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{{redirect-distinguish|Cimmerian|Cimmeria (disambiguation){{!}}Cimmeria}}

{{Indo-European topics}}The Cimmerians (also Kimmerians; Greek: , Kimmérioi) were a nomadic Indo-European people, who appeared about 1000 BCBOOK, MacKenzie, David, Curran, Michael W., A History of Russia, the Soviet Union, and Beyond, 2002, Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 9780534586980, 12,weblink en, and are mentioned later in 8th century BC in Assyrian records. The Cimmerians were part of the wider Scythian cultures, although they were ethnically different from the Scythians, by whom they would eventually be replaced.WEB,weblink Scythians, Ivanchik, Askold, Askold Ivanchik, April 25, 2018, Encyclopædia Iranica, The Scythian archeological culture embraces not only the Scythians of the East-European steppes, but also the population of the forest steppes, about whose language and ethnic origins it is difficult to say anything precise, and also the Cimmerians, harv, Probably originating in the Pontic steppe and invading by means of the Caucasus, they are likely to be those who in c. 714 BC assaulted Urartu, a state subject to the Neo-Assyrian Empire. They were defeated by Assyrian forces under Sargon II in 705 and turned towards Anatolia, conquering Phrygia in 696/5. They reached the height of their power in 652 after taking Sardis, the capital of Lydia; however an invasion of Assyrian-controlled Anshan was thwarted. Soon after 619, Alyattes of Lydia defeated them. There are no further mentions of them in historical sources, but it is likely that they settled in Cappadocia.


The origin of the Cimmerians is unclear. They are mostly supposed to have been related to either IranianENCYCLOPEDIA, CIMMERIANS, Tokhtas’ev, Sergei R.,weblink Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. V, Fasc. 6, 563–567, 1991, CIMMERIANS, a nomadic people, most likely of Iranian origin, who flourished in the 8th-7th centuries b.c.e., harv, ENCYCLOPEDIA, 2006, Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes, von Bredow, Iris, (Κιμμέριοι; Kimmérioi, Lat. Cimmerii). Nomadic tribe probably of Iranian descent, attested for the 8th/7th cents. BC., Cimmerii, 10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e613800, BOOK, Liverani, Mario, The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy, 2014, Routledge, 978-0415679060, 604, Cimmerians (Iranian population), J.Harmatta: "Scythians" UNESCO Collection of History of Humanity: Volume III: From the Seventh Century BC to the Seventh Century AD, Routledge/UNESCO. 1996, "The rise of the Scythian kingdom represented an event of intra-ethnic character, since both Cimmerians and Scythians were Iranian peoples." p. 181BOOK, Kohl, Philip L., Dadson, D.J., The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran, by Muhammad A. Dandamaev and Vladimir G. Lukonin, 1989, Cambridge University Press, 978-0521611916, 51, Ethnically and linguistically, the Scythians and Cimmerians were kindred groups (both people spoke Old Iranian dialects) (...), or ThracianBOOK, Frye, Richard Nelson, The History of Ancient Iran, 1984, Verlag C.H. Beck, 978-3406093975, 70, The Cimmerians lived north of the Caucasus mountains in South Russia and probably were related to the Thracians, but they surely were a mixed group by the time they appeared south of the mountains, and we hear of them first in the year 714 B.C. after they presumably had defeated the Urartians, registration,weblink speaking groups which migrated under pressure of the Scythian expansion of the 9th to 8th century BC.J.Harmatta: "Scythians" UNESCO Collection of History of Humanity: Volume III: From the Seventh Century BC to the Seventh Century AD, Routledge/UNESCO. 1996, p. 182According to Herodotus, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC (i.e. what is now Ukraine and Russia), although they have not been identified with any specific archaeological culture in the region.Renate Rolle, "Urartu und die Reiternomaden", in: Saeculum 28, 1977, 291–339


