Background and Name
An Lushan's mother was of Tujue ethnicity, from the Ashide clan, and served as a sorceress. His original name might have been Aluoshan or Galuoshan, which meant "war" in the Tujue language. His father died early, and his mother Lady Ashide married An Yanyan (安延偃), a Tujue military officer, a brother of the general An Bozhi (安波至). An Lushan therefore took the name of An. Early in Emperor Xuanzong's Kaiyuan era (713-741), there was a disturbance among the Tujue tribe that An Yanyan belonged to, and An Lushan fled to Tang with An Yanyan and An Yanyan's nephew An Sishun. He later settled in Ying Prefecture (營州, roughly modern Chaoyang, Liaoning).
Sources conflict about An Lushan biological father's origin and surname; for example, as to whether An Lushan's father had the surname Kang or not: he took the name of An from his stepfather An Yanyan. (The surnames Kang and An suggest that they were respectively from the Sogdian kingdoms of Kang (康國; cf. Kangju) and An (安國), around Samarkand and Bukhara.) The An are not to be confused with earlier Anxi, which had been established as a prefecture by the Chinese in 661.
On his side, Matsui Hitoshi, noting that nothing in the historical records provides hard evidence of Sogdian origin and that An Lushan was living at Yingzhou, the settlement of Khitans and Xi, suggests that "Perhaps might have been of Khitan origin." Edward H. Schafer, however, maintains that An Lushan is probably the Sinicized version of a name derived from Anxi (安息; Arsacid) and the Sogdian word roxshan, "light", related to the Sogdian female name Roxana, also borne by Alexander's Sogdian wife.
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