Scythian Pantheon

Herodotus gives a list of deities of the pantheon Scythian with their equivalents greeks. For some of them, he specifies their Scythian name, but pronounced in the manner Greek.

Scythian pantheon

Scythian Pantheon

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the Scythian pantheon:

  • Tabiti, goddess equivalent to Hestia, the Greek goddess of fire and hearth.
  • Papaios, god equivalent to Zeus.
  • Apia, the Earth, wife of Papaios.
  • Thagimasadas, god equivalent to Poseidon.
  • Oitosuros, god equivalent to Apollo.
  • Argimpasa, goddess considered as "celestial Aphrodite".
  • a god equivalent to Heracles and a god equivalent to Ares, the god of war of the Greeks.

The Scythian Heracles must have been very close to his Greek counterpart, since the Greeks of the Black Sea mixed up their myths: they attributed to him the tenth job of their own hero, the one where he steals the oxen of Geryon (which turn into mares in the rest of their story).

The identification of these gods is problematic, but this work has benefited from the advancement of Indo-European studies. The Indo-Europeans put the god of fire at the head of their pantheon, which is the case here. Tabiti corresponds to an ancient Indian goddess whose name is linked to Sanskrit tapati " to burn ".

Georges Dumézil found his traces in the legends of the Ossetians, people Iranian of the Caucasus. He also recognized in the Scythian Ares a hero Ossetian, Batraz. These two characters are identified in particular both with a sword.

In the name of Apia, specialists agree to recognize Iranian āp- " water ". According to Herodotus, it is the Earth, but the analysis of the mythology Indo-European history shows that the Earth was represented in the form of a mountain "secreting" a river, that is to say a mountain-source. The Indo-Iranians accentuated its wet aspect. In the Greek texts, the Iranian god Mithra is identified with Apollo, which makes it possible to consider that Oitosuros is Mithra.

This name must have been an Oito-suros compound, the second member of which came from Old Iranian sūra- "Strong". In L'Avesta, this qualifier is attributed to Mithra. As for the term oito, according to François Cornillot's analysis, it was the Greek spelling of * witāw, from *hwatāwah "sovereign". Thus, the Scythians nicknamed Mithras the “Strong Sovereign”.

This same author proposed another reading of the names of Sakā haumavargā : he makes his second member derive from hauma warāgan, where the term warāgan means "winner of * Wāra »And ends in Osset Wœrgon. In this way, the Sakā haumavargā are the “Saces adepts of the cult of the victorious Haoma of * Wāra”.

To understand the meaning of this ethnonym, it is necessary to know that the Haoma is a deified plant and that its enemy * Wāra, called Vritra in Indian texts, is a demon who seeks to make the sun disappear and to obstruct the river which descends from the mountain-source. As * Wāra represents death, the victory of Haoma (plant of immortality) is that of life over death.