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The Legendary Adyghes The Circassians are a people native to the mountainous north-western region of CAUCASIA.

They live in three republics in the ussian !ederation" in #arachai-Cher$essia% which borders &eorgia to the south% where about '(%((( Circassians live) in #abardino-*al$aria% which lies to the east of #arachai-Cher$essia% in which about half a million Circassians reside) and in Adygeya% where about +((%((( Circassians live. There is a si,eable Shapsugh community on the *lac$ Sea shore near Sochi% but their territory en-oys no political status as yet. There is also a considerable Circassian diaspora in Tur$ey and the .iddle /ast% which numbers more than one million. The Circassian language belongs to the north-western Caucasian group% which also includes the e0tinct Uby$h and the Ab$ha,-Aba,a language% which% though mutually unintelligible with Circassian% is related it. Christiani,ed in the 1th century% Circassians gradually converted to Islam starting from the 23th century due to Tur$ish missionaries. After the signing of the Treaty of Adrianople In 2'+4% the Tur$s were forced to rescind all their unfounded claims to Circassia% and the ussians were given a free hand in the 5orth-western Caucasus. There ensued a terrible war of attrition that decimated the Circassian nation. The Circassians were finally defeated in 2'16 and ussian rule was established in Circassia. .any Circassians were subse7uently forced to emigrate% settling in Tur$ey% the *al$ans% and the .iddle /ast. goth-b82 In 9ttoman society Circassian women were admired for their beauty.

#abarday attac$ on Ci,arist forces 234( - :omen ;iv

goth-b82 Caucasia is a region between the *lac$ Sea on the west and the Caspian Sea on the east. It is dominated by the CAUCASUS .9U5TAI5S% one of the world<s great mountain ranges. .ount /lbrus% the highest pea$ in /urope% is located in the northwestern CAUCASUS .9U5TAI5S% on the border between ussia and &eorgia. An e0tinct volcano formed during the Tertiary =eriod% it has two cones rising to >%16+ m ?2'%>2( ft@ and >%1AA m ?2'%6'2 ft@ in height. Its glaciers feed the #uban% .al$a% and *a$san rivers.

Circassians call it :aschha-.a0we BThe .ountain of CappinessB. /lbrus was first con7uered in 2'+4. A #abardinian called #ullar #hashirov climbed the eastern face of /lbrus in that year. In honour and

memory of that achievement two Iron tablets written in ussian and Arabic were erected. #abarday :arrior 2'th Century The mountain system was formed near the edge of the Alpine &eosyncline% about +> million years ago. Its more than +%((( glaciers cover a total area of +%((( s7. $m ?33+ s7. mi@. The &reater Caucasus% the main range% separates temperate and subtropical climate ,ones. The cold slopes facing the *lac$ Sea may receive +%>6( mm ?2(( in@ of precipitation annually) the #ura-Ara$s Lowland on the Caspian Sea is semidesert and receives only +(( to 6(( mm ?' to 21 in@. The #ura% Sula$% Tere$% and #uma rivers rise in the Caucasus .ountains and flow into the Caspian Sea) the ioni and Inguri rivers rise in the Caucasus and flow into the *lac$ Sea) and the #uban iver rises in the Caucasus and flows into the Sea of A,ov. goth-b82 The name Caucasia% which was first recorded by the ancient &ree$s% has a disputed derivation. Caucasia% which gave its name to the white race of human$ind% has apparently long served as a centre of human settlement and is distinguished by ethnic comple0ity. About 6( languages are still spo$en in the region% many of them in the so-called Caucasian group of languages. They include Ab$ha,% Circassian% Chechen% Le,ghian% and &eorgian.

Cattu$hwaie Ab,ach 24th Century goth-b82 .ineral resources include petroleum% natural gas% manganese% copper% tungsten% and molybdenum. Livestoc$ is raised on the heavily forested slopes. :heat is grown in the northern piedmont and citrus fruits% cotton% and tea in the warmer valleys. The Caucasus has been a natural refuge for persecuted people for centuries. .ore than 6( different languages are spo$en among the region<s inhabitants% who reflect a broad ethnic pattern. goth-b82 CC/ #/SS in D9 ;A5 This people group is a minority and composes only about + percent of the population of Dordan ?6%+((%(((@. They came to Amman in 2'3'. They own large areas of the city and are% in general% wellto-do people. They have very good relations with the royal family% and the oyal &uards are all from this people group.

goth-b82 Caucasus !ol$ ;ance

It also $ept the male dancers in tip-top shape than$s to the energetic tunes. Later it turned into a form of festive celebration% $eeping some of its ritual significance.edged blade fitted into an unguarded hilt.ations have focused on fol$lore troupes. In mythical times% the 5arts held annual festivals and tournaments in which dances were held. It is nowadays the most popular $ind of fol$ art. Cossac$s% &eorgians and other Caucasians adopted many Circassian dance forms and some melodies.goth-b82 Shash7a The national sword of the Circassians.B In other countries as well% Circassian dancing is routinely presented at national festivals and occasions . . All dances are based on the rich material of Circassian fol$lore. Circassian . In general% womenMs movements were graceful and reserved% no wild movements being re7uired or displayed. 5o public or family festivity was complete without a round or more of dancing. In some cases% notably Tur$ey% Circassian dances have been incorporated into the national fol$lore Brepertoire.DA. It was only in recent times that dance turned into a pastime devoid of religious meaning.es the opportunity in informal sessions to show off vigorous moves% in parody of their male colleagues. The scabbard is made of wood covered with blac$ leather. It is also the set of practices through which those e0pressive genres are shared. this weapon consists of a slightly curved.ance EFGHI JKELI !ol$ dancing figures most prominently in Circassian e0pressive culture% partly because of weddings and other ceremonies in which it plays a ma-or part. DAI. single. In one modern comical choreography% . goth-b82 A.ancing has always had a special place in the life of the Circassians.ance was initially a religious rite% a $ind of spirited prayer. The new generation of female NsedateM dancers sometimes sei. /thnic organi.9U#CA The Legacy of Two Adighas !ol$lore !ol$lore consists of legends% music% oral history% proverbs%-o$es % popular beliefs% and customs that are the traditions of that culture% subculture% or group.

?0Mwrey@Z% which was performed by dancers forming a circle round a venerated ob-ect.ying footwor$ gets the audience gasping for breath% never mind the dancers. It was revived recently% but merely as a dance form. It later turned into a dance performed by couples with music% losing all religious significance. =rayer chants were intoned in single voice and chorus. eligious rites were sometimes accompanied by chanting. Some accounts tell 9f solemn processions round a tree with the supplicants carrying torches.gender-bending females perform acrobatic feats% strictly masculine affairs% with flourish. The idol was presented with many culinary offerings% including ma$hsima% the national beverage. These !ormed a significant part of a comple0 system of prayers. An effigy of the deity in the shape of a cross was placed near one of the most venerated trees in the wood. The occasion merged solemnity with merry-ma$ing in a natural and healthy manner.aghestani Lasses%M some di. #inds of Circassian . :hen the effigy had been circumambulated a few times% a new formation was assumed in which all parta$ers in the dance faced the icon holding hands and lifting them periodically in supplication. ..ance of .ances EQ`d] eTfg]S]U . Animals% such as bulls% rams% lambs% ewes% and goats% were then sacrificed in front of the idol for the purpose of propitiation and propagation of bliss. Songs were intoned during feasts in honour of thunder% during sacrifices and other pagan festivals.?[S\]dT]b]QR@% &od of flora% had people of both se0es gather in the early hours of the day and start on a procession to the local sacred grove. 5e0t the rite of thelheMw too$ place. The most sacred class of dances was called OPQR ?STPUVW@X Ywi.of the Supreme &odZ% was e0ecuted with the bodies of the participants in compact formation. Couples moved round the icon holding hands% with music and chant in the bac$ground. The slaughtered animals were then coo$ed and feasted upon. !estivities started when they entered the ancient wood.ance as a religious ritual It was believed that performance of special rites of worship in which supplicants encircle a venerated ob-ect% li$e a holy tree% or a spot stric$en by lightning% Invo$ed the resident spirits and unloc$ed their latent powers. In borrowed dance forms% say the N.M &eneric ritual The rites of worship of Theghele. They too$ with them an ample supply of victuals and a number of sacrificial animals. =rayers were then ta$en up by the priest% usually the eldest person in the group% who delivered a sermon that included a homily and than$sgiving for blessings rendered by the god. The priest then distributed the flesh among the worshippers% not forgetting the ill and the poor who were unable to attend. The men and women formed a circle round the idol and the sacred dance% wi-% was performed solemnly in much the same way it is done today. A special dance consecrated to the supreme god% O[S\]^SP] PQRX ?Thesh0we wi-@ Y:i. :hen lightning struc$ a place or an ob-ect% a special $ind of OPQRX ?wi-@ was performed round the stric$en spot accompanied by O_`ab] P]U]QX ?NSchible :eredM@ccNSong of Lightning.

