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The Chinese used the term Sai (Chinese: ), for Sakas who once inhabited the valleys of the Ili River and Chu River and moved into the Tarim Basin.

Iskuzai or Askuzai is an Assyrian term for raiders south of the Caucasus who were probably Scythian.

Herodotus provides the first detailed description of the Scythians.

"They were not a specific people", but rather variety of peoples "referred to at variety of times in history, and in several places, none of which was their original homeland." The first, formerly more espoused by Soviet and then Russian researchers, roughly followed Herodotus' (third) account, holding that the Scythians were an Eastern Iranian group who arrived from Inner Asia, i.e. although this is also associated with the Cimmerians.According to Dolukhanov this proposal is supported by anthropological evidence which has found that Scythian skulls are similar to preceding findings from the Timber Grave culture, and distinct from those of the Central Asian Sacae.In Eastern Europe, by the early Medieval Ages, the Scythians and their closely related Sarmatians were eventually assimilated and absorbed (e.g.Slavicisation) by the Proto-Slavic population of the region.Most descend from the Indo-European root *skeud-, meaning "propel, shoot" (cognate with English shoot). The restored Scythian name is *skuda (roughly "archer").

This yields the ancient Greek Skuthēs (plural Skuthai Σκύθαι) and Assyrian Aškuz; Old Armenian: skiwtʰ is from itacistic Greek.

It is that the wandering Scythians once dwelt in Asia, and there warred with the Massagetae, but with ill success; they therefore quitted their homes, crossed the Araxes, and entered the land of Cimmeria.

Moreover, the term Scythian, like Cimmerian, was used to refer to a variety of groups from the Black Sea to southern Siberia and central Asia.

If other languages were used in the region we have no definite evidence.

The relationships between the peoples living in these widely separated regions remains unclear.

Others have further stressed that "Scythian" was a very broad term used by both ancient and modern scholars to describe a whole host of otherwise unrelated peoples sharing only certain similarities in lifestyle (nomadism), cultural practices and language.