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The Cimmerians or Kimmerians (Greek: Κιμμέριοι, Kimmerioi) were ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.

According to the Greek historian Herodotus, of the 5th century BC, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC, in what is now Ukraine and Russia. The archeologist Renate Rolle and others have argued that no one has demonstrated with archeological evidence the presence of Cimmerians in the southern parts of Russia or elsewhere.[1]

Scholars in the 19th and 20th centuries had relied upon Herodotus's account. But, Sir Henry Layard's discoveries in the royal archives at Nineveh and Calah have enabled the study of new source material that is several centuries earlier than Herodotus's history.[2] The Assyrian archeological record shows that the Cimmerians, and the land of Gamir, were located not far from Urartu, south of the Caucasus.[3][4] Military intelligence reports to Sargon in the 8th century BC describe the Cimmerians as occupying territory south of the Black Sea.[5]

Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmathians. In Memory of Professor Tadeusz Sulimirski
Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmathians. In Memory of Professor Tadeusz Sulimirski, edited by Jan Chochorowski, Krakow 2004; articles in Polish, Russian, German, English  




The Cimmerians are believed to have been Indo-European. Their language is regarded as related to Iranian[6] or Thracian. They appeared to have had an Iranian ruling class.[7]

Although the 2006 Encyclopædia Britannica reflects Herodotus, stating, "They [the Cimmerians] probably did live in the area north of the Black Sea," but attempts to define their original homeland more precisely by archaeological means, or even to fix the date of their expulsion from their country by the Scythians, have not so far been completely successful."[7] But, academic scholars have made use of documents dating to centuries earlier than Herodotus, such as intelligence reports to Sargon, and note that these identify the Cimmerians as living south rather than north of the Black Sea.[3][4].

A few stone stelae found in Ukraine and the northern Caucasus have been connected with the Cimmerians. They are in a style clearly different from both the later Scythian and the earlier Yamna/Kemi-Oba stelae.

Historical accounts

Cimmerian invasions of Colchis, Urartu and Assyria during the reign of King Rusas I

The first historical record of the Cimmerians appears in Assyrian annals in the year 714 BC. These describe how a people termed the Gimirri helped the forces of Sargon II to defeat the kingdom of Urartu. Their original homeland, called Gamir or Uishdish, seems to have been located within the buffer state of Mannae. The later geographer Ptolemy placed the Cimmerian city of Gomara in this region. After their conquests of Colchis and Iberia in the First Millennium BC, the Cimmerians also came to be known as Gimirri in Georgian. According to Georgian historians[8], the Cimmerians played an influential role in the development of both the Colchian and Iberian cultures. The modern-day Georgian word for hero, გმირი, gmiri, is derived from the word Gimirri. This refers to the Cimmerians who settled in the area after the initial conquests.

Some modern authors assert that the Cimmerians included mercenaries, whom the Assyrians knew as Khumri, who had been resettled there by Sargon. Later Greek accounts describe the Cimmerians as having previously lived on the steppes, between the Tyras (Dniester) and Tanais (Don) rivers. Greek and Mesopotamian sources note several Cimmerian kings including Tugdamme (Lygdamis in Greek; mid-7th century BC), and Sandakhshatra (late-7th century).

A "mythical" people also named Cimmerians are described in Book 11, 14 of Homer's Odyssey as living beyond the Oceanus, in a land of fog and darkness, at the edge of the world and the entrance of Hades. Most likely they were unrelated to the Cimmerians of the Black Sea.[9]

According to the Histories of Herodotus (c. 440 BC), the Cimmerians had been expelled from the steppes by the Scythians. To ensure burial in their ancestral homeland, the men of the Cimmerian royal family divided into groups and fought each other to the death. The Cimmerian commoners buried the bodies along the river Tyras and fled from the Scythian advance, across the Caucasus and into Anatolia and the Near East. Their range seems to have extended from Mannae eastward through the Mede settlements of the Zagros Mountains, and south as far as Elam.

The Assyrians recorded the migrations of the Cimmerians, as the former people's king Sargon II was killed in battle against them in 705 BC. The Cimmerians were subsequently recorded as having conquered Phrygia in 696-695 BC, prompting the Phrygian king Midas to take poison rather than face capture. In 679 BC, during the reign of Esarhaddon of Assyria, they attacked Cilicia and Tabal under their new ruler Teushpa. Esarhaddon defeated them near Hubushna.

