Military Review

Bosporan Kingdom. The struggle for power on the eve of the fall of Great Scythia

33
Bosporan Kingdom. The struggle for power on the eve of the fall of Great Scythia

After the Greek city-states of the Northern Black Sea region managed to defend their independence in the fight against nomadic tribes, the situation on the Crimean and Taman peninsulas somewhat stabilized. But the disappearance in the XNUMXth century BC. e. a defensive alliance led by the Archaeanaktids had both positive and negative consequences. Numerous historical the parallels suggest that former allies often become enemies. The unification of the Bosporan city-states, as historians suggest, was no exception to this rule.


Scientists know little about that period. However, the entry of Diodorus of Siculus from the "Historical Library" testifies to the collapse of the Archeanaktids' union in 438/437 BC. and the coming to power of a certain Spartok (according to some versions, Spartak). It is not known for certain who this man was and under what circumstances he received supremacy, but from the beginning of his reign, a dynasty reigned near the northern reaches of the Black Sea, which ruled on the shores of the strait for 330 years.

“Under the archon in Athens Theodore ... In Asia, those who reigned over the Cimmerian Bosporus and called the Archeanaktids ruled for 42 years; Spartak got power and ruled for seven years.

It was under the Spartokids that the unification of the Greek city-states into the Bosporus kingdom began. By force and diplomacy, the successors of Spartok united many cities under their rule, including Theodosia, Nympheus, Phanagoria. Local handicrafts and agriculture flourished under their management. Strong alliances were established with the Athenian city-states and neighboring barbarian tribes. Schools, temples and many other cultural structures appeared.

However, not all was well within the dynasty itself. History remembers the events in which the Spartokids entered into an irreconcilable fight with each other in the struggle for the kingdom.

Battle of Fata


In the second half of the 38th century BC. e. Tsar Perisad I was in power in the Bosporus. After staying on the throne for nearly 309 years, he died in 308/XNUMX BC. e., leaving behind three sons: Satyr, Eumel and Pritan.

As often happened, the kingdom passed in seniority to Satyr. Evmel, dissatisfied with this, enlisted the support of barbarian tribes and began to actively prepare for the overthrow of the current government in order to ascend the throne himself. Realizing the seriousness of what was happening, Satyr gathered an army and set out on a campaign against his brother.


Taman relief depicting warriors: 1 - stele depicting two warriors. 2 - a young warrior (according to V.P. Tolstikov)

Here is what the Greek historian Diodorus of Siculus writes about this event:

“... Eumel, having entered into friendly relations with some of the neighboring barbarian peoples and gathered significant military forces, began to challenge his brother's power. Satyr, having learned about this, moved against him with a significant army ... Satyr's allies in this campaign were Greek mercenaries in the number of no more than two thousand and the same number of Thracians, and the rest of the army consisted of Scythian allies in the amount of more than 20 thousand infantry and no less 10 horsemen. On the side of Eumel was the king of the Fatei Arifarn with 000 thousand cavalry and 20 thousand infantry ... "

Where the military clashes took place and what specific barbarians supported Eumel is not entirely clear. The opinions of scientists on this matter are very different. There is reason to believe that the Asian part of the Bosporus kingdom (the modern Taman peninsula) became the area of ​​hostilities, and the Sarmatian tribe of the Siraks and the Meotian tribes subject to them came out on the side of Eumel.

An alternative point of view is the opinion in which the rebellious prince was supported by the Fatei tribe, previously subordinate to the Bosporus rulers, but emerging from under his protectorate. However, this version has much fewer supporters in the scientific world.

Whatever it was, but the battle took place. The army of Satyr crossed the river with the then name of Fat and entered into battle with the army of Eumel.

Despite the similar compositions, the battle formations of the sides were somewhat different from each other.

The satyr, according to the Scythian custom (which is especially noted by Diodorus), stood in the center of the army, among the cavalry. On the left flank of it were the barbarian infantry and a reserve detachment of Scythian horsemen. On the right are Greek troops and Thracian mercenaries.

