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The Scythians

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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Scythians
    Posted: 28-Jan-2012 at 07:08
I thought I would start a thread to discuss what is known about the Scythians, or at least in some cases what we think we know about the Scythians. Hopefully then this thread then can develop into other areas connecting the Scythians for other threads later.

I will start off with something I have just found on one site for you to read through and comment on. Feel free to write and post other material relevant to this subject.

Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul''Oba kurgan burial near Kerch (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg)

The Scythians 
Scythia was an area in Eurasia inhabited in ancient times by people probably speaking Indo-Iranian languages, known as the Scythians. The location and extent of Scythia varied over time, from the Altai region where Mongolia, China, Russia, and Kazakhstan come together to the lower Danube river area and Bulgaria. The Saka were Asian Scythians and were known as Sai to the Chinese. The Scythians first appear in Assyrian annals as Ishkuzai, who are reported as pouring in from the north some time around 700 BC, settling in Ascania and modern Azerbaijan as far as to the southeast of Lake Urmia. The most significant Scythian tribes mentioned in mainly Greek sources resided in the steppe between the Dnieper and Don rivers. The subject peoples in the periphery steppes were also commonly referred as "Scythians", but didn''t speak Iranian languages as did the Scythians proper. Priscus, the Byzantine emissary to Attila, referred to Attila''s followers repeatedly as "Scythians," so some of the Huns may have had Scythian ancestry. However, since their language, Scythian, has been shown to have strong similarities to Eastern Iranian, it is generally held that the Scythians were of Iranian origin. Etymologically, "Old Iranian Saka, Greek Scythai and Sogdian Sughde (also the very name for the Sogdians), as well as the biblical Hebrew Ashkenaz (via Syrian Askuzai) appear all to derive from skuza, an ancient Indo-European word for archer, cf. English shoot." (Torday, Mounted Archers). This ancient Indo-European word for archer in turn derives from the Proto-Indo-European root skeud, "to shoot, throw." 

Scythian society 
The Scythians formed a network of nomadic tribes of horse-riding conquerors. They invaded many areas in the steppes of Eurasia, including areas in present-day Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and southern Russia. Scythian elite were buried in kurgans, high barrows heaped over chamber-tombs of larch-wood - a wood that may have had special significance as a tree of life-renewal, since it is a deciduous conifer that stands out starkly in winter against other evergreens, but returns to life every spring. Burials at Pazyryk in the Altai Mountains have included some spectacularly-preserved Scythians of the "Pazyryk culture" - including the "Ice Maiden" of the 5th century BC. 
Scythian warrior-women may have inspired tales of the Amazons in Greek myth. 
A Pazyryk burial found in the 1990s seems to confirm at least part of the legend. It contained the skeletons of a man and a woman, each with weapons, arrowheads, and an axe. "The woman was dressed exactly like a man. This shows that certain women, probably young and unmarried, could be warriors, literally Amazons. It didn''t offend the principles of nomadic society", according to one of the archaeologists interviewed for the 1998 NOVA documentary "The Ice Mummies". 

History 
To date, no certain explanation exists to account for the origin of the Scythians, nor details of how they migrated to the Caucasus or Ukraine; but the majority of scholars conjecture that they migrated westward from Central Asia between 800 BC and 600 BC. 
Old records actually say that the land where the Scythians originated was called Gerrhos. They would prepare their dead and travel with them long distances to bring them for burial in Gerrhos. 
Assyrian records are the first to mention the Iskuzai, from around the end of the 8th century BC. Herodotus even confirms that their king Partatua was allied with Assyria, and recognized by Mannai. In 653 BC, Partatua''s son Madius (Madyes), at the request of Ashurbanipal of Assyria, defeated the king of the Medes - Phraortes (Kshathrita), assuming control over the Medes until 625 BC. By the end of his reign, he had led the Scythians, and the Cimmerians, who seem to have been close relatives, on a pillaging spree, overrunning and plundering Assyria, Anatolia, Northern Syria, Phoenicia, Damascus and Palestine. They plundered the Temple of Venus in Ashkelon, and Jeremiah 4:7-13 mentioned them as "a destroyer of nations... [whose] chariots shall be as the whirlwind." 
After 625, however, the Scythians left the Mede Empire - whether they did so voluntarily, or were expelled, is debated. At any rate, following the Mede sack of Assur in 614 BC, they were compelled to switch sides and ally themselves with the Medes. They comprised part of the force that sacked Nineveh 612 BC. Some time afterwards, the Scythians returned to the steppes. 
In 512 BC, when the Scythians were attacked by king Darius the Great of Persia, they were apparently reached by crossing the Danube. Herodotus relates that, being nomads, they were able to frustrate the designs of the Persian army by letting them march through the entire country without an engagement. If he is to be believed, Darius in this manner reached as far as the Volga river. 
During the 5th to 3rd centuries BC the Scythians prospered. When Herodotus wrote his Histories in the 5th century BC, Greeks distinguished a ''''Greater Scythia'''' that extended a 20-day ride from the Danube River in the west, across the steppes of today''s Ukraine to the lower Don basin, from ''''Scythia Minor''''. The Don, then known as [Tanais], has been a major trading route ever since. The Scythians apparently obtained their wealth from their control over the slave trade from the north to Greece, through the Greek Black Sea colonial ports. They also grew grain, and shipped wheat, flocks, and cheese to Greece. 
The Crimean Scythians created a kingdom extending from the lower Dnieper river to the Crimea. Their capital city, Scythian Neapol, existed on the outskirts of modern day Simferopol. It was destroyed much later, in the 5th century CE, by the Goths. 

