The Cimmerians who preceded the Scythians used Iranian proper names, and probably represented this Iranian element in greater purity.
The Scyths having fallen upon them from the north-east, the Cimmerians appear to have given way in two directions, towards the southwest, where the tombs of their kings were shown on the Tyras (Dniester) and one body joined with the Treres of Thrace in invading Asia Minor by the Hellespont; and towards the south-east where another body threatened the Assyrians, who called them Gimirrai (Hebrew Gomer; Gen.
Ashkenaz) whom the Assyrians welcomed as allies and used against the Cimmerians, against the Medes and even against Egypt.
They have been referred to the Cimmerians, but for this there is no clear evidence.
In the 7th century B.C. these Cimmerians were attacked and partly driven out by a horde of newcomers from upper Asia called Scythae; these imposed their name and their yoke upon all that were left in the Euxine steppes, but probably their coming did not really change the basis of the population, which remained Iranian.
It is, however, more probable that Sardis was not the original capital of the Maeonians, but that it became so amid the changes which produced the powerful Lydian empire of the 8th century B.C. The city was captured by the Cimmerians in the 7th century, by the Persians and by the Athenians in the 6th, and by Antiochus the Great at the end of the 3rd century.
On its southern banks, from east to west, dwell the "blameless Aethiopians" in, perfect happiness, and beyond it on the west, in the realms of eternal night, the "Cimmerians," wrapped in fogs and darkness.
Between 680 and 670 the Cimmerians in their destructive progress over Asia Minor overran Phrygia; the king Midas in despair put an end to his own life; and from henceforth the history of Phrygia is a story of slavery, degradation and decay, which contrasts strangely with the earlier legends.
The Cimmerians were finally expelled from Asia Minor by Alyattes before his war with the Medes under Cyaxares (590-585 B.C.).
The Cimmerians, therefore, were ravaging Asia Minor, and presumably held possession of Phrygia, the only country where they achieved 4 See Furtwangler, Goldfund von Vettersfelde, Winckelm.
Cimmerians) in the same sense.
Twice in the period 700 -500 B.C. the city owed its preservation to the interference of the goddess; once when the swarms of the Cimmerians overran Asia Minor in the 7th century and burnt the Artemision itself; and once when Croesus besieged the town in the century succeeding, and only retired after it had solemnly dedicated itself to Artemis, the sign of such dedication being the stretching of a rope from city to sanctuary.
Ancient writers spoke of all these Gauls as Cimbri, and identified them with the Cimmerians of earlier date, who in Homeric times dwelt on the ocean next to the Laestrygones, in a region of wintry gloom, but where the sun set not in summer.
The original inhabitants were Cimmerians, and after them came Scythians.
59 2) the home of Sleep is placed in a dark grotto in the land of the Cimmerians, where he dwells surrounded by a band of Dreams.