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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Royal Scythia and its Capital

Herodotus wrote that among all Scythian tribes were the “Royal Scythians”. Strabo also singled out the “Royal Sarmatians” among the tribes of the Iazyges, Urgs, Roxolani, Aorsi, the Siraces, and others. Obviously the definition of "royal" refers to a dominant tribe. Arguments in favor of the fact that the Anglo-Saxons were such a tribe are given in the article Alans-Angles-Saxons and such a situation corresponds to the general paradigm of Anglo-Saxon Superiority. Accordingly, the territory that was ruled by the Anglo-Saxons can be conditionally called Royal Scythia. In general, the composition of the population of Scythia-Sarmatia can be determined by place names which can be deciphered using different languages. They are not put on Google My Maps (a screen of it see in Fig. 2).

The dominant position of the Anglo-Saxons in the tribal union is explained by the fact that some of them occupied a territory rich in copper ore deposits in the Donbass, mastered their exploitation, having established the mining and processing of copper, and this predetermined their future fate, in which a certain historical regularity is visible:

New archaeological materials allow us to say with confidence that in the Donbass, at least in the Late Bronze Age, there was a large mining and metallurgical center, where not only ores were mined, copper was smelted, but also neighboring territories were supplied with manufactured tools, metal, and ore. As rightly noted by E.N. Chernykh, the localization of copper deposits allowed the tribes that developed them to get a new powerful source of enrichment, and thanks to their own metal, mining, and metallurgical centers subordinated vast territories to their influence (TATARINOV S.I. 1977: 206).

As the accumulation of place names of Anglo-Saxon origin around the Kartamysh copper mine south of the city Popasna shows, these Anglo-Saxons settled here in the immediate vicinity of the Bulgars, that is, the ancestors of the modern Chuvash who populated this area a long time ago [STETSYUK VALENTYN, 2000: 18-32]. The name Kartamysh corresponds to OE ceart "wasteland, wild public land", myscan "to deform". Judging by the name, the natural landscape in this area was disturbed by the activities of the previous population even before the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. The results of excavations in the Kartamysh archaeological microdistrict showed that settlements specialized in metal production already existed among the Srubnaya cultural and historical community. According to average indicators, the calibrated dates of finds at this deposit fit into the 16th century BC (BROVENDER Yu.M., OTROSHCHENKO V.V., PRYAKHIN A.D. 2010, 92) and their features allow us to assert that the mining and processing of copper were of a complex nature:

The scientific value and weight of this historical, cultural, and scientific object lie in the fact that in a limited area of ​​3.2 hectares, there are sites representing all the cycles of the most ancient metal production – the extraction of copper ore to the manufacture of metal products, namely mining, ore-dressing, metallurgical and metalworking cycles (ibid, 88)

Fig.1. Copper Mine Kartamysh

By the end of the 1st millennium BC, presumably due to climatic changes that led to a decrease in the productive possibilities of the steppe, the local population of Iranian ethnicity was forced to go in search of new places convenient for living. In any case, archaeological data testify to the temporary desolation of the northern shores of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea:

… in the 12th -10th BC compared with the previous period the steppes between the Don and the Danube reveal a tenfold decrease in the number of settlements and burials. The same trend of decline in population is manifested in the Pontic steppe also in the subsequent Cimmerian era, which is confirmed by the absence of settlements and stationary burial grounds in this area (MAKHORTYKH S.V., 1997: 6-7).

The depopulation of the Northern Black Sea region explains the fact that, with the exception of the later Kurdish and Ossetian ones, no other place names of Iranian origin have been preserved here. The new flowering of the steppe became possible due to the arrival of the Bulgars from Western Ukraine in the Dnieper region, and this marked the beginning of the Scythian time. Following the Bulgars, the same carriers of the Sosnitsia culture began to move south, whom we associate with the Anglo-Saxons. Having discovered abandoned copper mines near Kartamysh, they revived the copper ore industry and, taking metalworking under their control, achieved economic superiority over the foreign-speaking population of the Northern Black Sea region and, as a result, political dominance. There is linguistic evidence for this fact. V.I. Abayev, considering the Ossetian word äldar "lord", "prince", wrote:

One of the early Alanian paramilitary, semi-class terms… The impression that the military organization of the Alans made on the neighbors contributed to the penetration of this word into Hungarian and Mongolian [ABAYEV V.I. 1958: 126-127].

