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Xirong () or Rong were various people who lived primarily in and around the western extremities of
ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient his ...
(in modern
Gansu Gansu (, ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately romanized as Kansu) is a landlocked provinces of China, province in Northwest China. Its capital and largest city is Lanzhou, in the southeast part of the province. The seventh-largest administ ...

Gansu
and
Qinghai Qinghai (; alternately romanized as Tsinghai, Ch'inghai), also called Kokonur, is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provinci ...

Qinghai
). They were known as early as the
Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and lower Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. ...

Shang dynasty
(1765–1122 BCE), as one of the
Four Barbarians Four Barbarians is the common English translation of the Chinese term ''sìyí'' 四夷 for various peoples living outside the borders of ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 B ...
that frequently (and often violently) interacted with the sinitic
Huaxia ''Huaxia'' is a historical concept representing the Chinese nation and civilization A civilization (or civilisation) is any complex society that is characterized by urban development, social stratification, a form of government, and s ...
civilization. They typically resided to the west of Guanzhong Plains from the
Zhou Dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscript ...
(1046–221 BCE) onwards. They were mentioned in some ancient Chinese texts as perhaps genetically and linguistically related to the people of the Chinese civilization.


Etymology

The historian Li Feng says that during the
Western Zhou The Western Zhou ( zh, c=, p=Xīzhōu; c. 1045 BC – 771 BC) was the first half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou King Wu of Zhou () was the first king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the ...
period, since the term ''Rong'' "warlike foreigners" was "often used in bronze inscriptions to mean 'warfare', it is likely that when a people was called 'Rong', the Zhou considered them as political and military adversaries rather than as cultural and ethnic 'others'." After the
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscript ...
, the term usually referred to various peoples in the west during early and late medieval times. Prusek suggests relations between the Rong during the Zhou dynasty and the Rén () tribes during
Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and lower Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. ...

Shang dynasty
. Xirong was also the name of a state during the Spring and Autumn and
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest ...
s of Chinese history. The Xirong together with the eastern
Dongyi The Dongyi or Eastern Yi () was a collective term for ancient peoples found in Chinese records. The definition of Dongyi varied across the ages, but in most cases referred to inhabitants of eastern China, then later, the Korean peninsula, and Japa ...
, northern
Beidi The Di or Beidi (Northern Di) were various ethnic groups who lived north of the Chinese (''Huaxia'') realms during the Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also ...
, and southern
Nanman The Man, commonly known as the Nanman or Southern Man (), or the Southern Barbarians, were ancient indigenous peoples who lived in inland South and Southwest China, mainly around the Yangtze River valley. The Nanman included multiple ethnic gro ...
were collectively called the '' Sìyí'' (). The ''
Liji The ''Book of Rites'', also known as the ''Liji'', is a collection of texts describing the social forms, administration, and ceremonial rites of the Zhou dynasty as they were understood in the Warring States and the early Han periods. The ''Book ...
'' "Record of Rites" details ancient stereotypes about them.
The people of those five regions – the Middle states, and the ong (and other wild tribes round them) – had all their several natures, which they could not be made to alter. The tribes on the east were called They had their hair unbound, and tattooed their bodies. Some of them ate their food without its being cooked. Those on the south were called Man. They tattooed their foreheads, and had their feet turned in towards each other. Some of them (also) ate their food without its being cooked. Those on the west were called ong They had their hair unbound, and wore skins. Some of them did not eat grain-food. Those on the north were called They wore skins of animals and birds, and dwelt in caves. Some of them also did not eat grain-food. The people of the Middle states, and of those Man, ong and all had their dwellings, where they lived at ease; their flavours which they preferred; the clothes suitable for them; their proper implements for use; and their vessels which they prepared in abundance. In those five regions, the languages of the people were not mutually intelligible, and their likings and desires were different. To make what was in their minds apprehended, and to communicate their likings and desires, (there were officers) – in the east, called transmitters; in the south, representationists; in the west, i-dis and in the north, interpreters. he term 狄鞮 ''didi'' (''ti-ti'') is identified as: “(''anc.'') Interpreter of the Di, barbarians of the west.” Translated and adapted from the French./blockquote> Note: "middle states" () in this quote refers to the " Middle Kingdom", i.e.
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approximately 9.6& ...
. Spade-foot three-legged pottery vessels as well as one and two handled pots were primary cultural characteristics of the Xirong. William H. Baxter and
Laurent Sagart Laurent Sagart (; born 1951) is a senior researcher at the Centre de recherches linguistiques sur l'Asie orientale (CRLAO – UMR 8563) unit of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS). Biography Born in Paris in 1951, he earned his ...
(2014) reconstruct the
Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscriptions on oracle bones from around 125 ...
name of Róng as . Today, similar-sounding self-designated
ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος 'nation' and 'name') is a name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given c ...
s among modern-day
Tibeto-Burman The Tibeto-Burman languages are the non- Sinitic members of the Sino-Tibetan language family, over 400 of which are spoken throughout the highlands of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for As ...
peoples in western China include Rgyalrong of
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administr ...

