27 Ocak 2016 Çarşamba

Ethnic affiliation of the Scytho-Sarmatians

Sarmatian art is similar as Scythian art.


Turkological literature, and not only the Turkological literature, contains a mass of comparisons and parallels between the Scythians and the Türkic peoples. They are based on specific observations covering particular aspects from the perspective of the relevant discipline. No work has yet assembled an inventory of such parallels in comparison with the Scythian-Ossetian-Iranian theory. More or less consistent lists of arguments are contained in Turkological literature on ethnonymy and ethnology, but being limited to these disciplines, they leave numerous aspects related to other disciplines outside of their field of vision. This overview attempts to fill the gap by incorporating observations from extended range of disciplines. The list is obviously not complete, not only because the increased attention to details makes the potential volume of the list almost unlimited, but because there is no limit to individual disciplines pertained to the subject. 

The review has no chance of being all-encompassing, the subject is just too large and complex. Every piece of evidence can be used as a starting salvo of an argument. Every literary reference has its own depth and place, and the body of evidentiary material continues to grow exponentially. Accordingly, the task of the listing is not to cover all aspects, but to include the most expressive features from various disciplines that reflect most fundamental or distinct features. A compilation of randomly selected representative series numbering a dozen arguments would be sufficient for an unbiased mind to instill confidence in the whole concept.

The assertions are somewhat grouped together by respective disciplines, although they all are invariably interlaced and conflated. Not all raised aspects are well established, some, like lactose tolerance, are fairly new and in their infancy. The forms Scyth and Scythian, Sarmat and Sarmatian are synonymous. The checklist format allows to draw predictable pro and con results, epitomized in the timeless joke about a donkey, its owner, and a neighbor. 

When a scholar met a Scythian at a bazaar, he greeted him “I've heard that Scythians are Iranians”. The friend replies, “Menim dil Türkche” (I talk Türkic)(actually it is "mine language is Turkish"-SB), to which the scholar responds, “You see, my trusted colleague is right, you do speak Iranian!”.

References are cited only in respect to specific details in presentation of generic arguments, with background readily available on the Internet. In most cases, the volume of publications for each point is quite substantial, on-line, in print, and in periodicals. For the purposes of argument, the documented evidence is attested evidence, not ascribed evidence. To be attested, either a modern trait must be traceable into the past by historical or ethnological testimony of contemporaries, or appropriate testing must demonstrate that a past trait is distinctly connected with a party in the contention. Speculative assumptions and inferences are not considered to be attested. The historical period is the literate period, with written evidence, everything else is pre-historical. Archeological, anthropological, and other pre-historic evidence is by nature mute, following the golden rule that “pots don't talk”. An artifact found today can't be ascribed to today's population unless there is direct link between the population and the people that left that artifact. A lack of conclusive evidence, whether direct or circumstantial, is tantamount to positive evidence for the absence of the phenomenon.


It is widely recognized that the terms “Scythian” and “Sarmatian” are multi-dimensional. Herodotus described Scythian kingdom as an empire that for a generation included Medes, and in more static description included Greeks, half-Greeks, and Sarmatians who on Herodotus' scale were ethnologically indistinguishable from the Scythians, some land tillers, some forest people, nomadic Acathyrsi Scythians, and so on. Some vague folks were just called Budini, in Türkic a term for a human mass, perhaps Finnic tribes [“Old Türkic Dictionary”, Ed. Nadelyaev V.M. et al., 1969: budun/bodun/boδun/boiun“ population, subjects, people”]. Like any other empire in the world and at all times, the Scythian empire had a ruling ethnos (now politely termed “titular”) and subject ethnoses, and thus the “imperial” Scythians were likely multi-lingual and multi-cultural. That does not make the Scythians themselves (“proper”, or “per se”) linguistically, culturally, and traditionally amorphous. Under the Scythians, the subject tribes continued their own way of life, their economy, and their own traditions.

When the western Scythians were pushed to retreat, their empire shrank to a kingdom and to smaller principalities, they were reduced to the Scythians proper, distinct and homogeneous in their language and culture. During a millennium, the European Scythians absorbed linguistic and cultural influences of their neighbors, the Scythians neighboring Greece became somewhat Hellenized, those neighboring Illirians- Illirianized, and so on till we pass China. Some were totally assimilated, lost their ethnic identity, culture, and original language, while others prevailed in the melting pot and became Tabgaches (Tuoba in Pinyin), Empire Wei, and a dozen of other Chinese “dynasties”, while the third and the largest group carried the nucleus of their culture and language into the modern times.

In the second half of the 20th century, the Scytho-Ossetian-Iranian theory gained popularity, taking place of an axiom in the Western science. The substance of the theory is that the Scythians, and by extension the Sarmatians, were Iranian-speaking. In the context of the theory, the term Iranian is treated generically, in a conventional sense, without clear definition of what is Iranian and what is not. Only in the past decade the notion of the Indo-Aryan migration was correlated with the dating provided by genetics, formed a definite scope and scenery, and turned from a vague notion into established fact [A. Klyosov, 2009, DNA Genealogy, Mutation Rates, And Some Historical Evidence Written in Y-Chromosome, Part II: Walking the map//Journal of Genetic Genealogy, vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 217-256]. In the last 20 years (1990-2010), the Scytho-Ossetian-Iranian theory has been retreating, first allowing a presence of non-Iranic elements among the Scythians (treating Scythians in the “imperial” mode), then stipulating multi-cultural and multi-linguistic people (still treating Scythians in “imperial” mode), thus preserving the Iranic prevalence, and finally retreating to a position of non-Iranic Scythians ruled by a great Iranic dynasty (treating Scythians in “proper” mode). This series of metamorphoses yields only to the pressure of facts, not to the contending theories and not to the contending opponents, and the retreating process went bit by bit, yielding only as much of the conceptual territory as the facts forced it to yield, and without overt recognition that the yielding was to the particular ethnicity against which the whole Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory was concocted. For the purposes of this compilation, the Scythians are solely the “Scythians proper”, without any mixing or non-Scythian nationals to confuse the subject.

In the world prior to the 1700’s, the Scythians were known in Europe only from the works of the ancient writers, principally Herodotus and Classical historians. At that time, the accepted vague wisdom was that the Herodotus’ Scythians were precursors of the Türks, with the Türks branching into Slavic, Mongol, Finnish, Baltic, Ugrian, and other unspecified variations. There was a 2-millennium-long string of historical references linking Herodotus’ Scythians, Assyrian Ashguzai, and the Hebrew Ashkenazi with the Türks, that was not a scientific concept, but a common knowledge. This knowledge was not based on archeological discoveries and artifacts, anthropological measurements, or biomarkers of modern science. It was fed by the utilitarian needs of the rulers, trade, war, and at times religion. There was a need to communicate with Cimmerians, Scythians, Sarmatians, and Türks. Statesmen had their emissaries, translators, interpreters, and scribes, their storage of records, and schools to prepare diplomatic corps. On the proficiency and perpetuity of the diplomatic system depended fates of the rulers and countries; and the palace chroniclers and poets had to record for posterity the affairs with the foreigners.

On encountering a new counterpart, rulers had to search in their cellars for the right tools, and meet the new challenge by utilizing whatever expertise was on hand. Thus, it came down to us through the ages that Cimmerians and Scythians were somehow related, that Scythians and Sarmats were somehow related, that on the western front, Scythians and Sarmats were somehow related with Huns and Avars, then with Bulgars and Bechens, then with Kipchaks and Oguzes, and finally with Tatars. On the southern front we have Ashguzai and Saka, then Saka and Hunas or Chionites, then Hunas, Masguts, and Savirs. On the eastern front we have generic or chopped down to a tribal level Kangars, Huns, Usuns, Tokhars, and Türks.

By the 10th c. AD, the Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians were long gone, but the diplomatic tradition, reflected in chronicles and histories, kept recollecting the old knowledge, applying the old term to the flow of new players coming to the thresholds of the states. Every new intruder rising to power, if it did not absorb the existing state apparatus, started history from the moment of it rise; so the Medes started with Saka, ignorant of the Ashguzai; but their literate Greek neighbors have Medes ruled over for 27 years by the Scythians/Ashguzai, while the Medes call the same Scythians Saka. In the east, the Hans started with Huns, holding them to be Juns (戎), who previously were also called Zhou (周). Or Zhou belonged to the Juns (Romanized as Rong in Pinyin). Once the new power coheres and bureaucratizes, the continuity restarts anew, the Huns are connected with Se (Saka 塞), the Se with the Türks, and from there it is a breeze.

In the flow of the diplomatic events, when rulers encountered newcomers, the traders were a pool of knowledge. The traders had to bargain, place orders, and specify quality and quantity of goods; they had to deal with every tribe and principality along the way; they had to know who is who and how to deal with everyone; they were a pool of linguistic and customs knowledge, always ready to be called upon in time of need, to advise on how to communicate with the strangers, or fill in as foreign service staff when nothing better was available. Historians used the eyewitness accounts of traders and travelers, and that's how it came to us from the lips of the historians.

Then there was mercenary nomadic cavalry serving in every army of the Eurasia. The courts had to deal with them, sometimes on a very intimate scale, because a number of various rulers used nomadic mercenaries as their Praetorian Guard. The times were changing, the rulers changed, nomadic tribes changed, but the communication between the rulers and mercenaries remained continuous and permanent. The courts had an intimate knowledge of the nomadic languages, and when the ancient writers tell us who is like whom, it should not be taken lightly, or dismissed offhand because the ancients were confused and had no clue. They were not confused, and they did have clue. Their knowledge came to us that Scythians were precursors of the Türks, and that was how we entered the Modern Age.

Before the Northern Pontic area fell into the lap of the Russian Empire, there was no known nomadic archeology to contend with. And only when the spectacular kurgans and their contents became known in the West, the question of their attribution came to the attention of the Western scientists. Archeological excavations in the 19th c. have shown that Herodotus and other historians faithfully recorded specks of the Eurasian peoples' history. Archeological excavations created a tremendous opportunity to analyze and absorb the newly found predecessors into the “we-world” of the then reformulating Western Europe.

Early in the 19th c., Heinrich Julius von Klaproth (1783-1835) was commissioned for ethnographic expedition to the recently seized portions of the N. Caucasus, in 1812-14 he published “Reisein den Kaukasusund nach Georgien unternommenin den Jahren 1807 und 1808” (I-II, Halle and Berlin, 1812-14) with an appendix, entitled “Kaukasische Sprachen”, where for the first time von Klaproth formulated a hypothesis of Scytho-Sarmatian origin of the Ossetic language. At that time, the Georgian term Ovs covered numerous tribes north of Georgia, including the Türkic Balkars and Karachais, called Ases by the Irons and Digors. In his 1822 work, von Klaproth completed the sequence Scytho-Sarmatians > Alans > Ossetes (“Memoire dans lequel on prouve 1'identite des Ossetes, peuplade du Caucase, avec les Alains du moyen-age” (“Nouvellesannalesdes voyages No 16”, 1822, pp. 243-56). The term Alan, widely known from historical literature, in Türkic means “Low-Landers”, “Plain People”, so there is little that can be connected with ethnicity unless the tribal affiliation can be established. The term gained ethnical connotations with the establishment of polities, centralized political alliances, and has as much ethnical meaning as the generic Scythians, nomads, or Wendeln - “Wanderers” - Vandals. The Alans that held the Daryal Pass, for example, were As-Tochar compact, hence the Georgian Ovses (Ases), Taulases (Mountain Ases), Digors (Tochars) and the like. For von Klaproth, Alans were a distinct ethnic group somehow affiliated with Ases, hence Alans > Ases > Ovs > Ossetes. As will be shown below, in the von Klaproth’s time, Ossete was a form used by the Russian expeditionary force for the Georgian Ovs.

The von Klaproth’s hypothesis suggested to identify Ossetes with the nomadic horse husbandry Scythians, it started as a global hypothesis that covered all aspects of the entire ethnicity and its entire history. The hypothesis remained notional for most of its existence, till the multidisciplinary evidence led to its shrinkage, eventually reducing it to a purely linguistic hypothesis.

K. Zeiss furthered that hypothesis with a publication in 1837; based on the religion and territory of the Persians, and common Scythian and Persian words; he suggested to identify Scythians with the Persian-lingual tribes. The sequence was completed by the prolific writer count Vs. Miller and philologist V.I. Abaev (Abaev V.I., 1949, “Ossetian language and folklore”, Moscow-Leningrad). The Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory was officially inaugurated and canonized in the USSR, with a corollary that the Türkic people in Europe were a mass of invaders asking for ethnical cleansing. At the end of the WWII war, in preparation for a campaign against Persia and Turkey, all Muslim “invader” peoples were deported from the Caucasus and Crimea, taken from their idyllic valley homes to the cattle cars, and dumped in the Kazakhstan semi-desert.

V.I. Abaev's work was introduced in the western linguistic publications, and his conclusions were widely accepted by the Western linguistics, although his work has never been translated into the western languages. The greatest pearls of the V.I. Abaev's book did not gain linguistic appreciation: that Ossetic lexicon is 80% non-IE, that only about 10% of the Ossetic lexicon belongs to the Iranian family, and that the key language features of phonology, typology, agglutination, morphology, semantics, and syntax in the Ossetian languages are not compatible with IE and Iranian language families. I spite of all declared linguistic properties, V.I. Abaev declared Ossetian languages to be Indo-European and Iranian, and by a feat of the chain link connection, the language of the Scythians.

The following citations summarize the V.I. Abaev's work. Since 1949, numerous philological works were dedicated to the Ossetian languages, but none of them refuted statements formulated by V.I. Abaev in the 1949 publication.

