- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
60

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - III. The mountain peoples near the military road

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THROUGH THE CAUCASUS TO THE VOLGA
60
i2th century they were known as Yasses or Yossi.
They call themselves Ironians, which has been
held to be the same as Aryon, which again is the
same as the nåme Alan ; but by others Ironians has
been held to be exactly the same word as Iranians.
Their tongue is Indo-European, belonging to the
Iranian branch, and wholly different from both
the North Caucasian and the South Caucasian
languages.
They must have come to the Caucasus from the
north, and in the ist century of our era they were
widely spread throughout Southern Russia, where
they dwelt along the lower Don. This nåme is the
Ossetian word for water; wc find it, too, in many
names of streams on the north side of the Caucasus,
such as Ar-don (= headlong water) and others.
The Sea of Azov, along whose east side the Ossetes
dwelt, has probably also got its nåme from them.
At the beginning of the wanderings of the peoples
a great part of the Alans or Ossetes with the Goths
and Huns went westwards, and settled on the
Danube, whose nåme may come from them. They
may have founded, too, the town of Jassy (pro
nounced Yash) in Moldavia. From the 7th to
I3th centuries first the Khazars and then the
Mongols drove back the Ossetes from the Don
district southwards to the rivers Kuban and Terek.
They were originally a powerful nation of horse
men, but finally, in the I4th century, the Kabardians
coming in from the Crimea drove them up into the
mountains to the district they now dwell in. That
in early times they knew the mountains and were

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