The Horse In Human History: Invasions, Civilizations, and Transcontinental Communication

As readers know, I’ve been following author Pita Kelekna’s posts on Cambridge University Press’ blog, This Side Of The Pond for a a couple of months. Her latest blog entry, Invasions, Civilizations, and Transcontinental Communication, is the fourth in a series promoting her new book, The Horse In Human History.

Kelekna describes how “horse-borne incursions from the steppes invaded sedentary (agricultural) civilizations, and how horses figuratively shrank the world.” I wonder what those horse-borne marauders would have thought of the internet and its world-shrinking powers. Maybe Bill Gates is the ultimate Ghenghis Khan.

In this post, Kelekna follows the Indo-Aryans from 1900 BCE to the sixth century AD Mongol Avars and the invention of the metal stirrup. Her most interesting assertion is that, with the horse-drawn chariot carrying Buddhism north to China, the religion, by way of the horse, became a vehicle for increased communication.

Horse power had effectively transformed the vast inhospitable wastelands of the Eurasian steppes into an intercontinental corridor of rapid communication.

Timeline of the spread of the use of the horse-drawn chariot

Timeline of the spread of the use of the horse-drawn chariot

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