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Kenneth W. Harl

Forfatter af The Vikings

52+ Works 1,028 Members 8 Reviews 3 Favorited

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Værker af Kenneth W. Harl

The Vikings (2005) 156 eksemplarer
Rome and the Barbarians (2004) 82 eksemplarer
The Era of the Crusades (2003) 79 eksemplarer
The World of Byzantium (2001) 75 eksemplarer
The Peloponnesian War (2007) 49 eksemplarer
The Ottoman Empire (2017) 36 eksemplarer
The Persian Empire 1 eksemplar
Imperial Assyria 1 eksemplar
Imperial Egypt 1 eksemplar
The Middle Kingdom 1 eksemplar
Hammurabi's Babylon 1 eksemplar
The Legend of Troy 1 eksemplar
Steppes and Peoples 1 eksemplar

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Absorbed in Kenneth Harl’s Empires of the Steppes I was aware that less than a tithe of what I was reading would be remembered by the end of a week. The book is a rollercoaster of historical narration, covering 45 centuries of relentless conflict emanating from the grassland steppes in Central Asia. Such is the nature of epic works: readers of John Julius Norwich’s three-volume history of Byzantium or Steven Runciman’s three-volume history of the Crusades will know the enchantment of history embellished by a blizzard of names which each take their turn to strut and fret their hour upon the stage, and then are heard of no more. Among the swirl we learn that Josephus, the historian of the Jewish revolt, observed Sarmatian cavalry first hand when one of their raids sliced into the Near East in ad 72, and that the very last Roman emperor of them all was the son of the man who ran Attila’s chancellery. We meet Yelü Dashi, the inspiration for Prester John, and follow Hulagu Khan as his forces storm the mountaintop castles of the Assassins on his way to destroy the caliph at Baghdad. The world of the steppes is brutal: among the more memorable takeaways is the revelation that the Mamluk ruling class that dominated medieval Egypt was comprised of Kipchak boys, each of whom had been kidnapped by Mongol horsemen, sold to Venetian and Genoese slave traders on the Black Sea shore, shipped to Egypt and there purchased and trained in the slave army of the sultans. The focus of this book is not so much the indigenous nomadic societies of Central Asia, but on how they impacted their ‘civilised’ neighbours.

The timescale will challenge many readers, as will the constantly shifting geography. Harl turns from events that affected the ancient Chinese dynasties, to those that impacted on the medieval states that dominated the Middle East, and then shifts to the frontiers of the Eastern Roman Empire and the Christian kingdoms that stood in its wake. But the irresistible strength of the cavalry armies that emerged from the steppes was based on the forbidding climate of Central Asia: an oven in summer, a blizzard in winter and a paradise in spring. The steppes are vast, stretching over 6,000 miles of grassland between the Danube and the Amur. By 3500 bc, the various scattered communities of hunters and sheep herders had domesticated the horse, and soon after developed wheeled ox-carts to carry their families and felt tents with them. The ensuing mobility can be traced by the wide dissemination of Indo-European culture, followed by wave after wave of further invasions, empowered by such steppe inventions as the chariot, the stirrup and, most potent of all, the composite bow and the armoured knight.

Read the rest of the review at HistoryToday.com.

Barnaby Rogerson is publisher at Eland Books.
… (mere)
HistoryToday | Oct 6, 2023 |
Afskaplega fróðleg erindi um hirðingjaþjóðirnar á steppum Asíu og hvernig þær lögðu undir sig gríðarleg landssvæði með vel öguðum hestamönnum, bogum sem voru öflugri en aðrir sambærilegir bogar og skipulagningu og upplýsingaöflun sem sló flestum andstæðingum þeirra við. Sögu þessara þjóða er yfirleitt gerð lítil skil en Harl sýnir fram á hve öflugar þær voru og khanar þeirra færir stjórnendur. Vel þess virði að hlusta á.
SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
The great courses almost always live up to their name and this one was exceptionally great. The lecturer is passionate, brilliant, and entertaining. A huge admirer of Phillip II and Alexander, he nonetheless consistently focuses on providing persuasive evidence and cogent arguments to back up his strong opinions. Whatever you think about Alexander the man, there is no doubt he changed the course of history as few others have. Whether you agree or not, you will come away having learned a tremendous amount on the period from the end of the Classical Greek world to the beginning of the Roman empire and the enduring influence and impact of Alexander and his conquest of much of the ancient Eurasian world.… (mere)
aront | 1 anden anmeldelse | Dec 19, 2021 |
Interesting series of lectures on how Christianity eventually drove out the pagan religions and became dominant in the Western world. Professor Harl is both informative and entertaining as he delivers his information.
etxgardener | Jan 3, 2020 |


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