“Hence we have about 20 % of elucidated Indo-European words (i.e. 800 words, 10% Iranian IE and 10% non-Iranian IE - NK). ... from the major languages of the Near East Asia: Arabian, Persian, Türkic and Georgian... the number of these words also reaches 800 (20 % - NK). Accepting for the remaining somehow “elucidated” words the maximal figure of 400 (another 10 % - NK), we still have about 2000 words remaining, i.e. 50% of the dictionary not touched by the linguistic analysis (i.e. the Caucasian languages, specifically the local language of the deported and not mentionable Nakhs-”Chechens” - NK)[Abaev V.I., 1949, “Ossetian language and folklore” p. 103]

“For the Indo-European languages these (Ossetian- NK) phonemes are alien”; p.96; “from the different angles, we witness that the correct presentation of the Ossetian phonetics cannot be made while ignoring the Caucasian-Japhetic (i.e. non-IE - NK) phonetic facts” [Abaev V.I., 1949,”Ossetian language and folklore” p. 25]. “Again and again, from different angles, we witness that the correct presentation of the Ossetian phonetics cannot be made while ignoring the Caucasian-Japhetic phonetic facts, and the attempt to reduce it all to the “Indo-European” can cause only that a number of the most interesting phenomena would end up outside of the sphere of the scientific research.” [Abaev V.I., 1949,”Ossetian language and folklore” p. 96]

“we have well developed agglutinating declination, and each Ossetian case finds more or less exact typological equivalent in the declination of some of the Caucasian languages (i.e. non-IE - NK) with the same semantical meaning and the same syntax function” [Abaev V.I., 1949,”Ossetian language and folklore” p. 99]

“We find a similar (to Ossetic - NK) picture both in neighboring Japhetic languages (i.e. non-IE - NK), and in the languages of the Finnish and Türkic groups” (i.e. non-IE - NK) [Abaev V.I., 1949,”Ossetian language and folklore” p. 108]

“the scope and the importance of this non-Iranian both in the language and in folklore the Ossetes cannot be hidden from any researcher with the most superficial acquaintance” [Abaev V.I., 1949,”Ossetian language and folklore” p. 95]

“the number of facts in the Ossetian language…, because of the impossibility to connect them with the facts of the Iranian, Aryan, or Indo-European, were until now left out from the circle of attention of the traditional linguistic school” [Abaev V.I., 1949,”Ossetian language and folklore” p. 95]

Thus, forgetting phonology, agglutination, morphology, semantics, and syntax, if a name in Olbia happened to sound like an Ossetic word, there are 90% chances that Ossetic word is not Iranian, 80% chances that that Ossetic word is not IE, and 50% chance that it is a Caucasian Adyge or Nakh word. In the Nakh linguistics, Ossetian language is counted as a language of the Nakh group. It might as well be counted as Adyge, with Nakh and Adyge each having more reasons than either Iranian, Türkic, or non-Iranian Indo-European classification. How such irrational approach could convince any member of the “consensus of scientific community” is in the realm of psychology, not applied sciences.

Besides lexicon, the agglutination in Ossetic as an IE language makes it a white crow: of the 450 IE languages, 440 are black sheep flexive languages, and about 10 held as IE are white crow agglutinative languages. If like Ossetic, they are unrelated to IE in phonology, agglutination, morphology, semantics, and syntax, and carry 20% of IE lexicon, in a court of law they would win their case only with an overly sympathetic jury. If Ossetic has anything to do with the Scytho-Sarmatian languages, any objective jury would conclude that the Scytho-Sarmatian languages were also agglutinative, like the Türkic or Nakh. As for V.I. Abaev's mastery in oblique phraseology, in 1949 in the Former USSR the deported Nakhs were not mentionable by sane people, hence the off-Biblical “Caucasian-Japhetic” euphemism.

In the USSR, archeologists fell in line and from then on defined their digs as Iranian-lingual Scythians and Sarmatians, archeological cultures were published as Iranian-lingual, the history was re-written in the umpteen's time, and 200+ ethnic groups in Russian public schools were informed on the Iranian-linguality of the Scythians. Close to a hundred of these groups were of Türkic origin, the state was robbing their children of their own history on an industrial scale. From about mid 1950's to about 1990's, when teaching of history in the Former USSR was interrupted to re-write the history again, the Türkic teachers of Türkic children had to teach kids with a full knowledge that they are teaching a blatant, state-dictated, politically motivated lie.

From the very beginning, existed alternate opinions, like those of K. Neumann, 1855 (K. Neumann, “Die Hellene im Skythenlande”, Berlin, 1855), who came to differing conclusions. G. Moravcsik in 1958 published his work that promised to decimate the new paradigm (G. Moravcsik, “Byzantinoturcica II”, Berlin, 1958). The alternate opinions managed to introduce a factor of inconclusiveness in the concept, but failed to impress the “consensus” of the European scientific community into revising the upsurging concept. Some scholars hedged their opinions by qualifiers. Others dropped the shades and selected sides, joining the universal acquiescence of the Indo-European concept by the European scientific community. In the 1930's, the brilliant Russian school of Turkology was physically wiped out, and the half-baked replacement scholars had to follow the 1944 edict against “ancientization” of the Türkic history. There were opinions, but no voices, not even kitchen table whispers. At the conclusion of his 1949 work, V.I. Abaev declared that any alternate opinions are unscientific, thus putting all potential improvident dissidents on notice. The Dark Age did not end in 1960's with the publication of the works of L. Gumilev and O. Suleimenov, who dared to break the cover of silence. Against all odds, the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory is still a sole doctrine of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

In the process of adaptation, the ancient Iranians unwittingly gained brand new phenotype, they become flatter-faced, shovel-fanged semi-Mongoloids with somewhat Caucasoid appearance, with ladies a little more pronouncedly Mongoloid than the men. The South Slavs are distinguished by the inherited Mongoloids’ wide face, frequently credited to all Slavs, but the Baltic Slavs retain the narrow-faced morphology of their Baltic ancestors, and the Western Slavs keep the narrow faces of their ancestors.

A separate Scythian-related question is the ethnonym “Türk”. If it came after a leader under that name, it happened many centuries before the name Türk became an ethnonym, and still more centuries before the name Türk became a politonym in the 6th c. The first known records of the Türks are millenniums older then the modern notions of the linguistic family and the ethnos termed “Türkic”. “In the mid-first century AD (i.e., before 50 AD - NK), the Turkae “Turks” are mentioned there (living in the forests north of the Sea of Azov - NK) by Pomponius Mela.” [C. Beckwith (2009), “Empires of the Silk Road”, p.115, K. Czegledy(1983), “From east to West”, P. Golden (1992), “Introduction to the history of the Türkic people”]. This is smack in the middle of the Sarmatian territory, during the period of the Alan leadership, when the Roman Empire just started paying an annual tribute to the Sarmatian Alans.

In the mid-first century AD the N. Pontic steppes were occupied by Sarmatians, the conglomerate of many European tribes headed by the Alan rulers, and among the many tribes already were the tribes of Turkae “Türks”. The Turkae “Türks” are also mentioned in the “Natural History of Pliny the Elder (i.e., before 77 AD - NK), spelled Tyrkae “Türks”. [C. Beckwith (2009), Ibid, p.115, D. Sinor(1990), “Cambridge History of Early Inner Asia”, p. 285]”. These Latin classical references to the Türks are direct and overt, and should be familiar to any proponent of any Eurasian ethno-linguistic theory, they should be complemented by the toponymic terms that are still mistreated as of unknown provenance or habitually ascribed to the Iranians against protestation of the Turkologists.

In the Middle Asia, in the land of Massaget (future Alans) Sarmats, in the Antique period are minted coins that use the word “Türk” as an adjectival synonym of the word “state” [A. Mukhamadiev(1995), “Turanian Writing// Linguoethnohistory of the Tatar people]. Nearly simultaneously, Ptolemy places Huns and Ases in or around the present Moldova, into the territory populated by the Sarmatian Yazygs (Yazygs, Yases, and Ases are allophones- NK); he also places the Hunno-Bulgarian patently Türkic tribe Savars right in the N. Pontic seven rivers area in the headwaters of Don and Sever (Savar - NK) Donets, and places the Scythian Agathyrs around the Carpathian mountains contiguous with Savars, and located in the Yazyg territory. The ancient geographers throw a real monkey wrench into the machinery of the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory, conflating Sarmats with the Türks, Huns, and Savars centuries before their alleged appearance in the Central and Eastern Europe according to the dogmas of that theory.

From the historiographical standpoint, the body of the Scythian-related scientific publications is yet to be analyzed statistically, both retrospectively and as a running total. On the source study, vast layers of material remain unturned, for example the fundamental work of Agusti Alemany, 2000 (“Sources On The Alans”, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 2000) completely omitted Islamic sources, which yet may add valuable information on the notion of Sarmatians. A retrospective statistical analysis of the Classical writers can provide a three-dimensional image of the references, and locate the centerline for the perceptions of the contemporaries, the perceptions so cavalierly dismissed by the architects of the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory.

A running total of the genetic publications may give a “consensus” picture quite different from that advertised as “consensus of scientific community”, and it would have an advantage of reflecting the facts on the ground. For example, a cursory look on the references to the Türkic analogies pertaining to the Kurgan cultures versus the overall analogies tends to create an impression that the facts on the ground are unambiguously leaning toward the Türkic side, but a more accurate statistics may reveal a much richer picture. Statistically, the advertised “consensus” may not exist at all.


The following is a listing of the major colliding traits. They are loosely grouped into categories of historiography, archeology, ethnology, linguistics, literary, corollaries, and ethnic appellations. The problem cases briefly state subjects related to the Türkic versus Indo-Iranian aspects.


1 . Until the 1930s, even the official Russian historiography recognized in Scythians the Türkic tribes. In 1930s, the Russian Academy of Sciences lost its academic independence, from a scientific association it was forcefully converted into a political tool, and the Soviet historiography has dramatically changed its course. Next, the Türkic peoples of Eurasia turned from being native people into migrants-conquerors. Ironically, the Western “mainstream” in humanities now trots the course decreed by the most inhumane regime of its time.

2 .  The Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory was introduced in the USSR as an official scientific dogma by lavishing official praise and awards to V.I. Abaev. In the six decades since the Theory was promulgated, not a single scientific conference was conducted on the validity of the Theory or its debatable aspects. Not a single open forum has been held publicly or officially, not a hint of a discussion, nothing, nada. In contrast with any and all scientific principles, in contrast with the science itself, the “science being a study of the everything that exists anywhere using theoretical models and data from experiments or observation”. That is in stark contrast not only with the international scientific practices, but even with the Russian scientific practice, where contested topics are routinely debated at the publically held academic conferences. Given that the Scytho-Iranian Theory is a subject of continuous and persistent multifarious assaults from within and without the Russian Academy of Science, and the skepticism it is treated with by many outlets of the Russian Academy, the historical fact of an absence of a single academic discussion about or around the Theory is a testament on its known incapacity.

3 . In the scientific world, it is impossible to find a subject, however specialized, that does not have its own historiography. Subjects so narrow that they involve a handful of scholars across the whole large world and have no contentions have their historiography. For larger issues are routinely published bibliographical and historiographical periodicals. The Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory is unique in the scientific world. Although it was born as a controversy, lived as a controversy for one and a half century, and involved innumerous disputes and publications, there has never been a work that gave an overview of the history of the subject and its historiography. Accordingly, there have never been historiographical updates that bring historiography up to date. One can’t find a standard phrase “For full historiography on the subject, see XYZ”. And that is in spite of the never extinguished heated debates and the immense volume of publications. If there are Cinderellas in humanities, the subject of the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory is one of few that qualify for that high status.


4 . The key word here is documented vs. ascribed. Scythians, Cimmerians, and Sarmats buried their dead in kurgans. Among the Türkic people, the Kurgan burial tradition extends to the present. In the historical period, except for the Türkic people, no other group has practiced Kurgan burial rite, which is an expression or the Tengriism etiology. Documented are only Türkic people, the others are either cultural borrowings (Phillip, the father of Alexander; Rus princely burials, etc.), or ascribed to nations without documented evidence (Scytho-Iranians, Germanics, etc.). Cultural borrowings are easily detected, because as an alien tradition the kurgan burials do not extend to the body of the people, they only mark the elite, while the Türkic kurgan burials are a fabric of the national etiology, and the Türkic ordinary burials differ from the elite burials only in opulence.

In case of the Slavs, archeologists and anthropologists state in unison that no Slavic remains were found because the Slavs cremated their deceased. That shows that the Rus princes of Slavs were not Slavs, they were buried in a tradition alien to the Slavs. The most important attribute of the Tengrian burials, and least understood by uninitiated archeologists, are the provisions for travel: food in dishes, cart or horse for transportation, and a set of travel necessities that reflects the time and space, like whetstone, knife, bow and arrows, axe, and so on. Naturally, nobody sets out for travel naked, so the deceased are properly attired in their travel caftans, travel boots, bonnet hats, and belt carriers. The funeral inventory was changing with time, from the Neolithic to the Metal Age and on to Antiquity, but its purpose remained the same, let the deceased to reach Tengri for reincarnation. It is well known that none of these typical Scythian, Hunnic, and Türkic funeral traditions can be found in the innate Indian or Iranian historical last rites.

5 . The key word here is documented vs. ascribed. The use of ochre in burial ritual, like in item 1, is documented only among the Türkic people, including today's Sakha and their ancestors the yesterday's Kurykans. The Scythian burial ritual with a horse, typical for the Sakha, is the same as the ancient ritual in the Altai Mountains, then the same as the ritual of the ancient Kipchaks, then of the ancient Kangars and ancient Bechens-Bosnyaks, then of the ancient Uigurs, and then the same rite as the ritual of the ancient Türks, and then the rite of the ancient Huns, Sakas, and the Scythians-Sarmatians.

The continuity and heritability of the kurgan burial ritual did not escape a single researcher, in fact, archaeologists have complained that the typology of the kurgan burials hampered the ethnic definition of cemeteries: “the burial ritual of the Türkic peoples is generally extremely monotonous” [C.A. Pletneva (1990), “Kipchaks”, Moscow, Science, ISBN 5-02-009542-7, p. 31]. That uniformity is traceable from the present time till the first Scythian burial kurgans in Europe and Asia.

6 . Scythians buried with their dead dozens, and sometimes hundreds of horses, in contrast with Indo-Iranians.

7 . Scythians' embalmed bodies of the Scythian chiefs, in contrast with Indo-Iranians. Herodotus 6.71 (a mistake, it is 4:71-SB) described in detail the embalming procedure.

8 . The Kipchak balbals typologically are identical with the Cimmerian and Scythian balbals. Two types of balbals are distinguished, one representing a deceased, and the other representing his or her slain enemies. The first type is a sculptural depiction of the deceased, the second type symbolizes victories, and range from untouched slab (meŋgü in Türkic, mengir/menhir in English) to slightly touched to reflect a specific individual, usually a shape of his distinct hat. Until enough positively identified samples were accumulated quite recently, archeologists could not positively tell the attribution of the balbals, even now museum exponents carry a generic description “sculpture from nomadic kurgan” for both Scythian and Kipchak sculptures. No traces of the balbal tradition were ever found in Indian, Brahman, or Iranic ethnology.

