Sarmatians
Geographical rangeSouthern Ural, Northern Caucasus, Black Sea
PeriodIron Age
Dates3rd century BC – 4th century AD
Preceded bySauromatians
Followed byHunnic Empire
Sarmatian cataphracts in Trajan's column, 2nd century CE.[1]

The Sarmatians (/sɑːrˈmʃiənz/; Ancient Greek: Σαρμάται, romanizedSarmatai; Latin: Sarmatae [ˈsarmatae̯]) were a large confederation of ancient Iranian equestrian nomadic peoples who dominated the Pontic steppe from about the 3rd century BC to the 4th century AD.

The earliest reference to the Sarmatians is in the Avesta, Sairima-, which is in the later Iranian sources recorded as *Sarm and Salm.[2] Originating in the central parts of the Eurasian Steppe, the Sarmatians were part of the wider Scythian cultures.[3] They started migrating westward around the fourth and third centuries BC, coming to dominate the closely related Scythians by 200 BC. At their greatest reported extent, around 100 BC, these tribes ranged from the Vistula River to the mouth of the Danube and eastward to the Volga, bordering the shores of the Black and Caspian seas as well as the Caucasus to the south.

In the first century AD, the Sarmatians began encroaching upon the Roman Empire in alliance with Germanic tribes. In the third century AD, their dominance of the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Germanic Goths. With the Hunnic invasions of the fourth century, many Sarmatians joined the Goths and other Germanic tribes (Vandals) in the settlement of the Western Roman Empire. Since large parts of today's Russia, specifically the land between the Ural Mountains and the Don River, were controlled in the fifth century BC by the Sarmatians, the Volga–Don and Ural steppes sometimes are called "Sarmatian Motherland."[4][5]

The Sarmatians in the Bosporan Kingdom assimilated into the Greek civilization,[6] while others were absorbed by the proto-Circassian Maeotian people,[7] the Alans and the Goths.[8] Other Sarmatians were assimilated and absorbed by the Early Slavs.[9][10] A people related to the Sarmatians, known as the Alans, survived in the North Caucasus into the Early Middle Ages, ultimately giving rise to the modern Ossetic ethnic group.[11] The Polish nobility claims to stem from the Sarmatians. Genomic studies suggest that this group may have been genetically similar to the eastern Yamnaya Bronze Age group.[12]

Etymology

Map of the Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117–138 AD), showing the location of the Sarmatae in the Ukrainian steppe region

The Greek name Sarmatai (Σαρμαται) is derived from the Old Iranic Sarmatian endonym *Sarmata or *Sarumata, of which another variant, *Saᵘrumata, gave rise to the ancient Greek name Sauromatai (Σαυρομαται).[13] The form *Sarmata or *Sarumata was the main form of the name, and initially coexisted with the form *Saᵘrumata until the late 4th to early 3rd centuries BC, when *Sarmata/*Sarumata became the only variant of the name in use.[14]

This name meant "armed with throwing darts and arrows," and is cognate with the Indic Sanskrit term śárumant (शरुमन्त्),[15] which makes it semantically similar to the endonym of the Scythians, *Skuδatā, meaning "archers."[15]

The later, Middle Iranic, form of *Saᵘrumata was *Sōrmata or *Sōrumata, of which the later form, *Sūrmata or *Sūrumata, was recorded in ancient Greek as Syrmatai (Συρμαται; Latin: Syrmatae).[16]

Location

The territory inhabited by the Sarmatians, which was known as Sarmatia (/sɑːrˈmʃiə/) to Greco-Roman ethnographers, covered the western part of greater Scythia, and corresponded to today's Central Ukraine, South-Eastern Ukraine, Southern Russia, Russian Volga, and South-Ural regions, and to a smaller extent the northeastern Balkans and around Moldova.

History

Origin

Main article: Sauromatians

Evolution of sword types of the South Urals, from Sauromatian (5th-4th centuries BCE) to Early Sarmatian (3rd-1st centuries BCE).[17]
Reconstruction of early Sarmatian chieftain. Araltobe kurgan, Kazakhstan, III-II c. BC. Excavation of Z. Samashev.[18][19]

The ethnogenesis of the Sarmatians occurred during the 4th to 3rd centuries BC, when nomads from Central Asia migrated into the territory of the Sauromatians in the southern Ural mountains.[20][21] These nomads conquered the Sauromatians, resulting in an increased incidence of eastern Asiatic features in the Early Sarmatians, similar to those of the Sakas.[22]

