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Nomads: The Untold History of Civilisation with Anthony Sattin

An alternative account of human history, told through its outsiders

Humans have been on the move for most of history. Even after the great urban advancement lured people into the cities of Uruk, Babylon, Rome and Chang’an, most of humanity continued to live lightly on the move and outside the pages of history. But recent discoveries have revealed the impact on our history these people had. 

In September 2022 travel writer and historian Anthony Sattin came to Intelligence Squared to set out an alternative account of human history, told through its outsiders. Drawing on his new book Nomads: The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World, he explained how wandering people built the first great stone monuments, such as the one at Göbekli Tepe, seven thousand years before the ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids. These wanderers tamed the horse, fashioned the composite bow, fought with the Greeks and hastened the end of the Roman Empire. They had a love of poetry and storytelling, a fascination for artistry and science, and a respect for the natural world. Embracing multiculturalism, tolerant of other religions, their need for free movement and open markets brought a glorious cultural flourishing to Eurasia, ultimately enabling the Renaissance and changing the human story.

Sattin explored the unknown history of civilisation, a history which will reconnect us with our deepest mythology, our unrecorded antiquity and our natural environment. 

Praise for Anthony Sattin’s Nomads, The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World 

In a book of sensitivity and grace, Sattin does not just describe the nomadic way of life, but also evokes it … This is a book of beauty and beguiling rhythm that offers unsettling lessons about our present-day world of borders’ – The Times

‘Thoughtful, lyrical yet ambitiously panoramic . . . As fleet and light-footed as its subject, it takes us along a dizzying path, over many of the highest ridges of human history .. An important, generous and beautifully-written book’ – William Dalrymple, 

Nomads spreads before us a sweeping panorama of nomadism that resonates through the past and echoes poignantly even in the present’ – Colin Thubron



Anthony Sattin

Author, journalist and broadcaster, and author of Nomads, The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World 

 Author, journalist and broadcaster. He began his career writing and reviewing fiction before turning to narrative non-fiction. His highly acclaimed books of history and travel include Young Lawrence, A Winter on the Nile, The Pharaoh's Shadow, The Gates of Africa and Lifting the Veil. He is a contributing editor to Condé Nast Traveller, editorial advisor on Geographical Magazine and a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His latest book is Nomads, The Wanderers Who Shaped Our World.   

Rosamund Urwin

Media editor of The Sunday Times

Media editor of The Sunday Times. She was previously the Brexit correspondent for the paper, and has also worked as a columnist, senior feature writer, interviewer and editor for The Observer, Vogue, The Independent, The New Statesman, Marie Claire, and many others.