A number of Russian historians, researchers of 18-20 of centuries and modern times believed and believe that the so-called. Scythians and their kindred peoples (Cimmerians, Sarmatians, Roksalans, etc.) are directly related to Russia, the Russian people, the superethnos of the Rus. For example, Boris Rybakov believed that the “Scythians-Pahari”, according to Herodotus, they lived in the region of Dnieper, belonged to the Proto-Slavs. Yuri Petukhov attributed the Scythians to the superethnos of the Rus. Therefore, it makes sense to elaborate on this ancient period. stories of our Motherland, consider the Scythian world and the Scythians more closely. It is not for nothing that Byzantine sources called the Rus of the first princes of the Rurik family "Tauroskifs", "Great Scythia".
Cimmerians and their previous cultures
The earliest of the written sources available to science by the most ancient people on the territory of Russia are called Cimmerians. In the Bible, Homer (i.e., “Kimmerian”) is the eldest son of Japheth-Yapet, who is considered the father of all Indo-European (Aryan) peoples. And, the eldest son of Cimmerian was respectively Skiff. Later already Russian sources report that Rus and Sloven (Slaven) were the sons of Skif. We see complete continuity - from ancient times to the present day. In addition, it should be noted that the distribution of the name "Cimmerian" can be seen in significant spaces: the ancient Greek Homer-Cimmerian, Cimvry of Jutland and Britain, etc.
Cimmerians lived in the southern Russian steppes at the beginning of the Iron Age - 1 thousand. BC. er But it is clear that their civilization was formed much earlier. Archaeological evidence suggests that in the Late Bronze Age, in 1600-1100. BC e., steppe and forest-steppe zone of Eastern Europe was occupied by Srubnaya culture. The "felling workers" were the agricultural and pastoral people of the Indo-European root. They were the forerunners of the Cimmerian kingdom. The log archeological culture, in turn, reveals complete continuity with more ancient cultures: the Catacomb (3-2 millennium BC), Yamnoy (4-3 millennium BC). These cultures also occupied the territory of Southern Russia. Pit-hole culture is considered to be “Proto-Aryan”: it was from its territory, and at that time, migration impulses emanated that led to the formation of 3 BC in the vast territories of Eurasia in 2-beginning of XNUMX er many related cultures and peoples of the Indo-European language family.
All these cultures were distinguished by a single burial rite in the mounds (which speaks of the commonality of religious ideas), it differs only in details - first a regular pit was made under the barrow, then the construction in the form of a catacomb, and later a wooden frame was installed. Throughout the Bronze Age, continuity was maintained in ceramics, housing, household (combining plow farming with sedentary cattle breeding), in the anthropological type.
Cimmerians are the direct descendants of these ancient cultures. They are descendants of those who chose to stay in their ancestral homeland, while other Indo-Europeans settled in Europe and Asia. The memory of the northern ancestral home has long been preserved among the inhabitants of India, Persia and other regions. The inhabitants of Scandinavia and Ireland also remembered the “steppe”. The Scandinavian sagas report that the ancestors of the Normans came from the Great Svitod (Malaya Svitod - Sweden), the Black Sea steppes. By the way, it was not for nothing that the ideologists of the Third Reich, who defended the primacy of the ancient Germans and Scandinavians, believed that the Crimea and the Black Sea steppes should become part of the Great Reich. The resettlement of the ancestors of the Normans to the north occurred approximately at the end of 3 in the millennium BC. er According to Eddam, Odin had possessions in Asia, east of the Tanais (Don) River. The kinship of European nations was felt even in the ancient and even early medieval era. And, the Greek and Roman authors used the term "Celto-Scythians", which emphasized the kinship of the eastern (Scythian) and western (Celtic) "northern barbarians".
It is clear that the Cimmerians and Scythians (their self-name, according to Greek sources, chipped) are the direct heirs of earlier cultures. But the history written in 18-20 for centuries, and it was written under the geopolitical realities of the time, presented the history of the Eurasian steppes as a meaningless replacement of some peoples by others. According to this theory, one unknown people from where it came from crowds out and exterminates another. And so it repeats again and again. The ancient “Aryans” disappear and leave, they are replaced by the “new people” - the Cimmerians, then the turn of the Scythians and Sarmatians, etc. The data of archeology, mythology, historical literary monuments, archeology show that the Scythians were the closest neighbors and relatives of the Cimmerians , being descendants of the same Srubnaya archaeological culture. The movement of the Scythians to the west did not come from the "depths of Asia", but from the Volga. There is no evidence that the Scythians completely destroyed or ousted the Cimmerians. The majority of the population of Scythia of the Iron Age were the same people as before - the “Cimmerians”.
