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Ancient Scythians The Greeks called them Skythians and the Romans called them Scythians. The Scythae were the barbarians (non-Greek and non-Roman), the people north of the Black Sea, on the outer edge of the civilized world. The Bible mentions them in Col 3:11. The country of the Scythae comprised a vast area in the eastern half of Northern Europe, and in Western and Central Asia.
Col. 3:11 - Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.
Scythia - In Classical Antiquity, Scythia ((Old Iranian Sakā; Sacaeسیتیا ، سکاستان،سیستان ), Greek Σκυθία Skythia, pronounced /ˈsɪθiə/ or /ˈsɪđiə/) was the area in Eurasia inhabited by the Scythians, from the 8th century BC to the 2nd century AD. - Wikipedia
Scythia (Σκυθιά, and Σκυθικὴ sc. γῆ). A name variously used by
the ancients at different periods of history. The Scythia of Herodotus
comprises, to speak generally, the southeastern parts of Europe, between the
Carpathian Mountains and the river Tanaďs (Don). The Greeks became acquainted
with this country through their settlements on the Euxine; and Herodotus, who
had himself visited the coasts of the Euxine, collected all the information he
could obtain about the Scythians and their country, and embodied the results in
a most interesting digression, which forms the first part of his fourth book. He
describes the country as a square of 4000 stadia (400 geographical miles) each
way, the western boundary being the Ister (Danube) and the mountains of the
Agathyrsi; the southern the shores of the Euxine and Palus Maeotis, from the
mouth of the Ister to that of the Tanaďs, this side being divided into two equal
parts, of 2000 stadia each, by the mouth of the Borysthenes (Dnieper); the
eastern boundary was the Tanaďs, and on the north Scythia was divided by deserts
from the Melanchlaeni, Androphagi, and Budini. It corresponded to the southern
part of Russia in Europe. The people who inhabited this region were called by
the Greeks S???a?, a word of doubtful origin, which first occurs in Hesiod; but,
in their own language, S????t??, i. e. Slavonians. They were believed by
Herodotus to be of Asiatic origin; and his account of them, taken in connection
with the description given by Hippocrates of their physical peculiarities, has
been regarded as proof that they were a part of the great Mongol race, who
wandered, from unknown antiquity, over the steppes of Central Asia; yet the
general drift of opinion at the present time is toward assigning to them Aryan
affinities. Herodotus says further that they were driven out of their abodes in
Asia, north of the Araxes, by the Massagetae; and that, migrating into Europe,
they drove out the Cimmerians. If this account be true, it can hardly but have
some connection with the irruption of the Cimmerians into Asia Minor, in the
reign of the Lydian king Ardys, about B.C. 640.
The Scythians were a nomadic people, that is, shepherds or herdsmen, who had no fixed habitations, but roamed over a vast tract of country at their pleasure, and according to the wants of their cattle. They lived in a kind of covered wagons, which Aeschylus describes as “lofty houses of wicker-work, on well-wheeled chariots” (Prom. Vinc. 710). They were filthy in their habits, never washing, fought on horseback, scalped their enemies, and drank out of their skulls when slain. They kept large troops of horses, and were most expert in cavalry exercises and archery; and hence, as the Persian king Darius found, when he invaded their country (B.C. 507), it was almost impossible for an invading army to act against them. They simply retreated, wagons and all, before the enemy, harassing him with their light cavalry, and leaving famine and exposure, in their bare steppes, to do the rest. Like all nomadic races, they were divided into several hordes, the chief of whom were called the Royal Scythians; and to these all the rest owned some degree of allegiance. Their government was a sort of patriarchal monarchy or chieftainship. An important modification of their habits had, however, taken place, to a certain extent, before Herodotus described them. The fertility of the plains on the north of the Euxine, and the influence of the Greek settlements at the mouth of the Borysthenes and along the coast, had led the inhabitants of this part of Scythia to settle down as cultivators of the soil, and had brought them into commercial and other relations with the Greeks. Accordingly, Herodotus mentions two classes or hordes of Scythians who had thus abandoned their nomad life; first, on the west of the Borysthenes, two tribes of Hellenized Scythians, called Callipidae and Alazones; then, beyond these, “the Scythians who are ploughers (S???a? ???t??e?), who do not grow their corn for food, but for sale”; these dwelt about the river Hypanis (Boug), in the region now called the Ukraine, which is still, as it was to the Greeks, a great cornexporting country. Again, on the east of the Borysthenes were “the Scythians who are husbandmen” (S???a? ?e?????), i. e. who grew corn for their own consumption: these were called Borysthenitae by the Greeks; their country extended three days' journey east of the Borysthenes to the river Panticapes. Beyond these, to the east, dwelt “the nomad Scythians (??µ?de? S???a?), who neither sow nor plough at all.” Herodotus expressly states that the tribes east of the Borysthenes were not Scythian. Of the history of these Scythian tribes there is little to state, beyond the tradition already mentioned, that they migrated from Asia and expelled the Cimmerians; their invasion of Media, in the reign of Cyaxares, when they held the supremacy of Western Asia for twenty-eight years, and the disastrous expedition of Darius into their country. In later times they were gradually overpowered by the neighbouring people, especially the Sarmatians, who gave their name to the whole country. (See Sarmatia.) Meanwhile, the conquests of Alexander and his successors in Central Asia had made the Greeks acquainted with tribes beyond the Oxus and the Iaxartes, who resembled the Scythians, and belonged, in fact, to the same race, and to whom, accordingly, the same name was applied. Hence, in writers of the time of the Roman Empire, the name of Scythia denotes the whole of Northern Asia, from the river Rha (Volga) on the west, which divided it from Asiatic Sarmatia, to Serica on the east, extending to India on the south. It was divided by Mount Imaüs into two parts, called respectively Scythia intra Imaüm, i. e. on the northwestern side of the range, and Scythia extra Imaüm, on its southeastern side. The later Scythians overran Parthia (B.C. 128), and also invaded Northern India, where they maintained themselves for several centuries. The Jats and Rajputs of modern India have by some scholars been regarded as the descendants of these Scythian invaders. - Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.
Scythia, at first a country of Europe, bet. Carpathus m. and the Tanais; afterwards, as Scythia Propria, understood by Ptolemy to be a country of Asia, extending bet. the Tanais and Serica, bounded s. by Sogdiana, Hyrcania, Margiana, &c. It was intersected by Imaus m., and distributed accordingly into Scythia intra Imaum w. and Scythia extra Imaum E. .scythia Minor, a province of Moesia Inferior, on the Euxine, bet. the Danube and Hsemus m., occupying the country previously called Pontus, and named from its original Scythian population. - Classical Gazetteer
Maps are essential for any serious study, they help students of Roman history understand the geographical locations and historical backgrounds of the places mentioned in historical sources.
Scylas (ca. 500 BC) – Herodotus describes him as a Scythian whose mother was
Greek, he was expelled by his people
Octamasadas (ca. 450 BC) – was put on the throne after Scylas
Ateas (ca. 429–339 BC) – defeated by the Macedonians; his empire fell apart
Skilurus (ca. 125–110 BC) – died during a war against Mithridates VI of Pontus
Palacus (ca. 100 BC) – the last Scythian ruler, defeated by Mithridates
SCYTHIA SCY´THIA (ἡ Σκυθία, ἡ Σκυθική: Eth. Σκύθης, Scytha), the country of the Scythae, a vast area in the eastern half of Northern Europe, and in Western and Central Asia. Its limits varied with the differences of date, place, and opportunities of information on the part of its geographers. Indeed, to a great extent, the history of Scythia is the history of a
Name.--It is obvious that the term came from the Greeks to the Romans; in this respect unlike Sarmatia, Dacia, and others, which, in form at least, are Roman rather than Greek. But whence did the Greeks get it? for it is by no means either significant in their tongue, or a Greek word at all. They took it from one or more of the populations interjacent between themselves and the Scythae; these being Thracians, Sarmatians, and Getae. Probably all three used it; at any rate, it seems to have been used by the neighbours of the Greeks of Olbiopolis, and by the Thracians on the frontiers of the Greeks of Macedonia. This is in favour of its having been a term common to all the forms of speech between Macedonia and the Borysthenes. Scyth-, then, is a Sarmatian, Thracian, and Getic term in respect to its introduction into the Greek language. Was it so in its origin? The presumption as well as the evidence is in favour of its having been so. There is the express evidence of Herodotus (4.6) that the population which the Greeks called Scythae called themselves Scoloti. There is the fact that the Persian equivalent to Scythae was Sakae. Thirdly, there is the fact that in the most genuine-looking of the Scythic myths there is no such eponymus as Scytha or Scythes, which would scarcely have been the case had the name been native. Scyth-, then, was a word like German or Allemand, as applied to the Deutsche, a word strange to the language of the population designated by it, but not strange to the language of the neighbouring countries. To whom was it applied? To the tribes who called themselves Scoloti.
