arslan76 发表于 2009-7-19 15:03

(国外资料、仅供参考)The Scythians: Nomadic Horsemen

The Scythians: Nomadic Horsemen
of the Eurasian Steppe

Hermann Parzinger赫尔曼-帕尔青格
President, Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Germany

Over the past 300 years, kurgans from the
Scythian age have been discovered between
the Yenisei River in the east and the middle
Danube in the west, drawing attention to the
monumental burial mounds 纪念性的坟丘墓葬and highly decorated
golden objects 大量属于欧亚游牧民的的黄金装饰品of the Eurasian nomadic
horsemen that built them during the 1st millennium
bce. 持续于西元前第一个千年Originating in southern Siberia in thelate 9th and early 8th centuries bce, 自西元前9世纪末到前8世纪初起源于南西伯利亚and extending
during the 7th century to Kazakhstan, 而且一直延伸至公元7世纪的哈萨克斯坦the southern
Urals, 南乌拉尔 、俄罗斯Russia and through the Ukrainian
steppe to the Carpathian Basin,一直穿越乌克兰大平原直到喀尔巴阡盆地   the Scythians
and related horse-dependent nomadic peoples
(the Sauromatae and Saka, etc.) were replaced
by other peoples (the Xiongnu, Wusun and
Sarmatians) around 200 bce before finally disappearing
from history.从斯基泰延续及后的萨福罗马提安以及塞克等马上游牧民,在大约西元前200年左右,都被其他的游牧民(匈奴、乌孙、萨尔玛提安)取代,在他们彻底从历史记录中消失之前
The Ancient Greeks wrote about the extraordinary
customs of the Scythians, and the historical
tradition stated by Herodotus places their
origins in Central Asia,希罗多德将他们的起源地定在中亚、南西伯利亚,以及中国的北部边界 southern Siberia and the
northern borders of China and in areas where
our knowledge of them depends on archaeological
Scythian life on the steppe depended on
mobility since pastures had to be periodically
relocated to support the herds that represented
wealth and prosperity, and therefore often
needed to be defended from other nomadic
groups. This led to the stratification and militarization
of nomadic society, which further
increased the importance of the warrior horsemen.
However, the many Scythian forts to the
north of the Black Sea indicate settlement,
craftsmanship and even agriculture. The town of
Gelonus (probably today’s Belsk), for example,
described as a large fortress by Herodotus, was
built completely out of wood and surrounded by
a 5km-long wall. While there is a need for further
research on Scythian settlements, much more is
known about these people’s burial customs.
These had a special meaning for the Scythians

arslan76 发表于 2009-7-19 15:05

particularly for members of the ruling class,
called basileis, or “kings”, by Herodotus. Several
of these large kurgans, or burial mounds, have
been excavated since the 19th century, and they
give an impression of the grandeur of the
Scythian ruling class.
The kurgan mounds of Certomlyk, Solokha,
Kozel, Kul’-Oba, Oguz, Tatjanina Mogila,
Ryzanovka and Tolstaja Mogila, among others,
have yielded bodies wearing grave-clothes decorated
with sheets of gold. These ornaments are
made of thin gold foil, and they often show
Scythian-style animal figures, as well as motifs
of Greek origin. The same applies to the gold
used to make the quivers, dagger-handles and
scabbards, the decorative plates of buckles,
sceptre-handles, and so on, all found in the
tombs. Torcs, pectoral decorations and bracelets
are also made of solid gold. All these objects have
symbolic meaning, since they signify the status of
the buried person. Plates made of precious
metals, bronze cauldrons, Greek chalices and

wine-amphoras complete the inventory of objects
found in such tombs.
While Herodotus describes the Scythians’
burial rituals in detail, he barely mentions the
wealth of gold in the graves. Instead, he provides
a great deal of other material that helps us to
understand the archaeological discoveries that
have been made in the Scythian zone to the north
of the Black Sea, as well as in those territories
located further to the east. Herodotus explains
that when a Scythian king died he was buried in a
large, square tomb. The body’s intestines were
removed before it was filled with scented herbs
and embalmed in wax. The preserved Scythian
mummies found in the kurgans of the permafrost
zone of the Altai Mountains prove Herodotus’s
account of Scythian burial customs. He adds that
the Scythian king’s wife, cupbearer, servants,
horsemen and messengers would follow their
master to the tomb, along with horses and sometimes

even cattle. All these were strangled or
killed. Archaeological excavations carried out in
many parts of the Eurasian steppe have borne out
Herodotus’s descriptions.
Monumental kurgans for the use of the ruling
class were also built by the eastern neighbours
of the Scythians, for example by the Matiani in
the Kuban area of the north-western Caucasus.
In Kostromskaja and Kelermes (7th c. bce), the
central grave pit of the kurgan was topped by a
construction in the form of a wooden hut.
The dead bodies of horses, still wearing their
bridles, were arranged in the grave. In the hills
of Uljap, the kurgans (4th c. bce) contain wooden
structures that house the graves, these containing
gold, silver and bronze plates and Greek
ceramics, but no traces of the dead body.
Perhaps these were “symbolic graves” (cenotaphs),
built for Scythian-Matiani chiefs who
had been killed fighting elsewhere.

