Sedentary Scythian from the Black Sea Region
4th – 3rd century BC
In the 4th and 3rd century BC the Scythians dominated the steppes north of the Black Sea. This time represents the flowering Scythian culture in the Pontic area, as they were in fertile cultural contact with the Greek Apoikiai (planting cities). They controlled the trade of vitally important wheat with the Hellenistic poleis (cities) in Greece and presented their acquired wealth in magnificent garments covered with gold leafs. Not infrequently, the golden jewels were made in Greek workshops.
But only very few Scythians were probably so richly endowed. About the appearance of the simple and everyday used garments of the Scythians the depictions of toreutics give us the most information. Mostly one wore a folding coat over a fabric-made tunic. This garment is typical of all Eurasian nomadic horsemen and is still worn in the steppes today. Sometimes it was made of leather or – like here – made of wool and often served as the only clothing for the upper body. On the head this Scythian is wearing a so-called “Phrygian Cap”, which was a popular headgear of steppe dwellers and sedentary tribes at this time, as ancient depictions show. The most important distinguishing feature between the Greeks of the Apoikiai and the “barbarians” from the eastern steppes, however, were the pants: they made the riding on a horse more comfortable, was made of fabric or leather, and often decorated with colored and patterned braid on the outer seam. The trouser legs are stucked either in the short-shafted riding boots made of soft leather or let them loose drop down to the ankle.
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