The inhabitants RUSSIA (Country) CIS - GTP - Greek Travel Pages
gtp logo

Location information

Listed 51 sub titles with search on: The inhabitants  for wider area of: "RUSSIA Country CIS" .

The inhabitants (51)

Ancient tribes



DAKIA (Ancient area) SARMATIA
  Lacringi mentioned by Capitolinus (M. Antonin. c. 22), by Dion Cassius (lxxxi. 12), and by Petrus Patricius (Excerpt. Legat. p. 124, ed. Bonn), along with the Astingi and Buri. They were either Dacian or on the Dacian frontier, and are known only from having, in the Marcomannic war, opposed a body of invading Astings, and, having so done, contracted an alliance with Rome.


SARMATIA (Ancient country) RUSSIA
Amadoci (Amadokoi), a people of Sarmatia Europaea, mentioned by Hellanicus (Steph. B. s. v.) Their country was called Amadocium. Ptolemy (iii. 5) mentions the Amadoci Montes, E. of the Borysthenes (Dnieper), as an E. prolongation of M. Pence, and in these mountains the Amadoci, with a city Amodoca and a lake of the same name, the source of a river falling into the Borysthenes. The positions are probably in the S. Russian province of Jekaterinoslav, or in Kherson.


  Abasci, Abasgi (Habaskoi, Abasgoi), a Scythian people in the N. of Colchis, on the confines of Sarmatia Asiatica (within which they are sometimes included), on the Abascus or Abasgus, one of the small rivers flowing from the Caucasus into the NE. part of the Euxine. They carried on a considerable slave-trade, especially in beautiful boys, whom they sold to Constantinople for eunuchs. These practices were suspended for a time, on their nominal conversion to Christianity, during the reign of Justinian; but the slave-trade in these regions was at least as old as the time of Herodotus (iii. 97), and has continued to the present time. (Arrian. Peripl. Pont. Eux. p. 12; Procop. B. Goth. iv. 3, B. Pers. ii. 29; Steph. B. s. v. Sannigai.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  AgariI (Agaroi), a Scythian people of Sarmatia Europaea, on the N. shore of the Palus Maeotis (Sea of Azov), about a promontory Agarum and a river Agarus, probably not far E. of the Isthmus. They were skilful in medicine, and are said to have cured wounds with serpents' venom! Some of them always attended on Mithridates the Great, as physicians. (Appian. Mithr 88; Ptol. iii, 5. § 13.) A fungus called Agaricum (prob. German tinder), much used in ancient medicine, was said to grow in their country (Plin. xxv. 9. s. 57; Dioscor. iii. 1; Galen, de fac. simp. med. p. 150). Diodorus (xx. 24), mentions Agarus, a king of the Scythians, near the Cimmerian Bosporus, B.C. 240. (Bockh, Corpus Inscr. vol. ii. p. 82; Ukert, vol. iii. pt. 2, pp. 250, 433.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Agathyrsi (Agathursoi, Agathursioi), a people of Sarmatia Europaea, very frequently mentioned by the ancient writers, but in different positions. Their name was known to the Greeks very early, if the Peisander, from whom Suidas (s. v.) and Stephanus Byzantinus (s. v.) quote an absurd mythical etymology of the name (apo tan thurson tou Dionnsou) be the poet Peisander of Rhodes, B.C. 645; but he is much more probably the younger Peisander of Larauda, A.D. 222. Another myth is repeated by Herodotus, who heard it from the Greeks on the Euxine; that Hercules, on his return from his adventure against Geryon, passed through the region of Hylaea, and there met the Echidna, who bore him three sons, Agathyrsus, Gelonus, and Scythes; of whom the last alone was able to bend a bow and to wear a belt, which Hercules had left behind, in the same manner as Hercules himself had used them; and, accordingly, in obedience to their father's command, the Echidna drove the two elder out of the land, and gave it to Scythes (Herod. iv. 7-10: comp. Tzetz. Chil. viii. 222, 759). Herodotus himself, also, regards the Agathyrsi as not a Scythian people, but as closely related to the Scythians. He places them about the upper course of the river Marts (Marosch), that is, in the SE. part of Dacia, or the modern Transylvania (iv. 4: the Marts, however, does not fall directly, as he states, into the Ister, Danube, but into that great tributary of the Danube, the Theiss). They were the first of the peoples bordering on Scythia, to one going inland from the Ister; and next to them the Neuri (iv. 100). Being thus separated by the E. Carpathian mountains from Scythia, they were able to refuse the Scythians, flying before Dareius, an entrance into their country (Herod. iv. 125). How far N. they extended cannot be determined from Herodotus, for he assigns an erroneous course to the Ister, N. of which he considers the land to be quite desert. The later writers, for the most part, place the Agathyrsi further to the N., as is the case with nearly all the Scythian tribes; some place them on the Palus Maeotis and some inland; and they are generally spoken of in close connection with the Sarmatians and the Geloni, and are regarded as a Scythian tribe (Ephor. ap. Scymn. Fr. v. 123, or 823, ed. Meineke; Mela ii. 1; Plin. iv. 26; Ptol. iii. 5; Dion. Perieg. 310; Avien. Descr. Orb. 447; Steph. B. s. v.; Suid. s. v. &c.). In their country was found gold and also precious stones, among which was the diamond, adamas pamphainon (Herod. iv. 104; Amm. Marc. xxii. 8; Dion. Perieg. 