were an ancient people, who lived in the south of modern-day Russia
, at least in the 8th
and 7th century BC
. Little is known about them, but they were mentioned in the writings of Greek
, who says that they live in a land of fog and darkness at the borders of the known world. The historian Herodotus
gives more details about their history, describing the savagery of their plunder raids and their attack on Lydia
, when they occupied for a brief time the Lydian capital of Sardis. The Cimmerians as a distinctive people were almost completely wiped out by the Scythians
, who had migrated from Central Asia under pressure from Chinese tribes. Nomad Scythian cavalry
tactics completely crushed the agricultural Cimmerian soldiers though it is expected that Scythians had ultimately adopted their Horse-riding skills from the Cimmeri.
In the early twentieth century the home of the Cimmerians in the Caucasus led to their association with the ancient Aryans. It seems that their leaders may have been of Iranian linguistic origin.
The reputation of the Cimmerians for savagery, combined with their mysteriousness, led the fantasy author Robert E. Howard to identify his character Conan the Barbarian as a Cimmerian. Some Celtic peoples traditionally consider themselves as descended from Cimmeri and their ethnicons reflect this belief (e.g. Cwmry & Cumbria)