Tanais (Greek: Τάναϊς Tánaïs; Russian: Танаис) was an ancient Greek city in the Don river delta, called the Maeotian marshes in classical antiquity. It was a bishopric as Tana and remains a Latin Catholic titular see as Tanais.

Танаис, археологический музей-заповедник-6
The archaeological park of Tanais. 2017
Tanais is located in Rostov Oblast
Shown within Rostov Oblast
Tanais is located in European Russia
Tanais (European Russia)
LocationNedvigovka, Rostov Oblast, Russia
RegionMaeotian marshes
Coordinates47°16′8″N 39°20′6″E / 47.26889°N 39.33500°ECoordinates: 47°16′8″N 39°20′6″E / 47.26889°N 39.33500°E
BuilderSettlers from Miletus
FoundedLate 3rd century BC
AbandonedSecond half of the 5th century AD
PeriodsHellenistic to Late Antiquity
CulturesGreek, Sarmatian
Site notes
Public accessYes


The delta reaches into the northeasternmost part of the Sea of Azov, which the Ancient Greeks called Lake Maeotis. The site of ancient Tanais is about 30 km west of modern Rostov-on-Don. The central city site lies on a plateau with a difference up to 20 m in elevation in the south. It is bordered by a natural valley to the east, and an artificial ditch to the west.


The site of Tanais was occupied long before the Milesians founded an emporium there. A necropolis of over 300 burial kurgans near the ancient city shows that the site had already been occupied since the Bronze Age, and that kurgan burials continued through Greek and into even Roman times.

Greek colonies of the Northern Euxine Sea (Black Sea)
The Tanais (Don) River, the Greek colony of the same name and other Greek colonies along the north coast of the Black Sea.

Greek traders seem to have been meeting nomads in the district as early as the 7th century BC without a formal, permanent settlement. Greek colonies had two kinds of origins, apoikiai of citizens from the mother city-state, and emporia, which were strictly trading stations. Founded late in the 3rd century BC, by merchant adventurers from Miletus, Tanais quickly developed into an emporium at the farthest northeastern extension of the Hellenic cultural sphere. It was a natural post, first for the trade of the steppes reaching away eastwards in an unbroken grass sea to the Altai, the Scythian Holy Land, second for the trade of the Black Sea, ringed with Greek-dominated ports and entrepots, and third for trade from the impenetrable north, with furs and slaves brought down the Don. Strabo mentions Tanais in his Geography (11.2.2).

The site for the city, ruled by an archon, was at the eastern edge of the territory of the kings of Bosporus. A major shift in social emphasis is represented in the archaeological site when the propylea gate that linked the port section with the agora was removed, and the open center of public life was occupied by a palatial dwelling in Roman times for the kings of Bosporus. For the first time there were client kings at Tanais: Sauromates (AD 175-211) and his son Rescuporides (c. AD 220), who both left public inscriptions.

In AD 330 Tanais was devastated by the Goths, but the site was occupied continuously up to the second half of the 5th century AD. Increasingly, the channel silted up, probably the result of deforestation, and the center of active life shifted, perhaps to the small city of Azov, halfway to Rostov.

The city was refounded around the 13th century by the Venetians. Later it was acquired by the maritime Republic of Genoa, who administered it 1332-1471 as Tana nel Mare Maggiore, being an important place for trade with the Golden Horde, like all their Black Sea colonies controlled by the Genoese Consul at Kaffa. It decayed again after 1368. In 1392 it was conquered by Timur, by the Ottoman Turks in 1471, by the Russians in 1696, again by the Turks in 1711 and by the Russian Empire in 1771.

Ecclesiastical History

Circa 1300, under Venetian rule, was established a Diocese of Tana as territory not previously served, maintained under Genua. Most bishops were members of two major and missionary orders. It was exempt, i.e. directly subject to the Holy See, not part of any ecclesiastical province.[1][2][3]

In 1471, under Ottoman Muslim control, the bishopric was suppressed.

