Book: America & Britain

The ten tribes of the northern House of Israel had been fully uprooted and taken captive at the hands of the Assyrians—God’s “rod of correction” (see Isa. 10:5-6) for Israel’s continued violation of His covenant (Lev. 26:25). Just as foretold by the prophet Ahijah, they had been taken “beyond the [Euphrates] river” (I Kings 14:15), with the majority relocated along the northern border of Assyria in what today would be southeastern Turkey—just south of the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In a later invasion, which included the fall of Samaria, the remainder had been taken further east to the area of Media, south and just west of the Caspian Sea (roughly northwest Iran today).

Backtracking to their homeland was impossible. Many captives no doubt perished during the arduous forced relocation, and any attempt to return to Palestine would be equally disastrous. Besides, the land of promise was destined to be completely repopulated by peoples from the surrounding nations (II Kings 17:24).

As previously noted, tens of thousands of Jews from the southern kingdom were also taken captive along with the northern tribes; still, a sizable number of scattered Israelites no doubt found refuge in Judah. And, as Chapter 9 brings out, a significant number of Israelites with maritime skills escaped captivity altogether by fleeing to the west on ships. But as both Scripture and history show, no tribe of the House of Israel ever returned to Palestine. The Jewish historian Josephus verifies this fact: “[There] are but two tribes [Judah and Benjamin, plus the Levites] in Asia … subject to the Romans, while the ten tribes are [to be found] beyond the [headwaters of the] Euphrates [even] now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers.”1 Josephus wrote in the late first century AD, when the “lost” tribes of Israel were well established in great numbers in eastern Europe and already beginning to make their way further northwest to their permanent homes. Thus, according to Josephus, the so-called “lost” tribes of Israel had not vanished and their whereabouts were clearly known.

Some Jewish scholars hold to the flawed idea that the northern tribes eventually found their way back to Palestine when the Jews were restored to the land following their captivity to the Babylonians. Besides the fact that secular history does not support this idea, numerous biblical passages show that only the Jews resettled Palestine after their exile was overturned (Ezra 1:5; 4:1; Neh. 11:4; etc.). When Ezra uses the term “children of Israel” (Ezra 3:1; 6:16; etc.) in describing those who had returned from exile in Babylon, he was speaking of those Jews of the House of Judah who were, in fact, sons of Israel. Like all Jews, they were descendants of Israel. Nehemiah likewise broadly lists the returning Jews as being “of Israel” (Neh. 7:7; etc.).

Remember, Israel’s captivity occurred some 130 years prior to the fall of Jerusalem. By the time the Jews returned to Palestine after 70 years of captivity, the bulk of the northern tribes had already moved into southern Russia and areas around the Black Sea. Moreover, as we will see in a later chapter, numerous biblical passages speak of a future restoration for the House of Israel, which clearly indicates that their original captivity was never overturned. The Jewish scholar Isaac Lesser agrees that Israel never returned to the land: “Let us observe that by this return of the [Jewish] captives [from Babylon], the Israelite nation was not restored, since the ten tribes, who had formerly composed the kingdom of Israel, were left in banishment. [And] to this day, researchers … and wise men have not been able to trace their fate.”2 Lesser acknowledges the fact that the northern tribes never returned from their exile, but he is in error when he says that their fate is unknown.

Overwhelmingly, scholars and researchers insist that the deported tribes of Israel vanished soon after exile, having been absorbed into the lands of their captors. For example, the highly reputable Cambridge Ancient History notes, “All the northern tribes … had been carried off … [and] enquiry into their fate has been one of the curiosities of learned and other research; [yet they] were probably soon swallowed up in their new [exilic] homes.”3 A primary reason for this fallacy is that such scholars simply do not understand (or believe) the clear promises God made to Abraham— promises concerning the birthright nations of Ephraim and Manasseh. Those birthright promises had not been fulfilled at the time of Israel’s captivity; thus, Israel must have survived its exile intact in order for those very specific blessings to be granted to their descendants at a later date. Recall that Amos wrote that while Israel would be “sifted” among the nations, “not one kernel of grain would fall to the ground”—that is, Israel would not die out or cease to exist (Amos 9:9). In verse eight, God plainly says, “I will not completely destroy the house of Jacob.”

Operating from the faulty premise that the deported Israelites either became extinct or were absorbed by other peoples, researchers have shown little interest in connecting their post-exilic descendants with the recognized ancient clans of the region. Hence, historians are at a loss to explain the origins of the Cimmerians and the Scythians of the Middle East. It is well established that both groups mysteriously and suddenly appeared along the fringes of the Assyrian Empire at about the same time—shortly after the tribes of Israel were relocated to those same areas. Lacking the imagination to link these nomadic peoples to the exiled Israelites, scholars assume that they originated elsewhere: The Cimmerians are thought to have moved into Asia from areas northwest of the Black Sea, and the Scythians are said to have originated among the barbaric hordes of the Far East. However, both of these conclusions—which are based heavily on erroneous assumptions made by Herodotus—are wrong.4