317). According to Herodotus, they were a luxurious race (habrotatoi, Ritter explains this as referring to fine clothing), and wore much gold: they had a community of wives, in order that all the people might regard each other as brethren; and in their other customs they resembled the Thracians (iv. 104). They lived under kingly government; and Herodotus mentions their king Spargapeithes as the murderer of the Scythian king, Ariapeithes (iv. 78). Frequent allusions are made by later writers to their custom of painting (or rather tattooing) their bodies, in a way to indicate their rank, and staining their hair a dark blue (Virg. Aen. iv. 146; Serv. ad loc.; Plin. iv. 26; Solin. 20; Avien. l. c.; Ammian. l. c.; Mela ii. 1: Agathyrsi orsa artusque pingunt: ut quique majoribus praestant, ita magis, vel minus: ceterum iisdem omnes notis, et sic ut ablui nequeant). Aristotle mentions their practice of solemnly reciting their laws lest they should forget them, as observed in his time (Prob. xix. 28). Finally, they are mentioned by Virgil (l. c.) among the worshippers of the Delian Apollo, where their name is, doubtless, used as a specific poetical synonym for the Hyperboreans in general: mixtique altaria circum Cretesque Dryopesque fremunt pictique Agathyrsi.
  Niebuhr (Kleine Schriften, vol. i. p. 377) regards the Agathyrsi of Herodotus, or at least the people who occupied the position assigned to them by Herodotus, as the same people as the Getae or Dacians (Ukert, 2, pp. 418-421; Georgii,vol. ii.pp. 302, 303; Ritter, Vorhalle, pp. 287, foll.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Aorsi (Aorsoi: Strab., Ptol., Plin., Steph.B.), or Adorsi (Tac. Ann. xii. 15), a numerous and powerful people, both in Europe and in Asia. Ptolemy (iii. 5. § 22) names the European Aorsi among the peoples of Sarmatia, between the Venedic Gulf (Baltic) and the Rhipaean mountains (i. e. in the eastern part of Prussia), and places them S. of the Agathyrsi, and N. of the Pagyritae. The Asiatic Aorsi he places in Scythia intra Imaum, on the NE. shore of the Caspian, between the Asiotae, who dwelt E. of the mouth of the river Rha (Volga), and the Jaxartae, who extended to the river Jaxartes (vi. 14. § 10). The latter is supposed to have been the original position of the people, as Strabo expressly states (xi. p. 506); but of course the same question arises as in the case of the other great tribes found both in European Sarmatia and Asiatic Scythia; and so Eichwald seeks the original abodes of the Aorsi in the Russian province of Voloyda, on the strength of the resemblance of the name to that of the Finnish race of the Erse, now found there. (Geog. d. Casp. Meeres, pp. 358, foll.) Pliny mentions the European Aorsi, with the Hamaxobii, as tribes of the Sarmatians, in the general sense of that word, including the Scythian races who dwelt along the N. coast of the Euxine E. of the mouth of the Danube; and more specifically, next to the Getae (iv. 12. s. 25. xi. s. 18).
  The chief seat of the Aorsi, and where they appear in history, was in the country between the Tanais, the Euxine, the Caspian, and the Caucasus. Here Strabo places (xi. p. 492), S. of the nomade Scythians, who dwell on waggons, the Sarmatians, who are also Scythians, namely the Aorsi and Siraci, extending to the S. as far as the Caucasian mountains; some of them being nomades, and others dwelling in tents, and cultivating the land (skenitai kai georgoi). Further on (p. 506), he speaks more particularly of the Aorsi and Siraci; but the meaning is obscured by errors in the text. The sense seems to be, as given in Groskurd's translation, that there were tribes of the Aorsi and the Siraci on the E. side of the Palus Maeotis (Sea of Azov), the former dwelling on the Tanais, and the latter further to the S. on the Achardeus, a river flowing from the Caucasus into the Maeotis. Both were powerful, for when Pharnaces (the son of Mithridates the Great) held the kingdom of Bosporus, he was furnished with 20,000 horsemen by Abeacus, king of the Siraci, and with 200,000 by Spadines, king of the Aorsi. But both these peoples are regarded by Strabo as only exiles of the great nation of the Aorsi, who dwelt further to the north (ton anotero, hoi ano Aorsoi), and who assisted Pharnaces with a still greater force. These more northern Aorsi, he adds, possessed the greater part of the coast of the Caspian, and carried on an extensive traffic in Indian and Babylonian merchandize, which they brought on camels from Media and Armenia. They were rich and wore ornaments of gold.
  In A.D. 50, the Aorsi, or, as Tacitus calls them, Adorsi, aided Cotys, king of Bosporus, and the Romans with a body of cavalry, against the rebel Mithridates, who was assisted by the Siraci. (Tac. Ann. xii. 15.)
  Some modern writers attempt to identify the Aorsi with the Avars, so celebrated in Byzantine and medieval history.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Asaei (Asaii), a people of Sarmatia Asiatica, near the Suardeni and the upper course of the Tanais. (Ptol. v. 9. § 16). They are also mentioned by Pliny, according to the common text, as having been, before his time, among the most celebrated peoples of Scythia; but Sillig gives a different reading, namely Chroasai. (Plin. vi. 17. s. 19.)


