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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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The Ethnic Composition of the Population of Great Scythia According Toponymy.


The study and systematization of various substratum onomastics recorded in historical documents and monuments are practically impossible without reliable knowledge about the peoples who inhabited one or another area at different times. This is especially important when historical information is scarce and contradictory. We have this case for the Scythian-Sarmatian time in a vast area including the entire territory of Ukraine and the southern part of European Russia. This space corresponds to the broad understanding of the Great Scythia, or Scytho-Sarmatia, which can be found among ancient historians. The rich history of this country and its ethnic composition are of great interest to scientists and naturally they have assumptions that seek scientific confirmation. For a number of reasons, the most popular was the idea of ​​the exclusively Iranian origin of the peoples of Scythia as a result of a vicious circle in the studies of venerable scientists of the past. Having chosen Iranian languages ​​for phonological-morphological analysis of substrate onomastics, they found confirmation of their own assumptions. At the present time, this approach is assessed quite critically as having a touch of "romanticism" and "voluntarism" in the presence of a clear pre-installation. Being Iranloges, they professed the principle: "what cannot be explained from the Iranian languages, it is impossible to explain at all" (SHAPOSHNIKOV ALEKSANDR KONSTANTINOVICH. 2007: 11-15).

However, the cited author himself did not avoid "voluntarism". Quite rightly, trying to expand the range of languages ​​of the population of Scythia-Sarmatia, he refers to the so-called relics of the Illyro-Celtic, Hittite, Indo-Aryan appearance, collected by various scientists with an arbitrary interpretation of the available historical information and the results of narrow thematic studies. Meanwhile, studies of the ethnogenetic processes in Eastern Europe using the graphic-analytical method made it possible to establish its ethnic composition for the period from the Bronze Age to the Scythian time (STETSYUK VALENTYN. 1998, 2000). According to the data received, neither Illyrians, nor Celts, nor Indo-Aryans, not to mention the Hittites, should not have been in Great Scythia. Instead, onomastic studies should confirm the reliability of the presence in Eastern Europe in Scythian times of peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons, the ancestors of the Chuvash, and Kurds. The presence of the Thracians and the ancestors of the Ossetians here is not in doubt.

To analyze the epigraphy of the Northern Black Sea region and historical sources, in addition to the traditionally used languages, Old English, Chuvash, and Kurdish ​​were used, and in difficult cases also the languages ​​of the peoples of the North Caucasus and, less often, the Finno-Ugric and Baltic languages. The analysis showed that the ethnic composition of the Scythian space was changing, continuing to remain diverse, and this diversity increased from Scythian times to the middle of the first millennium AD. As it turned out, of all the names of individuals and the realities of the representative sample attributed to the Scythian time, two-thirds of them can be deciphered by means of the Chuvash language. For the Sarmatian time, to calculate the number of glosses that could be deciphered mainly using one language, a sample of 283 units was made. When calculating, it turned out that approximately 30% of gloss can be deciphered by the Iranian languages ​​(12% – by Kurdish, 9% – by Ossetian, and by various Iranian), 28% – by Old English, 18% – by Chuvash, 11% – by Kabardian, 5% – by Turkic, and by Chechen, 2% – by Baltic, and by Hungarian. (See. Scythian, Sarmatian, and Alan-Englo-Saxon Onomastikons).

Systematization of various substrate onomastics recorded in historical documents and monuments is practically impossible without an accurate idea of the prevailing ethnoi among the entire population of Great Scythia. The revelation of their presence in this country is possible by completely different methods than the phonological-morphological analysis of all the vast material on the basis of a preliminary idea of ​​the ethnic composition of Scythia, formed even when ethnology did only its first steps. The variety of substrate onomastics in the Northern Black Sea Region is such that many names can be deciphered by the languages ​​of peoples who never lived in the Northern Black Sea region, such as the Hittites, or who stayed there for a short time in insignificant numbers, such as Indo-Aryans or Celts. Trying to decipher the substratum toponymy with these languages, one of the researchers gives an explanation to the multitude of names of geographical micro-objects, while it does not explain hundreds of names of large ones (SHAPOSHNIKOV ALEKSANDR KONSTANTINOVICH. 2007). The attraction of Iranian languages, whose speakers are generally accepted to populate Scythia, only partially solves the problem. As a result, the question arises – if not the Hittites, not the Celts, not the Indo-Arians, and not even the Iranians, then who could have given the names to many of the large objects, as no doubt it happened in prehistoric times? Answer to this question cannot be given by phonological-morphological analysis. On the other hand, if several toponyms are decoded by one of the languages, then they should not be scattered on a huge space, but have to be concentrated in one place, which increases the probability of the correctness of made decryption. In this respect, the recently published work on the onomastics of the Northern Black Sea region is characteristic (YAYLENKO V.P. 2018). Without taking on the complex work of establishing the entire diversity of the ethnic composition of Scythia-Sarmatia, the author is looking only for Thraco-Dacian traces in a vast area from the mouth of the Danube to the foothills of the North Caucasus. For a certain time, the Thracians lived in the area of ​​Fastov and Bila Tserkva, but being driven out by the Anglo-Saxons, they migrated to the Balkans. More clearly, their traces appear exactly where they should have been. In the same places where neither Dacians nor Thracians have ever been, the interpretation of isolated toponyms seems far-fetched. This is mainly due to the author's ignorance of the presence in Scythia-Sarmatia of the Anglo-Saxons, Bulgars, Kurds, and peoples of the North Caucasus. Below, some of Yaylenko's interpretations will be considered, but for now, we give two examples of his reinterpreted interpretations:

