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Valentyn Stetsyuk (Lviv, Ukraine)

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Cimmerians in Eastern European History


The Iranian identity of the Cimmerians is in no doubt. The historically attested names of the Cimmerian leaders are unambiguously considered Iranian, but they have no reliable interpretation. Meanwhile, the Kabardian language provides such an opportunity: teushcheben "crush" (Teushpa), lIygъe "courage, bravery" and dame "wing, wings" (Ligdamis). An authoritative expert on the history of Cimmerians, Askold Ivanchik, regards the Cimmerians as a mysterious people since not everything is clear enough with it (IVANCHIK A.I. 2005). Obviously, the issue will become clear if a reason can be found for connecting the Cimmerians with any of the modern Iranian (or non-Iranian) peoples.

Preliminary studies have shown that the appearance of the Cimmerians in Asia Minor is not associated with the process of migration of Iranians from Europe to Asia. The first Iranian tribes appeared in Iran in the 11th – 10th centuries. BC, i.e. long before the invasion of the Cimmerians, therefore the topic of the migration of Iranian tribes is considered separately.


At left: Cimmerians
Painting on an Etruscan vase of the 6th century BC. Copy from an older Greek vase painting.


There is an opinion that the Cimmerians came to the Black Sea region from Central Asia or, more generally, “from the depths of Eurasia,” but this opinion is vigorously disputed, therefore it makes no sense to dwell on this topic, given that the ancestral home of the Iranians was in Europe and for migration to Central Asia, and then back the Cimmerians simply would not have time. In historically reliable times, the Cimmerians inhabited the Black Sea region and left traces of their stay in the steppes of Ukraine and the North Caucasus in archaeological sites that are combined into one Cimmerian culture. It is logical to assume that it should continue the tradition of the Zrubna culture, which we identified as an Iranian (STETSYUK VALENTYN. 1998: 82-83) and this tradition is seen by Ukrainian archaeologists in the funeral rite of the Cimmerians:


The late Cimmerian culture developed in the tradition of the Zrubna culture… which can be traced to the funeral ceremony (Arkheologiya Ukrainskoy SSR., 1986: 23)


The appearance of the Cimmerians in Asia, according to cuneiform sources, related to the end of the 8th century BC, and the Scythians are known in Iran as "not earlier than 670", which contradicts Herodotus' statement about persecuting the Cimmerians by the Scythians. In general, the sources report mainly on the Cimmerians, and the Scythians have been mentioned for several years, and then only by their actions in Iran. (MEDVEDSKAYA I.N. 2000)

According to Assyrian sources, in the late 8th B.C., the king of Urartu Rus declared “I was defeated in battle by the army of the Gimirrai people which were attested by historians to be the Cimmerians (MASON RICHARD, Ed., 2004: 13-15). In 679/678 the Cimmerians were defeated by the Assyrians, their leader Teushpa was killed in that battle but nevertheless, later they attacked Phrygia, Lydia, and Cilicia, under the leadership of their new leader, Ligdamis:


… Akkadian sources allow us to establish that in 644 B.C., the Cimmerians’ most successful raid was on Lydia, in which King Gig was killed. Apparently, this raid affected not only Lydia, but also Ionia, and that is what Greek sources meant when they report the same raid by the Cimmerians. The same Akkadian sources describe the death of Ligdamis/Dugdamme dating it to 641 BC, i.e., three years later (IVANCHIK A.I. 2005: 123).


Until now, the question of the cases of the joining of the Cimmerians with the Thracians for conquest campaigns to Asia Minor from the Balkans is controversial. Information about such a campaign "from the Bosphorus to Ionia" is available from Strabo, but for some reason, he attributes this event to the time of Homer or a little earlier (STRABO. 1964, I, 1-10). Certain prerequisites for the assumption of the possibility of a military alliance between the Thracians and the Cimmerians are given by uncertain evidence of the presence of the Cimmerians in Hungary, probably inspired by the same message from Strabo:


The presence In Hungary of some horse people, identified with the Cimmerians, is established on the basis of finds of bronze objects of harness and iron bridles, bronze boilers, weapons (swords and daggers). (SHUSHARIN V.P. 1971: 23).


The role of the Cimmerians in the foundation of the Lithuanian state is confirmed by the names of its first princes, which are quite satisfactorily deciphered using the Kurdish language:

The doubt about the Cimmerian affiliation of the finds is caused by the obvious penetration of Cimmerian products into the territory of Hungary by trade routes since the Thracian culture was still dominant here. In the best case we can assume a special Thracian-Cimmerian period from 750 to 550 years (Ibid, 24). In addition, the possibility of joint action by the Thracians and Cimmerians in Asia Minor is completely excluded after studying the Middle Eastern sources. A. Ivanchik found in them only information about the rivalry between the Thracians and the Cimmerians in the struggle for possession of Bithynia, which ended in the complete expulsion of the latter (IVANCHIK A.I. 2005, 131-132).

The assumptions made are supported by toponymy, which indicates that a large part of the Cimmerians penetrated into Asia Minor precisely through the Balkans. When searching for toponyms of Iranian origin, it was found that their large accumulation is located in Right-Bank Ukraine in Podolia and they are deciphered for the most part using the Kurdish language (see Iranic Place Names). Here the Kurds dwelled in close proximity to the Turkic tribe of the ancient Bulgars (the ancestors of the modern Chuvash), as well as the Anglo-Saxons, whose ancestral home was defined in the area between the Pripyat, Teterev, and Sluch rivers


At left: Map of the Kurdish habitat in Podolia

Kurdish place names are indicated by dots in black, Bulgarish – in red, and Anglo-Saxon – in purple. The movement of the Kurds is indicated by arrows.


The proximity of the Kurds to the Bulgars is explained by the fact that moving to the west, a part of the Bulgars stayed in Western Ukraine(see the section Türks as Carriers of the Corded Ware Cultures). When considering this topic, it was found that in the Chuvash language there are quite a few words that can be found in the Iranian languages or even in several of them at once.

But the Chuvash-Kurdish lexical parallels are the most numerous. Table 1 shows some of them sometimes with matches in other Iranian languages:


Table 1. Chuvash-Kurdish lexical parallels


Kurdish and other Iranian Chuvash
bet “a bustard” větel “woodkock”
kere “butter”, Gil kəre “butter” kěrě "fat"
kerdî “furrow” kěrche “wrinkled”
qarîk “a raven”, qarîtk “a partridge” karăk “a wood grouse”
qure “proud” küren “to be offended”
nar “fire”, Pers nar “fire” nar “blush”
pek “suitable” pek “like, similar”
sap “a ladle” sapa "basket"
saman “riches" semen “riches”
stûr “thick”, and other Ir. satur “strong”
soma “pupil of eye” săna “to observe”
sor “red”, Pers sorx “red” sără “paint”
sehre “sorcery, witchcraft” seхre "fear";
semer “darkness” sěm “darkness”
çal “a pit”, Pers čal “a pit” çăl “a well, source”
çîrt “pus” çěrt “to let rot”
çîban “a pimple” çăpan “a furuncle”
çêl “a cow” çile “udder”
tar “a pole” tar “a poplar”
taw “a downpour” tăvăl “a storm”
tobe “an oath” tupa “an oath”
toraq “cheese” turăx “fermented baked milk”
xumar “morose”, xumari “darkness” xămăr “brown”


When studying the Scythian problems, the Sarmatian onomasticon was used, based on Petrov’s data (PETROV V.P. 1968: 118-143) and in the process of this work, about four dozen names were found corresponding in varying degrees to words of the modern Kurdish language and more than twenty have correspondences only in Kurdish (Αβαβοσ , Αρδαρισκος , Αρδοναγαρος, Βαιορασπος , Βιστησ, Βουλαστησ, Διζαρον , Μαμμαροσ , Ολθακοσ, Σαυανων , Ροιμηταλκασ , Χοαροφαδιος, Χοδαινος, Χοφρασμοσ a.o.). Together with toponymy, these data allowed us to make an assumption that some parts of the Scythian population spoke the dialect of the Proto-Kurdic language that was already noted in other works published earlier (STETSYUK V.M., 1999: 89-93; STETSYUK VALENTYN, 2000: 23-28).

