Scythia

Scythia (UK: /ˈsɪðiə/, US: /ˈsɪθiə/;[2] from Greek: Σκυθική, romanized: Skythikē) was a region of Central Eurasia in classical antiquity, occupied by the Eastern Iranian Scythians,[1][3][4] encompassing Central Asia and parts of Eastern Europe east of the Vistula River, with the eastern edges of the region vaguely defined by the Greeks. The Ancient Greeks gave the name Scythia (or Great Scythia) to all the lands north-east of Europe and the northern coast of the Black Sea.[5] During the Iron Age, the region saw the flourishing of Scythian cultures.

Scythia and other Eastern Iranian speaking lands (shown in orange) c. 170 BC[1]

The Scythians—the Greeks' name for this initially nomadic people—inhabited Scythia from at least the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD.[6] In the seventh century BC, the Scythians controlled large swaths of territory throughout Eurasia, from the Black Sea across Siberia to the borders of China.[7][8] Its location and extent varied over time, but it usually extended farther to the west and significantly farther to the east than is indicated on the map.[9] Some sources document that the Scythians were energetic but peaceful people.[10] Not much is known about them.

Scythia was a loose nomadic empire that originated as early as 8th century BC. The core of Scythians preferred a free-riding way of life.[11] No writing system that dates to the period has ever been attested, so the majority of written information available today about the region and its inhabitants at the time stems from protohistorical writings of ancient civilizations which had connections to the region, primarily those of Ancient India, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome and Ancient Persia. The most detailed western description is by Herodotus. He may not have travelled in Scythia and there is scholarly debate as to the accuracy of his knowledge, but modern archaeological finds have confirmed some of his ancient claims and he remains one of the most useful writers on ancient Scythia. He says the Scythians' own name for themselves was "Scoloti".[12]