“Kipchak balbals” is a trade name, like the “English ivy”, ethnically they are associated with Kipchaks and nearly all other Türkic people from Pacific to Mediterranean, and in places reaching Atlantic. (translator note)

9 . Archeologists uniformly link the Scythian and Hunnic archeological cultures, denoting a common cultural and ethnological origin. The spread of the Scytho-Siberian culture is beyond anybody's imagination, the diagnostic hallmark of the culture is the Scythian Triad, found along a strip of 14 time zones. At the dawn of the Common Era, the whole length of the strip was populated by a continuum of the ethnically Türkic people, most of whom did not suspect that in the future they will be called “Türkic”. Most of that length has no traces of Iranic archeological cultures.

The spread of the Seima-Turbino metallurgical province (1800–1500 BC) overlays the same territory, it is centered in the Altai, it reaches the Middle East on one end and China on the other. In the Middle East, it is attributed to the horsed nomadic tribes with transparently Türkic names recovered from the Sumerian cuneiform writing, Guties and Turuks, which happened to be allophonic with the Türkic Guzes and Türks. In addition to the names of the Middle Eastern horse husbandry people being nearly identical with the generic names of the Türkic tribes, they also wielded unique cast bronze axes with unique method of joint with the handle. Those were the same axes found thousands kilometers away in the Altai area, and the same unique axes were found thousands more kilometers away in the Inner Mongolia and Northern China, in the territories populated by nomadic animal husbandry people [R. Bagley “Early Bronze Age Archaeology. The Northern Zone” (i.e. South Siberia - NK)//M. Loeuwe, E.L. Shaughnessy, eds “The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221BC”, Cambridge University Press, 1999, p. 223)] whom the Chinese called Juns and Zhou (apparently, Türkic terms Hun and Juz in Chinese rendition - NK). More than that, the Chinese word for the knife “ge”, and Greek word for knife “akinak” happened to be allophonic and congruent with the Türkic word for knife “kingirak” that the ancient Chinese rendered as Zhou’s “ching” [G. Dremin “Scythian Vocabulary”, http://kladina.narod.ru/dremin/dremin.htm, see review “Scythian Word List Sources”, look for akinak]. The Türkic name for axe balta is found on the other end of the steppe belt in the name Baltic Sea, which was documented in the Classical time as called so because of its axe form.

10 . The Scythian rock art, their petroglyphs are found across Eurasia, in areas invariably populated by the Türkic people: Urals, Itil/Volga, Caucasus, Northern Pontic, Middle Asia, and Siberia. Numerous petroglyphs are complemented by Türkic written inscriptions, which caused experts like I.Kyzlasov to be astonished by the extent of literacy among the ancient Türkic people. The body of documented surviving rock inscriptions numbers in many hundreds. The spread of the rock art is congruent with the other hallmark traits: kurgan burials, Seima-Turbino Metallurgical Province, spread of cauldrons, and the like, none of which is typical for the Indo-Iranians.

11 . Ceramics is an enduring vestige of the ethnical, social, and temporal life. Comparison of the typical Eastern Hunnic ceramic vessels with the corresponding vessels of the Beaker culture in the Western Europe attests to their indubitable similarity. The similarity is striking because the objects hail from the layers of 3000 years temporal distance and 10-12 time zones geographical distance. The Beaker culture is associated with the origin of the Celtic people and their circum-Mediterranean migration from the Pontic steppes to the Iberian peninsula between 5th - 6th mill BC and 2800 BC, it is traced by the dating of R1b Y-DNA marker. The Eastern Huns were a confederation of predominantly kindred Türkic tribes of the Asian steppe belt at the turn of the eras, archeologically and ethnologically they are identified with Scythians. The marker R1b Y-DNA is positively correlated with the bulk of the Türkic people. That makes the commonality between the proto-Celtic and later Türkic ceramics consistent and predictable, and it adds to the store of the other common traits of these two groups.

The Celtic ancestors departed from the N. Pontic two millennia before the Eastern Europe gave a shelter to the farming refugees from the central Europe, and four millennia before some of those refugees ventured to migrate to the South-Central Asia. The Celtic ancestors conceptually could not have anything to do with the much later pra-Indo-Arians, they were moving from different stations at different times and in opposite directions. This combination of the genetic and ceramic evidence presents one more conundrum for the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory, it could not foresee such scenario nor predict these archeological effects. The Scythian Huns with the Celts, and the Indo-Arians belong to unrelated flows of the human migrations.

If the Eastern Hunnic beaker would have been found in Europe, it would be classified as belonging to the Beaker culture. Some differences in vertical dimensions are irrelevant, and can be attributed to the local traditions. 

12 . The mobile nomadic society with mobile property can't survive without codified means to identify and authenticate property. Such identification is provided by tamgas. Systematic historical cataloguing of Türkic tribal tamgas is documented from the 8th c. on, the tamga markings and whole “tamga encyclopedias” are registered across Eurasia, most of the Türkic nations, and only the Türkic nations have retained their historical tamgas, some peoples preserved their tamgas to a clan and family level. Archeologists specifically identify the ancient tamgas with the Eurasian nomadic pastoralists, and among the Türkic people this trait has survived through the Christian and Islamic periods, while the Indo-Iranians, Indians, non-Türkic Persians, and Brahmans have no historical recollection of the tamgas in their past. Specialists figured out the development of tamgas between branches and generations, making tamgas a tracing tool. The traditional Scythian territories of Crimea and Dobruja are notable for the wealth of their tamgas. As with the elite burials, tamgas among the other ethnicities are either cultural borrowings (some recorded dynastic tamgas), or they are arbitrarily ascribed to nations without a thread of documented evidence (e.g. “Iranian-lingual”). Unfortunately, explorations of uncultured archeologists wiped out most of the unknown “primitive” markings from the pages of history, some of the greatest discoveries were saved by a chance encounter of a learned professional.


13 . Scythians lived in felt yurts; they widely used felt products in their life, in contrast with Indo-Iranians.

14 . Scythian original method of cooking meat in a stomach over a fire of bones and wood, in contrast with Indo-Iranian cooking methods.

15 . Scythian method of scalping enemies by incising skin around the head at ear level; carrying around scalps of felled enemies, in contrast with Indo-Iranian traditional methods.

16 . Historical memory of the Northern European peoples (Germanic, Scandinavian) connects their origin with the Scythian people and the people of the Scythian circle, the As people. The historical memory is supported by a wealth of corroborating evidence: archeological, ethnological, literary, linguistic, societal, and biological.

The most prominent archeological evidence includes elite burials in kurgans and nomadic archeology of the Goths, Vandals, Burgunds, etc.; the most prominent ethnological evidence includes numerous parallels with the Classical literature's ethnological descriptions and that of the Türkic people [G. Ekholm (1936) The Peoples Of Northern Europe: The Getae And Dacians//The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume XI, The Imperial Peace, Cambridge University Press, http://archive.org/stream/cambridgeancient015566mbp/cambridgeancient015566mbp_djvu.txt]; the literary evidence consists of the sagas and documented historical memory, and it includes the conspicuous presence of the toponyms and ethnonyms with the Scythian “Sk”, as in Scandia, Scythian, Saka, Sciri, Σκλαβόι “Sclavenes”, Sekler, Sakar, Sagadar, Sagay, Saha, and more, and ethnonyms with the Cimmerian “Kim” like Kimbri in “Cimbri”, “Cymry”, “Kimbroi”, Kimberly, and Cambridge; the linguistic evidence includes a mass of the ancient Turkisms in the Germanic and Scandinavian languages, without any trace of Iranisms or Ossetisms; the societal evidence includes parallels between the societal traditions of the Germanic, Scandinavian, and Türkic nomadic societies; the biological evidence contrasts the blondish constitution of the northern European peoples with the brunette constitution of the Indo-Iranic peoples, and their contrasting genetic make-up like predominance of R1b vs. predominance of the later days' .  

17 . Chinese chroniclers noted very specifically the nomadic dress, with bashlyk bonnet hat and left-lapel caftan and leather boots and waist belt. No ethnographic description of Brahmins, Iranians, Indians, etc. ever noted bashlyk hats etc., but to these days they are the national dress in Kazakhstan, Bashkiria, and everywhere else where we have ethnographic evidence on the Türkic people or depictions on the Türkic and Scythian balbals. The bashlyks of the modern Russian generals ascend to the Cossack bashlyks that is an inheritance of their Türkic past. The symbology of the nomadic belts is paramount throughout millennia, from the Scythian monuments to the present pastoral Türkic and Mongolic population, although in modern times belt as a tool shack is replaced by automobile trunks. As far as the Indo-Iranians are concerned, on the ancient pictures experts discriminate them from the Türkic people precisely by their distinctly different attire, the depictions of the Scythian and Türkic traditional dress vs. Indo-Iranian are vividly incompatible. Notably, the Türkic attire, together with its terminology, became a typical dress for the Slavic peoples to such a degree that it is rated as inherently Slavic, which in this one ethnological aspect makes Slavs incompatible with the Indo-Arians.

18 . From the first historical records, a sequence of nomadic warriors served as mercenaries under the general names of Scythians, Huns, and Türks. No small or great empire in Eurasia escaped paying tribute to the mounted nomads and enlisting them as mercenaries. The Alexander sarcophagus of the 4th c. BC depicts Greeks fighting Persians, and all “Persians” uniformly wear Scythian (or Kazakh, or Bashkir) bonnet hats and riding boots, the Persians proper are nowhere to be found there; the sarcophagus also depicts a Parthian shot two centuries before the Parthians entered the pages of history. Until the Modern Times, no army of sedentary agricultural states could resist the cavalry armies, and no empire could master a cavalry force compatible with the Scythian, Hunnic, or Türkic armies, or compete with their military aptitude, and that includes the states of Indo-Iranians, Indians, Persians, and the forces of the Brahmans. The continuity of methods, organization, strategic and tactical maneuvers, arms, training, dress, military aptitude, and trustworthiness of the Scythian, Hunnic, and Türkic mercenaries makes them uniquely distinct across time and Eurasian space. There is nothing compatible on the Indo-Iranians serving as eternal mercenaries in the states across Eurasia.

19 . Türks, and Scythians demonstrate an amazing congruence of their geographical and political development. At the dawn of the historical period, when literacy was limited to the Middle Eastern area of the inhabited world, the people called Kang left their footprint in the space spanning from the Middle Asia to the Middle East. A millennium later, in the historical period, Scythians ventured from their states in South Siberia and Tuva to establish their states in the Middle East and N.Pontic area. In the next historical period, Huns established their state covering South Siberia and Tuva, reaching from the Middle Asia to the Far East, and eventually establishing a state in the Eastern and Central Europe. A few centuries later, in the same geographical space the Türks stretched their Türkic Kaganate state from the Central Asia to the Eastern Europe, while their Türkic opponents established the Avar Empire, Bulgar Empire, and Khazar Empire that extended from Volga to Central Europe and Balkans. All these expansions, in addition to the temporal symmetry, have a common denominator: these people were horse-mounted warriors, they produced vast herds of horses, they valued trade opportunities, they expanded from a steppe pasture area to a steppe pasture area, and they settled in the choicest suitable areas. The sedentary agricultural states of Rome, Greece, Persia, Khorasan, India, and China abutted the steppe empires on the west and south.The Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory can’t offer anything comparable in scope or in substance.

20 . Most of the time, the productivity of the nomadic horse husbandry far exceeded the productivity of the sedentary agriculturists. Animal pastoralists needed free markets to sell their surplus horses and animal row materials. The value of GDP can be derived from the size of the cavalry army: 1 warrior per family and 30 horses (with sheep converted to equivalent horses at 10 sheep per 1 horse) annually produce 20% or 6 horses for sale per family. At 20 solidi a head and 20 solidi/lb, it is 6 lb of gold per family if they sell all their merchandise at Byzantine market prices. The local markets probably were able to provide only 10% of that, or 0.25 kg of gold, or 5 kg of silver annually per family [Angeliki E. Laiou, Editor-in-Chief, “The Economic History of Byzantine: From the Seventh through the Fifteenth Century”, 2002, Dumbarton Oaks, http://www.iisg.nl/hpw/byzantium.pdf]. A 10,000-strong army represents a 40,000 to 50,000-strong tribe with potential annual trade income of 2,500 kg of gold, or 50,000 kg of silver at local market prices, not exactly living in poverty, but only when there is a trading partner available. C. Beckwith noted that at all times the first objective of the nomadic Scythians, Huns, and Türks was the trade, every peace treaty that reached us required allowance and facilitation of free trade on the part of the sedentary states. Here is notable the unique ethnological similarity between the Scythians, Hunnic, and Türkic people [C. Beckwith, 2009, “Empires of the Silk Road”]. Indo-Iranians and Iranians, on the other hand, are not known as exporters of neither horses, nor of their grain. If they were Scythians, they would have to either export horses, or to expand exponentially under pressure of increased herds and needs for pastures.

21 . The extensive Scythian and Türkic ethnology documents such cultural attributes as dress, food, drinks, conservation of produce, family relationships, housing, sanitary traditions, military traditions, societal organization, cosmological concepts, literary traditions, mythological and folk tale traditions, art, and a myriad of other traits. In many cases, the prominence of these traits far exceeds the significance of the other characteristics. For example, the Scythian mercenaries were a major, if not the only, force in the armies of a number of the states, during almost a millennium period. The Scythian warriors in the Scythian conical hats, Scythian boots, Scythian pants, on the Scythian horses, and with Scythian composite bows are shown innumerable times in the historical records, and became a staple image of the generic Scythian. The Ossetian ethnography of the historical period would have to come up with at least a remote echo of these mercenary military traditions wearing Ossetian conical hats, Ossetian boots, Ossetian pants, riding the Ossetian horses and with Ossetian composite bows. In the absence of such ethnological links, the Scytho-Iranian Theory remains a murky propaganda myth. The so-called universal acceptance can become a scientific concept only when the multidisciplinary evidence converges to the same conclusion. As we know, it not only does not converge, it stubbornly keeps conflicting with it in every aspect.