The presence of the ancient Kurds on the Dnieper right bank immediately raises the question of how they got there. According to the general movement of the Iranian tribes from their initial settlements between the Dnieper and the Don eastward and southeastward, it can be assumed that the ancestors of the Kurds came to the Azov steppes, and from there crossed the Dnieper and later moved northwestward, displacing more ancient settlers – the Thracians to the south-west and the Bulgar to the west. The band of Kurdish settlements from the town of Gaysin and further along the Dniester River on the west may mark the path, but the presence of names of Kurdish origin in Chernihiv, Kyiv, and Zhytomyr Regions gives the warrant to consider an option when the ancestors of the Kurds from their Urheimat went – downstream of the river Desna to the Dnieper River, crossed it and moved westward. This migration could last a long time, and some of the inhabitants of new sites were retained, whilst others went away. They could keep the names of villages and rivers for a long time.

The name of the city of Zhmerynka in the Vinnytsia Region, where a large number of Kurdish place names have been preserved, according to some experts, could have come from the ethnonym Κιμμεριοι "Cimmerians" (VASMER MAX 1967, 58). It was in those places along the middle reaches of the Dniester, where the accumulation of Kurdish toponyms is observed, twice, in 1878 and 1897, treasures of gold objects were found in the village of Mikhalkiv, Ternopil Region, on the right bank of the Nichlava River. Treasures are dated back to the 6th cent. BC, that is they are two centuries older than the finds from the famous Scythian barrows Kul Oba and Chertomlyk. The treasures with a total weight of more than seven kilograms include a diadem, a hryvnia, five bracelets, 12 brooches, seven badges, a pyramid pendant, four bowls, and other items [PETROVS'KIY OLEKSANDR., 1993: 8].

At one time, Polish professor Tadeusz Joseph Sulimirski identified the Western Podilsky local group among sites of the Early Scythian time (see the map below).



Sites of Western Podolian Group of Early Scythian Time

The map is composed on the data of Galina I. Smirnova (SMIRNOVA GALINA IVANOVNA, 2004: 411, Fig.1)
The red line drows around the aglomeration of place names os Kurdish origin in Podolia.
These sites are marked by numbers: 1. Bratyshiv. 2. Beremiany. 3. Horodnytsia. 4. Lysychnyky. 5. Rakiv Kut. 6. Novisilka of Hrymayliv. 7. Sukhostav. 8. Myshkivtsi. 9. Nyvra. 10. Shydlivtsi. 11. Zalissia. 12. Ladychyn. 13. Bilche Zolote. 14. Sapohiv. 15. Ivane Puste. 16. Zozulyntsi. 17. Perebykivtsi. 18. Vikno. 19. Novosilka (near Chernivtsi). 20. Ivakhnivtsi. 21. Zavadyntsi. 22. Servatyntsi. 23. Skipche. 24. Shutkivtsi. 25. Tarasivka. 26. Verkhni Panivtsi. 27. Vrublevtsi. 28. Verkhniy Olchedaiv. 29. Loyivtsi. 30. Dolyniany (kurgans). 31. Dolyniany (settlement). 32. Kruhlyk. 33. Oselivka. 34. Lenkavtsi. 35. Ivanivtsi. 36. Selyshche. 37. Neporotiv. 38. Bilousivka.


The partial coincidence of the territories of distribution of the sites of the Western Podolsk group and Kurdish place names suggests that these sites were left by the Kurds, if we take into account the specific features that distinguish them from other sites of the early Scythian time:


… the use of stone with the tree in the construction of the burial chambers; the complete absence of horses in the graves of graves accompanying the dead; gray-clay circular ceramics, which existed only in this area of the Scythian forest-steppe; the use of certain types of jewelry, unknown or little known in other regions … (SMIRNOVA GALINA IVANOVNA, 2004: 419)


Podolia is adjacent to the ranges of the Germans, therefore, some communication between the Germanic and Kurdish tribes were supposed to be. They may include political relations what explains the Greek name of the Cimmerians as the Cimbri. The language contact between the Kurds and Germanic peoples can be confirmed by lexical matches between the Kurdish and Germanic languages. F. Holthausen results some of them in the Old-English Etymological Dictionary (HOLTHAUSEN F. 1974.), for example: Old English wic, LowGer wike, Eng. witch-elm „a mountain maple ” – Kurd. viz, but they are only random finds. Looking purposeful one can find a lot of interesting matches. For example, OE scielf “top of a rock, an edge”, Eng. shelf, OIcl. skjolf "eminence" well correspond to Kurd. şilf "an edge". Ukr. ščovb "rock" is referred to the German words (VASMER M., 1973: 510.) but Germ. Schilf "reed" is disregarded for an unknown reason. This word should be too attributed here for leaves of reed are similar to the edge of a blade. F. Holthausen does not find an explanation for the Old English name of the chamomile ferðing-wyrt. The Kurdish words pûrt "hair" and wurd "to clean" can suit for its explanation perfect. The flowers of the chamomile are used for washing heads long since. The common Germanic word west good corresponds to Kurd. weşt "south". Insignificant differences in phonetics and semantics say that the Kurdish word is not borrowed from the Germanic languages in the late times. Some more English-Kurdish matches are such: OE āđ “oath” – Kurd.ād “oath”, OE bile "a beak" – Kurd. bel "sticking out", Eng. chuck "to throw" – the Kurd. çek "throw", OE gamen, Eng. game – Kurd. geme "a game", OE maffa «a film of egg» – Kurd. mef "a tent", OE reo, reowe «a coverlet, a coat» – Kurd. rav "cloud", Eng. time – Kurd. timê "always" etc. In the etymological dictionary of the Kurdish language, these cases are passed over in silence or are explained by borrowings from Arabic (TSABOLOV R.L. 2001, 2010).


Germanic tribes mostly left Ukraine for Central Europe at the beginning of the first millennium BC. Obviously, most of the Kurds left after them:


Probably yet to the middle of the 5th cent BC agricultural population of Podolia was forced to leave their country for reasons that remain unknown. There is also no information on where they were moved (ARTAMONOV M.I., 1974: 112).


Obviously, this happened a little earlier, when the Bulgars began migrating to the steppes of Ukraine and soon became known in the ancient world as the Scythians (STETSYUK V.M. 1999, STETSYUK VALENTYN. 2000, 18-32). In the process of this migration, the Scythians had to pass through the territory of the Kurds. This could not but cause a conflict between the Bulgars and the Kurds, and it was captured by Herodotus in his history as a tense relationship between the Scythians and the Cimmerians. He told a story of the battle between the two teams of the Cimmerians which arose because of the disagreement of opinions before the threat of the Scythian invasion. At the council meeting, the common people in their mass considered leaving their homeland and giving the land to the Scythians without a fight. The kings insisted on the battle, not wanting to save themselves together with the people. From the words of Herodotus, it is not clear which decision was made at the council, but further events developed as follows:


Having resolved upon this, they parted into two bodies, and making their numbers equal they fought with one another: and when these had all been killed by one another's hands, then the people of the Cimmerians buried them by the bank of the river Tyras (where their burial-place is still to be seen), and having buried them, then they made their way out from the land, and the Scythians when they came upon it found the land deserted of its inhabitants. (HERODOTUS, IV: 11).


