In the first millennium BC and in the first centuries of our era in
the vast expanses of the Great Steppes lived tribes of Sarmatians and Scythians. Scientists believe they were
descendants of the Andronov and Timber Grave cultures tribes. The steppes of Southern
Urals, where run the boundaries of these cultures, the mutual contacts between them were
an active zone of ethnic exchanges that formed the Sarmatian world. The terms
“Sarmatians” and earlier “Sauromatians” are collective supra-ethnical notions for a large
group of culturally related nomadic tribes. Descriptions of ancient authors give the
names of some of these tribes: Aorses, Alans, Roxolans, Siracae, Yazamats, Yaksamats and others. The
scholastic dispute on difference between the spellings Sarmat and Sauromat, and the
supercerebral periodization concepts based on the archaic differences in spelling are just funny,
considering routine variations in spellings for ancient peoples encountered in the sources.
In 2015, great advances were made in genetic research of the Kurgan culture. It was determined
that at least a majority of the males in the kurgan burials belonged to the haplogroup R1b. That
confirms the archeological observations of the Kurgan waves flooding Europe, the
genetical/archeological conclusion that the European males marked by the haplogroups I1, I2, E1b,
and R1a had waned and were supplanted by the males marked by the haplogroup R1b, and that for an
auspicious period of 4500-3500 ybp (2500-1500 BC) Europe was dominated by the originally
Türkic-speaking Kurgan populace, the genetical cousins of the Eurasian Sarmats. The
Germanic-Türkic genetic connection explains the heavy presence of Turkisms in Germanic, and
particularly in English language, where about 1/3 of the Swadesh-200 basic language comes from the
Türkic, a large layer of them come from the very archaic Türkic, and 30-40% of the daily English
lexicon, including such basic words as I, do, this, my, make, give, talk, eat, write, tell, kill,
earth, time, day, dawn, body, and the little affixes that make English the English ascends to
the Türkic phylum.
Etymology of the name Sarmat is disputed, the old Eurocentric ideas receding and
reformed with each new “surprising” discovery. Ideas reflect the corners hosting the authors, with the
least attention paid to the Uralic peoples and known Sarmatian ethnology. The common
traits of the Sarmatian names, the part -mat, and numerous allophones
of the part Sar strongly point to a compound Sarymat, with Türkic Sary
for “Pale, White, Yellow”, all ethnonyms with an initial component Sary are synonymous
with the ethnonyms Kypchak,
Kuman; and the enigmatic -mat for “people or group: men, people, tribe, union, race, trait,
etc.”, probably a dialectal of men “men” preserved in the name Turkmen ~ “a
Turk-like man” and Sarman ~ “Yellow Men”. Examples are too many to list (-mat: Mede, Sarmat, Sauromat,
Yazamat, Yaksamat; Sary: Siracae, Saragur, Seres, Saracene, Sarir, Sary As/Saryg, Sary Yogur, Sary Uigur, etc.)
In the Zeravshan valley not far from Hissar pass is a whole Sarymat ridge, with Sarytag ~ White
Mountain, 4160 m high mountain and valleys of the rivers Kara-kul and Sarymat, where -mat parallels
topographical terms -tag ~ mountain and -kul ~ lake, water; in this context -mat apparently
serves as a topographical term corresponding to the Türkic mat ~ opaque, matt,
darkish, which would make the ethnonym Sarmat < Sarymat = Dark White or Opaque White,
matching amazingly precisely the Hippocrates medical observation that Sarmats “are deficient in tone, tawny”.
Notably, Sarymat is closer to the initial Greek spelling Sauromat than the
later contracted Sarmat. But then, Sarymat would be an exonym, akin to Redskin
for Amerindians, no people (naturally, except for the “white” Aryans) would refer to
themselves by the color of their skin. The origin of the name is fated to remain speculative.
The most known monuments of thousand-year Sarmatian trace are numerous kurgan
burials, reaching 5-7 meters in height.
The indistinguishable Sauromat and Sarmat kurgan
burials are often located in groups on high ground, on the top of hills, syrts (Türkic
“elevation, height, hill”), offering a broad panorama of the vast steppes. They are hard to miss.
Even in ancient times, kurgans attracted attention of grave robbers. The newly organized Russian
colonial administration of Orenburg territory in the middle of the 18th c. encountered cooperatives
of grave robbers called “marers”, from another Türkic term for kurgans,
mar. In 1753 one such group of five people was arrested
in the eastern Itil steppes and brought to Orenburg on the order of the Governor I.I.
Nepluev. At the beginning of the 20th c. (1911) the peasants of the village Prokhorovka
and several neighboring villages of the Orenburg district of St. Michael's Parish (now
Sharlyk district) illegally excavated dozens kurgans in search for gold and jewels.
Authorities managed to confiscate only a small portion of the artifacts, many of them
have vanished. The traditional Türkic attitude toward cemeteries, fed by combination of
superstition and indoctrination, required a highest degree of respect to the graves,
every passerby was bringing donation as a form of respect and parleying, usually a
pebble or small rock, or other little gifts. This tradition is still widespread in the
steppes and in the Caucasus, with time the graves by the road accumulate large cairns.
The interspersed non-Türkic population and Russian colonist settlers did not necessarily
have the same attitude. Ancient cemeteries are considered belonging to
nobody, colonial education installs in children views
that cemeteries are not theirs, and permission to excavate
is granted from the distant capital, irrespectively of local people or local beliefs.
Stone “altar” with image of a sheep head. 6th-4th c. BC.
Found in a plowed field on the outskirts of village Kamardinovka of Alexander district.
Orenburg Regional Museum
Concerned with the growth of this “archaeological poaching”, scientists and
historians became actively involved in studies of ancient kurgan burials in an effort to
save priceless monuments of historical antiquities for science. As a result, has been
special, so-called Prokhorov Sarmatian culture, was investigated its difference from the Scythian
monuments. From the accumulated material scientists uncovered main development stages of the Sarmatian society,
produced descriptions of its material culture, and their relations with neighboring tribes and nations.
