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history of the Sarmatic nations to the second, third, and fourth centuries, when, in the time of Ammianus, Sarmatic tribes were still in Pannonia, while the remoter branches of the same race occupied all the southern region of Russia. We have found all these extensive regions, a century and a half later, quietly occupied, as if from of old, by Slavic nations. The Slovaks enter into the places of the Jazyges and Metanastæ. The Slavini occupy the banks of the Tyras, where dwelt the Sarmatian Tyrigetæ, and further eastward and northward are spread the Antes or Russians, in the place of the Roxolani. It is scarcely possible to doubt that these are the old races under new names.*
If these arguments carry sufficient weight, we establish by means of them a conclusion, that the Slavonians of the middle ages were the same people who had been long known under the name of Sarmatæ. Of these we have seen that there were several divisions: the eastern branch were the Roxolani, whose name resembles that of Rossolainen, the Finnish term for the Russians; the western branch were the Tyrigetæ, the Metanasta, and Jazyges. We thus carry back the history of the Slavic race to the age of Strabo, and nearly to the Christian era, and as the Sarmata were known to Herodotus, we may hope by pursuing the investigation to connect the present inhabitants of the eastern parts of Europe with the nations of remote antiquity.
SECTION VIII.-Of the History of the ancient Scythians, and of their relation to the Sarmatian Tribes.
The names of Scythia and Scythians were used by the ancients in a vague sense. Strabo has observed that by many of
the Greeks all the nations of the extreme North were termed indefinitely Scythians or Nomades, just as those of the South
• Niebuhr has drawn from the name of the Jazyges an argument tending to prove them to have been of the same race with the Slavonians. That people termed themselves Slovane, or 'the speakers,' 'possessors of language,' in contradistinction to German foreigners, who were called Niemtschi, or the dumb. In the same sense the Jazyges may have been named from Jazyk, 'speech or language' in the Slavonian idiom. Jazyges is synonymous with Slovane, Slovaki. The Slovaks, or Slavic people of Hungary, anterior to the Magyars, inhabited the country (and their entrance into it is not recorded) where earlier writers place, two centuries before, the Sarmatæ Jazyges.
were called Ethiopians. Pliny made a similar remark. He says that the northern nations in general were called Scythians, but that as particular tribes became better known they were distinguished as Germans and Sarmatians, and the ancient appellation of Scythians was applied to the inhabitants of unexplored regions. Strabo had some more definite meaning when he discriminated certain nations as Scythian from others who were of a German or Sarmatic stock; and if we go back to the times of Herodotus, we shall find the venerable father of history, the only writer of the ancient world who had any personal knowledge of Scythia, designating the people so called not less accurately and distinctly than the Greeks or Persians, and applying the name of Scythians to a particular nation distinguished by the use of a peculiar language.
But the Scythians known to Herodotus were, according to his own account, but a branch or remote offset of a widely spread nation, from whose original country they had emigrated. They called themselves Scoloti. They inhabited a country to the westward of the Tanais, therefore comprehended within the limits of Europe, from which they had expelled the Cimmerii: they had come into this country, escaping from the Massagetæ, by crossing the Araxes out of the Greater Scythia.*
The original country of the Scythians was to the eastward of the Caspian, as it appears from several other passages of Herodotus.+
• Modern writers have differed on the question what river is designated by Herodotus under the name of Araxes. It has been generally supposed to have been the Aras, which flows into the Caspian from the westward near the southern angle of that lake. But if so, the Scythian einigrants must, after escaping from their enemies, have crossed over the formidable barrier of the Caucasus. Some writers have supposed the Araxes of Herodotus to have been the Wolga, but there is no evidence in support of this notion. Niebuhr has proved that no existing river agrees with the idea which Herodotus had formed of the Araxes. It was nearly in the line of the Oxus or the Jaxartes, but supposed to flow in an opposite direction, namely, from west to east. See Niebuhr's Kleinere Schriften. Fr. Kruse, Analyse der Charte von der Kirgisensteppe, nebst historischen Andeutungen, &c., in Goebel's Reise in den Steppen des Südlichen Russlands. Z. Th. s. 348. Kephalid. de Mari Caspio. Wesseling, Not. ad Herod. 1. 202.
+ See lib. vii. c. 64., lib. i. c. 201., lib. iv. c. 6. In the catalogue of the forces of the great king, Herodotus mentions a tribe named Scythæ Amyrgii. These were from the neighbourhood of the Jaxartes. They were called, he says. Sacæ, a name given by the Persians to the Scythians in general. Herodotus also declares that the Massagetæ themselves were Scythians.