  Bastarnae (Bastarnai) or Basternae (Basternai), one of the most powerful tribes of Sarmatia Europaea, first became known to the Romans in the wars with Philip and Perseus, kings of Macedonia, to the latter of whom they furnished 20,000 mercenaries. Various accounts were given of their origin; but they were generally supposed to be of the German race. Their first settlements in Sarmatia seem to have been in the highlands between the Theiss and March, whence they pressed forward to the lower Danube, as far as its mouth, where a portion of the people, settling in the island of Peuce obtained the name of Peucini. They also extended to the S. side of the Danube, where they made predatory incursions into Thrace, and engaged in war with the governors of the Roman province of Macedonia. They were driven back across the Danube by M. Crassus, in B.C. 30. In the later geographers we find them settled between the Tyras (Dniester) and Borysthenes (Dnieper), the Peucini remaining at the mouth of the Danube. Other tribes of them are mentioned under the names of Atmoni and Sidones. They were a wild people, remarkable for their stature and their courage. They lived entirely by war; and carried their women and children with them on waggons. Their main force was their cavalry, supported by a light infantry, trained to keep up, even at full speed, with the horsemen, each of whom was accompanied by one of these foot-soldiers (parabates). Their government was regal. (Polyb. xxvi. 9; Strab. ii. pp. 93, 118, vi. pp. 291, 294, vii. p. 305, et seq.; Scymn. Fr. 50; Memnon, 29; Appian, Mithr. 69, 71, de Reb. Maced. 16; Dion Cass. xxxiv. 17, li. 23, et seq.; Plut. Aem. Paul. 12; Liv. xl. 5, 57, et seq., xliv. 26, et seq.; Tac. Ann. ii. 65, Germ. 46; Justin, xxxii. 3; Plin. iv. 12. s. 25; Ptol. iii. 5. § 19; and many other passages of ancient writers; Ukert, Georg. d. Griech. u. Rom. vol. iii. pt. 2, pp. 427, 428.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



  Cercetae (Kerketai, Strab. &c.; Kerketioi, Dion. Perieg. 682; Kerketaioi, Hellanic. fr. 91), one of the peoples of Sarmatia Asiatica, who occupied the NE. shore of the Euxine, between the Cimmerian Bosporus and the frontier of Colchis, but whose relative positions are not very exactly determined: their coast abounded in roadsteads and villages. (Hellanic. l. c.; Strab. xi. pp. 496, 497 ; Ptol. v. 9. § 25; Steph. B. s. v.; Mela, i. 19. § 4; Plin. vi. 5.) Their name is now applied to the whole western district of the Caucasus, in the well known forms of Cherkas for the people, and Cherkaskaia, or Circassia, for the country.


  Savari (Sauaroi, Ptol. iii. 5. § 22), a people in the N. of European Sarmatia, between the rivers Turuntus and Chesinus. Schafarik (Slav. Altertlh. i. p. 212) identifies them with the Sjewer, a powerful Slavonian race which dwelt on the rivers Desna, Sem, and Sula, and possessed the towns Tschernigow and Ljubetsch, both of which are mentioned by Constantine Porphyrogenitus (de Adm. Imp. c. 9). The name of the Sjewer does not occur in history after the year 1024, though their land and castles are frequently mentioned subsequently in Russian annals. (Ibid. ii. p. 129.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Zygi (Zagoi; Strab. xi. p. 496), a wild and savage people on the Pontus Euxinus in Asiatic Sarmatia, and on the heights stretching from the Caucasus to the Cimmerian Bosporus. They were partly nomad shepherds, partly brigands and pirates, for which latter vocation they had ships specially adapted (cf. Id. ii. 129, xi. 492, xvii. 839). Stephanus B. (p. 290) says that they also bore the name of Zugrianoi; and we find the form Zygii (Zugioi) in Dionysius (Perieg. 687) and Avienus (Descrip. Orb. 871).


Tauroscythae (Tauroskuthai, Ptol. iii. 5. § 25), called by Pliny Tauri Scythae (iv. 12. s. 26), a people of European Sarmatia, composed of a mixture of Taurians and Scythians. They were seated to the W. of the Jazyges, and the district which they inhabited appears to have been called Tauroscythia. (Cf. Strab. ap. Hudson, p. 87; Capit. M. Ant. 9; Procop. de Aed. iii. fin.)


Serbi or Sirbi (Serboi or Sirboi, Ptol. v. 9. § 21), a people in Asiatic Sarmatia, according to Ptolemy (l. c.) between the Ceraunian mountains and the river Rha, above the Diduri and below the Vali. Pliny, however (vi. 7. s. 7), places them on the E. shore of the Maeotis, between the Vali and the Arrechi. (Comp. Schaffarik, Slav. Alterth. i. p. 165.)


  Sindi (Sindoi Herod. iv. 28), a people in Asiatic Sarmatia, on the E. coast of the Pontus Euxinus and at the foot of the Caucasus, in the district called Sindice. (Herod. l. c.; Hipponax. p. 71, ed. Welck.; Hellanic. p. 78; Dionys. Per. 681; Steph. B. p. 602; Amm. Marc. xxii. 8. § 41, &c.) Besides the sea-port of Sinda, other towns belonging to the same people were, Hermonassa, Gorgippia, and Aborace. (Strab. xi. p. 495.) They had a monarchical form of government (Polyaen, viii. 55), and Gorgippia was the residence of their kings. (Strab. l. c.) Nicolaus Damascenus (p. 160, ed. Orell.) mentions a peculiar custom which they had of throwing upon the grave of a deceased person as many fish as the number of enemies whom he had overcome. Their name is variously written, and Mela calls them Sindones (ii. 19), Lucian (Tox. 55), *sindianoi/. Eichwald (Alt Geogr. d. Kasp. M. p. 356) holds them to have been a Hindoo colony. (Comp. Bayer, Acta Petrop. ix. p. 370; St. Croix, Mem. de l'Ac. des Inscr. xlvi. p. 403; Larcher, ad Herod. vii. p. 506; Ukert, vol. iii. pt. 2. p. 494, &c.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Siraceni (Sirakenoi, Ptol. v. 9. § § 17, 19), a great and mighty people of Asiatic Sarmatia on the east shore of the Maeotis, beyond the Rha and on the Achardeus, in the district called by Strabo (xi. 504) Siracene. They appear under various names. Thus Strabo (xi. p. 506) and Mela (i. 19) call them Siraces; Tacitus (Ann. xii. 15, seq.) Siraci (in Strabo, xi. p. 492, Sirakoi); and in an inscription (Bockh, ii. p. 1009) we find the form Sirachoi. They were governed by their own kings, and the Romans were engaged in a war with them, A.D. 50. (Tac. l. c.; Strab. ib. p. 504.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Suarni a rude people of Asiatic Sarmatia, in the neighbourhood of the Portae Caucasiae and the Rha. They possessed gold mines (Plin. vi. 11. s. 12). They are probably the same people whom Ptolemy calls Surani (Souranoi, v. 9. § 20) and places between the Hippie and Ceraunian mountains.


