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  • #342143

    Anonymous

    THE SCYTHIANS

    [img width=700 height=337]http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Images2/Maps/Achaemenid_and_Iranic_Peoples_in_the_Ancient_World.PNG”/>

    INTRODUCTION

    The Scythians were members of a nomadic people of Iranian stock who migrated from Iranian homeland in Central Asia to southern Russia in the 8th – 7th C. BCE.

    Centered on what is now the Crimea, the Scythians founded a rich, powerful empire that survived for several centuries before succumbing to the Sarmatians during the 4th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.

    Much of what is known of the history of the Scythians comes from the account of them by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus, who visited their territory. In modern times this record has been expanded chiefly by the work of Russian anthropologists.

    The Scythians were feared and admired for their prowess in war and, in particular, for their horsemanship. They were among the earliest people to master the art of riding, and their mobility astonished their neighbors.

    The migration eventually brought them into the territory of the Cimmerians, who had traditionally controlled the Caucasus and the plains north of the Black Sea. In a war that lasted 30 years, the Scythians destroyed the Cimmerians and set themselves up as rulers of an empire stretching from west Iran through Syria and Judaea to the borders of Egypt.

    The Median dynasty, who ruled Iran, attacked them and drove them out of western Iranian lands in Anatolia, leaving them finally in control of lands which stretched from the Iranian border north through the Kuban and into southern Russia.

    The Iranian Scyths were remarkable not only for their fighting ability but also for the civilization they produced. They developed a class of wealthy aristocrats who left elaborate graves filled with richly worked articles of gold and other precious materials. This class of chieftains, the Royal Scyths, finally established themselves as rulers of the southern Russian and Crimean territories. It is there that the richest and most numerous relics of Scythian civilization have been found. Their power was sufficient to repel an invasion by the Iranian King of King Darius the Great in about 513 BCE.

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

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

    Scythian successes

    image

    The first sign that steppe nomads had learned to fight well from horseback was a great raid into Asia Minor launched from the Ukraine about 690 BCE by a people whom the Greeks called Cimmerians.

    Some, though perhaps not all, of the raiders were mounted. Not long thereafter, tribes speaking an Iranian language, which the Greeks called Scythians, conquered the Cimmerians and in turn became lords of the Ukraine.

    According to Herodotus, who is the principal source of information on these events, the Scyths (or at least some of them) claimed to have migrated from the Altai Mountains at the eastern extreme of the Western Steppe. This may well be so, and some modern scholars have even surmised that the foreign invasions of China that brought the Western Chou dynasty to an end in 771 BCE may have been connected with a Scythian raid from the Altai that had occurred a generation or two before Scythian migration westward to the Ukraine.

    The Eastern Steppe was, however, too barren and cold for invaders to linger. Consequently, the spread of cavalry skills and of the horse nomads' way of life to Mongolia took several centuries. We know this from Chinese records clearly showing that cavalry raids from the Mongolian steppe became chronic only in the 4th century BCE. China was then divided among warring states, and border principalities had to convert to cavalry tactics in order to mount successful defenses. The first state to do so developed its cavalry force only after 325 BCE.

    Long before then, however, the Scythians had erected a loose confederacy that spanned all of the Western Steppe. The high king of the tribe heading this confederacy presumably had only limited control over the far reaches of the Western Steppe. But on special occasions the Scythians could assemble large numbers of horsemen for long-distance raids, such as the one that helped to bring the Assyrian Empire to an end. After sacking the Assyrian capital of Nineveh in 612 BCE, the booty-laden Iranian Scyths returned to the Ukrainian steppe, leaving Medes, Babylonians, and Egyptians to dispute the Assyrian heritage. But the threat of renewed raids from the north remained and constituted a standing problem for rulers of the Middle East thereafter.

    Scythian Jewelry

    image

    It is to the Scythians, a semi nomadic people from the Eurasian steppes who moved out from southern Russia into the territory between the Don and the Danube and then into Mesopotamia, that we owe a type of gold production, which, on the basis of its themes, is classified today as animal-style.

    During the early period (5th-4th century BCE), this style appeared on shaped, pierced plaques made of gold and silver, which showed running or fighting animals (reindeer, lions, tigers, horses) alone or in pairs facing each other, embossed with powerful plasticity and free interpretation of the forms. The animal-style had a strong influence in western Asia during the 7th century BCE. Such ornaments as necklaces, bracelets, pectorals, diadems, and earrings making up the Ziwiye treasure (discovered in Iran near the border between Kurdistan and Azerbaijan provinces) provide evidence of this Asiatic phase of Scythian gold-working art.

