In Antiquity

Gurzufskoye Sedlo
"Ancient Chersonesos"of Strabo
"Another Harbor of the Chersonesites"
Kalos Limen
Roman strongholds
The Sanctuary on the Isthmus of the Saki Lake
Symbolon Limen

In the Middle Ages


Dandake (or Dandace, in Latin) was a town in the ancient Crimea, described by a IV century AD historian Ammianus Marcellinus in the following words: "There are a few cities in Taurica, among which the most important are Eupatoria, and Dandace, and Theodosia, and minor ones, which are not violated with human sacrifices" (Amm. Marc. Res gestae 22. 8. 36).

It is obvious that in this passage the famous Roman writer and warrior author alluded to the Taurians, who were the tribe living in the south-west Crimea and the southern coast of the peninsula mand who had declined long before this time but was still famous after its treachery and cruelty. According to the well-known "Geography" by Claudios Ptolemaios, written in the middle of the II century, Dandake laid to the north and west from Chersonesos, between this city and Eupatoria (Ptol. Geogr. 3. 6. 2).

The site of Dandake has not yet been found. Scholars put it to different nooks of the Crimea. For example, the head of the "Tauro-Scythian" archaeological expedition P. N. Shul'ts hypothesized that Dandake had been located in the north-western part of the Crimea, near the lake of Donuzlav. At this place, excavations unearthed few ancient Greek settlements, the most important of which was called Kerkinitis.

Nowadays, another hypothesis is more popular: it interpretes Dandake as Ust'-Al'ma site of Scythian settlement, in the south-west Crimea. The point is that there is no word like dandake, dandace or something similar either in Greek or in Latin, which is why one has to suppose that the ancient writers did not know what does this word mean in a language of the barbarians who lived somewhere around Chersonesos and just reproduced how this word sounded. Consequently, there is need to interpret the meaning of the town's name from other languages. In A. N. Shcheglov's words, the shape of Ust'-Al'ma site reminds tooth, and it is what "dandake" means in the Iranian languages. That is a reason to remember that Ust'-Al'ma settlement was established by the Scythians, and the Greeks and Romans came to this site no earlier than in the 2nd century AD. The Scythian language belonged to the Iranian root, which is why they could call one of their fortresses "tooth." To be true, one can not prove that the Scythians imagined like present people do. What is more, the sea eroded the coast and destroyed a great part of the site, which is why there is no guarantee that in the ancient peiod this settlement looked like now...

© N. Khrapunov.

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