Assianism

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The symbol of Assianism, representing its theological trinity, called the "Three Tears of God". The symbol was first "perceived" and drawn by Slava Dzhanaïty, an architect and painter who also undertook the restoration of the Rekom Temple (an important Ossetian shrine) after an accidental fire destroyed it in 1995.[1]

Assianism (Russian: Ассианство, Assianstvo) or Scythian Neopaganism is a modern Pagan religion based on the traditional folk religious beliefs of the Ossetians, modern descendants of the Scythians of the Alan tribes, believed to be a continuation of the ancient Scythian religion.[2] The religion is known as "Assianism" among its Russian adherents ("Assianism" means the religion of the "As" or "Os"—an ancient name of the Alans, from which the Greeks possibly drew the name of "Asia", which is preserved in the Russian and Georgian-derived name "Ossetians"), and as Uatsdin (Уацдин) or Ætsæg Din (Æцæг Дин; both meaning "True Faith") or Æss Din (Æсс Дин, Ossetian-language rendering of "Assianism") by Ossetians in their own language.[3] It started to be revived in a conscious and organised way in the 1980s, as an ethnic religion among the Ossetians.[4]

The religion has been incorporated by some organisations, chiefly in North Ossetia–Alania within Russia, but is also present in South Ossetia,[5] and in Ukraine.[6] Some Russians have embraced Assianism by virtue of the fact that most of the ancient Scythians were assimilated by the East Slavs, and therefore modern Russians may reclaim Scythian culture. Among Russians, Assianism is advocated as a religion for all Slavs, Indo-Europeans, or even as a worldwide spiritual heritage.[7][8] The Nart sagas are central to the religion, and exponents of the movement have drawn theological exegeses from them.[9]

Etymology[edit]

The revival of Ossetian folk religion as an organised religious movement was initially accorded the formal name Ætsæg Din (Æцæг Дин, "True Faith") in the 1980s[4] by a group of nationalist intellectuals who in the early 1990s constituted the sacerdotal Styr Nykhas ("Great Council").[10] Ætsæg, meaning "truthful", is the name of the foundational kinship in the Nart sagas, while din corresponds to the Avestan daena, meaning divine "understanding" or "conscience", and today "religion".[10] Fearing that the concept of Ætsæg Din carried implications of universal truth that might offend Christians and Muslims, the Ossetian linguist Tamerlan Kambolov coined the alternative term Uatsdin (Уацдин) in 2010, which has become the most common name for the religion in Ossetian.[10] Daurbek Makeyev, the most known exponent of the movement, has preferred to name it Æss Din (Æсс Дин), meaning the "religion of the Æss", "As" or "Os", an alternative ancient name of the Alans, preserved in the Russian and Georgian name "Ossetians", and root from which the ancient Greeks likely drew the term "Asia".[3] In his Russian-language writings Makeyev has used the Russian variation Assianstvo (Ассианство), "Assianism".[7] Ruslan Kurchiev, president of the Styr Nykhas in 2019, prefers to define Assianism as a "culture" rather than a "religion", claiming that what it champions are rituals and values which are encapsulated in the Ossetian tradition.[11]

History[edit]

Khozy Dzuar Temple in Tapankau, Alagirsky District, North Ossetia–Alania.

From the ancient Scythians to the modern Ossetians[edit]

The Scythians were a large group of Iranian (linguistically Eastern Iranian) nomadic tribes who populated the Eurasian Steppe during the first millennium BCE, from Eastern Europe to western China. Their name "Scythians" comes from Greek, Σκύθοι Skuthoi, meaning the "archers", a skill for which they were known and feared. They left a rich cultural legacy, particularly in the form of gold jewellery, frequently found in the "kurgan" burials associated with them. They practised the ancient Iranian religion.[12]

