Cimmerians

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Cimmerians

(sĭmēr`eənz), ancient people of S Russia of whom little is actually known. They are mentioned in Homer, but they emerge into history only in the 8th cent. B.C. when they were driven by the Scythians (see ScythiaScythia
, ancient region of Eurasia, extending from the Danube on the west to the borders of China on the east. The Scythians flourished from the 8th to the 4th cent. B.C. They spoke an Indo-Iranian language but had no system of writing.
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) from their former home in Crimea and came to the region around Lake Van (in present-day E Turkey). Defeated (634 B.C.) by the Scythians, the Cimmerians swept across Asia Minor, plundering Lydia and breaking the power of PhrygiaPhrygia
, ancient region, central Asia Minor (now central Turkey). The Phrygians, who settled here c.1200 B.C., came from the Balkans and apparently spoke an Indo-European language.
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. The biblical GomerGomer
, in the Bible. 1 Wife of the prophet Hosea. 2 Son of Japheth and eponym of a people, probably the Cimmerians.
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 may be the eponym of the Cimmerians, and they are mentioned in the inscriptions of the Assyrians, with whom they warred.

Cimmerians

 

tribes that inhabited the northeastern part of the Black Sea coastal region in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C. They were given their name by the ancient Assyrians. In the sixth century B.C., Greek colonists referred to the Kerch Strait as the Bosporus Cimmerius (Cimmerian Bosporus). According to Herodotus and other historians, the Cimmerians lived in the area north of the Black Sea as far as Thrace, but they were driven out of the region by the Scythians. (Greek historians and geographers, however, often confused the Cimmerians with the Scythians.) In the 670’s B.C., the Cimmerians in Asia Minor seized Phrygia, and in the 650’s B.C. they conquered Lydia. They lingered longest in Cappadocia, in the vicinity of Sinope (up to the end of the seventh century B.C.), where they intermingled with the local population. Ancient “Scythian” arrowheads found at the excavations of Boǧazköy, Sardis, Gordium, and other cities in modern Turkey testify to Cimmero-Scythian penetration into Asia Minor. In the archaeology of the Black Sea-Balkan countries, the name Cimmerian is connected with the culture of the transitional period between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

REFERENCES

D’iakonov, I. M. Istoriia Midii. Leningrad, 1956.
Piotrovskii, B. B. Arkheologiia Zakavkaz’ia s drevneishikh vremen do 1 tysiacheletiia do n. e. Leningrad, 1949.
Krupnov, E. I. “Kimmeriitsy na Severnom Kavkaze.” In the collection Materialy i issledovaniia po arkheologii SSSR, vol. 68. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
El’nitskii, L. A. Znaniia drevnikh o severnykh stranakh. Moscow, 1961.

L. A. EL’NITSKII

Cimmerians

dwellers in the land beyond Ocean, where the sun never shone. [Gk. Myth.: Odyssey XI:14]

Cimmerians

half-mythical people dwelling in eternal gloom. [Gk. Lit.: Odyssey]
See: Night