Agathyrsi (Greek: Ἀγάθυρσοι) were a people of Scythian,[1] or mixed Dacian-Scythian origin, who in the time of Herodotus occupied the plain of the Maris (Mures), in the mountainous part of ancient Dacia now known as Transylvania, Romania. Their ruling class seems to have been of Scythian origin.[2]

Alba Iulia National Museum of the Union 2011 - Offering pot from a Scythian Grave
Offering pot from a Scythian grave from Alba Iulia, Romania, 6th century BC. In display at National Museum of the Union, Alba Iulia


The Scythian arrival to the Carpathian area is dated to 700 BC.[3] The Agathyrsi existence is archaeologically attested by the Ciumbrud inhumation type, in the upper Mureş area of the Transylvanian plateau. In contrast with the surrounding peoples who practiced incineration, the Ciumbrud people buried their dead. These tombs, containing Scythian artistic and armament metallurgy (e.g. acinaces), have moreover been dated to 550-450 BC — roughly the timeframe of Herodotus' writing. Archaeologists use the term "Thraco-Agathyrsian" to designate these characteristics, owing to the evident Thracian (or, more strictly speaking, Dacian) elements. At the time of Herodotus they were already absorbed by the native Dacians.[3][4]


Fifth century BC

Herodotus world map-en
Herodotus world map

Herodotus, writing after 450 BC, localizes the Agathyrsi (Ἀγάθυρσοι) to Transylvania and the outer parts of Scythia, to the proximity of the Neuri.

"From the country of the Agathyrsoi comes down another river, the Maris [Mureș], which empties itself into the same; and from the heights of Haemus descend with a northern course three mighty streams, the Atlas, the Auras, and the Tibisis, and pour their waters into it."[5]
"After the Tauric land immediately come Scythians again, occupying the parts above the Tauroi and the coasts of the Eastern sea, that is to say the parts to the West of the Kimmerian Bosphorus and of the Maiotian lake, as far as the river Tanaïs [Don], which runs into the corner of this lake. In the upper parts which tend inland Scythia is bounded (as we know) by the Agathyrsoi first, beginning from the Ister [Danube], and then by the Neuroi, afterwards by the Androphagoi, and lastly by the Melanchlainoi."[6]

Later passages of Herodotus' text, related to Darius' campaign against the Scythians, again indicate that Agathyrsi dwelled next to the Neuri, i.e. even east of the Carpathians, somewhere in the western part of today's Ukraine.[7]

Herodotus himself distinguishes the Agathyrsi from the Scythians, but he implies that they are mutually closely related.[8] He recorded a Pontic Greek myth that the Agathyrsi were named after a legendary ancestor Agathyrsus, the oldest son of Heracles and the monster Echidna.[9]

"Upon this he [Heracles] drew one of his bows (for up to that time Heracles, they say, was wont to carry two) and showed her the girdle, and then he delivered to her both the bow and the girdle, which had at the end of its clasp a golden cup; and having given them he departed. She then, when her sons had been born and had grown to be men, gave them names first, calling one of them Agathyrsos and the next Gelonos and the youngest Skythes; then bearing in mind the charge given to her, she did that which was enjoined. And two of her sons, Agathyrsos and Gelonos, not having proved themselves able to attain to the task set before them, departed from the land, being cast out by her who bore them; but Skythes the youngest of them performed the task and remained in the land: and from Skythes the son of Heracles were descended, they say, the succeeding kings of the Scythians (Skythians): and they say moreover that it is by reason of the cup that the Scythians still even to this day wear cups attached to their girdles: and this alone his mother contrived for Skythes. Such is the story told by the Hellenes who dwell about the Pontus."[10]

Herodotus also mentions that in other respects their customs approach nearly to those of the Thracians.[11] This is to say that Agathyrsi Scythians were completely denationalized at that time.[3]

"The Agathyrsoi are the most luxurious of men and wear gold ornaments for the most part: also they have promiscuous intercourse with their women, in order that they may be brethren to one another and being all nearly related may not feel envy or malice one against another. In their other customs they have come to resemble the Thracians."[12]

The description of the pomp and splendor of the Agathyrsi of Transylvania is most strikingly confirmed by the discoveries made at Tufalau (Romania) – though this pomp is itself really pre-Scythian (Bronze Age local nobility) in character.[13]

Agathyrsi also appear in Herodotus' description of the expedition (516–513 BC) of Darius I of Persia (522–486 BC) against the Scythians in the N. Pontic.[14]

The Scythians meanwhile having considered with themselves that they were not able to repel the army of Dareios alone by a pitched battle, proceeded to send messengers to those who dwelt near them: and already the kings of these nations had come together and were taking counsel with one another, since so great an army was marching towards them. Now those who had come together were the kings of the Tauroi, Agathyrsoi, Neuroi, Androphagoi, Melanchlainoi, Gelonians, Budinoi and Sauromatai.[15]

