Maurice was Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602. A prominent general, Maurice fought with success against the Sasanian Empire. After he became Emperor, he brought the war with Sasanian Persia to a victorious conclusion. Under him the Empire's eastern border in the South Caucasus was vastly expanded and, for the first time in nearly two centuries, the Romans were no longer obliged to pay the Persians thousands of pounds of gold annually for peace. Maurice campaigned extensively in the Balkans against the Avars – pushing them back across the Danube by 599, he conducted campaigns across the Danube, the first Roman Emperor to do so in over two centuries. In the west, he established two large semi-autonomous provinces called exarchates, ruled by exarchs, or viceroys of the emperor. In Italy Maurice established the Exarchate of Italy in 584, the first real effort by the Empire to halt the advance of the Lombards. With the creation of the Exarchate of Africa in 590 he further solidified the power of Constantinople in the western Mediterranean.
His reign was troubled by financial difficulties and constant warfare. In 602 a dissatisfied general named Phocas usurped the throne, having Maurice and his six sons executed; this event would prove a disaster for the Empire, sparking a twenty-six year war with Sassanid Persia which would leave both empires devastated prior to the Muslim conquests. His reign is a well documented era of late antiquity, in particular by the historian Theophylact Simocatta; the Strategikon, a manual of war which influenced European and Middle Eastern military traditions for well over a millennium, is traditionally attributed to Maurice. Maurice was born in Arabissus in Cappadocia in the son of a certain Paul, he had one brother and two sisters and Gordia, the wife of the general Philippicus. He is recorded to have been a native Greek speaker, unlike the previous emperors since Anastasius I Dicorus. Sources conflict over his birthplace, with most calling him a native Cappadocian Greek and the first emperor "from the race of the Greeks", while historian Evagrius Scholasticus records a descent from old Rome.
Maurice first came to Constantinople as a notarius to serve as a secretary to the comes excubitorum, the future Tiberius II. When Tiberius was named Caesar in 574, Maurice was appointed to succeed him. In late 577, despite a complete lack of military experience, Maurice was named as magister militum per Orientem commander-in-chief of the Byzantine army in the east, he succeeded General Justinian in the ongoing war against Sassanid Persia. At about the same time he was raised to the rank of patrikios, the Empire's senior honorific title, limited to a small number of holders. In 578, a truce in Mesopotamia came to the main focus of the war shifted to that front. After Persian raids in Mesopotamia, the new magister militum of the east mounted attacks on both sides of the Tigris, captured the fortress of Aphumon and sacked Singara. Sassanid emperor Khosrow sought peace in 579, but died before an agreement could be reached and his successor Hormizd IV broke off the negotiations. In 580, Byzantium's Arab allies the Ghassanids scored a victory over the Lakhmids, Arab allies of the Sassanids, while Byzantine raids again penetrated east of the Tigris.
Around this time the future Khosrow II was put in charge of the situation in Armenia, where he succeeded in convincing most of the rebel leaders to return to Sassanid allegiance, although Iberia remained loyal to the Byzantines. The following year an ambitious campaign by Maurice, supported by Ghassanid forces under al-Mundhir III, targeted Ctesiphon, the Sassanid capital; the combined force moved south along the river Euphrates accompanied by a fleet of ships. The army stormed the fortress of Anatha and moved on until it reached the region of Beth Aramaye in central Mesopotamia, near Ctesiphon. There they found the bridge over the Euphrates destroyed by the Persians. In response to Maurice's advance Sassanid general Adarmahan was ordered to operate in northern Mesopotamia, threatening the Roman army's supply line. Adarmahan pillaged Osrhoene, was successful in capturing its capital, Edessa, he marched his army toward Callinicum on the Euphrates. With the possibility of a march to Ctesiphon gone Maurice was forced to retreat.
The retreat was arduous for the tired army, Maurice and al-Mundhir exchanged recriminations for the expedition's failure. However, they cooperated in forcing Adarmahan to withdraw, defeated him at Callinicum; the mutual recriminations were not laid to rest by this. Despite his successes, al-Mundhir was accused by Maurice of treason during the preceding campaign. Maurice claimed that al-Mundhir had revealed the Byzantine plan to the Persians, who proceeded to destroy the bridge over the Euphrates; the chronicler John of Ephesus explicitly calls this assertion a lie, as the Byzantine intentions must have been plain to the Persian commanders. Both Maurice and al-Mundhir wrote letters to Emperor Tiberius. Maurice visited Constantinople himself, where he was able to persuade Tiberius of al-Mundhir's guilt; the charge of treason is universally dismissed by modern historians. This was compounded by the Byzantines' habitual distrust of the "barbarian" and innately traitorous Arabs, as well as by al-Mundhir's staunchly Monophysite faith.
Al-Mundhir was arrested the following year on suspicion of treachery, triggering war between Byzantines and Ghassanids and marking the beg
The Eurasian nomads were a large group of nomadic peoples from the Eurasian Steppe, who appear in history as invaders of Europe, the Middle East and China. The generic title encompasses the varied ethnic groups who have at times inhabited the steppes of Central Asia and what is now Russia, they domesticated the horse around 3500 BC, vastly increasing the possibilities of nomadic life, subsequently their economy and culture emphasised horse breeding, horse riding and nomadic pastoralism. They developed the chariot, wagon and horse archery and introduced innovations such as the bridle and stirrup, the rapid rate at which innovations crossed the steppelands spread these to be copied by settled peoples bordering the steppes. Scythia was a loose state or federation covering most of the steppe that originated as early as 8th century BC, composed of people speaking Iranian languages, regarded as the first of the nomad empires; the Roman army hired Sarmatians as elite cavalrymen. Europe was exposed to several waves of invasions by horse people, including the Cimmerians in the 8th century BCE, various peoples during the Migration period, the Magyars in the Early Middle Ages, the Mongols and Seljuks in the High Middle Ages, the Kalmuks and the Kyrgyz and the Kazakhs up to modern times.
The earliest example of an invasion by a horse people may have been by the Proto-Indo-Europeans themselves, following the domestication of the horse in the 4th millennium BCE. Cimmerian is the first invasion of equestrian steppe nomads, known from historical sources, their military strength was always based on cavalry marked by prowess as mounted archers. Kurgan is a general term for steppe burial mounds, which sometimes contained elaborate burials. Areas to the north of China included Manchuria and Xinjiang were inhabited by nomadic tribes. Early periods in Chinese history involved conflict with the nomadic peoples to the west of the Wei valley. Texts from the Zhou dynasty compare the Rong, Di and Qin dynasty to wolves, describing them as cruel and greedy. Iron and bronze were supplied from China. An early theory proposed by Owen Lattimore suggesting that the nomadic tribes could have been self-sufficient was criticized by scholars, who questioned whether their raids may have been motivated by necessity rather than greed.
Subsequent studies noted that nomadic demand for grain, cereals and ironware exceeded China's demand for Steppe goods. Anatoly Khazanov identified this imbalance in production as the cause of instability in the Steppe nomadic cultures. Scholars argued that peace along China's northern border depended on whether the nomads could obtain the essential grains and textiles they needed through peaceful means such as trade or intermarriage. Several tribes organized to form the Xiongnu, a tribal confederation that gave the nomadic tribes the upper hand in their dealings with the settled agricultural Chinese people. During the Tang dynasty, Turks would cross the Yellow River. Contemporary Tang sources noted the superiority of Turkic horses. Emperor Taizong wrote that the horses were "exceptionally superior to ordinary "; the Xiajiasi were a tributary tribe who controlled an area abundant in resources like gold and iron. The Turks used the iron tribute paid by the Kyrgyz to make weapons and saddle parts.
Turks were nomadic hunters and would sometimes conceal military activities under the pretense of hunting. Their raids into China were organized by a khagan and success in these campaigns had a significant influence on a tribal leaders prestige. In the 6th c. the Göktürk Khaganate consolidated their dominance over the northern steppe region through a series of military victories against the Shiwei, Rouran, Tuyuhun and Yada. By the end of the 6th century, following the Göktürk civil war, the short-lived empire had split into the Eastern and Western Turkic Khaganates; the concept of "horse people" was of some importance in 19th century scholarship, in connection with the rediscovery of Germanic pagan culture by Romanticism, which idealised the Goths in particular as a heroic horse-people. J. R. R. Tolkien's Rohirrim may be seen as an idealised Germanic people influenced by these romantic notions. Tolkien's Wainriders of eastern Rhûn recall ancient steppe peoples like the Scythians. George R. R. Martin's nomadic Dothraki people are influenced by the lifestyles and cultures of historical horse people.
Nomadism persists in the steppelands, though it has been disapproved of by modern regimes, who have discouraged it with varying degrees of coersion. Chronologically, there have been several "waves" of invasions of either Europe, the Near East, India and/or China from the steppe. Bronze Age Proto-Indo-Europeans, see Indo-European migrations, Kurgan theory, the Indo-Aryan migration theoryIron Age / Classical Antiquity Iranian peoples. Mongols and others: Eurasian nomads and the sedentary world. Leiden: Brill, 2005. Drews, Robert. Early riders: The beginnings of mounted warfare in Asia and Europe. N. Y.: Routledge, 2004. Golden, Peter B. Nomads and their neighbours in the Russian Steppe: Turks and Qipchaqs (Variorum Collected Studie
The martens constitute the genus Martes within the subfamily Guloninae, in the family Mustelidae. They have bushy tails and large paws with retractile claws; the fur varies from yellowish to dark brown, depending on the species, is valued by trappers for the fur trade. Martens are slender, agile animals, adapted to living in the taiga, inhabit coniferous and northern deciduous forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Results of DNA research indicate that the genus Martes is polyphyletic, with some studies placing Martes americana outside the genus and allying it with Eira and Gulo, to form a new New World clade; the genus first evolved up to seven million years ago during the Miocene epoch. American marten Newfoundland pine marten Yellow-throated marten Beech marten Nilgiri marten European pine marten Japanese marten Sable Martes wenzensis† Martes nobilis† The Modern English "marten" comes from the Middle English martryn, in turn borrowed from the Anglo-French martrine and Old French martre, itself from a Germanic source.
Martens are solitary animals, meeting only to breed in early summer. Litters of up to five blind and nearly hairless kits are born in early spring, they are weaned after around two months, leave the mother to fend for themselves at about three to four months of age. Due to their habit of seeking warm and dry places and to gnaw on soft materials, martens cause damage to soft plastic and rubber parts in cars and other parked vehicles, annually costing millions of euros in Central Europe alone, thus leading to the offering of marten-damage insurance, "marten-proofing", electronic repellent devices, they are omnivorous. The marten is popular in the northern Ontario community of Big Trout Lake. During the fur trade, commissioned by the Hudson Bay Company in the 17th and 18th centuries, the marten pelt was fashioned into mittens; the marten is still traded locally. The locals place a high value on this pelt trading it for consumable goods. In the Middle Ages, marten pelts were valued goods used as a form of payment in Slavonia, the Croatian Littoral, Dalmatia.
The banovac, a coin struck and used between 1235 and 1384, included the image of a marten. This is one of the reasons why the Croatian word for marten, kuna, is the name of the modern Croatian currency. A marten is depicted on the obverse of the 1-, 2-, 5-kuna coins, minted since 1993, on the reverse of the 25-kuna commemorative coins. A running marten is shown on the coat of arms of Slavonia and subsequently on the modern design of the coat of arms of Croatia; the official seal of the Croatian Sabor from 1497 until the late 18th century had a similar design. The Finnish communications company Nokia derives its name, via the river Nokianvirta, from a type of marten locally known as the nokia. In the Illiad, the fleet-footed spy Dolon wore a marten-pelt cap; the Latin word for helmet, galea meant "marten pelt," although it is unclear whether early Romans wore these helmets for symbolical reasons or for their fine fur. Data related to Martes at Wikispecies Media related to Martes at Wikimedia Commons
De origine actibusque Getarum, or the Getica, written in Late Latin by Jordanes in or shortly after 551 AD, claims to be a summary of a voluminous account by Cassiodorus of the origin and history of the Gothic people, now lost. However, the extent to which Jordanes used the work of Cassiodorus is unknown, it is significant as the only remaining contemporaneous resource that gives the full story of the origin and history of the Goths. Another aspect of this work is the customs of Slavs; the Getica begins with a geography/ethnography of the North of Scandza. He lets the history of the Goths commence with the emigration of Berig with three ships from Scandza to Gothiscandza, in a distant past. In the pen of Jordanes, Herodotus' Getian demi-god Zalmoxis becomes a king of the Goths. Jordanes tells how the Goths sacked "Troy and Ilium" just after they had recovered somewhat from the war with Agamemnon, they are said to have encountered the Egyptian pharaoh Vesosis. The less-fictional part of Jordanes' work begins when the Goths encounter Roman military forces in the 3rd century AD.
