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Custom of reconciliation of krovnik in Dagestan (XIX - the beginning of the XX century)

UDK 39 (4/9)


© 2009 S.A. Luguyev, A.Sh. Abdurakhmanov

Institute of history, archeology and ethnography of the Dagestan scientific center RAS, M. Yaragsky St., 75, Makhachkala, 367000

Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of Dagestan Scientific Center of Russian Academy of Science, M. Yaragskiy St., 75, Makhachkala, 367000

The poorly studied question of reconciliation of krovnik in Dagestan in XIX - the beginning of the 20th century is taken up. Keywords: blood feud, reconciliation, a krovnik, alum, diit, community jamia.

The article is dedicated to the insufficiently explored problem of conciliation of "krovniks" among the inhabitants of Dagestan in the end of the XIXh - at the beginning of the XXh century.

The punishment measure for a criminal offense in Dagestan was defined by adats. Murder was considered as the most serious crime. Not the community, but relatives who had the right to kill immediately the murderer or someone from his immediate family punished for premeditated murder of the person. However society sought not to allow it.

The rural community which was sensitively reacting to all events of internal life did not remain indifferent. As soon as the fact of murder became property of everything, measures to prevention of the next bloodshed were taken: the immediate family of the murderer of the man left somewhere, protection of his house was organized, people for secret observation of behavior of the immediate family of the killed, etc. were appointed. The most skilled and dear old men, having gone to the house of the victim, took great pain to soften, relieve the tension [1]. Right there negotiations on purpose of a kanla, i.e. those faces to whom the right to sweep from relatives of the killed extended began. After that other relatives, as a rule, were free from prosecutions and could live quietly in the settlement and lead a usual life.

Reconciliation could take place only in case relatives of the killed gave on that consent which to receive was difficult. Especially strong resistance to reconciliation with a krovnik was shown by women. They were important characters of a ceremony of reconciliation [2].

Women perceived very emotionally death of the murderer, close from hands, and were ardent opponents of his forgiveness. Reconciliation was impossible without the consent of close relatives of the dead, and oso-

benno mothers. In turn the murderer's relatives, trying to find reconciliation, in every possible way pleased women from family of the killed, paid them emphasized attention and respect even if women as it quite often happened, were initiators of attack on the house of the murderer and his plunder. There were no murderer's relatives indifferent to an event and. In day of a funeral of the murderer killed in the house the crying of women with mourning of both the victim, and the murderer whose life was from now on in power of relatives of the killed [2] was arranged.

In the Andi naibstvo after murder commission the relatives of the killed attacked the house of the murderer and destroyed it and also plundered his property within three days. After that relatives of the murderer gave through intermediaries of one bull and a shroud for reconciliation with relatives of the killed. From now on the murderer became a krovnik. On destruction of the house of the murderer the family had no it the right to build the new house without the permission of relatives of the killed. Term for krovo-revenge was not defined, it completely depended on the consent of the injured party [3].

Society, dear people of the village in every possible way tried to promote reconciliation of the parties, and it was necessary to put a lot of effort before it was reached. Reconciliation was arranged very solemnly. All fellows villager became his witnesses. "All people of Dagestan had the same reconciliation ceremony essence, and its forms, - marks out V. Egorov, - differed not only at the separate people, but also even in certain villages" [4, page 110].

Here is how there took place the reconciliation ceremony in villages of the Gumbetovsky naibstvo of the Andi district. In nazna-

ceremonious day gathered all tukhum murderers there are men and women, not excepting children. Honourable people of the village joined them. They took the murderer and went to relatives of the killed. Women from the murderer kneeled before women from the killed, the man - before men, and reconciled the murderer with relatives of the killed [5]. At hvarshin relatives of the murderer crept to the place of reconciliation on a lap, bringing up the rear. At the same time they beat breast, monotonously saying with crying of a prayer, and before them the murderer with the naked head and the connected hands crept on a lap [6].

At the people of Southern Dagestan the ceremony of reconciliation passed approximately thus as it is described in the collection of adats of the Kyurinsky district. Put on a white shroud kanla, surrounded with a checker, and in this dress the old men and honourable people conducted it to the house of the closest relative of the killed. Having approached the house, they stopped. The house to them left entrusted the parties of the killed and removed from a kanla at first a saber and a shroud, and then ironed it on the head. Then the mullah said Fatih's prayer and crime was considered forgotten [7]. In some Tabasaran settlements the shroud was born by the person heading a procession. The senior relative of the killed took away from him a shroud and transferred to women. After that was considered that relatives of the murderer received forgiveness [8].

