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Gelonian/Helonian Scythians

The Gelonians (also known as Helonians) were known by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus to occupy northwestern Scythia. They were originally Hellenes who settled among the Budinis (perhaps a Finnic-Votic tribe ruled by the Scythians) and were bilingual in both Greek and the Scythian language. Their capital was called Gelonus or Helonus, from the Greek word for market town. Scythians revered the stag which was believed to speed the spirits of the dead on their way.

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The four archaeological Scythian samples (scy009, scy010, scy301 and MJ34) are from between 600 BC-290 BC and were located in the forest-steppes region described by both Herodotus and the Romano-Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus as the home of the Gelonians/Helonians. The Scythians established fortified centers to coordinate trade and Gelon/Helon was considered the capital of Great Scythia. The fortified enclosure was about 40 square kilometers in size and 3 keeps were surrounded by earthen walls up to 16 meters high.

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The forified settlement of Gelonus was reached by the Persian army of Darius on his assault on Scythia during the 6th century BC. The Scythians managed to avoid a direct confrontation with the Persian Army due to their mobile lifestyle and lack of city targets. The Scythians, having burned the settlement themselves to the ground, left a message for Darius: We are free as wind and what you can catch in our land is only the wind. The scorched earth policy was successful and the Persians returned without having engaged in a single battle or having achieved a single success.

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Anyone with Gelonian/Helonian ancestry is a descendant of Scythian tribesmen and warriors who roamed from China westwards to the Carpathian Mountains. An annual festival is held each year at Belsk, Poltava in the Ukraine where people gather to celebrate in the reconstructed wooden-walled city of Helon and pay homage to the Helon/Gelon Scythian ancestors of the past. Today direct descendants of the Gelonian/Helonian Scythians bearing the surname HELON live in Australia, England, the USA and in Poland.

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