Indeed, millions of people do not just disappear. As Josephus noted, the ten tribes had become an immense multitude by the first century AD. Jesus sent His apostles out to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God to the “lost house of Israel” (Matt. 10:5-6). Thus, the northern tribes had not become extinct and their whereabouts were well known. Over time the exiled tribes of Israel had become known by other names: the House of Omri; the Gimri, or Cimmerians; the Sakka, or Scythians. Contrary to Lesser and other misguided scholars, researchers have been able to trace the migrations of the Cimmerians and the Scythians from their original exilic settlements north and east of Assyria. Under these new names, the tribes of Israel began to move northward and westward along three major land routes: 1) westward across Asia Minor; 2) northward across the Caucasus Mountains; and 3) northward around the eastern side of the Caspian Sea. These migrations would occur in several stages over many decades; but ultimately, the bulk of the tribes of Israel would coalesce, settling for well over a century in areas north and west of the Black Sea, as well as in parts of southern Russia.

Circumstances Leading to Israel’s Migrations

When the Assyrians relocated the Israelites “across the Euphrates,” they did so as a military strategy. The Cambridge notes: “[Deportation] was a deliberate policy for the purpose of breaking up old alliances … and of inaugurating new conditions more favorable to Assyrian ambitions of empire.” Moreover, “wholesale deportation” led to the “disruption of the [natural] ties of patriotism and religion.”5

Perhaps more significantly, it was Assyrian policy to use relocated peoples in the creation of “buffer states” between themselves and their enemies. In his Ancient History of the Near East, H. R. Hall writes that the Assyrians worked to establish “dependant” mini-states “largely composed of conquered and deported tribes from other parts of western Asia.” He specifically mentions “imported Semites” in association with the area of Mannae.6 As noted in the previous chapter, Mannae was a Cimmerian stronghold used as an Assyrian buffer state. Apparently, deported Israelites were used to form several buffer zones in the long-standing conflict between Assyria and Urartu (an old name for Armenia) to their north.7

Naturally, these “buffer states” were “caught in the middle” of numerous conflicts, essentially becoming war zones. As might be expected, those tribal clans making up such buffer states were called on at times to fight on behalf of their captors. As it turned out, Cimmerian and Scythian Israelites fought both alongside and against the Assyrians. The Cimmerians in particular were often allied as mercenaries with the Assyrians (and others) in various military campaigns. For example, the Cimmerians helped to briefly supplant the Urartean Empire,8 and Scythian Israelites to the east once fought against Jerusalem as Babylonian mercenaries.9

In time, the Cimmerian and Scythian Israelites became a force to be reckoned with. But even with their war-like nature, geopolitical conflict taking place in the Middle East eventually caused these Israelite bands to move on—to seek a better home for themselves. The primary reason for their migration to the north and west was to avoid being caught up in a protracted war between Assyria and a resurgent Babylon (which involved the Medes and Persians as well). While the majority of Israelites remained in the areas of their initial exile for about a hundred years, some Cimmerian groups began migrating to the northwest relatively early. Conversely, a significant number of Scythian bands left the region much later—which allowed them to play a key role in the overthrow of the Assyrian Empire.

By the mid-600s BC, as Babylon began to make an unexpected comeback, Assyria found itself under pressure on several fronts. In fact, unrest along Assyria’s northern border was one of the foremost reasons the Cimmerians began migrating directly west across Asia Minor as early as about 680 BC—a mere fifty years from their initial exile.10 Much later, by about 600 BC, other Cimmerian clans began moving northward, crossing the Caucasus mountains by way of the Dariel Pass. “It is believed that an attack upon Sakland [land of the Saka Israelites, roughly the area south of Georgia] by the Assyrians, who [in a reversal of their previous policies] had


made an alliance with the kings of Urartu, precipitated [the Cimmerian] exodus. This was about the time the Assyrian Empire was crumbling before the Babylonians.”11

Their Scythian brothers to the east would soon find themselves on the move as well—following the same path across the Caucasus, as well as going north around the east side of the Caspian Sea—spurred on by a Babylon bent on conquest. Edmund Filmer writes: “Following the fall of Nineveh in 612 BC and the subsequent collapse of Assyrian power in 609, the Scythians were deprived of their most powerful ally and consequently came under increasing pressure from the Medes [allied with Babylon]…. As a result, all Scythians west [and south] of the Caspian Sea would have been forced to retreat northwards into south Russia through the Dariel Pass in the Caucasus. Clearly, this migration must have begun about 600 BC, and this agrees with the fact that the earliest Scythian tombs [found] in [southern] Russia have been dated to about 580 BC.”12

Over time, Cimmerian clans found their way along the shores of the Black Sea to resettle in the Crimean region and in an area anciently called Arsareth, just north and west of the Black Sea. Scythian Israelites also moved to the north, spreading out over a considerable part of the Russian steppes.

Northwestward Movement

In our search for the “lost” tribes of Israel, we must look first for biblical clues. As we will see, these clues indicate that it was God’s plan for Israel to migrate to the northwest. In biblical Hebrew, there is no word for northwest; rather, the terms north and west are used together—or in separate but related passages—to indicate a northwesterly direction.