22 . The Türkic traditional succession order is Lateral Succession, the rule passes from older brother of the dynastic clan to younger brother, and when the brothers run out, the next in line is their nephew, an eldest son of the senior brother who had to have served as a ruler. In the succession order, children of brothers who for any reason did not serve as rulers were bypassed. The passing of the scepter from brother to brother was noted among the Scythians, Huns, and all Türkic people. Lateral Succession is an oddball tradition in the human societies, it was noted among a handful of people in the world, and it is drastically different from that of the IE people (and Chinese too). That Türkic custom was also the rule in the initial Rus society [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_succession#Lateral_succession], which left us detail descriptions on the procedure. History has not brought to us the principles of succession among the tribes that became Ossetians after the Russian conquest of the 19th c., even if they had thrones and succession order. But since Ossetian was just an artifice to reach the pier of Indo-Europeanism via Iranian languages, the differences between the Indo-European traditions of succession and Türkic traditional order of succession is another argument for a fundamental incompatibility.

23 . A drastic difference between the Türkic and IE tradition is the equality of sexes (pre-Islamic, pre-Christian, and not under influence of sedentary agricultural nations). In the Age of Enlightenment, the inequality and equality of sexes was expressed in terms of Patriarchate and Matriarchate by the people grown up with a mindset of the male-dominated societies, that concept was applicable to the Türkic societies only superficially. In the literary tradition, we do not have systematic descriptions of the Scythian customs other then striking examples on the equality of sexes reflected in the stories about the Scythian Amazons and the story about Scythian girls marrying only after killing an enemy. In archeology, it is noted in the presence of the female warriors buried under the Scythian and Sarmatian kurgans; in the Türkic literary traditions the equality is embedded in the canvas of the story, like the specifically Bulgarian single combat between an admirer and his bridal selection; and in real life, in spite of religious proscriptions, in the Türkic societies the women nowadays still enjoy a commanding status incompatible with the surrounding population whose traditions were born from the agricultural sedentary past.

The high status of women in Türkic societies was shocking and was noted by all travelers grown up in the Middle Eastern Persian and Arabic tradition, by European travelers, and by the Chinese observers. On the Scythian female status we have sensational anecdotal testimonies, but for the Türkic societies we have literary evidence that women were the owners of the state, people, and land, and men respected the matrilineal priority. Women called assemblies for the election of the heads of state, and the maternal tribe was evaluating and approving or declining male candidates for the leadership position. Nothing of this nature is documented within the agricultural societies, among the Iranians, Indo-Iranians, or Indians; to the contrary, females in those societies are traditionally abused and subservient. Unfortunately, the civilization, the world religions, and the admixture with agricultural people not only did not bring any benefits to the Türkic women, but in the present conditions significantly reduced their former status.

In the Scythian, Hunnic, or Türkic “imperial” social order the equality between men and women was not universal, the traditions of each ethnic group were observed, and women's status depended on the prevailing tradition in each group. Social conditions dictated stratification of the social relations, recorded directly and indirectly by the ancient written sources, and described in later chronicles and modern ethnological research. Conqueror-conquered and master-dependent were the most well-known particular cases of social relations. That attitude has always been one-way: while the mobile society could keep sedentary society subjugated, the reverse was not possible, slow moving forces could not dominate over the fast and adapted to rapid movements population. As a result, the winners treated their sedentary subjects as mobile property, on the same level with their flocks, which also needed care and attention in order to be productive and useful to their hosts, but have not had a voice in how they were treated. The Scythian example was documented in the legend about the “Son of the Blind”/”Koroglu”. The Hunnic examples are documented in the chronicles of the 16 Kingdoms period in China and the Hun period in Europe, and in later anthropological studies. Among the many aspects of nomadic domination over dependent population, the status of women had three grades. The gender equality, endemic for the members of the Türkic society, did not apply to the other two classes, allied tribes and dependent population. The women of the allied tribes could be taken as second wives, they had full ownership and rights to their own household and property, but their descendants had no right of equal treatment with the descendants of the first wife, who had to belong to the maternal tribe of the marital union. The children of the second wives were given status of the ordinary members of the paternal tribe, or senior members of the maternal tribe. Unlike the Scythian, Hunnic, or Türkic women belonging to the tribes of the marital partnership, these women did not have to be active warriors in case of a need, probably because they were not brought up prepared for effective use in the battlefield. The third class of women was made up of the dependent population, they could be maids and concubines, and their offsprings were admitted to the paternal tribe as regular members, or they could join the rest of the mother's family.

24 . The Scytho-Iranian Theory has a real problem with the Scythian pantheon and rituals. The Indo-Iranian vs. Scythian onomastic parallels wander wildly, and etymology either gets lost, or defaults to the Türkic-based terms. In contrast, the Türkic etymology is direct and transparent: 3000 years later, Papai is still a forbearer, and Ar (Ares in Greek) is still a man and a warrior. The ritual of paying homage to Ares with a sword as a symbol is recorded for the Scythians, Eastern Huns (Yin Han Shu, story about pilgrimage to the ancestors to the Yung Yang mountain, ching-lu ~ kingirak sword, and ritual drinking the blood-wine mixture from the cup made of the skull of the Tokharian king), and for the Attila's Western Huns. The tradition of making ritual drinking cup of enemy's royal head is consecutively noted for the Scythians, Huns, Bulgars, Kangars, and other Türkic tribes. Ditto for the ritual of sacred oath, where both participants partake to drink jointly a bloody mix from the cup, cheek to cheek; for Scythians it is depicted on ceramics and described verbally; for the other Türkic players it is recorded in the chronicles. None of the veneration of ancestors, sword as a symbol, drinking cup of crania, or oath by joint drinking of a blood mix from such cup was recorded for the Indo-Iranians.

25 . The surviving information about religion of the Scythians, Massagetae/Masguts, and Alans does not contain even a hint at anything Iranic-Zoroastrian [Gmyrya L.B., Religious ideas of the Caspian Dagestan population in 4th-7th cc. (According to sources), Makhachkala, Science, 2009, ISBN 978-5-94434-134-1]. In the absence of real facts, V.I. Abaev boldly substituted the religious beliefs, language, and mythology of the modern “Ossetians” for that of the Scythians. That was typical for the Russian Potemkin villages in humanities [V.I. Abaev, “Pre-Christian religion of the Alans”, 1960, p. 3].

26 . The Scythian golden plow, yoke, battle-axe, and drinking-cup that fell from the sky do have a Türkic mythological basis in the Türkic astronomical nomenclature, but are unexplainable within the Scytho-Ossetian-Iranian Theory.

27 . In contrast with the Iranian mythology that is nothing like the Scythian genesis legend, the Türkic mythology fairly closely parallels the Scythian legends, with numerous variations peculiar to the different Türkic nations. S.P. Tolstov noted the parallelism of the Oguz-khan legend with the Scythian legend down to details and personal names: “...the Scythian myth displays features that are connected not only with all three links of the genealogical cycle Avesta - Shah-name, but with the Türkic cycle of Oguz Kagan”. The Heracles of the Hellenic-version is the Türkic Er-Kül “Man-Lake”, i.e. “a Man as great as a lake”; the Scythian version is naming Targitai, the Türkic Törügtai, semantically congruent “Law-Giver-clan”; on parting with the snake-maiden, Targitai-Heracles leaves her a bow and a belt with golden cup that is inherited by his younger son, in the Scythian version the younger son of Targitai also gets drinking-cup with a battle-axe as symbols of power, close to the Oguz-Kagan motive with hidden golden bow and three arrows that go to his younger sons. (S.P. Tolstov, “Ancient Horezm”, Moscow, 1947, p.295)

28 . In Türkic tradition, the older brothers have to leave the parental nest and establish their own domains. The youngest son inherits the parental domain. The prerogative of the youngest son is recorded for the Scythians (Herodotus' genesis versions), Huns, Kök Türks, etc. That tradition of opposition between the youngest son and his older brothers is preserved in numerous tales among Türkic peoples and their neighbors, including the Hebrew Bible. The IE tradition is the opposite, the stronger (the elder) gets it all. Here the Indo-Aryan, Iranian, and IE traditions clearly belong to different, non-Scythian trunks. 

29 .  The Nart epos of the peoples of Northern Pontic and the Caucasus is connected with the Scythian mythology, the Narts of the epos are believed to be the Scythians, the epos is shared by the Abkhazes, Adygs, Ingushes, Karachai-Balkars, Nakhs, Kumyks, and Ossetians. Of this lineup, the IE-centered opuses indiscreetly leave out everybody but the “Ossetians”, another Potemkin village. The names of the gods of smithy among the non-Türkic Abkhazians, Adygs, and Ossetians are Türkic. Were the Scythians the Iranian-speaking ancestors of the Ossetians, these names would have been Iranian, and not Türkic. Ditto for the name of the eponymous pra-mother of the Narts Satanai, where in Türkic ana is as much “mother” as adam is “man”.

30 .  The Scythian original way of divination using willow twigs and linden bast is confirmed by the oldest Türkic runiform book “Irk bitig” (“Book of Omens”); in contrast, the Indo-Iranians do not have such tradition.

31 .  The Scythian names for the deities exactly match the Karachai-Balkar names for the deities. In contrast with Indo-Iranians, the Scythian mythology was inherited by the Balkars and preserved in their folk memory to this day..

32 .  The Türkic term for giving a vow is very peculiar: and iç (and ich) “drink up the oath”, inexplicable without knowledge of the Scythian and Türkic ethnology and history. The origin of the expression is illustrated by the records of Herodotus 4.70 and Ibn al-Faqih al-Hamadani (c. 950 AD) “Mukhtasar Kitab al-Buldan” (“Concise Book of Lands”) chapter on the Türks, Türkic cities, and their peculiar traits:

(Herodotus 4.70): “All treaties of friendship, sanctified with oath, are thus among the Scythians. Wine mixed with the blood of the parties is poured into a large earthenware bowl, for that the skin is punctured with an awl or made a small incision with a knife. Then into the bowl are dipped sword, arrows, ax, and spear. After this ritual are recited long spells, and then the participants of the treaty, and the most distinguished of those present drink from the cup.”

(al-Hamadani): “And when Türks want to take an oath from a man, they bring a copper idol, hold it, then prepare a wooden bowl, into which water is poured, and place it between the hands of the idol, and they then put into the bowl a piece of gold and a handful of millet, bring women's trousers and place it under the bowl, and then say to the one swearing the vow: “If you'd break or violate your vow, or turn out flawed, let Allah turn you into a woman, to wear her trousers, and turn you over to what will tear you into smallest pieces, like this millet, and turn you yellow as this gold”. Then after the vow he drinks that water...”

In contrast, no records of Indo-Iranian “drinking up the oath” exist in the historical or linguistic sources.

33 .  The Scytho-Iranian Theory has a real problem explaining how at least 20 Türkic nations west of Altai mountains inherited the Scythian legend “Sons of blind” recorded by Herodotus, and developed at least 20 versions of the legend in dastans (poems, frequently musical and oratorical) under the same name, Kerogly (Köroğlu-SB)“Blind son”. Although in the past 2700 years the story blossomed with different flowery details, various scenery, and a spectrum of eponymous heroes, the core of the story remains exactly as was relayed by Herodotus in the 5th c. BC: the nomadic conquerors blind the vanquished men and force them to toil caring for their horses; the sons of the conquered blind raise in revolt; rebellion takes a global character; in the head of the uprising fights the “Son of blind”, called Kerogly in the Türkic legends; the victorious rebels marry wives and daughters of the vanquished Scythians, or of various oppressors in the Türkic legends.

In 1937, 12 years before the Scythians were officially decreed to become Iranians, in Moscow was staged an opera “Kerogly” by Uzeir Abdul Gusein Ogly Gadjibekov, attended by then USA ambassador to the USSR J.E. Davies. The plot of the opera was captioned in his memoirs: “opera “The sons of a blind man”. It was the characteristic story of the oppression of the people by the ruling Khan, who destroyed the sight of his Master of the Horse because he did not get him a horse that he desired, and the vengeance of the son, who became a bandit leader of the people. The performance was very interesting and unique.” [Joseph E. Davies, 1941, “Mission to Moscoww”, p.317]. It is superfluous to state that neither Ossetians (other than the Balkarians and Karachais), nor Indo-Iranians, nor any Brahmans have a “Sons of blind” myth on their books that they pass on to their posterity and disseminate among other Iranic people as flowery poems or operas.


34 .  Linguistic theory of V.I. Abaev (Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory) is a complete fake, Abaev eluded the certified lexicon (quite a few words, by the way, including Caucas and Caucar for Caucasus, i.e. “White Rockies” and “White Snow (tops)” in ancient Scythian and in modern Türkic, like in Карское Море “Kar Sea”, “Snow Sea”), and instead used names from the Olbia graves, presumed to be Scythian, which ethnically could be anybody's graves even if the paleography was correct, which is doubtful. The gravestones were demolished in the 19th c., so there is nothing to verify what was written on the gravestones, they could have been bi-lingual, but at the time no European scholar could foresee the discovery of the Türkic runiform alphabet.

In modern science in ethnical studies, the names as literary evidence are discounted, with nearly a sole exception of the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory. That means that we have documented literary evidence on the Scythian language, it has Türkic lexicon, and we have none of the attested Iranian or Indian lexicon. [Assyrian records, A.D. Mordtmann, “Über die Keilinschriften zweiter Gattung”, ZDMG XXIV, 1870, p. 50; Classical records, G.Dremin “Scythian Vocabulary”, http://kladina.narod.ru/dremin/dremin.htm, see review “Scythian Word List Sources”]. Furthermore, for his Olbian reconstructions V.I. Abaev used the “Ossetian” Digor language, the language mutually unintelligible with the “Ossetian” Iron language, the Iranian origin of which he ventured to prove. The linguistic aspects of that linguistic theory demonstrates that it has neither a base nor a fabric.

35 .  Among many exercises performed to prove that “Ossetic” Iron language belongs to the Iranic branch, more than one substantial exercise was prudently omitted. Based on the genetic study of I. Nasidze et. al., it can be predicted that a linguistic reconstruction of the Iron's 800-word lexis of the Iranian layer would ascend not to the mythical links of the “North-West Iranian”, not to the mythical links with Pashto and Barushadsky, but to the very specific Middle Persian, from where the Iranian women were imported during the Middle Ages to satisfy procreation whims of the Caucasus mountaineers [Nasidze et. al. (2004), “Genetic Evidence Concerning the Origins of South and North Ossetians.”//Annals of Human Genetics 68 (6), 588-599]. That linguistic reconstruction suggested by genetic results would clearly show the unsustainability of the Iron-Scythian connection.

