Brig.-Gen. W. H. Fasken, C.B.




THE accompanying notes on “Cimmerians and Scythians” are largely the outcome of the studies during this century—on this particular line—of Mr. H. A. Marchant (171 Waldegrave Road, Brighton 6), whose work, Monumental Facts versus Historical Fiction, was published by R. Banks & Son, Fleet Street, in 1909.

The original summary of those studies, with some additions and notes of my own, I submitted to suitable authorities for criticism, and this paper is the result of further research, suggested by their kindly advice and help.

I have found the article, “Kimmerier,” by Lehmann-Haupt, in Pauly’s Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaften, Vol 21, 1921 (revised edition) most helpful. I wish to thank Mr. C. J. Gadd of the British Museum for arranging to get me an accurate translation, from the German, of this article (69 folio pages), and for translating the quotations from the classics therein himself. Extracts and paraphrases from this article I have marked (L.H.).

I have also made use of:

Higher Criticism and the Monuments (Sayce).

Scythians and Greeks (Minns).

The Fall of Nineveh (Gadd).

Assyria and Babylonia (Pinches).

Ancient Geography (Bunbury).

The Ancient History of the Near East (Hall).

Historians’ History of the World (Vols. I, II and XXVII).

Mesopotamia (Delaporte).

Problems in Biblical and Mesopotamian Ethnography (Gair).





The name Kimmerioi is mentioned once, and once only, in the Odyssey of Homer. On this solitary mention of the name it is said that the Cimmerii (Latin form; Cimmerians, English form) were a very ancient people, numerous and well known, and could not be of Israelitish origin.

Homer lived about the ninth century B.C., but the poems were probably not written down till a later date (The World’s Great Books, Vol. III, pp. 1871, 1875). The Kimmerioi of Homer were located by him in a land “covered in mist and cloud, nor does the sun, shining, look down on them with his rays, either when he mounts to the starry heaven, nor when he turns again to earth from heaven, but doleful night is spread over wretched folk” (Odyssey xi. 14 ff) . To get there, Ulysses—who had been sent by the enchantress Circe to consult the dead in Hades—set out from the Isle of Circe, which was itself a long way west of Greece, in the Mediterranean Sea. To reach it they went to “Oceanus.” In the plan of “The World according to Hecatleus,” in the History of Ancient Geography, by E. H. Bunbury, Oceanus was the encircling sea that ran round all known lands and seas and was outside the Mediterranean Sea, beyond the Pillars of Hercules. The obvious inference is that Cimmeria, which was over realms and seas, and on a distant shore from the “Isle of Circe”—to which Ulysses returned by the aid of Zephyrus (a west wind)—was certainly not in the Black Sea.

William O’Connor Morris (“Ireland,” Cambridge Historical Series, 1896, p. 2) and Ridgeway (“Early Days of Greece,” Ency. Brit., xi Edit., Vol. V) both agree in the probability that Cimmerii, and Cimbri are one race. This certainly points to Homer’s Cimmeria being in N.W. Europe. This, too, is confirmed in Dictionary of Classic Antiquities, by Dr. Oskar Seiffert, translated from the German by Nettleship and Sandys, 1908: “The realm of Hades . . . in the Odyssey, its entrance, and outer courts, are on the western side of the river Oceanus. . . . Here is the abode of the Cimmerians, veiled in darkness and cloud, where the sun never shines.”

Duncker, in his History of Greece (Bentley, 1886, p. 193) says: “On the northern shores of the Black Sea the Milesian sailors found a much more severe winter than in their own home . . . and thought they had found the end of the world, and the land of the wintry Cimmerians. . . . When, beyond the Black Sea, a new expanse of water (the Sea of Azov) disclosed itself, the mariners thought that they had at last reached Oceanus, and the entrance to Maeotis received the name of Cimmerian Bosphorus.” Especially as this seemed to be confirmed by: “on the western side of the Black Sea lay, not far from the mouth of the Danube, an island, the white limestone cliffs of which shone from afar: the Greeks called it ‘The White Island (Leuke)’.”

A similar geographical blunder led our first Atlantic navigators to term the American aboriginal an “Indian,” because they were under the impression that they had sailed round the world and had come upon India.

It looks as if the mythological Kimmerioi of Homer were in reality residents of the White Island north-west from Greece, and probably not, at that time, occupying the Crimea in the east. There is, moreover, no mention of the Cimmerians among the people of Thrace, nor in Scythia about the Crimea, nor on any part of the Black Sea until the seventh century B.C., when they are FOUND on the south side of that water.

