Central Asia Timeline > Central Asia Geography > Steppes
The Steppe(s) is flat, semi-arid grassland between mountain ranges of Eurasia, running from modern Hungary to Mongolia, mostly in Central Asia. The Silk Roads run through this area.
The Steppes produced nomads, horseback riders, and may have seen the origin of Indo-European languages (PIE). Steppe burial mounds, in Russia, near Kazakhstan, reveal this area as home to the Amazons. Steppe nomads are often described as warlike, which fits the Amazon image, as well as the better-known Steppe denizen, Genghis Khan leader of the Mongols or Tartars, and the Huns, led by Attila.
The Steppe was better suited to livestock herding (pastoralism) than agriculture. Warriors migrated to the settled areas to the south, waging wars with the inhabitants, notably, the Chinese and Romans. Scythian nomadic horsemen, who lived from the Black Sea to Eastern Mongolia, waged wars against Greeks, Mesopotamians, and Persians, from the 8th century B.C. In the East, the threatening presence of Steppe nomads prompted the Chinese to build the Great Wall to try to keep them out. The Kushan and Parthian Empires of the first century A.D., of nomadic origin, were located between China and Rome, along the Silk Road.
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