Live from the British Museum: The Scythians
2,500 years ago groups of formidable warriors roamed the vast open plains of Siberia. Ferocious nomads, they roamed from Southern Russia down into Iran – a whole region that makes up the middle portion of the Silk Roads. Feared, loathed, admired – but over time forgotten… until now. A new major exhibition at the British Museum, which has garnered 5 star reviews across the board, explores the story of the Scythians: nomadic tribes and masters of mounted warfare who flourished between 900 and 200 BC. Their encounters with the Greeks, Assyrians and Persians were written into history but for centuries all trace of their culture was lost – buried beneath the ice. Amazingly preserved in permafrost, these clothes and fabrics, food and weapons, spectacular gold jewellery – even mummified warriors and horses – are now revealing the truth about these people’s lives. This material evidence of a warlike people who dominated vast swathes of grassland between the borders of modern China and the Black Sea is a rebuke to those who thought the ancient worlds existed in isolation from one another and that globalization only began as European ships plunged into the Indian Ocean 500 years ago. Now join Dan Snow at the British Museum, where he discusses the Scythians and their extraordinary way of life with St John Simpson, the Curator of the exhibition.