A group of Scythian tribes, the Sarmatians, known as the Alans (i.e. "Aryans", through a common internal consonant shift, i.e. "Iranians"[13]) from the first century onwards, migrated into Europe. Allied with the Germanic Goths, the Alans penetrated west into France, Italy, Spain, and other territories under the Roman Empire. The Romans tried to manage the threat by hiring them as mercenaries in the cavalry, or, particularly in France, by buying them off as landed gentry. Many toponyms in France, such as Alainville, Alaincourt, Alençon, and others, testify that they were territorial possessions of Alan families. Alan equestrian culture formed the basis of Medieval chivalry, and thus had a significant role in the development of Western European culture.[14]

While most of the Scythians assimilated into other ethnic groups by the Middle Ages, the Alans of the Caucasus maintained a distinct identity and continued to dominate the area, so that the Byzantine Empire recognised them as an independent allied kingdom. Through their relations with the Byzantines and missionaries from Georgia in the south, the Alan aristocracy adopted Eastern Orthodox Christianity during the tenth century. This, however, had little effect on the general Alan population, so that the thirteenth-century Flemish traveller William of Rubruck reported that "they knew nothing (of Christianity) apart from the name of Christ". The Ossetians are the sole modern population culturally and linguistically descending from the Alans, and they have preserved beliefs and rituals likely dating back to Scythian religion, even though through waves of partial syncretisation with Christianity.[15]

After the conquests of the Mongol Empire in the Caucasus during the mid-thirteenth century, contacts between the Alans and Eastern Orthodox religious authorities ceased completely, and their superficial Christianisation was stopped. There is evidence that between the fourteenth and the seventeenth century, shrines which were apparently built in honour of Christian saints were converted to indigenous Pagan use.[16] The Russian Empire's expansion in the Caucasus by the end of the eighteenth century brought with itself Russian Orthodox missionaries who sought to "re-Christianise" the Ossetians. Their efforts had had limited success by the time when they were completely obliterated by the Russian Revolution of 1917, which introduced the peoples of the Caucasus into the rapid processes of industrialisation, modernisation and urbanisation of the Soviet Union.[16]

Between the traditional and the new religion[edit]

The Ossetian people are today split between two states: North Ossetia–Alania, a constituent federal republic within Russia, and the neighbouring only partially recognised state of South Ossetia. The incipient collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1980s triggered projects of identity-building among many of its constituent nations. In Ossetia, as in other nations, this involved the recovery of an "authentic national religion" harkening back to pre-Christian times. Ossetian nationalism also played a role, powered by ethnic conflicts for lands and resources with neighbouring peoples in North Ossetia, and for independence in South Ossetia, a territory historically part of Georgia, whose status as an independent entity is a matter of international controversy (cf. the 2008 Russo-Georgian War).[17]

According to Victor Shnirelman, in the Ossetian case certain traditions had survived with unbroken continuity and were revived in rural areas. This contrasts, and interacts, with an urban and more intellectual movement which elaborated a systematic revived religion associated with ethnic nationalism and with the opposition to both Russian and Georgian Orthodox Christianity, perceived as foreign, and to Islam, professed by the neighbouring Turkic and Caucasian ethnic groups and by a small minority of Ossetians.[18] According to the scholar Sergey Shtyrkov, intellectual projects for the elaboration of an "ethnic religion" for the Ossetians date back to the early twentieth century, and it was with the Soviet atheist anti-religious "furious fight against Ossetian Paganism" in the 1950s that the idea appealed once again to Ossetian intellectuals. According to him it was Soviet anti-religious activism that drove ancient local practices from the sphere of "ethnic tradition" into the sphere of "religion" in the minds of the Ossetian people.[19]

