Taurians (tavry). An ancient tribe of unknown origin that inhabited the mountainous regions of the Crimea in the 1st millennium BC. They engaged primarily in animal husbandry, some agriculture in the river valleys, and fishing along the coast. Although technologically less advanced than their neighbors, they defended themselves from encroachment by Chersonese Taurica and the Bosporan Kingdom. At the end of the 3rd century BC the Scythians retreated south from the Sarmatians and intermixed with the Taurians; references to Tauroscythians and Scythotaurians thereupon appeared in the ancient Greek writers. In the late 2nd century BC the Taurians came under the Pontic Kingdom, and in the 1st century AD they were Romanized. Eventually they were assimilated by the Alans, the Goths, and other invaders. The last historical references to them date from the 4th century.

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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