ScythiansScythians - Who were the Scythians? Back during the great migrations of the 3rd and 2nd Millenniums, the Indo-Aryan peoples from the steppes of the Caucasus Mts and Caspian Sea regions moved south into the Iranian Plateau and Indus Valley, and west into Europe. However, some of them obviously did not migrate, but stayed in their original homeland. One of these groups of people who emerged were the Scythians. Herodotus introduces us to them in the fourth book of his Histories. In fact, Scythian is a Greek word and comes from the region which was known as "Scythia". The Persians called them Sakas. Book four of Herodotus details Darius' campaign into eastern Europe in his attempt to subdue the Scythians, who had been conducting raids into the northern Persian Empire. A nomadic people, they are described as being expert horsemen, bowman and pastoralists. To that end, they thoroughly frustrated Darius, whose army consisted mostly of foot soldiers. Rather than fight, they retreated further and further into their own territory, drawing the Persians further from their own lands with little to show for it. After less than a year, Darius abandoned the campaign and returned to Asia. They had no written language, so all we know of them comes from archaeology, and from civilized nations on their borders who wrote of them. But, some modern scholars think they may have occupied so much territory that they stretched east all the way to the border of China and raided their land as well. And these raids contributed to the chaos in the Zhou Dynasty known as the Spring and Autumn Period (See Sun-Tzu and/or the Sword of Gouijan below). Their land was also rich in gold and Scythians were famous for their jewelry. They conquered another group known as the Cimmerians and drove them south into Asia Minor where they re-settled. On a legendary scale, the mythological women known as the Amazons, who also lived in northern lands, are said to have chosen Scythian men as their mates and their offspring were the Sarmatians.