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Scythians

SCYTHIANS sĭth’ ĭ ənz (אַשְׁכְּנָ֑ז, prob. corruption of earlier Ashkuzzay as found in Akkad. inscrs.). A nomadic people which immigrated into the Near E through the Caucasus in the beginning of the 8th cent. b.c. They were one of several Indo-Iranian groups which appeared in the Near E at this time, including the Cimmerians. First came the Cimmerians. When the Scythians then appeared, they were opposed both by the Cimmerians and by the Assyrian King Esarhaddon. The Cimmerians eventually moved further to the W into Asia Minor. Eventually the Scythians allied themselves with the Assyrians, and the Medes sided with Babylonia. It is not clear whether or not the Scythians attempted to help the Assyrians in their hour of final collapse (fall of Nineveh in 612 b.c.). It is clear, however, that a large group of them launched an expedition down the coast of Phoenicia and Pal. and were responsible for the destruction of Ashkelon and Ashdod before Pharaoh Psammetichus (663-609) bought them off