To the Greeks most non-Greeks were ‘barbarians’, not necessarily because they were considered less civilised but rather because of their unintelligible speech, as one author explains.
The term ‘barbarian’ began as an onomatopoeic Greek word about foreign language: the ‘bar-bar babble’ sound of an incomprehensible tongue. It occurs once in the Iliad, when the Carian army is described as ‘barbarophonos’ -- barbar-speaking. … But it is fairly clear that at the time of the Iliad and for long afterwards the Greeks did not lump all foreigners together under the linguistic definition ‘barbarians’. Still less did they use the term as a catalogue of inferior ‘otherness’ comprising all that the Greeks were not. Victorian scholars in the age of empire misread the Iliad as an account of the triumph of civilisation over ‘barbarous’ and morally inferior Trojans But there is nothing remotely like that in the text of the poem, in which the Greeks are if anything more cruel and treacherous -- epithets later heaped into the tray of ‘barbarism’ -- than the Trojans. … But in the fifth century BC Athens … constructed a single barbarian world, squeezing peoples as distinct as Scythian nomads and Mesopotamian city-dwellers into a single new species, and opposed it to the image of a single and united Hellenic world (Black Sea, Neal Ascherson, Random House, London, 1996, pp. 60-61).
Talbot Rice is of the opinion that there was one (Iranian-based) language spoken by all the so-called Scythian peoples.
The only indubitable fact which emerges is that the tribes of the entire plain all spoke the same language, in much the same way that many present-day nomads throughout Asia all speak the Turki dialect of Turkish. The language spoken by the nomads was basically an Iranian tongue, but it may have been more closely allied to Avestic than to ancient Persian. …
[S]ince all the mounted nomads of the Scythian age spoke the same Iranian tongue, whether they came from the Dniestr or the banks of the Oxus, there seems reason to think that at any rate the majority were linked by some sort of racial tie. A definite affinity is indeed suggested by the nature of their art, which shows well-nigh identical features over so wide an area (The Scythians, op. cit., pp. 39, 42).
The Director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art made the following comment in From the Lands of the Scythians:
Herodotus’ portrait of the Scyth is not particularly complimentary: the Scyth was a nomad, a fierce hunter and fighter, a tough, indomitable barbarian addicted to strong wine, hashish, and violence, wandering, always wandering, uncivilized and rootless. But one must be cautious. A Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. would look upon any people who did not speak the mother tongue as barbarians, and would judge any group of mankind without cities as beyond the pale. However, as one examines the uniquely beautiful art made by and for the Scyths, one must acknowledge that, stereotyped concepts of civilization aside, these anonymous peoples were connoisseurs of supreme taste (Thomas Hoving, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. XXXII, New York, 1975, p. 1).
Having left no written records, the most significant legacy of the Scythians is the golden treasures recovered from their numerous burial mounds. Photographs of many of the pieces found are in the aforementioned book.
Between the fifth and third centuries B.C., the Scythians not only were in contact with the civilizations of Greece, Egypt, and the Near East, but shared a cultural unity with many other tribes living in the steppe region of eastern Europe and Asia. In art, an indication of such unity is the so-called animal style. Powerful, stylised, and decorative, this style is characteristic of a wide territory stretching from Hungary to China. It portrays animals and birds with their most important attribute … exaggerated or accentuated. … These images probably had religious or magic significance: (ibid., p. 21).
As Talbot Rice suggested, the Scythians were linked by common artistic designs.
The most characteristic single motif in Scythian art is provided by the stag. Originally an object of worship among Siberian tribesmen, it had probably lost much of its earlier religious significance by Scythian times, but it is more than likely that the belief that stags transported the souls of the dead to the world beyond was still generally current in Eurasia throughout the first millennium. It persisted with the Buriats until quite recently (op. cit., p. 158).
She makes another interesting observation that seems more than coincidental and could indicate where the westward migration of some of the Scyths finally ended: “A resemblance to Scythian art can often be recognized in the sculptures and illuminations of the Celtic school in Britain” (ibid., p. 192).
The epitome of Scythian art is seen in the treasures of the ubiquitous Royal Scyth burial mounds; however, the majority of objects were thought to have been created by Greek craftsmen rather than the Scythians themselves.
Gold featured very heavily in the treasures. The archaeologist Renate Rolle says that there were basically three areas from which Scythian gold came: Transylvania in the west (where the Agathyrsi, relatives of the Scyths, were found); the Caucasus, especially Colchis, the place from which the legend of the Golden Fleece originated; and Kazakhstan and the Altai mountains. A comment in From the Lands of the Scythians reads: “In Kazakhstan, as in the Altaic immediately to the east, gold was mined from Bronze Age times (c. 1500 BC) at the very latest, in both opencast and underground mines” (op. cit., p. 52). The word Altai appropriately means mountains of gold. There are no known gold deposits in the Ukraine, hence all Scythian gold must have been imported.
Religious practices and burials
Talbot Rice provides an overview of Scythian religion.
Like all primitive peoples, the Scythians were exceedingly superstitious. They believed in witchcraft, magic and the power of amulets. Their soothsayers foretold the future by means of bundles of twigs and by splitting bast fibres in much the same way as did certain groups of Germans in the Middle Ages. The most highly honoured of the Scythian magicians came from certain specific families. …
The Scythians worshipped the elements. Their main devotions were paid to the Great Goddess, Tabiti-Vesta, the Goddess of Fire and perhaps also of beasts. She alone figures in their art, presiding at the taking of oaths, administering communion or anointing chieftains. Rostovtzeff found that she had been worshipped in southern Russia long before the Scythians appeared there. Pottery statuettes of her were common in the Bronze Age in the country lying between the Urals and the Dniepr, even more along the Bug and Donetz rivers. There is a marked resemblance between these little figures and those representing the same deity in Elam, Babylonia and Egypt made centuries earlier (The Scythians, op. cit., p. 85).
Among the various practices which the Slavs inherited from the Scythians, the most important consisted in the worship of their ancestors (ibid., p. 181).
