Ancient Việt 09: Bách Việt Barbarians

Châu Long2

(Continued from Ancient Việt 8: Lý Giang Nam)

Although people of Bách Việt had knowledge of agriculture and the technology of shipbuilding, Chinese writers depicted the Việt as barbarians who had tattoos, lived in primitive conditions, and lacked such technology as bows, arrows, horses and chariots. [1]



Barbarians with tats who lived in caves and mud huts, with no weapons or chariots, but who possessed advanced levels of agricultural knowledge, as well as the necessary technology to build ocean-worthy trans-pacific ships.

I also must mention the smelting and mining technology needed to create those gorgeous calendric bronze drums…don’t forget the bronze drums). **

**As an aside, during one of my recent trips back to my homeland, I returned with a full-sized, museum-quality, authentic bronze replica of the Ngọc Lũ Drum.  It is huge and heavy, and was a difficult object to lug back to the USA, but I can now proudly say that I actually own one of these ancient calendars. 

But first, let’s define what a barbarian is, shall we?  After all, there is no way to defend a term if we do not know what that terminology means.


barbarian  [bahr-bair-ee-uh n]

1.  a person in a savage, primitive state; uncivilized person.
2.  a person without culture, refinement, or education; philistine.
3.  (loosely) a foreigner.
4.  a non-Greek.  a person living outside, especially north of, the Roman Empire.  a person not living in a Christian country or within a Christian civilization.*
5.  (among Italians during the Renaissance) a person of non-Italian origin.*
6.  uncivilized; crude; savage.
7.  foreign; alien.
*Irrelevant definitions have been crossed off.

In the picture below, we have a bonafide barbarian.  


What an amazing specimen of male barbarism!

Notice his relative lack of clothing.  Notice his unkempt hair, and the tattoo on his forehead.  Since he is not on a horse or a chariot, we can assume he is not civilized enough to have ever been exposed to either.  He is holding a sword, so we know he has the necessary technology for swords, but no bows or arrows.  This means he has no access to these technologies.

Of course, you can say:  But Taobabe, that’s just a random picture of an anime guy who’s been stylized.  You can’t just use this picture and make him represent the entire Bách Việt civilization!

My answer would be:  Why not?  I’m refuting unsubstantiated, ancient bull crap anyway, so whatever I pull out of my bung hole will work just as well, for rebuttal evidence.

And don’t go thinking that if you repeat bull crap over and over, they eventually become truths.  Let me tell you, bull crap is still bull crap, it doesn’t matter how old it gets.  The only thing that happens is it will either disintegrate into dust and blow away, or crystalize into fossils that still look like bull crap.

But I am deviating from direct evidence, because let’s face it.  The image of the guy above isn’t really what a barbarian looks like.  Barbarians look more like these guys.


And I’m not talking about the guy being beheaded.  The barbarians are the ones doing the pillaging and raping and killing.

But this is a Taoist website after all.  I can’t fight shit with shit.  I need to present clear evidence, in as concise a manner as possible.  This is what I’m all about, after all–presenting clear evidence with as much back-up proof as I have time to dig up.

Let’s start with shipbuilding, since that has been archaeologically uncovered.


We need to determine the depth and breadth of knowledge, and we need to know how long it’s been happening.  

I’m going to plow through the ancient bull crap and examine some hard evidence in order to grasp the magnitude of the scope of shipbuilding technology.

Archaeological evidence indicates that groups of humans arrived on Borneo at least 120,000 years ago, probably by sea from the Asian mainland during an ice age period when the sea was lower and distances between islands shorter. [2]

While I do not claim that boats were being built back 120,000 years ago, evidence of boat building has been found, going back as far as 50,000 years ago from mainland Asia.  That’s far enough for me to build this case up.

To build something as advanced as an ocean-worthy vessel, there are a few things that these Bách Việt Barbarians needed to know.


Since I am not a shipbuilder, I can only take an educated guess about what is actually needed in order for a ship to be built, but right off the bat, a few obvious basics needed to be satisfied in order to allow the barbarians to build ships.

The first of these is, quite naturally, wood.

(Continue to Ancient Việt 10: Bách Việt Barbarian Woodworkers)

[1]  Bách Việt

[2]  Ancient and Modern Ships – Part I. Wooden Sailing-Ships


Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: