On seeing this a man will say that no less than Greeks are foreigners skilled in the arts: for the Sauromatae have no iron, neither mined by themselves nor yet imported. They have, in fact, no dealings at all with the foreigners around them. To meet this deficiency they have contrived inventions. In place of iron they use bone for their spear-blades and cornel wood for their bows and arrows, with bone points for the arrows. They throw a lasso round any enemy they meet, and then turning round their horses upset the enemy caught in the lasso. Their breastplates they make in the following fashion. Each man keeps many mares, since the land is not divided into private allotments, nor does it bear any thing except wild trees, as the people are nomads. These mares they not only use for war, but also sacrifice them to the local gods and eat them for food. Their hoofs they collect, clean, split, and make from them as it were python scales. Whoever has never seen a python must at least have seen a pine-cone still green. He will not be mistaken if he liken the product from the hoof to the segments that are seen on the pine-cone. These pieces they bore and stitch together with the sinews of horses and oxen, and then use them as breastplates that are as handsome and strong as those of the Greeks. For they can withstand blows of missiles and those struck in close combat. (Pausanias, Description of Greece 1.21.5-6)
We know very few things about Sarmatians, but this people is very interesting : I like all the stories that connect their culture to the arthurian saga, the very different way, compared to supposedly more civilized neighbouring nations, they treated women, and their bold attitude. The idea of a cataphract horseman, clad in bone lamellar armour, charging reckelessy and boldly and relying on his lance to smash the enemy is appealling when gaming.
The Sarmatians are charming, so when I had the opportunity to buy an army very well painted and with many conversion, I did it quickly.
Owing to their common nomadic and Central Asian heritage, Sarmatian society paralleled, at first, that of the Scythians, but there were many differences. The Scythian gods were those of nature, while the Sarmatians venerated a god of fire to whom they offered horses in sacrifice. In contrast to the reclusive, domestic role of Scythian women, unmarried Sarmatian females, especially in the society’s early years, took arms alongside men. Sarmatian female warriors may have inspired the Greek tales of the Amazons. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/524377/Sarmatian
In 1978, C. Scott Littleton and Ann C. Thomas expanded on the ideas of Vasily Abaev and Georges Dumezil and published their theory of a connection between the related Alan and Sarmatian peoples and the history and later legend of King Arthur. According to this theory, cavalry units left behind in the Roman departure from Britain during the early 5th century became the nucleus of an elite in Dark Age Britain which still preserved elements of Alano-Sarmatian mythology and culture. In 1994 Littleton and Linda A. Malcor further developed this theory, identifying the Roman officer Lucius Artorius Castus, who may have commanded Sarmatian auxiliaries in the 2nd century, as the original basis for Arthur. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_basis_for_King_Arthur)
The culture of the Sarmatians has many similarities to the legends of Arthur. Apart from their skill as armoured knights, they held great, near religious, fondness for their swords — their tribal worship was directed at a sword sticking up from the ground, similar to the sword in the stone motif. They carried standards in the form of dragons, a symbol used by Arthur and his father Uther Pendragon according to the 12th century pseudo-history Historia Regum Britanniae. The Sarmatians also had shamans, which proponents have linked to Arthur's wizard Merlin. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_basis_for_King_Arthur)
"The Romans left Dacia for good under Aurelianus after which the way was open to the Roxolani. The effect of their arrival must have been felt soon. ... The Sarmatians soon became a standing danger already under Carus, and they threatened not only the Illyricum, but even Thracia and Italy
.. The threat of the Sarmatians increased in the following years. Two punitive expeditions were led by Diocletian himself against the Sarmatians in 286 and 293. At the same time a number of fortifications were being built along the Danube under the personal supervision of Diocletian. He took a special interest in the setting up of a bridgehead at Dunaszekcső, and he also caused the rebuilding of the extensive fortifications on the two wings of the Sarmatian front at Bononia and Transaquincum. After these preparations the great attack was launched against the Sarmatians led by Maximianus in person.
We have excellent documents on the great importance attached to these Sarmatian wars. It was at this time that the Tetrarchy began to mint new silver coins, and this was used to commemorate the victory won over the Sarmatians. These coins bore witness to the great importance the Romans paid to the defeat of the Sarmatians, implying even that it was the outstanding event of the times because no other victory had ever been celebrated in this way, neither the ones won over the Goths, Bastarnae, Carpi nor those over the Quads or the Marcomanni. This proves that the Sarmatians had been a much greater danger than any of the other peoples.
The wars led by the Emperors themselves against the Iazyges continued during the Tetrarchy. Small wonder that historians in the past found it "surprising" that during Diocletian's reign seven military expeditions had to be led against the Sarmatians and yet no reason could be given why this should have happened. The unparalleled exertions of the Romans against the Sarmatians were rather remarkable in an age when no similar strenuous efforts were needed against any nation, not even against the Goths. It seems as if the pressure on the Roman Empire put on by the Sarmatians, was greater than that by any other nation during those decades." (http://www.kroraina.com/sarm/jh/jh2_7.html)
In addition to the lancers, below there are more elements to field Alan and Bosphoran armies
Latest Sarmatian reinforcements