From VI-V centuries. BC Hecataeus, Herodotus, Strabo mentioned the Thracian tribe of Krobuz (Κρόβυζοι), populated an area to the south of the Istros delta. Considering the name of the tribe "a tough nut to crack", V. Yaylenko believes that it is based on Thrak. βυζο- "goat", and he sees the definition for it in the alleged Thrak. *ko/uru, родственного др. рус. čŭrvenŭ "red" (ibid 48-49). The ethnonym "red goats" is already in doubt, but there is a more convincing interpretation of it when Chuv. kăra "savage, brutal" and puç "head". The ethnonym "savage heads" is in good agreement with the decoding of the name of the tribe of Thyssagetae (Θυσσαγεται) as a "violent people" with the involvement of OE. đyssa "brawler, bully" and Chuv. kĕtü "herd, drove, flock". The Chuvash word reflects the common Scythian word getai/ketai meaning "people", which is present in several ethnonyms (Μασσαγεται, Ματυκεται, Μυργεται a.o.) Almost identical decoding of two different names in different languages testifies to its undoubted plausibility.

The names of the tribes of the Melanchlainoi (Μελαγχλαινοι) and the Harpians (Ἄρπιοι) also have a something similar meaning. Herodotus placed the Melanchlainoi north of the royal Scythians and explains their name as "dressed in black" (gr. μελασ "black", χλαι̃να "outer clothing"). The name of the Harpians can also be understood as "men in black", taking into account the OE. earp/eorp "dyed dark". By the time they were mentioned by Ptolemy (2nd century AD), the Melanchlainoi had already crossed over to the right bank of the Dnieper and received a new name, but close in meaning. V. Yaylenko believes that the Harpians were an Illyrian tribe under the assumption that *arb (en) means “Illyrian” (ibid 54 – 55).

We already know that most of this territory, namely the Steppe zone, Forest-steppe oh Right-Bank Ukraine, Carpathian Mountains, the small spaces in Hungary and Poland were inhabited mainly by Bulgars, and then place names should confirm this. As we also know, the ancestors of the modern Kurds, which are associated with Cimmerians, dwelled compactly in Podolia. Anglo-Saxons, that is, Neuroi and Melanchlainoi, cover a large territory on both sides of the Dnieper (see the section "Anglo-Saxons on Ukraine". They also left their traces in the toponymy. Budinoi which are confidently identified with Mordvins by historians left few traces in the toponymy, but the places of their settlements can be localized along the banks of the Sula and Psyol Rivers. Ancestors of the Ossetians (they were obviously Herodotus' Irycai, according to the similarity of this ethnic name to the self-name of Ossetians Iron) dwelled on the upper reaches of the Vorskla and Oskol Rivers. To the east, up to the Volga River was the territory of the Magyars, as we have agreed to call the ancestors of the Hungarians. Quite a lot of names on the territory of Left-Bank Ukraine are decrypted by means of the Greek language. More or less compact, they are located around the city of Poltava and found scattered in neighboring areas (see. Map below).




Scythia at Herodotus' time

On the map, the place names of Bulgarish origin are marked with a red color, the Anglo-Saxon place names have burgundy color, blue dots are Kurdish and other Iranian place names, violet – Mordovian, green – Ossetian, azure – Hungarian, yellow – Greek. The red line marks the border of Scythia of Herodotus.
The orange rhomb denotes the hillfort of Belsky near the village of Kuzemin, which some scientists associate with the ancient city of Gelon.
The red rhomb denotes a Scythian fortification near the village of Chotyniec in Poland.


The highest density of Bulgarian place names is observed in western Ukraine. Bulgars dwelled here since the time of the Corded Ware culture (CWC) and became successively creators of Komarsv and Vysotska cultures. They also have to be referred to early sites of the Scythian culture. Settled in a while Carpathians, Bulgars also mastered the Tisza basin, which has become the contact zone of the Scythian and the Hallstatt cultures (the group of Kushtanovitsia sites). Then Bulgars moved along the banks of the Tisza River into the territory of Hungary, as evidenced by the band of Bulgarish place names, which stretches from the Transcarpathian towards Lake Balaton. However, archeology does not confirm the mass penetration of carriers of the Scythian culture into the territory of Hungary, although its typical features are found among many sites of that time.

Poland's territory was also inhabited by Bulgars since the time of CWC, but Scythian settlements are absent here. They are concentrated mainly in Eastern Poland, where a Scythian hillfort was discovered near the village of Khotyniec in 2016, dating by radiocarbon analysis of the 8th century BC. The archaeological finds of the Scythian type in the rest of the territory can be left by the Scythians during single robbery raids. A large concentration of finds of the Scythian type is observed in Transylvania, but place names do not indicate the mass Scythian penetration here. Scattered place names on the Romanian territory, decrypted by means of the Chuvash language may refer to the middle of the first millennium AD.

For more details Bulgar as Iranian, Finno-Ugric, and Anglo-Saxon place names are considered in the relevant sections, which are constantly updated with new data. Here we consider the issue of settling the steppe zone of Grea Scythia out of its peripheral areas as the most problematic.

