Copyright Historical Novelists Center 2001

We now have a steppophile in the gang, lucky for you. Lots of links to linksites!

Bouliere, François

Eurasia ***
New York, Time Inc., 1964, 1974
Covers domestication, wild fauna, and ecology. Nice introductory text. T1

Chambers, James

The Devil's Horsemen: The Mongol Invasion of Europe *****!
New York, Atheneum, 1979
Excellent focus on the divisive politics of Europe and the Near East that made both Islam and Christendom such easy targets, saved only by the fortuitous deaths of Mongol rulers that required the generals to return home. Excellent chapter on the superbly disciplined "Mongol War Machine" and how it was organized. T2

Cleaves, Francis Woodman

The Secret History of the Mongols *****!
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass; 1982
Mongolian history from their side, with all the a priori cultural assumptions. Fascinating. T2

Davis-Kimball, Jeannine

"Chieftain or Warrior Priestess" ****
Archaeology, September 1997: 40-41.
Challenges the assumption that the "Golden Man" burial of a Saka body whose pelvis was too poorly preserved to sex, who was not five feet tall, and who wore the otherwise feminine sort of high headdress, was male simply because there were weapons in the grave, considering that a large number of anatomically identifiable females have weapons as grave goods. About time! T2

Delbrueck, Hans

Medieval Warfare; History of the Art of War, volume III *****!
University of Nebraska Press, 1990, trans. Walter J. Renfroe, Jr.; orig. 1923; 711 pg, index
European orientation with some coverage of the last battles with the Magyar invasion (and why earlier ones went so well), also face-offs against the Turks. Begins with a list of the cost of Carlovingian war-gear in cows, and proceeds to do a lot of rational analysis and myth-busting, rather than gulping poetic accounts thoughtlessly, as if they were modern objective reports. Viewpoint is that of the sources (Frankish and Anglo-Saxon) but he is an early discrediter of body counts, so that you will not have hordes of 20,000 when you should have bands of 300. T2

Dunlop, D. M.

The History of the Jewish Khazars ****
Princeton, 1954
One of the few dedicated books you can find on this subject. T2

Hildinger, Erik

Warriors of the Steppe, A Military History of Central Asia, 500 B.C. to 1700 A.D. **
New York, Sarpedon, 1997
Somewhat vague in some critical areas, while making sweeping conclusions without reference to sources in others. T1

Herodotos, Herodotus

Go To Project GutenbergHistoriae, or History (of the Persian War) ****
The Athenians voted Herodotos a pension on which to live while he was writing this in the 5th C BC, so one must allow a little Athenophilic bias, but it also put his Athenian sources right at hand. This is in many ways a travelogue of the Ancient World, as he discusses the cultural background of all the allies of all the people involved. Herodotos was from Halikarnassos, travelled as far as the Black Sea, and eventually settled in Athens, which for publishing in its day was like Thirties New York. He is a rare writer in that when he repeats some tall tale, he voices his doubts as to its reality. However, many of his historical stories are more like folktales about the famous, and both Thukydides and Plutarch disliked his lack of accuracy. He is the earliest written source on the western steppe tribes. T2

Ingraham, Holly

People's Names: A Cross-cultural Reference Guide to the Proper Use of Over 40,000 Personal and Familial Names in Over 100 Cultures ****
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, Jefferson, NC; 1997; 613 pgs, index, select annotated bibliography
Covers Mongols, Hungarians (from which you can skim the Magyar names), and an Iranian chapter that can be used for Sarmatians, etc. T2

McEvedy, Colin

The Penguin Atlas of Ancient History ***
Penguin Books, 1967; 96 pg, index
Good to show the spread of literacy, bronze, iron, and the influence of the Mediterranean. T1

McGovern, William Montgomery, PhD

The Early Empires of Central Asia: A Study of the Scythians and the Huns and the Part They Played in World History -- X
Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press, 1939
We would like to warn you away from this book. The historical dates and battles stuff is largely accurate, but the cultural descriptions are extremely misleading, though often lacking in internal logic. For example, he says all Scythian tribes (including in this the Sarmatians and the Massagetai) were extremely patriarchal and patrilineal, though the last two are noted in Classical literature for warrior queens who ruled on their own, not even as regents for underage sons. In the Chinese section, he decides who he will call Huns and then never troubles the reader with the original names, which might allow you to call his bluff. This is one of the core books in the "Huns are Hiung-nu" theory, which is far from solid, and to some it is exploded. You must already know tons about the subject in order to tell or guess whether you are reading one of the accurate, the outdated, or the complete humbug statements. T3, or never

