This is one of the latest in Osprey’s magnificent Men-at-arms series. It is unlikely that there is a single wargamer out there that has not come across this series of 48 page, soft-back books, covering the full range of periods from ancients to modern. Each one filled with useful information about the history (both social and military) as well as the various uniforms and equipment of a specific military force.
The author, David Nicolle, has become well known for his work on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has written other books in the Osprey Men-at-arms and Elite series. He has also written a wonderful couple of volumes with the joint title “Medieval Warfare Source Book”, published by Arms and Armour Press. All this is to say that David Nicolle is a well qualified author. He has also travelled extensively in Russia doing research – many of the black and white photographs are from his own collection.
The preamble discusses Russia before the Rus – the nomadic hordes, the Slavs and the Ugrians (From beyond the Ural mountains). The latter were considered so terrifying that they had been locked behind a copper gate until judgement day! Perhaps another link to the Apocalyptical Four Horsemen riding horses whose colour relate to the cavalry of the nomadic hordes.
A chronology follows for all those wargamers who like to set up authentic battles. There are many possibilities for battles against the Byzantine empire, the Khazar, the Slavs, Kipchaks, Volga Bulgars, Ugrians, and the …