The first mention of the “Scythians” came from Herodotus in his Views of History. It was one of the most important works and a valuable source of information to the Ancient Scyths. Herodotus’ explained that the Ancient Persians called them (Scyths) in “Sacae, Herodotus 7.64″. This is where the principle idea of the tribe name came from “Royal Scyths” which ruled vast lands and which was a strong nation in Herodotus 4.20 and in Scoloti Herodotus 4.6.
It is important to mention the archaeological evidence presented in the modern interpretation of historical, anthropology and archaeological evidence of two proposed hypothesis. The first idea put forth by Russian researchers is that Herodotus in the third account mentions that the Scythians were an eastern Iranian group which arrived from the inner areas of such as Turkestan and western Serbia.
Scythians lived in a style of a confederated tribes, the formation of political unity amongst many tribes and which were regulated in the pastures and organized in common defence against neighbours for the pastoral tribes of the mostly equestrian herdsman. There was much productivity of the domesticated animal-breeding which had a great effect on the settled agricultural societies. With this the pastoral economy strengthened, for this to happen there had to be a stable confederation amongst the nomads. This would develop either into a symbiotic or forced alliance with sedentary people who would exchange animal produce and military protection.
A warlike people the Scythians were known for a strong equestrian skills and their early use of the composite bows which were shot from horseback in full swing. With great stride and mobility, Scythian was able to absorb the attacks and the foot soldiers and cavalry, which began retreating into the steps. This tactic ensured enemies were worn down, thus making is easier for them to kill and defeat the enemy.
They were a notorious and aggressive warrior, who fought to live and die for victory in war. They had a reputation for their archers and many of them gained employment as a mercenaries. The Kurgan Tombs were highly important because they had barrows heaped over chamber-tombs of learch-wood, which was a symbolism of the tree of life renewal for it, sands the bare of the winter.
Scythian women dressed in much of the same fashion as fashion men. An example of Pazyrk burial was discovered in 1990s, which contained a woman and man each with weapons, arrow heads and an axe. The historian Herodotus stated that the Sakas had a “High caps and … wore trousers”. This shows how different their styles of a clothing were.
The Art of the Scythians was a characters art which was produced and made between the 7th- 3rd century BC. After which the Scythians craftsmanship gradually became sophisticated amongst there rich graves of deposits of precious art works and gold craftsmanship. Over this short period the Scythians were able to get involved and trade with the neighbouring Greeks. In the time of around 650-630BC the Scythians dominated the Medes of the western Iranian Plateu they were able to spread their power to the borders of Egypt. Nevertheless after losing control to the Media they still managed to get involved in Middle Eastern affairs by playing a cause and role in the destruction and fall of the Assyrian empire in the Sack of Nineveh in 612.BC.
Meanwhile, the Scythians managed to carry on engaging in regular conflict with the Achaemenid empire. The western Scythians suffered a defeat against Macedonia in 4th century BC which gradually led to them being conquered by Sarmatian. Throughout history many nomadic horsemen and empires have risen and fallen yet whether it was the Scythians, Huns, Mongols or Turkic tribes they all at sometime travelled along the Silk Road which was pivotal in their development
The Scythians exhibition is a mind-blowing experience, as you enter the room you are greeted with a variety of beautiful and important gold artefacts reflecting Scythian culture and history. There are many etching on the gold, displaying the different types of works from nomadic horseman were involved in, in particular, archery, you can glimpse into the life and what it meant to be a nomadic warrior from the Scythians through these objects.
Then moving into the other rooms shows, great burial chambers are displayed, made of a worn wooden tree of life, it shows how important it is to their burial rites and for the wooden reference of the longevity of burial stands.
In the final exhibitions room, and my favourite, you can view the clothing and the skulls of the ancient Scythians society. You can look them in the eyes and wonder what their role was and the kind of life they lived…
Possible one of the most ground-breaking recent exhibitions on ancient history, just for the fact that the Scythians civilisation hasn’t been looked into much. The nomadic era itself is fascinating and the exhibition draws light upon this. The material artefacts provide an important preservation of the Scythian legacy from the burial rites, jewellery, swords and clothes.
The exhibition is well worth seeing and a once in a life time experience 5-5. There’s something moving and emotional about being able to glimpse into unique bit of history.