What was the extent of the term? Did it apply not only to the Scoloti, but to the whole of the class to which the Scoloti belonged? It is safe to say that, at first, at least, there were many congeners of the Scoloti whom no one called Scythae. The number, however, increased as the term became general. Did the name denote any populations of a different family from the Scoloti? Rarely, at first; afterwards, frequently. If the populations designated by their neighbours as Scythae called themselves by some other name, what was that name? Scoloti applied only to a part of them. Had the word Scyth- a meaning in any language? if so, what was it, and in what tongues? Both these points will be noticed in the sequel, the questions involved in them being at present premature, though by no means unimportant.
The knowledge of the Scythian family dates from the beginning of Greek literature.
SCYTHIANS OF HESIOD, ETC.
Populations belonging to the Scythian family are noticed by Homer under the names of Abii, Glactophagi, and Hippemolgi, the habit of milking their mares being as definite a characteristic of a Scythian as anything in the way of manners and customs can be. Hesiod gives us Scythae under that name, noting them also as Hippemolgi. The Scythians of Homer and Hesiod are poetical rather than historical nations. They are associated with the Mysi of Bulgaria (not of Asia), [2.937] a point upon which Strabo enlarges (7.3. § § 7, 8). They are Hamaxobii (?? ?p??a?? ???? ????te?), and ??a???. Aeschylus mentions them as e???µ??. The apparent simplicity of their milk-drinking habits got them the credit of being men of mild and innocent appetites with Ephorus (Strab. vii. p.302), who contrasts them with the cannibal Sarmatae. There was also an apparent confusion arising out of the likeness of ??µade? to ??µ??? (from ??µ?? = law). The Prometheus of Aeschylus is bound to one of the rocks of Caucasus, on the distant border of the earth, and the inaccessible desert of the Scythians.
Such are the Scythae of Aeschylus and Hesiod. The writers of the interval, who knew them as the invaders of Asia, and as historical agents, must have had a very different notion of them. Fragmentary allusions to the evils inflicted during their inroads are to found in Callinus, Archilochus, &c. The notice of them, however, belongs to the criticism of the historical portion of the account of
TRANS-DANUBIAN SCYTHIANS OF HERODOTUS: SCOLOTI: SCYTHIANS OF HIPPOCRATES.
Much of the Herodotean history is simple legend. The strange story of an intermarriage of the females who, whilst their husbands were in Asia, were left behind with the slaves, and of the rebellion therein originating having been put down by the exhibition, on the part of the returning masters, of the whips with which the backs of the rebels had been previously but too familiar, belongs to the Herodotean Scythians (4.1--6). So do the myths concerning the origin of the nation, four in number, which may be designated as follows:--
* 1. The Account of the Scythians themselves. This is to the effect that Targitaus, the son of Zeus by a daughter of the river Borysthenes, was the father of Leipoxais, Arpoxais, and Colaxais. In their reign, there fell from heaven a yoke, an axe (s??a???), a plough-share, and a cup, all of gold. The two elder failed in taking them up; for they burnt when they approached them. But the younger did not fail; and ruled accordingly. From Leipoxais descended the Auchaetae (?????; from Arpoxais the Catiari and Traspies; from Colaxais the Paralatai. The general name for all is “Scoloti, whom the Greeks call Scythae.” This was exactly 1000 years before the invasion of Darius. The gold was sacred; the country large. It extended so far north that the continual fall of feathers (snow) prevented things from being seen. The number of the kingdoms was three, the greatest of which had charge of the gold. Of this legend, the elements seem partly Scythian, and partly due to the country in which the Scythians settled. The descent from the Borysthenes belongs to this latter class. The story of the sons of Targitaus is found, in its main features, amongst the present Tartars. In Targitaus more than one commentator has found the root Turk. The threefold division reminds us to the Great, Middle, and Little Hordes of the Kirghiz; and it must be observed that the words greatest and middle (µe??st? and µ?s?) are found in the Herodotean account They may be more technical and definite than is generally imagined. In the account there is no Eponymus, no Scytha, or even Scolotos. There is also the statement that the Scythians are the youngest of all nations. This they might be, as immigrants.
* 2. The Account of the Pontic Greeks. This is to the effect that Agathyrsus, Gelonus, and Scythes (the youngest) were the sons of Hercules and Echidna, the place where they met being the Hylaea. The son that could draw the bow was to rule. This was Scythes, owing to manoeuvres of his mother. He stayed in the land: the others went out. The cup appears here as an emblem of authority.
* 3. The Second Greek Account. This is historical rather than mythological. The Massagetae press the Scythians upon the Cimmerii, the latter flying before them into Asia. This connects the history of the parts about the Bosporus with Media. The inference from the distribution of the signs of Cimmerian occupancy confirms this account. There were the burial-places of the Cimmerii on the Tyras; there was the Cimmerian Bosporus, and between them, with Cimmerian walls, Scythia (? S??????). This is strong evidence in favour of Scythian extension and Cimmerian preoccupancy.
* 4. The Account of Aristeas of Proconnesus. This is a speculation rather than either a legend or a piece of history. Aristeas (Mure, History of Greek Literature, vol. 2.469, seq.) visited the country of the Issedones. North of these lay the Arimaspi; north of the Arimaspi the Monophthalmi; north of the Monophthalmi the Gold-guarding Griffins (G??pe? ???s?fa?????); and north of these, the Hyperborei. The Hyperborei made no movements; but the Griffins drove the Monophthalmi, the Monophthalmi the Arimaspi, the Arimaspi the Issedones, the Issedones the Scythians, the Scythians the Cimmerians, the Cimmerians having to leave their land; but they, as we learn elsewhere, attack the Medes. (Hdt. 4.5-16). No one had ever been further north than Aristeas, an unsafe authority. The information of Herodotus himself is chiefly that of the Greeks of the Borysthenes. He mentions, however, conversations with the steward of one of the Scythian kings.
The Emporium of the Borystheneitae was central to the Scythia of the sea-coast. In the direction of the Hypanis, i. e. west and north-west, the order of the population was as follows: the Callipidae and Alazones (?????e? S???a?), sowers and consumers of corn; to the north of whom lay the Scythae Aroteres, not only sowers of corn, but sellers of it; to the north of these the Neuri; to the north of the Neuri either a desert or a terra incognita (4.17, 18.) The physical geography helps us here. The nearer we approach the most fertile province of Modern Russia, Podolia, wherein we place the Scythae Aroteres, the more the Scythian character becomes agricultural. The Hellenes Scythae (Callipidae and Alazones) belong more to Kherson. That the Hellenes Scythae were either a mixed race, or Scythicised Greeks, is unlikely. The doctrine of the present writer is as follows: seeing that they appear in two localities (viz. the Governments of Kherson and Caucasus); seeing that in each of these the populations of the later and more historical periods are Alani (Ptolemy's form for those of Kherson is Alauni); seeing that even the Alani of Caucasus are by one writer at least called ????e?te? ??a????; seeing that the root ??a? might have two plurals, one in -?? and one in -e?, he ends in seeing in the Hellenic Scythians simply certain Scythians of the Alan name. Neither does he doubt about Geloni being the same word,--forms like Chuni and Hunni, Arpi and Carpi being found for these parts. At any rate, the locality for the Callipidae and Alazones suits that of Ptolemy's Alauni, whilst that of the Scythian Greeks and Geloni of Caucasus suits that of the Alans of the fourth and fifth centuries. [2.938]
The Scythian affinities of the Neuri are implied rather than categorically stated; indeed, in another part there is the special statement that the Tyras rises out of a great lake which separates the Scythian and Neurid countries (t?? S??????? ?a? t?? ?e???da ???). This, however, must not be made to prove too much; since the Scythians that were conterminous with the Neuri were known by no special name, but simply by the descriptive term Scythae Aroteres. [EXAMPAEUS; NEURI.] In Siberian geography Narym == marsh. Hence Neuri may be a Scythian gloss. There may also have been more Neuri than one, e. g. on the Narym of the headwaters of the Dnieper, i. e. of Pinsk. A fact in favour of the Neuri being Scythian is the following. The occupants of Volhynia, when its history commences, which is as late as the 13th century, are of the same stock with the Scythians, i. e. Comanian Turks. Not only is there no evidence of their introduction being recent, but the name Omani (Lygii Omani) appears about the same parts in Ptolemy.
East of the Borysthenes the Agricultural Scythae occupy the country as far as the Panticapes, 3 days distant. Northwards they extend 11 days up the Borysthenes, where they are succeeded by a desert; the desert by the Androphagi, a nation peculiar and by no means Scythian (100.19). Above the Androphagi is a desert.
The bend of the Dnieper complicates the geography here. It is safe, however, to make Ekaterinoslav the chief Georgic area, and to add to it parts of Kiev, Kherson, and Poltava, the agricultural conditions increasing as we move northwards. The two deserts (???µ??) command notice. The first is, probably, a March or political frontier, such as the old Suevi used to have between themselves and neighbours; at least, there is nothing in the conditions of the soil to make it a natural one. It is described as ???µ?? ?p? p?????. The other is ???µ?? ???????,--a distinction, apparently, of some value. To be natural, however, it must be interpreted forest rather than steppe. Kursk and Tshernigov give us the area of the Androphagi; Kursk having a slight amount of separate evidence in favour of its having been “by no means Scythian” (100.18).
The Hylaea, or wooded district of the Lower Dnieper, seems to have been common ground to the Scythae Georgi and Scythae Nomades; or, perhaps it was uninhabited. The latter extend 14 days eastward, i. e. over Taurida, part of Ekaterinoslav, and Don Kosaks, to the Gerrhus.
The Palaces (t? ?a?e?µe?a ßas????a) succeed; their occupants being the Royal Scythians, the best and most numerous of the name, who look upon the others as their slaves. They extend, southwards, into the Crimea (t?? ?a??????), and, eastwards, as far as the ditch dug by the offspring of the blind slaves (the statement that the Scythians blinded their slaves on account of the milk being one of the elements of the strange Servile legend previously noticed), and the Maeotic Emporium called Kremni. Some touch the Tanais.
North of the Royal Scythians lie the Melanchlaeni (a probable translation of Karakalpak == black bonnet), a different nation and not Scythian (100.20), with marshes, and either a desert or a terra incognita above them. This distinction is, almost certainly, real. At the present moment a population, to all appearances aboriginal, and neither Slavonic nor Scythian (but Ugrian or Finn), occupies parts of Penza and Tambov having, originally, extended both further west and further south. To the north the forest districts attain their maximum development. [MELANCHLAENI] The Royal Scythians may have occupied parts of Voronezh.
East of the Tanais it was no longer Scythia, but the ????e? of the Sauromatae. [See SAUROMATAE; BUDINI; GELONI; THYSSAGETAE; IURCAE.] The want of definite boundaries makes it difficult to say where the Iurcae end. Beyond them to the east lay other Scythians, who, having revolted from the Royal, settled there. Up to their districts the soil was level and deep, beyond it rough and stony, with mountains beyond. These are occupied by a nation of Bald-heads, flat-nosed and bearded, Scythians in dress, peculiar in language, collectors of a substance called ?s?? from a tree called p??t???? (100.23). Their flocks and herds are few; theirmanners so simple that no one injures them, &c. [ARGIPPAEI; ISSEDONES; HYPERBOREI; ARIMASPI.] In the parts about the mountains of the Argippaei trade was carried on by means of seven interpreters. Let this be the caravan trade of Orenburg, near its terminus on the Volga, and we shall find that seven is about the number of languages that could at the present moment be brought together at a fair in the centre of Orenburg. For the modern Russian take the language of the Sauromatae; for the Scythian that of the modern Tartars. To these we can add four Ugrian forms of speech,--the Tshuwash, the Mordwin, the Tsheremiss, and the Votiak, with the two forms of speech akin to the Ostiak and Permian to choose the fifth from. The Tshuwash of Kazan and the Bashkirs of Orenburg have mixed characters at the present time,--Turk and Ugrian.
* RIVERS--The chief river of the Herodotean Scythia was the Ister [DANUBIUS], with its five mouths; and then the Tyras (Dniester), the Hypanis (Bog), the Borysthenes (Dnieper), the Panticapes [see s. v.], the Hypacyris [see CARCINA], the Gerrhus [see s. v.], and the Tanais (Don); the feeders of the Ister (i. e. the rivers of the present Danubian Principalities) being the Porata (Scythic, in Greek Puretus), the Tiarantos, the Araros, the Naparis, and the Ordessus (cc. 47, 48). To these add, from the country of the Agathyrsi, the Maris (100.49), or modern Maros of Transylvania. The difference between the ancient and modern names of rivers is nowhere greater than here,--the Maros being the only name now in use which represents the original one; unless we choose to hold that, word for word, Aluta == Araros. Word for word, indeed, Naparis is Dnieper; but then the rivers are different. This creates a grave difficulty in the determination of the language to which the names of the Scythian rivers should be referred. Yet the question is important, inasmuch as, in the names, as they come down to us, we have so many glosses of some language or other. Upon the whole, however, the circumstances under which they reached Herodotus suggest the notion that they are Scythian: e. g. the express statement that Porata is a Scythian form. Again; Hypanis is, word for word, Kuban,--a word of which the appearance in both Asia and Europe is best explained by supposing it to be Scythian. On the other hand, they are as little significant in the language which, amongst those at present existing, best explains the undoubted Scythian glosses, as they are in the Slavonic, Latin, or Greek. The physical geography of Herodotean Scythia was a steppe, with occasional districts (chiefly along [2.939] the courses of the rivers and at their head-waters) of a more practicable character.
* MOUNTAINS.--These were the eastern continuation of the Carpathians, and the hills of the Crimea or Tauris. These were but imperfectly known to Herodotus.
* LAKES. [See EXAMPAEUS and BUCE.]
* TOWNS, exclusively Greek colonies. [See OLBIOPOLIS; PANTICAPAEUM.]
Beyond the Sauromatae (s. v.) lay “other Scythians, who, having revolted from the Royal, reached this country,” i. e. some part of Orenburg (100.22).
Thirdly, there were the SACAE whom we may call the Scythians of the Persian frontier. Their occupancy was the parts conterminous with Bactria, and it was under Darius, the son of Hystaspes, that they, along with the Bactrians, joined in the invasion of Greece. Their dress was other than Bactrian, consisting of a pointed turban, a bonnet, leggings, native bows, daggers, and the axe called s??a???--a word which is probably technical. There were Scythae Amyrgii, truly, however, Scythae, inasmuch as the Persians called all the Scythians by the name SACAE Under the reign of Cyrus they were independent. Under Darius, they, along with the Caspii, formed the 15th satrapy (3.93). This connects them with their frontagers on the west, rather than the east.
There is no difficulty, however, in fixing them. From Asterabad to Balk they extended along the northern frontier of Persia, in the area, and probably as the ancestors, of the present Turcomans and Uzbeks. The name Amyrgii will be noticed in the sequel.