We know that moving from western Ukraine to the east, the Scythian-Bulgars reached the Dnieper River and this movement is marked by a chain of names of Bulgarian origin from the city of Chervonohrad in Lviv Region up to Kirovohrad and Cherkasy. Space of Chornolis culture and place names indicate that they first settled the Vorskla basin, and then populated the steppe part of Left-Bank Ukraine. According to ancient historians, most of the Scythian settlements were located just here. We can assume that some of them retained their names till the present day, despite the "Great Migration" and the subsequent migration waves, which lasted until the middle of the second millennium. However, the new migrants were mostly nomads and not enough numerous to form their own permanent settlements. Historically, people settled in convenient natural conditions and the aliens did not make sense to look for new places, so they settled there, where humans already dwelled before. It is very often the name of the settlement remained the same, despite the change of linguistic identity of its inhabitants. This phenomenon is general:


It is known that when some people capture territories formerly inhabited by other nationalities, the names of the localities (toponyms) used by the original settlers are most often preserved by new settlers. A striking example of this throughout history is the fact that many of the place names in North America are of Indian origin, including the names of such large cities as Chicago and Ottawa, both of Algonquian origin (COMRIE B. 2000: 5).


The same applies to other geographic features. In addition, there were always such remote places, where nomads did not get and the indigenous population remained there until the time of the mass invasion of new migrants. The difficulty lies in the fact that when searching Scythian settlements, we use the Chuvash language, which belongs to the Turkic group, but the Turks among the newcomers were quite a few. Tribes of Pechenegs, Cumans, Tatars inhabited the steppes of Ukraine in turn, Turkic-speaking Greeks, the so-called Urums inhabit the coast of the Black Sea till now. All they could leave their traces in the toponymy. To distinguish them from place names of Bulgarian origin can be difficult. For example, the names of settlements Temyrivka, Kardash, or river Ingul and Sura can be deciphered by means of the Chuvash and other Turkic languages. However, the Chuvash language is sufficiently different from other Turkic ones phonologically and its vocabulary has a lot of the original words, which are absent in other Turkic languages. Conversely, some clearly Turkic names have no good Chuvash matches (Saksagan', Tashlyk). This fact facilitates the search, however, some of the place names, which can be decrypted only by means of the Chuvash language, can occur since the time of the Khazar Khaganate, when the Bulgars populated the same place as their ancestors. Additional research should and can separate out of all place names such which refer to Scythian times. Everything this can be added that during colonization of the steppe immigrants from other places could bring names of their previous settlements. For example, the name of the city of Chuguev has its respective Chuguevka in the steppe. This is additional complexity, but such cases are a little bit.

With these considerations, work has been begun for searching "dark" place names, incomprehensible for Ukrainians, in the steppes of Ukraine, by means of the Chuvash and later Old English and other languages. Such geographical objects were found more than five hundred. We may speak more confidently about the origin of their names when settlements are located in clusters or form chains. Several of such chains are seen on the map. No doubt they mark the path of migrants and give an idea of its course. We can assume that the relocation had long-term nature by small groups, and there was no movement of large numbers of people simultaneously. Settlements in turn were based in convenient locations at a distance of 15-20 kilometers from each other, and sometimes even less. Thus settlers tried not to lose contact with each other. Obviously, none led this process, and the direction of movement was determined by geographical conditions – mainly by watersheds. Clusters of settlements often consist of three or four units. The only case of a large agglomeration is a group of settlements in the Donbas, which center lies near the city of Stakhanov. Here, 15-20 settlements and four rivers that have clearly not Slavic names are located in an area of approximately 1000 square kilometers. First, the Chuvash language was used for description, but all of a sudden, it was found that the name of the village of Vergulevka in Perevalsk district of Luhansk Region corresponds well to the OE. wergulu "nettle". Origin of the word F. Holthausen notes as "vague" (HOLTHAUSEN F. 1974: 391), but we can assume that it is related to the Latin. *vĭrgĕlla "a little twig", which W. Meyer-Lübke restores according to several Romance languages (MEYER-LÜBKE W. 1992: 782). Since traces of Romance languages in the toponymy of Donbas were not found one may assume that the name of the settlement that once existed on the site Vergulivka was given by Anglo-Saxons. Their presence nearby, namely in the Kharkiv Region is confirmed by toponymy. As for the origin of the Old English word, it should be considered as Italic substrate on the common ancestral home of Italics and Anglo-Saxons.

After the discovery of one reliable Anglo-Saxon place name, an attempt was made to find others nearby. They have been found, although not in large numbers. Most confidently we can talk about the Anglo-Saxon origin of the name of the river Mius River.


Ar left: The Mius River
Photo of Оlga GOK. Rostov-on-Don.


Anglo-Saxon offers us the word mēos "moss, swamp" which may be suitable for the name of the river with the marshy floodplain. The name of the river is in common with the Greek name of the Azov Sea Meotian lake or swamp (Μαιῶτις λίμνη). The same root is present in the name of the Kalmiгs River, but it could be named by analogy later as Anglo-Saxon place names were not found on its banks and near.