Evmel, however, was located on the other side on the left flank, among the infantry. In the center of the army was the barbarian king Arifarn with the shock Sarmatian cavalry. On the right they were covered by the infantry detachments of the Meots.


Scheme of the battle at Fat (according to E.V. Chernenko) 1 - the army of Satyr and the army of Arifarn before the battle, a counter battle. 2 - the Scythian cavalry of Satyr defeats the cavalry of Arifarn and begins its pursuit. Eumel puts the mercenaries to flight. 3 - the Scythian cavalry of Satyr stops pursuing the defeated, changes the direction of movement and strikes into the rear of Eumel; a - infantry; b - the cavalry of Arifarn; c - Scythian cavalry; d - Greek mercenaries; d - Thracian mercenaries; e - the fortified camp of Satyr.

Based on the records of Diodorus, it can be concluded that the role of Eumelus in the battle was far from the first, and the whole battle against Satyr was led by Arifarn.

A satyr with detachments of selected cavalry struck the center of the enemy army. After a stubborn bloody battle, he managed to put the Siraks to flight. At first, Satyr even began pursuing the fleeing troops. However, upon learning that Eumel was winning on his flank, he stopped the pursuit and delivered a rear blow at the enemy's infantry, overturning it and winning the final victory in the battle. The surviving detachments of Arifarn and Eumel took refuge in the well-defended royal fortress on the banks of the Fata.

The satyr did not immediately rush in pursuit. With a victorious army, he first devastated the lands of the rebels, burned local settlements, captured a large amount of booty, and only then tried to take the fortress by storm.

The royal headquarters, in which the rebels took refuge, was almost impregnable. Surrounded by a river, steep cliffs and dense forest, it was reliably protected from attacks. Trying to prepare a foothold for the capture of the fortress, the army of Satyr began to cut down the forest that prevented passage to the fortifications. In response, Aristophanes sent out detachments of riflemen, which struck the cutters and caused great damage to the assault.

Only on the fourth day did Satir manage to approach the walls of the fortress. Here, being in a cramped position, the attacking army suffered serious losses. The situation was tried to save the leader of the mercenaries Meniscus, who rushed to the assault right through. He was supported by the Satyr himself with his detachment, which, apparently, was a big mistake: in that battle, Satyr was wounded in the arm with a spear. The wound turned out to be so serious that the king died that same night.

End of civil strife


After the leader's death, the attackers lifted the siege and retreated to the city of Gargaze. From there, the body of Satyr was transported to Panticapaeum, where a magnificent funeral was arranged befitting a king. After the burial, the youngest of the three brothers, Pritan, arrived at the inactive army, where he received royal power and continued to fight the enemy.

However, he failed to repeat the successes of Satir. When Pritan turned to action and decided to fight, luck let him down, and the Scythian troops were defeated. They were pressed to one of the isthmuses of Lake Meoti (present-day Sea of ​​Azov), where they were forced to lay down weapon and give up.

Fleeing from persecution, Pritan tried to hide in the city of Kepy, where he was overtaken by the troops of Eumel.

Having gained victory in this difficult civil strife, the new king dealt harshly with his opponents, ordering to kill the families of Satyr and Pritan, as well as destroy all their friends. After that, despite the shown severity, during the period of his further reign, Eumel showed himself as a far-sighted and skillful ruler. He significantly thinned the number of pirates who lived in local waters, helped many Greek city-states and organized a constant reception of refugees from different parts of the Hellenic world, distributing land to them and helping to settle in new territories.

As a result of the reign of Eumelus, the Bosporan kingdom strengthened and gained additional authority on the world stage. The sudden death, which found him in 304/303 BC, did not come true for the further plans of the new king. e.

conclusions


Summing up, we can conclude that the struggle for the throne of the descendants of Perisad I was not just a civil confrontation, but a phenomenon that went far beyond the boundaries of the Bosporus kingdom. Given the composition of the armies on both sides, it becomes clear that the war for the throne was only a pretext. The real reason for the clash of such significant forces was the opposition of nomadic barbarian tribes. Scythians and Sarmatians fought not for the kings of the Bosporus, but for their own interests. The Sarmatian tribes came from behind the Don and rushed to the west, the Scythians retreated to the Crimea under their blows.