The Scythians in Europe became known to the Greeks after the foundation of Grecian colonies in the Tauric peninsula and on the Bosphorus. The earliest colonies on the Euxine. were not established till after the fall of the Assyrian empire. Istrus, near the mouth of the Danube, was founded by the Milesians about the time when the Scythians invaded Media, in pursuit, as it was reported, of the Cimmerians; and Odessus, according to the author of the Periplus of the Euxine, in the time of Astyages.* In earlier times Scythia was, as Apollodorus remarked, little known to the Greeks. The Argonauts, Colchis, and the Mæotis, and the Symplegada, and the stormy Pontus were the region of romance. Strabo confirms the remark of Apollodorus, and adds that Homer has not mentioned the Scythians, or the Bosphorus, or the Mæotis, or even the river Ister. The great poet had some vague notion of the nomadic tribes beyond the Pontus, whom he describes by the epithets of
Γλακτοφάγων ̓Αβίων τε, δικαιοτάτων ἀνθρώπων·
"the noble milkers of mares, and the Abii, the most righteous of men," on whom Jupiter cast his eyes in looking from Mount Ida towards Thrace. As a proof that Homer meant to describe the Scythians by these expressions, Strabo cites from Eratosthenes a verse attributed to Hesiod, in which they are named with the addition of the same epithets; but it has been observed by Niebuhr, that the age of Homer and Hesiod was anterior to the time when the Scoloti are said by Herodotus to have crossed the Araxes, and to have invaded Cimmeria, afterwards called Scythia. It is therefore probable, that Homer alluded to some more ancient nomades of the same country, namely, to the Cimmerians, of whom a similar description has been given.†
Herodotus travelled in the country belonging to the Greek colonies in Scythia. He has given us the results of his
* Peripl. Pont. Eux. Hudson. i. p. 12. B.
+ Callimachus, Hymn. ad Dian. 252. “Aúydaμuç iπì orpáтоv izπημóðуwv ἤγαγε Κιμμερίων.” Niebuhr says, "It cannot be supposed that Callimachus transferred this from the Scythians to the Cimmerians: he had read the description of these destructive hordes in the contemporary poets, such as Callinus.
sonal observations and inquiries in their country. Niebuhr remarks, that he speaks as an eye-witness of the fountain Exampæus near the Hypanis; nor could he have conversed with a steward of Ariapithes elsewhere than in Scythia. His whole narrative, says this greatest critic of history, is partly that of an eye-witness, partly of a traveller who collected the oral accounts of the natives. From internal evidence it may be inferred that he had not seen the Greek cities in the Taurian peninsula and on the Bosphorus, but that Olbia was the furthest point of his travels. If Herodotus never passed to the eastward of the Borysthenes or Dnieper, we may well understand how he may have made mistakes about the form of the Crimea ; but this hardly accounts for his having been so far in error respecting the Cimmerians as Adelung, Mannert, Niebuhr, and others suppose him to have been. These writers are of opinion that the Cimmerii remained ever in possession of the Tauric peninsula, and that the princes of the Bosphorus, who reigned over that region to the time of Mithridates, were sovereigns of the Cimmerian race. Herodotus declares that the whole nation emigrated, and passed into Asia Minor. This also,as Niebuhr has shown, was probably a mistake. A fugitive people could scarcely pass the Caucasian boundary, nor would the Scythian invaders of the country from the east drive them in that direction. Niebuhr supposes, and there is a great probability in his conjecture, that the Cimmerians retired towards the west, and emigrated from Scythia into the countries on the Danube. He has derived a strong confirmation of this opinion from the fact that the tombs of the Cimmerian kings who fell in the last decisive battle against the Scoloti were near the river Tyras in the western extremity of the Cimmerian country.
The Scythian nation, properly so termed, is described by Herodotus* as consisting of three divisions. The Agricultural Scythians, or the Scythians of the Borysthenes, inhabited the country to the eastward of that river, extending the length of a voyage of eleven days up the stream. Niebuhr concludes that these agricultural Scythians were a vanquished people,
Herod. lib. iv.
who could only be considered as Scythians from the circumstance that their conquerors dwelt among them as a privileged order but this is not intimated by Herodotus.*
To the eastward of these agricultural Scythians and beyond the river Panticapes were the pastoral or nomadic Scythians, whose country was a steppe reaching eastward a journey of fourteen days. Beyond the Gerrhus were the Royal Scythians, the most numerous and noble of the race, who considered all the rest as their slaves. Their country, as Niebuhr understands the geography of Herodotus, was the eastern steppe about the river Donnetz to the lake Mæotis and in the Crimea. Herodotus says that they reached as far as the Tanais.
Herodotus attempted great accuracy in laying down the boundaries and extent of Scythia, and if he did not fully succeed, it was owing, as Niebuhr has shown, to his erroneous notions respecting the direction of the great rivers which fall into the Pontus. The Scythia of Herodotus, the land of the Scoloti, lay between the Danube on one side and the Tanais or Don and the Palus Mæotis on the other. Its form was nearly square, its breadth from the coast inland being equal to its length measured along the sea-coast. The northern boundary is supposed by Major Rennell to have passed from the southern confines of Polish Russia eastward, and in a line along the river Sem from the Borysthenes to the Tanais. A part of the Tauric peninsula belonged to the Tauri, a different nation from the Scythæ, who were cut off in a corner of land on every side by the sea and by Scythia, and almost entirely extirpated; circumstances not very favourable to the supposition adopted by writers already cited, that the later Taurians were remains of the old Cimmerians.
Hippocrates has left a most accurate account of the Scythian people and the country which they inhabited. He says, “The wilderness of the Scythians, as their land is termed, is for the most part a plain covered with grass and destitute of trees, and moderately watered by streams. There the Scythians dwell who are called Nomades, because they have no houses but live in wagons. The women spend most of their time in
*Herod. iv. 110 -117.