On the right, as one sails into the Caspian Sea, are those Scythians, or Sarmatians,1
who live in the country contiguous to Europe between the Tanaïs River and this sea; the greater part of them are nomads, of whom I have already spoken.2
On the left are the eastern Scythians, also nomads, who extend as far as the Eastern Sea and India. Now all the peoples towards the north were by the ancient Greek historians given the general name "Scythians" or "Celtoscythians"; but the writers of still earlier times, making distinctions between them, called those who lived above the Euxine and the Ister and the Adriatic "Hyperboreans," "Sauromatians," and "Arimaspians," and they called those who lived across the Caspian Sea in part "Sacians" and in part "Massagetans," but they were unable to give any accurate account of them, although they reported a war between Cyrus3
and the Massagetans. However, neither have the historians given an accurate and truthful account of these peoples, nor has much credit been given to the ancient history of the Persians or Medes or Syrians, on account of the credulity of the historians and their fondness for myths.