At the same time, there is evidence that the Cimmerian kingdom (the dynasty of their kings) fell under the onslaught of the Scythians. By the time around 800 BC. er refers to the death of settlements Kobyakovskoy (late-log) culture on the lower Don. This is the story of ancient written sources. Apparently, at this time there was a change of the ruling elite. The Cimmerian kingdom (dynasty) was replaced by the Scythian, but the bulk of the population did not disappear, making up most of the population. Only a part of the people followed the princes - the Cimmerians appear in Asia Minor and the Balkan Peninsula.
What is known about Cimmerians and Scythians?
The name of the people "Cimmerians", apparently, comes from the word "steppe" (Hittite "Gimra" - "steppe"). That is, they are “steppe inhabitants”. Interestingly, this tradition - to call the union of the tribes by the name of the area was preserved even later. Compare: “glade” - an alliance of Slavic tribes living in the forest-steppe zone (“field”), “Drevlyans” - living in forests, etc. The Greeks called the “Scythians” of the South Russian steppe people, they called themselves “chipped” - on behalf of King Kolo (Koloksai, the word "ksai" means "king, prince"). The word "Kolo" in Slavic language means "circle" (solar circle). It is associated with the solar cult.
According to ancient historians, the Scythians dominated all of Asia three times. The first period lasted one and a half thousand years and ended around 2054 BC. er Thus, the Scythians dominated Asia in 36-21 centuries. BC Oe., in the era of early bronze. This period coincides with the time of the existence of Pit-Plot culture and the beginning of the Catacomb. As already noted, these cultures show continuity, but it is clear that the period of transition from one culture to another reflects some serious sociopolitical, perhaps religious, changes, internal restructuring. Naturally, at this moment Great Scythia weakened and lost some of its influence on the surrounding regions. Ancient sources reflected the general geopolitical situation, although they did not bring us details.
In the period 21-13 centuries. BC er the “kingdom of the Amazons” is mentioned, which was closely associated with Scythia. According to Pompey Trog, this kingdom was founded by Scythian youths of the royal family Plin and Skolopit. Greek mythic tales of the “Amazons” clearly exaggerately retell the real customs of Scythian women.
In 16 century BC. er The appearance in the Black Sea region of the culture of multi-roll ceramics, which is uncharacteristic for the Scythians, was recorded. At the same time, ancient sources report a defeat suffered by the Scythians from the Thracians. In addition, at this time, the Catacomb culture ceases, besides, all the western regions of this culture find themselves occupied by a community of "multi-auspicious culture". And Don to the Urals formed Srubnaya culture, which continued the local tradition. Monohalese and Srubnaya culture were separated by a line of fortresses on the Lower Don. Around 14 c. BC er Scythians regained their dominance in the territory of modern Ukraine. Srubnaya culture triumphed.
In the 13 century, the second period of Scythian domination in Asia was established. The Danaan-Tanaits (Donians), led by Achilles, participate in the assault and the capture of Troy. An invasion of "the peoples of the sea" collapses on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea - after the capture of the Bosphorus, the Scythians penetrate the Aegean, sea routes are used in military operations. Ancient sources report the Scythian wars with Egypt. Moreover, the Egyptians even tried to invade Scythia, but suffered a complete defeat. Paul Orozy dates this war 1234 BC. er The invasion of the "northern barbarians" led to the collapse of the Hittite kingdom in Asia Minor, reached Palestine and dealt a heavy blow to Egypt. Egyptian sources call the "peoples of the sea" gita (hetami), and this was one of the most common names among the Scythians. At the time of Herodot, the “geths” lived on the Danube, the “fissagates” on the Volga, the “massagets” in Central Asia. The images of the “gits” are very similar to the images of the Cossacks already of the medieval era - shaved, with long mustaches and longs, conical hats, pants, boots. Russian sources also report on the Scythian war with Egypt: the Nikanor Chronicle mentions a trip to Egypt by the ancestors of the Russians - the brothers Skif and Zardan. "Zardan" is quite comparable with the name of one of the "peoples of the sea" who attacked Egypt - "Shardan". Some time after the attack on Egypt, the Shardans seized the island of Sardinia (they gave it their name).