The following are generic dances" OJTfg]X ?hafe@ is a stately slow dance% performed with pride touching on aloofness and with a great measure of self-control.e0we$MweZ% and OpIfb]dTPfb] o]SP]eIP]X ?schMaleghwale . It was borrowed in the Soviet period% but due to its vivaciousness and popularity it has been retained in the repertoire of most dance . *ala$irevMs fascination with 5orth Caucasian music goes bac$ to 2'1A when he visited the Caucasus. This wor$ was revised in 24(+% when a new passage was included between the first 1 and second parts. The 9ssetic version is called OJf^eij efgkX ?N#ash$on #aftM@ YN#abardian . 5ovember 241') re-issued" !ebruary 24'> ?ALC41>6nCALC41>@Z OxTfy]yzI{WP]X ?lhapeptsMiywe@% or ObTfy]U{r]PX ?lhaperiysew@ u . OxVod{je]X ?Le. It is verily the dance of the princes. It may be performed by a soloist% a group of dancers% or by a couple.ghin people in .ost old dances had a measure of 1l'. 9n its catchy melody and old meter% the ussian composer .2 It was 7uite fitting that a great pianist% Shura Cher$ass$y% a descendant of the ussified #abardian Cher$ass$y clan% performed on a recording of this wor$. Concert. The Adigean version of the dance is ObT]y]U`^TPX ?lheperischw@. Itssoloist% a group of dancers% or by a couple. Om`dT]bT]kX ?nighelhet@ Ythe hop-flitZ is a lively ?Adigean@ dance also performed by couples.ily Ale0eyevich *ala$irev ?2'A3-242(@ based his NIslameyc9riental !antasy for pianoM% which he finished in five wee$s on 2A September 2'14. Ce fell in love with Circassian music and he wrote a number of musical pieces based on #abardian fol$ songs. Sub-divisions of this dance include Oo]SP]eIP] eI`S\X ?.e0we$Mwe@ Y. . OqrbT]sVWX ?tislhemey@ YIslameyZ is an energetic dance that was either introduced recently or adapted from an ancient dance form. ecent melodies are lighter and more bris$% having a +l6 measure.aghestan. There have been hundreds of tunes devised for this dance throughout the ages. *ala$irev built this Noriental gemM% which is still performed today% around three themes" the first% Nallegro agitatoM% uses a fast repetitive dance rhythm in the Caucasian style% the middle part% Nandantino espressivoMuthe central theme of the pieceuwas built up climactically% when a switch is made to Nallegro vivoM.ance en pointe u is one of the alluring features of Caucasian dance in general.ghin$a@% as the name indicates% is an energetic dance of the Le. 5eighbouring peoples% li$e the *al$ars and the 9ssetes% adopted and adapted this dance form. Shura Cher$ass$y. YIslamey-9riental !antasy. This techni7ue% only performed by male dancers% re7uires rigorous training and a perfect sense of balance. Academy Sound v wision.anceMZ. YOm]gfeIPX in AdigeanZ This dance is no longer participated in weddings or concerts.e0we$Mwe chMih@ Ylong . Om]SP]eIP]X ?ne0we$Mwe) literally" Ngoing to one anotherM@ is a slow NromanticM dance.e0we$Mwe of the youthZ. Its meter is similar to that of OeTfg]X ?7afe@% 1l' for old versions and +l6 for new.

Their reputation for beauty and elegance was captured in the famous saying% N.pi0w@% OPQR STPUVWX ?wi. The Circassians were the fashion trend-setters in the Caucasus. There are other specific dances associated with individuals or regions% or with other themes. O}TPUf^]X ?~Mwrashe@ is Shapsugh OPQRX.. A slender waist for both males and females was at a premium. There are about +(%((( Shapsugh in the area of Sochi% where the ?+(26 :inter 9lympics@ v ?+(2' !I!A :orld Cup@ will be held. The rites associated with the deity So.0Mwrey@.M Cowever bad the attire of a mountaineer was% his arms were always $ept in perfect condition. /ven the Cossac$s adopted Circassian dress modes% dancing and the CircassiansM flair for horsemanship. The natives of every clime are taught by e0perience the dress best calculated to protect them against its influence) and% certainly% the Circassian costume% besides being elegant% is% in . It is nowadays performed by couples who go through the ancient ritual motions.bich% was described thus% NCis beshmet Y7uilted -ac$etZ is always in tatters% but his armament is in silver. According to Dohn Longworth ?2'6(% vol. O|QRX ?:i-@ is an ancient ?ritual@ dance that has gone through the significance transformations. +% p>2@% Nin general the Circassians% when ta$ing to the field% put on the worst and coarsest attire they can find) but many of their young heroes% out of emulation% a spirit of bravado or aspiring to the honours of martyrdom% render themselves conspicuous by wearing an entari Ycher$ess$aZ of the gayest colour.ressed li$e a #abardian.M Circassian costumes% eti7uette% dance and other distinctive cultural traits were borrowed by the other peoples of the Caucasus to varying degrees. Circassians paid great attention to enhancing the beauty and symmetry of their childrenMs physi7ues. 9ne of LermontovMs Caucasian% #a.troupes in the Caucasus. ?Circassian costume@ EFGHI LE_I}I• The 5orth Caucasians have always been $nown for their vigour% good health% physical strength and longevity.eresh ?•io]U]^@% .degw ?€]oQ]dP@% /lbrus ?IPfpS\]sfSP]@% etc.e. This cultic preoccupation with physical perfection meant that for male children of princely and noble descent% a rigorous% almost severe% martial training regimen was part and parcel of the formative years.% are choreographies devised in relatively recent times.0esh@% OPQR y`SPX ?wi.. The Shapsugh are N*lac$ SeaM Circassians.eresh obviously go bac$ for millennia% but #abardin$aMs dance is a modern depiction of the ancient. Costumes were designed to enhance and highlight the beauty of the body according to prevalent ideals. The use of leather straps and other devices to contract the middle area produced the ideal shape in the fol$loric ethos of a lean torso and wide chest. 5ames of dances% such as So. It has many varieties% including OPQR S]^X ?wi.M Cowever% the Circassians donned their most dilapidated apparel when they did battle. /dmund Spencer ?24A3@% a *ritish traveller to Circassia in the year 2'A1% left a vivid description of the Circassian male costume" .

