Veltae and Other Tribes on the Map of Sarmatia of Claudius Ptolemy

by Bulat, V. V.

Bulat VV (2014). Veltae and Other Tribes on the Map of Sarmatia of Claudius Ptolemy. In Young Scientist USA (p. 13). Auburn, WA: Lulu Press.

In the middle of the II century BC a Roman scholar Claudius Ptolemy mentions the Veltae tribe. Who are they? Where did they live? First of all, let us turn to the source (Geography, Book III):

«Chapter V. Position of European Sarmatia. 1. European Sarmatia borders with the Sarmatian ocean on the north along Venedian bay and the part of the unknown land …

5. From the west Sarmatia borders with the Vistula River, part of Germany, covering the land between its source and the Sarmatian Mountains, and the mountains proper, the location of which has already been mentioned.

6. The South border consists of: the Iazyges metanasty (migrants) from the South border of the Sarmatian Mountains to the beginning of the Carpata Mountain, which is located under 46o – 48o30', and the neighbouring Dacia near that same parallel to the mounth of River Borysphen with the next coastline of Pontus to the River Kerkinit…

19. Sarmatia is populated with numerous tribes: the Venedae live along the whole Venedian bay, the Peucini and the Basternae settle higher than Dacia; along the whole coast of the Meotis – there were the Iazyges and Rhoxolani; the Amaxobii and the Scythians – Alauni populated further inland.

20. Less significant tribes, populated Sarmatia, are the following: near the Vistula River, lower than the Venedae there were the Phrungundiones, further near the sources of Vistula River the Avarini live; lower them there were the Ombrones, then the Anartophracti, then the Burgiones, the Arsietae, the Saboci, the Piengitae and the Biessi near Carpata Mountain.

21. The following tribes live Easter than the abovementioned ones: lower than the Venedae there are the Galindae, the Sudini and the Stavani up to the Alauni; lower the territory is inhabited by the Igylliones, the Coestoboci and the Transmontani up to the Pevkinskie Mountains.

22. Further, the coast of the ocean near Venedian bay is populated by the Veltae, higher there are the Ossi, the northernmost are Carbones, the Karesti and the Sali are to the east (the Gelone, the Hippopodes and the Melanchlaeni live lower than them); more lower the territory is inhabited by the Agathyrsi, then the Aorsiand the Pagyritae; the Savari and Borusci settle lower up to the Montes Riphaeus.

23. Then the territory is inhabited by the Acibi and the Nasci; the Vibiones and the Idrae live lower; between the Vibiones and the Alauni there are Sturni, and between the Alauni and the Amaxobii the land is settled by Cariones and Sargari.

24. Next to the River Tanaїs turn the territory is inhabited by the Ophlones and the Tanaitae, they are followed by the Osili and the Rhoxolani; between the Amaxobii and the Rhoxolani there are the Rheucanali and the Exobygitae; the land between the Peuciniand the Basternae is populated by the Carpian, higher there are the Gevini and the Bodini.

25. The Chuni live between the Basternae and the Rhoxolani; Amadoki and Navari populate the territory lower than the mountains of the same name. The Torrecadi live near Lake Viki, the Ahhilov Coast is inhabited by the Tauroscythae; the Tigri live lower than the Basternae, and then Tyrangitae».

Work of Ptolemy "Geography Guide" (Rukovodstvo po geographii) is a collection of knowledge about not only the geography of the Roman Empire, but also about the whole world known to the ancient peoples. Ptolemy was a supporter of the mathematical (not descriptive) geography, and his work is, in fact, a detailed guide on formation of the world atlas, indicating the exact coordinates of each point.

We will try to place the ethnic groups mentioned by Ptolemy, using the specified geographical locations.

