Scythians, Cimmerians, Sarmatians
CKM 2018-19 / Aziz Yardımlı

 

Alans Avars Cimmerians Massagetae Sarmatian people Scythians Tauri Thyssagetae Yaz Culture






  • Etnik kümeleşme etik (politik) bir yapı değildir.
  • Etnik yapı başlıca dil birliği ve küme kimliği üzerine kurulur.
  • Göçebe kabilenin yeri yurdu yoktur, kentte değil çadırda yaşar.
  • Göçebe kabile ya da klan yaşamı sağ kalma üzerinde odaklanır.
  • Onun için başka her kabile kendinde bir gözdağıdır.
  • Göçebe kümelerin ‘tarih-öncesi’ karakterleri tarih yapmadıklarını belirtir.
  • Tarih-öncesi göçebelerin tarihsel eylemleri Tarihi yok etmektir.
  • Göçebe kümeler yerleşik uygarlıklardan aldıkları teknolojiler yoluyla uygarlıkları yok edicidirler.

 

 

Uygar kent yaşamının bilgisizi olan göçebe hak ve mülkiyet kavramlarının bilincinden yoksun olduğu için tecim ilişkisini de bilmez. Bildiği yalnızca zor yoluyla almaktır. Yağmacılık göçebe kültürün karakteristiğidir.

 

‘Kadim zamanlar’ barbarlık ve acımasızlık zamanlarıdır. Tarih-öncesi etnik gruplar etik karakter taşımazlar ve moral yargı yetenekleri gelişmemiştir. Bu ilkellik aşamasında hak ve haksızlık sorunları zor ve şiddet yoluyla çözüme bağlanır ve henüz "yasa" kavramının bir bilinci yoktur. O kadim zamanlarda güç haktır, ve “kadim gerçeklik’ zor ve şiddetin insan ilişkilerinde birincil bileşeni oluşturması anlamına gelir. Kabile ulus değildir, çünkü henüz bir istençten yoksun olarak başlıca sağ kalma dürtüsü ile davranır. Kabile yaşamak için savaşır ve savaşmak için yaşar. Atçılık ve okçuluk step göçebelerinin başlıca becerileridir. Bu kültürde doğal olarak acımasızlık bir erdem ve üstünlük düzeyine yükseltilir.

 

Tarihsel etnik karakter kendini etnik karakter olarak tanımaz. Etnik karakter ancak modern ulus karakteri onu ortadan kaldıracağı zaman kendini ayrımsar ve henüz etnik kimliğin ötesine ve üzerine geçmemiş bilinç varlığı ile bir olan etnik karakterinde diretir.

 

Eknik karakterde evrensel insanlık duygusu yoktur ve etnik ilişkilerde hak sorunlarının çözümü zor ve şiddet aracılığıyla olur. Bu nedenledir ki etnik yabanıllığı yasaklayan imparatorluklar "pax" dönemleri olarak kabul edilir. Etnik karakter insanlığın bütününü dışlar ve etnik İsrail kabilelerinin tikelciliği tüm insanlığı reddeden ‘etnik bir ulus’ ve ‘etnik bir din’ olarak anlatım bulduğu zaman başka etnik gruplar açısından anti-semitizm için zemin hazırdır. Çinliler, Hintliler ve Japonlar başta olmak üzere bütün bir Asya hiçbir zaman etnik niteliğin ötesinde bir ulus karakterini tanımadı, çünkü ulus özgürdür, egemendir, ve başlıca karakterini insan haklarını tanımasında bulur. Asya için özgürlük bugün de bir özlemden daha çoğu değildir. Özgürlük ve egemenlik karakteri ile, ulus etnik karakterin olumsuzlanmasıdır. Çin, Japonya vb. bugün de başlıca etnik gruplardır, uluslar değil. Çağdaş etnik karakter çağdaş despozitmin zeminidir ve demokrasiyi ve özgürlüğü düşman olarak görüp reddeder. Ulusun özgürlük karakteri onu evrensel insan haklarınının bilincine ve duyunç özgürlüğünü tanımaya götürür. Ve ulusun kendini yönetme istenci olarak egemenlik karakteri onu politik özgürlük bilincine, demokrasiye, yasalarını kendi istenci ve duyuncu ile belirlemeye götürür. Ulus da ondan önceki imparatorluk gibi etnik tikelciliği yadsır. Ama ek olarak, ve imparatorluğun tersine, insanları düşman kümelere bölen kültürel çoğulculuğu da yadsıyarak insanlığı hak eşitliği, duyunç özgürlüğü ve yasa egemenliği terimlerinde etik türdeşleşme sürecine sokar.

 

Roma İmparatorluğu ve Osmanlı İmparatorluğu etnik karakterin saltık olumsuzlanması idiler, ve Hıristiyanlık ve Müslümanlık etnik tikelcilikleri olumsuzlayan monoteistik dinler olarak insanlığı evrensel eşitlik bilincini geliştirme sürecine doğru güdülediler. Aralarındaki başlıca ayrım Müslümanlık insanları Tanrının kulları olarak eşitlerken, Hıristiyanlığın insanları özgür bireysellikler olarak eşitlemesi idi.

 

 


Pontic-Caspian Steppe (an area of 994,000 square kilometres) extends roughly from the Dniepr to the Ural Rivers.
The area corresponds to Cimmeria, Scythia, and Sarmatia of classical antiquity. Across several millennia the steppe was used by numerous tribes of nomadic horsemen, many of which went on to conquer lands in the settled regions of Europe and in western and southern Asia. (W)

Historical peoples and nations / Prehistoric cultures


   Historical peoples and nations (W)

  • Dacians 11th century BC-3rd century AD
  • Alans 5th-11th centuries


   Prehistoric cultures (W)

 




🕑 KEY DATES IN SCYTHIAN AND SARMATIAN HISTORY

KEY DATES IN SCYTHIAN AND SARMATIAN HISTORY

 

  • eighth-third centuries BCE Sakas occupy eastern steppes, Tien Shan, and Altai Mountains
  • late eighth century BCE Scythians move into Caucasus region
  • around 678 BCE Scythian king Ishpakai attacks Assyrian Empire
  • around 674 BCE Scythian king Bartatua marries Assyrian princess
  • around 610 BCE Scythians and Medes conquer Nineveh; Medes then push Scythians back to north of Caucasus
  • late seventh century BCE founding of Belsk on a tributary of the Dnieper
  • sixth-fifth centuries BCE Sauromatians occupy steppes between Don and Volga rivers and south of Urals
  • 530 BCE Massagetae led by Tomyris defeat Cyrus the Great
  • 520 BCE Darius I’s victory over the “pointed-hat” Sakas
  • 513 BCE Darius I’s expedition against Scythians north of Black Sea
  • around 450 BCE Herodotus’s visit to Black Sea town of Olbia
  • fourth century BCE Sarmatians move into Sauromatian territory
  • 339 BCE Philip II of Macedonia defeats Scythian king Ateas
  • 331 BCE Scythians destroy Macedonian army north of the Black Sea
  • 329 BCE Alexander the Great fights Sakas in Central Asia
  • late third century BCE Scythian center of power shifts to Crimea
  • by 200 BCE Sarmatians dominate Black Sea steppe
  • 78-76 BCE Roman expedition against Iazyges north of the Danube
  • 6 CE Iazyges raid Roman territory south of the Danube
  • 8 CE Roman poet Ovid banished to Tomis on the Black Sea
  • 49 CE Sarmatians involved on both sides of civil war in Crimea
  • 60s CE Alans living north of Caucasus and around Don River and Sea of Azov
  • 69 CE Roxolani invade Moesia; Iazyges leaders recruited in Roman civil war
  • 72 CE Alans raid south of the Caucasus
  • 85-92 CE Sarmatians fight with Dacians against Domitian
  • 101-102, 105-106 CE Trajan’s Dacian wars
  • 117-119 CE uprising of Iazyges and Roxolani
  • 166-180 CE Marcomannic Wars
  • 175 CE peace treaty requires 8,000 Iazyges to serve in Roman army
  • 200s CE Sarmatians north of Black Sea displaced by Goths
  • 323 CE Constantine campaigns against the Sarmatians
  • around 330 CE Constantine campaigns against Goths in Sarmatian territory
  • around 370 CE Huns conquer Alans, who become Hun allies
  • 406 CE Alans, Vandals, and other barbarians invade what is now France
  • 439 CE Alans and Vandals conquer North Africa

 

 




  Scythians — Sanatsever Yabanıllar

“Warriors who drank their enemies’ blood: They were one of history’s most barbaric tribes, but a British Museum exhibition reveals the Scythians also produced great art.’ (L)

 

“They were one of the most bloodthirsty tribes on Earth. When the Scythians took to the battlefield, it was claimed the air was so thick with bronze-tipped arrows that the sun was blotted out.

 

“Mounted on their lightning-quick horses, they fired volley after volley at their terrified enemies, before leaping to the ground to plunge axes into their opponents’ skulls, slicing them through the pelvis with their spears for good measure.

 

“And when they had wiped out the men, they started butchering the women and the horses, before gruesomely drinking the blood of those they had slain.”

 


Scythian warriors.

