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Indo-Europeans Were the Most Historically Significant Nomads of the Steppes


This paper contrasts the historical significance of the Indo-European to the non-Indo-European nomads. The impact of such nomadic peoples as the Scythians, Sogdians, Turks, and Huns never came close to the deep and lasting changes associated with the ‘Indo-Europeanization’ of the Occident. While Indo-Europeans were not the only people of the steppes organized as war bands bound together by oaths of aristocratic loyalty and fraternity, they thoroughly colonized Europe with their original pastoral package of wheel vehicles, horse-riding, and chariots, combined with the ‘secondary-products revolution.’ In contrast, the relationship between the non-Indo-European nomads with their more advanced sedentary neighbours was one of ‘symbiosis,’ ‘conflict,’ ‘trade,’ and ‘conquest,’ rather than dominion and cultural colonization.

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