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greekoid
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 12:10 PM
Can anyone on this forum please enlighten me as to who exactly are the Circassians? I remember reading years ago that the Circassians were a tribe in the Caucasus.Their women were highly valued by the Turkish sultans for their Physical Beauty and Circassian men served as the Sultans personal bodyguard.Can anyone hear please post photographs of the Circassians and explain who they are/were?

Taras Bulba
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 08:24 PM
Other than Rusalka, I dont know of any Circassians here, and even shes only part-Circassian.

Johannes de León
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 08:37 PM
Can anyone on this forum please enlighten me as to who exactly are the Circassians? http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=12946

:)


Their women were highly valued by the Turkish sultans for their Physical Beauty If they all look like the Circassian I know, this is surely true. :D ;)

Athelf
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 10:17 PM
I'm half Circassian.

Here's a little information about the connection between the Aryans and the Circassians.

Aryan race and genetics

Contemporary anthropologists who believe in the existence of an ancient Aryan race generally have the opinion that its closest descendants today are the Persians (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Persians), not the Germans (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Germans); that is, if Aryans existed, they were white after the manner of imperial-era, pre-Muslim Persians (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Persians), and possibly the Circassians (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Circassians) and southern Slavs (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Slavs), but certainly not the Nordic (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Nordic) Germans (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Germans) and English (http://www.wordiq.com/definition/England)

And here you may find some information about the Circassian language.

http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Circassian

Johannes de León
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 10:37 PM
More Info:

The Circassians (English equivalent of the Turkic Cherkess) are a people of the Northwest Caucasus region.

The name Circassians has been broadly applied to all peoples of the North Caucasus, and somewhat more restrictively to all the peoples of the Northwest Caucasus (the Adyghe, the Abkhaz, and the vanished Ubykhs, to the exclusion of the eastern Chechens and the peoples of Dagestan.) Most precisely, the name refers to a group of tribes who inhabited the territory of Circassia, and who call themselves Adyghes. This last group is the subject of this article.

History

The Circassians first emerged as a coherent entity somewhere around the tenth century A.D., although references to them exist much earlier. They were never politically united, a fact which reduced their influence in the area and their ability to withstand periodic invasions from groups like the Mongols, Avars, Pechenegs, Huns, and Khazars.

This lack of unity eventually cost the Circassians their independence, as they were slowly conquered by Russia in a series of wars and campaigns in the late 18th and early to mid-19th centuries. During this period, the Circassians plight achieved a certain celebrity status in the West, but pledges of assistance were never fulfilled. After the Crimean War, Russia turned her attention to the Caucasus in earnest, starting with the peoples of Chechnya and Dagestan. In 1859, the Russians had finished defeating Imam Shamil in the eastern Caucasus, and turned their attention westward, finally subjugating the Circassians in 1864.

Like other ethnic minorities under Russian rule, the Circassians were subjected to policies of mass resettlement. Collectivization under the Communists also took its toll.

Culture

The Circassians were warlike people. Grown men were expected to carry arms, and boys trained to be warriors. Familial ties were not strongly encouraged; parents fostered their children to other adults rather than raising them themselves. The Circassian society was once matriarchal. Women fought in war alongside their husbands. Although the society is no longer matriarchal, women still give have a high place of respect and dignity.

Circassian society prior to the Russian invasion was highly stratified. While a few tribes in the mountainous regions of Circassia were fairly egalitarian, most were broken into strict castes. The highest was the caste of the "princes", followed by a caste of lesser nobility, and then commoners, serfs, and slaves. In the decades before Russian rule, two tribes overthrew their traditional rulers and set up democratic processes, but this social experiment was cut short by the end of Circassian independence.

The primary religion among modern Circassians is Sunni Islam.

The Diaspora

Circassians have lived outside the Caucasus region since the Middle Ages. They formed a tradition of joining foreign armies, including those of Persia, Rome, Byzantium, and the Golden Horde. They were particularly well represented in the Mamluks of Turkey and Egypt. In fact, the Burji dynasty which ruled Egypt from 1382 to 1517 was founded by Circassian Mamluks.

Much of Circassian culture was disrupted after their conquest by Russia in 1864. This lead to a Circassian Diaspora, mostly to various parts of the Ottoman Empire. Today, significant communities of Circassians live in Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Libya, and the United States. The small community in Kosovo expatriated to Adygea in 1998.

Reference

Amjad Jaimoukha, The Circassians: A Handbook, 1994

Marius
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 10:43 PM
The Circassians (English equivalent of the Turkic Cherkess) are a people of the Northwest Caucasus region.

Interesting, thanks Johannes de León. What I find even more interesting is that there are last names in Romania called "Cerchez" (Cherkez). I had no idea where those names were coming from.

