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The Ossetians. Their Language and Culture.

The modern Ossetians are descended from the Scythians and the Sarmatians-Alans, well-known by the numerous reports by ancient authors . At the time they mixed with their affinity tribes of the Coban-Tliy culture, resided on the southern and northern slopes of the central part of the Caucasus mountain range.

The Ossetians speak the Ossetic language, belonging to the Indo-European Language Family.The Indo-Europeans are also called "the Arians".

The Ossetians are subdivided into three major dialect and ethnographic communities: the North-and South-Ironian and Digorian. The ramification of these branches of the united Ossetian ethnos commenced, judging from the linguistic data, yet in the Sarmatian time.

The Digorian dialect differs from the Ironian, to a certain extent, in the phonetic, morphological and other aspects, which is explained by the Ossetians' peculiar historical fortune.

The Ossetian people's southern branch is characterized by some significant peculiarities in the language and ethnic culture. This points to the fact, that the isolated development of the Ossetian people's northern and southern branches covers a considerable period in time.

There are archeological monuments of all the periods of the Stone Age on the territory of South Ossetia. This indicates that the man has lived here since most ancient times. Monuments of the palaeolith epoch have been found on the territory of South Ossetia in a number of places: Lashe-Balta, Nagutni, Pichidzhin, Dzagina and other populated centres in the rural areas. In these places there have been discovered stone axes, pointed tips, scrapers, cutters, numerous stone plates. These objects were utilized for hunting and in house-keeping.

South Ossetia is part of the territory, the process of the Ossetian people's ethnogenesis had been taking place on. That is why, there are a number of monuments of the Scythian culture of the 7-th and the following centuries B.C. known on the territory of South Ossetia, and from the first centuries A.D. date the evidences of the Ossetians' residence on these lands.

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© 1999 Soslan Tabuev

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