The legend of the Scythians

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The Scythians — ancient tribes in the Northern black sea, lived in the VII—III centuries BC and managed to create quite high for the time culture, which subsequently absorbed the peoples of Eastern Europe, West and Central Asia.

In the history of civilization, the Scythians occupied the second place after the Greeks and Romans, moreover, they were direct descendants of their cultural traditions. The origin of the Scythians is still unknown. Despite the large number of hypotheses, and now it is impossible to say with certainty whence this people.

The ancient Greek scientist, the «father of history» Herodotus, who lived in the V century BC, during one of his travels visited the Northern black sea region and got acquainted with the manners and customs of the Scythians. He recorded two legends about the origin of the Scythians, and one of them was told to him by the Scythians, and Greeks.

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According to the first legend, in the land of the Scythians, which was at that time a desolate desert, God Zeus and the daughter of the river Borisphen was born a man named Targitai. The boy grew rapidly and soon turned into a beautiful, strong young man. He married the beautiful girl who gave him three sons: Lipoksai, Arcoxia and Kolaksai.

Once the brothers were on the field, and suddenly fell from the sky 4 gold subjects: a plough, yoke, axe, and bowl. The older brother was the first to notice them and wanted to take. But as soon as he came closer, gold suddenly ignited. Then subjects tried to raise the second brother, but it suffered the same fate. When things approached the younger brother, the burning of gold ceased. The Kolaksai picked up the items and took them to himself. Senior and middle brothers realized the symbolism of this event and gave Junior the right to govern the Kingdom.

Then G Herodot says: «And that from Lipoksai has been those Scythians who are called the kind of Akhatov; from the middle brother Arcoxia — those who are called katarami and trapeni, and from the younger of the king — those that are called paramatama; the total name of all of them — chipped, on behalf of the king; the Scythians called them Greeks».

In the legend the Greeks told of Hercules, which, «driving bulls Geryon», arrived in the country where now live the Scythians, «as it were caught in a Blizzard and cold, he wrapped himself in a lion’s skin and went to sleep, but this time his horse miraculously in the pasture disappeared.» Quite an interesting disclaimer: Hercules drove the oxen, and lost his horse. Who made a mistake — or the Greeks, Herodotus, is still unknown.

According to this legend, in search of bulls (horses) Hercules walked the earth and came to the woodlands. There in one of the caves he found a strange creature — poludevu-boluslu. Hercules wondered if she had seen his horses, to which poludela said that the mares she had, «but she won’t give them to him before he will not communicate with her.»

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Heracles agreed to her terms, but poludela, wanting to prolong their relationship, all played with the return of the animals. Long they lived together and got three sons. In the end she decided to give the Hercules mares, but before that asked him what to do with his sons when they grow up: to keep or to send to the father.

Hercules replied: «When you see the sons matured, do better, see which one is bent so that the onion and apositsia in my opinion this belt, and leave to dwell in the land, and which is not able to execute my proposed task, left the country.» Having said that, Hercules handed poludeo bow and sash with a gold Cup at the end of the buckle.

When the sons grew up, the mother has subjected them proposed by the Hercules test. Senior — Agathyrs — and medium — Gelon — failed to repeat his father’s feat and was expelled from the country. The younger son’s Skiff — precisely reproduced the movement of the father and became the ancestor of the dynasty of Scythian kings.

Meanwhile, the Greek historian had his own point of view on the problem of the origin of the Scythians. According to his hypothesis, the nomadic Scythians who lived in Asia, tired of the constant raids reflect the Massagetae, fled to the Cimmerian land, and some centuries later founded their own state there.

Settling on the new lands of the Scythians established trade relations with the Greeks, as evidenced by the archaeologists found the utensils and metal products of Greek origin. Commodity-money relations in those days was not yet developed, therefore, for Greek dishes, gold and bronze ornaments of the Scythian tribes were forced to pay the price of self-produced food, mainly bread.

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In those days the Scythians was the process of decomposition of tribal relations, which was reflected in funerary rites. The dead were buried in wooden structures on poles, pits, imitating the dwelling in the catacombs and mounds. Among the grave goods can be found battle-axes, swords, armor and helmets Greek work, various kinds of ornaments, mirrors.

About the Patriarchal nature of the relations shown by the fact that disposal of available women in mounds, erected for male burials. Particularly noteworthy are the graves of young women, which, in addition to jewelry, the weapon was revealed. Apparently, at the time, while men made wars of conquest, women were forced by arms to defend his home from attacks of nomads.

The Scythians existed the institution of slavery. In the early stages of the development of society slaves were prisoners taken in military campaigns. When the owner died, his slaves were following him to the grave. Accidents were buried in a flexed position pressed against the abdomen knees.

The economy of the Scythian state was the conquest of neighboring tribes. Herodotus tells of the campaign against the Medes, which lasted for 28 years. Tired, she came back the Scythians to their homes, hoping to find some comfort and peace. But their hopes did not come true. After returning home, «they met who spoke against them a considerable army, because the Scythian women, due to the long absence of their husbands, had relations with the slaves…»

Boys born as a result of such mesalliances, decided to speak out against the Scythians. They dug a deep trench extending from the Tauric mountains to the lake maeotis. However, the Scythians managed to overcome this obstacle, followed by a few battles, the victory which was won by the returning soldiers. Born from the campaign objects belonging to the class societies of the near East, had an enormous influence on the formation of the artistic style of the Scythians.

At the end of VI century BC, the Scythians went to war with Darius — the king of the mighty Persian Empire. In the amount of 700 thousand man army of the Persians invaded Scythia.

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Scythian exploration work great. The generals had an idea not only about the number of Persian troops, but also on their way. The Scythians realized that to defeat the Persians in open battle will not succeed. Then they were invited to the military Council of the kings of the neighboring peoples — the Tauri, the agathyrsi, neuritis, androthags, budinoi and savromat.

