Cultures > Scythia

Scythia

Background

Scythia was a region of Europe and Asia that was home to the group of people the Greek called the Scythians (Σκυθική) and who called themselves Scoloti. They lived around the northern shore of the Black Sea and were believed to have come to the region around 1100 BCE following the Bronze Age Collapse where there were massive civilization collapses and population migrations. They inhabited the region until around 200 CE.

Scythia was more of a loose collection of tribes rather than a cohesive homogeneous civilization such as the others that existed throughout the entire world. The original kingdom was first established around 800 BCE and little is known about the first rulers and what they did. The civilization is best documented by the Greek historian Herodotus and are known to have been relatively wealthy based on their proximity to both the civilizations of Greece and the Roman Empire as well as the Achaemenid Empire and the empire of Alexander the Great.

The Scythians were originally a nomadic culture but overtime grew to adopt trading with other regional civilizations and eventually adopted a more agrarian lifestyle. They were a wealthy and successful civilization and competent warriors and conquerors. They were hardly ever dominated by another nation until its collapse.

First Kingdom

Not much is really known about the Scythians and their first kingdom. In the 7th century BCE the Scythians moved down past the Caucasus Mountains and began conquering the agricultural societies of northern Mesopotamia. Their principle political-economic system was tribute, plundering and taxes and at certain points they received payments from Media, Assyria and even Egypt.

Some believe the same dynasty has ruled over Scythia for most of its history, with the name Koloksai being given to the founder by Alcam in the 7th century BCE. It is known that Prototi and Madis were king directly related to this dynasty as well. Herodotus listed five kings of the royal Scythian dynasty that ruled between the 7th and 6th centuries BCE as Anacharsis, Saulius, Idanthyrsus, Gnurus, Lycus, and Spargapithes.

The Scythians would attempt to attack China between 700 BCE and 650 BCE but would ultimately be unsuccessful. Following this defeat many of the kingdoms under their control rebelled against their rule and the Scythians were forced to reconquer their territory. Eventually this would lead to the formation of the Second Scythian Kingdom that would eventually develop to be even greater than the First Kingdom.

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