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In the course of this paper I shall try to trace the footsteps of one branch from the Crimea and the Caucasian ranges eastward, and of another westwards. But, before doing so, let us test and analyze the historic value and reminiscences of the fatherland they were forced to quit by the imperious laws of necessity, expediency, or brute force.
Strabo and other Greek authors affirm that there was, in the Crimean peninsula, a reputed tribe of the grand Cimmerian family of Mount Caucasus—the redoubtable Tauri, whom they, in their simple ignorance of the signification of the term, had accordingly classified as a people more daring, more ferocious, more John Bull-like, in fact (if I must use an anachronism), than the rest of their kindred, and dwelling apart in certain mountainous districts, and giving (save the mark) the name of Taurica rather than Cimmerica Chersonesus, to the Crimea.
That this country and the neighbouring territories were once occupied by the great family of the Cimmerians, is proved by the numberless names of places which were still partly preserved in the time of Herodotus, and cited by Strabo, independently of their own radical and inward testimony.
I will give a few of the Cimmerian roots. Kififieptg, or Cimmeris, was a city defended by fortifications on the north, and enclosing the isthmus by an earthen wall or embankment, not unlike, if I apprehend its description correctly, to the well-known Clawdd Offa of the Saxons.
The Cimmerian Bosphorus separated Europe from Asia, by a narrow, sandy-banked, channel, now called the strait of Kertch, in some places fordable.
The term Cimmerian is apparent, but what is that of Bosphorus, or Bosporus? Some English classical scholars, with feelings of evident self-satisfaction, derive it from Bovc a bull or bullock, and #epw, to carry,—and are complacently gratified with the pretty mythological tale accordingly concocted out of it. The bull is evidently a favored derivative animal; but, unfortunately, Bosporus, or Bosphorus, take which you like, is only a complete acoustic form of the Cimmerian Beisfor, the shallow sea, or arm of the sea; from beis, a shallow, and mdr, or for, a sea: as instanced in Beisfa, or Beisfan, from fa and fan, the shallow place, both among the Cymry and Amoricans of the present day.
The Cimmarian fort was supposed to have occupied the site of the modem Escri-Erim. There was also a Cimmerian ferry, called wopdfiriia, from the Cimbric root porth, a harbour near the mouth of the Palus Moeotis. With regard to the city Cimmeris, or Cimmerium, Pliny, in lib. 6, states it was situated " Ultimo in Ostio," at the extremity of the mouth, or harbour, and was previously called Cerberion, a cognate synonyme of Cimmerian, according to the scholiast, Crates. Professor Clarke, of Cambridge, the celebrated traveller identifies it with Temruck, and Forbigcr with Escri-Krim.
While discussing philologically the point at issue, let us glance awhile at a map of the Crimea. In the multiplicity of proofs offered to us by the Cimbric names of rivers and mountains, I shall only have time to select a few, and must box the compass, as the sailors say, and select a name in each of the most southerly easterly, northerly, and westerly quarters. And what do we see? I find the town of Balaclava, from Bala, an eruption, or outlet of water, and clava, from cloi, enclosed, turned or land-locked. The promontory, or strait, of Kertch, from Cerch, a rising up, or elevated land; or it may be derived from the old Keltic word Circius, or Cyrch, a hard-blowing wind, or whirling eddy. The town of Pericop, from perig, extreme, and cop, a summit. And Castel, from the root cast, what surrounds or entangles:—a fort, a fortified residence, a castellated mansion. Again, in S. E. we have Staroi-Crimea, at the commencement of the hilly district, or mountain ranges, from ystre, a course, a range, 'yr ystre Cimmerian.' I offer these prehistoric facts to you, relying on your philological as well as your geographical and historical knowledge of the localities in question—and therefore, let every one draw his own unbiassed conclusion.
Herodotus also corroborates the undoubted existence in his day of Cimmerian walls, bridges, and other fragments of antique buildings, shewing, as I presume, the tolerably-advanced condition of our Caucasian kinsmen in those primitive days. Let not my hearers confound the past with the present. I am treating of ages buried in oblivion.
