Although no longer the epitome of nomadic military ardor, the remnants of the Skythian nobility still serve as a powerful cavalry force.
Although no longer the epitome of nomadic military ardor, the remnants of the Skythian nobility still serve as a powerful cavalry force. Now, the Skuda Uaezdaettae, or Skythian Nobles, fight in a matter almost more similar to the Greeks than their nomadic ancestors, preferring the xyston or spear and sword to archery, even though they still carry composite bows. Equipped with a fine lynothorax reinforced with metal scales, long pteryges and a Greek style bronze helmet, they can still form a deadly cavalry force, though not to the extent they once could. Their tactics have also shifted to deal more with similarly equipped cavalry and heavy infantry rather than nomadic horse archers.
Historically, after the Sauromatae began to invade their territory, the Skythians began to decline. Each year they shrunk, until they only continued in what became known as "Skythia Minor", the lower Dniepr and the Crimea. Because of this, their conections to the Hellenistic Black Sea colonies, which were always strong grew even greater until many Skythians were settled and resembled Greeks more than their nomadic cousins still on the steppe. Even so, they never completely lost their skill with cavalry and their martial prowess and under the rule of King Skiluros the Crimean Skythians experienced a revival of their fortunes. They gained control of the Greek city of Olbia and fought successfully against the Bosporan Kingdom. However, this prompted the intervention of a Pontic Kingdom that, under a young Mithradates VI was starting an agressive expansion. Pontic forces defeated the Skythians and made them vassals of Pontos. As such, they would become a very valuable asset for the Pontic army in its subsequent wars with Rome.