), a people belonging to the Sarmatian stock, who first appear in history about a century before Christ, when they were found occupying the steppes between the Dnieper
and the Don.
(Strab. ii. p.214
, vii. pp. 294, 306, 307, 309; Plin. Nat. 4.12
; Ptol. 3.5
. § § 19, 24, 25.)
Afterwards some of them made their footing in Dacia and behind the Carpathians. Strabo (vii. p.306
) has told the story of the defeat of the Roxolani and their leader Tasius by Diophantus, the general of Mithridates, and takes the opportunity of describing some of their manners which resembled those of the Sarmatian stock to which they belonged. Tacitus (Tac. Hist. 1.79
) mentions another defeat of this people, when making an inroad into Moesia during Otho‘s short lease of power. From the inscription (Orelli, Inscr.
750) which records the. honours paid to Plautius Silvanus, it appears that they were also defeated by him. Hadrian, who kept his frontier quiet by subsidising the needy tribes, when they complained about the payment came to terms with their king (Spartian, Hadr.
6)--probably the Rasparasanus of the inscription (Orelli, Inscr.
833). When the general rising broke out among the Sarmatian, German, and Scythian tribes from the Rhine to the Tanais in the reign of NM. Aurelius, the Roxolani were included in the number. (Jul. Capit. M. Anton.
With the inroads of the Goths the name of the Roxolani almost disappears. They probably were partly exterminated, and partly united with the kindred tribes of the Alani, and shared the general fate when the Huns poured down from the interior of Asia, crossed the Don,
and oppressed the Alani, and, later, with the help of these, the Ostro-Goths.
It has been assumed that the name of the RHACALANI
(Ῥακαλάνοι, Ptol. 3.5.24
) is not different from that of the Roxolani, who, according to [p. 2.856]
Schafarik (Slav. Alt.
vol. i. p. 342), received their appellation from the Sarmatian “Raxa,” --perhaps the Volga
or some other river in their settlements.