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Encyclopedia > Scythia
Approximate extent of Scythia and Sarmatia in the 1st century BC (the orange background shows the spread of Eastern Iranian languages, among them Scytho-Sarmatian).

In Classical Antiquity, Scythia (Greek Σκυθία Skuthia) was the area in Eurasia inhabited by the Scythians, from the 8th century BC to the 2nd century AD. Its location and extent varied over time. The area known as Scythia to classical authors included: Image File history File links Scythia-Parthia_100_BC.png historical spread of Iranian peoples/languages: Scythia, Sarmatia, Bactria and the Parthian Empire in ca. ... Image File history File links Scythia-Parthia_100_BC.png historical spread of Iranian peoples/languages: Scythia, Sarmatia, Bactria and the Parthian Empire in ca. ... The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages emerging in Middle Iranian times (from ca. ... Scythian and Sarmatian are the names of the East Iranian dialects spoken by the Scythian/Sarmatian tribes of the nomadic cattlebreeders in Southern Russia between 8th century BC and 5th century AD. Sometimes, the Scythian and Sarmatian languages are combined into one name: Scytho-Sarmatian languages. ... Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, which begins roughly with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (7th century BC), and continues through the rise of Christianity and the fall of the Western Roman Empire (5th century AD... Eurasia African-Eurasian aspect of Earth Eurasia is the landmass composed of Europe and Asia. ... Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the KulOba kurgan burial near Kerch. ... (2nd millennium BCE - 1st millennium BCE - 1st millennium) Ruins of the training grounds at Olympia, Greece. ... (1st century - 2nd century - 3rd century - other centuries) Events Roman Empire governed by the Five Good Emperors (96–180) – Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius. ...

The Sakas (Indo-Scythians) expanded to Sistan (which was also known as Sakestan) and the Indus valley from the 1st century BC, but these regions are not usually included in the term "Scythia". The steppe extends roughly from the Dniepr to the Ural or 30 to 55 degrees eastern longitude, and from the Black Sea and the Caucasus in the south to the temperate forest and taiga in the north, or 45 to 55 degrees northern latitude. ... Southern Federal District (Russian: Ю́жный федера́льный о́круг; tr. ... The Ethnolinguistic patchwork of the modern Caucasus - CIA map Russia Georgia Azerbaijan (Azer. ... Sarmatian horseman Sarmatians, Sarmatae or Sauromatae (the second form is mostly used by the earlier Greek writers, the other by the later Greeks and the Romans) were a people whom Herodotus (4. ... The Danube (ancient Danuvius, ancient Greek Istros) is the longest river of the European Union and Europes second-longest[3] (after the Volga). ... Major ancient towns and colonies in Schythia Minor Scythia Minor (Greek: Μικρά Σκυθία, Mikrá Scythia) was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to todays Dobruja (a large part in Romania and a smaller part in... Saka is also the name of a town in Hiroshima, Japan; for information on this town, see Saka, Hiroshima. ... Early anepigraphic coinage of the Indo-Scythians (c. ... Categories: Iran geography stubs | Provinces of Iran ... The Indus (सिन्‍धु नदी) (known as Sindhu in ancient times) is the principal river of Pakistan. ...

Contents

First Scythian Kingdom

The first Scythian state arose among Scythians who penetrated in the seventh century BC from the territories north of the Black Sea into the Near East. It was dominated by interethnic forms of dependency based on subjugation of agricultural population in eastern South Caucasia, plunder and levied contributions (occasionally, as far as Syria), regular tribute (Media), tribute disguised as gifts (Egypt), possibly also payments for military support (Assyria). The Scythian social structure was much decentralized. The main features of the Scythian social organization developed before the seventh century B.C. (Khazanov 1975). (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium) // Overview Events 699 BC - Khallushu succeeds Shuttir-Nakhkhunte as king of the Elamite Empire. ... Map of the Black Sea. ... The Near East is a term commonly used by archaeologists, geographers and historians, less commonly by journalists and commentators, to refer to the region encompassing the Levant (modern Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon), Turkey, Mesopotamia (Iraq and eastern Syria). ... For other uses, see Assyria (disambiguation). ...


