The migrations of the Yuezhi through Central Asia, from around 176 BCE to 30 CE
|Some 100,000 to 200,000 horse archers, according to the Shiji, Chapter 123. The Hanshu Chapter 96A records: 100,000 households, 400,000 people with 100,000 able to bear arms.|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
The Yuezhi or Rouzhi (Chinese: 月氏; pinyin: Yuèzhī; Wade–Giles: Yüeh4-chih1) were an ancient people first reported in Chinese histories as nomadic pastoralists living in an arid grassland area in the western part of the modern Chinese province of Gansu, before the 2nd century BCE.
After a major defeat by the Xiongnu in the 2nd century BCE, the Yuezhi split into groups that emigrated in different directions. The Lesser Yuezhi (Xiǎo Yuèzhī 小月氏) reportedly moved south, towards the Tibetan Plateau. The Greater Yuezhi (Dà Yuèzhī 大月氏) migrated northwest into the Ili Valley (on the modern borders of China and Kazakhstan), where they reportedly displaced elements of the Sakas (Scythians). They were driven from the Ili Valley by the Wusun and migrated southward to Sogdia and, later, Bactria, where they displaced the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. The Greater Yuezhi were consequently often identified with the Tókharioi (Greek Τοχάριοι; Sanskrit Tukhāra) and Asii or Asioi mentioned in classical European sources.
During the 1st century BCE, one of the five major Yuezhi tribes in Bactria, the Kushanas (Chinese: 貴霜; pinyin: Guishuang), began to subsume the other tribes and neighbouring peoples. The subsequent Kushan Empire, at its peak in the 3rd century CE, stretched from Turfan in the Tarim Basin, in the north to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain of India in the south. The Kushanas played an important role in the development of trade on the Silk Road and the introduction of Buddhism to China.
- 1 Pre-Han Chinese mentions
- 2 Sima Qian and the Book of Han
- 3 Kushana
- 4 Proposed links to other groups
- 5 Later references to the Yuezhi in East Asia
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Pre-Han Chinese mentions
Three pre-Han texts mention people who appear to be the Yuezhi, but under slightly different names.
The Guanzi was compiled around 26 BCE, and while some of the source materials are older, most scholars do not accept its attribution to Guan Zhong, an official of the State of Qi in the 7th century BCE. In the Guanzi (73, 78, 80 and 81), nomadic pastoralists called the Yúzhī 禺氏 (Old Chinese: *ŋʷjo-kje) or Niúzhī 牛氏 (OC: *ŋʷjə-kje) are described as supplying jade to the Chinese. The supply of Tarim Basin jade from ancient times is well documented archaeologically. The hundreds of jade pieces found in the tomb of Fuhao from the late Shang dynasty all originated from Khotan, on the southern rim of the Tarim Basin. According to the Guanzi, the Yuezhi, unlike the neighbouring Xiongnu, did not engage in conflict with nearby Chinese states.
Similarly, the Tale of King Mu, Son of Heaven (early 4th century BCE) mentions the Yúzhī 禺知 (OC: *ŋʷjo-kje). The Yi Zhou Shu mentions the Yúzhī 禺氏 (OC: *ŋʷjo-kje) and Yuèdī 月氐 (OC: *ŋʷjat-tij), though this may be a scribal error for Yuèzhī 月氏.
Sima Qian also described how the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE) had dealt with a leader named Luo of a people called Wūzhī 烏氏 (OC: *ʔa-kje), in the trade of both jade and crucial military horses for Chinese silk, which he sold on to neighbouring groups. Thus the Yuezhi began the Silk Road trade, acting as intermediaries between China and Central Asia.
Sima Qian and the Book of Han
The earliest clear reference to the Yuezhi is found in chapter 123 of the Records of the Great Historian by Sima Qian, saying that, in the 2nd century BCE, "the Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or Heavenly Mountains and Dunhuang." Essentially the same text appears in chapter 61 of the Book of Han, though Sima Qian has added occasional words and phrases to clarify the meaning. The area between the Qilian Mountains and Dunhuang lies in the western part of the modern Chinese province of Gansu, but no archaeological remains of the Yuezhi have yet been found in this area. Some scholars have argued that "Dunhuang" should be Dunhong, a mountain in the Tian Shan, and have placed the original homeland of the Yuezhi 1,000 km further west (in the northern part of modern Xinjiang).
