Rise of the scythian

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They will eat your harvest and bread, they will eat your sons and daughters, they will eat your sheep and oxen, they will eat your grapes and figs.

Oddly enough, while the socio-political effects of the Scythian incursions in the Middle East can be comprehended to some degree from contemporary or near-contemporary sources, historians are still mystified by the logistical and organizational capacity of the military of these nomads from the distant steppes.

But it can be hypothesized that like most nomadic societies, the majority of the adult population was liable for military service including some of the younger women.

Now the tactical advantage of such a scope translated to how the bulk of the early Scythians had mounted warriors — mostly lightly armored with hide jackets and rudimentary headgear.

So from this linguistic angle, we can pretty much sum up the importance of archery and bow in the Scythian society.

Unfortunately, while archaeology has aided in preserving many of the arrowheads from such burial mounds, the design of the actual Scythian bow is lost to the rigors of time; and so has to be hypothesized from pictorial and literary pieces of evidence.

As for the strings, the stretchy components were usually made out of horsehair or flexible yet sturdy animal tendons.

Most ancient authors concur on how the Scythian bow was heavy and extremely stiff, thus hinting at the substantial strength and deft skill needed to wield such weapons, especially from horseback.

In fact, both extant and pictorial pieces of evidence suggest the penetrating power and considerable range of these bow varieties, with examples of skulls with still-embedded arrowheads and depictions of armored warriors being penetrated by arrows.

However, in spite of the tough nature of the powerful recurved bow, the expert Scythian archers could match the firing rates of their Middle Eastern counterparts, with the capacity to unleash arrows in a minute.

Now considering that each archer carried around 30 to arrows in a battle, the Scythians could entirely shoot out their potent projectiles within 15 minutes of the encounter.

We fleetingly mentioned before how cavalry played its major role in the Scythian army. According to the 5th century BC Greek historian and general Thucydides, the Scythians could field armies numbering more than , if their tribes happened to have united.

Now given the nature of the military state of the Scythians, this figure might not be overly exaggerated — and a significant part of the number may have comprised horsemen.

Their enemy forces, commanded by Aripharnes, had 22, horsemen accompanied by 20, on foot. In a decisive engagement, it was once again the cavalry that determined the outcome of the battle, with Satyrus and his armored retinue defeating the mounted regiments of Aripharnes and then smashing through the enemy ranks.

The defeated forces then had to take refuge in a proximate fortress. Essentially, such historical episodes established the value of the Scythian horses and their riders in combat scenarios.

Furthermore, reverting to the figures, as Dr. Cernenko noted, no other army from the Classical age consisted of such high ratios of horsemen in their ranks.

In contrast, the Scythians tended to have ratios or even ratio on occasions , thereby underlining the penchant for horsemanship in the Eurasian steppes.

Many ancient armies used some variants of the corselet armor because of its general effectiveness against melee weapons. These scales were usually arranged in a meticulous manner so that one metal bit could cover around one-third or half of the adjacent bit, thus resulting in an overlapping pattern.

This overlapping technique was also repeated along the rows, thereby protecting the stitching and holes. Interestingly enough, as Dr.

Cernenko mentioned, the Scythian preference for fish scale armor was not just limited to corselets; they even crafted such scale-like protective layers upon their helmets, shields and even fabric clothing.

So while the fish scale armor was sturdy enough for most melee situations, one of the primary reasons for adopting this specific armor style was intrinsically related to the mobility it offered to the wearer.

In fact, from the historical perspective, other variants of the scale armor like its lamellar counterpart had survived for over a thousand years in various battlefield conditions around the world, thus attesting to its effectiveness and simplicity of use.

Now according to Herodotus, beyond sensationalized storytelling and mythology, these women were related to the Scythians and came from the geographical region of Sarmatia present-day Ukraine.

And much to his credit, modern archaeologists have been able to unveil actual pieces of evidence that directly point to how women or for that matter — warrior women played a significant role in Scythian raids and conquests.

To that end, many researchers have taken advantage of DNA testing and other bio-archaeological scientific analysis to make a deeper analysis of the occupants of many Scythian burial mounds.