The name "Sarmatians" eventually came to be applied to the whole of the new people formed out of these migrations, whose constituent tribes were the Aorsi, Roxolani, Alans, and the Iazyges. Despite the similarity between the names Sarmatian and Sauromatian, modern authors distinguish between the two, since Sarmatian culture did not directly develop from the Sauromatian culture and the core of the Sarmatian culture was composed of these newly arrived migrants.[23][24] A typical transitional site between these two periods is found in the Filippovka kurgans, which are Late Sauromatian-Early Sarmatian, and dated to the 5th-4th century BCE.[25]

In the Pontic Steppe and Europe

Gold mirror, Mayerovsky III Kurgan 4 (Nikolaevsky District, Volgograd region), 2nd-1st centuries BCE.[26][27]

During the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, the centre of Sarmatian power remained north of the Caucasus and in the 3rd century BC the most important centres were around the lower Don, Kalmykia, the Kuban area, and the Central Caucasus.[24][23]

During the end of the 4th century BC, the Scythians, the then dominant power in the Black Sea Steppe, were militarily defeated by the Macedonian kings Philip II of Macedon and Lysimachus in 339 and 313 BC respectively. They experienced another military setback after participating in the Bosporan Civil War in 309 BC and came under pressure from the Thracian Getae and the Celtic Bastarnae. At the same time, in Central Asia, following the Macedonian conquest of the Achaemenid Empire, the new Seleucid Empire started attacking the Sakā and Dahā nomads who lived to the north of its borders, who in turn put westward pressure on the Sarmatians. Pressured by the Sakā and Dahā in the east and taking advantage of the decline of Scythian power, the Sarmatians began crossing the Don river and invaded Scythia and also migrated south into the North Caucasus.[24][23]

The first wave of westward Sarmatian migration happened during the 2nd century BC, and involved the Royal Sarmatians, or Saioi (from Scytho-Sarmatian *xšaya, meaning "kings"), who moved into the Pontic Steppe, and the Iazyges, also called the Iaxamatai or Iazamatai, who initially settled between the Don and Dnieper rivers. The Roxolani, who might have been a mixed Scytho-Sarmatian tribe, followed the Iazyges and occupied the Black Sea steppes up to the Dnipro and raided the Crimean region during that century, at the end of which they were involved in a conflict with the generals of the Pontic king Mithridates VI Eupator in the Bosporan Chersonesus, while the Iazyges became his allies.[24][23][28]

That the tribes formerly referred to by Herodotus as Scythians were now called Sarmatians by Hellenistic and Roman authors implies that the Sarmatian conquest did not involve a displacement of the Scythians from the Pontic Steppe, but rather that the Scythian tribes were absorbed by the Sarmatians.[28] After their conquest of Scythia, the Sarmatians became the dominant political power in the northern Pontic Steppe, where Sarmatian graves first started appearing in the 2nd century BC. Meanwhile, the populations which still identified as Scythians proper became reduced to Crimea and the Dobruja region, and at one point the Crimean Scythians were the vassals of the Sarmatian queen Amage. Sarmatian power in the Pontic Steppes was also directed against the Greek cities on its shores, with the city of Pontic Olbia being forced to pay repeated tribute to the Royal Sarmatians and their king Saitapharnes, who is mentioned in the Protogenes inscription along with the tribes of the Thisamatae, Scythians, and Saudaratae. Another Sarmatian king, Gatalos, was named in a peace treaty concluded by the king Pharnaces I of Pontus with his enemies.[24][23][28]

Two other Sarmatian tribes, the Siraces, who had previously originated in the Transcaspian Plains immediately to the northeast of Hyrcania before migrating to the west, and the Aorsi, moved to the west across the Volga and into the Caucasus mountains' foothills between the 2nd to 1st centuries BC. From there, the pressure from their growing power forcing the more western Sarmatian tribes to migrate further west, and the Aorsi and Siraces destroyed the power of the Royal Sarmatians and the Iazyges, with the Aorsi being able to extend their rule over a large region stretching from the Caucasus across the Terek–Kuma Lowland and Kalmykia in the west up to the Aral Sea region in the east. Yet another new Sarmatian group, the Alans, originated in Central Asia out of the merger of some old tribal groups with the Massagetae. Related to the Asii who invaded Bactria in the 2nd century BC, the Alans were pushed west by the Kangju people (known to Graeco-Roman authors as the Ιαξαρται Iaxartai in Greek, and the Iaxartae in Latin) who were living in the Syr Darya basin, from where they expanded their rule from Fergana to the Aral Sea region.[24][23]

Sarmatian bottle and lid (1st century CE, reproduction)

