Civilization VI: Tomyris Leads Scythia

Tomyris assumed leadership of her group of nomadic pastoral tribes in 530 BC upon the death of her husband, the current chieftain. Her exploits were mentioned in the works of several great ancient writers such as Herodotus, Strabo, Polyaenus, Cassiodorus and Jordanes.  

The most notable story about Tomyris involves the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great and his efforts to invade and subjugate Tomyris’ people. Cyrus and his troops planted an unattended camp with a healthy supply of wine in Scythian territory. The Scythian army, led by Tomyris’ son, stumbled upon the wine and, unfamiliar with the intoxicating effects of alcohol, drank themselves into a stupor. After, the Persians attacked the incapacitated army and kidnapped Tomyris’ son.

Tomyris, enraged, challenged Cyrus and another battle ensued; however, this time Cyrus and his forces were defeated, suffering a great many casualties including Cyrus himself. After the death of Cyrus, Tomyris had his corpse beheaded and crucified, and shoved his head into a wineskin filled with human blood. During this act, Tomyris is quoted as saying, “I warned you that I would quench your thirst for blood, and so I shall.”

Unique Unit: Saka Horse Archer

The Saka Horse Archer was feared in the open field for its ability to harass soldiers grouped in columns and raid baggage trains, but wasn’t necessarily the most skilled unit in a stand-up fight. Saka Horse Archers are identified by their quilted trousers, open tunics and pointy caps. 

Unique Improvement: Kurgan

Kurgans are essentially great mounds of dirt used to inter the dead. Some kurgans were truly impressive to behold, exceeding 500 meters (1,600 feet) in width at the base and standing as tall as 27 meters (89 feet). In the rolling open terrain of the steppes, kurgans stood out as a clear sign to all passersby of the importance of the man or woman within.

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