Important progress was made after excavations of the Filippov kurgans in the Ilek district of the Orenburg
province. In one of the tombs dated by the middle of 1st millennium BC was a not looted
burial with rich treasure trove, containing more than six hundred highly artistic objects of gold and
silver. During the first centuries of planned excavations archeology practically did not
exist, the objective was to recover precious objects, the rest was reburied with
excavated refuse. Only in the last century attention started to be paid to
anthropological and biological studies, traces of rituals, and ethnic differentiations.
The descriptions of ancient authors and rich archaeological material allows to
fairly complete picture of the Sarmatian life. Their economic basis was
pastoral nomadism raising sheep, horses, cattle and camels. It was feeding and dressing, gave
meat, milk, kumiss, wool, hides and leather, felt, etc.
From early spring to late fall Sarmatians were coaching in the open steppes in wagons
covered with felt and drawn by oxen and camels, driving their numerous herds from one
pasture to another. Each tribe and clan had their traditional coaching areas, any trespasses led to clashes and tribal wars. In the winter time in different
places were arranged housing and shelters to protect people from the elements.
The best Classical ethnological description of the Sarmats comes from Hippocrates, ca
400 BC. Not given to hearsay, Hippocrates looks for natural explanation for every
observation, and as a physician sees things totally oblivious to generalists. In
particular, Hippocrates observations on the constitution of the Sarmats describe exactly
what physical anthropologists would discover 25 centuries later. Among Hippocrates
1. Warlike people are free people. Thus, the warlike Sarmats live in democratic society.
That society is akin to Greek democracy, and unlike anything found in traditional
Indo-European societies of any flavor except for Polish Medieval society
with its Sarmat shlyahta
2. Sarmat women are as warlike as men. Thus, Sarmat women are Amazons, or vice-versa. Sarmat
women are not male-dominated a la Indo-European model, or Indo-Iranian model, as they are
made to be in the
3. Sarmats are Scythian nomads living in wagons covered with felt, remaining on any spot
only for foraging, women live in wagons,
men are riding horses, and drive herds of sheep, oxen, and horses. Thus, ethnologically
Sarmats are indistinguishable from the nomadic Türks and Mongols, and are quite different
from the agricultural Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Indian, Slavic, Chinese, etc. farmers living of land
and living on grains. The felt, again, is very specific material, quite foreign to the
same Greek, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Indian, Slavic, Chinese, etc. ethnologies, but a most
used material in Türkic ethnic traditions, not only for wagon and yurt covers, but also
as carpets, winter boots, bonnet hats, horse trappings, and protective armor.
live on meat, mare milk, and mare milk cheese. Thus, Sarmats did not suffer lactose
intolerance that afflicts Indo-Iranians, Iranians, Indians, Chinese, etc. Sarmats were
not lactose intolerant. To claim that lactose intolerant people can live on milk is pure idiocy,
and unlike some of our superpatriotic contemporaries, for the last 2500 years Hippocrates is not known for his mental feebleness.
5. Sarmats are Scythians, and have a peculiarity of shape that does not resemble any other
phenotype. Their figures resemble one another, their shapes are gross and fleshy with
ill-marked joints, they all, men and women, use the same food and the same clothing
summer and winter. They are fat, and hairs are absent from their bodies, their shapes
resemble one another, the males being all alike, and so are the women. That agrees with
conclusions of physical anthropologists that Sarmats were Uraloids, distinct from the Greeks,
Semites, Indo-Iranians, Iranians, Indians, Chinese, and what have you. The Greek father
of medicine must have known something about hairiness when he states that Sarmat bodies are not
hairy like that of the male Greeks, Semites, or Iranians
6. Sarmats are deficient in tone. The Scythian race is tawny from the cold, and not from
suntan, the whiteness of the skin is parched by the cold and becomes tawny. Thus, in
modern indoor conditions and strictly in medical lingo, Sarmats would be notable for
natural paleness of their skin, much like the modern Northern Europeans, Tunguses and
Koreans, and unlike the tone-skinned Greeks, Semites, Indo-Iranians, Iranians, and Indians.
What Hippocrates termed tawny, Ammianus Marcellinus called swarthy in relation to the
weathered tone of the Huns. But the Northern Chinese, noting unusually large noses and
deep-set eyes of the Huns, never noted anything uncommon on the tone of their skin. The Huns
were massacred for the size of their noses, and not for the color
of their skin
7. Sarmats are Scythians, and the Scythians are not prolific. The male sexual desires are
not strong from riding on horseback. The women are plump, and the mouth of the womb is
shut up by fat and does not admit the semen. That is contrasted with their slender female servants,
who have a child as soon as they mate with a man. These medical observations agree well
with demographic assessment (A.Khazanov) that estimated an average size of a Scythian
family at between 4 and 5 members, much lower than that of the sedentary agricultural
societies of the time, be it Greeks, Semites, Indo-Iranians, Iranians, Indians, Chinese,
8. Sarmats are Scythians, and the Scythians are the most impotent of men. Impotence is
more prevalent among aristocracy. The observation on impotence is echoed by other
Classical authors, who report the visible social phenomenon. The real reason may be the
traditional Türkic practice of dual exogamy that recycles the same genes over many
generations. Unknown to the ancient medicine, this effect became medically well-known
after the experience of the Middle Age ghettoes, and in modern conditions at ethnical island
enclaves in metropolitan cities.
9. Sarmats are Scythians, and the Scythians always wear breeches. In his context,
Hippocrates did not state that both sexes are dressed the same, and both sexes wear
breeches, but we know that from other Classical authors, plus the bashlyk bonnet hat. The
uniformity of the Türkic traditional dress spans form depictions on the earliest Scythian
grave steles to modernity: left-lapelled caftan, trousers and bashlyk. For a millennia, it became
a Russian trademark dress. Chinese made a fuss of the left-lapelled caftan, trying to
force the Southern Huns to change it to right-lapelled robe, and suffered a bad revolt as
a consequence. The dress is another ethnical marker that is unlike anything known in the
Greek, Semite, Indo-Iranian, Iranian, Indian, Chinese, etc. worlds.
