копыловViktor P. Kopylov*, Sergei Yu. Yangulov**
* Institute of Archaeology RAS, Moscow, Russia (vikkop48@mail.ru)
** Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia (yangulov-sergej@rambler.ru)

Keywords: Scythians, cataphracts, armour, battle-belts, shields, helmets, greaves, lances.

The article uses materials from the barrows at Elizavetovka and data from Classical written sources to investigate the question of Scythian armoured heavy cavalry. Such attributes of cataphracts as heavy defensive armour and use of lance as main offensive weapon were also characteristic features of the military art of the Lower Don Scythians, as evidenced by the finds from Elizavetovka where the burial complexes have yielded specimens of all the main types of defensive equipment: armour, battle-belts, shields, helmets and greaves. The spear-heads and the length of the spears from Elizavetovka indicate that lances 2.3 to 3.1 meters in length were part of the arsenal deployed by the Lower Don Scythians. The conclusion is supported by the images on sheaths of Chertomlyk swords (see figure). Analysis of the grave pits and the assemblages which include objects of defensive armour allows assuming that the Scythian armored heavy cavalry troops will have comprised men and women warriors (two of the pieces of armour were found in women’s graves) or representatives of clan aristocracy. The conclusion that Scythian troops will have included heavy cavalry is also supported by the descriptions of their battle tactics in Classical sources.