The scholar Richard Foltz reconstructs the development of Ossetian religion through seven phases: 1. An original Scythian Paganism; 2. a first wave of Christianisation under Byzantine and Georgian influence from the tenth to the thirteenth century; 3. a "re-Paganization" during the fourteenth and fifteenth century following the Mongol invasions and the disruption of the contacts with the Byzantines; 4. a partial re-Christianisation during the sixteenth and seventeenth century conducted by Georgian missionaries; 5. a further re-Christianisation conducted by Russian missionaries beginning in the late eighteenth century; 6. enforced state atheism during the Soviet Union from 1921 to 1991; and 7. a resurgence of "traditional Ossetian religion" since the 1980s–1990s. According to Foltz, the narrative of the contemporary promoters of Scythian Neopaganism is that the religiosity of the Ossetians maintained a strong underlying continuity while absorbing and adapting superficial influences from Christianity, and to a lesser extent from Islam and neighbouring Caucasian traditions, superficial influences which may be easily stripped away to reveal its essential, distinct "Iranian character".[20]

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Ossetian politicians have been outspokenly supportive of Scythian Assianism.[21] During the 1990s, after the clashes between Ossetians and Georgians in 1991–1992, a field besides a sacred grove 30 kilometres to the west of North Ossetia–Alania's capital Vladikavkaz, where the Ossetian hero Khetag was said to have taken refuge from his enemies, was dedicated by the government as a holy site. Since 1994, sacrifices are held at the site with the participation of government officials and community leaders, with activities supervised by the sacerdotal Great Council (Styr Nykhas). The ceremony is dedicated to the most important deity, Uastyrdzhi, said to have saved Khetag from his pursuers.[22] Government participation is also seen at the ceremonies organised at the Rekom Temple in Tsey, Alagirsky District, North Ossetia–Alania.[21]

Writings[edit]

The Nart sagas are regarded as the "holy writings" of Assianism, from which some exegetes of the movement, such as Daurbek Makeyev, have drawn theological doctrines.[9] The scholar Richard Foltz defines the Narts a "typical Indo-European heroic epic".[23] According to Makeyev, who according to Foltz takes an essentialist perspective, "the framework [i.e., the rituals that actualise the content of the books] is changeable" and yet "the meaning is eternal", and "the ultimate divine reality is light", reflecting a theme shared by all Iranian religions.[23] According to the scholar Sergey Shtyrkov, the Assian exegetes have created "their own dogma and theological system", through etymology and comparison with other Indo-Iranian traditions.[24] Foltz finds this effort to elaborate theological doctrines from traditional texts comparable to similar efforts found in Germanic Heathenry and modern Hellenism.[21] The artist and architect Slava Dzhanaïty has published many books on the Ossetian folk religion, emphasising its philosophical aspects in contrast to the more practical leaning of Makeyev's writings.[25]

Theology and cosmology[edit]

Statue of Uastyrdzhi in Alagirsky District, North Ossetia–Alania.

God and its triune manifestations[edit]

Assianism contemplates the worship of a supreme God, Xwytsau (Хуыцау), who is the creator of the universe and of all beings.[26] The supreme God may be called upon by a multiplicity of epithets, including simply "Styr Xwytsau" (Стыр Хуыцау), meaning "Great God", but also "Duneskænæg" (Дунескæнæг), "Creator of the Universe", "Meskænæg Xwytsau" (Мескаенаег Хуыцау) and "Xwytsauty Xwytsau" (Хуыцаутты Хуыцау), meaning "God of the Gods". Assian theology affirms that God is within every creature, and in men it manifests as reason and right action. Lesser gods and spirits, including the most important of them, Uastyrdzhi, are worshipped as intermediaries of Xwytsau.[27]

Assian theology is monistic, although God unfolds in triads. The fundamental triad is that of God–matter–spirit:[28]

  • Xwytsau / Xuitsau (Хуыцау, "Heaven") — is the supreme God of the universe, the source of it and of the highest wisdom attainable by men, creator and patron of worlds, without either image or form, ineffable and omnipresent;
  • Iwag / Iuag (Иуаг) or Iuæg (Иуæг) — is the substance-matter of everything, both uncreated and created worlds;
  • Ud (Уд) — is the universal self, that is attained by an individual soul when it identifies with Mon (Мон), the universal mind-spirit, i.e. God's manifestation; ultimately, Mon and Ud are the same, and they are Xwytsau's manifestation.