The list of Sarmat distinctions compiled by Hippocrates falls far short of what we know
today: why they built kurgans (A.Khazanov), their demography (L.Yablonsky), their
phenotype (L.Yablonsky), their osteology (D.Pejemsky), their odontology (A.Suvorova),
their archeology (too many to list), their genetics and coloration (J.Burger), lactose
tolerance aberration, etc. We already know immeasurably more than those neophytes of
the 19th and 20th cc. that turned a blind eye to the contemporaries, including
Hippocrates, and blessed the world with their self-aggrandizing
Internet Classics Archive (
Internet Classics Archive by Daniel C. Stevenson, Web Atomics ©1994-2000
On Airs, Waters, and Places
Translated by Francis Adams
And with regard to the pusillanimity and cowardice of the inhabitants,
the principal reason the Asiatics are more unwarlike and of gentler
disposition than the Europeans is, the nature of the seasons, which
do not undergo any great changes either to heat or cold, or the like;
for there is neither excitement of the understanding nor any strong
change of the body whereby the temper might be ruffled and they be
roused to inconsiderate emotion and passion, rather than living as
they do always in the state. It is changes of all kinds which arouse
understanding of mankind, and do not allow them to get into a torpid
condition. For these reasons, it appears to me, the Asiatic race is
feeble, and further, owing to their laws; for monarchy prevails in
the greater part of Asia, and where men are not their own masters
nor independent, but are the slaves of others, it is not a matter
of consideration with them how they may acquire military discipline,
but how they may seem not to be warlike, for the dangers are not equally
shared, since they must serve as soldiers, perhaps endure fatigue,
and die for their masters, far from their children, their wives, and
other friends; and whatever noble and manly actions they may perform
lead only to the aggrandizement of their masters, whilst the fruits
which they reap are dangers and death; and, in addition to all this,
the lands of such persons must be laid waste by the enemy and want
of culture. Thus, then, if any one be naturally warlike and courageous,
his disposition will be changed by the institutions. As a strong proof
of all this, such Greeks or barbarians in Asia as are not under a
despotic form of government, but are independent, and enjoy the fruits
of their own labors, are of all others the most warlike; for these
encounter dangers on their own account, bear the prizes of their own
valor, and in like manner endure the punishment of their own cowardice.
And you will find the Asiatics differing from one another, for some
are better and others more dastardly; of these differences, as I stated
before, the changes of the seasons are the cause. Thus it is with
In Europe there is a Scythian race, called Sauromatae, which inhabits
the confines of the Palus Maeotis, and is different from all other
races. Their women mount on horseback, use the bow, and throw the
javelin from their horses, and fight with their enemies as long as
they are virgins; and they do not lay aside their virginity until
they kill three of their enemies, nor have any connection with men
until they perform the sacrifices according to law. Whoever takes
to herself a husband, gives up riding on horseback unless the necessity
of a general expedition obliges her. They have no right breast; for
while still of a tender age their mothers heat strongly a copper instrument
constructed for this very purpose, and apply it to the right breast,
which is burnt up, and its development being arrested, all the strength
and fullness are determined to the right shoulder and arm.
As the other Scythians have a peculiarity of shape, and do not resemble
any other, the same observation applies to the Egyptians, only that
the latter are oppressed by heat and the former by cold. What is called
the Scythian desert is a prairie, rich in meadows, high-lying, and
well watered; for the rivers which carry off the water from the plains
are large. There live those Scythians which are called Nomades, because
they have no houses, but live in wagons. The smallest of these wagons
have four wheels, but some have six; they are covered in with felt,
and they are constructed in the manner of houses, some having but
a single apartment, and some three; they are proof against rain, snow,
and winds. The wagons are drawn by yokes of oxen, some of two and
others of three, and all without horns, for they have no horns, owing
to the cold. In these wagons the women live, but the men are carried
about on horses, and the sheep, oxen, and horses accompany them; and
they remain on any spot as long as there is provender for their cattle,
and when that fails they migrate to some other place. They eat boiled
meat, and drink the milk of mares, and also eat hippace, which is
cheese prepared from the milk of the mare. Such is their mode of life
and their customs.
In respect of the seasons and figure of body, the Scythian race, like
the Egyptian, have a uniformity of resemblance, different from all
other nations; they are by no means prolific, and the wild beasts
which are indigenous there are small in size and few in number, for
the country lies under the Northern Bears, and the Rhiphaean mountains,
whence the north wind blows; the sun comes very near to them only
when in the summer solstice, and warms them but for a short period,
and not strongly; and the winds blowing from the hot regions of the
earth do not reach them, or but seldom, and with little force; but
the winds from the north always blow, congealed, as they are, by the
snow, ice, and much water, for these never leave the mountains, which
are thereby rendered uninhabitable. A thick fog covers the plains
during the day, and amidst it they live, so that winter may be said
to be always present with them; or, if they have summer, it is only
for a few days, and the heat is not very strong. Their plains are
high-lying and naked, not crowned with mountains, but extending upwards
under the Northern Bears. The wild beasts there are not large, but
such as can be sheltered underground; for the cold of winter and the
barrenness of the country prevent their growth, and because they have
no covert nor shelter. The changes of the seasons, too, are not great
nor violent, for, in fact, they change gradually; and therefore their
figures resemble one another, as they all equally use the same food,
and the same clothing summer and winter, respiring a humid and dense
atmosphere, and drinking water from snow and ice; neither do they
make any laborious exertions, for neither body nor mind is capable
of enduring fatigue when the changes of the seasons are not great.
For these reasons their shapes are gross and fleshy, with ill-marked
joints, of a humid temperament, and deficient in tone: the internal
cavities, and especially those of the intestines, are full of humors;
for the belly cannot possibly be dry in such a country, with such
a constitution and in such a climate; but owing to their fat, and
the absence of hairs from their bodies, their shapes resemble one
another, the males being all alike, and so also with the women; for
the seasons being of a uniform temperature, no corruption or deterioration
takes place in the concretion of the semen, unless from some violent
cause, or from disease.
I will give you a strong proof of the humidity (laxity?) of their
constitutions. You will find the greater part of the Scythians, and
all the Nomades, with marks of the cautery on their shoulders, arms,
wrists, breasts, hip-joints, and loins, and that for no other reason
but the humidity and flabbiness of their constitution, for they can
neither strain with their bows, nor launch the javelin from their
shoulder owing to their humidity and atony: but when they are burnt,
much of the humidity in their joints is dried up, and they become
better braced, better fed, and their joints get into a more suitable
condition. They are flabby and squat at first, because, as in Egypt,
they are not swathed (?); and then they pay no attention to horsemanship,
so that they may be adepts at it; and because of their sedentary mode
of life; for the males, when they cannot be carried about on horseback,
sit the most of their time in the wagon, and rarely practice walking,
because of their frequent migrations and shiftings of situation; and
as to the women, it is amazing how flabby and sluggish they are. The
Scythian race are tawny from the cold, and not from the intense heat
of the sun, for the whiteness of the skin is parched by the cold,
and becomes tawny.
