Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The Gargareans and the Amazons

Posted by Fredsvenn on February 26, 2015

In Greek mythology, the Gargareans were an all-male tribe. They had sex with the Amazons annually in order to keep both tribes reproductive. Varying accounts suggest that they may have been kidnapped, raped, and murdered for this purpose, or that they may have had relations willingly.

The Amazons kept the female children, raising them as warriors, and gave the males to the Gargareans. Jaimoukha suggests that the myth might have been a nod to the similarity between Circassians and Dzurdzuks, despite their very different languages.

The Gargareans are held by some historians to be a component of the ancestry of the Chechen and the Ingush peoples, and equivalent or at least related to the Georgian name Dzurdzuks.

Gaius Plinius Secundus also localizes Gargarei at North of the Caucasus, but calls them Gegar. Some scholars (P.K. Uslar, K. Miller, N.F. Yakovleff, E.I. Krupnoff, L.A. Elnickiy, I.M. Diakonoff, V. N. Gemrakeli) supported that Gargarei is earlier for of Ingush ethnonym.

Jaimoukha notes that Gargareans is one of many Nakh roots- gergara, meaning, in fact, “kindred” in proto-Nakh. If this is the case, it would make Gargarei virtually equivalent to the Georgian term Dzurdzuk (referring to the lake Durdukka in the South Caucasus, where they are thought to have migrated from), which applied to a Nakh people who migrated North across the mountains to settle in modern Ingushetia.

The Ancient Greek chronicler Strabo mentioned that Gargareans had migrated from eastern Asia Minor (i.e. Urartu) to the North Caucasus, before intermixing with the local population.

In addition to their importance to the ancestry of Chechens and Ingush, the Gargareans have also been considered possibly central to the formation of the Èrs, another historical (albeit now extinct) Nakh people living in Northern Armenia, Caucasian Albania and Hereti (the name Hereti is derived from them).

Strabo wrote that “… the Amazons live close to Gargarei, on the northern foothills of the Caucasus mountains”. The Amazons were attributed to the Circassians via the root maze.

The city of Amasya, the Amaseia or Amasia of antiquity, stands in the mountains above the Black Sea coast, set apart from the rest of Anatolia in a narrow valley along the banks of the Yeşilırmak River.

Although near the Black Sea, this area is high above the coast and has an inland climate, well-suited to growing apples, for which Amasya province, one of the provinces in north-central Anatolia Turkey, is famed.

It was the home of the geographer Strabo and the birthplace of the 15th century scholar and physician Amirdovlat Amasiatsi. Located in a narrow cleft of the Yesilirmak (Iris) river, it has a history of 7,500 years which has left many traces still evident today.

According to Strabo (64/63 BC – c. AD 24) the Greek name comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed little throughout history: The name are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coinage and continue to be used in Modern Greek.

Amastris (Greek: killed c. 284 BC) also called Amastrine, was a Persian Princess. She was the daughter of Oxyathres, the brother of the Persian King Darius III.

Amastris was given by Alexander the Great in marriage to Craterus, however Craterus later decided to marry Phila, one of the daughters of Antipater. She later married Dionysius, tyrant of Heraclea Pontica, in Bithynia, in 322 BC. She bore him two sons named: Clearchus II and Oxyathres.

Amastris married Lysimachus in 302 BC. However, he abandoned her shortly afterwards and married Arsinoe II, one of the daughters of Ptolemy I Soter, the first Pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt. During the brief marriage of Lysimachus and Amastris, she may have borne him a child, perhaps a daughter who may have been the first wife of Ptolemy Keraunos.

After the death of Dionysius, in 306 BC, she became guardian of their children. Several others joined in this administration. After her marriage to Lysimachus ended, Amastris retired to Heraclea, which she governed in her own right.

She also founded shortly after 300 BC a city called after her own name Amastris, or Amasra, on the sea-coast of Paphlagonia, by the fusion (synoecism) of the four smaller towns of Sesamus, Cromna, Cytorus and Tium.

One of these towns, Tium, later regained its autonomy, but the other three remained part of the city of Amastris’ territory. She was drowned by her two sons about 284 BC.

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