In his actions, Evmel looked very logical. It is unlikely that he could count on the support of the Scythian tribes, which had a long-standing alliance with the Bosporus rulers. The bet on a new force that came from the east turned out to be quite natural. But the Scythians, most likely, supported Satir not because of good-neighborly relations. At that time, their struggle with the Sarmatians was a strategic matter, which is why they provided Satyr with such an impressive army. The events in which Pritan, having buried his brother, immediately went to the Scythian army, and already there, with their approval, accepted the reign look natural here.

As is known from history, the Scythians were defeated in the fight against the Sarmatians. Great Scythia soon collapsed, and the new tribes won a final victory over competitors in living space. The unrest in the Bosporus kingdom calmed down for a while.

And the Spartokid dynasty continued to rule over the lands of the Cimmerian Bosporus.
Author:
Photos used:
http://www.krimoved-library.ru/books/voennaya-istoriya-i-voennoe-delo-bospora-kimmeriyskogo.html
33 comments
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  1. Korsar4
    Korsar4 26 December 2020 04: 40
    +10
    When brothers for the throne argue, fluff and feathers almost always fly.

    I tried to imagine the scale of logging when the fortress was captured.
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 26 December 2020 06: 16
      +15
      Any Civil War is scary in nature. Especially when the "invaders" are brought in.
      In this case, I would also consider a different approach to equestrian combat of the Scythians and Sarmatians.
      According to Greek authors - the former rarely entered into direct combat, relying on bow and arrows.
      The latter, on the contrary, used a ramming strike by heavy "cavalry".
      In the event considered, on the contrary, the horsemen of the Scythians crushed the Sarmatians in a head-on battle.

      As far as “deforestation” is concerned, the conversation is apparently about the bush.
      1. Korsar4
        Korsar4 26 December 2020 06: 23
        +9
        Yes. It is difficult to think of something worse than civil.

        Deforestation of all layers of the forest can also. But without precise localization, it is difficult to imagine what and how it could be.
        Here you read Xenophon about the crossing - you can imagine. And here the picture does not add up.
      2. Engineer
        Engineer 26 December 2020 09: 49
        +11
        In this case, I would also consider a different approach to equestrian combat of the Scythians and Sarmatians.

        There are two very interesting questions here.
        Archaeologists, especially modern ones, do not at all believe that the late Scythians and their contemporary Sarmatians had such a difference in weapons, or rather, judging by the burials, it was the Scythians who had a great advantage in finding armor. And the spears both sides used about the same length, see Chernenko and Symonenko. Accordingly, the Scythians were more likely to ram the Sarmatians.


