If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Sarmatian’s weapon in works of ancient authors

Ancient authors in their works paid great attention to arrows of this nomad tribe. Aristotle wrote about the recipe of poison for arrows made from human blood and echidnas or viper snakes.

Ancient authors in their works paid great attention to arrows of this nomad tribe. Aristotle wrote about the recipe of poison for arrows made from human blood and echidnas or viper snakes.

Theophrastus wrote about «deadly plants which sap sarmatians use for lubrication of the arrows. According to antique botanist, some poisons kill immediately, from other poisons people die from health exhaustion.

Ovid attached great importance to arrows. Poet repeatedly mentioned hooked poisoned arrows of sarmatians. He even sent as a gift one quiver to his friend Fabius Maximus.

Pausanias also told about sarmatian bone arrowheads. Pliny the Elder and Claudius Elian also wrote that the sarmatians moisten their arrows with different poisons.

Description of traditional melee weapons — swords and spears are also appeared in the works of ancient authors. Ovid wrote that the sarmatians were armed with special knives.

Titus Flavius Josephus mentioned about sarmatians swords, Gaius Valerius Flaccus described «Sarmatian controlling huge pike», and Pausanias wrote about bone spears. Claudius Claudianus also wrote about sarmatians spears.

The ancient authors often mention in their works that the Sarmatians used lasso. It was used either for capture of prisoners, or to drop the rider off his horse. Flavius Josephus wrote about an attempt of the Sarmatians to capture Armenian king Trinidad with lasso. Pausanias noted that «The Sarmatians hurled lassos on enemies and then turning back the horses, and then overturn caught in the arcane rider».

The most recent reference to the use of arcane by the nomads was found in the works of Great Bishop Ambrose. In the V century BC. the Bishop wrote that «Alans are skilled in the ability to throw a noose around the neck of the enemy».

The first mention related to the defensive armament of the Sarmatians belongs to Theophrastus. In his treatise «On the water» he wrote: «Tarand inhabits in Scythia or Sarmatia. His snout is like a deer. His bones are covered with a skin, from which the fur grows. Skin is thick as a finger and very strong. So the leather is dried, and then the shells are made of this leather».

Interesting description of their armor left Pausanias: «Shells they do as follows: each of them has a lot of horses… Horses are used not only in wars, but for sacrificing to native gods and eating. Their hoofs they collect, clean, cut and make of them something like a snake scales. Who have never seen a snake, probably seen green pine cones, so rising above the cones grooves can be accurately compared with the sarmatian armor elements made from hooves. These plates are drilled, crosslinked with horse or bovine tendons, and used as shells that neither beauty nor strength are not inferior to the Hellenic armor. They even withstand blows and wounds inflicted in melee batle.

Claudius Elian similar Theophrastus described Tarands, but in his story nomads snug shields with leather of this animals, and did not use it for production of shells.