Ancient Russia, world history and geography in mediaeval Scandinavian geographical tractates.
The meanings of the familiar modern geographical names in the Middle Ages. The opinion of the Scandinavians.
The land of Syria = Syrland (, page 37).
This name could refer to Sire-Land or Czar-Land. Apart from that, the three ancient names considered synonymous (Syria = Assyria = Ashur) are simply reverse readings of the name Russia. In the period when Russia conquered the Western Europe, the name could apply to the territory of the modern Germany in the form of “Prussia”, or “P-Russia”.
25.1. Scythia = Great Svitjod (Holy).
Scandinavian authors suggest the following identifications:
Scythia =*= Sithia =*= Sytia =*= Cythia =*= Cithia (, page 215) =*= Great Svitjod (Svitjod Hinn Mikla, qv in , pages 40 and 226) =*= Sarmatia + Alania + Gothia. Scythia was divided into the three areas mentioned above (, page 41). Furthermore, Scythia =*= Russia =*= Gardariki.
Thus, Sarmatia was considered a part of Scythia, occasionally identified as another name of the latter. Let us also add the identifications discovered earlier by ourselves.
Scythia = China = Africa = Thracia = Tartary = Turkey.
25.2. Scythia as Kitia, or China.
As we have seen, China (or “Kitai”) was one of the old names of Russia. This instantly sheds light over the origins of the term “Kitai” (the Russian word for “China”) – initially, it stood for “Scythia”, or the Great Russia, also known as the Mongolian Empire. “Kitai” is one of the forms of “Scythia” (or “Cithia”) common for Scandinavian literature, among other sources.
China was also known as “Katai”, qv above. Mediaeval English sources use the term “Cathai” for referring to the Chinese () – once again, a derivative of “Scythia”. Also, let us consider the two spellings: “Scithia” and “Cithia”. What could the letter S stand for? Possibly, a vestige of “Asia”, or “Jesus”? In this case, “S-Cithia” could be a reference to the fact that the greater part of the country in question was located in Asia: Asian Cithia = S-Cithia, or Scythia.
Let us also cite other names of Scythia as used by the mediaeval English sources as per . See also the table of synonyms in CHRON4, Chapter 15:1.5. It turns out that Scythia was also known as Barbaria, whereas the Scythians were referred to as “Cit” – once again, “Kitai”, or the Chinese! See . This fact is in good correspondence with our reconstruction.
25.3. Scythia or China in Africa.
It is important that “Cithia” was a name of Scythia used by the “ancient” authors, or the European authors of the XV-XVII century, as we understand today. This is what we learn from the historians: “The name was borrowed from the ancient authors by the West European geographers . . . In the Icelandic geographical tractates the name is associated with Great Svitjod, with Russia named as a separate geographical entity. ‘Description of the World II’ . . . locates Scythia in Africa” (, page 215).
Therefore, initially the name “Africa” was applied to a part of Europe and Asia by certain chroniclers. Africa = Thracia = Turkey = Tartary? The final move to the south must date from the XVII-XVIII century, which is when the term “Africa” became rigid and applied to the territory known as the African continent today.
25.4. Scythia “named after Magog” and described as India.
The Scandinavian author reports the following: “Scythia, which we call Great Svitjod, used to be an enormous land named thus after Magog, one of Japheth’s sons” (, page 146).
This is followed by a description of Scythia that greatly resembles similar descriptions of the Kingdom of Presbyter Johannes. It is called a great and wealthy land populated by many peoples – some “plough the land for food”; others, “monstrous and terrorizing, eat human flesh and drink blood . . . [once again, the Russians are accused of drinking blood instead of water – Auth.]. There are many lands that comprise this Scythia, most of them unpopulated, since many of the regions rich in gold and gemstones are hardly ever visited by people” (, page 146). The description fits Yakutia perfectly well – the part of Russia that lies in the Far East, sparsely populated and rich in gold and diamonds.
Although this account of Scythia is very interesting, it is too lengthy to be reproduced herein. Let us merely point out that the educated European author, Matthew of Paris, wasn’t the only one to scare his readers by tales of the monstrous Russians, or Tartars, devouring human bodies and drinking steaming blood. Who was the first author of the “scare stories”, one wonders?
The commentary of the modern historian to this text is very interesting indeed: “Likewise Vincent, the compiler . . . transfers the legends associated with India to his accounts of Scythia” (, page 149). Nothing to be surprised about – mediaeval Western Europeans used the name “India” for referring to the Kingdom of Presbyter Johannes, or the Great = “Mongolian” Empire = Scythia = Ancient Russia, qv in CHRON5, Chapter 8. Also, the ancient Russian word “inde” = India used to stand for “faraway land” (as seen from the Western Europe).
