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Humans are the most intelligent species on earth.
We have large brains and a complex social structure.
But there’s only so much we can do with the cards
we were given at the start of a game.
Historically, our cities, societies and way of life
在历史上 我们的城市 社会 生活方式
were entirety dependent on well, our spawn point.
And people had to make do with the geography and resources at their disposal.
But geography wasn’t the only factor historically.
In the old world, there was one thing all people had at their disposal,
It’s almost miraculous that small herbivores like goats, pigs and sheep
even exist at all.
And cows, while big, are easy to control due to their herd mentality.
还有奶牛 虽然体型大 但由于其从众习性却易于控制
With all these animals evolving in the old world,
it allowed for humans to easily settle in the cities,
butchering their new farm animals for meat
and receiving nutrients that crops like grain or rice couldn’t supply.
It’s almost like these animals were made to be used by humans.
And that’s why many cultures inserted those beliefs into their mythologies.
But there was always one animal that was special, in a way.
It was too important and resourceful to simply slaughter for meat.
It was different than the goats or cows. The horse!
People in Central Asia, a land of endless grasslands,
recognized that horses were more useful alive than as food.
And they went through great lengths to tame these animals
and even, eventually, to ride them.
Horses are, in my opinion,
the most important animal in human history, simply by them existing.
Horse travel opened up a new world of potential.
They allowed for people to cover distances
that would have taken days or months on foot,
affecting everything from trade to communication and war and the process.
and made that vast continent of Eurasia far smaller than the process.
So, what if they all turn timeline?
The horse simply didn’t exist.
What if there was never such an animal
for armies to ride on or for traders to travel on?
I know this entire concept seems weird and far-fetched.
But strange enough, it easily could have happened.
When I say if horses never existed,
I mean if they didn’t exist by the time that humans began creating settlements.
我的意思是 如果人类开始开辟定居地的时候 马不存在
Horses evolved in North America, not in Asia.
They grew into what we would call a modern horse on the Great Plains,
and we’re so successful they roamed throughout the continent,
some even going in the South America.
This all changed with the Ice Age.
When the glaciers covered a majority of the continent,
limiting the range that horses could travel
and limiting the food supply and their numbers.
However, there were paths in the glaciers that could be traveled.
These paths were how ancient hunter-gathers made their way
from Asia down south into North America.
Some horses and even camelids migrated north in return.
Camels are from the America as well,
which is why we have Llamas and alpacas. Fun fact.
However, unlike the Llamas,
the Ice Age was the death for North America horses.
They were small in number already, trapped in packets in the glacier.
By the time that humans came, they were simply hunted for food.
Horses wouldn’t return to the Americans until 12,000 years later,
when the horses brought over the descendants of those who escaped.
That’s actually why horses seem to take so quickly to North America.
And those that did escape thousands of years ago
simply migrated to an environment that was much like North America,
the plains of Asia and the forests of Europe.
And those alternate timeline that horses do not migrate up north.
Instead, they simply wither and are hunted to extinction.
然而 它们确实在衰落 被猎捕得将近灭绝
Perhaps their bones eventually discovered
and seen as some strange lost lineage of mammal,
like we see the woolly mammoths or giant sloth today.
Humans of the modern times never would actually know what a horse looks like.
The average person wouldn’t own a horse in ancient or even medieval times.
So this doesn’t change so much.
But it certainly changes the communication time between kingdoms.
Diplomacy and war are far slower in many places around the world.
This wasn’t universal throughout the world.
Some regions which relied less on the horse
like the Frozen Arctic or the Desert of the Sahara,
would see little change at all.
Assuming camels still existed,
they’d be useful as long-haul transport animals
Ox could still pull cars, just at a slower rate.
But the horse filled a specific niche,
a fast mobile animal for most importantly, warfare.
Even as early as the Bronze Age cultures,
horses had been domesticated by Mesopotamians, Hittites and Egyptians.
The chariot was the tank of its day and it dominated the battles’ field.
Eventually, when horseback riding became the norm,
the Calvary was the decisive factor in battle.