Episcopal Ordinaries

  • Reginaldo di Spoleto, Dominican order (O.P.) (1300 – ?)
  • Enrico, Friars Minor (O.F.M.) (1345.08.15 – ?)
  • Giovanni (1380? – ?)
  • Corrado, O.P. (1382? – ?)
  • Matteo (? – ?)
  • Antonio di Lepanto, O.P. (1422.07.03 – death ?)
  • Nicola di Troia, O.F.M. (1425.07.27 – ?)
  • Francesco (? – ?)
  • Basilio, O.F.M. (1439.11.11 – death ?)
    • uncanonical Erboldo (May 1441 - death 15 April 1450), appointed by Antipope Felix V
  • Matteo di Pontremoli, O.P. (1464.09.16 – ?)

Titular see

In 1925 the diocese was nominally restored as Latin titular bishopric of Tana, which from 1929 was called Tanais (exclusively from 1942).

It is vacant, having had the following near-consecutive incumbents, all of the fitting episcopal (lowest) rank :

  • Juan José Maíztegui y Besoitaiturria, Claretians (C.M.F.) (1926.07.14 – 1933.02.24) (later Archbishop)
  • Joseph Cui Shou-xun (Tsui Shou-hsün) (崔守恂) (1933.03.06 – 1946.04.11)
  • Andrew Roborecki (1948.03.03 – 1956.11.03)
  • Raúl Francisco Primatesta (1957.06.14 – 1961.06.12) (later Cardinal)
  • Agustín Adolfo Herrera (1961.07.24 – 1965.09.08)[4]


In 1823, I. A. Stempkovsky first made a connection between the visible archaeological remains, which were mostly Roman in date, and the "Tanais" mentioned in the ancient Greek sources.

Systematic modern excavations began in 1955. A joint Russian-German team has recently been excavating at the site of Tanais, with the aim of revealing the heart of the city, the agora, and defining the extent of Hellenistic influence on the urbanism of the Bosporan Greek city, as well as studying defensive responses to the surrounding nomadic cultures.

In the book Jakten på Odin, author Thor Heyerdahl advanced a highly controversial idea postulating connections between Tanais and ancient Scandinavia. In preparation of the book, he conducted some archaeological research on the site of Tanais. Heyerdal`s idea was based on the old Norse sagas of Snorri Sturlason. (1178 - 1241)


9 Y-chromosome markers were obtained from a skeleton. The result was 389I=13, 389II=30, 458=15, 385=11, 393=13, 391=11, 635=23, 437=14, 448=19. This result is characteristic for haplogroup R1a.[5]

See also


  1. ^ Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, (Leipzig, 1931), p. 432
  2. ^ Konrad Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi, vol. 1, p. 471.
  3. ^ vol. 2, p. 245.
  4. ^ Entry at www.gcatholic.org.
  5. ^ "The Population of Southern Russia Across the Ages (The Don Readings in Physical Anthropology): Collection of papers" (PDF). Russian academy of sciences.


  • Crowley, Roger (2011). City of Fortune - How Venice Won and lost a Naval Empire. London: Faber and Faber. ISBN 978-0-571-24594-9.

External links

  • Pius Bonifacius Gams, Series episcoporum Ecclesiae Catholicae, Leipzig 1931, p. 432
  • Konrad Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii Aevi, vol. 1, p. 471; vol. 2, p.

Apasiacae is the name of a nomadic tribe belonging to the Massagetae. The Apasiacae lived in between of Oxus and Tanais, in the east coast of the Aral Sea, since Tanais indisputably means here the Jaxartes river, or near the Oxus river in the west of Bactria. The Parthian king Arsaces I fled to these people ca. 230 B.C. from Seleucus II Callinicus.

Battle of the Tanais River

The Battle of the Tanais River in 373 AD between the Huns and the Alans, was fought on the traditional border between Asia and Europe. The Huns were victorious.

Some historians credit this battle as the beginning of the process of Germanic migration, in which the Huns pushed Germanic tribes into central and northern Europe, resulting in many conflicts between those tribes and the Roman Empire.

It was followed by a joint Hun-Alan invasion of the Gothic kingdom of Ermanaric.

Don River

The Don (Russian: Дон, IPA: [don]) is one of the major Eurasian rivers of Russia and the fifth-longest river in Europe. The Don basin is between the Dnieper basin to the west, the Volga basin to the east, and the Oka basin (tributary of the Volga) to the north.