Ptolemy writes: «European Sarmatia borders on the north by the Sarmatian ocean along Venedian bay and the part of the unknown land» (5, III,V,1). What do these names mean? Ptolemy draws the border between European Sarmatia and Germany along the Vistula River (Visla). What does the meaning of “Sarmatian Ocean” mean? Is that the Arctic Ocean? But what is “Venedian Bay” then? Is that the White sea? Certainly, no. Should it be the Baltic Sea? But then the Sarmatian Ocean is not the Arctic, it is the Atlantic. Hovewer, the Atlantic is the Atlantic. And the Venedian Ocean is certaily the Arctic Ocean. The fact that Ptolemy believed Scandinavia is an island (Tule). It seemed to him that instead of the Gulf of Bothnia (or even in place of the whole Finland) there is the sea strait, through which the Arctic Ocean meets the Atlantic one. In this case, Venedian Bay – this is not the Baltic Sea in the form in which we see it on our maps, as Baltic – is not the gulf or strait. Thus only one of the bays of the southern Baltic Sea can be Venedian Bay. This is probably the Gulf of Gdansk, which was called by the ancient authors as Kodanskiy Bay. However, Ptolemy does not seem to use such a place-name. However, Pomponius Mela calls the entire southern part of the Baltic Sea – from Jutland to Kurland as Kodansky Bay. Perhaps, Venedian Bay – is the Gulf of Riga ot the Oder estuary? We can certainty say that Venedian Bay – it is not Finnish Bay, as Finnish Bay already refers to a straight line of the Venedian Ocean.

By Ptolemy Sarmatia extends from the Vistula to the meridian of the Don and from the “Arctic Ocean to the Carpathians – “Sarmatian Mountains”. In this case, “Sarmatia" is not an ethnonym, as a geographical name, just as East Indies is not necessarily the territory of Indo-Aryans.

Further Ptolemy lists: "19. Sarmatia is inhabited by very numerous tribes: the Venedae live around Venedian Bay, the Peucini and Basternae live above Dacia; the whole coast along Maeotis is inhabited by the Iazyges and the Rhoxolani; the Amaxobii and the Scythians-Alauni settle further inland. 20. Less significant tribes, inhabiting Sarmatia, are the following: the Gytones and then the Finni live near the Vistula River, lower than the Venedae; then the Sulones live, and the Phrungundiones live lower them; the Avarini settle near the Vistula River sources; then the Ombrones, the Anartophracti, the Burgiones, the Arsietae, the Saboci, the Piengitae and the Biessi inhabit the territory near Karpata Mountain. 21. The following tribes live to the East of the abovementioned tribes: the Galindae live lower than the Venedae, the Sudini and the Stavani inhabit the territory up to the Alauni; the Igylliones, the Coestoboci and the Transmontani live up to the Pevkinian Mountains. 22. Then the coast of the ocean near the Venedian Bay is inhabited by the Veltae, the Ossi live higher, then the northernmost is the Carbones, the Karesti and the Sali live to the east from them (the Gelones, the Hippopodes and the Melanchlaeni settle lower than them); the Agathyrsi, then the Aorsi and the Pagyritae live lower along the coast; the lowest territory is inhabited by the Savari and the Borusci up to the Ripeian Mountains. 23. Further territory was occupied by the Acibi and the Nasci, lower territory was inhabited by the Vibiones and the Idrae; lower the Vibiones to the Alauns there were the Sturni, and between the Alauns and the Amaxobii the land was settled by the Cariones and the Sargari. 24. The Ophlones and the Tanaitae live near the Tanais river turn, after them the territory to the Rhoxolani was occupied by the Osili; the Rheucanali and the Exobygitae live between the Amaxobii and the Rhoxolani; then between the Peucini and the Basternae it was the territory of the Carpiani, higher territory belonged to Gevini and then there were the Bodini. 25. The Chuni live between the Basternae and the Rhoxolani, and the Amadoki and the Navari live lower than the same name Mountains. The Torrecadi live near the Viki lake, the Tavroskifi live along the Ahhilov shore; the Tigri live lower than the Basternae near Dacia; and the further lower territory belongs to the Tyrangitae”. (5, III,V,19-25).

Here (20-24) we mentioned five lines of tribes located in a specific sequence. Where do these sequences lead? Lets try to place all these nations on the map (from the Vistula to the Don and from the Carpathian Mountains to the north of Russia). Of course, we should not use the principle of choice of “our ancestors” and ignore all others. It is necessary to place all of them. Ptolemy described the situation about 100 AD, maximum of 110-120 years AD (He, for example, did not mention anything about the Hadrian Swell in Caledonia, created in 122 AD) Therefore, we can compare his data with that of Tacitus, dating back to the second half of the I century AD.

