The Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) visited Ukrainian territory, occupied by the Scythians, in the 5th century B.C. and provided written descriptions of the population, territory and socio-political structure.
The Scythians were Iranian nomads who drove out the Cimmerians and occupied the steppe and forest-steppe regions on the northern shore of the Black Sea. They had a structured state organization based on tribal alliances, each tribe having its own defined territory. Power was held by the Lord (or Royal) Scythians, armed warriors who occupied the area north of the Sea of Azov, living a nomadic life. The other main Scythian tribes shown on the map are: the Nomad Scythians living to the northwest; the Tyrites on the lower Dnister River; the Callipides along the lower Boh River; the Alazones along the middle Boh; the Agrarian Scythians on the right bank of the Dnipro River; the Neuri to the northwest; the Budini in the middle Don and Donets Rivers; the Melanchlaeni to the north. The Agrarian Scythians and the Neuri were quite likely the indigenous population of Ukraine, while the Melanchlaeni were remnants of Finnish tribes.
Control over the tribes was maintained by a strong army organization. The Scythian state grew and prospered from war booty and trade with the Greek colonies of the Bosporus State — an alliance of Greek cities along the Kerch Strait. Important Greek cities were: Panticapaeum in Crimea on the Kerch Peninsula, Phanagoria on the Taman Peninsula and Tanais in the Don Delta. These cities were situated along the major trade routes which made them both rich and powerful. Other Greek cities along the trade routes were: Chersonesus and Theodosia on the Crimean coast; Olvia at the mouth of the Boh River; Tyras at the mouth ofthe Dnister River; Istros, Kallatis, Odessus, Pitiunt and Dioscuriada on the Black Sea coast.
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