The work concludes with the defeat of the Goths by the Byzantine general Belisarius. Jordanes concludes the work by stating that he writes to honour those who were victorious over the Goths after a history of 2030 years; because the original work of Cassiodorus has not survived, the work of Jordanes is one of the most important sources for the period of the migration of the European tribes, the Ostrogoths and Visigoths in particular, from the 3rd century CE. Cassiodorus had claimed to have the Gothic "folk songs" — carmina prisca — as an important source, its main purpose was to give the Gothic ruling class a glorious past, to match the past of the senatorial families of Roman Italy. Jordanes stated. A controversial passage identifies the ancient people of Venedi mentioned by Tacitus, Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy, with the Slavs of the 6th century; as early as 1844, it has been used by eastern European scholars to support the idea of the existence of a Slavic ethnicity long before the last phase of the Late Roman period.
Others have rejected this view, based on the absence of concrete archaeological and historiographical data. The book is important to some medieval historians because it mentions the campaign in Gaul of one Riothamus, "King of the Brettones,", a possible source of inspiration for the early stories of King Arthur. One of the major questions concerning the historicity of the work is whether the identities mentioned are as ancient as stated or date from a time; the evidence allows a wide range of views, the most skeptical being that the work is mythological, or if Jordanes did exist and is the author, that he describes peoples of the 6th century only. According to the latter, his main source's credibility is questionable for a number of reasons. First, the originality of his main source, Cassiodorus, is debatable because large part of it consists of culling of ancient Greek and Latin authors for descriptions of peoples who might have been Goths. Not only that but it seems that Jordanes has distorted Cassiodorus's narrative by presenting us a cursory abridgement of the latter, mixed with 6th century ethnic names.
Some scholars claim, that while acceptance of Jordanes at face value may be too naive, a skeptical view is not warranted. For example, Jordanes says that the Goths originated in Scandinavia 1490 BC. Austrian historian Herwig Wolfram, believes that there might be a kernel of truth in that claim, if we assume that a clan of the Gutae left Scandinavia long before the establishment of the Amali in the leadership of the Goths; this clan might have contributed to the ethnogenesis of the Gutones in east Pomerania. Another example is the name of the king Cniva which David S. Potter thinks is genuine because, since it doesn't appear in the fictionalized genealogy of Gothic kings given by Jordanes, he must have found it in a genuine 3rd-century source. Danish scholar Arne Søby Christensen on the other hand claims that the Getica was an fabricated account, that the origin of the Goths in the book is a construction based on popular Greek and Roman myths as well as a misinterpretation of recorded names from Northern Europe.
The purpose of this fabrication, according to Christensen, was to establish a glorious identity for the peoples that had gained power in post-Roman Europe. Canadian scholar Walter Goffart suggests another incentive: Getica was part of a conscious plan by emperor Justinian and the propaganda machine at his court, he wanted to affirm that Goths did not belong to the Roman world, thus justifying the claims of the Eastern Roman Empire to the western part of the latter. The migration of the Goths from Scandinavia however bears some similarities with the story of the Gutasaga, which tells of an emigration, associated with the historical migration of the Goths during the Migration period: This Thielvar had a son called Hafthi, and Hafthi's wife was called Whitestar. Those two were the first to settle on Gotland; the first night they slept together. And it seemed to her, she told this dream to her husband Hafthi. He interpreted it thus: "All is bound with bangles, it will be inhabited, this land, we shall have three sons."
