The Scythian Empire
Central Eurasia and the Birth of the Classical Age from Persia to China
A rich, discovery-filled history that tells how a forgotten empire transformed the ancient world
In the late 8th and early 7th centuries BCE, Scythian warriors conquered and unified most of the vast Eurasian continent, creating an innovative empire that would give birth to the age of philosophy and the Classical age across the ancient world--in the West, the Near East, India, and China. Mobile horse herders who lived with their cats in wheeled felt tents, the Scythians made stunning contributions to world civilization--from capital cities and strikingly elegant dress to political organization and the world-changing ideas of Buddha, Zoroaster, and Laotzu--Scythians all. In The Scythian Empire, Christopher I. Beckwith presents a major new history of a fascinating but often forgotten empire that changed the course of history.
At its height, the Scythian Empire stretched west from Mongolia and ancient northeast China to northwest Iran and the Danube River, and in Central Asia reached as far south as the Arabian Sea. The Scythians also ruled Media and Chao, crucial frontier states of ancient Iran and China. By ruling over and marrying the local peoples, the Scythians created new cultures that were creole Scythian in their speech, dress, weaponry, and feudal socio-political structure. As they spread their language, ideas, and culture across the ancient world, the Scythians laid the foundations for the very first Persian, Indian, and Chinese empires.
Filled with fresh discoveries, The Scythian Empire presents a remarkable new vision of a little-known but incredibly important empire and its peoples.
About this Author
Christopher I. Beckwith is Distinguished Professor of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University. His many books include Empires of the Silk Road, The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia, Greek Buddha, and Warriors of the Cloisters (all Princeton).
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