Scythian Warriors

Tattooed Scythian Warriors, Descendants of the Amazons? Part One

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Herodotus describes the Scythians living in the area north of the Black Sea about three thousand years ago. According to him they traced their ancestry directly from Zeus and the river nymph Borysthenis, daughter of the river god Borysthenes, the union of which produced a son named Tagitaos and he in turn had three sons with a human woman, demigods, who were the progenitors of the three Scythian tribes. It is said that in the time of the sons of Tagitaos there came down from heaven four items made of gold. These items were a plow, a yoke, a cup and a battle axe. Each brother attempted to use the items but they were met with a blazing fire or great heat but when the youngest approached the items the fire was gone and they worked only for him and from him the tribe of the Royal Scythians was formed. If one looks at such a tale with modern eyes we could imagine that the items were technology coded to only function for one individual and possibly dangerous as it was also said that anyone who slept while guarding these items in the open would die within a year

Now while Herodotus, the historian and teller of this tale doubted that the Scythians were indeed the descendants of Zeus, he nonetheless recorded their accounts. He also tells a different account where they are the descendants of another of Zeus’ sons, Heracles and the half serpent half goddess Echidna, but that story seems like a more fanciful telling of the first story and involves many of the same events. He goes on to say that he favours a third version of their origin which tells of wandering Asiatic tribes that migrated into the lands of the Cimmerians.

The longer you look, the origin of the Scythians becomes more and more cloudy and some scholars contend that the Scythians referred to by Herodotus are really only the remnants of a much earlier people who were once widespread and very advanced with great cities, ships, farming and herding. If we remember the story of the golden plow, yoke, cup and battle axe we would infer that farming must have been important to the early Scythians if their gods saw fit to gift them with a magical plow and yoke, not a very practical gift for nomadic horsemen. This possibility seems very likely since the Scythians of Herodotus’ time were known to be nomadic and the earlier Scythians are credited with developing the smelting of iron and bronze, the invention of the battle axe (actually credited to the Amazons among the Scythians), the pottery wheel, the bellows, the anchor and the science of horse breeding. One has to wonder why nomads would invent the anchor.

Fred Hamori wrote that Justinius II referred to the Scythians as one of the oldest civilizations in the world; even older than the Egyptians and that they were most likely a northern Mesopotamian culture, not the later immigrant tribes who adapted many of their customs. The Scythians described by the Greeks were apparently an amalgamation of many peoples overlaying a very ancient culture that existed in the area around the Black Sea.

Whatever their origins, the Scythians were a remarkable people with a very ancient origin that remains a mystery.  However, two more tales of the Scythians are even stranger. One is the story of the bald people who were once part of the royal Scythians but separated themselves and went to live isolated at the foot of a mountain. Herodotus described them thus; Passing over a great extent of this rough country, you come to a people dwelling at the foot of lofty mountains, who are said to be all- both men and women- bald from their birth, to have flat noses, and very long chins. These people speak a language of their own; the dress which they wear is the same as the Scythian. They live on the fruit of a certain tree, the name of which is Ponticum; in size it is about equal to our fig-tree, and it bears a fruit like a bean, with a stone inside. … No one harms these people, for they are looked upon as sacred- they do not even possess any warlike weapons. When their neighbours fall out, they make up the quarrel; and when one flies to them for refuge, he is safe from all hurt. They are called the Argippaeans .

Now we have a race of people who believe they were descended from the three sons of a god, they are so early that even in the time of Herodotus their origins were ancient history, they believed they had received technology directly from their gods and a small number of them, described as not normal humans lived apart and served as judges and protectors and the strange story gets even stranger…now we bring in the Amazons.

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Roberto Peron's picture

Good article.

 

Ah, the Scythians, they fascinated me years ago when I first read about them. They sort of remind me of outlaw motorcycle gangs (sans the motorcycles) as they were feared, kept to themselves, used intimidation and were very nomadic and mobile. There was an ancient Greek saying, " let us not drink our wine straight, like the Scyths", meaning the Greeks commonly mixed wine with water to avoid heavy intoxication were as the Scyths did not. They also used cannabis as a recreational drug. There is a report of archeologists finding what to them looked like items making up a sweat lodge of sorts with a burning vessel and a large stash of seeds. The researcher , who obviously did not know a thing about getting high surmised the Scyths would enter the tent and inhale the fumes of the burning seeds. Greek observers gave an account on them coming out of these structures howling like wild animals. Well, hemp seed contains no THC. You can eat it by the handful. This points in the direction of them planting it on purpose. They more than likely used the buds or pressed hashish like the rest of humanity does. Now, this could be a crop planted and left to fend for itself to be harvested later in the year upon their return from where ever or some were sedentary farmers. All the evidence points to women and men having some sort of equal standing within their culture. It has also been stated that they were a Caucasian people but who's territory was so wide as to include peoples of asiatic origins. They do comprise quite a mystery . On one hand they were illiterate yet had a complex and in some ways very progressive culture. There illiteracy is our loss as now we can only read about them from the point of view of the ancient Greeks, who made no secret out of looking down on them.

Some of the article says The Scythian claiming they have slanted eyes and they are fearless. Could they be blood relation with the Huns or Mongols?

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