Legends of the Caucasus

Legends of the Caucasus

by David Hunt


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The Caucasus has an extremely rich folk literature, almost unknown among English speakers, which includes myths, legends, magical tales, anecdotes, and proverbs.

The one hundred and one legends included in this book reflect the cultures of fourteen different ethnic groups—their dynamism and the matters that concerned them: survival against external dangers, the risk of starvation, and the persistence of the family or clan as a coordinated group. Descended from an oral tradition, much of their knowledge was retained in memories and passed down the generations. Yet, with the introduction of the alphabet, the way of life they portray is rapidly becoming extinct.

The translation is derived from the manuscripts of Russian collectors working out of the Russian Empire in the late nineteenth century and from the Soviet Union in the mid-twentieth century. The text is a mixture of prose and verse, reflecting how the legends would have been performed by storytellers within the culture.

This volume includes a map, bibliography, appendix, glossary, keyword and theme analysis, and references.

David Hunt is an expert of Caucasus folk literature. He was awarded the McDowell Prize from the Folklore Society in 2008.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780863564734
Publisher: Saqi Books
Publication date: 07/24/2012
Pages: 376
Sales rank: 640,059
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

David Hunt is an expert of Caucasus folk literature. A member of the Folklore Society for forty years, he has written published a number of papers on various aspects of the folklore of the Caucasus. He won the McDowell Prize of the Folklore Society in 2008.

Table of Contents




One: Historical-political Legends

1. Edige Nogay
2. The ditch of Temir the Lame Ingush
3. Vakhtang Gorgasali Georgian
4. Where the name of Metekhi came from

Two: Resistance to Foreign Invaders

5. Partu Patima Lak
6. Murtazali Lak
7. Shamil’ Dargva

Three: Resistance to Feudal Oppression

8. The Batyr Khuchulav Lak
9. Davdi of Balkhar Lak
10. The battle of the gorges Georgian
11. The sword of Mamuka Kalundauri Georgian
12. The death of the Areshidzes Georgian
13. Lom-Edalbi Ingush
14. About Tkhobya-Erda Ingush
15. The death of Napkha Kyagua Abkhaz
16. Kapsog Goshteliani Georgian

Four: Rustling, Stealing of Animals

17. Sosuruk and Akbilek Balkar
18. Soska Solsa and Gorzhay Chechen-Ingush
19. Ashtotur and Prince Batok Balkar
20. The farmstead of Ssurdu Lak
21. The song of Shagumilav Ilyas Lak
22. The tomb of Beksultan Borogan Chechen-Ingush

Five: Warriors, Including Blood Revenge

23. Aydemir-Khan Kabardan
24. The lament (gybza) for Andemyrkan
25. Cha and Cherbazh Ingush
26. The living chain mail Georgian
27. The tradition about Bora Abayev Chechen-Ingush
28. The grandson of Kozash, and Germanch
29. The abrek Sulumbek Ingush
30. The sister of seven brothers Ingush
31. How the Orstkhoys won back the land Ingush


Six: Hunting

32. The song about Biyneger Balkar
33. Dali is giving birth on the crags Georgian
34. Betkil Georgian
35. Dali and Amirani Georgian
36. Kvartsikhsky Tebru Ivane Georgian
37. Azhveypsh Abkhaz
38. Azhveypsh’ daughter Abkhaz
39. The young man and the snow leopard Georgian
40. The Balkh meadow Georgian

Seven: Legends About Shepherds, Including Cyclops Legends

41. Black-eyed Ashura Lak
42. Udaman Alil Lak
43. Seska Solsa and the wolf Ingush
Cyclops legends:
44. Yoruzmek and Sosuruk Balkar
45. The story of One-Eye Georgian
46. Stories about giants (Vampolozh) Chechen-Ingush
47. Koloy-Kant Chechen-Ingush
48. Parcho Chechen

Eight: Abundance

49. How the Ubykhs became gardeners Ubykh
50. The murderer Georgian
51. About the origin of abundance from the earth Ingush
52. The little bird of abundance Ingush
53. How the Nart-Orstkhoys vanished from the earth Ingush
54. Soska Solsa and the pelvic bone Chechen-Ingush
55. The return of abundance Chechen
56. How Lake Ritsa was formed Abkhaz
57. Elia, Christ and Saint George Georgian
58. About the meeting of Abul with the Shaytans Dargva


Nine: Family and Personal Honour

59. Adyif Adyge
60. Adiyukh Adyge
61. The fortress of Chirks-Abaa Abkhaz
62. The black candles Abkhaz
63. The young man and the girl Abkhaz
64. Solsa Chechen
65. Beloved Albika Ingush
66. Said of Kumukh Lak
67. Murat Marshan Abkhaz
68. Shota and the lord of Tmogvi Georgian
69. The duty of hospitality Ingush
70. Gazi, the son of Aldam Ingush

Ten: Relations Within the Family

71. The warrior of Shamil Chechen
72. Love for the father and love for the son Dargva
73. The fall of Anakopia Abkhaz
74. The fortresses of Gogia and Petre Georgian
75. Ali was left on the cliff Avar
76. The hunter-brothers Abkhaz
77. Akhkepig Chechen
78. Burkhay Izazha Lak
79. Chyuerdi Karachay
80. The sister Georgian
81. The son who went away to the army in Azayni Avar

Eleven: Religion and Relations with the Dead

82. Batoko Shertuko Chechen-Ingush
83. Karashauay’s revenge Balkar
84. Lega and Kopala Georgian
85. The resurrection of the Narts Balkar
86. The horse of Zezva Gaprindauli Georgian
87. Orshamar Arsh Ingush
88. Seska Solsa and Byatar Chechen-Ingush
89. Mikel-Gabriel Georgian
90. About Paleostomi Georgian

Twelve: Prometheus Legends

91. The chained Amirani Georgian
92. The dragon turned to stone Georgian
93. Amirani and the herdsman Georgian
94. The legend of the return of fire Abkhaz
95. Pkharmat Chechen
96. How Sosuruk obtained fire for the Narts Balkar
97. Abrskil Abkhaz
98. Amiran Georgian
99. Bound Nasran Adyge
100. How Sharvili found fire Lezg

Appendix. Note on “Legends about the Nart bogatyrs among the mountain Tatars of the Pyatigorsk Region of the Terek province”, by S.-A. Urusbiev.


Keyword and theme analysis


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