Russian Anthropological
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Northern Travelling
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Andrei Golovnev. Anthropology of Movement (Antiquities of the North Eurasia). Ekaterinburg: Ural Department of Russian Academy of Science (Institute of History and Archaeology); "Volot", 2009. 496 p. available only in Russian!


The modern man is rather a lying and sitting than an orthograde. Most of the day s/he sits and most of the night lies. Today’s transportation and communications technologies brought about the "death of distances" and by the way the crisis of live communication. Two million years ago the remote ancestor of man was running more than he was walking, and in that sense could be called Homo mobilis (man mobile). At the dawn of the human era movement was the natural state of man, and all the insights of the Stone Age were obtained on the move, or even while running. The most significant achievement of the Paleolithic period—peopling of the Oecumene—was made possible owing aptitude of man to spatial expansion. All the first technological inventions—projectile tools, bow and arrows, boats and sledge—were made for the sake of conquering distances. In ancient times perpetual mobility was the routine, and the settled repose was a sign of calamity.

History has been written in static terms, in the chronicler’s attitude and in the past perfect tense. It may be said that to some extent all classic research is fixed on some static foothold and in case of non-equilibrium tends to return to a standstill position. A historian thinks in still frames, giving preference to facts and events tied to the fixed temporal-spatial axes over the chaos of movement. In this way the historical text replaces the real movements with the speculations of a researcher, describing stages of material and social progress, the change of social formations, rise and decline in production. The anthropology of movement studies the ‘motive-decision-action’ link. Man is the fruit of movement and its generator. The complicated spatial strategies constituted the main advantage of the ancient people in the biocenosis, success of humans depended rather on the art of manoeuvre and maintaining control over the conquered niche, than on their physical capabilities.

If movement is understood as the motivated activity, as opposed to the mechanical reaction to external interferences, then the action driven pattern consisting of the regularly repeated actions, including the economic, sexual, military and ritual acts would become the key concept. Its driving force would be the operative motives from the most primitive to the creative ones, which are directing all human actions, forcing people dress in the morning, pray to the God, herd horses, and wage wars. The combination of motives activating the relevant elements of culture creates the personality of a human, bringing together the basic instincts, acquired norms and individual preferences. Any fact in the anthropology of movement is interpreted from the motive-action aspect. In this way a fact—historical (written evidence), archaeological (fossil evidence), or ethnographical (observed evidence)—acquires the personal and the socially oriented ties. Chains of these interrelated facts allow to discern the outlines of phenomena, the motivation-action driven patterns.

All action driven patterns are projections of the initial images of man and woman, a predator and an herbivore. A feature distinguishing man from all other creatures of nature has always been his super-adaptability, and the repertoire of his actions was supplemented with a multitude of shades, first of all owing to the readjusted borrowings (mime-adaptations). In the process of their interaction with other species humans successfully tried on their behaviour patterns (as a rule together with the hides, skulls and voices), and in due course in place of these natural mime-adaptations came the cross social imitations and borrowings.

Any interaction between communities is in the first place the dialogue between their elites, the ruling agents. Successful leading models deepened the particular elite specialisation, and in certain cases caused overflowing of its influence beyond the limits of a particular local group. While maintaining power over the base local niche the elite could subordinate the neighbouring groups, thus complicating and spatially expanding its leading function. This was the mechanism for the formation of the groups of warriors or traders, whose status and actions were materially different from the occupations of their parent local group. Furthermore, these distinct social groups (caste, class) formed a new culture, based on intermediation and administration.

In terms of movement and adaptation the cultures are divided into the local and the long-range ones. A culture based on eco-adaptation and focused on a specific ecotope may be called local, and a culture embracing a wide area, connecting several local cultures and utilising their resources—the long-range one. A local culture harnesses bio-resources, a long-range one—social resources. The long-range culture is always more flexible than the local, as it the process of growth it used its advantage of motion and developed the technologies of mobility in competition with the rival cultures. While the long-range cultures had superior status, the local cultures enjoyed stability and sustainability thanks to their direct ties to the land and its resources. The dominant role in the mediation process belonged to the military-political, priestly or trading elite uniting the local cultures through their activities and thus creating new contacts and relationship channels. The language of a long-range culture traditionally acquired the status of the second language of the local groups; frequently the same was true for the cult and the system of power. By means of trade, religion, wars, politics, and economics the long-range culture colonized the local communities and created a social hierarchy.

Part I. Patterns. Chapter 1. Pra-motion

A significant shift in the rhythm of movement occurred with the exit of the ancient people into savannah and the opening up of the visual and the ideal perspective of space. Under the shade of the equatorial forest the predominant attack (pursuit) or defence (escape) tactics were the individual ones, whereas the savannah gave ample scope to collective strategies. Here the gregarious instinct of the herbivores and the aggregative behaviour of the predators combined into the intricate behavioural combinations. Apparently the fight for the African savannah became the prologue to the global migrations of ancient people.

The East African rift with the rich variety of its bioresources was the womb of the primordial culture, and the way from the mountains into the valley was the primary pattern for the exploration of vast territories. A mountain created an illusion of domination over the underlying valley, and served as a safe haven wherefrom the groups of ancient people set off and whereto they returned. It stands to reasons that the early sites are found in caves and other mountain tracts, and the mythologies of different peoples are full of the sacral images of the mountain. The mountain-valley correlation has on the one hand added complexity to the adaptation strategies and on the other extended the migration routes of the nomads. The “hill-to-hill” passage set the rhythm to the early movement.

The first colony in the human history was Eurasia. While in Africa the ape-man was an organic link in the biosphere, when he came to Eurasia he appeared an invader and trespasser, and thus entered into a difficult dialogue with the former masters of the ecosystems, first of all the large predators. The outposts for the settlement of the North Eurasia were the Caucasus, Central and Eastern Asia, and Asia Minor. Two “Lower Palaeolithic culture shields” in the West and in the East of Eurasia represented with the Heidelberg man with the chippers, and the Sinanthropus with the pebble tools seem to form the poles of the Afro-Eurasian space. The focal pattern of ancient Eurasia combined with the continuity provided by the different in scope migrations and interactions. The continuity was the consequence of constant interaction between the local groups and the long-range migrations, resembling conquests. The Middle East connecting Africa with Eurasia served as the cross-roads; during the Mousterian period the Neanderthal people and their contemporaries used it for the passage between Europe, Africa and West Asia. The Afro-Eurasian node played the role of migration springboard and set the pulse of movement across the oecumene, maintaining the physical unity of the Homo family and contributing to the diffusion of technologies. Here, not in a secluded haven, but at the cross-roads, both the pre-sapiens, and the sapiens were evolved. The Homo sapiens won in his competition with the Homo-brethren not owing to some unique innate physiology, but thanks to his art of communication developed in motion. The “Upper Paleolithic revolution”—the spread of Homo sapiens across the world—was the product of hands, feet and social strategies of the man-predator (the herbivore pattern was incapable of motivating the conquest of new territories, especially the ecologically uncomfortable ones). The destruction of mega-fauna and the wide-range settling were the two key characteristics of the man-hunter movement.

