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The Bosporan Kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (Greek: Βασίλειον του Κιμμερικού Βοσπόρου Basileion tou Kimmerikou Bosporou), was an ancient state located in eastern Crimea and the Taman Peninsula on the shores of the Cimmerian Bosporus, the present-day Strait of Kerch. (It was not named after the more famous Bosphorus beside Istanbul at the other end of the Black Sea.) The Bosporan Kingdom was the longest surviving Roman client kingdom. It was a Roman province from 63 to 68 AD, under Emperor Nero. The 1st and 2nd centuries BC saw a period of renewed golden age of the Bosporan state. At the end of the 2nd century, King Sauromates II inflicted a critical defeat on the Scythians and included all the territories of the Crimea in the structure of his state.

The prosperity of the Bosporan Kingdom was based on the export of wheat, fish and slaves. The profit of the trade supported a class whose conspicuous wealth is still visible from newly discovered archaeological finds, excavated, often illegally, from numerous burial barrows known as kurgans. The once-thriving cities of the Bosporus left extensive architectural and sculptural remains, while the kurgans continue to yield spectacular Greco-Sarmatian objects, the best examples of which are now preserved in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. These include gold work, vases imported from Athens, coarse terracottas, textile fragments and specimens of carpentry and marquetry.


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