Excursion, Fergana Valley, History, Horse Back, Prehistory, Uzbekistan

Scythians

The Scythians were a group of Iranian people,[known as the Eurasian nomads, who inhabited the western and central Eurasian steppes from about the 9th century BC until about the 1st century BC.  Scythia was the Greek term for the grasslands north and east of the Black Sea.  Scythian art is distinctive. The best-known account of the Scythians is in Book IV of the Histories of Herodotus.

persian-ornament
Scythian Diadem | IV century BC. Diameter 10,1cm. Persian golden Bracelet. V century BC.

The Scythians were among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare. They kept herds of horses, cattle and sheep, lived in tent-covered wagons and fought with bows and arrows on horseback. They developed a rich culture characteriszd by opulent tombs, fine metalwork and a brilliant art style.  In the 8th century BC, they possibly raided Zhou China.

Scythian Jewelry
Detail of a Scythian gold pectoral, featuring two griffins attacking a horse. No date given. Currently located in the National Museum of History of Ukraine

Soon after, they expanded westwards and dislodged the Cimmerians from power on the Pontic Steppe.  At their peak, Scythians came to dominate the entire steppe zone, stretching from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to central China (Ordos culture) and the south Siberia (Tagar culture) in the east, creating what has been called the first Central Asian nomadic empire, although there was little that could be called an organised state.

2 thoughts on “Scythians”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s