Athelf
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 10:46 PM
Interesting, thanks Johannes de León. What I find even more interesting is that there are last names in Romania called "Cerchez" (Cherkez). I had no idea where those names were coming from.
Maybe they are some Circassian descendant people.

Marius
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 10:52 PM
Maybe they are some Circassian descendant people.

It's quite possible. May have been brought by Turkish occupants? I don't know.

White Falcon
Sunday, October 31st, 2004, 11:13 PM
Here in Croatia ,many people have last name Cherkez (Čerkez) .

bocian
Monday, November 1st, 2004, 04:40 AM
Here in Croatia ,many people have last name Cherkez (?erkez) .

Similar names in Poland:

Czerkies 664
Czerkas 587

The numbers are the actual amount of people in Poland with that surname.

Awar
Monday, November 1st, 2004, 05:07 AM
Yep, we've got the Cherkez and Kerkez surnames. ( there's also one journalist whose surname is Chechen :-O )

hantendon
Monday, November 1st, 2004, 07:14 AM
Hussein Fahmy, Egyptian actor, of full-blooded Circassian parents.

http://www.arab-celebs.com/Profile.asp?ID=13

Athelf
Monday, November 1st, 2004, 07:31 AM
More pics...

hyelander
Monday, November 1st, 2004, 02:44 PM
In czarist Russia times government oficials and people also used to call all people from Caucasus "Cherkess" (Chechens, Adyghians, Kabardins, Sngushis, people from Dagestan...) But any way if we are talking about them here is some info about it.
Of the two main groups of Circassians, the Adyghians (http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic?idxStructId=6875&typeId=13) (Circassians proper, or Lower Circassians), who numbered about 165,000 in the late 20th century, live mostly in the republics of Adygea and Karachay-Cherkessia in Russia. The Kabardians (http://www.britannica.com/eb/topic?idxStructId=309201&typeId=13) (or Upper Circassians) number about 345,000 and live mostly in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia. Circassian communities also exist in Anatolian Turkey (150,000) and Syria (35,000), with smaller groups in Jordan, Iraq, and Iran.

Many Circassians live in the plain immediately to the north of the Caucasus, others live in the mountain piedmont, and a few live in the upland and mountainous regions. Their traditional economy is based on mixed pastoralism and farming, supplemented by fruit growing. In their traditional social organization, princes and nobles controlled the herds and soil. The mass of people were organized in a complex system of subordinate ranks. Slavery was maintained until recent times, and women occupied a low position in Circassian society.

Officially the Circassians are Sunnite Muslims. Ancient cults associated with thunder, fertility rites, and sacred groves, however, were reported in modern times.

Kabardian also called Circassian, language spoken in Kabardino-Balkaria republic, in southwestern Russia, in the northern Caucasus. It is related to the Abkhaz, Abaza, Adyghian, and Ubykh languages, which constitute the Abkhazo-Adyghian, or Northwest Caucasian, language group. These languages are noted for the great number of consonant distinctions and the small number of vowel distinctions in their sound systems. Since the October Revolution of 1917, Kabardian has been a written language. The Roman alphabet was the first system used, but from 1936 the language was written in Cyrillic.

Taras Bulba
Monday, November 1st, 2004, 03:32 PM
Damn it, I recently read a book about Circassians but returned it to the library. Oh well.

tlepsh
Monday, November 1st, 2004, 07:49 PM
I am a Circassian - a kabardin - kabartey - an adige or an adyge .

in 1864 there was a mass misgration to ottoman empire due to russian - caucasian wars .

Circassians are known in antiquity , in other words i am justified and ancient ;) .

Today , there are at least several millions circassians in diaporea .

telvin
Saturday, January 14th, 2006, 05:16 AM
here is some more circassian photos from turkey.

and here (http://img21.imageshack.us/full.php?image=circassia18400kj.jpg)is the map.

telvin
Saturday, January 14th, 2006, 05:20 AM
more and more circassian photos from turkey.

Prince Eugen
Saturday, January 14th, 2006, 09:36 PM
more and more circassian photos from turkey.
I believe Circasians are White but they consider themselves as Turks?

telvin
Tuesday, January 17th, 2006, 01:58 AM
I believe Circasians are White but they consider themselves as Turks?

i dont think there are so many circasians as you think, but i can claim there are much more people they call themselves white trying to make people consider circassians as turks. here (http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=211768)is one proof from Stormfront Russia. i think that is not a fair deal.

kabardin
Wednesday, June 28th, 2006, 01:14 AM
i am a full Circassian, both my parents and both their parents and their parents parents and their parents before them...
I am a Kabardin circassian..
WE are not turk we were forced to imagrate to turkey and other muslim countries.. We are from the north west of the caucasus, marrying a non-circassian is not praised even if both are muslim..