36 .  The canonic linguistic analytical tool of the Swadesh List has never been published neither for Iron, nor for Digor, not for the aggregated “Ossetian” languages. That analysis would clearly show the unsustainability of the Iron-Iranian and Iron-Scythian connections. No multi-volume linguistic descriptions of the “Ossetian” language would obscure the absence of the canonical Swadesh List analysis.

37 .  In constructing the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory, V.I. Abaev used the Digor language without any hint on the provenance of the Digors. In the Rashid ad Din listing of the 24 Oguz tribes in the book “Djat-al-Teravikh” (814), Duker is an Oguz tribe with the ongon (lucky omen) eagle and an eligibility for right front thigh of the horse served at the formal receptions; the right side shows a maternal side tribe, and front thigh shows a princely lineage (fillet mignon is for the royals only). 800 years later, similar information is provided by the Abulgazi list (before 1663) of the 24 Oguz tribes. Düger (Düğer, Tüger, Düver, Töker, Tüker) is still one of the Turkmen tribes; Dügers are still split into fractions located on the both banks of the Caspian, the Caucasian Digors and the Turkmen Düğers; the Caucasian Digors are still split between Karachai-Balkaria and Ossetia, during the modern times they lived with the “Ossetian” tribes and with the Türkic tribes and incidentally, one of the most prominent Turkologists in Russia is a Balkar Digorian (Ismail Miziev, 1940 -1997). In constructing the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory, V.I. Abaev used a long-known trick of the card games, pulling from a sleeve at a convenient moment the card of a Digor ace. Yes, Digors (Tokhars, Tuhsi) were a Scythian tribe 2000 years ago and earlier, the Türkic and the Adyge “Ossetian” slivers of their language might have preserved traces of their language from 2 millennia ago, but that has nothing to do with the Middle Persian sliver in the Iron language [Rashid ad Din (814), “Djat-al-Teravikh”; Abulgazi (1663) “Genealogical History of Tatars”; Zuev Yu.A. “Early Türks: Essays on History and Ideology”, Almaty, 2002].

38 .  Since the Scytho-Iranian Theory was reduced to exclusively linguistic undertaking in conflict with history, literary sources, archeology, anthropology, odontology, and ethnology, the linguistic evidence is the most weighty counterargument. Linguistic comparison of IE and Altaic (read: Türkic) pra-lexicons [A.V. Dybo, “Pra-Altaian World According to Comparative-Historical Linguistic Semantic Reconstruction (abstract)” http://altaica.ru/LIBRARY/semrec.htm] found that pra-IE does not have lexicon for mounted riding, instead pra-IE has riding carts and chariots, while the pra-Altaic has developed vocabulary for mounted riding. The core of the pra-Altaian economy was seasonal pastoralism, or developed seasonal hunting with a corral component, it has terms with horses and riding; the role of agriculture was less significant. In the Proto-Altaic, the terminology of clothing and footwear is more differentiated, for example, it contains the names for pants and kneeguards (associated with horse riding), which the PIE does not have.

The mobile pra-Altaian has more terms related to the boats/rafts (e.g. salla in Türkic, sail in English). In contrast, the core of the pra-Indo-Europeans' economy were agriculture and well-developed sedentary pastoralism. There is a sea of difference between sedentary pastoralism and nomadic pastoralism not only in the skills and technology involved, but also in drastic difference in the types of the herd animals, one can drive horses, cows, sheep, and pigs around the village, but one can't drive them across a waterless steppe range. The lexical evidence excluded the possibility that the IE people were engaged in nomadic horse husbandry, which is impossible without super cowboy-type lifestyle of the Eurasian nomads, excluded that IE people could drive huge herds of horses for thousands miles between summer and winter pastures, live in mobile home wagons, or knew the technique of portable yurt construction.

The pra-IE reconstruction does allow for horse terminology, for stable maintenance of horses, their local pasturing, cart riding, and terminology associated with sedentary horse husbandry, that culture reached Middle East that already had donkey husbandry technology, but any IE horse husbandry that reached the Indian subcontinent was somehow copiously lost among the local Indo-Arians. India did not know the culture of horses until the migration of the Saka (Ch. Se/Sai/Sək 塞) Scythians a millennium after the arrival of the Indo-Arians.

This linguistic observation of A.V. Dybo correlates perfectly with the genetic tracing of the Y-Hg R1a marker migration from the Central Europe (4300 BC) to the South-Central Asia (2000-1600 BC) and archeological tracing of the Corded Ware agrarian populace in the northern part of the Central and Eastern Europe. With the help of genetic dating, the Corded Ware archeological culture can be positively identified with the PIE vernacular(s), and the PIE reconstructed lexicon accurately depicts results of the archeological conclusions on the Corded Ware economy. For the events in the European linguistic kitchen prior to the 4300 BC and in the period of 4300 BC to 2000/1600 BC we will never have any evidence, but the 

1. displacement of the Corded Ware people by the people of a spectrum of different cultures after 2300 BC,

2. the literary evidence brought over to the South-Central Asia from the Eastern Europe with the 2000-1600 BC migration, and the

3. numerous linguistic connections between the Baltic, Balto-Slavic, and Slavic languages with the Sanskritic languages
provide massive corroborating evidence on the Corded Ware - Indo-Iranian linguistic and genetic continuity.

Fig. 4. Geographical distribution of carriers subclades R1a1-M198 subclade Z93, according to information from commercial databases (Courtesy of I. Rojansky)
Corded Ware Culture of the Central and Eastern Europe, 3200-2300 BC (Wikipedia)
“Yamna” is Russian for Pit Grave; diagram depicts how the Globular Amphora (R1b) split and pushed into opposite corners the Corded Ware (R1a1);
the Globular Amphora (R1b) and Pit Grave (R1b) are two genetic and linguistic branches of the same trunk;
the eastern fraction of the Corded Ware (R1a1) under pressure of Globular Amphora/Pit Grave migrated to South-Central Asia (Indo-Iranians, subclade Z93)

Indo-European languages and haplogroup I

The Hg I population component is spread across Europe, reaching in most places a quarter of population, and in the Balkans and Scandinavia rising to nearly 50%. Scandinavia in general, and Norway in particular, has a very limited spectrum of haplogroup components, most unambiguously connecting one of their predominant haplogroups with their IE language. The three Norwegian dominating haplogroups, Hg I (40%), Hg R1b (26%) and Hg R1a (25%) account for 81% of total. As a haplogroup that may be connected with the IE language, the R1b (Kurgan, Celtic) component should be definitely excluded a priori, the R1a component should be excluded because compared with the I component it is a demographically inferior runner-up, and even worse, it is solidly connected with the Asian non-IE migrant elite Ases with their kurgan culture and non-IE supreme deity Thor. That leaves only a single haplogroup candidate for endowing Scandinavia and Germania with the IE language, the dominating haplogroup I, a single viable candidate. This thesis is consistent with the linguistic observation that the fraction of IE linguistic traces declines with increase in distance from the Central Europe eastward. (translator note)

39 .  Europe, and the European languages carry a heavy load of Turkisms, many of which are explainable by their Scythian and Sarmatian origin. Ironically, that can't be said about Iranic languages, whether Eastern of Western Iranic, Southern or Northern Iranic, or even Ossetian with its feeble sprinkle of 10% Iranic lexicon. While the ancient Turkisms of possibly Scythian and Cimmerian origin are noted in the Frisian, Camry, Vulgar and proper Latin, Germanic, English, and Romance languages, the Scythians and Cimmerians did not leave a trace of Iranic languages in these European languages, at least no trace is noted in the linguistic literature.

The same observation is true in other areas ascribed to the Iranian speakers in the huge territories of the Eurasia steppe belt of the pre-Scythian times, the various languages of the people in those territories are notable for the absence of any Iranic traces in their languages. Not only the toponymy of the Central Asia is predominantly Türkic, the traces of the Middle Persian language there date to no earlier than the Sassanid period. The reconstruction of the Sogdian language, the language of the settled population in the Central Asia, leads not to a proto-Iranian language (“proto-Eastern Iranian”) ascribed to the Scythians, but to the profoundly post-Scythian Old Persian language of the Iranian Plateau. Once again, the Iranic language of the Scythians is nowhere to be found.

40 .  Scandinavian historical tradition contains numerous references to Ases and their Asian origin, it holds Ases as founders of the Scandinavian statecraft and statehood. Although direct connections between the language of Ases and the Ases themselves have not survived, numerous Turkisms in the Scandinavian languages have endured to become an integral part of the Scandinavian languages to this day (OT daŋ “sunrise”, Old Norse (ON) dagr “day”, double pronouns OT ikkiiŋ ~ ON okkar - 1st p., ykkar 2nd p., and many more). No such traces of the Iranian or Ossetian languages are left by the Asian Ases or their kins in the Scandinavian languages. Numerous ethnological features demonstrate the ancient Türkic-Scandinavian genetic links that find confirmation in the Scandinavian sagas about the Ases, and that includes the Scandinavian runes. The Germanic authors of the Scytho-Ossetian Theory have forgotten the presence of the Asian Ases in their own heritage.

41 .  Scytho-Iranian Theory with a dead silence avoids not only the thousands of references in the Classical writings to the Türkic people as Scythians, but equally avoids the hundreds of references to the Germanic people as Scythians. Jordan, for example, uses the terms Goths and Scythians interchangeably, sometimes in the same sentence: Jordan called the King Antir (us) of the Scythians who fought the Darius invasion a “King of the Goths”. Linguistically, the reason for such scholarly shyness is clear, nobody ever accused Germanic languages of being Northern, Southern, Eastern or Western Iranian or Ossetic, so the Theory turns a salient blind eye on the conflict it is powerless to address. In contrast, the exceedingly numerous Türkic cognates in Germanic languages (Herr/er “man”, earth/yer “earth”, Sir/sir “Lord”, to name a few words that everybody knows) reliably link the Türkic and Germanic languages, easily explaining the Germanic linguistic phenomenon and the reasons for Classical statements. These parallels are not limited to the linguistic aspect, numerous ethnological features also demonstrate the ancient Türkic-Germanic genetic links that historically can only be mediated by the Scytho-Sarmatians, including the Huns (See G. Ekholm German Ethnology). The Germanic authors of the Scytho-Ossetian Theory have forgotten the presence, for example in the Nibelungenlied, of the Hunnic king Etzel, a German form of the name of Attila the Hun, in their own heritage.

42 .  Few inscriptions found in kurgans or adjacent settlements were written in runiform alphabet and read in Türkic languages. Among such inscriptions with known provenance is the Issyk inscription found in the kurgan of a presumably Saka prince (500 BC), alphabetic characters found in the Hunnic princely kurgan (13 AD), inscriptions of the Humar fortress in the Caucasus (ca 10th c.), and inscription from the Samara Bend city (ca 10th c.). In spite of the scarcity of the preserved inscriptions, they substantially complement other written materials in Türkic runiform scripts in the Kurgan culture territories, facilitating cross-reference and reading. The Indo-Aryans did not leave behind neither kurgans nor the runiform inscriptions related to kurgans.

43 .  Scytho-Iranian Theory relies on unbroken chain of linked necessary postulates: Ossetians are Ases → Ases are Alans → Alans are Sarmats → Sarmats are Scythians, thus Ossetians are Scythians. The linkage does not allow any Türkic presence. A break in any link breaks the whole chain and the spine of the theory. Except for the documented affinity of the Sarmats and Scythians, every other link is artificial, tenuous, contested, and has plenty of contrary observations. The Don runiform script and the observed burial traditions testify to the falsity of the theoretical postulates. The Don runiform script belongs to the family of the Türkic Eurasian alphabets that include distinct Don, Kuban, S. Enisei, Achiktash, and Isfar versions of the Türkic runiform alphabets. The Don script is associated with the kurgan burials, kurgan catacomb burials, and with the mountain cave burials; the first type of the burials is archeologically attributed to the tribes of the Türkic Bulgar and Khazar circle, and the other two types are attributed to the Alan tribes, within the Saltovo-Mayak culture of the 8th-10th cc. Accordingly, the supposedly Iranian-Ossetian Alans in the 8th-10th cc. were quite literate and used the Türkic language and the Türkic traditional runiform script that genetically belongs to the same phylum as the well-studied S. Enisei Old Türkic script. The complex of the Saltovo-Mayak culture inscriptions positively breaks the spine of the Scytho-Iranian Theory. To add offence to the injury, in the following 800 years the literate Türkic-writing Alans turned into ignorant illiterate Ossetians, who supposedly learned writing only after the Russian conquest [I.L.Kyzlasov, “Runic Scripts of Eurasian Steppes”, Moscow, Eastern Literature, 1994].

To resolve the conundrum, either the accuracy of the Classical testimony must be accepted, that the Alans are the Türkic Masguts, which destroys the Scytho-Iranian Theory, or the “Alan” burials must be re-classified as that of the Türkic Bulgars and Khazars, leaving Alans without distinct archeological signature and so making them and their kingdom some ephemeral mass that vanished without a trace. Either way, the Scytho-Iranian Theory runs into insurmountable counter-evidence and is unsustainable.

44 .  The terminology of early Christianity has inordinate number of Türkic cognates. Probably, some of the Türkic cognates are tentative and will never be confirmed, but the shear number of the cognates leaves little doubt that the coincidences are not random [N. Drozdov (2011), “Turkic-speaking Period of European History”]. At the time, the term “Türkic” has not flared in Europe, the Türkic borrowings could only come from the neighboring languages that were termed “Scythian” or “Sarmatian”, which points directly at very close cultural, religious, and ideological exchanges between the Greek and Türkic-lingual tribes at the religiously most turbulent time in the Christian history. The Scythian/Sarmatian venue appears to be a single plausible explanation for the borrowings, it excludes the Iranic provenance of these influences, and thus excludes Iranic from the Scythian paradigm.

45 .  The pre-Christian Hebrew Bible terminology and Hebrew religious terminology also has inordinate number of the Türkic cognates (Adam “man”, Eve “wife, woman, pussy”, Ashkenaz, Togarma, yirlahim “sing” succoth (tent) “Saka, Scythians”, alïm “gain, addition”, tov “so”, etc.). The sheer number of the cognates leaves little doubt that the coincidences are not random. Hebrew has a long history of living with Persians, the terms could have come from Persians, but then they would not be consistently Türkic. The Scythian venue appears to be a single plausible explanation for the borrowings, thus excluding Iranic from the Scythian paradigm.

