

 

Historic evidence

 

On the arab side, key informations on the Battle of Talas came from Ibn al-Athir (1160-1233) and al-Dhahabri (1274-1348). Curiously, tho most outstanding early Muslim historian al-Tabari (839-923) has nothing to say about the Battle of Talas.

I don’t know, which Chinese and Korean historians have delt with the Battle of Talas.

 

 

Questions to the audience

 

  1. Heaving Koreas historical epos Samguk Sagi in mind, the days of the Talas battle must have fallen into the days of Unified Silla (Tong-Il Silla) in Korea (668 to 935). What is Samguk Sagi telling us about the Battle of Talas and about famous Korean General Gao Xianzhi ?
  2. Why is Go Sagye mentioned as a captured general of Goguryeo by the Tangs ? In those days Goguryeo should not have existed but had been part of Tong-il Silla. Was Tong-Il Silla in war with Tang’s China about 725 (26 years before the Battle of Talas) ?
  3. Isn’t it unlikely that both sides risked disruption of the lucrative trade on the Silk Roadfrom which both parties made profit for centuries, only on behalf of two allied petty kings ?
  4. If the Battle of Talas was so important, why was it mentioned by Muslim historians not earlier than in the 13th century, 500 years after the battle ?
  5. Are Qutaiba ibn Muslim, governor of Khorasan (died 715) and Persian Abu Muslim, governor of Khorasan (alive in 751) the same person ?
  6. To which Muslim party belonged Abu Muslim and Ziad ibn Salih in 751 ? Umayyad or Abbasid ?
  7. When the quarrels in Tashkent began (in 750), Transoxania belonged to the Umayyad empire. In 750 the Umayadds were wiped out by the Abbasids. How in those uncertain times Arabs in Transoxania got the courage to launch such a big attack against China ?
  8. If  Jihad was so important for the Muslims, isn’t it strange, that they did not invade China and destroyed the fleeing rest of the army of Gao Xianzhi ?
  9. As so many soldiers have died in this battle, there should exist a lot of archaelogical findings in the area of river Talas. Who knows about those findings ?

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2007 at 19:13
Quote The son of the executed king of Cach escaped to Abu Muslim, the Umayyad (or then Abassid ?) governor of Khorasan.

Abu Muslim installed the Abbasids into power, so it would be wrong to refer to him as an Umayyid.

Quote Hello, I am working on the question, whether the time between 614 and 911 AD was a fake written by historians of the 11th, 12th and 13th Century for political reasons

For what purpose?
"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jiangweibaoye Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2007 at 22:17
I have the same question about the timeframe of 614 to 911AD as being fake.  I don't comprehend what you are stating?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fantomtime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2007 at 05:31
Jiangwei, Omar al Hashim,
I am a supporter of a group of historians led by German historian Herbert Illig (Herbert Illig: Wer hat an der Uhr gedreht, Ullstein Press 2003). This group has found proofs in Europe's early medival history that about 297 years of occidental history may have been invented by christian monks but had never really happened.

 

Herbert Illig came to this idea by studiing the calendar reform of Pope Gregory XIII. The Gregorian calendar is the calendar that we use today in western countries. According to the Gregorian calendar today is February 6, 2007. The Gegorian calendar replaced the Julian calendar which was in use in the occident since 45 BD until 1582 AD.

The Julian calendar was introduced by the roman emperor Jules Cesar in the year 45 BD. The Gregorian calendar reform became urgent due to the fact that the Julian calendar had a yearly deviation to the astronomic calendar of 11 minutes and  14 seconds. That sounds not much, but cumulated  during the 1627 years between Jules Cesar and Pope Gregory (1582 years AD + 45 years BD)  to  a surplus of 18277 minutes = 304,61 hours = 12,69 days.

 

According to this result, Pope Gregory should have ordered a correction of the calendar by 12 or 13 extra days (only a correction by full days makes sense) , but in fact ordered only a correction of 10 calendar days.

One correction day stands for a correction of 128,21 years, therefor the Gregorian correction lacks a time interval of 2,69 x 128,21 = 344,89 years between him and Jules Cesar.

 

Therefor some 300 years of history between 45 BD and 1582 AD must be superfluous. For various reasons Herbert Illig came to the conclusion, that the time between 614 AD and 911 AD has never happened, and was only invented as a big fake by christian monks and some Bycantine emperors in the 10th, 11th and 12th century for political reasons. Falsification of documents in favour of the Church or the ruling dynasty was a common sport in those days. In contrary archaelogical evidence in Europe is very poor for those 297 years.