In 654 BC or 652 BC – the exact date is unclear – the Cimmerians attacked the kingdom of Lydia, killing the Lydian king Gyges and causing great destruction to the Lydian capital of Sardis. They returned ten years later during the reign of Gyges' son Ardys II; this time they captured the city, with the exception of the citadel. The fall of Sardis was a major shock to the powers of the region; the Greek poets Callinus and Archilochus recorded the fear that it inspired in the Greek colonies of Ionia, some of which were attacked by Cimmerian and Treres raiders.

The Cimmerian occupation of Lydia was brief, however, possibly due to an outbreak of plague. Between 637 and 626 BC, they were beaten back by Alyattes II of Lydia. This defeat marked the effective end of Cimmerian power. The term Gimirri was used about a century later in the Behistun inscription (ca. 515 BC) as a Babylonian equivalent of Persian Saka (Scythians). Otherwise Cimmerians disappeared from western Asian historical accounts, and their fate was unknown. It has been speculated that they settled in Cappadocia, known in Armenian as Գամիրք, Gamir-kʿ (the same name as the original Cimmerian homeland in Mannae).


  • 721-715 BC – Sargon II mentions a land of Gamirr near to Urartu.
  • 714 – suicide of Rusas I of Urartu, after defeat by both the Assyrians and Cimmerians.
  • 705 – Sargon II of Assyria dies on an expedition against the Kulummu.
  • 679/678 – Gimirri under a ruler called Teushpa invade Assyria from Hubuschna (Cappadocia?). Esarhaddon of Assyria defeats them in battle.
  • 676-674 – Cimmerians invade and destroy Phrygia, and reach Paphlagonia.
  • 654 or 652 – Gyges of Lydia dies in battle against the Cimmerians. Sack of Sardis; Cimmerians and Treres plunder Ionian colonies.
  • 644 – Cimmerians occupy Sardis, but withdraw soon afterwards
  • 637-626 – Cimmerians defeated by Alyattes II.
  • ca. 515 – Last historical record of Cimmerians, in the Behistun inscription of Darius.


Only a few personal names in the Cimmerian language have survived in Assyrian inscriptions:

  • Dug-dam-mei (Dugdammê) king of the Ummân-Manda (nomads) appears in a prayer of Ashurbanipal to Marduk, on a fragment at the British Museum. According to Professor J. Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Duγda-maya "giving happiness".[6] Other spellings include Dugdammi, and Tugdammê. Yamauchi also interprets the name as Iranian, citing Ossetic Tux-domæg "Ruling with Strength."[10] The name appears corrupted to Lygdamis in Strabo 1.3.21.
  • Sandaksatru, son of Dugdamme. This is an Iranian reading of the name, and Mayrhofer (1981) points out that the name may also be read as Sandakurru. Mayrhofer likewise rejects the interpretation of "with pure regency" as a mixing of Iranian and Indo-Aryan. Ivancik suggests an association with the Anatolian deity Sanda. According to Professor J. Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Sanda-Kuru "Splendid Son".[6] Kur/Kuru is still used as "son" in Kurdish languages and in Persian, korr is used for the male offspring of horses.

Some researchers have attempted to trace various place names to Cimmerian origins. It has been suggested that Crimea is named after the Cimmerians[11] as well as the Armenian city of Gyumri. The name "Crimea" is traceable to the Crimean Tatar word qırım (my steppe, hill), and the peninsula was known as Taurica, (Peninsula) of the Tauri, in antiquity (Strabo 7.4.1; Herodotus 4.99.3, Amm. Marc. 22.8.32).

Based on ancient Greek historical sources, a Thracian[12][13] or a Celtic[14] association is sometimes assumed. According to Ferdinand Friedrich Carl Lehmann-Haupt, the language of the Cimmerians could have been a "missing link" between Thracian and Iranian.

Possible offshoots

Herodotus thought the Cimmerians and the Thracians closely related, writing that both peoples originally inhabited the northern shore of the Black Sea, and both were displaced about 700 BC, by invaders from the east. Whereas the Cimmerians would have departed this ancestral homeland by heading west and south across the Caucasus, the Thracians migrated southwest into the Balkans, where they established a successful and long-lived culture. The Tauri, the original inhabitants of Crimea, are sometimes identified as a people related to the Cimmerians and later the Taurisci.