As the leading tribe of the northern kingdom, Ephraim is typically named in the Old Testament as representative of the entire nation (see Hosea 5:12, etc.). Moreover, Ephraim is said to represent the tribe of Joseph (Psa. 78:67; Ezek. 37:16). In Hosea 12:1, we read that Ephraim “follows after an east wind”—and an east wind blows toward the west. Ephraim is also said to “tremble from the west” (Hosea 11:10). (In the Bible, geographical locations are generally given from the vantage point of Jerusalem.) These passages clearly suggest a western location for Ephraim—i.e., Joseph. Could these passages be an indication that Ephraim—birthright Israel—was to one day migrate toward the west?13

But Israel was to also migrate to the north. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God said: “The backsliding Israel has justified herself more than treacherous Judah. Go and cry these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, O backsliding Israel,’ says the LORD; ‘and I will not cause My anger to fall on you; for I am merciful,’ says the LORD, ‘and I will not keep My anger forever’ ” (Jer. 3:11-12). This key passage—which reaffirms that the people of Israel were split into two nations, Israel and Judah—was written about 620 BC, some one hundred years after the fall of Samaria. Jeremiah knew the northern tribes had been initially taken north to the borders of Assyria. But by the early 600s BC, large numbers of Israelites had already migrated to the north and to the west from their areas of exile. It is likely that Jeremiah was to proclaim his message of repentance “toward the north” among those Israelites who had already resettled in areas north and west of the Black Sea—areas that would become home to the “lost” tribes for well over a century.

Cimmerian Migration

As we saw in the previous chapter, Assyrian archeological evidence and military archives place the Cimmerians along the northern border of Assyria in approximately 714 BC—in exactly the areas to which most of the Israelite tribes had been exiled. This information reflects the earliest historical records of Cimmerian activity. Other military archives reveal that Cimmerian clans were engaged in war against Assyria in 705 BC. The Cambridge reports: “The appearance of Gimirrai (Cimmerians) south of the Caucasus [Mountains] can be dated by letters of Assyrian governors at the end of Sargon’s reign (722-705 BC).”14 (Sargon, as brought out below, died defeating the Cimmerians in 705 BC.) These records (among others) clearly place the Cimmerians in the Middle East in the early 700s BC.

However, Herodotus—writing in the fifth century BC—traces the Cimmerians to regions north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea during the early 600s.15 Reflecting the broad acceptance of Herodotus’ opinion, the Britannica Online Encyclopedia defines the Cimmerians as “an ancient people living north of the Caucasus.”116

Herodotus correctly linked the Cimmerians with areas north of the Black Sea, as it is well established that many of their clans were settled in areas of southeast Europe after the mid-600s BC. Assuming this was the land of their origin, he proposed that their sudden appearance along the northern borders of Assyria was the result of their being driven southward by barbarians into Asia. (Other historians define this theoretical Cimmerian move as a deliberate invasion). This idea, however, fails to account for the Cimmerian’s presence in the Middle East some 70-80 years earlier, when they were known to have roamed areas of the Assyrian Empire.

It is difficult to explain Herodotus’ flawed perspective. Nevertheless, he misread the Cimmerian’s long and prosperous history in southeastern Europe and southern Russia as pointing to their origin—while at the same time underestimating the significance of their relatively shorter stay in the Mideast as exiles. It is unfortunate that he failed to look further back to the final decades of the eighth century where we find the Cimmerians interacting with their Assyrian captors. A few modern scholars have cast doubt on Herodotus’ reliability in this regard.17

Ultimately, the facts only support a migration from south to north— not vice versa. As previously brought out, the Cimmerians were of Israelite origin, exiles reorganized into significant groups of nomadic clans. Leaving the lands of their exile in stages, they first moved westward across Asia Minor, then turned north to settle along the southwestern shores of the Black Sea. Decades later, the remaining Cimmerian clans moved northward through the Caucasus to settle in areas north and west of the Black Sea—the area roughly defined today by Crimea, the Ukraine, Romania, and parts of Southern Russia.

The Cimmerian migration out of the Middle East may be linked to the protracted demise of the Assyrian Empire. A resurgent Babylon (allied with the Medes) was bent on the total destruction of Assyria. As the empire began to crumble under constant attack from without, the exiled Israelite tribes were enabled to assume independent action—which, of course, meant attacking their captors. Yair Davidy writes that “a major factor undermining the Assyrian Empire was [ongoing] attacks by the Cimmerians.”18 However, Cimmerian participation in the fall of Assyria would prove costly, resulting in many of their clans being forced out of the Middle East

According to Assyrian military archives, Argistis of Urartu amassed a great army in 708 BC with which to attack Assyria. A year later, a people called the Gimirrai (Cimmerians) defended the Assyrians by soundly defeating the Urarteans. The defeat suffered by Argistis “warned the Assyrian king [Sargon] of the danger of the hordes of Cimmerians on his northern border.” At the cost of his own life, Sargon attacked and defeated the Cimmerians in 705 BC. Thus, there was “no important aggression of the Cimmerians during the reign of Sennacherib [Sargon’s successor].”19