In the southeasternmost corner of the plains, north of the woods of Thrace, Philip II of Macedon during the 330s settled Macedonian trading towns along routes as far north as the Danube, a river no previous Greek general had ever reached. (Fox 1973). Greek craftsmen from the colonies north of the Black Sea, made spectacular Scythian gold ornaments, applying Greek realism to depict Scythian motifs of lions, antlered reindeer and griffons. The centerpoint of Hellenic-Scythian contact was focused on the Hellenistic cities and small kingdoms of the Cimmerian Bosporus and the Crimea. 
Shortly after 300 BC, the Celts seem to have displaced the Scythians from the Balkans, and in south Russia, they were gradually overwhelmed by the Sarmatians. Although the Scythians had allegedly disappeared in the 1st century BC, Eastern Romans continued to speak conventionally of "Scythians" to designate mounted Eurasian nomadic barbarians in general: in 448 CE the emissary Priscus is led to Attila''s encampment in Pannonia by two mounted "Scythians" - distinguished from the Goths and Huns who also followed Attila. Some scholars believe that the Sarmatians, the Alans, and finally the Ossetians descend from them. The latter, the only Iranian people presently resident in Europe, call their country Iron and are mostly Christians. They speak an Eastern Iranian language, Ossetic, called by them Ironig or Ironski (i.e. Iranian), that maintains some remarkable features of Gathic Avestan language. At the same time, it has a number of words remarkably similar to their modern German equivalents, such as THAU (tauen, to thaw, as snow) and GAU (district, region). Legends of the Irish and the indigenous Picts of Scotland, as well as the Hungarians, also include mention of Scythian origins. 
The Scythians were not known to have had any writing system, so until recent archaeological developments, most of our information about them came from the Greeks. A treasure of gold and silver metalwork found near the town of Sakiz south of Lake Urmia, dated to between 680 and 625 BC, is apparently Scythian, and one silver dish bears some undeciphered hieroglyphs that may turn out to be a Scythian inscription. 
Homer called them "the mare-milkers"; Herodotus described them in detail: their costume consisted of padded and quilted leather trousers tucked into boots, and open tunics. They rode with no stirrups or saddles, just saddlecloths. The Scythian philosopher Anacharsis visited Athens in the 6th century BC and became a legendary sage. Scythians were also known for their usage of barbed arrows, a nomadic life centered around horses -- "fed from horse-blood" according to a Roman historian -- and skill in guerilla warfare. The Scythians are thought to have been the first to tame the horse and use it in combat as well. 
There is no evidence that all Scythians or Saka people spoke an Iranian language. They may have only had an Iranian speaking elite, and may or may not have been be genetically related to the original Iranians. The mother tongues of the peoples they dominated could have been Proto-Germanic, Proto-Slavic and/or even Tocharian (this might explain the presence of Tocharian in the east). (See Non-Indo-European roots of Germanic languages and Mathematical approaches to comparative linguistics (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/94/13/6585.pdf).) 
• Fox, Robin Lane, 1973. Alexander the Great. ISBN 0-14-008878-4. 
Archaeology and artifacts 
Archaeological remains of the Scythians include elaborate tombs containing gold, silk, horses and human sacrifices. Mummification techniques and permafrost have aided in the relative preservation of some remains. 

"Pazyryk culture" 

One of the first Bronze Age Scythian burials documented by a modern archaeologist were the kurgans at Pazyryk, Ulagan district of the Gorno-Altai Republic, south of Novosibirsk in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. The name Pazyryk culture was attached to the finds: five large burial mounds and several smaller ones between 1925 and 1949, one opened in 1947 by Russian archeologist Sergei Rudenko. The burial mounds concealed chambers of larch logs covered over by large cairns of boulders and stones. 
It flourished between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC in a mountain fastness known to be held by a group of Scythians that may have called themselves Sacae. It was the seat of the larger of two related Scythian groups. 
All the things a person might use or need in this life were placed in the tomb as grave goods for use in the next. Among the rich or powerful, horses were sacrificed and buried with them. With the ordinary Pazyryks were only ordinary utensils, but in one was found among other treasures the famous Pazyryk Carpet, the oldest surviving wool pile oriental rug. Rudenko summed up the cultural context at one point: 
All that is known to us at the present time about the culture of the population of the High Altai, who have left behind them the large cairns, permits us to refer them to the Scythian period, and the Pazyryk group in particular to the fifth century BC. This is supported by radiocarbon dating. 
In the Soviet climate of ''''science'''' used as controlled propaganda, Rudenko could not stress the cultural similarities between Pazyryk and the Scythians from the Kuban and lower Dneiper Valley in European Russia. Even in modern times, the blond hair and white skin on the frozen "Ice Maiden" and other burials may be seen, but are not mentioned in the Nova segment devoted to these burials. That the ancient culture he studied was quite likely the ethnic stock ancestral to many nomadic tribes of today, including modern Altaians, Kirgiz, and Kazakhs, has become a source of considerable pride today for the Gorno-Altai Republic. 