Sichuan
, and Nung and Trung of northwestern
Yunnan Yunnan () is a landlocked Provinces of China, province in Southwest China, the southwest of the People's Republic of China. The province spans approximately and has a population of 48.3 million (as of 2018). The capital of the province is Kun ...

Yunnan
(''see also
Rung languages The Rung languages are a proposed branch of Sino-Tibetan languages Sino-Tibetan, also known as Trans-Himalayan in a few sources, is a family of more than 400 languages, second only to Indo-European in number of native speakers. The vast majorit ...
'').


Timeline

According to Nicola Di Cosmo, 'Rong' was a vague term for warlike foreigner. He places them from the upper
Wei River The Wei River () is a major river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course withou ...
valley and along the
Fen River The Fen River drains the center of Shanxi Province, China. It originates in the Guancen Mountains of Ningwu County in northeast Shanxi, flows southeast into the basin of Taiyuan, and then south through the central valley of Shanxi before turning ...
to the
Taiyuan Taiyuan ( , also known as (), ()) is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province, People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and depend ...

Taiyuan
basin as far as the
Taihang Mountains 200px The Taihang Mountains () are a Chinese mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit a ...
. This would be the northwestern edge of what was then China and also the transition zone between agricultural and steppe ways of life. *c. 964 BCE:
King Mu of Zhou King Mu of Zhou (), personal name Ji Man, was the fifth king of the Zhou dynasty of China. The dates of his reign are 976–922 BC or 956–918 BC. Life King Mu came to the throne after his father King Zhao of Zhou, King Zhao’s death during his ...
defeated the
QuanrongThe Quanrong () or Dog Xirong, Rong were an ethnic group, classified by the ancient Chinese as "Qiang (historical people), Qiang", active in the northwestern part of China during and after the Zhou dynasty (1046–221 BCE). Their language or language ...
and the following year attacked the Western Rong and Xurong. *859 BCE: King Yi of Zhou (Ji Xie): Zhou capital attacked by the Rong of
Taiyuan Taiyuan ( , also known as (), ()) is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province, People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and depend ...

Taiyuan
. *877-841 BCE:
King Li of Zhou King Li of Zhou (died in 828 BC) (), personal name Ji Hu, was the tenth king of the China, Chinese Zhou Dynasty. Estimated dates of his reign are 877–841 BC or 857–842 BC (''Cambridge History of Ancient China''). King Li was a corrupt and deca ...
: Western Rong and
XianyunThe Xianyun (; Old Chinese (Reconstructions of Old_Chinese#Zhengzhang (1981–1995), ZS): *''g.rams-lunʔ'') was an ancient nomadic tribe that invaded China during the Zhou Dynasty. This Chinese exonym is written with ''xian'' wikt:獫, 獫 or wikt: ...
raid deep into Zhou territory *827-782 BCE:
King Xuan of Zhou of the King of the Romans King of the Romans ( la, Rex Romanorum; german: König der Römer) was the title used by the German king following his election An election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population choos ...

King Xuan of Zhou
sends the State of Qin to attack Western Rong who submit and cede territory, sends the State of Jin against the Northern Rong (probably 788); following year destroys the RongJiang clan. *781-771 BCE:
King You of Zhou King You of Zhou (; 795–771 BC), personal name Ji Gongsheng, was the twelfth king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the early modern period) File:Nezahualpiltzintli.jpg">Aztec King Nezahualpiltzintli of Texcoco King is the ti ...
is killed by the Quanrong, ending the
Western Zhou The Western Zhou ( zh, c=, p=Xīzhōu; c. 1045 BC – 771 BC) was the first half of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou King Wu of Zhou () was the first king of the King of the Romans (variant used in the ...
. *During the Western Zhou various Rong groups are interspersed among the cities of the North China Plain. It seems that the
Beidi The Di or Beidi (Northern Di) were various ethnic groups who lived north of the Chinese (''Huaxia'') realms during the Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also ...
were pressing the Rong from the north. *714 BCE: Northern (Bei) or Mountain (Shan) Rong attack the
State of Zheng Zheng (; ; Old Chinese: *') was a vassal State (Ancient China), state in China during the Zhou Dynasty (1046–221 BCE) located in the centre of ancient China in modern-day Henan Province on the North China Plain about east of the royal capital a ...
. *706 BCE: The same group attacks Qi. *693-662 BCE: ), ruler of the State of Lu has many wars with the Rong. *664 BCE:
Shan Rong Shanrong (山戎), or Rong (戎) were an Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are d ...
attack the
State of Yan Yan (; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, and the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscriptions on oracle ...
. *662 BCE:
Beidi The Di or Beidi (Northern Di) were various ethnic groups who lived north of the Chinese (''Huaxia'') realms during the Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ) was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also ...
drive the Rong out of
Taiyuan Taiyuan ( , also known as (), ()) is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province, People's Republic of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and depend ...