Of course, in the story of Herodotus, there may be certain inaccuracies, and the very details of the relationship between the Cimmerians and the Scythians might not have been known to his informants, they only reported to him about them as a fact. Obviously, two different groups of Cimmerians migrated in opposite directions. The assumption about the migration of a part of the Cimmerian-Kurds in the western direction is confirmed by the words of Iranian origin in Polish and Czech (see the section "To the Question of Slavic-Iranian Language Connections") and toponymy. The same is evidenced by the epigraphic data of the Northern Black Sea region, therefore one of the peoples mentioned by ancient historians, in particular, by Herodotus, can be associated with the Kurds. Apparently, such a people could be the Alizons (Alazons), whom Herodotus placed somewhat south of the Scythian plowmen in the area where the Dniester (Tiras) and the Southern Bug (Hypanius) are not very far from each other (HERODOTUS, IV, 52). It is in this place that the largest accumulation of Kurdish place names is located (see the map above, where both rivers are highlighted in blue).

Over time, the Alazon-Kurds advanced to the shores of the Black Sea, as evidenced by some toponymy. The most convincing evidence is the name of the city of Genichesk on the shore of the Sivash, which is also called the Rotten Sea because of the unpleasant smell of water. It is this peculiarity that is reflected in the name of the city – Kurd. genî "stinky", "rotten" and çês ("taste") in the stem of the verb çêştin "to taste". It is possible that the name Sivash also is of Kurdish origin as the name of various salts concentrated in its water – Kurd sîwax "lime", "white, ceruse". Other Kurdish place names might be:

Oleshki, a town in Kherson Region – Kurd. ol “religion”, eşk “look, image”.

Tilihul (Tiligul) Estuary – Kurd. tilî “finger”, gol “lake”. The last word is borrowed from the Bulgar language (Chuv. külĕ “lake”). The motivation for the name is explained by the shape of the estuary, stretched out like a finger.

Khorly, a village in Skadovsk district of Kherson Region – Kurd xor “sun”, ol “religion”, maybe, xorly is the Kurdish ezafe.

It is possible that the name of the Greek colony of Olbia also has a Kurdish origin, because gr. ὄλβιος "happy", from which it supposedly comes, has no etymology. The Alazon-Kurds could be present among the inhabitants of Olbia, as well as Adygs, as is evidenced by the epigraphy. The Greeks could call the entire non-Greek population not only near Olbia but also the entire Northern Black Sea region by one name. And that name was Cimmerians. A similar name for the Cimbri had that part of the Kurds that went to the west (see the section Cimbri). The ethnonym Cimmerians (Gr. Κιμμέριοι, Akkad. gimirrai) could come from Kurd. gimîn, gimi-gim „thunder" and mêr „man". The name Cimbri is derived from it.

Simultaneously with the movement to Central Europe, the Kurds crossed over to the other side of the Carpathians and entered the territory of modern Hungary. Toponymy gives reason to say that their further path lay through Hungary to the Balkans. Here are just a few of the many place names:


Dévaványa, a town Békés county – Kurd. dêw "daeva, evil spirit", wanî "similar".

Kecel, a town in Bács-Kiskun county – Kurd. keçel "bald".

Felgyö, a village in Csongrád county – Kurd. felg "curl".

Senta, a town in the North Banat District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia – Kurd. semt 1. "side", 2. "land, district".


Right: Kurdish toponymy in Hungary and the Balkans


Temerin, a town in the South Bačka District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina in Serbia– Kurd. temirin 1. "go out, extinguish", 2. "put out".

Pančevo, a city in the autonomous province of Vojvodina – Kurd. penc 1. "hand", 2. "bunch of fives".

Čačak, a city in central Serbia – Kurd. çê "best", çak "good".

Niš, a city in Serbia – Kurd. niș "thick, sediment", av "water".

Mezdra, a town in northwestern Bulgaria – Kurd. mezre "sowing, field".

Hisarya, a town in Plovdiv Province, Bulgaria – Kurd. xisar "lesion, loss".

Haskovo, a city in the region of Northern Thrace, Bulgaria – Kurd. hesk "scoop".

Vize, a town in the Marmara Region of Turkey. – Kurd. wezî "location, establishment".

Thus, there is reason to assert that some part of the Cimmerians moved from Hungary to the Balkans, but did not stay there for a long time, because there are no noticeable Cimmerian traces on the territory of Bulgaria (MELUKOVA A.I., 1979: 6).

At present, the prevailing opinion is that the Cimmerians moved to Southwest Asia mainly through the Derbent Pass and the Belorechensky Pass (see map below). The path through the Derbent Pass could have been used by the ancestors of the modern Talysh and Gilanians, as well as the ancestors of the closely related to them Baluchis and Mazanderans. Balochis now live in Pakistan, but it is known that they came here from the southern coast of the Caspian Sea (FROLOVA V.A. 1960: 68, ORANSKIY I.M. 1979, 89), that is, earlier (in the 5-6th centuries AD), their settlements were not far from the settlements of the Gilyans and Talysh (Mazanderans still live in these places). The migration route of the Baluchis from north to south is marked by a chain of enclaves of the Baloch language (see Map of the distribution of modern Iranian languages). The map below shows that the Scythians moved through the Derbent Pass, but earlier that the Iranian tribes, who settled on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, went by the same road.


Left: North Pontic region and Southwest Asia in the era of the Cimmerian and Scythian migrations (VII-VI cen. BC) (The map from MASON RICHARD, 2004, 27).


The flow of Cimmerians to Asia Minor through the Belorechensky Pass and further along the Black Sea went through the habitat of the Adyghe tribes, so it can be assumed that this was the second ethnic group of Cimmerians. The decrypted names of Teushpa and Ligdamis confirm this assumption.

In addition, an impressive number of names clearly deciphered by using the Kabardian language (Αβροαγος, Αργουαναγος, Γαγγαιος, Ιαζαδαγος, Ιναρμαζος, Καφαναγος, Κουκοδων, Ναυαγοσ, Ουαμψαλαγοσ, Οχωζιακοσ, Ρηχουναγοσ, Χοζανια) was found in the representative sample of Sarmatian onomasticon. The names of some tribes of the Northern Black Sea region (Zacatae, Ζuardani) also may have the Adyghe origin.

The Kurds traveling from Western Ukraine through Hungary and the Balkans constituted the third stream of Cimmerians. At the beginning of VII BC, having crossed the Bosphorus, the Cimmerian Kurds, together with the Thracians who joined them, moved along the Mediterranean coast, deep into a country called Maeonia. Along the way of their movement, they founded settlements, the names of which have survived to our time:

Sakarya, a province in Turkey – Kurd. sakar "basket";

Derbent, a neighborhood in the Iznik district of Bursa Province, a township in the Turgutlu district of Manisa Province, a village in the Buldan district of Denizli Province in Turkey – Kurd. der "gorge, canyon", bend 1. "thread", "band", 2. "hedge, dam";

Manyas,a town in the Marmara Region of Balıkesir Province, Turkey – Kurd. manaş "hindering, reluctant";

Soma, a town of the Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Turkey – Kued. soma "pupil, apple of the eye";

Sart, a village on the site of the ancient city of Sardis in the Manisa Province – Kurd. sard "cold, chilly";

Kaş, a small town of Antalya Province of Turkey – Kurd. kaş "mountain road".