From the beginning the ancient man followed the behaviour pattern of a primate, which was prompted by the natural instincts, rhythms and resources. By means of mime-adaptations the man adopted the others’ patterns thus expanding his own field of activities. In all probability in the art of imitation the ancient man was more of a monkey than the monkey itself. Through imitation of the large predators’ behaviour the man-mime usurped their place in nature gradually pushing out, extinguishing or domesticating his teachers. He did not alienate himself from the animal realm, but became instead its shepherd, the super-beast; this process could be traced back from the Paleolithic cave drawings. The exodus to Eurasia brought the man in contact with the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus), a highly adaptive predator close to man in ethology (inclination towards caves), diet (pantophagy), bodily movement (ability to sit up and stand erect on hind legs). Apparently humans killed and ate bears, and the bears reciprocated. Development of the North of Eurasia would have been unthinkable without the bear mime-adaptation. The “bear pattern” including dwelling in caves and lairs served as the behaviour and the movement model for many groups of the ancient Eurasia.

Two motifs were dominating in the Palaeolithic art, the “beasts” and the “Venuses”. The first dominated in the monumental cave paintings, the second were best represented in the small-scale sculpture. The environment of the former was the temple, of the latter—the house. The “Venus” behaviour pattern emphasised the female role in the common activity scenarios, including the intersections with the male “beast pattern”. The beasts and the Venuses were differently oriented not only in space (the temple and the house), but also in the rhythm of movement. The beasts were more inclined towards dynamics, while the Venuses preferred statics. This correlated well with the male manner of exploring the outside environment and the female manner of home improvement. The pattern of a “homely woman” which originated in the communities of the south of Eurasia was a constant factor of settling down in the Palaeolithic and the later periods. It changed the general rhythm of movement. Mobility of men continued to be the factor of migrations and stable connections. It was stimulated not only by hunting the wandering animals, but also by “hunting Venuses”, which was one of the main motifs for gaining control over territory and the rivalry between the chieftains of different groups.

Chapter 2. Circumpolarity

The mountain chains stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean (the Pyrenees – the Khingan mountains) divided the continent into the warm and the cold parts. The Eurasian mountain range served as the main route for the latitudinal migrations, while its longitudinal branches offered opportunities for settling the valleys. The inhabitants of Eurasia of the Mousterian period did not, as a rule, cross the 55th latitude. The centres for the development of the North Eurasia in the Middle and the Upper Palaeolithic were the mountainous countries (Alps, Caucasus, Ural, Altai, and Baikal ranges). The longest northern migration routes went along the longitudinal mountain ranges, e.g. along the Ural to the Polar Circle. In the Upper Palaeolithic the role of the large rivers became more prominent as their high terraces offered convenient migration routes to the northern hunters. While in the south of Eurasia the development followed the complex, hierarchically organised, and mostly plant-eating harvesting and production patterns, in the north the dominating patterns were predominantly carnivorous and hunting ones. The southerners focused on intensive strategies bringing them closer to the Neolithic/urban revolution, whereas the northerners developed the old extensive strategies, pushing them to colonisation of new territories. By the end of the Pleistocene the man reached the northern coast of Eurasia, crossed the Bering bridge and got to the north of America, embracing the Arctic and the other oceans of the Northern hemisphere with the rings of colonisation. Exploration of the Arctic marked the peak of migration and adaptation strategy comparable in scale with the successes of the settled adaptation strategies of the south. The nomadic North of the time developed the technologies of movement, whereas the settling down south perfected the skills of developing the inhabited environment in the form of agriculture, house building and pottery.

The valley between the Eurasian range and the glacial belt consisted of the cold tundra-steppe inhabited by the mammoth fauna, including the man-hunter. However the dwellers of the near-glacial areas were not too scared by the cold and snow. The choice of the northern vector of migrations, the ingenious tight-fitting clothes and the insulated houses were rather the signs of the targeted specialization then the impoverished existence. Human adaptation consisted not of survival techniques, but of the development of a perfect in its way activity pattern, the advantages of which compensated for the shortcomings of the climate. One of the mime-adaptations produced an effect of interaction with beasts, particularly with the domesticated dog. The first signs of dog breeding practices were noted at the turn of the Pleistocene and the Holocene both in Eurasia (Siberia, Denmark) and North America. Being at the same time the “domestic” and the "marching" animal the dog significantly strengthened the man's potential of control over the distances. The doubled potential of the man and the dog put them in a position of absolute domination in the animal world, providing for the efficient security pattern (home–fire–dog), the ease of searching and driving game, as well as the speed with which the large fauna was extinguished in the Northern hemisphere.

While exploring the northern Eurasia the ancient hunters reached the currently uninhabited latitudes. The archaeology of Zhokhov Island (76° N, the East Siberian Sea, De Long Archipelago, average July temperature 0º C) indicates that 8.5 thousand years ago the inhabitants of the Arctic could cover huge distances pursuing the reindeer and the polar bears. By analogy with the cave bear hunters of the Palaeolithic it is possible to assume that the Zhokhov people were experienced bear students and skilled bear herders. The reason for the long-distance seasonal raids was not the scarcity of the bioresources or the over-population of the Yano-Indigir lowland. The abundance of bear bones (with the occasional human ones) in the Zhokhov site, and the reconstructions of hunting methods indicated that the man and the beast were engaged in a sophisticated dialogue, which extended far beyond the purely gastronomic interests. The image of man-bear represented in the sculptured figures found at the site and discernible in the activity pattern of the Zhokhov hunters correlated with the ancient mytho-heroics according to which the long-distance travel and the contest with bear were driven not so much by the economic need, as by the idea of initiation man to the powerful beast, including its gift of mastering the northern territories. It is possible that the Zhokhov site revealed a picture of mime-adaptation in which the Stone Age hunters developed the “master of the Arctic” pattern.

The continent from which the Zhokhov people came to the island was the area of the Sumnagin culture, embracing the Northern Asia from the Yenisei River to Chukotka, and from the Arctic to Baikal Lake. Only the dynamic culture, capable of establishing control over a vast territory could have developed the Lena valley thoroughfare. The eco-social conditions of the Lena valley were the northern version of the great steppe. The appearance of the new migrants on the Lena inevitably brought them in confrontation with the then existing dominant group. The most difficult test for the migrants was not the conquering of the centre, but the establishing of control over the pathways system.

The maritime adaptation started with gathering molluscs on the beaches of Africa and continued in the "shell heaps" cultures of Europe, Asia, and America. The first traces of the northern maritime adaptation were registered 10–8 thousand years ago in the Atlantic (Maglemose of Denmark—Komsa of Norway) and the Pacific (Jomon in Japan—Anangula of the Bering Sea Coast). The most mobile and “rapacious” groups of hunters were found in the North. Not only because of the economic need, but also because of the nature of their activity they were capable of reaching the American continent, the "Sannikov's Land", and embarking upon a risky voyage across the cold sea. The circumpolar world was not the product of a single culture, but of several, and the mechanism of its existence from the very beginning required interaction between different cultures. All circumpolar cultures were “predatory”. They were the product of the migrant hunters of the Stone Age maintaining the traditional action-motives of the Paleolithic: control over vast territories, and the “beast” and the “shepherd” patterns.

Chapter 3. Pra-ethnicity.

