The Malkh were an ancient nation, living in the Western/Central North Caucasus. They are usually regarded as the westernmost Nakh people, and their name has a Nakh root (Malkh, the sun, attached to the main God, Deela's name as well, see Vainakh mythology). Their name may have actually been something closer to "Melkhi", but the common (via Chechen perhaps) rendering is "Malkh". Little is known about them due to a loss of historical writings.
Unlike the Dzurdzuks, the Malkh seem to have to set up a monarchy (possibly after the escalation of the threat of the Scythians and Sarmatians). The Malkh state had a king, who called himself an "emperor".
By the 5th century BCE, the Nakh nations of the North Caucasus (Malkhs in the West, Dzurdzuks in the East, as well as other Nakh tribes such as the Gligvs, "Kists", Khamekits, and Sadiks, though the boundaries between many of these peoples was fuzzy and unsure ) were turning to larger states for assistance against the northern nomadic invaders. While the Dvals and Dzurdzuks allied themselves to Colchis and Iberia, the Malkh became strong allies of the Greek Bosporan Kingdom. In 480, Adermalkh, king of the Malkh, married a daughter of the Bosporan king.
The Malkh are now extinct, defeated and wiped out and/or assimilated either by Scythian peoples, Circassian/Circassian-like peoples or later Turkic peoples. Most Malkh lands are inhabited now by Turkic peoples (Karachay and Balkars, the latter which call themselves, notably, "Malkhars"), and to a lesser extent Circassic peoples (Abazins and Circassians, though most of these are now gone as a result of the Circassian Genocide). More recently, Cossacks and Russians have colonised the former Malkh lands.
The name of the Malkh survived as the Malkhi teip of the Chechens, which was founded by Malkh who left their homeland and integrated into the teip system, and were eventually assimilated (mostly) to Chechen culture, eventually becoming Chechens. This slow process of "teip assimilation" has happened with many peoples who fled and settled in Chechen lands, with over 20 of the 90 clans having a foreign origin. There is a Jewish clan (originally Mountain Jews, though they are now mostly completely Chechenized), two Russian clans, a Volga German clan (from the days when Germans lived with Chechens in Siberian exile), a Polish clan (made of Poles fleeing Russian oppression), a Ukrainian clan, many Turkic clans, etc. Through the Malkhi teip, the name, and to a lesser extent, the vague memory, of the Malkh is preserved, even though as a nation Malkhia is dead.
The dialect spoken by the Malkhi is highly conservative, and highly divergent from "Standard Chechen", and there are a small group of people who actually consider it separate (Malkhi Chechen is also called the "Galanch'ozh dialect"), though the prevailing opinion (including that among the Myalxi themselves) is that it is a Chechen dialect. Myalxi, or Galanch'ozh, is often considered a transitional dialect between Chechen and Ingush, though it displays distinct features of its own.
Their teip's pictogram is of the sun. The Malkhi are known as fierce warriors among the Nakhs.
- Jaimoukha, Amjad. The Chechens: A Handbook. Routledge Curzon: Oxon, 2005.
- Jaimoukha, Amjad. The Chechens: A Handbook. Page 31.
- Jaimoukha, Amjad. The Chechens: A Handbook. Page 13; 202-203; 288.