Yuezhi and Xiongnu
The Great Yuezhi was a nomadic horde. They moved about following their cattle, and had the same customs as those of the Xiongnu. As their soldiers numbered more than hundred thousand, they were strong and despised the Xiongnu. In the past, they lived in the region between Dunhuang and Qilian.— Book of Han, 61
The Yuezhi were so powerful that the Xiongnu monarch Touman even sent his eldest son Modu as a hostage to the Yuezhi. The Yuezhi often attacked their neighbour the Wusun to acquire slaves and pasture lands. Wusun originally lived together with the Yuezhi in the region between Dunhuang and Qilian Mountain. The Yuezhi attacked the Wusuns, killed their monarch Nandoumi and took his territory. The son of Nandoumi, Kunmo fled to the Xiongnu and was brought up by the Xiongnu monarch.
Gradually the Xiongnu grew stronger and war broke out between them and the Yuezhi. There were at least four wars between the Yuezhi and Xiongnu according to the Chinese accounts. The first war broke out during the reign of the Xiongnu monarch Touman (who died in 209 B.C) who suddenly attacked the Yuezhi. The Yuezhi wanted to kill Modu, the son of the Xiongnu king Touman kept as a hostage to them, but Modu stole a good horse from them and managed to escape to his country. He subsequently killed his father and became ruler of the Xiongnu. It appears that the Xiongnu did not defeat the Yuezhi in this first war. The second war took place in the 7th year of Modu era (203 B.C.). From this war, a large area of the territory originally belonging to the Yuezhi was seized by the Xiongnu and the hegemony of the Yuezhi started to shake. The third war probably was at 176 BCE (or shortly earlier) and the Yuezhi were badly defeated.
Shortly before 176 BCE, led by one of Modu's tribal chiefs, the Xiongnu invaded Yuezhi territory in the Gansu region and achieved a crushing victory. Modu boasted in a letter (174 BCE) to the Han emperor that due to "the excellence of his fighting men, and the strength of his horses, he has succeeded in wiping out the Yuezhi, slaughtering or forcing to submission every number of the tribe." The son of Modu, Laoshang Chanyu (ruled 174–166 BCE), subsequently killed the king of the Yuezhi and, in accordance with nomadic traditions, "made a drinking cup out of his skull." (Shiji 123.)
Exodus of the Great Yuezhi
After this disaster, the Yuezhi split into two groups. The Lesser or Little Yuezhi (Xiao Yuezhi) moved to the southern mountains, on the edge of the Tibetan plateau.
The so-called Great or Greater Yuezhi (Da Yuezhi) began migrating north-west circa 165 BCE, first settling in the Ili valley, immediately north of the Tian Shan mountains, where they defeated the Sai (Scythians): "The Yuezhi attacked the king of the Sai who moved a considerable distance to the south and the Yuezhi then occupied his lands" (Book of Han 61 4B). This was "the first historically recorded movement of peoples originating in the high plateaus of Asia."
In 132 BCE the Wusun, in alliance with the Xiongnu and out of revenge from an earlier conflict, again managed to dislodge the Yuezhi, forcing them to move south-west. The Yuezhi passed through the neighbouring urban civilization of Dayuan (in Ferghana) and settled on the northern bank of the Oxus, in the region of Transoxiana (modern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), just north of the Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. The Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus was apparently burnt to the ground by the Yuezhi around 145 BCE.[contradictory]
The Yuezhi were visited in Transoxiana by a Chinese mission, led by Zhang Qian in 126 BCE, which sought an offensive alliance with the Yuezhi against the Xiongnu. Zhang Qian, who spent a year in Transoxiana and Bactria, wrote a detailed account in the Shiji, which gives considerable insight into the situation in Central Asia at the time. The request for an alliance was denied by the son of the slain Yuezhi king, who preferred to maintain peace in Transoxiana rather than seek revenge.
