EARLY SARMATIAN HORSE ARCHER

An extract from Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars
by Duncan Head, illustrated by Ian Heath


82.      EARLY SARMATIAN HORSE ARCHER

This figure is from a gold openwork plaque from Czar Peter the Greatís Siberian collection, probably eastern Sarmatian work of the 3rd-2nd centuries BC. Sarmatians are almost always shown beardless, but occasionally with moustaches. He has a Scythian-style decorated coat and tighter trousers than usual. Clothing materials and decoration were probably similar to Scythians, but where gold plaques were used they were not the rectangular figured Scythian types but small crescents, rosettes, and other geometric shapes. The western Sarmatians also adopted cloaks from the Greeks. Main weapon is a Scythian-style composite bow, with an unusual combined bowcase-quiver; the Scythian gorytos was also used. Arrowheads were small, usually three-edged and barbed, of bone, bronze or iron. Swords were worn on the right and varied from short akinakes types slightly longer than Scythian models to long slashing blades up to 4 feet/1.2m in length. They could be highly decorated with gold, at this period often with polychrome and jewelled inlay.



Next: 83. RHOXOLANI CAVALRYMAN in Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars by Duncan Head and Ian Heath




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