Empires of the Steppes

Empires of the Steppes

Prof Kenneth Harl

The barbarian nomads of the Eurasian steppes have played a decisive role in world history, but their achievements have gone largely unnoticed. These nomadic tribes have produced some of the world’s greatest conquerors: Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, among others. And their deeds still resonate today.

Indeed, these nomads built long-lasting empires, facilitated the first global trade of the Silk Road and disseminated religions, technology, knowledge and goods of every description that enriched and changed the lives of so many across Europe, China and the Middle East. From a single region emerged a great many peoples – the Huns, the Mongols, the Magyars, the Turks, the Xiongnu, the Scythians, the Goths – all of whom went on to profoundly and irrevocably shape the modern world.

In this enthralling new history, Professor Kenneth W. Harl draws on a lifetime of scholarship to vividly recreate the lives and world of these often-forgotten peoples from their beginnings to the early modern age. Their brutal struggle to survive on the steppes bred a resilient, pragmatic people ever ready to learn from their more advanced neighbours. In warfare, they dominated the battlefield for over fifteen hundred years. Under charismatic rulers, they could topple empires and win their own.