Persian Empire > Macrones

Macrones

Background

The Macrones (Georgian: მაკრონები) (Ancient Greek: Μάκρωνες, Makrōnes) were an ancient Colchian tribe in the east of Pontus, about the Moschici Mountains (modern Yalnizçam Dağlari, Turkey[1]). The Macrones are first mentioned by Herodotus (c. 450 BC), who relates that they, along with Moschi, Tabal, Mossynoeci, and Marres, formed the nineteenth satrapy within the Achaemenid Persian Empire and fought under Xerxes I. There are many other subsequent references to them in the Classical accounts.

Xenophon (430-355 BC) places them east of Trapezus (modern Trabzon, Turkey). They are described as a powerful and wild people wearing garments made of hair, and as using in war wooden helmets, small shields of wicker-work, and short lances with long points.[2] Strabo (xii.3.18) remarks, in passing, that the people formerly called Macrones bore in his day the name of Sanni, a claim supported also by Stephen of Byzantium, though Pliny speaks of the Sanni and Macrones as two distinct peoples. By the 6th century they were known as the Tzanni (Ancient Greek: Τζάννοι). According to Procopius, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I subdued them in the 520s and converted them to Christianity.

The Macrones are identified by modern scholars as one of the proto-Georgian tribes[4] whose presence in Northeastern Anatolia might have preceded the Hittite period, and who survived the demise of Urartu.[5] They are frequently regarded as the possible ancestors of the Mingrelians and Laz people (cf. margal, a Mingrelian self-designation). The Macrones lived along the border with the Machelonoi, another "Sannic" tribe evidently closely related to the Macrones.

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