Abaev derived this word from OS. arm "arm" and dar "hold". In fact, it is a borrowing of OE. ealdor "prince", "lord", "king", originating from OE. eald "old". The term of the leaders of Anglo-Saxon origin corresponds to the primacy of the Anglo-Saxons in intertribal formations. When the Goths came to the Northern Black Sea region, then perhaps they did not find the Scythians themselves here but found the traces left by them in toponymy. Jordanes, in his "Getica" described rather scanty the coming of the Goths for a new place of settlement, but it does have such evidence:

But when the volume of the people increased greatly and Filimer, son of Gadaric, reigned as king -about the fifth since Berig – he decided that the army of the Goths with their families should move from that region. In search of suitable homes and pleasant places they came to the land of Scythia, called Ojom (Oium) in that tongue [JORDANES. 1960: 25].

Fig. 2. The population of Scythia on the right bank of the Seversky Donets according to toponymy.

Place names of Bulgarish origin are marked in red and Anglo-Saxon ones in burgundy.

Namely, by which the language has been named the land, is not clear from the context – Scythian or Gothic. Jordanes commentators believe that Oium is a Germanic word (supposedly Gothic *ajum akin to Ger Aue "valley, meadow" existed in the Gothic language). If we turn to the Chuvash language, we find the word uçam "area, place", which has matches in other Turkic languages (Turkm., Kyrghiz, Yakut orun, Tat. uryn, Kaz. oryn, etc.) Complex transformation Turkic r – j – ç corresponds to the phonological patterns of the Chuvash language (cf. Chuv ura "a foot" – Turk. ajak "a foot", Chuv çĕr "hundred" – Turk juz "hundred"). However, perhaps the best way to decipher the name of Oium may be given by Chuv. ĕç "work" and um "a plot, lot". The Goths just could borrow uçam or ĕçum for the name of the area where they settled. The possibility of Gothic-Bulgarian language contacts in the 2nd century AD on the territory of the Northern Black Sea Coast follows from such words of Jordanes:

Farther away and above the Black Sea are the abodes of the Bulgar, well known from the wrongs done to them by reason of our sins (Ibid: 37).

Fig.3 The main archaeological sites of the second quarter of the 1st millennium AD in Ukraine.
(BARAN V.D. (Ed.). 1985: 78).

Legend: a – settlements and b – grave fields of Cherniachiv culture connected with the Goths, c – settlements and d – grave fields of Kyiv culture, f settlements and g – grave fields of Wielbark culture, also connected with the Goths, h – settlements and i – grave fields of Carpathian Tumuli culture, Ojum – a proposed center of Oium country, connected with the city of Izium.

Judging from the context, the area Oium was on the Left Bank of the Dnieper. This area can be associated with the city of Izium (see the map in Fig. 3), whose name is phonetically similar to Chuv. uçam, as ĕçum. In later sources, the Goths, as well as Bulgarians, often referred to as the Scythians by the name of the country they inhabited.

On the map shown in Fig. 2 it can be seen that the modern city of Izium is located in isolation among other place names of Bulgar origin. And this raises doubts that it was here that the country of Oyum was located. A fairly dense cluster of Bulgar toponyms is located a little to the south along the right bank of the Seversky Donets River. However, the name Izium is also found here on Schubert’s map. This was the name of the railway station, later renamed Almazna, and then Stakhanov, and under this name, it still exists, although the town retained the name Almazna. This name also can have Bulgarish origin – Chuv. ulma “apple” (in the other Turkic languages alma) and çă (pronounced like zia) is the Chuvash affix, serving to form nouns from the nominal stems with the meaning of personality, tools, and product of activity indicated in the stem meaning, that is, the word almazia could mean a gardener or seller of apples. When railways were laid in Russia, the names of the stations were assigned according to those that existed here earlier. These could be the names of both settlements and tracts not marked on the Schubert map, which we see in other cases. For example, they did not mark Mount Karachun at all, although this is the highest point in this area.

