Scythian coin of King Atai, as a horse-archer


Atails (Ateus, Ατεας, Ateas, Atei, Atheas) - Scythian king, who at the turn of the 4th-5th cc. BC created a strong Scythian kingdom in the lower Bug/Buh and lower Danube area. In 339, at age 90, he was killed in a battle with Philip of Macedon. The legend is ΑΤΑΙΛΣ, probably meaning ATA (Turkic: "Father") + IL (Turkic: "Land, Country, Nation") + S (Greek affix "Σ"). TurkicWorld



Referenced on p.39, Scythians 700-300 B.C. by E.V.Cernenko, A.McBride, M.V.Gorelik
Scythian coin bearing the name and likeness of King Atai—variously, ‘Ateas’ or ‘Atheas’ in the Greek form—who died in battle against the Macedonians at the age of 90. It is characteristic that he should be shown on horseback, bow in hand. The Scythians attached enormous importance to the horse herds upon which their culture was founded. It is believed that there were three main types of horse. The largest, with a height to the withers of about 144 to 150cm (14¼ to 14¾ hands) was relatively scarce, and is mainly represented in very rich burials; it can be compared to an Arab thoroughbred, and was apparently used as a battle charger by the nobility. The most frequent type was smaller, about 140cm (13¾hh) to the withers; this was an all-purpose breed for battle, work, and draught, and was rather smaller and lighter than our present-day saddle horse. The smallest, about 130cm (12¾hh) to the withers, was bred largely for its meat—a favourite Scythian dish. Pictorial sources suggest that the Scythians preferred to ride stallions. Mummified horses found at Pazyryk, and some cases of well-preserved horse burials on the European steppes, suggest that the preferred colour was ‘red’, and it seems that horses with white markings were bred out.



Scythian, Saka and Sarmatian Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers









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