The supposed origin of the Cimmerians north of the Caucasus at the end of the Bronze Age loosely corresponds with the early Koban culture (Northern Caucasus, 12th to 4th centuries BC), but there is no compelling reason to associate this culture with the Cimmerians specifically.There is a tradition in archaeology of applying Cimmerian to the archaeological record associated with the earliest transmission of Iron Age culture along the Danube to Central and Western Europe, associated with the Cernogorovka (9th to 8th centuries) and Novocerkassk (8th to 7th centuries) between the Danube and the Volga. This association is "controversial", or at best conventional, and is not to be taken as a literal claim that specific artifacts are to be associated with the "Cimmerians" of the Greek or Assyrian record.The use of the name "Cimmerian" in this context is due to Paul Reinecke, who in 1925 postulated a "North-Thracian-Cimmerian cultural sphere" (nordthrakisch-kimmerischer Kulturkreis) overlapping with the younger Hallstatt culture of the Eastern Alps.The term Thraco-Cimmerian (thrako-kimmerisch) was first introduced by I. Nestor in the 1930s. Nestor intended to suggest that there was a historical migration of Cimmerians into Eastern Europe from the area of the former Srubna culture, perhaps triggered by the Scythian expansion, at the beginning of the European Iron Age. In the 1980s and 1990s, more systematic studies{{by whom?|date=March 2019}} of the artifacts revealed a more gradual development over the period covering the 9th to 7th centuries, so that the term "Thraco-Cimmerian" is now rather used by convention and does not necessarily imply a direct connection with either the Thracians or the Cimmerians.Ioannis K. Xydopoulos, "The Cimmerians: their origins, movements and their difficulties" in: Gocha R. Tsetskhladze, Alexandru Avram, James Hargrave (eds.), The Danubian Lands between the Black, Aegean and Adriatic Seas (7th Century BC – 10th Century AD), Proceedings of the Fifth International Congress on Black Sea Antiquities (Belgrade – 17–21 September 2013, Archaeopress Archaeology (2015), 119–123. Dorin Sârbu, "Un Fenomen Arheologic Controversat de la Începutul Epocii Fierului dintre Gurile Dunării și Volga: 'Cultura Cimmerianã'" ("A controversial archaeological phenomenon of the early Iron Age between the mouths of the Danube and the Volga: the Cimmerian Culture"), Romanian Journal of Archaeology'' (2000) ({{ro-icon}} online version (with bibliography); English abstract)

Assyrian records

thumb|right|Cimmerian invasions of Colchis, Urartu and Assyria 715–713 BCAusten Henry Layard's discoveries in the royal archives at Nineveh and Calah included Assyrian primary records of the Cimmerian invasion.K. Deller, "Ausgewählte neuassyrische Briefe betreffend Urarṭu zur Zeit Sargons II.," in P.E. Pecorella and M. Salvini (eds), Tra lo Zagros e l'Urmia. Ricerche storiche ed archeologiche nell'Azerbaigian Iraniano, Incunabula Graeca 78 (Rome 1984) 97–122.These records appear to place the Cimmerian homeland, Gamir, south rather than north of the Black Sea.BOOK, Cozzoli, Umberto, I Cimmeri, 1968, Arti Grafiche Citta di Castello (Roma), Rome Italy,weblink BOOK, Salvini, Mirjo, Tra lo Zagros e l'Urmia: richerche storiche ed archeologiche nell'Azerbaigian iraniano, 1984, Ed. Dell'Ateneo (Roma), Rome Italy,weblink BOOK, Kristensen, Anne Katrine Gade, Who were the Cimmerians, and where did they come from?: Sargon II, and the Cimmerians, and Rusa I, 1988, The Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, Copenhagen Denmark, The first record of the Cimmerians appears in Assyrian annals in the year 714 BC. These describe how a people termed the Gimirri helped the forces of Sargon II to defeat the kingdom of Urartu. Their original homeland, called Gamir or Uishdish, seems to have been located within the buffer state of Mannae. The later geographer Ptolemy placed the Cimmerian city of Gomara in this region.The Assyrians recorded the migrations of the Cimmerians, as the former people's king Sargon II was killed in battle against them while driving them from Persia in 705 BC.The Cimmerians were subsequently recorded as having conquered Phrygia in 696–695 BC, prompting the Phrygian king Midas to take poison rather than face capture. In 679 BC, during the reign of Esarhaddon of Assyria (r. 681–669 BC), they attacked the Assyrian colonies Cilicia and Tabal under their new ruler Teushpa. Esarhaddon defeated them near Hubushna (Hupisna), and they also met defeat at the hands of his successor Ashurbanipal.