The Sacae, if not separated from the “other Scythians” by the greater part of Independent Tartary, were, at any rate, a population that presented itself to the informants of Herodotus under a different aspect. The Sacae were what the Persians found on their northern frontier. The eastern Scythae were the Scythians beyond the Sauromatae, as they appeared to the occupants of the parts about the Tanais.
It is not difficult to see the effect of these three points of view upon future geographers. With Scythians in Transylvania, Scythians in Orenburg, with Scythians (even though called Sacae) in Khorasan and Turcomania, and with a terra incognita between, the name cannot but fail to take upon itself an inordinate amount of generality. The three isolated areas will be connected; and the historical or ethnological unity will give way to a geographical. At present, however, there is a true unity over the whole of Scythia in the way both of
PHYSIOGNOMY AND MANNERS.
The physical conformation of the Scythians is not only mentioned incidentally by Herodotus, but in a more special manner by Hippocrates: “The Scythian ????? is widely different from the rest of mankind, and is like to nothing but itself, even as is the Aegyptian. Their bodies are thick and fleshy, and their limbs loose, without tone, and their bellies the smoothest (?), softest (?), moistest (?) (?????a? ????tata?) of all bellies as to their lower parts (pas??? ??????? a? ??t?); for it is not possible for the belly to be dried in such a country, both from the soil and climate, but on account of the fat and the smoothness of their flesh, they are all like each other, the men like the men, the women like the women.” (Hippocr. de Aere, &c. pp. 291, 292.) Coming as this notice does from a physician, it has commanded considerable attention; it has, however, no pretensions to be called a description, though this has often been done. In the hands of later writers its leading features become exaggerated, until at length the description of a Scythian becomes an absolute caricature. We may see this by reference to Ammianus Marcellinus and Jornandes, in their accounts of the Huns. The real fact inferred from the text of Hippocrates is, that the Scythians had a peculiar physiognomy, a physiognomy which the modern ethnologist finds in the population of Northern and Central Asia, as opposed to those of Persia, Caucasus, Western and Southern Europe.
Their general habits were essentially nomadic, pastoral, and migratory; the commonest epithets or descriptive appellations being ?µa??ß???, Fe???????, ?pp?t???ta?, and the like.
Concerning their RELIGION, we have something more than a mere cursory notice (4.59). (i.) Tabiti (?aß?t?): This was the Scythian name for the nearest equivalent to the Greek Histia (Vesta), the divinity whom they most especially worshipped. (ii.) Papaeus: “Most properly, in my mind, is Zeus thus called.” So writes Herodotus, thinking of the ideas engendered by such exclamations as ?ap??. (iii.) Apia: This is the name for earth; as (iv.) Oetosyrus (??t?s????) is for Apollo, and (v.) Artimpasa for Aphrodite, and (vi.) Thamimasada for Poseidon, the God of the Royal Scythians most especially. To Oestosyrus we have the following remarkable inscription (Gud. Inscrip. Antiq. p. 56. 2; see Zeuss, s. v. Skythen): T??. S??????S???? (? S????? ??? ?????O?O. ????S???O. ??T??. ?. ??????S. ???????S. ??O????S. ???T (??????e) Here the connection is with the Persian god Mithras.
The Scoloti sacrificed to all their gods, but to Mars the most especially; for, besides the deities which have been mentioned under their several Scythian names, Mars and Heracles were objects of particular adoration. The Scythian Venus, too, was the ?f??d?t? ???a???. To Ares, however, they sacrificed most especially and most generally; for there was a place of worship to him in every ??µ?? (mark the use of this word, which is applied to the divisions of the Persian empire as well), where horses, sheep, and captives were sacrificed, and where the emblem of the god was an iron sword,--even as it was with the Alani of Ammianus and the Huns of Priscus.
Human beings were sacrificed, but no swine. Neither were swine eaten, nor were they tolerated in the country. This is noticed, because in many of the nations of Northern Asia, e. g. the Wotiaks and others, the hog, even now, is held in abomination, and that by Pagan tribes untinctured with Mahometanism.
Notwithstanding the praises of the earlier poets, the wars of the “just and illustrious” Scythians were of a piece with the worship of their war-god. They scalped their enemies, and they used their skulls as drinking cups (cc. 64--65). Once a year the monarch of each nome filled a vast vat with wine and apportioned it to the warriors who had killed most enemies during the year. Those whose hands were unstained got none, and were disgraced; those who had killed many took a double allowance (100.66).
Their soothsayers, amongst other superstitions, practised rhabdomancy, amongst whom the Enarees [2.940] (??d???????) are the most famous. They got their art from Aphrodite, as they got their ailment. During the Scythian invasion of Asia, a portion of the conquerors plundered the temple of the Aphrodite Urania in Ascalon, for which sacrilege they and their children were afflicted with ???e?a ???d??, the names of the sufferers being ????ee? (1.105, 106). The nature of this ???e?a ???d?? has yet to be satisfactorily explained.
The sacerdotal and regal relations are curious. When the king ails he calls his priests, who tell him that his ailment comes from some one having foresworn himself in the greatest oath a Scythian can take. This is “by the hearth of the king.” Take it falsely, and the king will sicken. Upon sickening, however, he sends for the offender, whom the priests have indicated. The charge is denied. Other priests are sent for. If their vaticinations confirm the earlier ones, death and confiscation are the fate of the perjurer. Otherwise, a third set is called. If these agree in the condemnation of the first, a load of faggots, drawn by bullocks, is brought in, the lying priests have their hands bound behind them, the faggots are set a-light to, the beasts are goaded into a gallop, the flames catch the wind, the men are burnt to death, and the bullocks scorched, singed, or burnt to death also. The sons of the offending perjurer are killed, his daughters left unhurt.
Their oaths were made over a mixture of wine and blood. The swearers to them punctured themselves, let their blood fall into a vat of wine, drank the mixture, and dipped in it their daggers, arrows, javelin, and s??a???.
The ferocity exhibited in their burials was of the same kind. The tombs of the kings were on the Gerrhus. Thither they were brought to be buried, wherever they might die. They were entombed with sacrifices both of beasts and men, Hippothusia, Anthropothysia, and Suttee--all these characterised the funeral rites of the Scythians d??a??tat?? ?????p??.
The specimens of this fall into two divisions, the Proper and, the Common Names. The former are the names of geographical localities and individuals. In one way or the other, they are numerous; at least they appear so at first. But we rarely are sure that the fact itself coincides with the first presumptions. The names of the rivers have been noticed. Of those of the gods, none have been definitely traced to any known language in respect to their meaning. Neither have they been traced to any known mythology as Proper Names. Next come the names of certain kings and other historical individuals, none of which have given any very satisfactory place for the old Scythian.
With the Common Names (and under the class of Common Names we may place such Proper Names as are capable of being translated) the results improve, though only slightly. Of these terms the chief are the following:--
(i.) ??aµpa???==Sacred Ways==??a? ?d??, the name of a well-head. [See s. v.] (ii.) ????pata== ??d???t????== Men-killers, a name applied by the Scythians to the Amazons. Here ???? == man, pat?==kill (4.110). (iii.) Temerinda==Mater Marks, applied to the Euxine. This is not from Herodotus, but from Pliny (6.7). (iv.) Arimaspi==????f?a?µ??,==one-eyed==???µa==one, sp??==eye. (Hdt. 4.27.) These will be considered under the head of Ethnology.
The Herodotean view of the Scythians is incomplete without a notice of the historical portion of his account; not that the two parts are, by any means, on the same level in the way of trustworthy information. The geography and descriptions are from contemporary sources. The history is more or less traditional. Taking it, however, as we find it, it falls into two divisions:--1, The Invasion of Asia by the Scythians; and 2, The Invasion of Scythia by Darius.