Similarly, the pre-Christian Greek mythology has numerous Türkic cognates (Gorgon “scare”, Augean (stable) “stable”, Hercules “Lake Man”, Herros/Gerros “land” (yer/yearth), etc. These also could have come from the Persian, Greeks also have a long history of living with Persians and Scythians, but then the words would not be so consistently Türkic and not Iranic. In the Greek case, the Scythian venue also appears to be a single plausible explanation for the borrowings, excluding Iranic from the Scythian paradigm.

46 .  For the millennia of their existence, Scythians bordered on, co-existed, and served for the literate nations. It is inconceivable that the Scythian leadership did not pick up and use the benefits of the literacy. That is especially inconceivable considering the high mobility and high turnover of the Scythian people in and out and around the surrounding countries. Scythians minted their own coins with concise legends. We have a record of the Chinese annals that Huns were literate, wrote side to side, and used letters, in contrast with the Chinese script. The early Türkic literacy is confirmed by the analysis of the Türkic runiform script, which partially ascends to the early Mediterranean scripts, in particular the Phoenician script [A.Amanjolov (2003), “History of ancient Türkic script”, Almaty, “Mektep”]. The only way the early Mediterranean alphabetic scripts could have propagated to the Eastern Huns was by the Scythians adopting some elements of it and incorporating it in their own script, which came to our attention via the Huns as the Scythian (Türkic) kins. The Persians first adopted cuneiform script, since the 3rd century they adopted Phoenician/Aramaic alphabet for domestic religious use, and since the 7th century they adopted Arabic script. The Chinese annals could not have referred to the later Persian Phoenician/Aramaic alphabet in respect to the Huns, this excludes Iranic from the Scythian paradigm.


47 .  In the millennia-long literary tradition, a drawn-out string of historical references specifically linked Herodotus’ Scythians with various Türkic tribes, such as the Huns, Türks, Bulgars, Khazars, etc. Between 400 AD and the 16th century the Byzantine sources use the name Σκΰθαι in reference to twelve different Türkic peoples, the overall number of such references in the Byzantine sources, counted by G. Moravcsik, is astronomical, numbering in thousands (G. Moravcsik, “Byzantinoturcica II”, Berlin, 1958, p. 236-39). The Scytho-Iranian Theory makes a joke of itself and its subject by ignoring the two millennium-long continuous experience of the foreign affairs department at the Byzantine court, its staff of interpreters, its spies, informers and scribes, and making light of the experience of the Byzantine and Roman diplomatic corps who were intimately familiar with the Persian, Parthian, and Scythian languages and their temporal variations, and never identified Scythian with anything Iranic or even with the Sogdian languages.

In the Near East, Scythians were called Ashguzai (Assyrian and related records) and Ashkenaz (אשכוז’ škuz and אשכנז’ šknz, Hebrew, Biblical records, pl. Ashkenazim), identified solely with the Türkic tribes, including the Judaic Khazars who migrated to Germany. The transparent Türkic-based etymology of the ethnonym Ashguzai/Ashkenaz is As Tribe As-guz or Tribal People As-kiji where As is apparently a generic word for “tribe” (otherwise it stands for generic “Flatlander”, akin to generic Yirk/Hyrcani “Nomad”) and a tribal ethnonym, kiji is “people”, and guz is “tribe”; this is conventional and oft-repeated scheme of self-identification among the Türkic tribes, with uncounted examples. In modern times, Ossetians call their Türkic Balkar neighbors with the ethnonym As, and Ases are known to be members of the mighty Türkic Kaganate. The European and Near Eastern evidentiary records on the Scythians mutually corroborate, they are consistent one with the other, and point amply to the Türks, completely excepting Iranians, Persians, Khorasanis, and everybody else deemed to be Iranian and located within the ancient European and Near Eastern horizons.

48 .  The Biblical literary tradition, shared by the Christians and Moslems, directly connects the righteous progenitor Noah (Koranic Nuh) with the Scythian Ashkenazim, and Ashkenazim with the Türks. The canonized version of Genesis in the Bible lists Noah's son Japheth, grandson Gomer (the Hebrew form of Cimmerian - NK), and great grandsons Ashkenaz (Biblical Scythians - NK), Riphath, and Togarmah (Biblical Tokhars - NK). The letter of the Khazar Kagan Joseph traces Khazar's ancestry to the Noah’s third son Japheth, then to the ancestor of all Türkic tribes his grandson Togarma, and his ten grand-grandsons Uigur, Dursu, Avar, Hun, Basilii (Balkars - NK), Tarniakh, Khazar, Zagora, Bulgar, and Sabir. The Biblical account is weightily corroborated by modern research, the popular among the Siberian peoples haplogroup Q is abundant among the Ashkenazi Jews traced to the Türkic Khazar descent, and their distinct alleles are concordantly dated by not more than a thousand years back. A common ancestor of Jewish bearers of haplogroup Q lived 675±125 years ago [Klyosov, A.A. (2008) Origin of the Jews via DNA Genealogy//Proceedings of the Academy of DNA Genealogy, vol. 1, No. 1, 54-232, ISSN 1942-7484]. Linguistic evidence also supports the Biblical account, the Mayan tribes of the American Indians, who belong to the haplogroup Q, were found linguistically connected with the Türkic linguistic group. This line of corroborating literary, genetic, and linguistic evidence leaves no wiggle room for the Scytho-Iranian Theory.


49 .  No nation with lactose intolerance could have survived nomadic diet of milk and meat. Infants would have died out even in good years, and there was no substitute for the nomads following their herds. Iranians and Indians (and Chinese) are known for their lactose intolerance. This is a very weighty argument, the Brahmins did not bring to India neither their kurgan burial tradition, nor their nomadic lactose tolerance, ditto the Iranians to the Iranian Plateau. They were grain-eaters, instead of the lactose-persistence mutation they carried the genetic code for amylase AMY1. The lactose tolerance is an abnormal deviation among humans, it is known to arise five times within five unrelated human populations, with five independent genetic modifications that propagated within five non-agricultural pastoral economies. Three mutations originated in Sub-Saharan Africa, the fourth originated in Arabia. The areas of these four mutations are localized. The fifth mutation arose in Eurasia and spread from Ireland to India, with its highest frequencies across Northern Europe. The mutation originated ~7500 ybp.

Consecutive analyses of the Old Europe farmers that lived 5000 ybp showed that none had the lactose mutation. These were the farmers that soon fled from the European “killing fields” to Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, and 3500 ybp their fraction reached South-Central Asia as Indo-Arians and without lactose mutation. The mutation-free farmers of the 

Old Europe were supplanted by R1b Kurgans, the forebears of the later Scythians, they came to Europe in waves after 6500 ybp, now they constitute a majority of the Western European population, and they brought the lactose-persistence mutation to Europe. Another telling focus of lactose-persistence is bordering on India, it is the area of the ancient Indo-Scythians and Indo-Saka, another tentacle of the Central Asian nomadic Kurgans. In Europe, the exponential spread of lactose-persistence spread to 75% of the population. The estimated duration to get to 50% lactose tolerance frequency is 6,000 years, and even Mongols, who switched to animal husbandry at about 200 BC, have only about 50% tolerance frequency.

The Old Europe population of haplogroups G2a (20 samples) and I2a1(2 samples) from 5000 ybp did not carry the 13910TSNP lactose tolerance mutation (South France, [Lacan et al, 2011, Ancient DNA reveals male diffusion through the Neolithic Mediterranean route//Proceedings of the USA National Academy of Sciences, vol. 108 no. 24]). The samples dated just a little later, 5000-4500 ybp, from the Basque country in the Pyrenees, had that mutation in 27% of the samples [Plantinga et al, 2012, Low prevalence of lactase persistence in Neolithic South-West Europe, European Journal of Human Genetics]. This is consistent with the hypothesis that circum-Mediterranean R1b Celtic migrants from the N. Pontic brought lactose tolerance to Europe, that Celtic migrants brought animal husbandry to the Western Europe, and that R1b is associated with the Türkic people. The results are still spotty, but they are consistent with the origin of the Eurasian-type mutation. The Indo-Aryans departed E. Europe 1000 years later than the Celtic arrival to Iberia, and they (the Indo-Aryans) did not bring along their lactose tolerance.

50 .  Anthropology and demography recognized importance of safe drinking water for the survival of humanity, and defined two methods of disinfecting drinking water that divided humanity into two sundered camps, boilers and alcoholics. Boilers disinfected their drinking water by boiling, they developed the culture of tea; alcoholics disinfected their drinking water by mixing it with fermented products, they developed the culture of wine, bear, koumiss. However important was the safe drinking water for sedentary populations, tied to the same water sources for generations, it was even more important for the nomads that had to cross desert tracts as a routine part of their economy; a murrain of the horses could be tolerated, but epidemic among shepherds ensues a disaster. The sparseness and isolation of the nomadic population exaggerated the problem: an epidemic involving only few dozen people on the march, driving their herds to the remote pastures, could wipe out a whole clan. Scholars accurately divided the sedentary world in respect to the water disinfection, but the nomadic landmass largely escaped their scrutiny, and the role of fermented milk drinks in carrying on cultural and technological exchanges between sedentary isolates so far remains in a shade. The ancient writers mention fermented koumiss, also spelled out as fermented mare milk, as a drink of the Scythians, Sarmatians, Huns, Türks, and anything in between and afterwards, the Türkic koumiss tradition belongs as much to the modern times as to the 1st mill. BC.

The Türkic diluted koumiss is called airan (it is Kımız (at sütü) not airan (ayran), airan is from yoghurt-SB), it is lactose free, and can be used by sedentary people noted for their lactose intolerance, in Iran it is called doogh, and is drunk equally by its Türkic and non-Türkic population. Notably, in contradiction with the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory, the Indo-Arian India belongs to the boiling world, the Indo-Arians did not bring the most essential horse nomadic sanitary tradition to the Indian subcontinent. The “Ossetes” have no part of it, while the distinctive feature of the neighboring Karachai-Balkarian kitchen is koumiss, along with the typically Scythian fare of the horse-flesh, foal shashlik “kazi” etc. The “Ossetian” Digors, however, have little to do with the “Ossetes”, not only the “Ossetes” do not understand the Digor language, are Christians versus the Moslem Digors, but the Digor cuisine is also distinct from the “Ossetian”, it is the cuisine of their neighbors Türkic Balkars, with koumiss and horse-flesh. This distinction extends to the past, in 1779/1783, Jacob Reineggs identified Digors with Bulgarians-Utigurs, Besse singled out Digors for a close kinship of Digors, Balkarians, Karachais and Hungarians. In China, fermented koumiss is an isolated tradition of the Türkic pastoralist minority there, the sedentary agriculturists there keep drinking solely boiled tinctures. Neither Chinese, nor Indians had a prohibition against the airan-type drinks, and in Muslim countries it was allowed under Sharia, thus excepting a possibility of the alien tradition suffering from ideological injunctions.

51 .  In the mythology of the Scytho-Ossetian-Iranian theory a prominent place occupy the Indo-European blonds and the corollary Indo-Aryan blondes. Not once the discovery of the light-haired dead was hailed as an evidence of the linguistic Indo-Europeanism. Had anybody ever seen a blond Brahman, Indian, or a Persian? Chroniclers repeatedly mention light-haired Türkic tribes of different provenance (Tele, Usuns, Kipchaks, etc.). Apparently, the genes for the light hair and eyes accumulated among the northern Türkic people who coexisted and admixed with the Fennic people, that admixture is reflected in the proportion of the haplogroup N among the Türkic people. The Caucasoid remains found in the Altai royal kurgans, and the Caucasoid remains found in the Tarim basin were all found to be consistent with Uigur or South Siberian Türkic population [http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/60_Genetics/ThorntonSchurr2004-OJATarimUigurGenetics.pdf]. At the same time, all chronicles that describe Brahmans, Indians, or Persians never mention that “Brahmans are blonds”, or that they are notable for their light eyes. Ditto for the Indians. Ditto for the Persians.

Solely for the Western Iranian people (excluding Kurds, Lurs and Bakhtiari), anthropological descriptions for the Iranic people do allow some Near Eastern type dull green eyes and 7% non-black or dark brown hair, an obvious admixture to their genetic pool. No wonder, these people lived with the Semitic and Near Eastern Guties, Turuks, and other nomads for 2.5 millennia, plenty of time to gain some variety while preserving their core phenotype. On trekking across Central Asia, the Indo-Arians could not conceptually totally lose their blondish genetic phenotype, along with all the hallmarks of the traditional nomadic economy and culture, all the while preserving their own Arian language intact.

In the human history, the genetics of the light hair and light eyes, like the genetics of the lactose tolerance, is an abnormal deviation, and is transmitted to the future generations in the directional and restricted genetic exchange; accordingly the presence of the fair hair and light eyes requires quite specific ancestors, either northern Eurasians (read: the Finns, i.e. the carriers and descendants of the Y-DNA haplogroup NO) with a unique mutation, or Papuans/Melanesians of the Y-DNA haplogroup D with a unique ASPM mutation. To meet the Scythian-Ossetian-Iranian theory and meet the blondish genetic phenotype, the linguistic Brahmins, Indo-Aryans, and Iranians had to co-exist for long and frequent periods with either Finnish North Eurasian blonds, or with a certain group of Papuan/Melanesian blonds, and then lose their genetic heritage step-wise upon reaching the end of their migration. Such a fastidious scenario can exist only in the Scythian-Ossetian-Iranian hoax and folk tales.

52 .  Nearly all remains in the kurgan burials were found to be of Caucasoid-Mongoloid admixture with clinal distribution of Mongoloid component receding from the east to the west [Bouakaze, 2009, http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/60_Genetics/TeleGeneticsBouakaze2009En.htm; Keyser, 2009, http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/60_Genetics/TeleGeneticsKeyser2009En.htm]. Non-admixed Caucasians are rare and noted by archeologists as atypical addition to the local population. Neither the Aryan, Indo-Arian, Indian, or Persian studies ever identified any notable fraction of Mongoloid admixture in their make-up. On top of that, their cultural inhibitions would not allow Mongoloid admixture, and their marriage traditions preclude a massive penetration of Mongoloid traits into the bulk of their population. That is confirmed by genetic analyses, the few thousand Mongols of the Chingizid Persia did not leave significant genetic imprint on the Persian population, the nomadic armies that ruled India did not leave significant genetic imprint on the native Indian population, and the Caucasoid-Mongoloid descendants of the kurgan burials are not traceable in the Brahman caste.

