If this theory reflects the reality, it should be based on all pertinent data: linguistic, religious - mythological, ethnographic and archeological data.
The noted expert on Scythian history L.A.Yelnitskiy, on the basis of the comprehensive analysis of historical works and factual materials, comes to a conclusion that the vestiges of Scythian culture for a long time and persistently languished in the cultures of Türko-Mongolian (and in a smaller degree in Slavic and Finno-Ugrian) peoples [Yelnitskiy L.A., 1977, 243]. Archeological materials, especially the so-called animal style art, also neither confirm nor deny the affinity of Scythian and Türko -Mongolian cultures. As to the religious attributes, it is possible to state the following: if Scythians were Iranian-lingual, they would have had a common deity with Persians, and would not be fighting them as long and persistently as described by Herodotus. Further we shall see, that the names of the Scythian gods can be explained based on the Türkic language.
The body of archeological material gives L.A.Yelnitskiy a basis to affirm that in the body of Scythians were few of the Iranian elements. He writes: ‘It inclines to think, besides, that it is possible to speak about Iranism of Cimmerians and Scythians only with reference to some components of these collective names’ [Yelnitskiy L.A., 1977, 241].
Hence, the Scytho-Iranian theory cannot be with certainty based on ethnographic, religious - mythological and archeological materials. The (Russian - Translator’s note) official historical science surmises that it is based on linguistic data, which has a decisive significance for the interpretation of ethnic ancestry of ancient tribes.
Emergence of the Scytho-Iranian theory begins with ‘finding’ of the Iranian roots in Cimmerian, Scythian and Sarmatian words preserved in various sources. K.Müllenhoff begins this etymological research, and Vs.Miller and M.Fasmer continue it. After them the Scytho-Iranian theory for (Russian - Translator’s note) official historical science becomes axiomatic.
In the Soviet time, V.I.Abaev was working persistently and purposefully on Scythian etymology from the point of view of the Ossetian language, and he invented a distinct Scythian or Scytho-Sarmatian language in the Indo-European language group. In his work, ‘Dictionary of Scythian Words’ are 353 Scythian words found in the sources, which by phonetical transformations are converted into Old Ossetian lexical units [Abaev V.I., 1949, 151-195].
Before the analysis of Abaevan etymologies, let’s address the V.I.Abaev’s statement about the value of his studies: ‘I subjected to an analysis the undoubtedly Iranian elements and I hope that this ends the light-weighted and irresponsible speculations on Scythian material which do not have anything common with a science ‘ [Ibis, 148]. When a scientist plunges on potential opponents with such zeal, it already tells about the weakness of his position. The Abaev’s etymologies in reality suffer an unsystematic character and many semantic disconnects.
V.I.Abaev and his predecessors begin the Scytho-Iranian etymology with personal names of the Scythian progenitor Targitai and his sons Lipoksai, Aripoksai, Kolaksai.
Targitai, in the opinion of the supporters of the Scytho-Iranian theory, consists of two parts: darga and tava. In Old-Iranian darga ‘long’ or ‘sharp’, tava ‘power, force’, Targitai is thus ‘Longostrong or Arrowstrong’ [Abaev V.I., 1949, 163; Miller Vs., 1887, 127].
From the positions of Türkic language the word Targitai consists from targy or taryg - Old Türkic ‘farmer’ and soy~toy - Türk. - ‘clan’; as a whole it is ‘Clan or Ancestor of the Farmers’. Besides, the name Targitai is met not only in Herodotus, it also appears with Avars as a Türkic name. Theophilact Simocatta (the historian of the 7 c.) informs, ‘Targitiy is an outstanding man in the Avar tribe’ [Simocatta Th., 1957, 35]. Menandr the Byzantian informs that in 568 the Avar leader Bayan has sent Targitai to Baselius requesting a concession [Byzantian Historians, 1861, 392]. In 565 Avars sent the same Targitai as an ambassador to Byzantium [Ibis, 418]. In the 2 c. Polien informs that Scythians, living at Meotian (Azov) Sea, had a famous woman named Tirgatao [Latyshev S.V., 1893, 567]. Hence, these Scythians were also Türkic speaking.
