The Scythian Culture and Language



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Map 8.The area of the wide-spreading of the Chornolis and Vysotska cultures connecting to Bulgarish and Kurdish toponyms.
The Bulgarish place names on the left bank of the Dnieper stretch mainly along the river Vorskla, Psel, Lower Sula, as well as sporadically on a large area from Kiev to Kharkov and Kursk. The band of the Chornolis sites along the river Vorskla is reflected by the place names quite well. Obviously, the Chornolis Bulgar came here to the territory populated by the Mordvins which settled this area earlier and later had to withdraw to the north-east under the pressure of these newcomers.

Recall us that the greatest number of the Bulgarish place names was found on the territory of Lviv Region and further east to the river Hnyla Lipa, but one of its clusters is located on the territory the Cherepin-Lağodiv group of sites, which is referred by A Krushelnytska as the Early-Scythian. This fact and the incidence of Bulgar toponymy already provide in general a basis to consider the identification of the Scythians just with the Bulgar, but we have other considerations in favor of this assumption. They will be set out below.

No doubt the ancient Bulgars and Kurds were dwelling in close adjacency on this territory and this was reflected by the numerous lexical matches between the Chuvash and the Kurdish language (see the section "Cimmerians"). As other ethnic groups were not present on the Right Bank Ukraine at that time, it must be assumed that the Proto-Kurds can be also the creators of the Chornolis culture along with the Bulgars. Obviously the Middle-Dnister variant of the Chornolis culture belongs to them, because tight group of Kurdish place names is focused just at this area.

Many archaeologists agree that the Chornolis culture was evolved based on the Biloğrudiv one which existed in 12th-11th cent BC. Supposedly it was created by a part of the Thracians, staying in the area near the city of Uman while moving to the Balkans. (See the section "The migration of the Indo-European Peoples at the End of the 2nd and at the Beginning of the 1st Mill BC"). The Biloğrudiv people left peacefully their settlements, having gone across the Dniester and farther, obviously induced by Cimmerian raids from the steppe and the pressure of the Kurds from the north-west. Their places were taken by the Bulgar, while the Kurds continued their movement along the Dniester river in the steppe, where they met their kinsmen. Larissa Krushelnytska gave a number of data about moving of the Vysotska culture carriers eastward and southeast along the Dniester River4. It should be noted that Biloğrudiv settlements were not fortified but newcomers to insure against the nomads began to build hillforts. Usually, the hillforts were placed on the capes of high river banks, formed by two converging ravines. The central fortification, built with logs and surrounded by a ditch, was not large (40 -100 m in diameter) and therefore could not accommodate all the housing of settlers. The field side of the settlement was protected by three lines of bulwarks, among which was located residential area, outbuildings, etc. However, these fortifications were not sufficiently reliable. Describing the settlements of Chornolis dwellers, A. Terenozhkin points:

Most Chornolis hillforts existed not long, the settlement of Tiasmyn was destroyed by fire. Many homes on the lower layer of the Subbotiv hillfort ceased to exist also by fire"5.

Obviously, quite a peaceful coexistence between the Bulgars and the Kurds at previous time was broken after the last contacted with other Iranians in the steppes of Right-Bank Ukraine. Retreating to the combined forces of the Cimmerians, the Chornolis people moved across the Dniester and partly crossed the Dnieper to the Vorskla river where their site are present too. It is believed by Ukrainian archaeologists, that settling the Vorskla basin by Chornolis tribes probably began still at early level the Chornolis culture in the late Bronze Age 6.

How V. Ilyinski and A.Terenozhkin found, the transition to the Scythian period on the Right-bank Ukraine occurred during the evolution of the Zhabotyn type culture approximately in the middle of the 7th cent BC. It is also very important that the relics of the Early-Scythian time are found namely in Right-bank Forest-steppe and reach to the Upper Dniester country. The steppes, where the Scythian Culture blossomed out later, revealed complete desolate state in the previous period:

“… in the 12th -10th cc BC compared with the previous period the steppes between the Don and the Danube reveals tenfold decrease in the number of settlements and burials. The same trend of decline population is manifested in the Pontic steppe also in the subsequent Cimmerian era, what is confirmed by the absence of settlements and stationary burial grounds in this area7.