📹 Scythians 1 — History, Geography, and Romanticism (VİDEO)

Scythians 1 — History, Geography, and Romanticism (LINK)

This video was written, prepared, and narrated by David Peterson for non-commercial educational use only,

 



📹 Scythians 2 — Archaeology and Genetics (VİDEO)

Scythians 2 — Archaeology and Genetics (LINK)

This video was written, prepared and narrated by David Peterson for non-commercial educational use only.

 



📹 Horse Lords / A Brief History of the Scythians (VİDEO)

Horse Lords / A Brief History of the Scythians (LINK)

This video is about the Scythians. One of the first horse cultures on Earth.

 



📹 Başlık (VİDEO)

BAŞLIK (LINK)

 

 



Assyrian records referred to the Scythians as the Ishkuza or Ashkuzai, mentioning them for the first time in the late seventh century BCE.

Scythians

Battle of Jaxartes

Battle of Jaxartes (W)

The Battle of Jaxartes was a battle fought in 329 BC by Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army against the Scythians at the River Jaxartes, now known as the Syr Darya River. The site of the battle straddles the modern borders of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, just south-west of the ancient city of Tashkent (the modern capital of Uzbekistan) and north-east of Khujand (a city in Tajikistan).

Date October 329 BC
Location Syr Darya
Result Macedonian victory over Scythians
Alexander the Great Satraces
Strength: 6,000 15,000-20,000
Casualties and losses: 160 killed 1,000 wounded 1,200 killed

Background

Background (W)

Crossing the Hellespont in 334 BCE Alexander was determined to become the new monarch of the Achaemenid Empire. First at the Battle of the Granicus, and then at the Battle of Issus and then finally at the Battle of Gaugamela he struck a series of blows from which the Achaemenid royal house could not recover.

During the latter two battles Alexander had been determined to capture Darius. However, Darius had been able to escape in each of these battles. Had Alexander been able to capture Darius, it would have been extremely useful in securing the submission of the majority of the empire. Many of the Achaemenid provinces beyond Mesopotamia were prosperous and well populated.

After Gaugamela, the Macedonians were obliged to leave the battlefield where they had been victorious almost immediately. The pestilence that the corpses would have wrought on his army could have destroyed it. Alexander marched on Babylon to secure his communications. His intention was to make this the administrative capital of his empire.


The Scythians had occupied the northern bank of the Jaxartes, confident that they could beat Alexander’s men as they disembarked, but the Scythians underestimated how the collaborative abilities of the Macedonian artillery, fleet, cavalry, and infantry. Firstly Alexander ordered that the crossing would take place all at once, so that the mounted enemy archers would be faced with more targets than they could strike at; and he ordered his artillery to cover the soldiers in the ships. (Catapults have a longer range than bows.) This is the first recorded incident of the use of such an approach.

Aftermath and consequences

About 1200 Scythians were surrounded and killed, including their commander, Satraces. Over 150 prisoners were taken and 1800 horses were captured. As far as the Macedonians and Greeks knew, no commander had ever been able to pin down and destroy a nomad army besides Alexander's father, Philip II. Philip had defeated the Scythian king Atheas in 340 BC. This was a boost for morale, and a psychological blow for the nomads north of the Jaxartes. Alexander’s main aim, however, had never been to subdue the nomads; he wanted to go to the south, where a far more serious crisis demanded his attention. He could do so now without loss of face; and in order to make the outcome acceptable to the Scythians, he released the prisoners of war without ransom. This policy was successful: the northern frontier of Alexander’s empire no longer faced an immediate threat from the Scythians.

 





In one of the biggest challenges to Alexander's campaign following the death of Darius, he and his army encountered the Scythians (nomad army) at the northern banks of the Jaxartes river in 329 B.C.E. Alexander used a battalion of spearmen to bait the Scythians into an inescapable position, sandwiching them between the spearmen and Macedonian infantry. In addition to claiming over 1,000 horses from the Scythians, the victory also gave a much needed moral boost to the Macedonian armyIn one of the biggest challenges to Alexander's campaign following the death of Darius, he and his army encountered the Scythians (nomad army) at the northern banks of the Jaxartes river in 329 B.C.E. Alexander used a battalion of spearmen to bait the Scythians into an inescapable position, sandwiching them between the spearmen and Macedonian infantry. In addition to claiming over 1,000 horses from the Scythians, the victory also gave a much needed moral boost to the Macedonian army.

1) Scythian King; 2) Urartian nobleman (early 6th century BC).
 

 



     
Scythians (W)


The Scythians (from Greek Σκύθης, Σκύθοι), also known as Scyth, Saka, Sakae, Sai, Iskuzai, or Askuzai, were Eurasian nomads, probably mostly using Eastern Iranian languages, who were mentioned by the literate peoples to their south as inhabiting large areas of the western and central Eurasian Steppe from about the 9th century BC up until the 4th century AD. The "classical Scythians" known to ancient Greek historians, agreed to be mainly Iranian in origin, were located in the northern Black Sea and fore-Caucasus region. Other Scythian groups documented by Assyrian, Achaemenid and Chinese sources show that they also existed in Central Asia, where they were referred to as the Iskuzai/Askuzai, Saka (Old Persian: Sakā; New Persian/Pashto: ساکا‎; Sanskrit: शक Śaka; Greek: Σάκαι; Latin: Sacae), and Sai (Chinese: ; Old Chinese: *sˤək), respectively.

Owing to their reputation as established by Greek historians, the Scythians long served as the epitome of savagery and barbarism.

In the New Testament, in a letter ascribed to Paul "Scythian" is used as an example of people whom some label pejoratively, but who are, in Christ, acceptable to God.


Scythians lived in confederated tribes, a political form of voluntary association which regulated pastures and organised a common defence against encroaching neighbours for the pastoral tribes of mostly equestrian herdsmen.

Herodotus relates that three main tribes of the Scythians descended from three brothers, Lipoxais, Arpoxais, and Colaxais:

A warlike people, the Scythians were particularly known for their equestrian skills, and their early use of composite bows shot from horseback. With great mobility, the Scythians could absorb the attacks of more cumbersome footsoldiers and cavalry, just retreating into the steppes. Such tactics wore down their enemies, making them easier to defeat. The Scythians were notoriously aggressive warriors. They “fought to live and lived to fight” and “drank the blood of their enemies and used the scalps as napkins.”

The religious beliefs of the Scythians was a type of Pre-Zoroastrian Iranian religion and differed from the post-Zoroastrian Iranian thoughts. Foremost in the Scythian pantheon stood Tabiti, who was later replaced by Atar, the fire-pantheon of Iranian tribes, and Agni, the fire deity of Indo-Aryans. The Scythian belief was a more archaic stage than the Zoroastrian and Hindu systems. The use of cannabis to induce trance and divination by soothsayers was a characteristic of the Scythian belief system. A class of priests, the Enarei, worshipped the goddess Argimpasa and assumed feminine identities.


Scythian defence line 339 BC reconstruction in Polgár, Hungary (W)


Scythian cavalry (early 6th century BC).

Scythians (or Skythians or Scolotoi): The old story is that they called themselves the "Scythians" after the name of their legendary first king, Scythês. A spelling variation on "Scythês" is "Skoloxaïs." The current theory is that the word "Scythian" is derived from the Proto-Indo-European word "skeud-o," meaning "shooter" or "archer." (LINK)


World in 500 BC.

Eurasian nomads (W)


The Eurasian nomads were a large group of nomadic peoples from the Eurasian Steppe, who often appear in history as invaders of Europe, the Middle East and China.

The generic title encompasses the varied ethnic groups who have at times inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, Mongolia, and what is now Russia. They domesticated the horse around 3500 BC, vastly increasing the possibilities of nomadic life, and subsequently their economy and culture emphasised horse breeding, horse riding and nomadic pastoralism; this usually involved trading with settled peoples around the steppe edges. They developed the chariot, wagon, cavalry and horse archery and introduced innovations such as the bridle, bit and stirrup, and the very rapid rate at which innovations crossed the steppelands spread these widely, to be copied by settled peoples bordering the steppes.


Iranian languages (W)


The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages in the Indo-European language family that are spoken natively by the Iranian peoples.

The Iranian languages are grouped in three stages: Old Iranian (until 400 BC), Middle Iranian (400 BC-900 AD), and New Iranian (since 900 AD). The two directly attested Old Iranian languages are Old Persian (from the Achaemenid Empire) and Old Avestan (the language of the Avesta). Of the Middle Iranian languages, the better understood and recorded ones are Middle Persian (from the Sasanian Empire), Parthian (from the Parthian Empire), and Bactrian (from the Kushan and Hephthalite empires).


Scythians and Gold (W)


Gold Scythian pectoral, or neckpiece, from a royal kurgan in Towsta Mohila, Pokrov, dated to the 2nd half of the 4th century BC. The central lower tier shows three horses, each being torn apart by two griffins. (W)
Scythian (B)
(Sacae, Saka, Scyth) (BRITANNICA)

Scythian, also called Scyth, Saka, and Sacae, member of a nomadic people, originally of Iranian stock, known from as early as the 9th century BCE who migrated westward from Central Asia to southern Russia and Ukraine in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE. The Scythians founded a rich, powerful empire centred on what is now Crimea. The empire survived for several centuries before succumbing to the Sarmatians during the period from the 4th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.

