In this wide-ranging and often controversial book, Robert Drews examines the question of the origins of man's relations with the horse.
He questions the belief that on the Eurasian steppes men were riding in battle as early as 4000 BC, and suggests that it was not until around 900 BC that men anywhere - whether in the Near East and the Aegean or on the steppes of Asia - were proficient enough to handle a bow, sword or spear while on horseback. After establishing when, where, and most importantly why good riding began, Drews goes on to show how riding raiders terrorized the civilized world in the seventh century BC, and how central cavalry was to the success of the Median and Persian empires.
Drawing on archaeological, iconographic and textual evidence, this is the first book devoted to the question of when horseback riders became important in combat. Comprehensively illustrated, this book will be essential reading for anyone interested in the origins of civilization in Eurasia, and the development of man's military relationship with the horse.
Robert Drews is Professor of Classics and History at Vanderbilt University, where he has taught since 1961. One of his interests is the military history of the Near Eastern and Greek world during the Bronze Age, and his publications on that subject include Coming of the Greeks and The End of the Bronze Age.
'This is a thought-provoking account of early cavalry which spans the Old World. That Robert Drews is able to illuminate previously dark corners of the past owes as much to this broad perspective as it does to his handling of finds stretching right across steppe and sownlands.' - Arthur Cotterell, BBC History Magazine
'This is a valuable work ... there is little to fault ... one that will make a worthwhile addition to the shelves of research libraries.' - BMCR