Defeated, the Cimmerians spent the next two decades regrouping. In time, “the Gimirrai with whom Sargon had fought reappeared in the northwest provinces [during] Esarhaddon’s reign.” In about 679 BC, in what was probably the last major encounter between Assyria and the Gimirrai, Esarhaddon drove the Cimmerians westward. As a result, “the Cimmerians flooded all Asia Minor … and were a great power [throughout the region] for thirty years or more.”20 Britannica states that the Cimmerians were, as a result of Assyrian conflict, forced “into Anatolia [Asia Minor] toward the end of the 8th century BC [or, more accurately, early 7th century].”21

That the Cimmerians actually migrated westward across Asia Minor is attested by their military exploits along the way. For example, Kimmerioi (Cimmerian) warriors were known to have destroyed Phrygia and invaded Paphlagonia (676-674 BC); attacked Lydia and plundered Ionian [Greek] colonies (654-652); and sacked and briefly occupied Sardis (644).22 These areas were anciently located in west or west central Asia Minor. In its article on the “Cimmerii,” the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica notes that “in the middle of the 7th century BC, Asia Minor was ravaged by northern nomads … one body of whom is called in Assyrian sources Gimirrai”—the Cimmerians.23 One researcher writes that the Cimmerians “established a reign of terror in Asia Minor. They finally migrated to [southeastern] Europe, to a place which they called Arsareth.”24

As Davidy notes, “The Cimmerians were forced out of Anatolia [Asia Minor] and, via the Bosporus, entered the Balkans [southeastern Europe] whence they continued [over a century later] into north and western Europe.”25 Leaving Asia Minor the Cimmerians turned north, crossed the Bosporus Pass, and migrated to the western shores of the Black Sea. As we will see, this location—Arsareth—would become home to Cimmerian (and Scythian) Israelites for well over a hundred years.

Near the end of the seventh century BC, as the Assyrian Empire was collapsing, the remaining Cimmerian Israelites moved north of the Caucasus Mountain region via the Dariel Pass. Because numerous Israelite groups migrated through this region—with many no doubt settling there—the area came to be called Iberia, clearly a Hebrew name.26 As the Cimmerians came up around the east side of the Black Sea, many of them moved south of the Sea of Azov to settle in Crimea, a peninsula on the north side of the Black Sea. The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the earliest Crimean settlers were “Celtic Cimmerians.”27 Furthermore, according to some scholars, the word Crimea is derived from the base form of Cimmerian.28 Herodotus records that the Khumri (Cimmerians) who settled in the Crimean Peninsula had come from Media, but that even Media was not their original home.29 Herodotus, as noted earlier, wrongly assumed that the Cimmerians had originated in the Balkans. At least he is correct in noting that these particular Crimean settlers came from the Middle East, for the Assyrians had relocated some of the exiled Israelites to various “cities of the Medes.”30

Meanwhile, from the late 600s BC “the Scythians were a great power farther east.” In the struggle between Assyria and Babylon (allied with the Medes), “Scythian help was decisive.”31

Evidence From the Book of Esdras

The apocryphal book of Esdras (allegedly written by Ezra, of the restoration period) contains an interesting passage about the northwesterly migration of some of the exiled tribes of Israel. While this book is non-canonical, it does appear to be a reliable historical record. What follows is the interpretation of a vision given to Ezra:

“And as for your seeing him gather to himself another multitude that was peaceable, these are the [ten] tribes that were taken away from their own land into exile in the days of King Hoshea, whom Shalmaneser, king of the Assyrians, made captives; he took them across the [Euphrates] river, and they were taken into another land. But they formed this plan for themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the nations and go to a more distant region, where no human beings had ever lived, so that there at least they might keep their statutes that they had not kept in their own land. And they went in by the narrow passages of the Euphrates river. For at that time the Most High performed signs for them, and stopped the channels of the river until they had crossed over. Through that region there was a long way to go, a journey of a year and a half; and that country is called Arzareth” (II Esdras 13:39-45).32

The captive Israelite tribes had already been relocated “beyond the Euphrates” (I Kings 14:15). To say that they followed the “narrow passages of the Euphrates river” simply means they went northward through the narrow mountainous passes and gorges leading to the headwaters of the upper Euphrates. Subsequently, the migrating Israelites moved north through the Caucasus Mountains and on to the Crimean region and the shores of the Black Sea—exactly where history places the Cimmerians.

Apparently, the Cimmerians made it to Arzareth within the time frame of “a journey of a year and a half.” Perhaps this includes their settling for brief periods in Iberia and Crimea. Of this time, Dr. J. L. Thomas writes: “This migration [to areas north and west of the Black Sea] took place about a century after their main deportation [into exile]. Let it be noted that it commenced before the destruction and carrying away of [the nation of] Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. Israel had started on their migration out of the land of their captivity into the southeast of Europe before Judah ceased to be a kingdom.” By the time of the Jews’ return from exile, “the main body of the Israelites was in Arsareth, over a thousand miles from Babylon.”33

Arsareth (or Arzareth) refers to a broad area west of the Black Sea roughly defined by the Danube River valley, which today would primarily include Bulgaria and Romania. Bear in mind that other Cimmerian clans— those that had earlier migrated through Asia Minor—had already settled in this same area. With the later addition of Scythians, the area of Israelite settlement extend well into the Ukraine and southern Russia. The name is derived from Ar, meaning river, and Sereth, a tributary of the Danube. The Ar Sereth (known today as the Siret River) flows from the mountains into the Danube near the western edge of the Black Sea.34 As we will see, it was from this region that groups of the “lost” tribes of Israel—by then known as Celts—eventually traveled up the Danube and Rhine River basins into northwestern Europe.