1. Invasion of Asia by the Scythians.
In the reigns of Cyaxares king of Media and of Sadyattes king of Lydia, the Scythians invade Asia, bodily and directly. They had previously invaded the country of the Cimmerians, whom they had driven from their own districts on the Maeotis, and who were thus thrown southwards. The Scythians pressed the Cimmerians, the Massagetae the Scythians. Chains of cause and effect of this kind are much loved by historians. It is only, however, in the obscure portions of history that they can pass unchallenged. The Cimmerians take Saidis during the last years of the reign of Ardys (B.C. 629.) They are expelled by Alyattes, his son. (Hdt. 1.15, 16.) It seems that the Cimmerians were followed up by their ejectors; inasmuch as five years afterwards (B.C. 624) the Scythians themselves are in Media; Cyaxares, who was engaged upon the siege of Nineveh (Ninus), being called back to oppose them. He is defeated; and the Scythians occupy Asia for 28 years, Cyaxares surviving their departure. From Media they direct their course towards Egypt; from the invasion of which they are diverted by Psammitichus. Their attack upon the temple of the Venus Urania, in Ascalon, during their passage through Palestine, along with its mysterious sequelae, has been already noticed. The king who led them was named Madyes. (Hdt. 1.103, seqq.) They were ejected B.C. 596.
There was a band of Scythians, however, in Media, in the reign of Croesus, B.C. 585, the account of which is as follows. Cyaxares, still reigning, receives a company (e???) of Scythians, as suppliants, who escape (?pe????e) from Lydia into Media. He treats them well, and sends his son to them to learn the use of the bow, along with the Scythian language, until he finds that their habits of hunting and robbing are intolerable. This, along with a particular act of atrocity, determines Cyaxares to eject them. They fly back to Alyattes, who refuses to give them up. But Alyattes dies, and the quarrel is entailed upon his son, Croesus. The battle that it led to was fought May 28, B.C. 585, when the eclipse predicted by Thales interrupted it.
The Scythian invasion might easily be known in its general features to both the Greeks of Asia and the Jews; and, accordingly, we find sufficient allusions to an invasion of northern barbarians, both in the Scriptures and in the fragments of the early Greek poets, to justify us in treating it as a real fact, however destitute of confirmation some of the Herodotean details may have been. (See Mure's Critical History, &c. vol. iii. p. 133, seq.) Though further removed from his time than
2. Invasion of Scythia by Darius.
It is, probably, a more accurate piece of history. Darius invades Scythia for the sake of inflicting a chastisement for the previous invasion of Asia. This had been followed, not by any settlement of the Scythians elsewhere, but by a return home. The strange [2.941] story of the Servile War of Whips belongs to this period.
When the approach of Darius becomes threatening, the Geloni, Budini, and Sauromatae join with the Scythians in resisting it; the Agathyrsi, Neuri, Androphagi, Melanchlaeni, and Tauri reserving themselves for the defence of their own territory if attacked (4.119). To the three constituents of the confederacy there are three kings, Scopasis, Ianthyrsus, and Taxacis, each with an allotted district to defend. This was done by destroying the grass and tillage, driving off the flocks and herds, and corrupting (we can scarcely translate s????? by poisoning) the wells. The points whereon attack was anticipated were the frontiers of the Danube and the Don. These they laid waste, having sent their own wives and children northwards. The first brunt of the war fell upon the Budini, whose Wooden City was burnt. Darius then moved southward and westward, pressing the other two divisions upon the countries of the Melanchlaeni, Neuri, and Agathyrsi. The latter warn the Medes against encroaching on the frontier. Idanthyrsus answers enigmatically to a defiance of Darius. Scopasis tampers with the Ionians who have the custody of the bridge over the Danube. The Medes suffer from dearth, and determine to retreat across the Danube. The Scythians reach the passage before them, and require the Ionians to give it up. And now appears, for the first time, the great name of Miltiades, who is one of the commanders of the guard of the bridge. He advises that the Scythians should be conciliated, Darius weakened. A half-measure is adopted, by which the Scythians are taught to distrust the Ionians, and the Medes escape into Thrace--so ending the Scythian invasion of Darius. (Hdt. 4.120-142.)
Criticism of the Herodotean Accounts.
The notices of Herodotus upon the Scythae, though full, are excursive rather than systematic. Part of their history appears as Lydian, part as Scythian Proper. There is much legend in his accounts; but the chief obscurities are in the geography. Even here the details are irregular. One notice arises out of the name Scythae, another out of the geography of their rivers, a third out of the sketch of Tauris. [See TAURIS and TAUROSCYTHAE] In this we hear that Scythia is bounded first by the Agathyrsi, next by the Neuri, then by the Androphagi, and lastly by the Melanchlaeni. The area is fourcornered; the longest sides being the prolongations along the coast and towards the interior. From the Ister to the Borysthenes is 10 days; 10 days more to the Maeotis; from the coast to the Melanchlaeni, 20 days;--200 stadia to each day's journey. If this measurement be exact, it would bring Tula, Tambov, Riazan, &c., within the Scythian area,--which is going too far. The days' journeys inland were probably shorter than those along the coast.
The Agathyrsi were in Transylvania, on the Maros. The evidence, or want of evidence, as far as the text of Herodotus goes, is the same as it is with the Neuri. Their frontagers were known as Scythae Aroteres, i. e., the generic name was with them specific. Hence any Scythians whatever with a specific name must have been contrasted with them; and this seems to have been the case with the Agathyrsi. [HUNNI p. 1097.] Assuming, however, the Agathyrsi to have been Scythian, and to have lain on the Maros, we carry the Herodotean Scythae as far west as the Theiss; nor can we exclude them from any part of Wallachia and Moldavia. Yet these are only known to Herodotus as the country of the SIGYNNES The frontier, then, between the Scythae and Getae is difficult to draw. Herodotus has no Getae, eo nomine, north of the Danube: yet such there must have been. Upon the whole, we may look upon the Danubian Principalities as a tract scarcely known to Herodotus, and make it Scythian, or Getic, or mixed, according to the evidence of other writers, as applicable at the time under consideration. It was probably Getic in the, East, Sarmatian in the West, and Scythian in respect to certain districts occupied by intrusive populations.
Thucydides mentions the Getae and Scythians but once (2.96), and that together. The great alliance that Sitalces, king of Thrace, effects against Perdiccas of Macedon includes the Getae beyond Mount Haemus, and, in the direction of the Euxine sea, the Getae who were conterminous (?µ????) with the Scythians, and whose armour was Scythian (?µ?s?e???). They were each archers and horsemen (?pp?t???ta?); whereas the Dii and the mountaineers of Rhodope wore daggers. According to Ovid (Ov. Tr. 5.7. 19), the occupants of the level country do so too:-- “Dextera non segnis fixo dare vulnera cultro,
Quem vinctum lateri barbara omnis habet.
THE SCYTHIANS OF THE MACEDONIAN PERIOD.
Passing over the notices of Xenophon, which apply to Thrace Proper rather than to the parts north of Mount Haemus, and which tell us nothing concerning the countries beyond the Danube,--passing, also, over the notices of a war in which Philip king of Macedon was engaged against Atheas, and in which he crossed Mount Haemus into the country of the Triballi, where he received a wound,--we come to the passage of the Danube by Alexander. In the face of an enemy, and without a bridge, did the future conqueror of Persia cross the river, defeat the Getae on its northern bank, destroy a town, and return. (Arrian, Arr. Anab. 1.2-7.) This was an invasion of Scythia in a geographical sense only; still it was a passage of the Danube. The Getae of Alexander may have been descendants of the Sigynnes of Herodotus. They were not, eo nomine, Scythians.
When Alexander was on the Danube the famous embassy of the Galatae reached him. They had heard of his fame, and came to visit him. They were men of enormous stature, and feared only that the heavens should fall. This disappointed Alexander, who expected that they would fear him. Much has been written concerning the embassy as if it came from Gaul. Yet this is by no means necessary. Wherever there is a Halicz or Galacz in modern geography, there may have been a Galat-ian locality in ancient; just as, wherever there is a Kerman or Carman-ia, there may have been a German one, and that without any connection with the Galli or Germani of the West. The roots G-l-t and K-ron-n, are simply significant geographical terms in the Sarmatian and Turk tongues--tongues to which the Getic and Scythian may most probably be referred.
