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Huns and Tartars

Westward Drift of Huns and Tartars around 100 A.D.

The Huns and Tartars were two distinct tribal groups from the Great Steppes of Asia that was situated between modern day Russia and China. These two tribal groups had been living in the open plains of the Great Steppes of Asia for thousands of years. It was around 100 A.D. (where they are listed on the Bible Timeline) when they started to appear along the borders of Eastern Europe. Starting with the Caspian Sea and extending to the Ural Mountains eastward to the Pacific Ocean was the area that the Tartars occupied.

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Tatar cavalry training in their Sarai.

In fact, the Tartars were spread out all throughout central and northern Asia and were also known as the Tatars. The Huns had their origins in Asia as well. They were situated in the northern countries that lie above China. They too had migrated over time westward into Europe.

Societal Organization

The Huns and the Tartars were not powerful or organized tribes, and many of them were gathered into a loose confederation of tribal groups. They didn’t have settled societies, and they lived a nomadic life that was rooted in agriculture. Tribal chiefs ruled both the Huns and Tartars and the people were organized by clans under their chiefs. They never united into a single people but remained independent. The tribal groups that were organized within the Huns and the Tartars fought battles or waged wars according to their own agendas. They also migrated throughout Asia in different patterns as well.


About 100 A.D. different tribal groups throughout northwestern Asia constantly roamed the lands of the Asia Steppes. They included not only the Huns and the Tartars but other tribal groups such as the Mongols, the Turks, and Russian Cossacks. Nearly all of the tribes within these groups had slowly migrated westward across Asia for thousands of years. Many people within these tribes intermingled, and some of them lost their original identities to other tribes within the area.

Most of them would remain in a particular location for many years before they packed up their belongings and moved on to a new region. Once again, they lived off of the land but they didn’t set up permanent societies. Practices such as farming were not widespread among the tribes though they grew food. Most of them were hunters and gatherers. None of these tribal groups was prominent at the time, and they were not in a position to pose any major threat to any empire kingdom of their day. Tribal groups occupied much of Northern and Eastern Europe and some of these groups mixed in with the encroaching Huns and Tartars.

Romans Interpretations of the Huns and Tartars

The Romans were the primary power in Europe during the 1st century A.D. They were the ones who first wrote about the Tartars in their histories. The Romans knew of these people only in passing. They never went to war with the Tartars. They either encountered a few Tartars they traded with along the Rhine River, or they heard rumors about them from various traders or merchants who encountered this group of people further back east. Tartar means mounted carrier or messengers (Latin or French) and apparently some of the early Tartars must have been employed in this capacity by the various tribes that they encountered. This group must have been used for relaying messages between tribes and kingdoms that were situated along the border of Europe and Asia. The Romans only vaguely reported that they were in the area but were not concerned with them as a people.

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