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Mounted Archers of the Steppe 600 BC-AD 1300 (Elite) Paperback – September 23, 2004

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Mounted Archers of the Steppe 600 BC-AD 1300 (Elite) + The Sarmatians 600 BC-AD 450 (Men-at-Arms) + Scythians 700-300 B.C. (Men at Arms Series, 137)
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From the Publisher

An unrivalled illustrated reference source on fighting men and commanders, past and present. Each volume is packed with full colour artwork, making military history uniquely accessible to enthusiasts of all ages.

About the Author

Antony Karasulas has an Honours degree in Ancient History from the University of New England. Since 2000 he has been studying Persian and improving his Ancient Persian in preparation for his PhD thesis which he is currently working at The Australian National University. His main area of interest is the field of Iranological and Central Asian studies with an emphasis on Steppe and Central Asian warfare. Antony lives and works in New South Wales, Australia.

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Product Details

  • Series: Elite (Book 120)
  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (September 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184176809X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841768090
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,068,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 59 people found the following review helpful By dariopol on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
I truly was looking forward to this book, so when I got it I naturally wanted to see the proof of its great claim - 1800 years of mounted archers of the Great Steppe. Curiously delineated - why end at 1300, after all it all has fallen apart in the 16th century, with Crimea subjugations to the Ottomans, Golden Horde defeat by Ivan IV and Russian conquest of Siberia, Chinese subjugation of the later Mongols etc, but that is another matter. So going back to the claim of 1800 years of mounted archers - the book delivered nothing of that sort, but rather some more of that already published, by different Osprey authors, information on the Scythians, with some information on Sarmatians, Huns, Avars, and Mongols. When compared with, let's say, Gorelik's Warriors of Eurasia it is nothing but a college level intro to the Scythian with some bland references to other major tribes and peoples. Yet there is no even one mention of the Saka, Kushans, Parthians (but for the Parthian shot), Alans, the curious Bosphoran kingdom, the Turks (or using Mr. Lev Gumilev's name the Turkuts) and their empire, Uygurs, Bulgars, Khazars, Kyrgyz or the later Atabeq states from the Central Asia. The map, always an area of great weakness for Osprey publications, describing the Great Steppe does not even show the steppe between Caspian Sea and the Black Sea on the northern foothills of Caucasus, yet adds some Asia Minor territory to the family, one may ask whether these are some selective omissions or simply ignorant blunders.

Horses - well, here it starts well, the author mention of the Przewalski horse but then he never moves away from that wild ancestor horse which is hilarious considering nomad appetite for those equids during the same time period this book purports to cover.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By K. Murphy on March 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book has attracted a lot of petty nit-picking on here, as Osprey books often do. As an experienced student of military history in all periods, however, I still learned a lot about Central Asian mounted archery in this book.

The color plates in this book are top-notch, some of Angus McBride's best, and that's saying a lot. My favorite is plate 'B', showing a heavily-armored Scythian chieftain meeting with a beautiful Scythian woman. The fine details of the weapons, costumes, etc. are all taken from contemporary artwork and archaeological finds, and like the text do a great job of illustrating this hardy warriors with their ancient way of life, their powerful bows, and their reliable ponies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
As most other reviewers, I dislike writing negative reviews. This title on Mounted Archers of the Steppe is rather disappointing and not worth more than two stars, for a host of reasons.

The concept itself was interesting, although quite impossible to treat adequately in such a format. The author’s idea was to present the three distinct features which, according to the author, made steppe nomads so dangerous throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages. These are the harsh environment and steppe way of life, which made them so though, their horses, which were quite as robust and resistant, and their composite bows.

The first problem is that it is simply impossible to do justice to such a topic with a mere 64 pages without being superficial, generic and bland. This is reinforced by the author’s choice to cover a period of almost 2000 years. The author’s choice of dates – 600 BC to 1300 AD - is also somewhat arbitrary. As another reviewer has noted, the choice of the later date is odd since steppe warriors in general, and the Golden Horde and the Timurids in particular, to mention just these, continued to represent a significant threat well beyond this date. However, the other date is also somewhat curious. While it seems to have been intended to correspond to the Scythians’ invasion of the Middle East, it does not include the fall of the Assyrian capital in 612 BC. The point here is that mounted archers from the Steppe were also a very significant threat to sedentary populations well before 600 BC, and in fact the Medes and the Persians themselves seem to have come from Central Asia before settling in what is now Iran. None of this, however, is discussed or even mentioned in this title.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Anibal Madeira on March 24, 2015
Format: Paperback
The idea of producing a book regarding the mounted archer of the steppe is extremely ambitious and it could provide an amazing title. But not in 60 pages.

The maximum that the author could provide with such constraints would be a very generic history focusing on the common characteristics that those tribes shared, focusing obviously on the bow and the horse (since this a military history book). Tables and chronological charts could easily provide data saving space. Maps could be provided showing the original tribal grounds of the main groups and respective movements and invasions. The plates would have at least a detailed lateral and front view of the usage of the bow and the various draws.

But the author used a different approach, which would have hit the mark if he had 300 pages. He used examples, excerpts from Herodotus or Strabo, particular situations for the Scythians, Alans, Avars, etc; he tried to explain the economy and most of the arms and armor they used…it was an impossible task.

There are even some mistakes like stating that the wooden frame saddle was introduce to the western world by the Avars or the Sarmatians, which is incorrect. Gauls and Romans used them before contact with the Sarmatians. Some omissions are also noticeable, such as the lack of reference to certain horse breeds. Other issues are debatable, such as the choice of dates for this study…why 600BC? Why 1300AD? There were steppe archers before and after those time markers.
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Mounted Archers of the Steppe 600 BC-AD 1300 (Elite)
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