Glenlivet
Wednesday, June 28th, 2006, 12:35 PM
I suggest you leave Stormfront, if that thread is representative of the board. One would become insane being there too long. Nothing said in that thread is sensible or backed up with a source.


i dont think there are so many circasians as you think, but i can claim there are much more people they call themselves white trying to make people consider circassians as turks. here (http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=211768)is one proof from Stormfront Russia. i think that is not a fair deal.

Ashemez
Monday, July 10th, 2006, 10:50 AM
Circassian people also had a genocide after the Russo-Caucasian war which started in 1756 and finished in 1864.
Many people blame the Circassians about what did they do and why they helped the Ottoman army, actually they didnt help them by thier own free they had to because there was not other way.
Nowadays the Russians want to take the small parts of CIRCASSIA and give it to Krasnodar region.
for more informations visit : www.adyg.org

Sozrash
Monday, July 17th, 2006, 10:12 AM
The Circassians (English equivalent of the Turkic Cherkess) are a people of the Northwest Caucasus region.

The name Circassians has been broadly applied to all peoples of the North Caucasus, and somewhat more restrictively to all the peoples of the Northwest Caucasus (the Adyghe, the Abkhaz, and the vanished Ubykhs, to the exclusion of the eastern Chechens and the peoples of Dagestan.) Most precisely, the name refers to a group of tribes who inhabited the territory of Circassia, and who call themselves Adyghes. This last group is the subject of this article.

History
The Circassians first emerged as a coherent entity somewhere around the tenth century A.D., although references to them exist much earlier. They were never politically united, a fact which reduced their influence in the area and their ability to withstand periodic invasions from groups like the Mongols, Avars, Pechenegs, Huns, and Khazars.

This lack of unity eventually cost the Circassians their independence, as they were slowly conquered by Russia in a series of wars and campaigns in the late 18th and early to mid-19th centuries. During this period, the Circassians plight achieved a certain celebrity status in the West, but pledges of assistance were never fulfilled. After the Crimean War, Russia turned her attention to the Caucasus in earnest, starting with the peoples of Chechnya and Dagestan. In 1859, the Russians had finished defeating Imam Shamil in the eastern Caucasus, and turned their attention westward, finally subjugating the Circassians in 1864.

Like other ethnic minorities under Russian rule, the Circassians were subjected to policies of mass resettlement. Collectivization under the Communists also took its toll.

Culture
The Circassians were warlike people. Grown men were expected to carry arms, and boys trained to be warriors. Familial ties were not strongly encouraged; parents fostered their children to other adults rather than raising them themselves. The Circassian society was once matriarchal. Women fought in war alongside their husbands. Although the society is no longer matriarchal, women still give have a high place of respect and dignity.

Circassian society prior to the Russian invasion was highly stratified. While a few tribes in the mountainous regions of Circassia were fairly egalitarian, most were broken into strict castes. The highest was the caste of the "princes", followed by a caste of lesser nobility, and then commoners, serfs, and slaves. In the decades before Russian rule, two tribes overthrew their traditional rulers and set up democratic processes, but this social experiment was cut short by the end of Circassian independence.

The primary religion among modern Circassians is Sunni Islam.

The Diaspora
Circassians have lived outside the Caucasus region since the Middle Ages. They formed a tradition of joining foreign armies, including those of Persia, Rome, Byzantium, and the Golden Horde. They were particularly well represented in the Mamluks of Turkey and Egypt. In fact, the Burji dynasty which ruled Egypt from 1382 to 1517 was founded by Circassian Mamluks.

Much of Circassian culture was disrupted after their conquest by Russia in 1864. This lead to a Circassian Diaspora, mostly to various parts of the Ottoman Empire. Today, significant communities of Circassians live in Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Israel, Libya, and the United States. The small community in Kosovo expatriated to Adygea in 1998.



Reference
Amjad Jaimoukha, The Circassians: A Handbook, New York: Palgrave, 2001; London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2001. ISBN 0-312-23994-7


Circassians
by John Colarusso, Myths from the Forests of Circassia

In the southwest of the Soviet Union, bordering upon Turkey and Iran, lies one of the most ethnographically complex areas in all Eurasia, the Caucasus. The Caucasus mountains, which dominate this area nearly the size of Spain, are home to a bewildering variety of ethnic groups, some of which seem to be survivors from earlier eras. These groups speak roughly fifty languages, the majority of which are unrelated to any other languages on earth, and show complex and exotic features that set them apart from the other languages of Eurasia. In this one area there are three distinct language families: the Southern or Kartvelian, the Northeastern or Daghestanian, and the Northwestern. The Northwestern languages are perhaps the most complex of any in the region and are spoken by the Abkhazians, the Abazas, the Ubykhs, the Kabardians and the Adygheans. The last two peoples are often grouped together as Circassians.

