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The study "Origin of the Circassians" is an extensive 2-volume monograph, written by A. Namitok – Adyghe scientist who was in forced emigration after the revolution events of 1917 in Russia. The author devoted many years of his life to the study of ethnogenesis of the Adyghe (Circassian) ethnic group and presented his vision of this problem in named scientific work.

Review to the book of A. Namitok " Origin of the Circassians", – Zarema Tseeva





























Written several decades ago in French, this research study has been inaccessible to domestic readers for many years. Finally, thanks to the serious long-term work, done by the editorial board headed by Professor R. Yu. Namitokova, the work is prepared for publication.

The editorial preface to the monograph gives a serious analysis of public, political and research activities of A. Namitok, characterizes his personal qualities and stages of his complex biography, connected with forced alienation from the Motherland and his staying in several foreign countries. A. Namitok devoted many years of his life to the promotion of scientific knowledge about the Adyghes. As true patriot of his people, he keenly felt and shared their tragic destiny as an exile.

A. Namitok is one of the first Adyghe authors who made a significant contribution to formation of the studies of the Adyghes. At the time when he created his work "Origin of the Circassians", the Adyghes made themselves only first steps in education and science in their historical homeland.

A. Namitok perfectly knew his native language, that allowed him to interpret onomasticons and other concepts on the basis of the Circassian language. In addition, he spoke Russian, Turkish, German, English and French, that gave him an opportunity to work with literature, published in them. A. Namitok, a graduate of the most prestigious law faculty of St. Petersburg University, who studied then in France at famous Sorbonne, combined well natural talent, colossal hard work and will to scientific research. The knowledge, gained in Russia, Europe, Turkey, has extended the scientific methods of A. Namitok. He worked with a huge quantity of historical sources and literature. The author's high level of education and his awareness of all researches, related to the antiquities of Caucasus, Europe and Asia Minor and available in his time, wondered.

Clearly realizing the antiquity of the Circassian ethnic group, A. Namitok sought to clarify the relationship of the Adyghes with other peoples of the past, separated from the twentieth century by hundreds or even thousands of years. The author understood the productive research in this area could be made only at junction of a number of knowledge branches. His absolute merit is that he was one of the first in the world science who comprehensively approached the study of problems of ethnogenesis of the Adyghes, using data of archeology, anthropology, ethnography, comparative linguistics, onomastics, folklore data, in particular, the epic poetry "Narts". The author of "Origin of the Circassians" did a tremendous work with the research methods and techniques that existed in the 20-30s of the past century.

A. Namitok demonstrates his deep knowledge of classical mythology, literature and works of ancient authors. He uses archaeological data to reconstruct historical processes which is unjustifiably avoided by many modern scientists. A. Namitok argumentatively refutes the stereotypes, prevailing in science in his time, he extends the field of historical research and its problem studying, changes the "angle of view" on many issues. His author's position is presented as objective as possible, devoid of false patriotic pathos.

It is evident his work was written under influence of methodological principles of the French school “Annals” which gained popularity among European historians at that time. Such research, including such a wide range of historical and historiographical sources, was not possible in our country either during the years of writing the work of A. Namitok or during next few decades in connection with it. Modern adygheologists approached this scale of researches only in the 90-s of the 20th century.

A. Namitok enters the ancestors of modern Circassians in the widest context of the circumpontic movement of ancient peoples. He concerns significant episodes of the ancient history, giving them his own original analysis. Thus, the author interprets the problem of the Trojan war as a collapse of the old world order, founded by peoples with thousand-year history (the mainstay of which was Troy) under the onslaught of newly emerging young and dynamic Indo-European invaders. A. Namitok notes cultural parallels of the Adyghes and the Celts, in particular, the Scots, which drew attention of modern researchers. In his work, he seeks to study migration paths of ancient peoples and ethnic processes that occurred with them.

There is quite natural some hypotheses and conclusions of A. Namitok have already been refuted by the modern science, which has stepped forward in the decades that have passed since the time of his work writing. Some author's opinions will seem controversial to readers and cause scientific discussions, while others will become an impetus for further researching. However, many provisions of A. Namitok’s work have already found their confirmation in writings of contemporary authors and it increases its value.

This complex assessment gives to A. Namitok's monograph "Origin of the Circassians" the right to be one of the significant researches on Caucasian studies, written in the first half of the 20-th century. Written in the style of its time, it has not lost its scientific value and relevance. Certainly, this monograph will cause a great interest among a wide range of researchers. The special thankfulness should be given to the team of translators and editors of “Origin of the Circassians” for their tedious work, done during the preparation of A. Namitok's manuscript for publication. Undoubtedly, the A. Namitok’s monograph “Origin of the Circassians” deserves to be published.

Zarema Tseeva is candidate of historical sciences, Professor of history and culture of the Circassians in faculty of Adyghe philology and culture at the Adyghean State University.

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