Michaud, Sabrina, and Roland Michaud

"Turkomans, Horsemen of the Steppes" *****!
National Geographic magazine, NGS, Washington, DC; May 1973, pg 634-669
While covering many aspects of Turkoman life, the description of a day of buzkashi, and the pictures of it, were invaluable. Recommended viewing. T1

National Geographic, the editors of The

The Complete National Geographic ***
1888-1996; The National Geographic Society and Mindscape, 1997, CD-ROM; 1997 and 1998 updates
Kodak Photo format is used to bring the microfilmed, in color, back issues of The National Geographic to 30 CDs readable by either IBM or Mac computers. Just load, and start using each engine. T2

Nicolle, David, PhD.

The Age of Charlemagne ***
Osprey Military, Reed Consumer Books Ltd., London, etc., 1984; #150, Men-at-Arms Series; 40 pg, Further Reading, no index; illustrations by Angus McBride
Like any Osprey monograph, dense with text and pictorial information. You learn a lot in 40 pages! Includes maps of Europe in 814 and 900, and an on-going discussion of the spread of the stirrup, which is necessary to the couched lance charge. Has missed reading Delbrueck, and keeps showing members of the mythical "peasant levy" (actually a form of taxation for raising cash, not men), who will do for the lightest troops of men-at-arms. Covers about 700-1000, especially the Magyar invasions. Maps crude, single line weight, titled with a typewriter. T2

Osprey Military Books

The worst book out by Osprey still gets three stars. The best are five stars and a bang. These are each a dense, military monograph on weapons, tactics, strategy, and history, with some little cultural background. Rarely at libraries, you will usually find these where military miniatures are sold. T2

In the usual Men-at-Arms Series:

Peers, Chris J.

Ancient Chinese Armies 1500-200 BC ***
London, Osprey Military, 1990; color plates by Angus McBride
Covers chariot use and the introduction of cavalry, as well as the possibility of mounted crossbowmen. McBride's plates have a gross error, in that he has mistaken the ancient cheekpiece bit for a curb bit's lever. In his painting of a chariot, mode of traction is completely invisible. Otherwise, the book is good for the interaction on the eastern border. T3
Imperial Chinese Armies: (1) 200 BC-589 AD <sic> ***
London, Osprey Military, 1995; color plates by Michael Perry
A good book, except as comes to harnessing the chariot horses, which the text never mentions and the plates misrepresent. They are shown in Plate A with Lefèbvre des Noëttes' entirely invented "ancient traction system" (18 years after Spruytte exploded it) and wheels rather small compared to the men of the time. T3
Imperial Chinese Armies: (2) 590-1260 AD <sic> ***
London, Osprey Military, 1996; color plates by Michael Perry
Looks at all arms, garrison life, and the opponents faced. T3

Piggott, Stuart

Wagon, Chariot and Carriage; Symbol and Status in the History of Transport ****
London and New York, Thames and Hudson, Ltd., 1992
Each of the three sections starts over in early history rather than tracking all three through time together. A bit tech, but still very pleasant reading. Keeps Central Asia tracked through Antiquity. T2

Polo, Marco

The Travels of Marco Polo *****!
Penguin Books, trans. 1958
This edition has great notes discussing how much of the book is what Polo actually saw, and what his co-author added to punch up sales. T3

de Rachewiltz, Igor

Papal Envoys to the Great Khans ****
London, Faber & Faber, 1971
Pulls together information in the reports of many official travellers among the Mongols. T2

Rice, David Talbot

Islamic Art ****
Wonderful introduction to the styles of pottery, metalwork, fabrics, architecture and decorations like brickwork, stucco, mosaic, and tile. Hunting palaces as well as mosques, tombs and city gates. Includes the Central Eurasian cities. T1

Rolle, Renate

The World of the Scythians *****!
University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989; trans. by F. G. Walls; 141 pg, index, Select Bibliography
Excellent book, rich with color illos of horse-trappings and goldwork. Will get you properly grounded in a hurry. Still, lots of archeological site photos and other base information, from which you can see why the theories have been built as they have. T2

Rudenko, S. I.

