Thread: Mercenaries
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:47 AM   #10
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Arrow Sarmatians

The Greek name Sarmatai derives from the shortening of Sauromatai apparently by association with lizards (sauros). Suggestions for the reason the Sarmatians were associated with lizards include their reptile-like scale armour and their dragon standards.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Scythian-Sarmatian cultures may have given rise to the myth of Amazons. Graves of armed females have been found in southern Ukraine and Russia. David Anthony notes, "About 20% of Scythian-Sarmatian "warrior graves" on the lower Don and lower Volga contained females dressed for battle as if they were men, a phenomenon that probably inspired the Greek tales about the Amazons...

Like the Scythians, Sarmatians were of a Caucasoid appearance, and before the arrival of the Huns (4th century AD) it is thought that few had Asiatic or turco-Mongol features. Sarmatian noblemen often reached 1.70-1.80m (5ft 7ins-5ft 10ins) as measured from skeletons, and they had sturdy bones, long hair and beards.

The Alans who were a group of Sarmatian tribes according to the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus "Nearly all the Alani are men of great stature and beauty , their hair is somewhat yellow, their eyes are frighteningly fierce"

Ancient DNA of 13 Sarmatian remains from Pokrovka kurgan burials in the southern Ural steppes along the Kazakhstan and Russian border was extracted for comparative analysis. Most of the mitochondrial haplogroups determined were of western Eurasian origin, while only a few were of "central/east Asian Haplotype which is found among the Turkic speaking nomadic people. This Haplotype is almost (one base pair missing) identical with the Haplotype of the (Kazakh) women from western Mongolia."

Historical basis for King Arthur...

In 1924 Kemp Malone suggested that the character of King Arthur was ultimately based on one Lucius Artorius Castus,a career Roman soldier of the late 2nd century or early 3rd century. This suggestion was revived in 1994 by C. Scott Littleton and Linda A. Malcor and linked to a hypothesis (below) that the Arthurian legends were influenced by the nomadic Alans and Sarmatians settled in Western Europe in Late Antiquity. Littleton had earlier written about this hypothesis in 1978 together with Ann C. Thomas

In 1978, C. Scott Littleton and Ann C. Thomas expanded on the ideas of Vasily Abaev and Georges Dumezil and published their theory of a connection between the related Alan and Sarmatian peoples and the history and later legend of King Arthur. According to this theory, cavalry units left behind in the Roman departure from Britain during the early 5th century became the nucleus of an elite in Dark Age Britain which still preserved elements of Alano-Sarmatian mythology and culture. In 1994 Littleton and Linda A. Malcor further developed this theory, identifying the Roman officer Lucius Artorius Castus, who may have commanded Sarmatian auxiliaries in the 2nd century, as the original basis for Arthur.

All that is known about Artorius’ life comes from two Latin inscriptions discovered in the 19th century in Podstrana on the Dalmatian coast. After a long and distinguished career in the Roman army as a centurion and then primus pilus, Artorius was promoted to praefectus legionis of the VI Victrix, a unit that had been stationed in Britain since c. 122 AD and headquartered at Eboracum (York). The praefectus legionis (otherwise known as the praefectus castrorum) served as third-in-command of the legion and was responsible for the general upkeep of the legionary headquarters; the position was normally held by older career soldiers who were close to retirement and they did not normally command any soldiers during battle (they remained at the headquarters during times of conflict)

According to both Malone and Littleton/Malcor,Artorius' alleged military exploits in Britain and Armorica could have been remembered for centuries afterward, thus generating the figure of Arthur among the Welsh, Cornish and Bretons. This is linked to the original theory of Littleton, Thomas and Malcor which suggests that the folk narratives and history associated with the Alano-Sarmatians settled in Western Europe formed the core of the Arthurian tradition
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