The Info List - Ban Chao

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Ban Chao
Ban Chao
(Chinese: 班超; Wade–Giles: Pan Ch'ao; 32–102 CE), courtesy name Zhongsheng, was a Chinese military general, explorer and diplomat of the Eastern Han Dynasty. He was born in Fufeng, now Xianyang, Shaanxi. Three of his family members — father Ban Biao, elder brother Ban Gu, younger sister Ban Zhao
Ban Zhao
— were well known historians who wrote the historical text Book of Han, which recorded the history of the Western Han Dynasty. As a Han general and cavalry commander, Ban Chao
Ban Chao
was in charge of administrating the "Western Regions" (Central Asia) while he was in service. He also led Han forces for over 30 years in the war against the Xiongnu
and secured Han control over the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
region. He was awarded the title "Protector General of the Western Regions" by the Han government for his efforts in protecting and governing the regions.


1 Control of the Tarim Basin 2 A family of historians

2.1 Ban Chao's family

3 Famous quotes (Chengyu) 4 See also 5 Notes 6 References

Control of the Tarim Basin[edit] Ban Chao, like his predecessors Huo Qubing
Huo Qubing
and Wei Qing
Wei Qing
from the Former Han Dynasty
Former Han Dynasty
before him, was effective at expelling the Xiongnu from the Tarim Basin, and brought the various people of the Western Regions under Chinese rule during the second half of the 1st century CE, helping to open and secure the trade routes to the west. He was generally outnumbered, but skillfully played on the divisions among his opponents. The kingdoms of Khotan
and Kashgar
came under Chinese rule by A.D. 74. "Pan Ch'ao crushed fresh rebellions in Kashgar (80,87) and Yarkand (88), and made the Wusun
of the Ili his allies.".[1]hh Ban Chao
Ban Chao
was recalled to Luoyang, but then sent again to the Western Region area four years later, during the reign of the new emperor Han Zhang Di. He obtained the military help of the Kushan Empire
Kushan Empire
in 84 in repelling the Kangju
who were trying to support the rebellion of the king of Kashgar, and the next year in his attack on Turpan, in the eastern Tarim Basin. Ban Chao
Ban Chao
ultimately brought the whole of the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
under Chinese control. In recognition for their support to the Chinese, the Kushans (referred to as Da Yuezhi
Da Yuezhi
in Chinese sources) requested, but were denied, a Han princess, even though they had sent presents to the Chinese court. In retaliation, they marched on Ban Chao
Ban Chao
in 90 CE with a force of 70,000 but were defeated by the smaller Chinese force. The Yuezhi retreated and paid tribute to the Chinese Empire. (Later, during the Yuanchu period, 114-120 CE, the Kushans sent a military force to install Chenpan, who had been a hostage among them, as king of Kashgar).[2]

Ceramic statues of a prancing horse (foreground) and a cavalryman on horseback (background), Eastern Han Dynasty
Eastern Han Dynasty
(25-220 AD)

In 91 CE, Ban Chao
Ban Chao
finally succeeded in pacifying the Western Regions and was awarded the title of Protector General and stationed at Qiuci (Kucha).[3] A Wuji Colonel was re-established and, commanding five hundred soldiers, stationed in the Kingdom of Nearer Jushi, within the walls of Gaochang, 29 kilometres southeast of Turfan.[3] In 94 CE, Chao proceeded to again attack and defeat Yanqi [Karashahr]. Subsequently, more than fifty kingdoms presented hostages, as submission to the Han Dynasty.[3] In 97 CE Ban Chao
Ban Chao
sent an envoy, Gan Ying, who reached the Persian Gulf and left the first recorded Chinese account of Europe.[4] Some modern authors have even claimed that Ban Chao
Ban Chao
advanced to the Caspian Sea, however, this interpretation has been criticized as a misreading.[5] In 102 CE Ban Chao
Ban Chao
was retired as Protector General of the Western Regions due to age and ill health, and returned to the capital Luoyang at the age of 70, but the following month died there in the 9th month of the 14th Yongyuan year (30th Sept. to 28th Oct., 102). See: Hou Hanshu, chap 77 (sometimes given as chap. 107).[6] Following his death, the power of the Xiongnu
in the Western Territories increased again, and subsequent Chinese emperors were never able to reach so far to the west. A family of historians[edit] Ban Chao
Ban Chao
also belonged to a family of historians. His father was Ban Biao (3-54 CE) who started the History of the Western Han Dynasty (Hanshu; The Book of Han) in 36, which was completed by his son Ban Gu (32-92)[7] and his daughter Ban Zhao
Ban Zhao
(Ban Chao's brother and sister). Ban Chao
Ban Chao
was probably the key source for the cultural and socio-economic data on the Western Regions
Western Regions
contained in the Hanshu. Ban Chao's youngest son Ban Yong (班勇 Bān Yŏng) participated in military campaigns with his father and continued to have a central military role in the Tarim Basin
Tarim Basin
into the 120s. Ban Chao's family[edit]

Ban Biao (班彪; 3-54; father)

Ban Gu
Ban Gu
(班固; 32-92; first son) Ban Chao
Ban Chao
(班超; 32-102; second son)

Ban Xiong (班雄; ?-after 107; Ban Chao's eldest son)

Ban Shi (班始; ?-130; Ban Xiong's son)

Ban Yong (班勇; ?-after 127; Ban Chao's youngest son)

Ban Zhao
Ban Zhao
(班昭; 45-116; Ban Chao's sister) She's the one who petitioned the reigning Emperor to let his brother return home from his posting.

Famous quotes (Chengyu)[edit]

"Throw away your writing brush and join the military!" (投筆從戎) based on his words "A brave man has no other plan but to follow Fu JieZi and Zhang Qian's footsteps and do something and become somebody in a foreign land. How can I waste my life on writing? (大丈夫無他志略,猶當效傅介子、張騫立功異域,以取封侯,安能久事筆硯間乎?) in Hou Hanshu. "...he who does not enter the tiger's lair will never catch its cubs."(不入虎穴,不得虎子) "To die without glory is not the act of valiant men." () "Renounce the pen and join the army." "Renounce the pen for the sword." (投笔从戎) "How can one obtain tiger-cubs without entering the tiger's lair." "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." (不入虎穴,焉得虎子)

See also[edit]

Han- Xiongnu
War Battle of Yiwulu Guo Xun Zhang Qian Ban Yong


^ Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. pp. 42–47. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.  ^ Hill (2009), p. 43. ^ a b c Hill (2009), p. 5. ^ Hill. (2009), p. 55. ^ J. Oliver Thomson, A History of Ancient Geography, Cambridge 1948, p.311. Thomson cites Richthofen, China, 1877, I, 469 and some other authors in support of the claim that Ban Chao
Ban Chao
marched to the Caspian, and Yule/Cordier, Cathay and the way thither, 1916 p.40 (p.40f in vol.I of the 2005 edition by Asian Educational Services), Chavannes, Seidenstrassen, p.8, and Teggart, Rome and China as references for such claims being erroneous. ^ Chavannes (1906), p. 243. ^ Hill (2009), p. xv.


Chavannes, Édouard
Chavannes, Édouard
(1906). "Trois Généraux Chinois de la dynastie des Han Orientaux. Pan Tch’ao (32-102 p.C.); – son fils Pan Yong; – Leang K’in (112 p.C.). Chapitre LXXVII du Heou Han chou." T’oung pao 7, pp. 210–269. Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, First to Second Centuries CE. BookSurge. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.  The Tarim Mummies. J.P. Mallory and Victor H. Mair (2000). Thames & Hudson. ISBN 0-500-05101-1

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