It is impossible that persons of such a constitution could be prolific,
for, with the man, the sexual desires are not strong, owing to the
laxity of his constitution, the softness and coldness of his belly,
from all which causes it is little likely that a man should be given
to venery; and besides, from being jaded by exercise on horseback,
the men become weak in their desires. On the part of the men these
are the causes; but on that of the women, they are embonpoint and
humidity; for the womb cannot take in the semen, nor is the menstrual
discharge such as it should be, but scanty and at too long intervals;
and the mouth of the womb is shut up by fat and does not admit the
semen; and, moreover, they themselves are indolent and fat, and their
bellies cold and soft. From these causes the Scythian race is not
prolific. Their female servants furnish a strong proof of this; for
they no sooner have connection with a man than they prove with child,
owing to their active course of life and the slenderness of body.
And, in addition to these, there are many eunuchs among the Scythians,
who perform female work, and speak like women. Such persons are called
effeminates. The inhabitants of the country attribute the cause of
their impotence to a god, and venerate and worship such persons, every
one dreading that the like might befall himself; but to me it appears
that such affections are just as much divine as all others are, and
that no one disease is either more divine or more human than another,
but that all are alike divine, for that each has its own nature, and
that no one arises without a natural cause. But I will explain how
I think that the affection takes its rise. From continued exercise
on horseback they are seized with chronic defluxions in their joints
owing to their legs always hanging down below their horses; they afterwards
become lame and stiff at the hip-joint, such of them, at least, as
are severely attacked with it. They treat themselves in this way:
when the disease is commencing, they open the vein behind either ear,
and when the blood flows, sleep, from feebleness, seizes them, and
afterwards they awaken, some in good health and others not. To me
it appears that the semen is altered by this treatment, for there
are veins behind the ears which, if cut, induce impotence; now, these
veins would appear to me to be cut. Such persons afterwards, when
they go in to women and cannot have connection with them, at first
do not think much about it, but remain quiet; but when, after making
the attempt two, three, or more times, they succeed no better, fancying
they have committed some offence against the god whom they blame for
the affection, they put on female attire, reproach themselves for
effeminacy, play the part of women, and perform the same work as women
do. This the rich among the Scythians endure, not the basest, but
the most noble and powerful, owing to their riding on horseback; for
the poor are less affected, as they do not ride on horses. And yet,
if this disease had been more divine than the others, it ought not
to have befallen the most noble and the richest of the Scythians alone,
but all alike, or rather those who have little, as not being able
to pay honors to the gods, if, indeed, they delight in being thus
rewarded by men, and grant favors in return; for it is likely that
the rich sacrifice more to the gods, and dedicate more votive offerings,
inasmuch as they have wealth, and worship the gods; whereas the poor,
from want, do less in this way, and, moreover, upbraid the gods for
not giving them wealth, so that those who have few possessions were
more likely to bear the punishments of these offences than the rich.
But, as I formerly said, these affections are divine just as much
as others, for each springs from a natural cause, and this disease
arises among the Scythians from such a cause as I have stated. But
it attacks other men in like manner, for whenever men ride much and
very frequently on horseback, then many are affected with rheums in
the joints, sciatica, and gout, and they are inept at venery. But
these complaints befall the Scythians, and they are the most impotent
of men for the aforesaid causes, and because they always wear breeches,
and spend the most of their time on horseback, so as not to touch
their privy parts with the hands, and from the cold and fatigue they
forget the sexual desire, and do not make the attempt until after
they have lost their virility. Thus it is with the race of the Scythians.
The other races in Europe differ from one another, both as to stature
and shape, owing to the changes of the seasons, which are very great
and frequent, and because the heat is strong, the winters severe,
and there are frequent rains, and again protracted droughts, and winds,
from which many and diversified changes are induced. These changes
are likely to have an effect upon generation in the coagulation of
the semen, as this process cannot be the same in summer as in winter,
nor in rainy as in dry weather; wherefore, I think, that the figures
of Europeans differ more than those of Asiatics; and they differ very
much from one another as to stature in the same city; for vitiations
of the semen occur in its coagulation more frequently during frequent
changes of the seasons, than where they are alike and equable. And
the same may be said of their dispositions, for the wild, and unsociable,
and the passionate occur in such a constitution; for frequent excitement
of the mind induces wildness, and extinguishes sociableness and mildness
of disposition, and therefore I think the inhabitants of Europe more
courageous than those of Asia; for a climate which is always the same
induces indolence, but a changeable climate, laborious exertions both
of body and mind; and from rest and indolence cowardice is engendered,
and from laborious exertions and pains, courage. On this account the
inhabitants of Europe are than the Asiatics, and also owing to their
institutions, because they are not governed by kings like the latter,
for where men are governed by kings there they must be very cowardly,
as I have stated before; for their souls are enslaved, and they will
not willingly, or readily undergo dangers in order to promote the
power of another; but those that are free undertake dangers on their
own account, and not for the sake of others; they court hazard and
go out to meet it, for they themselves bear off the rewards of victory,
and thus their institutions contribute not a little to their courage.
Such is the general character of Europe and Asia.