S. The shapes of their papa$has% or tall hats% reflected the fashion of the mountaineers.. Cossac$s also followed Circassian cap styles. In his boo$ ussia" A Social Cistory ?24A2@ .. 9n entering the strangersM apartment% to which the% prince had the courtesy to conduct me himself% his s7uire% according to the general custom of this people% divested me of the whole of my weapons% and hung them up on the walls of the room with those of his master% e0cept the poniard% which a Circassian never parts with% being considered a part of his costume. It was also used in the ussian army% especially in the blac$ Sea and Line Armies% and later a variant was used in the Soviet cavalry. The latter weapon is also used as a rest for the rifle% having a groove at the top e0pressly for that purpose. 9n either side of the breast of the coat are the patron poc$ets% made of morocco leather% usually containing twenty-four rounds of ball cartridge" these not only add to the military appearance of the soldier% but in some measure protect the breast% and are e0tremely convenient" a round fur cap% with a crown the same colour as the ammunition poc$et% is the covering for the head) and cloth trousers% in the eastern fashion% complete the costume. In addition to this% the Circassian is armed with a light gun% slung across the shoulder% and a sabre suspended by a sil$ cord in the Tur$ish fashion) attached to the belt is a powder flas$% and a small metal bo0 containing flints% steel% gun-screws% oil% and% not infre7uently% a small hatchet.irs$y@ observes that Nnot the least curious feature of the ussian con7uest of the Caucasus was that it led to the adoption of a number of Caucasian% mainly habardi Y#abardianZ% cultural traitsudress% arms and dancesuby the ussian Cossac$s and &eorgians. Cow li$e the warriors of ancient &reece‚ And now with friendly force his band he grasped% Then led him in within his palace halls) Cis coat of mail% and glittering helm unclasped% And hung the splendid armour on the walls) !or there% UlyssesM arms% neglected% dim% Are left% nor more the con7uerorMs crown will win.every respect% well suited to the country" the lambswool turban preserved my head from the vertical sun) and by enveloping myself in the ample folds of the chlamyde% and covering my head with the capuchin on the approach of evening% I was protected from the nightly dews so pregnant with ills to the frame of man. =rinces and nobles are alone entitled to the privilege of wearing red) and the Circassian% li$e the natives of most other eastern countries% shave the head% and are never seen barefoot.irs$y ?=rince . The Cossac$s adopted their male costume% arms and dances from the 5orth Caucasians% especially the Circassians.. . Cence% a Circassian% whether on foot% or on horsebac$% is at all times completely armed. The usual dress of a Circassian warrior of all classes is a tunic resembling a military =olonaise% without a collar% closely fitted to the body% and descending to the $nee% secured around the middle by a leather girdle% ornamented% according to the wealth or fancy of the wearer% with gold or silver% in which are stuc$ a pair of pistols and a poniard" the latter is a most formidable weapon in close combat) during an attac$ they hold it in the left hand% and from its breadth and length% reaching to the elbow% it serves every purpose of a shield. *ows and arrows are now very rarely used% e0cept in cases where it is necessary to arm the whole population.M Tere$ and Cossac$ regiments donned Circassian costumes.ac$intosh was ever more impenetrable to the rain) rolled up in its thic$ folds% it forms the only bed during their encampments% and serves% besides% to protect them against the scorching rays of the sun.mitry =etrovich Svyatopol$-. . There appeared types of caps such as the $abardin$a% broadening to the top% and the $uban$a% with a flat crown. :hen marching% or on a -ourney% they always add a cloa$ made from camel or goat<shair% with a hood which completely envelopes the whole person c this is called a tchaou$a YpIfeIP]Z c and no ... Sometimes he carries a -avelin% which he uses with singular de0terity and effect% hurling it to a considerable distance with an aim that never errs.

Caps were made of broadcloth% less often of velvet% but never fur.arried women wore their hair in tresses ina style called Nschhenscho7wM ?OpS\]jpieTPX@% which differed from that of girls.In addition% the Cossac$s were influenced by the Circassian dignified customs and style of life% which in many respects were superior to their ussian counterparts. The rich had their shoes elaborately embroidered in gold and silver with silver galloon trimmings. A non-wadded version was called NtseyM ?zVW@.e ?244+% p3+@% NCossac$s.e and glory. The bgheMwlh ?adT]IPbT@ ?or schMiMw YpI`IPZ@ consists of a false shirtfront of velvet or sil$ with ?up to@ 2+ silver or gilt pairs of plate-li$e buc$les% which when seen from a distance impart a beautiful lustre% and other ornaments. According to =aul Cen. :omen and girls wore wide trousers made from striped fabrics% but the chemise wholly covered them.ing weather. It consists of a false shirtfront of velvet or sil$ with ?up to@ 2+ silver or gilt pairs of plate-li$e buc$les% which when seen from a distance impart a beautiful lustre% and other ornaments. The waist was girdled with red-morocco or leather belts% which were adorned with gold% silver% strings% balls% and silver pla7uettes% the buc$les made of gold% silver% or copper% depending on the social status.ance Company had adopted Circassian dress styles and choreography in its colourful repertoire. Circassian !emale Costume The elegance and beauty of Circassian women were boosted by e07uisite costumes and magnificent ornaments. Some caps had small tassels dangling from the upper rim. A loose light sil$ or cotton chemise with long and wide sleeves e0tended almost to the floor covering the footwear. The dress has velvet sleeve pendants% embroidered in gold and silver threads. The outer coat% which could be either long or short% was made from a variety of fabrics and it was lined and generally wadded.ance /nsemble N5almesM in full bla.M It is 7uite ironic that the costumes and dances of the Circassians had come to be more readily associated with the late adopters than with the originators u to the victor% all the spoils% including fortune and fame. 9lder women covered their hair with white cotton shawls. toung women and girls of noble houses used high wooden footwear% p0Meva7e ?yST]„feT]@% decorated withvarious bone . This gives the impression that Circassian women glide along the floor when they dance in full costume. The well-off had a large pendant artistically made of gold% or stone. Cowever% it was considered unseemly for girls and young women to be seen wearing them% even in free. A flowing transparent white veil covered the cap. /ven the elegant &eorgians were not immune from Circassian influences. The upper classes wore coats made from various $inds of furs and covered with brocade% silver or cotton fabric. . N_I`IPM or NadT]IPbTM ?NschMiMwM% NbgheMwlhM) NƒdT]eI`IPM or NeI`IPM in Adigean@ is part of a Circassian womanMs national costume. 9rdinary footwear consisted of high-heeled% thic$-soled% soft leather shoes. Commoners and the poor had to ma$e do with sheeps$in coats. /stablished in 24A1% N5almesM sees itself as Nthe collector% guardian% and interpreter of Adigean fol$ music and dancingM.. intermingled with both Circassians and 5ogay Tatars% adopting to a large e0tent their customs and style of life% which was in many respects of a higher 7uality than the ussians had attained at the time. They wore head covers% usually sil$ $erchiefs% but $ept their faces bare. A breastplate with belt% schMiMwbgirip0 ?pI`IPad`U`yS@% made of gold or silver was used as adornment. It was trimmed with fur strips about 4cm wide. 9ftentimes% little e07uisite silver buttons were sewn round and edged with gilding.. They were ornamented with a narrow silver and gold galloon round the top and with a wide one round the bottom% and embroidered in satinstitch. The celebrated &eorgian State . The underwear was made of sil$ with folded sleeves that narrow at the top. !laps adorned with embroidery and fringes were used for effect. Circassian costumes of the Adigean State Academic !ol$ .