Thyssagetae (Thussagetai, Herod. iv. 22), a numerous people of Asiatic Sarmatia, living principally by the chase. They dwelt to the north-east of a great desert of 7 days' journey, which lay between them and the Budini. Stephanus B. (s. v.) erroneously places them on the Maeotis, apparently from misunderstanding Herodotus. They are called Thussagetae by Mela (i. 19) and Pliny (iv. 12 s. 26), and Thyssagetae by Valerius Flaccus (vi. 140).


  Turcae (Tourkoi, Suid. s. v.), a Scythian people of Asiatic Sarmatia, dwelling on the Palus Maeotis, which appears to be identical with the Iurkai of Herodotus (iv. 22, &c.). The various hypotheses that have been started respecting the Turcae only show that nothing certain is known respecting them. (Cf. Mannert, iv. p. 130; Heeren, Ideen, i. 2, pp. 189, 281, 307; Schaffarik, Slav. Alterth. i. p. 318, &c.) Humboldt (Central-Asien, i. p. 245, ed. Mahlmann) opposes the notion that these Turcae or Jyrcae were the ancestors of the present Turks.


Veltae (Oueltai, Ptol. iii. 5. § 22), a people of European Sarmatia, dwelling on both banks of the river Rhubon, identical, according to Ukert (iii. pt. ii. p. 435), with the Sclavonian Veleti, or Lutizi, who dwelt on the Oder.


  Hamaxobii (Hamaxobioi, iii. 5. § 19; Iamblich. de Abstin. iii. 15; Pomp. Mel. ii. 1. § 2; Plin. vi. 12; Steph. B. s. v. Abioi), a people of Sarmatia, situated to the E. of the Scythian Alauni, who wandered with their waggons along the banks of the Volga, and belonged to the Sarmatian stock. (Schafarik, Slav. Alt. vol. i. p. 204.)


SKYTHIA (Ancient country) RUSSIA


The Attic mountains are Pentelicus , where there are quarries, Parnes , where there is hunting of wild boars and of bears, and Hymettus , which grows the most suitable pasture for bees, except that of the Alazones. For these people have actually bees ranging free, tamely following the other creatures when they go to pasture.


Perseus Encyclopedia

   Anthropophagi, (Anthropophagoi). A people of Scythia who fed on human flesh. Herodotus calls them the Androphagi, and states that they lived in a more savage manner than any other nation, having no public distribution of justice nor established laws. He informs us also that they applied themselves to the breeding of cattle, clothed themselves like the Scythians, and spoke a peculiar language.

This text is from: Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. Cited Oct 2002 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Mythical people who lived in constant darkness in North-Western Europe.

This text is cited Sept 2003 from the In2Greece URL below.

Cimmerians, Kimmerians

Total results on 10/5/2001: 56 for Cimmerians, 4 for Kimmerians.

Amyrgii & Sacae

Amyrgii: A tribe of the Sacae. Sacae: A tribe in the N.E. of the Persian empire, Cyrus' designs against them, tribute to Persia, at Marathon, in Xerxes' army, as marines in Xerxes' fleet, with Mardonius at Plataea, their cavalry there, Masistes' design for a rebellion of the Sacae.


