39. The First Empire of the Turks
In the sixth century AD, the Ottoman Turks’ predecessors established the Gokturk Empire, a vast Steppe confederacy extending from the frontiers of China to the Caspian Sea. It was the largest nomad empire yet. These new lords of the Steppe were skilled in ironwork, and developed a runic script.
However, for all its extent, the Turkish Steppe confederacy remained a tribal polity, with all the ferocity and fragility that goes with that. Succession disputes and internal strife between competing clans and rival claimants for rule tore the Turkish Empire apart on multiple occasions, before it finally collapsed for good in 734.