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The Maeotian Swamp (Ancient Greek: ἡ Μαιῶτις λίμνη, hē Maiōtis límnē; Latin: Palus Maeotis) was a name applied in antiquity variously to the swamps at the mouth of the Tanais River in Scythia (the modern Don in southern Russia) and to the entire Sea of Azov which it forms there. The sea was also known as the Maeotian Lake (Latin: Lacus Maeotis) among other names.[1] The people who lived around the sea were known as the Maeotians, although it remains unclear which was named for which.[1]

The Ixomates were a tribe of the Maeotes. To the south of the Maeotes, east of the Crimea were the Sindes, their lands known as Scythia Sindica.

The marshes served to check the westward migration of nomad peoples from the steppe of Central Asia. The Iazyges, a Sarmatian tribe, were first heard of on the Maeotis, where they were among the allies of Mithridates II of Parthia. The untrustworthy 4th-century Historia Augusta claims the Roman emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus secured a victory over the Alans near the marshes during his brief reign in 275 and 276.[3]


  1. ^ a b James, Edward Boucher. "Maeotae" and "Maeotis Palus" in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, 1st ed., Vol. II. Walton & Maberly (London), 1857. Accessed 26 Aug 2014.
  2. ^ Historia Augusta, "Vita Taciti".
  3. ^ "His first care after being made emperor was to put to death all who had killed Aurelian, good and bad alike, although he had already been avenged. Then with wisdom and courage he crushed the barbarians—for they had broken forth in great numbers from the district of Lake Maeotis. The Maeotidae, in fact, were flocking together under the pretext of assembling by command of Aurelian for the Persian War, in order that, should necessity demand it, they might render aid to our troops."[2]

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Coordinates: 47°11′36″N 39°23′31″E / 47.19333°N 39.39194°E / 47.19333; 39.39194