The Massagetae were an Indo-European horsemen, the BC a tribal confederation formed in the 6th century, which joined the Saken. The home of Massagetae lay between the Caspian Sea and Aral Seas in the rivers Oxus ( Amu Darya ) and Jaxartes ( Syr Darya ). The name Massagetae various explanations, eg as a " fishing people " or "Great Horde " (W. Tomaschek 1889) or as " Great Getae " (H. Kothe 1969).

Mention in the historiography


The Greek historian Herodotus ( 484-425 BC ) in his Histories that there around 530 BC to fighting between the Massagetae and the Persians under their conqueror Cyrus II ( 590-530 BC to ) came, in which the son of Massagetae Queen Tomyris died. Tomyris then proposed the Persians, with Cyrus II was mortally wounded on the banks of the river Araxes. Only King Darius I to make up for the Persian defeat, when he Massagetae 518-516 subjected to a campaign of BC succeeded.

Herodotus describes the clothing of Massagetae similar as that of the Scythians, its armament consisted of bows, spears and battle-axes, and many Scouts took part in the battle. As neighbors of Massagetae Herodotus calls the Scythians in the west and Saken and Issedonen in the east. The spread of Massagetae was the trigger for the westward migration of the Scythians. Herodotus also witnessed the worship of the sun through the Massagetae which they sacrificed horses. Pomponius Mela also knows the Massagetae as residents of the Caspian Sea.

The Persians succeeded Spitamenes 329-328 BC with the help of Scythian auxiliaries, which probably consisted mainly of massage matic riders to achieve significant successes against various army departments of Alexander the Great. Finally he was murdered but after a decisive defeat of the Massagetae, as these probably do not want to expose an expectable attack of the Macedonian conqueror.

Some time later, the Massagetae Confederacy went to the Association of Sarmatians.

Middle Ages

Some authors of the Middle Ages the name Massagetae emerges with a tribe in the Baltic States in context. So Hartmann Schedel mentioned in his World Chronicle of 1493 Massagetae as inhabitants of a lying between Prussia and Livonia area.

" Eyfland between VND Preueßen is a klains country villeicht but a tagrays prayt almost long from the preuessen gein Eyfland. darinn wonet a multitudes Massagete genant is neither haidnisch still quite cristglawbig VND but vnderworffen the Polish violence. VND thence heer dz extends itself koenig polish range up to the sea. "

These are likely to be a confusion with the historic name " Samagetae " for the Samogitian or ( Samogiten ), a mittellitauischen tribe who settled in the described area.