It was the best for scouting or for raiding,
but most importantly, allowed for the influence of a kingdom
to be felt far past its traditional boarders.
Without the horse, ancient warfare is a slower and also more chaotic affair.
没有马 古代战争会更旷日持久 混乱不堪
Without the threat of Calvary,
entire military tactics and weapons never are developed
since there is no need to accommodate for that threat.
I’m not gonna go into how every single war would have been changed without the use of horses.
But I think this one is a good example.
The Macedonians turned the Greek world on its head
by using Calvary as a fundamental chord to their military strategy,
using the horses to flank and catch the enemies from behind.
This was called the hammer and anvil strategy.
The anvil was the solid infantry and the Calvary was the hammer.
Without such a remarkable tactic like this,
I doubt Alexander’s empire would have reached the heights that it did in his lifetime.
This goes for many vast empires who relied on Calvary.
In this alternate world, the very foundation of livelihoods for nomadic people
在这个改变了的世界 蒙古人 土耳其人和斯基芬人
like the Mongols, Turks or Skiffins never arises.
The grasslands and steppes they felt like home on is
now basically their death sentence as a successful culture.
The distance from Mongolia to Kazakhstan is short, relatively on a horse.
But for a human, now that is a journey.
People in the center of the continent would be in a position where
there’re thousands of miles away from not just a main civilization to raid or trade with,
but also each other.
It’s far harder to unify a band of tribes together if they live so far apart.
They’re now trapped in a vast sea without a boat,
and this transforms a lot of early civilizations.
The Middle East had a history, in the Bronze Age, of nomadic raiders
conquering the already-settled cities, then settling themselves in,
transforming the region in the process.
These raids were really the only thing that
made horse riders relevant and terrifying to the rest of the world.
But without horses, they’re simply faraway tribal people who have less people for an army.
但是没有马 他们就只是人数很少 组不起军队的边远地方的部落
Horses allowed for smaller nomads
who shouldn’t have been able to win against the large civilization to control the battle field.
So, that means in an alternate timeline,
所以 这意味着 在一个可变动的时间轴上
there is no Mongolian Empire, no Seljuk Turk invasions,
no constant destruction of the Middle East Empire’s from the steppe people,
and no Han invasions.
There isn’t much that can be discussed about this, however,
because even the empires affected would be changed without horses.
The entire global map would have transformed in the ancient world.
The connections of the Silk Road or the close-knit nature of the Roman Empire
becomes almost impossible to constantly upkeep
since communication is only as fast as a man can run.
So the horse was pretty important. You could say.
And historically, if there is one thing all cultures agreed on,
it was that the horse was something bigger than just an animal.
For the nomads of Central Asia, the horse was their world.
For the Europeans, a horse was a noble companion at war.
The Chinese discovered the Greeks had powerful, or in their words “heavenly horses”,
and wanted them so much they fought a war against them for animals.
Yes, that is a real thing. Look it up!
是的 这是真事 去查查！
The horse, for all of human history, has always been universally respected.
It’s an amount of respect that no other animal has really ever gotten.
The horses were seen as partners on the battle field.
You relied on your horse to survive.
And that’s because humans domesticating horses unlocked new potential for civilizations.
Horses bore the hard work that humans even with their brains couldn’t do by themselves
until the invention of cars and tanks which made them relics in a modern war.
That’s why the horse population has only shrunk in the last century.
We shouldn’t forget just how much this one single animal existing
我们不应忘记 曾有这样一种动物 存在于
in the right place, at the right time.
An animal that was actually from the wrong continent and almost went the way of the mammoths
changed the course of mankind.
I don’t think we will.
Because even thought these animals haven’t been useful outside of ranching for a century,
they’re still fundamentally tied to even new cultures more than any domesticated animal.
Americans still have a fascination with horses.
Because just like the first horse riders in Asia,
this animal made a vast continent just a little bit smaller.
And for the natives that fought against it, they saddled up their own horses.
In both sides, riding their companions, fought each other on the plains of the west,
where the history of the horse first began.
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This is Cody of Alternate History Hub.
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