And there are in Europe other tribes, differing from one another in stature, shape,
and courage: the differences are those I formerly mentioned, and will now explain more
clearly. Such as inhabit a country which is mountainous, rugged, elevated, and well
watered, and where the changes of the seasons are very great, are likely to have great
variety of shapes among them, and to be naturally of an enterprising and warlike
disposition; and such persons are apt to have no little of the savage and ferocious in
their nature; but such as dwell in places which are low-lying, abounding in meadows and
ill ventilated, and who have a larger proportion of hot than of cold winds, and who make
use of warm waters - these are not likely to be of large stature nor well proportioned,
but are of a broad make, fleshy, and have black hair; and they are rather of a dark than
of a light complexion, and are less likely to be phlegmatic than bilious; courage and
laborious enterprise are not naturally in them, but may be engendered in them by means of
their institutions. And if there be rivers in the country which carry off the stagnant
and rain water from it, these may be wholesome and clear; but if there be no rivers, but
the inhabitants drink the waters of fountains, and such as are stagnant and marshy, they
must necessarily have prominent bellies and enlarged spleens. But such as inhabit a high
country, and one that is level, windy, and well-watered, will be large of stature, and
like to one another; but their minds will be rather unmanly and gentle. Those who live on
thin, ill-watered, and bare soils, and not well attempered in the changes of the seasons,
in such a country they are likely to be in their persons rather hard and well braced,
rather of a blond than a dark complexion, and in disposition and passions haughty and
self-willed. For, where the changes of the seasons are most frequent, and where they
differ most from one another, there you will find their forms, dispositions, and nature
the most varied. These are the strongest of the natural causes of difference, and next
the country in which one lives, and the waters; for, in general, you will find the forms
and dispositions of mankind to correspond with the nature of the country; for where the
land is fertile, soft, and well-watered, and supplied with waters from very elevated
situations, so as to be hot in summer and cold in winter, and where the seasons are fine,
there the men are fleshy, have ill-formed joints, and are of a humid temperament; they
are not disposed to endure labor, and, for the most part, are base in spirit; indolence
and sluggishness are visible in them, and to the arts they are dull, and not clever nor
acute. When the country is bare, not fenced, and rugged, blasted by the winter and
scorched by the sun, there you may see the hardy, hardy, slender, with well-shaped
joints, well-braced, and shaggy; sharp, industry and vigilance accompany such a
constitution; in morals and passions they are haughty and opinionative, inclining rather
to the fierce than to the mild; and you will find them acute and ingenious as regards the
arts, and excelling in military affairs; and likewise all the other productions of the
earth corresponding to the earth itself. Thus it is with regard to the most opposite
natures and shapes; drawing conclusions from them, you may judge of the rest without any
risk of error.
And there are in Europe other tribes, differing from one another in
stature, shape, and courage: the differences are those I formerly
mentioned, and will now explain more clearly. Such as inhabit a country
which is mountainous, rugged, elevated, and well watered, and where
the changes of the seasons are very great, are likely to have great
variety of shapes among them, and to be naturally of an enterprising
and warlike disposition; and such persons are apt to have no little
of the savage and ferocious in their nature; but such as dwell in
places which are low-lying, abounding in meadows and ill ventilated,
and who have a larger proportion of hot than of cold winds, and who
make use of warm waters- these are not likely to be of large stature
nor well proportioned, but are of a broad make, fleshy, and have black
hair; and they are rather of a dark than of a light complexion, and
are less likely to be phlegmatic than bilious; courage and laborious
enterprise are not naturally in them, but may be engendered in them
by means of their institutions. And if there be rivers in the country
which carry off the stagnant and rain water from it, these may be
wholesome and clear; but if there be no rivers, but the inhabitants
drink the waters of fountains, and such as are stagnant and marshy,
they must necessarily have prominent bellies and enlarged spleens.
But such as inhabit a high country, and one that is level, windy,
and well-watered, will be large of stature, and like to one another;
but their minds will be rather unmanly and gentle. Those who live
on thin, ill-watered, and bare soils, and not well attempered in the
changes of the seasons, in such a country they are likely to be in
their persons rather hard and well braced, rather of a blond than
a dark complexion, and in disposition and passions haughty and self-willed.
For, where the changes of the seasons are most frequent, and where
they differ most from one another, there you will find their forms,
dispositions, and nature the most varied. These are the strongest
of the natural causes of difference, and next the country in which
one lives, and the waters; for, in general, you will find the forms
and dispositions of mankind to correspond with the nature of the country;
for where the land is fertile, soft, and well-watered, and supplied
with waters from very elevated situations, so as to be hot in summer
and cold in winter, and where the seasons are fine, there the men
are fleshy, have ill-formed joints, and are of a humid temperament;
they are not disposed to endure labor, and, for the most part, are
base in spirit; indolence and sluggishness are visible in them, and
to the arts they are dull, and not clever nor acute. When the country
is bare, not fenced, and rugged, blasted by the winter and scorched
by the sun, there you may see the hardy, hardy, slender, with well-shaped
joints, well-braced, and shaggy; sharp, industry and vigilance accompany
such a constitution; in morals and passions they are haughty and opinionative,
inclining rather to the fierce than to the mild; and you will find
them acute and ingenious as regards the arts, and excelling in military
affairs; and likewise all the other productions of the earth corresponding
to the earth itself. Thus it is with regard to the most opposite natures
and shapes; drawing conclusions from them, you may judge of the rest
without any risk of error.
Finds of many copper, bronze, and iron objects indicate that the Sarmatians knew
mining and metalwork. Searching for ores, they often followed the paths trodden by their
Andronov and Timber Grave ancestors, mining in the same places. The weaponry blacksmiths
forged iron swords and daggers; the master founders cast bronze and copper caldrons,
mirrors, metal parts of horse harnesses, ornaments; the jewelers produced objects of
Sarmatian weapons: Iron spear blade (1911 excavations near village Prokhorovka in
and iron dagger (hamlet Nemyatovka in Pervolot district.
Chance find, 1962).
Orenburg Regional Museum
Sarmatian social order consisted of clan communities, which included groups
of kindred families. Burials and kurgans usually are compact groups of the burials of one
A particular feature of the Sarmatian social system, especially in the early Sauromat period
(6th-4th cc. BC),
women had a high status in the family and society, a kind of gynecocracy, i.e. female domination. They were not only
guardians of hearth and caregivers
of children, but also the soldiers equal with men. Some daydreaming archeologists also
ascribe to noble women honorable priestly
functions, nonexistent in the priestless Tengrian religion. That trend started when religion dominated
science, and religious scientists were interested in us vs. them contradistinction. Notably, in the deceased woman grave, even
for the girls, were often placed weapons in addition to jewelry. The ancestral cemetery
as a rule formed around an earlier
burial of a noble woman - a venerated pra-mother of the clan relatives. That traditional
Türkic respect for women survived for more than a millennia even in the Islamic and
Christianized societies; it is one of the traits that distinguishes the Türkic societies
from the Indo-European and Indo-Iranian innate traditions. Nowhere is the difference
stronger than in the North-South division of Europe, documented from the Classical times.