Such is the present writer's opinion respecting the origin of the statements that carry certain Galatae as far as the Lower Danube, and make the Basternae, and even the occupants of the Tanais, Germans--not to mention the Caramanians of Asia Minor and Carmanians of Persia. In the present [2.942] instance, however, the statement of Strabo is very specific. It is to the effect that the ambassadors to Alexander were ???t?? pe?? t?? ?d??a? (vii. p. 301), and that Ptolemy was the authority. Nevertheless, Ptolemy may have written Ga??ta?, and such Galatae may have been the Galatae of the Olbian Inscription. [See infra and SCIRI]
The next Macedonian who crossed the Danube was Lysimachus, who crossed it only to re-cross it in his retreat, and who owed his life to the generosity of a Getic prince Dromichaetes. This was about B.C. 312.
Our next authorities (fragmentary and insufficient) for the descendants of the Herodotean Scythians are the occupants of the Greek towns of the Euxine. Even those to the south of the Danube, Callatis, Apollonia, &c., had some Scythians in the neighhood, sometimes as enemies, sometimes as protectors,--sometimes as protectors against other barbarians, sometimes as protectors of Greeks against Greeks, as was the case during the Scythian and Thracian wars of Lysimachus. The chief frontagers, however, were Getae. Between Olbia, to the north of the Danube (==Olbiopolis of Herodotus), and the native tribes of its neighbourhood, the relations are illustrated by the inscription already noticed. (Böckh, Inscr. Graec. no. 2058.) It records a vote of public gratitude to Protogenes, and indicates the troubles in which he helped his fellow-citizens. The chief of those arose from the pressure of the barbarians around, by name Saudaratae, Thisametae, Sciri [see SCIRI], Galatae, and Scythae. The date of this inscription is uncertain; but we may see the import of the observations on the word Galatae when we find the assumption that they were Gauls of Gallia used as an instrument of criticism:--“The date of the above inscription is not specified; the terror inspired by the Gauls, even to other barbarians, seems to suit the second century B.C. better than it suits a later period.” (Grote, Hist. of Greece, vol. xii. p. 644, note.) What, however, if the Galatae of Wallachia were as little Galli as the Cermanians of Persia are Germans, or as Galacz is the same as Calais? The present writer wholly disconnects them, and ignores the whole system of hypothetical migrations by which the identity is supported.
A second Olbia in respect to its Helleno-Scythic relations, was Bosporus, or Panticapaeum, a Greek settlement which lasted from B.C. 480 till the reign of Mithridates. [PANTICAPAEUM]
From Bosporus there was a great trade with Athens in corn, hides, and Scythian slaves,--Scythes, as the name of a slave, occurring as early as the time of Theognis, and earlier in the Athenian drama than those of Davus and Geta (Dacian and Getic) which belong to the New Comedy,--Scythes and Scythaena being found in the Old.
The political relations were those of independent municipalities; sometimes sovereign, sometimes protected. The archons of Bosporus paid tribute to the Scythian princes of their neighbourhood, when they were powerful and united; took it, when the Scythians were weak and disunited. Under this latter category came the details of the division of the Maeotae, viz., Sindi, Toraeti, Dandarii, Thetes, &c. Of these, Parysades I. (a Scythic rather than a Greek name) was king, being only archon of his native town. In the civil wars, too, of Bosporus, the Scythians took a part; nor were there wanting examples of Scythian manners even in the case of the Panticapaean potentates. Eumelus lost his life by being thrown out of a four-wheeled wagon-and-four with a tent on it.
SCYTHIANS OF THE MITHRIDATIC PERIOD, ETC.
The Scythians pressed on Parysades IV., who called in Mithridates, who was conquered by Rome. The name now becomes of rare occurrence, subordinate to that of the Sarmatae, Daci, Thracians, &c. In fact, instead of being the nearest neighbours to Greece, the Scythae were now the most distant enemies of Rome.
In the confederacy of the Dacian Boerebistes, in the reign of Augustus, there were Scythian elements. So there were in the wars against the Thracian Rhescuporis and the Roxolani. So there were in the war conducted by J. Plautius in the reign of Vespasian, as shown by the following inscription: REGIBUS BASTERNARUM ET RHOXOLANORUM FILIOS DACORUM . . . EREPTOS REMISIT . . . SCYTHARUM QUOQUE REGE A CHERSONESI QUĆ EST ULTRA BORYSTHENEM OBSIDIONE SUMMOTO. (Grut. p. 453; Böckh, vol. ii. pt. 1. p. 82; Zeuss, s. v. Skythen).
Though the history of the Scythians, eo nomine, be fragmentary, the history of more than one Scythian population under a change of name is both prominent and important. In the article HUNNI reasons are given for believing that the descendants of the Herodotean Agathyrsi, of Scythian blood, wore no unimportant element in the Dacian nationality.
After the foundation of Constantinople the Scythian nations appear with specific histories and names, Hun, Avar, &c.
The continuity of the history of the name of the Herodotean Scythians within the Herodotean area is of great importance; as is the explanation of names like Galatae and Germani; as also is the consideration of the sources whence the nomenclature and information of the different authorities is derived. It is important, because, when we find one name disappearing from history, and another appearing, there is (according to, at least, the current criticism) a presumption in favour of a change of population. Sometimes this presumption is heightened into what is called a proof; yet the presumption itself is unreal. For one real change of name referrible to an actual change of population there are ten where the change has been merely one in respect to the sources whence the information was derived, and the channels through which it came. This is what occurs when the same country of Deutschland is called Germany by an Englishman, Allemagne in France, Lamagna in Italy. This we know to be nominal. We ought at least to ask whether it may not be so in ancient history--and that not once or twice, but always--before we assume hypothetical movements and migrations.
Now in the case of Scythia we can see our way to great nominal and but slight real changes. We see the sources of information changed from Greek to Latin, and the channels from Getic and Macedonian to Dacian.
If so, the occupants of Hungary, the Principalities, and South-western Russia under the Caesars may be the descendants of the occupants of the same districts in the time of Herodotus. That there are some differences is not only likely but admitted,--differences in the way of admixture of blood, modification of nationality, changes of frontier, differences of the kind that time always effects, even in a stationary condition of nations. It is only denied that [2.943] any wholesale change can be proved, or even reasonably supposed. Who can be shown to have eliminated any definite Scythian population from any definite Scythian occupancy? With the Greeks and Romans the negative evidence is nearly conclusive to the fact that no such elimination ever took place. That the Barbarians might have displaced each other is admitted; but there is no trustworthy evidence to their having done so in any single instance. All opinions in favour of such changes rest upon either the loose statements of insufficiently-informed writers, or the supposed necessity of accounting for the appearance and change of certain names by means of certain appearance and changes of population.
The bearings of this will appear in the notice of the Ethnology of Scythia. They appear also under HUNNI
Of the SACAE eo nomine, the history is obscure. In one sense, indeed, it is a nonentity. There is no classical historian of the Sacae. How far the ethnologist can infer them is a question which will be treated in the sequel.
Of the history of the populations akin to the Sacae, the details are important; but then it is a history of the Massagetae, Parthi, &c., a history full of critical preliminaries and points of inference rather than testimony.
The Scythia of all the authors between Herodotus and Ptolemy means merely the country of the Scythae, the Scythae being such northern nations as, without being, eo nomine, Sarmatian, were Hamaxobii and Hippemolgi; their habits of milking their mares and travelling in tented wagons being their most genuine characteristic. These it was which determined the views of even Strabo, whose extension of Germania and Galatia (already noticed) left him no room for a Scythia or even a Sarmatia; Sarmatia, which is to Ptolemy as Germania was to Strabo: for the Sarmatia of Ptolemy leaves no room in Europe for a Scythia; indeed, it cuts deeply into Asiatic Scythia, the only
SCYTHIA OF PTOLEMY.
The Scythia of Ptolemy is exclusively Asiatic, falling into, 1. The Scythia within the Imaus. 2. The Scythia beyond the Imaus.
This is a geographical division, not an ethnological one. Scythae Alauni are especially recognised as a population of European Sarmatia.