Agathyrsi, Neuri, Androphagi, Melanchlaini and Tauri refused to participate in the war against Persians, claiming that "the Persians have come not against us, but against those who were the authors of the wrong".[16]

In the second part of his campaign, Darius turned westwards and pursued two Scythian divisions at speed at a day’s distance, first through Scythian lands, then into the lands of those people who had refused alliance – Melanchlaini, Androphagi, Neuri - and finally to the border of the Agathyrsi, who stood firm and caused the Scythian divisions to return to Scythia, with Darius in pursuit.[17]

"Scythians according to the plan which they had made continued to retire before him towards the land of those who had refused to give their alliance, and first towards that of the Melanchlainoi; and when Scythians and Persians both together had invaded and disturbed these, the Scythians led the way to the country of the Androphagoi; and when these had also been disturbed, they proceeded to the land of the Neuroi; and while these too were being disturbed, the Scythians went on retiring before the enemy to the Agathyrsoi. The Agathyrsoi however, seeing that their next neighbours also were flying from the Scythians and had been disturbed, sent a herald before the Scythians invaded their land and proclaimed to the Scythians not to set foot upon their confines, warning them that if they should attempt to invade the country, they would first have to fight with them. The Agathyrsoi then having given this warning came out in arms to their borders, meaning to drive off those who were coming upon them; but the Melanchlainoi and Androphagoi and Neuroi, when the Persians and Scythians together invaded them, did not betake themselves to brave defence but forgot their former threat and fled in confusion ever further towards the North to the desert region. The Scythians however, when the Agathyrsoi had warned them off, did not attempt any more to come to these, but led the Persians from the country of the Neuroi back to their own land."[7]

Herodotus further records the name of Spargapeithes (an Iranian name), a king of the Agathyrsi who killed the Scythian king Ariapeithes, in consequence, no doubt, of some border squabble or political rivalry in the lands lying between the Carpathians and the Tyras.[18]

"Ariapithes, the Scythian king, had several sons, among them this Scylas, who was the child, not of a native Scyth, but of a woman of Istria. Bred up by her, Scylas gained an acquaintance with the Greek language and letters. Some time afterwards, Ariapithes was treacherously slain by Spargapithes, king of the Agathyrsoi; whereupon Scylas succeeded to the throne, and married one of his father's wives, a woman named Opoea."[19]
Aiud History Museum 2011 - Scythian Items-2
Scythian artefacts originating from sites in Transylvania, in display at Aiud History Museum, Aiud, Romania.

Fourth century BC

Aiud History Museum 2011 - Scythian Items
Scythian artefacts originating from sites in Transylvania, in display at Aiud History Museum, Aiud, Romania.

Aristotle mentions their practice of solemnly reciting their laws in a kind of sing-song to prevent their being forgotten, a practice in existence in his days,[8][20] also found at Gallic Druids. They tattooed their bodies, degrees of rank being indicated by the manner in which this was done, and colored their hair dark blue. Aristotle was the last author to mention them as a real people. O. Maenchen-Helfen in his World of the Huns (2004) maintains that since then they had led a purely literary existence.[21]

Roman period

First and second century AD

Aiud History Museum 2011 - Scythian Items-3
Scythian artefacts originating from sites in Transylvania, in display at Aiud History Museum, Aiud, Romania.

The Roman geographer Pomponius Mela (2,i) and the historian Pliny the Elder, writing in the first century AD, also list the Agathyrsi among the steppe tribes. Pliny alludes to their "blue hair."[22]

"Leaving Taphrae [a town near Crimea], and going along the mainland, we find in the interior the Auchetae, in whose country the Hypanis [the Bug river] has its rise, as also the Neuroe, in whose district the Borysthenes [the Dnieper river] has its source, the Geloni, the Thyssagetae, the Budini, the Basilidae, and the Agathyrsi with their azure-coloured hair. Above them are the Nomades, and then a nation of Anthropophagi or cannibals. On leaving Lake Buges [a gulf at the end of the Sea of Azov], above the Lake Mæotis we come to the Sauromatæ and the Essedones".[23]

This reference indicates that during the 1st century AD, the Agathyrsi lived somewhere in the western part of today's Ukraine. The 2nd century geographer Claudius Ptolemy lists the Agathyrsi among the tribes in 'European Sarmatia', between the Vistula and the Black Sea.[24]

Fourth century AD

In the 380s AD, the Agathyrsi are still mentioned by Ammianus Marcellinus in his Res Gestae Ch. 22.