Greeks, Romans, and Arabs were shocked to witness respect and freedom afforded to the
women in Etruscan, Scythian, and Türkic societies, they spent innumerable efforts to
change their culture to subjugate females, mostly with little success. The Southern
Europe still remains a male-dominated society, while the Germanic Northern Europe with
unmistakable Türkic connections retains much of the female freedom, and unlike the
Southern Europe, commonly has females leading the states and females governing the
states. Notably, nearly all known female heads of state from antiquity to the Middle Ages
and the rise of religious Judeo-Christian-Islamic domination ruled the Türkic states. For
Germanic - Türkic connections see
G. Ekholm German Ethnology,
R. Mc Callister
Non-IE substrate vocabulary in Germanic languages, A. Toth
Turkic and English,
C. Stevens Germanic-Türkic traits.
Procopius of Caesarea in that respect made a remarkable comment, for our times and our
... I shall tell who they (the Goths) were and
in what manner they did so. There were many Gothic nations in earlier times, just as also at the
present, but the greatest and most important of all are the Goths, Vandals, Visigoths, and Gepaedes.
In ancient times, however, they were named Sauromatae and Melanchlaeni
(“Black-cloaks”); and there were some too who called these nations Getic. All these,
while they are distinguished from one another by their names, as has been said, do not differ in
anything else at all. For they all have white bodies and fair hair, and are tall and handsome to
look upon, and they use the same laws and practice a common religion. For they are all of the Arian
faith (i.e. monotheistic Tengrianism, in contrast with Trinity),
and have one language called Gothic; and, as it seems to me, they all came originally from one
tribe, and were distinguished later by the names of those who led each group. This people used to
dwell above the Ister (Danube) River from of old. Later
on the Gepaedes got possession of the country about Singidunum
(Belgrade) and Sirmium (Mitrovitz), on both
sides of the Ister River, where they have remained settled even down to my time.
About the Sarmatian female warriors were telling the ancient authors who lived during that era.
Thus, the Greek historian Herodotus noted that their women “go hunting on horseback
with their husbands and without them, go to war and wear the same clothes as men... No
girl gets married, until she kills an enemy”. Hippocrates also reported that the
Sarmatian women ride on horseback, shoot from bows and throw spears. He cites such an amazing
wonder: girls had often their right breast removed, so that all strength and
vitality went into her right shoulder and arm, and made a woman strong on a par
with man. Sarmatian female warriors probably served as a model for ancient Greek legend
about the mysterious Amazons. It is well known that no Classical historian ever compared
any Indian or Iranian-stock woman with Amazons, or their men with Scythians; the only
direct identification of Amazons with contemporary people by the Classical authors was
with the Bulgarians or the tribes of the Bulgarian circle, who also were routinely labeled
Some classical historian accused Sarmatians that their main occupation, like of many other “Scythian” and Hunnic tribes was a war. Numerous detachments of Sarmatian cavalrymen, often protected
by cataphract armor and chain mail, armed with long iron swords, bows and arrows, were terrifying neighboring peoples and states. The Romans, faced with Sarmatian threat, described
these nomads: “Fierce face, rough voice, neither hair no beard are trimmed, no one of
them goes without wearing a quiver, bow, and arrows bluish from venom”. Notably, the
Indo-European languages do not have their own word for the quiver, the cognates of the
word quiver are present in only a handful of modern Indo-European languages, while the Türkic
languages have a spectrum of synonyms, including for an arrow pouch in the tall boots; quivers
are frequently depicted on the kurgan grave stones spanning millenniums and across
Eurasian continent depicting nomadic deceased; the Türkic origin of the word quiver
is a recognized fact: “quiver is “case for holding arrows,” early 14c., from Anglo-Fr. quiveir,
O.Fr. quivre, probably from P.Gmc. *kukur “container” (cf. OHG kohhari, OFris. koker, OE
said to be from the language of the Huns”. Ditto for Greek hapax gorit,
likely borrowed from the Scyths; for foot hunter and soldier quiver is a weight to drag,
while for mounted hunter and soldier quiver is a convenience and necessity. The industry
of poison largely escaped attention of the researchers, although it sheds light on the
contrasts between nomadic and sedentary cultures: in sedentary societies rulers had to
either organize centralized production of weaponry, or wield peasant armies armed with
pitchforks; in nomadic societies army was a self-equipped militia, where each family
furnished a battle-ready soldier, and thus each family had to know the spectrum of
natural poisons, technique of their production, and ability to produce effective
concoction to protect their own husband and father.
One of the two 4th-3rd cc. BC silver dishes, claimed to have the Iranian
inscription “Atromitr's Bowl”.
Found in 1911 in Prokhorovka kurgan of Sharlyk district.
Orenburg Regional Museum
Sarmatians not only fought and had hostile relations with other people, but also had fairly
extensive trade with the outside world. The geography of these links is evidenced by the
the beautiful Middle Asian golden jewelry, imported vessels and seals, Phoenician glass,
alabaster vessel with Egyptian inscription, boxwood comb, iron armor of the Greek
manufacture, etc., found in the Sarmatian graves in the Orenburg steppes, in Pyatimar
(Russified “Five Kurgans”), Mechet-Sai (Mosque-Sai), Prokhorovka, Pokrovka,
Tara-Butak, Nejink, Orsk, Fillipovka, etc.
Among the crafts and jewelry made by Sarmatian and foreign masters predominate
objects executed in
so-called “animal style”, also inherent to the Scythians, Sakas, Massagets-Masguts,
other related Türkic peoples. The weapons, household objects, jewelry, horse harness depicted
wild animals: bars (leopard), panther, wolf, bear, deer, mountain goat, wild boar, eagle,
and also sheep, horse, etc. The images are stylized and full of dynamics and expression. A
common motif was struggle of wild beasts.