As Ptolemy's Sarmatia seems to have been formed out of an extension of the area of the Herodotean Sauromatae, his Scythia seems to have grown out of the eastern Scythae of the Herodotean Scythia, i. e. the Scythae of Orenburg. It did not grow out of the country of the Sacae, inasmuch as they are mentioned separately; even as the Jazyges of the Theiss were separated from the Sarmatians. The continuator, however, of the Herodotean account must make the Sacae Scythians. They may be disposed of first.
THE SACAE OF PTOLEMY
The Sacae of Ptolemy were bounded by the Sogdians on the west, the Scythians on the north, and the Seres on the east. They were nomads, without towns, and resident in woods and caves. The mountain-range of the Comedi (? ??µ?d?? ??e???) was in their country; so was the Stone Tower (??????? ??????). The populations were: 1, 2. The Caratae and Comari along the Jaxartes. 3. The Comedae, on the Comedian mountain. 4. The Massagetae along the range of the Ascatancas (?s?at???a?). 5. In the interjacent country, the Grynaei Scythae; and, 6, the Toornae; south of whom, along the Imaus, 7, the Byltae. (Ptol. 6.13.)
SCYTHIA INTRA IMAUM.
Bounded on the S. and E. by Sogdiana, Margiana, and the Sacae; on the W. by the Caspian and Sarmatia Asiatica; on the N. by a terra incognita; and on the E. by the northern prolongation of the Imaus. (Ptol. 6.14.)
The Rhymmus, the Daix, the Jaxartes, the Iastus, and the Polytimetus.
The eastern part of the Montes Hyperborei, the Montes Alani (observe the reappearance of this name), the Montes Rhymmici, the Mons Norossus, the MM. Aspisii, Tapyri, Syebi, Anarei,--all W. of the Imaus.
The Alani Scythae (on the confines of the terra incognita), the Suabeni, the Alanorsi, S. of whom the Saetiani, and Massaei, and Syebi; and (along the Imaus) the Tectosaces and (on the eastern head-waters of the Rha) the Rhobosci, S. of whom the Asmani; and then the Paniardi, S. of whom, along the river, the district called Canodipsas, S. of which the Coraxi; then the Orgasi, after whom, as far as the sea (i. e. the Caspian, in this chapter called Hyrcanian), the Erymmi, with the Asiotae on the E. of them, succeeded by the Aorsi; after whom the Jaxartae, a great nation along the river of the same name; then S. of the Saetiani, the Mologeni and Samnitae, as far as the MM. Rhymmici. Then, S. of the Massaei and MM. Alani, the Zaratae and Sasones; and further W. and as far as the MM. Rhymmici, the Tybiacae, succeeded by the Tabieni, S. of the Zaratae, and the Iastae and Machaetegi along the Mons Norossus; S. of whom the Norosbes and Norossi, and the Cachagae Scythae along the Jaxartae. On the W. of the MM. Aspisii, the Aspisii Scythae; on the E. the Galactophagi Scythae; E. of the MM. Tapuri and the Suebi, the Tapurei; and above the MM. Anarei and the Mons Ascatancas, the Scythae Anarei, and the Ascatancae and Ariacae along the Jaxartes, S. of whom the Namastae; then the Sagaraucae, and, along the Oxus, the Rhibii, with their town Davaba.
SCYTHIA EXTRA IMAUM
Scythia Extra Imaum was bounded by Scythia intra Imaum, the Sacae, the Terra Incognita, and the Seres. It contained the western part of MM. Auxacii, Casii and Emodi, with the source of the river Oechardus. (Ptol. 6.15.)
Its Populations were the Abii Scythae, the Hippophagi Scythae, the Chatae Scythae, the Charaunaei Scythae; the designation Scythae being applied to each.
Districts.--The Auxacitis, the Casia (? ?as?a ???a), the Achasa (? ???sa ???a).
Towns.--Auxacia, Issedon, Scythica, Chaurana, Soeta.
The remarks that applied to the Sarmatia Asiatica of Ptolemy apply here. Few names can be safely identified. Neither is it safe to say through what languages the information came. Some words suggest a Persian, some a Turk source, some are Mongol. Then the geography is obscure. That the range of Pamer was unduly prolonged northwards is evident [IMAUS]; this being an error of the geographer. The courses, however. of the Oxus and Jaxartes may themselves have changed.
The prolongation of the Pamer range being carried in a northern and north-eastern direction, so as to include not only the drainages of the Oxus and Jaxartes, but that of the Balkash Lake as well, gives us the line of the Imaus; the terra incognita to the [2.944] N, being supposed to begin with the watershed of the Irtish, Obi, and other rivers falling into the Arctic Ocean. Within the limits thus described we may place the Nor-osbi and Nor-ossi, on the eastern edge, i. e. in the parts where at the present moment the lakes distinguished by the name Nor occur. It should be added, however, that the syllable is generally final, as in Koko-nor, &c. Still it is a prominent element in compound names, and indicates Mongol occupancy. The Byltae may be placed in Bulti-stan, i. e. the country of the Bulti == Little Tibet, the gloss being Persian.
In Ascatancas (the Greek spelling is the more convenient ?s?a-t???-a?), we have the Turkish-tagh == mountain just as it actually occurs in numberless compounds.
Karait is a name of common application, chiefly to members of the Mongol family.
Mass-agetae is a term full of difficulty. Can it have arisen out of the common name Mus-tag?
In Scythia extra Imaum, the Casia and Achassa (???a?) may be made one and identified with the Cesii of Pliny. The most reasonable explanations of these names is to be found in the suggestion of Major Cunningham's valuable work on Ladak (p. 4), where the Achassa Regio == Ladakh, and the Chatae, and Chauronae Scythae == Chang-thang and Khor respectively.
Roughly speaking, we may say that the country of the Sacae was formed by an irregular tract of land on the head-waters of the Oxus and the watershed between it and the Jaxartes, a tract which included a portion of the drainage of the Indus. It is only a portion of this that could give the recognised conditions of Scythian life, viz. steppes and pasturages. These might be founded on the great table land of Pamer, but not in the mountain districts. These, however, were necessary for “residences in woods and caves” ; at the same time, the population that occupied them might be pastoral rather than agricultural. Still they would not be of the Scythian type. Nor is it likely that the Sacae of Ptolemy were so. They were not, indeed, the Sacae of Herodotus, except in part, i. e. on the desert of the Persian frontier. They were rather the mountaineers of Kaferistan, Wakhan, Shugnan, Roshan, Astor, Hunz-Nagor, and Little Tibet, partly Persian, partly Bhot (or Tibetan), in respect to their ethnology.
The Scythians beyond the Imaus.--These must be divided between Ladakh, Tibet, Chinese Tartary, and Mongolia in respect to their geography. Physically they come within the conditions of a Scythian occupancy; except where they are true mountaineers. Ethnologically they may be distributed between the Mongol, Bhot, and Turk families--the Turks being those of Chinese Tartary.
The Turcoman districts of the Oxus, Khiva, the Kirghiz country, Ferghana, Tashkend, with the parts about the Balkash, give us the Scythia within the Imaus. It coincides chiefly with Independent Tartary, with the addition of a small portion of Mongolia and southern Siberia. Its conditions are generally Scythian. In the upper part, however, of the Jaxartes, the districts are agricultural at present; nine-tenths of this area is Turk, part of the population being Nomades, part industrial and agricultural.
THE SCYTHIA OF THE BYZANTINE AUTHORS.
This means not only Hunns, Avars, Alans, and Sarmatians, but even Germans, Goths, and Vandals. It is used, however, but rarely. It really existed only in books of geography. Every division of the Scythian name was known under its specific designation.
If any name of antiquity be an ethnological, rather than a geographical, term, that name is Scythia. Ptolemy alone applies it to an area, irrespective of the races of its occupants. With every earlier writer it means a number of populations connected by certain ethnological characteristics. These were physical and moral--physical, as when Hippocrates describes the Scythian physiognomy; moral, as when their nomadic habits, as Hamaxobii and Hippemolgi, are put forward as distinctive. Of language as a test less notice is taken; though (by Herodotus at least) it is by no means overlooked. The division between Scythian and non-Scythian is always kept in view by him. Of the non-Scythic populations, the Sauromatae were one; hence the ethnology of Scythia involves that of Sarmatia, both being here treated together.