Scythian Gelonus (Belsk) 
Recent digs in Belsk, Ukraine uncovered a vast city believed to be the Scythian capital Gelonus described by Herodotus. The city''''s commanding ramparts and vast 40 square kilometers exceeded even the outlandish size reported by Herodotus. Its location at the northern edge of Ukraine''s steppe would have allowed strategic control of the north-south trade route. Judging by the finds dated to the 5th and 4th centuries BC, craft workshops and Greek pottery abounded, and perhaps, slaves destined for Greece. 

The Ryzhanovka kurgan 
A kurgan or burial mound near the village of Ryzhanovka in Ukraine, 75 miles south of Kyiv, has revealed one of the few unlooted tombs of a Scythian chieftain, one who was ruling in the forest-steppe area on the western fringe of Scythian lands. There, at a date late in Scythian culture (ca. 250 - 225 BC), a recently nomadic aristocracy was gradually adopting the agricultural lifestyle of their subjects: the tomb contained a mock hearth, the first ever found in a Scythian context, symbolic of the warmth and comfort of a farmhouse.
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2012 at 19:52
I'd like to hear more about Scythian culture. Is there any evidence they drank out of human skulls and sewed the scalps of dead enemies to their cloaks, as Herodotus claimed?
Herodotus on the Scythians
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2012 at 20:04
Originally posted by Nick1986

I'd like to hear more about Scythian culture. Is there any evidence they drank out of human skulls and sewed the scalps of dead enemies to their cloaks, as Herodotus claimed?
Herodotus on the Scythians
I have found a little something so far suggesting the use of human skulls when it comes to Scythian drinking vessels.
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jan-2012 at 09:27
In the OP there's something about a Scythian philosopher called Anacharsis, who visited Athens in the 6th century BC, and who became a legendary sage. I thought this was very interesting, and even more so when finding out that his philosophical approach was very much that of a cynic, and much earlier than the Greek movement known as cynicism as we know it now. He is considered as a forerunner to that movement, but I would say that we could surmise that without his input, Greek philosophy would not have become the influential force it turned into, and the development of the modern world as we know it would have been almost impossible. This is what I have found.

Anacharsis (GreekἈνάχαρσις) was a Scythian philosopher who travelled from his homeland on the northern shores of theBlack Sea to Athens in the early 6th century BCE and made a great impression as a forthright, outspoken "barbarian", apparently a forerunner of the Cynics, though none of his works have survived.

Anacharsis the son of Gnurus, a Scythian chief, was half Greek and from a mixed Hellenistic culture, apparently in the region of the Cimmerian Bosporus. He left his native country to travel in pursuit of knowledge, and came to Athens about 589 BCE,at a time when Solon was occupied with his legislative measures.

According to the story recounted by Hermippus, he arrived at the house of Solon and said, "I have traveled here from afar to make you my friend." Solon replied, "It's better to make friends at home." Thereupon the Scythian replied, "Then it is necessary for you, being at home, to make friends with me." Solon laughed and accepted him as his friend.

He cultivated the outsider's knack of seeing the illogic in familiar things. For example, Plutarch remarks that he "expressed his wonder at the fact that in Greece wise men spoke and fools decided." His conversation was droll and frank, and Solon and the Athenians took to him as a sage and philosopher. His rough and free discourse became proverbial among Athenians as 'Scythian discourse'.

Anacharsis was the first foreigner (metic) who received the privileges of Athenian citizenship. He was reckoned by some ancient authors as one of the Seven Sages of Greece, and it is said that he was initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries of the Great Goddess, a privilege denied to those who did not speak fluent Greek.

According to Herodotus, when Anacharsis returned to the Scythians he was killed by his own brother for his Greek ways and especially for the impious attempt to sacrifice to the Mother Goddess Cybele, whose cult was unwelcome among the Scythians.

None of the works ascribed to him in ancient times, if indeed they were written by him, have survived. He was said to have written a book comparing the laws of the Scythians with the laws of the Greeks, as well as work on the art of war. All that remains of his thought is what later tradition ascribes to him. He became famous for the simplicity of his way of living and his acute observations on the institutions and customs of the Greeks. He exhorted moderation in everything, saying that the vine bears three clusters of grapes: the first wine, pleasure; the second, drunkenness; the third, disgust. So he became a kind ofemblem to the Athenians, who inscribed on his statues: 'Restrain your tongues, your appetites, your passions.'

There are ten extant letters ascribed to him, one of which is also quoted by Cicero:

Greetings from Anacharsis to Hanno: My clothing is a Scythian cloak, my shoes are the hard soles of my feet, my bed is the earth, my food is only seasoned by hunger - and I eat nothing but milk and cheese and meat. Come and visit me, and you will find me at peace. You want to give me something. But give it to your fellow-citizens instead, or let the immortal gods have it.

All of the letters are spurious. The first nine probably date from the 3rd century BCE, they are usually included among theCynic epistles, and reflect how the Cynic philosophers viewed him as prefiguring many of their ideas; the tenth letter is quoted by Diogenes Laertius, it is addressed to Croesus, the proverbially rich king of Lydia, it too is fictitious:

Anacharsis to Croesus: O king of the Lydians, I am come to the country of the Greeks, in order to become acquainted with their customs and institutions; but I have no need of gold, and shall be quite contented if I return to Scythia a better man than I left it. However I will come to Sardis, as I think it very desirable to become a friend of yours.