Until the 20th century, most of what was known of the history of the Scythians came from the account of them by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, who visited their territory. In modern times that record has been expanded chiefly by Russian and other anthropologists excavating kurgans in such places as Tyva and Kazakhstan.

The Scythians were feared and admired for their prowess in war and, in particular, for their horsemanship. They were among the earliest people to master the art of riding, and their mobility astonished their neighbours. The migration of the Scythians from Asia eventually brought them into the territory of the Cimmerians, who had traditionally controlled the Caucasus and the plains north of the Black Sea. In a war that lasted 30 years, the Scythians destroyed the Cimmerians and set themselves up as rulers of an empire stretching from west Persia through Syria and Judaea to the borders of Egypt. The Medes, who ruled Persia, attacked them and drove them out of Anatolia, leaving them finally in control of lands which stretched from the Persian border north through the Kuban and into southern Russia.

Scythian gold belt buckle with turquoise inlay, from Siberia; in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg (W)


The Scythians were remarkable not only for their fighting ability but also for the complex culture they produced. They developed a class of wealthy aristocrats who left elaborate graves — such as the kurgans in the Valley of the Tsars (or Kings) near Arzhan, 40 miles (60 km) from Kyzyl, Tyva — filled with richly worked articles of gold, as well as beads of turquoise, carnelian, and amber, and many other valuable objects. This class of chieftains, the Royal Scyths, finally established themselves as rulers of the southern Russian and Crimean territories. It is there that the richest, oldest, and most-numerous relics of Scythian civilization have been found. Their power was sufficient to repel an invasion by the Persian king Darius I about 513 BCE.

The Royal Scyths were headed by a sovereign whose authority was transmitted to his son. Eventually, about the time of Herodotus, the royal family intermarried with Greeks. In 339 the ruler Ateas was killed at age 90 while fighting Philip II of Macedonia. The community was eventually destroyed in the 2nd century BCE, Palakus being the last sovereign whose name is preserved in history.

The Scythian army was made up of freemen who received no wage other than food and clothing but who could share in booty on presentation of the head of a slain enemy. Many warriors wore Greek-style bronze helmets and chain-mail jerkins. Their principal weapon was a double-curved bow and trefoil-shaped arrows; their swords were of the Persian type. Every Scythian had at least one personal mount, but the wealthy owned large herds of horses, chiefly Mongolian ponies. Burial customs were elaborate and called for the sacrifice of members of the dead man’s household, including wife, servants, and a number of horses.

Despite these characteristics, their many and exquisite grave goods, notably the animal-style gold artifacts, reveal that the Scythians were also culturally advanced. Further, some gold ornaments thought to have been created by Greeks for the Scythians were shown to have predated their contact with Greek civilization.



Gold Scythian belt title, Mingachevir(ancient Scythian kingdom), Azerbaijan, 7th century BC. (W)


Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul'Oba kurgan burial near Kerch. The warrior on the right is stringing his bow, bracing it behind his knee; note the typical pointed hood, long jacket with fur or fleece trimming at the edges, decorated trousers, and short boots tied at the ankle. The hair seems normally to have been worn long and loose, and beards were apparently worn by all adult men. The other two warriors on the left are conversing, both holding spears or javelins. The quiver is clearly indicated on the left hip of the man on the left, who is wearing a diadem and therefore is likely to be the Scythian king. (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg) (W)
A royal crown from Tillia tepe. Musee Guimet. (W)

King and Queen of a Scythian tribe in a representation based on the archaeological finds from Central Asia
Silver coin of Indo-Scythian King Azes II (ruled c. 35-12 BC). Buddhist triratna symbol in the left field on the reverse (W)

Scythian religion (W)

Scythian religion refers to the mythology, ritual practices and beliefs of the Scythians, an ancient Iranian people who dominated Central Asia and the Pontic-Caspian steppe in Eastern Europe throughout Classical Antiquity. What little is known of the religion is drawn from the work of the 5th century Greek historian and ethnographer Herodotus. Scythian religion is assumed to have been related to the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, and to have influenced later Slavic, Hungarian and Turkic mythologies, as well as some contemporary Eastern Iranian and Ossetian traditions.

Pantheon


According to Herodotus, the Scythians worshipped a pantheon of seven gods and goddesses (heptad), which he equates with Greek divinities of Classical Antiquity following the interpretatio graeca. He mentions eight deities in particular, the eighth being worshipped by the Royal Scythians, and gives the Scythian names for seven of them as follows:

  • Tabiti (Ταβιτί)Hestia (Tabiti is thought to be a hellenized version of a name similar to Hindu Tapati and related verb tapayati ("burns"/"is hot"), as well as Avestan tapaiti, Latin tepeo and several other Indo-European terms for heat. Tabiti was presented as “Queen of the gods” around 450 BCE by King Idanthyrsos, a political guardian, she was considered the goddess of the home ensuring prosperity to a well-functioning household.
  • Scythian Ares (Greek: Ἄρης) – Ares
  • Papaios (Παπαῖος) – Zeus
  • Api (Ἀπί) – Gaia
  • Oitosyros (Οἰτόσυρος) – Apollo
  • Argimpasa (Ἀργίμπασα) – Aphrodite Urania
  • Thagimasidas (Θαγιμασάδας) – Poseidon
Archaeological context

The primary archaeological context of horse sacrifice are burials, notably chariot burials, but graves with horse remains reach from the Eneolithic well into historical times. Herodotus describes the execution of horses at the burial of a Scythian king, and Iron Age kurgan graves known to contain horses number in the hundreds.

The Scythians had some reverence for the stag, which is one of the most common motifs in their artwork, especially at funeral sites (see, for example, the Pazyryk burials).

Scythians and Sarmatians
Kathryn Hinds (2010)


The Scythians may have originated somewhere around the Ural River, in what is now western Kazakhstan. During the eighth century BCE, they migrated westward to the region north of the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea. This was the territory of a people known as the Cimmerians, but the Scythians drove them out. Some Cimmerians moved into Asia Minor, while the Scythians pursued others across the Caucasus and into the Assyrian Empire based in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq). →
Assyrian records referred to the Scythians as the Ishkuza or Ashkuzai, mentioning them for the first time in the late seventh century BCE. Led by a chief named Ishpakai, around 678 they allied with the Medes (from Media, a kingdom in what is now northern Iran) and waged war against the Assyrians. Only a few years later, though, a group of Scythians became allies of Assyria, and their chief, Bartatua, married an Assyrian princess. Bartatua’s Scythians then proceeded to go after the Cimmerians in Asia Minor, who had been harassing Assyria’s borders. Several decades later Bartatua’s son, Madyes, came to the Assyrians’ aid again, this time against the Medes. The Scythians took control of Media themselves and around 610 they and the Medes conquered Nineveh, the Assyrian Empire’s capital. →

Scythian warriors apparently raided many areas of the Middle East during this period, striking even as far south as Egypt. The fifth-century BCE Greek historian Herodotus wrote that for twenty-eight years the Scythians ruled west Asia “and the whole land was ruined because of their violence and their pride, for, besides exacting tribute ... they rode about the land carrying off everyone’s possessions.”

“A Scythian drinks the blood of the first man whom he has taken down. He carries the heads of all whom he has slain in the battle to his king; for if he brings a head, he receives a share of the booty taken, but not otherwise. He scalps the head. ... He keeps [the scalp] for a hand towel, fastening it to the bridle of [his] horse ... and taking pride in it; for he who has most scalps ... is judged the best man. ... The heads themselves, not all of them but those of their bitterest enemies, they treat this way. Each saws off all the part beneath the eyebrows, and cleans the rest. If he is a poor man, then he covers the outside with a piece of raw hide, and so makes use of it; but if he is rich, he covers the [skull] with the raw hide, and gilds the inside of it and uses it for a drinking-cup.”

Archaeologists have found evidence to support Herodotus’s story at a site now known as Belsk, on a tributary of the Dnieper River. →
To many readers, in both ancient and more recent times, Herodotus’s description of a Scythian royal funeral seemed even more incredible than his story of Scythian head collecting. He wrote, “They take the king’s corpse and, having opened the belly and cleaned out the inside, fill it with a preparation of chopped cypress, frankincense, parsley seed, and aniseed, after which they sew up the opening, enclose the body in wax and, placing it on a wagon, carry it through all the different tribes.” This funeral procession through the dead king’s lands took forty days, then arrived at the traditional burial site for Scythian rulers. →
“There the body of the dead king is laid in the grave prepared for it, stretched upon a mattress. ... In the open space around the king they bury one of his [wives or servant girls], first killing her by strangling, and also his cupbearer, his cook, his groom, his lackey, his messenger, his horses, firstlings of all his other possessions and some golden cups. ... After this they set to work and raise a vast mound above the grave, all of them vying with each other and seeking to make it as tall as possible.”

The final ceremonies came a year later, when “they take the most trusted of the rest of the king’s servants ... and strangle fifty of these and fifty of their best horses and empty and clean the bellies of them all, fill them with chaff, and sew them up again.” Then they set the dead men on the dead horses, arranged upright in a circle around the mound, looking just as if the late king’s servants had mounted guard on his grave.