The Circassians originated in the northwestern quarter of the Caucasus, bounded on the north by the Kuban river. They practiced a mixed economy. Those in the higher vallies and montane forests practiced small scale agriculture and hunting, and often preserved old Christian or pagan customs. Those in the foothills and plains practiced horse-breeding, farming and trade, and usualy espoused Sunni Islam, though in their towns Christian and Jewish Circassians could be found. The Circassians were famed throughout the Middle East for the beauty of their women and the courage of their men. Physically most Circassians are European in appearance with perhaps a slight oriental cast to their features. Many Circassians are blond and blue-eyed, while others show a common feature of the Caucasus: very light skin coupled with black or extremely dark hair. A lithe and erect physique were favored, both for the men and the woman, and many villages even today have large numbers of healthy elderly people, many over a hundred years of age.

Their culture was and still is strongly dominated by a warrior ethic. The battle garb of the men, the Cherkesska, is a fitted caftan-like coat with cartridges sewn across the chest, a sheepskin hat and soft-soled knee-high boots of fine leather. It has been borrowed by many neighboring peoples, most notably the slavic Cossacks, so that this costume is often thought of as being Russian. Until recently the eight tribes into which they were divided showed varying degrees of a caste system similar to that surviving in modern India. There were priest-kings, nobles who formed the warriors, freemen who carried on trade, large scale farming and manufacture, and lastly peasants, former prisoners of war who were either small farmers or who acted as retainers to the princes and nobles. In 1864, five years after their defeat at the hands of the Tsarist armies, most of the freemen and peasants emigrated and settled in the Ottoman Empire. Thus today the majority of the world's one million or so Circassians now live scattered throughout the Middle East and in cities in Europe and the U.S.A.



John Colarusso, Prometheus among the Circassians


http://www.circassianworld.com
http://www.tscherkessen-koeln.de
http://adyga.free.fr

Sozrash
Tuesday, July 18th, 2006, 12:18 PM
There are lot of facts bearing witness to violent eviction of Circassians from their historical lands, but only a few people know how this nation could manage to opposite the one of the greatest countries: Great Britain, Austria, Turkey and Russia. None of these powers could risk resisting Russia openly, especially after routing by Russians the Napoleon's army. But Circassians, not very big nation could resist Russian Empire with her well-trained and armored army for 200 years.

Without going into details I'll remind that Circassians are not the heap of militant highland tribes who have no idea about "politics".

Such a fact can serve as a best proof of it. In 1839 there were several documents made by Circassians. One of them is the "Independence Declaration": "Well armored Russian army accounting for about 100000 soldiers is at war with Circassians, and maybe tomorrow they may happened to invade you. Now they need Caucasus Mountains, tomorrow they'll go down from them and seize your beautiful green lowlands. Our eternal mountains and brave jighits are standing and protecting Turkey, Iran, and India now. If you don't help us you'll be seized and destroyed.

There are 4000000 of us; we divided into numerous tribes. But we have our costumes and traditions, kings and rulers. We don't have one - the united Law but our ancestors' customs control us better than any laws made in any up-to-date country".

In the X-Th century (in 913, 923, 954 and 971 ) Russian squads headed by Sviatoslav a lot of times came up to the Circassian borders. About 55000 lives took away these bloody altercations. Nevertheless, in 960 Russians and Circassians could unite and come out against their common enemy- Khazaria.

In the XI-th century the massacre between Redada and prince Mstislave was taken place. The result-20000 Circassians were killed. Practically after that incident the long-time millitary actions between Circassians and Russians began.

In 1772 the serious collision between the troops of Peter the Great and Circassian Prince Aslan Kaytouko was taken place. In the fort Kizlar of Russian army there were 10.000 soldiers. The battle was occurred on Daghestan territory. A lot of people from both sides were killed and finally Russians stepped back.

In the same XVIII century Russians tried to divide Caucasus in two parts (near Mezdoghu). And only the courage of Circassians and Chechens who defended their Motherland disturbed them.

From 1742 Islam began to spread on the territories of North and West Caucasus. Russia tried to take this opportunity to explain her military actions on Caucasus and to scare Europe by Moslem expansion.

Such a situation continued till 1794 when the Belgrad document was signed where Russia Osman Empire agreed to leave Caucasus independent. It's a rather comic fact that Russia and Osman Empire agreed to grant Caucasus independence but meanwhile as a matter of fact Caucasus didn't depend of them.

The main military battles.

In 1763-1777 near the fort of Mezdagh the military actions began and then engulfed all the territory along Terek.