Strabo makes him the (probably legendary) inventor of the anchor with two flukes, and others made him the inventor of the potter's wheel.

Having been informed that Solon was employed to draw up a code of laws for the Athenians, Anacharsis described his occupation, saying:

"Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacharsis
 
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Jan-2012 at 15:30
These are examples of Scythian art.

What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote Ollios Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2012 at 01:31


I was admired this necklace when I saw it in Junior Larousse
Ellerin Kabe'si var,
Benim Kabem İnsandır
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2012 at 16:06
Originally posted by Ollios

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I was admired this necklace when I saw it in Junior Larousse
Yes, Ollios, it is beautiful, and I think I've seen a similar one from the Crimea somewhere, which I will have to look for, unless someone else finds it and posts it first.
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2012 at 16:08

treasure of scythians


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What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jan-2012 at 19:25
Impressive. Their metalworking skills rival those of more advanced societies
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2012 at 16:06
Marijuana

The Scythians were fond of marijuana and were responsible for bringing it from Central Asia to Egypt and Eastern Europe. In one Scythian grave, archaeologists found a skull with three small holes drilled into it – probably to ease swelling. Beside the skull, the archaeologists found a cache of marijuana, ostensibly to relieve the man’s headache in the next life. From Herodotus comes what is, in all likelihood, the most ancient description of hotboxing: “After the burial . . . they set up three poles leaning together to a point and cover them with woolen mats . . . They make a pit in the centre beneath the poles and throw red-hot stones into it . . . they take the seed of the hemp and creeping under the mats they throw it on the red-hot stones, and being thrown, it smolders and sends forth so much steam that no Greek vapour-bath could surpass it. The Scythians howl in their joy at the vapour-bath.”

http://listverse.com/2010/01/05/top-10-interesting-facts-about-the-scythians/



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 31-Jan-2012 at 16:06
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Jan-2012 at 19:10
Slightly different to the way i'm accustomed to. I'd imagine it would be stronger if they burned larger quantities of weed on a fire
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  Quote PanzerOberst Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2012 at 02:45
Thanks Alani Dragon, they're a very nice collection.
"If the tanks succeed, then victory follows"
- Heinz W. Guderian
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  Quote Nick1986 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2012 at 19:07
Originally posted by TheAlaniDragonRising

Originally posted by Nick1986

I'd like to hear more about Scythian culture. Is there any evidence they drank out of human skulls and sewed the scalps of dead enemies to their cloaks, as Herodotus claimed?
Herodotus on the Scythians
I have found a little something so far suggesting the use of human skulls when it comes to Scythian drinking vessels.

I wonder if there's a connection to the Celts and Vikings who did the same thing? There was even a Muslim ruler who drank from the skull of a Crusader leader
Me Grimlock not nice Dino! Me bash brains!
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Feb-2012 at 20:24

Celts and Scythians Linked by Archaeological Discoveries

The archaeological evidence shows that the Celts and Scyths both freely shared and mingled.

The Celtic Hallstatt culture and the Scythian Vekerzug or Thracian culture are excellent examples that show how closely these two peoples interacted with one another. Historians and archaeologists label the people who established the Hallstatt Culture (700-450 B.C.) as either proto-Celts or just plain Celts. The culture, as represented by the grave goods of the Hallstatt aristocracy, is remarkably universal and distinct.

The Hallstatt Celts were innovative metal workers. Their iron weapons provided them with a distinct military advantage. Like the Scythians, they also brought with them an improved breed of horses that could run faster with great stamina in comparison to the horses already in northern-central Europe, giving them greater mobility.

Many of the richest Hallstatt burial places contain sturdy four-wheeled wagons that show a significant technical competency. Their spoke wheels were fitted with iron tires shrunken and nailed around the composite wooden rims. Their wooden yokes were decorated by patterns of bronze nail heads.

These artifact-rich sites seem to have been initially concentrated from the area of the Upper Danube to Bohemia. Later in the 500s B.C., however, the Celts' Hallstatt cultural zone of control expanded to the west.

Significantly, vehicle burials were also a distinctive trademark of the Scythian culture. The late eighth and seventh centuries B.C. were a time of disruption and change not only at the headwaters of the Danube, but also in the Black Sea and Caucasus regions, where there were migrating tribes of Scythians.

The Hallstatt Celts' lifestyle had many similarities to that of the Scythians. A Hallstatt sword in Vienna's Natur-Historisches Museum has ornamentation that shows a Celt wearing profusely decorated trousers. This is comparable to the Scythian dress as pictured on the Chertomlyk vase (from the Black Sea area). This Vienna sword also depicts a tailcoat strikingly similar to Eastern Scythian apparel found by Russian archaeologists at Katanda in the southern Altai (Siberia). Another Celtic sword found at Port Bern, Switzerland, was stamped during its manufacture with a decoration of two standing horned animals flanking a tree of life—a classic Near Eastern, Scythian theme.

The archaeological evidence shows that the Celts and Scyths both freely shared and mingled. Russian and Eastern European excavations plainly reveal the blending of these two groups.

Most scholars also agree that it is evident that the Scythians of Eastern Europe maintained close relations with the Scythians still on the steppes in the east and the Hallstatt–La Tène Celts in the west.


