The Scythians or Scyths (Greek: Σκύθοι, Skūthoi) were an ancient, nomadic Indo-European people who inhabited the lands north and east of the Black Sea in the accounts by Herodotus and others, and ranged from the Carpathian Mountains to the west, to the Don River to the east known as Scythia (Σκυθια). Apparently they displaced the original inhabitants of the region, called Cimmerii, by invading from the east.
The first mention of them refers to their wars, on or about 634 BC, in which they gained control of Asia for twenty-eight years, and marched as far west as Egypt, where they demanded tribute of the then-ruling Pharaoh and withdrew. The Scythians eventually lost a key battle with Cyaxeres, king of the Medes. In 512 BC the Persian king Darius I invaded that country but could not hold it because of the constant harassment of his men by an enemy that fought in the hit-and-run fashion that a Roman general named Fabius would later make famous. Alexander the Great is said to have received envoys from then in 324 BC while he resided in Babylon. The Roman historian Horace mentions them as paying tribute to Emperor Augustus in 25 BC, five years after the end of the Second Roman Civil War.
The history of the region from that year to the 14th Century AD is sketchy, beyond the region's having been overrun and dominated by Mongols for at least two hundred years.
"Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, namely, of Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth: Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras." - Genesis 10:1-2 (ASV)
Multiple sources, among them Flavius Josephus and the British monk Nennius, suggest that the Scythians descend from Magog, the second-named of the sons of Japheth. Other modern scholars such as E. Raymond Capt and Steven M. Collins provide much evidence that the Scythians and other related peoples were descended from of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.
The descendants of Magog are often associated with the Scythians, however there was more than one nation of people known as Scythians. Several people-groups were known as "Scythians" in antiquity; at least one was European in race (these later migrated into central Europe) and at least two Asiatic races. The historian Josephus, in the 1st century, stated:
|“||Magog founded those that from him were called Magogites, but who by the Greeks called Scythians.||”|
- Flavius Josephus, Antiquities I, vi. 1. Quoted at Magog at ChristianAnswers.net
- Nennius, "Table of European Nations," quoted at Accuracy in Genesis
- The Israelite Origin of the Scythians by Steven M. Collins
- White, CM (2003) In Search of ... The Origin of Nations History Research Projects. 1st Book Library: p. 195
- Coon, CS (1948) Races of Europe. MacMillan, New York: p. 196
- Kachur, V (1972) The Trans-Caucasion Migration of the Rusi Tribes. Dublin, Ohio: p. 1-2
- Josephus, Antiquities 1:6:2