Modern travellers, men of eminence, antiquarian learning and research, as Baron Tott, with the travellers already named, and a host of clear-headed 'doctrinaires,' witnessed with amazement the realization of facts, monumental as they were, hurried over in silence in the page of lost or infant ebullitions of history, as regards the vestiges of stone-chiselled castles, and other public or private buildings, scattered and partly buried over various parts of the Crimea, far beyond the range of classic possibilities. After much patient and minute investigation, they did not hesitate, individually, and without collusion, to subscribe to the doctrine, aided as they must have been, by their knowledge of the different styles of architecture prevailing in north-eastern Europe and the confines of Asia, that the construction of those wonderful palatial abodes, or druidical temples, now known under the name of Inkerman caverns, and excavated from the solid rock, together with sundry subterranean passages, leading from one to the other, could not be attributed otherwise, than to the enduring ability—the religious and civil condition of the TlafiiraXaioi ApmSat of the Cimmerian race. The idea that the Genoese, in the 12th or 13th century, had anything to do with these stupendous druidical constructions must be treated with passing indifference, as unworthy of serious consideration. •
It also appears, according to the Greek authorities already cited, that the whole extent of country, i.e., west, north, and east of the Peninsula included between the river Tiras, ^Dniester) the reclaimed and desiccated province of Bastarnce, from the Cimbric root bas, a shallow, and tarn, a drying up, and the western slopes of Mount Caucasus, was known under the appellation of Ktuuepta (Cimmeria), the primeval land of the Cimbri, or Cymry; and that those states or tribes occupying the fertile agricultural land between the Borysthenesand the Tanais, were settled husbandmen, while the others, dwelling in upland and hilly districts, were pastoral and nomadic, 'living in waggons' or any extemporaneous wooden accommodations—not very unlike ourown colonial settlers of the past. They were also milkers of mares (as now there are milkers of asses for invalids), cows, sheep, and goats; somewhat, I presume, after the fashion of the ancient and modern Arabs, according to personal observation.
Again we have an accumulation of evidence, if indeed it were wanting in the fact "that the sepulchres of their kings rich in gold and other ornaments" were yet shewn "in fence-enclosed Tefievn" in the time of Herodotus, "on the banks of the river Tyras," even after they had ceased as a nation to occupy their former territories.
The expulsion of the Cimmerians from the Crimea, and consequent invasions elsewhere, already hinted at, require a few comments to modify the ill-understood and apparent antagonistic version of certain portions of our Cimmerian history.
The first colonizing batches of Asiatic Cimmerians from the shores of the Crimean Bosporus (y Beisfor Cymreig), to Asia Minor, to Ynys Prydain, to the north of Italy, under some 'Hu Gadarn' (Hu the mighty), or Prydain ab Aedd Mawr, in the age, possibly, of the Cimmerian astronomer Idris Gawr (Idris, the Bardic Giant), a name, par parenthese, not unknown to Arabian and Egyptian traditions, must necessarily have oecured long prior to the times of the early prophets of Israel, much more to the Scythian or Assyrian invasions of the Crimea, Cimmeria, and Asia Minor, alluded to in the Cyclic, Homeric, Hesiodic, and Arismaspean poems, in fact, centuries anterior to the reign of King David, who was contemporary with Homer, as I shall have occasion to dilate upon when I come to the discussion of druidism and of the prehistoric commerce of the island, and other matters of universal interest bearing on this subject as extracted, vi et armis, from nature's code, or the unwilling records of mankind.