To their surprise, the archaeologists found that around one-third of all Scythian women were buried with weapons. As a matter of fact, not only were these deceased accompanied by knives and daggers but also bore marks of war-injuries, much akin to their male counterparts.

Simply put, such discoveries strongly suggest that there were groups of actual Scythian women who match the description of the ancient Amazons.

His guide is a captive Scythian by the name of Marten. Lutobor and Marten are enemies. They pray to different gods but must embark on this journey together.

They brave the wild steppes, moving toward the last haven of the Scythians, to what seems to be their inevitable demise.

Filming took place in the Republic of Crimea in autumn They filmed near Kerch , as well as near Yevpatoriya and Yalta. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the Russian film. For other uses, see Scythian disambiguation. It was a well protected fortress constructed in accordance with Greek principles.

The most important site of the Late Crimean culture is Scythian Neaoplis, which was located in Crimea and served as the capital of the Late Scythian kingdom from the early 2nd century BC to the beginning of the 3rd century AD.

Scythian Neapolis was largely constructed in accordance with Greek principles. Its royal palace was destroyed by Diophantus , a general of the Pontic king Mithridates VI , at the end of the 2nd century BC, and was not rebuilt.

The city nevertheless continued to exist as a major urban center. It underwent significant change from the 1st century to the 2nd century AD, eventually being left with virtually no buildings except from its fortifications.

New funerary rites and material features also appear. It is probable that these changes represent the assimilation of the Scythians by the Sarmatians.

A certain continuity is however observable. From the end of the 2nd century to the middle of the 3rd century AD, Scythian Neapolis transforms into a non-fortified settlement containing only a few buildings.

They are often accompanied by a necropolis. Late Scythian sites are mostly found in areas around the foothills of the Crimean mountains and along the western coast of the Crimea.

Some of these settlements had earlier been Greek settlements, such as Kalos Limen and Kerkinitis.

Many of these coastal settlements served as trading ports. Like Neapolis and Ak-Kaya, these are characterized by a combination of Greek architectural principles and local ones.

A unique group of Late Scythian settlements were city-states located on the banks of the Lower Dnieper. The material culture of these settlements was even more Hellenized than those on the Crimea, and they were probably closely connected to Olbia, if not dependent it.

Burials of the Late Scythian culture can be divided into two kurgans and necropolises, with necropolises becoming more and more common as time progresses.

The largest such necropolis has been found at Ust-Alma. Because of close similarities between the material culture of the Late Scythians and that of neighboring Greek cities, many scholars have suggested that Late Scythian cites, particularly those of the Lower Dnieper, were populated at last partly by Greeks.

The Late Scythian culture ends in the 3rd century AD. Since the Scythians did not have a written language, their non-material culture can only be pieced together through writings by non-Scythian authors, parallels found among other Iranian peoples, and archaeological evidence.

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

While the productivity of domesticated animal-breeding greatly exceeded that of the settled agricultural societies, the pastoral economy also needed supplemental agricultural produce, and stable nomadic confederations developed either symbiotic or forced alliances with sedentary peoples — in exchange for animal produce and military protection.

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

They called themselves Scoloti, after one of their kings. The first scholar to compare the three strata of Scythian society to the Indian castes was Arthur Christensen.

The Scythians were a warlike people. When engaged at war, almost the entire adult population, including a large number of women, would participate in battle.

Scythians were particularly known for their equestrian skills, and their early use of composite bows shot from horseback.

With great mobility, the Scythians could absorb the attacks of more cumbersome footsoldiers and cavalry, just retreating into the steppes.

Such tactics wore down their enemies, making them easier to defeat. The Scythians were notoriously aggressive warriors.

Ruled by small numbers of closely allied elites, Scythians had a reputation for their archers , and many gained employment as mercenaries.

Scythian elites had kurgan tombs: high barrows heaped over chamber-tombs of larch wood, a deciduous conifer that may have had special significance as a tree of life-renewal, for it stands bare in winter.

The Ziwiye hoard , a treasure of gold and silver metalwork and ivory found near the town of Saqqez south of Lake Urmia and dated to between and BC, includes objects with Scythian " animal style " features.

One silver dish from this find bears some inscriptions, as yet undeciphered and so possibly representing a form of Scythian writing.

