Each person knew to which clan-tribe he belonged and where the places of his native nomads were located, he was sure: if misfortune happened, sickness or old age came, relatives would not leave the unfortunate one, they would always find food and shelter for him.
The harsh life required rallying under the leadership of the most experienced people who enjoyed unquestioning authority - the elders. For example, they determined where this or that family would graze their cattle. Only according to the ideas of the uninitiated, the nomads randomly wander after the herds. Their routes and sections are strictly determined by nature and elders: in spring - to the mountains, to summer pastures, where there is an abundance of alpine grasses and clear water of lakes and rivers originating on snowy peaks; in winter - in lowlands protected from wind and snow drifts, where grass dried up on the vine is preserved until spring - pasture for livestock. And so from year to year, from century to century.
In the V-IV centuries. BC. Central Asia was dominated by two tribal unions - the Huns and the Dunhu. K Sh in. BC. The Huns became sovereign masters of the steppes, mountains and river valleys. Huge herds of cows, sheep, goats, herds of swift-footed horses were the main wealth of the steppe nomads. Cattle provided meat, milk, butter, skins, leather, wool for fabrics, felt, that is, everything necessary for life - food, clothes, shoes, materials for dwellings. On wooden carts pulled by bulls, the Huns moved freely behind the herds. They knew how to make leather, bone and earthenware, process metals, make tools and weapons, as well as gold and silver jewelry. They even grew millet and baked bread out of it, though not enough. There were not enough nomads and fabrics. However, they bartered both things or took them away from their neighbors.
In peacetime, the Hun tribes were under the control of the elders of 24 clans. For the period of hostilities, the Huns formed combat detachments, and all power was concentrated in the hands of the chanyu, who was elected by the council of elders.
When in 209 BC. Mode became a chanyu, he forced his fellow tribesmen to unconditional submission by cunning and cruelty. A temporary military position was turned by him into the title of supreme ruler. The throne of the shanyu began to be inherited. Mode left the control of the center of his possessions to himself, and handed over the eastern and western territories to the Chzhuki-prince and Luli-prince appointed from close relatives.
The army of Mode did not know defeat. On the battlefield, it consisted of three detachments - the center and two wings, each of which knew its task. The discipline was iron: for the misconduct of one, the heads of many were cut off. In a short time, the Huns managed to conquer and annex neighboring tribes and peoples. The borders of Mode's possessions in the north reached Lake Baikal, in the west - East Turkestan, in the east - the Liaohe River, and in the south they approached the lands of China.
The Huns became a real disaster for the Chinese Han Dynasty. Nomads could not be stopped either by barriers woven from willow, or deep ditches, or fortress walls. When they approached, the population, leaving their livestock and belongings, sought to hide behind the walls of the fortifications, and the soldiers received a strict order: to defend the fortress from the inside, in no case getting involved in hand-to-hand combat or pursuit. The Chinese commanders already had a bitter experience of fighting the nomads: the Huns attacked with small forces, luring the Chinese out from under the protection of the fortress walls, and, pretending to take flight, lured the pursuers into the location of their main forces. Even the Great Wall of China, this monumental and very expensive structure, turned out to be useless, unable to protect its builders. There were not enough warriors of the Celestial Empire to defend it, but someone else had to fight the Huns and catch defectors...
Recognizing the power of the Huns, China tried to achieve the favor of their rulers. When Mode sent a camel, two riding horses and two horse teams of quadruples to the Chinese emperor, he received an embroidered robe, a brocade robe, a golden hair chaplet, a gold-trimmed belt with a rhinoceros bone buckle and ten pieces of silk as a return gift. In 162 BC Emperor Xiao Wen-di sent a message to Laoshan-Giyu, the son of Mode, in which he wrote: "Han and Xiongnu are two adjacent and equal states." But the Huns were not satisfied with this. They wanted to receive bread, fabrics, metal products and luxury goods from China in exchange for cattle, horses, wool, hides, leather, and felt. The wars didn't stop.