The aery explanation of amateur archeological theologians was that “Animal Style” was born
out of religious beliefs associated with worship of
animals. The same theologists suggested that the leading place in the religious beliefs of Sarmatians
was held by a “cult of fire” associated with the worship of sun as a chief deity. They were led to this conclusions by
observations of the remains of the funerary feast, a ritual described numerously and in
detail for Türkic kurgan burials. Over the grave of a deceased
kin were set up cookfires, and in case of cremation also was set up a funeral pyre, the
remains of the funeral pyre were buried in the burial pit, and the remains of the
funerary feast, i.e.,
leftover food, coals, burnt and calcined soil, dishes and utensils covered kurgan and its
surrounds, adding a new layer after every wake memorial. The little tables accompanying the
deceased into the other word were fancifully interpreted as altars, and tables found in
female burials were advertized as appurtenances of priestesses. Sarmatians were also
accused of abandoning their Sun-god and switching to a replacement worship of the sword,
symbolizing the god of war. The intent of these Russian-authorized city legends was to
distract from the continued modern practice of funerary feasts among the Türkic peoples
living under various dominating religions, and to create an fictitious link to
Zoroastrianism, re-interpreting Türkic rituals as amorphous Indo-European. These
conjectures are handedly, and mostly unwittingly, debunked by ethnological researchers.
With the growth of population, increase in the size of the herds, the Sarmatian pastures
were expanded. Over
time, they occupied a vast territory from the river Tobol (68°E) to the
river Dnieper (30°E) River and North
Caucasus (45°N). Pressed from the east by the Huns and other tribes, the Sarmats
called Alans (i.e. generic “Steppe People”) at the end of the 4th c. migrated to the west, reached the Roman Empire, Pyrenees,
and even North Africa. They gradually melted in the mass of other nations. According to
the Russian canonical doctrine that peaked in 1930-1970s, Sarmats disappeared from their
motherland, and are nowhere to be found. However, the falsity of that doctrine was fairly
clear even to its advocates, and like the idea of the Iranian linguality of the Sarmats
it was held together only by the watchful eye of the state stagging and neglect of the
Ptolemy. European Sarmatia
The one and only, published only preliminary genetical study of the Pokrovka-15
population found their genes spread far and wide in the modern populations (See Joachim Burger
Mamas of Pokrovka Sarmatians). The westward
tracks correlate well with the historical records, tracing the paths around Northern
Mediterranean to Africa, and western-northward trek into Scandinavia and eventually to Iceland (see Faux D.
Kurgan Culture in Scandinavia).
The southeastern trek is also known, down to Nepal and SW China. The remaining Central
Eurasian locations from Itil to Baikal may reflect the motherland and the spread of
Andronov and Timber Grave cultures tribes. So far, archeological and anthropological
conclusions are that Sarmats are autochthonous descendents of the cultures that started
with Khvalynsk and Sredni Stog, which originated Andronov and Timber Grave cultures.
Apparently, at around 150 AD started events that forced archeologists to divide
Sarmatians into Early Sarmats and Late Sarmats. Culturally, the Early Sarmats and Late
Sarmats represent a single branch of the Eurasian horse nomads that include all Türkic
kurgan people and some other culturally and linguistically acculturated peoples. Their
common funeral tradition testifies to their universal priestess monotheistic Tengriism religion,
probably syncretized with various local influences.
But anthropologically, between Early Sarmats and Late Sarmats lays a sea of
difference. While the Early Sarmats are expressed local Uraloids, the Late Sarmats
include males connected with Kazakhstan's Jetyasar culture, which is tentatively attributed to the Kangar tribes
(of the Bajanaks-Bosnyaks, Kangar Union, and Eastern Hunnic Kangar allies). The change is historically connected with the establishment of the Hunnic state centered around Aral
Sea after Huns moved the center of their state from the Balkhash area, before that from
the Dzungaria area, before that from the Otuken area, and before that from the Ordos area. On
their moves, the Huns involved masses of their subject affiliates, altogether called
Huns. For all practical purposes, the Late Sarmats are known in history as Western Huns
or European Huns. Before they started a reverse trek, the future Huns were moving from
Eastern Europe in the eastward direction, arriving as Andronovans in the vicinity of
Ordos, and bringing to the Far East knowledge of horses, metals and metalwork, and “turtle shell' pictograms that developed into Chinese hieroglyphs. The horsed Andronovans
were recorded as Juns (pyn. Rong), which is quite allophonic with Huns.
Hunnic Westward Anabasis
The anthropological description of the Early Sarmats, which are classical Sarmats or
Sarmats per se, known from the Classical literature, depicts expressed local Uraloids, classed as
Caucasoids with some Mongoloid admixture (Ref. Yablonsky L.T. et al.
Southern Urals population in Late Sarmat time). References to facial flatness allude
to Mongoloidness. Genetically, Uraloids are proto-Mongoloid admixture that reached European
Caucasoids tens of millenniums ago. In contrast, the Indo-Aryan or Irano-Aryan (aka
Iranic, Iranoid, Dinaric) race is defined as dolichocephalic, leptorrhine ( (long-headed,
with long narrow nose), tall, robust large-boned (though distinguished by slender gentle
bones), dark-haired, and fair-skinned with straight hair. It should be noted that the Uraloid Early
Sarmats westward as a predominantly male conglomerates, fleeing from the Jetyasar invaders and
leaving their women behind. In new places, they procreated with the local women, quickly changing
their phenotype with every generation, but retaining their hallmark cranial deformation custom. The
custom of cranial deformation was nearly universal at the Sarmatians, the cranial deformation is
emphatically denied by Iranian scholars as present among the Iranian peoples. Contrast is clear from the
following description of the Sarmats.
Male and female artificially deformed skulls
characterized by the following features:
Almost all skulls have more or less distinct
traces of intravital artificial cranial deformation, circular or orbital type, and
sometimes in addition occipital-parietal type, with singular exceptions.
They are meso-brachicranial with low crania,
relatively gracile, hypomorphic, low-faced.
These skulls have underdeveloped glabellar and brow relief.
Their orbits are of medium height, nose bridge area is somewhat flattened at nasion
level, and also in cross-section at symotic points, which as a rule leads to large values
of the nasomalar angle (with median values of the zigomaxillar angle).
Some skulls of
this group, along with general flattening of the facial skeleton in the horizontal
plane, have a slight alveolar prognathism.