Premodern historians asserted Cimmerian descent for the Celts or the Germans, arguing from the similarity of Cimmerii to Cimbri or Cymry. It is unlikely that either Proto-Celtic or Proto-Germanic entered western Europe as late as the 7th century BC; their formation was commonly associated with the Bronze Age Urnfield and Nordic Bronze Age cultures, respectively. It is, however, conceivable that a small-scale (in terms of population) 8th century "Thraco-Cimmerian" migration triggered cultural changes that contributed to the transformation of the Urnfield culture into the Hallstatt C culture, ushering in the European Iron Age. Later Cimmerian remnant groups may have spread as far as to the Nordic Countries and the Rhine River. An example is the Cimbri tribe, considered to be a Germanic tribe hailing from the Himmerland (Old Danish Himber sysæl) region in northern Denmark.[15]

The etymology of Cymro "Welshman" (plural: Cymry) and Cwmry (for Cumbria), connected to the Cimmerians by 17th century celticists, is now accepted by some Celtic linguists to derive from the Brythonic word combrogos and Proto-Brythonic *kom-brogos[16][17][18], meaning "compatriots", (i.e. fellow-Brythons as opposed to the Anglo-Saxons), and is thus related to its sister language Breton's keñvroad, keñvroiz "compatriot" [19].

Appearance in myths of other peoples

In sources beginning with the Royal Frankish Annals, the Merovingian kings of the Franks traditionally traced their lineage through a pre-Frankish tribe called the Sicambri (or Sugambri), mythologized as a group of "Cimmerians" from the mouth of the Danube river, but who instead came from Gelderland in modern Netherlands and are named for the Sieg river[20] or which could derive from that of the Cimbri as their chieftain names have the same suffix -rix.


See also


  1. ^ Renate Rolle, "Urartu und die Reiternomaden", in: Saeculum 28, 1977, S. 291-339
  2. ^ K. Deller, "Ausgewählte neuassyrische Briefe betreffend Urarṭu zur Zeit Sargons II.," in P.E. Pecorella and M. Salvini (eds), Tra lo Zagros e l'Urmia. Ricerche storiche ed archeologiche nell'Azerbaigian Iraniano, Incunabula Graeca 78 (Rome 1984) 97-122.
  3. ^ a b Cozzoli, Umberto (1968). I Cimmeri. Rome Italy: Arti Grafiche Citta di Castello (Roma). 
  4. ^ a b Salvini, Mirjo (1984). Tra lo Zagros e l'Urmia: richerche storiche ed archeologiche nell'Azerbaigian iraniano. Rome Italy: Ed. Dell'Ateneo (Roma). 
  5. ^ Kristensen, Anne Katrine Gade (1988). Who were the Cimmerians, and where did they come from?: Sargon II, and the Cimmerians, and Rusa I. Copenhagen Denmark: The Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters. 
  6. ^ a b c d J.Harmatta: "Scythians" UNESCO Collection of History of Humanity: Volume III: From the Seventh Century BC to the Seventh Century AD, Routledge/UNESCO. 1996, p. 182
  7. ^ a b "Cimmerian", in Encyclopædia Britannica, 2006, Retrieved August 30, 2006. Quote: "The origin of the Cimmerians is obscure. Linguistically they are usually regarded as Thracian or as Iranian, or at least to have had an Iranian ruling class."
  8. ^ Berdzenishvili, N., Dondua V., Dumbadze, M., Melikishvili G., Meskhia, Sh., Ratiani, P., History of Georgia (Vol. 1), Tbilisi, 1958, pp. 34-36
  9. ^ "Cimmerians" (Κιμμέριοι), Henry Liddell & Robert Scott, Perseus, Tufts University
  10. ^ Yamauchi, Edwin M (1982). Foes from the Northern Frontier: Invading Hordes from the Russian Steppes. Grand Rapids MI USA: Baker Book House. 
  11. ^ Aasimov, Isaac (1991). Asimov's Chronology of the World. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 50. 
  12. ^ Meljukova, A. I. (1979). Skifija i Frakijskij Mir. Moscow. 
  13. ^ Strabo ascribes the Treres to the Thracians at one place (13.1.8) and to the Cimmerians at another (14.1.40)
  14. ^ Posidonius in Strabo 7.2.2.
  15. ^ Jones, Gwyn. A History of the Vikings, London: Oxford University Press, 2001
  16. ^ Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, vol. I, p. 770.
  17. ^ Jones, J. Morris. Welsh Grammar: Historical and Comparative. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.
  18. ^ Russell, Paul. Introduction to the Celtic Languages. London: Longman, 1995.
  19. ^ Delamarre, Xavier. Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Paris: Errance, 2001.
  20. ^ Geary, Patrick J. Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988