The invasion of foreigners caused the consolidation of local tribes under the leadership of one of the leaders named Giges (Guggu). With the help of the Assyrians, he organized military operations against the newcomers and expelled their warlike part, while the peaceful Cimmerians were to remain in place and eventually merge with the local population. Leaving Maeonia behind and calling it in their own way Lydia (cf. Kurd. lidû "behind"), the exiles, moving further in search of a place for settlement, met certain difficulties on their way, as evidenced by the following names of settlements in southern Turkey:

Hadim, a town in the Akdeniz district of Konya Province – Kurd. hadimîn "to brak, wrack", "perish";

Tekeli, a town in Mersin Province – Kurd. tekil "mix, blend";

Leaving their garrisons in these towns, the Cimmerians reached the country on the Mediterranean coast, surrounded by the mountains of the Central Taurus (see the map below)


The Movement of the Cimmerian Kurds in Asia Minor


The name of the country and mountains are confirmed by their Kurdish origin:

Cilicia, a geo-cultural region in southern Turkey – Kurd. kēlak "side, bank";

Taurus Mountains in southern Turkey – Kurd. tawer "rock".

In Cilicia, the Cimmerians stayed for a long time. Surrounded on all sides by mountains from external enemies, Cilicia was a convenient place for settlement. Such geographical names of this country still preserve traces of the Cimmerians staying here:

Tarsus, a historic city in south-central Turkey – Kurd. ters "crooked, oblique", "rough, sharp";

Adana, the administrative seat of the Adana Province – Kurd. adan "profitable, productive";

Mezretli, a neighborhood of the town of Kadirli the Osmaniye Province – Kurd. mezre "sowing, field, cornfield";

Peyas – Kurd. peya "on foot", possibly "at the foot" (of mountain), taking the meaning of Kurd. "foot".

There is no doubt that before the arrival of the Cimmerians, Cilicia was inhabited by people of Semitic origin, and their language (Akkadian) had a certain influence on Kurdish. However, the territory of this country was too small to provide a dignified existence for the growing population. Therefore, part of the Cimmerian Kurds moved further east, periodically waging hostilities with the Urarts, Assyrians, and Medes.


In accordance with historical evidence, the Scythians invade Western Asia 50-60 years after the Cimmerians appeared here. Obviously, this means the Cimmerians came from the North Caucasus. Unlike the Kurds, who slowly and peacefully advanced from the west, the North Caucasian Cimmerians and Scythians used cavalry to move, which was a novelty in Asia Minor and had the effect of a sudden invasion. Having passed through Derbent, the Scythians settled in Azerbaijan and founded their kingdom here in the interfluve of the Kura and Araks rivers, that is, somewhere near the lake Sevan. And only then did they first encounter the Cimmerians, and the Cimmerians conceded to the Scythians. There is evidence that the Scythians even reached Iran. Near-Asian sources recall the Scythian kingdom back in the late 90s of the 6th cent. BC, after which there is no longer any data about them in history.



Northern Black Sea Region and Asia Minor in the VII-VI cen BC (The map from MASON RICHARD, 2004, 21).


It is believed that after the defeat of Lydia in the war with Media and Novo-Babylonia, the Cimmerians and Scythians who supported Lydia, under the terms of a peace agreement, “should have gone where they came from, i.e. to the Northern Black Sea Region” (ARTAMONOV M.I. 1974: 34). Obviously, the Cimmerians supported Lydia because it was partially inhabited by their fellow tribesmen. The above-mentioned Cimmerian raid on Lydia was made by the North Caucasian tribes. One way or another, part of the Cimmerian Kurds moved along the eastern coast of the Black Sea and reached the Taman Peninsula. Their further fate M.I. Artamonov, based on the archeology of the Kuban burial mounds of the Scythian time, defines as follows:


Settling in Maeotian country, the Cimmerians due to their higher culture and organization took a leading position in the Kuban region, but remaining in the minority, they were unable to preserve their ethnic identity and eventually merged with the native population. It is possible that the direct descendants of the Cimmerians were the Sindi people representing the most progressive part of the population of the Lower Kuban – the Taman Peninsula and the adjacent part of the Black Sea coast (ARTAMONOV M.I., 1974: 62).


The fact that the Cimmerians could really populate the Kuban area, says the fixed ethnonym Δανδαριοι (the name of a people at Low Kuban and the Maeotia). As the lower part of the Kuban region lies between the Azov and Black Seas, Kurd. derya/darya "sea" and dan "inside", i.e., "surrounded by the sea" suits perfect for explaining the name of this people. True, the etymological dictionary of the Kurdish language states that the word daryā is borrowed from Persian, but the dictionaries also note the original Kurdiah word zaryā (TSABOLOV R.L. 2001. Volume 1, 279; 2010. Volume 2, 512), the original form of which could be the typically Iranian darya. This assumption is supported by the accumulation of place names on the Taman Peninsula, which can be decrypted using the Kurdish language:

Gelenjik, a resort town in Krasnodar Krai – gel “group, crowd, people” -in – adjective suffix; сîga "place, locality, dwelling”.

Gostagayevskaya, a stanitsa (village) in the municipality of Anapa, Krasnodar Krai – Kurd. hosta "nap, slumber", heyîn "to be, being".

Jemete, a town in the Anapsky district of the Krasnodar Kray – Kurd. jêmêtin "suck out".

Jiginka, a village in the municipality of Anapa, Krasnodar Krai on the bank of the Jiga channel – Kurd. cihê "separate".

Taman', a rural locality (a stanitsa) in Temryuksky District of Krasnodar Krai, – Kurd. tam "house", anî "face, front".

Phanagoria, the "Asian" capital of the Bosporus kingdom on the Taman Peninsula – Kurd fena "vanished, missing", gor "grave, tomb", gorî "victim".

The Bosporan kingdom (V century BC – VI century AD) was located on the Taman and Kerch peninsulas. The second big city on the peninsula was Hermonassa and this name may also be of Kurdish origin (Kurd. hermê "respect, honor", nasî "knowledge" Kurds were also present on the Kerch Peninsula, as evidenced by the names of the cities Kimmerikon (Κιμμερικόν) and Tiritaka (Τυριτάκη) from the Kurdish ture “angry” , teke “goat-leader.” Several rulers of the kingdom bore the name Mithridates, which is well deciphered using the Kurdish language: Kurd. midîrî “bosses” , dad “law”, “justice". Since many rulers in Asia Minor had such a name, it could not be a name, but a royal title the meaning of "lawful ruler". Actually, only the second part of the names have different origins, for example, the name Ktist is clearly Greek, while Yevpator can be deciphered with the help of Turkic languages: Old Turkic, Kr. ev "house", "family", Chuv pattăr, Kr.-Tat, Cus., Balk., Kaz., Nog., etc. batır "hero", tour. batır "hero". The names of some cities of the Bosporan kingdom can be deciphered using the Baltic languages ​​(Pantikapei, Patrei, Anapa, etc.). Obviously, the kingdom was multinational.