This appeared to be a prevalent practice among many diverse peoples at the time, as we noted earlier with Cush and Semiramis.
The Scythian gods were listed as: Tabiti/Tabitha; Papeaus (Zeus) and his wife Api; Oetosyrus (Apollo); Argimpasa (Aphrodite); Thagimasadas (a ‘Poseidon’); Heracles, and an unnamed god of war. The sacred emblems of the Scyths were: the serpent; the ox (representing Nimrod/Taurus); Tho/Theo (Egyptian Pan); and fire (representing the sun and knowledge).
Presumably as a result of belief in the immortality of the soul, the Scythian dead were expected to ascend to another world in which they would maintain their former wealth and social position. For an understanding of the Immortal Soul doctrine see the paper The Soul (No. 92).
In general, and as an obvious means of differentiation between the tribes, the Getic and Celtic tombs were flat, whereas those of the Scythians were almost invariably raised tumuli known as kurgans. This factor alone would tend to suggest that the Scyths and Getae were distinct peoples, or had separated quite early. Also, from archaeological evidence, the remains of pigs, chickens and wild boar as food dedicated to the dead were found in Gaulish tombs, as well as in the Celtic ones in north-west Dacia. This is in direct contrast to the Scythians, who Herodotus said never ate pig. It is now known that the Gauls were in fact Gomerites. Another distinguishing feature of the Celts was that, despite their close contact with the Scythians, they did not generally use the bow as a weapon of war; they were noted swordsmen instead.
The Celts were believers in the afterlife and reincarnation. They often wrote promissory notes payable in the next or afterlife.
From the Lands of the Scythians mentions the important burial mounds that are found in specific areas of the Steppe, and which are known as kurgans or kurgany in Eastern Europe and mogily in the Ukraine.
The lower Dnieper was probably the religious center for the Scythian tribes; some of the richest kurgans are found in this area, which might explain Herodotus’ remark that the burials of the nomad chieftains lay far from their own territories (op. cit., p. 20).
There are at least 100,000 burial mounds in the Ukraine alone and most are concentrated along the Dnieper River in the realm of the Royal Scyths. The largest of these is about 70 ft (21m) high, with a base diameter of 328 ft (100m). It has also been noted that men of Scythian royalty were almost always buried alongside their women, whether wives or concubines, who were apparently ritually killed on the death of their husbands.
Progress of the Scythians through Eastern Europe towards the west can be tracked to some degree by their burials.
In the fourth century B.C. the Royal Scyths of southern Russia attempted to shift their headquarters from the lower Dniepr to the north and west of their earlier centre. Shortly afterwards, the eastern fringe of the Balkans became a Scythian outpost, and as a result, the region contains quite a considerable number of Scythian burials. Bessarabia, Wallachia and the Dobrudja in particular retain important traces of their sojourn …
Some Scythians also penetrated into Hungary towards the year 500 B.C. They probably followed a route leading across Moldavia and Transylvania, for both districts are rich in mounds. … The number of Scythian burials in Hungary is very considerable … As we move back across Russia the picture becomes fuller again. To the east of the royal tombs, the tombs of the Kuban afford particularly rich and interesting examples of Scythian burials of early date (Talbot Rice, op. cit., pp. 107-108).
The earliest known Scythian tombs are contemporary in date with the Scythians’ military successes in the Middle East and in consequence the majority are situated in the eastern extremity of the European section of the [Eurasian] plain. Close to them in date are some of the Russian mounds. … The objects found in these … sites reflect Persian influence. A sword sheath from Meguro [dated to second half of 6th century BCE] shows the successful fusion of the native and Assyrian elements, for the sword itself is Persian in shape, and the decorations on the sheath also display strong Assyro-Persian trends. The main design thus consists of a row of Persian-looking winged quadrupeds, alternately human- and lion-headed, advancing with drawn bows. Their wings are, however, essentially Scythian … (ibid., pp. 153-154).
It is known that the Scyths had a special reverence for fire and used flaming torches to purify graves. This veneration was also seen in their refusal to extinguish a fire, which was always allowed to die naturally. This practice stems from the worship of Tabitha Vesta, who was the goddess of the hearth fire. This worship was transferred into Rome from the fall of the Trojan system and the rise of the Roman successors of West Asian origin under the sons of Aeneas.
Arrows were also emblematic of fire, and this leads into a not insignificant part of Scythian character: their predilection for war.
Scythians at War
The two elements in combination that made the Scythians among the most feared warriors of their age were the horse and the bow. As a result, the Greeks referred to the Scyths as ‘horse-archers’. Although war was not the original reason for domestication of the horse, it soon became an intimate part of the warrior life of the Scythians, as Talbot Rice explains.
If the Scythians were not the first to domesticate the horse, they were among the earliest, if not the first of the central Asian people to learn to ride it. Both in China and in India, and possibly also in Egypt, horses had been used in the second millennium as beasts of burden for transporting loads … fighting steeds had also been trained to pull light chariots in battle, and at the chase. But the Scythians’ success in war was largely due to the advantage which their mounted soldiers enjoyed over their foot enemies, a superiority which the latter were quick to appreciate. In consequence, almost immediately following upon the Scythian penetration into Asia, the technique of riding was suddenly mastered throughout the entire Middle Eastern area (op. cit., p. 70).
The Scyths used an assortment of weaponry, including iron swords, spears and battle-axes (sagaris), however, the weapon most closely associated with them was the bow. The bows they used were relatively short at 30-32 inches (76-81 cm), as they were designed to be used from horseback, although there are records of them being longer than 3 feet (~1m). They were initially made of laminated strips of willow and alder joined by fish glue. The arrows were a similar length and carried iron, bronze or bone arrowheads, which were triangular or trilobar in cross-section.
Kiev archaeologist E.V. Cernenko showed that since the 6th century BCE, there was at least a core of heavily-armed cavalrymen in the Scythian army, with increasing numbers in subsequent centuries; this is confirmed by the artefacts found in the princes’ burial mounds.