The hegemony of the Sarmatians in the Pontic Steppe continued during the 1st century BC, when they were allied with the Scythians against Diophantus, a general of Mithradates VI Eupator, before allying with Mithradates against the Romans and fighting for him in both Europe and Asia, demonstrating the Sarmatians' complete involvement in the affairs of the Pontic and Danubian regions. During the early part of the century, the Alans had migrated to the area to the northeast of the Lake Maeotis. Meanwhile, the Iazyges moved westwards until they reached the Danube, and the Roxolani moved into the area between the Dnipro and the Danube and from there further west. These two peoples attacked the regions around Tomis and Moesia, respectively. During this period, the Iazyges and Roxolani also attacked the Roman province of Thracia, whose governor Tiberius Plautius Silvanus Aelianus had to defend the Roman border of the Danube. During the 1st century BC, various Sarmatians reached the Pannonian Basin, with the Iazyges passing through the territories corresponding to modern-day Moldavia and Wallachia before settling in the Tisza valley, by the middle of the century.[24][23][28]

Although the Sarmatian movements stopped temporarily during the 1st century BC due to the rise of the Dacian kingdom of Burebista, they resumed after the collapse of his kingdom following his assassination and in 16 BC. Lucius Tarius Rufus had to repel a Sarmatian attack on Thracia and Macedonia, while further attacks around 10 BC and 2 BC were defeated by Gnaeus Cornelius Lentulus.[28]

Sarmatian cup with animal handle (1st century CE, reproduction)

Meanwhile, other Sarmatian tribes, possibly the Aorsi, sent ambassadors to the Roman emperor Augustus, who tried to establish a diplomatic accommodation with them. During the 1st century AD, the Siraces and Aorsi, who were mutually hostile, participated in the Roman–Bosporan War on opposite sides: the Siraces and their king Zorsines allied with Mithridates III against his half-brother Cotys I, who was allied with Rome and the Aorsi. With the defeat of Cotys, the Siraces were also routed and lost rulership over most of their lands. Between 50 and 60 CE, the Alans had appeared in the foothills of the Caucasus, from where they attacked the Caucasus and Transcaucasus areas and the Parthian Empire. During the 1st century AD, the Alans expanded across the Volga to the west, absorbing part of the Aorsi and displacing the rest, and pressure from the Alans forced the Iazyges and Roxolani to continue attacking the Roman Empire from across the Danube. During the 1st century AD, two Sarmatian rulers from the steppe named Pharzoios and Inismeōs were minting coins in Pontic Olbia.[23][24][28]

Headgear of the Sarmatians in Trajan's column

The Roxolani continued their westward migration following the conflict on the Bosporan Chersonesus, and by 69 AD they were close enough to the lower Danube that they were able to attack across the river when it was frozen in winter, and soon later they and the Alans were living on the coast of the Black Sea, and they later moved further west and were living in the areas corresponding to modern-day Moldavia and western Ukraine.[28]

The Sarmatian tribe of the Arraei, who had had close contacts with the Romans, eventually settled to the south of the Danube river, in Thrace, and another Sarmatian tribe, the Koralloi, were also living in the same area alongside a section of the Scythian Sindi.[28]

During the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, the Iazyges often bothered the Roman authorities in Pannonia; they participated in the destruction of the Quadian kingdom of Vannius, and often migrated to the east across the Transylvanian Plateau and the Carpathian Mountains during seasonal movements or for trade.[28]

By the 2nd century AD, the Alans had conquered the steppes of the north Caucasus and of the north Black Sea area and created a powerful confederation of tribes under their rule. Under the hegemony of the Alans a trade route connected the Pontic Steppe, the southern Urals, and the region presently known as Western Turkestan. One group of the Alans, the Antae, migrated north into the territory of what is presently Poland.[24][23]

Sarmatian cataphracts during Dacian Wars as depicted on Trajan's Column.[29]

Decline

See also: Alans and Ossetians

The hegemony of the Sarmatians in the steppes began to decline over the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, when the Huns conquered Sarmatian territory in the Caspian Steppe and the Ural region. The supremacy of the Sarmatians was finally destroyed when the Germanic Goths migrating from the Baltic Sea region conquered the Pontic Steppe around 200 AD. In 375 AD, the Huns conquered most of the Alans living to the east of the Don river, massacred a significant number of them, and absorbed them into their tribal polity, while the Alans to the west of the Don remained free from Hunnish domination. As part of the Hunnic state, the Alans participated in the Huns' defeat and conquest of the kingdom of the Ostrogoths on the Pontic Steppe. Some free Alans fled into the mountains of the Caucasus, where they participated in the ethnogenesis of populations including the Ossetians and the Kabardians, and other Alan groupings survived in Crimea. Others migrated into Central and then Western Europe, from where some of them went to Britannia and Hispania, and some joined the Germanic Vandals into crossing the Strait of Gibraltar and creating the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa.[23][24]