  • Ivanchik A.I. "Cimmerians and Scythians", 2001
  • Terenozhkin A.I., Cimmerians, Kiev, 1983
  • Cimmerian. (2006). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved August 30, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service:
  • Collection of Slavonic and Foreign Language Manuscripts - St.St Cyril and Methodius - Bulgarian National Library:

External links


Cimmerians, Getai, Goths?
Responsible for the presence of haplogroup I in all those areas can be explained by the fact that many migratory people were of German origin: Goths, Vandals, Lombards, Burgundians, Suevians, Saxons, Angles, Normans etc.

Thracians and Germans were related. Germans indeed claimed in ancient times that they were Thracians or Cimmerians - Cimbri. It is clear that the Thraco-Cimmerians had a great influence over Germans and Celts. Thraco-Cimmerians migrated from the Northern shores of the Black Sea. The Thracian branch migrated in the Balkans, Anatolia and in Central and Northern Europe. The Cimmerian one migrated in Caucasus, Anatolia and Volga river basin. (Volga basin is considered the birthplace of the Sarmatians and Sarmatians are considered the descendents of the Cimmerian people)

The free Dacians (Carpians) could be responsible for the dark purple from North East Romania, Republic of Moldova and Southeastern Ukraine, the Thraco-Illyrians for the Dark purple in Southwestern Balkan Peninsula and Cimbri for the dark purple in Jutland and Scandinavia. And for Sardinia you may ask? Well there are a lot of speculations in this matter... There are two explanations for Sardinia: one is that Sherden, Shekelesh and Teresh Sea People came from Sardis, Lydia in 2000 BC and populated Sardinia, Sicily and Tuscany (Etruria) after escaping the Trojan war and the other is Normans that settled in Sicily and attacked and occupied Sardinia. An interesting thing though is that Sardinians have an I2 haplogroup together with people from Central and Southeast Europe while people from Norhern Europe have an I1 haplogroup.

Thracians inhabited parts of the ancient provinces: Thrace, Moesia, Macedonia, Dacia, Scythia Minor, Sarmatia, Bithynia, Mysia, Pannonia, and other regions on the Balkans and Anatolia. This area extends over most of the Balkans region, and the Getae north of the Danube as far as beyond the Bug. The Thracians that reached territories inhabited by Germans and Celts mixed with the local population and have been assimilated.

Also see my Thraco-Cimmerian thesis here

Thraco-Cimmerian finds.

What do you think?

Thraco-Cimmerians gave birth to the Thracians and to the Sarmatians.
The theory that Thraco-Cimmerians lived on the Norhern shores of the Black Sea and split ways,Thracians migrating west and Cimmerians east is in fact not mine it has been written by the great hystorian Herodotus. As you can see haplogroup R1A proves that Thraco-Cimmerians merged with Germans thru the Thracian Branch. Also the Scythians that migrated in areas inhabited by Germans and Celts and much later the Sarmatians have been assimilated by Centum speaking people: Germans and Celts.
I think that this a better representation of the Thraco-Cimmerians and of the people that spoke a Satem language:

Also see this map of haplogroups! R1A (purple) - Satem people R1B (Red) Centum People.

Thraco-Cimmerians, Scythians and Sarmatians never reached Western Europe! R1A has been carried to the British Isles by German Migratory people - Saxons, Angles and Jutes.

The relation between Thracians and Germans can't be denied! It exists!

Haplogroup I has been brought by Thraco-Cimmerians from the North shores of the Black Sea and the steppes of Ukraine to the area of modern Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and Romania or Haplogroup I was born after the Satem speaking hunter-gatherers Thraco-Cimmerians merged with the local Pelasians - The Danubian culture, the first agrarian society of Central and Eastern Europe. Some Thraco-Cimmerians migrated further in Central and Northern Europe and brought the I haplogroup in that area.

This doesn't mean though that Dacians and Goths were the same people! Some Thraco-Cimmerians that came from the steppes of Eastern Europe settled in Dacia, Thrace and Anatolia while others continued their migration in Central Europe where they met Celts and in Northern Europe were they met Germans and merged with them taking their language and culture. Celts from Central Europe have been assimilated by Germans, Thracians and Sarmatians.

