The Sarmatians: Some Thoughts on the Historiographical Invention of a West Iranian Migration

Dan, Anca. 2017. “The Sarmatians: Some Thoughts on the Historiographical Invention of a West Iranian Migration“, In Felix Wiedemann, Kerstin P. Hofmann and Hans-Joachim Gehrke (eds.). Vom Wandern der Völker. Migrationserzählungen in den Altertumswissenschaften. 97-134. Berlin: Edition Topoi.

The continuous migration of the Sarmatians from East to West is still considered an historical fact. The fundaments of this theory, however, are tricky: the Iranian tie of all the populations on the northeastern edge of the ancient world is too weak to support the existence of one ancient ethnos; our current image of the Sarmatians is the result of loose readings of texts and archaeological evidence, nourished by nationalistic convictions. This paper de-constructs the currently accepted Sarmatian migrations and proposes a new history of the invention of the Sarmatians, through the critical re-examination of the linguistic and archaeological data as well as of the historiographical theses of the last years.