 

The effects of this thesis are dramatic for occidental history:  The Carolingan dynasty, Charles the Hammer and the battle of Tours and Poitiers, Emperor Charlemagne  King Alfred the Great of Britannia, the Viking invasion have never existed. Moreover all other cultures must suffer a time abundance of about 300 years in their history too. This should not automaticly affect the time interval between 614 and 911 AD, there may exist different empty time intervals in other cultures, for instance for the Tang in China.
(Remember: Today may be February 10, 1710)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2007 at 20:38
hold on, hold on,
Quote One correction day stands for a correction of 128,21 years

Where does this come from?

Why are you choosing the years 614 -911?
The events between 614 and 911 certainly did occur, they still leave big traces in the modern world.

To your questions:
Quote Isn’t it unlikely that both sides risked disruption of the lucrative trade on the Silk Roadfrom which both parties made profit for centuries, only on behalf of two allied petty kings ?

No. Two expansionistic empires in the same region are bound to clash
Quote
Are Qutaiba ibn Muslim, governor of Khorasan (died 715) and Persian Abu Muslim, governor of Khorasan (alive in 751) the same person ?

Why should they be?
Quote To which Muslim party belonged Abu Muslim and Ziad ibn Salih in 751 ? Umayyad or Abbasid ?

Do they have to belong to either of them? Abu Muslims actually installed the Abbasids so you could probably class him as an Abbasid supporter
Quote When the quarrels in Tashkent began (in 750), Transoxania belonged to the Umayyad empire. In 750 the Umayadds were wiped out by the Abbasids. How in those uncertain times Arabs in Transoxania got the courage to launch such a big attack against China ?

Because the Arab armies in Transoxania were not affected by family struggles for control of the Caliphate.
"O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give the pledge to this Prophet"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fantomtime Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2007 at 04:26
Thank you for clarification of some of my questions.
You are right: Abu and ibn is not the same.
 
The 128,21 years come from 1627 years devided by 12,69 correction days.
614 is the end of the Dynasty of Merovingians in Central Europe (murder of Queen Brunhilde). There is enough evidence that the Merovingians really existed. The same is true for the Saxonian kings in Germany after 911.
 
I understand that the thesis of empty Middle Ages sounds crazy at the first glance. This was also my first impression.
Please have in mind, this was not my idea, but from Herbert Illig. Read one of his books ' Wer hat an der Uhr gedreht' (Who has turned the clock down ?) ISBN 3-548-36476-4 , 'Das erfundene Mittelalter' (the invented Middle Ages) ISBN 3-430-14953-3,  Illig/Anwander: 'Bayern und die Phantomzeit' (Bavaria and the Fantomtime) ISBN 3-928852-21-3 then you know about all facts that testify against the existance of 614-911. Even Mainstream occidental Historians have named this period 'The Dark Ages', which menas, they don't know much about this period.
I don't know whether the books of Herbert Illig have already been translated into English or other languages. To stop all speculations in advance: This thesis has absolutely nothing to do with the '9/11' events in the USA in 2001. Herbert Illig wrote his first book in 1997.
 
Which events during 614-911 do you have in mind, that left big traces in the modern world ? Are these events supported by archaelogical findings or only by written documents or oral tradition ? Have the written documents been created by witnesses inside 614-911 or later than 911 ?If your facts can disprove Herbert Illig, be welcome !
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote red clay Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2007 at 10:25
Sounds like we have another "Fomenko Dancer"LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2007 at 18:31
Quote Which events during 614-911 do you have in mind, that left big traces in the modern world ? Are these events supported by archaelogical findings or only by written documents or oral tradition ? Have the written documents been created by witnesses inside 614-911 or later than 911 ?

The split between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, the spread of Islam, the whole of the Arab Caliphates in the middle east and spain, the Guptas in India, the Tang in china, the height of the byzantine empire.
There is a glut of written works dating from that period (excluding Northern Europe), I even have some books on my bookshelf originally written in that period.

I still don't understand the maths of it. Why are you dividing 1627 by 12.69 days? You can't even do that because your units are wrong, if you want to divide those numbers you need to put them both into the same units.
1627 / (12.69/365) = 46797, which is a unitless ratio. To do the dimension check for you

years / (days/(days/year) = years / (days*years/days) = years/years = unitless

It is mathematically impossible to divide years by days and get years
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