Saumacus Revolt

Saumacus’ Revolt


a revolt of Scythians in the Bosporan state in 107 B.C. The revolt broke out in Panticapaeum during negotiations with Diophantos regarding the transfer of power by the Bosporan king Perisades V to the Pontic king Mithri-dates VI Eupator. Perisades was slain by Saumacus, but Diophantos escaped to Chersonesus. The rebels ruled the entire European part of the Cimmerian Bosporus. Scythian artisans, slaves, and unfree peasants took part in the revolt.

Saumacus’ revolt prevented a political deal between the slaveholding upper class of the Cimmerian Bosporus and the Pontic king. The upper class, in trying to find a way out of a crisis and retain its dominance, endeavored to establish an authoritarian regime by handing over power to Mithridates VI. Saumacus, as leader of the rebels, became the ruler of the Cimmerian Bosporus. The type of political and social system established during his rule, which lasted about a year, is unknown. After lengthy preparations, Mithridates VI sent Diophantos on a large punitive expedition into Sinop (Sinope). In the Crimea, the forces of the expedition were augmented by detachments from Chersonesus. The forces under Diophantos captured Theodosia, crossed the peninsula forming the eastern tip of the Crimea (now Kerch’ Peninsula), and seized Panticapaeum. The revolt was crushed and Saumacus was taken captive. The government of the Cimmerian Bosporus passed into the power of Mithridates VI.


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