Biology, Caucasus, Europeans, Genetics, Palaeolithic, Prehistory
Republication from nature.com
Figure 1 : Genetic structure of ancient Europe.
We extend the scope of European palaeogenomics by sequencing the genomes of Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,300 years old, 1.4-fold coverage) and Mesolithic (9,700 years old, 15.4-fold) males from western Georgia in the Caucasus and a Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,700 years old, 9.5-fold) male from Switzerland. While we detect Late Palaeolithic–Mesolithic genomic continuity in both regions, we find that Caucasus hunter-gatherers (CHG) belong to a distinct ancient clade that split from western hunter-gatherers ∼45 kya, shortly after the expansion of anatomically modern humans into Europe and from the ancestors of Neolithic farmers ∼25 kya, around the Last Glacial Maximum. CHG genomes significantly contributed to the Yamnaya steppe herders who migrated into Europe ∼3,000 BC, supporting a formative Caucasus influence on this important Early Bronze age culture. CHG left their imprint on modern populations from the Caucasus and also central and south Asia possibly marking the arrival of Indo-Aryan languages.
Ancient warfare, Black Sea, Bosporus, Caucasus, Cavalry, Greeks, Military history, Military topics, Panticapaeum, Sarmatians, Scythians, Shrubnaya culture, Thracians
A masterpiece from the land of the Scythians. A golden comb depicting a battle on its back: Scythian horseman and infantry fighting (from the royal tomb of Solokha).
CONTINUED FROM PART II
By Periklis Deligiannis
Eumelos suggested a compromise to his brother, Prytanis, based on the division of the kingdom into two territories, which they would share. But his brother rejected his proposal. Prytanis went to Panticapaeum to ensure his control on the kingdom. The aristocrats and the citizens of the Greek cities could exploit the power vacuum which was created by the dynastic war, overthrowing the tyranny of the Spartocids. Prytanis’ absence gave the opportunity to Eumelos and his allies to capture the small city Gargaza and other towns, which were probably in the modern Taman peninsula (May 309 BC). When Prytanis secured his authority on Panticapaeum, he returned to the Kuban region joining again his army. But his military forces were already highly stressed by Eumelos’ army, and were finally defeated in a new conflict. Eumelos clustered the enemy army in the region of Lake Maeotis (modern Sea of Azov) and thereby he forced Prytanis to resign the throne. Eumelos was proclaimed king but his brother made a last attempt to regain the throne when he returned to Panticapaeum. Prytanis failed, bringing about the wrath of his brother because of his attempt. Eumelos executed him along with his family and Satyrus’ family (June 309 BC).
The new king was murderous, ordering the killing of many friends of his dead brothers. Thus he ultimately caused the counteraction of his subjects, who were sick and tired of his atrocities. Eumelos realized that he would face a revolution and so he called the people of the capital in a popular assembly, in which he announced economic measures favorable to the merchant class, whose support he was intended for. Thereby he consolidated his authority. The kings Paerisades and Satyrus were active and capable rulers. Eumelos proved worthy of them in his five years of rule. The indigenous peoples of the northern and eastern shores of the Black Sea region, especially the Tauri (Taurians), the Heniochi (‘charioteers’) and the Achaeans (not to be confused with the Greek Achaeans) were conducting piracy against the Greek merchants of the Bosporus, damaging seriously its economy. Eumelos used the Bosporan fleet against them, which he reinforced, and managed to crush them. Thereby he strengthened the Bosporan trade and gained over consistently the strong middle class of traders. He also strengthened the military forces by recruiting more Greeks from the urban centers, who provided by then only a limited number of men in the royal army.
Ancient warfare, Black Sea, Bosporus, Caucasus, Cavalry, Greeks, medieval warfare, Military history, Military topics, Panticapaeum, Sarmatians, Scythians, Shrubnaya culture, Thracians
By Periklis Deligiannis
Map of the three main phases of the battle of river Thatis (copyright: Osprey publishing).
Corrections in the map according to my point of wiew: Thataeans= Siraces. Eumeles= Eumelos. The name of Meniskos, commander of the Greeks and Thracians, should be added. Following Alan Webster, most of Eumelos’ troops were cavalrymen. And In my point of view, Satyrus’ left wing was comprised overwhelmingly of light infantry.
