Bryan K. Miller, "Xiongnu: The World's First Nomadic Empire" (Oxford UP, 2024)


In Xiongnu: The World’s First Nomadic Empire (Oxford UP, 2024), Bryan K. Miller weaves together archaeology and history to chart the course of the Xiongnu empire, which controlled the Eastern Eurasian steppe from ca. 200 BCE to 100 CE. Through a close analysis of both material artifacts and textual sources, Miller centers the nomadic perspective, showcasing the flexibility, resilience, and mobility of this steppe regime. 

Comprehensive and wide-reaching, Xiongnu explores the rise of the empire, details how the empire controlled nodes of wealth and far-flung power bases, and charts the slow and fractured decline of the Xiongnu empire. Throughout, Miller provides fascinating readings of burial goods, vibrant tellings of oath ceremonies, and careful interpretations of Chinese letters and histories. Xiongnu firmly brings its nomad protagonists onto center stage and into sharp focus, and this book is bound to appeal to those interested in archaeology, nomadic societies, and world history. 

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Sarah Bramao-Ramos

Sarah Bramao-Ramos is a Research Assistant Professor at the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at the University of Hong Kong. She is a cultural historian of Qing China (1644–1911), with a particular interest in Manchu studies. She can be reached at
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