*esides giving support to the body% it served to limit the development of the bosom area% as was demanded by the strict norms of beauty% among which physical symmetry was of paramount importance. It was distinctively adorned by a row of 26 to +( capped cartridge cases YOS\]o`UX ?Nhe. *eshmets were made of cotton cloth% woollen cloth% or satin and sil$% with the latter used by the richer fol$ and some people of lesser means on special occasions. The dagger% without which no Circassian man could be seen% was considered part of the attire. The shirt% trousers% and beshmet were worn under the cher$ess$a% the bur$a ?pIfeIP]) schMa$Mwe in Circassian@ being the over-coat.e of the feet was arrested at a preset standard by using special shoes.com@ Circassian . Sometimes beshmets were lined with wool or cotton wool for added warmth. This re7uired high s$ill% and the infliction of any scratch on the brideMs body% no matter how small% brought a great shame upon the groom. toung girls did not wear the more modest costumes of women until after their marriage% when they also started to cover the head with a white linen cloth% tied under the chin. At the onset of puberty% girls were re7uired to wear corsets ?#abardian" eP]j^`a]% $wenshibe) Adigean" ^TiSTkfj% schwe0Mtan@ in the form of short tight-fitting sleeveless vests made from redmorocco% leather or cloth and worn under the chemise. Circassian female costume. The collarless vest was open at the chest with a single button on the waist and reached down to the midthighs% with flared sleeves e0tending beyond the hands% but which were usually rolled up. .ittens $ept the tender hands spotless. ?Courtesy of adygaunion.ale Costume Circassian male dress was aesthetically designed no only to accentuate the good form of the body% namely narrow waist and broad upper body% but also for convenience and comfort% being well suited for both hot summers and free. It had string buttons and buttonholes from the waist to the collar% and a stand-up collar and banana sleeves with buttons of the same type.aterials used for male costumes included locally produced leather% sheeps$in% wool% woollen cloth% and thic$ felt. The corset was fastened tight with sil$ laces and covered the chest right down to the belt. In more ancient styles% no undergarment was worn underneath the beshmet.adornments% and 7uite often with silver and guilding. 9ther armaments were donned% as the occasion demanded.irM@Z in Circassian% Odfo`U\X Yplural" Odfo`U{XZ in ussian@% made of nielloed silver or wood% with iron% ivory% stag-horn% walrus tus$% or silver caps% inserted into flaps sewn on each side of the chest. The si. Corsets $ept being worn ?day and night) when worn out% they were replaced by others of e7ual tightness@ until the girlMs wedding night. *eshmet The beshmet% a caftan-li$e garment% had a narrow waist and reached down to +-6 inches above the $nees. The main articles of the costume were the shirt% cher$ess$a% beshmet% trousers% belt% over-coat% $alpa$ or papa$ha ?cap@% baschlhi7 ?hood@% boots% and underwear. . The cher$ess$a% a longwaisted tight fitting outer garment% had become the national Caucasian dress by the eighteenth century% and was a potent fol$loric symbol. The operation was complicated by the fact that it was interdicted for the bridegroom to see his bride in full glory in her birthday suit. These cases were initially . The traditional male costume was perfectly suited for mountain guerrilla warfare and hunting. Colours included dull grey% bright red% and blue. It was made from tough woven wool% with common colours of blac$ and grey% but other hues were not un$nown% including dar$ blue% red% white% ochre% and brown. :hen eventually the newly-weds were left alone in their 7uarters% the bridegroom initiated the consummation of the bond by cutting the laces of the corset with his sharp dagger. Cher$ess$a 9n festive occasions% a cher$ess$a ?zVW) tsey@ was worn over the beshmet.ing winters. These had a height of about 3cm% affording insulation from the mud and dirt when the fair lasses had to go about their business in the courtyard.

Traditional Circassian male costume Cap The basic head-dress consisted of a large round or conical caracul cap called OfQ`d] y`I]X ?NAdige piMeM@% better $nown as N$alpa$M or Npapa$haM% mostly blac$ or grey in colour. Leather straps on the waist belt carried carved bo0es with flints% wads% and gun oil. *aschlhi7s were mostly made of wool% but cloth was also used% in which case they were either edged with tasselled Caucasian gold or silver braid% or decorated with ornamental gold piping. A small group of men on the road could find shelter by hanging their great coats on three sta$es dug into the ground% constructing a rather co. It afforded warmth in winter by $eeping the rain out and insulating the body from the chill. *lac$ and blac$-brown were the common colours% with white come across not infre7uently. 9ver-coat A sleeveless felt cloa$% schMa$Mwe ?pIfeIP]@% or bur$a in Tur$ic% which hanged from the shoulders and covered the whole body% was an indispensable part of the Circassian costume. In the olden days% Circassian men shaved their heads% leaving only a tuft of hair on the crown of the head called NalhtinichMeM ?OfbTk`j`eI]X@.y tepeeY2Z. It also protected the wearer from the burning sun. In cold weather% the head was muffled with a baschlhi7 ?afpbT`eT)@% a hood whose ends could be used as a shawl% slung around the nec$% or twirled round the head in the shape of a turban. The narrow leather belt ?ad`U`yS) bgirip0@ was adorned with silver platelets and dangling bands% previously used for strapping small cases. A wide-brimmed felt hat was also common. A sleeveless upper garment ?k]QR]bVW) te-eley@ was also in use. Specimens with ornamental designs embroidered in silver or gold thread were also worn for show. In clement weather the coat was rolled up and fastened by long leather rheims behind the saddle. Trousers Trousers ?dTP]j^]QR) ghwenshe-@% usually made of coarse woollen material% were worn tight and were tuc$ed under $nee-high stoc$ings of woollen cloth% usually with leather garters under the $nee.irM to mere decoration% with cloth loops replacing the cartridge cases. ?Circassian =oetry@ e0amples" . The silver-plated belt was worn round the cher$ess$a and drawn so tight that not even a finger could wriggle through. The advent of the repeat rifle in the late nineteenth century reduced the function of the Nhe.agger and sword sheathes% a pistol case% and a long fusil were attached to the belt.Y+Z !ootwear The usual footwear consisted of soft leather boots% which allowed a Ncat-li$eM gait% perfect for military manoeuvres. Sometimes the wool was not removed on the outside. . The underwear was made of sil$.used as handy stores for gunpowder and lead-shot for personal light mus$ets% hence the name ?…ready@. The opening for the nec$ and the seams over the chest were trimmed with braid. It doubled as a blan$et or a personal tent. It was made to fit the shoulders by the insertion of a gore% was tied with strings at the nec$% and was often lined with sil$ or calico. Shirt v belt Under the cher$ess$a% a collared shirt ?QRfj]) -ane@ made of embroidered ?white@ linen with a buttoned vertical cut at the front.

ƒd`U`yS yzIfj]" &irdled without a dagger ?literally" Nna$ed waist-belt@. †feT]R\`bT] ^`j]UeT`s" An old boot doesn<t fear the mud. HTPfy]eT`s% ypfsyI]eT`s" ?5either a sleeve nor a collar@ 5either one thing nor the other. m{ „feT] o]„U] o{ dTf„] sfpI]U]" Tight shoes and a little yield. €frk]j]s eT`o]U`gI]‡fP]" Spic$ and span% brand-new) -ust out of a bandbo0 ?of clothes@. IP]SP pI]j`s { dPfpI]dTP]p% R`SP{I]p. Said of a day of hard toil@.eridasher schighinirsch@" !ine feathers ma$e fine birds. ˆ\fjkI]s Po]U`Qf^]U p`dT`j`Up ?nchantMem wi. FRfj] j]STU] dTP]j^]QR j]ST abfdT]p" The trousers are nearer than the shirt. /7uivalents and meanings in /nglish are provided. xTfeTP] eTPfj^] „feT] SP]pp ?†feT] eP]QU] eTVp]SP% R`SP{I]p. JTP{Ws { y`I]U pS\]U`SPs]% PeI`k]R`UeT`s" If the cap of the mangy person falls off% he is not ashamed any more. Little bodies may have great souls. JT]o`^fdTfpI]s pIfeIP]pI]U] eIP]eI]pI]U] eTVpk]" A newly-married man gets a new ?felt@ cloa$ and assumes a new gait. A little body often harbours a great soul) +. mVeIP] { „feT] bfR\]UeT`s ?ˆ]UQ]s o`pI]s% bfR\]s o`dP]U eTVb]R\% R`SP{I]p@" ?The campaignerMs shoes do not wear out@ Ce who displays initiative shall earn something for his troubles. |o]‡]jQR]p`j Ps`dTP]ks]% P{ y`I] dT]kI`r{ V‡]jQR]p`R" If you can<t find somebody to tal$ .hZ@" ?After the storm% don<t put on the felt cloa$@ 2. !ol$lorists and culturalists can obtain interesting materials from the boo$ for research. After death the doctor) +.=roverbs and sayings There are more than 1%((( proverbs and sayings in the Circassian language% by some accounts much% much more. . Ej]eI] eTPfpI]s eTP]rP s]yr]P ?AnechMe 7waschMem 7wesu mepsew@" Ce lives under ?behind@ his motherMs s$irt. The basic orthography is official Cyrillic% but in many cases Latin orthography is also included. Ej]s { dTPfy]U ySTPs { QRfj]p" The motherMs sleeve is the daughterMs shirt. ‰`I] o`pS\]U`dT" ?=erson wearing a cap@ 2. JTP{Ws { y`I] p`dTPyp]UeT`s" Ce who has the mange forgets not his cap. The boo$ contains about A%((( proverbs and sayings sorted into a number of categories. HTPj]dTPU] dTP]j^]QRU] ?A neighbour is li$e a pair of trousers@" *etter a close neighbour than a distant relative. ‰`I] o`pS\]U`dT yriU{ bI`eT`s" 5ot all those who put hats on are men.any shoes are bought for it@" A croo$ed foot is luc$y with shoes. |]^S ab]eIfs pIfeIP] eI]bTPs`pk]?R@ ?:esh0 blechMam schMa$Mwe chMelhumischteY. It is suggested that this boo$ be made part of Circassian language teaching curricula in both Circassia and the diaspora. After dinner% mustard. ‰`I] IVW j]IP IVWp" *ad hat% bad face. HP]a]j]‡ { pIfdT bI` eT`pIieI" ?A he-man emerges from a herdsmanMs clothes@ 2. ‰`I]o]gI]S\ sfSP]p ?‰`I]o]gI]S\…Circassian game in which horsemen snatch a cap away from one another% the ob-ect of the game being to carry away the cap) it re7uires both s$ill and strength. . Teachers of Circassian will find this boo$ useful% as it combines two languages.an% male) +. The boo$ is available online and can be downloaded for free. eal man% he-man.

