Cimmerians – legend or history?
American writer Robert Howard, creating a cycle of their fantasy novels about Conan the barbarian, by some quirk of fate gave him the Cimmerian origin. Moreover, in his works he the red thread bringing the idea that Conan was the representative of the people, pioneered the processing of iron. Yes, and the main character was the son of a blacksmith and knew a «secret steel».
Who would have guessed that the author is naive children’s books about the adventures of the fictional character is so close to the truth that almost guessed the major historical milestones of the period…
Contemporary official history has little to tell us about the Cimmerians. It is believed that they lived on the territories of Turkey, Armenia and Iran. Sometimes fought with the Assyrians and was destroyed or assimilated by the Scythians. However, there are dozens of interesting archaeological and cultural evidence indicating that it was not so simple.
The first evidence of the existence of the Cimmerians was the «Odyssey» of Homer legendary. Established in the 8th century BC, and it described the Cimmerians as residents of the Northern regions, living on the banks of the cold ocean, in a country where never there ascends the Sun. Many scientists are skeptical considering that the art description, however, let’s not forget about the Schliemann who by the product of Homer’s restored historical events of the Trojan war and found the city of Troy.
The Cimmerians are mentioned in the Assyrian annals, as a nation, over a century terrorizing the Northern border of Mesopotamia.
When the Cimmerians did the historian Herodotus (5th century BC), their civilization was already considered extinct. However, its traces are repeatedly mentioned by Herodotus in various works. It is worth while to mention «Cimmerian ferry,», the first ever systematic transport through the Kerch Strait.
After more than two and a half thousand years, no one says nothing about the Cimmerians. Except that the biblical narrative casually mentions them. According to the Bible, the Cimmerians are descended from Homer (no, not Greek), the eldest son of Japheth. Moreover, the Cimmerians there are such ethnic groups as Germans, Slavs, Celts, and Armenians. Here we are interested in the «original» origin of the Cimmerians – from the eldest son; even the Greeks according to the Bible come from another tribe of apetito from his fifth son yavana. Perhaps this is meaningless, however, remember what an important role was played by birthright in the ancient world. Remnants myortvogo law of humanity is not exhausted until now.
In the mid-20th century on the territory of modern Russia and Ukraine were found many ancient habitats of the people of the epoch of late bronze and early iron ages. They were all similar to each other as two drops of water. Medium sized settlement surrounded by a wooden fence with many wooden log cabins inside. So this culture was called «carcass». When they began to organize all similar finds, it turned out lots of interesting circumstances.
First, they are all dated about the same period: 11-8 century BC. Secondly, their geography was so vast that it covered not only the space of the Dnieper and the Central Russian plains, but occupied territory from the Balkans to the Volga from West to East and from Karelia to Asia Minor from the North to the South. And, thirdly, the main items found during the excavations, were not pots or ornaments, and horse trappings, and weapons.
Everywhere in the excavations were approximately the same metal, with the same drawings and the same chemical composition. Basically, it was bronze, however, among them, most frequently from the excavations of the period, there were articles of iron. That is not the Scythian culture, it became clear immediately after the first analysis of artifacts. It was the people who lived before the Scythians. They all histories fall under the legendary Cimmerians.
In all such excavations were items depicting two characters. The first was a top down elongated diamond shape with a small circle in the middle and large from the outside. The second is the likeness of a Maltese cross, also located in the circle. This is the first ever appearance of a Maltese cross.
In addition, these excavations were first stirrups. Now it may seem ridiculous, but at the time it was a weapon, akin to the atomic bomb in our days. The rider in the stirrups could bring down on enemies all the power of your blow with a sword. Stremennaya cavalry at that time was a strategic weapon. That is, to confront her no one could. Naturally, having such weapons, and virtually unlimited number of horses, the Cimmerians could not fear anybody.
However, the real sensation was waiting for the scientists later. In 2000, the majority of carcass culture was discovered the male chromosome haplogroup R1a. This is the most common haplogroup of Eastern European peoples. Most often it is found in the Eastern Slavs: poles, Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. From 60 to 45% of these people carry a chromosome, akin to those found in the excavations of the 10th century BC. That is, modern Eastern Slavs are the distant descendants of the ancient Cimmerians!
Who were the people he lived and why did you disappear? Many people tend to believe that the Cimmerians were not a unified state. It was a large group of nomadic pastoralists who lived on vast territories of steppes and forest-steppes. The city founded by them was used as an intermediate reference point. There could be something you can buy or sell, to relax before the next pasture of horses grazing and more.
On the basis of chronology, the existence of the Cimmerians was very difficult: the General decline of civilization of that period was caused by the crisis of the bronze age. At the turn of 11-10 centuries BC the climate became relatively dry, which considerably hit the agriculture and led to the rupture of many trade relations. Sedentary peoples (Egyptians, Hittites, Assyrians) had some problems with food, and with the economy in their States. The nomads, less dependent on the vagaries of weather and their impact on agriculture, lived a little easier. Actually, that gave them the ability to colonize large areas and quite comfortably exist in about half a Millennium. Apparently, a large area, gave them the opportunity to do a kind of state, Yes, actually, there was no need – no more or less powerful peoples to their land is not claimed.
This may explain the relatively good development of their crafts, particularly metallurgy. It is believed that the first to smelt iron began the inhabitants of the southern coast of the Black sea, however, recent archaeological finds refute this theory: first products from iron ore appeared on the West coast of the Black sea. It appeared, and was not imported – iron composition will reflect the composition of local ores. And just at that time there existed a culture of Cimmerians.
Another interesting fact: many historians describe the clothes of the Cimmerians, as a leather suit consisting of a jacket and trousers with a peaked cap. In 1979, in the Arkhangelsk region was the burial of a warrior in such clothes and with all the attributes of the Cimmerian culture. Here is the confirmation of the words of Homer about the «country where never there ascends the Sun»… What would have to oppose soldiers of the city-States of Ancient Greece, if because of some adversity during the time of the Trojan war came to them would be nomadic conquerors from the North with his invincible cavalry? Most likely, nothing.
Fortunately for the Greeks, this did not happen, but the ancient Greeks something knew. Maybe that’s why they paid a much greater role in the infantry it is the spearmen, not swordsmen to deter the possible expansion of the Cimmerians.
Anyway, everything beautiful comes to an end. In 6-7 centuries BC the Cimmerians were conquered by the Scythians – a similar occupation, the nomadic tribe, however, possesses the most powerful weapon of all: the power vertical. The Scythians did not organize the genocide, as it often liked to do, the conquerors of that time. The «dissolving» of the Cimmerians, they are still almost a thousand years had owned their lands until they came to the new owners – the Sarmatians. Cimmerians have disappeared, but their genes still live in millions of people of modern Europe.