World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Eurasian nomads

Article Id: WHEBN0002676689
Reproduction Date:

Title: Eurasian nomads  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nomadic empire, Bulgars, Bayads, Indo-European migrations, Nomad
Collection: Indo-European Peoples, Nomadic Groups in Eurasia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Eurasian nomads

The Eurasian nomads were a large group of nomadic peoples of the Eurasian Steppe who often appear in history as invaders of Europe, The Middle East, and China.


  • History 1
  • Linguistic division 2
  • Chronological division 3
  • See also 4
    • By region 4.1
  • Bibliography 5
  • External links 6


This generic title encompasses the ethnic groups inhabiting the steppes of Central Asia, Mongolia, and what is now Russia. They domesticated the horse, and their economy and culture emphasizes horse breeding, horse riding, and a pastoral economy in general. They developed the chariot, cavalry, and horse archery, introducing innovations such as the bridle, bit, and stirrup. "Horse people" is a generalized and somewhat obsolete term for such nomads, which is also sometimes used to describe hunter-gatherer peoples of the North American prairies and South American pampas who started using horses after the Europeans brought them to the Americas.

The earliest historical phases of China involved conflict with the nomadic Rong and Xiongnu peoples to the west of the Wei valley. The Roman army hired Sarmatians as elite cavalrymen. Europe was exposed to several waves of invasions by horse people, from the Cimmerians in the 8th century BCE, down to the Migration period, and the Mongols and Seljuks in the High Middle Ages, and the Kalmuks and the Kyrgyz and later Kazakhs down into modern times. The earliest example of an invasion by a horse people may have been by the Proto-Indo-Europeans themselves, following the domestication of the horse in the 4th millennium BCE (see Kurgan hypothesis). Cimmerian is the first invasion of equestrian steppe nomads that we can grasp from historical sources.

The concept of "horse people" was of some importance in 19th century scholarship, in connection with the rediscovery of Dothraki people are heavily influenced by the lifestyles and cultures of historical horse people.

Linguistic division

Linguistically, these peoples may be divided into several large groups:

Proto-Indo-Europeans (Chalcolithic / Bronze Age)
Indo-Iranians (Bronze / Iron Age)

a Perhaps a Sprachbund.

Chronological division

Iron Age / Classical Antiquity
Migration period
Middle Ages

a Nomadic only between the conquest of the hypothetical Kingdom of Balhara and the formation of Great Bulgaria.

See also

By region


  • Amitai, Reuven; Biran, Michal (editors). Mongols, Turks, and others: Eurasian nomads and the sedentary world (Brill's Inner Asian Library, 11). Leiden: Brill, 2005 (ISBN 90-04-14096-4).
  • Drews, Robert. Early riders: The beginnings of mounted warfare in Asia and Europe. N.Y.: Routledge, 2004 (ISBN 0-415-32624-9).
  • Golden, Peter B. Nomads and their neighbours in the Russian Steppe: Turks, Khazars and Qipchaqs (Variorum Collected Studies). Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003 (ISBN 0-86078-885-7).
  • Hildinger, Erik. Warriors of the steppe: A military history of Central Asia, 500 B.C. to A.D. 1700. New York: Sarpedon Publishers, 1997 (hardcover, ISBN 1-885119-43-7); Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2001(paperback, ISBN 0-306-81065-4).
  • Kradin, Nikolay. 2004. Nomadic Empires in Evolutionary Perspective. In Alternatives of Social Evolution. Ed. by N.N. Kradin, A.V. Korotayev, Dmitri Bondarenko, V. de Munck, and P.K. Wason (p. 274–288). Vladivostok: Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences; reprinted in: The Early State, its Alternatives and Analogues. Ed. by Leonid Grinin et al. (р. 501–524). Volgograd: Uchitel'.
  • Kradin, Nikolay N. 2002. 8: 368–388Journal of World-System ResearchNomadism, Evolution, and World-Systems: Pastoral Societies in Theories of Historical Development. .
  • *Kradin, Nikolay. 2003. Nomadic Empires: Origins, Rise, Decline. In Nomadic Pathways in Social Evolution. Ed. by N.N. Kradin, Dmitri Bondarenko, and T. Barfield (p. 73–87). Moscow: Center for Civilizational Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.
  • *Kradin, Nikolay. 2006. 15: 171–189World CulturesCultural Complexity of Pastoral Nomads. .
  • Kradin, Nikolay. Nomads of Inner Asia in Transition. Moscow: URSS, 2014 (ISBN 978-5-396-00632-4).
  • Littauer, Mary A.; Crouwel, Joost H.; Raulwing, Peter (Editor). Selected writings on chariots and other early vehicles, riding and harness (Culture and history of the ancient Near East, 6). Leiden: Brill, 2002 (ISBN 90-04-11799-7).
  • Shippey, Thomas "Tom" A. Goths and Huns: The rediscovery of Northern culture in the nineteenth century, in The Medieval legacy: A symposium. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, 1981 (ISBN 87-7492-393-5), pp. 51–69.

External links

  • Nomadic Art of the Eastern Eurasian Steppes, an exhibition catalog from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (fully available online as PDF), which contains material on Eurasian nomads
  • Center for the Study of Eurasian Nomads
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.