Meanwhile, Scythian Israelites from the eastern part of the Assyrian Empire were beginning to migrate, with some following their Cimmerian brothers across the Caucasus and some going around the eastern side of the Caspian Sea. But before the Scythians could fully leave the Middle East, they would be compelled to help bring about the demise of Assyria.

Scythian Migration

You will recall that a portion of the captive Israelites were relocated to the southern region of the Caspian Sea, in areas the Assyrians had taken from the Medes. These were primarily the Scythian Israelites.35

Scythians are typically defined as a broad range of nomadic tribes that roamed the Russian-Mongolian steppes from the 8th to the 4th centuries BC. Thus, many historians have carelessly assumed that the Saka Scythians known to have inhabited areas south of the Caspian Sea originated from among these Asiatic hordes. But the Scythians-proper of Assyria-Media were not of the Mongol races of the Far East; rather, their facial features and culture were distinctly Indo-European. In fact, archaeological discoveries plainly and consistently portray the Saka Scythians as physically like the present-day people of Europe. Davidy writes: “Many of the early Scythians were described as fair and of an apparent Nordic-type appearance.”36

The Greeks and Romans used the term Scythic indiscriminately of both Indo-European and Central Asian nomads—essentially of any nomadic peoples. This broad usage has caused considerable confusion. Originally, the term was coined to describe a particular culture rather than a specific ethnic or racial line.37 In other words, the term Scythian came to represent a lifestyle more than a racial group—and it pointed particularly to the SakaScythian lifestyle of Israelite origin.

A vast area of what is today the Eurasian plain of Russia was anciently called Scythia—stretching from the Danube River in Europe to the western edge of China.38 Various peoples inhabited this huge area, including nomadic tribes that had no connection to Israel. Such mounted tribes came from the Far East and were known to be barbaric and uncivilized.

The Israelite Scythians of the Middle East were not nomads in the classic sense—though they did tend livestock and were highly skilled at mounted warfare (horsemanship was a prominent feature of many Scythic clans). Rather, Saka Scythians preferred, if possible, to live in cities. They built and sailed ships, conducted wide-ranging commerce, were skilled in a number of trades, and enjoyed various arts.39 From the 7th century BC, these Scythians-proper—the Saka (or Sacae) of ancient Assyrian and Babylonian writings—largely defined what it meant to be “Scythian” in areas stretching from the Balkans to Mongolia.

Thus, while there were barbaric tribes inhabiting the Scythian lands along the north of the Black Sea, they were not Saka Scythians. Rather, the Israelite Scythians were Indo-European—cultured, civilized, and enjoyed certain refined tastes. The idea that the Scythians were a horde of wild horsemen out of Siberia or Mongolia only applies to the Turanian Scythians from central and east Asia. Although they did have a warlike nature when provoked, the Saka Scythians of Israelite descent were of a completely opposite culture. Collins notes: “The Sacae Scythians had nothing in common with the wild, uncouth nomads of the northern steppes, but had very much in common with the civilized cultures to their south.” In short, “these Scythians moved into [southern] Russia from the south, not from the north. The entire spectrum of their culture argues for this conclusion.” 40

It should be noted that the term Scythian was typically used inclusive of their Cimmerian brothers. The Encyclopedia Iranica observes: “As the Cimmerians cannot be differentiated archeologically from the Scythians, it is possible to speculate about their Iranian [i.e., exilic] origins. In the NeoBabylonian texts … Gimirri and similar forms [from which is derived the term Cimmerian] designate the Scythians and Central Asian Saka, reflecting the perception among inhabitants of Mesopotamia that Cimmerians and Scythians represented a single cultural and economic group.”41 Researcher Boris Piotrovsky writes: “Two groups, Cimmerians and Scythians, seem to be referred to in Urartean and Assyrian texts, but it is not always clear whether the terms indicate two distinct peoples….”42 In other words, they were often assumed to be the same peoples—because they were both of Israelite origin and enjoyed considerable social interaction.