Zhang Qian also reported:
the Great Yuezhi live 2,000 or 3,000 li [832–1,247 kilometers] west of Dayuan, north of the Gui [Oxus ] river. They are bordered on the south by Daxia [Bactria], on the west by Anxi [Parthia], and on the north by Kangju [beyond the middle Jaxartes/Syr Darya]. They are a nation of nomads, moving from place to place with their herds, and their customs are like those of the Xiongnu. They have some 100,000 or 200,000 archer warriors.— Shiji, 123
In a sweeping analysis of the physical types and cultures of Central Asia, Zhang Qian reports:
Although the states from Dayuan west to Anxi (Parthia), speak rather different languages, their customs are generally similar and their languages mutually intelligible. The men have deep-set eyes and profuse beards and whiskers. They are skilful at commerce and will haggle over a fraction of a cent. Women are held in great respect, and the men make decisions on the advice of their women.— Shiji, 123
Daxia is located over 2,000 li southwest of Dayuan, south of the Gui river. Its people cultivate the land and have cities and houses. Their customs are like those of Ta-Yuan. It has no great ruler but only a number of petty chiefs ruling the various cities. The people are poor in the use of arms and afraid of battle, but they are clever at commerce. After the Great Yuezhi moved west and attacked the lands, the entire country came under their sway. The population of the country is large, numbering some 1,000,000 or more persons. The capital is called the city of Lanshi [most likely Bactra/Balkh] and has a market where all sorts of goods are bought and sold.— Shiji, 123
Commercial relations with China also flourished, as many Chinese missions were sent throughout the 1st century BCE:
The largest of these embassies to foreign states numbered several hundred persons, while even the smaller parties included over 100 members ... In the course of one year anywhere from five to six to over ten parties would be sent out.— Shiji, 123
The central Asian people who called themselves Kushana, who were among the conquerors of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom during the 2nd century BCE, are widely believed to have originated as a dynastic clan or tribe of the Yuezhi. Because some inhabitants of Bactria became known as Tukhāra (Sanskrit) or Tókharoi (Τοχάριοι; Greek), these names later became associated with the Yuezhi. The Kushana were an Europoid people, as indicated by the portraits of their kings on the coins they struck in Bactria (2nd–1st century BCE), portraits from statues in Khalchayan, Bactria in the 1st century BCE, and especially the coins which they struck in India as Kushans (1st–3rd century CE). They spoke Bactrian, an Eastern Iranian language.
Ptolemy (writing in the 2nd century CE) referred to the Ιατιοι Iatioi (or Jatioi) and ταχαροι Takharoi (or Tachorai) as being on the Jaxartes (modern Syr Darya). The Roman historians Pompeius Trogus (1st century BCE) and Justin (2nd century CE) record that the Parthian king Artabanus II was mortally wounded in a war against the Tokhari in 124 BCE.
Some time after 124 BCE, possibly following further incursions from the north – and apparently also following a defeat by the Parthian king Mithridates II, successor to Artabanus – the Yuezhi moved south to Bactria. (Two centuries earlier, Bactria had been conquered by the Greeks under Alexander the Great and since settled by the Hellenistic civilization of the Seleucids and the Greco-Bactrians.) This event is recorded in classical Greek sources, when Strabo – who tended to refer to all central Asian tribes as "Scythians" – explained that these tribes had caused the destruction of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom in the second half of the 2nd century BCE.
Most of the Scythians, beginning from the Caspian Sea, are called Dahae ... and those situated more towards the east Massagetae and Sacae; the rest have the common appellation of Scythians, but each separate tribe has its peculiar name. All, or the greatest part of them, are nomads. The best known tribes are those who deprived the Greeks of Bactriana: the Asii, Pasiani, Tochari, and Sacarauli, who came from the country on the other side of the Jaxartes [Syr Darya], opposite the Sacae and Sogdiani.
The Yuezhi appear to have quickly obtained the submission of the Greco-Bactrians. At the time, the Yuezhi were organized into five major tribes, each led by a yabgu, or tribal chief. These tribes were known to the Chinese as:
- Xiūmì (休密) in Western Wakhān and Zibak;
- Guishuang (貴霜) in Badakhshan and adjoining territories north of the Oxus;
- Shuangmi (雙靡) in the region of Shughnan;
- Xidun (肸頓) in the region of Balkh, and;
- Dūmì (都密) in the region of Termez.