Other toponyms of possible Anglo-Saxon origin will be discussed in the sequel. It has to be recalled that our goal is to establish the ethnic composition of the population of the steppes, rather than a desire to find an explanation for all confusing names which can have the most diverse origins what is of great interest to local history. Accordingly, it is assumed that some of the place names, especially isolated, may have a different interpretation. Only the clusters of names decrypted by means of one language can be taken into account but some of them may be coincidences. Thus, most interpretations are probabilistic in nature, if clear correspondence of names with local environmental conditions are absent.

To explain the methods of search and decoding of names let us consider a specific example. There is in Sinelnikovo district of Dnepropetrovsk Region a village of Katrazhka. Chuv. katrashka "a clot", "uneven, lumpy" is suitable for decryption. However Ukrainian word of uncertain origin katraga "a hut" and a diminutive of it katrazhka are known. Perhaps the word was borrowed from the ancient Bulgars, but the settlement could be called both Ukrainians and Scythians. Searching logical explanation which of the names is more suitable for the village, has no sense because we will never know about the motivation of the people who gave the name. This case was considered doubtful until it turned out that it is part of the chain of Bulgarian place names, and therefore its Bulgarian origin was considered more likely. The mentioned chain begins by the village of Bulahovka in the Pavlograd district of the Dnepropetrovsk region. There are in Ukraine, Poland, Russia settlements with or similar many: Bulakh, Bulakhiv, Bolekhiv, Bolekhivtsi, Bolokhovo, Bolechów, Bolehówice, Bolkhov. All of them can be decrypted by Chuv. pulăkh "fertility". Further down in the chain, which stretches to the south, such village are:


Ozhenkivka –Chuv. ăshshăn "warm, affably".

Katrazhka – Chuv. katrashka "a clot", "uneven, lumpy".

Mazhary – Chuv. mushar "firm, strong".

Begma – Chuv. pĕk "to incline", măy "neck".

Garasivka (Harasivka) – Chuv. karas "honeycomb", kărăs "scanty, poor".

Basan' – Chuv. pusă "to suffer".


Now back to the Stakhanov agglomeration around for considering clearly not Slavic place names having also no explanation in the Turkic languages other than in Chuvash, but can be interpreted by means of the Chuvash, Old English or Ossetian languages. Noteworthy is that some dark names relate to the railway station:

Avdakovo, a railway station in the city of Brianka – Os. awd "seven", tag 1. "thread", "strip", 2. "forest belt, grove".

Borzhykivka, a railway station near the town of Debaltsevo– OE. borg «debt, fualt», ēce «eternal, endless».

Sentyanivka, a railway station on line Luhans'k – Lysychans'k – Os. synt "raven", syntæ "net, snare". This appellative is often found in the toponymy of Ossetia, but it can have a different meaning for place names (TSAGAEVA A. Dz. 2010: 460).

Obviously, when the railway was laid, the stations were called according to the local names of villages, farms, tracts. Large settlements did not develop here for a long time because the coal deposits in the Donbas began to be developed only in the 19th century. However, the nearby copper ore deposits have allowed people to mine copper since the Bronze Age. There was a powerful mining and metallurgical center in Eastern Europe, which is composed of about thirty copper pits. Now smelting copper from the local ore is uneconomical, but at Scythian times the deposit could be not exhausted so people settled in the immediate area. One major place is Kartamishy Mine near the train station Kartamishy. This name can be understood by means of Old English as "devastated wasteland" (OE. ceart "wild common land" and myscan "to break, ruin"). In this case, the name fits well, because the terrain here could really be subjected to human impacts in the extraction of copper ore. There are near-by the Kartamish River and two villages in Ukraine, which have similar names but located far from the copper mines.



Copper Mine Kartamysh


There is a few kilometers to the east of Kartamyshy the railway station Kartanash, the first part of its name is also OE. ceart "wild common land" and the second one can be seen as OE. næss "ness, cliff, headland". There are four more settlements nearby with mysterious names, which are explained by folk etymology. There is no point in considering these explanations, since similar names exist in other places where they lose their argumentation. Since these settlements are located close to others, the names of which are deciphered using either the Old English or Chuvash languages, there are reasons to use the same languages for their deciphering. Let's consider them in order:

Almazna, a small city in Stakhanov Municipality, Almaznyi, a settlement in the city of Rovenky, Luhansk Region – Chuv. ulma (in the other Turkic languages alma) and çă (pronounced like z'a) the Chuvash affix, which serves to form nouns from other nouns with the meaning of an agent in accordance with indicated in the root the sphere of occupation, tools, product of activity, that is, by the word almaz'a could be called a gardener or seller of apples. Otherwise, these names can be associated with Chuv. ulmuzzii "apple" (adjective).

Brianka, a city in Luhansk Region – in Russia there are villages of Brianka, Briankino, Briankovo, Brianrsevo, the names of which should be based on brank, which may come from OE. berian "naked, uncovered" and – "area, area", which became the Ukrainian suffix – ka.

Irmino, a small city in Stakhanov Municipality, Luhansk Region – еhe river Irmen', the left tributary of the Ob River, and the village of Irma in the Sheksninsky district of the Vologda region have a similar name, both place names are among the accumulation of other Anglo-Saxon ones. These names come from OE. iermen "big, strong".

Kadiyivka, a city in Luhansk Region – almost the same name Kadyevka has a village in the Yarmolinetsky district of the Khmelnitsky Region, there are two villages of Kadyevo in Russia. All these names must be associated with Chuv. khăti "matchmaker", or with hatti 1. "dowry, tocher", 2. "garb, attire".

