Chumuhun is one of six Chuy Hun tribes, the name Chumuhun was used by Chinese historians as a collective name for the six Chu tribes: Chuüe, Chumi, Chumuhun, Chuban, and two divisions of Shato which sprung from the Chuüe (Pinyin: Chuyue, Ch. 處月 Chuyue = 'abode of the Moon [god] ').

The Chuy Hun tribes were also collectively called Üeban (Pinyin: Yueban) "Weak Huns" by the Chinese historians, Üeban Huns underwent a strong influence of the Sogdian culture [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.15 (In Russian)] . The Chuy-descendent tribe Kimak was one of the Türkic tribes known from Arab and Persian Middle Age writers as one of the seven tribes in the Kimak Kaganate in the period of 743-1050 AD. The other six constituent tribes per Abu Said Gardizi (d. 1061) were Kipchaks, Imi, Tatars, Bayandur, Lanikaz, and Ajlad. The present endoethnonym of the Chuy Hun descendents is Chuy Kiji, Türkic for "Chuy People" [Gumilev L.N., "Ancient Türks", Moscow, 'Science', 1967, Ch.20 (In Russian)] .

Chuban (Yueban) state

Between 155 and 166, former vassal tribes of the Xiongnu, known as the Xianbei (Pinyin: Hsien-pi/Hsien-pei/Xienbi) united under Tian-Shih-huai (Pinyin rendition) and conducted a series of campaigns against Western (Northern) Xiongnu dominance, eventually defeating and forcing the Xiongnu to flee west and starting a series of westward migrations (93-c.380).

The defeat ended the prominence of the Xiongnu as a major power in inner Asia. The western border of Tian-Shih-huai state leaped 6,5 thousand km from Ussuri to the meridian of Volga or Ural, Tian-Shih-huai expelled Huns from Dzungaria to beyond the Tarbagatai, and pushed Dingling (Gaoche) tribes beyond the Sayan mountains. The defeat had cost the Xiongnu their agricultural dependencies in the "Western Territories" (Xiyu or Xinjian of the Chinese annals), forcing them to find new dependencies, and the Xiongnu split again. The "Weak Huns" remained in Semirechje, where they established the principality of Chuban (commonly called "Yueban" in Chinese literature), which existed until the 480es CE. The strongest tribes (known to Europeans as "the Huns) migrated towards Europe, where they conquered the Iranian Alans and Germanic Goths, and later attacked the Roman Empire. This Hunnic invasion of Europe led to severe upheavals among European peoples, giving the Huns a reputation in Europe as bandits and robbers, while the Chinese authors characterized them as the most acculturate of all "barbarians". [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.15, (In Russian)]

Chuban (Yueban) are those Huns who in the 2nd century CE settled in Tarbagatai. Later Chuban moved to Jeti-su. In the 5th century they were conquered by Uigurs and split into four tribes: Chuyue, Chumi, Chumuhun, Chuban. [Gumilev L.N., "History of Hun People", Moscow, 'Science', Ch.16, (In Russian)] In the literature, the Chu tribes of Late Antique period are also called by their generic appellation Middle Asian Huns. The Middle Asian Huns formed a principality in Jeti-su called Chuban (Yueban). A.N.Bernshtam correlated the Chinese "Yueban" with the tribal name Chuban and with related Chuyue, Chumi, Chumugun, all of them descendants of the Huns. The Chuyue branch, intermixing with Turkuts, formed a tribe Shato in Southern Dzungaria, west from the lake Barkul. [Gumilev L.N., "Ancient Türks", Moscow, 'Science', 1967, Ch.20 (In Russian)]

The Chuban (Yueban) Huns took advantage of Avar weakness and conquered Jeti-su. Later, some Avars returned to Jeti-su, in cooperation with the Mukrins, a Xianbei tribe occupied the Tianshan slopes in the 2nd century AD, and retained there their independence for some time as a Western Xianbei Horde. [Gumilev L.N., "Hunnu in China", Moscow, 'Science', 1974, Ch. 9, (In Russian)]

