Roxolani. A nomadic tribe of Sarmatians that ranged over the Ural foothills and Volga lowlands in the eastern Black Sea steppes during the 2nd century BC. Initially they clashed with the Scythians, but after the 2nd century BC the Roxolani conquered the Scythians and fought together with them against the Pontic Kingdom and Greek colonies in the Crimea (see Ancient states on the northern Black Sea coast). In the mid-1st century AD some of the Roxolani took to the steppes between the lower Dnieper River and the Danube River. For nearly 70 years they settled in the Wallachian Plain and as far as Moesia province, until they were crushed by the Romans. Later, along with other Black Sea coastal tribes, they continued to fight against the Romans on the lower Danube River. In the late 2nd century AD the Roxolani were dispersed by the Goths, and in the 4th century they were annihilated by the Huns. They were last mentioned by the Gothic historian Jordan as participants in a battle against the Huns. Excavations in the steppes northwest of the Sea of Azov, between the lower Dnieper River and the Molochna River, have uncovered a number of Middle Sarmatian barrow graves, attributed to the Roxolani. They date mostly from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD, although some go back to the late 2nd century BC.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]

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