As mentioned earlier, Scythians warriors assisted with the final capture and destruction of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh.
From archaeological data, from cuneiform tablets, and from information supplied by Herodotus, we know the Cimmerians and Scythians remained in the Near East many years, and participated in the destruction of Assyria and other ancient Near Eastern centers. For instance, Babylonian chronicles of 616-609 B.C., describing the fall of Assyria, tell that nomadic tribes (referred to as “Umman manda”) joined the Babylonian and Median armies in the siege and capture of Nineveh in 612 B.C. Herodotus, in describing their siege, mentions that a large Scythian army appeared under the walls of Nineveh led by Madyes, son of Protothyes (the Partatua of the cuneiform sources). (From the Lands of the Scythians, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. XXXII, New York, 1975, p. 16)
It is said that the militaristic qualities of the Scythians were also put to good use as police troops in Athens during the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.
An unpleasant custom of these people is recorded by Rolle: “In antiquity scalping was considered so typically Scythian that the Greeks invented a special verb to denote the process. The term aposkythizein was applied to skinning the head” (op. cit., p. 82).
The Scythians were finally defeated by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, in 339 BCE in the north Pontic area, although they continued their reign over the forest-steppe zone further to the north for another hundred years or so.
Invasions and Migrations
According to the historian Ye. I. Krupnov (The Ancient History Of The Northern Caucasus, Moscow, 1960), there were three main invasion routes from the north into the Near East (which the Scythians were said by Herodotus to control for 28 years): staying close to the Black Sea coast while heading south-east towards the Araxes river (the route used chiefly by the Cimmerians and the Scythians pursuing them); moving down the western side of the Caspian Sea through the so-called Derbent Gate in Daghestan, before heading south-west towards the Araxes and Lake Urmia (as noted by Herodotus, Hist., I, 103); and, through the middle of the Caucasus mountains via the famous Darial Pass (east of Kazbek in modern Georgia) to the Kura river and then further south. The name Darial is said to derive from Dār-e Alān, meaning Gate of the Alans in Persian.
The various ‘gates’ through the Caucasus appear to have a connection with Gog and Magog, as the Wikipedia article explains.
The Gates of Alexander were a legendary barrier supposedly built by Alexander the Great in the Caucasus to keep the uncivilized barbarians of the north (typically associated with Gog and Magog) from invading the land to the south. … In the Alexander Romance, Alexander chases his enemies to a pass between two peaks in the Caucasus known as the "Breasts of the World". He decides to imprison the "unclean nations" of the north, which include Gog and Magog, behind a huge wall of steel or adamantine. With the aid of God, Alexander and his men closed the narrow pass, keeping the uncivilized Gog and Magog from pillaging the peaceful southern lands. The nature of the pass is never very clear; some sources say it is a pass between mountains, while others say it is a pass between the peaks and the Caspian Sea.
A similar story appears in the Qur'an, Surat al-Kahf (The Cave) 83-98, where the great hero Dhul-Qarnayn ("The Two-horned One") constructs a wall to protect the innocent people at the feet of the mountains from Gog and Magog. That this story appeared in a fictional account before the Qur'an was written has caused some controversy among Islamic scholars, though some would argue that "Dhul-Qarnayn" is not supposed to be Alexander at all, but rather some earlier or later conqueror, usually Cyrus the Great.
During the Middle Ages, the Gates of Alexander story was included in travel literature such as the Travels of Marco Polo and the Travels of Sir John Mandeville. The identities of the nations trapped behind the wall are not always consistent, however; Mandeville claims Gog and Magog are really the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, who will emerge from their prison during the End Times and unite with their fellow Jews to attack the Christians. Polo speaks of Alexander's Iron Gates, but says the Comanians are the ones trapped behind it. He does mention Gog and Magog, however, locating them north of Cathay.
In his book We, the Thracians, J.C. Dragan gives Pârvan’s idea of several of the many migration routes followed by the Scythians.
Vasile Pârvan considered that the Scyths spread beyond the Oder after crossing the Polish plains, and in three waves penetrated West of the Carpathians. After crossing Podolia and the North of Moldavia, they climbed across the Carpathians and in the Pannonian plain [in modern Hungary] … The Scythians penetrated into Transylvania through the Oituz pass … A third branch crossed the Danube Plain and Banat and reached the river Sava. The Scythians organized inroads South of the Danube as far as the shore of the Aegean Sea, taking along Geto-Dacian tribes with them in this direction (Vol. I, Nagard Publisher, Milan, 1976, p. 130).
Despite their hegemony over a substantial part of the ancient world, the Scythians gradually faded into obscurity, as Talbot Rice explains.
The Scythians indeed played as active a part in commerce as in war and constituted so important an element in the life of their age that Herodotus found it necessary to devote to them an entire book of his great history. … Yet notwithstanding his account, the absence of written documents among the Scythians themselves has proved a strong ally of oblivion, for all memory of the Scythians rapidly faded with their passing from the political scene. By the fourth century A.D. they had been completely forgotten by the civilized world of their day, and some fifteen hundred years were to elapse before their art was rediscovered (The Scythians, op. cit., p. 23).
In his Origins and Deeds of the Goths, Jordanes says that the Goths came to settle in Scythia, presumably after the original inhabitants had left or been forced out.
We read that on their first migration the Goths dwelt in the land of Scythia near Lake Maeotis. On the second migration they went to Moesia, Thrace and Dacia, and after their third they dwelt again in Scythia, above the Sea of Pontus (V, 38).
In section IV, 29 of the same work, Jordanes says that both the Scythians and Goths were Magogites.
The archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball claims that the Sarmatians were a distinct nomadic tribe possibly related to the Sauromatians, whereas the ancient historian Pliny the Elder states that they are one and the same people (Bk. IV, vii, 80). Another modern source gives their name as deriving from the Old Iranian sarumatah, meaning archer (J. Harmatta).