        Archaeologists from the 90s say that the pogrom of the Scythians by the Sarmatians in the 3rd century. BC. it just wasn't. There is a chronological gap of almost a hundred years between them on the right bank of the Don. Sarmatian graves appear on the right bank of the Don only in the 2nd century BC.
        The decline of Great Scythia is associated with internecine strife, climate change and other reasons.
  2. Crowe
    Crowe 26 December 2020 04: 59
    +20
    Dear Author, thank you for the article! Special thanks for listening to the wishes in the comments to your last article - the material is perceived much better, you will agree) Have a nice day and have a pleasant pastime reading interesting articles on VO!
    1. Kote Pan Kokhanka
      Kote Pan Kokhanka 26 December 2020 06: 05
      +17
      I fully subscribe to Crowe's words. The article was a success.
      Regards, Vlad!
  3. Lech from Android.
    Lech from Android. 26 December 2020 06: 05
    +10
    Thanks to Yegor for the fascinating article ... sorry for the lost Greek civilization ... it gave a lot to humanity ... both good and bad.
    1. kostas
      kostas 26 December 2020 12: 31
      +5
      Well, firstly, it did not sink into oblivion and the gifts of this great civilization, it will be more correct, we still use it. For example, we write all sorts of comments here, we go to theaters, we organize all kinds of Olympics, etc. etc. can be continued indefinitely, in the literal sense of the word.
      1. Anton Yu
        Anton Yu 27 December 2020 17: 40
        0
        Rewriting history for oneself and appropriating the achievement of others is the main thing that Greek civilization gave to humanity.
        1. kostas
          kostas 27 December 2020 20: 45
          0
          Give examples, indicate what was appropriated and how, otherwise all this is on your part unfounded chatter and nonsense.
          1. Anton Yu
            Anton Yu 27 December 2020 20: 58
            0
            Minoan civilization, its writing and other achievements, Troy, Milavanda and much more.
            1. kostas
              kostas 27 December 2020 23: 43
              0
              All your knowledge about the Minoan civilization, about Troy and the glorious city of Miletus was brought to you by the Greek civilization, Homer, Herodotus, you yourself understand. The Greeks did not appropriate anything, they just came to their place, this is exactly what happened with Milavanda, who by that time was lying in ruins.
  4. kalibr
    kalibr 26 December 2020 08: 34
    +14
    Dear Egor! Good material, I just heard my own, I once wrote about it. The only thing is that you first need a signature for a color drawing. Then, after all, there are not enough "pictures". But McBride, M. Gorelik, J. Rava left us a lot of quite accessible illustrations - we just need to indicate whose one or the other. Good writing is good. But visualization of images is always welcome!
    1. PhilipKDick
      26 December 2020 10: 16
      +11
      Hello. Vyacheslav, I accepted thanks for the signature of the picture.
      You made this remark in the first article. It's just that the first and this article went almost simultaneously for moderation, so I couldn't make any special adjustments. Thank you.
      1. kalibr
        kalibr 26 December 2020 10: 20
        +8
        Quote: PhilipKDick
        It's just that the first and this article went almost simultaneously for moderation.

        Well, I couldn't know that ...
  5. Xenofont
    Xenofont 26 December 2020 09: 10
    +7
    Spartok is a Thracian name, so, according to many historians, power passed to a non-Greek dynasty. And Evmel, having killed all his relatives and their clientele, publicly repented before the people and really ruled very decently, without resorting to reprisals.
    1. Anton Yu
      Anton Yu 27 December 2020 14: 48
      0
      The Spartokids had Thracian and Greek names, but were from the Meotian tribes.
  6. ee2100
    ee2100 26 December 2020 11: 01
    +4
    I wondered where the Fat River was. Maybe the author was interested in this issue?
    While looking for the Fata River, I found the site "Bosporan Wars", but the author is not among the creators of the site.
    http://bosporwarfare.spbu.ru/reconstructions/buttles/zeledescription/zeledescription.html
    I advise everyone who is interested to read
  7. lucul
    lucul 26 December 2020 11: 19
    +3
    Whatever it was, but this is now our land, and therefore our history too.
  8. ccsr
    ccsr 26 December 2020 15: 24
    +4
    The article is a good continuation of the previous work and I think many will be interested in them - at least we should always know what happened on the territory of our state and where we came from.
    True, this conclusion of the author, in my opinion, does not quite correctly reflect the realities of that time:
    Summing up, we can conclude that the struggle for the throne of the descendants of Perisad I was not just a civil confrontation, but a phenomenon that went far beyond the boundaries of the Bosporus kingdom. Given the composition of the armies on both sides, it becomes clear that the war for the throne was only a pretext. The real reason for the clash of such significant forces was the opposition of nomadic barbarian tribes.

