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Distribution of Thraco-Cimmerian finds according to Soviet archaeology.[1]
Cimmerian redirects here. It is not to be confused with Cimmeria.
The Cimmerians (also Kimmerians, Greek ??????? Kimmerioi) are an ancient people,
who appeared about 1000 BC [2] and mentioned later in 8th century BC in Assyrian

Likely originating in the Pontic steppe and invading by means of the Caucasus, they
probably assaulted Urartu, a state in north eastern Anatolia subject to the Neo-
Assyrian Empire, in c. 714 BC. They were defeated by Assyrian forces under Sargon
II in 705 and turned towards Anatolia, conquering Phrygia in 6965. They reached the
height of their power in 652 after taking Sardis, the capital of Lydia; however an
invasion of Assyrian controlled Anshan (Persia) was thwarted by the Assyrians. Soon
after 619, Alyattes of Lydia defeated them. There are no further mentions of them
in historical sources, but it is likely that they settled in Cappadocia.[3]

Contents [hide]
1 Origins
2 Archaeology
3 Assyrian records
4 Greek tradition
5 Legacy
6 Language
7 Timeline
8 See also
9 References
10 Sources
11 External links
The origin of the Cimmerians is unclear. They are mostly supposed to have been
related to either Iranian or Thracian speaking groups which migrated under pressure
of the Scythian expansion of the 9th to 8th century BC.[4][5][6]

According to Herodotus, the Cimmerians inhabited the region north of the Caucasus
and the Black Sea during the 8th and 7th centuries BC (i.e. what is now Ukraine and
Southern Russia), although it isn't possible to identify the Cimmerians as the
bearers of any specific archaeological culture in the region.[7][8]

Main article Thraco-Cimmerian
The supposed origin of the Cimmerians north of the Caucasus at the end of the
Bronze Age loosely corresponds with the early Koban culture (Northern Caucasus,
12th to 4th centuries BC), but there is no compelling reason to associate this
culture with the Cimmerians specifically.[8]

There is a tradition in archaeology of applying Cimmerian to the archaeological

record associated with the earliest transmission of Iron Age culture along the
Danube to Central and Western Europe, associated with the Cernogorovka (9th to 8th
centuries) and Novocerkassk (8th to 7th centuries) between the Danube and the
Volga. This association is controversial, or at best conventional, and is not to be
taken as a literal claim that specific artifacts are to be associated with the
Cimmerians of the Greek or Assyrian record.
The use of the name Cimmerian in this context is due to Paul Reinecke, who in 1925
postulated a North-Thracian-Cimmerian cultural sphere (nordthrakisch-kimmerischer
Kulturkreis) overlapping with the younger Hallstatt culture of the Eastern Alps.
The term Thraco-Cimmerian (thrako-kimmerisch) was first introduced by I. Nestor in
the 1930s. Nestor intended to suggest that there was a historical migration of
Cimmerians into Eastern Europe from the area of the former Srubna culture, perhaps
triggered by the Scythian expansion, at the beginning of the European Iron Age. In
the 1980s and 1990s, more systematic studies[by whom] of the artifacts revealed a
more gradual development over the period covering the 9th to 7th centuries, so that
the term Thraco-Cimmerian is now rather used by convention and does not necessarily
imply a direct connection with either the Thracians or the Cimmerians.[9]

Assyrian records[edit]

Cimmerian invasions of Colchis, Urartu and Assyria 715713 BC

Sir Henry Layard's discoveries in the royal archives at Nineveh and Calah included
Assyrian primary records of the Cimmerian invasion.[10] These records appear to
place the Cimmerian homeland, Gamir, south rather than north of the Black Sea.[11]

The first record of the Cimmerians appears in Assyrian annals in the year 714 BC.
These describe how a people termed the Gimirri helped the forces of Sargon II to
defeat the kingdom of Urartu. Their original homeland, called Gamir or Uishdish,
seems to have been located within the buffer state of Mannae. The later geographer
Ptolemy placed the Cimmerian city of Gomara in this region. The Assyrians recorded
the migrations of the Cimmerians, as the former people's king Sargon II was killed
in battle against them while driving them from Persia in 705 BC.

The Cimmerians were subsequently recorded as having conquered Phrygia in 696695

BC, prompting the Phrygian king Midas to take poison rather than face capture. In
679 BC, during the reign of Esarhaddon of Assyria (r. 681669 BC), they attacked
the Assyrian colonies Cilicia and Tabal under their new ruler Teushpa. Esarhaddon
defeated them near Hubushna (Hupisna), and they also met defeat at the hands of his
successor Ashurbanipal.

Greek tradition[edit]
A people named Kimmerioi is described in Homer's Odyssey 11.14 (c. late 8th century
BC), as living beyond the Oceanus, in a land of fog and darkness, at the edge of
the world and the entrance of Hades.[14]

According to Herodotus (c. 440 BC), the Cimmerians had been expelled from their
homeland between the Tyras (Dniester) and Tanais (Don) rivers by the Scythians.
Unreconciled to Scythian advances, to ensure burial in their ancestral homeland,
the men of the Cimmerian royal family divided into groups and fought each other to
the death. The Cimmerian commoners buried the bodies along the river Tyras and fled
across the Caucasus and into Anatolia.[15] Herodotus also names a number of
Cimmerian kings, including Tugdamme (Lygdamis in Greek; mid-7th century BC), and
Sandakhshatra (late-7th century).

In 654 BC or 652 BC the exact date is unclear the Cimmerians attacked the
kingdom of Lydia, killing the Lydian king Gyges and causing great destruction to
the Lydian capital of Sardis. They returned ten years later during the reign of
Gyges' son Ardys II; this time they captured the city, with the exception of the
citadel. The fall of Sardis was a major shock to the powers of the region; the
Greek poets Callinus and Archilochus recorded the fear that it inspired in the
Greek colonies of Ionia, some of which were attacked by Cimmerian and Treres
raiders.[citation needed]

The Cimmerian occupation of Lydia was brief, however, possibly due to an outbreak
of plague. They were beaten back by Alyattes II of Lydia.[16] This defeat marked
the effective end of Cimmerian power.

The term Gimirri was used about a century later in the Behistun inscription (c. 515
BC) as an Assyro-Babylonian equivalent of Persian Saka (Scythians). Otherwise,
Cimmerians disappeared from the historical record.