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Quotes / Hordes from the East

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It was flock management, as much as slaughter and butchery, which made the pastoralists so cold-bloodedly adept at confronting the sedentary agriculturalists of the civilised lands in battle... [Civilised] battle formations were likely to have been (on average) loose, discipline weak, and battlefield behaviour crowd- or herd-like. Working a herd, however, was the pastoralists' stock in trade. They knew how to break a flock up into manageable sections, how to cut off a line of retreat by circling to a flank, how to isolate flock-leaders, how to dominate superior numbers by threat and menace, how to kill the chosen few while leaving the mass inert and subject to control.
John Keegan, A History of Warfare

In battle they swoop upon the enemy, uttering frightful yells. When opposed they disperse, only to return with the same speed, smashing and overturning everything in their path... There is nothing to equal the skill with which-from prodigious distances-they discharge their arrows, which are tipped with sharpened bones as hard and murderous as iron.
Ammianus Marcellinus, witness to the Hunnic invasion in the 4th Century AD


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