1st Edition

The Indian Frontier Horse and Warband in the Making of Empires

By Jos Gommans Copyright 2018
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    344 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This omnibus brings together some old and some recent works by Jos Gommans on the warhorse and its impact on medieval and early modern state-formation in South Asia. These studies are based on Gommans’ observation that Indian empires always had to deal with a highly dynamic inner frontier between semi-arid wilderness and settled agriculture. Such inner frontiers could only be bridged by the ongoing movements of Turkish, Afghan, Rajput and other warbands. Like the most spectacular examples of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empires, they all based their power on the exploitation of the most lethal weapon of that time: the warhorse. In discussing the breeding and trading of horses and their role in medieval and early modern South Asian warfare, Gommans also makes some thought-provoking comparisons with Europe and the Middle East. Since the Indian frontier is part of the much larger Eurasian Arid Zone that links the Indian subcontinent to West, Central and East Asia, the final essay explores the connected and entangled history of the Turko-Mongolian warband in the Ottoman and Timurid Empires, Russia and China.

    Introduction, 1. The Horse Trade in Eighteenth-century South Asia, 2. The Silent Frontier of South Asia, c. ad 1100-1800, 3. The Eurasian Frontier after the First Millennium ad: Reflections Along the Fringe of Time and Space, 4. Warhorse and Post-Nomadic Empire in Asia, c. 1000-1800, 5. The Embarrassment of Political Violence in
    Europe and South Asia, c. 1100-1800, 6. Indian Warfare and Afghan Innovation
    during the Eighteenth Century, 7. Warhorse and Gunpowder in India, c. ad 1000-1850, 8. Slavery and Naukari among the Bangash Nawabs of Farrukhabad 9. The Warband in the Making of Eurasian Empires


    Jos J.L. Gommans holds the chair of Colonial and Global History at the University of Leiden. His major publications include The Rise of the Indo-Afghan Empire, c.1710-1780 (Leiden, 1995; Delhi, 1999; 2017) and Mughal Warfare: Indian Frontiers and High Roads to Empire, 1500-1700 (London, 2002).