 



Sakas / Indo-Scythians

Sakas / Indo-Scythians (LINK)

Sakas / Indo-Scythians (LINK)
Sakas / Indo-Scythians

Incorporating the Amyrgians, Dahae, Haumavarga, Homodotes, Orthocorybantes, Paradraya, Tigraxauda, & Xanthii

The Indo-Scythian Sakas were nomadic Central Asian tribes which inhabited the region around the River Jaxartes and Lake Issykkul (or Issyk Kul — located in the Tian Shan Mountains in eastern Kyrgyzstan). They seem to have been Indo-European in terms of their ancestry, part of a large group of peoples who had formerly lived around the north shores of the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. Migration between the fourth and second millennia BC had sent them far and wide, mostly into Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean, but it also later saw them in Iran and India, and even Han dynasty China.

The Sakas eventually found themselves situated to the north and east of the Indo-European Oxus Civilisation of late-third millennium BC Transoxiana, although it is impossible to say whether they were involved at all. They could instead have been part of the Kazakhstan steppe-living 'spiral city' builders who may have traded with the Oxus dwellers but who did not achieve quite the same level of sophistication. Probably related to the Massagetae, their subsequent fate between around 1700-550 BC can only be guessed at. It probably involved a return to a typical Indo-European nomadic existence, which is supported by their adventures with the Yeuh Chi,Achaemenids, and others. They may also have influenced or provided elements of the later Göktürks, who have been linked by some scholars with an Indo-European ancestry.

The Amyrgian subset of Sakas in particular were fairly well attested, after coming into contact with both the Achaemenids (who called them Sakaibish) and the Greeks under Alexander. They were apparently centred on the Amyrgian plain which equates to all of Ferghanaand also the Alai valley - well to the east of most of the Sakas. They accompanied Alexander on campaign, under their 'King Omarg' and later entered India along with the Kambojas to found a kingdom in Gandhara (now in northern Pakistan), displacing the ailing Indo-Greekkings.

The Tigraxauda name is commonly translated as 'pointed caps' thanks to the headdress worn by members of this group. They appear to have been nearest the Persian border during the eastern campaigns of Darius the Great, fleeing from his advance. Then Darius crossed a river which was probably the Syr Darya - the Jaxartes or River Tanais - after crossing Suguda, and 'smote the Saka exceedingly', slaying their chief. This would be the Haumavarga. The origin of their name is taken to mean that they practiced haoma-drinking. Haoma - the soma of Rigveda - is a medicinal and health-giving extract from plants which is associated with ancient Zoroastrian healing practices. The shift between soma and haoma is another example of the 's' to 'sh' to 's' shift that can be seen between Indo-Aryans and Indo-Iranians. More than just medicinal, haoma appears to have been psychotropic in nature if the Rigveda is read correctly. The third of the early Saka 'nations' was that of the Paradraya. This name breaks down into 'para' and 'draya', the first part meaning 'across' and the latter almost certainly being 'darya' or 'river'. When Darius boasted of the limits of his empire he gave as the north-eastern corner the 'Sakaibish tyaiy para Sugdam' - the Sakas across/beyond Suguda, on the other side of the Syr Darya, which forms the boundary between Suguda and Scythia.

Later groups were noted in the fifth century by Xerxes and others. The region known as Daha was added to the empire, the name coming from 'daai' or 'daae', meaning 'men', perhaps in the sense of brigands. Daha or Dahae would appear to be the region on the eastern flank of the Caspian Sea, bordered by the Tigraxauda to the north. This contained a confederation of three tribes, the Parni, the Pissuri, and the Xanthii. With the latter, the 'x' in Xanthii has a 'ks' sound which is interchangeable with 'sk' in place of the 'x', possibly providing 'skanth' which can also be seen in the region name 'Skudra'. It turns out that the Xanthii may have been a branch of the Sakas and Scythians.

In the 320s BC, the Amyrgian plain saw the Saka Haumavarga neighbouring the Saka Tigraxauda. Guive Mirfendereski at the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies equates the Massagetae with the Haumavarga (but not the Tigraxauda?), suggesting that Herodotus had produced 'Massagetae' as his own Greek pronunciation of Haumavarga and Amyrgian to describe a specific group of Haumavarga, while the Tigraxauda seem to have become the Orthocorybantes.

In the 280s BC, the Greek explorer and satrap, Demodamas, undertook military expeditions across the Syr Darya to explore the lands of the Sakas, repopulating Alexandria Eschate (modern Khojend) in the process following its earlier destruction by barbarians. From his material, and that recorded by Megasthenes around a generation before, another group of Sakas could be perceived at this time, known as the Homodotes (Pliny's Homodoti, which is based originally on Demodamas, and who are one of a list of regionally neighbouring tribes called the Astacae, Rumnici, and Pestici). The Homodotes were located in the (northern) Emod and at the headwaters of the Oxus (the Amu Darya).

(Information by Peter Kessler and Abhijit Rajadhyaksha, with additional information by Edward Dawson, from Ancient India, R C Majumdar (Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Ltd, 1987), from Studies in Indian History, L Prasad (Cosmos Bookhive, Gurgaon, 2000), from the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies in a theory proposed by Guive Mirfendereski, from Epitome of the Philippic History of Pompeius Trogus: Books 11-12, Volume 1, Marcus Junianus Justinus, John Yardley, & Waldemar Heckel, from Foreign Impact on Indian Life and Culture (c.326 BC to c.300 AD), Satyendra Nath Naskar, from Indian Numismatic Studies, K D Bajpai, from A Comprehensive History Of Ancient India, P N Chopra & B N Puri, from The Persian Empire, J M Cook (1983), from The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia, René Grousset (1970), and from External Links: Indo-European Chronology - Countries and Peoples, and Indo-European Etymological Dictionary, J Pokorny, and The Ethnic [Background] of [the] Sakas (Scythians), I P'iankov, presented by the Iran Chamber Society, and the Ancient History Encyclopaedia, and Zoroastrian Heritage, K E Eduljee, and Talessman's Atlas (World History Maps).)



 

 





  Sarmatians

Sarmatian people

Pomponius Mela’s Description of the World
(W)


115. The Tanais itself, falling from the Riphaean Mountains, rushes so precipitously that it alone endures both summery heat and wintry cold in close proximity, yet it runs down always the same, unchanged and fast-moving, even when neighboring rivers, the Maeotis, the Cimmerian Bosphorus, and certain parts of the Pontus are all frozen by winter's cold.83 116. The Sauromatae occupy its banks and the places that are contiguous with them. They are one nation but have as many peoples as they have names. First, the Maeotid Gynaecocratumenoe [Grk., Ruled By Women]—the kingdoms of the Amazons—occupy plains that are rich in pasture but barren and bare for other things. The Budini inhabit the city of Gelonos. Next to them the Thyssagetae and Turcae occupy endless forests and feed themselves by hunting.117. The next region is deserted and rough, with uninterrupted cliffs over a wide stretch; it extends all the way to the Aremphaei. These people enjoy customs that are very much based on fair treatment; they have sacred groves for homes and berries as food; and both men and women keep their heads bare. Therefore these people are regarded as consecrated, and no one from nations as savage as those here profanes these people, which results in the custom that other people flee to them for asylum. Farther on, the Riphaean Mountains rise up, and beyond them lies the shore that faces Ocean.
Detail of the front panel of the roman sarcophagus adorned with a relief representing the submission of the Sarmatians. (W)
Sarmatian
(BRITANNICA)

Sarmatian, member of a people originally of Iranian stock who migrated from Central Asia to the Ural Mountains between the 6th and 4th century BC and eventually settled in most of southern European Russia and the eastern Balkans.

Like the Scythians to whom they were closely related, the Sarmatians were highly developed in horsemanship and warfare. Their administrative capability and political astuteness contributed to their gaining widespread influence. By the 5th century BC the Sarmatians held control of the land between the Urals and the Don River. In the 4th century they crossed the Don and conquered the Scythians, replacing them as rulers of almost all of southern Russia by the 2nd century. The Roman province of Lower Moesia (Bulgaria) was penetrated during the time of Nero’s rule, and an alliance which the Sarmatians formed with Germanic tribes posed a formidable threat to the Romans in the West as late as the lst century ad. In the final centuries of their existence the Sarmatians invaded Dacia (Romania) and the lower Danube region, only to be overwhelmed by the Goths during the 3rd century ad, though many of them joined their conquerors in the Gothic invasion of western Europe. Sarmatia perished when hordes of Huns migrated after ad 370 into southern Russia. Those surviving became assimilated or escaped to the West to fight the Huns and the last of the Goths. By the 6th century their descendants had disappeared from the historical record.

When the Sarmatians penetrated into southeastern Europe, they were already accomplished horsemen. They were nomadic, devoting themselves to hunting and to pastoral occupations. Owing to their common nomadic and Central Asian heritage, Sarmatian society paralleled, at first, that of the Scythians, but there were many differences. The Scythian gods were those of nature, while the Sarmatians venerated a god of fire to whom they offered horses in sacrifice. In contrast to the reclusive, domestic role of Scythian women, unmarried Sarmatian females, especially in the society’s early years, took arms alongside men. Sarmatian female warriors may have inspired the Greek tales of the Amazons.