25.5. The gigantic size of Scythia and its individual parts – Alania, Dacia and Gothia.
The Scandinavian text tells us the following: “The first region in Europe is Lower Scythia . . . laying between the river Danubius [Danube – Auth.], which we call Duna, and the North Sea near Germany. The first part of Scythia is called Alania; next to it there are Dacia and Gothia. Near Scythia as mentioned above there is the country that we know as Germany” (, page 147).
Take a look at the map. It turns out that, according to the Scandinavians, Scythia reached Germany – moreover, the author tells us that Germany itself was populated by the natives of Scythia. This is in excellent correspondence with our reconstruction.
It is curious that many mediaeval sources tell us the same thing, rather persistently. This is what the modern commentators have to say about the whole thing: <<The compiler of the ‘Guidebook’, likewise the author of the ‘Description of the World III’, uses the term Sithia (for Scythia) and paints a picture of the Eastern Europe typical for the Western European geography of the Middle Ages based on the ancient tradition that regarded all the lands between the Black and the “North” Sea, or the Arctic Ocean in the North, as Scythia . . . The division of Scythia into Alania, Dacia and Gothia is also traditional for the mediaeval geography>> (, page 150).
25.6. Scythia as the land of the Amazons.
In CHRON4 we have already cited the most interesting mediaeval data – apparently, some of the “ancient” authors considered the ancient Russia - “land of the Amazons”. This information gets unexpected proof from the part of mediaeval Scandinavian geographical tradition. Having told us about the giants (bear in mind that Scythia was known as the land of giants in the Middle Ages, qv in CHRON5, Chapter 21:11), the Scandinavian author continues: “Great Svitjod is populated by Albanians . . . There is also a country called Kvannaland there; these women [sic! – Auth.] live right next to the Albanians and wage wars among themselves, just like men in other places; those women are just as strong and clever as men elsewhere” (, page 178).
Y. A. Melnikova is perfectly right to remark: “The author of the tractate doubtlessly refers to the mythical land of the Amazons in Asia” (, page 179). Why “mythical”, pray? In CHRON4 we already told the reader that the Amazons were identified as the Russian Cossack women. The name Quenland is most likely to translate as “Land of the Queens”.
“In accordance with the Western European tradition, which is based on the reports of the ancient geographers, the Amazons are located in Asia, the area that lies to the north of India between Bactria and Caucasian Albania” (, page 209). This land of the Amazons is called “Quenland I” by the historians. In this case, there must also be a “Quenland II”.
Indeed, such a country does exist. How did Scaligerian history end up with two lands of the Amazons? It turns out that some mediaeval authors claimed that the Amazons “lived in Asia, right next to India” (, page 209), whereas others were quite as unanimous in their claim that “the Amazons lived on the shores of the Baltic Sea” (, page 209).
Since Scaligerian history cannot allow for India to spread from the Indian Ocean to the Baltic Sea, the only solution was to cut a single country in two parts, locating the first next to the modern India, and the second, on the shores of the Baltic Sea, ascribing them numbers I and II for greater simplicity.
Our hypothesis is as follows. The Amazons, or the Cossack women, lived on the territory of the Great = “Mongolian” Empire, whose centre was in Russia. At the end of the day, their exact place of dwelling is of secondary importance to us here. The important thing is that there was just one land of the Amazons – the division into two parts was completely unwarranted.
It would be interesting to consider the popular mediaeval evidence concerning the land of the Amazons from a new viewpoint. Incidentally, could there be a link between “Amazon” and “amazing”, which would make the former a foreign name used for referring to the Russian Cossack women?
Today it is believed that the name Kvennaland stems from the word “kvenna” – the genitive of “kona”; cf. also the German “Koenig” (“king”): “One must pay particular attention to the evidence contained in other written sources that mentions the existence of a land populated by women near Finland, such as Adam of Bremen: ‘. . . those shores of the Baltic sea are believed to be populated by the Amazons, which is why we call them the Land of Women’” (, page 209).
It is very interesting that the mediaeval English sources openly call Amazonia “Maegda Londe”, or Maegda-Land. This must have initially meant “Land of Magog”, or “Mongolian Land”, qv in  and the table in CHRON4, Chapter 15:1.5.
Moreover, English sources call Germany Mesia, which is once again close to “Amazonia”. Nothing surprising about this fact, either – Germany was once part of the “Mongolian” = Great Empire, and could have inherited the name Amazonia in the form “Mesia”.