Scythians also had a reputation for the use of barbed and poisoned arrows of several types, for a nomadic life centred on horses — "fed from horse-blood" according to Herodotus — and for skill in guerrilla warfare.

Some Scythian-Sarmatian cultures may have given rise to Greek stories of Amazons. Graves of armed females have been found in southern Ukraine and Russia.

According to Herodotus, Scythian costume consisted of padded and quilted leather trousers tucked into boots, and open tunics.

They rode without stirrups or saddles, using only saddle-cloths. Herodotus reports that Scythians used cannabis , both to weave their clothing and to cleanse themselves in its smoke Hist.

Men seemed to have worn a variety of soft headgear — either conical like the one described by Herodotus, or rounder, more like a Phrygian cap.

Women wore a variety of different headdresses, some conical in shape others more like flattened cylinders, also adorned with metal golden plaques.

Scythian women wore long, loose robes, ornamented with metal plaques gold. Women wore shawls, often richly decorated with metal golden plaques.

Based on numerous archeological findings in Ukraine, southern Russia, and Kazakhstan, men and warrior women wore long sleeve tunics that were always belted, often with richly ornamented belts.

Materials used depended on the wealth, climate, and necessity. Men and women warriors wore variations of long and shorter boots, wool-leather-felt gaiter-boots, and moccasin-like shoes.

They were either of a laced or simple slip on type. Women wore also soft shoes with metal gold plaques. Men and women wore belts. Warrior belts were made of leather, often with gold or other metal adornments and had many attached leather thongs for fastening of the owner's gorytos , sword, whet stone, whip etc.

Belts were fastened with metal or horn belt-hooks , leather thongs, and metal often golden or horn belt-plates. Scythian religion was a type of Pre-Zoroastrian Iranian religion and differed from the post- Zoroastrian Iranian thoughts.

The use of cannabis to induce trance and divination by soothsayers was a characteristic of the Scythian belief system. Our most important literary source on Scythian religion is Herodotus.

According to him the leading deity in the Scythian pantheon was Tabiti , whom he compared to the Greek goddess Hestia.

The Scythians are also said by Herodotus to have worshipped equivalents of Heracles and Ares , but he does not mention their Scythian names.

Most of the names of Scythian deities can be traced back to Iranian roots. Herodotus states that Thagimasadas was worshipped by the Royal Scythians only, while the remaining deities were worshipped by all.

He also states that "Ares", the god of war, was the only god to whom the Scythians dedicated statues, altars or temples. Tumuli were erected to him in every Scythian district, and both animal sacrifices and human sacrifices were performed in honor of him.

At least one shrine to "Ares" has been discovered by archaeologists. The Scythians had professional priests, but it is not known is they constituted a heridetary class.

Among the priests there was a separate group, the Enarei , who worshipped the goddess Argimpasa and assumed feminine identities.

Scythian mythology gave much importance to myth of the "First Man", who was considered the ancestor of them and their kings.

Similar myths are common among other Iranian peoples. Considerable importance was given to the division of Scythian society into three hereditary classes, which consisted of warriors, priests, and producers.

Kings were considered part of the warrior class. Royal power was considered holy and of solar and heavenly origin.

It is probable that the Scythians had a number of epic legends, which were possibly the source for Herodotus writings on them.

In Scythian cosmology the world was divided into three parts, with the warriors, considered part of the upper world, the priests of the middle level, and the producers of the lower one.

The art of the Scythians and related peoples of the Scythian cultures is known as Scythian art. It is particularly characterized by its use of the animal style.

Scythian animal style appears in an already established form Eastern Europe in the 8th century BC along with the Early Scythian archaeological culture itself.

It bears little resemblance to the art of pre-Scythian cultures of the area. Some scholars suggest the art style developed under Near Eastern influence during the military campaigns of the 7th century BC, but the more common theory is that it developed on the eastern part of the Eurasian Steppe under Chinese influence.

Others have sought to reconcile the two theories, suggesting that the animal style of the west and eastern parts of the steppe developed independently of each other, under Near Eastern and Chinese influences respectively.

Regardless, the animal style art of the Scythians differs considerable from that of peoples living further east.