Lehmann-Haupt, in his article, “Kimmerier” (referred to in the preface), argues that “Homer knew nothing actually of the Cimmerian invasions, but only knew the Cimmerians in their northern homes” (§ 50). “Homer’s description does not apply in the least to conditions in the Crimea, but has in mind the long winter nights in the north to which the long summer days correspond.” In confirmation, he cites Niebuhr (Bell. Goth II, XV, p. 205), “where Precopius on the basis of personal communications, made by reliable authorities from among the Heruli (or Eruli), who still maintained connexion with those of their tribe who had remained in Scandinavia, gives an intimate account of forty days’ light in summer and forty days’ darkness in winter” (§ 55). Finsler’s Homer (1914) p. 25 says: “It has long been recognised that Odyssey x, lines 82-85, refer to the long summer days {NOTE: “. . . we came to (line 82) Telepylus of the Laestrygonians (83) where herdsman calls to herdsman as he drives in his flock, and the other answers as he drives his forth. There a man who never slept could have (85) earned a double wage, one by herding cattle . . .” (Loeb Classical Library).} . . . vice versa, the account of the country of the Cimmerians which was plunged in eternal night supplies definite evidence of the long northern winter night; this country must surely be Jutland, the Cimmerian peninsula” (§ 56). “Homer’s description therefore does not fit the Cimmerians. It may well apply, however, to the home of the Cimbri. . . .(§ 57.) When, therefore, the Cimbri penetrated from their northern homes as far as Italy and showed themselves to be a tribe of marauding nomads, this circumstance led to the regarding of the Cimmerians of the Crimea as a scattered branch of the Cimbri . . .” From Strabo (VII, 2, 2. C. 293) it is learned that Poseidonius also conjectured that “the Cimmerian Bosporus was named after them, being equivalent to ‘Cimbrian,’ the Greeks naming the Cimbri ‘Kimmerioi’ (§ 58).” A similar view is expressed in Plutarch (Caius Marius in the Vitae Parallelae): “Others, however, say that the Cimmerians who were first known to the ancient Greeks were not a large part of the entire people . . . whereas the largest and most warlike part of the people dwelt at the confines of the earth, along the outer sea . . . From these regions, then, these Barbarians sallied forth against Italy, being called at first Cimmerians, and then, not inappropriately, Cimbri” (§ 58).

Sharon Turner, Arnold, Niebuhr, and Lappenburg all say that Cimbri and Cimmerii were identical. Lehmann-Haupt cites Bury in The Homeric and Historic Kimmerians (Klio VI, 79-88), who discusses the extraordinary account by Procopius of the island of Brittia, based on local accounts, which he inserted as a digression in his Gothic Wars (IV, 20). To this island the souls of the dead are rowed over by inhabitants of the mainland facing it, who are summoned to the task by nocturnal knocking at their doors. This spirit-island is clearly characteristic, judging from the details concerning its inhabitants (“and the names of these nations are Angili, Frissones, and Brittones, the last named from the island itself”), Angles, Frisians and Britons. The details, however, stopped Procopius (as Bury points out) from relating them to the Britain he knew so well, and caused him to place this “double” of Britain between that country and Thule (Scandinavia: Bury 80, 3) (L. H., § 62).

Lehmann-Haupt concludes his long analysis (18 folio pages) of “The Cimmerians in Homer and other Myth”: “Thus the information relating to the Cimmerians in Odyssey XI only lacks any proper connection if, with Finsler, who himself relates it to Jutland, one places it among the connected complex of data, all of which point to the Black Sea” (§ 65).

There is, however, a considerable volume of opinion that Homeric geography reflects Ionian geographical knowledge of the colonising period in Pontus, but others regard most of the Homeric statements as reflecting an earlier phase of navigation, and as mainly referring to regions west of Greece. The description of the Ocean Stream certainly looks like an account of the tidal currents at Gibraltar, and it is quite probable that early adventurers passed out into the Atlantic, and reached a cloudy and fog-infested climate.


Rogers, in Babylonia and Assyria, says: “In the reign of Esarhaddon there was felt, for the first time, in all its keenness, the danger of an overflow of the land by Indo-European migrations.”

After giving the Scythians’ own account of their traditional history (H. IV, 5-7) and the Greek account (H. IV, 8-10) Herodotus continues (H. IV, 11 and 12): “There is also another different story in which I am more inclined to put faith than in any other.” Not a very convincing method of introducing a statement of so-called history, not contemporary, but put together two or three centuries after the events occurred, and aptly described by Minns as “a confused account of happenings which it is almost impossible to credit.”

The story is familiar; the nomad Scythians, inhabiting Asia, being hard pressed in war by the Massagetae, fled away across the Araxes (here the Volga) to the Cimmerian country (Crimea and South Russia). On their approach the Cimmerians got frightened. The King’s party wanted to fight, the people wanted to retreat. They then divided into two equal forces and fought together. “All the Royal tribe were slain, and the people buried them near the river Tyras, where their grave is still to be seen. Then the rest of the Cimmerians departed, and the Scythians, on their coming, took possession of a deserted land.”

Then a strange thing happened; the Cimmerians (excluding, presumably, the Royal tribe who had all been slain) fled, not in continuation of the line of the momentum of the attack, that is from east to west, but back, west to east, along the same track by which the attack had come. Then the Cimmerians turned sharply to the right, by the coast of the Black Sea, while their pursuers, the Scythians, over-shot them and keeping the Caucasus on their right, proceeded inland and poured into Media.

Edward Meyer, Geschichte des Alterthums, from Historians’ History (II, p. 140), evidently sees the absurdity of all this, and says: “About the eighth century, the Scythian Scoloti, one of the Iranian nomadic tribes, ostensibly crowded out by the Massagetae, crossed the Volga and the Don, and drove the Cimmerians out of their abode. . . . In all probability they went over the Danube into Thrace, being joined by Thracian tribes on the way” (my italics).

Bunbury (Ancient Geography, I, p. 208) says: “It seems impossible to believe the story (by Herodotus), thus told, or to connect it with the Cimmerian invasion of Lower Asia.”

Again, Niebuhr has shown that there is great intrinsic improbability in Herodotus’ narrative. He also thought that, they (the Cimmerians) must have come to the Thracian Bosphorus, for they must have got into Asia Minor somehow, to attack Lydia.

