63524923 T Sulimirski Scythian Antiquities in Western Asia

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<ul><li><p>T. SULIMIRSKI: SCYTHIAN ANTIQUITIES IN WESTERN ASIA </p><p>THE APPEARANCE OF THE SCYTHIANS </p><p>The Scythian exploits in Western Asia, as described in ancient written sources, have been referred to by many authors, who dealt with them mainly in the margin of their larger works. More attention was paid to them by J. v. PraSek1 and by N. Adontz,2 and a special study devoted to the Scythians in Asia was published by L. Piotrowicz.3 According to these authors, the Scythians, who arrived from beyond the Caucasus, took possession of the country between the Kura and the Araxes, and soon extended south- wards to the present Azerbaijan. Thus they settled east of the ancient Urartu, in the country which was later called the land of Skythenoi by Xenophon, Sacassani by Pliny, and Sakasene by Ptolemy. The same location has been recently proposed by R. Ghirshman.4 It should be emphasized that the Scythians did not form a single people. Under this name a variety of nomad tribes of the Eurasiatic steppes are included who were linked by a similar way of life, a more or less common culture and sometimes also a common origin. The date of the Scythian arrival has not been definitely established; W. Belck 5 puts it in the IXth c. B.C., L. Piotrowicz in the VIIIth c. B. C., R. Ghirshman and N. Adontz in the VIIth c., and B. B. Piotrovskii 6 </p><p>ABBREVIATIONS </p><p>C.A.H. - Cambridge Ancient History ESA - Eurasia Septentrionalis Antiqua KSIIMK- Kratkie Soobshcheniya Instituta Istorii Materialnoy Kultury Liverpool AAA -Annals of Archaeology and Anthropology MA G - Mitteilungen d. anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien MAR - Materialy po arkheologii Rossii OAK- Otchet Imp. Archeologicheskoy Kommissiy RE (Pauly- Wissowa) - Real-Encyklopddie RL (Ebert) - Reallexikon der Vorgeschichte Trudy GIM- Trudy Gosud. Istoricheskogo Muzeya (Moscow) VDI- Vestik Drevney Istorii </p><p>1 J. v. Prasek, Geschichte der Meder und Perser bis zum makedonischen Eroberung, Vol. I, Gotha, 190o6, pp. I 9 ff., 141 ff. 2 N. Adontz, Histoire d'Armenie, Paris, 1946, p. 308 f. a L. Piotrowicz, L' Invasion des Scythes en Asie Anterieure en VIIe siecle av. J. C. ) EOS, Vol. XXXII, Lw6w, I939. pp. 473-508. 4 R. Ghirshman, </p></li><li><p>moves it to the end of the VIIth and the beginning of the VIth c. B. C. According to Assyrian annals the Scythians were already well established in Western Asia at the beginning of the VIIth c.7 On the other hand Herodotus explicitly connects the advent of the Scythians in Western Asia with the expulsion of Cimmerians from the Pontic steppes, and Assyrian chronicles record the presence of the Cimmerians on the Urartian borders in 714 B. C. It may be, therefore, assumed that in the VIIIth c. B. C. the Scythians were certainly in possession of their Western Asiatic territory. But there are several indications that the Scythian arrival in Western Asia, or at least in Transcaucasia, took place still earlier, during the IXth or by the end of the Xth c. B. C. To such a conclusion point both the study of historical and archaeological data from the Pontic steppes, and those from the countries south of the Caucasus. In trying to establish the date of the Scythian arrival in the Pontic steppes, which is crucial for our in- vestigation, we again meet with difficulties. Controversial opinions are held concerning this date by the most eminent scholars. According to M. Rostovtzeff8 these events took place at about 600 B. C.; E. H. Minns 9 and J. L. Myres 10 prefer the date c. 700 B. C., and others, e. g. M. Ebert 11 and B. Grakov,12 move it to the IX-VIII c. M. I. Artamonov 13 is inclined to place these events even still further back, to the last centuries of the second millenium