They Rode into Europe

They Rode into Europe

By (author)  , Translated by 

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Product details

  • Hardback | 180 pages
  • 170 x 250mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Hungarian
  • Ill.(some col.).
  • 0245504125
  • 9780245504129

Review Text

Despite the heavily illustrated format, this is a rigorous, scholarly work on the equestrian contribution to European history. With not a glimmer of a smile, Jankovich, a Hungarian, launches his study of "horse-man relationships" - when the nomadic hordes galloped out of the Central Asian steppes, the first revolution in land transport and communications was under way. Jankovich goes from earliest prehistory (the reindeer was probably the first animal saddled and mounted) through the Middle Ages when the armored knight became the European prototype of the chivalric man-on-a-horse ethos. The author's access to little known Magyar sources is invaluable to this reconstruction of the Migration of the Peoples and the impact of the apocalyptic horsemen - Huns, Avars, Magyars and Mongols - on the sedentary peoples of Western Europe. Equally important (though sometimes difficult to follow) is Jankovich's tracing of the diversity of equine types from wild pony, Bactrian, Turanian and Arabic ancestors to the evolution of modern European, Central Asian and North African strains, how they were crossbred, refined and disseminated via trade and war and how they branched into the two principal variants, charioteer and mounted archer. The accouterments of riding - the gradual adoption of bridle, stirrup and saddle - are also considered principally in terms of broad cultural and military implications, though Jankovich, himself a horseman, has an obvious feel for "equestrian culture" as such. A unique contribution to our understanding of the horsemen of antiquity - mainly for specialists. (Kirkus Reviews)show more