Scythians first make their mark in the Assyrian annals around 770 B.C.
sweeping off the steppes into the middle-east. Saka appears to have
been the ancient Persian name for the eastern tribes of the same people.
The Parthians who conquered Persia in the second century B.C were a
further off-shoot of these Saka. Scythians had a nomadic pastoral
culture centred upon the Eurasian Steppes, lording it over subject
Scythians were probably responsible for the introduction of cavalry to
the middle-east and were certainly the first culture to use horse
archers as their main arm. The composite bow was their principle weapon
and it was usually carried in a combined bow and quiver case called a ‘Gorytos’.
From the descriptions of their foes, grave goods finds and surviving
examples of artwork a picture emerges of an army of mounted archers
backed by heavily armed noble cavalry. Infantry were often absent and
clearly a secondary force usually supplied by subject agricultural
tribes or mercenaries
Scythians were highly successful for almost six centuries campaigning as
far west as Thrace were they were only stopped by Phillip II of Macedon
father of Alexander the Great. In the East they penetrated into India
where they formed the Indo-Saka Kingdoms. Over this period they fought
Assyrians, Achaemenid Persians, Macedonians and their Bactrian
Successors before they were eventually subsumed by other nomadic tribes
such as the Sarmatians and Parthians during the third and second
graves have been found of Scythian women fully equipped for war
indicating that they sometimes fought alongside the men; which is
probably the origin of the Greek tales of Amazon warriors! Scythian
men did not cut there hair and often scalped their fallen
enemies—however, we do not recommend the latter practice on the war
army depends on the close co-operation of the horse archers and nobles,
the former to weaken and wear down the enemy with missile fire and
skirmishing whilst the latter delivers the final blow. Although the
light cavalry can fight in melee they are few in number and the horse
archers should avoid contact unless the enemy are very vulnerable. The
feigned retreat option for the general provides an extra opportunity to
lure the enemy out to their deaths.
subject infantry were very much the subordinate arm and are best placed
well out of harms way! The other infantry are to few in numbers to be
decisive but can be used to contest difficult terrain where others may
take shelter from the power of your bows.