Lipoksai is a senior son of Targitai. The etymology for this word Abaev borrows from Fasmer. The second part, in his opinion, consists of a root ksaia~khsai ‘to shine, to sparkle, to dominate’, Ossetian. - ‘queen, dawn’; the first part is not clear, there can be a distortion instead of Khoraksais: compare Old Iran. hvar-xsaita ‘sun’, Pers. Xorsed [Abaev V.I., 1949, 189].
Let us compare it with the Türkic etymology. Türk. soi ‘clan, family, relatives, ancestors, generation, offspring, stock, origin’; ak ‘white, noble, rich’; aksoi ‘ a noble, rich clan; sacred clan, forefather’ etc. For Türkic peoples the names with an element soi is a usual phenomenon: Aksoi, Paksoi, Koksoi. The first part is lip~lipo~lep is ‘border’. As a whole, Lipoksai ‘Sacred Clan with (or Protecting) Borders, i.e. its Country’.
Arpoksai is a middle son of Targitai. The first part Abaev at once transforms in apra and ‘water’ and deduces from the Iranian roots ap ‘water’ and Ossetian ra, arf ‘deep’; apra ‘water depth’; ksaia‘possessor’; apra-ksaia ‘Possessor Of Waters’ [Abaev V.I., 1949, 189].
Let us compare it with the Türkic etymology. We already know about the second part: aksoy ‘a sacred clan, noble clan’. The first part - arpa ‘ barley, grain, product ‘; arpalyk ‘possession of land’;Arpaksai ‘Head of a Clan Possessing Land, Territory, or Clan of the Farmers’.
Kolaksai is a younger son of Targitai. Per Fasmer and Abaev, the second part ksaia ‘shine, sparkle, dominate’, in Ossetian khsart ‘valour’, khsin ‘princess’, khsed ‘dawn’ etc.; the first part is not clear, maybe, it is a distortion instead of Khoraksais, compare Old. Iran. khvar-khshaita ‘sun’ [Abaev V.I., 1949, 189]. The supporters of the Scytho-Iranian theory sometimes lead this name to the phonetic form of Persian Skolakhshaia and announce Kolaksai as a king of the Persian clan Skol (Skolot) ~ Scythians [Dovatur A.I., 1982, 207-208].
Let us compare it with the Türkic etymology. The second part of a word Kolaksai - aksai ‘a noble, sacred clan’; the first part - kola-kala ‘city, capital’; Kolaksai ‘Noble, Sacred Clan Of a (Protecting) Capital, Country’.
If we arrange in order the Iranian etymologies for the names of the father Targitai and his three sons Lipoksai, Arpoksai and Kolaksai, we receive: Targitai ‘Longostrong’, Lipoksai ‘Shine Of The Sun’, Arpoksai ‘ ‘Possessor Of Waters ‘, Kolaksai ‘ Shine Of The Sun or Skolakhshaia’. There is no etymological, semantical and lexico-structural system.
Let us consider the system in the Türkic etymology of the names of the father and his three sons. Targitai ‘Farmers Clan Noble Ancestor’, Lipoksai ‘Border Protecting Noble Clan’, Arpoksai‘Protecting Possession Noble Clan’; Kolaksai ‘Protecting Capital (i.e. Kingdom) Noble Clan’. The last, the younger son, as relayed by Herodotus, accepts the kingdom from his father after he brought home the golden tools fallen from the sky: the plough, yoke, hatchet, and cup [Herodotus, 1972, IV, 5].
