Scythia


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Scythia

(sĭth`ēə), 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. They were nomadic conquerors and skilled horsemen. They seem to be related to the Saka, another nomadic tribe that roamed the steppes of central Asia at about the same time. The so-called Royal Scyths established a kingdom in the E Crimea before the 9th cent. B.C. They seem to have maintained themselves as a ruling class while others (probably native inhabitants) worked the grain fields. The Scythians are traditionally associated with the area between the Danube and the Don, but modern excavations in the Altai Mts., particularly at the site of Pazyryk, suggest that their origins were in W Siberia before they moved E into S Russia in the early 1st millennium B.C. Scythian power was maintained in the 8th cent. B.C. in obscure warfare with the Cimmerians. The Scythians, considered barbarians by the Greeks, traded (7th cent. B.C.) grain and their service as mercenaries for Greek wine and luxury items. They invaded (7th cent. B.C.) upper Mesopotamia and Syria. They threatened Judah but never actually occupied Palestine. They also made incursions into the Balkan Peninsula, and a century later the mysterious campaign of Darius I against them (c.512 B.C.) may have checked their expansion, although it was no conquest. They destroyed (c.325 B.C.) an expedition sent against them by Alexander the Great. After 300 B.C. they were driven out of the Balkans by the invading Celts. In S Russia they were displaced by the 2d cent. B.C. by the related Sarmatians, and part of their empire became SarmatiaSarmatia
, ancient district between the Vistula River and the Caspian Sea, gradually conquered and occupied by the Sarmatians [Lat. Sarmatae] or Sauromatians (a term used by Herodotus and now used by archaeologists for early Sarmatians) from the 6th cent. B.C.
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Bibliography

See E. H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks (1913, repr. 1976); T. Rice, The Scythians (1957); H. W. Bailey, Indo-Scythian Studies (1985).

Scythia

 

the name used by classical writers to designate the area north of the Black Sea from the seventh to second centuries B.C.

Scythia occupied the steppes between the mouths of the Danube and the Don, including the steppe Crimea and parts of the northern shore of the Black Sea. From the fifth or fourth century B. Cto the third century A.D., a Scythian state headed by a king existed in the region. Scythia was inhabited by both Scythian and non-Scythian tribes; the non-Scythian tribes were close to the Scythians in culture and way of life and politically dependent on the Scythians. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus represented Scythia as a square with sides the length of a 20-days’ journey. After the Sarmatians occupied Scythia, the area north of the Black Sea came to be called Sarmatia.

Scythia

an ancient region of SE Europe and Asia, north of the Black Sea: now part of Ukraine
References in periodicals archive ?
banished to Scythia: In 8 CE Ovid was banished from Rome to Scythia, now a part of Russia, a very distant banishment at that time.
Solinus says that in Scythia, among the other nations of people in the region, there is a province called Neutrie through which flows the river Borriscenes, and on the banks of this river live people who are of such nature that on certain days of the summertime, when they pass through the waters of this river, they are transfigured and become wolves and live only on raw flesh.
He describes Alfrida: "My lord, she is coloured like the Scythia maid, / That challenged Lucio at the Olympian games.
In the Notitia Dignitatum the comites commerciorum of Moesia, Scythia and Pontus form a unit (Or.
He sailed to Liverpool on the liner SS Strathmore before joining his final ship, SS Scythia, when he met and later married Dorothy, nee Richard-son, who died around 14 years ago.
Capt Prothero went on to command the Cunard liner Scythia, the first ship in a new passenger fleet to replace First World War losses and which was used as a troop ship in the Second World War.
140) From a geographical point of view, for example, Herodotus is trying to situate Scythia using a complex comparison equating one, the Taurian territory for the Scythians, with another, the Cape Sunium for the Athenians.
On his route to Scythia he had to cross the Istrus (Danube), where he learnt from the Thracians, living on the right bank of the river that the land across the river could not be travelled easily due to the multitude of bees which did not encourage anybody, to go that way.
Classical writers such as Pliny, Plutarch, Herodotus, and Solinus had very different names for locations in and around this region: references to Dacia, for example, or to Scythia, Dalmatia, Pannonia, Thracia, and Illyria in early modern drama all derive from names in the ancient texts.
As Gennadii Litavrin has long noted, this appears to be a name on a par with such notions employed by ancient Greek or Roman ethnographers as Scythia, Germania, or Sarmatia, all of which had no clear definition in either territorial or political terms (Litavrin 1984, 195).
Some recent research proves from archaeological and linguistic analyses that the Picts hailed from Scythia, the area between the Caspian and Black Seas--that is, near Colchis.
It would seem that prior to 1874 - when the Bothnia and Scythia both had a smoking-room - smoking was prohibited below the main deck on all passenger ships.