In respect to them, there is no little discrepancy of opinion amongst modern investigators. The first question respecting them, however, has been answered unanimously.
Are they represented by any of the existing divisions of mankind, or are they extinct? It is not likely that such vast families as each is admitted to have been has died out. Assuming, then, the present existence of the congeners of both the Sarmatae and the Scythae, in what family or class are they to be found? The Scythae were of the Turk, the Sarmatae of the Slavono-Lithuanic stock.
The evidence of this, along with an exposition of the chief differences of opinion, will now be given, Scythia being dealt with first. Premising that Turk means all the populations whose language is akin to that of the Ottomans of Constantinople, and that it comprises the Turcomans, the Independent Tartars, the Uzbeks, the Turks of Chinese Tartary, and even the Yakuts of the Lena, along with several other tribes of less importance, we may examine the ŕ priori probabilities of the Scythae having been, in this extended sense, Turks.
The situs of the nations of South-western Russia, &c., at the beginning of the proper historical period, is a presumption in favour of their being so. Of these the best to begin with are the Cumanians (12th century) of Volhynia. That they were Turk we know from special statements, and from samples of their language compared with that of the Kirghiz of Independent Tartary. There is no proof of their being new comers, however much the doctrine of their recent emigration may have been gratuitously assumed. The Uzes were what the Cumanians were; and before the Uzes, the Patzinaks (10th century) of Bessarabia and the Danubian Principalities were what the Uzes were. Earlier than the Patzinaks, the Chazars ruled in Kherson and Taurida (7th and 8th centuries) like the Patzinaks, in the same category with definitely known Cumanians and Uzes. These four populations are all described by writers who knew the true Turks accurately, and, knowing them, may be relied on. This knowledge, however, dates only from the reign of Justinian [TURCAE]. From the reign, then, of Justinian to the 10th century (the date of the break--up of the Cumanians), the Herodotean Scythia was Turk--Turk without evidence of the occupation being recent.
The Avars precede the Chazars, the Huns the [2.945] Avars, the Alani the Huns. [HUNNI; AVARES]. The migrations that make the latter, at least, recent occupants being entirely hypothetical. The evidence of the Huns being in the same category as the Avars, and the Avars being Turk, is conclusive. The same applies to the Alani--a population which brings us to the period of the later classics.
The conditions of a population which should, at one and the same time, front Persia and send an offset round the Caspian into Southern Russia, &c., are best satisfied by the present exclusively Turk area of Independent Tartary.
Passing from the presumptuous to the special evidence, we find that the few facts of which we are in possession all point in the same direction.
Physical Appearance.--This is that of the Kiryhiz and Uzbeks exactly, though not that of the Ottomans of Rumelia, who are of mixed blood. Allowing for the change effected by Mahomet, the same remark applies to their
Manners, which are those of the Kirghiz and Turcomans.
Language.--The Scythian glosses have not been satisfactorily explained, i. e. Temerinda, Arimaspi, and Exampaeus have yet to receive a derivation that any one but the inventor of it will admit. The oior-, however, in Oior-pata is exactly the er, aer, == man, &c., a term found through all the Turk dialects. It should be added, however, that it is Latin and Keltic as well (vir, fear, gwr). Still it is Turk, and that unequivocally.
The evidence, then, of the Scythae being Turk consists in a series of small particulars agreeing with the ŕ priori probabilities rather than in any definite point of evidence. Add to this the fact that no other class gives us the same result with an equally small amount of hypothesis in the way of migration and change. This will be seen in a review of the opposite doctrines, all of which imply an unnecessary amount of unproven changes.
The Mongol Hypothesis.--This is Niebuhr's, developed in his Researches into the History of the Scythians, &c.; and also Neumann's, in his Hellenen im Skythenlande. It accounts for the manners and physiognomy, as well as the present doctrine; but not for anything else. It violates the rule against the unnecessary multiplication of causes, by bringing from a distant area, like Mongolia, what lies nearer, i. e. in Tartary. With Niebuhr the doctrine of fresh migrations to account for the Turks of the Byzantine period, and of the extirpation of the older Scythians, takes its maximum development, the least allowance being made for changes of name. “This” (the time of Lysimachus) “is the last mention of the Scythian nation in the region of the Ister; and, at this time, there could only be a remnant of it in Budzaek” (p. 63).
The Finn Hypothesis.--This is got at by making the Scythians what the Huns were, and the Huns what the Magyars were--the Magyars being Finn. It arises out of a wrong notion of the name, Hun-gary, and fails to account for the difference between the Scythians and the nations to their north.
The Circassian Hypothesis.--This assumes an extension of the more limited area of the northern occupants of Caucasus in the direction of Russia and Hungary. Such an extension is, in itself, probable. It fails, however, to explain any one fact in the descriptions of Scythia, though valid for some of the older populations.
The Indo-European Hypothesis.--This doctrine takes many forms, and rests on many bases. The--get-in words like Massa-get-ae, &c., is supposed to == Goth == German. Then there are certain names which are Scythian and Persian, the Persian being Indo-European. In the extreme form of this hypothesis the Sacae == Saxons, and the Yuche of the Chinese authors == Goths.
If the Scythians were intruders from Independent Tartary, whom did they displace? Not the Sarmatians, who were themselves intruders. The earlier occupants were in part congeners of the Northern Caucasians. They were chiefly, however, Ugrians or Finns; congeners of the Mordvins, Tsheremess, and Tshuwashes of Penza, Saratov, Kazan, &c.: Dacia, Thrace, and Sarmatia being the original occupancies of the Sarmatae.
If so, the ethnographical history of the Herodotean Scythia runs thus:--there was an original occupancy of Ugrians; there was an intrusion from the NE. by the Scythians of Independent Tartary, and there was intrusion from the SW. by the Sarmatians of Dacia. The duration of the Scythian or Turk occupancy was from the times anterior to Herodotus to the extinction of the Cumanians in the 14th century. Of internal changes there was plenty; but of any second migration from Asia (with the exception of that of the Avars) there is no evidence.
Such is the history of the Scythae.
The Sacae were, perhaps, less exclusively Turk, though Turk in the main. Some of them were, probably, Mongols. The Sacae Amyrgii may have been Ugrians; the researches of Norris upon the second of the arrow-headed alphabets having led him to the opinion that there was at least one invasion of Persia analogous to the Magyar invasion of Hungary, i. e. effected by members of the Ugrian stock, probably from Orenburg or Kazan. With them the root m-rd == man. History gives us no time when the Turks of the Persian frontier, the Sacae, were not pressing southwards. Sacastene (== Segestan) was one of their occupancies; Carmania probably another. The Parthians were of the Scythian stock; and it is difficult to believe that, word for word, Persia is not the same as Parthia. The history, however, of the Turk stock is one thing; the history of the Scythian name another. It is submitted, however, that the two should be connected. This being done, the doctrine of the recent diffusion of the Turks is a doctrine that applies to the name only. There were Turk invasions of Hungary, Turk invasions of Persia, Turk invasions of China, Assyria, Asia Minor, and even north-eastern Africa, from the earliest period of history. And there were Sarmatian invasions in the opposite direction, invasions which have ended in making Scythia Slavonic, and which (in the mind of the present writer) began by making parts of Asia Median. Lest this be taken for an exaggeration of the Turk influence in the world's history, let it be remembered that it is only a question of date, and that the present view only claims for the Turk conquests the place in the antehistorical that they are known to have had in the historical period. With the exception of the Mongol invasions of the 13th century and the Magyar occupancy of Hungary, every conquest in Southern Asia and Europe, from the North, has been effected by members of the stock under notice. [See SARMATIA; VENEDI; FENNI; SITONES; TURCAE.] [R.G.L] - Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) William Smith, LLD, Ed.
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