At Laks the reconciliation on an adat happened as follows. At once after murder the guilty party sent several honourable old men (surely from others tukhum) to the same aged men of the injured party. Comers brought with themselves several rams, bags with flour, the rice and other products transferred tukhumy murderers. Relatives of the killed could accept a gift, but it was not considered as their disclaimer of revenge at all. The fact of reception of a gift gave only faint hope on a possibility of further negotiations on reconciliation. Continuation of a ceremony of reconciliation came upon return of the murderer from exile. The first care of a krovnik - as soon as possible to transfer in similar cases to relatives of the killed "the blood price". If the payment was accepted, final steps to reconciliation began to be taken. Having done away with all formalities, the murderer accompanied by several old men and the immediate family approached the house of the senior man of the injured party and, standing bare-headed, waited that he will be told. After a while the host, having approached a krovnik, said a short prayer and with the words "yes the Creator will forgive you" the right hand slightly touched the head and his right shoulder. After that the murderer in the same way bypassed the immediate family of the killed and, having received at them forgiveness, through someone invited all of them to a treat. Receiving forgiveness from the dead's mother was considered as obligatory. The families which reconciled thus long time were in the relations reminding the relationship relations. Though the similar ceremony of reconciliation was known to Laks long ago, but resorted to it seldom as in the people it was not popular and even

it was condemned [1].

The reconciliation ceremony at Kumyks consisted of two parts. In the beginning the ceremony "was made bt germen" (contemplation) according to which the conflicting tukhuma came to the square. Tukhum of the murderer had to stand under protection on a certain distance from relatives of the killed. They were divided by the honourable people who gathered from all settlement led by the qadi. The ceremony came to an end with reading a prayer by the qadi from chapter 1 of the Quran. It was only the beginning of reconciliation between tukhuma, it meant the termination of "a pursuit of the enemy". After the term of exile and with return the final reconciliation home was organized [9].

If after reconciliation the relatives of the killed killed kanla, then there was a new hostility. However the offended party was granted the right to set off a murder for a murder and to take away back the sum paid during reconciliation.

The special place in a ritual of reconciliation of krovnik belonged to mother of the killed. At Botlikhs she during a ceremony approached the murderer inclined before it covered with a black felt cloak which took off, and ironed it on the head, pronouncing at the same time the following words: "If you behave as the person, will be a son if is not present - will remain the mujaheddin" [10, page 141]. This custom was close to North Caucasian. At Ossetians, for example, if the murderer managed to touch with lips a naked breast of mother of the killed, the hand of revenge was taken away from him. During reconciliation of krovnik the murderer was brought to mother of the killed before whom he kneeled, and that, having lifted it, gave it the breast. The meaning of this ceremony was that from now on she had no spiteful feelings for the murderer, and from this day it replaced with her the killed son [11]. Besides monetary repayment in case of reconciliation the party of the murderer made to mother of the killed and other women gifts.

Almost all people of Dagestan since old years had an interesting custom. Was to the woman to bare the head enough and to throw under legs battling or ready to battle to men the scarf as daggers invested in a sheath, and the quarrel stopped. In operation the woman, in the scarf thrown by her some symbolics forgotten behind prescription of years is hidden probably. Perhaps, the woman who is not shown never without headdress not only before men but also in public in general, the actions kind of urged men to stop hostility and to think of her honor. This custom saved many lives in mountains. Not accidentally in the Lak language there is an expression "Qarshi lasun", meaning to beg, ask about something, removing from the head a scarf [1]. This custom is known also to other Caucasian people, for example Ossetians [12]. In legal proceedings tried not to allow murders on a krovomshcheniye, it was pursued as murder in general. On the laws established to tsar's authorities the murder of the father, mother and also premeditated murder was punished by administrative expulsion from native places to Siberia that, on the one hand, increased responsibility for these crimes, and with another - more satisfied feeling of punishment at krovnik [13]. All of wasps -

talny types of murders were punished in an adatny order: exile, a payment for blood and a fine, the guilty person lost the right to carry arms.

The possibility of reconciliation of krovnik provided by an adat was used by administration of "military and national" management for easing of custom of blood feud. All district chiefs were recommended to assist reconciliation of the conflicting parties at murder in a quarrel, a fight, unintentional and accidental. In 1885, district lists of the conflicting families were made, and same year the authorities started their reconciliation. As a result in the Kazikumukhsky district, for example, by the end of the 60th there were 64 conflicting families, and all across Dagestan - 288 [14].