"Though in Time's record nearly wrought,
The gweddilion, reliquise, or remnants of the original Cimmerians on the sea-boards of the Axinus, must also, in the lapse of ages, though left unchronicled as their sires, either on Hebrew marble slabs, or on Arabian camel-bones, have become numerous bodies of people, who again, either from the suddenness of a hostile attack from without, or from a surplus population and consequent personal bickerings and disagreements amongst themselves, must have been obliged, like Lot and Abraham, to split into two or more grand divisions, and pursue in amity different routes under elected chiefs or kings, prior to their departure, either as overpowered indigense, or as over-populated and discontented colonists, now intent on distant lands of east and west and south. This hypothesis seems to do away with the difficulty of reconciling the conflicting statements of Herodotus, Strabo, and other Greek writers, with their respective commentators on sundry date—unfixed, undefinable primeval Cimmerian invasions, which otherwise would present an aspect of inextricable confusion to those who desire to trace their steps ever so little along the sea coast of Thracia, the alleged Cimbric land of the Deffrobani of our druidical triads, or through the length and breadth of Asia Minor in their settled abodes in Dardania, at Caer Troiau in the extreme north-west down to Mynydd Tor, or Mt. Taurus, in south east, in ages, be it observed, long prior to their subjugation or dispersion by the Assyrians and Lydians under a Croesus or an Halyattes, or by the Medes and Persians under a Cyrus and a Darius, or by the Scythian hordes of Nothern Europe, alluded to by the Cyclic poets.
This conditional principle of action, outgrowing itself, from time to time, by the progressive laws of nature and social progress, would, I humbly conceive, coincide with the bearings of this admittedly abstruse question, in the transitory invasion, occupation, or colonization of different parts of Asia Minor; in some cases far beyond, in others, within, the partial grasp of historical tradition,—at different epochs referred to by Aristeas, Hecatceus, and our own historical bards.
A division then must, according to Herodotus, and at a very early period of the world's history, after the principle enunciated, have coasted along the eastern shores of the Palws Moeotis, a term which, according to ocular and acoustic principles of language, I derive, en passant, from the original name Pallus Maathits, or Mceatce, given by the early Cimmerians, and easily corrupted by Greek and Roman geographers, who first heard it pronounced, into a grsecised and latin form as above. The conjoint expressions in the former language mean absolutely nothing; whereas in the latter, the term Maotis does not fare any better, though by an extraordinary freak of fancy, and coincidence of sound, but not of meaning, the term pallus is forced into that of palus a marsh, by those that were and are unskilled in the Celtic languages, What, then is their interpretation? The word meathus, or maatce, in the Celtic languages signifies a marshy flat, a meadow, a plain,—from the root maeth, nurture, fosterage; and pallus, fallacious, from pall, a failure, nought, neglect. (From this root meath is derived the name of the Caledonian maata,—which, however, Chalmers derives from the term meiadi, warriors.) This divisionary corps then went along the borders or embankments of this neglected, sterile, swampy, putrid, marshy flat of the Pains Mceotis, or Putridum Mare of the earlier and later dates, and skirting the shores of the Mor Du, Aigswn, or Euxine, and passing the west of Mount Caucasus (from cav, a mountain hollow, and cas disagreeable), made their way into the encircling curved shore of Colchis (from the Cimmerian root cylch, a circle, a zone, a cycle, a circuit, a rim, a hoop, &c,—the original derivative form of Kvkxos, the circle, of the Greeks), because the coast here makes a detour, or curve, from the Crimea to Pontus.
These roots, I am afraid, will cause you to lose the ramifications of my narrative, I will therefore on a future occasion enter more deeply into them, while discussing the capacity and beauty of the Cimbric language. Let us, then, hurry on to catch our migrating friends, and lead them after a given settlement at Colchis, through the Sarmatian Gates, or passes, to the bridgespanned province of Pontus, and the clustered herbal, (or orachatriplex silvestris) district of Paphlagonia, where the major portion of the first division located themselves permanently for ages on the briny banks of the River Halys, on its extreme promontory at or near the site of Sinope, a later superimposed colony of the Pelasgi.
In the vicinity of the new settlement vast quantities of iron ore were discovered on the sloping sides of a hill, to which, in accordance with the fortunate 'trouvaille,' the discoverers gave the name of Chalybos, from the root cael, to get to find, and llab, ironstone. The working of this useful mineral commodity must have induced the Phoenician and Pelasgi traders to visit their port, their graves officinas Jerri, and bring in their train all the usual concomitant advantages of friendly intercourse. Cimmerian, or Chalybian iron was in great demand for its ductile and malleable quality, throughout Asia Minor, and in all the rising adjacent Hellenistic colonies.
Lib. 8, V. 419.
Validique incudibus ictus