Around 1100-1000's. BC er Srubnaya culture disintegrates. A distinction appears between the "Scythians" (the eastern part of the former community) and the "Cimmerians" (the western part). But they were not two different nations. The Russian historian G.V. Vernadsky quite correctly wrote that “... from time to time, the new ruling clans seized control of the country, and despite the fact that some groups emigrated, the majority of the local population remained only accepting a mixture of alien blood” (G.V. Vernadsky. Ancient Russia). The border between the Cimmerian kingdom (it stretched from the Carpathians and the lower reaches of the Danube in the west to the Azov region) and Scythia was Don. Around 800 BC. er the frontier was broken. Moreover, the “invasion” of the Scythians should be understood not as an unexpected attack of a new, alien people, but as an intrasystemic change (the Scythians and Cimmerians belonged to one ancient civilization, culture). Around 800 BC. er in the southern Russian steppes political power changed, one dynasty was replaced by another. This is indirectly confirmed by Herodotus. He reports that the advance of the Scythians caused a split among the Cimmerians. The ruling elite decided to resist to the end, and the common people supported the "invaders." The civil war began. The Cimmerian ruling elite was defeated, and the Scythians occupied the territories of the Azov and Black Sea regions virtually without a fight. Based on these data, Vernadsky even suggested that the Cimmerian elite was foreign to the common people. N. I. Vasilyeva (author of the study “Great Scythia”) speaks about the crisis of the social system: there was a “decay” of the ruling classes, the disintegration of society into groups, the loss of defense capability. During the fall of the Cimmerian kingdom there was no complete change of population. Only the ruling strata were overthrown. The coming Scythians formed a new elite.
In 7 c. BC er The third stage of Scythian domination over Asia began. Scythians invade Media, Syria, Palestine, create their own state formation in Asia Minor. The fact that the Scythians had a powerful army, able to successfully beat the armies of developed countries, speaks of the developed economy of Scythia. She allowed to arm large armies, to form fleets.
At the beginning of 1 millennium BC. er almost the entire steppe zone of Eurasia was under the control of the Scythian civilization. It was an ethnopolitical community united by kinship and unity of spiritual and material culture. The archaeological sites of Great Scythia are found from the Danube to the Wall of China. Moreover, one should not identify the territory of Scythia only with the steppe zone. Most authors of the ancient era claimed that in the north, forest areas and lands, down to lifeless arctic deserts, were subordinate to the Scythians. The great influence of the Scythians can be traced in other regions of Asia: in Central Europe, Asia Minor, Persia, India, and China. Interestingly, the territories of the Great Scythia occupy the same land as the Russian people (superethnos ruses). However, part of the territories due to the distemper of the end of 20 - the beginning of 21 centuries is now lost.
Within the Great Scythia there were several areas of territorial – political associations. These are the Scythians, with whom the Greeks came into direct contact, they occupied the territory from the mouth of the Danube to the Volga.
Their eastern neighbors from about 6 century BC. er were Sarmatians-Savromats. Initially, they occupied the territory of the southern Urals. Sarmatians, apparently, were descendants of the Andronovo culture. This culture developed on the basis of Yamnaya and covers the period of time XVII — IX centuries BC. er Around 600 BC. er Sarmatians came to the Volga and the Don, and in the 2 century BC. er occupied all the northern Black Sea coast, in fact, repeating the "experience" of the Scythians. According to Herodotus, the Sarmatians were descendants of the Scythians and "Amazons", spoke in the "spoiled" Scythian language. That is, the Scythians and Sarmatians were one people, they had small territorial differences and different ruling dynasties.
The lands east of the Caspian Sea, the Aral Sea region and Central Asia were occupied by Massagets (in India and Persia they were called Saki). Persian sources say that only one people lived in the whole region - the Saki.
In Southern Siberia, Semirechye, the Issedons related to the Scythians (they are often identified with the Usuns known from Chinese sources) and Arimaspas (or “Areymans” - the militant Aryan people) lived. Not only Southern Siberia, but also Central Asia, much of Tibet and northern China, was inhabited by Indo-Europeans. It should be noted, the Indo-Europeans-Aryans, the Great Scythia had a huge impact on Chinese civilization - see the article for more details. Chinese Civilization and the Great Scythia. Many of the kingdoms of ancient China and their dynasties were formed by Indo-European Aryans. Including the Qin Dynasty, which laid 3 in the beginning. BC er the foundation of the united Chinese empire.