Minns (Scythians and Greeks, 1913, p. 41) writes: “Mullenhoff (D.A. III, p. 19, ff.) supposes that there never were any Cimmerians at all north of the Euxine, that they are only known in Asia Minor, that their name was traditionally assigned to the earthworks and settlements about the Bosphorus, just as now, earthworks in Eastern Europe are assigned to Trajan, far beyond the limits of the Roman Empire, and that they were really invaders from Thrace or the parts beyond. . . . It is hard to think that Herodotus simply invented all the story of the Cimmerians coming from the north side of the Pontus, though, even so, it is at first sight difficult to see precisely how things happened; how if the Cimmerians fled south-east, there should have been their Kings’ tombs on the Tyras (Dniester). . . .”

That in the eighth century B.C., the Cimmerians, after losing half their total strength about the Crimea, and after being pursued by the Scythians through the Caucasus, should revive to such an extent that their pressure on Urartu—a strong state which had lately defeated even the Assyrians under Sargon (L.H., § 10)—was sufficient to cause (according to Lehmann-Haupt, § 9) their great King Rusas I to commit suicide, is beyond the limit of credence. The more one looks at a modern map of south-west Asia the more fantastic the Herodotus story appears, especially if one uses—as the famous Marquis of Salisbury advised for such studies—a large scale map.


It is to be noted that accurately dated history, in these parts, commences with the “limmu” of 893 B.C., the “limmu” being the magistrate appointed for the year, and after whom the year was named. (Ancient History of the Near East, Hall, p. 445.)

The first captivity of Israel (Reuben, Gad and half-tribe of Manasseh) was in 734 B.C. (cuneiform records of Tiglath Pilezar) and not in 740 B.C. (Ussher). They were brought to Halah, Habor, Hara and to the river of Gozan (Gozan was, probably, a district stretching across Upper Mesopotamia) where, before long, they must have been coming into contact with the fighting between Assyria and Urartu and her ally Minnai (Ararat and Minni of Jer. li, 27) during the years 719-714 B.C. (L.H., § 7-9).

The second captivity of Israel (the remainder of the ten tribes) was carried out when Sargon captured Samaria, after a three years’ siege in 722 B.C. (Assyrian monuments), and 721 (Ussher). Josephus Bk. ix, ch. 14 is headed: “How Shalmanezer took Samaria by force and TRANSPLANTED THE TEN TRIBES INTO MEDIA, and brought the nation of the Cuthæans into their country”; also in Section I of the same he says: “Shalmanezer, the King of Assyria . . . besieged Samaria three years and took it by force in the ninth year of the reign of Hoshea (actually taken by Sargon after Shalmanezer’s death) . . . and quite demolished the government of the Israelites, and transplanted ALL THE PEOPLE into Media and Persia, and when he had removed these people out of this their land, he transplanted other nations out of Cuthah (a place so called for there is still a river of that name in Persia) into Samaria, and into the country of the Israelites. So the Ten Tribes of Israelites were removed out of Judæa.”

It is necessary to draw special attention to this because there is reiterated argument that the removal was only partial.

From Problems in Biblical and Mesopotamian Ethnography and Geography, by G. R. Gair, we get the following:

(Page 12) “In the account of the first deportation of Israelites there is no mention of Media at all. At the second and more important captivity the cities of the Medes are distinctly mentioned. Yet Media was not conquered till about 715 B.C. In that year Sargon conquered the Medes as far as the Elburz Ranges (Mt. Demavend) and received the tribute of 28 chieftains. Again in 713 B.C., 46 chiefs were taken.”

(Page 17) Inscription of Khorsabad translated by Oppert. “I besieged and occupied the town of Samaria and took 27,280 of its inhabitants captive.”

(Page 18) If the ruling caste of the Kingdom of Samaria only were deported it seems strange that the Assyrians went to such pains to repeople the land. We read in 2 Kings xvii, 24: “And the King of Assyria brought men from Babylon and from Cuthah and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel,” while on the columns of Khorsabad (Records of the Past, translated by Dr. J. Oppert) referring to the year after the fall of Samaria we read: “I marched against the tribes of Tasidi, of Ibadidi, of Marsemani, of Hayapai, of the land (of Arabia). I pulled them out of their dwelling and I placed them in the town of Samaria.” From this inscription we learn that seven years after the fall of Samaria peoples from very distant lands were being deported to that city—supplementary to those catalogued by the Bible. (Page 20.) Also in connection with the second revolt of Hamath in 715 B.C., in which Arpad, Simyra, Damascus, and Samaria, were involved, even if all Israel were not deported at the fall of Samaria in 721 B.C., the chances for the nationality surviving after this further result were very slight. (Page 19).

In an article by Mr. H. A. Marchant, “The Riddle of History Solved” in the Banner of Israel, XXXIII, 2nd June, 1909, we read: “It must be remembered that when the Jews returned from Babylon they did not accuse any of the mixed medley who opposed them of being their brethren, Ephraim-Israel.”

The reason why the monumental inscriptions do not mention any vast number of captives is that:

(1) Esarhaddon (681-668 B.C.) wilfully defaced Tiglath-Pilezer’s (745-727 B.C.) inscriptions, but such as remain confirm the Bible.

(2) Shalmanezer (727-722 B.C.) was too busy fighting during his short reign to write inscriptions.

(3) The whole Phoenician mainland was in revolt, and when the promised help from Egypt did not mature, they all, except Samaria, submitted to Shalmanezer, but no record of captives was kept.

Further, the Bible says (2 Kings xvii, 18): “THERE WAS NONE LEFT BUT THE TRIBE OF JUDAH ONLY.”

It is also argued that when the Bible says (2 Kings xvii, 6 and xviii, 11) “in the cities of the Medes,” it does not mean what it says.