On the plane of the phenomenon, God's universal mind-spirit further manifests as the triad of:[28]

  • Uas / Was (Уас) — the good-spell or good-word, the order of God, which produces well-being in reality;
  • Uastyrdzhi / Wastyrji (Уастырджи) — the good-spell incarnated in men, who are bearers of divine reason, enlightened consciousnesses, awareness of God; in other words, Uastyrdzhi is the archetype of the perfected man, follower of the order of God;
  • Duagi / dwagi (дуаги; pl. дауджытæ → daudzhytæ / daujytæ), otherwise called аss (сс, pl. асов → asov; cf. the Germanic ese) — gods, divine entities endowed with right and measure, which continuously mould the world alternating forms according to the order of God; the most important among them are the arvon daujita (арвон дауджита), the seven divine forces of the seven planets.

Another distinction is established between the three cosmological states of:[28]

  • Zedy (зэды, pl. задтæ → zadtæ) — forces which live according to the order of God, and thus are worthy of veneration;
  • Uayugi (уайуги, pl. уайгуытæ / уайгуыта → uayguytæ / uayguyta) — degenerate parasitic forces which distance from enlightenment, violating the order of God; in mankind they are the cause of passions, fears, pride and nervous diseases;
  • Dalimon (Далимон) or Dælimon (Дæлимон) — the lowest possible state of mind when it identifies with brute matter, chaos.

The seven deities[edit]

Statue of Æfsati, the Ossetian god of wild animals and patron of hunters, in the Ossetian mountains.

Like other ancient Iranian religions, the ancient Scythian religion contemplated seven deities (арвон дауджита, arvon daujita), each of which associated to a planet and to certain natural phenomena.[28][29] Herodotus attested the seven Scythian gods as: Papaios (corresponding to Zeus), the sky god; Tabiti (Hestia), the hearth goddess (today called Safa); Api (Gaia), the earth goddess; Oitosyros (Apollo), the sun god; Argimpasa (Aphrodite), the fertility goddess; and "Herakles" and "Ares" for whom Herodotus did not provide the Scythian name. In ancient Ossetian, the seven days of the week were still named after the seven deities. According to Foltz, "Ares" was probably Mithra, and the modern Uastyrdzhi; he was widely worshipped through altars in the form of a sword planted in a pile of stones or brushwood, a cult perhaps reflected in the Arthurian legend of the sword in the stone, likely brought to Britain by Alan regiments settled there by the Romans in the first century. The cult of the sword continued among the Alans as late as the first century CE. Herodotus also mentioned an eighth deity worshipped among the Royal Scythians, Thagimasidas, the water god, equated with Poseidon.[29]

The modern Ossetians have preserved the sevenfold-eighthfold structure, though the deities have changed as have their names, which in some cases are adaptations of the names of Christian saints: Uastyrdzhi (whose name derives from "Saint George"), the god of contracts and war (the Iranian Mithra); Uatsilla ("Saint Elijah"), the thunder god; Tutyr (Saint "Theodore"), the protector of wolves; Fælværa (maybe the conflation of "Florus and Laurus"), the protector of livestock; Kurdalægon, the blacksmith god (the Iranian Kaveh, Kawa); Donbettyr, the water god; Mikaelgabyrta (conflation of "Michael and Gabriel"), the fertility and underworld god; and Æfsati, the hunt god.[30]

Ethics[edit]

According to Assian doctrines, human nature is the same as the nature of all being. Mankind is a microcosm within a macrocosm, or broader context, and the same is true for all other beings. The universe is kept in harmony by Uas (the good-word), the order of God, the foundation of divine reason and nobility. The deities (daujita) form the world according to this universal law, while demons (uayguyta) are those entities which act disrupting the good contexts of the deities, and are the causes of illness and death.[28]