"Near to this is the sea of Azov, of great extent, from the abundant sources of which a great body of water pours through the straits of Patares, near the Black Sea; on the right are the islands Phanagorus and Hermonassa, which have been settled by the industry of the Greeks. Round the furthest extremity of this gulf dwell many tribes differing from one another in language and habits; the Jaxamatae, the Maeotae, the Jazyges, the Roxolani, the Alani, the Melanchlaenae, the Geloni, and the Agathyrsi, whose land abounds in adamant."[25]
"The Danube, which is greatly increased by other rivers falling into it, passes through the territory of the Sauromatae, which extends as far as the river Don, the boundary between Asia and Europe. On the other side of this river the Alani inhabit the enormous deserts of Scythia, deriving their own name from the mountains around; and they, like the Persians, having gradually subdued all the bordering nations by repeated victories, have united them to themselves, and comprehended them under their own name. Of these other tribes the Neuri inhabit the inland districts, being near the highest mountain chains, which are both precipitous and covered with the everlasting frost of the north. Next to them are the Budini and the Geloni, a race of exceeding ferocity, who flay the enemies they have slain in battle, and make of their skins clothes for themselves and trappings for their horses. Next to the Geloni are the Agathyrsi, who dye both their bodies and their hair of a blue colour, the lower classes using spots few in number and small—the nobles broad spots, close and thick, and of a deeper hue."[26]

Servius on Aeneid 4.v.146 (late 4th century) also relates that the Agathyrsi of Scythia were known for coloring their hair blue. The slightly later, expanded text known as "Servius Danielis" further distinguished them from the Picts of Scotland who he said colored their skin blue; but some later mediaeval traditions recounted by Bede and Holinshed dubiously purported to connect the Agathyrsi or Scythia directly with the Picts of Scotland.[27]


The gloss preserved by Stephen of Byzantium explains that the Greeks called the Trausi the Agathyrsi and we know that the Trausi lived in the Rhodope Mountains.[28]

In the 19th century, Niebuhr regards the Agathyrsi of Herodotus, or at least the people who occupied the position assigned to them by Herodotus, as the same people as the Getae or Dacians (North Thracians).[8]


An old theory of 19th century writers (Latham, V. St. Martin, Rambaud, Newman) which, according to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, is based on 'less convincing proof', suggested an identification of the Agathyrsi with the later Agatziri or Akatziroi first mentioned by Priscus in Vol XI, 823, Byzantine History, who described them leading a nomadic life on the Lower Volga, and reported them as having been Hunnic subjects before the time of Attila. This older theory is not mentioned at all by modern scholars Helfen or Golden. According to E.A. Thompson, the conjecture that connects the Agathyrsi with Akatziri should be rejected outright.[29]

The Acatziri were a main force of the Attila's army in 448. Attila appointed Karadach or Curidachus as the Akatzirs' chieftain. (Thompson, p. 107).

Jordanes, who quotes Priscus in Getica, located the Acatziri to the south of the Aesti (Balts) — roughly the same region as the Agathyrsi of Transylvania — and he described them as "a very brave tribe ignorant of agriculture, who subsist on their flocks and by hunting."[30]

The Encyclopædia Britannica 1897 and 1911 editions consider the Acatziri to be precursors of the Khazars of later antiquity,[31] although modern scholars like Professor Peter Golden, E.A. Thompson and Maenchen-Helfen consider this theory to be nothing more than conjecture[32] and Thompson has rejected it outright.[29] There does not seem to be any modern reputable scholar that holds such a theory as factual though no reasons have been given.

See also


  1. ^ The Thracians 700 BC-AD 46 The Thracians 700 BC-AD 46 by Christopher Webber and Angus Mcbride, 2001, ISBN 1-84176-329-2, page 16: "... back, which could be to accommodate a top-knot. Among the Agathyrsi (a Skythian tribe living near the Thracians, and practising some Thracian customs) the nobles also dyed their ..."
  2. ^ Fisher, Gershevitch, Shater (1993) 184
  3. ^ a b c Parvan (1928) 48
  4. ^ Thomson (1948) 399
  5. ^ Herodotus IV, 49
  6. ^ Herodotus IV,100
  7. ^ a b Herodotus IV,125
  8. ^ a b c Smith (1878) 73
  9. ^ Herodotus 4.8–10
  10. ^ Herodotus IV,10
  11. ^ Herodotus, Rawlinson G, Rawlinson H, Gardner (1859) 93
  12. ^ Herodotus IV,104
  13. ^ Parvan (1928) 69
  14. ^ (See Herodotus 4.10, 4.48, 4.49, 4.78, 4.100, 4.102, 4.104, 4.119, 4.125).
  15. ^ Herodotus IV,102
  16. ^ Herodotus IV, 119
  17. ^ Fol, Hammond (1988) 241
  18. ^ Parvan (1928) 75
  19. ^ Herodotus, IV
  20. ^ Hrushevsky (1997) 101
  21. ^ Maenchen-Helfen (2004) 451
  22. ^ The Fourth Booke of Plinies Naturall History
  23. ^ Pliny the Elder IV,26
  24. ^ LacusCurtius • Ptolemy's Geography — Book III, Chapter 5.
  25. ^ Ammianus Marcellinus XXII,8
  26. ^ Amminanus Marcellinus XXXI,2
  27. ^ Miles, D (2011), Heroic Saga and Classical Epic in Medieval Ireland, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer
  28. ^ Hrushevsky (1997) 97
  29. ^ a b E.A. Thompson, The Huns (Peoples of Europe) Blackwell Publishing, Incorporated (March 1, 1999), pg 105
  30. ^ The Origin And Deeds Of The Goths
  31. ^ "Khazars" in Encyclopædia Britannica, 1897.
  32. ^ An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz), 1992, p. 87


