Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Horsemen Swarm from Asia

Horsemen Swarm from Asia
The steppes of central Asia in ancient times provided a vast belt of grazing land for tribes of nomadic herdsmen. They were highly mobile people who lived according to the rhythm of the season, following the wandering of their sheep, goats, horses, cattle or yaks. Theirs was a cold and forbidding landscape of mountains and bare plains. They had no writing and they made no stone built cities. Moreover, as wanderers they had no use for cumbersome furnishings, using only lightweight household items, chiefly of wood hides and cloth.

What is known of the nomads survives in a scattering of graves, and in texts written by observes from the settled civilizations to the east and west. The Greeks knew the Asian nomad loosely as Scythians, applying term more specifically to a group who, from the 7th century BC, set up a kingdom north of the Black Sea.

The Scythian women were rarely seen, but kept confined to their wagons and circular tents; these tents made of felt stretched over a wood framework and known as yurts, can still be seen in central Asia today. The men wore kaftans, distinctive pointed headgear and trousers – a major invention of Asian horsemen and one that made riding more comfortable. They also carried swords, shields and a bow and arrow case.

Notorious among ancient peoples for their cruelty, the Scythians were said to blind their slaves to make them easier to manage, and to drink from cups made from enemies’ skulls.

The Greek historians Herodotus described many of the Scythians’ outlandish customs, especially their burial rites which included the ceremonial slaughter of wives, servants and animals. The burial of kings, he said, took place in a great square pit. The royal corps was embalmed, its belly slit open, cleaned out, and filled with chopped frankincense, parsley and anise before sewn up again. With the bodies of slaughtered attendants and horses were piled mounds of golden vessels.

Herodotus also described that the Persian great Kings, decided to invade Scythia. With Persian King himself in command, the Persian army of 700,000 soldiers marched across the Danube to the Russian steppes. The Scythians steadily retreated while the Persians pursuit. It was indeed very strange war to Persian. There was nothing to be captured and held - no citied, no buildings, no plunder, nothing but the rimless steppe. He was fighting air.
Horsemen Swarm from Asia

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