The Don rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres (37 mi) southeast of Tula (120 km south of Moscow), and flows for a distance of about 1,870 kilometres to the Sea of Azov. From its source, the river first flows southeast to Voronezh, then southwest to its mouth. The main city on the river is Rostov on Don. Its main tributary is the Seversky Donets.

Drepatelodes tanais

Drepatelodes tanais is a moth in the Bombycidae family. It was described by Herbert Druce in 1898. It is found in Costa Rica.

Eumelos of Bosporus

Eumelos of Bosporus (fl. 309–304 BC) or Eumelus was a Spartocid ruler of the Bosporan Kingdom and a son of Paerisades. Eumelos was the brother of Satyros II (not to be confused with his great-grandfather, Satyrus I, another Bosporan ruler) and Prytanis.

He and his brothers engaged in a conflict for the throne, which was rightfully inherited by Satyros, the eldest of them, from his father.

Gazaria (Genoese colonies)

Gazara (Gazaria is a Russified version of the name; also Cassaria, Cacsarea, Gazaria, Gasaria) is the name given to the Genoese colonies in Crimea and around the Black Sea from the mid-13th century to the late 15th century.

The word is derived from Khazaria, though the Khazars had ceased to rule over the area by that time.

Jakten på Odin

The Search for Odin (Norwegian: Jakten på Odin) is the project title of Thor Heyerdahl's last series of archaeological excavations, which took place in Azov (Tanais) in Russia.

Kven Sea

Kven Sea (Cwen sea) is mentioned as the northern border for the ancient Germania in "The Old English Orosius", the history of the world published in England in 890 CE with a commission from King Alfred the Great himself. It was probably the same as the Gulf of Finland, although the Gulf of Bothnia have also been suggested.

Included in Orosius, there is a short mention of the Kven Sea by a Norwegian viking Ottar, but the Kven Sea is unknown outside Orosius.

Borders of the ancient Germania were described in Orosius as follows:

"From the Tanais (River Don) westwards to the Rhine, which takes its rise in the Alps, and runs northward, till it falls into that branch of the ocean which surrounds Bryttannia, and southward from the Tanais to the Donua or Danube, whose source is near that of the Rhine, and which runs to the northward of Greece, till it empties itself into the Euxine, and north even to that part of the ocean which is called the Kven Sea (Cwen sea), there are many nations; and the whole of this extensive country is called Germania."


Lysippe (; Ancient Greek: Λυσίππη Lusíppē) is the name of several different women in Greek mythology:

Lysippe, daughter of Thespius and Megamede. She bore Heracles a son, Erasippus.

Lysippe, the Amazon mother of the river god Tanais.

Lysippe, the daughter of Proetus and Stheneboea. Along with her sisters Iphinoe and Iphianassa, she was driven mad, believing herself to be a cow. This was either because they would not receive the rites of Dionysus, or they scorned the divinity of Hera. They also lost their beauty: they were afflicted with skin diseases and their hair dropped out. They were cured by Melampus, the son of Amythaon.

Lysippe, wife of Prolaus of Elis.

Lysippe, possible name for the wife of Talaus.

Lysippe, other name for Cydippe, daughter of King Ormenus of Rhodes and wife of her uncle Cercaphus.

Maeotian Swamp

The Maeotian Swamp (Ancient Greek: ἡ Μαιῶτις λίμνη, hē Maiōtis límnē; Latin: Palus Maeotis) was a name applied in antiquity variously to the swamps at the mouth of the Tanais River in Scythia (the modern Don in southern Russia) and to the entire Sea of Azov which it forms there. The sea was also known as the Maeotian Lake (Latin: Lacus Maeotis) among other names. The people who lived around the sea were known as the Maeotians, although it remains unclear which was named for which.The Ixomates were a tribe of the Maeotes. To the south of the Maeotes, east of the Crimea were the Sindes, their lands known as Scythia Sindica.

The marshes served to check the westward migration of nomad peoples from the steppe of Central Asia. The Iazyges, a Sarmatian tribe, were first heard of on the Maeotis, where they were among the allies of Mithridates II of Parthia. The untrustworthy 4th-century Historia Augusta claims the Roman emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus secured a victory over the Alans near the marshes during his brief reign in 275 and 276.

