Now and again small bodies broke off from the main community and adopted a semi-nomadic life, but these formed a very small percentage of the total number, which in 1908 was over 8000.
The motive of this, indeed, is to be found in the sanctity of Earth, which must not be polluted by a corpse; but its origin is evidently to be traced in a barbaric custom of ni~madic or semi-nomadic tribes who leave the dead to lie on the steppe; and we know from Greek sources that this custom was widely diffused among the tribes of eastern Iran.
They are subdivided into clans, and lead a semi-nomadic life, preserving most of the attractive features of their Turkish congeners - especially their honesty and independence.
The majority of the Norwegian Lapps lead a semi-nomadic existence; but the number of inveterate nomads can scarcely reach 1500 at the present day.
The whole land is subject to inundations which render settled agriculture impracticable, and the population consists chiefly of nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes whose wealth consists in herds of buffaloes, horses, sheep and goats.