53 .  The flood of recent genetic studies of the kurgan culture internments clearly left the Indo-Iranians outside of the picture. A simple statistical compilation of the genetic cognates leaves Türkic people squarely in the center (Tuva/R1a, Kazakh/C, Altaians/R1a, N. Altaians/R1a, i.e. Kipchaks, Teleuts, Shors, Turkish/J, Sakha-Yakuts/N3), with fringes occupied by Fennic Mansi, Tunguses, and… the Portuguese, and the rest are framed into a wreath of murky definitions like Paleo-Sibirian, Asiatic, Central Asian, and North-Eastern Asian, which likely describe the very same core group and fringes. The Portuguese sample is likely an Alan marker. Notably, two studies of Andronov culture kurgans brought up mixed Caucaso-Mongoloids and blue eyes [Bouakaze, 2009, http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/60_Genetics/TeleGeneticsBouakaze2009En.htm; Keyser, 2009, http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/60_Genetics/TeleGeneticsKeyser2009En.htm]. Nowhere under the blue sky close to the kurgans are mentioned any genetic Brahman Aryans or Iranians. A small fraction of Indians is mentioned in one study, confirming a millennia-old alliance of Central Asian nomads and Indians, especially visibly reflected in the Buddhist influence in the earliest recorded Türkic toreutics [C. Lalueza-Fox, 2004, http://s155239215.onlinehome.us/turkic/60_Genetics/CentralAsian13BC-1BC_gensEn.htm] and in the Old Türkic Buddhist lexis. The sparse and open nomadic population did absorb some input from the huge Indian human mass, but the reverse is not true, except for the ethnic isles in India (e.g. Gujratis, Jats) and in Afganistan-Pakistan (e.g. Duranies, the Saka clan of Pashtuns), the nomadic admixture was statistically insignificant to affect the indigenous population on the Indian subcontinent as a whole.

54 .  Of the nominally 82 distinct Türkic ethnic groups, many of which consist of distinct subgroups that are separate ethnicities in their own right, only a smaller portion has been genetically examined, and of those only a small portion was examined comprehensively. However, the available picture provides sufficient information to depict an exceptional picture. The spectrum of admixtures across the range of the genetic portraits is consistent with the literary and archeological Eurasian spread of the Scythian and Sarmatian people. Among the Türkic phylum it includes characteristic genetic lines innate for Tunguses, Mongols, Chinese, Kamchatkans, Eniseans, Fennic people, Tibetans, Indians, Caucasian peoples, Balkan peoples, Slavic peoples, West European, and Scandinavian peoples. That Eurasian genetic spectrum of admixtures, although still with essentially incomplete inventory, can't be matched by any other group in the Eurasia, and specifically by the people tapped in the construct of the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory [Graphic images: Türkic Genetic Charts]. The Türkic genetic picture is perfectly consistent with the literary records, myths and sagas, archeological, anthropological, and ethnological evidence.

55 .  Two facts are well-established, one that the European Scythians originated in the Altai area and moved to Europe from there. It was established by tracing the route of the Scythian kurgans [Alekseev A Yu. (2001), “Chronology of Eurasian Scythian Antiquities Born by New Archaeological and 14C Data”//Radiocarbon, Vol. 43, No 2B, 2001, pp. 1085-1107]. The other fact is that Amerindians descended from the Eastern Eurasian peoples. Naturally, the IE people originated in the Western Eurasia, their Indo-Arian branch trekked eastward to the Indian subcontinent and the Near East from the Eastern European Plain after 2000 BC, they predictably should be genetically different from the Amerindians, and predictably some Siberian and Eastern Eurasian people would share some markers with the Amerindians. This obvious foresight found confirmation on both sides. The mtDNA Hg X is a suitable marker restricted to the northern Amerindians, including Ojibwa, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Sioux, Yakima, and Na Dene-speaking Navajo (Brown M.D. et al., (1998) “mtDNA haplogroup X: an ancient link between Europe/ Western Asia and North America?”//Am J Hum Genet 63 pp.1852-1861). The historical Indo-Iranians do in fact lack the mtDNA Hg X, while it is present, first of all, in the Türkic Azeri population (4%). The Azeri population also shares the appellation As-People of the Ash-guzai Scythians, and also happened to live in the historical Scythian Sakacene in the territory of the modern Azerbaijan. Then it is present in the Türkic Bashkir population (4%) that straddles the Ural mountains. Also it is present in the Türkic Chuvash population (1%) that now straddles the Itil/Volga middle course; then it is present in the Türkic Nogai population (4%) that migrated to the Eastern Europe from the Central Asia in the course or after the Mongol conquest; then it is present in the Türkic Turkish population (3%) that generally migrated westward from the Central Asian Oguz Yabgu state early in the 11th c. AD.

The genetic marker is consistent with the linguistic observations, it was found that the agglutinative Na Dene languages share some basic lexicon with the Türkic languages. What is especially interesting, the mtDNA Hg X appears to be a female companion of the male Y Hg R1b, its spread duplicates the 3rd mill. BC route of the Hg R1b from the Eastern Europe by circum-Mediterranean and overland routes to the Western Europe, with some traces left in the area between the Middle Asia and the Near East by the Scythian, Hunnic, and Türkic horse riders. Under the Scytho-Iranian Theory, the picture would not be so decisively black-and-white, the Indo-Arians would be obligated to share at least some of the Türkic and Amerindian traits. The biggest problem of the Scytho-Iranian Theory is its utter inability to predict future developments, like the results of the Scythian kurgans' C14 radiocarbon tracing, the Türkic-Amerindian-Ash-guzai Scythian genetic links, or the phenomenon of Hg mtX appearing in the west of the Eurasia and in N. America. The Theory is a backward-looking, solely linguistic theory, with a myopic time limit horizon within the 17th-20th cc. on the outside.

56 .  Anthropological studies invariably uncover Caucaso-Mongoloids from the oldest to the newest explored kurgans. No kurgans of any time period found population free of Mongoloid admixture. Odontological examinations corroborate craniological studies, and like the craniological results they indicate a growth in the proportion of the Mongoloid component starting in the 1st mill. BC that raised the initial Mongoloid contribution. In the vicinity of the Aral Sea, along the Central Asian rivers, the original population was craniometrically Uraloid (read: Fennic, i.e. originally East Asian); the aridification at the end of the 2nd mill. BC displaced the Central Asian Uraloid population to the north, to the Urals and to the northern Central Asia, likely adding their Uralic genes to the genetic pools of the Andronov culture.

Linguistic speculation on the fate of the Central Asian Uraloid population does not exist, but it is unlikely that anybody will ever suggest that the distinct Uraloids were IE speakers. The 2nd mill. BC was the time of opposing migrations, part of the N.Pontic agrarian population was migrating south-east across Central Asia to the Iranian Plateau and Indian subcontinent, and the Central Asian pre-agricultural Uraloids were migrating north and north-east toward the forest-steppe belt.

57 .  The maps of the modern Eurasian and European blood group distribution show a clear dividing line cutting the Eastern Europe into northern and southern halves. The northern half of the Group B allele runs latitudinally across the Moscow latitude along the archeological line that separates kurgan burials zone south of the Oka River from the Fennic area north of that line. The southern half, where the frequency of the Group B allele exceeds 15%, runs across Ural mountain range in the east to the Hungary in the west, abutting the Black and Caspian seas, and extending deep into the northeastern Caucasus area almost reaching the modern Iran, it closely matches the historical belt of the Scythian, Sarmatian, Hunnic, and Türkic tribes.

The modern Eurasian distribution of the Group B allele maxes out in the meridional center of the Eurasia, with the highest values coinciding with the map of the Ephtilite state, Middle Asia, and extending via historical lands of the Türkic Tele tribes east of the Ural mountains all the way to the Kar Sea. The blood group B is not a Mongolic trait. Notably, the elevated levels of blood group B in the north-east of the Western Europe coincides with elevated traces of Türkic languages in the same areas. The blood group B distribution is consistent with the Türkic Scytho-Sarmatians, and can't be explained with the Scytho-Iranian Theory, which obviously would generate a drastically different distribution.

58 .  Hippocrates, “De Aeris, Aquis et Locu”, lib. iv., and Strabo noted a weird practice of artificial cranial deformation among the Scythians. Same practice is extensively documented among Sarmatians, and its traces are documented in the area of the Central Europe that Ptolemy called “Sarmatia”. The “Smithsonian Report” for 1859 published an article by Prof. A. Retzius that noted that the custom of artificial cranial deformation still existed in the 19th century in the south of France (the lands of the Burgund horse nomads) and in parts of Turkey. That custom was described among the Kushans, Huns, Avars, Kangars, Bulgars, and Türks, and among other Türkic people. Notably, that custom was also observed among the R1b people in Egypt, both the skulls of Tutankhamen and Nefertiti were artificially deformed. That custom was not documented among the Indo-Iranic people; more than that, the “Encyclopedia Iranica” emphatically declares that Iranian people did not practice artificial cranial deformation. Then, Iranian people could not have been the Scythians. The custom of artificial cranial deformation is extremely ancient, it was noted on the Neanderthal skulls. The proportion of population with cranial deformation among the nomadic people who practiced it in antiquity was very high, among Sarmats it reached 70-80%. According to the debased Soviet archeology, those were cranially-deformed Iranians that did not practice artificial cranial deformation. Go figure.


57.  In the arena of politicized history, some consequences of the Scytho-Iranian Theory lead to a circus-like comedy situations.

Take Ossettes, a textbook example of a scientific folly. In Türkic, yassı is “flat”, alan/alaŋ is “flat (location)”, alan yazï is “plain flat”, i.e. “plains”, “Flatlander”, “Steppe People”, “Prairie-men”, and the like [H-M. Yiliuf, 2008,“Origin of Some Ethnonyms (Kirgiz, Kazak, Circassian, Alan, Yas, Kaytak, Kaysak, Alash, Khakas, Walach, Roma, Dungan)”, Semey, Republic of Kazakhstan, ISBN 9965-13-699-8], the Georgian term Ovs had no linguistic or ethnological meaning that we know of, the term was applied to the nomadic tribes north of Georgia, it was a geographical definition for hate-and-love neighbors, whose name in Türkic was Yassı/Assi “flat”, and Taulu “of upland, of plateau”, i.e. “mountaineers”.

The Russian conquest early in the 19th c. (Digoria, the present North Ossetia, was occupied in 1767, Balkaria in 1828) captured the N.Caucasus lands with numerous ethnic names, including the people Digors (politically in Northern Ossetia), Irons (politically in Southern Ossetia), and Taulases (Tawlases/Tavlases, self-name Tualläg, Türkic Tawlu “mountaineer”, politically in Southern Ossetia), whom the Russian military administration, with all the military decisiveness and intellect, at first termed Tatars, a generic for “Türkic people”. During the Russian conquest, a Russian military report of 1834 called Karachais and Balkars the “Ossetian tribes”. Then the territory was subdivided into military districts and one of them was named Osset. The Osset comanderie controlled the tribes of Digors, Irons, and Tawlases. Thus, the Russian politonym “Osset” covered not the people Ases (Balkars' self-name Ases, Karachais self-name Kara Ases/Harase “Black Ases”), but their neighboring tribes who fell under that new designation named after their comanderie.

It took generations and repeated registration and passportization to induce people to get used to the new politonym, and now each Ossette has 2 or even 3 ethnonyms, with the latest addition of the Northern and Southern Ossetias. Meanwhile, the Iron Ossetes continue to call their Türkic Balkar neighbors Ases, and Karachais - Ghara-Ases. Neither Irons, nor Digors, nor Taulases call themselves Ases (although it is a part of their historical ethnonym), it remains their name for the neighboring peoples. The Balkars hold themselves to be Ases, their substrate self-appellation is Alan, they do not use the term Ases for Ossetes, or Irons, or Digors, or Taulases.

In Türkic, the Tauly Ases are “Mountain Ases”, they were the closest neighbors to the Georgians, and apparently gave their name to the Georgian term “Ovs”. Ases were a male dynastic tribe of the As-Tokhar confederation, and As was an ethnonym of the ruling tribe and politonym for all other members of the confederation. But after the Russian military blunder of naming Ossetes after the once-dominant Balkars-Ases, now the Ossetes became Ases themselves, and claim the legacy of the Alans. The absurdity made a full half-circle, without the Türkic Balkars-Ases, the Ossetes would not have their new appellation.

Take Azeris, whose name is a calque of As-kiji and As-guzes, following another Türkic naming convention for naming the tribes: As-eri is “As People”. Historically, a southern group of the Ashguzai Scythians settled in the immense foothill valley south of the Caucasus. Their land gained a name Sakastan, Sestan, Seistan, and the like. They remained there ever since, keeping their ethnonym Azeri for two and a half millennia, that's how they were known to all their neighbors, including the Achaemenids, Parthians, Persians, and Arabs. Ibn Hawkal (travelled 943-969, written in 977) reported that in Caucasus are two lingua franca, Azeri and Persian; that was more than two centuries before the Mongol invasion and the alleged Turkification of the Azeris. For exactly the same reasons the two powers, one in the north, and the other in the south, ventured to falsify the history of the Azeri people for their own empire-building ambitions, de-”ancientize” their history, steal and re-manufacture Azeri ethnicity and history, and in the process pauperize their own histories. The absurdity initiated by the Scytho-Iranian Theory made a full half-circle.

59 .  The Iranian/Ossetian Scythian theory has all the traits of a politically correct theory. It is built on a thinnest foundation of a still obscure language, is not supported by the evidence, and does not provide a foresight connected with what is usually called a scientific theory. Some evidence, like the infamous Zelenchuk inscription, has all traits of a purposeful fabrication: not only there is no trace of either the monument, nor of the cemetery claimed by the author of the theory, but the published inscription was successfully read in four languages belonging to three separate linguistic families, a sure manifestation of certain nonsense. The cultural heritage, traceable for millennia among other peoples of the world, has not been shown to display links between the Ossetian, Pashtu, or other Iranian-speaking peoples, and the details of the Scythian life described by the ancient writers.

