As readers know, I’ve been following author Pita Kelekna’s posts on Cambridge University Press’ blog, This Side Of The Pond for a a couple of months. Her latest blog entry, Invasions, Civilizations, and Transcontinental Communication, is the fourth in a series promoting her new book, The Horse In Human History.
Kelekna describes how “horse-borne incursions from the steppes invaded sedentary (agricultural) civilizations, and how horses figuratively shrank the world.” I wonder what those horse-borne marauders would have thought of the internet and its world-shrinking powers. Maybe Bill Gates is the ultimate Ghenghis Khan.
In this post, Kelekna follows the Indo-Aryans from 1900 BCE to the sixth century AD Mongol Avars and the invention of the metal stirrup. Her most interesting assertion is that, with the horse-drawn chariot carrying Buddhism north to China, the religion, by way of the horse, became a vehicle for increased communication.
Horse power had effectively transformed the vast inhospitable wastelands of the Eurasian steppes into an intercontinental corridor of rapid communication.