Greek tradition

A people named Kimmerioi is described in Homer's Odyssey 11.14 (c. late 8th century BC), as living beyond the Oceanus, in a land of fog and darkness, at the edge of the world and the entrance of Hades."Cimmerians" (Κιμμέριοι), Henry Liddell & Robert Scott, Perseus, Tufts UniversityAccording to Herodotus (c. 440 BC), the Cimmerians had been expelled from their homeland between the Tyras (Dniester) and Tanais (Don) rivers by the Scythians. Unreconciled to Scythian advances, to ensure burial in their ancestral homeland, the men of the Cimmerian royal family divided into groups and fought each other to the death. The Cimmerian commoners buried the bodies along the river Tyras and fled across the Caucasus and into Anatolia.Herodotus, Histories, Book 4, sections 11–12.Herodotus also names a number of Cimmerian kings, including Tugdamme (Lygdamis in Greek; mid-7th century BC), and Sandakhshatra (late-7th century).In 654 BC or 652 BC – the exact date is unclear – the Cimmerians attacked the kingdom of Lydia, killing the Lydian king Gyges and causing great destruction to the Lydian capital of Sardis. They returned ten years later during the reign of Gyges' son Ardys; this time they captured the city, with the exception of the citadel. The fall of Sardis was a major shock to the powers of the region; the Greek poets Callinus and Archilochus recorded the fear that it inspired in the Greek colonies of Ionia, some of which were attacked by Cimmerian and Treres raiders.{{Citation needed|date=February 2011}}The Cimmerian occupation of Lydia was brief, however, possibly due to an outbreak of plague. They were beaten back by Alyattes.Herodotus, 1.16; Polyaenus, 7.2.1, Sergei R. Tokhtas’ev "Cimmerians" in the Encyclopedia Iranica (1991), several nineteenth-century summaries. This defeat marked the effective end of Cimmerian power.The term Gimirri was used about a century later in the Behistun inscription (c. 515 BC) as an Assyro-Babylonian equivalent of Iranian Saka (Scythians){{fact|date=June 2018}}. Otherwise, Cimmerians disappeared from the historical record.


In sources beginning with the Royal Frankish Annals, the Merovingian kings of the Franks traditionally traced their lineage through a pre-Frankish tribe called the Sicambri (or Sugambri), mythologized as a group of "Cimmerians" from the mouth of the Danube river, but who instead came from Gelderland in modern Netherlands and are named for the Sieg river.Geary, Patrick J. Before France and Germany: The Creation and Transformation of the Merovingian World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988Early modern historians asserted Cimmerian descent for the Celts or the Germans, arguing from the similarity of Cimmerii to Cimbri or Cymry. The etymology of Cymro "Welshman" (plural: Cymry), connected to the Cimmerians by 17th-century Celticists, is now accepted by Celtic linguists as being derived from a Brythonic word *kom-brogos, meaning "compatriot".Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru, vol. I, p. 770.Jones, J. Morris. Welsh Grammar: Historical and Comparative. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.Russell, Paul. Introduction to the Celtic Languages. London: Longman, 1995.Delamarre, Xavier. Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise. Paris: Errance, 2001.The Cambridge Ancient History classifies the Maeotians as either a people of Cimmerian ancestry or as Caucasian under Iranian overlordship.{{harvnb|Boardman|Edwards|1991|p=572}}The Biblical name "Gomer" has been linked by some to the Cimmerians.Robert Drews, Early Riders, 2004, p 119. He also links them to Gog and Magog.According to Georgian national historiography, the Cimmerians, in Georgian known as Gimirri, played an influential role in the development of the Colchian and Iberian cultures.Berdzenishvili, N., Dondua V., Dumbadze, M., Melikishvili G., Meskhia, Sh., Ratiani, P., History of Georgia (Vol. 1), Tbilisi, 1958, pp. 34–36The modern Georgian word for "hero", {{script|Geor|(wikt:გმირი|გმირი)}} gmiri, is said to derive from their name.{{citation needed|date=April 2016}}It has been speculated{{by whom|date=April 2016}} that the Cimmerians finally settled in Cappadocia, known in Armenian as {{script|Armn|(wikt:Գամիրք|Գամիրք)}}, Gamir-kʿ (the same name as the original Cimmerian homeland in Mannae).{{Citation needed|date=February 2011}}It has also been speculated that the modern Armenian city of Gyumri (Arm.: Գյումրի (Help:IPA for Armenian|[ˈgjumɾi)]), founded as Kumayri (Arm.: Կումայրի), derived its name from the Cimmerians who conquered the region and founded a settlement there.WEB,weblink "Kumayri infosite". Cimmerian. Retrieved 14 June 2015., dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 November 2012,