What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Feb-2012 at 10:05
I have just found some more links to Scythian artefacts from the following site.

Prof. John Haskins' Slide Collection

 
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote TheAlaniDragonRising Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Feb-2012 at 06:19
Scythian religion refers to the mythology, ritual practices and beliefs of the Scythians, an ancient Iranian people who dominated the Pontic-Caspian steppe throughout Classical Antiquity. What little is known of the religion is drawn from the work of the 5th century Greek historian and ethnographer Herodotus. It is assumed to have been related to the earlier Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, and to have influenced later Slavic, Hungarian and Turkic mythologies, as well as Ossetian traditions which are believed to have descended from Scythian mythology.

Archaeological context

The primary archaeological context of horse sacrifice are burials, notably chariot burials, but graves with horse remains reach from the Eneolithic well into historical times. Herodotus describes the execution of horses at the burial of a Scythian king, and Iron Age kurgan graves known to contain horses number in the hundreds.

The Scythians had some reverence for the stag, which is one of the most common motifs in their artwork, especially at funeral sites. The swift animal was believed to speed the spirits of the dead on their way, which perhaps explains the curious antlered headdresses found on horses buried at Pazyryk.


Pantheon

According to Herodotus, the Scythians worshipped a pantheon of seven gods and goddesses (heptad), which he equates with Greek divinities of Classical Antiquity following the interpretatio graeca. He mentions eight deities in particular, the eighth being worshipped by the Royal Scythians, and gives the Scythian names for six of them as follows:

To these, Herodotus adds Heracles and Ares, a god of war (see below).


Sacrifice


The mode of Scythian sacrifice was, in the opinion of Herodotus, relatively simple. Sacrificial victims included various kinds of livestock, though the most prestigious offering was considered to be the horse. The pig, on the other hand, was never offered in sacrifice, and apparently the Scythians were loath to keep swine within their lands. Herodotus describes the Scythian manner of sacrifice as follows:

The victim stands with its fore-feet tied, and the sacrificing priest stands behind the victim, and by pulling the end of the cord he throws the beast down; and as the victim falls, he calls upon the god to whom he is sacrificing, and then at once throws a noose round its neck, and putting a small stick into it he turns it round and so strangles the animal, without either lighting a fire or making any first offering from the victim or pouring any libation over it: and when he has strangled it and flayed off the skin, he proceeds to boil it. [...] Then when the flesh is boiled, the sacrificer takes a first offering of the flesh and of the vital organs and casts it in front of him.

Worship of "Ares"


Although Tabiti was apparently the most important deity in the Scythian pantheon, the worship accorded to the deity Herodotus refers to as "Ares" was unique. He notes that "it is not their custom [...] to make images, altars or temples to any except Ares, but to him it is their custom to make them". He describes the construction of the altar and the subsequent sacrifice as follows:

In each district of the several governments they have a temple of Ares set up in this way: bundles of brushwood are heaped up for about three furlongs in length and in breadth, but less in height; and on the top of this there is a level square made, and three of the sides rise sheer but by the remaining one side the pile may be ascended. Every year they pile on a hundred and fifty wagon-loads of brushwood, for it is constantly settling down by reason of the weather. Upon this pile of which I speak each people has an ancient iron sword set up, and this is the sacred symbol of Ares. To this sword they bring yearly offerings of cattle and of horses; and they have the following sacrifice in addition, beyond what they make to the other gods, that is to say, of all the enemies whom they take captive in war they sacrifice one man in every hundred, not in the same manner as they sacrifice cattle, but in a different manner: for they first pour wine over their heads, and after that they cut the throats of the men, so that the blood runs into a bowl; and then they carry this up to the top of the pile of brushwood and pour the blood over the sword. This, I say, they carry up; and meanwhile below by the side of the temple they are doing thus: they cut off all the right arms of the slaughtered men with the hands and throw them up into the air, and then when they have finished offering the other victims, they go away; and the arm lies wheresoever it has chanced to fall, and the corpse apart from it.

According to Tadeusz Sulimirski, this form of worship continued among the descendants of the Scythians, the Alans, through to the 4th century CE.


Enarei


The Enarei were a privileged caste of hereditary priests which played an important political role in Scythian society as they were believed to have received the gift of prophesy directly from the goddess Argimpasa. The method employed by the Enarei differed from that practised by traditional Scythian diviners: whereas the latter used a bundle of willow rods, the Enarei used strips cut from the bark of the linden tree (genus tilia) to tell the future. The Enarei were also noted for dressing themselves in the clothes of women, a custom which Herodotus understands as being reflected in the title ena-rei, glossing this as ἀνδρό-γυνοι or "man-women".



Edited by TheAlaniDragonRising - 21-Feb-2012 at 06:21
What a handsome figure of a dragon. No wonder I fall madly in love with the Alani Dragon now, the avatar, it's a gorgeous dragon picture.
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  Quote Crixus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Mar-2012 at 00:01
Originally posted by TheAlaniDragonRising

Celts and Scythians Linked by Archaeological Discoveries

The archaeological evidence shows that the Celts and Scyths both freely shared and mingled.

