Scythia

Having mentioned in a previous post that the followers of Nemed were the third group of colonisers – according to The Book of Invasions, the semi-mythical origins of Ireland,  – who came from Scythia, followed, at a later date by the last of the so-called colonisers, the Milesians, once again from Scythia, I thought I had better establish who or what Scythia was.  Here goes:

Scythia was the name given by the ancient Greeks after about 800 BC to the homeland of the nomascythiadic tribes in the southeast part of Europe, eastward from the Carpathian Mountains to the Don River and in Central Asia, from the Danube River, an important route between Western Europe and the Black Sea, to the mountains of Turkistan.

They were a nomadic people who raised horses, cattle, and sheep. According to ancient Greek historians, Scythians travelled in tent-covered wagons and fought with short bows and arrows from horseback and spoke a form of Persian.

The most detailed western description is by Herodotus, The Father of Lies, or, more kindly, The Father of History, according to the blurb on my Penguin Classic, though it is uncertain if he ever went to Scythia.

Their empire stretched north of the Black Sea to parts of present-day Ukraine, Russia, and Moldova from the 7th century BC to the 4th century BC.

This region was seized by the Sarmatians in the 4th century BC and became known as Sarmatia. By the 3rd century the Danube formed the northern boundary of the Roman Empire in southeast Europe.