Finally, let us quote the most remarkable name of one of the chapters from the mediaeval “Global Chronicle” by Marcin Belski, published in the alleged year 1551 (). The chapter is titled quite unequivocally: “On the Amazon Women, Wives of the Tartars”, no less! See , page 231. Therefore, in the XVI-XVII century the word “Amazons” was used for referring to the wives of the Tartars. And who are the Tartars? We have mentioned this fact a great many times – in the epoch of the XIV-XVI century it was another name of the Cossacks. Therefore, the Amazons can be identified as the Cossack women, who have always had a reputation of being outstanding riders and active participants of the social life of Cossack communities, occasionally fighting alongside the men.
Let us conclude with another reminder that the mediaeval Scandinavians, as well as the “ancient” authors, or the West Europeans of the XIV-XVI century, according to our reconstruction, located the land of the Amazons in Scythia.
25.7. Scythia was also known as Scotia, or Scotland.
The name Scythia was also used for referring to Scotland, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle tells us (we have analysed it in detail in CHRON4, Chapter 1, and CHRON4, Chapter 18:11). This is perfectly understandable – the names “Scythia” and “Scotia” are virtually identical to each other.
In CHRON4 we have explained the Scythian origins of the name “Scotland” as follows: the Great = “Mongolian” Conquest reached the British Isles as well. Scythian settlers founded many towns and a state here. The name “Scotland” is one of its numerous vestiges.
Let us conclude by turning towards the mediaeval English sources () in order to find out how they called Scotland. Apparently, it was called Scotia and Gutlonde, or “Land of the Goths” (; see also the table in CHRON4, Chapter 15:1.5). Perfect correspondence with our reconstruction.
We hardly need to add anything to the above. One must simply provide accurate quotations from mediaeval sources and attempt to treat them without prejudice – like common sense dictates.
26. Smolensk, Suzdal, Tanais, Tanakvisl, Tartarariki etc. Thracia = Turkey. Finland. Chernigov.
The Scandinavians suggest the following identifications:
The Russian city of Smolensk =*= Smaleskja (, Chapter 38).
The Russian city of Suzdal =*= Surdalar (, page 38) =*= Sursdalr (, page 43).
River Tanais = River Don (, page 32) =*= Tanakvisl (, page 40).
Tartarariki =*= Tartary (, page 91).
It is curious that the mediaeval Scandinavian author locates Tartary in the North: “To the East of Norway we find Rusland [Russia – Auth.], and to the north of the latter there lays Tartarariki” (, page 89).
The modern commentary is as follows: “The reference to the ‘Kingdom of the Tartars’, or ‘Tartarariki’ is one of the few such passages encountered in the ancient Scandinavian literature . . . In the second half of the XIII century the Scandinavian learn of the Tartars, and, apparently, the Golden Horde (Tartarariki?) without the proxy of the Western Europe but rather from immediate contacts with the Tartars themselves and people who were familiar with said nation very well. Also, we must note the “northern” location of the Tartar Kingdom” (, pages 91 and 92).
Tartarariki translates as “Tartar-Reich” (or “Empire of the Tartars”) – the ancient Russia in other words. The Scandinavians had a very correct view of geography; it was much later that they were forced to alter it.
Furthermore, it turns out that, according to the Scandinavians, the people that inhabited Thracia settled in Svitjod, and later also Norway, Iceland and Greenland (, page 65).
Finland =*= Tavastland (, page 35). It is likely that Finland was part of Kylfingaland in the XIV-XVI century – the latter identifies as the ancient Russia, qv in CHRON5, Chapter 21:15.
The Russian city of Chernigov =*= Syrnes (, page 37) =*= Serensk, another city in Russia (, page 38).
27. Sweden = Lesser Svitjod.
The Scandinavian authors used the following synonyms:
Sweden =*= Lesser Svitjod (, page 217). Let us remind the reader that Great Svitjod was the name used by the Scandinavians for referring to Russia. Could this imply that Sweden =*= Lesser Svitjod was populated by the Russians in the days of yore?
This appears to be what the Scandinavian texts mean when they claim that Scythia was populated by Asians (see CHRON5, Chapter 11). Subsequently, all the Scandinavian countries were populated by the Scythian settlers; echoes of this event survived in the name of Sweden – Lesser Svitjod.
Let us voice a hypothesis about there being a more profound reason behind all the wars fought between Peter the Great and Karl, King of Sweden. In the epoch of Peter the Great the Russians must have still had a vague memory that Sweden was once part of the Great = “Mongolian” Empire, and tried to reclaim the territories as “rightfully theirs”.
The Scandinavians (or, to speak more generally, the West Europeans of the XVIII century), used the indubitable existence of close ties between Scandinavia and ancient Russia as a basis for reversing the direction of the settlers’ movement, and developed an antithesis – namely, that the very institution of statehood was imported by the ancient Russians from Scandinavia.