The rich deposits of coal and copper that came to the surface did not require much effort for their extraction and ensured good economic development of the region based on the production of consumer goods and weapons from copper and bronze. Bronze is an alloy of copper as the main component and other metals. In Scythia, copper was alloyed with arsenic to obtain bronze, and this technology proved successful for local conditions:

During the Early Bronze Age, a new model of the organization of metal production appeared which persisted until the end of the Middle Bronze Age and is characterized by the use of low-alloyed arsenical bronze, forge, and, in a smaller degree, foundry techniques of tools produc-tion in the steppe zone of Eastern Europe. ..There were metallurgical communications of Yamnaya tribes of the Northern Black Sea coast with the synchronous Corded Ware Cultures, which, in particular, is manifested in the distribution of Yamnaya tools on the sites of the Corded Ware Cultures and in a possible acquisition of tin-arsenic alloys in the form of ingots from the Central European area [RYNDINA N.V., DEGTYAREVA A.D. 2018: 317].

Although arsenic accompanies copper ores in small quantities, local entrepreneurs mainly used the imported from the North Caucasus. Obviously, trade and economic ties were established between the Scythians including the Anglo-Saxon Alans, and the tribes of the Maykop culture, which was also characterized by items made of arsenic bronze. Sufficient deposits of arsenic were located in Adygea, which determined further contacts for many centuries. In such a way, a certain infrastructure was created which included roads with wells equipped along them, watering places, crossings over rivers and ravines, market centers, and so on. This attracted migrants from more distant places to the Luhan River basin, to which we will assign the modern name of Donbas

After the Hun invasion, when the Alans went west, Chechens, Adyghes, Kurds from the North Caucasus, Hungarians from across the Don River, Greeks from nearby places, and even migrants from the Baltic area rushed to the deserted settlements (see the articles Cimmerians in the Eastern European History, Pechenegs and Hungarians, Ancient Balts Outside of the Ancestral Home). By the time the Ukrainians arrived, the population of Donbas was very diverse (see the map in Fig. 4)

Fig. 4. The population of Donbas according to toponymy.

The colors on the map indicate place names of different origins:

red – Bulgarish, burgundy – Anglo-Saxon, black – Chechen, blue – Kurdish, light-blue – Hungarian, green – Ossetic, yellow – Greek

A particularly large accumulation of place names of various origins was found in the vicinity of the city of Kadiyivka:

Almazna (Алмазна), a town in Kadiyivka Municipality in Lyhansk Region – see above.

Avdakove (Авдакове) Avdakove, a railway station in the city of Brianka, Luhansk Region – Kurd. av "water", dak "to low"

balka, a common word for the meaning of steppe ravines, which are many in the surrounding area – linguists get confused when trying to etymologize this word. The possibility of its origin from OE balc “marge, elevation between two furrows” is categorically excluded (VASMER MAX. 1964: 116). However, there is also OE. balca "shackle" and bælca "curtain" (HOLTHAUSEN F. 1974: 15, 16). As you can see, the root of the word is polysemantic and, among others, could mean "ravine".

Berdyanka (Бердянка), a village in Luhansk Region – Chech. berd “bank, coast, cliff”.

Bezhanivka (Бежанівка) a railway station in the city of Holubivka, Luhansk Region – Chech. bezhan “pasture, grazing”.

Brianka (Брянка), a city in Luhansk Region – OE brene "fire", - “district”.

