APASIACAE, name of a nomadic tribe belonging to the Scythian Massagetae, not attested in Iranian sources; the Apasiacae lived between Oxus and Tanais according to Polybius 10.48.1 (with the variant reading Aspasiákai preferred, e.g., by Altheim and Stiehl) and Stephanus Byzantius, i.e., on the eastern coast of the Aral Sea, since Tanais obviously means here the Jaxartes river, or along the Oxus river in the west of Bactria (Strabo Geography 11.8.8, where Arachōtoús, a seemingly very early corruption, is most likely to be corrected into Apasiákas). The Parthian king Arsaces I fled to these people ca. 230 B.C. from Seleucus II Callinicus (ibid.). For a long time the Apasiacae have been put on a par with the Pasicae (Ptolemy 6.12.4 Pasíkai = *Pasi<á>kai) and a series of other ancient ethnonyms; recently Daffinà has tried anew to identify them with the Pasi(a)cae, the Pasiani (Pasianoi), and the *Apasii (*Apásioi for Attásioi, Strabo 11.8.8) and to vindicate all these names as variants (with or without several prefixes or suffixes) of a single linguistic form. The widely accepted etymology brought forth by Tomaschek (Iran. *Āpa-sakā, “Water-Sakas”) is incompatible with phonetics, the one by Altheim and Stiehl (*Āpa-šyā-ka- “rejoicing at water”) with word formation and semantics.
W. Tomaschek, “Apasiakai,” Pauly-Wissowa, I/2, col. 2670.
P. Daffinà, L’immigrazione dei Sakā nella Drangiana, Rome, 1967, pp. 54-57, 65f.
F. Altheim and R. Stiehl, Geschichte Mittelasien im Altertum, Berlin, 1970, pp. 453f.
Originally Published: December 15, 1986
Last Updated: August 5, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 2, pp. 151-152