B. C., and a similar opinion was expressed by V. Parvan,14 A. Basch- makoffl5 and W. Belck.16 In searching for a proper solution of this problem, we have first to take notice of a few hints which ancient authors offer us. One of these hints is furnished by the journey of Aristeas of Proconnesus [Herodotus IV. 13], to the countries situated to the North-East of the Black Sea, which took place sometime in the middle of the VIIth c. B. C. 17 The report of Aristeas clearly indicates that the Cimmerians were driven </p><p>me; I know it thanks to its large review by E. Krupnov in Archeologia, Vol. II, Wroclaw, 1948, p. 242- 248. Idem, Karmir-Blur, Vol. I, Erevan, 1950, p. 88 (in Russian). 7 E. Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, Vol. III, Stuttgart, I937, p. 71 if. 8 M. Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks in South Russia, Oxford, 1922, p. 35ff. 9 E. H. Minns, "The Art of Northern Nomads", Proceedings of the British Academy, Vol. XXVIII, 1942, . 9. 10 J. L. Myres, "The Ethnology, Habitat, Linguistic, and Common Culture of Indo-Europeans up to the Time of Migrations", European Civilisation (E. Eyre), Vol. II, Oxford, I935, p. 207. 11 M. Ebert, Siidrussland im Altertum, Bonn-Leipzig, 1921, p. 107. 12 B. Grakov, Skify, Kiev, 1947, p. I3 ff. (in Ukrainian). 13 M. I. Artamonov, "K Voprosu o Proiskhozhdenii Skifov", VDI, Vol. 2/32, I950, p. 44, 46 (in Russian). 14 V. Parvan, Getica, o protoistorie a Daciei. Bucuresti, 1926, p. 727. Idem, Dacia, An Outline of the Early Civilisations of the Carpatho-Danubian Countries. Oxford, 1928, p. 37. 15 A. Baschmakoff, Le probleme Scythique et l'enigme Cimmerienne , Revue Anthropologique, Vol. 42, Paris, 1932, p. 146 f. Idem, X Cinquante siecles d'evolution ethnique autour de la Mer Noire D, Paris, 1937, p. I05 ff. 16 W. Belck, loc. cit., p. 46. 17 E. H. Minns, in C. A. H., Vol. III, 1924, p. i88, dated it to about 680 B. C. E. Berthe in RE (Pauly-Wis- sowa), Vol. II, p. 876, put it to the VI th c. The literature concerning this question has been reviewed by 0. J. Pokrovskii, Herodot ta Aristey. Zbirnyk D. I. Bahaliya, Kiev, 1927, p. 326, (in Ukrainian). </p><p>283 </p></li><li><p>out by the Scythians a considerable time before his journey. At least I00, or 200 years must have elapsed, as only a vague notion of these events had been preserved in the memory of peoples whom Aristeas had met. If these events had not been in the remote past at the time of Aristeas, several details concerning them would presumably have been handed down to him. In these circumstances it seems that a date, at least in the beginning of the VIIIth, or rather in th the IXth c., or even an earlier one, may be suggested for the Scythian conquest of the Pontic steppes. Another indication of a similarly early date for the Scythian advent is provided by the study of Hesiod and of Homer. Hesiod, whom T. W. Allen 8 dates to the period c. 800 B. C., and who lived, in any case not later than the VIIth c.,19 was the first by whom the name of the Scythians was mentioned. He knew of the mare-milking Scythians, and also speaks of a tribe of milk-drinkers who have waggons for houses, but he does not know the Cimmerians. This indicates that in his time the Scythians were already in the </p><p>possession of the Pontic steppes and the Cimmerians had fallen into oblivion. Homer leads us to the same </p><p>conclusion, when he mentions the mare-milkers [Iliad XIII. 4-8]. His account of the Cimmerians in the Odyssey [XI. 14-19] seems to reflect an ancient tradition of a country and people which were known some time ago, but which were now forgotten; only a fabulous notion of them remained in his tune.2? This also seems to indicate that in the time of Homer the Scythians already lived in Pontic steppes, and since the ousting of the Cimmerians, a longer period must have elapsed. A new