  • Fol, A and Hammond NGL (1988): The expedition of Darius 513 BC, The Cambridge Ancient History John Boardman, N. G. L. Hammond (Editor), D. M. Lewis (Editor), M. Ostwald Cambridge University Press; 2 edition, ISBN 0521228042, ISBN 978-0521228046
  • Latham, Robert Gordon (1854). "On the Name and Nation of the Dacian King Decebalus, with Notices of the Agathyrsi and Alani". Transactions of the Philological Society (6).
  • Thomson, James Oliver (1948) History of Ancient Geography, publisher: Biblo-Moser, ISBN 0819601438, ISBN 978-0819601438
  • Herodotus, Rawlinson George, Rawlinson Henry Creswicke, Wilkinson, Sir John Gardner, The History of Herodotus a new English version, Volume 3, London
  • Hrushevsky, Mykhailo (1997) History of Ukraine-Rus': From prehistory to the eleventh century, publisher The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, Edmonton, ISBN 9781894865104, ISBN 9781894865173
  • Maclagan, Robert Craig (2003) Scottish Myths publisher, Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 0766145239, ISBN 9780766145238
  • Maenchen-Helfen, Otto (2004) World Of the Huns Publisher: University of California Press; ISBN 0520015967, ISBN 978-0520015968
  • Parvan Vasile (1928) Dacia, Cambridge University Press
  • Sulimirsky T and Taylor T (1992) The Scythians in The Cambridge Ancient History John Boardman I. E. S. Edwards E. Sollberger N. G. L. Hammond, Cambridge University Press; 2 edition, ISBN 0521227178, ISBN 978-0521227179
  • William Bayne Fisher, Ilya Gershevitch, Ehsan Yar Shater (1993) The Median and Achaemenian PeriodsThe Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 2, ISBN 978-0-521-20091-2
  • Sir Smith, William (1878) A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography:Abacaenum-Hytanis London

The Akatziri or Akatzirs (Greek: Άκατίροι, Άκατζίροι, Akatiroi, Akatziroi; Latin: Acatziri) were a tribe that lived north of the Black Sea, west of Crimea. Their ethnicity is undetermined: the 5th-century historin Priscus describes them as ethnic (ethnos) Scythians, but they are also referred to as Huns (Akatiri Hunni). A theory is that they were a Turkic tribe, their ethnonym connected to Turkic ağaç eri, "woodman". Their name has also been connected to the Agathyrsi. Jordanes (fl. 551) called them a mighty people, not agriculturalists but cattle-breeders and hunters.Roman emperor Theodosius II (r. 402–450) sent an envoy to the Akatziri trying to detach them from their alliance with the Hunnic ruler Attila (435–453), an effort made to stir up fighting which also ensued. In 447 or 448 the Huns successfully campaigned against the Akatziri. In 448 or 449, as Priscus recounts "Onegesius along with the eldest of Attila's children, had been sent to the Akateri, a Scythian people, whom he was bringing into an alliance with Attila". As the Akatziri tribes and clans were ruled by different leaders, emperor Theodosius II tried with gifts to spread animosity among them, but the gifts were not delivered according to rank, Karadach (Kouridachos), warned and called Attila against fellow leaders. So Attila did, Kardach stayed with his tribe or clan in own territory, while the rest of the Akatziri became subjected to Attila. Attila's son Ellac was installed as ruler of the Akatziri. They were absorbed by the Saragurs in the 460s.The tradition that they were ancestors of the Khazars is not backed up by any solid evidence.