The Jeti-su was also populated by remnants of the Yuezhi tribes, the Tukhsi and Azi, whose armies had conquered Bactria centuries before. The Azes lived between Suyab and Uzket. Mahmud Kashgari, who can be named a founder of comparative linguistics science, in the 11th century listed Tukhsi, a male dynastic tribe of the Az-Tochar composition, as a group of tribes with pure Türkic language. [Yu. Zuev, "Early Türks: Sketches of history and ideology", Almaty, Daik-Press, 2002, p. 152-153, ISBN 9985-441-52-9]

In 448 Toba Dao received an embassy from the Chuban (Yueban). Negotiations, recorded in history, meant an alliance which could have had only one purpose, a war with Rouran Khaganate. If the Chubans (Yueban) would pressure Jujans from the west, the Rourans would lose any freedom to maneuver. Though no direct records exist about the war in Dzungaria, by the course of the events, there was no peace, and the Nomadic empire of Rouran began to decline. [Gumilev L.N., "Hunnu in China", Moscow, 'Science', 1974, Ch. 9, (In Russian)] Based on his reconstructions of the events of the Chuban (Yueban) history, L.N.Gumilev argued against a widespread view that the Rouran were the "Abars" (Avars) who attacked the Sabirs, starting a "Great Migration of people", because the Chuban (Yueban) state separated the Rouran Empire from the Siberian peoples, and therefore the Rouran territories did not border the Sabirs. [Gumilev L.N., "Hunnu in China", Moscow, 'Science', 1974, Ch. 9 Note 26, (In Russian)]

By the 6th century CE the Chuy Hun, Avar, and Mukrins tribes merged to form the Turgesh people. The Chuban (Yueban) state survived to the end of 480s, until its independence was destroyed by the Teleuts, who had split from the Rouran in 487. But the Teleuts' dominance was short-lived, first the Hephthalite conquered them in 495-496, then Rouran crushed them, and finally in 547, the Turkut Uyghur people conquered the Teleuts. But the Chuban (Yueban) lived on, forming four tribes - Chuyue, Chumi, Chumuhun and Chuban. These tribes became major players in the later Great Turkic Kaganate and thereafter, but at that time the Huns' descendants were already known under new tribal names. [Gumilev L.N., "Hunnu in China", Moscow, 'Science', 1974, Ch. 9, (In Russian)]

Altai Chumuhuns

An 8th century Tibetan geographer called Chumuhuns in Altai and south of it "Ibilkur", and associated them with Külüg-Külchur, they were the only one of Chuy Huns tribes that in the middle of the 8th century preserved their independence, in spite of being sandwiched between Karluks and Türgeshes. Their possessions were on the west side of Tarbagatai range. [Bacot J. "Reconnaissance en Haute Asie Seplentrionale par cinq envoyes ouigours au VIII siecle" // JA, Vol. 254, No 2,. 1956, p.147, in Gumilev L.N., "Ancient Türks", Moscow, 'Science', 1967, Ch.27 (In Russian)]

Theism, spirits, and magic

No records address Chuy Huns' religion, shamanic cures, and magic, though Chinese annals depict outward religious rites and magic. A narration about Yuebans tells about sorcerers, able to cause frost and rainstorm. During a war with Jujans, Yueban sorcerers incited a snowstorm against Jujans, who had so many frost-bitten that they had to stop their campaign and retreat. A similar legend is later told about Avar sorcerers in a war with Francs, and Naiman sorcerers against Chingis-Khan. [Gumilev L.N., "Ancient Türks", Moscow, 'Science', 1967, Ch.7 (In Russian)]

The reigning clan of western Türkic initially Manichaean Chigil (Persian "cihil "forty") tribe was Shato (Persian "Sada "Hundred"), which later founded the Chinese state Hou-Tang (Later Tang, 923-936) in Northern China, and adopted a Chinese surname Li. Türks-Shato had a predominant Dragon cult. Later Tang's glorious founder Li Keiun also came from the Dragon tribe. The annals even noted that the Shato were praying "old services following the custom of the North" at the Thunder-mountain, at the Gates of Dragon. [Yu. Zuev, "Early Türks: Sketches of history and ideology", Almaty, Daik-Press, 2002, p. 145, ISBN 9985-441-52-9]

ee also

Chigils Turks


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