Muratovo, a village on the left bank of the Siverskyi Donets River – Chuv. marata «weir-basket, coop».

Pakhalivka, a illage opposite Muratovo – Chuv. pakhal «to appraise, evaluate».

Toshkivka, a village on the right bank of the Siverskyi Donets River – Chuv. dial. tăshka «to mix».

In our agglomeration can see some chain of names that begins Carpathian village. The locals could not call the settlement by the name of Mountains, moreover, that the village of the same name exists in the Ulyanovsk Region, close to the Chuvash Republic, and Chuvash dwell in the village. Obviously, for decoding the name can be considered Chuv. car "to fence off, block" and pat "at all, absolutely". The name of the station Brazol near the town of Lutugino can be understood as "full well" (Chuv. pĕr "full", çăl "well"). This place-name for the nomadic peoples is very believable and has a similar name Brazolove village in the Dnipropetrovsk region.

There ore on the opposite side of the mine Kartamishev also a few cryptic names. Names Bakhmut, Kurdyumivka and Kodema, obviously have Bulgarish origin, and to the Anglo-Saxon could be considered the following:

Kramatorsk– OE crammian "to press something into something else". The previous name Kram was added by the name of the Torets River.

Holmivs'kyi, a twon in Donetsk Region – OE. holm «wave, sea, water»

Hladosove (Gladosove), a twon in Donetsk Region – OE glæd «shining, gracious, kind», ōs «pagan divinity».

Dyliivka, a twon in Donetsk Region – OE. dyle «dill».

Korsun', a village and a river in Donetsk Region – OE cursian «to plait».

Names of other settlements in the Donets Basin and neighboring Rostov region of Russia can also have Anglo-Saxon origin, such as Bataysk, Kumshatske, Kumshatskoye, Schotovo. Anglo-Saxon way to Donbass are marked by names of villages of Kartamishy and Volvenkovo. The latter can be explained by OE. fūl "dirty, spoiled", weng "field, meadow" what is in meaning near the neighboring Kartamishy.

Anglo-Saxon place names n the lower Dnieper are not found, only towards the Dniester River there are several place names, which could belong to the Anglo-Saxons, but they are quite a bit in order to speak confidently about their presence here at Scythian times. However, you should bear in mind the following names of settlements: Byrlivka, Holma, Rascov (three villages), Strutinka (two villages), Tulchin.

Pontic epigraphy and other data give reason to believe that the Ossetians were not among the Scythians, but in the Sarmatian time Iranian ethnic element in the steppes of the Black Sea apparently begins to dominate. The analysis of the Sarmatian onomasticon shows that among the tribal leadership of the multinational population of the steppes the Iranians could be up to 40%, and among common people, they could be more. Basically, it could be Ossetians and partially Kurds. Obviously, in the Scythian time, Ossetians populated the upper Vorskla and Oskol Rivers, but eventually, they begin to penetrate into the steppe in two ways. One went along the course of the Vorskla River, and the other along the Oskol and Kalitva and then to the mouth of the Don River

Migration Path of the Ossetians from their ancestral homeland to the Caucasus is marked by the Ossetian toponymy. They left such place names in the eastern part of the Great Scythia:

Azov, Sea of Azov and a town – Os. as "the size, number", "adult" (previously "big, large"). Obviously, the Ossetian word was borrowed from some Finno-Ugric languages where similar words (iso/izo/ots'/udts') have meant either "large" or "small". The second part of the word transformed from *av/ov "water", presented in different forms in all Iranian languages. In the modern Ossetian it is contained in æfsurh euphemism for "water".

Bataysk, a town in the mouth of the Don River – Os. bataiyn "to thaw, melt", "to be useful".

Kalitva, some villages and two rivers have this word in th names – the root of Os kælyn "to flow" is added by the attributive suffix -t and *af/ov "water". See Azov.

Khalan', a river, rt of the Oskol River and two villages with similar names on it – Os khalon "crow".

Kotelva, a town in Poltava Region – Os. k'utu "barn", læuuyn "to stay, remain".

Oskol, a river, lt of the Siv. Donets River and two towns with similar names on it – Os. as "size, quantity" (obviously former "large"), kælyn "to flow". Cf. Vorskla.

Tomarovka, a town in Belgorod Region of Russia – Os. tomar "to rush".

Tsimlansk, a town in Rostov Region, Russia – Os. tsym "cornel", lænk "valley, lowland".

Udy (Uda), a river, lt of the Siv. Donets River – Os. ud (udy) "soul, spirit".

Vorskla, a river, lt of the Dnieper River – Os. urs "white", kælyn "to flow".

Ziborovka, a village in Shebekino district of Belgorod Region of Russia – Os. dzybyr "wooden plough".

As can be seen out of the distribution of toponymy, the Ossetians migrated to the places of their present habitat along the shores of the Azov and Black Seas. Obviously, they could not move directly because most of Ciscaucasia had been previously inhabited by Anglo-Saxons (compare the distribution of Anglo-Saxon toponyms on the map above). The area of the Anglo-Saxon settlement here is determined most convincing by such place names:

Yeya, a river flowing to Azov Sea and originated names – OE. ea "water, river".

Sandata, a river, lt of the Yegorlyk, lt of the Manych, lt of the Don River – OE. sand "sand", ate "weeds".