Ariapeithes (Ancient Greek: Ἀριαπείθης) was a king of the Scythians in the early 5th century BCE, and the father of Scyles.Ariapeithes had three wives, each of whom bore him one son: an unnamed Greek woman from Istria (Scyles's mother), an unnamed Thracian woman who was the daughter of the king Teres (mother of Octamasadas), and a Scythian woman named Opoea (mother of Oricus).Ariapeithes was treacherously killed by Spargapeithes, the king of the Agathyrsi, after which Scyles became the king of the Scythians, and took his stepmother Opoea as one of his wives.Ariapeithes was a contemporary of the historian Herodotus, for he tells us that he had from Tinines, the guardian of Ariapeithes, an account of the family of the Scythian philosopher Anacharsis.


The Dacians (; Latin: Daci; Greek: Δάκοι, Δάοι, Δάκαι) were a Thracian people who were the ancient inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the area near the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea. This area includes the present-day countries of Romania and Moldova, as well as parts of Ukraine, Eastern Serbia, Northern Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Southern Poland. The Dacians spoke the Dacian language, a sub-group of Thracian, but were somewhat culturally influenced by the neighbouring Scythians and by the Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC.


Decebalus (r. 87–106 AD) was the last king of Dacia. He is famous for fighting three wars, with varying success, against the Roman Empire under two emperors. After raiding south across the Danube, he defeated a Roman invasion in the reign of Domitian, securing a period of independence during which Decebalus consolidated his rule.

When Trajan came to power, his armies invaded Dacia to weaken its threat to the Roman border territories of Moesia. Decebalus was defeated in 102 AD. He remained in power as a client king, but continued to assert his independence, leading to a final and overwhelming Roman invasion north of the Danube in 105 AD. Trajan reduced the Dacian capital Sarmizegetusa in 106 AD to ruins, absorbing some of Dacia into the Empire. Decebalus committed suicide to avoid capture.

European Scythian campaign of Darius I

The European Scythian campaign of Darius I was a military expedition into parts of European Scythia by Darius I, the king of the Achaemenid Empire, in 513 BC. The Scythians were an East Iranian-speaking people who had invaded Media, revolted against Darius and threatened to disrupt trade between Central Asia and the shores of the Black Sea as they lived between the Danube and Don Rivers and the Black Sea. The campaigns took place in parts of the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper, while principally in what is modern-day Ukraine and southern Russia.

The Scythians managed to avoid a direct confrontation with the Persian army due to their mobile lifestyle and lack of any settlement (except Gelonus), while the Persians suffered losses due to the Scythians' scorched earth tactic. However, the Persians conquered much of their cultivated lands and damaged their allies, forcing the Scythians to respect the Persian force. Darius halted the advance to avoid further losses, and built a defence line.


The Gelonians (or Geloni), also known as Helonians (or Heloni), are mentioned as a nation in northwestern Scythia by Herodotus. Herodotus states that they were originally Hellenes who settled among the Budinoi, and that they are bilingual in Greek and the Scythian language.Their capital was called Gelonos or Helonos, originally a Greek market town. In his account of Scythia, Herodotus writes that the Gelonii were formerly Greeks, having settled away from the coastal emporia among the Budini, where they "use a tongue partly Scythian and partly Greek":

"The Budini for their part, being a large and numerous nation, is all mightily blue-eyed and ruddy. And a city among them has been built, a wooden city, and the name of the city is Gelonus. Of its wall then in size each side is of thirty stades and high and all wooden. And their homes are wooden and their shrines. For indeed there is in the very place Greek gods’ shrines adorned in the Greek way with statues, altars and wooden shrines and for triennial Dionysus festivals in honour of Dionysus...The fortified settlement of Gelonus was reached by the Persian army of Darius in his assault on Scythia during the 5th century BC, and burned to the ground, the Budini having abandoned it in their flight before the Persian advance. Recent digs at Bilsk in Ukraine's Poltava Oblast have uncovered a vast city identified by the Kharkiv archaeologist Boris Shramko as the Scythian capital Gelonus.The name according to Herodotus, who took his mythology from "the Greeks who dwell about the Pontos", derives from their eponymous mythical founder, Gelonus brother of Scythes, sons of Heracles, an expression of observed cultural links in genealogical terms. Herodotus also mentions that the Greeks apply the ethnonym both to the actual Gelonians of Greek origin and by extension to the Budinoi.

At the end of the fourth century AD, Claudian in his Against Rufinus (book 1) polemically portrays the tribes of Scythia as prototypical barbarians:

There march against us a mixed horde of Sarmatians and Dacians, the Massagetes who cruelly wound their horses that they may drink their blood, the Alans who break the ice and drink the waters of Maeotis' lake, and the Geloni who tattoo their limbs: these form Rufinus' army.Sidonius Apollinaris, the cultured Gallo-Roman poet of the sixth century, includes Geloni, "milkers of mares" (equimulgae) among tribal allies participating in the Battle of Chalons against Attila in 451 AD. E.A. Thompson expresses his suspicions about some of these names:

The Bastarnae, Bructeri, Geloni and Neuri had disappeared hundreds of years before the times of the Huns, while the Bellonoti had never existed at all: presumably the learned poet was thinking of the Balloniti, a people invented by Valerius Flaccus nearly four centuries earlier.


