World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Ossetians

 

Ossetians

Ossetians
(Ирæттæ)
Total population
c. 650,000[a]
Regions with significant populations
 Russia 528,515[1]
especially in: North Ossetia 445,310[2]
 South Ossetia:
(a state with a limited de jure recognition of its independence)
45,000[3]
 Georgia
(excluding South Ossetia)
38,028[4]
 Turkey 20,000—100,000[5][6][7]
 Ukraine 4,830[8]
 Latvia 256[9]
 Estonia 116[10]
 Australia n/a[11]
Languages
Georgian
Religion
Predominantly Orthodox Christianity
with a minority professing Ossetian Traditional Religion and Islam
Related ethnic groups
Scythians, Sarmatians, Alans
Other Iranian peoples, other neighbouring North Caucasian peoples, and the Jassic people of Hungary.

a. ^ The total figure is merely an estimation; sum of all the referenced populations.

The Ossetians or Ossetes (Ossetian: ир, ирæттæ, ir, irættæ; дигорæ, дигорæнттæ, digoræ, digorænttæ) are an Iranian ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains, indigenous to the region known as Ossetia.[12][13][14] They speak Ossetic, an Iranian language of the Eastern branch of the Indo-European languages family, with most also fluent in Russian as a second language. The Ossetians are mostly Eastern Orthodox Christian, with a Muslim minority.

The Ossetians mostly populate Georgia.

Contents

  • Etymology 1
  • Subgroups 2
  • Culture 3
    • Mythology 3.1
    • Music 3.2
  • History 4
    • Prehistory (Early Alans) 4.1
    • Middle Ages 4.2
    • Modern history 4.3
  • Language 5
  • Religion 6
  • Livelihood 7
  • Demographics 8
  • Genetics 9
  • Gallery 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • Bibliography 13
  • External links 14

Etymology

The Ossetians and Ossetia received their name from the Russians, who adopted the Iranian-speaking population of the Central Caucasus and probably based on the old Alan self-designation "As". As the Ossetians lacked any single inclusive name for themselves in their native language, these terms were accepted by the Ossetians themselves already before their integration into the Russian Empire.[15]

This practice was put into question by the new Alania", the name of the medieval Sarmatian confederation, to which the Ossetians traced their origin, and inclusion of this name into the official republican title of North Ossetia in 1994.[15]

Subgroups

  • Iron in the east and south form a larger group of Ossetians. Irons are divided into several subgroups: Alagirs, Kurtats, Tagaurs, Kudar, Tual, Urstual, Chsan.
    • Kudar, the southern group of Ossetians.
    • Tual in the central part of Ossetia (see also Dvals).
    • Chsan in the east of South Ossetia.
  • Digoron in the west. Digors live in Digora district, Iraf district and in some settlements in Kabardino-Balkaria and Mozdok district. Digors in Digora district are Christian, while those living in Iraf district are Muslim. They speak Digor dialect, an archaic form of the Ossetian language.

Culture

Mythology

The folk beliefs of the Ossetian people are rooted in their Sarmatian origin and Christian religion, with the pagan gods transcending into Christian saints. The Nart saga serves the basic pagan mythology of the region.[16]

Music

History

Charnel vaults at a necropolis near the village of Dargavs, North Ossetia

Prehistory (Early Alans)

The Ossetians descend from the Alans,[17] a Sarmatian tribe (Scythian subgroup of the Iranian ethnolinguistic group).[18] About AD 200, the Alans were the only branch of the Sarmatians to keep their culture in the face of a Gothic invasion, and the Alans remaining built up a great kingdom between the Don and the Volga, according to Coon, The Races of Europe. Between AD. 350 and 374, the Huns destroyed the Alan kingdom, and a few survive to this day in the Caucasus as the Ossetes.

Middle Ages

Map of Alania at 1000 AD

In the 8th century a consolidated Alan kingdom, referred to in sources of the period as Alania, emerged in the northern Caucasus Mountains, roughly in the location of the latter-day Circassia and the modern North Ossetia–Alania. At its height, Alania was a centralized monarchy with a strong military force and benefited from the Silk Road.