Accordingly, there were in the steppes also no Early-Scythian sites while they abounded in the Western Ukraine. Many Early-Scythian antiquities of the 7th – 6th cent BC in the present-day Borshciv District in Ternopil Region (the villages of Bilche-Zolote, Sapoğiv, Ğlybochok) were discovered in the late 19th century. Finds were so much that Archaeological Society was founded for their study in Lviv 1876 8.

Due to the regular annual researches of the Lviv archaeologists under L.Krushelnitska’s management, numerous settlements and burial grounds of the Late-Bronze and the Early-Iron time were discovered on the Middle and Upper Dniester land and in the Fore-Carpathian. Among them there were such remains which evidently show the gradual transition from the Chornolis to the Scythian culture, e.g. the complex in the village of Neporotovo on the river Dniester in Chernovtsy Region:

“Four settlements (Neporotovo I, II, III, IV), numerous separate relics and the rests of a burial ground were excavated on the area 6000 sq. m. The findings and also the layers of the objects, which overlap each other, have enabled to allocate three chronological horizons: the upper –the Early-Scythian, the transitive – from the For-Scythian to the Scythian, and the lower which is synchronized with the Chornolis culture" 9.

The sites of the Early-Scythian time are revealed also in the Lviv Region - near to the village of Krushelnitsa in the Skole District and near the town of Dobromil on the river San10. However, the Scythian influences reached considerably further:



"The presence of the artifacts of Scythian type in the Central Europe (the authentic and made on Scythian samples) has allowed researchers to draw a conclusion that this territory was under influence of Scythian culture. The biggest concentration of finds of the Scythian type is observed in Transylvania and Hungary11.

It has been suggested that the Scythians appeared in eastern Hungary in the late 6th lcent BC and ruled there for about three centuries before the arrival of the Celts12. This view is also confirmed by the Hungarian place names, some of which has the Bulgar origin:

The village of (v.) Abasár in Heves County – Chuv upa “a bear”, shur “swamp”;

v. Arló in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County – Chuv urlav “a cross-piece”;

v. Buj in Szabolcz-Szatmár-Bereg County to the north of Nyíregyháza – Chuv puy “rich”;

v. Bük in Vas County – Chuv pükh “to swell”;

the city (c.) Veszprém – Chuv veç “finish”, pĕrĕm “a skein”; cf. Peremarton;

c. Dunakeszi in Pest County – the first part of the word is the Hungarian name of the Danube, the second part corresponds to the Сhuv kasă "street, village", a very common formative for Chuvash place names;

t. Zahony in Szabolcz-Szatmár-Bereg County – Chuv çăkhan’ “a raven”;

v. Inke in Somogy County – Chuv inke “daughter–in-law”;

v. Komjati in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County – Chuv khum “a wave”, yăt “to raise”;

v. Onga in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County to the east of Miskolc – Chuv unkă “a ring”;

v. Pakod in Zala County – Chuv dial. păl “to fall asleep”, ut “a horse”;

t. Pásztó in Nógrá County – Chuv pustav “cloth”;

the settlement of Peremarton to the east of Veszprém – pĕrĕm “a skein”, urtan “to hang down”; cf. Veszprém ;

v. Sály in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County to the south of Miskolc – Chuv sulă “a raft”;

v. Tarpa in Szabolcz-Szatmár-Bereg County – Chuv tărpa “a chimney”;

t. Tata in Komarom-Esztergom County – Chuv tută “satisfied”;

t. Tura in Pest County – Chuv tără 1. “a mountain”, 2. “clear”;

v. Ják in Vas County – Chuv yăk “misfortune”;

r. Kálló , the right tribute (rt) of the Berettyó, rt of the Sebes-Körös, rt of the Körös, the left tribute (lt) of the Tisza, lt of the Danube – Chuv khulla “slow”;

r. Kerka, lt of the Mura, lt of the Drava, rt of the Danube – Chuv kĕrke “a trout’;






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