Scythian animal style works are typically divided into birds, ungulates, and beasts of prey. This probably reflects the tripatriate division of the Scythian cosmos, with birds belonging to the upper level, ungulates to the middle level, and beasts of prey in the lower level.

Images of mythological creatures such a griffins are not uncommon in Scythian animal style, but these are probably the result of Near Eastern influences.

By the late 6th century, as Scythian activity in the Near East was reduced, depictions of mythological creatures largely disappears from Scythian art.

It however reappears again in the 4th century BC as a result of Greek influence. Anthropomorphic depictions in Early Scythian art is known only from kurgan stelae.

These depict warriors with almond-shaped eyes and mustaches, often including weapons and other military equipment.

Since the 5th century BC, Scythian art changed considerably. This was probably a result of Greek and Persian influence, and possibly also internal developments caused by an arrival of a new nomadic people from the east.

The changes are notable in the more realistic depictions of animals, who are now often depicted fighting each other rather than being depicted individually.

Kurgan stelae of the time also display traces of Greek influences, with warriors being depicted with rounder eyes and full beards. The 4th century BC show additional Greek influence.

While animal style was still in use, it appears that much Scythian art by this point was being made by Greek craftsmen on behalf of Scythians.

Such objects are frequently found in royal Scythian burials of the period. Depictions of human beings become more prevalent.

Many objects of Scythian art made by Greeks are probably illustrations of Scythian legends. Several objects are believed to have been of religious significance.

By the late 3rd century BC, original Scythian art disappears through ongoing Hellenization. The creation of anthropomorphic gravestones continued however.

Works of Scythian art are held at many museums and has been featured at many exhibitions. The idea of gender was fluid in the Scythian culture.

Pseudo-Hippocrates says that Sarmatian a people considered part of Scythian culture women would ride on horseback; and they use a bow and throw javelins from their horses.

He continues by saying that the women would remain virgins until they could kill three of their enemies. Pseudo-Hippocrates also says that young girls would have their right breast cauterized to stop it from developing; this would help give the young warrior enhanced strength as an archer.

Herodotus called these women Amazons meaning "without a breast," in Greek. Women had a prominent role in hunting and in battle, according to Herodotus.

He also says that women would sometimes dress like men. According to Barry Cunliffe, these accounts confirm each other and they are partially supported by archaeological evidence.

In the old Sarmatian territory, one fifth of the warrior burials, dating to the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, are female; and a fifth of female graves contain weapons.

Pseudo-Hippocrates says that some Scythian men were eunuchs , spoke like women, performed female work, and wore female attire.

He said that gender transfer was more common among the rich and elite. Herodotus also noted the effeminacy of some Scythian men.

Herodotus says that the gods inflicted this "female sickness" upon them because they destroyed the temple of Venus in Ascalon. Male Scythian burials in Siberia , dating back to the second and third centuries BCE, containing female decorations and utensils have been discovered.

Some have interpreted these findings as suggesting ancient roots to the phenomenon. The grave of a Scythian priestess near the Bug River contains items that attract speculation that it could be an Enaree.

The skeleton has been described as a year-old woman. The grave includes female cosmetic items, such as a bronze mirror, and it contains a cowrie shell , which is often seen as a traditional vagina symbol.

However, recent interpretations of the burial have suggested that "the face is definitely masculine" and that it is an Enaree.

According to Chiasson, Herodotus' portrayal of the Enaree is much more accurate than Pseudo-Hippocrates' portrayal of them as aristocrats.

Chiasson suggests that the reason for Pseudo-Hippocrates' view of the Scythians is because of his theory of climatic determinism , where the climate affects both the physical and psychological characteristics of people.

For example, he claims that the variation of Europe's climate made Europeans more courageous, fiercer, and more warlike than Asians.

Minns says that his friend Dr. Bousfield "suggests that it was very bad orchitis. Timothy Taylor claims that it is plausible, in terms of modern medical knowledge, that both Minns and Pseudo-Hippocrates are correct.

Taylor says that jolting can cause severe, irreversible damage to the testicles and that trousers raise the temperature of the testicles, which can cause infertility.