The Sauromatae people were the result of intermarriage between Amazonian women and Scythian men, as Herodotus records (Hist., IV, 110ff.). The Amazons were thus not a mythical tribe but were women warriors known to the Scyths as Oiorpata (meaning man-killer).
Others claim that the Sarmatians originated from Media, which would make them descendants of the patriarch Madai (see the paper Sons of Japheth Part IV: Madai (No. 46D)). Perhaps this could be seen in the name they were given, as the Scythians applied the term Sar to any great person – hence, the possibility that the Sar-Matian are the “great Madai” people.
Contemporary with the Scythians and, like them, mounted herdsmen, were the Sauromatae, who lived in the steppes around the Ural mountains and the Don and Volga rivers, and who seem to link the Scythian world with that of the Sakas of Central Asia. In the third century B.C. the Sarmatians developed from this ancient culture, and by the second and first centuries B.C. they had conquered much of Scythia as well as the towns along the north shores of the Black Sea. Later, in the third and fourth centuries A.D., the Sarmatians were driven out by the other nomadic tribes, such as the Huns (From the Lands of the Scythians, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. XXXII, New York, 1975, p. 25).
Talbot Rice claims that the Scyths and Sarmatians “shared the same language and an almost identical way of life”, and further that: “Although the Greeks associated their stories of the Amazons with the Scythians, it is far more probable that they in fact referred to the Sarmatians” (op. cit., p. 48). Hippocrates classes them unreservedly as Scythians (De Aere 24).
Nothing remains of the Scythians but their tombs and the memory of their nomad ‘otherness’, indelibly written into European consciousness by Herodotus and his successors. The Sarmatians, by contrast, survive unrecognised. … Physically, there is one place where the Sarmatians are still present; the Ossetians of the Caucasus, descendants of the Alan group of Sarmatian tribes, have kept their Indo-Iranian speech and traditions (Black Sea, Neal Ascherson, Random House, London, 1996, p. 212).
There is an mtDNA I Haplogroup in Britain which is also found among the descendants of the Medes, i.e. the Kurds in Kurdistan. If the Amazons are Medes then the Sarmatians conscripted by the Romans would explain the Haplogroup. It may, however, have come with the Trojans also.
The three main tribes of Sarmatians were the Alani, Iyazges and Roxolani. Ascherson then shows where other Sarmatians ended up.
The village of Ribchester is in Lancashire [England], not far from Preston … [and] is built on the site of Bremetennacum Veteranorum, a Roman cavalry fortress on the road north to Hadrian’s Wall. … Here, towards the end of the second century AD, a large force of Sarmatian lancers arrived. They were Iazygians, the vanguard of the slow Sarmatian migration from the Black Sea steppe towards the west, who had crossed the Transylvanian mountains and entered the north-eastern Hungarian plains. From there, they began to raid the Roman frontier on the middle Danube until the emperor Marcus Aurelius led an army across the Danube and defeated them. He had intended, it seems, to have them massacred. But problems elsewhere in the Empire required his attention, and he offered them the option of enlistment instead. The Iazygians accepted, and were drafted to northern Britain. Some 5,500 cavalrymen, presumably accompanied by their horses and families, made the journey across a continent and a sea. They may have served initially on the Wall, where some of their horse-armour has been found, but within a few decades, in the early third century, they had been transferred to Ribchester, a powerful mobile reserve of cavalry watching the Ribble gap and the passes through the Pennines.
But the Sarmatians never went home. … For two hundred more years, until the final Roman evacuation of Britain in the fifth century, the descendants of Iranian-speaking nomads continued to multiply and to be found land in the lower Ribble valley … By the time of the first Anglian or Saxon settlement in the region, the Sarmatians must have formed a large and deeply rooted community in western Lancashire. … a DNA survey in the Preston hinterland might well reveal that the Sarmatians are in a sense still present (ibid., pp. 236-237).
As confirmation of the above, there exists a funeral stele from the Roman camp at Chester, England, which depicts a Sarmatian warrior holding aloft their distinctive dragon battle standard. The first commander of the Sarmatians in Britain was Lucius Artorius [Arthur] Castus who led his troops to Gaul in 184 CE to put down a rebellion. This has resonance with the legendary King Arthur, the war leader who was said to have conducted military campaigns in Europe and to have saved Britain from the Saxons in the late-5th and early-6th centuries CE. Places associated with King Arthur are in fact found all over Britain, from Edinburgh’s ‘King Arthur’s Seat’ to an ancient hill fort near Kelso in the Scottish Borders; from Caerleon in Wales to Cadbury Castle (a proposed site for Camelot) in Somerset, England; and from Glastonbury (perhaps the mythical Avalon), also in Somerset, to Tintagel Castle, the supposed birthplace of Arthur, in Cornwall. It is suggested that the Sarmatians turned the name Artorius/Arthur into a title, much like Caesar (which later became Kaiser and Tsar).
In an article entitled ‘Were the Sarmatians the source of Arthurian legend?’ in Archaeology magazine, C. Scott Littleton states:
There are many parallels between Arthurian legend and the folklore of the modern Ossetians, descendants of the Alans who live in the Caucasus. A search for a magical cup or cauldron in Ossetic folklore, for example, parallels the Arthurian quest for the Holy Grail, and the Alans, who invaded western Europe in the fifth century A.D., brought legends of a figure we know as Lancelot.
As with Rolle earlier, a connection has been made between the modern Ossetes and, in this case, the Sarmatians, perhaps regarded loosely as a ‘Scythian’ tribe. Even an ancient Turkish epic features a hero named Targhyn, whose name has the same root as Pendragon, Arthur’s surname.
In the book From the Lands of the Scythians previously mentioned, there are further interesting connections with the Arthurian legend.
Finally, the story of the sword Excalibur … has direct parallels in the epic of the death of Batradz, the tribal hero of the Ossetians of the Caucasus, and in the episode of the death of Krabat, included in a folk tale of the Sorbs of eastern Germany. The Ossetians are the last surviving group of Sarmatian-speaking people, and the Sorbs, though now speaking a Slavic language, are an isolated group still bearing a Sarmatian tribal name. “Excalibur,” incidentally, in its earliest form “Caliburnus,” is clearly derived from the Latin word for steel, chalybs, which comes from a Greek word derived from the name of the Sarmatian Kalybes, a tribe of smiths in the Caucasus (Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, Vol. XXXII, New York, 1975, p. 152).