  The Central-Asian steppe has been the home of nomad tribes for centuries. Being nomads, they roamed across the plains, incidentally attacking the urbanized countries to the south, east and west.
  The first to describe the life style of these tribes was a Greek researcher, Herodotus, who lived in the fifth century BCE. Although he concentrates on the tribes living in modern Ukraine, which he calls Scythians, we may extrapolate his description to people in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and possibly Mongolia, even though Herodotus usually calls these eastern nomads 'Sacae'. In fact, just as the Scythians and the Sacae shared the same life style, they had the same name: in their own language, which belonged to the Indo-iranian family, they called themselves Skudat ('archers'?). The Persians rendered this name as Saka and the Greeks as Skythai. The Chinese called them, at a later stage in history, Sai. Related subjects: - Armenia; - Behistun inscription; - Herodotus; - Skunkha. A Scythian archer with bow and 'pointed hat'.
  Tribes are, almost by definition, very loose organizations. Every now and then, new tribal coalitions came into being, and sometimes, new languages became prominent among the nomads from the Central-Asian steppe.
  The oldest group we know of, is usually called Indo-Iranian. (The old name 'Aryan' is no longer used.) There are no contemporary reports about their migration, but it can be reconstructed from their language. It is reasonably certain that at the beginning of the second millennium BCE, the speakers of the Proto-Indo-Iranian language moved from Ukraine to the southeast. From an archaeological point of view, their migration is attested in the change from the Yamnaya culture into the Andronovo culture.
  They invaded the country that was later called Afghanistan, where they separated in an Iranian and an Indian branch. The first group settled in Aria, a name that lives on in our word 'Iran', where they settled after 1000 BCE; the second group reached the Punjab c.1500 BCE. From the second millennium on, three groups of languages can be discerned: the Indian group (Vedic, Sanskrit...), the Scythian group (in the homeland on the steppe), and the Iranian group (Gathic, Persian...). Even when, in the sixth century, the Achaemenid empire was at its most powerful and the Persians lived in comfortable towns, they still remembered their earlier, nomadic life style:
  The Persian nation contains a number of tribes, and the ones which Cyrus assembled and persuaded to revolt were the Pasargadae, Maraphii, and Maspii, upon which all the other tribes are dependent. Of these, the Pasargadae are the most distinguished; they contain the clan of the Achaemenids from which spring the Perseid kings. Other tribes are the Panthialaei, Derusiaei, Germanii, all of which are attached to the soil, the remainder -the Dahae, Mardi, Dropici, Sagarti, being nomadic. (Herodotus, Histories 1.125; tr. by Aubrey de Selincourt).
  The second group of nomads known to have gone south, is the tribe of the Cimmerians. Their name Gimirru -given to them by the Assyrians- means 'people traveling back and forth'; this name still exists in our word 'Crimea'. The Cimmerians destroyed the kingdoms of Urartu (an old name for Armenia) and Phrygia (in Turkey) in the first quarter of the seventh century BCE; other Scythians reached Ascalon in Palestine. According to Herodotus, they ruled the northwest of Iran (which Herodotus calls Media) for twenty-eight years.
  In the sixth, fifth and fourth centuries BCE, the Persians discerned several nomad tribes on the Central-Asian steppe. As we have seem, they called them Saka. We know the names of these tribes from Persian royal inscriptions and can add information from Herodotus and other Greek authors.
•The Saka haumavarga ('haoma-drinking Sacae') were subjected by Cyrus the Great. Herodotus calls them Amyrgian Scythians. Haoma was a trance inducing drink, made from fly agaric. This mushroom does not occur south of the river Amudar'ya (Oxus). Consequently, we may assume that these nomads lived in Uzbekistan. Herodotus informs us that they wore trousers and pointed caps; they fought as archers. He also mentions their use of the battle ax (which they called sagaris).
•The Saka tigrakhauda ('Sacae with pointed hats') were defeated in 520/519 BCE by the Persian king Darius the Great, who gave this tribe a new leader. One of the earlier leaders was killed, the other, named Skunkha, was taken captive and is visible on the relief at Behistun. (It is possible that Darius created a new tribe from several earlier tribes.) Herodotus calls the Saka tigrakhauda the Orthocorybantians ('pointed hat men'), and informs us that they lived in the same tax district as the Medes. This suggests that the Saka tigrakhauda lived on the banks of the ancient lower reaches of the Amudar'ya, which used to have a mouth in the Caspian Sea south of Krasnovodsk. The pointed hat is a kind of turban.
•The Apa Saka ('Water Sacae') are also known as the Pausikoi, as Herodotus prefers to call them. Later authors, like Arrian (in his Anabasis) and Ammianus Marcellinus (in his Roman history) call them the Abian Scythians; still later, we encounter them as the Apasiaki, first east and later southwest of Lake Aral. They must be situated along the ancient lower reaches of the Amudar'ya.
• The tribe that Herodotus calls 'Massagetes' must have been called something like Mah-Saka in Persian, which means 'Moon Sacae', but this is confusing. Ma-Saka means Moon Sacae, and it is known that the Massagetes venerated only one god, the Sun. The Massagetes were responsible for the death of the Persian king Cyrus the Great (in December 530). From Herodotus' description, it is clear that they lived along the Syrdar'ya (Jaxartes).
•The nomad tribe known as Daha, which means 'robbers', is mentioned for the first time in the Daiva inscription of Xerxes; he must have subjected them. Herodotus calls the Dai a Persian nomad tribe, but they can not have lived in Persia proper, because they are mentioned in the Anabasis of Arrian as living along the lower reaches of the Syrdar'ya. In the days of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great, they were famous for their mounted archers. It is possible that this tribe desintegrated after the fall of the Achaemenid empire; one of the tribes that came into being, was that of the Parni, who went south in the third century BCE and founded the Parthian empire.
•The Saka paradraya ('Sacae across the sea') were living in Ukraine. These are the nomads that the Greeks called Scythians. In 514 or 513 BCE, king Darius launched a disastrous campaign against the Saka paradraya. Herodotus gives a long description of their way of life and discerns many tribes in the neighborhood.
  The Royal Scythians lived in the southern part of Ukraine, immediately north of the Greek towns.
  The Scythian-Farmers seem to be identical with the archaeological culture known as Chernoles, which has been identified with the Iron Age Slavs.
  Probably, we may identify the Neuri with the so-called Milograd culture, the archaeological remains of which have been found on the confluence of the rivers Dnepr and Pripyat, north of modern Kiev. They may be the ancestors of the Balts.
  Herodotus' story about the Man-eaters received some confirmation with the excavation of human remains that were gnawed at by human jaws; these excavations were along the river Sula, to the southeast of Kiev.
  The Argippaeans are sometimes identified with the ancestors of the Calmucs.
  The Issedones may be identical to the Wu-sun who (according to Chinese texts) lived on the shore of Lake Balchash.
•The Sauromatae are mentioned by Herodotus as the descendants of Scythian fathers and Amazon mothers. Of course, this is a legend, but the tribe did exist and was to move to the west after 130 BCE. In the process, they assimilated the Royal Scythians (above). In the late first century BCE, the Sarmatian coalition consisted of four tribes:
  The Iazyges, which had once lived on the shores of the Sea of Azov, were now living on the northern bank of the Danube. They were to move to what is now eastern Hungary, where they settled in c.50 CE. They were defeated by the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (in 175).
  The Urgi lived on the banks of the Dnepr, south of Kiev.
  The Royal Scythians were still living in the south of Ukraine and had become the most important Sarmatian tribe. They and the Urgi became known as the Sarmati. The Romans seem to have accepted their settlement in Hungary, but the situation was sometimes tense. The Sarmati were, for example, responsible for the destruction of the Twenty-first legion Rapax in 92.
  The Roxolani initially lived between the Don and the Dnepr but settled on the lower reaches of the Danube, where the Iazyges had been living before they migrated to Hungary. The Khan (leader) of the Tatars. Note the bow and the pointed hat.
  The steppe nomads frequently attacked the urbanized regions to the east, south or west. Usually, this created great havoc, but after some time, they went back to their homeland. However, it was necessary for the attacked states to defend themselves. The Indians thought that they did not need walls because they were was protected by the Himalayas; c.110 BCE, the valley of the Indus was run over. The Chinese built the 'Wall of ten thousand miles' to protect themselves. The rulers of the Achaemenid empire, from Cyrus the Great to Alexander the Great, may have built walls as well. These walls are mentioned in the eighteenth sura of the Quran and in medieval legend, but cannot be identified with known archaeological remains. It is certain, however, that both Cyrus and Alexander built garrison towns along the river Syrdar'ya or Jaxartes; our sources call them Cyreschata and Alexandria Eschate.
  Nomadism continued to exist into the first and second millennium CE. Several tribes may be mentioned. The Alani -whose language lives on in modern Ossetian- are known from the first century CE; they lived in modern Kazakhstan. Later, they moved to the west, being pushed forward by the Huns, which are known from Chinese texts as the Xiung-nu. Later tribal formations were the Avars, the Chasars, the Bulgars, the Turks, the Magyars, the Cumans, the Tatars, the Mongols and the Cossacks.

