EB1:Although no longer the epitome of nomadic military ardor, the remnants of the Skythian nobility still serve as a powerful cavalry force.
EB2:The Skuda Azdata are the aristocracy amongst the Skythian people, providing heavy cavalry armed with lance and sword.
Although no longer the epitome of nomadic military ardor, the remnants of the Skythian nobility still serve as a powerful cavalry force. Now, the Skuda Uaezdaettae, or Skythian Nobles, fight in a matter almost more similar to the Greeks than their nomadic ancestors, preferring the xyston or spear and sword to archery, even though they still carry composite bows. Equipped with a fine lynothorax reinforced with metal scales, long pteryges and a Greek style bronze helmet, they can still form a deadly cavalry force, though not to the extent they once could. Their tactics have also shifted to deal more with similarly equipped cavalry and heavy infantry rather than nomadic horse archers.
Historically, after the Sauromatae began to invade their territory, the Skythians began to decline. Each year they shrunk, until they only continued in what became known as "Skythia Minor", the lower Dniepr and the Crimea. Because of this, their conections to the Hellenistic Black Sea colonies, which were always strong grew even greater until many Skythians were settled and resembled Greeks more than their nomadic cousins still on the steppe. Even so, they never completely lost their skill with cavalry and their martial prowess and under the rule of King Skiluros the Crimean Skythians experienced a revival of their fortunes. They gained control of the Greek city of Olbia and fought successfully against the Bosporan Kingdom. However, this prompted the intervention of a Pontic Kingdom that, under a young Mithradates VI was starting an agressive expansion. Pontic forces defeated the Skythians and made them vassals of Pontos. As such, they would become a very valuable asset for the Pontic army in its subsequent wars with Rome.
These riders are the upper echelons of Skythian society, who in peace spend most of their time training and exercising, while in war they take position in the centre and are the first to charge the enemy. Confident in their skills and protection by the gods, the Skuda Azdata have no qualms in fighting at close-quarters. Indeed they have instructed their armourers and smiths to forge the best armaments available in the Northern Pontic Region. Neighbouring communities, if not hostile, go to great lengths to gain these riders' goodwill and alliance, for their presence alone on the battlefield can decide an engagement. Throughout their lives these rider have collected a large number of decapitated enemies' heads and along with them honour among kinsmen.
Led by the Skulata clans the Skuda became masters of the Pontic Steppe already from the 7th century BCE. Since then they entered into close-contacts with colonising Hellenes and by the 4th century BCE Thrakian and Keltic cultural influence also reached the Skuda. Living side by side and intermixing with all these communities, the Skuda increasingly abandoned a pastoral way of life. During those difficult times around a third of the Skythian free women also had to join in military defense, making casualties even more aggravating. Surrounded by peoples, now turning hostile, and experiencing a climatic crisis, the Skulata opted to settle in Taurike Chersonesos, where from the 2nd century BCE formed new mixed communities. In these Hellenic and Skythian customs merged into a shared identity. Managing to overcome the 5th century BCE's intransigence, which caused massacres of Philhellenes among the Skulata. Skythian society was structured in three classes and all the Azdata were also known as Pilophoroi, hat wearers, which marked their high status. Overall during the Hellenistic period an increasing number of Skuda Azdata fought common enemies of the Kimmerios Bosporos and such Skythian riders were the majority of the heavy cavalry in Bosporan armies.
Highly versatile heavy cavalry, able to unleash a devastating charge or fight in melee combat armed with their highly lethal swords. They are also well-armor to fight against all but the heaviest cavalry and they are also able to outmaneuver them in speed.