Warriors of the Steppe by Eric Hildinger


Warriors of the Steppe: A Military History of Central Asia 500 B.C. to 1700 A.D.
By Erik Hildinger, 1997.

“The steppe forms the heart of Eurasia, comprising land along the borders of China, all of Central Asia, the Ukraine and the area surrounding the Black Sea to north Afghanistan. Its westernmost outcrop is the Hungarian plain. Modern regions with all are part of their territory in the steppe are China, Inner Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkestan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, Afganistan, Ukraine and Hungary. The steppe is thus a vast place and, accordingly, not uniform in feature. It is not, for example, one vast sea of grass, although there are such places. There are mountainous areas, deserts such as Gobi, and a forbidding subarctic forest belt, the taiga. Climate is severe, even in the better areas which are generally found in the West. In the central belt of the steppe-the land of the Turks and Mongols-temperatures may vary between winter and summer by 80 degrees centigrade; it is a climate for the hardy and it has historically been the home of the nomad.”

A very readable yet careful account of the repeated waves of mounted Asian horseback archers who swept across the great plains of Asia into Eastern Europe. Follow the hoof beats of the Scythians, Huns, Avars, Magyars, Mongols, and many others. The unique importance of the horse culture and the composite bow receive much attention. Great read to get the ancient background and culture behind the modern mounted archery discipline.

DeCapo Press, paper, some nice black and white illustrations, 260 pages.


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The nomadic peoples of central Asia—Huns, Bulgars, Magyars, Mongols—are still known to us for their legendary fighters Attila, Genghis Khan, and Timur Lenk (Tamerlane), as well as for their feats of calculated brutality. (Timur Lenk would leave piles of severed heads in his conquered cities; another tribe sent nine sacks of ears to their khan.) Less studied is the remarkable effectiveness of their battle techniques: For two thousand years, these horse-archer armies were an unstoppable force to sedentary peoples, be they Romans, Crusaders, Chinese, or medieval. Erik Hildinger introduces the most important of these raiders as well as a host of other tribes and examines in detail their tactics, strategies, and weaponry—a form of highly mobile and defensive warfare that even armies of today can learn from.

Additional information

Weight 16 oz
Dimensions 10 × 6 × 1.5 in
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