An early matriarchal form of society was later replaced by a system of male chieftains and eventually by a male monarchy. This transition may well have stemmed from the rapid development of horsemanship and a male cavalry corps, attributable to the invention of the metal stirrup and the spur. These innovations contributed greatly to success in military campaigns and even influenced the Roman style of combat.

Evolving burial customs offer an insight into the progress of the Sarmatian social structure. Early graves held only the remains of the deceased. The somewhat later inclusion of personal objects with the body followed the emergence of class differences. As society became more complex and affluent, more treasures were included with the corpse, until in the final period burial costumes and even jewelry were added to the ritual. The Kuban region is the site of the most elaborate tombs, which in general resemble those of the Scythians, although they are less elaborate in form and decoration. Horse trappings and weapons of the Sarmatians were also less elaborate than those of the Scythians, but they nonetheless evidenced great skill. Sarmatian spears were longer, but knives and daggers were just as varied in style. An outstanding specialty was the Sarmatian long sword, which featured a hilt of wood with gold lacing, topped with an agate or onyx knob. Sarmatian art was strongly geometric, floral, and richly coloured. Jewelry was a major craft, expressed in rings, bracelets, diadems, brooches, gold plaques, buckles, buttons, and mounts. Exceptional metalwork was found in the tombs, including bronze bracelets, spears, swords, gold-handled knives, and gold jewelry and cups.
Map of the Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117-138 AD), showing the location of the Sarmatae in the Ukrainian steppe region. (W)

Sarmatians (W)

The Sarmatians (Latin: Sarmatae, Sauromatae; Greek: Σαρμάται, Σαυρομάται) were a large Iranian confederation that existed in classical antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD.

Originating in the central parts of the Eurasian Steppe, the Sarmatians started migrating westward around the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, coming to dominate the closely related Scythians by 200 BC. At their greatest reported extent, around 1st century AD, these tribes ranged from the Vistula River to the mouth of the Danube and eastward to the Volga, bordering the shores of the Black and Caspian seas as well as the Caucasus to the south. Their territory, which was known as Sarmatia to Greco-Roman ethnographers, corresponded to the western part of greater Scythia (it included today's Central Ukraine, South-Eastern Ukraine, Southern Russia, Russian Volga and South-Ural regions, also to a smaller extent north-eastern Balkans and around Moldova). In the 1st century AD, the Sarmatians began encroaching upon the Roman Empire in alliance with Germanic tribes. In the 3rd century AD, their dominance of the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Germanic Goths. With the Hunnic invasions of the 4th century, many Sarmatians joined the Goths and other Germanic tribes (Vandals) in the settlement of the Western Roman Empire. Since large parts of today's Russia, specifically the land between the Ural Mountains and the Don River, were controlled in the 5th century BC by the Sarmatians, the Volga-Don and Ural steppes sometimes are also called "Sarmatian Motherland".

The Sarmatians were eventually decisively assimilated (e.g. Slavicisation) and absorbed by the Proto-Slavic population of Eastern Europe.

A Sarmatian diadem, found at the Khokhlach kurgan near Novocherkassk (1st century AD, Hermitage Museum)

A Sarmatian-Parthian gold necklace and amulet, 2nd century AD. Located in Tamoikin Art Fund.
Ethnology (W)

The Sarmatians were part of the Indo-Iranian steppe peoples, among whom were also Scythians and Saka. These are also grouped together as "East Iranians". Archaeology has established the connection 'between the Iranian-speaking Scythians, Sarmatians and Saka and the earlier Timber-grave and Andronovo cultures'. Based on building construction, these three peoples were the likely descendants of those earlier archaeological cultures. The Sarmatians and Saka used the same stone construction methods as the earlier Andronovo culture. The Timber-grave and Andronovo house building traditions were further developed by these three peoples. Andronovo pottery was continued by the Saka and Sarmatians. Archaeologists describe the Andronovo culture people as exhibiting pronounced Caucasoid features.

Language (W)

The Sarmatians spoke an Iranian language, derived from 'Old Iranian', that was heterogenous. By the 1st century BC, the Iranian tribes in what is today South Russia spoke different languages or dialects, clearly distinguishable. According to a group of Iranologists writing in 1968, the numerous Iranian personal names in Greek inscriptions from the Black Sea coast indicated that the Sarmatians spoke a North-Eastern Iranian dialect ancestral to Alanian-Ossetian. However, Harmatta (1970) argued that "the language of the Sarmatians or that of the Alans as a whole cannot be simply regarded as being Old Ossetian".
   
     
 
 

 





  Massagetae — Thyssagetae — Tauri

Massagetae


Herodotus wrote that the wide plain east of the Caspian Sea was home

“to the Massagetae, who were “like the Scythians in their dress and way of life. They are both cavalry and infantry (having some of each kind), and spearmen and archers; and it is their custom to carry battle-axes. They always use gold and bronze; all their spear-points and arrowheads and battle-axes are bronze and the adornment of their headgear and belts ... is gold. They equip their horses similarly, protecting their chests with bronze breastplates and putting gold on reins, bits, and cheekplates.”


Massagetae (W)


Asia in 323 BC, showing the Massagetae located in Central Asia.


The Massagetae, or Massageteans, were an ancient Eastern Iranian nomadic confederation, who inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, north-east of the Caspian Sea in modern Turkmenistan, western Uzbekistan, and southern Kazakhstan.

The Massagetae are known primarily from the writings of Herodotus who described the Massagetae as living on a sizeable portion of the great plain east of the Caspian Sea. He several times refers to them as living "beyond the River Araxes", which flows through the Caucasus and into the west Caspian. Scholars have offered various explanations for this anomaly. For example, Herodotus may have confused two or more rivers, as he had limited and frequently indirect knowledge of geography.

According to Greek and Roman scholars, the Massagetae were neighboured by the Aspasioi (possibly the Aśvaka) to the north, the Scythians and the Dahae to the west, and the Issedones (possibly the Wusun) to the east. Sogdia (Khorasan) lay to the south.


Tomyris, Cyrus




Queen Tomyris of the Massagetae, receiving the head of Cyrus the Great, circa 530 BCE (18th century painting).
 
   
At that time, according to Herodotus, the Massagetae were ruled by a widowed queen, Tomyris. Cyrus sent her a message saying he wanted to marry her, but she refused, knowing that what he really wanted was her people’s lands. Since he couldn’t get them through marriage, he prepared to invade.

Now Tomyris sent him a message: “Stop hurrying on what you are hurrying on, for you cannot know whether the completion of this work will be for your advantage. Stop, and be king of your own country; and endure seeing us ruling those whom we rule.”

Cyrus did not stop. In the summer of 530 BCE he led his army into the nomads’ territory. The Persians met with success early on, killing a large number of Massagetae warriors and capturing Tomyris’s son. When Tomyris heard of this, she sent another message to Cyrus: “Do not be elated by what you have done. ... Take a word of good advice from me: give me back my son and leave this country. ... But if you will not, then I swear to you by the sun ... that I shall give even you who can never get enough of it your fill of blood.” Cyrus ignored this threat, and Tomyris’s son killed himself rather than endure captivity. Herodotus continues the story:

“ Tomyris, when Cyrus would not listen to her, collected all her forces and engaged him. This fight I judge to have been the fiercest ever fought by men that were not Greek. ... For first (it is said) they shot arrows at each other from a distance; then, when their arrows were all spent, they rushed at each other and fought with their spears and swords; and for a long time they stood fighting and neither would give ground; but at last the Massagetae got the upper hand. The greater part of the Persian army was destroyed there on the spot, and Cyrus himself fell there. ... Tomyris filled a skin with human blood, and searched among the Persian dead for Cyrus’ body; and when she found it, she pushed his head into the skin, and insulted the dead man in these words: “Though I am alive and have defeated you in battle, you have destroyed me, taking my son by guile; but just as I threatened, I give you your fill of blood.”

Culture

The original language of the Massagetae is little-known. While it appears to have had similarities to the Eastern Iranian languages, these may have resulted from interactions with neighbouring peoples, such as language contact or sprachbund-type assimilation.

According to Herodotus:

[1.215] In their dress and mode of living the Massagetae resemble the Scythians. They fight both on horseback and on foot, neither method is strange to them: they use bows and lances, but their favourite weapon is the battle-axe. Their arms are all either of gold or brass. For their spear-points, and arrow-heads, and for their battle-axes, they make use of brass; for head-gear, belts, and girdles, of gold. So too with the caparison of their horses, they give them breastplates of brass, but employ gold about the reins, the bit, and the cheek-plates. They use neither iron nor silver, having none in their country; but they have brass and gold in abundance.
[1.216] The following are some of their customs; – Each man has but one wife, yet all the wives are held in common; for this is a custom of the Massagetae and not of the Scythians, as the Greeks wrongly say. Human life does not come to its natural close with this people; but when a man grows very old, all his kinsfolk collect together and offer him up in sacrifice; offering at the same time some cattle also. After the sacrifice they boil the flesh and feast on it; and those who thus end their days are reckoned the happiest. If a man dies of disease they do not eat him, but bury him in the ground, bewailing his ill-fortune that he did not come to be sacrificed. They sow no grain, but live on their herds, and on fish, of which there is great plenty in the Araxes River. Milk is what they chiefly drink. The only god they worship is the sun, and to him they offer the horse in sacrifice; under the notion of giving to the swiftest of the gods the swiftest of all mortal creatures.