The Sarmatians in the Bosporan Kingdom assimilated into the Greek civilization.[30] Others assimilated with the proto-Circassian Meot people, and may have influenced the Circassian language.[31] Some Sarmatians were absorbed by the Alans and Goths.[32] During the Early Middle Ages, the Proto-Slavic population of Eastern Europe assimilated and absorbed Sarmatians during the political upheavals of that era.[33][34] However, a people related to the Sarmatians, known as the Alans, survived in the North Caucasus into the Early Middle Ages, ultimately giving rise to the modern Ossetic ethnic group.[35]

Archaeology

Lower-Volga Sarmatian burials, 2nd-1st centuries BCE. The burials have two types of swords: swords with traditional Sarmatian crescent-shaped pommels and swords with Asian ring pommels, indicative of the influx of new populations from Central Asia.[36]
A Sarmatian-Parthian gold necklace and amulet, second century AD - Tamoikin Art Fund.

In 1947, Soviet archaeologist Boris Grakov[37] defined a culture flourishing from the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD, apparent in late kurgan graves (buried within earthwork mounds), sometimes reusing part of much older kurgans.[38] It was a nomadic steppe culture ranging from the Black Sea eastward to beyond the Volga that is especially evident at two of the major sites at Kardaielova and Chernaya in the trans-Uralic steppe. The four phases – distinguished by grave construction, burial customs, grave goods, and geographical spread – are:[39][40][41]

  1. Sauromatian, 6th–5th centuries BC, also called the "Blumenfeld culture"
  2. Early Sarmatian, 4th–2nd centuries BC, also called the "Prokhorovka culture"
  3. Middle Sarmatian, late 2nd century BC to late 2nd century AD, also called the "Suslov culture"
  4. Late Sarmatian, late 2nd century AD to 4th century AD, also called the "Shipov culture"

While "Sarmatian" and "Sauromatian" are synonymous as ethnonyms, by convention they are given different meanings as archaeological technical terms. The term "Prokhorovka culture" derives from a complex of mounds in the Prokhorovski District, Orenburg region, excavated by S. I. Rudenko in 1916.[42]

Reportedly, during 2001 and 2006 a great Late Sarmatian pottery centre was unearthed near Budapest, Hungary in the Üllő5 archaeological site. Typical grey, granular Üllő5 ceramics form a distinct group of Sarmatian pottery is found ubiquitously in the north-central part of the Great Hungarian Plain region, indicating a lively trading activity.

A 1998 paper on the study of glass beads found in Sarmatian graves suggests wide cultural and trade links.[43]

A 2023 paper on a grave discovered in Cambridgeshire, England found via archaeogenetics that the person had Sarmatian-related ancestry, and was not related to the local population. Stable isotope analysis of his teeth determined that he had probably migrated long distances twice in his life. One tooth was radiocarbon dated to cal 126-228 CE.[44][45]

Archaeological evidence suggests that Scythian-Sarmatian cultures may have given rise to the Greek legends of Amazons. Graves of armed women have been found in southern Ukraine and Russia. David Anthony noted that approximately 20% of Scythian-Sarmatian "warrior graves" on the lower Don and lower Volga contained women dressed for battle as warriors and he asserts that encountering that cultural phenomenon "probably inspired the Greek tales about the Amazons."[46]

Ethnology

A Sarmatian diadem, found at the Khokhlach kurgan near Novocherkassk (first century AD, Hermitage Museum).[47]

The Sarmatians were part of the Iranian steppe peoples, among whom were also Scythians and Saka.[48] These also are grouped together as "East Iranians."[49] Archaeology has established the connection 'between the Iranian-speaking Scythians, Sarmatians, and Saka and the earlier Timber-grave and Andronovo cultures'.[50] Based on building construction, these three peoples were the likely descendants of those earlier archaeological cultures.[51] The Sarmatians and Saka used the same stone construction methods as the earlier Andronovo culture.[52] The Timber grave (Srubnaya culture) and Andronovo house building traditions were further developed by these three peoples.[53] Andronovo pottery was continued by the Saka and Sarmatians.[54] Archaeologists describe the Andronovo culture people as exhibiting pronounced Caucasoid features.[55]

The first Sarmatians are mostly identified with the Prokhorovka culture, which moved from the southern Urals to the Lower Volga and then to the northern Pontic steppe, in the fourth–third centuries BC. During the migration, the Sarmatian population seems to have grown and they divided themselves into several groups, such as the Alans, Aorsi, Roxolani, and Iazyges. By 200 BC, the Sarmatians replaced the Scythians as the dominant people of the steppes.[56] The Sarmatians and Scythians had fought on the Pontic steppe to the north of the Black Sea.[57] The Sarmatians, described as a large confederation,[39] were to dominate these territories over the next five centuries.[58] According to Brzezinski and Mielczarek, the Sarmatians were formed between the Don River and the Ural Mountains.[58] Pliny the Elder wrote that they ranged from the Vistula River (in present-day Poland) to the Danube.

