Evolution of martial arts among the North Caucasian peoples (16th-19th centuries)

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2019, Vol. 5. №1

Evolution of martial arts among the North Caucasian peoples (16th-19th centuries)

For citation: Bleikh N. O. 2019. “Evolution of martial arts among the North Caucasian peoples (16th-19th centuries)”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 5, no 1, pp. 129-141. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2019-5-1-129-141

About the author:

Nadezhda O. Bleikh, Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Professor, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, North Ossetian State University named after Kosta Levanovich Khetagurov (Vladikavkaz); nadezhda-blejjkh@mail.ru


This article deals with the unique formation of martial arts, which existed among the ethnic groups of the North Caucasus until the 19th century. It refers to the specifics of the military skills formation of the nomadic peoples of the region. Special emphasis is placed on the military history of ethnogenesis of mountain ethnic groups, the analysis of external and internal reasons for the improvement of their martial art. These included both external (geographical environment) and internal (education, lifestyle, traditions, and customs) factors. The Scythians, reincarnated in the Sarmatians, laid the basis of the formation of combat skills. The latter, in turn, transferred the professionalism of the military arts to the Alans (the Ossetians) and other Caucasians, who developed military wisdom, which found its application in further wars for their freedom and independence.

On the basis of the little-studied documents, it is concluded that the whole history of the formation and the development of the North Caucasian ethnic groups was imbued with the military spirit, closely intertwined with military skills, which could not but leave an imprint on the worldview of the autochthons, on their material and spiritual culture, inherited from the nomadic tribes of the Sarmatians and the Alans. But military prowess with its inherent features, developing and perfecting for centuries, has not gone into oblivion, it has only changed. A good example is the fact that all North Caucasian ethnic groups, having joined Russia, subsequently took an active part in the wars of Russia, thereby protecting the interests of the common homeland.


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