|State of the Scordisci|
|Independent tribal state|
Tribal State of the Scordisci (3rd century BC - 1st century BC)
|Capital||Singidunum (present-day Belgrade)|
|Political structure||Independent tribal state|
|-||Established||3rd century BC|
|-||Disestablished||1st century AD|
|Today part of||Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania|
The Scordisci (Greek: Σκορδίσκοι, Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian: Skordisci / Скордисци) were a Gallic Iron Age tribe centered in the territory of present-day Serbia, at the confluence of the Savus (Sava), Dravus (Drava) and Danube rivers. They were historically notable from the beginning of the third century BC until the turn of the common era. At their zenith, their influence stretched over regions comprising parts of the present-day Serbia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. Their tribal name may be connected to the name of the Scordus mountain (Šar mountain) which was located between the regions of Illyria and Paionia. In the last centuries of the old era the land of the Scordisci was constituted as the tribal state of the Scordisci. After Roman conquest in the 1st century AD, Scordisci territories were included into the Roman Provinces of Pannonia, Moesia and Dacia.
The ethnic affiliation of the Scordisci has been debated by historians. Some refer to them as Celtic, or Illyrian or a Celtic mix of the above. The Scordisci were found during different timelines in Illyria, Thrace and Dacia sometimes splitting into more than one group like the Scordisci Major and the Scordisci Minor.
Andras Mocsy clarifies their ethnic character, suggesting that they were not a Celtic tribe per se, but a "Celtic political creation". They were formed after 278 BC, as some of the survivors of the Celtic invasions of Greece settled the above-mentioned region imposing themselves as a thin, yet powerful, ruling class. Rather quickly, they were subsumed by the numerically superior natives, although the Celtic tribal name was retained, albeit the Illyricized version Scordistae was often used after the 2nd century BC. According to onomastic evidence, Scordiscan settlements to the east of the Morava river were Thracianized.
Extensive La Tène type finds, of local production, are noted in Pannonia as well as northern Moesia Superior, attesting to the concentration of Celtic settlements and cultural contacts. However, such finds south of the Sava river are scarce.
Despite the repulsion from Greece, Celtic power in the Balkans was certainly not at an end. After their formation c. 278 BC, little is heard of the Scordisci for some time. During Macedon's zenith, the attention of the Scordisci was focussed on Pannonia, consolidating their control of the region. They controlled the various Pannonian tribes in the region, extracting tribute and enjoying the status of the most powerful tribe in the central Balkans (see the tribes of Triballi, Autariatae, Dardanians and Moesians), and they erected fortresses in Singidunum and Taurunum (today's city of Belgrade). The Roman's first siege of Segestica[year needed], having been under the control of their Pannonian clients, curtailed Celtic control in Dalmatia and south-western Pannonia. [clarify]]] prompted the Scordisci to turn their attention southward[when?]. They subjugated a number of tribes in Moesia, including the Dardani, several west Thracian tribes and the Paeonians.
In parts of Moesia (northeast Central Serbia) the Celtic Scordisci and Thracians lived beside each other, which is evident in the archeological findings of pits and treasures, spanning from 3rd century BC to 1st century BC.
From 141 BC, the Scordisci were constantly involved in battles against Roman held Macedonia. In 135 BC they were defeated by Cosconius in Thrace. In 118 BC, according to a memorial stone discovered near Thessalonica, Sextus Pompeius, probably the grandfather of the triumvir, was slain fighting against them near Stobi. In 114 BC they surprised and destroyed the army of Gaius Porcius Cato in the western mountains of Serbia, but were defeated by Minucius Rufus in 107 BC. Yet, they did not give up claim over Pannonia, since they are mentioned as having battled in the second siege of Sisak in 119 BC.
They still, from time to time, gave trouble to the Roman governors of Macedonia, whose territory they invaded in combination with the Maedi and Dardani. They even advanced as far as Delphi and plundered the temple; but Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus finally overcame them in 88 BC and drove them across the Danube. After this, the power of the Scordisci declined rapidly. This decline was more a result of the political situation in barbaricum rather than the effects of Roman campaigns, as their client tribes, especially the Pannonians, became more powerful and politically independent. Between 56 and 50 BC, the Scordisci were defeated by Burebista's Dacians, and became subject to him.
They were crushed in 15 BC by Tiberius, and became Roman subjects, playing the part as mercenaries. Other sources say the Romans made alliance with the Scordisci in Sirmium and Danube valleys following the Alpine campaign under Tiberius in 15 BC, the alliance would be crucial for the victory over the Pannonians (15BC) and later Breuci (12BC).They started receiving Roman citizenship during Trajan's rule. With their Romanization, they ceased to exist as an independent ethno-political unit.
They had the custom of drinking blood. They sacrificed prisoners to Bellona and Mars.
- Prehistoric Serbia
- List of ancient tribes in Illyria
- List of ancient cities in Illyria
- List of ancient tribes in Thrace and Dacia
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