ir@ made of nielloed silver% or wood% inserted into flaps sewn on each side of the breast. |o]‡]jQR]p`j Ps`dTP]k`s% P{ y`I]U dT]kI`bT{ V‡]jQR]p ?:i. _IfeIP] j`eTP]pI`U p`dT`jeT`s ?p`dT`j…clothes) garments@" A half-finished ?felt@ cloa$ cannot be worn. _IfeIP] j]STU] P]^S j]ST abfdT]p" 2. Little bodies may have great souls. The peoples of the Caucasus have survived centuries of invasion and con7uest% including forced e0ile into Tur$ey for entire ethnic groups. YAdigean. 9riginating in a region that has been a crossroads of migration for thousands of years% they also show connections ?both subtle and overt@ to the myths and legends of Indo-/uropean cultures from India to Scandinavia. These cartridge cases were usually used to store gunpowder and leadshot for personal light mus$ets. Cowever% one of the cases was filled with flour% to be used in e0treme situations to satisfy oneMs hungerZ _fP]pI]s { pIfeIP]U{ { eIP]eI]U{ QfS]p" The ?felt@ cloa$ and gait of a new bridegroom are beautiful.% and Uby$hs of the Caucasus region. The cher$ess$a ?tsey@% the distinctive long-waisted% tight-fitting circassian tunic% was c and still is c a potent fol$loric symbol donned by almost all peoples of the Caucasus.echen-eschin wimighwetim% wiy piMer ghetMilhiy yechen-esch@" If you canMt find somebody to tal$ things over with% ta$e off your hat and consult it. |{ y`I] PdTPUb` PSTP‚" *less your cap‚ YSaid to a newly-married manZ }\fo`U{{U y`{s yfW% ŠadTPfj]U]U ^`Ps yfW" The eight cartridge cases are for the enemy% the ninth for the horseman.things over with% ta$e off your hat and consult it. Always be prepared. _IfeIP]U dPadTP] Pj]p ?SchMa$Mwer gwbghwe winesch@" The great coat ?over-coat@ is a field house. 5art Sagas from the Caucasus If our lives are to be short% Then let our fame be great‚ Let us not depart from truth‚ Let fairness be our path‚ Let us not $now grief‚ Let us live in freedom‚ So starts the first saga of the 5arts in Dohn Colarusso<s compilation of the myths and legends of the Circassians% Aba. The 5art legends stand as an e0ample of the will of a people to survive. _S\]U yr]Ps]% y`I] p`pI]UeT`s" If the head is alive% it will not lac$ a cap. The valor and determination of the 5arts in this response to &od<s 7uestion about how they wanted to spend their lives is reflected in the durability of their stories. |o`kVeIP]s y]eIPs PfSVdT]j ?Lfp]s% p`dT`j`s p`rS\`j SPVWp% {PR\eI{ zI`SPs PfU{S`S\]j pS\]eI]% R`SP{I]p@" tou must spare your clothes so that you could get into the company of others. It was adorned by a row of ?usually white@ capped cartridge cases ?he.as% Ab$ha. |{ dTPj]dTPU P{ dTPfy]p" tour neighbour is your sleeve. . ain is nearer than the great coat ?over-coat@) +. _IfeIP] pIfdT`s bI` eT`pIieI ?VybT fUdP]UP OHP]a]j]‡ { pIfdT bI` eT`pIieIX@" 2. The 5arts are a legendary race of heroes% whose deeds form the basis for the culture of the Caucasus. _`dT`j{adTP j]STU] kVPadTP]j ?_`dT`j eP]Q P{I] j]STU] kVyI]jpI]bT`j% R`SP{I]p@" To have your bedding is better than nine complements of clothes. _IfeIP{kI p`dT`j ?SchMa$MwiytM schighin@" ?To put on two cloa$s@ To be on both sides of the fence. A little body often harbours a great soul) +.

5art Sagas from the Caucasus sheds light on the traditions of a region that is otherwise primarily $nown for the ongoing war in Chechnya.h left his field and Bunharnessed his horse% came bac$ home% had a rest% had dinner% then saddled his horse and began chasing him YSosru7uoZ. The stories are a useful and important inclusion in the library of any fol$lore enthusiast.a@ way should be buried‹ 9n your tomb a big sign with sna$e head‚‚ . :here this collection really stands out% however% is in the scholarly analysis that accompanies each of the ninety-two tales. Colarusso ta$es the time to illustrate how the stories lin$ together and suggests why the multiple versions differ from each other.<B?A(>@ The 5arts< traditional enemies% the ayniw.any of the stories in each corpus are duplicated in one or the other corpus within the boo$.h ?a race of one-eye giants@ were not so practical. The occasional anachronism ?in one story% an elderly god contacts the 5arts by sending a letter@ and the oddly entertaining dialogue ma$e the collection highly readable. !or the linguist% there are also a series of detailed appendices on the Circassian% Uby$h% Aba. Colarusso delves deeply to find these connections% even finding comparisons to some of the Arthurian stories of *ritain. <At least he will probably be of help to us in some way. Serving as a bridge between the western and eastern Indo-/uropean traditions% the 5art tales offer an intriguing perspective on how the different Indo-/uropean mythologies can be tied together.Z and decided that he would grow up to be a great warrior. .B ?+(3@ This directness of language and the blunt% plain dialogue provide a light-hearted tone to the sagas. Ce also ma$es a thorough effort to show the deep parallels between the 5art sagas and other Indo-/uropean mythologies.B ?A>3@ The 5arts were also practical" BThey held a discussion about him Y*atara. The language is e0traordinarily direct) the sagas< talent for understatement is difficult to e7ual" BI must catch up with them YgiantsZ and ta$e my herd bac$ home. :ith a uni7ue style and unusual dialogue% the 5art sagas offer a refreshing alternative to more familiar myths. 9ur women were gathered and chained% ne0t to *eys fountains whose bodies are valueless% why did you accept the in-ustice‚‚‹‹ tou saw everything with your eyes% why didn<t you bother to mention or write anything about it‚‹ 9nce you say you are the people of Shameel% 9nce you say you were sent by Caliph% 9nce you say you were sent by &od% :here do you want to ta$e us with your lies‹‹‚‚ *easts% is what you do in life. The analysis of how the tales overlay older stories% how characters have been combined or lost% and the varying influences of outside cultures ma$e for reading almost as interesting as the stories themselves. Several versions of a =rometheus story are included% as well as a parallel to the 5orse god 9din in the 5art :adana.h% the ayniw. :here Colarusso finds the parallels most significant% he includes an analysis within the saga<s endnotes. The endnotes also help tie together the stories in each corpus within 5art Sagas.. I wonder people li$e you% in what ?~ab. Colarusso includes e0tensive endnotes for each saga% carefully pointing out parallels between 5art names and words from other cultures. These parallels range from the very strong similarities with &ree$ myths ?there was a centuries-long e0change between the two cultures% stemming from the &ree$ settlements on the eastern edge of the *lac$ Sea@ to parallels between 5art figures and Cindu and 5orse deities.. !rom translated Btestanbela$waB by BThe *lac$ /agleB.a% and Ab$ha. :hen the greatest 5art% Sosru7uo% stole millet seeds from an ayniw. languages. The giants are not li$ely to ta$e this sweetly.The stories are e0amples% both inspirational and cautionary% of how a warrior of the Caucasus should measure his life.