So: the Venedae were spread throughout Venedian Bay. Does this mean that in 100 AD the Venedae lived on the whole territory from Jutland to Kurland? Next: the Peucini and the Basternae lived “above Dacia”, i.e. obviously, to the north of it (on the territory of modern Moldova and Bukovina; one of the islands in the Danube Delta was called as Pevko) [4,T 1, p. 672, map]. Next: the Iazyges and Rhoxolani inhabited all coast of Maeotis (the Azov Sea). Does this mean that they really lived along the entire coast of the Azov Sea – from Taman to Genichesk and further to Kerch on the other side? Obviously, not. Because that territory from Taman to Taganrog was occupied by Bosporus Kingdom. Most likely, from Taganrog to Genichesk [4,T 1, p. 672, map]. Next “after them inland” – the Amaxobii and the Scythians-Alauni lived. As we talk about the European Sarmatia, "after them" means that we are talking about a northerly direction from the Azov Sea – probably about the Central-Chernozemniy region of present-day Russia. And we should not forget that the ancient authors understated the extent of Eastern Europe from north to south. Believing the Tabula Peutingeriana – instead of 1000-1500 km up to 300-400 km. It should be also considered, since this implies that the Sarmatian Ocean was located, according to imagination of Ptolemy, somewhere on the northern borders of Ukraine with Russia and Belarus.

How can we interpret the definition of Ptolemy's “less significant tribes” – whether it's small or occupying smaller areas? Or is it smaller taxon? Lets suppose the Germans – is a large taxon and the Ingävonen, the Istevonyi and etc. – are smaller taxon. Can we assume that all other nations are the part of the abovementoned taxons of: the Venedae, the Peucini, the Basternae, the Iazyges, the Rhoxolani, the Amaxobii and the Scythian Alauni?

According to Ptolemy (first line), “near the Vistula river, lower than the Venedae – there are the Gytones”. The Gytones are cretainly the Gothi, which at this time had to live here. But what “lower”? Closer to Rome or closer to the Baltic – that is“downstream”? According to the author's view, it depends on where the Roman merchants went (who brought the information to the Roman geographers) along the Gothi’s lands. If they went at the famous trade route from the Carpathians to the Baltic, the Gothi are on the south to the Venedae. And if they sailed by the Baltic Sea, in this case the Venedae are on the south to the Gothi. “Then the Finni”. Of course, this is not the modern Finns of Finland but the “Finni” – this is the ancient Estonian tribes. Should we understand thatas if in those days the Balts did not live on the coast of the Baltic Sea at all, and just north-east of the Venedae (say, the Slavs) the territory of the Finnish tribes (i.e. Estonian tribes) began – perhaps the ancient Livonians? “The further territory belonged to the Sulones”. What does it mean "further" – in Finland? Is it in the Northwest of Russia? In Valdai? “lower them – there were the Phrungundiones” – “lower” – it is closer to Rome? In the Pskov region and Belarus? The question is not idle, because then – in the same logical line – “the Avarini near the sources of the Vistule river” are mentioned. I.e. in Southern Poland. If the Phrungundiones – this is probably the Baltic tribes of Belarus, who are the Avarini? Is that the Pshevorska archaeological culture? Furthermore, “lower” – apparently to the south of the Avarini the territory is settled by the “Ombrones, then Anartophracti, then the Burgiones, further the Arsietae, the Saboci, the Piengitae and the Biessi near the Carpata Mountain” Probably, they are small tribes populated the modern Galicia – from Krakow to Czernowtzi.

Ptolemy writes (second line): “To the east of the aforementioned tribes the following lived: lower than the Venedae – there are the Galindae, the Sudini and the Stavani to Alauni; the Igylliones, the Coestoboci and the Transmontani occupy the territory to Pevkinian mountains”. Does this mean that the Galindae live in Lithuania – “lower” the Venedian Bay? A the Sudini and the Stavani lives in Belarus and North Ukraine – up to the Alauns, located somewhere in Kharkiv? But we have already placed the Phrungundiones in Belarus... We can assume that the Finns – are not Finni, i.e. not the Finni of Tacitus, but a small tribe near the Venedae – i.e. somewhere in the Kaliningrad region, to the south of the Finni – there are the Phrungundiones – in Mazur, further south – the Avarini. And all this is Poland, as "to the east" of this entire group the Galindae and the other tribes “to Alauns” are mentioned – i.e. the tribes living on the territory of Lithuania, Belarus and North Ukraine. Thus, we get an interesting ethnonym “the Finns”, perhaps, are not related to the Finni tribes of the North-East of Europe, unless, of course, this is some small group of the Livonians, leaked to the present-day Kaliningrad. The Igylliones, the Coestoboci and the Transmontani, obviously, occupy the territory between the Belaya Cerkov and Ivano-Frankivsk.