The Celtic Hallstatt culture and the Scythian Vekerzug or Thracian culture are excellent examples that show how closely these two peoples interacted with one another. Historians and archaeologists label the people who established the Hallstatt Culture (700-450 B.C.) as either proto-Celts or just plain Celts. The culture, as represented by the grave goods of the Hallstatt aristocracy, is remarkably universal and distinct.

The Hallstatt Celts were innovative metal workers. Their iron weapons provided them with a distinct military advantage. Like the Scythians, they also brought with them an improved breed of horses that could run faster with great stamina in comparison to the horses already in northern-central Europe, giving them greater mobility.

Many of the richest Hallstatt burial places contain sturdy four-wheeled wagons that show a significant technical competency. Their spoke wheels were fitted with iron tires shrunken and nailed around the composite wooden rims. Their wooden yokes were decorated by patterns of bronze nail heads.

These artifact-rich sites seem to have been initially concentrated from the area of the Upper Danube to Bohemia. Later in the 500s B.C., however, the Celts' Hallstatt cultural zone of control expanded to the west.

Significantly, vehicle burials were also a distinctive trademark of the Scythian culture. The late eighth and seventh centuries B.C. were a time of disruption and change not only at the headwaters of the Danube, but also in the Black Sea and Caucasus regions, where there were migrating tribes of Scythians.

The Hallstatt Celts' lifestyle had many similarities to that of the Scythians. A Hallstatt sword in Vienna's Natur-Historisches Museum has ornamentation that shows a Celt wearing profusely decorated trousers. This is comparable to the Scythian dress as pictured on the Chertomlyk vase (from the Black Sea area). This Vienna sword also depicts a tailcoat strikingly similar to Eastern Scythian apparel found by Russian archaeologists at Katanda in the southern Altai (Siberia). Another Celtic sword found at Port Bern, Switzerland, was stamped during its manufacture with a decoration of two standing horned animals flanking a tree of life—a classic Near Eastern, Scythian theme.

The archaeological evidence shows that the Celts and Scyths both freely shared and mingled. Russian and Eastern European excavations plainly reveal the blending of these two groups.

Most scholars also agree that it is evident that the Scythians of Eastern Europe maintained close relations with the Scythians still on the steppes in the east and the Hallstatt–La Tène Celts in the west.


 
 

I find this interesting. I have heard and read that Celts and Germanics either came from or were related to Scythians



Edited by Crixus - 03-Mar-2012 at 00:19
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  Quote mojobadshah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Mar-2012 at 22:19
I find the Celtic-Scythian connection very intriguing.  The earliest Irish literature, itself, such as the "The Lebor Gabala Ern" accounts for all three migrations in the Ireland, Fir Bolg, Tuatha DeDanaan, and the Sons of Mil, having come out of Scythia.  More recently Celtic historians have tried to elaborate on these Irish-Iranian connections. The name Eremon (the son of Mil), and Aryaman (an Celtic deity) are akin to the name of the Zoroastrian deity Airyaman.  I've also come across links between the name of the Zoroastrian God, Hormazd (Ahura Mazda) and the Irish solar deity Crom.  But another etymology connects Crom, also known as Crom Cruach to a Persian deity known as Karam Kerugher.  I take it that Karam means "warmth" and Kerugher (could be a mispronouncing of Kerudeghar) means "God."  But I can't seem to find any evidence of a Persian deity named Karam Kerugher.  Is the name rooted in Zoroastrian belief system?  Is this a synonym for God in Persian?  Or are these scholars just making it up?  
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  Quote electrondady1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2014 at 11:18
a fascinating culture . i'm coming to the Scythians though a search for Celtic origins.
everything points to a common heritage.
my research shows the Celts moving up  the Danube and the Scythians, moving up the Dniester after the black sea inundation.
some say , around 5600BC.
 that puts it just about the same time as the domestication of the horse.

i suppport the kurgan hypothesis.
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  Quote opuslola Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Mar-2014 at 22:58
Originally posted by TheAlaniDragonRising

I thought I would start a thread to discuss what is known about the Scythians, or at least in some cases what we think we know about the Scythians. Hopefully then this thread then can develop into other areas connecting the Scythians for other threads later.
I will start off with something I have just found on one site for you to read through and comment on. Feel free to write and post other material relevant to this subject.