It is likely that the same dynasty ruled in Scythia during most of its history. The name of Koloksai, a legendary founder of a royal dynasty, is mentioned by Alcman in the seventh century B.C. Prototi and Madi, Scythian kings in the Near Eastern period of their history, and their successors in the north Pontic steppes belonged to the same dynasty. Herodotus lists five generations of a royal clan that probably reigned at the end of the seventh to sixth centuries BC: prince Anacharsis, Saulius, Idanthyrsus, Gnurus, Lycus, and Spargapithes. (Herodotus IV, 76). Ateas, reigning in the fourth century B.C., probably was an usurper, but he also tried to connect his origin with the ancient dynasty.[citation needed] Alcman (Greek , also Alkman) (7th cent. ... Bust of Herodotus Herodotus of Halicarnassus (in Greek, , Herodotos Halikarnasseus) was a Dorian Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC (484 BC–ca. ... Anacharsis He marvelled that among the Greeks, those who were skillful in a thing vie in competition; those who have no skill, judge —Diogenes Laertius, of Anacharsis. ... A silver coin of King Ataias. ...


After being defeated and driven from the Near East, in the first half of sixth century BC, Scythians had to re-conquer lands north of the Black Sea. In the second half of that century Scythians succeeded in dominating the agricultural tribes of the forest-steppe and to place them under tribute. As a result their state was reconstructed with the appearance of the Second Scythian Kingdom which reached its zenith in the fourth century BC.


Second Scythian Kingdom

Scythia's social development at the end of the fifth and in the fourth century BC involved its privileged stratum into trade with Greeks, efforts to control this trade, and consequences partly stemming from these two: aggressive external policy, intensified exploitation of dependent population, progressing stratification among the nomadic rulers. Trading with Greeks also stimulated sedenterization processes. The proximity of the Greek city-states on the Black Sea coast (Pontic Olbia, Cimmerian Bosporus, Chersonesos, Sindica, Tanais) was a powerful incentive for slavery in the Scythian society, but only in one direction: the sale of slaves to Greeks, instead of use in their economy. Accordingly, the trade become a stimulus for capture of slaves as war spoils in numerous wars. Map of the Black Sea. ... redirect Olbia,_Ukraine ... The Cimmerian Bosphorus of Antiquity, shown on a map printed in London, ca 1770 The Cimmerian Bosporus (Bosporus Cimmerius) was the ancient name for the Strait of Kerch that connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. ... The remains of the city of Chersonesos Chersonesos (Greek: , Latin: , Ukrainian: , Russian: ; see also List of traditional Greek place names) also known as Chersonese, Chersonesos, Cherson, Khersones and Korsun was an ancient Greek colony founded approximately 2500 years ago in the southwestern part of Crimea, known then as Taurica. ... Ancient terracotta vessels unearthed at the Sindian necropolis near Phanagoria. ... Sarmatian cataphract from Tanais. ...


Scythia at the end of the fifth to third centuries BC

The Scythian state reached its greatest extent in the fourth century BC during the reign of Ateas. Isocrates (436–338 BC, Panegyricus 67) believed that Scythians, and also Thracians and Persians, are "the most able to power, and are the peoples with the greatest might." In the fourth century BC, under king Ateas, the triune structure of the state was eliminated, and the ruling power became more centralized. The later sources do not mention three basileuses any more. Strabo tells (VII, 3, 18) that Ateus ruled over majority of the North Pontic barbarians. A silver coin of King Ataias. ... Isocrates (436–338 BC), Greek rhetorician. ... The Greek geographer Strabo in a 16th century engraving. ...


Written sources tell that expansion of the Scythian state before the fourth century BC was mainly in the western direction. In this respect Ateas continued the policy of his predecessors in the fifth century BC. During western expansion, Ateus fought Triballs (Polyaenus, Stratagems VII, 44, 1). A part of Thracians was subjugated and levied with severe duties. During the 90-year life of Ateas, the Scythians firmly settled in Thrace and became an important factor of political games in the Balkans. At the same time both nomadic and agricultural Scythian population increased along the Dniester. A war with the Bosporian Kingdom increased the Scythian pressure upon the Greek cities along the North Pontic littoral. Polyaenus (died 278 BC), born in Macedonia, was a Greek rhetorician who served as military commander in the Roman army. ... Thracian peltast, 5th to 4th century BC Thracian Horseman Thracians in an ethnic sense refers to various ancient peoples who spoke Dacian and Thracian, a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family. ... Thrace (Bulgarian: , Greek: , Latin: , Turkish: ) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ... Balkan peninsula with northwest border Isonzo-Krka-Sava The Balkans is the historic and geographic name used to describe a region of southeastern Europe. ... The Dniester (Polish Dniestr, Ukrainian Дністер (Dnister), Romanian Nistru, Russian Днестр (Dnestr), Yiddish‫נעסטער ‬ (nester), Serbian (Dnjester) and during antiquity was called Tyras in Latin) is a river in Eastern Europe. ... The Bosporan kingdom or the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus was an ancient state, located in eastern Crimea and the Taman peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus. ...


