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An extract from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066
by Ian Heath


The 'Khorasanian' peoples, with their largely Persian ancestry and frequent infusions of Turks, continued to utilise horse-archers. The Arabs, Khawarij and Bedouins also used some horse-archers, but it is not clear from the sources just how many.

This figure is based on an 8th century fresco. Note the oriental thumb-draw with the arrow held to the right (the outside) of the bow. A ring was worn on the right-hand thumb to assist the draw (see 85). This draw was used by most Asiatic peoples.

He wears a Sassanid-style decorated head fillet and a ribbon tied round his waist with 3 bells attached to each end. Persian styles of dress, armour and weapons predominated in the eastern Moslem provinces throughout this period (see next note), and many Turks in the service of the later Saffarids, Samanids, Ghaznavids and Buyids would have dressed almost identically.
Many 'Khorasanian' units serving the Abbasid Caliphs were simply Arabs who had settled in that region.
[Based on a floor painting with hunting scene, Umayyad, c.724–43AD, Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi, Syria]

See also a Sogdian Hunting Scene Relief in Varahsha (Varakhsha), 6th-7th Centuries. National Museum of Uzbek History, Tashkent.
Next: 108. PERSIAN CAVALRYMAN in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath

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