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Where is Tauri of Herodotus?

Herodotus (/hɪˈrɒdətəs/ hirr-OD-ə-təsGreekἩρόδοτος Hēródotosc. 484 – c. 425 BC) was an ancient Greek historian and geographer from the Greek city of Halicarnassus, part of the Persian Empire (now BodrumTurkey). He is known for having written the Histories – a detailed account of the Greco-Persian Wars. Herodotus was the first writer to do systematic investigation of historical events. He is referred to as “The Father of History“, a title conferred on him by the ancient Roman orator Cicero.[1][2]



Lacus Curtius • Herodotus — Book IV: Chapters 99‑117
HERODOTUS p301 Book IV: chapters 99‑117

99 Thrace runs farther out into the sea than Scythia; and where a bay is formed in its coast, Scythia begins, and the mouth of the Ister, which faces to the south-east, is in that country. Now I will describe the coast of the true Scythia from the Ister, and give its measurements. At the Ister begins the ancient Scythian land, which lies facing the south and the south wind, as far as the city called Carcinitis. Beyond this place, the country fronting the same sea is hilly and projects into the Pontus; it is inhabited by the Tauric nation as far as what is called the Rough Peninsula; and this ends in the eastern sea.​1

For the sea to the south and the sea to the east are two of the four boundary lines of Scythia, even as the seas are boundaries of Attica; and  p303 the Tauri dwelling as they do in a part of Scythia which is like Attica, it is as though some other people, not Attic, were to inhabit the heights of Sunium from Thoricus to the township of Anaphlystus, did Sunium but jut farther out into the sea. I say this in so far as one may compare small things with great. Such a land is the Tauric country.

But those who have not coasted along that part of Attica may understand from this other way of showing: it is as though in Iapygia some other people, not Iapygian, were to dwell on the promontory within a line drawn from the harbour of Brentesium to Taras. Of these two countries I speak, but there are many others of a like kind which Tauris resembles.2

100 Beyond the Tauric country the Scythians begin, dwelling north of the Tauri and beside the eastern sea, westward of the Cimmerian Bosporus and the Maeetian lake, as far as the river Tanais, which issues into the end of that lake. Now it has been seen that on its northern and inland side, which runs from the Ister, Scythia is bounded first by the Agathyrsi, next by the Neuri, next by the Man‑eaters, and last by the Black-cloaks.

101 Scythia, then, being a four-sided country, whereof two sides are sea‑board, the frontiers running inland and those that are by the sea make it a perfect square; for it is a ten days’ journey from the  p305 Ister to the Borysthenes, and the same from the Borysthenes to the Maeetian lake; and it is a twenty days’ journey from the sea inland to the country of the Black-cloaks who dwell north of Scythia. Now as I reckon a day’s journey at two hundred furlongs, the cross-measurement of Scythia would be a distance of four thousand furlongs, and the line drawn straight up inland the same. Such then is the extent of this land.

102 The Scythians, reckoning that they were not able by themselves to repel Darius‘ army in open warfare, sent messengers to their neighbours, whose kings had already met and were taking counsel, as knowing that a great army was marching against them. Those that had so met were the kings of the Tauri, Agathyrsi, Neuri, Man‑eaters, Black-cloaks, Geloni, Budini, and Sauromatae.

103 Among these, the Tauri have the following customs; all ship-wrecked men, and any Greeks whom they take in their sea‑raiding, they sacrifice to the Virgin goddess​3 as I will show: after the first rites of sacrifice, they smite the victim on the head with a club; according to some, they then throw down the body from the cliff whereon their temple stands, and impale the head; others agree with this as to the head, but say that the body is buried, not thrown down from the cliff.

This deity to whom they sacrifice is said by the Tauri themselves to be Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia. As for the enemies whom they overcome, each man cuts off  p307 his enemy’s head and carries it away to his house, where he impales it on a tall pole and sets it standing high above the dwelling, above the smoke-vent for the most part. These heads, they say, are set aloft to guard the whole house. The Tauri live by plundering and war.

104 The Agathyrsi live more delicately than all other men, and are greatly given to wearing gold. Their intercourse with women is promiscuous, that so they may be brothers and kinsfolk to each other and thus neither envy nor hate their fellows. In the rest of their customs they are like to the Thracians.

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