    Since I was once interested in this issue for a long time, as far as I understood, the nomadic tribes of the northern Black Sea region at that period did not particularly bother on whose side and against whom to fight, because the main thing for them was booty and plunder. But at the same time, they always demanded payment in advance from the one who hired them for the internal war, and the one who owned large financial resources could always hire a large number of nomads. Even intertribal marriages and marriages with Greek colonists faded into the background when the issue concerned money, which proves once again that there was no general strategy for the movement of the Sarmatian tribes to Crimea. They simply came to where the local tribes were expelled (or destroyed) from. In this respect, the history of the Crimean mountain tribes is interesting, which continued to exist for many centuries, and at the same time, due to natural conditions, they developed quite distinctively, preserving their culture, which was different from nomads.
  9. Trilobite Master
    Trilobite Master 26 December 2020 18: 11
    +5
    An interesting article, but, as always with such materials, we will not see an abundance of comments - the topic is too specific and there are not so many people who are aware of it. Few will be able to argue with the author or with those who argue with the author. smile
    According to the article itself.
    When brothers are cut for power, this is normal in politics. Sometimes it seems to me that they regard such a struggle not as a mortal battle for life and death, but rather as a sharp, dangerous game with a good prize for the winner. The fact that in the course of some battles one of them dies is often regarded by other participants as a tragedy rather than luck ...
    The Wiki says that after the defeat in the war, Pritan was not killed immediately, as follows from the text of the article, but only after the pardoned brother again began the struggle for power and was defeated.
    1. Catfish
      Catfish 27 December 2020 01: 01
      +1
      ... the topic is too specific and there are not so many people aware of it. Few will be able to argue with the author or with those who argue with the author. smile

      Good night, Mikhail. hi That's right, for me, for example, all this is new, but I read the article with interest, of course, I cannot and will not argue and comment, because I am an outspoken amateur. smile
      In any case, sincere thanks to the author. Everything new is interesting. hi
    2. PhilipKDick
      27 December 2020 21: 12
      +1
      Hello. Based on the opinion of Vinogradov and Zubar, I pointed out that Pritan was killed almost immediately after the defeat at Lake Meotsky (Sea of ​​Azov).
      I will study this episode in more detail. Thank you
  10. Operator
    Operator 26 December 2020 18: 24
    -3
    The article describes the small-scale internecine settlements between small-grass Greek trading posts, supported by Iranian-speaking nomads (who were then nullified by the Turkic-speaking nomads) - and nothing more.

    Our academic historians have had two hundred years of roof going - why, the ancient Greeks themselves deigned to establish their trading posts on the northern coast of the Black Sea. In fact, all these Phanagoria are nothing more than fortified trading posts for trade with the steppe nomads.

    The real story took place further north in the forest zone of Eastern Europe, where the Slavic tribes were formed, which academic historians know from the gulkin's nose and do not seek to find out. At the same time, they continue to inflate the elephant from a fly - ah Apollo, ah Apollo. It is high time to cut funding for excavations of Greek trading posts to zero (let the Greeks dig them at their own expense) and drive domestic archaeologists with sticks to the sources of the Dnieper, Don and Volga.
    1. Anton Yu
      Anton Yu 27 December 2020 14: 58
      0
      About trading posts, it was like that at the beginning. By the time the kingdom was created, there were already a lot of non-Greek population in the Bosporus. The Greeks were mainly in the cities. By the 3rd century BC, most of the kingdom's population was no longer Greek.
    2. ccsr
      ccsr 31 December 2020 11: 14
      +2

      Quote: Operator
      Our academic historians have had two hundred years of roof going - why, the ancient Greeks themselves deigned to establish their trading posts on the northern coast of the Black Sea. In fact, all these Phanagoria are nothing more than fortified trading posts for trade with the steppe nomads.

      As for historians, you probably got excited, they have also been studying the Bosporus kingdom for more than one decade, but there are different schools, which is why I was interested in the sources of the author of the article.
      Here's what modern authors see:

      Various rituals and ceremonies were an integral part of the ancient Greek religion and accompanied people from birth to death. Cultic actions played an important role in the life of the cities of the Bosporus kingdom. Inscriptions, altars and altars testify to the existence of temples, sacred agons, ritual sacrifices. One of the main occupations of the Bosporan Greeks was agriculture. Therefore, it is not surprising that Demeter was considered the most revered goddess in the Bosporus - the goddess of agriculture and fertility, the daughter of Kronos and Rhea, the mother of Persephone. The cult of this goddess was widespread among the broad masses of the population. On Mount Mithridates at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, a marble base of the altar was accidentally found, decorated with a sculptural relief depicting a solemn procession in honor of the goddess Demeter. The high craftsmanship of the reliefs recalls the best examples of the high classics of ancient Greek reliefs from the Athenian Acropolis. The altar dates from the end of the 1864th century. BC e., is now kept in the Hermitage. From the excavations of A. Ye. Lyutsenko in 389, the Kerch Museum received a dedicatory inscription in honor of Demeter during the reign of Leukon I (8 / 349–8/1882 BC). On Mount Mithridates, behind the southern fence of the old cemetery, in XNUMX the marble herm of Demeter was discovered, which is a pillar crowned with the head of a goddess. On the lateral faces of the herm there are rectangular recesses in which a heira (wooden or stone beam) was attached. On the basis of these findings, researchers suggest the existence of a temple to Demeter on Mount Mithridates. The statuary images of Demeter in the Lan collection of the East Crimean Museum-Reserve testify to the veneration of this goddess by the inhabitants of the Bosporus kingdom from the XNUMXth century. BC e.

      Read more on RIA KerchINFO: https://kerchinfo.com/27244-jeto-interesno-mify-bosporskogo-carstva-o-demetre-i-persefone.html
      1. Operator
        Operator 31 December 2020 13: 44
        -3
        I'm talking about the same thing - they dug it out in the 19th century and tie it up with the small-grained Greeks, and transfer money and resources to archaeological excavations in places of ethnogenesis of the Eastern Slavs.

        Those who do not understand on good terms - take away a university diploma and issue a wolf ticket.
  11. Undecim
    Undecim 26 December 2020 20: 16
    +7
    As often happened, the kingdom passed in seniority to Satyr. Eumel, dissatisfied with this, enlisted the support of barbarian tribes and began to actively prepare for the overthrow of the current government in order to ascend the throne himself
    This statement is wrong. The point is not in the dissatisfaction of Eumelus, but in the violation by Satyr of the rules of succession to the throne that were established at that time in the Bosporus kingdom.
    Starting with the sons of Spartok I, there was a dualistic form of government, when the two eldest sons ruled the state together with their father and became co-rulers after the death of their father. If any of the brothers died, then power passed to the survivor.
    The satyr refused to share power, and to the demand of Eumelus to appoint him the governor of the Asiatic
    Bosporus and provide guarantees that he will not violate the traditional order of inheritance, that is, in the event of his death, power will pass not to his son, but to Evmel, he moved against him "with a significant army"
  12. Anton Yu
    Anton Yu 27 December 2020 15: 00
    0
    Thanks to the author. I have always loved the history of the Bosporus.
  13. Anton Yu
    Anton Yu 27 December 2020 15: 09
    0
    We are waiting for new articles. I would like to read about the Bosporus coinage, trade with neighbors, the conquest of Feodosia, Savmak's uprising ...
  14. Operator
    Operator 27 December 2020 15: 12
    -1
    Quote: Anton Yu
    By the 3rd century BC, most of the kingdom's population was no longer Greek.

    Moreover, to send the artifacts to the storerooms, do not care and forget.
  15. PhilipKDick
    27 December 2020 21: 25
    +3
    Appeal from the author of the articles "Bosporus Kingdom" (ie from me).
    Not being a historian by profession, I study the Bosporus Kingdom with a sincere interest, discovering many new facets of antiquity. And when I nevertheless decided to start a series of articles on this topic, I thought that the history of the Bosporus would be held on the site like a prodigy and would not arouse either opinions or interest in the material.
    However, having written the first, and after it the second article, I was sincerely surprised that there are people who reasonably and qualitatively speak about the works of others on this topic. Thanks to all the readers for this. Sincerely. I haven't started the third and subsequent articles yet, but the material is there. I will try not to groan.
    1. Cure72
      Cure72 28 December 2020 13: 40
      0
      Thank you so much. We look forward to continuing!