Only a few personal names in the Cimmerian language have survived in Assyrian inscriptions:
  • Te-ush-pa-a; according to the Hungarian linguist János Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Tavis-paya "swelling with strength". Mentioned in the annals of Esarhaddon, has been compared to the Hurrian war deity Teshub;{{Citation needed|date=October 2007}} others interpret it as Iranian, comparing the Achaemenid name Teispes (Herodotus 7.11.2).
  • Dug-dam-mei (Dugdammê) king of the Ummân-Manda (nomads) appears in a prayer of Ashurbanipal to Marduk, on a fragment at the British Museum. According to professor Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Duγda-maya "giving happiness". Other spellings include Dugdammi, and Tugdammê. Edwin M. Yamauchi also interprets the name as Iranian, citing Ossetic Tux-domæg "Ruling with Strength."BOOK, Yamauchi, Edwin M, Foes from the Northern Frontier: Invading Hordes from the Russian Steppes, 1982, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids MI USA, The name appears corrupted to Lygdamis in Strabo 1.3.21.
  • Sandaksatru, son of Dugdamme. This is an Iranian reading of the name, and Manfred Mayrhofer (1981) points out that the name may also be read as Sandakurru. Mayrhofer likewise rejects the interpretation of "with pure regency" as a mixing of Iranian and Indo-Aryan. Ivancik suggests an association with the Anatolian deity Sanda. According to Professor J. Harmatta, it goes back to Old Iranian Sanda-Kuru "Splendid Son". Kur/Kuru is still used as "son" in the Kurdish languages, and in modified form in Persian as korr, for the male offspring of horses.
Some researchers have attempted to trace various place names to Cimmerian origins. It has been suggested that Cimmerium gave rise to the Turkic toponym Qırım (which in turn gave rise to the name "Crimea").BOOK, Asimov, Isaac, Asimov's Chronology of the World, 1991, HarperCollins, New York, 50, Based on ancient Greek historical sources, a ThracianBOOK, Meljukova, A. I., Skifija i Frakijskij Mir, 1979, Moscow, Strabo ascribes the Treres to the Thracians at one place (13.1.8) and to the Cimmerians at another (14.1.40) or a CelticPosidonius in Strabo 7.2.2. association is sometimes assumed. According to Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt, the language of the Cimmerians could have been a "missing link" between Thracian and Iranian.


  • 721–715 BC – Sargon II mentions a land of Gamirr near to Urartu.
  • 714 – suicide of Rusas I of Urartu, after defeat by both the Assyrians and Cimmerians.
  • 705 – Sargon II of Assyria dies on an expedition against the Kulummu.
  • 695 – Cimmerians destroy Phrygia. Death of king Midas.
  • 679/678 – Gimirri under a ruler called Teushpa invade Assyria from Hubuschna (Cappadocia?). Esarhaddon of Assyria defeats them in battle.
  • 676-674 – Cimmerians invade and destroy Phrygia, and reach Paphlagonia.
  • 654 or 652 – Gyges of Lydia dies in battle against the Cimmerians. Sack of Sardis; Cimmerians and Treres plunder Ionian colonies.
  • 644 – Cimmerians occupy Sardis, but withdraw soon afterwards
  • 637-626 – Cimmerians defeated by Alyattes.

See also




  • BOOK, Boardman, John, Edwards, I. E. S., John Boardman (art historian), I. E. S. Edwards, 1991, The Cambridge Ancient History. Volume 3. Part 2,weblink Cambridge University Press, 978-0521227179, March 2, 2015, harv,
  • Ivanchik A.I. "Cimmerians and Scythians", 2001
  • Terenozhkin A.I., Cimmerians, Kiev, 1983
  • Collection of Slavonic and Foreign Language Manuscripts – St.St Cyril and Methodius – Bulgarian National Library:weblink

External links

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