Jona Lendering, ed.
This text is cited July 2003 from the Livius Ancient History Website URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks.


  Argippaei (Argippaioi, according to the common text of Herod. iv. 23; but two good MSS. have Orgiempaioi, which Dindorf adopts; Orgiempeoi, Zenob. Prov, v. 25; Arimphaei or Arymphaei, Mela, Plin. ll. inf. cc.), a people in the north of Asia, dwelling beyond the Scythians, at the foot of inaccessible mountains, beyond which, says Herodotus (c. 25), the country was unknown; only the Argippaei stated that these mountains were inhabited by men with goats' feet, and that beyond them were other men who slept for six months; but this story, he adds, I do not at all accept. East of the Argippaei dwelt the Issedones; but to the N. of both nothing was known. As far as the Argippaei, however, the people were well. known, through the traffic both of the Scythians and of the Greek colonies on the Pontus.
  These people were all bald from their birth, both men and women; flat-nosed and long-chinned. They spoke a distinct language, but wore the Scythian dress. They lived on the fruit of a species of cherry (probably the Prunus padus, or bird-cherry), the thick juice of which they strained through cloths, and drank it pure, or mingled with milk; and they made cakes with the pulp, the juice of which they called aschu. Their flocks were few, because the pasturage was scanty. Each man made his abode under a tree, about which a sort of blanket was hung in tile winter only. The bald people were esteemed sacred, and were unmolested, though carrying no arms. Their neighbours referred disputes to their decision; and all fugitives who reached them enjoyed the right of sanctuary. Throughout his account Herodotus calls them the bald people (hoi phalakroi), only mentioning their proper name once, where the reading is doubtful.
  Mela (i. 19. § 20), enumerating the peoples E. of the Tanais, says that, beyond the Thyssagetae and Turcae, a rocky and desert region extends far and wide to the Arymphaei, of whom he gives a description, manifestly copied from Herodotus, and then adds, that beyond them rises the mountain Rhipaeus, beyond which lies the shore of the Ocean. A precisely similar position is assigned to the Arimphaei by Pliny (vi. 7, 13. s. 14), who calls them a race not unlike the Hyperborei, and then, like Mela, abridges the description of Herodotus. (Comp. Amm. Marc. xxii. 8. § 38; Solin. 21. s. 17; Marcian. Cap. vi. p. 214.)
  An account of the various opinions respecting this race will be found in Baehr's Notes on the passage in Herodotus. They have been identified with the Chinese, the Brahmins or Lamas, and the Calmucks. The last seems to be the most probable opinion, or the description of Herodotus may be applied to the Mongols in general; for there are several striking points of resemblance. Their sacred character has been explained as referring to the class of priests among them; but perhaps it is only a form of the celebrated fable of the Hyperboreans. The mountains, at the foot of which they are placed, are identified, according to the different views about the people, with the Ural, or the W. extremity of the Altai, or the eastern part of the Altai. (De Guignes, Mem. de l'Acad. des Inscrip. vol. xxxv. p. 551; Ritter, Erdkunde, vol. ii. pp. 691, 765, 892, Vorhalle, p. 292; Heeren, Ideen, i. 2, p. 299; Bohlen, Indien, i. p. 100; Ukert, iii. 2. pp. 543-546; Forbiger, ii. p. 470.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Arimaspi (Arimaspoi), a Scythian people. The first extant notice of the Arimaspi is in Herodotus; but, earlier than this there was the poem of Aristeas of Proconessus, called Arimaspea (Arimaspea, Herod. iv. 14); and it is upon the evidence of this poem, rather than upon the independent testimony of Herodotus, that the stranger statements concerning the people in question rest. Such are those, as to their being one-eyed, and as to their stealing the gold from the Grypes; on the other hand, however, themoreprosaic parts of the Herodotean account may be considered as the result of investigations on the part of the historian himself, especially the derivation of their name. (Herod. iv. 27.) Respecting this his evidence is, 1st, that it belonged to the Scythian language; 2ndly, that it was a compound of arima=one, and spou=eye; each of these words being Scythic glosses; or, to speak more precisely, glosses from the language of the Skoloti (Skolotoi). Hence, the name was not native; i.e. Arim-aspi was not an Arimaspian word.
  If we deal with this compound as a gloss, and attempt to discover the existing tongue in which it is still to be found, our results are wholly negative. In none of the numerous languages of Caucasus, in none of the Slavonic dialects, and in none of the Turk and Ugrian tongues of the Lower Volga and Don do we find either one word or the other. Yet we have specimens of every existing form of speech for these parts, and there is no reason to believe that the tongue of the ancient Skoloti is extinct. On the contrary, one of the Herodotean glosses (oior=man) is Turk. Much, then, as it may wear the appearance of cutting rather than untying the Gordian knot, the translation of Arimaspi by Mounophthalmos must be looked upon as an inaccuracy.
  If the loss of the final -p, and the change of the compound sibilant (a sound strange to Greek ears) at the beginning of the word Arimas-p, be admitted as legitimate, we may find a population that, at the present time, agrees, name for name, and place for place, with this mysterious nation. Their native name is Mari=men, and, as Arimaspi was not a native name, they may have been so called in the time of Herodotus. The name, however, by which they are known to their neighbours is Tsheremis. Their locality is the left bank of the Middle Volga, in the governments of Kasan, Simbirsk, and Saratov; a locality which is sufficiently near the gold districts of the Uralian Range, to fulfil the conditions of the Herodotean account, which places them north of the Issedones (themselves north of the Scythae, or Skoloti), and south of the Grypes. The Tsheremiss belong to the Ugrian family; they have no appearance of being a recent people; neither is there any reason to assume the extinction of the Herodotean Arimaspi. Lastly, the name by which they were known to the Greeks of Olbiopolis, is likely to be the name (allowing for change of form) by which they are known to the occupants of the same parts at present.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited October 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