These positive and negative forces also influence humanity's consciousness: A man may take the side of either deities or demons, and this choice will shape this man's life and action. If a man is able to subdue passions, not putting exclusively egoistic material motives in his actions, he becomes open to the Uas, or its receptacle (уасдан, uasdan; good-spell receptacle), a wise noble who perceives the order of God and higher spirits and receives their energy, acting like them by producing good, truth and beauty. On the contrary, if a man's actions are driven by egoistic material ends, Dalimon and demons own him and he becomes a source of evil, lie and ugliness.[28]

Practices[edit]

Rites[edit]

The Ossetian calendar has many days dedicated to ceremonies, some of which are performed within the household and others at outdoors sacred spaces. There are sixty fixed celebrations throughout the year. Household ceremonies are centred around the hearth chain (safa) which upholds a cauldron, over a fire (the holy element in Indo-Iranian religions). Communal ceremonies are held at sacred groves or exposed mountaintops.[31] According to Shtyrkov, the modern Assian movement tries "to create a unified ritual system, every tiny element of which has a theological motivation".[32]

Ossetian traditional rituals consist in holding a feast (fyng or kuvyn) in honour of a particular deity. The ceremony is led by a "holy man" (dzuary læg), who invokes the deity through the offering of a "toast", kuyvd, which also means "prayer", towards the sky. Beer is the substance usually offered in libation, though it may be substituted by any type of strong liquor. During the ceremony other toasts are made to the other deities, and three ceremonial pies (ualibakh) are consumed along with meat from an animal sacrificed for the ritual.[31] Communal ceremonies may be accompanied by a circular dance called simd. A distinctive version of the simd has one circle of dancers standing on the shoulders of another circle of dancers. The Narts tell that the simd was invented by the hero Soslan.[33]

Shrines and temples[edit]

Rekom Temple in Tsey, Alagirsky District, North Ossetia–Alania.

Ossetian deities are associated with natural phenomena, and communal ceremonies are usually held at natural shrines, which are often provided with a temple built in wood or stone.[34] The journalist Alan Mamiev observed that "Ossetians pray in nature" and "every family has its own shrine on their land".[35] Slava Dzhanaïty, who projected the reconstruction the Rekom Temple, an important Ossetian shrine in Tsey, Alagirsky District, North Ossetia–Alania, destroyed by an accidental fire in 1995,[1] observed that:[35]

Gratefully appreciating the works of nature, the ancient sage did not build gigantic structures that stand out and argue with the environment created by the world's best architect mother nature, just as he did not try to restrict the presence of the Spirit within fixed boundaries. [...] the shrine is both the building itself and the land that surrounds it; the whole is in complete harmony with nature. Therefore, the shrine should not rise above nature or make it ugly; Ossetian shrines are constructed only of local natural materials, and the architectural lines are designed to mimic the surrounding natural features.

Ruslan Kuchiev, the president of the Styr Nykhas in 2019, said:[35]

It is these sacred places that give us our energy. [...] You have to be part of nature, that's what our ancestors thought. You have to live in harmony with the things that surround you.

In the Digor region of western Ossetia there is a temple dedicated to the cosmological seven deities.[36]

Relations with other philosophies and religions[edit]

With Eurasianism[edit]

In 2009, at the Center for Conservative Research of Moscow State University, a conference was held about the role of Ossetians in Russian history led by the Eurasianist philosopher Aleksandr Dugin. Among participants there was Daurbek Makeyev, the head of the Atsætæ religious organisation of Assianism. On that occasion, Dugin praised the revitalisation of Ossetian culture for it having preserved a pristine Indo-European heritage. He discussed the importance of Scythian culture in the development of broader Eurasia, recognising that Scythian culture had an enormous impact on the development of Finno-Ugric, Turkic and Slavic cultures, and despite this European scholars have paid little attention to it so far. Makeyev declared that the Atsætæ organisation was founded for fostering traditional Ossetian religion, but also to share the heritage of Assianism with other peoples, because "what was preserved in Ossetia is not [merely] Ossetian, but is a worldwide heritage".[8] Russian Assian resources present the religion as a universal truth "addressed to the whole world".[28]

