- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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1 1 1
The Georgian Mountain Tribes : The Khevsurs
Wc had now come to a district full ofethnographical
interest. West of the White Aragva valley the land
of the remarkable Ossetes stretches westwards and
northwards to the upper valleys of Terek and
beyond Vladikavkaz. East of the valley dwell
Georgian tribes, the Pshavs, and up in the mountain
valleys to the north-east the Khevsurs. They still
speak old Georgian dialects ; but the latter especially,
who number about 8,000, must have lived a long
time cut off in their mountain gorges. Their nåme
comes from the Georgian khevi (= gorge, cleft).
They are still following the customs and ways and
superstitions of the Middle Ages. They wear
helmets, chain-armour, vambraces and greaves of
steel, shields and swords, just like the knights of the
Crusades. The helmet is a round steel cap over the
upper part of the skull, with a steel net hanging
down the back and sides of the head and over the
forehead, so that only the eyes and the lower part
of the face are left free. On festal occasions, and at
martial games and tournaments, they appear in full
arrnour, and so, too, when they fear blood revenge,
or when a blood feud between two families or
between villages is to be settled by a reconciliation.
The reason why these tribes eling to the old weapons
is evidently because they have always been living

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