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Scythian Archers 

Elizabeth Baughman, edition of January 30, 2003

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· Origins of the Scythian Archers in Athens ·

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Aeschines (Aeschin. 2).
Andocides (Andoc. 3).
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In nearly identical passages, the orators Andocides and Aeschines describe the origin of these Scythian Archers in Athens. According to Aeschines, after the battle of Salamis in 490 BCE (source for date: OCD3), Athens “fortified the Piraeus and built the North Wall…. We also equipped three hundred cavalrymen (ἱππεῖς) and bought three hundred Scythians (τριακοσίους Σκύθας ἐπριάμεθα)” (Aeschin. 2.173). Andocides reports this same event, but specifies that these Scythians were archers: “It was at this time that we first enrolled three hundred cavalry (ἱππέας) and purchased three hundred Scythian archers (τοξότας τριακοσίους Σκύθας ἐπριάμεθα)” (Andoc. 3.5). Both Aeschines and Andocides seem to distinguish these Scythian Archers from the archers of the Athenian militia. After mentioning the Scythians, Aeschines goes on to say, “We formed a corps of twelve hundred cavalry and a new force of as many bowmen” (χιλίους δὲ καὶ διακοσίους ἱππέας κατεστήσαμεν καὶ τοξότας ἑτέρους τοσούτους) (Aeschin. 2.174). Andocides likewise says, “we enrolled twelve hundred cavalry and as many archers” (χιλίους τε καὶ διακοσίους ἱππέας καὶ τοξότας τοσούτους ἑτέρους κατεστήσαμεν) (Andoc. 3.7). From this it would seem that the three hundred Scythian archers and the twelve hundred (unspecified) archers were two distinct bodies.

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