/arly weapons uncovered among the treasure-troves in the mounds of . Some households still $eep old daggers and other arms as priceless heirlooms. !ull weapon set of #abardian warrior ?sword with sword-belt% dagger% pistol% cartridge cases@. As time went on% fire-arms replaced the bow and arrows while the defensive armour% which afforded no protection against bullets% was discarded.arevich 5i$olai Ale0androvich ?future emperor 5icholas II@ in 2''' by a 5orth Caucasian deputation. *eginning from the second half of the 2'th century the armament of a Circassian consisted of a gun% pistol% sabre or cavalry sword% and a dagger. =ersonal :eapons :eapons had had a great bearing on the martial societies of the 5orth Caucasus as far bac$ as the early *ron.. 9f particular importance were /neolithic and *ron. /very male person% even young boys% had one. The set was presented to T. According to /. A mountaineer never went out of his house without his dagger. :hen the firearms became widespread in the 2'th century% the bow and arrows% the gun and the defensive armour coe0isted for some time. All 5orth Caucasians held their personal arms in the highest esteem and always maintained them in tip-top shape. The dagger blade is leaf-shaped . Studenets$aya ?24'(@% #abardian princes% up until the first part of the 24th century% held secretive assemblies after the harvest that lasted for si0 wee$s. According to custom% a man was buried with the full complements of his arms.anufacture of arms was intimately connected with the structure of the military system of the Circassians. NA Circassian chief preparing his stallionM by the Scotsman Sir :illiam Allan ?23'+-2'>(@. Some instruments of war were only associated with particular classes.ai$op culture included stone maces and battle-a0es. The weaponry of Circassian men traditionally consisted of defensive armour c shirt of mail% a helmet and armlets% and offensive weapons c a bow and arrows% a spear% dart% sabre and dagger.ing in producing arms. The 7uality of craftsmanship was commensurate with purchasing power% and thus personal arms served as mar$ers of social status. In each village there were two or three artisans speciali. !lint arrow-heads.ound A2 in the village of 5ovosvobodnaya% consisting of blades and flint triangular arrowheads% possibly used in harpoon-li$e missiles.e…language of the chase@% render the ob-ects of the hunt unaware of the true purpose of the chevy. They also made up a substantive portion of the e0port trade% being much sought after by neighbouring peoples and even in far away lands as =ersia.as$s Circassian aristocracy donned terrifying mas$s on their hunting e0peditions% apparently to confound the prey% and together with the esoteric cant ?pfeIP]ao]% scha$Mweb. !or e0ample% e07uisite coats-of-mail could only be afforded by the upper classes. 5owadays% daggers are mostly made as souvenirs. !ine specimens were handed down from father to son.> cm@ oil on canvas painting was done in 2'6A. The ?33 0 16.e Age. In such assemblies% mas$s were used to hide identity so that the binding article in the code of chivalry on blood-revenge would not disrupt the smooth running of the martial e0ercises.e Ages weapons in the *urial . . 5. &unsmiths and armourers too$ their craft to uncharted heights. A warrior who lost his weapons in battle was held in contempt forever after.

Steel plates decorated with traditional Circassian motifs covered the arms from the elbow to the wrist.>m long% on top of which was fi0ed a large iron head% the lower end having a sharp iron pi$e% about 6>cm long.agger and belt. *etween +(-A( thousand annuli were used% depending on the si. The 7ame ?eTfs]@ is synonymous with the mountaineersM warrior tradition.useum of . *ows were composed of two layers% the inner one made of animal horns and the outer one of wood. . In the 23th century% the Circassians innovated a cavalry weapon in form of a two-edged long dagger without a cross-guard. . Unli$e sabres and cavalry swords% these were simply personal effects reforged when worn-out. A specimen decorated with silver pieces and dated to 23'( was found. . 9f special interest are bayonet-li$e rapiers designed to penetrate coats of mail. These finds represent the /astern Circassian version of the *elorechens$aya Culture ?*elorechens$aya is situated to the northwest of . There has also been a large haul of weapons unearthed in #abardian sepulchral mounds that go bac$ to the 2>th to 21th centuries A. The helmet was a hybrid of conical and pyramidal shapes and was made of steel with an attached net of ringlets hanging down to the shoulders for protection.oscow. The #abardian version was so well made that the Shah of =ersia ordered that it be used in his army. =allas described a lance-li$e weapon in shape of a strong staff% about 2.. A coat of mail was made by connecting polished steel rings each to four ad-oining ones to form a metal fabric.ai$op@ in Adigea..ai$op culture% middle of Ard millennium *C. A few hauber$s that go bac$ to the 21th and 23th centuries are $ept in the #remlin Armoury. 5evertheless% very few old daggers have been handed down% since they were never regarded as treasured heirlooms. It was about 3>cm long% as compared to 2((-226cm for the conventional sword. There is a large collection of late medieval Circassian swords and daggers found at e0cavation sites near . &rooves on both sides of the butt allow the blade to be attached securely to the handle. Some of the e0hibits had inscriptions and were dated to the 21th and 23th centuries A. The gauntlets were decorated with gold or silver thread% with hoo$ed horns embroidered in the middle being a trademar$ of Circassian handicraftsmen.ai$op displayed in the Cistorical .agger and belt. Usually date of manufacture and name of artisan were etched on outstanding pieces. The circular hilt was made of either silver or ivory and its head was slightly hoo$ed. The Cermitage.e. The bow and 7uiver were tied round the waist. The arrows were made by men% the 7uiver by household women using lu0ury blac$ leather decorated with gold and silver threads. The 7ame ?eTfs]@ is synonymous with the mountaineersM warrior tradition. Two moulded pieces of wood were covered first with leather% then with velvet% and fi0ed with gold . Strings were made from animal tendons boiled in fish glue. 5evertheless% very few old daggers have been handed down% since they were never regarded as treasured heirlooms. Articulation was effected by leather bands or metal rings.being sharp along the edges. &loves made of opulent red or blac$ leather afforded some protection to the hands. =rincely war costume. It afforded protection to the torso down to the $nees. Unli$e sabres and cavalry swords% these were simply personal effects reforged when worn-out.a$ing scabbards was a feminine craft. .

.uslim influences.ing religious imports. .thread and metal sheets. In more elaborate designs semi-precious stones were used. The powder flas$ was hung at the belt. the cradle to the grave% the Circassian native creed ?gI]pSTPj`dT]@% intertwined with the code of conduct% Adige ~ab.M ?244+% p+3@. They switched their religious allegiance very readily% converting from Islam to Christianity and vice versa% as the circumstances demanded and for convenience. The most substantive source of information on the Circassian beliefs and ritual ceremonies is the 5art /pos. The covers were made of decorated silver.oscow and St =etersburg. 5evertheless% religion and customs and traditions were two different entities. *oth castes venerated trees% had sacred groves% and practised some form of human sacrifice. :hereas ancient religion regulated the spiritual and ritual domains% the ~ab.onotheistic religions have had little bearing on the Circassian way of life in the Caucasus and this e0plains the eclectic nature of the Circassian system of beliefs emphasised by outsiders. e-ecting one of these intimately associated components would have entailed forsa$ing the other% and ultimately compromising the essence of Circassianness ?fQ`dfdT]@. :omen made leather holsters. 5evertheless% the Circassian slaves in =ersia were converted to ShiMism.ild powder for bolts of rifles and pistols was $ept in a small special powder flas$ from which the powder was spilled. The main stoc$ of powder was stored in a flas$ made of horn% ivory or wood% and $ept dry and safe by wrapping it with morocco decorated with gold% silver and ivory.e ?fQ`d] Sfao]@% dictated the way an individual behaved% formed his system of values% and certainly influenced the way he conceived the world.e regulated the day-to-day aspects of a CircassianMs life.e as the traditional religion of the Circassians is a common mista$e made even by the Circassians themselves. eligion and customs and traditions were the dual formers of the Circassian outloo$ on life and they meshed perfectly together.ruids were the arbiters and -udges in their respective societies. eligious beliefs had until the early part of the 24th century been centred round a bac$bone of polytheism% paganism and animism with some Christian and . In their campaigns in Central Asia% Tere$ and &reben Cossac$s used a tactic to overcome long spears with sabres% which they called Nto drive in the #abardian way. ShiMi Islam never penetrated into Circassian lands. . There was some resemblance between ancient Circassian priests and Celtic . Some Circassian pistols made in 2'6(->( are on show in museums in . Considering the Adige ~ab. Circassians produced gunpowder for their mus$ets. In the latter part of the . In addition% the Circassian /lders and . It may be that the nature of their country and the set ways of the Circassians played a significant part in ingraining the native beliefs and marginali.ruids.uslims was practically a uni7ue phenomenon in the history of Islam.any aspects of the ancient religious life of the Circassians are embedded in the 5art tales. eligions and *eliefs ! 9. Candy 7uantities of powder were $ept in the he. According to Chantal Lemercier-huel7ue-ay% NThe coe0istence in the same Y#abardianZ family of 9rthodo0 Christians and .uslim Tur$ey.irs% 26-+( cartridge cases made of nielloed silver% or wood% inserted into flaps% on the breast of the cher$ess$a. !irearms were first introduced in the 5orth Caucasus in the 21th century% but they only became wide-spread in the 2'th. .iddle Ages the Circassians were caught in the middle of a power struggle between 9rthodo0 ussia and .M Cafts of sabres and daggers% pistols and rifles were ornamented with gold and silver inlay% encrustation% wood% bone and niello. It was also hung at the belt.

