The Scythians Had A Horrifying Tradition With Their Prisoners Of War

The evidence for Scythian sacrificial practices is almost all second-hand. According to The British Museum, the reason for this is simply that the evidence that has been found suggests the Scythian people didn’t have a written language, so the majority of our knowledge of anything Scythian comes from old sources written by the prominent empires in the area. Those being, of course, the ancient Greeks, ancient Persians, and ancient Assyrians. Probably the most well-known is Herodotus’ “Histories,” which The Conversation says were published in the 5th century B.C. Historical records are nice, but they’re written by humans, who we know all too well are fallible creatures, so it’s nice to have multiple lines of supporting evidence. Luckily, we do.

As World History Encyclopedia explains, there are a few different archaeological sites that have unearthed evidence that supports Herodotus’ claims. At the Arzhan dig sites in Russia, researchers have found a couple hundred pits containing the remains of once-living offerings, including ample horse and human bones, the two beings Herodotus points out as the Scythians’ favored sacrifices. There have also been discoveries of other sites that contained a similar mixture of horse and human remains that seem to support the ancient Greek historian’s claims of sacrifices honoring deceased people of importance, though we have yet to find any hard evidence showing the method in which these people were sacrificed. For that, we’ll have to take Herodotus’ word.

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