Bolshoy and Malyi Gok (Hok in local pronunciation), rives, rt of Yegorlyk, lt of the Manych, lt of the Don – OE. hōk "hook".

Guzeripl' (Huzeripl' in local pronunciation), a settlement in the Maikop municipal district of the Republic of Adygea – OE. hūs "house", "место для дома", rippel "undergrowth".


The presence of items of the Scythian type in Central Europe allowed archaeologists to conclude that a very large territory was under the influence of the Scythian culture. The greatest concentration of finds of the Scythian type outside of Herodotus Scythia is observed in Transylvania and Hungary (POPOVICH I. 1993, 250-251). However, it turned out that in the same places quite a lot of toponyms can have a Bulgarish origin. Taking into account the data of archeology, it can be assumed that the Scythians-Bulgars crossed the Carpathians simultaneously with the settlement of the Black Sea steppes. It is interesting that the Bulgar place names stretched out in a chain along the right bank of the Tisza River. Beyond the Danube, the Bulgarish place names are concentrated north of Lake Balaton. Migrating, the Scythians-Bulgars bypassed the swampy area between the Danube and Tisza rivers. At present, the swamps are preserved as a large massif at the lower reaches of the Tisza, but in ancient times they could occupy a much larger area. Here are some examples of Bulgarish place names in Hungary:

Arló , a villagein Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County – Chuv urlav “cross-piece”;

Buj, a village in Szabolcz-Szatmár-Bereg County to the north of Nyíregyháza – Chuv puy “rich”;

Bük, a village in Vas County – Chuv pükh “to swell”;

Dunakeszi, a city in Pest County – the first part of the word ші the Hungarian name of the Danube, the second part corresponds to the Сhuv kasă "street, village", a very common formative of Chuvash place names;

Inke, a village in Somogy County – Chuv inke “daughter–in-law”;

Onga, a village in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County to the east of Miskolc – Chuv unkă “a ring”;

Pásztó, a town in Nógrá County next to Buják – Chuv pustav “cloth”;

Sály, a village in Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County to the south of Miskolc – Chuv sulă “a raft”;

Tarpa, a village in Szabolcz-Szatmár-Bereg County – Chuv tărpa “a chimney”;

Tura, a town in Pest County – the origin of the name can be out of Chuv tără 1. “a mountain”, 2. “clear” or tura 1. "comb", 2. "divine".

Veszprém , a city – Chuv veç “finish”, pĕrĕm “a skein”;

Zahony, a town in Szabolcz-Szatmár-Bereg County – Chuv çăkhan’ “a raven”;

Zala, the river, flows in Lake Balaton – Chuv çula “to lick”.


From the middle of the 1st millennium AD the resettlement of the Bulgars to the Balkans begins. The traces of Bulgarish toponymy found among others in Romania may be associated with the settlement of the Bulgarish horde, which came here under the leadership of Khan Asparuh at the end of the 7th millennium. The most common place name in Romania is Măgura. There are 97 of them in Transylvania alone (HALICZER JÓZEF. 1935). If we talk about their origin, we can take into consideration the Slavic gora "mountain", but the prefix ma – is not clear. Most likely, the original form of this type of place names is a word related to Chuv. măkăr „hillock, hill” while the ending a, was adopted under the influence of Slav. gora. The peoples of Dagestan, where the Khazar Kaganate once ruled, has a similar word magIar "mountain", which must also have a Bulgar origin. Since this toponym received a general meaning (Rom. măgura "hillock"), it is almost impossible to distinguish the left by the Bulgars ouz of all of their multitudes. However, many of them are plotted on the Google Map in places of accumulation of other Bulgar toponyms. These include the following:

Odaia, Odăile, There are place names of this type in Romania about ten – Chuv ută 1. «hay». 2. «island». 3. «valley». ay «low, lowland», uy «field».

Suceava, a city – чув. sět (Old Turc süt) «milk», shyvě «river».

Șipot, Șipote, Șipotu, eight villages have such names – – Chuv shep "beautiful, wonderful", ută "valley".

Tâmpa, a mountain in the city of Brașov – Сргм. tĕm "hill", "figure, body", "height, length."

Kurdish place names form three clusters in Eastern Europe. The largest of them is located in Podolia. Here are typical examples of:

Velyki and Mali Dederkaly, villages on the outskirts of the city of Kremenec’ in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. dediri, “a tramp,” kal, “old”;

Hermakivka (Germakivka), a village southeast of Borščiv in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. germik, “warm place”;

Kalaharivka (Kalagarivka), a village to the south-east of Hrymajliv in Ternopil’ Region – Kurd. qal, "to kindle,” agir, “a flame”;

Kokutkivci, a village to the north-west of Ternopil’ – Kurd. ko, “curve,”kutek “cudgel;”

Mikhyrinci, a village to north-east of Volochys’k – Kurd. mexer “ruins”;

Tauriv, a village to the west of Ternopil’ – Kurd. tawer, “rock”.