The Zygii (Greek: Ζυγοί, Kurd. zîx “brave, “kind”, strong”) prevailed among the local population. The presence of Kurds in the kingdom can be indicated by the interpretation of the name of the Rosomoni tribe, mentioned in the Getika Jordan, using the Kurdish language. He characterizes this tribe as "treacherous" and all existing etymologies of its name are debatable based on dubious assumptions. Attracting Kurd. rusa bûn, rusa kirin “to disgrace” and monî “weakness, frailty” allow us to explain the name as “shameful weaklings”. It could have been given to the tribe already after the king of the Goths Ermanaric was seriously wounded by two Rosomones, because of that, he could not organize resistance to the invasion of the Huns. The reason for the subsequent collapse of the kingdom could be attributed by contemporaries to the treacherous Rosomones, and the etymology of their name may indicate a certain role of the Cimmerians in the Northern Black Sea region.

It is unknown who the mentioned Sindi were, but according to toponymy data, ancient Balts could have had their settlements here (cf. Anapa – Lith. anapus "on that side, on the other side"; Panticapaeum – Lith. pentis "heel (foot)", kāpas "tomb" ao.)The presence of the Balts in the Northern Black Sea and Azov regions is confirmed by anthroponymics. The proper names of people, deciphered with the help of the Baltic languages, can be found in the dark places of the creations of ancient historians and epigraphs left by participants or witnesses of real events:


Αρτινοιη (artinoie:) – Lith. artinti „to approach”.

Βαλωδισ (balo:dis) – Let. baluodis, Lith. balandis “a pigeon”.

Κυρηακοσ (Kyreakos), the name is found repeatedly in the Northern Black Sea Coast (VINOGTADOV ANDREY. 2015. Cherson. Epitaph of Kyriakos,.. IV–Vth centuries C.E.) – Lith. kūrėjas "creator".

Παταικοσ (Pataikos), name, identity not established, Gorgippia) – Lith. pataikus "obsequious".

Σαυαγεσ (Sauages), the names of three persons on the sites of the Taman Peninsula and Panticapaeum (VINOGTADOV ANDREY. 2015. Taman peninsula, Azov sea shore) – Lith. sauga "protection", suaugęs "adult".


The topic of migrations of the Baltic tribes is considered separately, but here we only point out that the Balts of the Kuban region did not lose touch with their ancestral home and the path laid by them here from the Baltic could be used by other peoples. The experience of previous studies has shown that peoples leave their traces in toponymy along the migration routes. In search of a probable path for the movement of the Balts, along with place names of Baltic origin, four kilometers from the village of Murygino, Pochinkovsky district of Smolensk Russia, a previously existing village Kimborovo, the birthplace of the Russian Imperial geographer Przhevalsky N.M., was discovered. The name of the village corresponds to the self-name of the then Kurds, as mentioned above. In addition, in the Tver region, there is a city Kimry. A careful study of the immediate area showed that in the border areas between Ukraine and Russia there is a whole cluster of Kurdish place names:

Balakliia, a city in Izium district, the Kharkiv Region of Ukraine. – Kurd. belek "white", leyî "stream".

Berdin, a hamlet in the Bolshesoldatsky district of the Kursk Region, Russia – Kurd. berd "stone".

Buklyata, a village in Zolotukhinsky district of the Kursk Region – Kurd. bûk "bride", lat "poor".

Ziborovka, a village in Shebekinsky district, the Belgorod Region, Russia– Kurd. zibr "rough, harsh".

Zolochiv, an urban-type settlement in Bohodukhiv Raion, Kharkiv Region, Ukraine – Kurd. zarū "leech" (Pers. zalū "worm"), cew "river".

Taverivka, villages in Chutove district of Poltava Region and a settlement in Bohodukhiv district of Kharkiv Region, Ukraine – курд. tawêr "rock, stone".

Tim, a river, rt of the Sosna, rt of the Don, and a village at the head of the river – Kurd. tim “side”.

Kharaseya, a village in Dmitriyevsky district of Kursk Region – Kurd. xarû “pure”, sāyī "clear, bright".

From this cluster, a chain of place names leads to Lithuania, among which, in addition to the mentioned Kimbrovo, there are the following:

Navlya, an urban-type settlement in the Bryansk Region, Russia – Kurd. newal “gully, ravine”.

Betlitsa, a settlement, the administrative center of Kuybyshevsky district, Kaluga Region, Russia. – Kurd. betle “fighter”, “hero”, “brave”.

Talashkino, a village in Smolensky district, Smolensk Region, Russia – Kurd. talaş “anxiety, care”, “troubles”.

Bashary, a village in Mstislav district of Mogilev Region, Belarus – Kurd. baş “good”, ar "fire".

Maydan, a village in Talachyn district of Vitebsk Region, Belarus – Kurd. meydan "square", "battlefield" (from Iranian *maiθana- "place of stay, dwelling").

Khawkholitsa, a village in Barysaw district of Minsk Region, Belarus – Kurd. xav “unripe, raw”, xol "earth".

Khowkhlava, an agro-town in Molodechno district of the Minsk Region, Belarus. – курд. xov “unripe, raw”, xweli "earth".

These Kurdish toponyms, together with Baltic ones, such as Brozha, Vilcha, Mozhaevka, Nerussa, Izvarino, Lekta, Loknya, Ramasukha, Rudomeyka, Sviderki, Svislach, Yudino and many others, mark the path paved by the Balts from the Baltic to the North Caucasus. In the same way in the opposite direction, in addition to the Kurds, the Adyghe tribe also moved, which inhabited the territory adjacent to the Kurds in the North Caucasus. The Adyghe ones fit well into the chain of Baltic and Kurdish place names, for the interpretation of which Kabardian words were used:

Azhinov, a farm in the Bagaevsky district of the Rostov Region, Russia – Kabard. azhe “goat”, ne “eye”.

Toshkivka, an urban-type settlement in Sievierodonetsk district in Luhansk Region, Ukraine – Kabard. tIoshchI “twenty”, kъeukIa “killed”.

Lypchanivka, a village in Izium district of Kharkiv Region – Kabar. Lъepshch "god of blacksmithing".

Chuhuiv, Russian: Chuguev, a city in Kharkiv Region – Kabard shchygu “plateau”.

Karyzh, a village in Glushkovsky district of Kursk Region – Kabard. kIeryzhyn "leak".

Shalyhyne, Russian Shalygino, an urban-type settlement in Shostka district of Sumy Region, Ukraine.– Kabard. shylъegu "turtle".

Zhykhove, a village in Seredyna-Buda district of Sumy Region – Kabard. zhьykhu “fan“, from zhьy “wind“.

Unecha, a town in Bryansk Region, Russia, – Kabard. uneshchIa “empty“.

Vorga, a village in Yershichsky district of Smolensk Region, Russia. – Kabard. uerkъ “noble“.

Sharypy Bolshiye (Great), s village in Horki district of Mogilev Region, Belarus – Kabard. sherypI “млекопитающее“.

Budagovo, a village in Smalyavichy district of Minsk Region – Kabard. bydagъ "firmness, strength".



The path of movement of peoples between the Baltic States and the North Caucasus

On the map, Kurdish place names are marked in black, Kabardian places in purple, Baltic places in red. In this case, the path of movement is marked with asterisks.

At the northwestern end of the path of people's movement, we again find a cluster of Kurdish place names in the territory of Lithuania and Northern Belarus, among which:

Bershty, a village in Shchuchyn District of Grodno Region, Belarus – Kurd. berstu "collar", "dog-collar".

Kadikai, a village in Kaunas County, Lithuania – Kurd. kedî "accustomed", kaye "game". Cf. Kadıköy in Turkey.

Klaipėda, a city in Lithuania (originally Kalojpeda) – Kurd. kala "goods, property", peyda, pêde "found".

