Relief of Skilurus in Scythian Neapolis
|Reign||2nd century BC|
|Issue||Palacus, unnamed others|
Skilurus or Scylurus was the best known king of Scythia in the 2nd century BC. He was the son of a king and the father of a king, but the relation of his dynasty to the previous one is disputed. His realm included the lower reaches of the Borysthenes and Hypanis, as well as the northern part of Crimea, where his capital, Scythian Neapolis, was situated.
Skilurus ruled over the Tauri and controlled the ancient trade emporium of Pontic Olbia, where he minted coins. In order to gain advantage against Chersonesos, he allied himself with the Sarmatian tribe of Rhoxolani. In response, Chersonesos forged an alliance with Mithridates VI of Pontus. Skilurus died during a war against Mithridates, a decisive conflict for supremacy in the Pontic steppe. Soon after his death, the Scythians were defeated by Mithridates (ca. 108 BC). Either Skilurus or his son and successor Palacus were buried in a mausoleum at Scythian Neapolis; it was used from ca. 100 BC to ca. 100 AD.
Pseudo-Plutarch, in Sayings of Kings and Commanders, reports the following version of the Aesopic fable "The Old Man and his Sons": "Scilurus on his death-bed, being about to leave eighty sons surviving, offered a bundle of darts to each of them, and bade them break them. When all refused, drawing out one by one, he easily broke them; thus teaching them that, if they held together, they would continue strong, but if they fell out and were divided, they would become weak." cf. "Unity makes strength".
- Content of this page in part derives from the Great Soviet Encyclopedia article on the same subject.
- "Plutarch: Sayings of kings and commanders". www.attalus.org. Retrieved 19 January 2013.