#99 – Tang 17: The Battle of Talas

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The armies of the Far West Anxi Protectorate of the Tang face down a force commanded by the ascendant Abbasid Islamic Caliphate, fresh off its victorious insurgency over the Umayyad Caliphate. But in this one and only clash between Chinese and Arab might, the ramifications for both will be felt long after the blood dries on the battlefield along the Talas River.

Time Period Covered:
May- September, 751

Major Historical Figures:
Tang Dynasty – Protectorate of Western Pacification
Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (Li Longji)
Governor-General Fumeng Lingcha
Governor-General Gao Xianzhi (Go Seonji)
Bian Lingchen, Court Eunuch on Assignment to Anxi
Lieutenant Li Siye
Officer Duan Xiushi

Lesser Bolü Kingdom (Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan)
Shi Kingdom (Tashkent, Uzbekistan)
Turgesh Khannate
Karluk (Qarluq) Turks

Tibetan Empire

Abbasid Islamic Caliphate:
Governor Ziyad ibn Salih
Major Works Cited:
Bartold, Vasily (1928). Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion (Trans. T. Minorsky & C.E. Bosworth).
Chen, Sanping (2012). Multicultural China in the Early Middle Ages.
Golden, Peter B. (1990). “The Kharakhanids and early Islam” in The Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia, vol. 1 (ed. Denis Sinor).
Hoberman, Barry (Sept/Oct. 1982). “The Battle of Talas” in Aramco World, vol. 33 no. 5.
Ibn al-Athir, Ali (ca. 1231) The Complete History.
Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.
Soucek, Svak (2000). A History of Inner Asia.
Starr, S. Frederick (2004). Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland.
Szczepanski, Susan (2015). “Battle of Talas River” in About.com: http://asianhistory.about.com/od/centralasia/a/BattleofTalas.htm
Tsien Tsuen-hsuin (1985). “Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Part 1: Paper and Printing.” In Science and Civilization in China: Vol. 5.
Twitchett, Denis (ed.) (1979).“Hsuang-Tsüng: Li-Lin Fu’s Regime” in The Cambridge History of China, vol. 3.

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