The Getae , , or Gets (, ; Ancient Greek: Γέται, singular Γέτης) were several Thracian tribes that once inhabited the regions to either side of the Lower Danube, in what is today northern Bulgaria and southern Romania. Both the singular form Get and plural Getae may be derived from a Greek exonym: the area was the hinterland of Greek colonies on the Black Sea coast, bringing the Getae into contact with the ancient Greeks from an early date. Several scholars, especially in the Romanian historiography, posit the identity between the Getae and their westward neighbours, the Dacians.

Histories (Herodotus)

The Histories (Greek: Ἱστορίαι; Ancient Greek: [historíai̯]; also known as The Histories) of Herodotus is considered the founding work of history in Western literature. Written in 440 BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that were known in Western Asia, Northern Africa and Greece at that time. Although not a fully impartial record, it remains one of the West's most important sources regarding these affairs. Moreover, it established the genre and study of history in the Western world (despite the existence of historical records and chronicles beforehand).

The Histories also stands as one of the first accounts of the rise of the Persian Empire, as well as the events and causes of the Greco-Persian Wars between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greek city-states in the 5th century BC. Herodotus portrays the conflict as one between the forces of slavery (the Persians) on the one hand, and freedom (the Athenians and the confederacy of Greek city-states which united against the invaders) on the other.

The Histories was at some point divided into the nine books that appear in modern editions, conventionally named after the nine Muses.

List of ancient tribes in Thrace and Dacia

This is a list of ancient tribes in Thrace and Dacia (Ancient Greek: Θρᾴκη, Δακία) including possibly or partly Thracian or Dacian tribes, and non-Thracian or non-Dacian tribes that inhabited the lands known as Thrace and Dacia. A great number of Ancient Greek tribes lived in these regions as well, albeit in the Greek colonies.

List of rulers of Thrace and Dacia

This article lists rulers of Thrace and Dacia, and includes Thracian, Paeonian, Celtic, Dacian, Scythian, Persian or Ancient Greek up to the point of its

fall to the Roman empire, with a few figures from Greek mythology.

Pictish language

Pictish is the extinct language spoken by the Picts, the people of eastern and northern Scotland from the late Iron Age to the Early Middle Ages. Virtually no direct attestations of Pictish remain, short of a limited number of geographical and personal names found on monuments and the contemporary records in the area controlled by the Kingdom of the Picts. Such evidence, however, points to the language being related to the Brittonic language spoken prior to Anglo-Saxon settlement in what is now southern Scotland, England, and Wales.

The prevailing view in the second half of the 20th century was that Pictish was a non-Indo-European language isolate, predating a Celtic colonisation of Scotland or that a non-Indo-European Pictish and Brittonic Pictish language coexisted. This is now a minority view, if not completely abandoned.

Pictish was replaced by – or subsumed into – Gaelic in the latter centuries of the Pictish period. During the reign of Domnall mac Causantín (889–900), outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than the kingdom of the Picts. However the Pictish language did not disappear suddenly. A process of Gaelicisation (which may have begun generations earlier) was clearly underway during the reigns of Domnall and his successors. By a certain point, probably during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become fully Gaelicised Scots, and the Pictish identity was forgotten.


Romania ( (listen) ro-MAY-nee-ə; Romanian: România [romɨˈni.a] (listen)) is a country located at the crossroads of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, and Moldova to the east. It has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres (92,046 sq mi), Romania is the 12th largest country and also the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having almost 20 million inhabitants. Its capital and largest city is Bucharest, and other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Craiova, and Brașov.

The River Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany's Black Forest and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km (1,775 mi), coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta. The Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest, include Moldoveanu Peak, at an altitude of 2,544 m (8,346 ft).Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The new state, officially named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Following World War I, when Romania fought on the side of the Allied powers, Bukovina, Bessarabia, Transylvania as well as parts of Banat, Crișana, and Maramureș became part of the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. In June–August 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Second Vienna Award, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, and Northern Transylvania to Hungary. In November 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and, consequently, in June 1941 entered World War II on the Axis side, fighting against the Soviet Union until August 1944, when it joined the Allies and recovered Northern Transylvania. Following the war, under the occupation of the Red Army's forces, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards democracy and a market economy.

The sovereign state of Romania is a developing country and ranks 52nd in the Human Development Index. It has the world's 47th largest economy by nominal GDP and an annual economic growth rate of 7% (2017), the highest in the EU at the time. Following rapid economic growth in the early 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, and is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy, featuring companies like Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom. It has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, part of NATO since 2004, and part of the European Union since 2007. An overwhelming majority of the population identifies themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language.

