View Full Version : the Scythians

02-26-2003, 22:34
I have a question. Who exactly were the Scythians and where did they live? I think I've heard references to them in the eastern Danube region, Ukraine and Central Asia. Are Scythians a united people, broken down into regional kingdoms or is the name Scythians a general term used to desribe all those horse-riding, blood-drinking, hemp-smoking barbarians. (paraphrased from Herodotus himself). If anyone has any info I'd like to hear it.

02-27-2003, 05:22
The Scythians were a nomadic people who lived generally above the black sea, but because of their nomadic nature they would move around a fair bit (they lived on horse back according to Herodotus). The steppe peoples had a much different idea about power to what 'civilised people' thought. Attila the Hun was known in Mongolia for his exploits (although his name had evolved by the time it got there) and if he had arrived there he probaby would have been hailed by the locals as their leader. So you can see the system of power was worked out from the fame of valour not by a rigid political system like the Romans had.

02-27-2003, 12:35
Why not search in yahoo ? Just type in scythians.

BTW I wrote a bit about them in this post : http://www.totalwar.org/cgi-bin....6;st=75 (http://www.totalwar.org/cgi-bin/forum/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=15;t=6426;st=75)

The term scythian WAS applied to various people who weren't actually scythian though. They inspire very controversial discussion and you may very well find info that is incorrect so read a number of sources.
Seeing as you've read Herodotus, you've read one of the earliest accounts of them. But make sure your herodotus has appendixes touching upon H's innacuracies.

02-27-2003, 17:36
Scythians, aka Sarmatians (and various other "descendant" tribes and races / creeds of, from "similar" areas and over a fairly narrow time period. Essentially one could group them [and others] as "Nomadic horse folk" from "central european plains/steppes" - wouldn't e too far off aas there was never a distinct "region" or nation" for any of them)


http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules....rtid=11 (http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=11)

"Arthurs Cavalry"

http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules....rtid=10 (http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=10)

Sarmatian influences on the arthurian legends.

All, of course, from the 5000+ sarmaiian cavalry posted up in north england after their "conquest" by the romans and subesequent hiring for "mercenary" work.

Scythian is, in a way, the precursor name to the sarmatians, though thats not strictly valid - numerous mentions for ALexander also and a lot of other stuff blah blah blah.

There's a "VI relevant" (kind of) history bit at FBZ ( http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules....artid=9 (http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=9) ) for those interested in the post-romano british period leading up to and through "The Saxon Shore".

Lots more but we haven't put it all back on the web yet.

- - -

fwiw Ive TONS about the sarmatians and scythians - especially on the possible links between many of their rites and elements of arthurian legend (dark age, not the neo-modern arthurian crap)

In many ways they were the worlds "first" (and best) heavy cavalry (though thats not really true) - actually i might go and upload some more from the old site.

Quote[/b] ]In a more pragmatic way, the Sarmatians' skill with their horses would have been immediately apparent to all. Their horses were a little larger and a lot tougher than the local stock. But it was the way the Sarmatians used their animals which had already impressed the Romans (notoriously indifferent to cavalry), and would doubtless now - along with their elaborate bridles and the riders' attire (Stirrups), armour (Scalemail) and weaponry (Lances and Bows) - have drawn the attention of the local British nobility.

In fact, the Romans were so impressed by the skills of their Sarmatian auxiliary cavalry that, in the third century AD, they adopted their standard, which they called the draconarius, in all their cavalry regiments. This symbol became so popular that when the Emperor Constantius I made his triumphal entry into Rome after restoring order in Britain, he was reported to be surrounded by multiple hissing purple silk dragons, their tales twitching in the wind.

02-27-2003, 17:40
Don't think we got that url DD, do you want to repeat it some more http://www.totalwar.org/forum/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif

02-27-2003, 17:43
three different urls old chap http://www.totalwar.org/forum/non-cgi/emoticons/joker.gif

02-27-2003, 17:49
i'm not at all convinced by the Sarmatians as Arthurs cavalry one. Nice idea, but rahter on the tenuous side...

02-27-2003, 18:00
aye - the bit on that page is a bit skimpy. Unfortuantely the book, which makes it a far more convincing argument, is a tad too long to put up - but it is quite convincing, in its way. (Arthur the Dragon King by Howard Reid)

It includes elements from Sarmatian cutom on "round tables" (actual tribal meetings held in a circle and the burial of "leaders" in circular graves [it represented the wheels of their "yurts/wagons" as well as the cycle of seasons), "drawing swords from the earth" (sword from the stone) and.. believe it or not.. strange mythical women who lie around in large ponds handing out goodies to legendary heroes (some watery bint lobbing a scimitar at you isnt a valid reason for divine rule).

Those sort of coincidences are a little too ripe for me - either way though unless someone makes a time machine we wont know for sure. Having said that given the early-churches prediliction for "writing history as they wanted it written" - the erradication of any mention of anything slightly "Non christian" in early works is entirely cnsistent with what we do know of "recorded history" at those times - they weren't the most "independent" of observers those priests.

Probably the strongest element thaat "rings true" for me is the likelyhood of these "pagan" horse warriors getting on well with the independent "pagan brits" around Hadrians Wall area (the Votadini tribe)... common ground in many ways as both are tributary to the Roman "overlords".. the brits were also mad keen on horses for their lordlings (not so much for battle) so any such troops would've been a hig-society affair - kind of like having Man UTD turn up at your junior school footbal game, bit of thing to go see.

02-27-2003, 22:37
I have to agree with Catiline. A nice read but I'm not sure if I'm conviced. Still thanks for all your help. Your website is very cool DD. Post more info if you have it. I'll try out a yahoo search.

02-27-2003, 23:22
Sarmatian Cavalryman - "recreation in Oil"

http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules....y=hitsA (http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=My_eGallery&file=index&do=showpic&pid=54&orderby=hitsA)

Scythian Warriors "Weapons of the Scythians"

http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules....y=hitsA (http://www.fourbelowzero.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=My_eGallery&file=index&do=showpic&pid=55&orderby=hitsA)

Note: Sorry about the URLs but the image links on these forums only accept absolute urls to image files, so i cant paste them in as images.

PS: Not sure if you can see those without first being a member of the site - pretty sure these are public images though

02-28-2003, 22:27
nice pictures. don't worry they are public domain, I could see them fine.