Another word, the etymology of which serves as a proof of correctness for the Scytho-Iranian theory, is ethnonym Sak~Saka. As the ethnonym used by Persians for Scythians, it is considered to be a Persian word. But at the same time Persians could take it from the non-Iranian Scythians themselves. In the opinion of Abaev, Old Persian saka (with the meaning of Scyth) belongs to the totem of deer [Abaev V.I., 1949, 179]. Ossetian sag ‘deer’ from saka ‘branch, limb, deer horn, antler’. Many historians think that sak is a name of one of Scythian tribes, accepted by Persians as an ethnonym for all Scythians. None of the ancient authors notes the meaning of the ethnonym sak~saka in the sense ‘deer’, and Stephan Byzantian informs, ‘Saka are the people, so are named Scythians of ‘armor’ because they invented it’ [Latyshev V.V., 1893, Vol. 1, Issue 1, 265]. Here the word Saka approaches Türkic sak~sagy ‘protection, guard, cautious’. Besides, it should be noted that in Türk. sagdak ‘quiver’, i.e. ‘case for weapon of defense’. Sagai - ethnonym of Türkic people between Altai and Yenisei, part of Khakass people, Saka - ethnonym of the Yakuts. Thus, sagai~saka~sak is a Türkic word, which has passed into the ethnonym of one of Scyth tribes, and was accepted by Persians as their common ethnonym.
Ababa (Hababa) is the name of the mother of the Roman emperor Maximin, she was, apparently, an Alanian. Thinking that Alans are Iranian-lingual, Abaev etymologies this word thus: Iran. khi‘good, kind’; vab ‘to weave’; thus, Khivaba ‘Good Weaver’. In Türkic ab ‘hunt’, eb~ev ‘home’, aba ‘father, mother, sister’, Ababa ‘Mother Of Hunt or Mother Of House’, i.e. ‘Fairy’ in a good sense.
Sagadar, per Abaev: saka- + - dar ‘having deers’ is the name of a tribe near Danube [Abaev V.I., 1949, 179]. In Türkic: saga - Türkic ethnonym, -dar-lar is the plural affix; Sagadar is ‘Sags’.
To prove the certainty of Ossetian speaking Scythians, Vs. Miller counted that in Scythian words the Ossetian plural affix -ma is repeated twenty times [Miller Vs. 1886, 281-282]. A more attentive analysis shows that -ma in words given by Miller may be identified with Türkic affixes of plural -ma (-la in Balkarian), or possession -my (-dy-ly), or similarity -mai.
So, all the Scythian words assembled by V.I.Abaev in his ‘Dictionary of Scythian words’ would be possible to re-etymologize with those languages, whose carriers lived and continue to live in the so-called Scythian regions. Rather, it is necessary to do it, and with the subsequent comparison of the results of the Iranian, Türkic, Slavic and Finno-Ugrian etymological studies. Only on completion of this operation it would be possible to definitely tell what ethnoses lived under the common names of first Cimmerians, and then Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans-Ases. As the given here comparisons of the Iranian etymology with the Türkic show, the Scythians most likely were not Iranians, or among them were very few Iranian-lingual; basically they were Türks, it could be expected, and Slavs, and Finno-Ugrians, for the last also have not fell from the sky, and have lived in their (ancient ‘Scythian’) regions from the most ancient times.
§ 4. What the Scytho-Türkic etymology tells? Because the Scythian etymology of Herodotus from the point of view of the Iranian languages does not prove to be true, until now he is considered to be a frivolous linguist, even though he is recognized as an outstanding historian and ethnographer [Borukhovich V.T., 1972, 482, 493]. There are no doubts that if Herodotus etymologies were subjected to research from the polyethnical point of view of the Scythian tribes, the scientific conscientiousness of Herodotus and the soundness of his linguistic descriptions of the Scythian peoples will prove to be true.
Now consider some Herodotus etymology of the Scythian words, which do not find confirmation in the Iranian languages. For example, Herodotus informs that Scythians call Amazons by the nameeorpata, which in Hellenic means ‘husband killers’: Scythian eor means ‘husband’, and pata means ‘to kill’ [Herodotus, 1972, IV, 110]. Here is observed a rather transparent Türkic etymology:eor~ir~er ‘husband’, pata~eata~wata ‘breaks, beats, kills ‘. As a whole, eorpata in this sense coincides with Türkic ervata ‘kills husband’.
