This paper investigates the relationship between identities and political allegiances on premodern frontiers. The first half of the paper is a case study of interactions between Turks and Chinese elites and commoners during the Sui-Tang dynastic transition. The second half compares Roman, mid-imperial Chinese, and early Islamic frontiers. The paper concludes that people in frontier zones tended to forge political ties based on self-interest and personal connections. Solidarities based on ethnic or religious allegiance were rare because premodern state power, transportation, and communications could not spread these ideals effectively.
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
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