Napites or Napis was one of the Scythian fortresses. A broken to pieces Chersonesian decree celebrated unanimous citizen who "...set out against the fortress of Napites..." Greek geographer Stephen of Byzantium (VI century AD) said that Napis was a village in Scythia, dwellers of which were named the "Napitians".
There is a hypothesis that the names of the Scythian fortresses of Napites and Palakion were related to the half-legendary peoples of the Palians and Napians. Famous V. I. Abayev considered that the word "nap" means "umbilicus" in many Iranian languages and, this way, the names of both the people and fortress originated from the idea of the kinship of these people. In O. N. Trubachev's point of view, the "nap" stem means "junior," what is good for the name of a people and for designation of their major fortress, which originated from it. Finally, A. A. Beletskiy hypothesized that the word "Napites" reflected the Ancient Greek word "nape", which meant "woody valley." This hypothesis certainly seems beautiful, but why did the Scythians give Greek name to their town?
Nowadays the ruins of the ancient Napites are known as a site of one of the four largest Late Scythian settlements: Kermenchik, Kermen-kyr,
Bulganak, or Ust'-Al'ma. Of which one exactly? It is still unknown...
© N. Khrapunov.