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the language of the ancient Scythians; the name usually given to the related Iranian dialects that formed a separate northeastern branch of the Iranian language group.
Speakers of Scythian were known to classical writers as Scythians, Sarmatians, Alani, and Roxolani. In the second half of the first millennium B.C. Scythian dialects spread throughout the extensive area north of the Black Sea and near the Caspian Sea, from the Danube to the Jaxartes (Syr Darya). No connected texts in Scythian have survived, but a considerable number of Scythian personal names, place-names, and names of peoples have been preserved in epigraphs and in the works of classical writers. The grammatical structure and vocabulary of the Scythian-Sarmatian dialects have not been sufficiently studied, but the Iranian character of the dialects is well known, and some essential features of the lexicon, phonetics, and word-formation have been established. The Ossetic language of the Caucasus is one of the descendants of the Scythian-Sarmatian dialects.
REFERENCESMiller, V. “Epigraficheskie sledy iranstva na iuge Rossii.” Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniia, October 1886.
Miller, V. “K iranskomu elementu v pripontiiskikh grecheskikh nadpisiakh.” Izvestiia Imp. Arkheologicheskoi komissii, 1913, issue 47.
Abaev, V. I. “Skifskii iazyk.” Osetinskii iazyk i fol’klor, issue 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Vasmer, M. Untersuchungen über der ältesten Wohnsitze der Slaven [vol.] 1: Die Iranier in Südrussland. Leipzig, 1923.