Accomplished horse-breeders and horsemen, Sarmatians were nomadic Indo-European tribes closely related to the Scythians.
The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus describes Sarmatian tribesmen as “tall and handsome, their hair inclines to blond; by the ferocity of their gaze they inspire dread. They delight in danger and warfare.”
A fascinating feature of Sarmatian society was the high status accorded to women. Sarmatian warrior queens were renowned in antiquity. Herodotus affirmed that the Sarmatians were descendants of the Amazons and Scythians, whose women “frequently hunted on horseback with their husbands; in war taking the field; and wore the very same dress as the men.” The Sarmatian tradition had it that “no girl should wed till she had killed a man in battle.” In ancient kurgans, sumptuous female burials often included swords and arrowheads together with elegant jewelry inlaid with dazzling gems in the Hellenistic style. Eastern campaigns of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) spread Greek influences throughout his huge empire and exposed local artisans to new styles. The composite style that emerged is known as Hellenistic.
The Sarmatians were overrun by the invasions of the Goths and Huns in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The intense multi-ethnic encounter on the steppe resulted in a complex mix of cultures and artistic styles, evident in the artifacts found in the region.
The horse-cover consists of more than 15,500 golden links. Was found in the city of Azov .