Poles, Serbs and Croats
In his work Black Sea, Ascherson provides a migration route and resting-place for certain of the Sarmatians who came out of the Black Sea region, by noting the connection in distinctive tribal/individual signs and works of art.
Early in the third century, a new ruling group, heavily armed and wealthy, entered what is now southern Poland. When they buried their dead, they equipped them with wheel-turned pottery made on the northern Black Sea coasts, Sarmatian brooches and lances with iron heads inlaid in silver. They were unmistakeably a Sarmatian people, possibly the Antae, and their material culture showed that they had been in long and close contact with the Bosporan Kingdom. But the surest evidence for that contact -- and the key exhibit in the argument about the Sarmatian ancestry of the Poles-- is the tamga.
Tamgas are a family of signs. A tamga represents a graffito monogram, a simple Chinese character or even a cattle-brand … Each one appears to be individual, to stand alone. … What is clear is that the Sarmatians adopted the tamga from the Bosporans … Almost all known tamga signs have been found on Bosporan territory, most of them in the Greek cities.
Tamgas also occur in the Sarmatian graves scattered across Poland … Their spread reaches from Ukraine, including the Kiev region, westwards to what is now Silesia, and the distribution and the dating of the graves makes this look very much like the track of a Sarmatian-Alan migration.
The Polish tamgas do not show just that Sarmatians arrived there. They can be read to suggest that the Sarmatians never went away. Long before a Polish archaeologist, the late Tadeusz Sulimirski, made this case, chroniclers and genealogists had noticed that the heraldic clan symbols used by the old Polish nobility looked like tamgas. In fact, the older these crests were, the more strikingly ‘Sarmatian’, or rather Bosporan, they looked.
… Polish aristocratic mores, Sulimirski suggests, find many of their roots in Sarmatian custom. Ancient writers record the solidarity and sense of equality among Sarmatians, much like the szlachta motto that ‘the petty squire on his plot /Is as good as the duke’. And might not the special Polish attitude to women have its roots among those Indo-Iranian nomads too? Sarmatian noblewomen were powerful and respected, while the Polish system of aristocratic descent still shows traces of matriliny (Black Sea, pp. 238-240).
Ascherson then concludes that both the so-called Serbs and Croats, among many other peoples in Europe, may in fact be descended from the Sarmatian Alans.
The Sarmatians … who migrated west from the Black Sea ceased to be nomads and pastoralists. Some of the first wave, like the Iazygians, were recruited by the Roman Empire and resettled in various parts of Gaul or Britain. Others moved north-westward until they came up against the strong and firmly settled Germanic peoples. Late Roman writers, trying to describe this, fell into the habit of describing all Europe east of the Germans as ‘Sarmatia’, a term which was gradually applied to all the Slav peoples of the region whether or not they had a ruling class of Sarmatian origin.
The Alans, in particular, had many strange fates. One group or war-party, setting out from the Balkans in the late fourth century, rode right across the dying Roman Empire through Austria and the Rhineland, and then, with Vandal and Suevian allies, into France, Spain and Portugal, winding up in what is now Spanish Galicia. Other expeditions moved more slowly across northern France, in some cases putting down roots and forming small Alan kingdoms of their own. Over thirty French place-names, including that of the town of Alençon, allude to their presence, and there is some evidence of a long-lasting Sarmatian settlement near Orleans (Black Sea, ibid., p. 241).
This is confirmed in the work referred to previously.
In 378 the Gothic-Alanic cavalry wiped out a Roman army at Adrianople, a victory that heralded the dominance of heavy armoured horsemen on the medieval battlefield. Groups of Alans set themselves up as local aristocracies in northern Spain (Catalonia: Goth-Alania) and northern France (Alençon). Chivalry developed into its final form when another wave of Germanic warriors, the Normans, came to northern France and took up the horsemanship of the Alanic gentry. (At the Battle of Hastings in 1066, part of the Norman cavalry was commanded by Alan the Red, Count of Brittany.) (From the Lands of the Scythians, p. 150)
Ascherson continues tracing the route of Sarmatian Alans into Eastern Europe.
Partly overrun by the Hun offensive into Europe, many Eastern Alans joined their armies and travelled west with them. Some settled for a time on the Elbe, and -- like their predecessors the Antae -- came to mobilise and dominate the larger and less warlike Slavonic populations they found there. One of these conquests had a powerful impact on later history. The words Choroatus and Chorouatos (Croat) occur on inscriptions found at Tanais, on the Don. It looks as if the term was originally the name of a group of Alan warriors who lived for a period in the Azov steppes and then migrated again towards the north-west. There they subjugated and then merged into Slavonic peoples living on the upper Vistula [river] and in northern Bohemia.
Byzantine and Arab chronicles in the tenth century describe a people called Belochrobati (White Croats) in that region, whose kings drank mares’ milk and whose babies were subjected to skull-binding. Migrating southwards across the Hungarian plain towards the Adriatic, this group settled in that area which was to become modern Croatia. The name ‘Serb’, too, originally belonged to another Eastern Alan band which was recorded in the Volga-Don steppe in the third century and which reappeared in the fifth century on the east bank of the Elbe. In the same way as the Sarmatian ‘Croats’, they dominated and then melted into Slav populations around them. Some remained there, ancestors of the Slav-speaking Serb minority which still lives in Lusatia in modern Saxony. Others, like the Croats, moved south across the Danube to a permanent home in the Balkans: the future land of Serbia.
Fragments of Alan population survived in Asia for many more centuries. …The Crimean coast between Feodosia and Alushta was still known as ‘Alania’ in the Middle Ages … These last Sarmatians on the Black Sea appear to have linked up with the Crimean Goths until ‘Gothia’ was overthrown by the Turks and Tatars. The final mention of the Alans, as inhabitants of Crimea in the time of the Tatar khanate, dates from the seventeenth century … (Black Sea, pp. 241-242).