The materials of the site near Kamianka-Dniprovska, a purported capital of the Ateas’ state, show that metallurgists were free members of the society, even if burdened with imposed obligations. The metallurgy was the most advanced and the only distinct craft specialty between the Scythians. From the story of Polyaenus and Frontin follows that in the fourth century BC Scythia had a layer of dependent population, which consisted of impoverished Scythian nomads and local indigenous agricultural tribes, socially deprived, dependent and exploited, who did not participate in the wars, but were engaged in servile agriculture and cattle husbandry. Kamianka-Dniprovska (Ukrainian: ) is a city in Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine. ...


The year 339 BC was a culminating year for the Second Scythian Kingdom, and the beginning of its decline. The war with Philip II of Macedon ended in a victory by the father of Alexander the Great, the Scythian king Ateus fell in battle well into his nineties (Trogus, Prologue, IX). Many royal kurgans (Chertomlyk, Kul-Oba, Aleksandropol, Krasnokut) dated by the after-Ateas’ time continued traditions of previous time, and the life in the settlements of the Western Scythia show that the state survived until the 250s B.C. When in 331 BC Zopyrion, Alexander’s viceroy in Thrace, "not wishing to sit idle", invaded Scythia and besieged Pontic Olbia, he suffered a crushing defeat from the Scythians and lost his life (Justinian, XII, 1, 4). Philip II of Macedon: victory medal (niketerion) struck in Tarsus, 2nd c. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders in history. ... Gnaeus Pompeius Trogus, 1st century BC Roman historian, of the Celtic tribe of the Vocontii in Gallia Narbonensis, flourished during the age of Augustus, nearly contemporary with Livy. ... This article is about Bronze Age burial mounds and the Kurgan culture. ... redirect Olbia,_Ukraine ...


The fall of the Second Scythian Kingdom came about in the second half of the third century BC under the onslaught of Celts and Thracians from the west and Sarmatians from the east. With their increased forces, the Sarmatians devastated significant parts of the Scythia and, "annihilating the defeated, transformed a larger part of the country into a desert" (Diodorus, 11,43,7). A Celtic cross. ... Thracian peltast, 5th to 4th century BC Thracian Horseman Thracians in an ethnic sense refers to various ancient peoples who spoke Dacian and Thracian, a scarcely attested branch of the Indo-European language family. ... Sarmatia and Scythia in 100 BC, also shown is the extent of the Parthian Empire. ... Diodorus Siculus was a Greek historian, born at Agyrium in Sicily (now called Agira, in the province of Enna). ...


The dependent forest-steppe tribes, subjected to exaction burdens, freed themselves at the first opportunity. The Dnieper and Buh populace ruled by the Scythians did not become Scythians. They continued to live their original life alien to Scythian ways. From the third century BC for many centuries the histories of the steppe and forest-steppe zones of North Pontic diverged. The material culture of the population quickly lost their common features. And in the steppe, reflecting the end of nomad hegemony in the Scythian society, ended the erection of the royal kurgans. Archeologically, the late Scythia appears first of all as a conglomerate of fortified and non-fortified settlements with abutting agricultural zones. This article is about the river. ... Buh Township is a township located in Morrison County, Minnesota. ...


