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Ovid among the Scythians (1862 ) by Eugene Delacroix) (Public Domain)

Scythian Priesthood of Fierce Fighting Eunuch Shamans of the Snake Goddess

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The Scythian goddess Argimpasa was half-human, half-snake with a priesthood of powerful shamans, who despite their self-inflicted castration, seemed to still personify the reputation of fierce warriors. The culture of the Scythians, a group of ancient tribes of nomadic warriors who lived in what is now southern Siberia, flourished from around 900 BC to around 200 BC. However, most of what is known today about the Scythians has been accumulated from a range of ancient sources from other cultures such as the Greeks, Assyrians and Persians who would, understandably, retell the stories of the Scythians from their own perspectives colored by their own understandings, traditions and sometimes prejudices.

Battle between the Scythians and the Slavs by Viktor Vasnetsov (1881) (Public Domain)

Battle between the Scythians and the Slavs by Viktor Vasnetsov (1881) (Public Domain)

Mythological Origins of the Scythians

An ancient legend told that Targitaus, a supernatural being who dwelled in the Black Sea domain, had three sons. Together, the three brothers ruled the land until four golden implements fell from the sky. The implements were a plow, a yoke, a battle-ax and a drinking cup. Suddenly, the four implements began to blaze. Out of the three brothers, it was Colaxais, the youngest brother, who was the only one able to pick up the burning objects. Thus, Colaxais became the first sole ruler of the Scythian kingdom.

Diodorus provides another version of the origin of the Scythians by claiming that: “Born in that land from the conjugal union of Zeus and a snake-legged goddess was a son Scyth, who gave the people the name Scythian.” Somewhat similar to Diodorus’ version of the origin of the Scythians, an epigraphic version of the origin of the Scythians said that Heracles would unite with Echidna. This union produced two offspring - Agathyrsus and Scythes, who became the progenitors of Scythians.

Scythian emissaries meeting with Darius by Franciszek Smuglewicz  (1745–1807) Lithuanian Art Museum (Public Domain)

Scythian emissaries meeting with Darius by Franciszek Smuglewicz  (1745–1807) Lithuanian Art Museum (Public Domain)

Tribal Customs and Fierce Reputations of the Scythians

As knowledge about the Scythians is scarce, one can mostly only be content with second-hand accounts and scattered clues about their pantheon of deities and religious practices. Another problem with understanding the earliest Scythians is that they did not develop their distinctive art style until the sixth century BC. Historically, the Scythians was first recorded in the seventh century BC as an ally of Assyria against the Cimmerians


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Martini Fisher is a Mythographer and author of many books, including "Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture/ Check out

Top Image: Ovid among the Scythians (1862 ) by Eugene Delacroix) (Public Domain)

By Martini Fisher



Thank you for your interesting and mostly informative article. I have to say, however, that I was puzzled, as to why you neglected to mention the Iranian ethnicity and language of the Scythian peoples. According to every single major reference, textbook, and scholarly paper I’ve read on the subject, the Scythians --along with the closely related Sarmatians and Alans-- are a northern Iranian (Aryan) people and cousins to the southern Iranian Persians and Medes. This basic ethno-linguistic and cultural identifier is usually stated at the very top of any basic refence or acedemic text on the topic. Here are just a a few basic references for your readers edification. Encyclopedia Britannica: Wikipedia: Columbia University’s Encyclopedia Iranica: Please do take the time to correct and add this basic information about the Iranian ethnicity and languege of these facinnating ancient Sakha (Scythian peoples). I can provide countless other sources, both popular and scholarly, as the Iranian ethnicity of the Scythians, Sarmatians and Alans is not a disputed issue. Unfortunately, as a result of incomplete articles like this, this Iranian identity may, sadly, not be well known to the non-academic public. Many thanks for your attention to this vital correction.



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Martini Fisher comes from a family of history and culture buffs. She graduated from Macquarie University, Australia, with a degree in Ancient History. Although her interest in history is diverse, Martini is especially interested in  mythologies, folklores and ancient funerary... Read More

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