Kurdich place names in the Right-Bank Ukraine and Poland


The ancestors of the Kurds dwelled in Podolia in pre-Scythian times. Later they migrated in different directions. Some of them moved westward and became known in history as the Cimbri. The second part, through the Carpathians, migrated to the Balkans and then moved to Asia Minor, where they were taken for the Cimmerians. Their way there is marked by such place names of Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria: Ibrány, Gelej, Szelevény, Felgyö, Senta, Temerin, Pancevo, Čačak, Niš, Mezdra, Hisarya, Haskovo, Vize (for more details see the section "Iranic Place Names"). Another part of the Kurds moved to the Black Sea steppes. Several place names may indicate their presence in the basin of the Southern Bug and along the right bank of the Dnieper:

Hгncha, a village in Haysyn district of Vinnytsia Region – Kurd. gunc "clay pot".

Chechelivbka, a village in Haysyn district of Vinnytsia Region – Kurd. çê "good, best", çêlî "kin, clan, offspring".

Julynka, a village in Bershad district of Vinnytsia Region – Kurd col (jol) "herd", an – the index of indirect plural.

Chechelnyk, a town in Vinnytsia Region – see. Chechelivka.

Balakliia, a village in Smela district of Cherkasy Region – Kurd. belek "white", leyî "stream". The city in the Kharkiv region and the village in Poltava of the same name are also of Kurdish origin but of a later time.

Rebedaylivka, a village in Kamensk district of Cherkasy Region – Kurd. rebî "god", dayîn "to give", lêv "bank". The village is located on the Lavrusikha River, cf. Kurd. lêvar "bank".

Ребедайловка, село в Каменском районе Черкасской обл. – курд. rebî "бог", dayîn "давать", lêv "край, берег". Село расположено на реке Лаврусихе, ср. курд. lêvar "берег".

Kurdish place names along the Southern Bug River should be associated with the Alazons, about which Herodotus wrote, and along the Dnieper, another part of the Kurds had their settlements, who eventually crossed to the left bank. Obviously, these were the Cimmerians who were expelled from their places by the Scythians, who also moved in the steppes from Western Ukraine. Herodotus wrote that the Scythians persecuted the Cimmerians to Asia Minor, but different peoples were hiding under this name. Part of the Kurds returned from Asia Minor back, settled in the lower reaches of the Kuban River, where ancient historians placed the Dandari people (Δανδαριοι). According to the fact that the lower part of the Kuban lies between the Azov and Black seas, the ethnonym is well suited to explain by the Kurd darya „sea” and dan „inside”, that is, “surrounded by the sea”. The Kurds left traces of their stay on the Taman Peninsula and in the surrounding area also in place names:

Gostagayevskaya (Hostahayevskaya in local spelling), a stanitsa in the municipality of the city of Anapa of Krasnodar Krai – Kurd. hosta "nap, slumber", heyîn "to be, being".

Jemete, a settlement in Anapa district of Krasnodar Krai – Kurd. jêmêtin "to suck off".

Jiginka, a stanitsa in the municipality of the city of Anapa of Krasnodar Krai on the bank of the Jiga Stream – Kurd. cihê "separate".

Тамань, станица в Темрюкском районе Краснодарского края – курд. tam "дом", anî "чело, перед".

Already in historical time, the Tmutarakan principality existed here, the name of which is deciphered using the Kurdish language: Kurd. tarî "dark" (corresponds to the meaning of the first part of the name in Slavic), kanî "source, spring". In 1024 the Tmutarakan prince Mstislav Vladimirovich became the prince of Chernihiv and resettled many families of the steppe peoples to the Seversk land, among whom were Kurds. Studies have shown that the names of many settlements on the territory of the former Chernihiv principality are deciphered using the Kurdish language. Among them can be noted the chronicled city of Tmutarakan, which stood on the left bank of the Dnieper above Kyiv. This is just the third cluster of Kurdish place names in Ukraine.

The first results of onomastic research were published almost twenty years ago (STETSYUK VALENTYN. 2002) in the hope that other researchers will join the work, but this did not happen. Obviously, the reason is that no one believes in the existence of a large number of settlements since the Scythian-Sarmatian times. The stay of the Anglo-Saxons in Eastern Europe and the Turkic ethnicity of the Scythians cause skepticism all the more. Specialists dealing with the toponymy of Scytho-Sarmatia are certainly aware of the map of the ancient Greek scientist Claudius Ptolemy published around 150 AD. It does not contain a single toponym from those that were considered above. If any of the mentioned settlements existed, then their absence on Ptolemy's map should have an explanation. It consists in the fact that he might have known cities on the trade routes, which at that time were rivers. Now their names have no reliable interpretation when using the languages ​​of those peoples who, according to the generally accepted, but erroneous opinion, lived in the Northern Black Sea region and migrated to new places of residence long ago. The population along the lines of communication could change throughout history and at the same time, the names of cities could change. Deaf villages away from the highways, in which a permanent population of the same ethnicity dwelled, were unknown to ancient historians. The constancy of the population ensured the preservation of the original names, which were acquired by newcomers. Nevertheless, large cities could have retained their name to our times, albeit in a slightly different form, and the disappeared names should at least be deciphered using Old English or Chuvash languages. Let's check this assumption by analyzing Ptolemy's map (see below).

