Cimmerians (sĭmērˈeənz) [key], ancient people of S Russia of whom little is actually known. They are mentioned in Homer, but they emerge into history only in the 8th cent. B.C. when they were driven by the Scythians (see Scythia) from their former home in Crimea and came to the region around Lake Van (in present-day E Turkey). Defeated (634 B.C.) by the Scythians, the Cimmerians swept across Asia Minor, plundering Lydia and breaking the power of Phrygia. The biblical Gomer may be the eponym of the Cimmerians, and they are mentioned in the inscriptions of the Assyrians, with whom they warred.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.