The Hunnic War Machine: Horsemen of the Steppe – Part II

The Hunnic War Machine: Horsemen of the Steppe – Part II

The fifth century politician and bishop Sidonius Apollinaris, wrote an interesting description on the horsemanship of the Huns, stating, “You would think the limbs of man and beast were born together, so firmly does the rider always stick to the horse.” Such were the abilities of the horsemen of the steppe – an integral part of the success of the Hunnic Invasion and the creation of an empire.

[Read Part 1: The Hunnic War Machine: The Push Westward]

Hunnic Horsemen

Being that the majority of the Hunnic cavalry consisted of light horse archers led by petty nobles and their followers, their attire would have been light. The sixth century scholar Procopius states that the Hunnic warrior/herdsman wore “loosely woven” garments. Ammianus, much earlier, describes the dress of the Huns stating:

“They dress in linen cloth or in the skins of field-mice sewn together, and they wear the same clothing indoors and out. But when they have once put their necks into a faded tunic, it is not taken off or changed until by long wear and tear it has been reduced to rags and fallen from them bit by bit. They cover their heads with round caps and protect their hairy legs with goatskins; their shoes are formed upon no lasts, and so prevent their walking with free step.”


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