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Friday, December 26, 2014

The World of the Scythians by Renate Rolle

Scythians- map of their territory

The World of the Scythians
 by Renate Rolle
p. 1980/English translation 1989
University of California Press

Example of Scythian art
   The World of Scythians is translated from the German, and approximately 80% of the cited texts are in Russian, and that is an accurate description of what is like to get good information about the Scythian people in English.  The Scythians inhabited what is today Ukraine- the southern portion, running down to the Black Sea.  During the pre-Classical and Classical period, they interacted with Greeks who set up colonies on the shore of the Black sea.   Lacking a written language, we only know about the Scythians from three sources:  Greek sources, Persian sources and archeology.  It is unknown what language the Scythians spoke and what their ethnic characteristics were, though Persian sources and a certain amount of common sense that the Scythians came from the Iranian branch of the Indo European family, and recent genetic studies point to a mixture of European and Asian populations.

  The archeology points firmly to Indo European roots, with the common characteristics of horse rearing and nomadic travelling in ample evidence.  Similarities between Scythians and "primitive" western Indo European groups like the Germanic and Celtic peoples abound in terms of artistic motifs and burial rites.  The Scythians are also notable for being the source of the Amazon women legend, which Rolle backs up with archeological finds, and being the earliest known users of Marijuana.

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