Home    Number 1, 2024

The Mystery of Herodotus’ Saspirs

[Taina gerodotovskikh saspirov]

DOI: https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541524010017


Type of publication: Research Article

Submitted: 12.12.2022

Accepted: 19.12.2023

About author(s)

Anton Salmin | https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1072-9933 | antsalmin@mail.ru | Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences (3 University Emb., St. Petersburg, 199034, Russia)


Herodotus, Saspirs/Sapirs/Savirs, Chuvash, ethnonym, history, geography, religion, ethnography, language


The article examines ancient evidence about Herodotus’ Saspirs against the backdrop of the Caucasian history of Sapirs/Saviri, drawing on both historical sources and current studies. To make the examination coherent, I introduce various data related to the history, geography, ethnography, religion, and language of this group. I argue that there must be a continuity among ethnonyms such as Σάσπειρες, Σάπειρες, Σάβιροι, Sapires, Savares, and Savirs. The Saspirs of the historical period under consideration supposedly inhabited the area between the Medes and the Colchis who resided to the south and to the north of the Phasis river accordingly. This area extended to the south-east of the Chorokh (Coruh) river towards the lakes Sevan and Van; while the Matiene mountains, by which the Saspirs lived, are taken to be the mountainous area near Erzurum.


Salmin, A.K. 2024. Taina gerodotovskikh saspirov [The Mystery of Herodotus’ Saspirs]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 5–22. https://doi.org/10.31857/S0869541524010017 EDN: YKKBAF

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