Lida, a city in the Grodno region – Kurd. lidû "позади".

Telšiai, a city, the capital of Telšiai County, Lithuania – Kurd telaš 1. "yarn", 2. "sliver, shavings", 3. "effort".

Tarakonys, a village in Šalčininkai District? Lithuania – Kurd. tarî “dark”, konî "spring, well". Cf. Tmutarakan.

Šiauliai, a city in Lithuania – Kurd. şewl "a ray of light", "shine".

Apparently, the Kurds liked the nature of this country, and they named it in their own way. The name of Lithuania, which does not have a satisfactory etymology, can be interpreted with the help of Kurds. lûtf, litf "favor, mercy". This Kurdish word is considered to be borrowed from the Arabic language (TSABOLOV R.L. 2001: 596). In fact, the Cimmerians must have borrowed it from the Akkadian language during their stay in Asia Minor. Akkadian is one of the oldest Semitic languages ​​spoken by the Assyrians.

It can also be assumed that the Kurds lived among the Balts for quite a long time because there are many borrowings from Kurdish in the Baltic languages:

Lith. balvas, Let. balva "gift, bribe" – Kurd. belwa "temptation";

Lith. daba "nature, kind, way", Let. dāba "natural quality, habit, nature", Blr. doba "nature" – Kurd. dab "custom, disposition, habit", which, in turn, was borrowed from Akkadian (Ar. tabia “nature”).

Lith. ežeras, Let. ezers "lake, pond" – Kurd. zirē "lake";

Lith. galata "deceiver" – Kurd. galte "joke";

Lith. kūdikis "child" – Kurd. kudik "youngling, baby";

Lith. manga "lewd person, prostitute" – Kurd. mange "cow, she buffalo";

Lith. miškas "forest" – Kurd. mêşe, bêşe "forest, grove";

Lith. Nemunas "Neman" – Kurd. nem "wet, moist", yan "side";

Lith. vaisba "trading" – Kurd. bayi "trading";


Having settled in Lithuania, the Kurds continued to move north. Through the territory of Latvia and Estonia, they reached the Gulf of Finland. The path of the Kurds to these places is marked by a chain of other Kurdish toponyms, among which the most convincing interpretation is the name of the city of Izborsk in the Pskov region – Kurd izb "bachelor", ors "wedding". Both words are of Semitic origin, but their interpretation is not in doubt due to the close semantic connection between the constituent parts of the word. In the vicinity of Izborsk, there are many other toponyms that have a Kurdish interpretation. Then the information from the chronicle that Izborsk existed even before the arrival of the Varangians in Russia, that is, before the 9th century, can give reasonable assumptions about the time of the foundation of the city. It is clear that the reason for the name could be the wedding of a young nobleman of the tribe that took place here. Moving further north, the Kurds reached the Neva, as evidenced by the names of the city of Gatchina (Kurd. hacet "tool, tool, method") and the village of Taury in the Koltush rural settlement of the Vsevolozhsk district of the Leningrad region (Kurd. tawêr "rock"). Living Kurds in close proximity to the Baltic-Finnish tribes left its mark on borrowings from Kurdish in Vepsian, Finnish, Estonian and other languages. The Table 2 gives examples of Kurdish-Vepsian lexical correspondences with found equivalents in other Baltic-Finnish.

Table 2. Kurdish-Veps lexical correspondences


Kurdish language Veps and other Finnic langiages
bak "fear" Veps opak "fearful"
çeqandin "to stick" Veps čokaita "to stick"
çerk "drop" Veps čirkištada "to drop"
cirnî "trough" Veps kurn "gutter, chute"
e'ys "joy" Veps ijastus "joy"
e'zim "beautiful" Veps izo “pretty”, Fin. ihana "wonderful, beautiful";
hebhebok "spider" Veps hämähouk, Fin., Karel. hämähäkki "spider";
henase "breathe" Veps heńktä, Fin. hengittää, Est. hingake "to breathe"
hîrîn "neighing" Veps hirnaita, Fin. hirnua, Est. hirnuma "to neigh"
kotek “hit” Veps kötkšta – "to slaughter";
kusm "страх" Veps h’ämastoitta "frighten";
miraz "wish" Veps mairiš "need";
pirtîn "trembling" Veps pirpitada "to shake"
semer "dark" Veps hämär "dusk", Fin. hämärä "twilight"
tikan – "to drop" Veps t’üukta "to drop"
xerez "speed" Veps hered "rapid"


The pair semer-hämär is a particularly difficult case. M. Vasmer drew attention to the correspondence of Fin. hämärä "dark" to Ukr. khmara "cloud", but did not saw a possible connection between these words "for geographical reasons" (VASMER MAX. 1987. V. 4: 249). According to the phonology of the Baltic-Finnish languages, the original word should have been semer, and this may indicate the borrowing of Finnish words from Kurdish. In the etymological dictionary of the modern Finnish language, on the contrary, it is argued that the source of the borrowing is an ancient Germanic word, allegedly represented by Icelandic sámur "dark, dirty" (HÄKKINEN KAISA. 2007: 238). However, in the authoritative dictionary of Old Norse, the word sámr is considered to be borrowed from Finnish (CLEASBY RICHARD, VIGFUSSON GUDBRAND: 517). Kurd. semer can be connected with Kurd. samā "shadow", which is considered to be borrowed from Arabic sama "sky", "roof", "shadow"(TSABOLOV R.L. 2010. V. 2: 231), and the Kurdish xumar also means "hangover" and is associated with Ar. xumār "painful condition after drinking", "hangover" (ibid: 484). The Chuvash language has the word khamăr "brown", semantically close to Kurdish and Baltic-Finnish words. Ukrainian khmara could be borrowed from Bulgar or Kurd. xumar a modified semer influenced by the Finnish languages.

The correspondence of Finnish, Karelian and Ludic hämähäkki, Veps hämähouk, Estonian ämblik, Votic hämö, Livonian ämriki "spider" – Kurdish hebhebok "spider" is enigmatic. Borrowing from Kurdish or another Iranian language into Vepsian could not be, for this word in Kurdish is isolated and associated with Ar. hebbāk "weaver" (TSABOLOV R.L. 2001, 449). Finnish linguists did not notice this connection and consider the origin of the Baltic-Finnish words "dark" (HÄKKINEN KAISA. 2007: 237). Based on phonology, the word for naming a spider was formed from two roots ham and bōk of an unknown language which could be Slavic or Germanic. Given the semantics and phonetics, for consideration, you can use Slav. pauk "spider" that can be associated with Ger Bauch "belly" (Gmc būk). This Germanic root can be connected with Slav. puzo "paunch" (KLUGE FRIEDRICH. 1989: 64). In the structure of the spider's body, the abdomen is clearly expressed, which must have a definition in the name of this arthropod. A suitable word is found in the Middle High German language hem "evil, crafty", then the name of the spider could be understood as "evil belly". There is no such word in German now, but it could exist in one of the disappeared Germanic dialects. How the Germanic word got to the Arabs is anyone's guess. Perhaps they borrowed it from the Germans during the Crusades. In addition to these correspondences, there are several dozen words common to Kurdish, Vepsian, and three or more Iranian languages.