Ptolemy writes (third line): “Then the ocean coast at Venedian Bay is occupied by the Veltae, higher them there are the Ossi, then the most northern tribe is – the Carbones, to the east of them there are the Karesti and the Sali (lower these tribes the territory is inhabited by the Gelones, the Hippopodes and the Melanchlaeni); lower there are the Agathyrsi, and then the Aorsi and the Pagyritae; then the Savari and the Borusci to the Ripean mountains”. Here we meet the Veltae. “Ocean coast at Venedian bay” – it is clearly on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea. But where is it exactly? The Venedae occupy all shores of the South Baltic. In the Kaliningrad region there are the Finni. At the mouth of the Vistula (possibly) there are the Gothi. The idea is that the Veltae have already live somewhere on the shores of the Gulf of Riga. As "higher than them" – i.e. to the north-west – there are the Ossi (Estonia?), and "then the most northern" – the Carbones (Finland?). In such a case, the Karesti and Sali live "to the east" – i.e. in the Northwest of Russia and Valdai. "Lower than them" – i.e. closer to Rome – to the south the following tribes live: the Gelones, the Hippopodes and the Melanchlaeni. This is most likely to be already the Smolensk Oblast, Bryansk and Kursk. Closer to Rome there are the Agathyrsi. The mention of the Agathyrsi in 100 AD – is the certain ethnic anachronism. And it can not be rationally explained. However, there were the hypothesize that the Agathyrsi of Herodotus came to Romania from Kyiv and were the tribes of the Chernolessk archaeological culture. Anyway, the tribe, called the Agathyrsi by Ptolemy, can be localized somewhere in the Sumy region. To the South of them (which is absolutely correct) the Aorsi and the Pagyritae live – in Kharkiv or even in the Voronezh area. Here the described space merges with the Amaxobii and the Alauns of the southern line of tribes. But where is the sequence: the Savari – the Borusci? They are "lower than" the Agathyrsi – i.e. should be closer to Rome, but the road through their land goes out to Rhipaean – Ural Mountains. Is it permissible to suppose that they are the tribes of the Middle Volga?

Ptolemy writes (fourth line): “Then the Acibi and the Nasci and lower there are – the Vibiones and Idrae; lower than them to the Alauns there are the Sturni and between the Alauns and the Amaxobii the territory is occupied by the Cariones and the Sargari”. Here he probably speaks about the Penza and Saratov regions – this is the fourth meridian zone from west to east, described by Ptolemy. The first three are: the Gytones-Biessi (Poland – Moldova), the Galindae Transmontani (Lithuania – Podolia) and the Veltae – Aorsi (Latvia – Eastern Ukraine), and, to the third zone refers to the Middle Volga with Bashkiria (the Savari, the Borusci). The Acibi and the Nasci live in the triangle of Tambov – Penza – Saratov. To the South the territory was occupied by the Vibiones (Saratov – Kamishin). The Sturni live near Volgograd. A "between the Alauns and the Amaxobii " – i.e. somewhere on the Seversky Donets – there were the Cariones [1, p. 240] and the Sargari.

Ptolemy writes (fifth line): “At the turn of the Tanais river – the Ophlones and the Tanaitae live, further territory belongs to the Osili up to Rhoxolani; between the Amaxobii and the Rhoxolani the territory is inhabited by the Rheucanali and the Exobygitae; then between the Peucini and the Basternae there is the territory of thee Carpiani, higher – of the Geviniand the Bodini”. “The turn of the Tanais river” – is the region of the Cimlyanskoe storage pond. The Osili should be located near the town of Shahta. The Rhoxolani are placed in the Ukrainian Donbass. Next there are Zaporozhye and Dnepropetrovsk region – inhabited by the Rheucanali and the Exobygitae. The Amaxobii, probably, inhabited the space from Nikopol to Odessa. The Carpiani live between the Peucini and the Basternae – near Kishinev. The Gevini live "higher" – i.e. to the north – in Odessa and Transdniestria region. "Further territory" – i.e. the territory of the North Bodini – is the area of Uman – Kirovohrad.

