In the geography of Antiquity the Maeotian marshes (Latin Palus Maeotis) lay where the Don River emptied into the Maeotian Lake (the Sea of Azov) near Tanais. The marshes served as a check to the westward migration of nomad peoples from the steppe of Central Asia.
The area was named after the Maeotae who lived around the Maeotian Lake. The Ixomates were a tribe of the Maeotes. To the south of the Maeotes, east of the Crimea were the Sindes, their lands known as Scythia Sindica. The Iazyges, a Sarmatian tribe, were first heard of on the Maeotis, where they were among the allies of Mithridates II of Parthia.
The Historia Augusta, a fourth-century source that contains much that is apocryphal, mentions the Roman emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus who, during a brief reign (September 25, 275, to April 276), secured a victory over the Alans near the Palus Maeotis.
- Historia Augusta, Vita Taciti: His first care after being made emperor was to put to death all who had killed Aurelian, good and bad alike, although he had already been avenged. Then with wisdom and courage he crushed the barbarians — for they had broken forth in great numbers from the district of Lake Maeotis. The Maeotidae, in fact, were flocking together under the pretext of assembling by command of Aurelian for the Persian War, in order that, should necessity demand it, they might render aid to our troops.
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