Skilurus or Scylurus was the best known king of
Scythia in the 2nd
century BC. He was the son of a king and the father of a king, but the
relation of his dynasty to the previous one is disputed. His realm
included the lower reaches of the
Borysthenes and Hypanis, as well as
the northern part of Crimea, where his capital, Scythian Neapolis, was
Skilurus ruled over the
Tauri and controlled the ancient trade
emporium of Pontic Olbia, where he minted coins. In order to gain
advantage against Chersonesos, he allied himself with the Sarmatian
tribe of Rhoxolani. In response, Chersonesos forged an alliance with
Mithridates VI of Pontus.
Skilurus died during a war against
Mithridates, a decisive conflict for supremacy in the Pontic steppe.
Soon after his death, the
Scythians were defeated by Mithridates (ca.
108 BC). Either
Skilurus or his son and successor
Palacus were buried
in a mausoleum at Scythian Neapolis; it was used from ca. 100 BC to
ca. 100 AD.
Pseudo-Plutarch, in Sayings of Kings and Commanders, reports the
following version of the Aesopic fable "The Old Man and his Sons":
"Scilurus on his death-bed, being about to leave eighty sons
surviving, offered a bundle of darts to each of them, and bade them
break them. When all refused, drawing out one by one, he easily broke
them; thus teaching them that, if they held together, they would
continue strong, but if they fell out and were divided, they would
become weak." cf. "Unity makes strength".
Content of this page in part derives from the Great Soviet
Encyclopedia article on the same subject.
^ "Plutarch: Sayings of kings and commanders". www.attalus.org.
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