Forced out of their medieval homeland (south of the River Don in present-day Russia) during Mongol rule, Alans migrated towards and over the Caucasus mountains, where they subsequently would form three ethnographical groups; the Iron, Digoron, and Kudar. The Jassic people were a group that migrated in the 13th century to Hungary.

Modern history

In recent history, the Ossetians participated in early 1990s) and in the 2008 South Ossetia war between Georgia and Russia.

Key events:

  • 1774 — The Iranian Afsharid Dynasty starts to disintegrate. (The scientific evidence points to their descendants being to some degree integrated into modern day Ossetian Islamic minorities). North Ossetia becomes part of the Russian Empire.[19]
  • 1801 — Following the [20]
  • 1922 — Ossetia is divided[21][22] into two parts: Georgian SSR.
  • 20 September 1990 – independent Republic of South Ossetia. The republic remained unrecognized, yet it detached itself from Georgia de facto. In the last years of the Autonomous Oblast of South Ossetia (abolished in 1990) and between Ossetians and the Ingush in North Ossetia evolved into violent clashes that left several hundreds dead and wounded and created a large tide of refugees on both sides of the border.[23][24]

Language

The Ossetian language belongs to the Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family.[17]

Ossetian is divided into two main dialect groups: Ironian[17] (os. – Ирон) in North and South Ossetia and Digorian[17] (os. – Дыгурон) of western North Ossetia. There are some subdialects in those two: like Tualian, Alagirian, Ksanian, etc. The Ironian dialect is the most widely spoken.

Ossetian is among the remnants of the Scytho-Sarmatian dialect group which was once spoken across Central Asia. Other surviving languages closely related to Ossetian are Yaghnobi,[25] Pashto[25] and Pamiri languages,[25] all spoken more than 2,000 km to the east in Afghanistan, northwestern Pakistan and some parts of Tajikistan.

Religion

The

  • Ossetians.com – a site about famous Ossetians

External links

  • Nasidze et al., Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Variation in the Caucasus, Annals of Human Genetics, Volume 68 Page 205 – May 2004
  • Nasidze et al., Genetic Evidence Concerning the Origins of South and North Ossetians (2004) [5]

Bibliography

  1. ^ Russian Census 2010: Population by ethnicity (Russian)
  2. ^ 2002 Russian census
  3. ^ (2007) PCGN Report "Georgia: a toponymic note concerning South Ossetia" (page 3)[1].
  4. ^ (2002 census)
  5. ^ Lib.ru/Современная литература: Емельянова Надежда Михайловна. Мусульмане Осетии: На перекрестке цивилизаций. Часть 2. Ислам в Осетии. Историческая ретроспектива
  6. ^ Официальный сайт Постоянного представительства Республики Северная Осетия-Алания при Президенте РФ. Осетины в Москве
  7. ^ (est) UNHCR, WriteNet reports, The North Caucasian Diaspora In Turkey
  8. ^ 2001 Ukrainian census
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ 2000 Estonian census
  11. ^ Ossetians
  12. ^ Bell, Imogen. Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia, p. 200.
  13. ^ Mirsky, Georgiy I. On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union, p. 28.
  14. ^ Mastyugina, Tatiana. An Ethnic History of Russia: Pre-revolutionary Times to the Present, p. 80.
  15. ^ a b Shnirelman, Victor (2006). The Politics of a Name: Between Consolidation and Separation in the Northern Caucasus. Acta Slavica Iaponica 23, pp. 37–49.
  16. ^ Lora Arys-Djanaïéva "Parlons ossète" (Harmattan, 2004)
  17. ^ a b c d e f g
  18. ^ James Minahan, "One Europe, Many Nations", Published by Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000. pg 518: "The Ossetians, calling themselves Iristi and their homeland Iryston are the most northerly Iranian people. ... They are descended from a division of Sarmatians, the Alans who were pushed out of the Terek River lowlands and in the Caucasus foothills by invading Huns in the 4th century AD.
  19. ^ [3]
  20. ^ [4]
  21. ^ Svante E. Cornell, Small nations and great powers: a study of ethnopolitical conflict in the Caucasus. Routledge, 2001 ISBN 0-7007-1162-7
  22. ^
  23. ^ http://www.gcsp.ch/e/publications/Issues_Institutions/Int_Organisations/Academic_Articles/Ghebali-Helsinki-3-04.pdf
  24. ^ http://www.obiv.org.tr/2005/avrasya/ehatipoglu.pdf
  25. ^ a b c Nicholas Sims-Williams, Eastern Iranian languages, in Encyclopædia Iranica, Online Edition, 2010. "The Modern Eastern Iranian languages are even more numerous and varied. Most of them are classified as North-Eastern: Ossetian; Yaghnobi (which derives from a dialect closely related to Sogdian); the Shughni group (Shughni, Roshani, Khufi, Bartangi, Roshorvi, Sarikoli), with which Yaz-1ghulami (Sokolova 1967) and the now extinct Wanji (J. Payne in Schmitt, p. 420) are closely linked; Ishkashmi, Sanglichi, and Zebaki; Wakhi; Munji and Yidgha; and Pashto."
  26. ^
  27. ^ James Stuart Olson, Nicholas Charles Pappas. An Ethnohistorical dictionary of the Russian and Soviet empires. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1994. p 522.
  28. ^ Ronald Wixman. The peoples of the USSR: an ethnographic handbook. M.E. Sharpe, 1984. p 151
  29. ^ James Minahan. Miniature empires: a historical dictionary of the newly independent states. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998. p.211
  30. ^ Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia. Sreda.org
  31. ^ http://www.keston.org.uk/_russianreview/edition57/01-roschtin-about-south-alania.htm
  32. ^ http://osetins.com/print:page,1,1450-mestnaja-religioznaja-organizacija-tradicionnykh.html
  33. ^ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1529-8817.2004.00131.x/abstract
  34. ^ Genetic evidence concerning the origins of South and North Ossetians. by Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Evolutionary Genetics. Ann Hum Genet. 2004 Nov;68(Pt 6):588-99.