Culture

Language

Main article: Scytho-Sarmatian languages

Iranic peoples of Central Asia during the Iron Age, including Sarmatians
Sarmatians warriors (reconstruction)

The Sarmatians spoke an Iranian language that was derived from 'Old Iranian' and was heterogenous. By the first century BC, the Iranian tribes in what is today South Russia spoke different languages or dialects, clearly distinguishable.[59] According to a group of Iranologists writing in 1968, the numerous Iranian personal names in Greek inscriptions from the Black Sea coast indicate that the Sarmatians spoke a North-Eastern Iranian dialect ancestral to Alanian-Ossetian.[60] However, Harmatta (1970) argued that "the language of the Sarmatians or that of the Alans as a whole cannot be simply regarded as being Old Ossetian."[59]

Equipment

The Roxolani, who were one of the earlier Sarmatian tribes to have migrated into Europe and therefore were among the more geographically western Sarmatians, used helmets and corselets made of raw ox hide, and wicker shields, as well as spears, bows, and swords. The Roxolani adopted these forms of armour and weaponry from the Germanic Bastarnae near whom they lived.[28] The more eastern Sarmatian tribes used scale armour and used a long lance called the contus and bows in battle.[28]

Metalwork

The early Sarmatians already possessed the technique of decorating with gold inclusions, observed in Achaemenid metalwork. It was spread by nomads in the Eurasian steppes during the 7th-5th century BC, from the Altai Mountains (Arzhan-2 kurgan) westward to central Kazakhstan and the southern Urals.[61] Peter the Great particularly cherished his Demidov Gift, a Sarmatian gold collection,[62] now exhibited in the Gold Chamber at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The Novocherkassk Treasure with the famous Sarmatian Diadem[63] adorned with the Tree of Life can also be seen in the Hermitage Gold Room.[64] It is a Sarmatian hoard of gold, silver and bronze articles and jewellery discovered in the Khokhlach barrow in Novocherkassk in 1864. Chronologically it belongs to the first and second centuries AD.[65]

Numerous weapons, armour, helmets were already found in the excavations of the Early Sarmatian Filippovka kurgan (c. 450-300 BCE):[66]

Many Chinese mirrors can be found in graves of the Middle-Sarmatian to Late-Sarmatian periods.[67]

Genetics

See also: Scythians § Archaeogenetics, and Western Steppe Herders

Autosomal DNA

Genetic makeup of Bronze and Iron Age Steppe populations[68]
Map of Scythian cultures, including different Saka populations with genetic profiles[69]

Sarmatians emerged primarily from the Bronze and Iron Age Western Steppe Herders (Steppe_MLBA), associated with the Sintashta, Srubnaya and Andronovo cultures, but also carried a small amount of admixed from an East Asian-derived population represented by Khövsgöl LBA groups, which may have been indirectly mediated via contact with the related Saka from the Altai region, which are regared as the oldest Scythoid cultural group. The Sarmatians also received geneflow from an ancient Iranian population associated with the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex.[69][70]

A genetic study published in Current Biology in 2022 regarding the genetic origin of Huns, Avars, and conquering Hungarians. 265 ancient genomes were analized, it revealed that the Hungarian conquerors admixed with Sarmatians and Huns. Sarmatian ancestry was also detected among several Hun samples which implies a significant Sarmatian influence on European Huns.[71]

There is also evidence for a later eastwards expansion of Sarmatian-like ancestry, evident in a Saka-associated sample from southeastern Kazakhstan (Konyr Tobe 300CE), displaying around 85% Sarmatian and 15% additional BMAC-like ancestry. Sarmatian-like contributions have also been detected among some Xiongnu remains.[72]

Haplogroups

Afanasiev et al. (2014) analyzed ten Alanic burials on the Don River. Four of them carried Y-DNA Haplogroup G2 and six of them possessed mtDNA haplogroup I.[73]

In 2015, again Afanasiev et al. analyzed skeletons of various Sarmato-Alan and Saltovo-Mayaki culture Kurgan burials. The two Alan samples from the fourth to sixth century AD belonged to Y-DNA haplogroups G2a-P15 and R1a-Z94, while two of the three Sarmatian samples from the second to third century AD ound to belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup J1-M267, and one belonged to R1a. Three Saltovo-Mayaki samples from the eighth to ninth century AD turned out to have Y-DNA corresponding to haplogroups G, J2a-M410 and R1a-z94.[74]