The spirit% therefore% was thought to be universal. As a rule% every natural phenomenon or heavenly body had its own god. =aganism The path moved from animism and the associated totemism to paganism% the belief in the possession of some ob-ects of nature of supernatural powers% and a primitive conception of deities and patrons. The Circassians% li$e most 5orth Caucasians% used to worship trees and considered them as totems% believing that they housed invisible deities. The basic tenet of animism was the belief that a soul resided in every ob-ect% animate or inanimate% functioning as the motive force and guardian. This short thesis attempts to provide a s$eletal account of the ancient native Circassian creeds and the later influences of Dudeo-Christianity and Islam on the beliefs and ethos of the Circassians. The transition to polytheism pre-supposes a civili. The account is fleshed out with still e0tant prayers% chants% toasts% and other ancient manifestations of the archaic belief systems in Circassia. The first wor$ was republished in 5alchi$ by the /lbrus *oo$ =ress in 243'. .ational stage of social development. =olytheism segmented the universe into manageable units% with each unit generally governed by an individual deity. Special rites and ceremonies came to be associated with each deity for .SulhtMan #han-&ireyMs wor$s ?2'A1% 24'4@ provide good references on native Circassian religion and beliefs. Totemism% defined as the intimate relation supposed to e0ist between an individual or a group of individuals and a class of natural ob-ects% i. e. Its origin probably dates bac$ to the =alaeolithic Age% or the 9ld Stone Age% more than 2(%((( years ago. Shora 5ogmovMs Istoriya adi$heis$ogo Yadigeis$ogoZ naroda YCistory of the Circassian 5ationZ ?2'12@ has interesting bits about ancient Circassian religious beliefs and practices. In animistic thought nature was all alive. The collective of deities% gods% and patrons% who were part of the natural world and controlled all its aspects in a collective manner% formed a =antheon with a presiding god ?[S\]^SP] ?Thesh0we@…Supreme &od@. Animism Animism is probably the most ancient religion of the Circassians% and it was prevalent among all peoples of the 5orth Caucasus. The section on religion can be found on pages 41-2(+. =ieces for which audio recordings are available are indicated by asteris$s. the totem% is at the root of primitive religion and is intimately related with animism. Time-line of !aith In order to appreciate the chronological dimension of the manifestations of religious beliefs and practices amongst the Circassians% a basic time-line of the progression of religious systems in Circassia is presented. In a future state the spirit would e0ist as part of an immaterial soul.any ritual services were developed associated with particular trees and sacred groves were visited by supplicants in processions. =olytheism It is thought that some time after the fifth millennium *C% the Circassians started on the path of transition to polytheism. &hosts% demons% and deities inhabited almost all ob-ects% rendering them sub-ect to worship. Animals were sacrificed at the foot of trees and feasts held in celebration. =erhaps paganism found origin in the 5eolithic Age% more than seven millennia ago. The Circassian pioneering scholar en-oyed the vantage-point of living at an age in which ancient religious rites were still practised% and thus he was able to preserve for posterity some of the native rituals and ceremonies.

Eg` ?Afi@ &od of lightning.epending on the nature of the wish% offerings were made to this or that god% be it the god of sun% rain% war% love% or fertility. ES`j ?A0in@ &od of ?large@ cattle.awisch-er-iy@ &od of courage and bravery. Œb]% Œbb] . Circassian version of St.ed. Some churches were erected in the area. Christianity Christianity came to :estern Circassia from *y.ohammad.any priests were dispatched to Circassia and churches were built on some mountainous locations% from which the native population was proselyti.appeasement and supplication. Islam Islam started to ma$e inroads in Circassia in the 2'th and 24th centuries.evlidM% associated with the celebration of the birth of =rophet .antium during the reign of /mperor Dustinian in the si0th century ?A. Islam had little impact on the fol$lore and literary traditions of the Circassians. .@. EP^`QR]U% EPpQR]UQR{W% FfPpQR]UQR{W ?Awishi-er% Awisch-er-iy% . FR]Q`y] ?Dedipe@ &od of rivers and seas ?literally" NhenMs bea$M@. 9ther sources state that in the 22th and 2+th centuries the ussian princes of Tmutara$an and the $ings of &eorgia carried out the conversion. The only appreciable influence of the . The &eorgian *agratids sub-ected /astern Circassians and converted them to &ree$ 9rthodo0 Christianity in the 2Ath century.eities Es`p% Es`^% Œs`^ ?Amisch% Amish% temish@ Initially god of fauna% then god of sheep. Later identified with Desus Christ. Churches were built% which were destroyed at the end of &eorgian rule in the 2>th century. !rom the 2Ath to 2>th centuries% Catholicism made some inroads in the :estern parts of Circassia due to the influence of the &enoese% who constructed trading posts on the coastal regions. &eorge.heghwesch@ Cosmological deity of righteousness and light. List of Circassian . HTPfaR]dTP]p ?&hwab. . HPfp] ?&wasche@ &oddess% protectress% patroness.uslim faith was the introduction of a new literary genre% N.

JTP]Q]r ?hwedes@ &od of sea% in form of fish ?literally" Nliving in a depressionM@. ˆ`d dPfp] ?nhig &wasche@ &oddess of trees.emi-god.amisch% .amish@ =atron of fortunetellers% specifically of scapula readers. Ce disposed of the fate of beasts. mVeIP]kS\] ?nei$<wethe@ &od of campaigns ?roads@% later% also of horsemanship.gwasche% .e. ˆ\`kS\] ?nchithe@ &od of wind. €]o`kS\] ?. Cad a day consecrated to his worship.@ /li-ah.e. Ce was not set into any particular form by popular tradition.e. €]UVs% €VU]s .ithe@ &od of forests% trees% the hunt and beasts. &wasche@ &oddess of forests and trees. €]odPfp]% €]o dPfp] ?. Shared the godhead of lightning with Schible in the Christian era. Œs`‡ ?temich@ . xT]yp ?Lhepsch@ =atron of smiths% iron% weapons and fire. qry dPfp] ?tisp &wasche@ =rotectress of the tisps ?a race of pygmies mentioned in the 5art tales@.?tele% telle@ =rophet ?St. ˆ\]dPyfkS\] ?nchegwpathe@ &od of family hearth. €fs`p% €fs`^ ?.