Romania in Antiquity

The Antiquity in Romania spans the period between the foundation of Greek colonies in present-day Dobruja and the withdrawal of the Romans from "Dacia Trajana" province. The earliest records of the history of the regions which now form Romania were made after the establishment of three Greek towns—Histria, Tomis, and Callatis—on the Black Sea coast in the 7th and 6th centuries BC. They developed into important centers of commerce and had a close relationship with the natives. The latter were first described by Herodotus, who made mention of the Getae of the Lower Danube region, the Agathyrsi of Transylvania and the Sygannae of Crişana.

Archaeological research prove that Celts dominated Transylvania between the middle of the 5th century and the end of the 3rd century BC. The Bastarnae—a warlike Germanic tribe—settled in the regions to the east of the Carpathian Mountains around 200 BC. Confrontations between the natives and the Roman Empire began in the late 1st century BC. Among the former, the Dacians—who were closely connected to the Getae—rose to eminence under King Burebista (c. 80–44 BC). He unified the tribes dwelling between the Middle Danube, the Northern Carpathians, the Dniester and the Balkan Mountains into a powerful, but ephemeral empire. It disintegrated into at least four parts after his death. Large territories to the north of the Lower Danube—the lands between the Tisa, the Northern Carpathians, the Dniester and the Lower Danube—were again unified for less than two decades by King Decebalus of the Dacians (87–106 AD).

Modern Dobruja—the territory between the Lower Danube and the Black Sea—was the first historical region of Romania to have been incorporated in the Roman Empire. The region was attached to the Roman province of Moesia between 46 and 79 AD. The Romans also occupied Banat, Oltenia and Transylvania after the fall of Decebalus and the disintegration of his kingdom in 106. The three regions together formed the new province of Dacia. The new province was surrounded by "barbarian" tribes, including the Costoboci, the Iazyges and the Roxolani. New Germanic tribes—the Buri and the Vandals—arrived and settled in the vicinity of Dacia province in the course of the Marcomannic Wars in the second half of the 2nd century.


Scythia (UK: , US: ; from Greek Σκυθική, Skythikē) was a region of Central Eurasia in classical antiquity, occupied by the Eastern Iranian Scythians, encompassing Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula River, with the eastern edges of the region vaguely defined by the Greeks. The Ancient Greeks gave the name Scythia (or Great Scythia) to all the lands north-east of Europe and the northern coast of the Black Sea.The Scythians – the Greeks' name for this initially nomadic people – inhabited Scythia from at least the 11th century BC to the 2nd century AD. In the seventh century BC, the Scythians controlled large swaths of territory throughout Eurasia, from the Black Sea across Siberia to the borders of China.

Its location and extent varied over time, but it usually extended farther to the west and significantly farther to the east than is indicated on the map. Some sources document that the Scythians were energetic but peaceful people. Not much is known about them.

Scythia was a loose nomadic empire that originated as early as 8th century BC. The core of Scythians preferred a free-riding way of life. No writing system that dates to the period has ever been attested, so majority of written information available today about the region and its inhabitants at the time stems from protohistorical writings of ancient civilizations which had connections to the region, primarily those of Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Ancient Persia. The most detailed western description is by Herodotus. He may not have travelled in Scythia and there is scholarly debate as to the accuracy of his knowledge, but modern archaeological finds have confirmed some of his ancient claims and he remains one of the most useful writers on ancient Scythia. He says the Scythians' own name for themselves was "Scoloti". Probably a part of Scythians became increasingly settled and wealthy on their western frontier with Greco-Roman civilization.


The Scythians (; from Greek Σκύθης, Σκύθοι), also known as Scyth, Saka, Sakae, Sai, Iskuzai, or Askuzai, were Eurasian nomads, probably mostly using Eastern Iranian languages, who were mentioned by the literate peoples to their south as inhabiting large areas of the western and central Eurasian Steppe from about the 9th century BC up until the 4th century AD. The "classical Scythians" known to ancient Greek historians, agreed to be mainly Iranian in origin, were located in the northern Black Sea and fore-Caucasus region. Other Scythian groups documented by Assyrian, Achaemenid and Chinese sources show that they also existed in Central Asia, where they were referred to as the Iskuzai/Askuzai, Saka (Old Persian: Sakā; New Persian/Pashto: ساکا‎; Sanskrit: शक Śaka; Greek: Σάκαι; Latin: Sacae), and Sai (Chinese: 塞; Old Chinese: *sˤək), respectively.The relationships between the peoples living in these widely separated regions remains unclear, and the term is used in both a broad and narrow sense. The term "Scythian" is used by modern scholars in an archaeological context for finds perceived to display attributes of the wider "Scytho-Siberian" culture, usually without implying an ethnic or linguistic connotation. The term Scythic may also be used in a similar way, "to describe a special phase that followed the widespread diffusion of mounted nomadism, characterized by the presence of special weapons, horse gear, and animal art in the form of metal plaques". Their westernmost territories during the Iron Age were known to classical Greek sources as Scythia, and in the more narrow sense "Scythian" is restricted to these areas, where the Scythian languages were spoken. Different definitions of "Scythian" have been used, leading to a good deal of confusion.The Scythians were among the earliest peoples to master mounted warfare. They kept herds of horses, cattle and sheep, lived in tent-covered wagons and fought with bows and arrows on horseback. They developed a rich culture characterised by opulent tombs, fine metalwork and a brilliant art style.