CONTINUED FROM PART I
Satyros’ Scythian army invaded the Thataean/Siracian territory supported by many wagons with food and supplies, in order not to face supply problems in the hostile country. When they reached river Thatis, they found the enemy army waiting for them on the opposite river bank. Satyros decided to cross the river despite the threat by the deployed Siraces. It seems, paradoxically, that the later did not prevent the enemy crossing. Aripharnes possibly wanted to fight the decisive battle at his own territory and did not attack the Scythian army during the crossing of Thatis, a move that would bring perhaps the retreat of Satyros’ army. Besides, Aripharnes did not wish the presence of a numerous enemy army for a long time at his territory (covering both of the riverbanks of Thatis), that would pillage and destroy the Siracian lands. Thus he was aiming at a decisive battle and that is why he did not block the crossing.
The Scythian army established a fortified camp with its wagons near the riverbank of Thatis, and quickly lined up for battle in front of the camp. Satyros placed the Greek hoplites under Meniskos (commander of the mercenaries) at the right wing of his army, supported at the top of the wing by the Thracian peltasts. According to the ancient sources, in the left wing he arrayed Scythian cavalry and infantry. According to the process of the battle, it is most probable that he placed there only some Scythian horsemen and cavalrymen (probably a few) and a great number of light infantry. In the center of his battle line, Satyros placed Scythian cavalry and infantry as well, but is seems that in this case the cavalrymen were more numerous than the infantrymen. He also took his place in the center, commanding the bulk of the Scythian armored cavalry.
The composition of the Siracian/Thataean order of battle is not known, but the ancient quotations on the process of the battle, provide enough data on this composition. Eumelos assumed command of the left wing, against the Greeks and Thracians, apparently because as a Bosporan, he knew very well their tactics. As it will be discussed below, he rather commanded numerous Sarmatian cavalrymen, many of whom would have been elite troops (armored etc.), in order to ensure the disruption of the hoplite phalanx and the peltasts that supported and protected it. Eumelos would also command his few Bosporan supporters (probably exclusively cavalry). Aripharnes took his place in the center of his army, commanding Siracian/Sarmatian cavalry and infantry. It is certain that Aripharnes’ cavalry in the center, included many elite cavalrymen (the king’s bodyguard). The Siracian right wing included the rest of the cavalry and light infantry, but it seems that the infantrymen there, were overwhelmingly more numerous than the cavalrymen.
Ancient warfare, Black Sea, Bosporus, Caucasus, Cavalry, Greeks, medieval warfare, Military history, Military topics, Panticapaeum, Sarmatian, Sarmatians, Scythians, Shrubnaya culture, Thracians
By Periklis Deligiannis
Map of the Kingdom of Cimmerian Bosporus with the stages of its expansion. The Scythians and the Siraces are noted in the map. River Thatis was a tributary of the river Hypanis (Kouban).
The Kingdom of Cimmerian Bosporus was founded in 438 BC when Spartocus, a Hellenized Thracian, had established himself as a tyrant in the Greek colony of Panticapaeum (modern Kerch in Crimea). Panticapaeum was a colony of Miletus in Ionia (Asia Minor), and the most powerful of the Ionic (Greek) colonies in the northern shore of the Black Sea. Most of these cities were colonies of Ionic Miletus, and they were founded mostly in the peninsulas of Crimea and Phanagoria (modern Taman). Spartocus’ Hellenized successors, Satyrus (his son, 431-389 BC) and Leucon (his grandson, 389-349), conquered many of the nearby cities, reducing sharply the Athenian military and political influence in the area. Most of the Greek cities of the Northern shore of the Black Sea were Athenian protectorates until then, with the exceptions of Chersonesus (a Doric colony of Heraclea) and Olbia. Satyrus annexed the cities Nymphaeon (an Athenian military colony) and Kimmerikon (Cimmerikon), but Leucon was the one who made the Hegemony of Panticapeum a real kingdom: the kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus.
“Cimmerian Bosporus” was the Greek name for the modern straits between the peninsulas of Crimea and Taman. Leucon annexed the Greek cities Theodosia (modern Feodosiya), Hermonassa, Phanagoria, Gorgippia, Parthenion, Athenaeon (an Athenian military colony), Myrmenkion etc. The same tyrant/king subjucated also the native Sindians and the native as well Maeotic tribes (Dandarii, Psessae, Toretae, Heniochi et al.). Paerisades I (348-310 BC), Leucon’s successor, extended furthermore the Bosporan rule. During his reign, the kingdom of Cimmerian Bosporus covered an area of about 30-35,000 sq. Km. Athens had no other option but to abandon her rights in the area. The Spartocid dynasty recognized only some commercial rights to the Athenians.