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The Scordisci ( gr, Σκορδίσκοι) were a
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry ...

Celtic
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
cultural group centered in the territory of present-day
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, at the confluence of the
Savus (Sava)
Savus (Sava)
, Dravus (Drava), Margus (Morava) and
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
rivers. They were historically notable from the beginning of the third century BC until the turn of the common era, and consolidated into a tribal state. At their zenith, their core territory stretched over regions comprising parts of present-day
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
, Bulgaria and Romania, while their influence spread even further. After the Roman conquest in the 1st century AD, their territories were included into the Roman provinces of Pannonia, Moesia and Roman Dacia, Dacia.


Origin

The Scordisci were a Celtic group formed after the Gallic invasion of the Balkans, or rather a "Celtic political creation" having mixed with the local Thracians and Illyrians. Their tribal name may be connected to the ''Scordus'', the Šar mountain. The personal names are noted to have been subsequently Illyricized, having South Pannonian–North Dalmatian influence. According to onomastic evidence, Scordiscan settlements to the east of the Morava river were Thracianized. In parts of Moesia (''northeast Central Serbia'') the Scordisci and Thracians lived beside each other, which is evident in the archeological findings of pits and treasures, spanning from the 3rd century BC to the 1st century BC. The Scordisci were found during different timelines in Illyria, Thrace and Dacia, sometimes splitting into more than one group like the ''Scordisci Major'' and the ''Scordisci Minor''. Extensive La Tene culture, La Tène type finds, of local production, are noted in Pannonia as well as northern Moesia Superior, attesting to the concentration of Celtic settlements and cultural contacts. However, such finds south of the Sava river are scarce.


Domain

The Scordisci were centered in the territory of present-day
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, at the confluence of the Sava, Drava and
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
rivers. The Scordisci consolidated into a tribal state. At their zenith, their core territory stretched over regions comprising parts of present-day
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = "Lijepa naša domovino ''Lijepa naša domovino'' (; ) is the national anthem A national anthem is a song that ...

Croatia
, Bulgaria and Romania, while their influence spread even further.


Culture

The Romans reported that they had the custom of drinking blood and that they sacrificed prisoners to deities equated with the Roman Bellona (goddess), Bellona and Mars (mythology), Mars.


History


4th and 3rd century BC

Celtic expansion reached the Carpathians in the beginning of the 4th century BC. According to Livy, perhaps based on Celtic legend, the Celts that migrated to Italy and Illyria numbered 300,000. The Celts established themselves in Pannonia, subjugating the Pannonians, and in the end of the 4th century they renewed raids into the Balkans. By the early 3rd century BC, Pannonia had been Celtiziced. The Celts, retreating from Delphi (280–278 BC), settled on the mouth of the Sava and called themselves Scordisci. The Scordisci established control to the north of the Dardani. There is no mention of the Scordisci until the reign of Philip V of Macedon (r. 221–179 BC), when they emerge as Macedon allies against the Dardani and Rome. The Scordisci, having conquered the important Sava valley, the only route to Italy, in the second half of the 3rd century BC, "gradually became the most important power in the northern Balkans". They controlled the various Pannonian groups in the region, extracting tribute and enjoying the status of the most powerful group in the central Balkans (see the Triballi, Autariatae, Dardani, Dardanians and Moesians), and they erected fortresses in Singidunum (today's city of Belgrade) and Taurunum (modern Zemun). They subjugated a number of groups in Moesia, including the Dardani, several west Thracian tribes and the Paeonians.


2nd century BC

The Scordisci most likely subdued the Dardani in the mid-2nd century BC, after which there are for long no mention of the Dardani. From 141 BC, the Scordisci were constantly involved in battles against Roman held Macedonia. They were defeated in 135 BC. by Cosconius in Thrace. In 118 BC, according to a memorial stone discovered near Thessalonica, Sextus Pompeius, probably the grandfather of the triumvir, was slain fighting against them near Stobi. In 114 BC, they surprised and destroyed the army of Gaius Porcius Cato in the western mountains of
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, but two years later they were defeated by Marcus Livius Drusus (consul), Marcus Livius Drusus (112 BC) and a few years later again by Minucius Rufus (107 BC). Yet, they did not give up their claim over Pannonia, since they are mentioned as having battled in the second siege of Sisak in 119 BC.


1st century BC

They still, from time to time, gave trouble to the Roman governors of Macedonia (Roman province), Macedonia, whose territory they invaded in combination with the Maedi and Dardani. They even advanced as far as Delphi and plundered the temple; but Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus (consul 83 BC), Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus finally overcame them in 88 BC and drove them across the Danube. After this, the power of the Scordisci declined rapidly. This decline was more a result of the political situation in barbaricum rather than the effects of Roman campaigns, as their clients, especially the Pannonians, became more powerful and politically independent. Between 56 and 50 BC, the Scordisci were defeated by Burebista's Dacians, and became subject to him. They were crushed in 15 BC by Tiberius, and became Roman subjects, playing the part as mercenaries. Other sources say the Romans made alliance with the Scordisci in Sirmium and Danube valleys following the Alpine campaign under Tiberius in 15 BC, the alliance would be crucial for the victory over the Pannonians (15 BC) and later Breuci (12 BC).


1st century AD

Strabo's ''Geographica'' (20 BC–23 AD) mentions that part of the Scordisci, the Major Scordisci, lived between the mouth of the Sava and mouth of the Morava, while the other part, the Minor Scordisci, lived to the east of the Morava, bordering the Moesi and Triballi. They started receiving Roman citizenship during Trajan's rule (98–117 AD). With their Romanization_(cultural), Romanization, they ceased to exist as an independent ethno-political unit. "Autariatae had vanished long before the Roman conquest, and the Triballi, Scordisci and Moesi all declined to insignificant remnants, the Dardani endured."


Archaeological sites

*Singidunum (Belgrade Fortress and Karaburma) *Taurunum (Zemun) *Capedunum (Užice)


Legacy

The Scordisci are regarded as the founders of Belgrade.


See also

* Prehistoric Serbia * List of ancient tribes in Illyria * List of ancient cities in Illyria * List of ancient tribes in Thrace and Dacia * Vatin culture


References


Sources

* * * * * * * *


Further reading

* Jovanović, Borislav. "The Eastern Celts and their Invasions of Hellenistic Greece and Asia Minor". In: ''BALCANICA'' XLV (2014). pp. 25-36. DOI: 10.2298/BALC1445025J {{Tribes of Serbia Gauls Celtic tribes of Illyria Ancient tribes in Serbia Ancient tribes in Croatia Ancient history of Vojvodina History of Syrmia History of Banat History of Bačka Šar Mountains 3rd-century BC establishments 1st-century BC disestablishments Ancient tribes in Bulgaria Tribes conquered by the Roman Empire Tribes conquered by Rome