Ascatancae (Askatankas), a people of Scythia intra Imaum, adjacent to the mountain called Ascatancas: extending E. of the Tapuri, as far as M. Imaus: somewhere about the SE. part of Independent Tartary. (Ptol. vi. 14. § 3.)


Asiani, Asii (Asianoi, Asioi), a Scythian tribe in the part of Asia E. of the Caspian, who made war upon the Greek kings of Bactria. (Strab. xi. p. 511; Trog. Pomp. xli. Arg.; Ukert, vol. iii. pt. 2, p. 343.)


Aspisii (Aspisioi Skuthai), a people of Scythia intra Imaum, N. of the Jaxartes, and W. of the Aspisii Montes (ta Aspisia ore: Ptol. vi. 14. § § 6, 12). They appear to be the same as the Aspasiakai Nomades, between the Oxus and the Tanais, mentioned by Polybius (x. 45).


Massaei (Massaioi), a people placed by Ptolemy (vi. 14. §§ 9, 11) in the extreme N. of Scythia, near the mountains of the Alani, or the N. part of the Ural chain.


  Satarchae a Scythian people on the E. coast of the Tauric Chersonesus, who dwelt in caves and holes in the ground, and in order to avoid the rigour of winter, even clothed their faces, leaving only two small holes for their eyes. (Mela, ii. 1.) They were unacquainted with the use of gold and silver, and carried on their traffic by means of barter. They are mentioned by Pliny under the name of Scythi Satarchi (iv. 26). According to Ptolemy (iii. 6. § 6) there was a town in the Tauric peninsula called Satarche (Satarche), which the scholiast (ad loc.) says was subsequently called Matarcha (Matarcha); but the account of the Satarchae living in caverns seems inconsistent with the idea of their having a town. Yet Valerius Flaccus also mentions a town -or perhaps a district- called Satarche, which, from his expression, ditant sua mulctra Satarchen, we may conclude to have been rich in herds of cattle. (Argon. vi. 145.) The same poet describes the Satarchae as a yellow-haired race. (lb.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited August 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


  Melanchlaeni (Melanchlainoi), a nomad tribe, the name of which first appears in Hecataeus (ap. Steph. B., Fr. 154, ed. Klausen). In the geography of Herodotus (iv. 20,100-103,107) they are found occupying the districts E. of the Androphagi, and N. of the Royal Scythians, 20 days' journey from the Palus Maeotis; over above them were lakes and lands unknown to man. It has been conjectured that Herodotus may refer, through some hearsay statement, to the lakes Ladoga and Onega. There has been considerable discussion among geographers as to the position which should be assigned to this tribe: it is of course impossible to fix this with any accuracy; but there would seem to be reason to place them as far N. as the sources of the Volga, or even further. (Schafarik, Slav. Alt. vol. i. p. 295.) Herodotus expressly says that they did not belong to the Scythian-Scolotic stock, although their customs were the same. The name, the Black-cloaks, like that of their cannibal neighbours, the Anthropophagi, was applied to them by the Greeks, and was no corrupted form of any indigenous appellation. A people bearing this name is mentioned by Scylax of Caryanda (p. 32) as a tribe of Pontus. Pomponius Mela (i. 19. § 4) and Pliny (vi. 5) coincide with Scylax, who speaks of two rivers flowing through their territory, the Metasoris (Metasoris), probably the same as the Thessyris (Thessuris, Ptol. v. 9. § § 10, 30: Kamisiliar), and the Aegipius (Aigipios: Kentichli). Dionysius Periegetes (v. 309) places this people on the Borysthenes, and Ptolemy (v. 9. § 19) between the river Rha and the Hippici Montes, in Asiatic Sarmatia; but it would be a great error to found any observation concerning these ancient northern tribes upon either the Roman writers or Ptolemy, or to confuse the picture set before us by these geographers, and the more correct delineations of Herodotus.