While settling over the globe the humans maintained their biological unity but formed communities that called the peoples or cultures. A debate between the advocates of the inherent nature of ethnicity (the primordialists) and the supporters of its artificial character (constructivists) has significantly expanded the scope of the ethnographic studies. In fact primordialism and constructivism are the mutually complementing dimensions, one of which shows the endurance of ethnicity in the sequence of generations, and another—the mechanics of its functioning. The drift of ethnicity resembles rather a chain of situational reactions, then linear evolution, and its turns do not necessarily follow the zigzags of political history. The surge of ethnic identity feeling is often stirred up by the political instability, and its decline falls on the social well-being stage. Ethnicity is similar to the immune system which becomes active in crises and during virus attacks, while in a healthy organism stays inconspicuous, as if sleeping.

The driving forces and internal mechanisms of ethnicity were the kinship, sex and power. Kinship is understood as not solely, or even mostly, blood relation, but as the existential philosophy of affinity often manifested through the symbolic kinship. Expansion of kinship was a method of colonizing new lands, and in antiquity, as in the later periods, the “new kinship” was often formed around the territory, food, war, magician, chief, cult, myth, or ritual. The basic for affinity and communion in all times was sex. Unrestricted by mating cycles, the hyper-sexuality of man sets him aside from all other animals and may be considered the characteristic attribute of a species. In many respects it was hyper-sexuality that forced the ancient people to build complicated social relations. Movement in its essence is conditional to sexual desire, and the perpetuum mobile of human culture was always driven by sexual energy. In social environment kinship and sex served as the “two legs" of movement. The quite common in the legends and practices of various peoples long journeys "in search of a wife" served as the practically universal mechanism for the expansion of kinship-affinity. While movement driven by the economic need was based on calculation and reason, the sexual search expeditions could easily cross the boundaries of common sense and become risky adventures praised in legends. No other business or hunger could drive the heroes as far away as the “woman hunt” and the sexual desire.

The third dimension and the foundation of ethnicity is power. The art of subordinating a pack/herd already in antiquity required a hierarchy of “the chiefs and the common people”. This order goes back into the social behaviour of the ancient people and still remains the key principle of social relations in the wild nature. In all probability the manner of directing life of community by the prehistoric chiefs was a lot rougher and tougher than it is today and all further social development consisted in formalisation and specialisation of the art with the evolution of bureaucracy and democracy. The appearance of the ruling agents, whose field of activity was the hierarchy, resulted in the formation of the elite—the “gatherers of gatherers", or the “users of users”. First signs of the existence of large organised human communities were registered in the early Holocene, at the time of extermination of the mammoth fauna and the crisis of large scale driving technique. It was probably then, that the hunters switched their attention from the animal herds to human communities.

Three main families of Northern Eurasia—Altai, Indo-European, and Ural—are considered to be distantly related on the Nostratic basis. Given the interpretation of kinship as the strategy of affinity (including the symbolic kinship as real interaction practice), the prehistory of these families could be represented not as the gradual disintegration into different languages, but as the rhythm of convergence and divergence. In the most general form this rhythm was determined by the peaks of the dynamics and the statics: migration caused integration, and settlement resulted in branching off of the languages. Apparently in antiquity the bilingualism was a common norm. Hence the proper formula for linguistic history reconstruction should be based not on the assumption of branching of a single language, but on a situation of local–long-range bilingualism as the elementary mechanism of communication. The static communities were characterised by closeness of their linguistic environment, thus contacts between them required the use of intermediaries from the long-range cultures. The role of these long-range intermediaries, normally in combination with some forms of leadership and commerce, was the basis for the specialisation of individual communities in the activities presuming control over the wide areas.

While Homo mobilis was the primordial phenomenon, the ‘man settled’ was the consequence of later adaptation. The evolution of agriculture as the “gathered gathering” was to a large extent the continuation of the Venus pattern. From the motivation and technology aspect agriculture was the artificially localised gathering, the spatial convergence of harvesting and housekeeping. The urban behavioural model goes back to the Venus pattern. It is quite possible that it was the enclosed and protected harem that became the pra-city; moreover, the place was locked down not only against the raids of the varmint strangers, but also to prevent escape of the flighty wives. The settled urban culture was built on a whim of women, for women, and in many respects by women. The settled existence in its way contributed to the evolution of movement: the highly populated and wealthy settlements became the attraction points for the nomadic groups. While earlier the hunters “herded” the wandering gatherers, now they had them at their disposal in the permanent residences. The inhabitants of the cities were the sedentary people, but it were the mobile ones who ruled over them. The stem of the Neolithic revolution appears to be the “domestication” of people, and the creation of a new type of social hierarchy based on “enslavement” of the settled and the power of the mobile.

Chapter 4. Horse-breeders and Seafarers.

 Starting with the Neolithic revolution the balance between the dynamics and the statics acquired the form of relationship of nomadism and the settled way of life. Mobility of the nomads in addition to being their main weapon was also their trade, ideology and politics. The most important event in the evolution of the long-range cultures of northern Eurasia was the emergence and development of activity patterns of the "horse-people" and the “sea-people”.

Archaeology managed to fix the approximate prehistoric birth point of the horse-breeding culture in the south Russian steppe in the middle of the fourth millennium BC (Srednestogovskaya culture). It is quite possible that its emergence was the consequence of the “Cossack syndrome”—the formation of the dashing “freedom community” in the “wild field” at the outskirts of the Tripolje culture. The non-peaceful line of the mounted Indo-European hordes stretching from Europe to China from the Eneolithic period became the generator of a diversified nomadic culture, the intermediary between the local settled communities, the main route for the dissemination of the technical innovation (particularly the arms) and the “leadership greenhouse”. In the Bronze Age (2,000 BC) numerous battle chariots rolled along this thoroughfare leaving behind bronze axes and daggers, introducing the interment with horses rites, and carving petroglyphs depicting carriages drawn by horses. In the 12th century BC the chariots gave way to equestrianism and the speed with which it spread across the Eurasian steppes, in Greece, Anatoly, Cyprus, and in the Caucasus, demonstrated to what extent the Eurasian world was connected internally by horse-riders, and to what extent they contributed to maintaining the informational and the socio-cultural unity. The central and the coastal Europe with their mountainous-forest landscape were ecologically inconvenient for the steppe people. Nonetheless the mounted warriors played a notable role in the socio-cultural and the hierarchical structure of the ancient Europeans. With a certain temporal lag (relative to the Eurasian steppe) horses and chariots became the attributes of the European elites from the Balkans to Scandinavia.

In the Early Iron Age the Eurasian steppe was the arena of migrations of Indo-European riders, the easternmost of whom, the Yuezhi-Tohar, migrated along the borders of China. It is possible that Yuezhi gave Hsiung-nu their first lessons in horseback raids, encouraging them to join in the raids on the Chinese agricultural provinces. The Yuezhi woke up the Hsiung-nu, teaching steppe hunters the system of hunting not only animals, but people as well. In its turn the Chinese emperor having attacked Ordos during the Qin Dynasty provoked further expansion of the nomads. The nomadic aggressiveness of the Yuezhi in combination with the Qin-Han cult of unity gave birth to the Hsiung-nu phenomenon. The double or binary social mime-adaptation allowed the peripheral nomads under the leadership of Mao-tun create a nomadic empire amidst the “wild field” over a short period of time. The Hsiung-nu surpassed the Chinese in mastering the Yuezhi mobility, and the Yuezhi—in practicing the Chinese solidarity; the Hsiung-nu developed a motivation-activity pattern based upon perfection of equestrian and bow shooting skills, and cultivation of war as a lucrative and prestigious occupation.