After they settled in Bactria, the Yuezhi became Hellenized to some degree – as shown by their adoption of the Greek alphabet and by some remaining coins, minted in the style of the Greco-Bactrian kings, with the text in Greek. The area of Bactria they settled came to be known as Tokharistan and the Yuezhi were known as Tókharoi by the Greeks.
The Book of the Later Han also records the visit of Yuezhi envoys to the Chinese capital in 2 BCE, who gave oral teachings on Buddhist sutras to a student, suggesting that some Yuezhi already followed the Buddhist faith during the 1st century BCE (Baldev Kumar (1973)).
A later Chinese annotation in Zhang Shoujie's Shiji (quoting Wan Zhen 萬震 in Nanzhouzhi 南州志 ["Strange Things from the Southern Region"], a now-lost 3rd-century text from the Wu kingdom), describes the Kushans as living in the same genral area north of India, in cities of Greco-Roman style, and with sophisticated handicraft. The quotes are dubious, as Wan Zhen probably never visited the Yuezhi kingdom through the Silk Road, though he might have gathered his information from the trading ports in the coastal south. The Chinese never adopted the term Guishuang and continued to call them Yuezhi:
The Great Yuezhi are located about seven thousand li [2,910 km] north of India. Their land is at a high altitude; the climate is dry; the region is remote. The king of the state calls himself "son of heaven". There are so many riding horses in that country that the number often reaches several hundred thousand. City layouts and palaces are quite similar to those of Daqin [the Roman Empire]. The skin of the people there is reddish white. People are skilful at horse archery. Local products, rarities, treasures, clothing, and upholstery are very good, and even India cannot compare with it.— Wan Zhen (3rd century CE), 
The area of the Hindu Kush (Paropamisadae) was ruled by the western Indo-Greek king until the reign of Hermaeus (reigned c. 90 BCE–70 BCE). After that date, no Indo-Greek kings are known in the area. According to Bopearachchi, no trace of Indo-Scythian occupation (nor coins of major Indo-Scythian rulers such as Maues or Azes I) have been found in the Paropamisade and western Gandhara. The Hindu Kush may have been subsumed by the Yuezhi,[original research?] who by then had had dominated Greco-Bactria for almost two centuries.
As they had done in Bactria with their copying of Greco-Bactrian coinage, the Yuezhi copied the coinage of Hermeaus on a vast scale, up to around 40 CE, when the design blends into the coinage of the Kushan king Kujula Kadphises. Such coins provide the earliest names of presumed Yuezhi princes, Sapadbizes (probably a yabgu's prince of Yuezhi confederation[original research?]) and Agesiles, both around 20 BCE.
By the end of the 1st century BCE, one of the five tribes of the Yuezhi, the Guishuang (貴霜, origin of name Kushan adopted in the West), managed to take control of the Yuezhi confederation. From that point, the Yuezhi extended their control over the northwestern area of the Indian subcontinent, founding the Kushan Empire, which was to rule the region for several centuries. The Yuezhi came to be known as Kushan among Western civilizations; however, the Chinese kept calling them Yuezhi throughout their historical records over a period of several centuries.
The Yuezhi/Kushans expanded to the east during the 1st century CE to found the Kushan Empire. The first Kushan emperor, Kujula Kadphises, ostensibly associated himself with King Hermaeus on his coins, suggesting that he may have been one of the king's descendants by alliance, or at least wanted to claim his legacy.
The unification of the Yuezhi tribes and the rise of the Kushan are documented in the Chinese Historical chronicle, the Hou Hanshu:
- "More than a hundred years later, the xihou (Ch:翖侯, "Allied Prince") of Guishuang (Badakhshan and the adjoining territories north of the Oxus), named Qiujiu Que (Ch: 丘就卻, Kujula Kadphises) attacked and exterminated the four other xihou ("Allied Princes"). He set himself up as king of a kingdom called Guishuang (Kushan). He invaded Anxi (Parthia) and took the Gaofu (Ch:高附, Kabul) region. He also defeated the whole of the kingdoms of Puda (Ch: 濮達) and Jibin (Ch: 罽賓, Kapiśa-Gandhāra). Qiujiu Que (Kujula Kadphises) was more than eighty years old when he died.
