Homeland of the Slavs 800–200 BCE

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Map Code: Ax00951

Herodotus, writing in the 5th century BCE, describes a tribe he calls the ‘Neuri’, living beside a great lake, in a land bounded by rivers. The locale fits the Pripet Marshes, which flood seasonally. It has been conjectured from the details of the description that the Neuri could be an original Slavic people. In the 7th century BCE, the Scythians had migrated from their heartlands around the north shores of the Black Sea through the Caucasus. They are recorded as having conquered ‘Media’ (modern Persia) in alliance with the Assyrians. However, the collapse of the Assyrian Empire left them exposed and, in 607 BCE, the Median king Cyaxares drove them from his realm. This enforced reverse migration of the Scythians appears to have had a knock-on effect on the early Slavs, who were driven northward and eastward, ahead of the Scythians.

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