question, however, arises as to the date of Homer. According to H. J. Rose,21 few, if any, would put Homer earlier than cir. 950 B. C., or more than 1 50 or at most 200 years later. He inclines towards the earlier date. T. W. Allen 22 and J. B. Bury 23 date him to the IXth c. B. C., W. Ridgeway 24 thinks that the Iliad and Odyssey were written cir. Iooo B. C. Lately W. F. Albright25 expressed the opinion that the terminus ante quem for the composition of the Odyssey, and presumably also for the Iliad, must be fixed about the middle of the Xth c., rather cir. 975 B. C. T. Sinko,26 however, puts the date of the Iliad 800- </p><p>750B. C., and that of the Odyssey 750B. C., and H. L. Lorimer 27 still later, 750-700 B. C. and 725-700 B.C. </p><p>respectively. We can accept that the Iliad and the Odyssey were written not later than in the VIIIth c. B. C.; and ac- </p><p>cordingly, the events in Pontic lands in which we are concerned, must have taken place at least I00 or </p><p>even 200 years earlier, during the IXth or Xth c. B. C. </p><p>s1 T. W. Allen, Homer, the Origin and the Transmission, Oxford, 1924, p. 83. 19 T. Sinko, Literatura Grecka, Vol. I, Krak6w I93I, (Polska Akademia Umiejetnosci), p. 28, 194 ff. 20 A. R. Burn, Minoans, Philistines and Greeks B. C. 14oo-9oo, London, I930, p. 237. 21 In Chamber's Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, 1950, p. 190. 22 T. W. Allen, loc. cit., p. 76. 23 In C. A.H., Vol.III, 1924, p. 517. 24 W. Ridgeway, The Early Age of Greece, Vol. I, Cambridge, 1931 (2nd ed.). p. 682. 25 W. F. Albright, "Some Oriental Glosses on the Homeric Problem", American Journal of Archaeology, vol. 54, 1950, pp. I73-176. 26 T. Sinko, loc. cit., p. 26 if. 27 H. L. Lorimer, Homer and the Monuments, London, I950, p. 464. </p><p>284 </p></li><li><p>EARLY SCYTHIANS IN PONTIC LANDS </p><p>A huge library has been written on the Scythians in Pontic lands, on their history, culture, art, on their customs etc. But, although the study of both literary and archaeological remains have proceeded for over 200 years, many problems still remain unsettled. A review of these outstanding questions has been given recently by F. Hancar.28 A well known fact, acknowledged by M. Rostovtzeff and other eminent scholars,29 is that a discrepancy exists between the supposed date of the Scythian arrival in Pontic lands, established on historical evidence, and the actual date of the earliest Scythian archaeological remains in that country. This time lag amounts to at least 100-200 years, even if the lowest dating is taken into consideration. The earliest remains in Pontic countries of "Scythian" type date, according to E. H. Minns 30 and M. Ros- tovtzeff,31 from the period 575-550 B. C.; with these remains are usually included the Kelermes barrow in the northern Caucasus and the Melgunov-Litoi barrow on the Lower Dnieper. K. Schefold32 dates these graves to 520-525 B. C.; he considered barrow No. 447 from Zhurovka on the Lower Dnieper as the earl- iest, and assigned it to 575-5 50 B. C. The dating of the Kelermes barrow to the beginning of the VIth c. B. C. is indicated by the tree-ring analysis recently done by Soviet scholars,38 and also a recent stylistical study of the bronze mirror found in one of the Kelermes graves.34 According to T. N. Knipovich,35 a barrow grave from Krivorozhe on the Lower Don belongs to the same period. These dates clearly show that it is only during the second quarter of the VIth c. B. C. that the "Scythian" remains appear in Pontic countries. There exists a small group of early barrows in the Crimea, to which two barrows at Temir Gora near Kertch and the Zukor barrow on the Taman peninsula belong. These barrows were dated to the second half of the VIIth c. B. C. by the above mentioned scholars. They were considered Scythian by E. H. Minns and G. Borovka,36 but M. Rostovtzeff 37 was of the opinion that they belonged to the indigenous popula- tion, Cimmerians mixed with Sindians. The fact that these barrows are situated in the Crimea outside the Scythian territory makes it hardly conceivable that these graves were built by the Scythians. </p><p>28 F. Hancar, ,,Die Skythen als Forschungsproblem", Reinecke Festschrift, Mainz, 1950, p. 67-83. 