1. Origins of the Black Sea Region in Antiquity

Ovid’s (43 BC–AD 17) involuntary journey into exile gave posterity the most prominent literary description of the Black Sea region in antiquity since Herodotus‘(c. 484–c. 425 BC) Histories. Without ever having been there, Ovid also mentions Crimea (cf. Tristia, IV, 4), which had been a part of the ancient Greek world before coming under Roman influence during the 1st century BC: The first coastal colonies, established as early as the 6th century BC, became part of the Bosporan Kingdom at the beginning of the 5th century BC (cf. Gajdukevič 1971). Unlike Ovid, who knew little about the country and its people firsthand and used the myth of Iphigenia sacrificing human beings in Tauris to fan the fire of his audience’s prejudices about the conditions on the peninsula, Ptolemy (c. 100–c. 170 AD) appeared much more informed 150 years later. The catalog of places in his Geographike hyphegesis contains about 8,000 toponyms of the Oikumene, distributed across 84 countries. Many peoples, tribes and settlements are also named for areas located on the territory of today’s Ukraine, indicating the area’s cultural plurality. In mid-19th century, Heinrich Kiepert (1818–1899), a German geographer and cartographer, sought to present the precise territorial division of the region at the time of Greek and Roman colonization in his Atlas Antiquus. Combining the historical streets and locations he had recorded on his travels with mathematically based panoramic drawings of the landscape, Kiepert arrived at the most accurate cartographic representations of the Black Sea region in antiquity. [TT]