Ranging from small hillocks for the common warriors to the “royal” kurgans that housed the remains of chieftains and great warriors, these tumuli weren’t just piles of dirt and refuse heaped over bodies, but layers of sod built over a central chamber – the sod meant to provide grazing in the afterlife for all the horses buried with the deceased.
In one such, archaeologists found over 400 horse skeletons arrayed in a geometric pattern around the deceased chieftain.
But, in the middle of the third century AD the Goths sacked Scythian Neapolis, officially ending the Scythian civilization.
In your cities, research Animal Husbandry to take advantage of Pastures as early as possible for sources of Horses and place adjacent Kurgans to gain extra Faith and Gold (keeping in mind you cannot place Kurgans on hills).
The Gold will help to maintain the costs of your armies, and the Faith bonus can give an early edge in the religion game.
And keep in mind that a Level 5 light cavalry unit gets access to the Escort Mobility promotion, which makes any units in formation with the light cavalry move at the same speed.
As this means any support unit, such as the Battering Ram, can keep up with the exceptionally fast cavalry, getting at least one light cavalry unit to this level should be a priority.
Westward, across the steppes of the Crimea and Ukraine, the remaining Scythian tribes survived relatively unchanged for another three centuries, riding and raiding.
And even settling down in places; the city known as Scythian Neapolis (near present-day Simferopol) served as the trading center of the Crimean Scythian tribes.
(Note that Saka Horse Archers are considered ranged units rather than light cavalry, so they will not be able to get this promotion.) The Scythians were a loose (very loose) confederation of illiterate nomad-pastoralists who wandered about the steppes of Central Asia for about a thousand years.
Most of what is known of them comes from a handful of ancient “historians” – the likes of the Greek Herodotus and the Roman-Greek Strabo and a few Hindu texts – and that’s not much.
In the meantime, a collection of Scythian tribes (now known as the Indo-Scythians) under the chieftain Maues migrated southeastwards into Bactria, Sogdiana and Arachosia.
There they had largely supplanted the Indo-Greeks in the Punjabi and Kashmiri regions by the time of Azes II, c. But, so far as can be determined, he was the last Indo-Scythian king, for soon after his death the Indo-Scythians were overrun by the Kushans; and soon after that, the Parthians invaded from the west and the Scythians disappear from Indian records.
Four to six of them are strong enough to take down early-game cities without casualties and without needing siege support, making them exceptionally efficient at conquering large amounts of land.