- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
42

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
42
it is only the hoe that can be used. The corn grown
is maize, wheat, millet, a few oats, rye, and barley.
This last is found growing up to about 2,500 metres.
Potatoes and tobacco are also cultivated up to
1,800 metres or so.
As wc said above, the Caucasus was a very real
barrier to the wanderings of the peoples ; the
waves washed up these steep slopes from north and
from south, and broke against them; but in the
inaccessible narrow valleys, where defence was easy,
fragments of the passing peoples, or of tribes driven
back on north and south, were left behind, shut
off in a little world of their own. Thus in these
mountains there are more differing races gathered
together on a small area than at any other spot in
the world. All these peoples speak different tongues,
which are mostly but little known, and many of
which seem to be but little akin to others that are
known.
The many tribes or peoples are usually divided
according to their language into three main groups :
the true Caucasian, the Turkish-Tatar, and the
Indo-European peoples. There are also some
others, perhaps, whose origin is still more obscure.
The languages of the true Caucasians stand in a
peculiar isolation, and so far philologists have not
been able to show with certainty any link or kinship
with other known languages. Possibly some may
have likenesses with several of the languages spoken
in Asia Minor in olden times. Some likenesses
with Baskish and Etruscan have also been suggested.
They are divided into the South Gaucasian and the

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