We may therefore assume that large numbers of ten-tribed northern Israel were gathering, from 734 B.C. onwards, and multiplying exceedingly, according to prophecy, about the Armenian plateau and the Zagros mountains. This is confirmed too in Tobit VII, where it appears that certain Israelites of the captivity, in Nineveh, came to Ecbatana. Also Diodorus (II, ch. 3) refers to two colonies—which he calls Scythians, but evidently from the words “despicable for their mean original” were captive Israelites—one out of Assyria, the other out of Media.

In Aids to the Student of the Holy Bible (Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1880), written by many well known writers of that day (including the late Prof. Sayce), map 8 shows that the settlement of the Israelite exiles of the second captivity is located in Media, in the very spot where the Umman-Manda revolted in the days of Esarhaddon, after the Israelites had been located there for about forty years. This will be dealt with later (see p. 22 last four lines).


From Klauber (cited by Lehmann-Haupt) we learn that Esarhaddon (who reigned 681-668 B.C.) addressed an appeal to the sun-god for help, when threatened by Kashteriti (Manda) and Mamiti-Arsu (Mede), as brought to light by Knudson (Leipzig, 1893), and by Klauber twenty years later.

(L.H., § 19): “Will Kashtariti and his warriors, or the warriors of the Gimirrai (whom Lehmann-Haupt definitely equates with the Cimmerians) or the warriors of the Media, or the warriors of the Mannai, or any enemy whatsoever, succeed in their plan?” The “plan” is the taking of the Assyrian city of Kishassu by storm. This with Kartam and five other cities “on the eastern borders of Assyria” (L.H., 19) was taken, according to the Babylonian Chronicle, during the invasion of Assyria by the Cimmerians (Article in Bab. Assyr. Geschichte by G. P. Tiele. Historians’ History, I, p. 423.) This campaign took place in the district of Khubushkia (between the upper Zab and the Tigris. Sayce; and C. P. Tiele, Bab. Ass. Gesch.), circa 677 B.C. (formerly given as 673 B.C., but Lehmann-Haupt gives weighty argument for the earlier date). On the other hand, Hall (The Ancient History of the Near East, p. 495) says that “the war lasted for several years, ending in 672 B.C. with the reassured inviolability of the northern frontier.” Esarhaddon’s appeal to the sun-god at the threat of “revolt” {NOTE: It should be noted—from Higher Criticism, Sayce, 6th edit., p. 485—that the words used by Kashtariti, in writing to Mamiti-Arsu, were “Let us revolt,” showing that the Cimmerians were Assyrian subjects at the time, and were not, as has been supposed, taking part in any so-called Indo-European invasion.} by the Cimmerians and their allies was due to fright, and, by giving an Assyrian Princess in marriage, he formed an alliance with Bartatua, King of the Ishguzai (Asguza, Ashkenaz, Sayce, Higher Criticism, p. 484) with whose help the invasion was finally defeated and Teushpa (Teispes, the reputed ancestor of Cyrus and Darius) was killed (L.H., § 17).

Let us pause to consider who all these various people were:

Hall (op. cit., p. 495) speaks of “The nomad tribes of the Gimirrai. These, the Gomer of the Hebrews, and the Kimmerians of the Greeks.”

Sayce (op. cit., pp. 483-486) speaks of “The Kingdom of Minni adjoined that of Ararat (Urartu) on the south-east. Ararat, as we have seen, was the name given by the Assyrians and Hebrews to the country called Biainas in the native inscriptions, the capital of which was at Van, while the Minni of Scripture are termed Manna in the Assyrian text, and Mana in those of Van.”

(Ibid) Saparda was in Bithynia and Galatia (cuneiform tablet, 275 B.C., Dr. Strassmaier). Here was the land of Sepharad in which was the captivity of Jerusalem (Obadiah, verse 20). This contradicts Hall (op. cit., p. 483), who writes: “We are not told that they were carried into captivity, but were regarded as spoil.”

The true Medes (Mada) of the Assyrian inscription were, according to Sayce (Historians History, II, p. 584) “the Kurdish tribes who lived eastward of Assyria, and whose territory extended as far as the Caspian Sea. They were for the most part Indo-European in language and Aryan in descent, {NOTE: According to modern ideas, there is an Aryan language, but not an Aryan race.} and lived like the Greeks in small states, each of which obeyed a city lord of its own.”

The Umman-Manda. A general designation for nomadic northmen (umman . . horde; manda . . full, numerous). Gadd in Fall of Nineveh (p. 14, footnote), says: “It is certainly used of the Cimmerians, though apparently not of the actual Scythians (Asguzai, Isguzai).”

After this campaign, about the Zagros mountains and the Armenian plateau, the Cimmerians under Tugdamme (the Lygdamis of Strabo), who, like Teushpa, appears as an Umman-Manda, engaged in a further series of battles in Cappadocia and Cilicia, being finally driven across the Halys (circa 673 B.C.). Then began the campaign of the Cimmerians against Phrygia, which they destroyed (L.H., § 28), and then against Lydia under Gyges (Assyrian “Gugu”), who first made his allegiance to Asshur-banipal, and then revolted. Sardis was taken by the Cimmerians, and Gyges killed (circa 652 B.C.) (L.H.). The Cimmerians then attacked the Greek coast cities in conjunction with their related stock, the Treres, who had come across the straits from the west, as stated by Callinus. Subsequently, the Cimmerians were driven out of Western Asia Minor by Gyges’ son, Ardys, and his grandson, Alyattes, and were met and defeated by the Assyrian army of Syria, about the Cilician Gates, when Tugdamme (Lygdamis) was killed and his son Sandakshatra became their leader (Hall, op. cit., p. 509). Alyattes ended his six years’ contest with the Cimmerians (Manda, as shown below) by giving his daughter Aryanis to Astyages, the son of Cyaxares. (See below.)