See R1B distribution (haplogroup of the Centum people)

Thraco-Cimmerians migrated in Cimbri teritory and merged with them. This is proved by testing mithocondrial DNA. Back then Cimbri were Celts and lived near the Alps. Only later they merged with the Germans from the north and took the Etruscan-based runic writing system with them. They are responsible for the Etruscan scripts in Northern Europe. The Germanic Cimbri merged with Scythians and Sarmatians afterwards.

Cimmerians in Europe from the National Historical Museum of Ukraine

Cimmerian Art (9th – 8th centuries BCE)


Cimmerians from Etruscan vases
Images of the Cimmerians from Etruscan vases

Nimrud relief with a image of the Cimmerian warriors
Nimrud relief with a image of the Cimmerian (?) warriors



Pin (?)

8th century BCE.

Tumulus near the village of Vilshana, Cherkasy Region.

Excavations 1984.

Belt decoration

Belt decoration

8th century BCE.

Vysoka Mohyla tumulus near the village of Balky, Zaporizhia Region.

Excavations 1971

<< Back

In the territory of Ukraine the objects of goldsmithry became widespread I millennium BCE - in the Early Iron Age - when the steppe and forest steppe were populated by the Iranian tribes of nomadic herdsmen.
The Cimmerians are the first people of Eastern Europe known after their proper name that was written down in Greek and Assyrian texts. The Cimmerians are considered to be nomadic and agricultural tribes who lived in the steppe and the forest steppe and used the weaponry set with sword, spear, axe, arrows, and the harness convenient for a chariot. Some written sources describe the Cimmerians as good herdsmen; others portray them as threatening riders. Images of the Cimmerians - cruel warriors who ravaged rich countries of Urartu and Assyria in the 8th – 7th centuries BCE – are present on ancient ceramic vases and stone bas-reliefs.

In the early 7th century BCE, the Scythian nomads arrived. Herodotus explains in his "History", written in the 5th century BCE, that the Cimmerians, expelled by the Scythians, retreated into Minor Asia and ruined there Phrygian kingdom, the cities of Magnesia, Smyrna, Sardis. After the Cimmerian had been defeated by the Assyrians, the Scythians appeared as the main military force that passed across the lands of Urartu, Media, Assyria till Egypt, where Pharaoh paid their moving away with rich gifts. During 28 years (from 652 to 625 BCE) the Scythians plundered Asian countries, causing discontent. The Median king avenged of the all: he invited all Scythian chiefs for a great feast, when they were drunk the Median ordered to kill them. Then the Scythians returned to "their plains" north of the Black Sea. During the 7th century BCE the Great Scythia embraced the lands between the rivers Don "Tanais" and Danube "Ister", and its northern boundary was the forest zone of Polissia.

At the same time on the north coast of the Black Sea "Pontus Euxinus" appeared Greek colonies of settlers from Minor Asia. The most of them sailed from Miletus to found important colonies of Olbia in estuary of the Dnipro, Tyras in estuary of the Dnister and Pantikapaeum, the greatest Greek city in the Crimea, "Taurica". Another important city Chersonesos was founded on the southern coast of the Crimean peninsula by colonists from Heraclea Pontica. Those were the most important cities that became centers of economic, trade and cultural relations between the Greek civilization and the Scythian world.
During the 4th century BCE, under the reign of Atei, the Great Scythia lived its richest period.
But in the 3rd century BCE it began to decline. One of the main reasons was environmental: high solar activity made dry grasslands that forced the nomads to move to lower reaches of the Dnipro river and into the Crimea.

Later, in the 2nd century BCE, deserted steppes above the Black Sea were repopulated by the nomadic Sarmatians "armed with the sword". Their tribes arrived from the depths of Asia and gradually inhabited the steppe from the foothills of the Caucasus to the valley of the Danube. For next six hundred years the cities-states by the Black Sea, being under Roman influences, had been feeling a permanent fear of the Sarmatian cavalry. The city of Olbia was some time under control of the Sarmatian kings - Farzoi and his son. Some Hellenic cities on the low Dnipro were destroyed by Sarmatian raids. Iranian domination ended in the 4th century CE with the Turkic migration.

