Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The two branches are divided mainly chronologically, rather than geographically:
- Scythian - archaic version; mainly during classic antiquity
Sometimes, the Scythian and Sarmatian languages are combined into one name: Scytho-Sarmatian languages.
Scythians migrated from Central Asia toward Eastern Europe, occupying today's Southern Russia and Ukraine. They disappeared from history after the Hunnish invasion of the 5th century and most people speaking Scythian were probably assimilated by the Turkish/Tatar and Slavic people. However, part of the Scythians moved toward the Caucasus and modern Ossetic was derived from their language.
No written text in Scythian was ever found, but we know several toponyms, tribal names and personal names from the Greek inscriptions found at the Greek colonies on the Schythian shore of the Black Sea and we can also analyze modern Ossetian for meanings of the words known from Greek texts. Herodotus, for example, reports that the Amazons are called "Oiorpata" by the Scythians, from "oior", meaning man, and "pata", meaning "to kill". The accuracy of his account is impossible to determine.
Many toponyms and hydronyms of the Russian and Ukrainian steppe are believed to be of Scythian origin. For example, the name of the river Don derives from the Scythian *don, meaning water or river (reconstructed from the modern Ossetic).
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details