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


Each Asiatic tribal chieftain carried his own standard.

89a is the Khazar royal standard, described as a highly-polished metal disc constructed like a tambourine which reflected light and could thus be distinguished in battle.

89b is a horse-tail banner. These and yak-tails appear to have been the principal standards of the Asiatic hordes, and even the relatively civilised Danube Bulgars were still using them in the 10th and 11th centuries. Many were probably dyed but others were left their natural colour; such were the 'pigeon-blue' standard of the Pechenegs from the tail of a grey horse, and the black standard of the later Mongols, from the tails of bay stallions. Turcomans similarly used black or white horse-tail standards.

89c is an embroidered or painted silk standard taken from a 9th-10th century Caucasian source.

Animal images were also in use in the early part of this period. Turk standards represented wolves heads, that of the Khagan being of gold.

Next: 90. ALAN LIGHT CAVALRYMAN in Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath

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