Cherkaskyi Brod (Черкаский Брод), Cherkaskoe (Черкаское), place names marked on Schubert’s map near the city of Zymohiria, Luhansk region – Chuv. kĕr «autumn», kassă “settlement”.

Chichikovka (Чичиковка), a place name marked on Schubert’s map near the city of Holubivka, Luhansk region – Chuv. chechek "flower".

Irmino, a small city in Stakhanov Municipality, Luhansk Region – OE. iermen "big, strong".

Istromryavskaya (Истромарьевская), a place name marked on Schubert’s map near the city of Pervomaysk, Luhansk region – Kurd. hêster “tear”.

Kadiyivka (Кадіївка), a city in Luhansk Region – Chuv. khăt "comfort, convenience" evĕk “kindness”. Initially, the settlement was called Kadievec, and only quite recently adopted the modern name.

Right: Ilich Mine, Kadiyivka. Photo from Wikipedia.

A cozy place could be a wide valley that stretched from the Red Grave to the Kamyshevakha River. The northern slope was well warmed up by the gentle rays of the sun in summer and at the same time protected from the winds in winter. It was here that people could choose a place to settle. Now it is buried under the remains of a large waste heap of the former Ilich mine.

Karpaty (Карпати), a town in Luhansk Region – Chuv. kar «to fence off, partition off", păt, pat "completely, absolutely". There is no place name on Schubert’s map and the town itself was built relatively recently, but the motivation for the name remains unclear. It is possible that a similar name of some local tract was used for it. On Schubert’s maps, undoubtedly ancient place names are often absent. This is where the map is empty. By the name of the mountain system, local residents could not name the settlement that existed before, especially since there is a village with the same name in the Ulyanovsk region of Russia, not far from Chuvashia, and the Chuvash people live in that village.

Kartanash (Картанаш), a railway station between Debaltseve and Popasna in Luhansk Region – Chech. kxartanash is the plural of kxartan "rash".

Luhan’ (Лугань), a river, rt of the Siv. Donets, rt of the Don – Chech logan, genitive from log “neck”. There are several more similar toponyms in Ukraine and Russia, but all of them can come from Ukrainian/Russian luh/lug "meadow". However, a derivative luhan’ or lugan’ from it is unlikely. This is a controversial case.

Maydan (Майдан), place names twice marked on Schubert’s map near the village of Khoroshe, Luhansk region Kurd. meydan “area, space” (Old Ir. *maitana/*maithana "place of residence, dwelling").

Mohyla Samarskaya (Могила Самарська), a kurgan marked on Schubert‘s map near the railway stantioon of Sentynivka in Luhansk Region – Chuv. samăr "obesity, fatness".

Pakhalivka (Пахалівка), a village in Luhansk Region – Chuv. pakhala "to appraise, evaluate".

Sentyanivka (Сентянівка), a railway station on line Luhansk- Lysychansk – Os. syntæ "snare, net for catching animals", synt "raven".

Thus, industrialization and the international composition of the population of Donbas have deep roots, which cannot be traced from historical documents. However, the existence of many place names over the millennia suggests that it was permanently inhabited to such an extent that it predetermined some cultural and economic continuity. Accordingly, the Donbas does not fall under the existing definition of a “wild field”. Of all the peoples mentioned above, presumably before the arrival of the Ukrainians in 16-17 cen. Donbas was inhabited by some amount of descendants of the ancient Bulgars. As throughout Ukraine, here among the local population, there are surnames that can be deciphered using the Chuvash language. There are quite a lot of them, and among them, there are those that are found throughout Ukraine, and the most common ones, such as Sheremet, Shepel, Balan, Karachun, and Parpura, are also found in the area of ​​interest to us. However, the greater probative force about the presence of the ancient Bulgars in it is more characteristic only for the region of Kadiyivka and Lugansk, where people from Kadiyivka could, as usually happens, move to the regional center. Searches for surnames of Bulgar origin were carried out using Maps of the extension of names in Ukraine. At the same time, attention was paid to the fact that the Chuvash words that were taken to explain the surnames did not have widespread correspondences in other Turkic languages. In addition, the Chuvash language, which has retained most of the features of Old Turkic, has its own characteristics, among which there is a free variation between voiced and voiceless consonants. In the intervocalic position p is pronounced as b, and kh – as h. The sound denoted by the letter ç can be reflected as z', dz, or ts. Given these features, the Ukrainian surnames of Donbas can be interpreted as follows:

Arlanov (9 carriers in Luhansk, most of all in Ukraine) – Chuv. arlan "hamster". The etymology is unclear, there are matches in Kazakh and some Eastern Turkic languages.(YEGOROV V.G. 1964: 32; FEDOTOV M.R. 1996: 58).

Burbelo (12 carriers in Kadiyivka, the third largest in Ukraine) – Chuv. pur, the same as pură "chalk" (SKVORTSOV M.I. 1985: 310), pĕlev "bar". Attention is drawn to the presence of the name of the chalk in the three surnames of this list. There are deposits of chalk in the Lugansk region, in particular, at the head of the Melovaya River.

Burym (73 carriers in Luhansk, most of all in Ukraine, 28 carriers in Kadiyivka) – Chuv. pur, the same as pură "chalk" (SKVORTSOV M.I. 1985: 310), im "drug, medicine".

Kasaurov (9 carriers in Kadiyivka, most of all in Ukraine) – Chuv. kasă "street, village", ura "stack".

Kolchak (11 carriers in Kadiyivka, most of all in Ukraine) – Chuv. kălchak "small, young bream". Etymology is not considered.

Kondayrov (53 carriers in Luhansk, most of all in Ukraine) – Chuv. kăn "potash", tăvar "salt".

Podkolzin (63 carriers in Kadiyivka, most of all in Ukraine) – Chuv. pat "absolutely", păt "complete", kul "laugh", çyn "man".

Sartan (20 carriers in Kadiyivka, most of all in Ukraine) – Chuv. çarttan "pike", a fish art. Etymology is not considered, but there are correspondences in Tat. churtan, Kaz. shirtan a.i. "pike".

Tarapura (13 carriers in Luhansk, most of all in Ukraine) – Chuv. tără "pure" (has no Türkic correspondences), pură "chalk" (etymology is not considered).

The presence of two more surnames among the indigenous population of Luhansk Region, although generally atypical, is good evidence of the former presence of the ancient Bulgars there:

Hutsol (17 carriers in Luhansk, 13 in Lutuhin district, 12 in Rovenky, 9 in Kadiyivka, 5 in Alchevsk etc out of the total number of 2115 carriers in Ukraine) – Chuv. khuça "owner", khuçalăn "be in charge, behave like a master". Linguists have several explanations for the origin of the Ukrainian word hutsul, but none of them, according to experts, is convincing (MELNYCHUK A.S. 1982: 630).

Chaus (23 carriers in Luhansk and 20 carriers in Kadiyivka out of the total number of 1876 carriers in Ukraine) – Chuc. chăvash, Chuvash self-name. Disputes about the origin of the word do not subside, but in general, it is associated with the Mari suvas (FEDOTOV M.R. 1996: 394 – 399).

These facts really testify that a permanent population in the territory that we call Royal Scythia has always existed, but a certain enigma is the absence of traces of ancient settlements precisely in those places where the density of place names of Scythian times is greatest. The answer to this question may be that purposeful searches for such settlements were not carried out when the main attention of archaeologists was given to mounds. On the other hand, traces of settlements are most often ceramics, but there are literally few items of Scythian ceramics throughout the Donbass (TATARINIV S.I., KRAVETS D.P., KOPYL A.G. 1996, 36). One can think that the population of Royal Scythia used metal utensils, which, falling out of use, were immediately melted down. Thus, the craft of metalworking could continue to exist, also focusing on sales. Archaeological excavations in the places of supposed settlements can clarify this issue, but their organization is impossible without solid-state support, which is practically impossible at present. In other words, in the interests of science, there should be no place for pseudo-state formations.