While still unborn, he gave them all names: "Guti will own Gotland, Graip will be the second, Gunfiaun third." These divided Gotland into three pa
Jordanes written Jordanis or, Jornandes, was a 6th-century Eastern Roman bureaucrat of Gothic extraction who turned his hand to history in life. Jordanes wrote Romana, about the history of Rome, but his best-known work is his Getica, written in Constantinople about AD 551, it is the only extant ancient work dealing with the early history of the Goths. Jordanes was asked by a friend to write Getica as a summary of a multi-volume history of the Goths by the statesman Cassiodorus that had existed but has since been lost. Jordanes was selected for his known interest in history, his ability to write succinctly and because of his own Gothic background, he had been a high-level notarius, or secretary, of a small client state on the Roman frontier in Scythia Minor, modern south-eastern Romania and north-eastern Bulgaria. Other writers, e.g. Procopius, wrote works which are extant on the history of the Goths; as the only surviving work on Gothic origins, the Getica has been the object of much critical review.
Jordanes wrote in Late Latin rather than the classical Ciceronian Latin. According to his own introduction, he had only three days to review what Cassiodorus had written, meaning that he must have relied on his own knowledge; some of his statements are laconic. Jordanes writes about himself in passing: The Sciri and the Sadagarii and certain of the Alani with their leader, Candac by name, received Scythia Minor and Lower Moesia. Paria, the father of my father Alanoviiamuth, was secretary to this Candac as long. To his sister's son Gunthigis called Baza, the Master of the Soldiery, the son of Andag the son of Andela, descended from the stock of the Amali, I Jordanes, although an unlearned man before my conversion, was secretary. In the Mommsen text edition of 1882, it was suggested that the long name of Jordanes' father should be split into two parts: Alanovii Amuthis, both genitive forms. Jordanes' father's name would be Amuth; the preceding word should belong to Candac, signifying that he was an Alan.
Mommsen, dismissed suggestions to emend a corrupt text. Paria was Jordanes' paternal grandfather. Jordanes writes that he was secretary to Candac, dux Alanorum, an otherwise unknown leader of the Alans. Jordanes was notarius, or secretary to Gunthigis Baza, a magister militum, nephew of Candac, of the leading Ostrogoth clan of the Amali; this was ante conversionem meam. The nature and details of the conversion remain obscure; the Goths had been converted with the assistance of Ulfilas, made bishop on that account. However, the Goths had adopted Arianism. Jordanes' conversion may have been a conversion to the trinitarian Nicene creed, which may be expressed in anti-Arianism in certain passages in Getica. In the letter to Vigilius he mentions that he was awakened vestris interrogationibus - "by your questioning". Alternatively, Jordanes' conversio may mean that he had become a monk, or a religiosus, or a member of the clergy; some manuscripts say that he was a bishop, some say bishop of Ravenna, but the name Jordanes is not known in the lists of bishops of Ravenna.
Jordanes wrote his Romana at the behest of a certain Vigilius. Although some scholars have identified this person with pope Vigilius, there is nothing else to support the identification besides the name; the form of address that Jordanes uses and his admonition that Vigilius "turn to God" would seem to rule out this identification. In the preface to his Getica, Jordanes writes that he is interrupting his work on the Romana at the behest of a brother Castalius, who knew that Jordanes had had the twelve volumes of the History of the Goths by Cassiodorus at home. Castalius would like a short book about the subject, Jordanes obliges with an excerpt based on memory supplemented with other material he had access to; the Getica sets off with a geography/ethnography of the North of Scandza. He lets the history of the Goths commence with the emigration of Berig with three ships from Scandza to Gothiscandza, in a distant past. In the pen of Jordanes, Herodotus' Getian demi-god Zalmoxis becomes a king of the Goths.
Jordanes tells how the Goths sacked "Troy and Ilium" just after they had recovered somewhat from the war with Agamemnon. They are said to have encountered the Egyptian pharaoh Vesosis; the less fictional part of Jordanes' work begins when the Goths encounter Roman military forces in the third century AD. The work concludes with the defeat of the Goths by the Byzantine general Belisarius. Jordanes concludes the work by stating that he writes to honour those who were victorious over the Goths after a history of 2030 years. Several Romanian and American historians wrote about Jordanes' error when considering that Getae were Goths. A lot of historical data of Dacians and Getae were wrongly attributed to Goths. Christensen A. S. Troya C. and Kulikowski M. demonstrated in their works that Jordanes developed in Getica the history of Getic and Dacian peoples mixed with a lot of fantastic deeds. Caracalla received "Geticus Maximus" and "Quasi Gothicus" titles following battles with Getae and Goths. History of the Roman Empire Mierow, Charles Christopher, The Gothic History of Jordanes: In English with an Introduction and a Commentary, 1915.