- "His son, Yan Gaozhen (Ch:閻高珍) (Vima Takto), became king in his place. He returned and defeated Tianzhu (Northwestern India) and installed a General to supervise and lead it. The Yuezhi then became extremely rich. All the kingdoms call [their king] the Guishuang (Kushan) king, but the Han call them by their original name, Da Yuezhi." (Hou Hanshu, trans. John Hill,).
The Yuezhi/Kushan integrated Buddhism into a pantheon of many deities and became great promoters of Mahayana Buddhism, and their interactions with Greek civilization helped the Gandharan culture and Greco-Buddhism flourish.
During the 1st and 2nd centuries, the Kushan Empire expanded militarily to the north and occupied parts of the Tarim Basin, their original grounds, putting them at the center of the lucrative Central Asian commerce with the Roman Empire. When the Han Dynasty desired to advance north, Emperor Wu sent the explorer Zhang Qian to see the kingdoms to the west and to ally with the Yuezhi people, in order to fight the Xiongnu tribe. The Yuezhi continued to collaborate militarily with the Chinese against nomadic incursion, particularly with the Chinese general Ban Chao against the Sogdians in 84 CE when the latter were trying to support a revolt by the king of Kashgar. Around 85 CE, they also assisted the Chinese general in an attack on Turpan, east of the Tarim Basin.
In recognition of their support to the Chinese, the Kushans requested, but were denied, a Han princess, even after they had sent presents to the Chinese court. In retaliation, they marched on Ban Chao in 86 CE with a force of 70,000 but, exhausted by the expedition, were finally defeated by the smaller Chinese force. The Kushans retreated and paid tribute to the Chinese Empire during the reign of the Chinese emperor Han He (89–106).
About 120 CE, Kushan troops installed Chenpan—a prince who had been sent as a hostage to them and had become a favorite of the Kushan Emperor—on the throne of Kashgar, thus expanding their power and influence in the Tarim Basin, and introduced the Brahmi script, the Indian Prakrit language for administration, and Greco-Buddhist art, which developed into Serindian art.
Benefiting from this territorial expansion, the Yuezhi/Kushans were among the first to introduce Buddhism to northern and northeastern Asia, by direct missionary efforts and the translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. Major Yuezhi missionaries and translators included Lokaksema (born c. 147 CE) and Dharmaraksa (c. 233 – c. 311), both of whom were influential translators of the Mahayana sutras into Chinese. They who went to China and established translation bureaus, thereby being at the center of the Silk Road transmission of Buddhism.
The Chinese kept referring to the Kushans as Da Yuezhi throughout the centuries. In the Sanguozhi (三國志, chap. 3), it is recorded that in 229 CE, "The king of the Da Yuezhi, Bodiao 波調 (Vasudeva I), sent his envoy to present tribute, and His Majesty (Emperor Cao Rui) granted him the title of King of the Da Yuezhi Intimate with the Wei (魏) (Ch: 親魏大月氏王, Qīn Wèi Dà Yuèzhī Wáng)."
The Sasanian Empire extended their dominion into Bactria during the reign of Ardashir I around 230 CE. The Sasanians also occupied neighboring Sogdia by 260 CE and made it into a satrapy. Over the course of the 3rd century AD, the Kushan realm was divided and conquered by the rival Sasanian Empire of Persia, the Gupta Empire of India, and the Hephthalite Empire.