A genetic study published in Nature Communications in March 2017 examined several Sarmatian individuals buried in Pokrovka, Russia (southwest of the Ural Mountains) between the fifth century BC and the second century BC. The sample of Y-DNA extracted belonged to haplogroup R1b1a2a2. This was the dominant lineage among males of the earlier Yamnaya culture.[75] The eleven samples of mtDNA extracted belonged to the haplogroups U3, M, U1a'c, T, F1b, N1a1a1a1a, T2, U2e2, H2a1f, T1a, and U5a1d2b.[76] The Sarmatians examined were found to be closely related to peoples of the earlier Yamnaya culture and to the Poltavka culture.[77]

A genetic study published in Nature in May 2018 examined the remains of twelve Sarmatians buried between 400 BC and 400 AD.[78] The five samples of Y-DNA extracted belonged to haplogroup R1a1, I2b, R (two samples), and R1.[79] The eleven samples of mtDNA extracted belonged to C4a1a, U4a2 (two samples), C4b1, I1, A, U2e1h (two samples), U4b1a4, H28, and U5a1.[80]

A genetic study published in Science Advances in October 2018 examined the remains of five Sarmatians buried between 55 AD and 320 AD. The three samples of Y-DNA extracted belonged to haplogroup R1a1a and R1b1a2a2 (two samples), while the five samples of mtDNA extracted belonged to haplogroup H2a1, T1a1, U5b2b (two samples), and D4q.[81]

A genetic study published in Current Biology in July 2019 examined the remains of nine Sarmatians from the southern Ural Mountains between 7th–2nd century BC. The five samples of Y-DNA extracted belonged to haplogroup Q1c-L332, R1a1e-CTS1123, R1a-Z645 (two samples), and E1b1b-PF6746, while the nine samples of mtDNA extracted belonged to haplogroup W, W3a, T1a1, U5a2, U5b2a1a2, T1a1d, C1e, U5b2a1a1, U5b2c, and U5b2c.[82]

A archaeogenetic study published in Cell in 2022, analyzed 17 Late Sarmatian samples from 4-5th century AD from the Pannonian Basin in Hungary. The nine extraced Y-DNA belonged to a diverse set of haplogroups, 2x I2a1b1a2b1-CTS4348, 2x I1a2a1a1a-Z141, I1a-DF29, G2a1-FGC725, E1b1b-L142.1, R1a1a1b2a2a1-Z2123 and R1b1a1b1a1a2b-PF6570, while the mtDNA haplogroups C5, H, 2x H1, H5, H7, H40, H59, HV0 I1, J1, 2x K1a, T1a, 2x T2b, U2.[83]

Physical appearance

Forensic reconstruction based on the skull of a mature male (40–50 years old) from the Elton cemetery, kurgan 10, burial 9, Early Sarmatian time, 4th century BCE.[84]
Early Sarmatian chieftain, Araltobe kurgan, 3rd-2nd century BCE.[85][86]
Early Sarmatian woman, 3rd-2nd century BCE, Old Knishkin burial, Bashkortostan.[87]

The Early Samartians from the Filippovka kurgans (4th century BC) combined Western (Timber Grave and Andronovo) and Eastern characteristics. Compared with classical Sauromatians, Early Sarmatians, such as those of Filippovka, generally display an increased incidence of eastern Asiatic features.[88] They most closely resembled the Saka populations of Central Asia, particularly from the Altai region (Pazyryk), and were very different from the western Scythians, or the Sarmatians of the Volga River area.[88]

The Roman author Ovid recorded that one of the Sarmatian tribes, the Coralli, had blond hair, which is a characteristic that Ammianus Marcellinus also ascribed to the Alans. He wrote that nearly all of the Alani were "of great stature and beauty, their hair is somewhat yellow, their eyes are frighteningly fierce."

Modern historians have offered conflicting opinions about the description of the Alans as being tall and having blond hair. For instance, Roger Batty has posited that "presumably, only some of the Alans would have been blond".[89] Bernard Bachrach has likewise suggested that because the Alans assimilated so many foreigners, the majority of them are unlikely to have been blond-haired, and that there was no distinguishing physical characteristic of the Alans.[90] However, John Day has argued that Bachrach's analysis is flawed, because he mistranslated the original passage from Ammianus Marcellinus, and that the majority of the Alans were in fact blond.[91] Iver Neumann has suggested that the description of Alans as blond may mean that their Indo-Iranian ancestry was greater than it was in the Huns.[92] Charles Previté-Orton wrote that the Alans were only partly of Iranian heritage, and that the other part of their ancestry came from captive women and slaves.[93]