    The ornaments are characterized by highly expressive animal forms. This Central Asian Scythian-Iranian style passed by way of Phoenician trading in the 8th century BCE into the Mediterranean and into Western jewelry. 

    SCYTHIAN ART

    image

    Scythian Art is also called STEPPES ART, decorative objects, mainly jewelry and trappings for horse, tent, and wagon, produced by nomadic tribes that roamed Central Asia from slightly east of the Altai Mountains in Inner Mongolia to European Russia. What little is known of these tribes, called Scyths, or Sacae, in the classical sources, indicates that they established control of the plain north of the Black Sea over a period of several centuries, from the 7th-6th century BCE until they were gradually supplanted by the Sarmatians during the 4th century BCE-2nd centuryCE. Many of the most impressive pieces of Scythian art (now part of the treasure at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg) were cast of solid gold and were recovered in the 17th-19th century, before the development of modern archaeological methods that might have shed more light on their origins.

    The Scythians worked in a wide variety of materials, including wood, leather, bone, appliqué felts, bronze, iron, silver, gold, and electrum. The tombs of Pazyryk in the Altai yielded many well-preserved articles of clothing that were profusely trimmed with embroidery and appliqué designs; the clothes of the wealthy in southern Russia were covered with tiny gold-embossed plaques, sewn to the garments. At Pazyryk, felt appliqué wall hangings were found, some displaying religious scenes featuring the Great Goddess or anthropomorphic beasts, others with geometric or animal motifs. Felt rugs were also found, as well as a vast number of beautifully made tools and domestic utensils.

    The art of the period is essentially an animal art. Combat scenes between two or more animals are numerous, as are single animal figures. Many real or mythical beasts are represented, the majority of the types having roots in deep antiquity, but the Scythians fashioned them in a manner that was new and characteristically their own. As is to be expected with nomads who were constantly on the move, the decorative objects they produced are generally small in size, but many are made of precious materials and practically all are of superb workmanship.

    The Scythian gold figures of semi recumbent stags, measuring some 12 inches (30.5 cm) in length, are outstanding; they were probably used as the central ornaments for the round shields carried by many Scythian fighters. Perhaps the loveliest of the gold stags is the 6th-century-BCE example from the burial of Kostromskaya Stanitsa in the Kuban, but versions of the 5th century BCE from Tápiószentmárton in Hungary and of the 4th century BCE from Kul Oba in the Crimea are scarcely less beautiful. In all three examples the stag is shown in a recumbent position, with its legs tucked beneath its body, but with its head raised and its muscles taut so that it gives an impression of rapid motion.

    The Scythian artistic idiom is one of great compression as well as of synthesis; contrasting positions of the body are combined with astonishing skill to depict every possible aspect of the animal when visualized during all its diverse activities. Though the art is basically representational in character, it is at the same time imaginative in spirit, often verging on the abstract in conception. Yet however complex its elements, they are fused in the finished work into a single entity of compelling force and beauty.

    [img width=533 height=700]http://hal_macgregor.tripod.com/gregor/Scythians.jpg”/>

    http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Anthropology/Scythian/introduction.htm

    #363064

    Anonymous

    Cool thread Wilko. I love Scythian jewelry altho some say it might be bought from Greeks, Persians, etc.

    First one was to big so here link; http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Scythians_shooting_with_bows_Kertch_antique_Panticapeum_Ukrainia_4th_century_BCE.jpg

    image

    image

    image

    image

    And they dressed like KKK hahaha;

    image

    #363065

    Anonymous

    Great thread. Scythians and Sarmatians being the ancestors of us Slavs, I have ever since been very interested in their culture.

    #363066

    Anonymous

    One thing about the Scythians has always puzzled my mind…

    According to most of the historians, the Scythians were at least semi-nomadic people. So, in other words, they were wanderers. Since they wandered. A common Slavic verb for wander is skita.

    Is it possible that it's the same root that gave us both this Slavic word and the name of the Scythians?

    #363067

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    One thing about the Scythians has always puzzled my mind…

    According to most of the historians, the Scythians were at least semi-nomadic people. So, in other words, they were wanderers. Since they wandered. A common Slavic verb for wander is skita.

    Is it possible that it's the same root that gave us both this Slavic word and the name of the Scythians?

    Ehe! Skitnice :) good connection. Skitani, the wandering people.