Prior to the death of Ashur-banipal two invasions of Assyria had taken place: one under Phraortes (circa 634 B.C.), which was defeated, and the other under Cyaxares (Uvakh-shatara)—who reigned 634-594 B.C., or by another calculation 625-585 B.C.—(circa 630 B.C.), in which Nineveh was besieged, but rescued by Scythians under Madyes, son of Protothyes (the latter considered to be the same as Bartatua, King of the Ishguzai) (H. II, 102 ff.).

From Gadd, Fall of Nineveh, we learn that Nabopolassar, Viceroy of Babylon, revolted from Assyria some time between 620 and 617 B.C. In the summer of 614 B.C., Cyaxares marched upon Nineveh, an alliance was made between Media (Manda; see below) and Babylon, formally sealed by the marriage between Cyaxares’ daughter, Amytis, with Nebuchadnezzar. Thereby, incidentally, Astyages (Cyaxares’ son; see above) became brother-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar (Nabopolassar’s son). During 613 B.C. there was a pause in the siege when the Medes (Manda) were engaged with Bactrian Scythians (Scoloti), but these were eventually persuaded to join the Manda-Babylonian alliance, and in July-August 612 B.C. Nineveh fell.


Sayce (Higher Criticism and the Monuments, p. 519, ff.) also deals with this question of the Medes and the Manda: “If it is startling to learn that Cyrus was in reality an Elamite Prince, it is equally startling to find that Istuvegu (Astyages) was King, not of the Medes, but of the Manda. . . . Teuspa (Teispes), the leader of the Gimirrai, is called a Manda by Esarhaddon, and an inscription of Assur-banipal, recently discovered by Mr. Strong, returns thanks to the Assyrian gods for the defeat of that ‘limb of Satan,’ Tuktammu, of the Manda, or Duktammu (possibly the Lygdamis of Strabo), who led the Cimmerians into Kalikia (Cilicia), from thence they afterwards marched westward and burned Sardis. At all events, we must see in him a forerunner, if not a predecessor, of Istuvegu (the Astyages of the Greeks), who governed the Manda in Ekbatana. Ekbatana, the modern Hamadan, called Achmetha in the Old Testament (Ezra vi, 2), the Hangmatana of the Persian inscriptions, had been built in the territory of the old kingdom of Ellipi. Ellipi had been tributary to Sargon, and in the time of Sennacherib we find it in alliance with Elam. After this it disappears from history. The Manda had descended upon it and made it the chief city of their power. It would seem that the Manda of Ekbatana were the Scythians of classical history. As we have seen, Teuspa the Kimmerian and his people are termed ‘Manda’ by Esarhaddon and in the inscriptions of Darius; the Gimirra Umurgah of the Babylonian text, correspond with the Saka Humavarka of the Persian text. The Saka Humavarka are the Amyrgian Sakae of Herodotus (VII, 64) who, he tells us, were the Scythians of the Greeks. Totally distinct from the ‘Manda’ were the Mada, or Medes. Their land lay to the north-east of Ekbatana, and extended as far as the shores of the Caspian Sea. . . . When, in the generations that preceded Darius Hystaspes, Cyrus became the founder of the Persian Empire the Medes and the Manda were confounded one with the other. Astyages, the Suzerain of Cyrus, was transformed into a Mede, and the city of Ekbatana into the capital of a Median Empire The illusion has lasted down to our own age. . . . It was not until the discovery of the monuments of Nabonidus and Cyrus that the truth at last came to light, and it was found that the history we had so long believed was founded upon a philological mistake.”

It seems a pity that the late Professor Sayce did not go a step further to state definitely that it was neither the Medes, nor the Umman-Manda of Abraham’s time, that destroyed Assyria, but the new people Cimmerii, who had ousted the Umman-Manda from their former ruling position in Media and had become in the eyes of neighbouring countries, not in their own, Umman-Manda by affiliation.


The question of dates is important in connection with the Herodotus story.

The invasion of the Scythians (according to L.H., § 6) must have taken place twenty-eight years before the fall of Nineveh. This event is now fixed definitely at 612 B.C., so that puts the commencement of the Scythian invasion at 640 B.C., and as the Scythians were (according to the same story) pursuing the Cimmerians at the time, the Cimmerians can only just have preceded them in their flight over the Caucasus.

But, according to accurate dating by “Limmu” (see page II):

1.—It will be seen, from page 10, that the Cimmerians had exerted such pressure on Urartu, about 715 B.C., as to be responsible (according to L.H., § 10, 11) for the suicide of Rusas I.

2.—The defeat and death of “Teushpa, the Cimmerian, a nomad, whose country is far distant, I slew and destroyed in the district of Hubushna (Khubashna, Khubushkia) with all his troop” in 677 B.C. (See page 14.)

From this it is apparent that the Cimmerians were fighting hard in Urartu and on the north-east border of Assyria, thirty-seven to seventy-five years before the date about which (according to the Herodotus story) they were being pursued over the Caucasus by the Scythians.

It is also to be noted that Lehmann-Haupt states that the Gimirrai, whom he definitely equates with the Cimmerians, never appear in conjunction with the Ishguzai (Scythians), but always together with other northerners, the Mannai, Sapardai and Medians, as if allied, or at least making war in common, with them.