Reprinted 2006. Evolution Publishing, ISBN 978-1-889758-77-0. Carlo Troya. Storia d'Italia del medio-evo. Tip. del Tasso stamp. Reale. Pp. 1331–. Retrieved 5 April 2013. Kulikowski, Rome’s Gothic Wars, p. 130. Arne Søby Christensen, Cassiodorus and the History of the Goths. Studies in a Migration Myth, 2002, ISBN 978-87-7289-710-3 Kai Brodersen, Könige im Karpatenbogen: Z
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
The Pontic–Caspian steppe, or Pontic steppe is the vast steppeland stretching from the northern shores of the Black Sea as far east as the Caspian Sea, from Moldova and eastern Ukraine across the North Caucasus Federal District, Southern Federal District and the Volga Federal District of Russia to western Kazakhstan, forming part of the larger Eurasian steppe, adjacent to the Kazakh steppe to the east. It is a part of the Palearctic temperate grasslands and shrublands ecoregion of the temperate grasslands and shrublands biome; the area corresponds to Cimmeria and Sarmatia of classical antiquity. Across several millennia the steppe was used by numerous tribes of nomadic horsemen, many of which went on to conquer lands in the settled regions of Europe and in western and southern Asia; the term Ponto-Caspian region is used in biogeography for plants and animals of these steppes, animals from the Black and Azov seas. Genetic research has identified this region as the most probable place where horses were first domesticated.
According to a theory, called Kurgan hypothesis in Indo-European studies, the Pontic–Caspian steppe was the homeland of the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language, these same speakers were the original domesticators of the horse. The Pontic steppe covers an area of 994,000 square kilometres of Europe, extending from Dobrudja in the northeastern corner of Bulgaria and southeastern Romania, across southern Moldova, through Russia to northwestern Kazakhstan to the Ural Mountains; the Pontic steppe is bounded by the East European forest-steppe to the north, a transitional zone of mixed grasslands and temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. To the south, the Pontic steppe extends to the Black Sea, except the Crimean and western Caucasus mountains' border with the sea, where the Crimean Submediterranean forest complex defines the southern edge of the steppes; the steppe extends to the western shore of the Caspian Sea in the Dagestan region of Russia, but the drier Caspian lowland desert lies between the Pontic steppe and the northwestern and northern shores of the Caspian.
The Kazakh Steppe bounds the Pontic steppe on the southeast. The Ponto-Caspian seas are the remains of the Turgai Sea, an extension of the Paratethys which extended south and east of the Urals and covering much of today's West Siberian Plain in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Linear Pottery culture 5500–4500 BC Cucuteni-Trypillian culture 5300–2600 BC Khvalynsk culture 5000-3500 BC Sredny Stog culture 4500–3500 BC Yamna/Kurgan culture 3500–2300 BC Catacomb culture 3000–2200 BC Srubna culture 1600–1200 BC Novocherkassk culture 900–650 BC Cimmerians 12th–7th centuries BC Dacians 11th century BC – 3rd century AD Scythians 8th–4th centuries BC Sarmatians 5th century BC – 5th century AD Ostrogoths 3rd–6th centuries Huns and Avars 4th–8th centuries Bulgars 4th–7th century Alans 5th–11th centuries Eurasian Avars 6th–8th centuries Göktürks 6th–8th centuries Sabirs 6th–8th centuries Khazars 6th–11th centuries Pechenegs 8th–11th centuries Kipchaks and Cumans 11th–13th centuries Mongol Golden Horde 13th–15th centuries Cossacks, Crimean Khanate, Volga Tatars and other Turkic states and tribes 15th–18th centuries Pontic Greeks and Caucasus Greeks 15th–19th centuries Russian Empire 18th–20th centuries Soviet Union 20th century Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine 20th–21st centuries "Pontic steppe".
Terrestrial Ecoregions. World Wildlife Fund. Google maps: Pontic-Caspian steppe