None of the ancient authors who wrote about the ancient Scythians indicated serious language differences between the inhabitants of Scythia. This suggests that one people inhabited vast territories. All names of Scythian "peoples" are territorial designations. Like the Slavic "lands", the unions of the tribes of the early Middle Ages.
The heyday of this civilization - 800-400 years BC. er (the third stage of the domination of the Scythians in Asia). At this time, in the south, Great Scythia included Persia, Northern India, and northwestern regions of China within its sphere of influence. In many countries, dynasties and ruling elites ruled that were of Aryan origin. Roman historian Pompey Trog reports that the Scythians were the ancestors of the Parthian and Bactrian kingdoms. “Scythians sought dominion over Asia three times; they themselves constantly remained either untouched, or not defeated by alien dominion. ”
In the Great Scythia there was a developed metallurgy, they produced high-quality weapon. The art of war, based on the actions of cavalry, sudden blows and waste, the excellent mastery of the skill of the rider and archer, forced respect for the power of the Scythians. The only danger to the Great Scythia was related peoples, dynasties, who adopted their advanced military culture. The warlike Persians (Parsi, the people of the Indo-European-Aryan community) tried to attack Great Scythia twice - in 530 BC. er in the battle against the Massagets (the Scythians of Central Asia) suffered a complete defeat and Cyrus II the Great died, in 512 BC. er Darius I the Great launched an invasion of the Black Sea possessions of the Scythians. But the Scythians used the scorched earth tactics, and the military expedition ended in complete collapse, the exhausted Persian army was defeated. Darius himself miraculously survived.
Failure suffered, and the Macedonian attempts to expand its sphere of influence at the expense of Scythia. Alexander Filippych could not firmly establish itself in Central Asia, his commanders could not break through the Danube.
It was the most powerful military civilization of the planet, which for centuries controlled the vast territories of Eurasia. Only the geopolitical realities of the last centuries prevent historians from recognizing that all developed civilizations existed on the periphery of Great Scythia. Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, the civilizations of Asia Minor, Ancient India, Ancient China - were not the passionary core of the Ancient World, it was Scythia. Great Scythia dominated from the Yellow River Basin, Tibet and Northern India to Central Europe and Palestine. Moreover, the "northern barbarians" not only dominated in the military and political terms. The level of development of their economy was not lower than that of the cultures of the South. The "barbarians" of the North were the first to tame the horse, they invented the chariot, causing a revolution in the means of transportation. There is an opinion that the first steps in the cultivation of plants were made in the region of the Central Russian Upland. The earliest crops, known in the centers of West Asia and Northern China - spelled, barley, millet - come from Central Europe. According to N. I. Vasilyeva, “in terms of the development of the“ technosphere ”, the residents of Eastern Europe and the steppe zone of Asia not only did not lag behind the peoples of the warm countries, but also significantly outpaced them”.
In addition, on the basis of the mythology (spiritual culture) of the “barbarians” of the North, almost the entire cultural heritage of the ancient world was created. "Vedas" and "Avesta" (like other literary monuments of that era), which became the basis of Indian and Iranian cultures, came along with the Aryans from the north. Greek mythology was created on the basis of the epos of “barbarians” who came from the North (Hyperborea). Almost all the gods of Olympus, including Zeus, Apollo, Leta, Artemis, Ares, Poseidon, etc., are not of Greek origin, their images are brought in finished form from the north. In the south, they were only embellished. There is an assumption that the first written language, to which all the systems of progressive syllable and alphabet writing, which were used by the cultures of the Mediterranean and South Asia, go back, was also created in Northern Eurasia. For example, this opinion is shared by G. S. Grinevich — the author of the work “Proto-Slavic Writing.”
Great Scythia gave the world and an advanced example of a political and social system - the state-communal system (“communism” of that time, from the word “commune” - “community”). He was more progressive than the slave countries of the South.
The cities of the Scythians and their neighbors that existed before the new era (according to Koltsov I.Ye.) 1 - Dnieper Scythians; 2 - neuro; 3 - agafirces; 4 - androphages; 5 - melanchle; 6 - gelons; 7 - Boudin; 8 - Sarmatians; 9 - brands; 10 - Tissage; 11 - Iirki; 12 - breakaway Scythians; 13 - Argippea; 14 - Issedon; 15 - Arimasp; 16 - hyperborea; 17 - the ancestors of the Kalmyks; 18 - Massagets; 19 - royal Scythians; 20 - Yenisei Scythians; 21 - Indigir Scythians; 22 - Transcaucasian Scythians; 23 - Volga-Don Scythians