"those old witches, who, expelled from Scythia had mated with the devils in the desert"

Scythia was a region north of the Black Sea. The Scythians were an ancient Iranian people who inhabited the area until the 2nd century AD. Due to negative ancient Greek descriptions of them, Scythians had long been used as an epitome of savagery and barbarianism.

 

Scythia in 1st century BC
GNU Free Documentation LicenseScythia in 1st century BC - Credit: Dbachmann/Wikimedia Commons