A fragment of Ptolemy's map


Let's start with Borysthenes (Βορυσθένης), whose name is not considered to be Greek but, in Shaposhnikov's opinion, has nothing to do with the Iranian languages, and attempts to interpret it on the basis of Indo-Iranian or Slavic languages ​​"look too artificial" (SHAOPSHNIKOV A.K. 2005, 39). The interpretation of the name of the river using the Old English language may be more plausible – cf. OE bearu, g. bearwes "forest", đion "to grow, develop". The Germanic root of the last word is restored as đenh [KLUGE FRIEDRICH, SEEBOLD ELMAR. 1989: 250], that is, the ancient name of the Dnieper can be explained as "overgrown with forest". The Ptolemy's map shows such settlements downstream of Borisfen, the motivation for the names of which is still being considered: :

Anagarium – OE. ān "one", "single', eagor "flood, sea".

Amadoca – V. Yaylenko tries to prove that the name is Thracian (YAYLENKO V.P. 2018. 50-52), and this may be, but other possibilities are not excluded– 1. OE. hām “(native) home”, “dwelling, village”, hāma "a little village"; dōc "bastard" (the Anglo-Saxons could pejoratively call other tribes by bastards); 2.Chuv. mătăk 1. "short, scanty", 2. "quarrelsome, quarrelsome", –a is a prosthetic vowel.

Sarum – OE. sear "dry".

Serimum – OE. searian "to dry up".

Olbia – Gr. ὄλβος "wealth, happiness".

Ordessus – OE. ord "spearhead", æsc "ash, spear".

Niconium – OE. niccan "to deny".

On the right tributary of the Dnieper without a name on the map (Pripyat?), Ptolemy designated the following objects:

Amadoca Palus – the generally accepted understanding of the name – "Lake Amadoc", obviously due to the location of the object on the shore of the lake. It was supposed to be palus – "lake", but in what language? Nothing better than OE. pōl, "big puddle, small body of water" has not yet been found. In such a case, the name Amadoca should be interpreted using Old English.

Leinum – OE lean "reward, gift".

Sarbacum – OE sear "dry", bæc „stream“.

Niossum – OE. neosian "to look, view", sum „something“.

Metropolis – "main city" (Gr. μήτηρ "mother", πόλις "city"). Obviously, this meant Kiev.

Ptolemy's map shows the Carcinites River flowing into Karkinit Bay, but there is currently no large enough river in this place. Perhaps it existed in ancient times, and a small part of it remained in the form of the Kalanchak River. Etymon carcinit can be associated with OE. carcian "take care" and nieten "small livestock". Downstream of the river, the following settlements are indicated:

Navarum – OE. neowe "new" rūm "space".

Tracana – OE. đræc “pressure, force, violence”.

Pasyris – Lith. pasiristi "to roll (under)", pasvirti "to lurch". This is one of the place names of the Baltic origin in the space of Scythia-Sarmatia. Others may be: Anapa, Achueva, Vilkovo, Loknya, Lopan, Mozhaevka, Tsitsori, Chemburka, etc. (see the section ""Ancient Balts Outside Ethnic Territories").

Ercabum – OE. Erce – the name of the goddess (Mother Earth), beam, OE. bōm "tree".

Torocca – OE. toroc "caterpillar", cahh,cio "jackdaw, jay".

Ни один из перечисленнsх выше топонимов не удалось связать с современными, так же, как современные топонимы в этих местах не удалось расшифровать ни при помощи ни древнеанглийского, ни чувашского языков (см. карту GoogleMymaps выше). Очевидно на этой территории не сохранялось постоянное население в процессе неоднократных вторжений коевников из Азии.

Название Тираса можно связывать с чув. тӳр/тӳрĕ, Слово имеет несколько значений, среди них – "прямой", "честный", "откровенный", "мирный", "спокойный". Подобное определение имело название Танаиса – чув. тăнăç "спокойный, тихий". Вниз по течения Тираса, то есть Днестра, на карте Птолемея обозначены:

Carrodunum – др.-англ. carr “камень, скала”, dūn “высота, холм”. Приблизительно в этом месте расположена современная Городенка и на окраине ее имееся Чевоная гора.

Maelonium – др.-англ. meolo “Mehl”, на этом месте расположена Мельница Подольская. Очевидно мукомольное ремесло существовало издавна.

Arcobadara – лат. arca «денежный ящик, казна», др.-англ. earc(e) "ящик", bādere “сборщик податей”. Очевидно древнеанглийское слово было заимствовано именно в скифское время.

Clepidara – др.-англ. clipian "говорить, кричать", deor "зверь".

Trifulum – др.-англ. đri “три” fulla “высота, возвышенность”. В этом месте Днестр делает три петли. Образованные таким образом три возвышенности отделяются от пологих берегов сохранившихся до сих пор рвом и валом, которые тянутся поперек петель от берега до берега реки. Вместе с крутими берегами они образуют непрерывную линию обороны (см. схему внизу).


Фрагменты "Валов Траяна" на правом берегу Днестра в Кельменецком районе Черновицкой области.

(Из отчета экспедиции "Днестр" Товарищества Льва, город Львов)


Eractum – др.-англ. ear “земля”, æht “обладание”.

Patridava – лат. patrius "отцовский", đeaw "обычай".

Carsidava – др.-англ. ceorl “мужчина, герой,благородный”, đeaw “обычай”.

Zagridava – др.-англ. *sager "пророк" (ср. i>sagu "сказание, свидетельство, пророчество", đeaw “обычай”.

Ophiussa – возможная экспрессивная комбинация из др.-англ. of "сверх", ease "ковш, черпак", 1. "бочка, ведро", 2. "море".