Paul Nazaroff "Hunted Through Central Asia" Oxford University Press 1993
First published 1932http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/019280368...ce&n=283155
Over an immense area in Asia where the wandering Kazakhs have scattered, their manner of life and their peculiar culture, developed through millenia of existence in the free open steppe, is the same, identical in space and identical, too, in time. These nomads were free to move about the plains at their own sweet will, as though upon an open sea, and there was nothing to prevent the Kazakhs of the Tian Shan from wandering away to steppes of Siberia, of the Ural or the Volga, except, of course, nowadays the Bolshevik Government.
This freedom and the mobility of the nomads of the steppe has evolved their own peculiar culture, character and manner of life, and has played a very important part in the history of Asia, which has not yet been properly appreciated by historians nor sufficiently studied. It has reacted profoundly on the fate of Russia, and even Western Europe has by no means escaped its influence. The burning sands of Egypt, the valleys of Mesopotamia and of Palestine (the myriad horsemen of Gog and Magog), and of India and the valleys of Russia and of Central Europe and even Chalons, the Catalaunian plains of France, Hellas, too, and Rome, all have seen the forbears of our Kazakh of to-day, though under various names - as Scythians or Massagetae, Huns, Polovtsi, Kipchaks, Kumans, Pechenegs, Alans, Tartars and so on. On every side their invasions have left their mark, not only destructive, for sometimes they have altered the course of historical development and affected the blood, language, character, manners and customs of the people with whom they have come into contact. Just as the Normans in their day made use of their mobility upon the seas to spread their influence and culture throughout the West, so these nomads of the steppes of Asia have done the same in the East. The broad belt of grassy plains across the old continent, which has given rise to the peculiar type of nomad Turki and his inseparable comrade, the horse of the steppe, has had enormous influence on the destinies of the settled nations and of civilisation itself.
All distant invasions and the ` migration of peoples' have been possible owing to one single factor, hitherto ignored by historians, and that is the horse of the steppes. This animal is endowed with most valuable qualities of supporting fatigue and of endless endurance and the power of keeping up prolonged hard work on green food only, on mere grazing, of which other races of horse are quite incapable, being dependent on corn. These outstanding qualities of the steppe horse were fully appreciated and widely used by the great military leaders of Asia, conquerors, Jenghiz Khan, Tamerlane and the others , which explains the secret of their success.
The limits of attainment and conquest of the countless hordes of Asia depended not upon the powers of resistance of the subject peoples nor upon their armies, but were defined by the moist meadow grazing, by the cold damp of the north and by the tropical heat of the valleys of India, which were fatal to the horse of the Kazakhs.
1 See Ivanoff, ' On the Art of War of the Mongol-Tartars' (in Russian), a little known but extremely interesting work. Also two papers by me, " The Scythians Past and Present" ('Edinburgh Review,' July 1929, pp. 108-122), and " The Sons of Gog " (' English Review,' March 1930).