Taiyuan
. *650 BCE: Beirong attacked by the States of Qi and Xu. *after 650 BCE the Rong are rarely mentioned. They seem to have been mostly absorbed by the States of Qi and Jin. *314 BCE: Qin defeated the last hostile Rong tribe. Threats from unified nomadic incursions would eventually reappear under the
Xiongnu The Xiongnu (, ) were a tribal confederation A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal ...

Xiongnu
identity during the subsequent
QinQin may refer to: Dynasties and states * Qin (state) (秦), a major state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China * Qin dynasty (秦), founded by the Qin state in 221 BC and ended in 206 BC * Daqin (大秦), ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empi ...
and
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...

Han
Dynasties.


Ethnicity

It is believed that the Quanrong during the Western Zhou-
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest ...
(1122–476 BC) spoke a
Tibeto-Burman The Tibeto-Burman languages are the non- Sinitic members of the Sino-Tibetan language family, over 400 of which are spoken throughout the highlands of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for As ...
branch of the
Sino-Tibetan Sino-Tibetan, also known as Trans-Himalayan in a few sources, is a family of more than 400 languages, second only to Indo-European in number of native speakers. The vast majority of these are the 1.3 billion native speakers of Chinese languages ...

Sino-Tibetan
languages, and united with the Jiang clan to rebel against the Zhou.
Mencius Mencius ( ); born Mèng Kē (); or Mengzi (; 372–289 BC) was a Chinese Confucian philosopher who has often been described as the "second Sage", that is, after only Confucius } Confucius ( ; zh, s=, p=Kǒng Fūzǐ, "Master Kǒng"; or ...

Mencius
mentioned even that
King Wen of Zhou King Wen of Zhou (; 1112–1050 BC, the Civilizing King) was Count of ZhouZhou may refer to: Chinese history * King Zhou of Shang () (1105 BC–1046 BC), the last king of the Shang dynasty * Predynastic Zhou (), 11th-century BC precursor to the Zh ...

King Wen of Zhou
had ancestries from the "western barbarians" (西夷). 7th-century scholar
Yan Shigu Yan Shigu () (581–645), formal name Yan Zhou (), but went by the courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosp ...
made these remarks about the Indo-European-speaking
WusunImage:30. Rider burial mound Tenlik (III.-II. B.C.) Kazakhstan.JPG, 350px, Rider burial mound Tenlik (III.-II. B.C.) The Tenlik kurgan is associated with the Wusun. The Wusun (; Eastern Han Chinese *''ʔɑ-suən'') were an Proto-Indo-Europeans, In ...
s: "Among the various Rong tribes in the Western Regions, the
WusunImage:30. Rider burial mound Tenlik (III.-II. B.C.) Kazakhstan.JPG, 350px, Rider burial mound Tenlik (III.-II. B.C.) The Tenlik kurgan is associated with the Wusun. The Wusun (; Eastern Han Chinese *''ʔɑ-suən'') were an Proto-Indo-Europeans, In ...
's shape was the strangest; and the present barbarians who have green eyes and red hair, and are like a macaque, belonged to the same race as the Wusun."''
Book of Han The ''Book of Han'' or ''History of the Former Han'' is a history of China finished in 111, covering the Western, or Former Han dynasty from the first emperor in 206 BCE to the fall of Wang Mang Wang Mang (Chinese: 王莽) (c. 45 – 6 O ...
''
vol. 96b


See also

*
Qiang people The Qiang people (; Qiangic: ''Rrmea'') are an ethnic group in China. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the Li ...
*
Gyalrong people{{unreferenced, date=April 2020 Gyalrong people (Tibetan: རྒྱལ་རོང, Chinese:嘉绒), also called Jiarong, rGyalrong, are speakers of the Qiangic Gyalrong language who live in the southern part of Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous ...
*
Tangut people The Tangut people ( Tangut: , ''mjɨ nja̱'' or , ''mji dzjwo''; Chinese: 党項, dǎngxiàng) were a Tibeto-Burman tribal union that inhabited Western Xia. The group lived under Tuyuhun authority and moved to Northwest China Northwest China ...
*
GuirongGuifang () was an ancient ethnonym for a northern people that fought against the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE). Chinese historical tradition identified the Guifang with the Xirong (people), Xirong, Xunyu, or Xiongnu peoples. This Chinese exonym combi ...
* Hua-Yi Distinction * Ji Jili * Qiang (historical people) * Sinocentrism


References


Citations


Sources

* (in Chinese
"Exploring the roots of the Qin"
* (in Chinese) * ''Grand dictionnaire Ricci de la langue chinoise''. 7 volumes. Instituts Ricci (Paris – Taipei). Desclée de Brouwer. 2001. Vol. III, p. 555. * ''A Hypothesis about the Source of the Sai Tribes''. Taishan Yu. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 106. September, 2000. Dept. of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Pennsylvania. {{Historical Non-Chinese peoples in China Ancient peoples of China Zhou dynasty