Cimmerii, a nomadic race of extreme antiquity, concerning whom there are numerous theories of more or less plausibility, but nothing has been established that seems even to approach to certainty or truth. From the slight descriptions that remain of their habits it may be inferred that they were Tartars. They lived in tents, used wagons, and were "milkers of mares.'" Modern criticism is nevertheless inclined to connect them with the Celtic race.
(See Gomer.) They appear in a mythical form in the Odyssey, as dwellers beyond the ocean-stream, plunged in eternal darkness. The historical Cimmerians seem to have been first known or heard of in Asia Minor and on the shores of the Black sea, where the strait of Yenikale, between the Asiatic mainland and the Tauric Chersonese, or Crimea, was early designated as the Cimmerian Bosporus. According to Herodotus, they were driven from their abodes in the Crimea by the Scythians, entered Asia Minor by migrating along the shores of the Euxine to the eastward, ravaged it during the reign of Ardys, the successor of Gyges, king of Lydia, and either remained there until the times of Alyattes and Cyaxares (616 B. C), when they were finally expelled, or were succeeded by a second horde at that period, when both were driven out together.