Another important question is this: Was Gomer of Genesis x the same people as the Cimmerians of later times? Scholars seem to think so. But is this justified? Gomer, the wife of Hosea (Hosea i), even though a wife of whoredom, is unlikely to be a descendant of Japhet, as she is intended to represent backsliding Israel—in the parable of the relation of Yahweh to Israel—and therefore must be reasonably expected to be a descendant of Shem, and not of Japhet. It is also remarkable that this Hosea-Gomer seed was placed, after the ten tribes had been taken captive by the Assyrians, in the very localities where the Cimmerians revolted.


The northern kingdom of Israel was called Samaria (Ussher 975 B.C.—see 1 Kings xiii, 32) long before Omri built its capital city “Shomeron,” which the Greek Septuagint renders “Samareia.” Josephus, in Bk. VIII, Chap. XII, 5, says that Omri called the city Samarion and that the Greeks turned it into Samaria. The Bible says that Omri called it Shomeron (1 Kings xvi, 24 margin).

The fear of the Syrians caused continuous emigration of northern Israel to the Isles of the West in Benhadad’s time (1 Kings xv, 20), and, when “the Lord began to cut Israel short,” in Hazael’s time (2 Kings x, 32). Further, northern Dan seems to have disappeared before the advent of the Assyrians, as narrated in 2 Kings xv, 29. These movements were probably effected by means of the maritime trade for tin, etc., through the Mediterranean to the Scilly Isles and Cornwall, long before the actual captivities took place.

Rev. George Cooke, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, in an article in the Ency. Brit. 14th edition (XVII, 769) says: “A vivid description of the Phoenicians’ trade at the time of Tyre’s prosperity is given by Ezekiel (xxvii, 12-25). . . . Between Israel and Phoenicia the relations naturally were close: the former provided certain necessaries of life and received in exchange articles of luxury and splendour (ibid. 16-18). . . . It was the trade with Tarshish, i.e. the region of Tartessus in S.W. Spain, which contributed most to the Phoenician’s wealth. . . . From Gadeira (now Cadiz) the Sidonian ships ventured further on the ocean and drew tin from the mines of N.W. Spain, or from the richer deposits in the Cassiterides, i.e. the Tin Islands, now known as the Scillies.”

Also from an article by H. J. E. Peake, President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Britain (ibid., Vol. II, p. 248, “Archæology, Trade Routes”): “From Sicily there are indications of trade in various directions . . . as far as the coasts of Spain and Portugal. There is even reason for believing that from Portugal a further line of coastal trade ran to Brittany and the Channel Islands, and ultimately to Ireland and the west of Britain, as well as to the amber coast of Denmark. These gold deposits and the tin lodes of Cornwall, as well as certain copper and, perhaps, gold deposits in Wales were the lures that tempted the first bronze traders to these countries. Thus it was that within a very few centuries after the first use of this alloy (2200 B.C., ibid., p. 247) bronze was brought to the British Isles” (ibid., p. 252).

Further evidence of this westward movement is found in the existence of stone circles, similar to that of Stonehenge, at ports of call north and south of the Mediterranean, in Spain, in Brittany, and in about two hundred places in Britain.

Also from The British Museum Guide to Early Iron Age Antiquities (1925) we learn that M. Salomon Reinach thinks that the Phrygians were here (Britain) about 850 B.C., even before the Phoenicians. This is supported by the evidence of the “Scyphus Cup,” said to have been found in the Thames between Putney and Hammersmith, which has peculiarities marking it as coming from the neighbourhood of Troy between 1000 and 700 B.C. (ibid., pp. 90, 91). While The British Museum Guide to the Antiquities of the Bronze Age, 1920 (p. 151) indicates that the oldest route of intercourse between east and west was from Hissarlik (second city of Troy) before 2000 B.C., through Spain, Portugal and France (especially Brittany) to the British Isles and northern Europe.


It is a pity that scholars—when giving us history from the monuments—instead of putting the monumental name in the text of a translation and what they think it meant in a note, frequently put “Scythian” or “Barbarian” in the text of the book or in the translation of the cylinder instead of the actual name used.

In a paper of this sort there is no opportunity to give the requisite background, in detail, for an examination of this question, but in chapters VII and VIII of my book, Israel’s Racial Origin and Migrations (1934), authority is given for the tradition that the early colonies of Greece and Phrygia were furnished by Israelites from Egypt—principally by the tribe of Dan—but Zara Judah cannot be excluded. This is merely to indicate the idea that at a very early date, (between 1500 and 750 B.C.) the shores of the Aegean and the Black Sea were largely populated with Israel people, many of whom had probably never even been into Palestine. By the time that the Cimmerian drama opens these Israelites would be known as Ionians and Thracians.

It really does seem as if, in the endeavour to get rid of the Old Testament, modern critics omit to take any account of Israelites who were placed in captivity in Assyria from 734 B.C. and onwards and in the cities of the Medes from circa 715 B.C. onwards. These ten tribes of Israel, whose fighting strength was over a million in David’s time (1 Chron. xxi, 5, as compared with 800,000 by 2 Sam. xxiv, 9) must in the subsequent centuries have multiplied enormously, till Josephus (xi, 5) could describe them—at the period after the return of the Jews (Judah, Benjamin and Levi) from the Babylonian captivity (518 B.C.)—as being beyond the Euphrates, where their numbers had increased almost beyond credibility.

