Cultures > Massagetae

Massagetae

Background

The Massagetae, or Massageteans,[1] were an ancient Eastern Iranian nomadic tribal confederation,[2][3][4][5] who inhabited the steppes of Central Asia, north-east of the Caspian Sea in modern Turkmenistan, western Uzbekistan, and southern Kazakhstan.

The Massagetae are known primarily from the writings of Herodotus who described the Massagetae as living on a sizeable portion of the great plain east of the Caspian Sea.[6] He several times refers to them as living "beyond the River Araxes", which flows through the Caucasus and into the west Caspian.[7] Scholars have offered various explanations for this anomaly. For example, Herodotus may have confused two or more rivers, as he had limited and frequently indirect knowledge of geography.[8]

According to Greek and Roman scholars, the Massagetae were neighboured by the Aspasioi (possibly the Aƛvaka) to the north, the Scythians and the Dahae to the west, and the Issedones (possibly the Wusun) to the east. Sogdia (Khorasan) lay to the south.

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Sources

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Secondary Sources

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