In the nowadays Ukrainian steppe there are many thousands kurgans – barrows left by the Cimmerians, the Scythians and the Sarmatians. The greatest among them are tombs of nomadic elite where the archaeologists excavate many artifacts. Among them there are gorgeous examples of ancient metal art created by local goldsmiths or imported with commercial operations and military campaigns.
The examples of the most ancient jewelry are the adornments found in the graves from the 9th – 7th centuries BCE. They decorated the Cimmerian warriors, their weapons, clothes, utensils and horse equipment. Cimmerian art has geometric motifs: circle, semicircle, spiral, squares, rhombus, crosses, etc. Metal decorations were created thanks to lost-wax casting, forging, stamping, carving and brazing. Some items were inlaid with glass.

The Scythians brought a fascinating animal style with images of stags, horses, mountain goats, feline predators. The realistic representation with special stylistic accent on an element offers to feel some vital vigour. Every image had some signification and was used as an amulet, talisman. The metal decorations are usually created by embossing and chasing, or sometimes cast as miniature sculpture.
Along with countless toreutic decorations made in the Great Scythia there are more sophisticated adornments created by the goldsmiths in the city-states by the Black and Mediterranean seas. Pontic artists gradually transformed relief realistic images of animals into flat stylized abstract patterns. Since the late 5th century BCE in the decorative art of the northern shore of the Black Sea appeared the Scythian-Hellenic style – where the main image taken from Greek mythology got some local features. The Scythians liked to use Greek adornments bearing the traditional scenes: sacrifices with mythical and terrestrial beasts, battles of the hero with a beast, ceremonies with presence of the gods and the humans.

Thus, the silver-gilded "Haymanova Cup", from the tumulus of Haymanova Mohyla, presents two couples of Scythian noble men flanked by humble servants. Thanks to a very detail engraving work on the embossed figures there is opportunity to see every personage with its own features, portrait, hairdressing, cloth, weaponry.

The gold "Helmet", from Perederiyeva Mohyla, is ingraved with the battle in steppe where two bearded men triumph over four young lads. All six warriors are wearing cloths in the same Scythian style. That scene evocates History by Herodotus where Melpomene 3 says: "From their slaves and from their wives had been born and bred up a generation of young men, who having learnt the manner of their birth set themselves to oppose the Scythians as they were returning from the Medes. Afterwards when the Scythians attempted to invade the land, they took up a position against them and fought; and as they fought many times, and the Scythians were not able to get any advantage in the fighting. When they were advised to leave spears and bows and that each one takes his horse-whip for the young would see their whips instead of arms, and perceive to be their slaves."

The Pectoral is the most perfect decoration of the Great Scythia created specially for the nomadic basileus by some skilful master who evidently worked in an important Greek goldsmithry. "It embodies the soul of the all Scythian people" - wrote Borys Mozolevsky, Ukrainian archaeologist who excavated the Pectoral in the hiding place of the tumulus Tovsta Mohyla on June 21, 1971. Three levels of the Pectoral with breathtaking gold figurines, cast after lost-wax technology and engraved in details, represent the Scythian life in spring, the under-earth world of death and the space of celestial being.

In the Hellenistic period (late 4th century BCE – 1st century CE) the utensils became more luxurious, the jewelry became more refined. The Scythian elite followed some Hellenic modes of jewelry, also cloths and even habits. The gold decorations became polychrome thanks to the encrustation with gems or enamel.
Since the 1st century CE - the Gold Age of the Sarmatians – their richest barrows keep interesting antique items from the jewelry centers of Bosporus, Thracia and Asia Minor. The Sarmatian art presents the domination of zoomorphic images interpreted in another manner: animal figurines were often decorated with blue-colored inlaid. Next centuries saw the mode for geometric patterns and the total incrustation of the gold adornments with semi-precious stones, colored glass and enamel.

The highlight of this style is a fascinating pair of gold bracelets from the Nohaychynsky barrow. The external side of their hollow gold torus is entirely covered with uncountable pearls and some onyx gems beaded on the fifty gold fine wires. The wrist is decorated with a big yellowish semi-precious stone framed besides with two gold figurines that make think about the couple of Eros and Psyche.

Cultural achievements by the antic inhabitants of the South Ukraine inspired the artistic creation of next generations.