Sarmatism

Main article: Sarmatism

Sarmatism (or Sarmatianism) is an ethno-cultural concept with a shade of politics designating the formation of an idea of the origin of Poland from Sarmatians within the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.[94] It was the dominant Baroque culture and ideology of the nobility (szlachta) that existed in times of the Renaissance to the eighteenth centuries.[94] Together with another concept of "Golden Liberty," it formed a central aspect of the Commonwealth's culture and society. At its core was the unifying belief that the people of the Polish Commonwealth descended from the ancient Iranic Sarmatians, the legendary invaders of Slavic lands in antiquity.[95][96]

Tribes

See also

References

  1. ^ Bennett, Matthew; Dawson, Doyne; Field, Ron; Hawthornwaite, Philip; Loades, Mike (15 September 2016). The History of Warfare: The Ultimate Visual Guide to the History of Warfare from the Ancient World to the American Civil War. Book Sales. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7858-3461-8.
  2. ^ Abaev, V. I.; Bailey, H. W. (26 August 2020), "ALANS", Encyclopaedia Iranica Online, Brill, retrieved 16 November 2023
  3. ^ Unterländer et al. 2017, p. 2. "During the first millennium BC, nomadic people spread over the Eurasian Steppe from the Altai Mountains over the northern Black Sea area as far as the Carpathian Basin... Greek and Persian historians of the 1st millennium BC chronicle the existence of the Massagetae and Sauromatians, and later, the Sarmatians and Sacae: cultures possessing artefacts similar to those found in classical Scythian monuments, such as weapons, horse harnesses and a distinctive ‘Animal Style' artistic tradition. Accordingly, these groups are often assigned to the Scythian culture...
  4. ^ "Sarmatian | people". Encyclopedia Britannica. 25 July 2023.
  5. ^ Kozlovskaya 2017.
  6. ^ Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-19-820171-7. (...) "the Iranic Sarmatians, whose ability to assimilate into preceding Greek civilization created a brilliant new synthesis"
  7. ^ Richmond, Walter (11 June 2008). The Northwest Caucasus: Past, Present, Future. Routledge. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-134-00249-8. "While the Sarmatians dominated the Meot lands, they were themselves assimilated and the language of the Meots, the predecessor of the modern Circassian dialects, survived."
  8. ^ Eterovich, Francis H.; Spalatin, Christopher (15 December 1964). Croatia: Land, People, Culture Volume I. University of Toronto Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-4875-9676-7. On the shores of the Black Sea the Alans absorbed two Sarmatian peoples, the Siraci and Aorsi (...) Also, the Goths undoubtedly absorbed both Sarmatian and Slavic groups during their two centuries of rule over the steppe land
  9. ^ Chodorow, Stanley (1989). The Mainstream of Civilization. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-15-551579-6. But the Slavic tribes survived the collapse of these empires, and gradually the remnants of the Avars, Sarmatians, and others were absorbed into the Slavic culture.
  10. ^ Slovene Studies. Vol. 9–11. Society for Slovene Studies. 1987. p. 36. (..) For example, the ancient Scythians, Sarmatians (amongst others), and many other attested but now extinct peoples were assimilated in the course of history by Proto-Slavs.
  11. ^ Minahan, James (2000). "Ossetians". One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Praeger security international. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 518. ISBN 9780313309847. Retrieved 27 March 2020. The Ossetians, calling themselves Iristi and their homeland Iryston, are the most northerly of the Iranian peoples. [...] They are descended from a division of Sarmatians, the Alans, who were pushed out of the Terek River lowlands and into the Caucasus foothills by invading Huns in the fourth century A.D.
  12. ^ "Large variation génétique sur la steppe pontique-caspienne". fr.scienceaq.com. Retrieved 1 September 2023.
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  17. ^ Сергеевич, Савельев Никита (2018). "Находки мечей и кинжалов скифо-сарматского времени из юго-западных предгорий Южного Урала (к вопросу об освоении территории и особенностях расселения кочевников)". Oriental Studies. 4: 24–31. doi:10.22162/2619-0990-2018-37-3-24-31 (inactive 31 January 2024).((cite journal)): CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of January 2024 (link)
  18. ^ Ualikhanova, Aruzhan (22 April 2023). "Archeologists Discover Golden Artifacts in Abai Region's Bozai Burial Ground". The Astana Times.
  19. ^ Noyanov, Edyl Noyanuly; Yernazar, Sergazy (2016). "THE "GOLDEN PEOPLE" OF KAZAKHSTAN" (PDF). World Science: 46.
  20. ^ Yablonsky, Leonid Teodorovich (2010). "New Excavations of the Early Nomadic Burial Ground at Filippovka (Southern Ural Region, Russia)". American Journal of Archaeology. 114 (1): 141. doi:10.3764/aja.114.1.129. ISSN 0002-9114. JSTOR 20627646. S2CID 191399666.
  21. ^ For the complexity of the interactions of these peoples see, e.g. Mordvintseva 2013 and Kozlovskaya 2017.