The Wikipedia entry on the Sarmatians has that, “the numerous Iranian personal names in the Greek inscriptions from the Black Sea Coast indicate that the Sarmatians spoke a North-Eastern Iranian dialect ancestral to Ossetic”. The entry on the Alans explains that:
Modern genetic science's disclosure of the geographical distribution of historical genetic markers has convinced certain theorists of the connection between Sarmato-Alanic deep ancestral heritage in Europe and the Y-DNA paternal Haplogroup G (Y-DNA), specifically G2.
The Croats, however, are R1a and I Haplogroups. G is Semitic Assyrian.
Other descendants of the Scythians Goths
In the far west of Europe, the Spanish Visigoths (Western Goths) claimed descent from the patriarch Magog, according to Isidore of Seville (ca. 560-636). The Ostrogoths (Eastern Goths) were similarly descended from Magog or Gog.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 891 CE relates that the Britons came from ‘Armenia’ and the Picts (of Scotland) from ‘Scythia’. The Armenia here is not the area in the Caucasus but rather a misnomer for Amorica, which is an earlier name for modern-day Brittany in France. It is effectively saying that the Britons came overland across Europe rather than via the Mediterranean, as we see with others below.
The histories record that the Britons came from Troy via Spain to Britain and Amorica, later called Brittany (see also the Origin of the Christian Church in Britain (No. 266)). Others that came from Europe were Gomerites.
In about 551 CE, the historian Jordanes or Jornandes, who was of Gothic extraction himself, wrote perhaps the definitive history of the Goths in The Origin and Deeds of the Goths (trans. by C. Mierow, Princeton University Press, 1908), often known simply as Getica. While the Goths had converted to Arianism, Jordanes was apparently a committed Trinitarian.
One version of the Scots’ arrival in Scotland is found in the Declaration of Arbroath written in “filial reverence” to Pope John in1320, as we see here:
…we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous. Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today. The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts;
We note several things here. Firstly, the Scots are said to have come from Greater Scythia via the Mediterranean and the ‘Straits of Gibraltar’ (or Pillars of Hercules) to the Britain, rather than from Lesser Scythia, or Scandinavia, as did some other tribes. The second point is that they found the Britons and Picts already in residence in the British Isles.
The Picts are the Caledonians in the North of Britain.
Up until the 10th century, the term Scotia applied to the island of Ireland (or Eriu/Erin) rather than Scotland, which was then known as Alba or Alban. And at that time there were four kingdoms in Alba:
Picts in basically the whole of the country north of the Forth estuary;
Scots of Dalriada, now Argyll;
Britons of Strathclyde; and
Angles of Bernicia, from the Forth in Scotland down to the Humber river in England.
By the end of the 10th century the name Scotia was applied to part of Alba, and it wasn’t until 1266 that Scotland was adopted as the name of the united kingdom under Alexander III. Note also that King Alfred in his translation of ‘Beda’ (an Anglo-Belgic poem) uses Scytise for Scottish – although perhaps a purely coincidental association with Scyth. There is still another suggestion that the name Scotti came from the Old IrishScothaim, meaning I cut down, destroy.
Sometimes called the ‘Christian Herodotus’, Eusebius (263-339 CE) states:
… Meanwhile the holy apostles and disciples of our Saviour were scattered over the whole world. Thomas, tradition tells us, was chosen for Parthia, Andrew for Scythia, John for Asia, where he remained till his death at Ephesus. … (Bk. III, 1: The History of the Church,tr. G.A. Williamson, Penguin UK, 1965).
It is claimed that Andrew, brother of Peter, worked as an Apostle among the Scythians before they began their migrations westward to Alba or Caledonia, the land later known as Scotland (land of Skut/Scyth?). The connection exists today with Andrew being the ‘patron saint’ of Scotland, and in the name of St Andrews, once an important ecclesiastical centre in the Kingdom of Fife.
The area into Parthia and Scythia, including Armenia and Georgia, was covered by both Peter and Andrew, and not Andrew alone. This was a later fiction of Rome.
The Irish connection
The Wikipedia article on Gog and Magog gives the following:
Some legends of Hungarians and certain Celtic peoples say they are descendants of Magog. Poseidonius, for example, mentions that the Cimmerians, considered to be the original ancestors in Celtic traditions, were derived from gug and guas. In Irish tradition, Magog was supposed to have had a grandchild called Heber, who spread throughout the Mediterranean. The result is that Gog — the land of the four corners of the world – has also been identified as lands somewhere in the oceans surrounding the Old World, i.e., the New World.
Works of Irish mythology, including the Lebor Gabála Érenn (the Book of Invasions), expand on the Genesis account of Magog as the son of Japheth and make him the ancestor to the Irish. His three sons were Baath, Jobhath, and Fathochta. Magog is regarded as the father of the Irish race, and the progenitor of the Scythians, as well as of numerous other races across Europe and Central Asia. Partholon, leader of the first group to colonize Ireland after the Deluge, was a descendant of Magog. The Milesians, or people of the 5th invasion of Ireland, were also descendants of Magog.
In the paper DNA Change Rates: Modern Science vs. The Bible (No. 215), we see that: “The history of the Irish is quite clear and well documented. The Milesians did not come into Ireland until ca. 500 BCE, from Spain”. The sea journey from northern Spain would have been relatively straightforward, as it is a recognised fact that the tides will carry boats quite naturally in a few days from the Bay of Biscay directly to Ireland.
The Celts were great seaman and in fact taught the Romans international seamanship. The ships of Tarshish were the greatest commercial navy of the world.
