Open main menu

ISSEDONES, an ancient people of Central Asia at the end of the trade route leading north-east from Scythia (q. v.), described by Herodotus (iv. 26). The position of their country is fixed as the Tarym basin by the more precise indications of Ptolemy, who tells how a Syrian merchant penetrated as far, as Issedon. They had their wives in common and were accustomed to slay the old people, eat their flesh and make cups of their skulls. Such usages survived among Tibetan tribes and make it likely that the Issedones were of Tibetan race. Some of the Issedones seem to have invaded the country of the Massagetae to the west, and similar customs are assigned to a section of these.

(E. H. M.)