arslan76 发表于 2009-7-19 15:18

There are also complexes of this kind in the
Sarmatian region 在伏尔加河谷低地萨尔玛提安族群中同样发现了与之同样复杂内涵的现象of the lower Volga Valley and in
the southern Urals. While these are mostly
empty, gold artifacts have been found in them
that exhibit remarkable artistry. The princely
grave of Filippovka (4th c. bce), close to the
mouth of the Ilek River in the Urals, might be
mentioned, for example. Here, a long dromos, or
narrow entrance passageway, leads into a tentlike
wooden construction that forms the grave
chamber, this containing gold weapons, gold and
silver plates and other prestige objects made of
precious metals. (Fig. 1)
Although substantial differences exist in the
details of the construction of the kurgans and in
the configuration of the grave chamber, they
repeat the same basic principles, connecting them
to the monumental burial mounds of the north
Pontic steppe. Beneath the monumental stone
barrow, built with enormous effort, the underground
grave construction is found, and this symbolizes
the status of the deceased through the
many prestige objects made of gold and other
precious metals found in it, as well as the numerous
valuable imported items it contains

However, our information about the peoples
of the Central Asian steppe然而,我们所获得的信息关于生活在中亚西伯利亚荒原地带的人们 and their customs is
not as reliable as that about the north Pontic
Scythians.他们的风俗习惯无法与黑海北岸的斯基泰产生必然联系 According to Herodotus, the Argippaei
people are to be found at the foot of high mountains
after crossing a vast area of steppe north of
the Caspian and Aral Seas. These people, he
writes, 根据希罗多德的描述,阿尔吉帕伊人are typically bald典型的秃顶 from birth and have
snub noses巨大的鼻子和突出的下巴 and long chins, which could be seen
as evidence of a predominantly Mongolian-type
population in the region.似乎是被看做较突出的蒙古人种类型 While their costume,然而,他们的装束
consisting of hooded-and-belted sleeved shirts,
long trousers and boots, was like that of the
Scythians,是属于斯基泰式的 the latter were not able to communicate
with the Argippaei without an interpreter,后者无法与阿尔吉帕伊的描述取得合理一致的解释
leading to the conclusion that they belonged to a
different language group. 所能得出的结论就是,他们属于一个完全不同的语族(Fig. 2 and 3)

arslan76 发表于 2009-7-19 15:19

Herodotus also says (Book IV, 27) that griffins
guarding gold are to be found further east. If by
this he actually means a human tribe, then the
term “griffin” could be understood as being a
tribal symbol,种族的标致 because the griffin plays a prominent
role in Scythian-Siberian animal style. It is
surely no coincidence that Herodotus indicates
the presence of griffins guarding gold in an area
that seems to correspond to the Upper Ob and
the Altai Mountains. This region is rich in gold

deposits, and mineral wealth of this sort might
have led to Greek, Persian and Scythian interest
in the region.
However, the history of this region during
the 1st millennium bce is unknown, due to a lack
of written evidence. As a result, archaeological
discoveries have an important role to play in
reconstructing the history of the ancient nomadic
horsemen of southern Siberia. Many of the
characteristics of the Scythian culture of the
northern Black Sea area can also be found here,
including the horse-based nomadic economy and
lifestyle, the use of animal style in artifacts and
the construction of monumental kurgans, which
express the social structure of a society with a
warrior elite.
As is the case in the north Pontic region北桥族群, the
Siberian-Kazakh kurgans have in many cases
been looted. East of the Ural Mountains, only
one golden hoard has been found, namely that
discovered during the excavation of an undisturbed
grave in the Issyk kurgan in south-east
Kazakhstan (5th c. bce). Here, the head-dress,
clothes and weaponry of the so-called “Golden
Man of Issyk” have been found, decorated with
innumerable sheets of gold, together with
silver plates and other items. This region was in
the south of the original steppe belt and in the
settlement area of the Central Asian Saka people,
who ruled large parts of Central Asia from the
Aral Sea in the west to the foot of the Tien Shan
in the east and whose contacts reached into
neighbouring parts of north-west China and the
Persian Achaemenid Empire.
在南西伯利亚出土的皇家贵族墓穴非常相似于巴泽雷克文化的库尔干The excavated princely graves in southern
Siberia are similar to the Pazyryk Culture kurgans
in the Altai Mountains (Pazyryk, Tuekta and
Bashadar). Seepage and condensed water collects
in the tombs beneath the massive burial mound,
this then freezing to form ice that not only freezes
the embalmed body in the tomb, but also all the
other organic materials, such as clothing, shoes,
carpets, ceremonial wagons, wooden carvings

