Outline of the history of the Bosporan Kingdom

 The territory of the Bosporan Kingdom extended over the eastern part of the Crimea with the Kerch and Taman Peninsulas in the east and reached at its peak Tanais at the mouth of the Don in the north. Although the geographic extent of the state changed periodically, its core for more than a thousand years covered territories on either side of the Cimmerian Bosporus (today the Kerch Strait). The Bosporan kingdom was one of the longest operating political organisms of the ancient world. The continuity of political power in the same territory for more than a thousand years is one of the features distinguishing the Kingdom from other political formations of the ancient world and determining its history to a large extent.

In the generally accepted land division the territory referred to arbitrarily as the Bosporus extended from Theodosia to Gagra and included the following Greek cities of some importance: Theodosia, Nymphaion, Tyritake, Pantikapaion[1] It should be emphasized that recent findings have demonstrated the Taman peninsula to have been an island until at least the 5th century AD. This reflects especially on the oldest period in the existence of Greek colonies in this area. In my opinion and similarly as it was in other places,[2] the oldest settlements would be expected on the island, only gradually moving to spots on the mainland opposite, which was under much greater threat of raiding nomads from the vicinity.
The presence of ancient Greeks in the Bosporus can be subdivided into the following chronological periods:
Archaic (7th-6th century BC)
Classical (5th century BC–c. 330 BC)
Early Hellenistic (4th-3rd century BC)
Late Hellenistic (2nd-1st century BC)
Roman (1st-4th century AD)

The division has been adopted by most researchers involved with the subject and is fairly well grounded.[3] It also satisfies the needs of the present work, although certain details of Bosporan chronology are still disputable.

[1] On the geographic division into differentiated regions of Greek colonies in the Black Sea region, see Shelov 1967, pp. 219-224; Brashinskii 1970, pp. 129-138 especially Vinogradov 1987, p. 5.
[2] For example, Pithekusai and Kyme in Italy.
[3] Undoubtedly the most important work on the Bosporan Kingdom is still Gaidukevich’s monumental study (Gaidukevich 1971), but one should also note a number of smaller articles by Vinogradov (collected in PS 1997). The discussion on details of Bosporan chronology continues and is apt to change with the appearance of new epigraphic data. Even so, the principal outline of Bosporan Kingdom chronology has already been established with a high degree of likelihood.