Ptolemy writes: “The Chuni live between the Basternae and Rhoxolani and lower than the mountains of the same name the territory is occupied by the Amadoki and Navari. The Torrecali live near the Vicki lake, and the Tavroskifi live on the Achillov Beg; lower the Bastarnae near Dacia the territory is inhabite by the Tigri, and the Tyrangitae”. Who are the Huns "between the Basternae and the Rhoxolani " – i.e. somewhere near Tiraspol? Were they the Huns? But this is impossible. Around the year 100 AD the Huns as such did not exist, and their ancestors – the Hunu lived in the depths of Asia. Consequently, it may be a tribe of the Sarmatae, moving west – at this moment the Iazyges moved from the Dnieper to Tisza and Danube rivers. It is difficult to locate the Amadoki and Navari – the thing is that it is unclear what mountains Ptolemy calls as Navarre and Amadokskian? The Tavroskifi occupy the Crimea. The Tigri are located somewhere near Yass, and the Tyrangitae live even closer to the mouth of the Danube [4, T1, p. 615, p. 672, map]. Perhaps the last ethnonym is associated with the region of the Dnester mouth – ancient Thira.

As a result of the location of all the tribes in the form of five lines according to the meridional sequences from the west to the east we get the following map (Map 1):

Описание: Bulat__История_и археология__5_add

If we try to place the archaeological cultures of I century AD to the Ptolemaic map of the Eastern Europe, the following picture will appera (Map 2):

Описание: Bulat__История_и%20археология__5_add1

Red colour – Pshevor (Przewor) culture (attributed to Slavs by most researchers)

Dark-blue colour – Oksiv culture.

Salad colour – West Baltic culture.

Orange colour – hatched ceramics culture (attributed to ancient balts).

Black colour – Asva culture (the Finns)

Pink colour – Dyakovo culture (the Finns)

Yellow colour – Gorodetsky culture (more than likely the Finns with an admixture of Iranian tribes)

Grey colour – Pyanobor culture (doubtless, the Finns).

Dar-green (to the east of hatched ceramics) – Dniepre-Dvina culture (more than likely, the Balts).

Brown colour (in the upper Oka) – Yukhnovsky culture (the Balts or the Finns).

Blue colour – Zarubinsky culture (sometimes attribuited to the Slavs, but on author`s opinion, tribes came from Baltic shores can be linguistically the third extinct branch of Baltic-Slavic language group).

Green colour – Lipitsky culture.

Grey-green colour – Poyaneshty-Lukashevka culture.

Obviously, the ptolemaic “finns” are related to Galindo archeological culture. And Sudians undoubtedly form the basis of hatched ceramic culture tribes and that is why could be admitted substantially Baltic. Gelones are probably the tribes of Dnieper-Dvina culture. The Carbonians are finnish tribes of ancient Asva culture, once they settled also whole Estonia, but by the beginning of new age had been superseded by new tribes – probably by the Ossi. The Careotae and the Sali – the tribes of Dyakovsky culture are the ancestors of the Merians. Gorodetsky culture contents of Finnish-speaking Savara tribe and probably Iranian-speaking Acibi and Nasci. Pyanoborskaya culture is presented by Borusci. Stavani and Bodini could eqaully apply to ethnic forming tribes of Zarubinetsky culture. Situation is more complicated with Pshevor culture – many tribes in its southern part were crowding to Carpathians and most likely do not have any relation to it. Were the Avarini and the Phrungundiones its ethnic base? Can we consider Oksiv culture to be the culture of Venedae conqured by Goths? Still remains the question, who is Velts? About the Finns we must agree that if it leaked out small Finnish tribe over the Daugava, so they were quickly assimilated by the Balts and left no descendants in the area of the Kaliningrad region. And the Venedae mostly correspond to Pomorian archaeological culture of X-III centuries BC, which was distributed in the V-III centuries BC deep into Poland and likely spawned Zarubinsky culture not related to any previous Milograd Balts – the Nevrs [11, 101, map], [11, p. 101, map], nor to the Slavs – Pshevorians on the west [12, p 37]. Then Zarubinsky culture was changed by Late-Zarubinsky and eventually displaced by Slavians in the north-east – to the Oka and became Moshchinsky culture of ancient Goliad (and this Goliad was baltized by the VII century) [12, 52]. Pomorian culture was replaced by Oksiv one, which is nothing like the trail of the Scandinavian Germans came from Baltic. Perhaps Ptolemaic Venedae is part of tribal culture of Pomorian conquered by alien Germans including Goths [12, 182]. Or it is Rugae (regardless of whoever were Rugae – Germans or Slavians)? Presence of the Finns in Kaliningrad regions in the best way explains the passage of Tacitus about “raids stretch” by ancient Venedae from Finns to Peucini [6, 46]. We are not talking about the Finnish tribes of northern Russia, namely about these Finns which were messed by Tacitus with Fennians – Ossi, Carbones and Sali by Ptolemy.