Like the Cimmerians, Scythian migration out of the Middle East was prompted by ongoing war between Assyria and Babylon. By the latter half of the 7th century BC, the Assyrian Empire was rapidly disintegrating. The Medes and Babylonians were openly attacking Assyria on numerous fronts, and the Scythian Israelites were emboldened to side with the aggressors. Meanwhile, a prolonged conflict with Elam had “left Assyria maimed and exhausted … drained of both wealth and fighting population.” Thus, Assyria was “ill prepared to face the hordes of Scythians … who now began to harass the frontiers…. A Scythian power had grown up … to the east of Assyria [south of the Caspian Sea]; [in addition] Asia Minor was infested by the Scythian tribe of Cimmerian [origin].”43 With the empire “impoverished and tottering,” the Medes and the “confederated tribes of the Umman-manda, as the mixed hordes of [Saka] Scythians, Mannai, and Kimmerians [Cimmerians] in Armenia were called, were fast gathering … like vultures awaiting the last moments of their victim.”44

Indeed, “a blow had been struck between 628 and 626 [BC] which brought Assyria to her knees.” Scythian armies “poured over the empire in resistless swarms, ravaging it even to the borders of Egypt.”45 By 614 BC, the Medes and Babylonians had begun to besiege Nineveh, the Assyrian capital. The Scythians were quick to join the foray: “Nineveh was captured and destroyed [in 612] by the Scythian army … and the Assyrian Empire was at an end.”46

But the Medes and Babylonians divided the former Assyrian Empire between themselves—leaving no room for the Scythians. The Cambridge states that “after the ruin of Assyria, the Medes turned upon the Scythians, slew the greater part of them, and drove the rest” northward.47 Davidy adds: “The Medes, Persians, and Babylonians progressively drove the Scythians out of the Middle East area to the north [across the Caucasus and around the eastern side of the Caspian]. From the north [of the Mideast], the Scythians were eventually to continue westward into Europe.”48

Thus, Scythian Israelites began migrating to the north and the west, essentially following the Cimmerians. In spite of both groups being of Israelite origin, they sometimes found themselves at war over land and resources—with the fiercer Scythians typically dominating, often pushing the Cimmerians further west. At other times the groups merged as if one. As noted previously, this blending has caused some historians—Herodotus, in particular—to refer to Cimmerian groups as Scythian.

It is important to establish the Scythians’ northwestward migration. The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the Scythians as a “nomadic people [supposedly] originally of Iranian stock…. The Scythians founded a rich, powerful empire centered on what is now the Crimea.”49 Note the clear movement to the northwest—from areas of Persia in the Mideast to areas north of the Black Sea. Of course, the Crimean area was quite central to the greater Scythia region.

As brought out earlier, Cimmerian Israelites had already migrated to the Crimean region. Researchers believe the Scythian Israelites expelled their Cimmerian brothers from Crimea, pushing them toward the western shores of the Black Sea. The reference above to “Iranian stock” is not to be taken to mean that Scythians were ethnically or racially Iranian, but reflects the mistaken assumption that the Scythian Israelites actually originated in the lands of their exile. Historians are well aware of their sudden appearance along the Assyrian-Persian borders; yet, as we have seen, their true origin was toward the south, in the land of Israel. An Iranian encyclopedia notes: “The [Scythian] region from the Ukraine to the Aral Sea was the home of north Iranian tribes known collectively as Saka (Greek, Scythians).”50 Northern Iran would include the “cities of the Medes” to which many of the Israelites had been exiled.

According to the Anchor Bible Dictionary, the term Scythian, from the Greek Skythes, is used to “describe specific tribes which inhabited the north and east of the Black Sea beginning in the [latter decades of the] seventh century BC….” This fits perfectly with the historical evidence we have seen. The Scythians “first appear in written history in the annals of Esarhaddon [king of Assyria, 681-669 BC], and seem to be centered at that time in what is today northwest Iran”—one of the key areas of Israelite exile. This was in the “seventh or sixth century BC…. By the third century BC, the Scythian presence in the Near East is restricted to the Crimea and the shores of the Black Sea.”51 (As we will see later, this reduced Scythian presence by the 200s BC was due to their being pushed further west by invading barbarians.)

In The History of the Anglo-Saxons, historian Sharon Turner adds: “The emigrating Scythians crossed the Araxes [River, in Armenia], passed out of Asia … [and] suddenly appeared in [central] Europe” in the early 600s BC.52 The Araxes River runs from the area just below the Caucasus into the Caspian Sea; the river would have been crossed by Saka Scythians migrating northward from the “cities of the Medes.”

Note this additional evidence from The Origin of Our Western Heritage: “The first instance of Scythian tribes appearing in Europe can be placed in the [latter part of the] seventh century BC, when they crossed the Araxes River and passed out of Asia. The Araxes is the ancient name of the Aras River in Armenia. The area around the Araxes River is where the Israelites were last known before departing for Europe…. Scythians originally came from the region of the Araxes, had multiplied into a great people, and had extended their territory. In the fifth century BC, Herodotus placed the Scythians in southern Russia, stating that their territory extended for 500 miles….”53

John C. Gawler, a colonel with the British government during Queen Victoria’s reign in the 19th century, researched the fate of the northern tribes following the fall of Samaria. Citing Jewish and Armenian historical sources, Gawler wrote that “a mass of refugees from the ten tribes of Israel migrated through Armenia into the region north of the Black Sea.”54 In her book The Scythians, Tamara T. Rice writes: “The Scythians did not become a recognizable national entity much before the eighth century BC…. [They did not go into captivity until the end of that century.] By the [latter part of the] seventh century BC, they had established themselves firmly in southern Russia [stretching from modern Georgia to the Ukraine].”55