The cultures of the “people of the sea” developed in the south and the north of Europe from antiquity: the reed boats of Egypt and the wooden barks of northern Europe already 9–8 thousand years ago were used for cruising the main-line rivers and the large island archipelagos (the Aegean, the Danish). For the Egyptians sea travel did not become a thoroughfare of movement and development, although chiselled pictures of boats were left on the desert rocks between the Nile and the Red Sea already in the fourth millennium BC. The Egyptians who were the first to build the big ships used them for carrying not only grain and cattle, but also the authority (models of ships found in the pharaohs’ tombs give an indication of the hierarchy and the social importance of the ships). The Egyptian navigation made the Nile a thoroughfare of potamic civilisation. Moderate use of the sea by the Egyptians could be the consequence of their feeling that the Great River offered them better protection from dangers of the seas and the deserts (similar to the Chinese attitude towards the open spaces).

As opposed to the Egyptians the population of Crete and the Cyclades archipelago developed a cult of the sea which found its artistic manifestation in pictures of ships, dolphins, fish, corals, and sea stars in murals, on vessels and stamps. Crete became the capital of the sea people; it was the most remote from the continent island of the Aegeid—home of the Minoan kingdom, the most ancient Mediterranean thalassocracy. The domination of the seas was not the product of fishing, but of piracy, meaning by the latter not only the capture of alien ships, but also the fight for control over and “herding” of the coastal population. The bellicosity of the Aegean sea-people went back to the ancient European “ox pattern”—beast-warrior, which found its expression on Crete in the famous myths of the Minotaur and the rape of Europa. Similar to the inland European population of the Bronze Age, who left the drawings of horned horses, the sailors of the Aegeid represented the masters of the sea as the furious and amorous oxen.

In the mid second millennium BC the new centre of the long-range maritime culture was formed in Phoenicia, at the cross-roads of the routes and contacts between the Aegeid and Egypt. The Phoenician city-ports in Levant were the communities made up of the representatives of different cultures—Semites, Egyptians, and Cretans-Philistines. The Phoenicians formed an exterritorial confederation of traders, assuming the role of intermediaries in the international sea-borne trade. The sea-borne trade phenomenon of the Bronze Age was the product of a flow of events in which supply and demand were intermingled with the religious and the power ambitions. The cult of wealth that originated from a mixture of striving for power, religious pursuits, mysticism and greed was instrumentally developed by the sea traders. In its nature it had as little in common with the daily living needs, as the “golden calf” with veal. The Phoenicians managed to synthesize different motives and values, having created the equivalents of exchange and mastered the art of managing this exchange. In their hands the gold, which was sacred for the Egyptians and prestigious for the Greeks, became the measure and the instrument of power. The sea was a convenient pasture for the “gold calf”, and the seaways became the routes for dissemination of the cult of wealth and the practice of gaining it far beyond the limits of the Mediterranean.

The Nordic maritime culture had its roots in the north European Neolithic, the time of the appearance of the first double-stem boats. Stability of the northern tradition did not exclude the ties of the Nordic culture with the Mediterranean one, judging by the spread of the megaliths, the sea-borne circulation supported the trans-European communications of the Stone Age. The contacts between northern and southern seafarers of Europe were of a two-way nature, and their local roots were sufficiently strong to secure the distinctive development and the selectiveness of the borrowings. The northerners’ crave for the southern trophies was a clear indication of their acceptance of the "golden calf" cult. It is possible that already in the Bronze Age the northern sailors participated not only in the trade, but also in plunder campaigns. Bellicosity of the sea-people was stirred up by the competition with riders who dominated the open spaces of the eastern Europe. It is quite possible that the ways of marine and inland nomads crossed already in the Bronze Age at the West-Asian and the Black Sea crossroads.

The activity pattern of the northern Teutons was motivated by the military trade and the overgrown to the ethnic ideology scale cult of military valour. The most lucrative land for the military trade of the northern barbarians was the Roman Empire. With its counter expansion, e.g. the Cesar’s Rhine campaigns, the Rome only strengthened the military pattern of the Teutons. Similar to the Chine, with its attempts at protecting against Hsiung-nu with the Great Wall, the Rome built Limes Romanus from the upper Danube to the middle Rhine – a fortification network consisting of a line of castles-fortresses. The Goth expansion went from the north to the south bypassing the Limes and initially covering the Baltic coast. Later on it spread further across the east European thoroughfares reaching to the Black Sea. From the very first episode in their history the Goths appeared as the people of the sea. Black and Asov seas became the main arena of their war trade. The ethnically inhomogeneous community led by the Goths was both functionally and hierarchically organized as the people-army: the Cherniakhov culture settlements on the Black Sea coast were inhabited by warriors and armourers, potters and cooks, merchants and farmers.

The appearance of the wandering Slavic armies invading eastern Europe in the middle of the first millennium was the result of their involvement into the military adventures of the Goths and, at a later stage, of other nomads. The path of the Goths crossed the Slav lands from the Vistula to the Dnieper estuary, and the territory between Baltic and Pontic seas became the arena of interaction between local Slavic and long-range Goth cultures. Slavs and Goths with their different activity patterns complemented each other: the hunters-farmers owned the local natural resources; the marine warriors had control over the ways and the territories between the two seas. The Slavs used the Goths as intermediaries and military force in the inter-tribe conflicts, whereas the Goths practiced their war trade in the Slav lands and recruited the infantry for the military campaigns. However, the military mime-adaptation did not turn the Slavs, unlike Hsiung-nu nomads, into the people-army, at the same time the eco-cultural attachment to land had predetermined the success of colonisation: while the nomads dominated the space, their allies-Slavs took roots in the land developing its local areas. During the Great Migration age, while the steppe and the marine long-range cultures succeeded each other, the Slavs created a network of stable local cultures from Balkans to Baltic Sea coast.

Part II. Scenarios. Chapter 1. The Vikings

A style in art cannot fail to be a style of thought and perception. The Vikings managed to grasp a moment in the poems and the ornament (the name of one of the Norman’s motifs was the "grasping beast"). The skaldic verse was the expression of the mental acuity of the Vikings. The phonetics, rhythm composition of the Scandinavian verse corresponded to the manner of the warrior’s behaviour with accents on quick decisions and the suddenness of action. The scaldic poetry was dedicated to the heroics of battle, hence the clash of weapons that can be heard in its lines, it is even possible that it was a kind of weapon itself. The common for the scaldics cut verse was akin to a sword blow. The scald lines did not make a smooth ornament, but criss-crossed in impulsive movement. The texture of the Borre ornaments was the projection of tension in the minds of the medieval Scandinavians resulting from the intricate mixture of marine navigation and commercial calculation, of war and passion, of risk and responsibility.