In the 8th century BC, they possibly raided Zhou China. Soon after, they expanded westwards and dislodged the Cimmerians from power on the Pontic Steppe. At their peak, Scythians came to dominate the entire steppe zone, stretching from the Carpathian Mountains in the west to central China (Ordos culture) and the south Siberia (Tagar culture) in the east, creating what has been called the first Central Asian nomadic empire, although there was little that could be called an organised state.Based in what is modern-day Ukraine, Southern European Russia and Crimea, the western Scythians were ruled by a wealthy class known as the Royal Scyths. The Scythians established and controlled the Silk Road, a vast trade network connecting Greece, Persia, India and China, perhaps contributing to the contemporary flourishing of those civilisations. Settled metalworkers made portable decorative objects for the Scythians. These objects survive mainly in metal, forming a distinctive Scythian art. In the 7th century BC, the Scythians crossed the Caucasus and frequently raided the Middle East along with the Cimmerians, playing an important role in the political developments of the region. Around 650–630 BC, Scythians briefly dominated the Medes of the western Iranian Plateau, stretching their power to the borders of Egypt. After losing control over Media, the Scythians continued intervening in Middle Eastern affairs, playing a leading role in the destruction of the Assyrian Empire in the Sack of Nineveh in 612 BC. The Scythians subsequently engaged in frequent conflicts with the Achaemenid Empire. The western Scythians suffered a major defeat against Macedonia in the 4th century BC and were subsequently gradually conquered by the Sarmatians, a related Iranian people from Central Asia. The Eastern Scythians of the Asian Steppe (Saka) were attacked by the Yuezhi, Wusun and Xiongnu in the 2nd century BC, prompting many of them to migrate into South Asia, where they became known as Indo-Scythians. At some point, perhaps as late as the 3rd century AD after the demise of the Han dynasty and the Xiongnu, Eastern Scythians crossed the Pamir Mountains and settled in the western Tarim Basin, where the Scythian Khotanese and Tumshuqese languages are attested in Brahmi scripture from the 10th and 11th centuries AD. The Kingdom of Khotan, at least partly Saka, was then conquered by the Kara-Khanid Khanate, which led to the Islamisation and Turkification of Northwest China. In Eastern Europe, by the early Medieval Ages, the Scythians and their closely related Sarmatians were eventually assimilated and absorbed (e.g. Slavicisation) by the Proto-Slavic population of the region.


Senta (Serbian Cyrillic: Сента (pronounced [sɛ̌ːnta]); Hungarian: Zenta (pronounced [ˈzɛntɒ]); Romanian: Zenta) is a town and municipality located in the North Banat District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It is situated on the bank of the Tisa river in the geographical region of Bačka. The town has a population of 18,704, whilst the Senta municipality has 23,316 inhabitants (2011 census).


Spargapeithes was the name of a king of the Scythian tribe of the Agathyrsi. He is perhaps best remembered as the murderer of the king Ariapeithes.

Turkic migration

Turkic migration refers to the expansion of the Turkic tribes and Turkic languages into Central Asia, Eastern Europe and West Asia, mainly between the 6th and 11th centuries. The region of origin of the Turkic peoples is suggested to be somewhere in Siberia (North Asia), Mongolia or northwestern Manchuria.Identified Turkic tribes were known by the 6th century, and by the 10th century most of Central Asia was settled by Turkic tribes. The Seljuq dynasty settled in Anatolia starting in the 11th century, ultimately resulting in permanent Turkic settlement and presence there. Meanwhile, other Turkic tribes either ultimately formed independent nations, such as Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and others new enclaves within other nations, such as Chuvashia, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, the Crimean Tatars, the Uyghurs in China, and the Sakha Republic Siberia.


Vršac (Serbian Cyrillic: Вршац pronounced [ʋr̩̂ʃat͡s]) is a city located in the South Banat District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. As of 2011, the city urban area has a population of 35,701, while the city administrative area has 52,026 inhabitants. It is located in the geographical region of Banat.

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