Simonenko A.V. On the Sarmatian Conquest of Scythia

Aleksandr V. Simonenko, Doctor of Sciences (History), Corresponding Member of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Leading Researcher, Department of the Early Iron Age Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Prosp. Geroev Stalingrada, 12, 04210 Kyiv, Ukraine,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract. The chronotope of Scythia conquest is one of the main issues of archaeology and history of the Scythian and Sarmatian Age. The literature sources present four versions of reasons and events, which led to the desintegration of Scythia in the 3rd century BC: the Celtic (expansion of the Celts from the Balkan region); the climatic (sharp deterioration of the climate with disaster consequences); the economic (decline of the grain trade); and the Sarmatian (the Sarmatian penetration from the East). The present paper studies the so-called Sarmatian hypothesis from the new viewpoint. The few but spectacular archaeological finds in the territory of Ukraine, Moldova and Romania (the special bronze frontlets and plaques for the breastplate, the bits with cruciform harsh mouth-pieces, and large eye-like beads-amulets) and their parallels in the North-Western Caucasus and in the Kuban region allow suggesting that at the beginning of the 3rd century BC the military expansion of the Siraci and Maeotae had ousted the Scythians from the North Pontic steppes to Trans-Dniester region. The mentioned finds mark the movement of their owners from the East to the West, all the way to the Danube. We also investigate the Scythian burial mounds of the second half of the 3rd – middle 2nd cc. BC in the Lower Dniester, also known as Tiraspol barrows. The analysis of the archaeological materials let us assume that the Caucasian conquerors represented the nobility of the Scythian horde, and its representatives were buried in the Tiraspol barrows. The ritual deposits (hoards or strange assemblages) of this time found in the Caucasus and in the North-Western Pontic region can be considered as the sites of military elite of this new unit. Probably, it should be identified with the Saii ruled by king Saitapharnes mentioned in the Olbian decree in honour of Protogenes.
Key words: Sarmatians, Siraci, Maeotae, Celts, sources, hypothesis, Diodorus from Sicily, conquest, Tiraspol barrows, hoards, cruciform mouthpieces.
Citation. Simonenko A.V., 2018. On the Sarmatian Conquest of Scythia. The Lower Volga Archaeological Bulletin, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 27-49. (in Russian). DOI
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On the Sarmatian Conquest of Scythia by Simonenko A.V.  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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