In the Viking strategy the outposts of power of the sea over the land were the islands, which served as the residences of “sea-konungs.” The political power of the Scandinavian konungs was born and matured in the sea, and not inland, in constant movement, and not in sitting on the prince’s throne. It is possible that there existed a certain division of the sea-lines network controlled by sea-konungs into a kind of “marine principalities”. The Heimskringla (Earth Circle) was a network of water lanes embracing the land, control over which was the key to land domination (the “sea-konung pattern”). On the one hand the domination of the seas was the basis of the military and piracy trade, on the other it supported the idea of domination of the sea over the land, which became the Vikings’ ideology. The key to ambitions, risk and successes of the sea nomads was their sincere belief in their initial supremacy over the settled population. The i vikingu (“away”, “at sea”) state produced the “citizen of the sea” identity. The Viking is a specific identity that grew from the north-Germanic and the Nordic culture but later expanded far beyond its limits. The Vikings were not only the Dutch, the Norwegians and the Swedes, but also the representatives of Slavs, Balts, and Finns. The Viking identity was comparable to the Phoenician: both had roots in the local cultures (Semite and Germanic respectively) but later became name and identity of the new super-ethnic communities—the sea empires.

The medieval Scandinavians’ way of life characterized them as both settled farmers and marine nomads.

Stable routes of the Normans were moulded as a replica of their culture, combining war and diplomacy, commerce and colonization, maritime and agrarian economy, rituals and mythology. All colonies and states built by Vikings grew on established waterways. In the old Scandinavian attitude to the way there was both the romanticism of conquest and the pragmatism of development. Maintaining the way meant its comprehensive development, and in this sense not only the way belonged to a Viking, but also the Viking belonged to the way. Control over the thoroughfare was rather a control over social than over natural resources. Not always peaceful interaction between the creators-owners of the thoroughfare and the inhabitants-owners of the local niches was built on the combination of their different activity patterns. The relationship covered a wide spectrum of ties, occupations and random events, but for a Viking the core of relationship consisted in the main functions expressed with the archaeological triad (ship, sword, scale weight)—levy, war, commerce.

The generosity and hunger for glory in the heart of a Viking were inseparable from his sincere love of wealth. With the sword in one hand and a scale in another the Viking composed poems and calculated their income equally well. The Vikings’ greed for money motivated their activity and competition. The wealth was procured, accumulated, given away, served as the equivalent of glory, the measure of prestige, social capital (such concepts as “greed” and “avarice” were expressed in the poetic kennings as “bush of wealth” and “collector of treasures”).

The destruction of the European Christian monasteries by Vikings were the pagans’ answer to the unannounced Crusade started by Charlemagne in the 770-s, primarily to the baptism of the Saxons. The Vikings’ movement was driven by the motivational-activity charge of the Nordic culture expressed in the “Odin pattern”—a synthesis of poetry and war, ambition for glory and power, and lust for women and wealth. The decline of their culture was the consequence of the cessation of movement, change of the pagan way for the Christian order, the settling down of the seafarers in the colonies, the victory of statehood over the i vikingu freedom. The long-range culture of the Vikings split eventually into a number of local cultures.

Chapter 2. Gardar.

In the 8th–11th centuries the area between Baltic and Pontic Seas was the territory covered by the Varangians’ (eastern Normans) expansion along the Eastern Way (Austrvegr). The old Scandinavian geography used in reference to this territory the term Garđar (Cities) or Garđariki (Kingdom of Cities). In the East the Normans were known as Rus, meaning “army, the military elite”. The phrase “Rus is coming” in the Chronicles meant an army led by a Prince and his team. The author of the story of Svyatoslav and his deeds used the term Rus in various connotations—personal (the Prince), military (elite), caste (army), international (country), and spatial (land). It was not a Prince who acquired the name Russian from the name of a country called Rus, but the country got the name Rus because it belonged to a Russian Prince with his Rus-army. Svyatoslav could not imagine a rus independent of himself no matter how far he travelled; in those days rus was nomadic, not yet settled down in the gardar and on the princes' thrones.

Rus and liud (people) denominated the relationship between the military-princely elite and the commoners in the Viking era Gardar. Correspondingly poliudie meant the rus making the rounds visiting all the dependent people. The annual rus movement cycle can be represented as three “circles”: (1) the winter horseback local rounds by the military team; (2) the Prince’s winter horseback round of his dominions on the way “from the Varangians to the Greeks”; (3) the summer boat voyage of the Prince together with his team and allies over the sea to Bulgaria or Byzantium. Poliudie is often considered to be the eastern version of the Scandinavian veizla (feast). However, unlike the Norman feast of the compatriots poliudie (visiting for the people) often included the outsider Scandinavians—the Ros, and the local Slavs and Finns. In the native land of the Varangians the estate barriers were not as strong as between ethnically different nobility and commoners in Rus. In the conquered lands the Varangian princes built fortresses—the gardar (towns) and settlements to facilitate collection of levy and valetry.

Rus and Slavs represented different motivation-activity patterns: the Slavs developed the resources of nature, and the Rus developed the resources of Slavs. According to the written Arabian evidences, the Slavs cultivated the land, bred pigs and bees, harvested honey, while the Rus robbed the Slavs and sold them as slaves. The most marked difference was in the style of movement: the Rus covered the distances from Scandinavia to Bagdad and China, whereas the Slavs lived in permanent settlements consisting of dugouts. The interaction between these patterns vividly resembled the natural dialogue between the predator and the herbivore, in the social hierarchy—the ruling elite and the vassal agrarian population, in movement—the long-range and the local cultures. Coercion and slave trade were only one part of scenario, another part consisted of the efficient interaction between the ecologically powerful local (Slavic and Finnish) and the politically successful long-range (Scandinavian) culture. The local cultures provided for the economic development and improvement of territories, including growth of towns, whereas the long-range ones “carried” along groups of local farmers-hunters, acting as the transport vehicle of their migration. With their rounds the Varangians raised the Slavs engaging them in migration.

The rule of Prince Vladimir born by the Slav woman Malusha from the Rus Svyatoslav was a turning point in the dialogue between the Rus and the Slavs, the revolution of poliudie, when the sovereign Prince combined in himself the two formerly separate behaviour patterns. It was Vladimir who was traditionally described in the Russian tales as the “people’s prince” to whom related the heroes “from atop the oven” (Ilia Muromets) and "from the plough-tail” (Mikula Selyaninovich). The reign of Vladimir was the period of synthesis of Nordic and Slavic traditions, particularly in the north, in the Upper Rus where Vladimir recruited his first military team, and where the ties between the Rus and the Slavs (Sloven) had deep roots. Vladimir was persistently searching for the super-ethnic ideological content and resolved to perform the “imperial” revolution—the baptism. Christianity for Rus appeared a super-ethnic ideology subordinating both Nordic and Slavic traditions and enabling Vladimir, through this new identity, to overcome the conflicting Ruso-Slavic duality both on personal and political levels. The reason why Orthodox Christianity was so firmly associated with the early Russian culture was that it became the uniting ideology of community that was born under Prince Vladimir from a mixture of Normans and Slavs.