During the 4th – 7th centuries the epoch of the Great Migration saw further development of the precedent jewelry art, especially remarkable with the use of the polychrome style.ack


In the nowadays Ukrainian steppe there are many thousands kurgans – barrows left by the Cimmerians, the Scythians and the Sarmatians. The greatest among them are tombs of nomadic elite where the archaeologists excavate many artifacts. Among them there are gorgeous examples of ancient metal art created by local goldsmiths or imported with commercial operations and military campaigns.
The examples of the most ancient jewelry are the adornments found in the graves from the 9th – 7th centuries BCE. They decorated the Cimmerian warriors, their weapons, clothes, utensils and horse equipment. Cimmerian art has geometric motifs: circle, semicircle, spiral, squares, rhombus, crosses, etc. Metal decorations were created thanks to lost-wax casting, forging, stamping, carving and brazing. Some items were inlaid with glass.

Cimerians, Scythian or Thracians  on Francois Vase

Cimerians, Scythian or Thracians

François Vase: Volute crater, Attic Black Figure, In six registers: the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis; Achilles pursuing Troilos; Return of Hephaestus; the Calydonian Boar hunt; Theseus on Crete; Funeral games of Patroclus; Pygmies and Cranes; etc., Cleitias, Etruria, Archaeological Museum, Florence, Florence 4209
Collection: Florence, Museo Archeologico Nazionale
Summary: In six registers: the Wedding of Peleus and Thetis; Achilles pursuing Troilos; Return of Hephaistos; the Calydonian Boar hunt; Theseus on Crete; Funeral games of Patroklos; Pygmies and Cranes; etc.
Ware: Attic Black Figure
Painter: Signed by Kleitias
Potter: Signed by Ergotimos
Context: Excavated at Chiusi
Date: ca. 570 BC - ca. 560 BC
Dimensions: H. 0.66 m., D. rim 0.57 m.
Primary Citation: ABV, 76, 1
Shape: Volute krater
Beazley Number: 300000
Region: Etruria
Period: High Archaic

the Calydonian Boar hunt

The two friezes on the neck depict four different mythological subjects. The upper frieze on Side A shows the hunt for the Calydonian Boar. The boar, in the center of the scene, charges to the left while nineteen hunters attack him with spears, arrows and stones. The boar is pierced by four arrows, and a white dog stands on his back, biting his neck. The hunters attack in pairs: to the left of the boar, facing his onslaught, stand Peleus and Meleager, wearing short tunics and animal skins and holding their spears with both hands, thrusting low into the boar's head. Peleus is unbearded, Meleager bearded. Beneath the boar lies a fallen huntsman, Ankaios (written Antaios). To the left of Peleus and Meleager come Melanaion and Atalanta (written Atalate) and the only woman in the scene). Both carry spears upraised in their right hands, and hold their left hands forwards; Atalanta in addition has a quiver on her shoulder, since she drew the first blood of the boar with her arrow. Behind this pair is a crouching archer, Euthymachos, wearing a tall pointed hat and so, despite his Greek name, perhaps to be identified as a Scythian or Cimmerian like the figures to the right of the boar. Behind Euthymachos come two more pairs of huntsmen, Thorax and Antandros, and Harpalea[s] and Aristandros, running with their forward feet raised. All wear short tunics and animal skins; Thorax wears a small hat. Thorax, Antandros and Harpalea[s] wield spears; Aristandros throws a stone. To the right of the boar, Kastor and Polydeukes attack the beast. They are bearded (unusually), and wear short tunics and swords on baldrics. Behind the Dioskouroi are Akastos and his brother-in-law Admetos (written Asmenos) They are in the same stance as Atalanta and Melanion, but they run with their forward legs off the ground, and Admetos carries a spare spear in his forward hand, and both carry swords on baldrics. 

Behind these spear men is another crouching archer, also wearing a pointed hat, and labelled *K*I*M*E*R*I*O*S, "The Cimmerian."

 Two more spear men advance behind him, Antimachos and Simon, wearing petasoi and carrying swords, and behind them, another archer, Toxamis, whose name is Scythian or Cimmerian in origin. Finally two more spear men bring up the rear at a run, Pausileon and Kynortes. Kynortes wears a petasos. The seven hunting dogs are all named: Labros, Methepon, Egertes, E[u]bolos, Korax, Marpsas, and Ormenos. Three are black and four white; one, Ormenos, has been killed by the boar and his entrails are visible through his split belly. The scene is flanked by sphinxes on either side.


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