The Scythians were members of a nomadic people of Iranian stock who migrated
from the Iranian homeland in Central Asia to southern Russia in the 8th - 7th C.
BCE. Centred on what is now the Crimea, the Scythians founded a rich, powerful
empire that survived for several centuries before succumbing to the Sarmatians
during the 4th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.
The only deity shown in Scythian art was the Great Goddess, whom the Greeks
called Artemis, or Hestia or Gaea (The Earth)... Scythians were governed by
Priestess-Queens, usually buried alone in richly furnished Kurgans (queen
graves)... The moon-sickle used in mythical castrations of God was a Scythian
weapon. A long-handled form therefore came to be called a scythe, and was
assigned to the Grim Reaper, who was originally Rhea Kronia [the old crone] in
the guise of Mother Time, or Death- the Earth who devoured her own children.
Scythian women apparently used such weapons in battle as well as religious
ceremonies and agriculture. It is generally accepted that it was the
horseback-riding Scythians who spread the combination of cannabis and Goddess
worship throughout much of the ancient world.
The Thracians were a Goddess worship culture. These Indo-European peoples, while
considered barbarian and rural by their refined and urbanized Greek neighbours,
had developed advanced forms of music, poetry, industry, and artistic crafts.
Aligning themselves in kingdoms and tribes, they never achieved any form of
national unity beyond short, dynastic rules at the height of the Greek classical
period. Similar to the Gauls and other Celtic tribes, most people are thought to
have lived simply in small fortified villages, usually on hilltops. Although the
concept of an urban centre wasn't developed until the Roman period, various
larger fortifications which also served as regional market centres were
numerous. Yet, in general, despite Greek colonization in such areas as
Byzantium, Apollonia and other cities, the Thracians avoided urban life.
The ancient Thracians were known to have a high percentage of redheads among
them. Several Thracian graves or tombstones have the name Rufus inscribed on
them, meaning "redhead" – a common name given to people with red hair. Ancient
Greek artwork often depicts Thracians as redheads. Rhesus of Thrace, a Thracian
King, derived his name because of his red hair and is depicted on Greek pottery
as having red hair and beard. Ancient Greek writers also described the Thracians
as red haired. A fragment by the Greek poet Xenophanes describes the Thracians
as blue-eyed and red haired:
...Men make gods in their own image; those of the Ethiopians are black and
snub-nosed, those of the Thracians have blue eyes and red hair.