Tomyris

Tomyris is a name of uncertain etymology. It’s the Hellenized form of Tahm-Rayiš, the name of a Massagetae queen (the Massegetaens being an ancient Eastern Iranian nomadic tribe in Central Asia in what is now parts of modern day Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, western Uzekistan, and southern Kazakhstan). Although the name is of uncertain etymology, since the original language the Massegetaens spoke is unknown, I’ve seem some sites as possibly linking it to Turkic name Timur meaning “iron” and so her name means “crush iron” or “bend iron”. Another possible meaning is that it comes from Iranian name Tomrouz meaning “girl who respects her home”.

According to Greek historians, Tomyris was the one who killed the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great when he attempted to invade her territory (after she had rejected his marriage proposal). In revenge, and after the death of her son Spargapises, she and her army defeated the Persian army and Tomyris had his corpse beheaded and stuffed the head into a wineskin filled with blood, fulfilling an earlier promise she had made him if he didn’t leave her country- although to be clear, there are different versions of how Cyrus the Great died, and this is just one of them. Apparently, history isn’t as clear-cut as it ought to be.

Origin: Unknown, possibly Turkic or Iranian

Variants:

  • Thomyris
  • Tomris
  • Tomiride
  • Tomiri
  • Tamyris
  • Tamiris
  • Tymar