The relationship between the Yuezhi and other Central Asian peoples is unclear. Based on claimed similarities of names, different scholars have linked them to the Massagetae, Iatioi, Goths, Getae, Guti, Gushi, Kucheans and other groups, but none of these identifications is widely accepted. Attempts of some scholars to link Yuezhi with the Massagetae of of the ancient western sources are rejected by other scholars. There has been little scholarly support for the theory developed by W. B. Henning connecting the name of the Yuezhi with the Guti people from the Zagros Mountains in Iran/Iraq who supposedly left their homeland about 2000 BC heading to the Steppes of the heart of Asia, and eventually to the Gansu in China. The only evidence presented by Henning on the basis of similar ceramics is considered to be unconvincing. More convincing argument was made by H. W. Bailey who reconstructed the name of the Yuezhi in 9-10 century Khotan-Saka texts as Gara people. According to Bailey the forms of the name tu-γαρα or Great Gara are many, some of them are Θογαρα (Greek) but also thog-gar/ bho-gar in Tibetian. Mallory and Mair suggest that the Yuezhi and Wusun were among the nomadic peoples, at least some of whom spoke Iranian languages, who moved into northern Xinjiang from the Central Asian steppe in the 2nd millennium BCE.
When manuscripts dating from the 6th to 8th centuries CE written in two hitherto-unknown languages were discovered in the northern Tarim Basin, the early 20th-century linguist Friedrich W. K. Müller assumed that the authors were Tókharoi and referred to the newly discovered languages as "Tocharian". This became the common name for both the languages of the Tarim manuscripts and the people who produced them. Most historians now reject the identification of the Tocharians of the Tarim with the Tókharoi of Bactria, who are not known to have spoken any languages other than Bactrian. Other scholars suggest that the Kushanas may previously have spoken Tocharian before shiting to Bactrian on their arrival in Bactria, an example of an invading or colonising elite adopting a local language. However, while Tocharian contains some loanwords from Bactrian, there are no traces of Tocharian in Bactrian.
Later references to the Yuezhi in East Asia
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Elements of the Lesser Yuezhi may have been the basis of the Jie people, who established the Later Zhao state under Shi Le. However, other theories link the Jie to the Xiongnu, Kangju, Tocharians or Greater Yuezhi. The Jie were mostly massacred by King Ran Min of Ran Wei (modern Hebei), during the Wei–Jie war, of the mid-4th century.
Some of the Lesser Yuezhi (Xiao Yuezhi) are said to have founded the city of Cumuḍa (also known as Cimuda, Cunuda; Chinese Zhongyun, Tchong-yun; Uyghur Čungul, Xungul), later known as Kumul and Hami (哈密; pinyin Hāmì), near Lop Nur, in the eastern Tarim basin.
In Tibet, the Lesser Yuezhi constituted the Gar or Mgar – a clan name associated with blacksmiths. The Gar became influential during the period of the Tibetan Empire – until the end of the 7th century, when 2,000 of them were massacred by the Tibetan emperor Tridu Songtsän.
A Chinese monk named Gao Juhui, who traveled to the Tarim Basin in the 10th century, stated that the "people named as Zhongyun (or Čungul)" were descendants of the Xiao Yuezhi" and that the king of Zhongyun still resided in "the Hulu desert" near Lop Nur.
- Watson 1993, p. 234.
- Hulsewé, A.F.P. and Loewe, M.A.N. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage: 125 B.C.-A.D. 23: An Annotated Translation of Chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. Leiden. E. J. Birll. 1979. ISBN 90-04-05884-2, pp. 119–120.
- Hansen, Valerie (2012). The Silk Road: A New History. Oxford University Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-19-993921-3.
- André Wink, Al-Hind, the Making of the Indo-Islamic World: The Slavic Kings and the Islamic conquest, 11th–13th centuries, (Oxford University Press, 1997), p. 57
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- Liu 2001a, p. 265.
- Benjamin 2007, p. 32.
- Liu 2010, pp. 3–4.
- Liu 2001a, p. 273.
- Loewe, Michael A.N. (1979). "Introduction". In Hulsewé, Anthony François Paulus. 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. Brill. pp. 1–70. ISBN 978-90-04-05884-2. pp. 23–24.
- Mallory & Mair 2000, pp. 283–284.
- Liu 2001a, pp. 267–268.
- Mallory & Mair 2000, p. 94.
- Benjamin, Craig (October 2003). "The Yuezhi Migration and Sogdia". Transoxiana Webfestschrift. Transoxiana. 1 (Ēran ud Anērān). Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Beckwith 2009, pp. 380–383.
