Scythians in Ancient Kurdistan

The earliest known record of Scythians in ancient Kurdistan dates back to 819 B.C., when a king of Nairi, an Urartian vassaldom, south of lake Van, is mentioned whose name was ''Sa-ti-ri-a'' (from old Iranic <*Xsathria: king).

Decades later we read about Scythians as lords of the lands of Urartians and Mannaeans (corresponding to much of Kurdistan), during which they had established good relations with Assyrian kings, and were often in conflict with Median tribes (Hamadan-Rey area), who inhabited the regions to the southeast of the lands under Scythian hegemony. Kimmerians (a group of Kurdistani Scythians) conquered as far as Ellipi in what is nowadays south of modern Kirmanshah).

After the fall of Assyria, -which recent archeological evidence indicates that unlike the traditional common belief, happened without Median  participation -, Scythians could even proceed eastwards to conquer and rule the Median lands for nearly three decades. Although according to ancient accounts, Median king Cyaxares intoxicated the Scythian nobles, the Scythians and Parthians under a Scythian queen, Zarina, launched attacks against the Medians.

Again, decades later, we read about Scythians in Kurdistan: A significant Scythian kingdom during this period was Skythenoi (as known by Xenophon, Sacassani by Pliny/Livy and Sakasene by Ptolemy). Its capital Gymnias was located in northern Kurdistan, (modern Bayburt). Strabo even mentions a smaller Scythian kingdom recorded by him as Sagapeni, located between Elymais and Adiabene, the latter itself ruled by a Scythian dynasty called Shiraks (see here).

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