The vast Scythian-Cimmerian empire—incorporating the lands of Arsareth and Scythia—survived for almost two centuries. In fact, their military might was sufficient to repel an invasion by the Persian king Darius I in the early 500s BC. Scythians “were in the fifth century BC the paramount power from the Danube to the Don…. To the west and north the natural limit of Scythian domination was formed by … a line running east-northeast from the Carpathians to the Volga [River].”56

“During the 5th to 3rd centuries BC, the Scythians evidently prospered. When Herodotus wrote his Histories in the 5th century BC, Greeks distinguished Scythia Minor in present-day Romania and Bulgaria [Arsareth] from a Greater Scythia that extended eastwards for a 20-day ride from the Danube River, across the steppes of today’s East Ukraine to the lower Don [River] basin.”57 The Don runs into the Sea of Azov just north of Crimea. Thus, “Greater Scythia” extended from modern Bulgaria to the Crimean region—and perhaps past the Volga to the Ural Mountains.

This is not to say that Israelite clans actually inhabited the entirety of Scythia—but they were scattered across the most vital areas and dominated the region culturally, economically, and militarily.

Israel Poised to Migrate Further Northwest

The mysterious and sudden emergence of the Cimmerians (Celts) in areas of greater Armenia and their Scythian (Saka or Saxon) brothers in northern Persia took place in the late 700s BC. However, these locations do not reflect the true origins of these peoples. Rather, these locations are the areas of Israel’s initial exile. Their subsequent migrations—which occurred in several stages throughout most of the seventh century BC—took them in a northwesterly direction through Asia Minor, across the Caucasus region, and around the eastern side of the Caspian Sea. Their primary motive was to avoid being drawn into the conflicts developing between Assyria, Babylon, and Medo-Persia. Each group of migrating Israelites settled in relatively close proximity—in a broad area that, today, would be roughly defined by Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and parts of southern Russia northeast of the Black Sea. Even parts of Hungary, Slovakia, and southern Poland could be included.

The Israelite-Scythian “empire” established control of the plains north of the Black Sea for a period of at least two centuries. But a series of invasions of barbarians from the east—first the Sarmatians, then groups of Huns—forced the Cimmerian and Scythian Israelites to begin migrating further north and west. Climate changes affecting their agrarian lifestyle also played a part in their need to relocate.

As the prophet Ezekiel notes, God had been “a little sanctuary” to the Israelites in all the lands to which they had been scattered (Ezek. 11:16). Indeed, God was watching over the “lost” tribes of Israel, working out His plan to ultimately fulfill the Abrahamic promises. As Chapter 10 will bring out, these “wanderers among the nations” (Hosea 9:17) eventually found themselves resettling in northwestern Europe and the British Isles—their migrations nearing an end. But before we continue with Israel’s westward migration, we must investigate the role of the Israelite tribe of Dan—the seafaring tribe that blazed a vital trail for their brothers to follow.


1. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, bk. 11, ch. 5, sec. 2

2. Isaac Lesser, The Jewish Religion, vol. 1, p. 256

3. Cambridge Ancient History, vol. 3, “The Assyrian Empire,” pp. 385-386

4. Known as the “Father of History,” the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BC) is often credited as being the first ancient historian to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy, and arrange them in a wellconstructed narrative. Still, when studying the writings of ancient historians, including Herodotus, one will find that they often contradict one another, and sometimes contradict themselves.

5. Cambridge, pp. 385, 41. Des Thomas adds: “The Assyrians used these large-scale enforced migrations as a means of preventing possible resurgence on the part of the captive nations. Uprooted from their homelands, the patriotic urge was weakened…” (America—The Last Frontier for Manasseh, p. 82).

6. H. R. Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, p. 477

7. Yair Davidy,


9. “Migrations of the House of Israel,” migratio.html


11. The Origin of Our Western Heritage, ch. 5: The Captivity and Deportation of Israel;

12. Edmund Filmer, “Our Scythian Ancestors,” archives/scythianancestors.html

13. Those who write on the subject of Israel’s northwestern migration often cite Isaiah 49:12 as evidence: “Behold, these shall come from far; and, lo, these from the north and from the west….” This particular application, however, misrepresents the passage. Based on its context, the verse speaks of a future restoration of modern Israel from lands north and west (of Jerusalem). Note that Israel is not migrating to these lands, but returning to Palestine from these lands. (Compare Jeremiah 3:18—“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance to your fathers.”)
Thus, in this future restoration, Israelite refugees—those of modern Joseph—will come to Palestine from an area northwest of Jerusalem, i.e., Europe. As Chapter 16 brings out, a revitalized European super-state will play a central role in Anglo-America’s final collapse and prophesied captivity.

14. Cambridge, p. 188


16. Britannica Online Encyclopedia, topic/117922/Cimmerian. Numerous other sources erroneously suggest that the Cimmerians originated north of the Caucasus.