Coming from Lithuania, the Kurds brought to the north the custom of kurgan burials (for more details, see in Russian On the question of the ethnicity of the culture of the Pskov long mounds). Consideration of this issue made it possible to discover the Adyghe trace in toponymy in the area of ​​distribution of this culture. There are no other data on the stay of the Adyghes in the Baltic states and the surrounding area yet. To decipher the place names, the Kabardian language was used, the phonetics of which differs to a large extent from the Indo-European, and this language itself could change significantly over time. Therefore, modern Russian names can be quite different from the original words of the language spoken by the ancestors of the modern Adyghe peoples. Examples of Adyghe place names in the basin of the upper reaches of the Western Dvina and the Velikaya River can be the following:

Alol', villages in Kuderev volost of Bezhanitsky district and in Alol' volost in Pustoshkinsky district of Pskov Region, a river, the tributary of the Velikaya River – Kabard. lale "lethargic, weak", -а is the prosthetic vowel.

Komsha, a village of Velikoluksky district in Pskov Region – Kabard. gumashchIe "kind-hearted, merciful".

Kurmeli, a village in Velizhsky District of Smplensk Region – Kabard. kurme "knot at the end of the string", -le is the noun suffix.

Opochka, a town and the administrative center of Opochetsky district in Pskov Region – Kabard. upIyshkIa "crumpled".

Reble, a village in Pustoshkinsky district of Pskov Region – Kabard. eru "fierce, cruel", ble "snake".

Sbezh, a town and the administrative center of Sebezhsky district in Pskov Region – Kabard. sabe "dust" -zh' – is the noun suffix that reinforces meaning.

Tekhomichi, a village in Sebezhsky district of Pskov Region – Kabard. tkhe "god", myshche "bear".

Usmyn', a villlage in Kunyinsky district of Pskov Region – Kabard. ues "snow", myin "small".

Velizh, a town and the administrative center of Velizhsky district in Smolensk Region – Kabard. urliy "ruler, lord" (from Akkadian) -zh' is the noun suffix that reinforces meaning.

V'ar'movo, a village in Krasnogorodsky district in Pskov Region – Kabard. ueram "street".

Zhadro, a village in Zvonsk volost, Opochetsky district of Pskov Region – Kabard. zhad "hen", -ru is the object suffix.

Zhiguli, villages in Verkhnyadzvinsk District of Vitebsk Region, Belorus and in Kunyinsky District of Pskov Region – Kabard. zhigeile "an area overgrown with oak trees". Zhiguli on the Volga of the same origin.

The peaceful coexistence of the Cimmerians with the autochthons of the Baltics was threatened with the emergence of the Grand Duchy of Vladimir, the foundations of which were laid by the Kyiv prince Yuri Dolgoruky in the middle of the 12th century. The rulers of this principality since the time of Prince Andrei Bogolyubsky established contact with the Holy Roman Empire. As a result of these contacts, a mutual desire arose to master the stateless territory between the empire and the principality. A special role in this aspiration was played by the spiritual and chivalric Orders of the Sword and the Teutonic, which founded their first fortresses in the Baltic. Naturally, a conflict should have arisen between the newcomers from the east and the west, in which the autochthonous tribes were only passive objects.

It can be assumed that in the face of the threat of the mastery of the entire Baltic by the Teutonic Order reinforced by the Swordsmen, the Kurds consolidated the local tribes under their rule and established a xenocratic regime, which laid the foundation for the creation of the Lithuanian state. The emergence of the Lithuanian state from nothing is one of the examples of “imported political technologies”. The Cimmerians took part in the creation of the Bosporus kingdom. Having such political experience, they applied it to the barbarian population of the Eastern Baltic, just as it always happened in medieval Europe:


It is known that as a result of self-development in early medieval Europe, not a single state arose – all of them arose, if not as a result of the seizure of Roman territory (synthesis path), then under the influence of already existing states of the Mediterranean tradition (the so-called non-synthesis path of the contact zone (SHUVALOV P.V. 2012: 278).


Netimer, Lithuanian prince, mentioned in the Saxon chronicle for 1009 – Kurd. netemirî "бimmortal".

Dangerutis, Daugerutis, a prince of Lithuania before 1213 – Kurd. daw, dûv 1. "tail", 2. "hem" gerd "large";

Mindaugas, Mendog, the first known Grand Duke of Lithuania and the only Christian King of Lithuania (1253–1263) – Kurd. mend "modest", awqas "so much" ("very"?);

Treniota, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1263—1264) – Kurd. ture “angry”, nêt “thought, desire”;

Vaišelga, Wojsiełk, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1264—1267) – Kurd. xwey "master", *şûlq "wave";

Švarnas, Szwarno, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1267/1268—1269) – Kurd. şarm "shame", "shyness" out of *şfarm as the metathesis of OIr. *fšarma "shame";

Traidenis, Tojden, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1269-1281) – Kurd. tureyî "anger", dên "sight";

Daumantas, Dovmunt, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1282—1285) – Kurd. devam “long”, entam “limb”, “stature”;

Pukuwer, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1291—1295) – Kurd. pevketin “make peace, agree”, wêran “destroyed”;

Vytenis, Witenes, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1295—1316) – Kurd. wetîn "love", "wish";

Gediminas, Gedymin, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1316-1341) – Kurd. hedimîn 1. "to collapse, fall apart", 2. "perish";

Algirdas, Olgierd, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1345-1377) – Kurd. ol "creed, religion", gerd 1. "great", 2. "great man";

Jogaila, Jagiełło, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1377-1392) and the King of Poland (1386–1434) – Kurd. egal "hero", yê egal "heroic", law (lo) "child, son";

Kęstutis, Kiejstut, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1381-1382) – Kurd. key "king", and the second part of the name may come from the Indo-European root word meaning "to stand" that has disappeared from the Kurdish language (cf. Kurd. stûn "pillar");

Vytauta, Witold, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1392-1430) – Kurd. xwî "prominent, obvious", tawet "strength, power";

Švitrigaila, Świdrygiełło, the Grand Duke of Lithuania (1430-1432) – Kurd. swînd "oath", -r – the case suffix, egal "hero", law (lo) "child, son".

Meanwhile, the Cimmerians played their role in the history of the Chernigov Principality. After the decline of the Bosporus kingdom, the Tmutarakan principality was formed in its place. Its name is also deciphered using the Kurdish language: Kurd. tarî "dark" (corresponds to the meaning of the first part of the name in Slavonic), kanî "source, spring". From the annals, Rededya, the leader of the local Circassians, who was killed in a duel by the Tmutarakan prince Mstislav in 1022, could actually be a Kurd, if we take into account the Kurd red "disappear, disappear", eda "payment, settlement". Thanks to this victory, Mstislav gained great prestige among the local population. His squad consisted of Khazars, Kasogs, and other "Caucasian peoples" (SOLOVYOV S.M. 1959, V.1: 214, 233, 251). When he became the Prince of Chernihiv in 1024, he resettled many families of the steppe peoples to the Seversk land, among whom there should have been Zygii-Kurds. Their presence in those places is confirmed by toponymy. On the left bank of the Dnieper, above Kyiv, there was the annalistic city of Tmutarakan, and the names of many settlements of Left-Bank Ukraine are also deciphered using the Kurdish language:

Most of the Kurdish toponyms fall on the territory of the Chernihiv Principality in the same places where there are toponyms of Chechen origin (see Pechenegs and Magyars). Here are some examples:

Atyusha, a village in Korop district of Chernihiv Regionской обл. – Kurd. ateş “fire”.

Beryushka, a river in Dumy Region, Lt of the Kleven, rt of the Seym – Kurd. birûsk “lightning, thunder”.

Zamglay, an urban-type settlement in the Repkinsky district of Chernihiv Region and the Zamglai River, which flows into the Desna above Chernihiv – Kurd. zong "swamp" and leyi "stream". Near these places, there is one of the largest swamp systems in Ukraine.