Where were they and what were they now named? because from Ezek. xx, 39, it is obvious that the Israel name—which included “EL,” the name of God—was to be taken away and Israel was to be lost in a sea of names. Sir Henry Rawlinson says (in Ancient Monarchies, II, p. 513) that the opinion of Herodotus (IV, c. 11, 12) that the Scythians entered Asia in pursuit of the Cimmerians is childish and may be safely set aside. Is it not possible that it contains the germ of the actual course of events?

The Israelites were taken into captivity, from 734 B.C. onwards, and placed partly in Assyria and partly in Media. The Cimmerians are revealed by the monuments and made known by Rawlinson and Sayce. They are found in the very localities about Urartu (Ararat) and in the Zagros mountains about Kar-Kassi, north of Elam, where some of the ten tribes of Israel were placed during the lifetime of the captives from Samaria (seep. 13, last two lines ff.). The latter were known by the Assyrians even before their captivity, as the Bit Khumri, as shown on the Black obelisk of Shalmanezer II (860-825 B.C.) now in the British Museum. This name originated from Omri, who was King of Israel 929-918 B.C. (Ussher) (1 Kings xvi, 23, 28). From the days of Omri they must have been known to the Assyrians as Khumri, which Pinches shows was actually pronounced Ghomri.

Now Diodorus Siculus, who wrote during the first century B.C. refers, in Bk. II, ch. 3, to two remarkable colonies among the Scythians, “the one they brought out of Assyria, and settled in the country lying between Paphlagonia and Pontus: the other one of Media, which they placed near the river Tanais.”

Danvers (in Israel Redivivus, p. 97) says: “Thus Diodorus Siculus identifies two colonies amongst the Scythians, who may have been Israelites of the Assyrian captivity (see p. 13, end of last paragraph but one) and this appears to suggest that the Israelites of the Assyrian captivity did migrate from Asia into Europe with the Scythians, and were, for the time being, known by that name.” Allatius (Allaci, Leone), too, states (ibid., p. 98) that the districts of Iberia and Colchis “were peopled by Israelites from the banks of the Chaboras.”

This does not infer that the Israelites up to the time of the end of the Assyrian captivity period (circa 734-669 B.C.—65 years), or even up to the time of the Behistun inscription (circa 515 B.C.) were known otherwise than as Saka (Persian) and Gimirra (Babylonian) but it does infer that, later, when the Greek writers gave the general designation of “Scythian” to all wandering tribes, Herodotus followed suit, and, not knowing that the Saka (Gimirra) were Kimmerioi, called them Scythians, and also said that the Persians called all the Scythians Saka, whereas they really called the Cimmerians Saka. At a later stage, the Israelites were merged in the various wandering tribes known as Scythians, and became known as such.

Dr. Donaldson in Varronianus (1844), p. 51, remarks that in the immense area to which the ancients gave the name of Scythia we must distinguish between the Sarmatae or Sauromatae, who were mainly, or to a large extent, Sclavonian; the Scythae, or Asa-Goths; the Sacae, or Saxons, who were identical ultimately with the Daci, or Danes; and the Scolotae, or Asa-Galatae, also called Cimmerii.

From 2 Esdras xiii, 40-46, we learn that the ten tribes took a journey of a year and a half to Arsareth; Herodotus wrote about the migration of Scythian people from the south of the Caspian to a country north-west of the Black Sea; and as neither of them mentions any incursion of other peoples, in the same direction and to the same districts, it’ is but a natural deduction that both the accounts refer to the same people, notwithstanding that the one is called Israelites and the other Scythians.

This does not appear more unreasonable than the tradition (among others) which Herodotus is “inclined to,” of events which happened two hundred years and more previous to his date of writing, especially bearing in mind that Herodotus committed the anachronism of applying the generic term “Scythian” to the particular people certainly known, at the time he was writing about, as Saka.

The fact seems to be that no Assyrian, Babylonian or Persian wrote “Scythian.” They wrote Umman-Manda, Zab-Manda, Mada, Gimmirra, Saka. It was the Greeks who introduced the word Scythian. The days of Assyria, Babylon and Persia were all over and the Greek period was well advanced before you find the Greek name Scythian on any monumental inscription (Ency. Biblica, Vol IV, p. 4330).

Let us try to clear up this question of names:

1.   From p. 7, Lehmann-Haupt (§ 58) quotes Strabo VII. 2, 2. C 293, who cites Poseidonius as saying, “the Cimmerian Bosporus was named after them (Cimbri), being equivalent to Cimbrian, the Greeks naming the Cimbri ‘Kimmerioi’.”

2.   Rogers (in his History of Babylonia and Assyria, II, pp. 286-293) says in a note: “The name Manda in the Babylonian text applies to the same people that were called Sakae or Scythians by the Greeks.”

3.   C. P. Tiele, in an article from Babn. Assy. Gesch. (Historians’ History, I, p. 422) says: “Cimmerians or, more accurately, the Umman-Manda.”

4.   Pinches says that the Manda were in Media in the time of Abraham. Therefore if the Cimmerians are now the Manda they must have ousted the Umman-Manda from their former ruling position in Media and had become in the eyes of neighbouring countries, not in their own, Umman-Manda by affiliation. Here we have the old story, the conqueror taking the name of the conquered. As Minns says in Scythian and Greeks, p. 40: “All history tells us, easily as nations change their language, they change their names still more easily.”

5.   From p. 14 it will be seen that Lehmann-Haupt (op. cit., § 19) definitely equates the Gimirrai and the Cimmerians; and on page 15 Hall (op. cit., p. 495) equates the Gimirrai with Gomer of the Hebrews and with the Kimmerioi of the Greeks.