The nose protrusion angle is most
|Types of cranial deformation
|Fig. 2. Occipital-parietal cranial modification
||Fig. 3. Tabular cranial modification
||Fig. 4. Circular cranial modification
|Phenotype - Uraloid
Morphological and descriptive traits
1. Cephalic index: mesocephalic.
2. Face Index: mesoprosopia, euriprosopia.
3. Height of head: low, medium.
4. Occipital: protruding.
5. Horizontal profile of face: weakened profiling of face, lowered nasal root.
6. Angle between nose protrusion and axis of profile: reduced.
7. Nasal bridge profile, nose tip position, position of
the axes: weakly concave, concave nose crest, raised nose tip, large angle between
8. Width of nose: broad nose.
9. Slope of optic fissure: moderately expressed Mongoloid slope.
10. Perioral area: procheilia, thin or medium-sized mucous of the lips.
11. Vertical profile of the face: mesognathia, prognathism.
12. Forehead slope: moderate.
13. Brow ridges: weakly expressed.
14. Jaw: medium breadth, angular, short in height.
15. Chin: straight or slightly receding.
16. Beard and mustache, tertiary hair: below-average beard development (Cheboksarov 3rd
degree), and decreased chest hair.
17. Eye color: black, dark brown, brown, light brown, yellow, yellow and green (No 1-6
on Bunak scale). Green = light brown + bluish-grey.
18. Epicanthus: medium, strong, swelled upper eyelid.
19. Hair color: from black to blond.
20. Skin phototype: Fitzpatrick type No 3, tannable.
21. Structure form of hair: straight.
22. Height: small, medium.
23. Body type: male by Bunak thoracic, thoracic-muscular.
Women by Galante asthenic, plastic-stenotic, i.e. slender
(Funny thing, you can earn your keep
by lying about etymology or linguistics, but we have yet to see somebody lying about Carabelli cusp.
Is that a real reason behind the dearth of stomatologists in this world?)
The morphology of the dental system allows to regard the Early Sarmats as belonging to
the western odontological stem:
They are characterized by complete absence of spatulate upper medial incisors, but with
the presence of spatulate lateral incisors, low reduction levels of the second upper
molar metacone and moderate frequency of Carabelli cusp, and low frequency six-cusp first
Early Sarmats have
significant gracilization of the mandibular molars: a large frequency of four-cusp first
molars, incidence of three-cusp second molars.
A reflection of the general gracilization of the tooth-jaw apparatus is manifested in the
reduction of alveolar process, which entails, among other things, increase in the
frequency of fused roots. In that respect, notable is
the low frequency of differentiated premolar and molar roots (three-root molars
were not observed).
A typical feature of the Early Sarmats is extremely high hypodontia of the wisdom tooth molars (M3),
which finds no parallels among the synchronous populations of the Early Iron Age:
The absence of
at least one third molar was recorded in 61.9% of the Early Sarmats.
More or less similar rates
were observed only in the Eastern Aral Sea area among the people of the Jetyasar Culture buried in the crypts,
tentatively attributed to the Kangars - Kangly tribe, 200 BC - 800 AD.
The Jetyasar people are the only group where hypodontia was recorded in 55.6% of the
The comparative data demonstrates how high the was hypodontia of the Early Sarmats: the
frequency of congenital absence of the M3 rarely exceeds 20% in the ancient populations and
The presence of the southern vector connection of the Early Sarmatians is indicated
by a very high
frequency of such traits as the distal crest and epicristid. The latter usually occurs
in populations in 1-2% of cases, but in the Early Sarmatian sample it is present in 7.7% of the
cases. The high frequency of epicristid can
simultaneously serve as a pointer to some archaic odontological complex,
which is supported by very high incident frequency of oblique ridge on the first upper molar.
In the Early Sarmatians, the frequency of the inter-root pocket of enamel on the second molars are rather high
compared with European populations, in Late Sarmatian time
it increases, reaching values typical for the members of
the Eastern/Asian odontological stem.
Osteological (Late Sarmats):
The Southern Urals Late Sarmatians at the population level can be characterized as
medium massive, with body length of males 168-169 cm and females 154-155 cm. Both parts of
the sample have inherent constitutional peculiarities, expressed in shortened lower
extremities relative to the arms length (primarily due to the short shank), a result of
the Late Sarmatians' Mongoloid admixture.
The upper diaphyses cross-section forms of the long bones in the studied group are
in good agreement with the Sarmatian population's nomadic type of economy, and testify to a
significant role of mounted riding in their life activities.
The peculiarities of elements in the long bones macrorelief of the Late Sarmatian also shows
the “equestrian complex” that allows to refine morphological status of the female
population, for whom the horse-riding probably played a much lower role.
Anthropological examination of the Sarmats excludes any chance that Sarmats have
anything to do with Indo-Iranians, Iranians, Ossetes, or any combination thereof.
Anthropological examination is consistent with the known historical records about Sarmats
and archeological discoveries, and totally inconsistent with the
Scytho-Iranian theory that is hanging on the chain Iranian-Ossetian-As-Alan-Sarmatian-Scythian that led to the
victorious equating Iranian = Scythian, and associated pertaining propaganda.
With all the vastness of the Sarmatian lands, the most assimilated and populated
Sarmatian area was South Urals, Caspian-Aral basin, and the Northern Kazakhstan steppes. Suffice it to say that
only on the
banks of the river Ilek in its middle and lower course were identified more than 150
kurgan cemeteries, of which 60 belong to the early, “Sauromat” time (6th-4th cc. BC), and 80
to the period of the so-called Early Sarmatian Prokhorov culture (4th-2nd cc. BC).
The excavated Late Sarmat kurgans number in hundreds. But not only the silent kurgans are the witnesses of the millenniums-long
Sarmatian history. The place names also bear testimony about them: names of the rivers, lakes,
mountains, and locations. For example, it is known that the names of the rivers in the Orenburg region,
the Sakmara, Samara,
Kasmarka, etc., bear names of the Sarmatian Türkic-speaking origin. The original culture of the
Sarmatians undoubtedly has influenced the
development of the cultures of other tribes and nations.
L.I. Futoryansky. “History of the Orenburg region”, Chelyabinsk, South Ural book Press, 1968.