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Author: Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Map showing Scythia, including the Indo-Scythian region (modern name Punjab region).

Toretae [1] or Toreatae [2] were a tribe of the Maeotae in Asiatic Sarmatia.


Jat Gotras Namesake


Strabo describes them as living among the Maeotae, Sindi, Dandarii, Agri, Arrechi, Tarpetes, Obidiaceni, Sittaceni, Dosci, and Aspurgiani, among others. (xi. 2. 11)

Ptolemy (v. 9. § 9) mentions a Τορετικὴ ἀκρὰ in Asiatic Sarmatia; and in another passage (iii. 5. § 25) he speaks of the Τορεκκάδαι (Toreccadae) as a people in European Sarmatia, who are perhaps the same as the Toretae or Toreatae.

The Toreatae were one of the Maeotae tribes, who lived in the 1st millennium BC on the eastern and south-eastern coast of the Azov Sea. Russian archeologists, historians and ethnographers in the Soviet period concluded that Maeotae was one of the names of the tribes of the Adyghe people (or Circassians): in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (in the article Adyghe people) was written:[4]

Living in the basin of the river Kuban were some of the tribes of the (Adyghe people), who generally were given the collective name "Maeotae" by ancient historians.

The Maeotae, engaged in farming and fishing, were thought by other Soviet writers to be a mixture of speakers of Adyghe language and an Iranian language. In the 4th–3rd centuries BC many of them were incorporated into the Bosporan kingdom.[5]

Mention by Pliny

Pliny[6] mentions.... Next to this, is the promontory of Cruni, after passing which, we find the Toretæ upon a lofty ridge of mountains. The city of Sindos17 is distant from Hierus sixty-seven miles and a half; after passing which, we come to the river Setheries. (6.) From thence to the entrance of the Cimmerian Bosporus the distance is eighty-eight miles and a half.

17 Inhabited by the Sindi, a people of Asiatic Sarmatia. They probably dwelt in and about the modern peninsula of Taman, between the Sea of Azof and the Black Sea, to the south of the river Hypanis, the modern Kouban. The site of their capital, Sindos, or Sinda, is supposed to have been the modern Anapa. Parisot conjectures that this place was one of the ancient settlements of the Zigeunes, the modern Bohemians or Gypsies. He seems to found his opinion upon some observations of Malte Brun (Précis de Geographie, vol. vi.) upon the origin of the Gypsy race, which will amply repay the perusal.


  1. Steph. B. s. v.; Dionys. Per. 682; Plin. vi. 5; Mela, i. 2; Avien. Orb. Terr. 867
  2. Strabo xi. 2. 11
  3. Strabo xi. 2. 11
  4. Great Soviet Encyclopedia.Adyghe
  5. Меоты, Great Soviet Encyclopedia
  6. Natural History by Pliny Book VI/Chapter 5