The plateau is partly grass land without bush and forest, partly steppe covered with mimosa bush, which sometimes is almost impenetrable.
The eastern stream dies away in the sandy steppe about 25 miles from the Caspian, though it is said sometimes to reach the Kuma through the Huiduk, a tributary of the Kuma.
As late as 1571 Moscow was pillaged by a Tatar horde; but there was no longer any question of permanent political subjection to the Asiatics, and the Russian frontier was being gradually pushed forward at the expense of the nomads of the steppe by the constant advance of the agricultural population in quest of virgin soil.
The steppe for miles around was strewn with corpses, and the Cossacks are said to have reaped io,000,000 guldens worth of booty when the fight was over.
West of the Nile the desert zone extends farther south than on the east, and Kordofan, which comes between the desert and the plains of the Bahr-el-Ghazal, is largely barren and steppe land.
The Mugan steppe is, however, in spite of its dryness, a more fertile region in virtue of the irrigation practised; but the Kura has excavated its bed too deeply to admit of that being done along its course.
West of Abu Dhabi a low flat steppe with no settled inhabitants extends up to the Katr peninsula, merging on the north into the saline marshes which border the Persian Gulf, and on the south into the desert.
The Blemmyes, remaining pagan after the Nubas had embraced Christianity (6th century) were soon after driven from the Nile valley eastwards to the kindred Megabares, Memnons and other nomads, who, with the Troglodytes, had from time immemorial held the whole steppe region between the Nile and the Red Sea from Axum to Egypt.
He could not, any more than a man who has been looking at a tuft of steppe grass through the mist and taking it for a tree can again take it for a tree after he has once recognized it to be a tuft of grass.
The plateau, known as the Ogaden plateau, everywhere presents the same monotonous aspect of a boundless steppe clothed with a scanty vegetation of scrubby plants and herbaceous growths.