Enaree Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enaree

Detail of the Karagodeuashkh kurgan headdress, showing Artimpasa or her chief priestess in the center surrounded by priestesses and an Enaree on the right.[1]

The Enarei, singular Enaree (Ancient Greek: Ἐνάρεες Enárees,[2][3] Ἀναριεῖς Anarieîs,[4] derived from the Iranian term *anarya, meaning "unmanly"[5]), were Scythian androgynous/effeminate priests and shamanistic soothsayers who played an important role in the Scythian religion.

Religious role[edit]

The Enarei performed Artimpasa's cult and played an important political role in Scythian society as they were believed to have received the gift of prophesy directly from the goddess Artimpasa (conflated by Herodotus with Aphrodite).[6] The Enarei wore women's clothing, performed women's jobs and customs and spoke in a feminine manner.[7][1] They were accepted and revered in Scythian society.[6]

Scythian religion included shamanism and divination, both nature and deities worship and had no temples. Scythian shamanism involved religious ecstasy through the use of cannabis,[1] with modern authors claiming that Enarei likely performed those rites, just like 'gender-crossing shamans' of other cultures.[7][1]


Herodotus describes the Scythian divination practices: the method employed by the Enarei differed from that practised by traditional Scythian diviners: whereas the latter used a bundle of willow rods, the Enarei used strips cut from the bark of the linden tree (genus tilia) to tell the future,[8] which they did by splitting the bark and twining the strands among open fingers.[9]

The Enarei were especially consulted when the king of the Scythians was ill,[9] which was itself believed by the Scythians to be caused by a false oath being sworn upon the king's hearth.[10]


Hippocrates wrote that Enarei would "play the part of women", which has been interpreted as referring to being the passive person in a homosexual intercourse.[1] Aristotle described them with the word "malakia" (soft, effeminate), which also carried connotations of the sexually receptive homosexual party.[1]

Herodotus, who uses the term "androgynos" (ἀνδρόγυνος), explains their effeminate condition with the story of the Scythians who pillaged the temple of Aphrodite Urania at Askelon, and all their descendants after them, afflicted by the goddess with the “female” sickness.[11] Hippocrates, who speaks about the Enarees in his work On Airs, Waters, Places, theorized that they were impotent as a result of continuous horseback riding, and it was for this reason they have adopted feminine roles.[6] Hippocrates also underlined that only the noble and powerful men (who got to ride horses) became Enarei.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Randy P. Conner (1997). Cassell's encyclopedia of queer myth, symbol, and spirit. pp. 129–131. ISBN 0304337609.
  2. ^ Herodotus. "105". Ἱστορίαι [The History]. Vol. 1.
  3. ^ Herodotus. "67". Ἱστορίαι [The History]. Vol. 4.
  4. ^ Pseudo-Hippocrates. "22". Περί Αέρων, Υδάτων, Τόπων [On Airs, Waters and Places] (in Ancient Greek).
  5. ^ Ivantchik, Askold (25 April 2018). "SCYTHIANS". Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved 23 October 2021. referred to by Herodotus as enareës (ἐνάρεες; 1.105.4; 4.67.2), and more accurately by Pseudo-Hippocrates (Aër. 22) as anarieis (ἀναριεῖς, from the Iranian *anarya-, “unmanly”)
  6. ^ a b c d Hippocrates. On Airs, Waters, Places . Part XXII – via Wikisource.
  7. ^ a b Ascherson, Neal (1995). Black Sea (1st ed.). New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 0-8090-3043-8. OCLC 32548776.
  8. ^ Herodotus, The Histories IV. 67
  9. ^ a b Phillips, E. D. (1972). "The Scythian Domination in Western Asia: Its Record in History, Scripture and Archaeology". World Archaeology. 4 (2): 129–138. doi:10.1080/00438243.1972.9979527. JSTOR 123971. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  10. ^ Ustinova, Yulia (1999). The Supreme Gods of the Bosporan Kingdom: Celestial Aphrodite and the Most High God. p. 69. ISBN 978-9-004-11231-5.
  11. ^ Herodotus, The Histories I. 105. § 4