Who were the Cumans?
The Cumans were fierce and formidable nomadic warriors of the Eurasian Steppe who exerted an enduring influence on the medieval Balkans. They were numerous, culturally sophisticated, and militarily powerful.
The Cumans entered the grassland of Eastern Europe in the 11th century, from where they continued to assault the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Hungary, and Rus. It should be noted that Cumania was neither a state nor an empire, but different groups under independent rulers, or khans, who acted on their own initiative, meddling in the political life of the surrounding states.
Did you Know?
The Russian word "Polovtsy" was the name given to the Kipchaks and Cumans by the Rus people. A very famous classical music piece is called the Polovtsian Dances from Alexander Borodin's opera Prince Igor. His opera tells the story of the heroic antics of a 12th-century Russian prince Igor and his campaigns against invading nomadic Polovtsy tribes. The Polovtsian Dances offer an exhilarating climax to the opera’s second act, as Prince Igor and his son Vladimir are taken prisoner by Polovtsian leader Khan Konchak, who entertains them lavishly and calls on his slaves to perform the thrilling dances.