    #363068

    Anonymous

    How many Slavic languages have word Skita for wanderers? In Slovene language it dosent exist or at least my dialect dosent have this word as far as i am aware of.

    #363069

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    How many Slavic languages have word Skita for wanderers? In Slovene language it dosent exist or at least my dialect dosent have this word as far as i am aware of.

    Srb. – скитање
    Hr. – skitanje
    Bug. – скитане
    Mak. – скитање
    Rus. – скитания

    #363070

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    Srb. – скитање
    Hr. – skitanje
    Bug. – скитане
    Mak. – скитање
    Rus. – скитания

    I suspected so. I always imagined Slavs from your list as ancestors of Antes.

    image.

    #363071

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    I suspected so. I always imagined Slavs from your list as ancestors of Antes.

    I would say Sclaveni, since that is the name how we were called by the Romans, and they did differentiate between Sklavenoi and Antes.


      [li]

    The Byzantines broadly grouped the numerous Slav tribes living in proximity with the Eastern Roman Empire into two groups: the Sklavenoi and Antes. Apparently, the Sklavenoi group were based along the middle Danube (Western Balkans), whereas the Antes were at the lower Danube, in Scythia Minor. Procopius mentions the Sclaveni in addition to the close-by attacking Antes. The Slavs in North and Central Europe were part of the Wends.[/li]

    #363072

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    I would say Sclaveni, since that is the name how we were called by the Romans, and they did differentiate between Sklavenoi and Antes.


      [li]

    The Byzantines broadly grouped the numerous Slav tribes living in proximity with the Eastern Roman Empire into two groups: the Sklavenoi and Antes. Apparently, the Sklavenoi group were based along the middle Danube (Western Balkans), whereas the Antes were at the lower Danube, in Scythia Minor. Procopius mentions the Sclaveni in addition to the close-by attacking Antes. The Slavs in North and Central Europe were part of the Wends.[/li]

    I partly agree with you. Personaly i think Antes are a eastern subgroup of Sklavenoi which in my believe is just corrupted greek translation of our own words for Slavs; Sloveni, Slovani, etc. As it is seen on map you can see Antes & Sclaveni both moved to Balkan and there are even some reports of Antes attacking area of modern Italy. So i theorise that Antes mixed with the rest of balkan Slavs. Its like Slovenes & Slovaks keept old word for all Slavs while other tribes didnt same i believe for Sclaveni & Antes.

    #363073

    Anonymous
    Quote:
    I partly agree with you. Personaly i think Antes are a eastern subgroup of Sklavenoi which in my believe is just corrupted greek translation of our own words for Slavs; Sloveni, Slovani, etc. As it is seen on map you can see Antes & Sclaveni both moved to Balkan and there are even some reports of Antes attacking area of modern Italy. So i theorise that Antes mixed with the rest of balkan Slavs. Its like Slovenes & Slovaks keept old word for all Slavs while other tribes didnt same i believe for Sclaveni & Antes.

    Well current theories support that idea. Procopius and Jordanes mention the Antes, who inhabited the left (north) bank of the lower Danube. They remarked that they looked and sounded 'identical' (i.e. very similar) to the Sclavanoi, who dwelt along the middle Danube. The word Antes is considered by some linguists to be an Iranic name. They suggest that the Antes were one of the Sarmato-Alanic tribes that in the 4th century inhabited the region between the Caucasus and Ukrainian steppes, perhaps between the Prut and lower Dneister rivers in what is now modern Moldova and southwestern Ukraine (look at the map M423).

    Serbs are thought to be first mentioned by Tacitus in 50 AD, Pliny the Elder in 77 AD (Naturalis Historia) and Ptolemy in his Geography 2nd century AD, associated with the Sarmatian tribe of Serboi (Sarmato-Alanians like Antes) of the North Caucasus and Lower Volga. In the 10th century, Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (912-959) mentioned in his book De Ceremoniis two tribes named Krevatades (Krevatas) and Sarban (Sarbani), which some researches identified as Croats and Serbs. These tribes were located in the Caucasus near the river Terek, between Alania and Tsanaria. The Sarban tribe in the Caucasus in the 10th century was also recorded by an Arab geographer.

