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Author Topic: Scythians in London  (Read 63 times)

martin goddard

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Scythians in London
« on: November 27, 2017, 08:08:23 AM »
Les and martin went to London.  We visited the Scythian exhibition.  The artefacts were great. Probably an exhibition for those with an interest rather than an "awe and wonder" exhibit. Not an elitist comment, but if i were not that interested in Scythians the national portrait gallery would be more of an attraction for the time available.   Here are a few observations, that may or may not be useful??

1. Their clothing really was very practical. lots of leather, fur, felt . Cosy hats and trousers. Bright colours evident on their clothing. No attempt at any camouflage.
2. Scythian is  a catch all  for a large amount of tribes who had some common attributes.
3. Arrows for combat are very fine pointed (bodkin) with a  barb to prevent removal.
4. Spears are also very pointy as opposed to broad bladed.
5. Headdresses attached to felt hoods seem to be popular with leaders.  So  a felt cap with a pylon type thing featuring animals etc. About one foot high in cases.
6. Lots of gold for the nobles(none for the ordinary chap). Mainly used for belt buckles, neck torques and arm torques.
7. Swords short and stabby.
8. Horse had no stirrups but did have harness, often across the chest too.
9. A lot of small knives carried (2 or 3 per person) for supplementary use in war, hunting and domestic use.
10. Migrational living means mongol type tents, collapsible furniture and quality utensils.
11. Seemed to lose wars versus the main powers (Persia). But turned up all over the place as allies and auxiliaries. eg police force in Greek cities.
12. Women sometimes shaved their heads, leaving a small pigtail in order to attach a tall headdress(pointy hays etc). Scythians like to wera tall hats to impress passers by!?


We saw a lot of superbly detailed engravings showing weapons, warriors and things.


I have never built a generic scythian army, but back in 1970 did create a Massagetae army (scythians mentioned in Herodotus) under queen Tomyris. It played many battles and was in 25mm!!  I took it to many WEG ancient competitions including Worthing, Bristol and Exeter.

Sean Clark

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Re: Scythians in London
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 08:14:09 AM »
Thanks for that Martin. My knowledge of 'ancients' is limited. Bullet points like this are a great way to impart the key facts.

Were they known as a light horse skirmish type of army? Lots of bows scurrying around? Did they have any formed infantry as such?

Colonel Kilgore

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Re: Scythians in London
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 09:03:10 AM »
Thank you Martin - that's both interesting and useful.

However, please don't start making any of these yet - I'd hate you to get distracted from your current workbench :)

Sean Clark

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Re: Scythians in London
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2017, 11:12:26 AM »
Maybe inspiration for the next Conquerors and Kings!

Now I'm thinking that C&K might be a good game for the next weekender using the box full of Romans and Germans I have....

martin goddard

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Re: Scythians in London
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 11:38:26 AM »
Although they were horsemen they also had wagons and families that needed foot troops to protect them. So yes to foot troops but just spears and bows rather than close order spear??