6.   From p. 17, Sayce says that Teuspa or Teispes, the leader of the Gimirrai is called a Manda by Esarhaddon, and he quotes from the Darius inscription (Behistun) that the Gimirra Umurgah of the Babylonian text corresponds with the Saka Humavarka of the Persian text. Also that the Mada (or true Medes) were totally distinct from the Manda.

7.   Finally, Omri built Shomeron, and the Assyrians wrote Omri as Khumri (as shown on the Black obelisk now in the British Museum). Pinches (in his Assyria and Babylonia, p. 339) says: “Omri was likewise pronounced in accordance with the older system before the ‘Ghain’ became ‘Ayin.’ Humri shows that they said at that time ‘Ghomri.’” By the time of Esarhaddon this was written Gimmerai.


The arguments put forward suggest:

1.   A western Cimmeria—possibly Jutland or Britain—of which Homer had heard only vaguely.

2.   An eastern Cimmeria, subsequently developed by later waves of the same Iranian-Thracian people, actually Israel.

3.   That the whole edifice of the story by Herodotus is based on an extremely shaky foundation.

4.   That there is no evidence whatever for the Cimmerians being found in Assyria, Armenia, or Asia Minor, until after the smashing-up of the kingdom of Beth-Khumri and the transportation of the Khumri people to those very localities.

5.   That it was the earlier captivity of Israel which was long engaged in the fighting with Assyrians, about Urartu, till (according to Esdras) they went to Arsareth.

6.   That it was the later captivities of Israel (721, 715 B.C. and onwards) which ousted the original Umman-Manda from the leadership of Media, and became affiliated as Umman-Manda themselves. After their defeat in 677 B.C., and the death of Teushpa (Teispes), their leader in the field, they were driven into Asia Minor, as Cimmerians, by the Assyrians under Esarhaddon, aided (then) by Ishguzai (Scythians), and subsequently engaged in years of fighting with the Lydians.

7.   That the Ishguzai under Bartatua were genuinely a tribe of Scythians.

8.   That the Scythians under Madyes who attacked Cyaxares during the first abortive siege of Nineveh, may also have been Ishguzai, but they were more probably Bactrian Scythians (Scoloti) from western Asia. These were subsequently persuaded to join Cyaxares for the final capture of Nineveh, and it was probably these who ruled Asia for 28 years, whether before, during, or after, the siege of Nineveh (if at all?), no one seems able to say.

9.   That there is no evidence whatever that the Japhetic Gomer of Genesis x and the (presumably) non-Israelite Gomer of Ezekiel xxxviii, 6, are the same as the symbolic Gomer of Hosea, which represents backsliding (Shemitic—not Semitic) Israel.

10. That the later Gomer of Hosea may genuinely mean Cimmerian. According to Pinches they were called Ghomri in Hosea’s day.

To sum up. I suggest the following explanation of the ideas examined in this paper:

The indications of Homer’s geography seem to show that the Cimmerians which he had heard of were filtrations of the people from Samaria, who from the time of Omri c. 918 B.C. (Ussher) were known as Khumri (as shown in the Black Obelisk), whence—it is suggested—that the name Cimmerii is derived. These Cimmerians were beyond Oceanus in a wintry land north-west of Greece, and were actually on the shores of the North Sea or in Britain. Subsequent to the earlier Homeric writings the Milesian sailors discovered the Sea of Azov, and, thinking that they had reached Homer’s “land of wintry Cimmerians,” named its entrance the “Cimmerian Bosphorus.” The report of the doings of the Cimmerians in the east, in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., reverberated throughout the known world, the geography of which was little known, and may have induced Aeschylus (writing in the fifth century B.C.), who was a poet and not a geographer, to locate the Cimmerians in the Crimea. It is quite possible that there were some Cimmerians there by that time. Herodotus (484-425 B.C.), on the other hand, had to account for the actual presence of Cimmerians in Asia Minor, in the seventh century B.C., so the story of the Cimmerians, started by Homer in his description of their wintry abode north-west of Greece, and carried on by the Milesian sailors naming the Crimea the Bosporus Cimmerius, led to Herodotus accepting the story to which he “inclined.” This seems to be a notable instance of what Sayce (Higher Criticism and the Monuments, p. 529) describes as a history that has no perspective, though it is based on facts, and blends into one picture manifold events and personages of the past.

Both Esdras and Herodotus describe the same actual event. The former (correctly) calls the people, who passed over the Caucasus, Israel, whereas Herodotus accepted the story, which was an inversion of what took place more than two hundred years before he wrote. The Cimmerians were not driven from the Crimea through the Caucasus by the Scythians. The Israelites in the form of Sakae, Cimmerians, and Gimirrai, went from the Armenian table-land to Arsareth (Scythia) and other Cimmerians already there (about the Crimea) gave way—as described on page 79 of my book, Israel’s Racial Origin and Migrations (1934)—part moving into Thrace and part rejoining the Cimmerians still remaining in Asia Minor.

The confusion of events in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C., was largely added to by the fact that the (Eastern) Cimmerians had settled in what used to be the land of ancient Gomer, which in the time of Dungi (probably third millennium B.C.) was (from the description given) in Northern Media, possibly south of the Caspian. They therefore became “Gomer,” just as the Teutons have become Germans, and the Angles and Scots have become Britons. Thus the Cimmerians, the seed of Hosea’s wife of whoredom—Gomer of Hosea 1—actually the captive Israelites, became identified with the Gimmirai, who were supposed to be derived from the inhabitants of Gomer, but were really the same people.