"Long before the Slavs migrated..." Kiev Local Custom Tip by Tolik

Kiev Local Customs: 85 reviews and 116 photos


Long before the Slavs migrated to this area, the Scythians were one of the tribes who roamed the the steppe in the first millennium BC terrorizing their neighbors with brilliant archery and horsemanship. They were the first to domesticate the horse and possibly the first to make their living through the practice of archery on horseback, are one of the most mysterious of ancient peoples, and their stories are fascinating ones. In history, the Scythians was first recorded in the 7th century BC as Assyria's ally against the Cimmerians, who had lost their homeland to the Scythians and moved south. The Scythian king, Partatua married an Assyrian princess in 674 B.C. and two nations remained allies. Scythians and Assyrians together conquered the Medes of the Caspian Sea; however the Medes was able to drive the Scythians out of western Asia and back to the Pontic Steppes by the turn of the century.

Where had they come from? The Scythians themselves had a legend that 'they sprang from the three sons of certain Targitaus, a person of supernatural birth who dwelled in the Black Sea domain. Together the three brothers ruled the land until four golden implements - a plow, a yoke, a battle-ax and a drinking cup - fell from the sky and suddenly began to blaze. Colaxais, the youngest, proved to be the only one of the brothers who could pick up the burning objects, and thus became sole ruler of the Scythian kingdom'.
Another Scythian creation story was told by the ancient Diodorus Siculus at the 1st century BC. According to Diodorus, Scythians 'lived in very small numbers at the Araks River....that they gained for themselves a country in the mountains up to the Caucasus, in the lowland on the coast of the Ocean (Caspian Sea) and the Meot Lake (Azov Sea) and other territories up to the Tanais River (Don River). Born in that land from the conjugal union of Zeus and a snake-legged goddess was a son Scyth who gave the name Scythian to the people. His descendants were named Pal and Naps and were the ancestors of two congenetic people - pals and naps. They won for themselves a country behind the Tanais River up to the Egyptian Nile River' (Diodorus II, 43).

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  • Written Aug 25, 2002
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