horses and their saddle blankets, head-dresses
and decorative straps, etc. As a result, it has been
possible to ascertain that the preserved bodies
were tattooed with animal motifs. These bodies
had also undergone a special embalming procedure
in which the intestines, brain, muscles and
other soft tissues were removed, the body stuffed
with organic material and then sewn up with
Many more of these so-called frozen kurgans
have been found on the Ukok Plateau (Ak-Alakha,
Verkh-Kaldzhin and Ulandryk), as well as in the
Kazakh (Berel’) and Mongolian parts of the Altai
Mountains (Olon-Kurin-Gol). These demonstrate
the lively mental world and complexity of the
early nomadic horsemen, owing to their extraordinary
state of preservation.

arslan76 发表于 2009-7-19 15:19

Other monumental Scythian burial mounds
in southern Siberia show that these originally
contained golden hoards in the same way as did
north Pontic catacomb graves. 同“北黑海”地下墓穴Tuva, a region in
the heart of Asia between the western Sayan and
the Tannu Mountains, has a special significance
here, since along the banks of the Uyuk, a tributary
of the Yenisei River, the princely necropolis
of Arzhan is located. This huge cemetery, containing
hundreds of kurgans, offers a rare concentration
of monumental burial mounds. The
Arzhan-1 kurgan was excavated by M. P. Grjaznov
in the 1970s, laying bare a complex wooden construction
that features a unique wheel-like burial
chamber covered by a flat stone platform (Fig. 4).
A doubled beam chamber in the centre contained

the looted burial goods that originally belonged
to a princely couple. The many small gold objects
left behind by the grave-robbers show the wealth
that existed at the time, these graves containing
weapons, ornaments, jewels and horse harnesses
dating back to the late 9th and 8th century bce.
The Arzhan necropolis in Tuva has thus far
provided the oldest discoveries of Scythian-type
remains. However, a few other materials found
nearby (in the Minusinsk Basin and the Altai
region) can be considered along with these discoveries,
these additional items providing the
context and real significance of the discoveries
made at Arzhan, since researchers now agree that
the origins of the nomadic horsemen and their

related Scythian-type culture, in which animal
style plays a central role, should be looked for in
these areas of Siberia. (Fig. 5 and 6)
The Arzhan-2 kurgan, a princely grave dating
from the very late 7th century bce and excavated
at the beginning of the present century, contains
over 5,600 golden objects and is the first undisturbed
hoard of its kind found in Siberia. It is a
little later in date than the Arzhan-1 kurgan,
belonging to a later period of the early Scythian
age (7th-6th c. bce). Numerous masterpieces in the
shape of artifacts employing animal style were
found in it, together with other items of a quality
that had previously not been found in southern
Siberia. As a result, the discovery of this kurgan

arslan76 发表于 2009-7-19 15:22

changed ideas about the death rituals employed
by the elite of the Scythian nomadic horsemen in
the region. It is not only great wealth and
grandeur that distinguish this double grave of a
man and his wife, but also the way in which the
couple’s burial seems to have been staged,
employing rituals that were strictly performed
for members of the elite. (Fig. 7-8-9-10)
We are now sure that the Arzhan-2 kurgan is
not just an isolated example, but that on the

contrary it represents just the tip of an iceberg.
The discovery tells us that we should expect the
discovery of further princely burials beyond the
Urals that contain hoards of gold, this realization
only coming after some 300 years of archaeological
activity in Siberia. However, this, after all, is
one of the most significant and most fascinating
characteristics of archaeology as a scientific
pursuit: the fact that archaeology is still yielding
substantial, and at the same time unexpected,
discoveries that not only add to or help to clarify
views of bygone periods of human history, but
also help to change them profoundly and over
the long term.
It was also lucky that the princely grave of the
Arzhan-2 kurgan came to light at the beginning of
the 21st century, since modern archaeology is
better equipped than it was decades or centuries
ago. Such new archaeological techniques and
facilities need to be employed in order to allow us
further insights into the lives of the Scythian
nomadic horsemen, whose remains are found in
the permafrost of the Altai Mountains and in the
unique frozen kurgans of Eurasia


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