In historical texts there are often names and geographical names that are not known in the modern language. For example, the question often arises: “What river did the ancient Greeks call Borisfen?” This article provides information about this ancient river, as well as the origin of the word itself.
Let's give a general answer to the question of what river the ancient Greeks called Borisfen. This is the ancient Greek name for the Dnieper River.
For the first time this name (Βορυσθεvης) is mentioned in the books of Ancient Greece in the 5th century BC - this is how the great historian Herodotus called the Dnieper, who described it as a Scythian "river from the north".
Roman historians gave their name - the name "Danapris" (Danapris), and the Slavs in the period of Ancient Russia called this river "Slavutich".
Description of ancient Borisfen
Herodotus writes about Borisfen in the country of the Scythians as one of the greatest rivers known inancient world. In fullness, it is second only to the Egyptian Nile, the water is very clean and pleasant to the taste. There were a huge number of beautiful meadows and pastures along the banks of the ancient Dnieper, and there were a lot of fish in the river itself - the “antakai” (sturgeon) were especially tasty, which were caught near the mouth, where s alt was also mined.
The sources of the Dnieper were unknown to ancient historians, and in its lower reaches the Borisfen connected with the Gipanis (Bug) river and flowed into the Black Sea ("Euxine Pont"), and in this place in the 6th century BC the Greeks built a city Olbia (“happy”), and the inhabitants of the city were called “borisfenites”.
Borisfen is part of the Dnieper
All of the above is just a general answer. More specific information about which river the ancient Greeks called Borisfen allows us to conclude that the modern Dnieper does not quite correspond to the information recorded by Herodotus.
The fact is that in ancient times the Dnieper had a different course. Herodotus reports that this river branches into two branches (actually Borisfen and Herr), which flow into the Black Sea, diverging to the south and east and forming between them a large island, where Olbia was located.
Modern scientists believe that the ancient river was divided into two branches (southern and eastern) in the area of present-day Cherkasy.
Thus, answering the question of which river the ancient Greeks called Borysfen, we can say that only the upper part of the existing Dnieper belongs to the ancient Borysfen (approximately to Cherkasy).
Lowerthe part of the Dnieper that goes east to Dnepropetrovsk is the ancient Herr. And the southern arm, which bore the name "Borisfen", does not exist today.
Origin of the name of the river
Telling about which river was called Borysfen in ancient times, the meaning of this word should be explained.
The Dnieper was the main river of Scythia, and the ancient peoples who inhabited its banks worshiped the spirit of the great river.
Herodotus writes that the Scythians considered themselves descendants of Targytai, who was the son of Zeus and the daughter of the Borisfen river.
This means that the Borisfen River gave birth to the Scythian peoples, they considered it their ancestor. But Herodotus does not explain the meaning of the word itself, and the origin of the word "Boristhenes" is still not exactly established.
Now the Dnieper is the fourth largest river in Europe and the largest river in Ukraine.
Currently, the length of the Dnieper (after the construction of reservoirs and straightening of the channel) is 2201 km.
The Dnieper begins its course on the Valdai Hills and ends in the estuary of the Black Sea, where the river flows after its confluence with the Bug.
Knowing which river the Greeks called Borisfen, we can say that the Dnieper is still a great river that flows through the lands of three countries - Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and more than 50 cities stand on its banks, including Kyiv - the capital Ukraine and the "mother of Russian cities".