(ORDO NEWS) — The indigenous people of the remote village of Liqian in northwest China, on the edge of the Gobi Desert, consider themselves special , as many of them have western features, including green eyes and blond hair.
Some experts believe this “anomaly” is because the people of Liqian are descendants of lost Roman legionaries who settled in the area.
Modern DNA testing of the inhabitants has shown that almost two-thirds of them are of Caucasian origin, a fact that strengthens the theory that the founding of Liqian may be connected to the legend of the missing army unit of the Roman general Marcus Licinius Crassus.
Lost Legionnaires of Mark Crassus
Liqian’s connection to Rome was first proposed in the 1950s by Homer Dubs, professor of Chinese history at the University of Oxford.
So, Dubs argued that in 53 BC. BC, after Crassus was defeated and beheaded by the Parthians near what is today Iran, there were rumors that 145 Romans were captured and then recruited as mercenaries.
Probably, the captured legionnaires were hired by the Huns, placing them under the banner of the commander Zhi-Chzhi, who waged war with China.
In 36 BC. e. the legionnaires went east, where they were captured by the Chinese, who so admired their atypical tactics of warfare that they saved the lives of the soldiers (at least some of them) and handed them freedom.
It is worth noting that freedom was most likely conditional; the legionnaires were supposed to train the locals, help make weapons, and defend the northwestern borders of the Han empire.
Homer Dubs took a fragment from the official history that says that the village of Liqian was founded by soldiers captured in a war between the Chinese and the Huns (probably in 36 BC), and connected it with the legend of the missing part of the army of Marcus Crassus.
The Chinese documented that in the war against the Huns a unit was captured that fought “in the form of fish scales”, and Dubs is sure that this is a reference to the Roman “tortoise”, a special formation protected by shields on all sides.
Liqian village and its legend
In Yongchang County, located near Liqian, ancient tombs were found, in one of which the remains of a man over 180 centimeters tall were found. It is known that Roman men, especially soldiers, were quite tall , so it can be assumed that the remains belong to one of them, but…
Scientists have stated that in the distant past, this area was part of the popular Silk Road trade route, and a lot of people could be buried here people of different nationalities.
Yang Gongle, a professor at Beijing Normal University, said Dubs’ theory is quite interesting and provocative, but there is not enough evidence linking the villagers to the Romans.
According to Yang’s research, the village of Liqian was founded in 104 BC. BC, which is half a century before the expected arrival of Roman soldiers.
In addition, Yang believes that the “fish scales” had nothing to do with the Roman “tortoise”, and, most likely, it was a defensive structure, which is a double wooden palisade.
Maurizio Bettini, an anthropologist at the University of Siena, also dismisses Dubs’s theory as a “fairy tale.”
“For this to be undeniable, you need to find items such as Roman money or weapons that were typical of Roman legionnaires,” Bettini said. “Without evidence of this kind, the story of the lost legionnaires is just a legend.”
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