A History of The Scythians

By Tim Lambert

The Scythians were nomadic people. Their culture flourished in Central Asia between about 900 BC and 200 BC. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote about them but recently archaeologists have discovered more about them. The Scythians were formidable warriors. They rode horses and could shoot arrows from horseback. The Scythians also fought with spears, axes, and swords.

Scythian craftsmen were highly skilled. They made artifacts from iron and bronze. They also made ornaments from gold. And they made wooden bowls.

Scythians lived in wagons. They ate large quantities of meat. They also ate vegetables like onions, beans, and garlic. Milk, butter, and cheese were also important parts of their diet. They drank fermented mare’s milk. Scythians who lived near the Black Sea were also fond of drinking wine.

The Scythians wore tunics and trousers. They also had tattoos. They buried their dead in burial mounds with grave goods and they practiced a form of mummification of the bodies.

The Ancient Greeks wrote about a tribe of women warriors called the Amazons. Archeologists say the legend probably has some basis in fact. A people called the Scythians lived on the Steppes of Ukraine and Southern Asia at the time of the Ancient Greeks. The Scythians were nomadic people who relied on horses. They fought on horseback with small bows and spears.

Graves of Scythian women often contain weapons like bows, spears, knives, and daggers. The skeletons also show evidence of wounds from weapons. It seems that Scythian women sometimes fought in battle. (Fighting on horseback with a small Scythian bow made that possible). The legend of the Amazons is probably a greatly exaggerated and distorted version of Scythian women.

The Scythian Empire collapsed in the 3rd century BC for unknown reasons.