During Ekaterine the II's rule action didn't reduce, but probably increased. Ekaterine the II sent an army of 120.000 soldiers to Caucasus. During the battles Circassians lost 30.000 men killed. In 1774 Osman Empire sent an army for Circassians to help, but it was too late. Russians managed to takeover Cuban and Taman peninsula. Turkeys returned with nothing not even trying to win back the native Circassian lands.

During this period Russia carried out military actions not only in Caucasus but also in Europe.

Having took this opportunity Circassians made several impacts on russian army in a different directions: part of them tried to get back the seized territories, and other part - attacked Kizlar and Mezdagh, and the third part undertook military actions on Taman peninsula having out flanked russian army. In the course of military actions russians lost about 10.000 men killed.

In 1776 russian army built several forts on Terek to encircle Circassians from the north. Meanwhile Circassians managed to gather14.000 army and won back several forts having captured a lot of soldiers.

In 1793 general Suvorov who could control Noghay tribes seizer the lands of shapsoughs and bzedoughs who had lived on Cuban river

The Circassian national council addressed to Russia a note of protest against such movements. Fazin a was chosen as a leader of Circassians. He was so well known and popular that Ekaterine the II, to win over him to her side, sent him a lot of expansive presents. However Fazin didn't accept them with words: "I was chosen by my nation and must follow her customs and traditions assert her interests. Let her majesty excuse my, but I wouldn't accept the presents."

Someone think Circassians were a bad politicians but the following facts proof the opposite.

In 1552 the Circassian prince Edar Temruk and Russian Tsar Evan the terrible concluded the amicable agreement stipulating the military assistance a of Russian army in actions of Circassians against Turks. And The Circassians for their part had to help Russians in struggle with Crimea Tatars.

In 1567 Kabardian prince allowed Russians the building of military fort on the bank of river Sunje.

On 1-st September 1739 Russia and Turkey declared the independence of territories of Big and Small Kabarda and Mezdoghu (in accordance to Turkey State archive's information).

On 14 September 1829 Turkey expressed the consent to grant Russia all the rights to own the Circassians territories (Turkey State archives).

In 1808 the commission was established in Petersburg with the main purpose to do everything possible to make Circassians relinquish their military actions against Russia and obey her influence. The commission made the following decisions:

1. To clear Caucasus completely of weapon and continue the military actions until then the armed resistance is offer.

2. To make Circassians come down from mountains to lowlands, because in highlands they are very skillful in carrying out the military actions. And living on the lowlands they will lose their skills with the passage of time.

3. To dissolve the native population by relocating Russians and Kazaks on Caucasus.

4. To make Circassians leave their native lands for Turkey (On this account the agreement was made between Russia and Turkey)

21 May 1864 is the day of completion of Russian-Caucasus war (the day of mourning of Circassian people). The Circassians dispatched the delegation for negotiations but all their attempts proved to be in vain. The general commissioner announced them the following: "We have concluded the agreement with Turkey not to hinder those Circassians who wish to leave there. Everyone who remains will be moved to the places that we will point out."

In June 1864 Russia announced: "All the inhabitants of Caucasus have to leave their houses and remove within a month, otherwise they will be considered as a traitors and will be dispatched to Siberia."

It was the beginning of Circassians people tragedy.

Before this horrible date there were a lot of cases of Circassians removing to Turkey. According to information of 1860 of the Turkey migration service the following is clear:

Before 1859 the amount of Circassian migrants were 450000, and in 1859- 300000.

Before the great tragedy according to the facts of 1878 year commission there were:

· In 1877- 100000 abazines

· In 1878- 150000 bzedughes.

Regarding the eviction from Caucasus during the period from 1864 till 1865 the different information exists:

Newspaper "Ghuaza" (1911)- 1750000 people.
"Caucasus in history"- more than 1000000.
"Daghestan and Daghestanians"- more than 1000000.
Turkey encyclopedia- 1500000.
Journal "North Caucasus"- 2500000.
World Dictionary- 1000000.
Islamic encyclopedia- 1500000.
Journal "East" (Austria, 1877)- 600000 people (who reached Turkey).
"Notes of General Fadeev"-600000.
Journal "Dulari" (France)- 750000.
Mr. Jurasy (1863-1864)- 400000 people (who reached Turkey).
Journal " Truthful stories " (N 670)-600000.

Historian Biancotti published the following information: a number of Circassian reached the Turkey's shores in ships is attained from 700000 to 1200000. He emphasized that 700000 people reached Turkey in 1864. (It was pointed out about numbers of dead). 1000000 people got Turkey in 1866.