Frozen Tombs of Siberia : the Pazyryk burials ***
Detailed account of the excavations and what was found. T3

Satya Shrava

Sakas in India
The Sakas are the Scytho-Sarmatian horse nomads that kept both the Persians and the Huns at bay for centuries. They moved into India and became a ruling caste. T2

Salmonson, Jessica Amanda

Encyclopedia of Amazons, The, Women Warriors from Antiquity to the Modern Era ****
New York, Paragon House,1991
A number of Central Asian women are coverd. T1

Silver, Caroline

Guide to the Horses of the World ****
Secaucus, NJ, Chartwell Books, 1975
Small, compact reference. Very nice paintings of most breeds, including many Central Asian breeds ignored elsewhere. Groups by geography, not alphabetically! T2

Stein, M. Aurel

Ruins of Desert Cathay *****!
Dover; 1376 pg in 2 vol, 344 photos, maps, panorama
Archeological and geological expedition of 1906-8, to inner China (that's on our borders) and Tibet. Caravan routes! T3

Stone, George Cameron

A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor, In All Countries and In All Times
New York, The Southworth Press, Jack Brussel, Publisher, 1961
Incredibly thorough compendium of all types of armor and weapons, but sometimes mixes terminology in the same article, and touches on each subject only lightly. Wonderful collection of illustrations. Strongest in Asian arms, which the author collected, weakest in European, where his terminology has been challenged by some. T2

Sulimirski, Tadeusz

The Sarmatians ****
Praeger, NY, 1970; 267 pg, index, bibliography
Very archeological. Note that the application of names out of Classical literature like Sarmatian or Roxolani to non-literate peoples is always a mere convenience for the scientists: there is no way to know if this is anything like what they called themselves, or if they are at all related to the tribes Herodotos or Tacitus described. Traces the shifts from the 6th C. BC to the 10th C. CE, or even to modern times as the Ossetians are mentioned as the last surviving population of the Alans. Best after you have read Rolle. T3


Archery, Its History and Its Forms *****!

VHS, 72 min.
For the many of you who don't hang longbows and recurve stave bows on your walls, this look at period archery in action covers the English longbowman, Turkish archery, and mounted archers as well, all in costume. By the folks who do "The Blow by Blow Guide to Swordfighting" (Renaissance fencing). Very valuable if you also read Hardy or Heath.


Alpamysh dastan ****


This dastan (epic) from Central Asia breaks open a new area of the globe for the medieval reader. Translated by H. B. Paksoy, it is available free of charge (but still under copyright) at Carrie Books.

Ancient World Web *****!


Superb linksite, which it would be silly to try and duplicate here. Especially fine for including Asian, American, and African sections, not just Europe and the Near East.

The Center for the Study of the Eurasian Nomads (CSEN) ***

Lots of photos and articles, including reviews of the latest books.

Central Asia ****


A great links page with essays on architecture and linguistics, as well as an outline history to get you oriented in this often-ignored area.

Central Asian Monuments **


These are not buildings, but essays about centrally important documents.

Essays on Central Asia ***


Collected by H. B. Paksoy. Something for everyone, from Istanbul to the Altai.

Khazaria Information Center ****


The Khazars were a steppe tribe living north of the Caspian Sea, who interestingly converted to Judaism rather than Eastern Christianity (like the Slavs and Rus) or Islam (as a minority tribe next door, the Turks, did). Most Russian Jews probably never had a speck of Hebraic blood in them, but were descendents of the Khazars. In their day, a fascinating people, powerful enough to drive the Turks into migration to and conquest of the Middle East.

"A Look At the Turkoman Horse in Iran" ***


By Louise L. Firouz, covers the traditional care and training of the animals, and their new availability in the West.

The Nestorian Pages ****


A lot of solid and hard-to-find info on the Nestorian Church of Asia, which had its effect on the Mongols and Central Asia, with tons of links.

Official and Original Project Gutenberg Web Site and HomePage ****

Fine Literature Digitally Republished

Since 1971 putting classic books into electronic form. All free, just hope they have what you're looking for.

Online Medieval & Classical Library **


Exceedingly large index page takes a long time to load, so you can guess how many entries it has! This is one of those online libraries, with texts in translation, not just a linksite. Weak on Central Asia, but that could change next week.

The Origin of the Kazaks and Ozbaks ***


Zeki Velidi Togan's seminal work, which means it is heavy going, but core information for tribal origins and customs.


To Horse & Wagon Data (for your nomads!)

To Middle Tech Bibliography

To Non-Classical European Bibliography

To North Asia Bibliography

To Classical Greece Bibliography

To Classical Rome Bibliography

To Late Antiquity Bibliography

To Indian Subcontinent Bibliography

To Islamic Bibliography

To Dark Ages Bibliography

To Middle Ages Bibliography

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