<b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; ">Scythian warriors, drawn after figures on an electrum cup from the Kul''Oba kurgan burial near Kerch (Hermitage Museum, <b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; ">St Petersburg)
<b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; ">
<b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; ">
<b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; ">The Scythians <b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; ">Scythia was an area in Eurasia inhabited in ancient times by people probably speaking Indo-Iranian languages, known as the Scythians. The location and extent of Scythia varied over time, from the Altai region where Mongolia, China, Russia, and Kazakhstan come together to the lower Danube river area and Bulgaria. The Saka were Asian Scythians and were known as Sai to the Chinese. The Scythians first appear in Assyrian annals as Ishkuzai, who are reported as pouring in from the north some time around 700 BC, settling in Ascania and modern Azerbaijan as far as to the southeast of Lake Urmia. The most significant Scythian tribes mentioned in mainly Greek sources resided in the steppe between the Dnieper and Don rivers. The subject peoples in the periphery steppes were also commonly referred as "Scythians", but didn''t speak Iranian languages as did the Scythians proper. Priscus, the Byzantine emissary to Attila, referred to Attila''s followers repeatedly as "Scythians," so some of the Huns may have had Scythian ancestry. However, since their language, Scythian, has been shown to have strong similarities to Eastern Iranian, it is generally held that the Scythians were of Iranian origin. Etymologically, "Old Iranian Saka, Greek Scythai and Sogdian Sughde (also the very name for the Sogdians), as well as the biblical Hebrew Ashkenaz (via Syrian Askuzai) appear all to derive from skuza, an ancient Indo-European word for archer, cf. English shoot." (Torday, Mounted Archers). This ancient Indo-European word for archer in turn derives from the Proto-Indo-European root skeud, "to shoot, throw." Scythian society The Scythians formed a network of nomadic tribes of horse-riding conquerors. They invaded many areas in the steppes of Eurasia, including areas in present-day Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and southern Russia. Scythian elite were buried in kurgans, high barrows heaped over chamber-tombs of larch-wood - a wood that may have had special significance as a tree of life-renewal, since it is a deciduous conifer that stands out starkly in winter against other evergreens, but returns to life every spring. Burials at Pazyryk in the Altai Mountains have included some spectacularly-preserved Scythians of the "Pazyryk culture" - including the "Ice Maiden" of the 5th century BC. Scythian warrior-women may have inspired tales of the Amazons in Greek myth. A Pazyryk burial found in the 1990s seems to confirm at least part of the legend. It contained the skeletons of a man and a woman, each with weapons, arrowheads, and an axe. "The woman was dressed exactly like a man. This shows that certain women, probably young and unmarried, could be warriors, literally Amazons. It didn''t offend the principles of nomadic society", according to one of the archaeologists interviewed for the 1998 NOVA documentary "The Ice Mummies". History To date, no certain explanation exists to account for the origin of the Scythians, nor details of how they migrated to the Caucasus or Ukraine; but the majority of scholars conjecture that they migrated westward from Central Asia between 800 BC and 600 BC. Old records actually say that the land where the Scythians originated was called Gerrhos. They would prepare their dead and travel with them long distances to bring them for burial in Gerrhos. Assyrian records are the first to mention the Iskuzai, from around the end of the 8th century BC. Herodotus even confirms that their king Partatua was allied with Assyria, and recognized by Mannai. In 653 BC, Partatua''s son Madius (Madyes), at the request of Ashurbanipal of Assyria, defeated the king of the Medes - Phraortes (Kshathrita), assuming control over the Medes until 625 BC. By the end of his reign, he had led the Scythians, and the Cimmerians, who seem to have been close relatives, on a pillaging spree, overrunning and plundering Assyria, Anatolia, Northern Syria, Phoenicia, Damascus and Palestine. They plundered the Temple of Venus in Ashkelon, and Jeremiah 4:7-13 mentioned them as "a destroyer of nations... [whose] chariots shall be as the whirlwind." After 625, however, the Scythians left the Mede Empire - whether they did so voluntarily, or were expelled, is debated. At any rate, following the Mede sack of Assur in 614 BC, they were compelled to switch sides and ally themselves with the Medes. They comprised part of the force that sacked Nineveh 612 BC. Some time afterwards, the Scythians returned to the steppes. In 512 BC, when the Scythians were attacked by king Darius the Great of Persia, they were apparently reached by crossing the Danube. Herodotus relates that, being nomads, they were able to frustrate the designs of the Persian army by letting them march through the entire country without an engagement. If he is to be believed, Darius in this manner reached as far as the Volga river. During the 5th to 3rd centuries BC the Scythians prospered. When Herodotus wrote his Histories in the 5th century BC, Greeks distinguished a ''''Greater Scythia'''' that extended a 20-day ride from the Danube River in the west, across the steppes of today''s Ukraine to the lower Don basin, from ''''Scythia Minor''''. The Don, then known as [Tanais], has been a major trading route ever since. The Scythians apparently obtained their wealth from their control over the slave trade from the north to Greece, through the Greek Black Sea colonial ports. They also grew grain, and shipped wheat, flocks, and cheese to Greece. The Crimean Scythians created a kingdom extending from the lower Dnieper river to the Crimea. Their capital city, Scythian Neapol, existed on the outskirts of modern day Simferopol. It was destroyed much later, in the 5th century CE, by the Goths. In the southeasternmost corner of the plains, north of the woods of Thrace, Philip II of Macedon during the 330s settled Macedonian trading towns along routes as far north as the Danube, a river no previous Greek general had ever reached. (Fox 1973). Greek craftsmen from the colonies north of the Black Sea, made spectacular Scythian gold ornaments, applying Greek realism to depict Scythian motifs of lions, antlered reindeer and griffons. The centerpoint of Hellenic-Scythian contact was focused on the Hellenistic cities and small kingdoms of the Cimmerian Bosporus