Herodotus informs that Scythian word enarei means ‘womanlike man’ [Ibis, IV, 67]. And the Greek doctor Hippocrates (5 c. BC) explains, that ‘between Scythians there are many eunuchs, they are engaged in female works and speak like women; such men are called enarei’ [Latyshev V.V., 1893, 63]. V.I.Abaev gives this word an Iranian etymology: Iran. a ‘not, without’, nar ‘man’, and a-nar-ia‘not a man, halfman’ [Abaev V.I., 1949]. This word almost coincides with Türkish ineir-anair, that is translated, as in Herodotus, ‘womanlike man’.
Per Herodotus, the Scythian word arimaspi means ‘one eyed people’. Scythian arima ‘one’, and spu ‘eye’ [Herodotus, 1972, IV, 27]. Assuming that one eyed people meant half closed eyes, thenarima can be determined as Türkic iarym ‘half, semi’, and spu~sepi’ slightly open eye’. Thus, Scythian arimaspi and Türkic iarymsepi ‘half blind, half open, half sighted’ almost coincide.
Herodotus connects the city Kizik with festival [Herodotus, IV, 76]. This city, located on the Asian coast of the Sea of Marmora, later began to be called Tamashalyk, which means ‘show’. The same meaning is transferred by a Türkic word kizik~kyzyk.
In the first legend about an origin of Scythians Herodotus names as their primogenitors Targitai and his sons Lipoksai, Arpoksai and Kolaksai. As we have already seen above, these names are etymologized in Türkic more convincingly than in Iranian.
The second legend about an origin of Scythians says that Heracleus, driving the bulls of Herion, came to uninhabited country. Here he run into bad weather and cold. Wrapped in a pork hide, he has fallen asleep, and at that time his horses disappeared. Waking up, Heracleus started to search for horses. In one cave he found a certain creature - half maiden, half snake. She told Heracleus that she had the horses, but she would not give them back until Heracleus makes love to her. They had born three sons. She named them Agathirs, Gelon, and younger Scyth. On advice of Heracleus, the mother arranged a competition between sons. Only Scyth could pull a bow of his father and put on his belt, therefore he remained in the country. From this Scyth, son of Heracleus, descended all Scythian kings [Herodotus. 1972. IV, 8, 9, 10].
Türkic j (dj) freely alternates with y, which in Greek is usually conveyed as g. Heracleus in Türkic Jirakl-Iirakl ‘earthly wit’; the clever wins all others, hence, he is a giant, hero. In Greek Heracleus is ‘famed hero, giant’.
The first son of Heracleus is Agathirs, more correctly, Agathiros. Here -os is a Greek name ending; ir ‘man, male, people’; agad-agas-agach ‘tree, forrest ‘ (interdental d~th was written in Russian through Greek symbol theta and sounded as ‘f’: Theodor-Feodor, Skif-Scyth, Agathir-Agafir, etc.). Agathir is ‘forrest people or people with tree totem’. Later we meet this ethnonym in the formsakatsir-agach eri with the same meaning. In Türkic language with the same semantics we have also ethnonyms Burtas (burta-as ‘forrest people’), Misher (mish-er ‘forrest people’).
The middle son of Heracleus is Gelon, in - Türkic jelon-jylan-yilan ‘snake’. This is a natural name of the son of the mother - half snake.
The younger son of Heracleus is Scyth, more correctly, Skyth-Skyt. Scyth in Iranian is not deciphered. In Türkic the word skyth consist of ski-eski-iski and -t-ty-ly. Last affix is an affix of possession in Türkic languages; the first part eske ascends, apparently, to the word ishky, i.e. pychak ‘knife’. Isky-t, Isky-ly ‘with knife, man with knife’ [Zakiev M.Z., 1986, 35, 37, 38; Smirnova O.I., 1981, 249-255]. Remarkable fact is that Türks used the part eski (eske - ishky) as an independent ethnonym [Kononov A.N., 1958, 74]. Besides, it is necessary to keep in mind that the name of Scythians arises in Assyrian documents of the 7 c. BC as Asguza-Iskuza-Ishguza [Yelnitskiy L.A., 1977, 25]. Here appear clearly the ancient name of the Türkic tribes as-ash and guz-oguz (ak-guz).