Northwestern Mindanao State College of Science and Technology

The Northwestern Mindanao State College of Science and Technology is a public college in the Philippines. It is mandated to primarily offer higher professional, technical instructions for special purposes and promote research and extension services, advanced studies and progressive leadership in education, agriculture, fishery, engineering, arts and sciences, short-term vocational-technical and other continuing courses as may be relevant.

It shall also provide primary consideration to the integration of researches/ studies for the development of the Province of Misamis Occidental. Its main campus is located in Labuyo, Tangub City, Misamis Occidental.

Tanais (cinema)

Tanais (Russian: Танаис (кинотеатр)) is a cinema located in Novocherkassk, Rostov Region. The oldest cinema in the city. It is a monument of local architecture.

Tanais (disambiguation)

Tanais was an ancient Greek city in the Don river delta.

Tanais may also refer to:

Tanais River or Don River

12492 Tanais, a main belt asteroid

Tanais, a shipwreck in October 1943

Tanais (genus)

Tanais is a genus of malacostracans in the family Tanaididae. There are about 11 described species in Tanais.

Tanais Archaeological Reserve Museum

Tanais Archaeological Reserve Museum, or the Archaeological Museum-reserve Tanais (Russian: Археологический музей-заповедник Танаис), is one of the largest historical and archaeological open-air reserve museum in Russia.

It is also the first archeological reserve museum established in Russia. It is based on the site of the ancient city of Tanais. The city, named after the river Tanais (Don), was founded in its mouth at the confluence to Meotida (Azov Sea). The city of Tanais has played a significant role in the political life of cities of the Northern Black Sea Region and the adjacent areas of the Great Steppe for almost eight centuries.

Tanais Tablets

The Tanais Tablets are two tablets dated late 2nd-3rd century AD, and written in Greek from the city of Tanais, in the proximity of modern Rostov-on-Don, Russia. At the time, Tanais was composed of a mixed Greek and Sarmatian population. The tablets are public inscriptions which commemorate renovation works in the city. One of the tablets, Tanais Tablet A, is damaged and is not fully reconstructed. The other one, Tanais Tablet B, is fully preserved and is dated to 220 AD.The tablets were discovered by Russian archaeologist Pavel Mikhailovich Leontjev in 1853 and are today kept in the lapidary of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. The tablets are considered important for the early Croatian history.

Tanais dulongii

Tanais dulongii is a species of malacostracan in the family Tanaididae.

Themiscyra (Pontus)

Themiscyra (; Greek: Θεμίσκυρα Themiskyra) was an ancient Greek town in northeastern Anatolia; it was situated on the southern coast of the Black Sea, near the mouth of the Thermodon.

According to Greek mythology, it was the capital city of the Amazons.

Ynglinga saga

Ynglinga saga is a legendary saga, originally written in Old Norse by the Icelandic poet and historian Snorri Sturluson about 1225. It is the first section of his Heimskringla. It was first translated into English and published in 1844 by Samuel Laing.

Snorri Sturluson based his work on an earlier Ynglingatal which is attributed to the Norwegian 9th-century skald Þjóðólfr of Hvinir, and which also appears in Historia Norwegiae. It tells the most ancient part of the story of the House of Ynglings (Scylfings in Beowulf). Snorri described the descent of the kings of Norway from this royal house of Sweden.

Ynglinga saga is the first part of Snorri's history of the ancient Norse kings, the Heimskringla. Snorri's work covers the history of the Norwegian kings from the mythical prehistoric age until 1177, with the death of the pretender Eystein Meyla. Interwoven in this narrative are references to important historical events.

The saga deals with the arrival of the Norse gods to Scandinavia and how Freyr founded the Swedish Yngling dynasty at Uppsala. Then the saga follows the line of Swedish kings until Ingjald (Ingjald illråde), after which the descendants settled in Norway and became the ancestors of the Norwegian King Harald Fairhair.

In the initial stanzas of the poem, Asagarth is the capital of Asaland, a section of Asia to the east of the Tana-kvísl or Vana-Kvísl river (kvísl is "fork"), which Snorri explains is the Tanais, or Don River, flowing into the Black Sea. The river divides "Sweden the Great", a concession to the Viking point of view. It is never called that prior to the Vikings (Section 1).

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