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I am currently reading up on the Scythians and looking at their involvement with the Roman Empire. I have read through Pliny to get a feel for the rhetoric of the day for Rome and their view of this culture.

My question is, where there any engagements between Rome and the Scythians specifically in the first century AD and if so could you point me to any articles that I could read.

Thank you in advance for your time!
The Scythians disappeared in the 5th-4th centuries BC. The term Scythian in the Roman era was a classicizing notion used to describe East Germanics and every steppe people afterwards except the Huns, who became their own distinct classicizing term.
Quote:My question is, where there any engagements between Rome and the Scythians specifically in the first century AD and if so could you point me to any articles that I could read.

In the first century AD I can just remember the Iazyges, migrating to the Danube between Dacia and Pannonia with permission of the romans. They were also involved in the replacement of Vennius, the king of the Marcomanns around 50 AD. These times there was more trouble with the Roxolani at the lower Danube. And during Claudius reign the romans replaced the ruler of the Bosporanian Kingdom and had some fights against the tribes over there. Later during Domitians campaign at the Danube you should also find some involvement of these tribes.

But I have no clue, if the romans called these guys Scythians or Sarmatians. However, I always understood, that the Sarmatians are just a group of Scythians, like the Suebi are a group of german tribes.
The expedition of Tiberius Plautius Silvanus against the Scythians in 60s C.E. comes to mind for the period that interests you. You can see some of the articles on the subject here.

An article in Russian that covers the Roman military equipment finds from Chersonesus in Crimea and argues for the historicity of the expedition can be found here.
Quote:
Troy Ancona post=368701 Wrote:My question is, where there any engagements between Rome and the Scythians specifically in the first century AD and if so could you point me to any articles that I could read.

In the first century AD I can just remember the Iazyges, migrating to the Danube between Dacia and Pannonia with permission of the romans. They were also involved in the replacement of Vennius, the king of the Marcomanns around 50 AD. These times there was more trouble with the Roxolani at the lower Danube. And during Claudius reign the romans replaced the ruler of the Bosporanian Kingdom and had some fights against the tribes over there. Later during Domitians campaign at the Danube you should also find some involvement of these tribes.

But I have no clue, if the romans called these guys Scythians or Sarmatians. However, I always understood, that the Sarmatians are just a group of Scythians, like the Suebi are a group of german tribes.

Scythian was a superculture, so was Sarmatian and to a lesser extent Alan. The Scythian Superculture was replaced by the Sarmatian superculture in the 4th century BC. The steppes can then be defined into 4 distinct periods: The Sauromatian, Early Sarmatian, Middle Sarmatian, and Late Sarmatian, based on cultural trends, the latter being defined by Alanic cultural dominance of the steppes until the beginning of the Hunnic period in the 3rd century.

The term "Scythian" continued to be used, but in a classicizing context. There were no "Scythians" around, and the Romans used this term to refer to everything from Iazyges (A Sarmatian group) to the Goths to the Cumans in the 10th century. They would later use the term Hun in a similar way, calling most of the Turkish peoples in the medieval period "Huns".
By the 1st Century AD the power of the Scythians was broken and they were either displaced or assimilated by waves of various Sarmatian groups from the east, Getae from the west and Celts (Bastarnae?) from the north west. The various Scythian groups had been weakened by successive wars over time against Macedon when Philip defeated the forces of the Scythian king Ateas (they had a victory later though against Zopyrion, Alexander's lieutenant in 331), the various Sarmatian groups whose wars with the Scythians seemed especially brutal (as is the nature of steppe warfare with scarce resources on offer), Slaves were a popular commodity in the Pontic cities as well so Scythian prisoners were probably a good little earner for the Sarmatians from about 4th century BC onwards. On/off warfare with Pontus and Mithradates & Pontic city states and in the west holding back the Getae under Burebista and by the 1st century AD only existed in enclaves in Crimea and Dubroudja near the mouth of the Danube. By then they were no longer feared horsemen but had become farmers. The Crimean Scythians had their capital at Scythian Neapolis and proved a thorn in the side of the rulers of the Bosporan Kingdom, whose ruling family with Sarmatian links were client kings of the Romans who had a garrison and possibly a fleet there. The remnants of the Crimean Scythians as well as the Bosporan kingdom itself a little later were destroyed by the Greutungi Goths in late 3rd century AD.
I think there are coins minted in Olbia that attest to Scythian kings but these stopped after about 100BC. Evan is correct in the use of the term Scythian by the Romans. Smile
Regards
Michael Kerr
The last coins minted by a Bosporan ruler date to the 340's AD. They had been weakened in a war with the Romans in the late 290's and were probably destroyed by the local Tetraxite and Grethungi Goths in the mid-4th century. If not they certainly succumbed to the Huns.
There is an article on Academia regarding Roman presence in Crimea that might interest you althogh it just covers the Roman artifacts & foundations in Crimea & not their contacts with Scythians.

https://www.academia.edu/5403507/Roman_M...hersonesos

And another below

http://www.pontos.dk/publications/books/...ovicenkova

Regards
Michael Kerr
First of all I want to thank all of you for your responses, most helpful

Also I was aware of the somewhat generic term for "Scythians", as used by the Romans, as well as the fact they were absorbed (if you will) by the Sarmatians.

I guess my follow up question is I have been under the impression, (from what I have read), that the Sarmatians were originally a Scythian tribe that conquered / absorbed the regional tribes around them. Understanding that over time, as they conquered other tribes, they culturally changed.

If I am understanding correctly, (which I admit I may not be), the Sarmatians originally consisted of four "sub tribes" as follows: the Lazygess, The Urgi, The Royal Scythians, and the Roxolani. So while their origin seems uncertain (Amazon women, etc) they are often associated as one of the "Scythians tribes" that outgrew the others.

