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Ossetians (The Iranian people of Caucasus - Scythians)

bodhi_mantra - 119 Views
Published on 17 Sep 2022 / In News and Politics

Ossetians are an ethnic group that live in South Ossetia on the southern side of the Caucasus mountains in central Georgia and North Ossetia in southern Russia. Descendants of Scythian horsemen from north of the Black Sea, they speak an Iranian Indo-European language and are primarily Christians but some are Muslims.

The Ossetians are of Iranian and Caucasian origin. In the first centuries A.D., Ossetia was occupied by the Alani tribe, ancestors of the modern Ossetians. In the thirteenth century, the Tatars drove the Alani into the mountains; Russian settlers began arriving in the eighteenth century. Russia annexed Ossetia in 1861.
The Ossetians have two autonomous regions: the South Ossetia Autonomous Region in Georgia and the Republic of North Ossetian in Russia. The regions are divided by the Caucasus mountains. Like Abkhazians, Ossetians and are non-Georgians, and many of them wish to secede from Georgia.

There are about a half million Ossetians. Most live in and form the majority in North Ossetia. They also form the majority in South Ossetia. Ossetians are also found in significant numbers in Kabardino-Balkaria and around Stravropol in the Caucasus region of southern Russia and in Tbilisi and numerous places in eastern Georgia. Ossetians can be found in other parts of the former Soviet Union too. Some Muslim Ossetians live in Turkey. Most Muslim Ossetians live in North Ossetia.

The Ossetian language is classified as member of the Northeast Iranian Branch of Iranian and has been heavily influenced by the languages of peoples that live around Ossetia and is distantly related the Pashto language spoken in Afghanistan and Yaghnobi spoken in the Pamir region of Central Asia. Ossetian has two major dialects: 1) the Digoron or West Ossetian dialect spoken in the western part of North Ossetia; and 2) the Iron or East Ossetian dialect spoken in the rest of Ossetia. Ossetian in North Ossetia has traditionally been written in Cyrillic. In South Ossetia it is written in Georgian. In the 1920s it was written with a Latin script.
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