    Theory about Iranian origin of the Serbs assumes that ancient Serbi / Serboi from north Caucasus were an Sarmatian (Alanian) tribe (namely a part of the Antes). The theory subsequently assumes that Alanian Serbi were subdued by the Huns in the 4th century and that they, as part of the Hunnic army, migrated to the western edge of the Hunnic Empire (in the area of Central Europe near the river Elbe, later designated as White Serbia in what is now Saxony (eastern Germany) and western Poland (Lusatian Serbia). After Hunnic leader Attila died (in 453), Alanian Serbi presumably became independent and ruled in the east of the river Saale (in modern day Germany) over local Slavic population. Over time, they, it is argued, intermarried with the local Slavic population of the region, adopted Slavic language, and transferred their name to the Slavs. According to Tadeuš Sulimirski, similar event could occur in the Balkans or Serbs who settled in the Balkans were Slavs who came from the north and who were ruled by already slavicized Sarmatian Alans (namely the Serboi a tribe of the Antes).

    #363074

    Anonymous

    Yes i believe something like that happened.

    #363075

    Anonymous

    [table]
    [tr]
    [td][img height=300]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/Roman_Empire_125.png”/>[/td]
    [td][img height=300]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Map_of_Colchis%2C_Iberia%2C_Albania%2C_and_the_neighbouring_countries_ca_1770.jpg”/>[/td]
    [td][img height=300]http://www.bing.com/local/GetMap.ashx?b=h,mkt.de-de,stl.h&rf=o&rp=n&z=7&c=46.832216,46.704519&w=657&h=600″/>[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]

    So this is the original 'Urheimat' of the Serbs – borderland between ancient Sarmatia and Scythia, on the banks of Volga.

    image
    No wonder we migrated…

    #363076

    Anonymous

    Article: Scythians of the North Pontic region: Between-group cranial variation, affinities, and origins (2007)
    Author: Alexander Kozintsev is chief researcher in museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy of Sciences in St-Petersburg.

    Brief summary

    Measurements for 120 cranial series from northern Eurasia were used in the study. Scythians — 22 (17 from the steppes and 5 from forest-steppe zone). Non-Scythians — 98.  Material used is from Crimea and steppes and forest-steppes of Ukraine mostly dated to V-III BC. Steppe Scythians and forest-steppe Scythians discussed below are from Crimea and Ukraine mostly.

    Author of the article provides

    A detailed description of similarities in anthropological series using the Mahalanobis distance.
    Origins of steppes and forest-steppes Scythians
    Gracilisation and depigmentation of Caucasoid people from opposite regions.
    Findings of anthropologist B. Hemphill  on gracile dolicho-mezocranial Caucasoid population of  Xinjiang [tarim basin of north-western China)

    Conclusions

    Scythians of the north Pontic steppes region were highly heterogeneous in anthropological terms. The most distinct differences are between steppe and forest-steppe Scythians. Perhaps,  the two groups had different origins.

    Anthropological data indirectly confirms  autochthonous origin of forest-steppe Scythians. For the group of forest-steppe Scythians as a whole and for separate local groups the most evident connection is with the people of the Timber-grave archaeological culture of Ukraine. Especially with people buried in ground burials of this culture. The peculiarity in some forest-steppe populations, showing no any distinct relationships to other groups, may indicate an important role of micro-evolution factors.

    Steppe Scythians had  different ties to those of forest-steppe Scythians.  There is an exceptional resemblance between steppe Scythians and  people of Okunevo archaeological culture [Tyva, Altai, southern Siberia] demonstrated at all levels showing parallels in archaeology pointing to Central Asian origin of Scythian culture. Also, steppe Scythians gravitate towards other groups of people from Tyva. There is little anthropological similarities between steppe Scythians and people of 'near' nomadic world [Sacae, Sauromatian populations] with less significance in comparison to distant nomads from Central Asia.

    The ties between steppes Scythians and people of the Timber-grave archaeological culture are non-specific.  These ties are less distinct than those of earlier Bronze Age cultures [Yamnaya and Catacomb] which may point to the fact that ancestors of steppe Scythians belonged to Indo-European (most likely Indo-Iranian) population some of which moved far to the east up to Middle Asia in Bronze Age. The return migration of their descendants  back to North Pontic steppes in the early Iron Age could be a major factor in the formation of steppe Scythians (at least those relatively late groups that a represented in our study).

    The hypothesis of steppe Scythians resulting from mestization of people from Central Asia and autochthonous populations whose origins in populations of the Bronze Age cannot be confirmed.

    An additional article on Scythians from southern Siberia and Kazakhstan by A. Kozintsev (2008)  The "Mediterraneans" of Southern Siberia and Kazakhstan, Indo-European migrations, and the origin of the Scythians: a multivariate craniometric analysis, Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia, Volume 36, Issue 4, December 2008, Pages 140-144

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