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Title: Budini  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Gelonus, Histories (Herodotus), Scythia, Slavic mythology, Votes
Collection: Ancient Peoples, Scythia, Tribes Described Primarily by Herodotus
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


The Budini (Greek: Boudinoi) were an ancient people who lived in Scythia.

Herodotus located them east of the Don River (known as the Tanais in his time) beyond the Sarmatians.[1] He gives us the only description of them:

Pliny the Elder mentions the Budini together with the Geloni and other peoples living around the rivers which drain into the Black Sea from the north.[3]

During the European Scythian campaign of Darius I, in which the Persian king invaded the Scythian lands of Eastern Europe, the Budini were allies of the Scythians. During the campaign, he captured and burnt down one of the Budini's large fortified cities.[4]

The Budini are also mentioned by Classical authors in connection with reindeer. Both Aristotle and Theophrastus have short accounts – probably based on the same source – of an ox-sized deer species, named tarandos, living in the land of the Bodines in Scythia, which was able to change the colour of its fur to obtain camouflage. The latter is probably a misunderstanding of the seasonal change in reindeer fur colour.[5]

The 1911 Britannica surmises that the Budini were Finno-Ugric, of the branch now represented by the Udmurts and Komis.[6] Edgar V. Saks identifies Budini as the Finnic Votic people.[7]

Several historians and scholars such as Lubor Niederle and Pavel Jozef Šafárik believe that the Budini were a Slavic people, and that the etymology stems from the Slavic word for 'water' "Voda". [8]


  1. ^ Herodotus, The Histories, iv. 21.
  2. ^ Herodotus, The Histories, trans. Robin Waterfield (1998), iv. 108, 109.
  3. ^ Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, book 4, XII, 88; Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, trans. John Bostock, book 4, chapter 26
  4. ^ Boardman 1982, pp. 239-243.
  5. ^ Georg Sarauw, "Das Rentier in Europa zu den Zeiten Alexanders und Cæsars" [The reindeer in Europe to the times of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar], In Jungersen, H. F. E. and Warming, E.. Mindeskrift i Anledning af Hundredeaaret for Japetus Steenstrups Fødsel (Copenhagen 1914), pp. 1–33.
  6. ^  
  7. ^ Edgar V. Saks, Eesti viikingid (Tallinn 2005), p. 16.
  8. ^ James Hastings, "Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics" (1921), p. 588.


  • Boardman, John, ed. (1982).  
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