The Budini (Ancient Greek: Βουδίνοι; Boudínœ) were an ancient people who lived in Scythia. Herodotus located them east of the Don River (known as the Tanais in his time) beyond the Sarmatians. He gives us the only description of them:
|“||Herodotus describes the Budini people, east of the Ister (Danube) River, thusly: [4.108] The Budini are a large and powerful nation: They all have deep blue eyes, and bright red hair. There is a town in their country called Gelonus which is made out of wood. Each side of its high outer wall is thirty stades long, made entirely of wood, and wood has been used for all its houses and shrines too. They have sanctuaries there which are dedicated to the Greek gods and equipped in the Greek manner with statues, altars and buildings of wood; and every third year they celebrate a festival of Dionysus and become possessed by the god. The Budini, however, differ from the Gelonians in both language and lifestyle. The Budinians, who are nomadic, are the indigenous inhabitants of the country, and they are the only race there to eat lice, whereas the Gelonians are farmers, grain-eaters and gardeners; moreover, the two sets of people are altogether dissimilar in appearance and colouring.... The land is entirely covered with forests of every conceivable species of tree. In the largest forest there is a large, wide lake, surrounded by a reedy marsh. They capture otters and beavers in this lake, and also a square-faced creature whose skin they sew as a trimming on to their jackets, and whose testicles are good for healing diseases of the womb.||”|
Pliny the Elder mentions the Budini together with the Geloni and other peoples living around the rivers which drain into the Black Sea from the north.
During the European Scythian campaign of Darius I, in which the Persian king invaded the Scythian lands of Eastern Europe, the Budini were allies of the Scythians. During the campaign, he captured and burnt down one of the Budini's large fortified cities.
The Budini are also mentioned by Classical authors in connection with reindeer. Both Aristotle and Theophrastus have short accounts – probably based on the same source – of an ox-sized deer species, named tarandos, living in the land of the Budines in Scythia, which was able to change the colour of its fur to obtain camouflage. The latter is probably a misunderstanding of the seasonal change in reindeer fur colour.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Budini.|
- Herodotus, The Histories, iv. 21.
- Herodotus, The Histories, trans. Robin Waterfield (1998), iv. 108, 109.
- Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, book 4, XII, 88; Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, trans. John Bostock, book 4, chapter 26
- Boardman 1982, pp. 239-243.
- Georg Sarauw, "Das Rentier in Europa zu den Zeiten Alexanders und Cæsars" [The reindeer in Europe to the times of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar], In Jungersen, H. F. E. and Warming, E.. Mindeskrift i Anledning af Hundredeaaret for Japetus Steenstrups Fødsel (Copenhagen 1914), pp. 1–33.