The horsemen of the steppes

The latest issue of Ancient Warfare, number VIII.3, is currently at the printer’s and should roll off the presses in about ten days’ time. The title of the issue is Swift as the wind across the plains: horsemen of the steppes. You guessed it: most of the articles in this issue will focus on nomadic horse peoples such as the Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians.

For the first time since its inception, both Ancient Warfare and Medieval Warfarenow each feature an editorial, in which the editor of each magazine shares some thoughts on that particular issue. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it; it’s one way in which we try to help you feel more involved with the magazines and the people behind them.

Each issue presents another challenge when it comes to picking interesting articles. I think you’ll find that this issue in particular touches on topics that haven’t been explored in any great detail by most other publications. Sidney Dean’s introduction serves nicely to set the stage for the rest of the issue by introducing you to each of the major players, while Michael Taylor’s “Source” article explores Herodotus’ descriptions of the Scythians in particular.

Owen Rees delves into Greek mythology with an article that explores the ancient Amazons. Aside from discussing the possible origins of the word “Amazon”, he also investigates possible historical parallels, with a treatment of Sauromatian (early Sarmatian) graves.

Newcomer Cam Rea has contributed an article on the rather mysterious Dugdammi – called Lygdamis in the Greek sources – who was king of the Cimmerians. The Cimmerians were renowned for their attacks against the Lydians (even managing to kill King Gyges!) and the Greeks, but Rea focuses on their difficult relationship with the Assyrians. Angel García Pinto created an awesome portrait of two Cimmerian cavalrymen to illustrate the text. Marc DeSantis’ article discusses the difficulties faced by Darius the Great when he mounted his expedition against the Scythians.

The main article for this issue was written by Filippo Donvito and deals with the Battle of the River Thatis, 309 BC. It offers quite an in-depth treatment of a cavalry-heavy battle, complete with a beautiful battle map created by Julia Lillo (many of you will be pleased), as well as a gorgeous centrefold created by Radu Oltean. Radu will take a break fromAncient Warfare after this issue, but he has promised to return with issue VIII.5 (Judean Wars). No worries, though; the talented Juhani Jokinen is currently working on a great centrefold for issue VIII.4 (Seleucid Empire) that is almost certain to make you look up and pay attention.

The last theme-related article is by Matthew Beazley, who has returned to Ancient Warfare to write the Battle of the Jaxartes, in which Alexander the Great fought against the Scythians. This battle is perhaps the first instance in which siege engines were used as battlefield artillery, an element captured by Milek Jakubiec in his illustration for this piece.

As always, this issue includes a number of articles not related to the theme. Konrad Stauner has written an article on the Roman concept of the parapompê. Arianna Sacco has returned to the magazine with an article on the Egyptian war-reliefs of Seti I at Karnak. Duncan Campbell contributed an article on the length of the Macedonian sarissa. In other words, this issue will have something for everyone, and I expect you will enjoy reading it.

You can pre-order issue VIII.3 now directly from our webshop. Want the issue delivered to your doorstep? Subscribe now and never miss another issue. If your subscription has expired, this is as good an opportunity as any to renew. As always, I look forward to receiving your comments!

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