With Christianity[edit]

Scythian Assian leaders, notably Daurbek Makeyev, have articulated strong positions against Christianity, criticising it for its alien origins, its Jewish origins, and criticising the corruption of the Russian Orthodox Church. In 2002 and 2007 works he states that the Christian religion breaks the connection of a nation with its own spirit, thus dooming this nation to degeneration and death:[37]

2002: A person who abandoned his people's God and adopted the alien faith (ideology) from Moses' followers brings damnation not only upon himself and his descendants but upon his whole people and all their lands and possessions. [...] If the people forget their [religious] tradition, it will lose its significance to God and be doomed to extinction.
2007: Moses understood perfectly that to betray some people's God means to break off their roots, to bring about universal debauchery, to loosen traditional values and thereby weaken their ethnic identity and make that people perish. He considered a betrayal of somebody's God as the ultimate crime — as a crime against the Nation.

At the same time, Makeyev criticises Christianity for its anti-environmentalist essence, which stems from a theology which separates God from nature, and the sacred from the profane. In a 2019 speech he affirmed:[23]

Unlike in Christianity which separates God from his Creation, we take a collective approach where everything is interconnected. [...] They think that only the specific plot of land on which a shrine sits is holy. [...] They go to Rekom [Ossetia's most important popular shrine] and they treat it as if it were a church, separate from the surrounding area. No one would throw garbage at Rekom itself, but they don't realize that there is no division between sacred and non-sacred land; every place has its resident deity, who will be offended if anyone violates its sanctity.

The movement of Scythian Assianism has attracted strong hostility and complaints from Christian and Islamic authorities. The Russian Orthodox archbishop Leonid in Moscow sought to silence Makeyev by trying to ban his books as "extremist literature", calling on his personal contacts when he was a general in the Federal Security Service. The Russian Orthodox Church has also been trying to have the Rekom Temple destroyed and a church built in its place, but without success so far.[38]

Demography and institutions[edit]

Russian Rodnover Ynglists in Omsk, Omsk Oblast practising the Scythian ritual of the sword planted in brushwood.

The movement of Scythian Assianism is present in both North Ossetia–Alania and South Ossetia, though it is more widespread in the former.[5] Some categories particularly well represented among the believers are the military, hunters, and sportsmen, attracted by the heroic ethics of the Narts, but also intellectuals and artists.[11] According to Shtyrkov, the movement "occupies a visible place in the social landscape of the republic".[39] Scythian Assianism is also popular in Russia and Ukraine among Cossacks, especially those who claim a Scythian identity to distinguish themselves from Slavs. Some of them identify within the category of Rodnovery, the general "Slavic Native Faith".[40] According to Foltz, the movement has become so widespread among the Ossetians that its success is "unrivalled" among all Neopagan religious movements.[38]

Russia[edit]

  • Dzuary Lægtæ (Дзуары Лæгтæ) — an organisation for the coordination of the Ossetian clergy established in 2016 in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia–Alania, on the initiative of the public organisation Yudzinad (Иудзинад);[41]
  • Atsætæ (Ацæтæ) — an organisation registered in 2009 in the city of Mozdok, North Ossetia–Alania;[41]
  • Ætsæg Din (Æцæг Дин) — an organisation registered in Vladikavkaz in 2009 and related to the Atsætæ community;[41]
  • Styr Nykhas ("Great Council") — established in 1993 in North Ossetia–Alania.[42]

Ukraine[edit]

  • North Caucasian Scythian Regional Fire[6]

See also[edit]

