Maeotians

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Map of the Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117-138 AD), showing the location of the Maeotae on the eastern shore of the eponymous Palus Maeotis (Sea of Azov)
A Maeotan skeleton from the burial ground near Lenin Farm, Krasnodar region, Russia; 4th to 2nd century BC

The Maeotians (Ancient Greek: Μαιῶται, Maiōtai; Latin: Mæotæ[1]) were an ancient people dwelling along the Sea of Azov, which was known in antiquity as the "Maeotian marshes" or "Lake Maeotis".[2]

Identity[edit]

The etymology of the name and identity of the people remain unclear. Edward James[2] and William Smith[citation needed] were of the opinion that the term Maeotian was applied broadly to various peoples around the Sea of Azov, rather than the name of the sea deriving from a certain people. Their subdivisions included the Sindi, the Dandarii, the Toreatae, the Agri, the Arrechi, the Tarpetes, the Obidiaceni, the Sittaceni, the Dosci, and "many" others.[3] Of these, the Sindi are the best attested. Their language or even language family is uncertain. One princess of the Ixomates was called Tirgatao,[4] comparable to Tirgutawiya, a name on a tablet discovered in Hurrian Alalakh.[5]

Karl Eichwald[6] proclaimed them to have been a Hindu colony, but this view is rejected by the majority of scholars.[7][8][9][10] Soviet archaeologists, historians, and ethnographers concluded the Maeotians were one of the Circassian tribes.[12][14]

History[edit]

The earliest known reference is from the logographer Hellanicus of Mytilene.[15] According to Strabo, the Maeotians lived partly on fish and partly from agriculture but were as warlike as their nomadic neighbors. These wild hordes were sometimes tributary to the factor at the River Tanais (the present-day Don) and at other times to the Bosporani. In later times, especially under Pharnaces II, Asander, and Polemon I, the Bosporan Kingdom extended as far as the Tanais.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Other variant transcriptions include Mæotians, Maeotae, Maeotici, and Mæotici.
  2. ^ a b James, Edward Boucher. "Maeotae" and "Maeotis Palus" in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, 1st ed., Vol. II. Walton & Maberly (London), 1857. Accessed 26 Aug 2014.
  3. ^ Strabo. Geographica, xi. (Latin).
  4. ^ Polyaenus. Stratagems, 8.55.
  5. ^ AT 298 II.11.[clarification needed]
  6. ^ Eichwald, Karl. Alt Geogr. d. Kasp. M.[clarification needed] p. 356.
  7. ^ Bayer,[who?] Acta Petrop.[clarification needed] ix. p. 370.
  8. ^ St. Croix,[who?] Mem. de l'Ac. des Inscr.[clarification needed] xlvi. p. 403.
  9. ^ Larcher,[who?] ad Herod.[clarification needed] vii. p. 506.
  10. ^ Ukert, Friedrich August, Vol. iii.[clarification needed] pt. 2, p. 494.
  11. ^ The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. "Adyghe people".
  12. ^ "The Kuban tribes (Adyghe people) are usually referred to by the ancient writers under the collective name Maeotae"[11]
  13. ^ Piotrovsky, Boris. Maeotae, the Ancestors of the Adgyghe (Circassians). 1998.
  14. ^ "The study of language, toponymy and onomastics of the north-Western Caucasus gives the grounds referred ancient Maeotae population to the Adyghe- Kassogians ethnic array, which is also in line with archeological monuments Maeotae culture and its links with the subsequent cultures of medieval Adyghe (Circassians)."[13]
  15. ^ Hellanicus's actual reference is to a Maliōtai (Μαλιῶται), which Sturz[who?] emended to Maiōtai.