Historian Bizzenj pointed out that from 1858 till 1866 the Turkey's shores reached on ships about 490000 people. Turkey government refused to give the precise information about the exact number of Circassians - migrants in 1866, but supposedly there were 1000000 of them.

Professor Kamal Karpat - member of the central scientific researches commission of Wisconsin University (USA). "Having researched the Turkey archives we found that from 1859 till 1879 the 1400000 people were evicted from Caucasus and only 1000000 of them reached Turkey".

Just on arriving about 20% of migrants dead from diseases and starvation. For example, in May 1864 after the 4 months of being on foreign land 40000 Circassians dead (Samsun, Turkey), and by the late 1865 in Trabzone 53000 had been dead.

From other sources it is known that in 1877 19000 young Circassians were taken to the army from Trabzone to participate in Balcan war. In all 30000 Circassians formed a part of Turkey army in that war.

As a result of Russian - Caucasus war ended in 1864 more than 1000000 Circassians had to leave their Forefathers and go to Turkey with the only hope that sometime they would be able to return. Concerning the assertions of many historians only a half of this number could reach Turkey.

In conclusion I'll point out up-to-date statistic facts. In 1989 in USSR there were:

ABAZAS - 32.482

ABHAZIANS - 98.068

CIRCASSIANS IN:

Adyghe Republic - 95.439

Kabardian-Balkarian Republic - 363.494 (includes Mezdoghu circassians)

Karachay-Circassian Republic - 40.241

And all other Circassians of about four million people live in 45 countries of the world.

Isam Hatk (Journal "Al-Waha"-"Oasis", Amman, 1992., #51, p.10-15

Sozrash
Tuesday, July 18th, 2006, 12:30 PM
The History Museum in Moscow has a large collection of weaponry of the mountaineer peoples of the North-Western Caucasus and Daghestan.The making of weapons, associated first of all with their military organisation, was a time-honoured occupation among the hillmen. Every male between the age of 20 to 60 was regarded as a warrior expected to answer a summons fully armed. As a rule every warrior was expected to acquire armour and weaponry; the poor were assisted by the community. In addition the feudal rulers maintained a standing host of professional men at arms.The weaponry of the Caucasian hillmen traditionally consisted of defensive armour — shirt of mail, a helmet and armlets, and offensive weapons — a bow and arrows, a spear, dart, sabre and dagger. When the fire-arms became widespread in the 18th century, the bow and arrows, the gun and the defensive armour coexisted for some time. As time went on, fire-arms replaced the bow and arrows while the defensive armour, which afforded no protection against bullets, was discarded. Beginning from the second half of the 18th century the armament of a hillman consisted of a gun, pistol, sabre or cavalry sword and a dagger. Surviving specimens of ancient Caucasian weapons are very few. Archaeologists find ancient swords, sabres and daggers manufactured before the 16th century. A few Circassian blades and shirts of mail came down to us from the 16th — 17th centuries, and they are kept in the Kremlin's Armoury. 18th century cold steel and even that of the first half of the 19th century are great rarities. This is quite understandable — such weapons were heavily used, were subjected to wear and tear, got broken, and since the initial materials were in short supply, weaponry out of repair was never discarded but was forged and hammered into new weapons. Much greater is the number of surviving cavalry swords of the late 19th century and still greater is that of late 19th and early 20th century daggers. There is quite a number of fire-arms — captured as trophies during the Caucasian war they were never used again and are preserved better than the cavalry swords and sabres.The History Museum collection contains diverse types of mountaineer weaponry and accoutrements: helmets and elbow-guards, bows and arrows, quivers and bow-cases, guns and pistols, breast cartridges and powder flasks, sabres and cavalry swords and daggers.



NORTH-WESTERN CAUCASUS

This is the home of related Adighe peoples — the Kabardins, the Circassians and Adighes, all of them formezly called Circassians. The Adighe peoples had from ancient times the highly developed skills of making and adorning weapons. This was noted by all foreigners who had visited Circassia in the 15th — 19th centuries. Some of the weapons were home-made — arrows, spear-heads and gunpowder. More sophisticated articles were made by professional armourers. There were no large armour manufacturing centres in Circassia — all demand were met by two or three armourers working in each village.

Defensive Armour

Circassian defensive armour was of the general Caucasian type, consisting of a helmet, shirt of mail, elbow-guards and gauntlets.

The tall conic iron helmet was riveted of two halves and modestly decorated with a few silver or even iron plates engraved in niello or gilt with very moderate ornamentation. It is these ornamental curlicues in the shape of a comma that make it possible to identify a Circassian helmet. Occasionally the armourer would engrave his name and the date of manufacture on it. Quite a series of such helmets were made in the 1780s, as follows from inscriptions on them, by the armourer Ali, son of Haji Bek. A ring on the crest served for attaching a red morocco flag edged with galloon and ornamentally embroidered. A pendent mail neck-guard protects half the face, descending at the sides and behind onto the shoulders above the shirt of mail and secured with a hook in front. In addition to tall helmets low ones were used with a similar long mail neckguard.

