Genetics of Liqian People Mar 25, 2016 1:15:55 GMT
Post by Admin on Mar 25, 2016 1:15:55 GMT
For years the residents of the remote north western Chinese village of Liqian have believed they were special. Many of the villagers have Western characteristics including green eyes and blonde hair leading some experts to suggest that they may be the descendants of a lost Roman legion that settled in the area. Now DNA testing of the villagers has shown that almost two thirds of them are of Caucasian origin.
In 53BC, after Crassus was defeated by the Parthians and beheaded near what is now Iran, stories persisted that 145 Romans were captured and wandered the region for years. The town's link with Rome was first suggested by a professor of Chinese history at Oxford in the 1950s.
Oxford professor Homer Dubs believes the group travelled east, were captured by the Chinese and founded Liqian in 36BC. Prof Dubs theorised that they made their way as a mercenary troop eastwards, which was how a troop 'with a fish-scale formation' came to be captured by the Chinese 17 years later.
It has been suggested that some made their way east to today's Uzbekistan and later enlisted with the Hun chieftain Jzh Jzh against the Chinese Han Dynasty. He said the 'fish-scale formation' was a reference to the Roman 'tortoise', a phalanx protected by shields on all sides and from above.
Yang Gongle, professor with Beijing Normal University, said there has not been sufficient proof to link the villagers with the ancient Romans. According to Yang's research, Liqian County was established in 104 BC, half a century earlier than the proposed arrival of the Roman soldiers. And he noted that the fish-scale formation had nothing to do with Roman legion's famous 'testudo' strategy.