Between the 2nd millennium and the 7th century BC, the Scythians will begin a great migration that will take them from Central Asia to Ukraine and Egypt via Mesopotamia and Judea. Among the traces of their passage, we will find in particular fabulous treasures and numerous kurgans, tombs specific to the Indo-European cultures of Central Asia.
Since the beginning of the 2nd millennium, the Scythians, an Iranian-speaking people, have lived in Central Asia. As we have seen, they participate in the culture of Andronovo, grow cereals and practice sedentary animal husbandry. Then in the Bronze Age, around the 14th century BC, these sedentary people became nomadic horsemen. In this so-called culture of Karassouk, metallurgy develops. From the 9th century BC, two distinct factors pushed the Scythians to migrate west. First of all, climate change is affecting southern Siberia and transforming semi-desert regions into humid steppes. This resulted in a significant increase in the Scythian population who then chose to move west in the 8th century BC. If the Scythians chose the West rather than the East, it was because, at the same time, a vast population movement was taking place in Asia. Indeed, the vast military campaign led by the Chinese emperor Hsüan triggers the migration of many populations to the west. At that time, according to Herodotus, the Scythians were pursued by the Massagetae who also migrated to the West and had the effect of driving them out in front of them, by domino effect.
WESTWARDS SCYTHIAN MIGRATION
During their migration, the Scythians will dislodge the Cimmerians, a people settled for more than 1000 years on the northern shores of the Black Sea, forcing them to migrate in turn towards Anatolia and the Balkans. The Cimmerians will nevertheless leave their name to the Crimea. Continuing to pursue them, the Scythians reached Assyria. At that time, the Assyrian kingdom was in rivalry with the kingdom of the Medes. The Scythians first go from 669 to 626 BC to ally themselves with King Assurbanipal against the Medes. Then then changing alliance, the Scythians contribute to the fall of the Assyrians 614-609 BC Then continuing their momentum, they dominate and plunder Mesopotamia and Judea for 28 years . They will leave archaeological traces of their presence there, such as the Mananian treasure of Ziwiyé, a treasure containing gold, silver and ivory objects. They then arrive at the gates of Egypt, of which they invade a part. Nevertheless, their departure will be purchased by Pharaoh Psammetichus I who came to meet them. They then returned to the Black Sea steppes to settle in what is now called Ukraine at the beginning of the 7th century BC . J.-C.
THE SCYTHIANS IN EUROPE
Now fixed in Europe, the Scythians repeatedly raided the center of the continent, where many archaeological traces of their presence are attested. In particular, traces of the passage of the Scythians have been found in Transylvania and in the Hungarian plain. The fortified settlements of the proto-Celtic culture of Hallstatt located in Slovakia were also attacked by the Scythians during the second half of the 7th century . century BC. Their presence is also attested in Poland and the Czech Republic where kurgans have been found. Kurgans are mounds, mounds, or even artificial hills, covering a tomb. These tombs are typical of the Indo-European populations of Central Asia. Moreover, the raids of the Scythians are also strongly suspected to be the cause of the fall of the culture of Lusatia . The Lusatian culture was a culture dating from the Bronze Age, which owes its name to Lusatia, a region in the northeast of present-day Germany. Its geographical area covered most of Poland, part of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, part of eastern Germany and also part of Ukraine. The arrival of the Scythians in Europe, which originated in disputes on the borders of China, was fatal to this prehistoric culture established thousands of kilometers away.
SOURCES AND PHOTOGRAPHY:
Gold rhyton part of the Ziwiye hoard, Reza Abbasi Museum, Tehran, Iran
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