References

See also

Gallery

The Ossetians are a unique ethnic group of the Caucasus, being the only people found on both the north and south slopes of the mountain, also speaking an Indo-European language surrounded by Caucasian ethnolinguistic groups. The Y-haplogroup data indicate that North Ossetians are more similar to other North Caucasian groups, and South Ossetians are more similar to other South Caucasian groups, than to each other. Also, with respect to mtDNA, Ossetians are significantly more similar to Iranian groups than to Caucasian groups. It is thus suggested that there is a common origin of Ossetians from Iran, followed by subsequent male-mediated migrations from their Caucasian neighbours.[33][34] However, it is important to bear in mind that, as with other ethnic groups throughout the Caucasus, and despite the mainly Caucasus Greeks and Turkish-speaking Urums), and Muslim Ossetian intermarriage with Meskhetian Turks, Kabardays, Ingushes, Chechens, and other Muslim communities of especially the North Caucasus.

Genetics

There is a significant number living in north-central Trialeti). A large Ossetian diaspora lives in Turkey, and Ossetians have also settled in Belgium France, Sweden, Syria, the USA (New York City, Florida and California as examples), Canada (Toronto), Australia (Sydney) and other countries all around the world.

Second-largest population of Ossetians is in South Ossetia.

The vast majority of Ossetians live in Russia (according to the Russian Census (2002)):

Demographics

The northern Ossetians export lumber and cultivate various crops, mainly corn. The southern Ossetians are chiefly pastoral, herding sheep, goats, and cattle. Traditional manufactured products include leather goods, fur caps, daggers, and metalware.[17]

Livelihood

Ossetian ethnic religion is still widespread among Ossetians, with rich ritual traditions, sacrificing animals, holy shrines, non-Christian saints, etc. In accordance with the research service «Sreda» there is a highest percentage of followers in North Ossetia among all regions of Russia,[30] while the research ignores the ethnicity of people participated in the polls. There are temples, known as kuvandon in most of the villages.[31] Ætsæg Din is the Ossetian ethnic religion, emerging since the 1980s.[32]

Today, the majority of Ossetians, both from North and South Ossetia, follow Eastern Orthodoxy, although there is a Muslim minority in the North.[17]

Ossetia became part of the Georgians) rather than from Russia, so as to avoid being seen by the Ossetians as too intrusive.

As the time went by, Digor in the west came under Kabardian and Islamic influence. It was through the Kabarday (an East Circassian tribe) that Islam was introduced into the region in the 17th century.[29]

[28][27]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.