Kerbutivka, a village in Borzna district of Cherinihiv Region – Kurd. ker "deaf", bût, pût "idol".

Ret', a river in Sumy Refion, lt of the Esman', lt of the Desna – Kurd. rêtin “pour”.

Chepeliv, a village in Snov district of Cherinihiv Region – Kurd. çepel “dirty, unclean”.

Esman', an urban-type settlement in the Glukhovsky district, a settlement in the Shostkinsky district and a river in the Sumy region, the lt of the Desna – a Kurd. e’sman “sky”, originally “stone” (cf. “firmament of heaven”).

According to the chronicle, the Chernigov Principality was often "ruled by the Cumans", who also participated in the campaigns of local princes against Smolensk and Kyiv (History of the USSR. 1966: 593). The Cumans are considered a people of Turkic origin, but the well-known names of their khans often cannot be interpreted using Turkic languages. Chronicles distinguish several groups of Cumans: Lukomorsky, Burchevichi, Chiteevichi, Burnovichi, etc. (RASOVSKY D.A. 2012). One might think that various peoples of the North Caucasus and the Sea of ​​Azov were hidden under the common name Polovtsy, if we also take into account the following statement:


Russia bordered on the steppe, and barbarian hordes of different tribes wandered in the steppe, among which it was easy to recruit an army with the promise of booty; that is why the steppe Tmutarakan serves as a permanent refuge for outcasts who return from there with squads to look for volosts (property – VS) (SOLOVYOV S.M. 1959, V. 1: 362-363)


Not only outcast princes recruited militant steppe dwellers into their squads, but the rulers of large principalities did the same, as the example of Mstislav of Tmutarakan shows. However, relations with the Cumans of different tribes, who were mostly engaged in raids on Russian principalities with the aim of plundering and capturing prisoners, were far from peaceful. It was neither necessary nor possible to deal with their nationality, it was enough to use one name. Some of the names of their khans testify to the Kurds among the Cumans:

Asup – Kurd. espê "white", "gray".

Atrak, a son of Sharukan – Kurd. ad "oath"", req "firm, strong".

Bolush – Kurd. bol "sufficient", "many", wuş "word".

Елтук, Atrak's son, Sharukan's grandson and Konchak's brother – Kurd. helteqȋn "push".

Syrchan, Sharukan's son – Kurd. sêr "enchantment, charm", can (ǰan) "young, handsome".

Sharukan – Kurd. şer "fight" kan "business, work".




Migration paths of Cimmerian Kurds in the mirror of onomastics

On the map, black dots indicate the settlements of the alleged Kurdish origin, the purple ones are of the Adyghe origin/
Red dots mark settlements of Ukraine where surnames of Kurdish origin are recorded.
The burgundy dots correspond to place names of Baltic origin.
The area of distribution of the culture of long kurgans is marked in gray. The sites of this culture are marked with blue dots.

During the process of military campaigns and previous migrations, part of the Kurds remained in new places forever. Over time, the entire non-Slavic population of the region was assimilated by Ukrainians, but the original Kurdish names have survived among Ukrainians to this day:

Sereda, 15037 carriers throughout Ukraine, most of all in Kyiv (806), Kharkiv (864), Zaporizhia (319), Dnipro (318), Sumy (266), Donetsk (247), Cherhihiv (215), Lviv (205), Kryvyi Rih (200) – Kurd. serede "older". A small number of surnames come from Ukr. sereda "Wednesday" (of all surnames by weekday most of all surname carriers Monday – 275).

Havrysh, 7560 carriers, most of all in Kyiv (504), Dnipro (250), Kharkiv (197) – Kurd. havrīs "juniper".

Gura, 4522 carriers, most of all in Kyiv (293), Kharkiv (243), Dnipro (137), Kryvyi Rih (93), Horlovka (87), Donetsk (84) – Kurd. gur 1."wolf", 2. "strong, fast".

Lewandowskiy, Lewandowskaya, Lewandiwskiy, 2184 carriers, most of all in Kyiv (173) – Kurd. lewand "beautiful, handsome".

Gunchenko, 1044 carriers, most of all in the city of Kamenske, Dnipropetrovsk Region (69), Dnipro (68), Kharkiv (58), Gunchak, 801 carriers, most of all in Chernivtsi (66), Gunchyk, 151 carriers, most of all in the city of Kamin'-Kashirsky Volyn Region (51) – Kurd. gunc "pot".

Chechel', 1730 carriers, most of all in Kyiv (117), Zaporizhia (102), Dnipro (96) – Kurd. çê “good, best", çêlî "kin, offspring".

Murga, 1658 carriers, most of all in Kyiv (196), in the city of Malin in Zhytomyr Region – Kurd. murǧ “bird".

Chepel', 1604 carriers, most of all in Kharkiv (110), Zaporizhia (63) – Kurd. çepel “dirty" or çepilî "left-handed".

Fisun, 1365 carriers, most of all in Zaporizhia (135), Kharkiv (109), Dnipro (83) – Kurd. fisûn "magic, witchcraft".

Mihal, 602 carriers, most of all in Kharkiv (39), Khmelnytskyi (39), Kyiv (33), Makiivka (19), Kryvyi Rih (15) – Kurd. mihal "vain, empty", mihel "place, locality".

In addition to these surnames, in Ukraine there are many others phonetically similar to Kurdish words, which could be suitable for a person’s name, but the number of their cariiers does not allow us to speak with confidence about their old age. In the cases when they are common in settlements of the alleged Kurdish origin or in which other Kurdish surnames are present, they can be taken into account. On the whole, the data of onomastics indicate that the Kurdish population in Ukraine was much larger in its western part than in the eastern one. At the same time, other Kurdish surnames prevail in Western Ukraine:

Henyk, 903 carriers, most of all in Lviv (69), Dobromyl' (46) and Novoyavorivs'k (37) of Lviv Region – Kurd. hênik "cold, fresh".

Gera, 733 carriers, most of all in Kosovo district of Ivano-Frankivsk Region (389) – Kurd. gera "roe deer".

Karmalita, 461 carriers, Karmeluk, 174 carriers, Karmaluk 64 carriers and the like, distributed mainly in Podolia – Kurd. kar "benefit, profit", mal "house, family", "property, wealth".

Maykut, 342 carriers, most of all in Lviv (36) – Kurd. meykut "big wooden hammer".

Fendyk, 244 carriers, most of all in Dolyna district of Ivano-Frankivsk Region (70), Fendak, 98 carriers, most of all in Drohobych district of Lviv Region (45) – Kurd. fend "cunning, crafty".

Germak, 312 carriers, most of all in Lviv (28) – Kurd. germ "cold, fresh".

The listed surnames are practically not found in the eastern part of Ukraine, while the surnames Lewandovsky, Chechel, Chepel, Mihal are quite common in Western Ukraine as well. The distribution of the names of the alleged Kurdish origin is presented on the map above.

On the whole, you can see that the history of the Cimmerians is very complex and its restoration requires not only great images but also painstaking searches. And this work is not only in the interest of truth but also in the interest of maintaining good relations between people. Recognizing that among the Cimmerian troops that flooded Asia Minor were the Adyge, Kurds, and other Iranian tribes, it cannot be ruled out that other peoples of the North Caucasus also raided Asia Minor. This assumption is confirmed, for example, by the active participation of Chechens in the historical events of Eastern Europe in the 1st millennium AD (see the section Pechenegs and Hungarians). Summing up, it can be argued that there is a lot of work ahead, but conscientious executants are needed.