  22. ^ The Golden Deer of Eurasia: Scythian and Sarmatian Treasures from the Russian Steppes : the State Hermitage, Saint Petersburg, and the Archaeological Museum, Ufa. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2000. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-87099-959-8. In skull shape and facial structure, the Filippovka specimens differ considerably from remains of Scythians and Volga River-area Sarmatians. The Filipovka skulls most closely resemble those of Saka from Kazakhstan and the Aral Sea region, and those of the Usuns from Eastern Kazhakhstan.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Olbrycht 2000.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Melyukova 1990.
  25. ^ Yablonsky, Leonid Teodorovich (2010). "New Excavations of the Early Nomadic Burial Ground at Filippovka (Southern Ural Region, Russia)". American Journal of Archaeology. 114 (1): 141. doi:10.3764/aja.114.1.129. ISSN 0002-9114. JSTOR 20627646. S2CID 191399666. with artifacts found in other barrows, afford us the opportunity to refine the chronology of each object and of the site as a whole and to date it to the second half of the fifth through the fourth centuries B.C.E. (...) Filippovka cemetery is a transition site between the Sauromation and the Sarmatian epochs.
  26. ^ Yatsenko, Sergey A. (2022). "Sarmatian Goddess with Two Horses". RSUH/RGGU Bulletin. "Literary Theory. Linguistics. Cultural Studies" Series (7): 211–224. doi:10.28995/2686-7249-2022-7-211-224. S2CID 256651585.
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  30. ^ Davies, Norman (1996). Europe: A History. Oxford University Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-19-820171-7. (...) "the Iranic Sarmatians, whose ability to assimilate into preceding Greek civilization created a brilliant new synthesis"
  31. ^ Richmond, Walter (11 June 2008). The Northwest Caucasus: Past, Present, Future. Routledge. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-134-00249-8. ""While the Sarmatians dominated the Meot lands, they were themselves assimilated and the language of the Meots, the predecessor of the modern Circassian dialects, survived."
  32. ^ Eterovich, Francis H.; Spalatin, Christopher (15 December 1964). Croatia: Land, People, Culture Volume I. University of Toronto Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-1-4875-9676-7. On the shores of the Black Sea the Alans absorbed two Sarmatian peoples, the Siraci and Aorsi ... Also, the Goths undoubtedly absorbed both Sarmatian and Slavic groups during their two centuries of rule over the steppe land
  33. ^ Chodorow, Stanley (1989). The Mainstream of Civilization. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-15-551579-6. But the Slavic tribes survived the collapse of these empires, and gradually the remnants of the Avars, Sarmatians, and others were absorbed into the Slavic culture.
  34. ^ Slovene Studies. Vol. 9–11. Society for Slovene Studies. 1987. p. 36. (..) For example, the ancient Scythians, Sarmatians (amongst others), and many other attested but now extinct peoples were assimilated in the course of history by Proto-Slavs.
  35. ^ Minahan, James (2000). "Ossetians". One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Praeger security international. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 518. ISBN 9780313309847. Retrieved 27 March 2020. The Ossetians, calling themselves Iristi and their homeland Iryston, are the most northerly of the Iranian peoples. [...] They are descended from a division of Sarmatians, the Alans, who were pushed out of the Terek River lowlands and into the Caucasus foothills by invading Huns in the fourth century A.D.
  36. ^ Skripkin, A. S.; Klepikov, V. M. (17 May 2020). "ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES OF THE LOWER VOLGA REGION OF THE 2nd—1st CENTURIES BC AND SOME ETHNIC ISSUES OF THE SARMATIANS". Archaeology and Early History of Ukraine. 36 (3): 214–222. doi:10.37445/adiu.2020.03.11. The paper concerns with chronological analysis of Early Sarmatian military burials with two swords in the Lower Volga region dated to the last centuries BC. There are two combinations of the different bladed weapons in the burials: swords with a ring pommel and daggers with a crescent-shaped pommel; swords without metal pommel with the rhomboid cross-bar and daggers with a crescent-shaped pommel. Swords and daggers with a crescent-shaped pommel are absent in the burials after the turn of AD. Swords and daggers with ring pommel or rhomboid-shaped cross-bar have appeared during the new migration wave in the Lower Volga region not earlier than in the 2nd century BC. This determines the chronological framework of the assemblages. Daggers and swords with a crescent-shaped pommel are the local product, they were used much earlier than the swords of migratory origin. The authors suggest that the emergence of innovations is associated with the migration of the 2nd—1st centuries BC from Central Asia, because in addition to swords with ring pommel and bronze cross-bar without metal pommel, there were found bronze openwork and lattice buckles, jet buckles and cubic incense burners, well known in the East.
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