As for Velts, there is a difficult situation. Yes, there is obviously striking coincidence with the names of Veletae-Lyutici of VI-XII centuries. But the “Chuni” in Transnistria are also “coincidence”. Geographical factor also plays the role. If Velts would have been really placed nearby Slavic indigenous territories, one would assume their Slavic origin, but they settled not closer than Riga seaside. We have to assume that they are not the Slavians and Balts or at all – ancient Livonians, later they gave its name to Veletae-Lyutici?

 Or – assume a fantastic option – it is really Slavs (Shakhmatov, who considered southern shores of the Baltic Sea to be the birthplace of the Slavs southern shores of the Baltic Sea, was not so wrong!) who then settle on the Western Dvina in different directions – to Novgorod region and downstream of the Oder – Elbe. It's possible. But: a) it is necessary to find at least some archaeological grounds, b) by analogy with Poland hydronimics Latvian hydronimics should be also investigated for the presence of Slavic names. Relocation of Velts from Latvia to Pomerania is quite possible in the context of the general movement of the barbarian tribes in that age – from north to the south and from east to the west.

We are accustomed to the idea of continuous large ethnic arrays in Eastern Europe. Balts are here, Finns are there, then Slavs. It is a relic of the “military-strategic” thinking of XIX century historians. They forget in polemic heat that some ethnically related tribes (Slavic, for example) could quarrel and fight with each other, so they have turned out well-defined, potentially conveniently defended space of related tribes, without any “squiggles”. However, in reality it turns out that the number of ethnic units was next larger. Map 1 shows 55 tribes and the result is a much multicolored picture. In addition, some tribes had clearly mixed features: for example, Vandals is a slavic-germanic tribe, and the Finns by Ptolemy could well be a mixture of Finns and Balts.

On the author's opinion “Phrungundiones” by Ptolemy can be compared with the Vandals and actually Slavs – is likely Avarini (of course, the name is not Slavic totally, but then

 the “Georgians” is not the Georgian name, and the same as Georgians call Armenians “Somekhi” – which is not similar to any of the Armenian self-names or simply Armenian words, and we should not look for an exact match of ancient ethnonyms to modern self-name. Perhaps, Germans called Slavs of Pshevorska culture – Avarini. It is interesting that Tacitus did not know this ethonym, but he put in place of Venedae by Ptolemy the Burgiones and the Lemoveans on the place of “Finns” – the Goths, on the place of the Gytones – the Vandals, on place of Sulones and Phrungundiones – Venedaes and on the place of Avarini – Lugians (though it is believed that Lugians – is a Germanic tribe as it breaks down into five tribes : Manimi, Helvetii, Gariae, Nahanarvali and Gelisians – stretching from Poznan to Krakow ) [6, 337, map]. By the way, both Ptolemy and Tacitus placed at the edge of the South Polish Carpathians and North Slovakia many small tribes: Ptolemean Ombroni, Anartofrakti, Burgiones, Arsietae, Saboci, Piengitae and Biessi. And Tacitus placed Marsigni, Buri, Skirians, Bastarnae. Burgiones and Buri have same names and one can assume that “Burgiones” by Ptolemy are not the Burgundians who lived in the 100th year in Pomerania, and Buri – also germanic tribe in the region of present-day Moravska Ostrava [6, p. 337, map].