17. The Encyclopedia Iranica, for example, disputes the “classical tradition”— that the Cimmerians originated in areas north and east of the Black Sea and were later driven into the Middle East—which was greatly influenced by Herodotus. Contending that this conventional view is “imaginary” because it was based on “glaring errors in Herodotus’s narrative,” later scholars have accepted the idea that the Cimmerians could have actually originated in the Middle East and later migrated to the Black Sea area. See

18. Yair Davidy, The Tribes—The Israelite Origins of Western Peoples, pp. 49-50

19. Cambridge, pp. 53, 59

20. Cambridge, pp. 83, 189


22. These dates vary among different sources.

23. The Encyclopedia Britannica (1911); Cimmerii. In calling the Gimirrai “northern nomads,” this article reflects the common error of assuming that the Cimmerians originated outside of the Middle East.

24. “Migrations of the House of Israel,”

25. Davidy, p. 41

26. According to Steven Collins, the area northeast of the Black Sea, across the Caucasus, “came to be known as Iberia, confirming the presence of Hebrews from the ten tribes in that region.” As Chapter 9 brings out, the Israelites had long before given the name Iberia to an old PhoenicianIsraelite colony in Spain—hence, the Iberian Peninsula. Collins adds: “The appearance of the same Hebrew name (Iberia) in the region north of Armenia verifies that this region became an area of Israelite resettlement” (The “Lost” Ten Tribes of Israel—Found!, p. 129). Iberia means “land of the Hebrews” and comes from the word Hebrew itself, Ibriy, which stems from Eber, progenitor of Abraham (see Chapter 9).

27. Britannica,


29. “Are the Welsh CYMRY From the Crimea?”

30. Herodotus is probably confusing the Cimmerians with the Scythians; the latter were Israelite exiles relocated to Media.

31. Cambridge, p. 189

32. New Revised Standard Version—with Apocrypha, Oxford University Press, 2009

33. Thomas, p. 107; quoting Dr. J. L. Thomas, The Assyrian Invasions and Deportations of Israel (1940).


35. Davidy notes that “the term Scythian may generally be considered to encompass the Scyths-proper, the Cimmerians, and the Goths. These peoples had been associated in the Assyrian-ruled Middle East area. The Scyths-proper had been called Arami, Ishkuzi, Sacae [Saka], and other appellations. The Cimmerians had been known as Gimirrae or Gamera, and the Goths were recalled as Guti” (p. 53).

36. Davidy, p. 43. Nordic refers primarily to those of Scandinavian descent. As you will see, the Scythians were the progenitors of the Scandinavian peoples.

37. “The term Scythic is not, strictly speaking, ethnical. It designates a life [style] rather than a [genetic] descent, habits [and customs] rather than blood [lines]. [The term was] applied by the Greeks and Romans to Indo-European … races indifferently, provided they [were] nomads, dwelling in tents … [and] living on the produce of their flocks and herds…” (Collins, p. 175; quoting George Rawlinson’s The Sixth Oriental Monarchy).

On the same page, Collins himself notes: “There were two races called Scythians: the Indo-Europeans (the Sacae) and the Turanian [of central and east Asia] (who were not Sacae). So, the term Sacae (or Saka) does represent an Israelite ethnicity, but the term Scythian can sometimes include non-Israelites as well.”

38. The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th edition, 2011); “Scythia.” Also note this: “During the time of Herodotus (484-425 BC), Scythia proper was described as the land between the Don and Danube Rivers.” This would incorporate vast areas north and west of the Black Sea. (The Origin of Our Western Heritage, ch. 6: The Westward Movement; church/theorigin-of-our-western-heritage/the-westward-movement.)

39. Fred Hamori, “The Real Scythians of Mesopotamia,” www.archive.

40. Collins, p. 180

41. Encyclopedia Iranica, The phrase “Iranian origins” refers to Israelite areas of exile, not to ethnicity.

42. Boris Piotrovsky, From the Lands of the Scythians (1975), p. 15. The Cambridge adds that among historians there is a “tendency to confuse Scythians and Cimmerians” (p. 194).

43. Britannica,

44. Hall, p. 511. The Cambridge also refers to the northern Umman-manda as a general term for Saka Scythians (p. 190).

45. Hall, p. 512. These Scythian armies must have passed through Palestine on their way to the “borders of Egypt,” but obviously spared their Jewish brothers (Collins, p. 188).

46. Britannica,

47. Cambridge, p. 190

48. Davidy, p. 30. Davidy adds: “Unlike the Cimmerians, the bulk of the Scythian host remained in the Middle East area and overpowered the Assyrian Empire, but afterwards lost power to the Medes, Babylonians, and Persians. Consequently, the Scythians too were to be pushed northward” (p. 42).


50. Encyclopedia Iranica,

51. Anchor Bible Dictionary; “Scythians”

52. Sharon Turner, The History of the Anglo-Saxons, p. 85

53. The Origin of Our Western Heritage, ch. 5: The Captivity and Deportation of Israel;

54. Collins, p. 125; quoting John C. Gawler, Our Scythia Ancestors, p. 9

55. Tamara T. Rice, The Scythians, pp. 19-20

56. Cambridge, p. 192