The steppe and the Roman world
The meeting of peoples of the Mediterranean civilizations with steppe pastoralists, known in the Greco-Roman tradition under the name of the Scythians and, later, the Sarmatians, took place long before the rise of Imperial Rome (27 bce–395 ce).
Publication of fieldwork 1994-96 in the Iron Age to early medieval cemetery of Klin-Yar (near Kislovodsk, North Caucasus), with descriptive and analytical chapters on graves, finds, human bones, and animal bones
The collective monograph “Crimean Scythia in a system of cultural connections between East and West (III c. BC – VII c. AD)” consists of articles devoted to the actual problems of ancient history of the Crimea. It is intended for archaeologists, historians, museum staff, teachers and students of archaeology and history.
The Sarmatian Animal Style objects are found in North Pontic burial contexts belonging to the social elite. An analysis of finds from the region shows that most of the Animal Style objects may be interpreted as emblems of power. Their appearance in ‘Barbarian’ burial contexts was previously interpreted, generally, in an ethnic sense, as having been brought physically to the Northern Pontic region by newcomers from distant eastern lands. However, the patterns of their distribution in graves of several chronological periods most probably reflect the development of network contacts of political elites.
Review of Wegener's monograph on Sarmatian finds, particularly weapon burials, east of the Caspian Sea.
The idea for this book concerns the Northern Black Sea in antiquity. It is published in memory of Heinz Heinen, who was writing on the Roman Imperial period in the Northern Black Sea region for this volume and planned to call his chapter "The Long Way to Pontic Unity". Later, at any rate, he admitted that the term "unity" did not seem adequate to him: "Pontic Networks", he said, would be "more realistic". The piece was never written - Professor Heinen died in July 2013 - but his deliberation on his chapter's title reflects the ideas that permeate the entire book. The question of identity is one of many addressed in several chapters of this book. Together, the nine chapterd comprising the volume cover a broad variety of topics, but by no means offer ab exhaustive study of the region.
SCYTHIANS, a nomadic people of Iranian origin who flourished in the steppe lands north of the Black Sea during the 7th-4th centuries BCE.
This entry is divided into the following sections: i. History. ii. Archeology. iii. Spiritual culture, religion, and art. iv. Bibliography.
The publication of materials from the burial-ground, excavated by the Dniester Archaeological Expedition of the Shevchenko State University in Transnistria between 1995 and 2012 near the village of Glinoe, can truly be regarded as a long-awaited event. This is not only because a comprehensive publication of this archaeological site makes it a more important source of information and will set in motion new research based on this study. Materials from the Glinoe Burial-ground relate mainly to the 3rd or 3rd-2nd centuries BC – in other words to the period, which many scholars regard as a lacuna in the historical development of the North Pontic region. This makes the data published in this work extremely important for specifying with greater accuracy the nature of the cultural-historical processes that were taking place in the area.
we may assume that during the Sarmatian period the neighboring “centers of civilization” exercised considerable structural influence over the culture of the peoples who inhabited the steppe zone of European and partly of Asiatic Sarmatia (i.e., the territories adjacent to the northern coasts of the Black Sea and the Azov Sea). The mere existence of these centers and the political and economic developments that took place there were one of the factors that, to a great extent, determined the changes observed in the material culture of the peoples who populated the “barbarian” territories.
Michael Rostovtzeff designed a model of cultural history of the North Pontic region that span from the Archaic period to the early Middle Ages, covered much of the Eurasian territory and tried to integrate the literary, epigraphic, numismatic and archaeological sources available in the early-20th century. In essence, he reduces the cultural development of the 1st millennium BC with an antagonism between a dominant Greek and a recessive Iranian culture, the latter represented by the ‘Scythians’, who were receptive of Hellenizing influences. In contrast, the period of Roman political domination is defined by a ‘Sarmatization’ in ethnic and cultural terms, which Rostovtzeff also calls ‘new Iranization’ and ‘Barbarization’ nearly without distinction. He extends this second phase into Late Antiquity, when ‘waves’ of Iranian migrations are seen as thoroughly impacting Western European civilization. This synthesis commanded so much respect that it continues influencing cultural history in Russian scholarship (and beyond), especially in Classical and Scythian-Sarmatian archaeology. Rostovtzeff's ideas root in concepts prevalent in his days. First, the etiological myth of the Russian Empire had already been well-established by the end of the 19th century, where the steppe corridor of Eurasia was considered a ‘world axis’, regularly inviting mass migration from East to West, substantially affecting the ethnic composition of the European population. At the same time, the steppes of Eastern Europe were seen as a ‘buffer zone’ that slowed down or mitigated the impact from the Far East. Second, the predominant role that Rostovtzeff ascribes to the common people in the context of cultural change ultimately goes back to Marxist theory. Third comes the direct association of certain elements of the archaeological material with specific ethnic groups, whence a change of material culture is regularly explained with the migration of peoples. Since such paradigms tend to be internalized at the early stages of a scholar’s socialization, they are slow to change, even when current international scholarship draws on more nuanced socio-cultural concepts and research methodology, largely incompatible with Rostovtzeff’s premises and conclusions.