- Chavannes (1907) "Les pays d'occident d'après le Heou Han chou". T'oung pao, ser.2:8, p. 189, n. 1
- Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. pp. 27–28. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.
- Bernard 1994, p. 100.
- Silk Road, North China, C. Michael Hogan, The Megalithic Portal, A. Burnham, ed.
- Watson 1993, pp. 233–236.
- Watson 1993, p. 245.
- Watson 1993, p. 235.
- "Greek Art in Central Asia, Afghanistan, and Northwest India", Encyclopaedia Iranica, plate VIII
- Millward, James A. (2007). Eurasian Crossroads: A History of Xinjiang. Columbia University Press, New York. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-231-13924-3.
- Runion, Meredith L. (2007). The history of Afghanistan. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-313-33798-7.
The Yuezhi people conquered Bactria in the second century BCE, and divided the country into five chiefdoms, one of which would become the Kushan Empire. Recognizing the importance of unification, these five tribes combined under the one dominate Kushan tribe, and the primary rulers descended from the Yuezhi.
- Liu, Xinrui (2001). Adas, Michael, ed. Agricultural and pastoral societies in ancient and classical history. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-1-56639-832-9.
-  《东黑沟——月氏与匈奴人的古家园》
-  月氏？还是匈奴？ – 新疆天山网
-  学术通讯
- Krause, Todd B.; Slocum, Jonathan. "Tocharian Online: Series Introduction]". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
- Jhutti, Sundeep S. (2003). "The Getes" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. 127: 15–17.
- Grousset, Rene (1970). The Empire of the Steppes. Rutgers University Press. p. 31. ISBN 0-8135-1304-9.
This would seem to prove that the Yueh-chih of Chinese history – if they correspond, as supposed, to the Tokharoi of Greek history – were from that time established in Bactria, a country of which they later made a 'Tokharistan'.
- Strabo, 11-8-1.
- Hill (2004), pp. 29, 318–350
- Yu Taishan (2nd Edition 2003). A Comprehensive History of Western Regions. Zhengzhou: Zhongzhou Guji Press. ISBN 7-5348-1266-6
- Notes to Section 13, The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu, trans. John Hill.
- Runion, Meredith L. (2007). The history of Afghanistan. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-313-33798-7.
The Yuezhi people conquered Bactria in the second century BCE and divided the country into five chiefdoms, one of which would become the Kushan Empire. Recognizing the importance of unification, these five tribes combined under the one dominate Kushan tribe, and the primary rulers descended from the Yuezhi.
- Liu 2001b, p. 156.
- Beckwith 2009, pp. 84–85.
- Hill 2009, pp. 28–29.
- 後百餘歲，貴霜翕候丘就卻攻滅四翕候，自立為王，國號貴霜王。侵安息，取高附地。又滅濮達、罽賓，悉有其國。丘就卻年八十餘死，子閻膏珍代為王。復滅天竺，置將一人監領之。月氏自此之後，最為富盛，諸國稱之皆曰貴霜王。漢本其故號，言大月氏云。Hanshu, 96
- Hill 2009, pp. 14, 43.
- Rong, Xinjiang (2004). Translated by Zhou, Xiuqin. "Land route or sea route? Commentary on the study of the paths of transmission and areas in which Buddhism was disseminated during the Han period" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. 144: 26–27.
- Mark J. Dresden (1981), "Introductory Note," in Guitty Azarpay, Sogdian Painting: the Pictorial Epic in Oriental Art, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, p. 5, ISBN 0-520-03765-0.
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He equates the Tokharians with the Yuezhi, and the Wusun with the Asvins, as if these are established facts, and refers to his arguments in appendix B. But these identifications remain controversial, rather than established, for most scholars.
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- "Section 13 – The Kingdom of the Da Yuezhi", The Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu, trans. John Hill
- Notes to Section 13 – Linguistic analysis of the connection between Yuezhi and Kushan
- Mongolia: Xiongnu and Yuezhi – Overview of Xiongnu history and their wars with the Yuezhi
- "The Yuezhi Migration and Sogdia", by Craig Benjamin.
-  Kasim Abdullaev on Yuezhi migrations in Central Asia
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