It should be noted that most of the kings refused to help the Scythians, arguing that «the Scythians were the first war and now the Persians at the instigation of the deity they pay the same.» Then the Scythians divided all the available military forces on 3 front and started to defend his territory using methods of guerrilla warfare.

For a long time, the Scythians were able to contain the onslaught of the Persians. During this period, they managed to inflict significant damage to the army of the Persians. Darius then sent to them a messenger with an offer or to fight in open battle, or to submit and to recognize the Persian king as its ruler.

In response, the Scythians said that he will fight only when they will want it, and promised soon to send gifts to Darius, but not those that it expects to receive. At the end of the message the Scythian king Identiers allowed himself to Express a threat against the Persian king: «For the fact that you call yourself my Lord, you’re going to pay».

Hostilities continued, and the forces of the Persians was melting. Herodotus tells us that in the last days of the war, when it was already clear who will win, Scythian king Darius sent ambassadors with gifts, consisting of bird, mouse, frog and five arrows. Any comments to the gifts not included.

Darius understood the meaning of these gifts: the Scythians give him earth and water. Arrows, in his view, symbolized the refusal of the Scythians from further hostilities. However, another Persian, Gorbea familiar with the manners and customs of the Scythians, differently interpreted the meaning of these gifts: «If you, the Persians, do not fly like birds in heaven, or like mice, not hide in the earth, or like frogs, don’t run off into the lakes, not going back and will fall under the blows of the arrows».

After sending the gifts, the Scythians prepared for a decisive battle. Suddenly the front of the line ran the hare and the Scythians rushed to pursue him. Upon learning of the incident, Darius said, «These people treat us with great disrespect, and it is now clear that Gorby correctly explained to me the meaning of these gifts.» On the same day, the Scythians finally defeated the Persians and expelled them from the country.

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After the victory over the Persians, the Scythians for a long time lived in peace with their neighbors. However, the invasion of the Sarmatian Scythians were forced to leave their homes and move to the Crimea. The new capital of the Scythian state became known as the Scythian Neapolis.

The last phase of the history of the Scythians is associated with their concentration on the Crimean Peninsula. The territory of Scythian slave-owning state was much smaller still, and decreased number of neighbors. In the South, the Crimean mountains, they are descendants of the Cimmerians — tees, on the Kerch Peninsula — the Kingdom of Bosporus and on the West coast of the Greek city of Chersonese. Output in the Ukrainian steppe they were blocked Sarmatian tribes.

During this period, particularly close relations of the Scythians with the brands. The latter, apparently, was embroiled in the General political life of the Crimea, and was not such savages as was drawn by the Greek historians. The contact of the Scythians with the brands became known after the study of the funerary monuments of the steppe Crimea. In particular, in some tombs, archaeologists found a collective burial of ordinary Scythians, Tauri characteristic.

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Interestingly, there were no weapons. Similar stone boxes are found mainly in the foothills of the Crimean Peninsula, near the territories of Tauris. In the beginning of our era there appeared a new term — «BK», discovered on one of Bosporan inscriptions. Some researchers believe that it may indicate a partial assimilation of t-with the Scythians.

Investigated in recent years, the Crimean settlement of the Scythians of this period are mostly of an antique nature. This is evident in the system of fortifications and residential buildings. Most revealing in this respect are the Scythian Naples — the city that will combine barbarian and Greek features; Turkish rampart and ditch, limiting the Crimea through Perekop.

In the II century BC Olbia, located on the periphery of the state, began to lose its former importance. An increasingly important role, especially in trade, has acquired the Chersonese. Scythian state, despite the fact that have lost a significant part of its territory and weakened economically, continued in Crimea an active policy. First and foremost, the Scythians tried to seize the Chersonesus and to subjugate it completely.

But Chersonesus, with the support of the Pontic king Pharnaces, who promised to protect the city from barbarians, defeated the army of the Scythians and Tauri. The war ended with the defeat of the Scythian army.

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Despite coming to the Scythian Kingdom hard times and defeat in the Crimea, these events did not lead to destruction of the state. Historians suggest that much of the war, the Scythians had begun, due to lack of money in the state. But after they lost their former power, to improve their situation the Scythians decided the other way.

The government has decided to transfer to the possession of their lands to those who wanted to handle them, and were content with the agreed fee. Those who refused to pay them, they fought.

During this period, the Scythians were no longer able to keep their constant power Olbia, in the first century BC, defeated the warlike tribe of the Goths. After that the Scythians settled and partially restored the ol, but it has no resemblance to the once rich and prosperous city. However, in a sign of its independence, the city issued coins with the names of Scythian kings Farta and Iniskea.

During this period Olbia was under the protection of the Scythians, but they do not affect the General political atmosphere, and when in the II century BC the Romans decided to incorporate it in his Empire, the Scythian state not in forces was to resist.

It should be noted that at this time the Scythian power could not pursue an independent policy on the black sea coast and especially to resist Roman interference. During the II-I centuries BC, between the Bosporus and the Scythians regularly, there were conflicts in which the preponderance was constantly at the side of the more powerful Bosporan Kingdom.

Thus, the Scythian power to the I century BC was no longer viable: its economy has been completely undermined trade relations collapsed due to the unavailability of points through which it was constantly involved in trade. Besides, at this time, the mass movement of the barbarians. A large role was played by the state Germanarich, uniting many tribes of the Northern black sea, which together with the Sarmatians, the ancient Slavs and the Goths penetrated into the Crimea.

As a result of their invasion was the destruction of Naples and many others of the Scythian city. After this RAID, from the Scythian state was not to restore power. It is this event that historians attribute the final destruction of the Scythian state, which existed from V to II century BC.

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