A warrior's body was protected by a hauberk — a shirt woven from metal rings. One ring as a rule was interlinked with four neighboring ones. The hauberk had two cuts: one at the collar for the head and the other at the hem for unimpeded walking. Rawhide leather straps were interwoven into the collar to stiffen it for better protection of the neck. The collar hooks were frequently adorned with nielloed silver. The hauberk of a foot soldier was longer than that of a horseman. A medium-sized shirt of mail contained 20 to 25 thousand rings. Distinguished among the coats of mail were those in which the rings were made of wire with a round section and those with a flattened section. Kabardin hauberks won great fame and were bought for the Persian shah; in the 16th century the Turks exacted tribute from the Circassians in humans, horses and hauberks. Kabardin armourers worked in the Russian city of Astrakhan in the 1660s and were eventually transferred to Moscow.

Armlets and elbow-guards protected the arm against blows by the blade. These are plates secured to the arms by means of other two small plates, mail rings and clasps. The surfaces of armlets were at times adorned with engraving or gilt inscriptions.

The warrior's equipment included also gauntlets of red or black morocco with lengths of mail attached and leather bands for securing to the hand. The gauntlets were made by women who adorned them with galloon woven from gold or silver threads. Curved horns, a typical Circassian ornamental motif, were embroidered in the middle of the gauntlet.
COLD STEEL

The Museum has a large collection of Circassian sabres, made at the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries, which were found during excavations of the Belaya Rechka burial mounds near Maikop. A remarkable feature is the bayonet- shaped tip intended in all probability for piercing the shirt of mail. The Historical Museum collection boasts a very rare blade manufactured in all probability in the 16th or 17th century, also with a bayonet tip; a damaskeen gold inscription says: "Worked by Hussein". Blades of this type are kept also in the Armoury and a 1687 inventory designates them as "Circassian". They may have been made by Kabardin armourers who worked at first in Astrakhan, and since 1661 — in Moscow, transferred there "as damask steelmakers of the highest order".

It was probably in the 17th century that the Adighes developed a new kind of cavalry sword — the "shashka", which means "long knife". This weapon differs from the sabre: it has no cross-guard for protecting the hand and the blade is sunk into the scabbard to the very top of the hilt. The cavalry sword was worn with its cutting edge upwards and the blade was withdrawn from the scabbard right in front, without the arm sweeping to the right.

The cavalry sword blade is much shorter than the sabre: the length of a sabre blade with a bayonet tip is 104—114 cm, of the cavalry sword — 75 cm. The cavalry sword blade curves very slightly. West European blades, imported into Circassia through Black Sea ports for several centuries, were used for making cavalry swords. Particularly popular were the Genoese "gourd", the Solingen "top", and the "Transylvanian knot" and "hussar" of Hungary. We can see these symbols on cavalry swords of the 18th and 19th centuries. Some of them are old genuine blades, others are copies from them made by local armourers; and still others are products of the Solingen factories which in the 19th century made blades specially for the Caucasus bearing images popular there.

Cavalry sword hilts were made of horn or silver. The hilt heads were rounded with a wedge-shaped notch at the top.

All foreigners who visited Circassia in the 15th — 19th centuries noted the extremely elegant silver finish of the weapons. A special niello alloy composed of silver, copper, lead and sulfur was used for adorning the silver hilts of cavalry swords, daggers and scabbard plates. Niello on silver resulted in very original ornamentation.

Scabbards and sheaths were made by women of the home for the warriors of their family. Two wooden planks cut to fit the blade were covered with green leather and then tightly sheathed in a velvet casing adorned with galloon laces. These velvet attachments were secured with small nielloed plates. Girdles and yokes were made also of silver.

The cavalry sword was suspended on a shoulder strap made of galloon or leather, its individual parts fastened with buckles. Silver was in short supply and was used very sparingly.

The "shashka" cavalry sword became so popular that it completely ousted the sabre; at any rate no Circassian sabres of the 19th century have been found.

The collection of the History Museum contains the earliest dated cavalry sword bearing the year 1713 on its blade. The blade is of West European origin and the hilt is made of black horn. An interesting cavalry sword in the History Museum collection is dated 1857. It has an elegant narrow blade and the hilt is adorned with engraving, niello and gilt — a characteristic Circassian ornament of rings and semi-ovals, and hornlike curlicues, garlands of leaves shaped like commas. The grip of the hilt features slanting stripes drawn with a sharp tool againstazigzagging background — a technique characteristic of the Circassians.

