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Any member of an ancient people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov. Their origins are obscure; linguistically they are usually regarded as Thracian or Iranian. Driven by the Scythians out of southern Russia and over the Caucasus, they entered Anatolia toward the end of the 8th century BC. In 696–695 BC they conquered Phrygia. They reached the summit of their power in 652 after taking Sardis, capital of Lydia. Their decline soon began, and their final defeat may be dated from 637 or 626, when they were routed by Alyattes of Lydia.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Cimmerian, visit Britannica.com.