€]U`r] ?.atron of the godsM@.eresh% So.creator of the fields .o.ereim% .ars.eresch% So.other of Desus Christ@. Also denotes icon of Christian Circassians ?in . Cer three sisters" patronesses of family life% warriors and peasants.ighty &od ?. [S\]dPfp]% [S\] dPfp] ?Thegwasche% The &wasche@ =rotectress of women ?literally" N.ary% .other of Christ. ‰r`STP]dPfp]% ‰r`STP] dPfp] ?=si0Mwegwasche% =si0Mwe &wasche@ &oddess of rivers ?river valleys@.do$@. []k]UkPy ?Tetertup@ &od of war and bloodshed. ‰r`kS\]dPfp]% ‰r`dPfp] ?=sithegwasche% =sigwasche@ &oddess of water.resch@ &od of fertility% family hearth% well-being and illness. /7uivalent to &recian Ares and to oman .?. =opular tradition had her portrayed as a beautiful maid. ‰rfkS\] ?=sathe@ &od of the soul or life.ary% .irmes. . •ikU]^ ?Sotresh@ &od of gaiety and holidays.eirem@ . ‰r`kS\] ?=sithe@ &od of water. [S\] ?The@ &od.erise@ =rotectress of bees) later associated with . •io]U]^% •io`U]^% •io]U]p% •ioU]p ?So. ‰]eTP] ?=e7we@ <!alse< demi-god .debun$ed by :e.other of . Ce was a great voyager and controlled the winds and waters.

}` dPfp] ?~i &wasche@ &oddess of the seas. }fQ] dPfp?]@ ?~ade &waschYeZ@ &oddess of gardens. Intermediary between gods and people. [S\]eTPfg]^P ?The7wafeshu@ &odMs herald. [S\]^SP] ?Thesh0we@ The Supreme &od. [S\]^P ?Theshu@ =rotector of horsemen. [S\]dTP{‡P ?Theghwiychu@ =rotector of people. |kSTPVW JTVr-JTVr ?:it0<wey heis-heis@ &od of rain and snow ?*lac$ Sea Shapsugh@. }\]QU`S]% }\]Q`U`S . |j] dPfp] ?:ine &wasche@ =rotectress of the domesticlfamily hearth. [S\]dT]b]QR ?Theghele-@ &od of fertility and plants.[S\]dT]dPgI] ^P ?Theghegwf<e Shu@ &od of good news ?literally" Nrider who brings -oy to the godsM@. [S\]^`U`ySTP ?Theshirip0<w@ -----|fpSTP] ?:asch0<we@ 9ne of the supreme cosmic deities) god of the s$ies ?literally" Nblue s$yM@.

_`ab] ?Schible@ &od of s$y% thunder?storms@ and lightning) also of war and -ustice. }\]QU`S]kS\] ?Cedri0ethe@ &od of the hereafter ?Ab. }\]jz{WdPfp]% }\]jz]dPfp] ?Centsiygwasche% Centsegwasche@ &oddess of rain.uslims ?established in 24'4 and headed at the time of writing by Shei$h Shafiyh@ and Council of Imams of #abardino-*al$aria played a role in diffusing tensions arising following the declaration by the leaders of the *al$ar nationalist movement of a separate *al$ar republic in 2446. The Spiritual *oard of the .o0<@ &od of cosmic bodies.uslims of the #arachai-Cher$ess epublic was set up in 244( and is headed by Ismail *erdiev% a #arachai. A separate board at odds with the local authorities was established by the #arachais in 2442% under the guidance of Ahmed *id-i-ulu.do$ in 5orth 9ssetia. /7uivalent to Thor in Scandinavian mythology.o. eligion Today The Circassians in the Caucasus are nominally Sunni .uts@ &od of wild animals.?Cedri0e% Cediri0@ =rotector of the dead.a$h@. }\]eIPpkfpS\]% }\]ePpk`ST ?Ce$<wschtaschhe% Ce$wschti0<@ =rotector of o0en ?Shapsugh@. All 5orth Caucasian republics have religious newspapers and other periodical .uslims of the Canafi School% e0cept for a small 9rthodo0 Christian #abardian community in . •PP-€Pz ?Shuu-. }\]ST-€iST ?Ce0<-. }\]ePrkf^ ?Ce$wstash@ =atron of horsemanship. }\]Pz-}\]^ ?Cewits-Cesh@ &od of seas and demi-gods. The Spiritual *oard of . Special boards and councils supervise religious matters in the three 5: Caucasian republics. There is no religious board in Adigea and there are few religious leaders.

There has developed a synthesis of Islam and the old beliefs culminating in Sufism and the Tari$at.e the difference between the religious beliefs and practices of the 5ortheast and 5orthwest Caucasians. To ma$e it to the eternal abode% the .publications. . A practical benefit of this practice was to ensure that the brea$ did not get worse by the in-ured assuming a wrong position in his sleep.aghestan there is conflict between the new sect and traditional religious institutions. Islam in the Circassian epublics has thus far not been politici. These ideas have never gained ground among the Circassians who see in them a threat to their traditions and ancient way of life. !riends and relatives of a person with a bone fracture $ept him company and $ept him from sleeping by ma$ing loud clamour and chanting songs by his bedside. .ed. Ce then cleansed the world with the waters of the seas% and restored life to the lost world.ecalogue. 5orthwest Caucasians are not $nown for their religious fervour% nor do they display fundamentalist tendencies.ancing was believed to have loc$ed powers that might be invo$ed to ensure success of an underta$ing.ance was initially a religious rite% a $ind of spirited prayer. Tenets of =olytheism The dichotomy of good and evil was an integral concept of Circassian religion. Later it turned into a form of festive celebration% $eeping some of its ritual significance. This curious custom% named schMapsche ?pIfyp]@% was a relic of animist times% when evil spirits were believed to be waiting for the patient to fall asleep to ta$e possession of his body.iddle /ast starting from the early 244(s found the /astern 5orth Caucasus a more fertile ground for their teachings.ost religious instructors who were drawn to the 5orth Caucasus from the . Upon death% the soul transmigrated to the world beyond% or hedri0e ?S\]QU`S]@. /0amples include" None must not han$er after other peopleMs possessionsM and N9ne must as$ before ta$ing other peopleMs belongings. *eliefs v Cults . /ven in Chechnya and . The wind was thought to have some evil power% hence the adoration of nchithe ?ˆ\`kS\]@ and the rites of supplication associated with him. It is possible to cull proto-religious NcommandmentsM that are scattered here and there in the 5art tales% and other fol$ sources% to ma$e up a Circassian e7uivalent of the CebrewlChristian . Islam forms an integral part of the social and spiritual life of the former. In this respect% it is essential to emphasi. Toasts were first uttered as magic invocations and incantations to unloc$ hidden powers.YZ This chained hero was supposed to brea$ out of the irons and come into the world after the people had been stric$en with famine.isease and in-ury were considered as the wor$s of evil% so that the sic$ were blown upon to e0orcise the malevolent spirit.M The Circassians had their own version of the redemption of the world in the legend of Tilale. . :ahhabiism% the dominant sect in Saudi Arabia has not gained any ground in the 5: Caucasian republics. Imortality of the soul Immortality of the soul was one of the basic beliefs of the Circassians.

Ancestor worship was a direct conse7uence of this credo. It is not clear whether women of the upper classes en-oyed the same e07uisite funereal treatment. A wife mourned her husband in a wild manner% scratching her face and body until they were bloodied.eath v life after life Central to the cult of death was the belief in hedri0e ?S\]QU`S]@ or the afterlife% and in the immortality of the soul. =M.heM ?OaR]X) literally" NdoorM@. hardenghwschM% 24'(% p+(2) p+(+@.arre. A couple of e0amples are presented ?w. . Archaeological finds of victuals fit for lavish feasts and impressive arsenals have confirmed this thesis. . *ereghwn and n. /laborate ceremonies of death were developed% which sometimes touched on the bi. C. The collective of laments over the dead was called Nb. 9ne rite in the elaborate burial ceremonies had the $in of the deceased inhume these re7uirements% which were commensurate with the status of the deceased. The corpse underwent ceremonious washing% hedegheps-chM ?S\]Q]dT]yreI@% on a special slab% hedegheps-chMcp0Mebghw ?S\]Q]dT]yreI-yST]adTP@.ch ?eST]R\@. . A husband struc$ his face with a whip until it turned blac$ and blue. The Circassians venerated their ancestors% and too$ good care of the ancient burial grounds and sepulchres% 7Me.deceased was in need of an ample supply of provisions% concomitant wares% and his personal weapons to sustain and protect himself on the perilous tre$.irges were chanted by the corpse of the deceased% and special prayers were said.

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