), a people of Sarmatia Asiatica, according to the division of the later ancient geographers, but within the limits of Europe, according to the modern division; of whom almost all we know is found in Herodotus.
According to his view (4.21), Scythia does not extend, on the N. and NE., further than the Tanaïs (Don
). Beyond this river, the first district was that of the Sauromatae (Sarmatians), beginning from the innermost recess (μυχός
) of the Lake Maeëtis (Maeotis, Sea of Azov
), and extending for 15 days' journey to the N. over a country bare of trees. Beyond them, the Budini inhabit the second region, which is well wooded; and beyond them, on the N., is first a desert, for seven days' journey ; and beyond the desert, inclining somewhat to the E., dwell the Thyssagetae, among whom four great rivers take their rise, and flow through the Maeëtae (Maeotae) into the lake Maeëtis (Maeotis), namely the Lycus, Oarus, Tanaïs, and Syrgis, of which the Oarus is supposed to be the Volga,
and the Lycus and Syrgis either the Oural
and the Outzen,
or else tributaries of the Volga.
: the course of the Volga,
before its sudden turn to the SE., might very easily suggest the mistake of its falling into the Sea of Azov
instead of the Caspian.
) Besides this general statement of their position, Herodotus gives elsewhere a particular account of the Budini (4.108, 109). They were a great and numerous people, γλαυκόν τε πᾶν ἰσχυρῶς ἐστὶ καὶ πυρρόν,
words which we give in the original on account of the great diversity of opinions respecting their meaning. Some translate them, “with blue eyes and a ruddy complexion,” others “with blue eyes and red hair,” others “having a bluish and ruddy colour all over (πᾶν
),” while others take them to refer to the custom of painting the body, which is distinctly stated to have prevailed among tribes closely connected with the Budini, the GELONI
They had a city, built entirely of wood, the name of which was Gelonus; in which were temples of the Greek divinities, fitted up in the Greek fashion, with images and altars and shrines of wood. They celebrated a triennial festival to Dionysus, and performed Bacchic rites.
These points of Hellenism are explained by Herodotus from the close association of the Budini with the Geloni, which he regards as originally Greeks, who had left the Grecian settlements on the Euxine, and gone to dwell among the Budini, and who, though speaking the Scythian language, observed Greek customs in other respects. The Budini, however, differed from the Geloni, both in their language and in their mode of life, as well as their origin; for the Budini were indigenous, and were nomads, and eat lice (the true translation of φθειροτραγέουσι,
see the commentators, Baehr, &c.), while the Geloni were an agricultural people: they differed also in form and complexion. The Greeks, however, confounded the two people, and called the Budini Geloni.
The country of the Budini was covered with forests of all sorts, in the largest of which was a great lake, and a marsh, surrounded by reeds, and here were caught otters and beavers and other animals with square faces (τετραγωνοπρόσωπα
), whose skins were used as cloaks, and parts of their bodies for medicinal purposes. Again, he tells us (4.122, 123), that when Darius invaded Scythia, he pursued the Scythians as far as the country of the Budini, whose wooden city the Persians burnt; although their king was in the camp as an ally, having joined Darius through enmity to the Scythians (4.119).
Mela (1.19.19) gives to the Budini only a few words, in which, as usual, he follows Herodotus. Pliny mentions them, with the Neuri, Geloni, Thyssagetae, and other tribes, as on the W. side of the Palus Maeotis (4.12. s. 26). Ptolemy mentions, in European Sarmatia, W. of the Tanaïs, a people named Bodini (Βωδινοί
) and a mountain of the same name (τὸ Βουδινὸν
or Βωδινὸν ὄρος
near the sources of the Borysthenes (3.5. § § 15, 24).
Few peoples have given more exercise to the critical skill or invention of geographers and ethnologists than the Budiri.
As to their ethnical affinities, some, insisting on their (supposed) blue eyes and fair hair, and finding a resemblance, in their name and position, to the Butones of Strabo (vii. p.290
, where Kramer reads Γούτωνας
), the Guttones of Pliny (4.14
), and the Batini of Ptolemy (2.11.20
), take them for the original Gothic ancestors of the Germans, and derive their name from that of the god Odin or Wodan (Mannert, Geogr.
vol. iii. pp. 9 et seq., 15 et seq., 493, vol. iv. pp. 103, 108); others, from the marshy woodlands, in which they dwelt, identify them with the Wends, whose name is derived from water, and can be easily transmuted, by known etymological equivalents, into Budini, thus, Wenda
(Polish) == Woda
(Sclavonic), and W becomes B in Greek (Worbs, in Ersch and Gruber's Encyklopädie, s. v.
); while Ritter, referring back their Hellenic customs, and their worship of Dionysus, to their Asiatic originals, and deriving their name from Buddha, boldly brings them to the support of his theory respecting [p. 1.456]
the great primeval migration from India and Central Asia to the shores of the Maeotis, and to Northern Europe. (Vorhalle,
pp. 25 et seq., 30, 153 et seq.).
It is unnecessary to discuss the various geographical positions assigned to them, as there are several wooded and marshy districts in Central Russia, which might answer to the description of Herodotus. Nearly all writers agree in placing them between the Don
and the Volga,
somewhere to the N. of the country of the Don Cossacks; but the special reasons on which each writer assigns their position more particularly are rather fanciful: perhaps the most plausible view is that which places them in the government of Novgorod,
and regards their wooden city as a great emporium of the ancient inland traffic, and the original of the celebrated and very ancient mart of Nijni-Novgorod.
Full particulars of the various and curious theories about this people are given by the following writers, besides those already quoted: Rennell, Geog. of Herod.
vol. i. pp. 110--123; Heeren, Ideen,
vol.i. pt. 2. p. 209; Eichwald, Geogr. d. Casp. Meeres,
pp. 276 et seq.; Brehmer, Entdeckungen im Alterthum,
vol. i. p. 484, et seq.; Georgii, Alte Geographie,
vol. ii. pp. 304, et seq.; Ukert, Geogr. d. Griech. u. Röm,
vol. iii. pt. 2, pp. 537, et seq., and other writers quoted by Ukert.