The development of the Scythian society is marked by the following trends:

  1. An intensified settlement process, evidenced by appearance of numerous kurgan burials in the steppe zone of North Pontic, some of them dated to the end of the fifth century BC, but the majority belonging to the fourth or third centuries BC, reflecting the establishment of permanent pastoral coaching routes and a tendency to semi-nomadic pasturing. In the Lower Dnieper area appear mostly unfortified settlements, while in Crimea and Western Scythia grew agricultural population. The Dnieper settlements were developing in the previous nomadic winter villages, and in uninhabited lands.
  2. Tendency for proprietary and social inequality, ideological ascend of the nobility, further stratification among free Scythian nomads. The majority of royal kurgans are dated by the fourth century BC.
  3. Increase in subjection of the forest-steppe population, archeologically traced. In the fourth century BC in the Dnieper forest-steppe zone appear steppe-type burials. In addition to the nomadic advance in the north in search of the new pastures, they show an increase of pressure upon the farmers of the forest-steppe belt. The Borispol kurgans almost entirely belong to the soldiers, and sometimes even women warriors. The blossom of the steppe Scythia coincides with decline of forest-steppe. From the second half of the fifth century BC the import of antique goods to the Middle Dnieper decreased, because of pauperization of the dependent farmers. In the forest-steppe, kurgans of the fourth century BC are poorer than during the previous time. At the same time grew the cultural influence of the steppe nomads. The Senkov kurgans in the Kyiv area, left by the local agricultural population, are low and contain poor female and no-inventory male burials, in a striking contrast with the simultaneous nearby Borispol kurgans left by the Scythian conquerors.
  4. Beginning of city life in Scythia.
  5. Growth of trade with Northern Black Sea Greek cities, and increase in Hellinization of the Scythian aristocracy. After the defeat of Athenes in the Peloponnesus war, the Attica agriculture was ruined. Demosthenes wrote that about 400,000 medimns (63,000 t) of grain was exported annually from the Bosporus to the Athenes. The Scythian nomadic aristocracy not only served a middlemen role, but also actively participated in the trade of grain produced by dependent farmers, slaves, skins and other goods.

Scythia's later history is mainly dominated by sedentary agrarian and city elements. As a result of the defeats suffered by Scythians were formed two separate states, two Lesser Scythias, one in Thrace (Dobrudja), and the other in the Crimea and the Lower Dnieper area (Strabo VII, 4, 5). Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek: Δημοσθένης, Dēmosthénēs) was a prominent Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens. ... Major ancient towns and colonies in Scythia Minor Scythia Minor, Lesser Scythia (Greek: Μικρά Σκυθία, Mikrá Skythia) was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to todays Dobruja, with a large part in Romania and a... Thrace (Bulgarian: , Greek: , Latin: , Turkish: ) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. ... Dobruja or sometimes Dobrudja (Dobrogea in Romanian, Dobrudzha in Bulgarian, Dobruca in Turkish) is the territory between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, which includes the Danube Delta and the Romanian sea-shore. ... Motto: Процветание в единстве - Prosperity in unity Anthem: Нивы и горы твои волшебны, Родина - Your fields and mounts are wonderful, Motherland Capital Simferopol Largest cities Simferopol, Eupatoria, Kerch, Theodosia, Yalta Official language Ukrainian. ... The Greek geographer Strabo in a 16th century engraving. ...


Third Scythian Kingdoms

Having settled this Scythia Minor in Thrace, the former Scythian nomads (or rather their nobility) abandoned their nomadic way of life, retaining their power over the agrarian population. This little polity should be distinguished from the Third Scythian Kingdom in Crimea and Lower Dnieper area, whose inhabitants likewise underwent a massive sedentarization. The interethnic dependence was replaced by developing forms of dependence within the society. The enmity of the Third Scythian Kingdom, centred on Scythian Neapolis, towards the Greek settlements of the northern Black Sea steadily increased. The Scythian king apparently regarded the Greek colonies as unnecessary intermediaries in the wheat trade with mainland Greece. Besides, the settling cattlemen were attracted by the Greek agricultural belt in Southern Crimea. The later Scythia was both culturally and socio-economically far less advanced than its Greek neighbors such as Olvia or Chersonesos. Major ancient towns and colonies in Schythia Minor Scythia Minor (Greek: Μικρά Σκυθία, Mikrá Scythia) was in ancient times the region surrounded by the Danube at the north and west and the Black Sea at the east, corresponding to todays Dobruja (a large part in Romania and a smaller part in... Scythian Neapolis was a settlement that existed from the end of the 3rd century BCE until the second half of the 3rd century CE. The archeological ruins sit on the outskirts of the present-day Simferopol. ... Pontic Olbia or Olvia is the site a colony founded by the Milesians on the shores of the Southern Bug estuary (Greek: Hypanis), opposite Berezan Island. ... The remains of the city of Chersonesos Chersonesos (Greek: , Latin: , Ukrainian: , Russian: ; see also List of traditional Greek place names) also known as Chersonese, Chersonesos, Cherson, Khersones and Korsun was an ancient Greek colony founded approximately 2500 years ago in the southwestern part of Crimea, known then as Taurica. ...