Continuing the quote from the above paper:
The most common clan in Ireland is what is termed clan Oisin, and it is a Gaelic clan, being less common in areas where the Anglo-Norman invasion occurred. In the South-east, where most of their influence was felt, particularly in Leinster, Oisin is some 73%. In Ulster in the North-east it is 81%, while in Munster in the South-west it is 95%, and in Connacht in the West of Ireland it reaches 98% of all males (op. cit., p. 160). In contrast, for the mtDNA, all seven of the major maternal European clans and most of the minor ones were present in Ireland, and they were more or less equally distributed over the four provinces.
The YDNA clan Oisin signature can be found also among the Basques in Spain, and in Galicia and in Orkney. It is termed the Atlantic Modal Haplotype (AMH) and has repeats as follows: 11-24-13-13-12-14-12-12-10-6 on the Oxford sequence.
[The AMH is found on the European coastline from Spain to Belgium.]
It exists in Scotland and in England and indicates Celtic influence right across the Isles. Geoffrey of Monmouth records that the Trojan Celts found the Magogites there and subjugated them when they invaded Britain.
The clan is found in effect where we would expect the Irish to have travelled according to their history. These are the sons of Japheth through Magog, and perhaps also Gomer.
As longstanding residents of the Iberian Peninsula, however, the Basques will be looked at in the paper on Tubal (see Sons of Japheth Part VI: Tubal (No. 46F)), the progenitor of the Iberi tribes.
It has also been recently shown that radiation affects the mtDNA change rates and we have dealt with that in an updated paper DNA Change Rates (No. 215) on the change rates.
Natural radioactivity and human mitochondrial DNA mutations, by Lucy Forster, Peter Forster, Sabine Lutz-Bonengel, Horst Willkomm, and Bernd Brinkmann:
The team tested the effects of natural background radiations and found that radiation effects the mutational change rates of mtDNA. Thus if you were born for example in Kerala in the test area you would suffer rapid mutations in the mtDNA, which would affect the YDNA structure also. Thus the DNA comparisons in these various groups may well vary from one to the other over a much shorter period of time than expected. The team said:
“The observationthat radiation accelerates point mutations at all is unexpected,at first glance, because radiation was, until recently, thoughtto generate primarily DNA lesions (1). A potential explanationis provided by our additional observation that these radiation-associatedpoint mutations are also evolutionary hot spots, indicating thatthe radiation indirectly increases the cell's normal (evolutionary)mutation mechanism (5).”
... As demonstrated, our mtDNAresults strongly support an acceleration of the evolutionary DNAmutation mechanism throughradiation.
Thus the mtDNA of Magogites, like all others, may change the female lineages and, through the effects demonstrated by the Pasteur Institute teams, affect the YDNA structures over areas, and hence Magogite and other DNA mutates much faster than previously thought and can be Western R1b while others can be Slavic R1a. We will examine this elsewhere.
In Ireland, the Norseman or Northmen were known as the Finn-gaill or white strangers. The Danes, by contrast, were called Dubh-gaill or black strangers. The Scandinavians thus provide another possible line of descent from the patriarch Magog:
Another set of descendants of Magog is seen in the Swedish people. Johannes Magnus (1488-1544) stated that Magog's sons were Sven and Gethar (also named Gog), who became the ancestors of the Swedes and the Goths. Queen Christina of Sweden reckoned herself as number 249 in a list of kings going back to Magog (Wikipedia).
Gog and Magog in prophecy
Strong’s definition of Gog (SHD 1463) is rather vague: “Of uncertain derivation; Gog, the name of an Israelite, also of some northern nation”, while Thayer says that the Greek version of Gog (SGD 1136) means mountain, and Magog (3098) means overtopping or covering. Of greater significance, perhaps, the word Caucasian is said to be a corruption of Gog-hasan, meaning Gog’s Fort (Gill’s Commentary of the Old Testament, 1748).
Pliny, in Natural History (I, v, 23), claims that the city of Hierapolis in Syria was known as Magog to the Syrians. More recent Bible scholarship is of the opinion that Gog was Gyges, king of Lydia, and hence Magog refers to the land of Lydia in western Anatolia (now Turkey).
The Wikipedia article on Gog and Magog gives the following information in several key extracts:
The Muslims called the Scythian tribes of “Tartary Yajuj and Majuj” which is Gog and Magog (see Jones 1807 vol 1: 94). … Marco Polo, Venetian traveler to the Orient, in the thirteenth century AD, knew that Mungul or Mongol was part of the peoples of Magog. He further understood “Gog and Magog” to be the names of “Ung and Mungu” in China (see Polo Travels: 87). … Arab writers confirm that in the Arabic language their name for the Great Wall of China is “the wall of Al Magog.” Gog and Magog appear in Qur'an sura Al-Kahf (The Cave), 18:83-98, as Yajuj and Majuj (Ya-juj/Ya-jewj and Ma-juj/Ma-jewj or يأجوج و مأجوج, in Arabic). Some Muslim scholars contend that the Gog in Ezekiel verse 38:2 should be read Yajuj (there is a "Y" immediately before Gog in the Hebrew version). The verses state that Dhul-Qarnayn (the one with two horns) travelled the world in three directions, until he found a tribe threatened by Gog and Magog, who were of an "evil and destructive nature" and "caused great corruption on earth" [Qur’an 18:94]. The people offered tribute in exchange for protection. Dhul-Qarnayn agreed to help them, but refused the tribute; he constructed a great wall that the hostile nations were unable to penetrate. They will be trapped there until doomsday, and their escape will be a sign of the end:
But when Gog and Magog are let loose and they rush headlong down every height (or advantage). Then will the True Promise draw near - (Qur'an 21:96-97).
The Wikipedia entry on Gog and Magog continues with yet another theory of the identity of Gog and Magog:
The 14th century Sunni Muslim scholar Ibn Kathir also identified Gog and Magog with the Khazarswho lived between the Black and Caspian Seas in his work Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah (The Beginning and the End) [Al-Bidayah wa'l-Nihayah and "Stories of the Prophets", p. 54, Riyadh, SA Maktaba Dar-us-Salam, 2003]. A Georgian tradition, echoed in a chronicle, also identifies the Khazars with Gog and Magog, stating they are "wild men with hideous faces and the manners of wild beasts, eaters of blood" [Schultze, p. 23, 1905]. Another author who has identified this connection was the Arab traveller Ibn Fadlan. In his travelogue regarding his diplomatic mission to iltäbär (vassal-king under the Khazars), he noted the beliefs about Gog and Magog being the ancestors of the Khazars [Collection of Geographical Works by Ibn al-Faqih, Ibn Fadlan, Abu Dulaf Al-Khazraji, ed. Fuat Sezgin, Frankfurt am Main, 1987].