No traces specific to the Scythian nomadism of the historical period found their parallels in the historically attested Indo-European societies. That is well shown in the work of a prominent expert on nomadism A. Khazanov [A. Khazanov, “Nomads and the Outside World”, Cambridge University Press, 1984]. A. Khazanov noted a telling detail on the meaning of the kurgans: the fill of the tested kurgans was of the best humus transported over great distances, transported in incredible quantities for large kurgans. A. Khazanov interpreted that as the Scythian kurgans representing pasture, the deceased were given not only horses for travel, but were also supplied with a symbolic pasture for the horses. Every nomad knew that a well-fed horse was a necessary condition for a successful enterprise, and what could be more important than the travel to Tengri for reincarnation. As often happens, later generations are unaware of the reasons for their rites, and probably the modern followers of the Kurgan tradition do not have a clue on why they are building kurgans. Naturally, the historical Indo-Iranians did not built pastures for their deceased, for them kurgan was an alien and weird custom.

Ethnic appellations

60 .  Most of the Türkic tribes carry compound names, with a fairly narrow range of the the second component that generally means “People, Men, Tribe”. The most popular Türkic designations are -hun for “kin, kindred tribe”, -as, -guz/-gut for “tribe”, -sai/-tai for “clan”. The sources did not record any native plural endings. If a plural marker had been used in the endonym in the native language, it would have been carried over in the alien sources as an integral part of the name, and would have reached us in the Classical records. We do not have any trace of that. Where the plural endings are used, they belong to the alien language of the writer: Scythae, Massgetae, Kangha, and the like. The Iranic names would have included plural markers -ha (inanimate) or -an/-yan (animate), like in Iran and Eran, or Kangha for Kangar, there the Classical informers used colloquial Persian designation. The typically Türkic absence of the plural ending in the ethnonyms of the Central Asian nomads was noted in the scientific literature (S.P. Tolstov, “Ancient Horezm”, Moscow, 1947, p. 243). With few exceptions like Kangha (Ch. Kangju, Gr. Kangar), the Scythian ethnonyms do not have any traces of the Iranian origin (listing follows).

At times, the generic for “tribe” is used as an ethnonym: Huns, Ases, Guzzes, Oguzes. The use of the determinant -hun for a wide range of the Central Asian nomads, including Huns, Türks, Kirkuns, Agach-eri, On-ok, Tabgach, Comans, Yomuts, Tuhses, Kuyan, Sybuk, Lan, Kut, Goklan, Orpan, Ushin and others shows that the term “Hun” in each separate case was endonym of a tribe, but at the same time it was a wider concept, reflecting a certain commonality of ethnic origin [Yu.A. Zuev, “Ethnic History of the Usuns”//Works of Kazakh SSR Academy of Sciences, Alma-Ata, Vol. 8, 1960, p. 12]. A large number of nomadic tribes included versions of the -guz/-gut for “tribe”, with dialectal allophonic versions -goth, -get, -gur: Oguzes, Ogurs, Guzzes, Guties, Visigoths, Massagets, Onogurs, and so on. A number of the Scythian tribes had -sai/-tai for “clan” in their names or in the names of their eponymic ancestors. Most of the tribes bearing Türkic determinants are positively known as Türkic tribes, and none of them carry Iranian determinants (M.Zakiev, Origin of Türks and Tatars”, Moscow, “Insan”, 2002) 

61 .  Classical sources gave us numerous ethnic names for the Scythian tribes and clans. Under the Scytho-Ossetian-Iranian Theory these people do not exist any more, they have all vaporized. More likely, vaporized only those designations that were better known not as permanent tribal names, but with some other appellations, like personal name of a leader or location. Some names are still alive and kicking: Agathyrs, Alazones, Assaioi, Gelon, Hyrcani, Massaget, Parthians, Sai/Saka. Most of them still are Türkic-speaking, and all of their names have Türkic etymology that ranges from historically attested to high confidence to most likely, versus either absent or dubious proposed Iranic cognates on a level of wild geese chase. Like the basic elements “tribe”,  “kin”, “clan”,  the tribal ethnonyms are recorded in numerous allophones, variously distorted by alien languages and transcriptions. The very terms Scythian/Saka/Skolot are united by the shared anlaut S'k meaning “piedmont, foothill”, observed in numerous interrelated ethnonyms and toponyms: Saklans, Scots, Scandia, Esgel, Seklers to name just a few out of many dozens.

1. Αγαροι - connected with the name of the Scythian king Agar (Aga “Elder, Senior”, + roi Gk. “royal”, i.e. Senior King)

2. Agathyrs-Akatirs-Katiars - Scythian tribe, name of the people kindred with the Scythians

3. Alazones - (Herodotus) Alat tribe, also Altı Alash (Six Alash [tribes]), Khalaj in Iran, Kalat in Khorasan, Pashtun in Afganistan, Ghalzae in India, Alat in Kazakhstan, and Alat and Alachin in Altai in Russia. Chinese E-lo-chji (root E-lo, -chji is “tribe”) and Boma (calque of Alaat “spotted, motley horse”). Alats were suppliers of motley horses to Chinese.

4. Amadok (Αμαδοκοι) - Scythian tribe or clan

5. Amazons - Scythian female tribe

6. Amurgion (Αμυργιον) - Scythian tribe or clan

7. Arimaspoi (Αριμασποι) - “one-eyed” tribe in Herodotus Geography (arim “one of a pair”, spu/sepi “eye”, i.e. half-eyed, “squinted-eyed”)

8. Arimoi (Αριμοισι) - Cimmerian tribe (Homer). Assyrian (13th century BC) Arima, Urartian Arm (arim “half”, i.e. half-tribe)

9. Assaioi (Ασσαιοι) - Scythian (Stephen the Byzantine), Sarmatian (Ptolemy) tribal name As (Ptolemy was right, or more accurate)

10. Avhat, Avhatai (Αυχαται) - (Herodotus) Scythian clan; av - “hunt”, avchi - “hunter”

11. Budin - people akin to Scythians, lived in forests; budun - “people, masses, dependent tribe”

12. Gelon, Gelons - farming people living in forested land (Herodotus) “Gelons were Greeks, they speak partly in Scythian, and partly in Hellenic”; elan/gelan (Oguz/Ogur) - “snake”, a totem-name

13. Herrs - (Herodotus), lived in Scythia in the Gerros area, a royal necropolis. Gerra “heartland” in Ogur, hence English Earth from Oguz Yer

14. Hyrcani - (Pliny) East of the Caspian, hence the Hyrcanian Sea”. Iyrk is generic “nomad”, Greek/Persian “Iyrkae/Hyrcani” - “nomadic Scythians”

15. Katiars - Scythian clan. Katiars, Avhats, Traspians and Paralats are of the tribe of the royal Scythians - Skolots

16. Massaget (Massagetae) - Scythian/Saka people; lit. “Main, Leading, Head tribe”

17. Myrgetai (Μυργεται) - (Hecateus) Scythian people

18. Palos (Παλος) - (Diodorus Siculus) Scythian clan (Now possibly Pálos/Palóc ethnic group speaking Hungarian)

19. Paralat, Paralates- (Herodotus) Scythian clan

20. Parthians (Παρθυατοι) (Jordanes), Παρθυατοι (“Parthiat” or “Parthyat”) (Aelius Herodian ) - a tribe of Dahae (Tokhar, Togar of P. Trogus) Scythians

21. Sai (Σαιοι, Saioi) (text of an Olbia decree honoring Protogenes) - Scythian tribe, lit. “clan”

22. Saka (Σακαι, Sakai) - Persians called Asian and European Scythians “Sakas”, lit. “Piedmonters, Foothillers”

23. Skolot - (Herodotus) - tribes of Avhats, Katiars, Traspi and Paralat are collectively called Skolots, lit. “Piedmonters, Foothillers”

24. Tiragets - (Pliny, Ptolemy, Strabo) Scythian tribes that lived on the shores of Ister (Danube)

25. Traspies - Scythian tribe or clan, Traspi-Trucks-Thracians

26. Trer, Trers, Trars (Τρηρες, Τραρες) - (Strabo) Cimmerian (Scythian) tribe

27. Tyrus - (Herodotus) Scythian tribe

28. Ugutum - Saka tribe (Assyrian). Guties, Guzes, generic for “tribe”

The following is an utterly incomplete listing of the direct Scythian descendents in the Eurasia. One day, general genetics and DNA genealogy will turn to their genes. A number of future discoveries can be forecasted right now, and undoubtedly discoveries will bring about a wealth of new insights that we do not suspect of yet.

In sources                         Recent

Agathyrs                      Aghajari and Agatharias in Iran. Agathyrsi is one of the two Scythian tribes that in literary sources can be traced from the 6th c. BC to the present. The Türkic Agach-Eriler (Türkic pl. of Agacher) migrated to the region of Marash-Elbistan in Central Anatolia, and then immigrated to the Safavid Persia.

Alazones                       Khalaj in Iran, Kalat in Khorasan, Pashtun in Afganistan, Ghalzae in India, Alat in Kazakhstan, and Alat and Alachin in Altai in Russia.

Assaioi                       As - self-appellation and exonym of Balkars, Karachais. As and Yas was appellation for Bulgars, modern Chuvash and Itil Tatars.

Gelon                       Gilani, Gilaki in Iran, Kaitak in the Caucasus, also a component of Kumyks, Kayı in Turkey, Uran and Uryankhai in Dzungaria. Gelon is one of the two Scythian tribes that can be traced in literary sources from the 6th c. BC to the present. Gelon branch Kayi is one of the most prominent Türkic tribes, they were an “old dynastic” maternal tribe of the Eastern Huns and nucleus of the future Ottoman Empire.

Hyrcani                      Yörük in Turkey, Yürük in Turkmenistan, Mazandarani in Iran

Massaget                      Masgut, a component of Kumyks

Parthians                      Name survived in forms Pers and Farsi, Persia was the name of the country from Antiquity to 1930s, modern name Iran.(Turkmenistan peoples heritage-SB)

Sai/Saka                      Tribes called Türk, where Türk is a tribal name for the tribal descendents of the Saka Kök-Türks, vs. generic name. Saka is a division of Afganistan Pashtuns.


Each presented argument may be infinitely extended to ever smaller incongruent details and traits, the arguments may be disputed, reinterpreted, or skillfully explained away, but the compound picture created by the preponderance of the multi-disciplinary evidence can't be dismissed off-hand. As a theory, the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory has utterly failed, it is unable to explain the past, and is unable to predict the future discoveries, or even to advise on the perspective directions for research.

The de-facto rejection of the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory is happening in front of our eyes with publication of studies that penetrate deeper into the substance, bringing up new and newer controversies and conflicts with the scummy Theory. The “consensus” opinion in favor of the Iranian paradigm is not really there, with only the IE linguistic portion of the global science lagging somewhat behind in adjusting to reality, probably because of the embarrassing vested mass of the past IE efforts and publications. Fortunately, re-evaluation or abandoning of the Iranian paradigm promises to be a boon to the major parties involved, that of Russia, China, Iran, and India, even though the last does not carry a burden of colonial and empire-building aspirations anyway; these countries, and a number of others, will be able to recover their history in a more multi-color, richer, and open fashion, giving credit where the credit is due, and immensely enriching the narrative of their brilliant national histories.

For the historical period, efforts to negate the eyewitness accounts of the contemporaries over and over again bring nothing but failures. Every effort to negate evidence leads to the opposite, a raise of additional, usually independent, corroborating evidence. The evolutionary contiguities between the archeological and literary Scythians and the Türkic people are unmistakable, while in the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory the descendance consist of few dots bridged by gaping disconnects. The cleanest method to follow the Scytho-Osseto-Iranian Theory is to monitor the operation of the “Lord of the gaps” that mysteriously fills evidentiary gaps with notional assertiuons, otherwise called speculative interpretations.

M. Gimbutas artfully reconstructed the IE mythology, religion, and gender relations in the context of the IE's westward kurgan migrations, riding the “Lord of the gaps” to construct the most popular IE creationist story, the so called “mainstream consensus”. The Lord of the gaps did hold its supremacy until the moment of truth, when it encountered the earthly facts: M. Gimbutas confused the eastward movement of the IE's with the much prior westward movement of the Kurgan people, with the two movements separated in time by a whooping millennium and then some. Her conflation let the “Lord of the gaps” loose, but once the gaps are filled with the reproducible mundane evidence, the interpretive arches bridging the gaps collapse in a house of cards fashion.

The tell-tale indicators show up at the first glance at the evidentiary references. The staunchest proponents of the Indo-European paradigm stumble into problems as soon as they leave the sphere of airy constructions and descend to the earthly world. To avoid invoking the ubiquitous Eurasian Türkic sea, the sneakiest proponents turn to the ethnology of Mongols and Chingiz-Khan, the others use Türkic ethnological parallels, in clear manifestation of the lack of the IE examples, independently of the trait on hand: be it yurts, kurgans, burial rituals, mounted warriors, horseflesh, kumis, all kinds of artifacts, myths and legends, genealogical lines, etc.; one way or another they all default to the Türkic examples.

In case of Mongol and Chingiz-Khan detour, the purity of example is solely terminological, the Proto-Mongol foot hunters Dunhu were associated with the Türkic ethnos ever since they were subjugated by the Hunnic Maodun ca 200 BC; some Türkic tribes from the old were called Mongols after half-a-million Huns submitted to the Syanbi Mongol minority in 93 BC and adopted the Mongolic name Syanbi. They continued their undisturbed daily life under the Syanbi politonym, and largely preserved their distinction until the conquest of the Oirat Mongols in the 15th c.

Similarly compromised are the Chingiz-Khan examples, his genealogy ascends to the Tele Uigur dynastic tribe Yaglakar, which became Jalayir in Mongolic, an offshoot of which was the Chingiz-Khan's Borjigin line. The Mongolic examples may confuse only uninitiated, ethnologically they do not extend deeper than the 13th c. for the term “Mongol”, and 200 BC for the term “Syanbi”.

It remains unknown whether any Iranian-speaking tribes ever took to systematic, Scythian-style horse husbandry nomadism. In the course of millennia, numerous foot hunter societies did that, becoming bona fide horse nomads, but examples of sedentary agriculturists becoming transhumant nomads on a tribal level are known only from the archeological observations, evidenced by the “pots that do not talk”. Any evidence that notable masses of peasant people from agricultural societies abandoned their fields, switched to nomadic animal husbandry, and left any documentary evidence on their linguistic affiliation is yet to come to light. In contrast, there is plenty of opposing evidence, that peoples that neighbored horse nomads decisively did not do that: no ethnically Chinese, Indian, Sogdian, Dravidian, Greek, Slavic, or originally Iranic nomads are known from the Classical or later periods. We have the examples of Dunhu, Magyars, and Tibetans becoming nomadic pastoralists, but the type of their original economy is not positively known.