There are very few surviving Circassian daggers: unlike sabres and cavalry swords, they were not regarded as treasured weapons handed down from the ancestors: they were simply personal effects which were occasionally used even for domestic purposes. Broken and spoilt, they were forged into new ones. Daghestan craftsmen, who appeared in the Western Caucasus in the 1870s, produced the greater part of the surviving daggers. The Museum preserves an interesting dagger of Circassian work of the first half of the 19th century with niello ornamentation and an old type hilt, and also an early 20th century dagger adorned with large granules, very much in vogue in the Western Caucasus at the time.

Projectile Weapons
Very few projectile weapons — bows and arrows — have survived. Caucasian bows belong to the composite ones, i.e. made from horn, cooked sinews and wood glued together. The horn was on the inner side of the bow and ensured strong tension. The cooked animal sinews attached with fish glue along the horn made the bow more springy; a fine layer of wood made up the external side. The tips to which the bowstring was attached were made of bone. The wooden side of the bow was covered in black leather adorned with gold starlets.

Arrows were made in the home. A 15th century writer informs us that all the Circassians, not excepting the nobles, every day made arrows for themselves, and that those arrows had a long range and excellently tempered heads. Women made the cases for the bows and arrows — bowcases and quivers, of red or black morocco trimmed at the edges with strips of coloured leather or galloon.

Bows and arrows were still widely used, along with fire-arms, in the 18th century. Circassian arrows were purchased by the Tatars and Nogais in quantities amounting to about 300,000 annually.



Fire-arms

Fire-arms have been known in the Northern Caucasus since the 16th century, but became widespread only in the 18th century, for some time coexisting with bows and arrows. Guns were brought from the Crimea and Daghestan (Kubachi) and were also made locally. Guns with faceted barrels and a Turkish inscription "tested" and dated the late 18th and early 19th centuries are probably of Crimean origin. These guns have long and narrow butts, lined with leather and almost unadorned. Guns made by local gunsmiths have heavier barrels with silver yokes and plates on the stocks adorned with Circassian ornament.

Museums in Moscow and Leningrad preserve Circassian pistols, some of them dated the 1840s and 1850s, i.e. the time of the Caucasian war when arms manufacture went on at a particularly high rate. They are fitted with flin-tlocks of the Turkish type. The barrels are occasionally adorned with gold chasing. The stocks are lined with black leather, the handle terminates in a bone sphere frequently with silver side plates. The yokes and plates were made of silver and adorned with engraving and niello ornamentation. There occur some highly ornamental pistols whose stocks are made entirely of ivory with silver inlay.

Fire-arms required special accessories. Measured gunpowder charges were kept in wooden tubes carried in special pockets on the breast of the Circassian tunic. The projecting tops of the tubes were closed with an ornamented silver cap. High quality gunpowder to be placed in the pan of the flin-tlock was kept in powder-flasks made of wood, horn or bone and adorned with silver plates. Pistols were carried in leather holsters. The holsters, like all kinds of casings, were made by the women; they were embroidered with gold and silver thread or decorated with fabric woven of gold and silver. Holsters were frequently made without a bottom to accommodate pistols of any length.



Harness

Many objects are associated with harness. Horsebreeding was particularly widespread in Kabarda where big feudal lords had excellent stud farms. Each stud farm had its own branding iron (tamga) to brand its horses. Circassian thoroughbreds were sold to other parts of the North Caucasus, to Georgia, Russia, the Crimea, Lithuania and Poland. The price of a Kabarda thoroughbred horse in the Crimea was 25 times that of a local animal.

The making of saddles and other furnishings for saddle horses was an important item of Circassian handicrafts. Four craftsmen took part: the saddletree-maker made the wooden frame; the saddler covered it with leather and made all the straps and harness and the padding; the blacksmith made all the iron parts and the stirrups; the silversmith provided all the silver decorations. Harness was made of black rawhide straps and adorned with round buckles, engraved, nielloed or gilt. A common ornamental motif was the family cattle branding iron — the tamga. Caucasian saddles are high, lined with red or black morocco, and padded with down. They were occasionally adorned with large ornamented silver plates. Round iron stirrups were painted red or black. Caucasians never used spurs, controlling the horse by means of small riding crops adorned with galloon and silver capped at the top and bottom. Carried on the tip of the loop was a leather or felt pennant embroidered with curlicues and trimmed with a silver thread. Women adorned the riding crops with galloon and embroidered the pennants.

http://www.zihia.narod.ru/ing/weaponry.htm

Sozrash
Saturday, July 22nd, 2006, 07:56 PM
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You can oder yours :) Here name is Asya Eutekh.

http://www.eutykh.com/