Ahmadiyya founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad linked Gog and Magog to the European nations, and his son and second successor, Mirza Basheerud Deen Mahmood further expounds the connection between Europe and the accounts of Gog and Magog in the Bible, the Qur'an, and the hadith in his work Tafseer e Kabeer  and in his commentary on Surah Al-Kahaf (Urdu). According to this interpretation, Gog and Magog were descendents of Noah who populated eastern and western Europe long ago; the Ahmadi cite the folkloric British interpretation of Gog and Magog as giants (see below) as support for their view. …
The Khazars were converted to Judaism ca. 740 CE. They were pushed into the Pale of Settlement by the Mongols ca. 1215. The Sorbians and many Eastern Europeans in the Pale as well as 53% of the Ashkenazi Levites and many other Jews, are R1a Khazars. Yiddish is a Sorbian language with German lexicography.
The YDNA of the Mongols is, however, Cushite C3, and the Chinese are Haplogroup O. They are not Magogites, hence these early writers were wrong. The Siberians to the north were R1b and R1a and some Q and it is these that were kept out by the wall.
Thus many Magogite Khazars are in Israel today.
According to the tradition, the giants Gog and Magog are guardians of the City of London, and images of them have been carried in the Lord Mayor's Show since the days of King Henry V. The Lord Mayor's procession takes place each year on the second Saturday of November.
The latter-day prophecies regarding Gog and Magog are found in Ezekiel 38 and 39.
Ezekiel 38:1-23 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; 4 and I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords; 5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togar'mah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes--many peoples are with you. 7 "Be ready and keep ready, you and all the hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. 8 After many days you will be ustered; in the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land where people were gathered from many nations upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste; its people were brought out from the nations and now dwell securely, all of them. 9 You will advance, coming on like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. 10 "Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11 and say, 'I will go up against the land of unwalled villages; I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates'; 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder; to assail the waste places which are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its villages will say to you, 'Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to seize great spoil?' 14 "Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, you will bestir yourself 15 and come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army; 16 you will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 17 "Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? 18 But on that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused. 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 20 the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. 21 I will summon every kind of terror against Gog, says the Lord GOD; every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples that are with him, torrential rains and hailstone, fire and brimstone. 23 So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD. (RSV)
In respect of Gog in Ezekiel 38:2, Bullinger says: Gog. A symbolical name for the nations north and east of Palestine, or the nations as a whole. … The name is connected with “Og” (Deut. 3.1-13), and “Agag” (Num. 24.7), where the Samaritan Pent. reads “Agog”, and the Sept. reads “Gog”. Here the Arabic reads “Agag” (Companion Bible).
Ezekiel 39:1-29 "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; 2 and I will turn you about and drive you forward, and bring you up from the uttermost parts of the north, and lead you against the mountains of Israel; 3 then I will strike your bow from your left hand, and will make your arrows drop out of your right hand. 4 You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes and the peoples that are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the wild beasts to be devoured. 5 You shall fall in the open field; for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who dwell securely in the coastlands; and they shall know that I am the LORD. 7 "And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let my holy name be profaned any more; and the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. 8 Behold, it is coming and it will be brought about, says the Lord GOD. That is the day of which I have spoken. 9 "Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go forth and make fires of the weapons and burn them, shields and bucklers, bows and arrows, handpikes and spears, and they will make fires of them for seven years; 10 so that they will not need to take wood out of the field or cut down any out of the forests, for they will make their fires of the weapons; they will despoil those who despoiled them, and plunder those who plundered them, says the Lord GOD. 11 "On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers east of the sea; it will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried; it will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog. 12 For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them; and it will redound to their honor on the day that I show my glory, says the Lord GOD. 14 They will set apart men to pass through the land continually and bury those remaining upon the face of the land, so as to cleanse it; at the end of seven months they will make their search. 15 And when these pass through the land and any one sees a man's bone, then he shall set up a sign by it, till the buriers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon-gog. 16 (A city Hamo'nah is there also.) Thus shall they cleanse the land. 17 "As for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD: Speak to the birds of every sort and to all beasts of the field, 'Assemble and come, gather from all sides to the sacrificial feast which I am preparing for you, a great sacrificial fast upon the mountains of Israel, and you shall eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth--of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bulls, all of them fatlings of Bashan. 19 And you shall eat fat till you are filled, and drink blood till you are drunk, at the sacrificial feast which I am preparing for you. 20 And you shall be filled at my table with horses and riders, with mighty men and all kinds of warriors,' says the Lord GOD. 21 "And I will set my glory among the nations; and all the nations shall see my judgment which I have executed, and my hand which I have laid on them. 22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward. 23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from the and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them. 25 "Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for my holy name. 26 They shall forget their shame, and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid, 27 when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies' lands, and through them have vindicated my holiness in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations any more; 29 and I will not hide my face any more from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord GOD." (RSV)
Revelation 20:7-9 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, (RSV).
Regarding the prophecy in Revelation 20:8, Bullinger’s note reads: “Gog and Magog. Here, apparently an inclusive term for all the Gentile nations; East (Gog) and West (Magog). The destruction of Gog and Magog, Ezek. 39, is pre-millennial” (Comp. Bible). We must assume then that the wars are fought both at the beginning and the end of the Millennium. See also the paper War of Hamon-Gog (No. 294).
The use of Gog in the Last Days refers to the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal – which are in the Russian steppe area – and so we are using this term in the Last Days as a composite term for the system opposed to God, and not one of Magog.