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks



TYRAS (Ancient city) DAKIA
Tyrangitae (Turangeitai, turangetai, or Turegetai, Strab. vii. p. 289, &c.; Ptol. iii. 5. § 25), literally, the Getae of the Tyras, an immigrant tribe of European Sarmatia dwelling E. of the river Tyras, near the Harpii and Tagri, and, according to Ptolemy, the northern neighbours of Lower Moesia. Pliny (v. 12. s. 26) calls them, with more correct orthography, Tyragetae, and represents them as dwelling on a large island in the Tyras.

First inhabitants


Tyritae (Turitai, Herod. iv. 51), certain Greeks settled at the mouth of the Tyras, probably Milesians who built the town of that name.

Names of the inhabitants

Sauromatae or Sarmatians

SARMATIA (Ancient country) RUSSIA
An isolated nomadic people, do not use iron, their spears, bows, and arrows, use the lasso, make corselets out of horse-hoofs, sacrifice and eat mares, punished by Antoninus Second.

Sauromatae or Sarmatians

Perseus Project Index. Total results on 21/6/2001: 30 for Sauromatae, 36 for Sarmatians.

Scythian (Scythians)

SKYTHIA (Ancient country) RUSSIA
The Taurians part of the Scythians, relating almost wholly to Scythia and adjacent regions, general description of Scythia and inhabitants (nomad, farming, and "royal" Scythian), and regions adjacent, rivers of Scythia, manners and customs, Scythian dislike of foreign manners, Scythian bow, size of population, geography of Scythia and description of adjacent tribes, early Scythian legends, convey first-fruits of Hyperboreans to Sinope, their expulsion of Cimmerians, quarrel with Cyaxares, invasion of Media and conquest of "Asia," Scythians subdued by Sesostris, contempt of peaceful occupations in Scythia, alliance against Persia proposed to Sparta by Scythians, Scythians called Sacae by Persians, Scythians' invasion of Media and troubles after their return, Scythian warfare against Darius, expedition of Darius against, island inhabited by mixture of Scythians and Indians.

Scythian (Scythians)

Perseus Project Index. Total results on 5/7/2001: 521 for Scythian, 389 for Scythians, 3 for Skythians, 18 for Skythian.


  Tauri (Tauroi, Strab. vii. p. 308), the inhabitants of the Chersonesus Taurica, or modern Crimea. They were probably the remains of the Cimmerians, who were driven out of the Chersonese by the Scythians. (Herod. iv. 11, 12; Heeren, Ideen, i. 2. p. 271; Mannert, iv. p. 278.) They seem to have been divided into several tribes: but the two main divisions of them were the nomad Tauri and the agricultural. (Strab. vii. p. 311.) The former possessed the northern part of the country, and lived on meat, mare's milk, and cheese prepared from it. The agricultural Tauri were somewhat more civilised; yet altogether they were a rude and savage people, delighting in war and plunder, and particularly addicted to piracy. (Herod. iv. 103; Strab. vii. p. 308; Mela, ii. 1; Tac. Ann. xii. 17.), Nevertheless, in early times at least, they appear to have been united under a monarchical government (Herod. iv. 119). Their religion was particularly gloomy and horrible, consisting of human sacrifices to a virgin goddess, who, according to Ammianus Marcelinus (xxii. 8. s. 34), was named Oreiloche, though the Greeks regarded her as identical with Their Artemis, and called her Tauropolos. (Soph. Aj. 172; Eur. Iph. Taur. 1457; Diod. iv. 44; Ach. Tat. viii. 2; Strab. xiii. 535; Bockh, Inscr. ii. p. 89.) These victims consisted of shipwrecked persons, or Greeks that fell into their. hands. After killing them, they stuck their heads upon poles, or, according to Ammianus (l. c.), affixed them to the wall of the temple, whilst they cast down the bodies from the rock on which the temple stood. (Herod. iv. 103; Ov. ex Pont. iii. 2 45, seq., Trist. iv. 4. 63.) According to a tradition among the Tauri themselves, this goddess was Iphigenia, the daughter of Agamemnon (Herod. l. c.) They had also a custom of cutting off the heads of prisoners of war, and setting them on poles above the chimneys of their houses, which usage they regarded as a protection of their dwellings (lb). If the king died, all his dearest friends were buried with him. On the decease of a friend of the king's, he either cut off the whole or part of the deceased person's ear, according to his dignity. (Nic. Damasc. p. 160, Orell.)

This text is from: Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography (1854) (ed. William Smith, LLD). Cited September 2004 from The Perseus Project URL below, which contains interesting hyperlinks


TYRAMBE (Ancient city) SKYTHIA
Tyrambae (Turambai, Ptol. v. 9. § 17), a people of Asiatic Sarmatia, whose chief city was Tyrambe (Turambe, ib. § 4, &c.; Strab. xi. p. 494), in the neighbourhood of the river Rhombites Minor.

You are able to search for more information in greater and/or surrounding areas by choosing one of the titles below and clicking on "more".

GTP Headlines

Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.

Subscribe now!
Greek Travel Pages: A bible for Tourism professionals. Buy online

Ferry Departures