So were Sarmatians originally a Scythian tribe, (or Scythian related tribe) which may be part of the reason why the Romans continued to use the term Scythian? (Again, I am not stating as fact, just from some articles I have read.)

Again thank you for responses, very much appreciated!
The Sarmatians were related to the Scythians, yes. Although I'm no expert on Sarmatian origins, you'd have to consult Alanus.
Although closely related and both were probably from the Sacian branch of Iranian peoples as distinguished from the other branch composed of Medes and Persians who were their bitter enemies. Even Herodotus makes a distinction between the Pontic Scythians and the Sauromatae and how they spoke a similar language to the Scythians but they spoke it incorrectly which indicates a slightly different dialect. He also mentions the Issedones who lived north of the Massagetae and some authors think that they could have been Sarmatians. To put language and dialect in a modern perspective, although they all speak a form of Iranic a Kurd would have trouble conversing with a Tajik or a Pathan from Afghanistan would not understand an Osset because separation, distance and time had altered their various dialects. Herodotus mentioned that the Scythians drove the Cimmerians out of the Pontic steppe after themselves being propelled westwards by the Massagetae in about the 7th century BC.

There were similarities in dress and lifestyle but there were also differences between the two groups besides language and they include methods of burials, tastes in artwork, religion and weaponry and methods of warfare. While Scythians seemed to be bearded, going by Trajan’s column most of the Roxolani seemed to have shaven faces. While the Scythians relied mainly on mounted archers the Sarmatian style of warfare was dominated by mounted charges with lance and sword and the bow was relegated to a secondary weapon, probably due to eastern influences.

Then we have the confusion of the terms Sauromatae and Sarmatae. Some think that the terms were only a point of difference between the Romans and the Greeks, however up to the mid third century the Sarmatians were referred to by Roman writers by their tribal names like Iazyges, Roxolani, Siraces, Aorsi and Alans and only were referred to as Sarmatians much later. To the Greeks the Sauromatae had a peculiar social system, the participation of women in war, religion and government and probably brought about the legends of the Amazons. However from Roman sources the Sarmatians and Alans seemed to be patriarchal warrior groups and there is no written evidence that women fought in their battles or participated in their political affairs. So the Sauromatae were probably a separate group that was eventually absorbed by the Sarmatians.

As to the various Sarmatian groups the main ones I know of are the Iazyges, Roxolani, Siraces, Aorsi and the Alans who were themselves probably a confederation of various smaller Sarmatian tribes. So due to fluctuating climatic conditions and war in the east we had a virtual conveyor belt of groups and tribes all moving west and colliding with their western neighbours all the way to Europe. I must admit I don’t know too much about the Urgi or Royal Scythians but the Urgi going by the Livius website settled around Kiev could have been a branch of the Roxolani who turned north west instead of south west like the main group and were referred to as the Spali by Pliny and later on Jordanes. So I don't think the Sarmatians were just another Scythian tribe. :-)
Regards
Michael Kerr
Hi, Troy Ancona

Your original question concerning Roman vs. "Scythian" exchanges in the 1st Century AD has been capably addressed by Evan and Michael. The origin of the Sarmatian culture seems to stop short. It was pre-Scythian/Saka, formed in the East and not in the West. Archaeologists have continuously noticed the "Mongoloid admixture," going back to the initial Sarmatian period, yet they never seem to complete the connection to an origin. Where did the Sarmatians really come from?

The answer lies in the bronze age when the Afanisievo/Sintashta culture spread eastward. Principal in the development was the resulting Karasuk culture of the Minuminsk Basin. Here we find the earliest weapons that would continue to influence both the Chinese and Romans, even Homer's ancient Greeks. Here's a photo of several item-types in my collection, first carried southeastward to China and then to the West.

[attachment=12552]DSC_0114.JPG[/attachment]

The bronze knife is typical of those found in the c. 1200BC Shang chariot tombs at Anyang. It can be traced directly northwest to a Karasuk origin; and it's one of the earliest examples of an art known as "the Scythian animal style." The Chinese thumb ring (here in jade) can also be traced to the pre-Saka/pre-Scythian/pre-Sarmatian Karasuks. This example is almost identical to the personal thumb ring of Fu Hau, the woman-warrior general of king Wu Ding. Next, typical lamellar plate, here in iron but first made from bone, can also be traced back to the Karasuks. The continuing trade and intermarriages (first between this proto-Sarmatian culture and the Chinese) would eventully introduce the iron sword and scabbard slide to the Zhou-era Chinese.

When the historical period arrived, we find various tribes ranging from the Altlai to the Tarim Basin-- the Sargats, Saka, Massagetae, Wusun, and Yue-Chi. In the 4th century BC, the Hsung-Gnu (Hunnic) Federation rose to prominence. As a result, the Saka/Massagetae confederation collapsed and a newer (Wusun/Alanic) power structure replaced it-- the Sarmatian or Alanic culture. The first to arrive in Danubian territories were the Roxolani. A Roxolani tomb (either that of a general or king) in Bulgaria contained a jade scabbard slide, decorated with a "chilong" dragon similar to the one in the above photo.

The Sarmatians were an Eastern culture that slowly moved West. As mentioned in above posts by my friends, the Sarmatians had reached Roman territories by the 1st century of our era, and they brought a wide variety of weapons and tactics adopted by the Roman military. Confusedmile:

Here's a photo of Fu Hao's thumb ring. The later Roman versions, made in bronze, were similar in design.

[attachment=12553]FuHaosthumbring.jpg[/attachment]
First of all, sorry for my delayed response as I have been traveling for a few weeks and out of touch a bit;just now getting caught up. Smile

Thank you, great information, all of your responses have been most helpful!. Also great pictures too!