International Conference 

25. April 2018
- 26. April 2018

RGZM | Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum
im Kurfürstlichen Schloss
Ernst-Ludwig-Platz 2
55116 Mainz

Conference Programme (PDF)

Poster (PDF)


Jessica Schmidt M.A.
T: +49 (0) 6131 / 9124-162

From the Huns to the Turks. Mounted Warriors in Europe and Central Asia

The European self-perception is mainly based on the «old world», the Greek and Roman cultures of the Mediterranean, which interacted with the ones in the North. In fact, however, Europe has always been in close contact with the Eurasian steppe region, and thus received critical stimuli, technologies and goods of all kinds. Time and again, powerful confederations of equestrian warriors also came to the West, settling here and establishing contacts with European polities. While the «empires» of the Bulgarians, Hungarians and Turks slowly became medieval and early modern states, the Sarmatians, Huns, Avars or Mongols disappeared from the map.

The conference will focus on the horse-powered polities that came from the East to the environs of Europe between the 4th and 15th century, including the Eurasian peoples who directly or indirectly initiated migrations and military expeditions to Europe. The conference aims to identify typical constellations and processes, but also significant differences among the various tribal federations. Some presentations are dedicated to a specific people, others are devoted to overarching topics. The conference is organised by the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz in cooperation with the Institute for Medieval Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Wednesday, 25th April

9.30–9.40 h

Welcome and Introduction Falko Daim

Chair: Walter Pohl

9.40–10.20 h

Jan Bemmann (Bonn)
Climate Change, Natural Disasters and their Impact on Nomadic Polities


10.20–11.00 h

Khodadat Rezakhani (Princeton)
On the Fringes of the Eurasian Steppe: Horses and Warriors in the World of the ‘Iranische Hunnen’

11.00–11.30 h

11.30–12.10 h

Timo Stickler (Jena)
The Impact of the Huns on the Politics of the Late Roman Empire and vice versa


12.10–12.50 h

Richard Foltz (Montreal)
The Caucasian Alans between Byzantine Christianity and traditional Paganism

13.00-14.30 h

Chair: Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger


14.30–15.10 h

Walter Pohl (Wien)
The Avars in a Central Eurasian Perspective

15.10–15.50 h

Tivadar Vida (Budapest)
The Settling of the Carpathian Basin by Mounted Warriors in the Avar Period and the Structure of their Power

16.00–16.30 h

16.30–17.10 h

Gergely Csiky (Budapest)
The Transformation of Horse Riding in the Steppes during the 1st Millennium AD – Considerations on the Spread of Stirrups in Eurasia

17.10–17.50 h

Falko Daim (Mainz - Wien)
When Cultures meet: Moving Things, changing Motifs


17.50–18.30 h

Panos Sophoulis (Sofia)
The Bulgar Paradox: A Horse powered (?) Elite in the Balkans

19.00 h
Reception for Speakers and Guests

Thursday, 26th April

Chair: Falko Daim

9.30–10.10 h

Johannes Preiser-Kapeller (Wien)
Capitals and imperial Landscapes of Steppe Empires in medieval Eurasia


10.10–10.50 h

Nick Evans (Cambridge)
The Womb of Iron and Silver: Slavery in the Khazar Economy

11.00–11.30 h


11.30–12.10 h

Stefan Albrecht (Mainz)
The Hungarian Invasions as an common European Trauma

12.10–12.50 h

Adam Bollók (Budapest)
From "Steppe State" to Christian Kingdom, from Árpád's People to national Ancestors

13.00–14.30 h

Turks in Central Asia and in Anatolia

Chair: Johannes Preiser-Kapeller

14.30–15.10 h

Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger (Berlin – Bochum)
The „Turkish Triangle“. From the static Element of the Seljuks to the Ornament in Byzantine Art

15.10–15.50 h

Sören Stark (New York)
Inner Asian Nomadic Elites of the 5th-6th Centuries CE. An old archaeological Puzzle in the Light of recent Discoveries

15.50–16.30 h

Rustam Shukurov (Moskau)
Becoming a Roman: Barbarians as a Source of Manpower in Byzantium in the 11th–14th Centuries

16.30–17.00 h

17.00–17.40 h

Matteo Compareti (Beijing)
Huns and Turks in "Sino-Sogdian" Funerary Monuments and Sogdian Paintings


17.40–18.20 h

Marie Favereau (Oxford)
The Mediterranean and the Steppe: The Integration of the Italian Traders into the Golden Horde

Closing Remarks: Walter Pohl

18. 30 h