History

Concerning the death of Cyrus the Great of Persia, Herodotus writes:

[1.201] When Cyrus had achieved the conquest of the Babylonians, he conceived the desire of bringing the Massagetae under his dominion. Now the Massagetae are said to be a great and warlike nation, dwelling eastward, toward the rising of the sun, beyond the river Araxes, and opposite the Issedones. By many they are regarded as a Scythian race.
[1.211] Cyrus advanced a day's journey into Massagetan territory from the Araxes... Many of the Massagetae were killed, but even more taken prisoner, including Queen Tomyris's son, who was commander of the army and whose name was Spargapises.
[1.214] Tomyris mustered all her forces and engaged Cyrus in battle. I consider this to have been the fiercest battle between non-Greeks that there has ever been.... They fought at close quarters for a long time, and neither side would give way, until eventually the Massagetae gained the upper hand. Most of the Persian army was wiped out there, and Cyrus himself died too.

 



Thyssagetae

Thyssagetae (W)


Map depicting the world as described by Herodotus, with the Thyssagetae on the northern banks of the 'Palus Maeotis'


The Thyssagetae (Ancient Greek: Θυσσαγέται) were an ancient tribe described by Herodotus as occupying a district to the north-east of Scythia, separated from the Budini by a "desert" that took seven days to cross. The Thyssagetae therefore seem to have occupied the southern end of the Ural Mountains, north of the Caspian Sea.

According to the 19th Century archaeologist Sir Ellis Minns, the form of their name suggests that the Thyssagetae spoke an Iranian language, such as Scythian or Sarmatian, like the neighbouring Massagetae (on the north-east shores of the Caspian).

The 15th Century chronicler Giacomo Filippo Foresti (a.k.a. Jacobus Philippus Foresti da Bergamo) mentioned a river in the area named the Thisageta, and Minns suggested that the name of the Chusovaya (or Chussovaja) River in the Urals may be linked to the Thyssagetae.

While Herodotus claimed that four rivers from the land of the Thyssagetae flowed into the Maeotis (Sea of Azov), he appears to have been mistaken. He may have confused the Caspian Sea with the Maeotis, as one of the rivers, named the "Oarus", was almost certainly the Volga.

 



Tauri

Tauri (W)

The Tauri (Ταῦροι in Ancient Greek), also Scythotauri, Tauri Scythae, Tauroscythae (Pliny, H. N. 4.85) were a people settled on the southern coast of the Crimea peninsula, inhabiting the Crimean Mountains and the narrow strip of land between the mountains and the Black Sea. They gave their name to the peninsula, which was known in ancient times as Taurica, Taurida and Tauris.


Map of the Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117-38 AD), showing the location of the Chersonnesos Taurike (Crimean peninsula), the home of the Tauri (LINK)


In his Histories, Herodotus describes the Tauri as living "by plundering and war". They became famous for their worship of a virgin goddess, to whom they sacrificed shipwrecked travellers and waylaid Greeks.(Not 1) He makes a point of them living in Scythia geographically without themselves being Scythians. .(Not 2) In Geographica, Strabo refers to the Tauri as a Scythian tribe.(Not 3)

The Greeks identified the Tauric goddess with Artemis Tauropolos or with Iphigeneia, daughter of Agamemnon. The Tauric custom of human sacrifice inspired the Greek legends of Iphigeneia and Orestes, recounted in Iphigeneia in Tauris by the playwright Euripides. The original greek title given by Euripides literally means Iphigeneia among the taurians. Such place as "Tauris" does not exist.

According to Herodotus, the manner of their sacrifice was to beat the head with a club and remove the head; then they either buried the body or threw it off a cliff, and lastly nailed the head to a cross. Prisoners of war likewise had their heads removed, and the head was then put onto a tall pole and placed at their house "in order that the whole house may be under their protection".

Although the Crimean coast eventually came to be dominated by Greek (and subsequently Roman) colonies, notably the one at Chersonesos, the Tauri remained a major threat to Greek power in the region. They engaged in piracy against ships on the Black Sea, mounting raids from their base at Symbolon (today's Balaklava). By the 2nd century BC they had become subject-allies of the Scythian king Scilurus.


  • (NOT 1) Hdt. 4.103 "the Tauri have the following customs: all ship-wrecked men, and any Greeks whom they capture in their sea-raids, they sacrifice to the Virgin goddess as I will describe: after the first rites of sacrifice, they strike the victim on the head with a club; according to some, they then place the head on a pole and throw the body off the cliff on which their temple stands; others agree as to the head, but say that the body is buried, not thrown off the cliff. The Tauri themselves say that this deity to whom they sacrifice is Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia. As for enemies whom they defeat, each cuts his enemy's head off and carries it away to his house, where he places it on a tall pole and stands it high above the dwelling, above the smoke-vent for the most part. These heads, they say, are set up to guard the whole house. The Tauri live by plundering and war. " (trans. Godley)

 

  • (NOT 2) 4.99 "Beyond this place [Carcinitis on the Ister], the country fronting the same sea is hilly and projects into the Pontus; it is inhabited by the Tauric nation as far as what is called the Rough Peninsula; and this ends in the eastern sea. For the sea to the south and the sea to the east are two of the four boundary lines of Scythia, just as seas are boundaries of Attica; and the Tauri inhabit a part of Scythia like Attica, as though some other people, not Attic, were to inhabit the heights of Sunium from Thoricus to the town of Anaphlystus, if Sunium jutted farther out into the sea. I mean, so to speak, to compare small things with great. Such a land is the Tauric country. But those who have not sailed along that part of Attica may understand from this other analogy: it is as though in Calabria some other people, not Calabrian, were to live on the promontory within a line drawn from the harbor of Brundisium to Tarentum. I am speaking of these two countries, but there are many others of a similar kind that Tauris resembles." (trans. A. D. Godley)

 

 



Greeks in pre-Roman Crimea

Greeks in pre-Roman Crimea (W)


Greek colonies along the north coast of the Black Sea in the 5th century BCE. (LINK)

Greek city-states began establishing colonies along the Black Sea coast of Crimea in the 7th or 6th century BC. Several colonies were established in the vicinity of the Kerch Strait, then known as the Cimmerian Bosporus. The density of colonies around the Cimmerian Bosporus was unusual for Greek colonization and reflected the importance of the area. The majority of these colonies were established by Ionians from the city of Miletus in Asia Minor. By the mid-1st century BC the Bosporan Kingdom became a client state of the late Roman Republic, ushering in the era of Roman Crimea during the Roman Empire.

Taurica, Tauric Chersonese, and Tauris were names by which the Crimean Peninsula was known in classical antiquity and well into the early modern period. The Greeks named the region after its inhabitants, the Tauri: Ταυρικὴ Χερσόνησος (Taurikē Khersonesos) or Χερσόνησος Ταυρική (Khersonesos Taurikē), "Tauric peninsula" ("khersonesos" literally means "peninsula"). Chersonesus Taurica is the Latin version of the Greek name.

 

 




  Cimmerians

Cimmerians

Cimmerians (W)

World in 1000 BC.

Distribution of "Thraco-Cimmerian" finds. From map in Археология Украинской ССР vol. 2, Kiev (1986).

Cimmerians (W)


The Cimmerians (also Kimmerians; Greek: Κιμμέριοι, Kimmérioi) were an Indo-European people, who appeared about 1000 BC and are mentioned later in 8th century BC in Assyrian records.

Probably originating in the Pontic steppe and invading by means of the Caucasus, they are likely to be those who in c. 714 BC assaulted Urartu, a state in north eastern Anatolia subject to the Neo-Assyrian Empire. They were defeated by Assyrian forces under Sargon II in 705 and turned towards Anatolia, conquering Phrygia in 696/5. They reached the height of their power in 652 after taking Sardis, the capital of Lydia; however an invasion of Assyrian-controlled Anshan was thwarted. Soon after 619, Alyattes of Lydia defeated them. There are no further mentions of them in historical sources, but it is likely that they settled in Cappadocia.

Origins


The origin of the Cimmerians is unclear. They are mostly supposed to have been related to either Iranian or Thracian speaking groups which migrated under pressure of the Scythian expansion of the 9th to 8th century BC.

According to Herodotus, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC (i.e. what is now Ukraine and Russia) although they have not been identified with any specific archaeological culture in the region.


Assyrian records


Sir Henry Layard's discoveries in the royal archives at Nineveh and Calah included Assyrian primary records of the Cimmerian invasion. These records appear to place the Cimmerian homeland, Gamir, south rather than north of the Black Sea.