The justification of this version must date from the Romanovian epoch – they are very likely to have brought it into existence. It was slyly suggested to interpret the famous chapter of the Russian chronicle about the Scandinavian Varangians, or Normans, coming to Russia under the leadership of Ryurik, allegedly summoned by the Russians in order to grace the latter with order and bring an end to the incessant internecine conflicts afflicting Russia.
It was the birth of the famous “Norman theory”, a tendentious version of how the ancient Russia was founded as a state. The Russian Prince, or Khan Ryurik (also known as Genghis-Khan) was made into a native of Scandinavia. This was the very reason why the counterfeited page with “Novgorod on Lake Ladoga” ended up in the Radzivilovskaya Chronicle (see CHRON4, Chapter 1).
As we can see, the nations of the XVII-XVIII century didn’t only fight on battlefields, but also on the pages of the ancient history textbooks that they compiled. There is nothing to be surprised about here – on the contrary, it would be odd if “historical argumentation” wouldn’t be used for the justification of this or the other political idea. Unfortunately, historical science goes hand in hand with politics, and this state of affairs exists until the present day, which often gets in the way of levelheaded scientific discussion of the accumulated historical paradoxes. We are of the opinion that it is high time to abandon the XVII-XVIII century politics and attempt to join forces in order to reconstruct the authentic picture of the antiquity.
In the present case the problem has an easy enough solution. The mediaeval Scandinavian documents tell us nothing at all about the “Norman theory”, which is perfectly natural. However, they report it without any ambiguity whatsoever that Scandinavia was populated by settlers hailing from Great Svitjod = Scythia = Russia. In other words, the forefathers of the modern Scandinavians, or the XIII-XIV settlers that came to dwell on the Scandinavian peninsula, were of Slavic and Turkic origin. This brings us close to the issue of the word Scandinavia itself and its original meaning.
28. The ancient meaning of the word “Scandinavia”.
It is somewhat strange that the Ethnographic Reference Book compiled by Y. A. Melnikova and included in her book () concerned with the Scandinavian chronicles does not contain the word Scandinavia – we only see references to Skaney, a region in Southern Sweden, and Skaun, a district in the Norwegian North. The actual word “Scandinavia” is mysteriously absent, and there is no explanation of either its origin or its ancient meaning. Therefore, we shall have to ponder this issue autonomously.
Let us follow the same method of referring to the mediaeval sources. It turns out that the mediaeval English authors called Scandinavia “Gothia”, whereas the Scandinavians were known to them as “Gothi” – the Goths, no less! This important circumstance is reported by V. I. Matouzova in . Let us also recollect that the Scandinavians were certain about Great Svitjod, or Scythia, being the homeland of their forefathers. This is the very reason why they called Sweden “Lesser Svitjod” (see CHRON5, Chapter 21:27).
As we have already mentioned, the word Scythia was transcribed in a variety of ways, the most popular spelling being Scithia – SCT or SCD without vocalizations. Therefore, let us voice the following idea.
When the Scythians, or the “Mongols” (Great Ones) populated the northern countries, they may well have called them New Scythia, or SCD-Nova, which is basically the same as Scandinavia. This is likely to be the actual toponymy of the name Scandinavia.
There may have been several regions referred to as “New Scythia”. We all know about the famous Ascania Nova next to the modern Astrakhan. Incidentally, the name “Astrakhan” might be a derivative of “Asian Tartar Khan”, or AS + TR + KHAN.
Could this Ascania Nova be yet another vestige of the name “New Scythia”, which was made popular as the Great = “Mongolian” Empire entered the phase of growth and conquered many new regions, some of which were lost subsequently?
Another observation is as follows. It is possible that “Scania” might also be interpreted as “As-Cania” or “As-Khania” – “Kingdom of the Asian Khan”, in other words. “Scandinavia” is likely to be derived from the same root with the addition of the “New” part.
By the way, the hypothesis that “Astrakhan” is derived from “AS + TR + KHAN” is in good correspondence with the city’s other name, “Tmutarakan”, which must have stood for “TM + TR + KHAN”, or thema (province) of the Tartar Khan. Nowadays, some commentators suggest to identify Tmutarakan as Kerch, and others – as Astrakhan or Taman.
Therefore, Scandinavia most probably identifies as New Scythia, which was also known as “Gothia”.
Finally, a minor yet illustrative detail. In CHRON4 we voiced the idea that the famous “Varangian-Greek Route” allegedly used by the Scandinavians in order to reach Byzantium via Dvina or Neva and Dnepr never functioned in reality, being a mere figment of Scaligerian and Romanovian history.
We found unexpected proof of our hypothesis in the work of Y. A. Melnikova. She tells us the following about the “Varangian-Greek Route”: “No guidebooks of the XII-XIII century are familiar with this route” (, page 186). The reason is perfectly simple – nobody ever used it.