and the Crimea. Shortly after 300 BC, the Celts seem to have displaced the Scythians from the Balkans, and in south Russia, they were gradually overwhelmed by the Sarmatians. Although the Scythians had allegedly disappeared in the 1st century BC, Eastern Romans continued to speak conventionally of "Scythians" to designate mounted Eurasian nomadic barbarians in general: in 448 CE the emissary Priscus is led to Attila''s encampment in Pannonia by two mounted "Scythians" - distinguished from the Goths and Huns who also followed Attila. Some scholars believe that the Sarmatians, the Alans, and finally the Ossetians descend from them. The latter, the only Iranian people presently resident in Europe, call their country Iron and are mostly Christians. They speak an Eastern Iranian language, Ossetic, called by them Ironig or Ironski (i.e. Iranian), that maintains some remarkable features of Gathic Avestan language. At the same time, it has a number of words remarkably similar to their modern German equivalents, such as THAU (tauen, to thaw, as snow) and GAU (district, region). Legends of the Irish and the indigenous Picts of Scotland, as well as the Hungarians, also include mention of Scythian origins. The Scythians were not known to have had any writing system, so until recent archaeological developments, most of our information about them came from the Greeks. A treasure of gold and silver metalwork found near the town of Sakiz south of Lake Urmia, dated to between 680 and 625 BC, is apparently Scythian, and one silver dish bears some undeciphered hieroglyphs that may turn out to be a Scythian inscription. Homer called them "the mare-milkers"; Herodotus described them in detail: their costume consisted of padded and quilted leather trousers tucked into boots, and open tunics. They rode with no stirrups or saddles, just saddlecloths. The Scythian philosopher Anacharsis visited Athens in the 6th century BC and became a legendary sage. Scythians were also known for their usage of barbed arrows, a nomadic life centered around horses -- "fed from horse-blood" according to a Roman historian -- and skill in guerilla warfare. The Scythians are thought to have been the first to tame the horse and use it in combat as well. There is no evidence that all Scythians or Saka people spoke an Iranian language. They may have only had an Iranian speaking elite, and may or may not have been be genetically related to the original Iranians. The mother tongues of the peoples they dominated could have been Proto-Germanic, Proto-Slavic and/or even Tocharian (this might explain the presence of Tocharian in the east). (See Non-Indo-European roots of Germanic languages and Mathematical approaches to comparative linguistics (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/94/13/6585.pdf).) • Fox, Robin Lane, 1973. Alexander the Great. ISBN 0-14-008878-4. Archaeology and artifacts Archaeological remains of the Scythians include elaborate tombs containing gold, silk, horses and human sacrifices. Mummification techniques and permafrost have aided in the relative preservation of some remains. "Pazyryk culture" One of the first Bronze Age Scythian burials documented by a modern archaeologist were the kurgans at Pazyryk, Ulagan district of the Gorno-Altai Republic, south of Novosibirsk in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia. The name Pazyryk culture was attached to the finds: five large burial mounds and several smaller ones between 1925 and 1949, one opened in 1947 by Russian archeologist Sergei Rudenko. The burial mounds concealed chambers of larch logs covered over by large cairns of boulders and stones. It flourished between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC in a mountain fastness known to be held by a group of Scythians that may have called themselves Sacae. It was the seat of the larger of two related Scythian groups. All the things a person might use or need in this life were placed in the tomb as grave goods for use in the next. Among the rich or powerful, horses were sacrificed and buried with them. With the ordinary Pazyryks were only ordinary utensils, but in one was found among other treasures the famous Pazyryk Carpet, the oldest surviving wool pile oriental rug. Rudenko summed up the cultural context at one point: All that is known to us at the present time about the culture of the population of the High Altai, who have left behind them the large cairns, permits us to refer them to the Scythian period, and the Pazyryk group in particular to the fifth century BC. This is supported by radiocarbon dating. In the Soviet climate of ''''science'''' used as controlled propaganda, Rudenko could not stress the cultural similarities between Pazyryk and the Scythians from the Kuban and lower Dneiper Valley in European Russia. Even in modern times, the blond hair and white skin on the frozen "Ice Maiden" and other burials may be seen, but are not mentioned in the Nova segment devoted to these burials. That the ancient culture he studied was quite likely the ethnic stock ancestral to many nomadic tribes of today, including modern Altaians, Kirgiz, and Kazakhs, has become a source of considerable pride today for the Gorno-Altai Republic. Scythian Gelonus (Belsk) Recent digs in Belsk, Ukraine uncovered a vast city believed to be the Scythian capital Gelonus described by Herodotus. The city''''s commanding ramparts and vast 40 square kilometers exceeded even the outlandish size reported by Herodotus. Its location at the northern edge of Ukraine''s steppe would have allowed strategic control of the north-south trade route. Judging by the finds dated to the 5th and 4th centuries BC, craft workshops and Greek pottery abounded, and perhaps, slaves destined for Greece. The Ryzhanovka kurgan A kurgan or burial mound near the village of Ryzhanovka in Ukraine, 75 miles south of Kyiv, has revealed one of the few unlooted tombs of a Scythian chieftain, one who was ruling in the forest-steppe area on the western fringe of Scythian lands. There, at a date late in Scythian culture (ca. 250 - 225 BC), a recently nomadic aristocracy was gradually adopting the agricultural lifestyle of their subjects: the tomb contained a mock hearth, the first ever found in a Scythian context, symbolic of the warmth and comfort of a farmhouse.
<b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; ">http://historyalans.narod.ru/scytians.html 
<b style="font-family: 'Times New Roman'; font-size: 19px; line-height: normal; "> 


I don't know ADR, but the above head coverings look very much like the mysterious Phrygian HAT/CAP! What do you think?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygian_cap

Edited by opuslola - 19-Mar-2014 at 23:01
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