Skolot is a self-name of Scythians, its etymology could not be explained through the Iranian languages. In Türkic skolot consists of the part isky-sko, -lo is an affix of possession, -t is a second affix of possession. Skolo is skyty-skyt-skit, Skolot is ‘people mixed with Scythians’.
Alongside with ethnonym Scyth Herodotus gives still another ethnonym Savromat, applied to the people related to Scythians. Later its changed form Sarmat begins to be applied instead of Scyth. Per Abaev, Savromat ~Sarmat is an Ossetian word with a meaning of ‘black armed or dark armed’ [Abaev V.I., 1949, 184]. To name one black armed, next should be others, for example, red armed or white armed. Therefore etymology of Abaev does not convince at all. In Türkic sarma ‘bags from calf fur with hair on outside’. A rope braided from the horsehair was pulled through the ears stitched to the top edge of such a bag and attached to the saddle. In it were transported bagged provisions [Khozyaistvo, 1979, 142]. Sarma-ty, Sarma-ly is ‘man with sarma’.
Herodotus talks of Argrippeas, that they eat tree fruits. The name of the tree with fruits used for food is pontik. A ripe fruit is squeezed through a fabric, and the extracted black juice is called askhi. They lick juice and drink it mixed with milk. From the thick of askhi they prepare bread [Herodotus, 1972, IV, 23]. Many historians identify Argrippeas with Bashkirs. It is quite probable, as the Bashkirs when meeting Greeks could introduce themselves with pride as irat ‘real men’, in their attempt to translate it to Greek translated only the second part - at (horse in Türkic) - gippei. So could appear the word Argrippei.
In this message there are words pontik and askhi, which can be etymologized as pontik - bun-tek - bunlyk, where Old Türkic word bun is ‘soup, broth’, and pontik means ingredients for soup; and asaskhi-asgy, i.e. suitable for food (as-ash ‘food’). The Türks today are in fact making from the askhi dried pulp a pastille.
The etymology of the Scythian word Kaukas (Caucasus) is interesting. The first part - kau - in Türkic means ‘gray-yellow-white’, it is used in ethnonym kyuchak~kyfchak~kypchak ~kyu~kiji etc.; kyu swan ‘swan’. The fact that in the word Caucasus kau-kyu expresses the meaning of ‘whiteness’ is proved by another Scythian name of Caucasus - Kroukas. Pliny Segund (1 c. AD) writes that Scythians call the Caucasian mountains by the name Kroukas, i.e. ‘white from snows’ [Latyshev V.V., 1896, Vol. 1, Issue. 2, 185]. In Türkic kyrau is ‘frost, frozen dew, snow’. The second part of words Caucasand Kroukas is -kas, it means ‘rock, rocky mountain’. Compare: in the Altai language kaskak ‘steep slope’, common Altaic kad~kaz ‘bluff, cliff’.
An interesting Scytho-Türkish material is present in the Scythian mythological words.
Gestia - the Goddess of the home hearth - in Scythian is Tabiti, apparently, from word tabu ‘find, swindle’.
Zeus - the Supreme God, king and father of the gods and people - in Scythian is Papei, in Türkic babai ‘primogenitor’.
Geia - impersonation of the Earth, she gave birth to Uranium (sky), Mountains, Pont (Sea); Geia in Scythian - Api, in Türkic Ebi ‘primogenitor mother’ [Zakiev M.Z., 1986, 27].
The Scytho-Türkic etymologies given above show that among Scythians, certainly, were Türkic tribes. Therefore the opinion codified in the (Russian - Translator’s note) official historical science that there is only one Scythian language, that it is solely of the Iranian group, that allegedly the first Türks came to Europe only in the 4 c. AD under an ethnonym of Huns, that there was Türkization of Volga and Urals population that began only in the 4th or 7th century AD - all this, naturally, does not correspond to the reality.