Scythia was an ancient region in southeastern Europe and Asia. The Scythians were originally nomadic Indo-European tribes who settled in the area in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., and gradually became an agrarian society. Anciently, most of what was known of the history of the Scythians came from the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. Russian and other anthropologists have increased our knowledge of their history by excavating places in Tyva and Kazakhstan.
The Scythians were feared and admired for their prowess in war and, in particular, for their horsemanship. The Scythian civilization which developed expanded to cover Sarmatia, Bactria, Sogdiana. and Margo. The center of the Scythian empire, which existed between the 8th and 2nd centuries B.C., was on the northern shores of the Black Sea and extended from southern Russia to the borders of Persia.
Around A.D. the 1st century, the Scythians had migrated to the Indus River Valley northwest of India, and were known as Sakas, also called Scyth, and Sacae. They then migrated into the Punjab, Rajastan, and Kashmir provinces of India. According to Eusebius, St. Andrew the Apostle was assigned Scythia as his mission field. The ancient communities of the "Saint Thomas Christians", also called Malabar Christians and Nasrani, in India trace their origin to St. Thomas the Apostle.
- Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 1; The Eccesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop of Caesarea, In Palestine, translated from the Greek by the Rev. C. F. Cruse, A. M., assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania, pub. London: George Bell and Sons, York Street, Covent Garden, 1874, page 70.