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Cimmerians

The Cimmerians were an ancient people, who lived in the south of modern-day Russia, at least in the 8th and 7th century BC. Little is known about them, but they were mentioned in the writings of Greek writer Homer, who says that they live in a land of fog and darkness at the borders of the known world. The historian Herodotus gives more details about their history, describing the savagery of their plunder raids and their attack on Lydia, when they occupied for a brief time the Lydian capital of Sardis. The Cimmerians as a distinctive people were almost completely wiped out by the Scythians, who had migrated from Central Asia under pressure from Chinese tribes. Mobile Scythian cavalry tactics completely crushed the Cimmerian foot soldiers.

In the early twentieth century the home of the Cimmerians in the Caucasus led to their association with the ancient Aryans. It seems that their leaders may have been of Iranian origin.

The reputation of the Cimmerians for savagery, combined with their mysteriousness, led the fantasy author Robert E. Howard to identify his character Conan the Barbarian as a Cimmerian.

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