29 M. Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks, p. 41. A. A. Yessen, K Khronologii 'Bolshikh Kurganov' , So- vetskaya Arkheologiya, Vol. XII, 1950, p. I58. A. Baschmakoff, Cinquante siecles d'evolution ethnique autour de la Mer Noir, Paris, 1937, p. 107 f. 30 E.H. Minns, Scythians and Greeks, Cambridge I913, p. 17I ff., 222 ff Idem, The Artof Northern Nomads, p. 20 ff. 31 M. Rostovtzeff, Skythen und der Bosporus, Vol. I, Berlin 193 , p. 278. 32 K. Schefold, ,,Der skythische Tierstil in Siidrussland", ESA, Vol. XII, 1938. 38 B. Z. Rabinovich, ,,Shlemy Skifskogo Perioda" (Helmets of the Scythian Period), Travaux du Dept. de I'histoire de la culture Primitive, Vol. I, Leningrad, 1941, p. I 0. 3, M. I. Maksimova, VDI, Vol. 3, 1948, p. I8I ff. 35 T. N. Knipovich, ?K Voprosu o Torgovykh Snosheniyakh Grekov s Oblastiyu r. Tanaisa v VII-V. Vekakh do N. E. , Izvestiya Gaimk, Vol. 104, 93, p. 96 ff. 36 G. Borovka, Scythian Art, London 1928, p. 74. 37 M. Rostovtzeff, Iranians and Greeks, p. 40. </p><p>285 </p></li><li><p>This discrepancy between the date of the Scythian arrival and the date of their earliest archaeological remains leads us to infer that there must have been another group of archaeological remains left by the </p><p>early Scythians, although these remains have not been so far recognised. It seems that the remains of the so called "Srubnaia" culture, or "Chamber tomb" culture, may be considered as early Scythian; as M. I. Ar- tamonov38 has suggested these remains comply with all requirements which such an identification in- volves. The Srubnaia culture 39 was the westernmost branch of a large cultural complex belonging to nomadic </p><p>peoples, who inhabited the steppes of eastern Europe and Siberia, up to the Yenisei. This complex con- sisted of several local groups, known under various names, which developed in different parts of that enormous territory. Its central part, between the Lower Volga and the Urals, formed the Khvalinsk cul- ture.40 The Siberian branch, known under the name of Andronova culture,41 extended eastwards up to the Yenisei 42 and embraced the whole of Kazakhstan.43 It has been traced also in Turkestan, south of the Aral Sea down to Khiva and Tashkent, not far from the Persian border, as shown by A. A. Formozov.44 In the west, the Srubnaia culture extended up to the Dnieper; it adjoined the cultures of the northern Caucasus45 and penetrated deep into north-eastern Caucasus and Dagestan.46 The Srubnaia culture originated in the Lower Volga country; only in its later phase of development did it expand westwards, probably under pressure exerted by some Siberian tribes.47 It ousted the Catacomb </p><p>38 M.I. Artamonov, VDI, vol. 2/32, I950, p. 44. 39 &lt; Tombes i charpente ? described by A. M. Tallgren, </p></li><li><p>culture which had previously extended over the same territory, west of the Volga up to the Dnieper and to the Caucasus in the south. Russian scholars emphasize that between the Catacomb culture, and Srub- naia culture which succeeded it, no genetic connections exist.48 These facts about the Srubnaia culture fit well into the llinpicture of the Scythian conquest of Pontic lands given by Herodotus [IV. In]. It is only the chronology of the Catacomb and Srubnaia cultures which seems to contradict their identification with the Cimmerians and the Scythians respectively. According to current opinions,49 the Catacomb culture came to an end by I500 or I300B. C....</p></li></ul>