The first record of the Cimmerians appears in Assyrian annals in the year 714 BC. These describe how a people termed the Gimirri helped the forces of Sargon II to defeat the kingdom of Urartu. Their original homeland, called Gamir or Uishdish, seems to have been located within the buffer state of Mannae. The later geographer Ptolemy placed the Cimmerian city of Gomara in this region. The Assyrians recorded the migrations of the Cimmerians, as the former people's king Sargon II was killed in battle against them while driving them from Persia in 705 BC.

The Cimmerians were subsequently recorded as having conquered Phrygia in 696-695 BC, prompting the Phrygian king Midas to take poison rather than face capture. In 679 BC, during the reign of Esarhaddon of Assyria (r. 681-669 BC), they attacked the Assyrian colonies Cilicia and Tabal under their new ruler Teushpa. Esarhaddon defeated them near Hubushna (Hupisna), and they also met defeat at the hands of his successor Ashurbanipal.

Language


Only a few personal names in the Cimmerian language have survived in Assyrian inscriptions:

  • Te-ush-pa-a; according to the Hungarian linguist János Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Tavis-paya "swelling with strength".
  • Dug-dam-mei (Dugdammê) king of the Ummân-Manda (nomads) appears in a prayer of Ashurbanipal to Marduk, on a fragment at the British Museum. According to professor Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Duγda-maya "giving happiness".
  • Sandaksatru, son of Dugdamme. This is an Iranian reading of the name, and Manfred Mayrhofer (1981) points out that the name may also be read as Sandakurru. Mayrhofer likewise rejects the interpretation of "with pure regency" as a mixing of Iranian and Indo-Aryan. Ivancik suggests an association with the Anatolian deity Sanda. According to Professor J. Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Sanda-Kuru "Splendid Son". Kur/Kuru is still used as "son" in the Kurdish languages, and in modified form in Persian as korr, for the male offspring of horses.

Some researchers have attempted to trace various place names to Cimmerian origins. It has been suggested that Cimmerium gave rise to the Turkic toponym Qırım (which in turn gave rise to the name “Crimea”).


Genetics


A recent DNA analysis of three Cimmerians indicate "the appearance of East Asian haplogroups in the steppe populations might be associated with the Iron Age nomads, starting with the Cimmerians." The authors found it "noteworthy that the oldest of the Cimmerians studied here (cim357) carried almost equal proportions of Asian and West Eurasian components, resembling the Pazyryks, Aldy-Bel, and Iron Age individuals from Russia and Kazakhstan. The second oldest Cimmerian (cim358) was also the only one with both uniparental markers pointing toward East Asia. The Q1* Y chromosome sublineage of Q-M242 is widespread among Asians and Native Americans and is thought to have originated in the Altai Mountains. It has previously been identified in numerous ancient samples from Siberia, the Americas, and in representatives of the Siberian Bronze Age and nomadic populations. This is the first indication that Cimmerians did not originate in the PCS region but were nomads tracing their origin to the Far East."

     
Timeline

 

  • 721-715 BC – Sargon II mentions a land of Gamirr near to Urartu.
  • 714 – suicide of Rusas I of Urartu, after defeat by both the Assyrians and Cimmerians.
  • 705 – Sargon II of Assyria dies on an expedition against the Kulummu.
  • 695 – Cimmerians destroy Phrygia. Death of king Midas.
  • 679/678 – Gimirri under a ruler called Teushpa invade Assyria from Hubuschna (Cappadocia?). Esarhaddon of Assyria defeats them in battle.
  • 676-674 – Cimmerians invade and destroy Phrygia, and reach Paphlagonia.
  • 654 or 652 – Gyges of Lydia dies in battle against the Cimmerians. Sack of Sardis; Cimmerians and Treres plunder Ionian colonies.
  • 644 – Cimmerians occupy Sardis, but withdraw soon afterwards
  • 637-626 – Cimmerians defeated by Alyattes.


Cimmerian invasions of Colchis, Urartu and Assyria 715-713 BC.

 



📹 Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (VİDEO)

Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (LINK)

(B) Kingdom of the Bosporus, also called Cimmerian Bosporus, ancient Greek state situated on Kerch Strait in present-day southern Ukraine. It reached its peak of power in the 4th century BC.

The kingdom’s major city, Panticapaeum (modern Kerch), was ruled by the Archaeanactid dynasty (480-438 BC), then by the Spartocid dynasty (438-110 BC), which annexed to Panticapaeum other Greek colonies—e.g., Nymphaeum, which had been founded in the region in the 7th and 6th centuries. After the second half of the 5th century, Athenian influence was strong among the Bosporus cities; Athens controlled local trade until 404 BC and remained the chief customer of the Bosporus’ food and other exports throughout the 4th century. The Spartocids suppressed piracy in the Black Sea, and through their management of the trade in grain, fish, and slaves, the Bosporus state prospered. The kingdom’s dynastic and financial decline began in the middle of the 3rd century, and after 110 BC the kings of Pontus controlled the region. A new dynasty, established in the 1st century AD, ruled for 300 years under the protection of the Roman Empire. After AD 342 the country was alternately under barbarian and Byzantine control.

 







 

 
  • Yaz Culture
  • (BMAC) Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex
  • Andronovo Culture

Yaz culture

Yaz culture (W)



Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC). The Andronovo, BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC (Swat), Cemetery H, Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan migrations. (W)

The Yaz culture (named after the type site Yaz-depe, Yaz Depe, or Yaz Tepe, near Baýramaly, Turkmenistan) was an early Iron Age culture of Margiana, Bactria and Sogdia (ca. 1500-500 BC). It emerges at the top of late Bronze Age sites (BMAC), sometimes as stone towers and sizeable houses associated with irrigation systems. Ceramics were mostly hand-made, but there was increasing use of wheel-thrown ware. There have been found bronze or iron arrowheads, also iron sickles or carpet knives among other artifacts.

With the farming citadels, steppe-derived metallurgy and ceramics, and absence of burials it has been regarded as a likely archaeological reflection of early East Iranian culture as described in the Avesta. So far, no burials related to the culture have been found, and this is taken as possible evidence of the Zoroastrian practice of exposure or sky burial.


 



Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex

Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (W)


The extent of the BMAC (according to the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture)

The Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (short BMAC), also known as the Oxus civilization, is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age civilization of Central Asia, dated to c. 2300-1700 BC, located in present-day northern Afghanistan, eastern Turkmenistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centred on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus River). Its sites were discovered and named by the Sovietarchaeologist Viktor Sarianidi (1976). Bactria was the Greek name for the area of Bactra (modern Balkh), in what is now northern Afghanistan, and Margiana was the Greek name for the Persian satrapy of Marguš, the capital of which was Merv, in modern-day southeastern Turkmenistan.

Sarianidi's excavations from the late 1970s onward revealed numerous monumental structures in many sites, fortified by impressive walls and gates. Reports on the BMAC were mostly confined to Soviet journals until the last years of the Soviet Union, so the findings were largely unknown to the West until Sarianidi's work began to be translated in the 1990s.



Seated Female Figure, chlorite and limestone, Bactria, 2500-1500 BC (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

Agriculture & economy


The inhabitants of the BMAC were sedentary people who practised irrigation farming of wheat and barley. With their impressive material culture including monumental architecture, bronze tools, ceramics, and jewellery of semiprecious stones, the complex exhibits many of the hallmarks of civilisation. The complex can be compared to proto-urban settlements in the Helmand basin at Mundigak in western Afghanistan and Shahr-e Sukhteh in eastern Iran, or at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley.

Models of two-wheeled carts from c. 3000 BC found at Altyn-Depe are the earliest complete evidence of wheeled transport in Central Asia, though model wheels have come from contexts possibly somewhat earlier. Judging by the type of harness, carts were initially pulled by oxen, or a bull. However camels were domesticated within the BMAC. A model of a cart drawn by a camel of c. 2200 BC was found at Altyn-Depe.


 



Andronovo culture

Andronovo culture (W)



Geographical range Eurasian steppe
Period Bronze Age
Dates c. 2000 BC – 900 BC
Preceded by Corded Ware culture, Sintashta culture, Okunev culture
Followed by Karasuk culture

The Andronovo culture is a collection of similar local Bronze Age cultures that flourished c. 2000-900 BC in western Siberia and the central Eurasian Steppe. Some researchers have preferred to term it an archaeological complex or archaeological horizon. The older Sintashta culture (2100-1800 BC), formerly included within the Andronovo culture, is now considered separately, but regarded as its predecessor, and accepted as part of the wider Andronovo horizon.

Most researchers associate the Andronovo horizon with early Indo-Iranian languages, though it may have overlapped the early Uralic-speaking area at its northern fringe.

According to genetic study conducted by Allentoft et al. (2015), the Andronovo culture and the preceding Sintashta culture are partially derived from the Corded Ware culture, given the higher proportion of ancestry matching the earlier farmers of Europe, similar to the admixture found in the genomes of the Corded Ware population.


The Andronovo culture consisted of both communities that were largely mobile as well as those settled in small villages. Settlements are especially pronounced in its Central Asian parts. Fortifications include ditches, earthen banks as well as timber palisades, of which an estimated twenty have been discovered. Andronovo villages typically contain around two to twenty houses, but settlements containing as much as a hundred houses have been discovered. Andronovo houses were generally constructed from pinecedar, or birch, and were usually aligned overlooking the banks of rivers. Larger homes range in the size from 80 to 300 sqm, and probably belonged to extended families, a typical feature among early Indo-Iranians.

