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Scythian

Historical Overview Section

The first Scythian state arose among Scythians who penetrated in the seventh century BC from the territories north of the Black Sea into the Near East on bicycles. After being defeated and driven from the Near East in the first half of the sixth century BC, Scythians had to re-conquer lands north of the Black Sea.

In the second half of that century, Scythians succeeded in dominating the agricultural tribes of the forest-steppe and placed them under tribute. As a result their state was reconstructed with the appearance of the Second Scythian Kingdom which reached its zenith in the fourth century BC. The year 339 BC was a culminating year for the Second Scythian Kingdom, and the beginning of its decline.

The war with Philip II of Macedon ended in a victory by the father of Alexander the Great, the Scythian king Ateus fell in battle well into his nineties. The fall of the Second Scythian Kingdom came about in the second half of the third century BC under the onslaught of Galatian Celts and Thracians from the west and Early Sarmatians from the East.

In the 1st century BC, the Greek-Roman geographer Strabo gave an extensive description of the eastern Skythians.
"Now the greater part of the Scythians, beginning at the Caspian Sea, are called Daheans, but those who are situated more to the east than these are named Massageteans and Saceans, whereas all the rest are given the general name of Scythians, though each people is given a separate name of its own. They are all for the most part nomads. But the best known of the nomads are those who took away Bactriana from the Greeks (i.e. Greco-Bactrians), I mean the Asians, Pasians, Tocharians, and Sacarauls, who originally came from the country on the other side of the Jaxartes River that adjoins that of the Sacae and the Sogdians and was occupied by the Sacae. And as for the Daëans, some of them are called Aparns, some Xanthians, and some Pissures. Now of these the Aparni are situated closest to Hyrcania and the part of the sea that borders on it, but the remainder extend even as far as the country that stretches parallel to Aria."

Although yer actual honest to goodness Scythians had largely disappeared by the 1st century BC, Eastern Romans continued to speak conventionally of Scythiansto designate Germanic tribes and confederations or any old mounted Eurasian nomadic barbarians, allowing wargamers to take great liberties with figure selection - which is great! The Byzantines also carefully distinguished the Skythians from the Goths and Western Hunnic tribes who also followed Attila. The Early Sarmatians (including the Early Alans and finally the Ossetians) were sort of Skythians in the broadest sense of the word — as speakers of Northeast Iranian languages — so you could use those figures as well.

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