Incidentally, Biessi – probably they could be “Bessi” by Ovid, who in 1st year AD still lived near the Black Sea, but then apparently retreated before the Romans to Bukovina [4, T 1, p. 672, map] or even to Lviv region, where they were detected in the 100st year by Ptolemy. Here there is, incidentally, another type of migration – because not all Barbarians moved towards Rome. There were movements to the north, which could significantly confused picture of migrations in the beginning of our age.
 Can we consider Avarini to be Avari? In any case! Avari (slav. Obri ) – a group of tribes in Central Asia which were turned away by Turks to the west in the VI century. So neither Huns on the Dniester, nor Avari on the Vistula in the time of Ptolemy physically could not exist. As there could be no Americans in the XV century in New England (even if any Indian tribe had similar ethnonym).

Skiri, mentioned by Tacitus, were located near the present-day Krakow and Tarnow (Southern Poland) – north Bastarnae [6, 337, map]. By Ptolemy on this place are located Anartofrakti and Ombrones. Skiri – Germanic tribe shifted from the northwest before our age (perhaps this is one of the detachments of the great march of the Germans south in 120-101 BC). And Ombrones are The Ambrones of the same time. Also likely the Germans or Bastarnians [6, 46].

From noted tribes by Ptolemy on the north of Sarmatia the Gelones are interesting. Ptolemy placed them somewhere between Velikiye Luki and Orel. Herodotus placed them southward. It was believed that Gelones came from the south, but Herodotus could not say exactly how close they are to Boudinoi – “Squirrel tribe” ( in this ethnonym is probably caused by the local name for proteins that Herodotus confused with “cone eater”). If Ptolemy was wrong and did not use ethnic anachronism, it turns out that with the advent of the Black Sea steppes Sarmatians, or even later, Gelones (with boudines [1, 173] ) have moved to the north – to the habitation area Dnieper-Dvina culture so-called “Androthags” by Herodotus. All these tribes (Gelones, Boudinoi and Androthags) are Balts, although Gelons recognized to have Thracian element since Cimmerian times [7, 131-140]. Yukhnovsky culture of Boudinoi existed until VII century AD. We can consider that Boudinoi and Gelons did not move to the north, and continued to exist between Bakhmach and Kaluga – where Ptolemy placed the Hippopodes [1, 202]. From this it follows that Ptolemy did not exactly place the Gelones – they should be southward. Sarmatians only pushed Gelones actually a little north. And in place of Gelones (Smolensk region) there were located Sali [1, 340 ] who apparently were the tribes of the Dnieper-Dvina culture – “Androthags”. Name “Hippopodes” indicates their cattle-breeding and close relationship with the Sarmatians – perhaps they settled southward – on the place of Gelones by Herodotus – in Sumy region. Farther south, in Poltava – Agathyrsi – the most mysterious tribe in the region. Herodotus (and after him many modern historians) put them – Agathyrsi – somewhere in Romania (in any case, they kept armed neutrality at the time of Darius campaign against the Scythians, when the Persian army went through Dobruja, boosted the Lower Danube and moved through Budzhak in the New Russia, and remained in his rear). On the other hand, the story by Herodotus about Hercules and Echidna children can conclude that Agathyrsi – is not an ethnicity, but only Scythian dynasty that ruled ancient Dacians in VII – III centuries BC. Perhaps Agathyrsi of Poltava are related to Agathyrsi of Dacia Scythian dynasty that remained under the rule of outsiders Sarmatians to Ist century BC? Melanchlaeni (some Slavists create Croats from them) from the time of Herodotus and by the time of Ptolemy occupied the Upper Danube. It is also the Iranian tribe. The author of these lines hypothesized about the location of Rosomoni [3, 129] in Gothic period exactly in this area.