A large group of scholars associate the Andronovo culture with the Indo-Iranians;  it was furthermore credited with the invention of the spoke-wheeled chariot around 2000 BC.  The association between the Andronovo culture and the Indo-Iranians is corroborated by the distribution of Iranian place-names across the Andronovo horizon and by the historical evidence of dominance by various Iranian peoples, including Saka (Scythians), Sarmatians and Alans, throughout the Andronovo horizon during the 1st millennium BC.

Sintashta on the upper Ural River, noted for its chariot burials and kurgans containing horse burials, is considered the type site of the Sintashta culture, forming one of the earliest parts of the "Andronovo horizon". It is conjectured that the language spoken was still in the Proto-Indo-Iranian stage.

Comparisons between the archaeological evidence of the Andronovo and textual evidence of Indo-Iranians (i. e. the Vedas and the Avesta) are frequently made to support the Indo-Iranian identity of the Andronovo. The modern explanations for the Indo-Iranianization of Greater Iran and the Indian subcontinent rely heavily on the supposition that the Andronovo expanded southwards into Central Asia or at least achieved linguistic dominance across the Bronze Age urban centres of the region, such as the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex. While the earliest phases of the Andronovo culture are regarded as co-ordinate with the late period of Indo-Iranian linguistic unity, it is likely that in the later period they constituted a branch of the Iranians.

The identification of Andronovo as Indo-Iranian has been challenged by scholars who point to the absence of the characteristic timber graves of the steppe south of the Oxus River.  Sarianidi states that "direct archaeological data from Bactria and Margiana show without any shade of doubt that Andronovo tribes penetrated to a minimum extent into Bactria and Margianian oases".

Based on its use by Indo-Aryans in Mitanni and Vedic India, its prior absence in the Near East and Harappan India, and its 16th/17th century BC attestation at the Andronovo site of Sintashta, Kuzmina (1994) argues that the chariot corroborates the identification of Andronovo as Indo-Iranian. Klejn (1974) and Brentjes (1981) find the Andronovo culture much too late for an Indo-Iranian identification since chariot-using Aryans appear in Mitanni by the 15th to 16th century BC. However, Anthony & Vinogradov (1995) dated a chariot burial at Krivoye Lake to around 2000 BC.

Eugene Helimski has suggested that the Andronovo people spoke a separate branch of the Indo-Iranian group of languages. He claims that borrowings in the Finno-Ugric languages support this view. Vladimir Napolskikh has proposed that borrowings in Finno-Ugric indicate that the language was specifically of the Indo-Aryan type.

Since older forms of Indo-Iranian words have been taken over in Uralic and Proto-Yeniseian, occupation by some other languages (also lost ones) cannot be ruled out altogether, at least for part of the Andronovo area, i. e., Uralic and Yeniseian.


 








  Alans LINK: ALAN DATELINE — 650 BC-1400 AD

Alans

Alans (W)


Early modern map of the northern Caucuses region, showing Alania


The Alans (Latin: Alani) were an Iranian nomadic pastoral people of antiquity.

The name Alan is an Iranian dialectical form of Aryan. Possibly related to the Massagetae, the Alans have been connected by modern historians with the Central Asian Yancai and Aorsi of Chinese and Roman sources, respectively. Having migrated westwards and become dominant among the Sarmatians on the Pontic Steppe, they are mentioned by Roman sources in the 1st century AD. At the time, they had settled the region north of the Black Sea and frequently raided the Parthian Empire and the Caucasian provinces of the Roman Empire. From 215-250 AD, their power on the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Goths.

Upon the Hunnic defeat of the Goths on the Pontic Steppe around 375 AD, many of the Alans migrated westwards along with various Germanic tribes. They crossed the Rhine in 406 AD along with the Vandals and Suebi, settling in Orléans and Valence. Around 409 AD, they joined the Vandals and Suebi in the crossing of the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, settling in Lusitania and Carthaginensis. The Iberian Alans were soundly defeated by the Visigoths in 418 AD and subsequently surrendered their authority to the Hasdingi Vandals. In 428 AD, the Vandals and Alans crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into North Africa, where they founded a powerful kingdom which lasted until its conquest by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD.

The Alans who remained under Hunnic rule founded a powerful kingdom in the North Caucasus in the Middle Ages, which ended with the Mongol invasions in the 13th century AD. These Alans are said to be the ancestors of the modern Ossetians.

The Alans spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.

The fourth-century Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus wrote that the Alans were tall, and blond:

“Nearly all the Alani are men of great stature and beauty; their hair is somewhat yellow, their eyes are terribly fierce.

 

The first mentions of names that historians link with the Alani appear at almost the same time in texts from the Mediterranean, Middle East and China.

In the 1st century AD, the Alans migrated westwards from Central Asia, achieving a dominant position among the Sarmatians living between the Don River and the Caspian Sea. The Alans are mentioned in the Vologeses inscription which reads that Vologeses I, the Parthian king between around 51 and 78 AD, in the 11th year of his reign, battled Kuluk, king of the Alani. The 1st century AD Jewish historian Josephus supplements this inscription. Josephus reports in the Jewish Wars (book 7, ch. 7.4) how Alans (whom he calls a “Scythian” tribe) living near the Sea of Azov crossed the Iron Gates for plunder (72 AD) and defeated the armies of Pacorus, king of Media, and Tiridates, King of Armenia, two brothers of Vologeses I (for whom the above-mentioned inscription was made):

...

The fact that the Alans invaded Parthia through Hyrcania shows that at the time many Alans were still based north-east of the Caspian Sea.

...

In 135 AD, the Alans made a huge raid into Asia Minor via the Caucasus, ravaging Media and Armenia.

...

From 215-250 AD, the Germanic Goths expanded south-eastwards and broke the Alan dominance on the Pontic Steppe. The Alans however seem to have had a significant influence on Gothic culture, who became excellent horsemen and adopted the Alanic animal style art.

,,,

After the Gothic entry to the steppe, many of the Alans seem to have retreated eastwards towards the Don, where they seem to have established contacts with the Huns. Ammianus writes that the Alans were "somewhat like the Huns, but in their manner of life and their habits they are less savage."

...

Around 370, according to Ammianus, the peaceful relations between the Alans and Huns were broken, after the Huns attacked the Don Alans, killing many of them and establishing an alliance with the survivors. These Alans successfully invaded the Goths in 375 together with the Huns. They subsequently accompanied the Huns in their westward expansion.

...

Under Goar's successor Sangiban, the Alans of Orléans played a critical role in repelling the invasion of Attila the Hun at the Battle of Châlons. In 463 the Alans defeated the Goths at the battle of Orléans, and they later defeated the Franks led by Childeric in 466.

...

Following the fortunes of the Vandals and Suebi into the Iberian peninsula (Hispania, comprising modern Portugal and Spain) in 409, the Alans led by Respendial settled in the provinces of Lusitania and Carthaginensis. The Kingdom of the Alans was among the first Barbarian kingdoms to be founded.

Kingdom of the Alans in Hispania (409-426 AD).

In 418 (or 426 according to some authors), the Alan king, Attaces, was killed in battle against the Visigoths, and this branch of the Alans subsequently appealed to the Asding Vandal king Gunderic to accept the Alan crown. The separate ethnic identity of Respendial's Alans dissolved. Although some of these Alans are thought to have remained in Iberia, most went to North Africa with the Vandals in 429. Later the rulers of the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa styled themselves Rex Wandalorum et Alanorum ("King of the Vandals and Alans").

Kingdom of the Vandals and Alans in North Africa (526 AD).
Religion


Prior to their Christianisation, the Alans were Indo-Iranian polytheists, subscribing either to the poorly understood Scythian pantheon or to a polytheistic form of Zoroastrianism. Some traditions were directly inherited from the Scythians, like embodying their dominant god in elaborate rituals.

In the 4th-5th centuries the Alans were at least partially Christianized by Byzantine missionaries of the Arian church. In the 13th century, invading Mongol hordes pushed the eastern Alans further south into the Caucasus, where they mixed with native Caucasian groups and successively formed three territorial entities each with different developments. Around 1395 Timur's army invaded the Northern Caucasus and massacred much of the Alanian population.

 








  Avars

Avars (Caucasus)

Avars (Caucasus) (W)

The Avars (Avar: аварал / магIарулал, awaral / maⱨarulal; "mountaineers") are a Northeast Caucasian native ethnic group who are the predominant of several ethnic groups living in the Russian republic of Dagestan. The term Avar is used for more than 15 different ethnic groups. The Avars reside in a region known as the North Caucasus between the Black and Caspian Seas. Alongside other ethnic groups in the North Caucasus region, the Caucasian Avars live in ancient villages located approximately 2,000 m above sea level. The Avar language spoken by the Caucasian Avars belongs to the family of Northeast Caucasian languages and is also known as Nakh–Dagestanian. Islam has been the prevailing religion of the Avars since the 13th century because they have connections to the Arabian Peninsula.
 
 
 

 










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