Taurica ( _el. Ταυρίς, Ταυρίδα, _la. Taurica) also known as "Tauris", "Taurida", "Tauric Chersonese", and "Chersonesus Taurica" was the name of Crimea in Antiquity.

Etymology of the name

The Greeks named the region after its inhabitants, the Tauri. As the Tauri inhabited only mountainous regions of southern Crimea at first the name Tauris was used only to this southern part, but later it was extended to name the whole peninsula.Sometimes Taurica is referred to as "Tauric Chersonese" or "Chersonesus Taurica". This name is Greek for the "Tauric peninsula" ("Chersonese" literally means "peninsula"). This variant of the name should not be confused with the city of Chersonesos. /chersonesus mean ~cserzett=tawny or chornij=black too./

Legends about Tauris

According to Greek legends, Tauris is the place to which Iphigeneia was sent after the goddess Artemis rescued her from the human sacrifice her father was about to perform. The goddess swept the young princess off to Tauris where she became a priestess at her temple. Here, she was forced by the Taurian king Thoas to perform human sacrifices on any foreigners who came ashore. "See the plot of Iphigeneia in Tauris for more details."


Taurica was inhabited by a variety of peoples. The inland regions were inhabited by Scythians and the mountainous south coast by the Taures, an offshoot of the Cimmerians. Greek settlers inhabited a number of colonies along the coast of the peninsula, notably the city of Chersonesos near modern Sevastopol.

In the 2nd century BCE the eastern part of Taurica became part of the Bosporan Kingdom, before being incorporated into the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC.

The land of Tauris and its rumored customs of killing Greeks are also described by Herodotus in his histories, Book IV, 99-100 and 103.

De Facto Roman Province

:"See Charax, Crimea".During the first, second, and third centuries CE, Taurica was host to Roman legions and colonists in Charax, Crimea. The Charax colony was founded under Vespasian with the intention of protecting Chersonesos and other Bosporean trade emporiums from the Scythians. The Roman colony was protected by a vexillatio of the Legio I Italica; it also hosted a detachment of the Legio XI Claudia at the end of the 2nd century. The camp was abandoned by the Romans in the mid-3rd century. This de facto province would have been controlled by the legatus of one of the Legions stationed in Charax.

Modern name

Taurica was eventually renamed by the Crimean Tatars, from whose language the Crimea's modern name derives. The word "Crimea" comes from the Crimean Tatar name Qırım, via Greek Krimeia (Κριμαία).

Russian governorate

After the annexation of Crimea in 1783 the newly-installed Russian authorities made an attempt to revive the ancient name, and the former lands of the Crimean Khanate were organized into the Taurida Governorate. But this name was used only in the official documents and "Crimea" remained a common name for the country.

Following the 1917 October Revolution, the Taurida Governorate was briefly reformed as the "Taurida Soviet Socialist Republic" (Russian: Советская Социалистическая Республика Тавриды - "Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika Tavridy") in early 1918 before being overrun by the World War I Central Powers. After the reassertion of Soviet control in 1921, the governorate was divided between the peninsular Crimean Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic under the Russian SFSR and the mainland portions which were incorporated into the Ukrainian SSR.

"See Taurida Governorate for more details."

Modern use of the name

Since 1921 the name Taurida has no official status in Crimea and is used almost only in historical context. However, some institutions of the republic still use it, e.g. Taurida National University (the main university in Crimea).

ee also

*Charax, Crimea
*Colonies in antiquity
*Turan, mythical ethnological homeland of the Turkic peoples and their descendants, like the Turks of modern Turkey.


*ru icon [http://archeologia.narod.ru/krimxarax.htm The Roman site at Charax]
* [http://www.ukraine.com/sights/charax/ Lost Roman City]
* [http://www.iskenderiye.com/wp_encyclopedia/?p=296 Roman Ukraine]
* [http://www.encyclopediaofukraine.com/display.asp?AddButton=pages%5CC%5CH%5CChersoneseTaurica.htm Taurica]
* [http://www.icehouse.net/debbie/html/history.html Taurica History]

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