Tanais [Танаїс]. (Map: Greek colonies on northern Black Sea coast.) An ancient city near the mouth of the Tanais River (later Don River). It was established by the Greeks of the Bosporan Kingdom at the beginning of the 3rd century BC as a trade center between the steppe nomads and the Greeks. It quickly grew into a prosperous city with a mixed population of Greeks, Sarmatians, and Maeotians. In the mid-3rd century AD Tanais was destroyed by the Goths. Although it was rebuilt, it never regained its prominence. After some nomad raids it died out in the early 5th century. Archeological research at the site started in 1853 and has been conducted systematically since 1955.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]