by Christopher I. Beckwith (Author)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: January 17, 2023
Hardcover: 408 pages
A rich, discovery-filled history that tells how a forgotten empire transformed the ancient world
Scythian warriors conquered and unified most of the vast Eurasian continent in the late 8th and early 7th century BCE, establishing an innovative empire that gave birth to the age of philosophy and the Classical age across the ancient world in the West, the Near East, India, and China.
The Scythians, mobile horse herders who lived with their cats in wheeled felt tents, produced spectacular contributions to human civilization, from capital cities and strikingly gorgeous apparel to political organization and the world-changing philosophies of Buddha, Zoroaster, and Laotzu.
Christopher I. Beckwith’s The Scythian Empire is 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.
The Scythians created new cultures that were creole Scythian in their speech, dress, weaponry, and feudal socio-political structure by ruling over and marrying the local peoples. The Scythians laid the foundation for the earliest Persian, Indian, and Chinese empires by spreading their language, ideas, and culture across the ancient world.
Filled with fresh discoveries, The Scythian Empire gives a remarkable new perspective of a little-known but incredibly important empire and its people.
About the Author
Christopher I. Beckwith is Distinguished Professor of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University. The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia, Empires of the Silk Road, Greek Buddha, and Warriors of the Cloisters are among his books (all Princeton).
“Long forgotten, misunderstood, and dismissed as barbarians, the Empire of Scythia emerges at last from the shadows of ancient history, thanks to Christopher I. Beckwith. His insightful revelations illuminate the far-reaching legacies of the nomads who roamed and ruled the vast territory from the Black Sea to China’s Great Wall.
This is a fascinating story of how Scythian culture and innovations in horsemanship, archery, linguistics, technology, warfare, practical dress, and ideas not only spread across the Eurasian continent but powerfully shaped the earlier empires of Persia, India, and China.” (Adrienne Mayor, author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World)
“Using a wide array of sources, Beckwith has produced an original, pathbreaking, and provocative book that underscores the importance of the Scythians of ancient Central Eurasia in the shaping of peoples, political structures, ideologies, and classical civilization in the eastern Mediterranean world, Greater Iran, China, and South Asia.” (Peter Golden, author of Central Asia in World History) Amazon