Archaeology of the Old Ladoga gives evidence that Normans did not meet Slovens at Volkhov, but that they came together from the Baltic coast. The eastern migratory impulse originated in the 8th century in the Baltic community of the Normans and the Slavs. The way was paved by two cultures as if by two feet: the Normans broke through in battle, and the Slavs laboured on; the Normans controlled the thoroughfares, and the Slavs—the local niches. Two cultures moved on alongside of each other, and it stands to reason that Scandinavian longhouses and Slavic bread ovens stood next to each other in the Old Ladoga. According to the Primary Chronicle this inseparable couple were the Rus and the Sloven.

Old Ladoga (Aldeigjuborg) was the regulator and generator of the ways “from the Varangians”: the Baltic-Caspian (along the Volga) “to Arabs”, the Baltic-Pontic (along the Dnieper) “to Greeks”, and the Baltic-White Sea (along the Dvina) ‘to Bjarms”. The first eastern thoroughfare (early 9th century) was the way “from Varangians to Arabs” along which up the Volga river flew the Arab silver, and downstream—slaves and furs. The colonisation of Upper Volga followed the same lines of the Rus-Finn-Slavs movement as the colonisation of Ladoga and Ilmen from the Baltic area: Rus acted as the military and commercial core, the Slavs and the Finns as the “subordinated allies” developing the local niches. The opening of the Dnieper way fell on the second half of the 9th century with the establishing of the Varangian outpost in Kiev.

Over three centuries of the Rus movement along the eastern way, from 750s to 1050s, the Varangian Princes constantly reaffirmed their power by the raids from the north to the south: (1) Rurik having come from across the sea moved from north (Ladoga) to south (Ilmen); (2) Askold and Dir having obtained permission from Rurik to go to Constantinople went down from the north to the south and captured a place called Kiev; (3) Oleg moving from the north to the south conquered the territory from Ladoga to Kiev; (4) Svyatoslav in his youth sat as a prince in Novgorod, later he went to war on the south; (5) Vladimir during his campaign from the north to the south seized the power from his brothers with the help of Varangians; (6) Yaroslav seized and reaffirmed his power three times, always with the help of Varangians coming south from the north. This was the end of the history of combining Rus and the beginning of the history of its disintegration.

In the 9th century under Prince Yaroslav the rus settled down and formed the Rus state. The vector of movement changed direction to the opposite—from the south to the north. Its generator was Kiev, and the motivation-activity basis—Christianity as the state ideology. The first samples of this pattern were brought from Byzantium by Olga, Vladimir and Dobrynya delivered them from Kiev to Novgorod, and Yaroslav built for them the Hagia Sophia cathedrals. The spirit of heathen Svyatoslav was driven out from the disliked by him Kiev; Christianity replaced the Viking “Odin pattern” (Perun in the Russian version), with the erection of churches in the sacred places and declaring the Christian God the symbol of unity. The so-called feudal disunity traditionally ascribed either to the ill nature of the nobility, or to the general laws of historic development, was the consequence of discontinuation of movement. The Varangians settled down and the way “from the Varangians” stood still, the formally dynamic Rus broke down into the static local principalities.

The only centre maintaining its long-range quality was the Novgorod land, which not only maintained its integrity, but even expanded its territory through the military and commercial colonization, and by the 13th century the Novgorod power spread from Botnia in the West to the Urals in the east, and from the Arctic in the north to the upper Volga in the south. The alliance of Rus-Scandinavians and Slavs (Sloven and Krivich) was the result of long-term interaction that started with the joint movement from the Baltic coast to Volkhov in the 8th century, and continued till the last Varangian campaigns of the 11th century. This interaction complemented with intermarriage and cross borrowings of the motivation-activity patterns generated the new north Russian (the Novgorod) culture embracing Nordic long-ranging and Slavic locality.

Chapter 3. Nomads of the Arctic.

Circumpolar territory including Arctic (tundra) and Sub-Arctic (boreal forests) since ancient times consisted of five stable ethno-cultural areas: Nordic Paleo-Germanic in the north of Europe; Paleo-Uralic in the north of eastern Europe and Ural; East-Siberian Paleo-Asian in the north-east of Asia; Paleo-Eskimo in the Arctic from the Bering Sea coast to Greenland; and Paleoindian in the forest band of North America. Sea and tundra nomads connecting the space of the Arctic with their movement made the greatest contribution to the emergence of the circumpolar culture ghost that keeps stirring up the minds of researchers for many generations. The Scandinavian and the Beringian examples give convincing evidence that the conquest of the Arctic by Vikings and Tule Eskimos occurred at the peak of the long development of the northern maritime culture during the short-term warming period. The nature opened up the ice locks and sea nomads from Atlantic and Pacific rushed into the Arctic following the receding ice pack. Entering the high latitudes in their whaler ships they rolled over the Arctic like a blast wave: the Vikings from the Labrador Sea in the west to the Kara Sea in the east, the Eskimo – from Greenland in the east to Kolyma in the west.

There is archaeological evidence of a notable activity at the north coasts of Norway during the Viking era. Name of the sea across which lay the way from Norway to the north was Gandvik (Wizard Sea). The northern route was covered with enigma and mystery, legends of the Finnish wizards, trolls and giants. The Royal sagas emphasised the heroic nature of travel to Bjarm. Halogaland Ottar considered his travel to Bjarm worthy of reporting it to Anglo-Saxon King Alfred the Great, and Alfred—worthy of including the detailed description of this trip into his translation of the work of Orosius; the raids of Bjarm brought glory to the konungs of Norway—Eric Blood Axe, Harald Grafeld, and Hakon Magnusson. In danger and difficulty the Arctic voyage was quite comparable to a military campaign and thus merited its royal status.

The way “from Varangians to Bjarms” formed a northern ring, the movement along which was driven not only by the commercial benefit but also by the mutual people's diplomacy—the "psychological compatibility” of Scandinavians, Finns and Bjarms, based on the centuries long neighbourhood, the joint Arctic development practices, and the dialogue between northern heathen beliefs and cross-ethnic marriages. Among inhabitants of Bjarm were the tundra Samoyeds-reindeer herders, whose camping-grounds were often interlocking with the water ways of Normans. Two methods of movement—by boat and by reindeer—supported each other providing for the communication networks that stretched far into the east European and Ural tundras.

Certain behavioural characteristics of sea and tundra nomads were strikingly similar. As the Vikings in the old days used to seize each other’s boats believing that domination at sea did the guarantee of control over the land, in the same way the Nenets fought with each other over the reindeer herds, understanding that the reindeer were the key to domination over the tundra. Both were nicknamed by the settled inhabitants of towns and villages the pirates and highwaymen. Both were famous for the extreme mobility and bellicosity. It is possible that the seafarers arouse in tundra hunters the taste for commerce and war, which in time triggered the development of a new nomadic culture (starting point for the large-scale reindeer herding was the use of domesticated reindeer as a commodity and transportation, including for the dashing military raids using the “battle sledge”). The era of the sea nomads in the Arctic gave way to the tundra nomads.