As an example Agathyrsi and Melanchlaeni one can see, that not all Scythians were destroyed by newcomer Sarmatians in the III century BC. And Scythians of Crimea and Dobruja – not the only relics of the Scythian population of the Northern Black Sea coast. This is crucial when we begin to consider the steppe and forest-steppe zone of the Dniester River to the Volga. In this land Ptolemy put a dozen of tribes: Amaxobii, notable Huns, Rheucanali, Exobygitae, Rhoxolani, Osili, Cariones, Sargari, Sturni, Ophlones, Idrae, Vibiones, Nasci, Acibi. Here also Amadocae and Navari could be included. What tribes from this list are Sarmatians? This undoubtedly are Amaxobii and Rhoxolani. Other Sarmatians: Aorsi and Siraci lived over the Danube – in “Asia” and Yazygs already moved to Hungary. Sargata tribes belong to the group slept , came in I century BC from the depths of Asia [4 , T 1, 615 , with 672 card] ( perhaps they are related to the Alans or sakaravakam Mangishlak ) . And what about the rest? Some of these tribes have Sarmatian or “sartmatiziruyuschiesya” but some may well be Scythian. And Yazigi have already moved to Hungary. Sargari tribes belong to the group of Spali, came in I century BC from the depths of Asia [4, T 1, 615, with 672 map] (perhaps they are related to the Alani or Sakaravaci of Mangishlak). And what about the rest? Some of these tribes are already Sarmatian or “sartmatianized”, but some may well be Scythian.
Thus, based on the analysis of geographic information reported by Ptolemy (and partly confirmed by Tacitus and other Roman historians corresponding period), we can construct a complex ethnic map of Eastern Europe – European Sarmatia of Claudius Ptolemy, notable for variegated and numerous disparate tribes significantly mixed in during continuous migrations, and therefore it is not necessary to speak about stable ethnic territories in the described age.



1.      Budanova V.P. Varvarskiy mir epokhi Velikogo pereseleniya narodov. [Barbarous world during the period of the Great Migration] М.,2000. (in Russian)

2.      Dovatur A.I. Kallistov D.P. Shishova I.L. Narody nashei strany v "Istorii" Gerodota. [Peoples of Our Country in the History of Herodotus] М.,1982. (in Russian)

3.      Jordanes. O proishozhdenii i deyaniyakh getov. [On the Origin and Deeds of the Getae] SPb.,2000. (in Russian)

4.      Istoriya Yevropy. [The History of Europe] Т 1. М.,1988. (in Russian)

5.      Claudius Ptolemy. Rukovodstvo po geographii. [Geography]. // Antichnaya geographiya. М.,1953. (in Russian)

6.      Cornelius Tacitus. O proishozhdenii germantsev i mestopolozhenii germantsev. [Concerning the Origin and Situation of the Germanics] // Cornelius Tacitus. Sochineniya. М.,1993. (in Russian)

7.      Medvedev A.P. Gelon Gerodota: k probleme sootnosheniya antichnogo narrativa i istoriko-arkheologicheskikh raliy.// Antichnyi mir i arkheologia. [Gelonus of Herodotus: to the problem of interrelation of the ancient narrative and historical and archaeological realities] Vyp 11. Saratov,2002. (in Russian)

8.      Podosinov A.V. Vostochnaya Yevropa v rimskoy kartographicheskoy traditsii. [Eastern Europe in the Roman cartographic tradition] М.,2002. (in Russian)

9.      Podosinov A.V. Proizvedeniya Ovidiya kak istochnik po istorii Vostochnoy Yevropy i Zakavkazyia. [Ovid's works as a source on the history of Eastern Europe and Transcaucasia] М.,1985. (in Russian)

10.  Podosinov A.V. Skrzhynskaya M.V. Rimskiye geographicheskiye istochniki: Pomponiy Mela and Pliniy Starshyi. [Roman geographical sources: Pomponius Mela and Plinius Maior] М.,2011. (in Russian)

11.  Rassadin S.Ye. Milogradskaya cultura: areal, chronologiya, ethnos. [Milagrad culture: geographical range, chronology, ethnos] Minsk, 2005. (in Russian)

12.  Slaviane i ich sosedi v kontse I tysyacheletiya do n.e. – pervoy polovine I tysyacheletiya n.e. [Slavs and their neighbors an the end of the I millennium B.C. – The first half of the I millennium A.D.] М.,1993 // Archeologiya USSR. (in Russian)

13.  Stepi Yevropeyskoy chasti USSR v skifo-sarmatskoye vremya. [Steppes of the European part of the USSR in the Scythian-Sarmatian time] М.,1989. // Archeologiya USSR. (in Russian)

14.  Strabo. Geographya [Geography]. М.,1994. (in Russian)

15.  Tartarica. Atlas [Atlas]. Kazan, 2005. (in Russian)