Laoshang Chanyu

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Laoshang Chanyu (Chinese: 老上單于, r. 174–160 BCE), whose proper name was Jiyu (Chinese: 稽粥), was a Chanyu of the Xiongnu, the successor to Modu Chanyu (冒頓單于). During his reign the expansion of Xiongnu power expanded; the Yuezhi were defeated, and the Xiongnu thus gained control of the Hexi region.

In 177 or 176 BCE, following direction from his father Modu (Mao-tun), Lao-sheng was "to put an end to the danger of the Yueh-chih, make their king's skull into a drinking cup, chasing them from Kansu, and force them emigrate westward."[1]

Laoshang in Chinese means "old and elevated' and is probably a translation from a Xiongnu title, but might represent an attempt to phonetically represent a Xiongnu word.[2]

In 162 BCE, under Jizhu Chanyu (also known as 'Laoshang' – reigned 174-158 BCE), the Xiongnu defeated the Yuezhi for the fourth time.[3][4] After this defeat, the majority of the Yuezhi (referred to by the Chinese as the Da Yuezhi) fled to the northwest and settled in the region of the Ili River, while a smaller group (referred to by the Chinese as the Xiao Yuezhi = "Lesser" or "Smaller" Yuezhi) fled into the southern mountains and settled amongst some of the Qiang tribes there.

The Shiji chap. 110 says:

"Shortly after this, Maodun died and his son Jizhu was set up with the title of Old Shanyu. When Jizhu became Shanyu [in 174 BCE], Emperor Wen sent a princess of the imperial family to be his consort, dispatching a eunuch from Yan named Zhonghang Yue to accompany her as her tutor.[5]


  1. ^ Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. p. 27. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9. 
  2. ^ Hulsewé (1979), p. 120, n. 284.
  3. ^ Benjamin (2007), pp. 71–74.
  4. ^ Hill (2009), p. 578.
  5. ^ Watson (1993), p. 142.


  • Benjamin, Craig G. R. (2007) The Yuezhi: Origin, Migration and the Conquest of Northern Bactria. Silk Road Studies XIV. Brepols, Belgium. ISBN 978-2-503-52429-0.
  • Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. John E. Hill. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  • Hulsewé, A. F. P. (1979). China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. Introduction by M. A. N. Loewe. ISBN 90-04-05884-2. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
  • Watson, Burton. (1993). Records of the Grand Historian of China. Han Dynasty II. (Revised Edition). New York, Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-08167-7.
  • Yap, Joseph P. (2009). Wars With The Xiongnu, A Translation From Zizhi tongjian", pp. 107–121. AuthorHouse (2009) ISBN 978-1-4490-0604-4
Preceded by
Modu Chanyu
Laoshang Chanyu of the Xiongnu Empire
174–160 BCE
Succeeded by
Gunchen Chanyu