The sprouts of nomadic reindeer herding culture appeared in the early second millennium AD, when the first hunting-trading and military caravans rolled across the tundra. The following “deer herding revolution” was accompanied with the wars for reindeer. Though theft in general was not encouraged by the Nenets, it appears that according to their epos the seizure of other people’s deer was praised as valour. Nenets epos is full of the descriptions of nomadic camps, pursuits, endless journey, and the language is rich in expressions for movement (including vocabulary, syntax, and melodics of folklore performance). The Nenets’ perception of space is associated with the image of mute narrator Myneko flying over the hills and valleys, circling over the camps looking at the world with the characteristic for a nomad “bird’s eye.” From above he see the moving caravans, the grazing herds, in the same way as the nomad distinguish the open space of the tundra and himself in it as a moving dot. This view from above differentiates the tundra nomad from the forest dweller with the latter’s spot projection from below, and brought him closer the seafarers, whose ‘views from above' found their expression in the maps of the “Earth Circle” (the Vikings) or the navigation charts (the White Sea Pomors).

From the very beginning the nomadic herders travelled long distances not so much following their herds, as going in the direction of the hunters’ villages, with either trade, or plunder on their mind. In their turn the hunters alternately saw in the herders a threat, or a benefit, but inevitably—means of intermediation in tundra communication. Nomadic Samoyeds provided a link between Bjarms of Europe (northern Perm), Arctic hunters (Sikhirtia), eastern Gydan-Taimyr Enets hunters (Mando), Nganasan (Tavgi), and numerous local groups of taiga people (Khabi) including Mansi, Khanty, Selkup, and Ket. Main sign of influence of the long-range Samoyed culture was the spread of Nenets-style reindeer herding across the tundras from White Sea to Taimyr Peninsula, as well as in the northern taiga.

Tradition of maritime adaptation in the northern Pacific, as well as in the northern Atlantic goes back to the early Holocene period; however the peak of sea navigation here too coincided with the middle age climatic optimum period (8th–11th centuries), when the maritime culture following the receding ice entered the Arctic through the Bering Strait gorge and spread east to Greenland and west to the Kolyma. Beringian whalers of the Punuk-Tule culture lived in large communities and at the same time migrated over long distances similar to the “settled nomads" of Scandinavia. The solidity of Punuk and Tule Eskimo houses was not so much an indication of their settled way of life, as of the taste for monumental structures made of whale bone, and the abundance of life products was rather an evidence of occasional excessiveness of culture, than of its balanced thriftiness. There is archaeological evidence of the fast growth of armaments in the Punuk-Tule period. Whaling was similar to a sea battle and as such it gave birth to the ideology of domination over the elements and the space, which was easily translated onto social relations. A whaling expedition of 3 to 8 boat teams (30–70 men) could, if need be, become a navy or a pirate fleet. Apparently the long distance raids in pursuit of migrating whales were not so much the harvesting, as the military-colonising and trading operations.

One of the monuments of this culture was the Whale Alley in the Yttygran Island. The absence of any settlements on the island was an indication that the Whale Alley was built not by the settled population, but by the sea nomads, for whom the sea was not a barrier, but a familiar road. Whalers could use the island lying at the crossroads of the sea routes as a base for cutting and storing the whales harvested nearby, as well as the place for trading and rituals. In the Pegtymel petroglyph gallery the Punuk-Tule culture was represented with the whaling and reindeer hunting scenes. It is possible that the Pegtymel rocks served as the place for feasts and rituals related to the completion of summer harvesting period both at sea and ashore. The alternation of whaling and deer hunting scenes in the rock drawings may be interpreted as the dialogue between sea and river hunting stories. The Arctic Eskimo sailors established a wide network of colonies, engaging the locals from the ancestors of Yukaghir and Chukchi in the west to Birnirk and Dorset groups in the east into trading, military and matrimonial relations. It is possible that in Chukotka, as in the Samoyed tundra, the movement of continental hunters, that triggered the development of commercial and transportation deer herding, was aroused by the Arctic seafarers. In any case the proximity of reindeer and waling boats in the Pegtymel petroglyphs, as well as long-term interaction between coastal (sea) and inland (reindeer) Chukchi is the evidence of cooperation between different activity patterns in the Arctic. The largest centres of the Arctic deer herding—Saami, Nenets and Chukchi—had direct relationship with the centres of maritime culture: the tundras of Saami and Nenets bordered on the “northern ring” of Vikings, and the Chukchi tundra—on the sea routes of Tule Eskimo. The deer routes started at the end points of the sea lanes and were their overland continuation facilitating the trade contacts between remote territories.

Arctic sea cultures maintained their potential until they could feed on the strength of base centres—Scandinavia and Bering Sea coast. In the beginning of the second millennium the colonisation stage gave way to the colonies development period, and the heroics of conquering the space melted away in the routine of established relationships. The Vikings were the first to leave the scene. From the North they were pushed by the advancing ice, and from the South—by Christianity. In the Russian north they melted into in the White Sea Pomor communities, in Greenland their colonies disappeared in the 15th century. The 14th–16th centuries saw decline of whaling and with it the Tule culture across the Arctic from Greenland to Chukotka. From the Arctic coast the dynamics moved to Eurasian tundra where the deer herders started to make their camps.

Chapter 4. The Mongols.

Nomads’ raids of the steppe frequently started and ended in the mountains. Every nomadic chief had his own hill, always a sacred one, from which he saw the expanse of his country for the first time and near which he would wish to be buried. Wherever he moved, this ‘falcon’s eye’ view from the mountain stayed with him for life, and the nomad in his perception of space and the original tactics of motion was rather a highlander than a lowlander. For the nomads a hill view, a falcon’s flight, a wolf’s or a horse’s run served as the main measures of space. The primordial “falcon pattern” is presented in the image of legendary forebear of the Mongols Bodontchar-Mungqaq. Genghis Khan’s journeys proved that no matter how far away migrations and conquests could lead a man, the point of return would always be the native hill.

Steppe without a hill was like a body without a head, and the sacredness of hills in the nomads’ mythology was not an aesthetic quality, but the formula of decision making, the synthesis of motivation-decision-action in the dialogue between man and god. The Genghis Khan’s monologue addressed to Burkhan Khaldun and finished with prayer is an illustration of intrinsic connection with the sacred hill to which a warlord in distress confessed his fears and desperation. The sacred hill was more than central point of nomadic camp; it was also a storehouse of the most arcane secrets, designs and weaknesses. For a nomad it often served as the missed link that would transform motives into actions.

The drama of Mongol history in the “Secret History” was built on the symbolic ties of blood between Yesugei and Tooril, Genghis Khan and Jamuqa, the sworn fatherhood of Tooril with regard to his “son” Genghis Khan. Blood brotherhood was treated practically as the core of nomadic warlords’ diplomacy. “Kinship” for Genghis Khan turned upside down exposing its backside. A wave of betrayal, murder and insults freed the young orphan Temujin (Genghis Khan) from the convention of kinship and opened up a path to self-assertion.

Connecting link between the elite clan of Khan and the uneven in composition ulus (nomadic social unit) were the nokor—the warlord’s vassals. Selection of the first nokors had a decisive importance, because in future it would be the actors, who influenced the atmosphere in the ulus competing with each other and teaching the novices, supporting and strengthening (or undermining as the case could be) the power of Khan. Uluses based on blood relation had few chances for expansion owing to the limitations of the blood relation circle, whereas the uluses ruled by nokors offered a powerful potential for expansion and seizure of other uluses. The nokor uluses could easily be turned into the warlike hordes devoted to their leader.

