It stands on the site of the ancient Panticapaeum, and, like most towns built by the ancient Greek colonists in this part of the world, occupies a beautiful situation, clustering round the foot and climbing up the sides of the hill (called after Mithradates) on which stood the ancient citadel or acropolis.
The Greek colony of Panticapaeum was founded about the middle of the 6th century B.C., by the town of Miletus.
These were mostly settled by Milesians, Panticapaeum in the 7th or early in the 6th century B.C., but Phanagoria (c. 540 B.C.) was a colony of Teos, and Nymphaeum had some connexion with Athens - at least it appears to have been a member of the Delian Confederacy.
From this we may infer that they spoke a language cognate with the Scythic. The greater part of the barbarian names occurring in the inscriptions of Olbia, Tanais and Panticapaeum are supposed to be Sarmatian, and as they have been well explained from the Iranian language now spoken by the Ossetes of the Caucasus, these are supposed to be the representatives of the Sarmatae and can be shown to have a direct connexion with the Alani, one of their tribes.
The former established himself in 64 at Panticapaeum, and was planning new campaigns against the Romans when his own troops revolted, and, after vainly trying to poison himself, he ordered a Gallic mercenary to kill him.