Citations[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Foltz 2019, pp. 328–329.
  2. ^ Foltz 2019, passim.
  3. ^ a b Foltz 2019, pp. 325–326.
  4. ^ a b Foltz 2019, p. 321.
  5. ^ a b Foltz 2019, p. 318.
  6. ^ a b Lesiv 2013, pp. 167–169.
  7. ^ a b Makeyev 2007.
  8. ^ a b "Александр Дугин: Осетинский народ сделал возможным возвращение России на имперскую орбиту" [Alexander Dugin: The Ossetian people made it possible for Russia to return to the imperial orbit]. iratta.com. 7 October 2009. Archived from the original on 26 April 2017.
  9. ^ a b Shtyrkov 2011, p. 240; Foltz 2019, p. 328.
  10. ^ a b c Foltz 2019, p. 325.
  11. ^ a b Foltz 2019, p. 330.
  12. ^ Foltz 2019, pp. 314–315.
  13. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 315, note 1.
  14. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 315.
  15. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 316.
  16. ^ a b Foltz 2019, pp. 316–317.
  17. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 317.
  18. ^ Shnirelman 2002, pp. 202–207: "Since the turn of the 1980s, a growth of Neo-Paganism has been observed in the Middle Volga region, in North Ossetia-Alaniia, and in Abkhazia. Pagan traditions had never disappeared there completely and, in contrast to the Slavic and Baltic regions, there was no need to invent too much by reference to books, as almost all the resources were intact there. Thus, in these regions, interest in Paganism developed in two different environments: firstly, in the countryside with its unbroken continuity of traditional folk beliefs, and secondly, in the urbanized areas where local, highly secularized intellectuals began to construct a new synthetic religion in order to overcome a crisis of identity. In the latter case, this was a manifestation of local ethnic nationalism resisting Russian Orthodoxy as a "religion of exploiters". [...] Contemporary Neo-Paganism is constituted by two different branches—one of a "bookish" approach which is artificially cultivated by urbanized intellectuals who have lost their links with folk tradition, and the other, more authentic, is of a rural movement based on a continuity rooted in the remote past. The first dominates among the Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Armenians and can be defined as an "invention of tradition", after Eric Hobsbawm (1983). A more complex pattern can be observed among the ethnic groups of the Middle Volga River region as well as among the Ossetians and Abkhazians, where both tendencies are interacting with one another."
  19. ^ Shtyrkov 2011, pp. 239–240.
  20. ^ Foltz 2019, pp. 320–321.
  21. ^ a b c Foltz 2019, p. 328.
  22. ^ Shnirelman 2002, pp. 204–205; Foltz 2019, p. 328.
  23. ^ a b c Foltz 2019, p. 327.
  24. ^ Shtyrkov 2011, pp. 240–241.
  25. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 329.
  26. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 322.
  27. ^ Schmitz 2015, pp. 1–2.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g "Основные положения традиционной осетинской веры" [Basic provisions of the traditional Ossetian faith]. wacdin.com. Ассианство / Уацдин (Assianism / True Faith). Archived from the original on 26 April 2017.
  29. ^ a b Foltz 2019, pp. 318–320.
  30. ^ Foltz 2019, pp. 320–323.
  31. ^ a b Foltz 2019, p. 323.
  32. ^ Shtyrkov 2011, p. 241.
  33. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 324.
  34. ^ Foltz 2019, pp. 323–326.
  35. ^ a b c Foltz 2019, p. 326.
  36. ^ Foltz 2019, p. 320.
  37. ^ Shtyrkov 2011, p. 240.
  38. ^ a b Foltz 2019, p. 331.
  39. ^ Shtyrkov 2011, p. 239.
  40. ^ McKay 2009, pp. 275–276.
  41. ^ a b c Popov 2016, Иранские народные религии / Iranian indigenous religions.
  42. ^ Shnirelman 2002, pp. 204–205.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]