Women and horses were the essential purpose of the raids, and the war for uluses in Mongolian steppe resembled a competition for a harem and a herd of horses. The relationship Khan–ulus was in some way similar to the husband–harem, and shepherd–herd relationships. Contrary to the general allegations of historians it was not the building of the state that gave Genghis Khan a true pleasure, but the blossoming girls and smooth-sided geldings as was mentioned in his Bilik. The nomadic ulus was always on the move and success of its manoeuvres depended on the state of the horses. The horses were not simply a part of ulus, but a guarantee of its sustainability. The borders of the Great Mongolian Ulus were to a large extent determined by the space covered by the equestrian warriors.

The Temujin’s gift consisted in the combination of the paradoxically different qualities, the amazing alertness and the situational sense of proportion. Caution in the manoeuvres of the nomads was of no less importance than the sudden attacks. It was animal sense of danger that placed Temujin head and shoulders above his allies and enemies, including Tooril and Jamuqa. Temujin managed to accumulate power from the steppe rather than gradually nurture it, by usurping and imitating the "political capital" of others. Temujin’s versatility opened for him a path of transformation from a timid fisherman-boy into the all-powerful father of the peoples. Genghis Khan was no great military leader and achieved most of his brilliant victories with the hands of his allies and nokor. One of the secrets of his rapid success was the political tenacity, the ability to perform parallel social actions (strengthening of the absolute rule) on the wave of move (a military campaign).

In 1203 Genghis Khan in a sudden overnight attack destroyed the ulus of his sworn father Tooril Khan; he overthrew the legitimate hereditary Khan and demonstratively scoffed at the Khan’s insignia—the Golden Yurt and its contents. Being an illegitimate offspring of Khan family and an abused orphan Genghis Khan consistently used the methods common for the plebeian revolutions. What happened in Mongolian steppe was in fact an ethnic-social revolution which resulted not only in change of ethnic elite (Mongols for Kereits) but also of the administration system (Khan's nokors instead of clan warlords). Effect of the rapid centralisation of power and conquering expansion of Mongols was the result of these transformations, which using the language of the recent revolutions “roused the masses.”

In the course of military reform that followed (1204) Genghis Khan made the keshik— personal bodyguards of the Khan who had control over the whole horde-army—the main instrument of administration. Khan’s cautiousness, outwardly resembling cowardice, was a valuable attribute in the environment of the steppe conflicts when it was important not only to organize a raid, but also to apprehend danger. The keshik had absolute control of the army-horde without the actual participation in the military action. In fact the horde as the state apparatus grew from the personal bodyguard of Khan and acquired significant dimensions thanks to his acute concern for his personal safety, and the safety of harem and headquarters.

While motivation of the horde originated from the mobile and vigilant Khan, its driving force was the indefatigable “dogs-nokor.” Genghis Khan with his cunning politics of kinship and slavery, order and aggression managed to engage and subordinate the whole expanse of steppe. Decisive advantage of Temujin proved to be his aptitude to flexible adaptation and imitation which added variety to the spectrum of his actions. From the inner motivation aspect the outburst of expansion apparently occurred as a result of overheating and boiling of the three passions of the nomads: women, horses and chase-hunting. Harem-herd-chase—was the motivational pattern with which the Khan woke up each morning in his Golden Yurt and which sent his indefatigable nokors on the beat across the remote lands.




Northern Eurasia in the system of social and cultural ties was created by the mobile long-range cultures—the nomads of sea and steppe. In the fates of Rus-Russia their routes crossed to form the Nord-Russian (Novgorod) and the Horde-Russian (Moscow) traditions. Like the Vikings at sea, the Mongols in the steppe spread a gigantic social network based on the same triad, war-levy-commerce, only the share of commerce in it was negligible compared to the military and levy component. The Mongol culture of vast spaces crossed with its thoroughfares the whole of the middle Eurasia, embracing also the Lower Rus as a local culture in the peripheral west. The new Moscow (named after its outpost) culture based on the strong centralisation of power and military–levy trade was formed at the junction of Mongolian (Horde) and Lower Rus cultures. According to the students of Eurasian school Moscow inherited the administration methods from the Horde and by 16th century surpassed already disintegrating Horde in its social and political potential.

The Nord-Russian tradition did not disappear with the fall of Novgorod in 15th century. Based on individual activity pattern and inherently independent of the strong capital it spread across the north of Eurasia and was most vividly represented in the culture of Russian Pomors. The activity pattern of the Horde-Russian tradition unthinkable without a powerful centre and based on the administrative and tax principles was fulfilled in the creation of the hierarchical structure of the “small copies” of Moscow. The opposition of these two traditions—Nordism and Hordism—is to this day felt in the conflicts of Russian citizenship and Russian ethnicity, centralism and regionalism. However, it may also be argued that they merged to form a synthetic Russian culture with a wide range of variations—from the fanatic Old-Believer and meek farmer to the varmint merchant and ambitious bureaucrat. It was the binary long-range nature of the Russian culture drawing on the traditions of Nordism and Hordism, as well as the Slav local adaptivity, that became the driving force of the epochal expansion resulting in the formation of Russia and still maintaining it in the vast territories of north Eurasia.

Homo mobilis remained the key figure of geopolitics till the later Middle Ages, when the last nomadic volcanoes died down under the pressure of military technology and political ideologies. In the 17th century the Manchu were the last nomads to conquer China, but the Dzungarian Gate that for centuries served as the migration road for the Eurasian steppe was already cut off with fire arms and regular troops of India, Iran and Russia. The last upswing of the Eurasian nomadism occurred in the Arctic that was swept by the wave of the “herding revolution” triggered by the expansion of the Russian statehood.

Today’s Homo mobilis is a sedentary manager with a mobile phone. Present day diversification of movement brought about complete reorganisation of its structure. The flow of electronic data replaced the couriers and coachmen, and the geopolitics has long since changed the Khans saddle for the office chair. Forms of movement changed beyond recognition; however the motives and the patterns remained essentially the same. The common feature of the long-range cultures of different epochs including the present is apparently the control over the distance, intermediation and administration of the subordinated local communities, as well as the domination of one's religion/ideology. The nomad did not die, in some way he is being reborn in the practices of global virtual communication. Postmodernists raised the “nomadic principle” to the credo of modern and postmodern “sovereign man” intending to be exterritorial, personally and culturally independent in the information society. Main geopolitical and ideological battles today are fought in the virtual information environment, and the “global web” has all the functions of the global empire—it stands for reason that the virtual realm reproduces the reality in all its manifestations from friendship and scandal to vice and disease.

Movement in all diversity of its forms still remains mysterious. If science has not yet abandoned hope to grasp the meaning of this basic principle of life, it is necessary to pay closer attention to the mechanisms of adaptive change including the switching between the behaviour patterns and their situational synthesis. Without a conceptual shift in the academic thinking from the statics to the dynamics the issue of movement (motive-decision-action) would remain blurred. Today’s reality requires from a researcher greater involvement of the means of visual arts with its natural dynamics, and the combination of the efforts of art and science recognizing the movement would require introduction of new dimensions and means of understanding.

© 2008 “Ethnographic Bureau

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Made in “Softmajor

Ural State University Anthropology and Ethnology Institute by N.N. Miklukho-Maklay Films from the Far North