The idea of localizing "Royal Scythia" in the Donbass is not new, and this is given a convincing justification because the local area provided good opportunities not only for the development of animal husbandry but for all kinds of crafts:

Scythian nomads could not help but be attracted by numerous minerals: iron "swampy" and bedrock ores, polymetallic and copper ores, various types of stone, coal, clay, rock salt, often all this was mined in an open way, directly from the surface (KRAVETS D.P. 2002: 20).

According to the cited author, it was the "royal Scythians", having understood the significance of the ore and other raw materials of the Donbass, who turned it into a mining and industrial region already in ancient times. They used these riches to "strengthen the historical power of Scythia" (ibid.: 36). The name of Donbass "Royal Scythia" occurs in the text of the book of the famous Donetsk archaeologist repeatedly.


If the permanent population around Kadiyivka always existed, then it passed on to its descendants not only the names of the existing settlements but also the features of the socio-economic relations that prevailed among the local population.

Behavior genetics studies the basics of behavior and everything related to it – mental illness, the propensity to divorce, political preferences, and even a sense of life satisfaction. Evolutionary psychology is looking for the mechanisms by which these traits pass from generation to generation. Both approaches assume that nature and nurture are involved in the formation of behavior, thoughts, and emotions, but unlike the practice of the twentieth century, nature is now preferred (CSIKSZENTMIHALYI MIHALY. 2008: 89).

This is a theory that is difficult to test in practice, it is necessary to carry out social research over a long period of time. However, it is possible to make a comparative assessment of the nature of urban residents by their activity on the Internet. An analysis of the content of websites dedicated to individual cities and their number showed that the inhabitants of Stakhanov, also known as Kadievka, are distinguished by exceptional local patriotism, affection, and love for their city. According to the data obtained, they can be compared with the inhabitants of famous historical centers exceeding them by 10-12 times in size. There is nothing special in the city, but on the sites, you can find, and more than once, its evaluation as the best city on the planet. The expression of such a special attitude of the townspeople to the city must have its reason in the peculiarities of their nature. Archaeological finds testify that during the time of the Khazar Khaganate, the population of Royal Scythia was engaged in peaceful agricultural work, and was not often subjected to military raids, but allegedly there was no major social center here. At the same time, the materials obtained during the excavations testify to the high damage of blacksmithing, bronze casting, and jewelry art of local Bulgars (TATARINOV S.I., KRAVETS D.P., KOPYL A.G. 1996: 42-47). It cannot be that technological progress occurs without the concentration of industrial production in one center. It can be assumed that the craft of metalworking provided a reliable income for craftsmen and supported their feeling of superiority over ordinary grain growers and cattle breeders, which is usually characteristic of the inhabitants of an industrial center. Such a center could be exactly Kadievek because the foundry and mechanical plant in Kadiyvka was formed not from scratch, but on the basis of pre-existing workshops.

If we take a closer look at the feelings of modern Kadiyevites, it becomes clear that this is just a desire to be the best, the first. No wonder that it was here that the Stakhanovite movement was born, which was based on the desire to set a record for coal production. And this idea did not belong to the newcomer Alexei Stakhanov himself but hovered in the local atmosphere. And when the citizens of Kadievka praise the city, they wishful thinking.

So, the spirit of superiority was laid down in this area by the Anglo-Saxons who dominated here and passed on to the next generations after they either assimilated among the local population or left. Apparently, when the Anglo-Saxons arrived, a settlement called Kadievek already existed, but they made it the capital. For many centuries, Kadiewek lived in isolation, without close contact with close neighbors. The waves of nomads who invaded the Black Sea steppes in the second millennium did not contribute to the further economic development of the region, the local population for centuries preserved their way of life and established human relations. During all this time there have been significant changes in his language, which have yet to be traced.