The continuity of the royal line is less clear in the Lesser Scythias of Crimea and Thrace than it had been previously. In the second century BC, Olvia became a Scythian dependency. That event was marked in the city by minting of coins bearing the name of the Scythian king Skilurus. He was a son of a king and a father of a king, but the relation of his dynasty with the former dynasty is not known. Either Skilurus or his son and successor Palakus were buried in the mausoleum of Scythian Neapol that was used from ca. 100 B.C. to ca. 100 AD. However, the last burials are so poor that they do not seem to be royal, indicating a change in the dynasty or royal burials in another place. Skilurus or Scylurus was the best known king of Scythia in the 2nd century BC. He was the son of a king and the father of a king, but the relation of his dynasty to the previous one is disputed. ... Palacus or Palakus was the king of Lesser Scythia who succeeded his father, Skilurus. ...


Later, at the end of the second century BC, Olvia was freed from the Scythian domination, but became a subject to Mithradates the Great. By the end of the first century BC, Olbia, rebuilt after its sack by the Getae, became a dependency of the Dacian barbarian kings, who minted their own coins in the city. Later from the second century AD Olbia belonged to the Roman Empire. Scythia was the first state north of the Black Sea to collapse with the invasion of the Goths in the 2nd century AD (see Oium). Coin of Mithridates I from the mint at Seleucia. ... Olbia, Ukraine is the site of Pontic Olbia in the Crimea, a colony founded from Miletus on the shores of the Bugh estuary, which lasted for a thousand years. ... The Getae was the name by which the pre-Roman ancient writers reffered to the tribes that will become the later Dacians. ... Invasion of the Goths: a late 19th century painting by O. Fritsche, is a highly romanticized portrait of the Goths as cavalrymen. ... Oium (from Aujom, meaning in the waterlands in Gothic) was according to Jordanes, a name for Scythia, where the Goths settled after leaving Gothiscandza. ...


Notable Scythians

Eihidia, Istia, Lipoxais, Arpoxais, Colaxai - Koloksai, Fenius Farsa, Anacharsis, Saulius, Idanthyrsus, Gnurus, Lycus, Spargapithes, Ateus, Scopasis, Idanthyrsus, Taxakis, Skunkha, Skilurus, Palakus Fenius Farsa (also Phoeniusa, Phenius, Fénius; Farsaid, Farsaidh, many variant spellings) was a legendary king of Scythia who shows up in many legends of Irish folklore. ... Anacharsis He marvelled that among the Greeks, those who were skillful in a thing vie in competition; those who have no skill, judge —Diogenes Laertius, of Anacharsis. ... In Greek mythology, Lycus, or Lykos, referred to several people. ... Ateas (ca. ... This article should belong in one or more categories. ... Skilurus or Scylurus was the best known king of Scythia in the 2nd century BC. He was the son of a king and the father of a king, but the relation of his dynasty to the previous one is disputed. ... Palacus or Palakus was the king of Lesser Scythia who succeeded his father, Skilurus. ...


Literature

  • Alekseev, A. Yu. et al., "Chronology of Eurasian Scythian Antiquities Born by New Archaeological and 14C Data". Radiocarbon, Vol. 43, No 2B, 2001, pp. 1085–1107.
  • Khazanov, A.M., Social history of Scythians, Moscow, 1975 (in Russian).

See also


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Scythia (4736 words)
Scythia, then, which is square in shape, and has two of its sides reaching down to the sea, extends inland to the same distance that it stretches along the coast, and is equal every way.
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Scythia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2353 words)
Scythia was the area in Eurasia inhabited by the Scythians, in Classical Antiquity.
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The blossom of the steppe Scythia coincides with decline of forest-steppe.
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