David Nicolle PhD was born in 1944 and was educated at Highgate School. For eight years he worked in the BBC Arabic Service. In 1971 he went 'back to school', gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies and a PhD from Edinburgh University. For some years he taught art and architectural history at Yarmuk University, Jordan. David has written many Osprey titles, including MAA 140 Armies of the Ottoman Turks, MAA 320 Armies of the Caliphates 862–1098, and Campaign 43 Fornovo 1495.
Medieval Russian Armies 750-1250 (Men at Arms)by David Nicolle, Angus McBride (Illustrator)
In the centuries following the first expeditions down the great rivers of northern Russia by Viking traders and adventurers, the foundations for a new state were laid. Many influences combined in this colourful culture which grew up first around the great cities of Kiev and Novgorod – Scandinavian, Finnish, Slav, steppe Turkish, Byzantine. By the time of the Mongol invasions of the 12th century the small enclaves of the old pagan Rus', tolerated by the Khazar Khans for their commercial usefulness, had evolved into a Christian nation. Its story is told here in fascinating detail, and illustrated with striking colour reconstructions of the warriors themselves.
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The book offers a view to the military aspects in the society of the Kievan Rus¿. Scandinavian influence in the formation of this first Russian state is widely known but as David Nicolle points out, the nomadic steppe state of the Khazars had a remarkable role, too. Appearance and tactics of the Russian army of the time were thereby mixture of western and eastern ones. Writer gives a quite detailed account of the organisational and social structure of the armies in question. Equipment, tactics and military architecture are also presented. Eight pages of colour plates provide reconstructions of costume, arms and armour, based on archaelogical evidence and contemporary pictures. Artwork is made by Angus McBride and it is superb as usually. I really hope that Osprey will some day publish a volume of such a high standard as this one covering period in the Russian history from the Mongol conquest to the Petrine era.