Both appearance and behavior of the Enareis [Enaree] are manifestly transvestite. Ustinova goes on to offer a different account of the Enaree.

She says that it is one of the elements of the shamanic complex. In the shamanic cultures of Northern Eurasia and Central Asia, the shamans who changed their sex were very powerful and scared laymen.

Ustinova suggests that the sex transformation must have began late in their lives. She also says that the roots of the phenomenon must be ancient.

Rachel Hart has concluded that both Pseudo-Hippocrates and Herodotus are describing the same tradition that is similar to the cross-cultural tradition of cross-dressing shamans.

The Scythians spoke a language belonging to the Scythian languages , most probably [61] a branch of the Eastern Iranian languages.

The Scythian languages may have formed a dialect continuum : "Scytho-Sarmatian" in the west and "Scytho-Khotanese" or Saka in the east.

The western Sarmatian group of ancient Scythian survived as the medieval language of the Alans and eventually gave rise to the modern Ossetian language.

In artworks, the Scythians are portrayed exhibiting Europoid traits. In Histories , the 5th-century Greek historian Herodotus describes the Budini of Scythia as red-haired and grey-eyed.

The 2nd century BC Han Chinese envoy Zhang Qian described the Sai Saka , an eastern people closely related to the Scythians, as having yellow probably meaning hazel or green , and blue eyes.

In Natural History , the 1st century AD Roman author Pliny the Elder characterises the Seres , sometimes identified as Saka or Tocharians , as red-haired, blue-eyed, and unusually tall.

In the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD, the Greek physician Galen writes that Scythians, Sarmatians, Illyrians , Germanic peoples, and other northern peoples have reddish hair.

The 4th century bishop Gregory of Nyssa wrote that the Scythians were fair-skinned and blond-haired. Anthropological data shows that the Scythians were tall and powerfully built, even by modern standards.

The ordinary people whom they dominated were of much smaller stature, averaging 4—6 in. Skeletons of Scythian nobles differ from those of today by their longer arm and leg bones, and stronger bone formation.

These physical characteristics affirm an Iranian origin. In , a genetic study of various Scythian cultures, including the Scythians, was published in Nature Communications.

Though all groups studies shared a common origin in the Yamnaya culture , the presence of east Eurasian mitochondrial lineages was largely absent among Scythians, but present among other groups further east.

Modern populations most closely related to the Scythians were found to be populations living in proximity to the sites studied, suggesting genetic continuity.

Another genetic study, published in Scientific Reports , found that the Scythians shared common mitocondrial lineages with the earlier Srubnaya culture.

It also noted that the Scythians differed from materially similar groups further east by the absence of east Eurasian mitochondrial lineages.

The authors of the study suggested that the Srubnaya culture was the source of the Scythian cultures of at least the Pontic steppe.

Significant genetic differences between the Scythians of Hungary and peoples of Scythian cultures further east were detected, with the Scythians of Hungary displaying higher levels of descent Early European Farmers EEFs and no East Asian ancestry.

No significant gene flow between the Scythians of Hungary and peoples of Scythian cultures further east was detected.

In , a genetic study of the earlier Srubnaya culture, and later peoples of the Scythian cultures, including the Scythians, was published in Science Advances.

Members of the Srubnaya culture were found to be exclusively carriers of haplogroup R1a1a1 , which showed a major expansion during the Bronze Age.

Six male Scythian samples from kurgans at Starosillya and Glinoe were successfully analyzed. These were found to be carriers of haplogroup R1b1a1a2.

The Scythians were found to be closely related to the Afanasievo culture and the Andronovo culture. The authors of the study suggested that the Scythians were not directly descended from the Srubnaya culture, but that the Scythians and the Srubnaya shared a common origin through the earlier Yamnaya culture.

Significant genetic differences were found between the Scythians and materially similar groups further east, which underpinned the notion that although materially similar, the Scythians and groups further east should be seen as separate peoples belonging to a common cultural horizon, which perhaps had its source on the eastern Pontic-Caspian steppe and the southern Urals.

In , a genetic study of remains from the Aldy-Bel culture of southern Siberia, which is materially similar to that of the Scythians, was published in Human Genetics.

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