In 1868 also such measure of punishment as Siberian exile was entered. All this led to gradual transition from a krovomshcheniye to administrative punishment. Completely it was not succeeded to liquidate custom, however, especially as both the propertied top, and clergy promoted firmness and sanctity of adatny norms. It is interesting to note that the murderer, without having reconciled with krovnik, did not receive forgiveness even in case of a natural death [1]. The adat of Laks says that the corpse of a krovnik can be brought for a funeral to the native settlement only in case that died by hand revenging. Otherwise the krovnik has to be buried where died [15].

Exile of the inhabitant of mountains to Siberia was equivalent to the death sentence. And it caused sharp discontent with administration. Possibly therefore in the first decades of the 20th century began to practice expulsion to the remote provinces of Russia: Kazan, Samara, Tula, Ufa or to the regions of Dagestan. But the unruly krovnik overtaking the enemies and in internal Russia had to be convicts on unclear it to laws of the Russian Empire. It is possible to believe that therefore the place of expulsion since some time the regions of Dagestan began to be elected [1]. The instruction of the Dagestan national court of September 20, 1911 with the resolution of the governor of the Dagestan area demonstrates to it [5].

As it was already noted, the krovnik wishing to reconcile with relatives of the killed paid them alum and diit. The sizes of the diyat and an alum established by an adat laid down a heavy burden on the murderer and were excessive for average Dagestan family. Therefore all funds were raised by forces of relatives, at the same time the size of a contribution was directly proportional to relationship degree: the father and brothers brought more, than the uncle and cousins, etc. It is clear, that unreasonably high payment for blood suited a propertied top [1, 13]. "It is difficult for the poor person who does not have big relationship which could help it to obtain forgiveness from rich and strong relatives of the killed whereas the murderer rich and strong relationship and protection of the kingpin, sometimes refused to reconcile with poor relatives of the killed to them" [1, page 87].

As a reliable shelter for the murderer the house of the killed could serve if the murderer, escaping from persecutors, uspe-

a shaft violently to touch with lips a breast of mother of the killed. From this point the murderer was considered as the brother of the killed and the son of his mother, the krovomshcheniye automatically disappeared. It was already mentioned about similar custom at Ossetians above.

Moral and ethical and precepts of law in the conditions of domination of an adat, S.A. Luguyev writes, fancifully intertwined. So, on the one hand, murder if it was not the act of revenge, society was condemned. But with another - the adat did not allow refusal to the disappearing murderer in hospitality and protection at all. In this situation it is possible to see firmness of custom of hospitality once again. Whoever was a person in need, under whatever circumstances and what murder committed, he could wait with absolute confidence from the owner of food, a lodging for the night and protection [1]. A. Vasilyev points to it, in particular, saying that at Laks any criminal can find a shelter and protection at each owner [16]. Similar adats existed also at other Dagestanis, and at the people of the Caucasus in general.

Thus, blood feud in Dagestan in the considered time had no exclusive character, reconciliation cases which were arranged with special ceremonies were widely applied in life. Everywhere in Dagestan the blood feud was forced out by repayment in favor of family of the killed.


1. Luguyev S.A. About blood feud at Laks in the second half of XIX - the beginning of the 20th century//Family life of the people of Dagestan. Makhachkala, 1980.
2. B.R. Ragimova. The woman in traditional Dagestan society XIX - the beginnings of the 20th century Makhachkala, 2001. Page 121-123.
3. A. Omarov. The system of compositions in common law of Dagestan//Uchen. zap. IIYaL. Makhachkala, 1966. Issue 16. Page 263.
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5. Monuments of common law of Dagestan XVP-XIX of centuries: Archive materials / sost. X. - M. Hashayev. M, 1965. Page 169.
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7. Adats of the southern Dagestan societies//Sb. information about the Caucasian mountaineers (SSKG). Tiflis, 1875. Issue 8. Page 63.
8. B.M. Alimova. Tabasarans (XIX - the beginning of the 20th century): historical and ethnographic research. Makhachkala, 1992. Page 195.
9. Gadzhiyevo S.Sh. Kumyks: historical and ethnographic research. M, 1961. Page 287.
10. B.M. Alimova, D.M. Magomedov. Botlikhs. XIX - the beginning of the XX century: historical and ethnographic research. Makhachkala, 1993.
11. S. Karginov. Bloody revenge at Ossetians//Sb. materials for the description of areas and tribes of the Caucasus. Tiflis, 1915. Issue 44. Page 194.
12. Z.N. Vaneev. From history of patrimonial life of the South of Ossetia. Tbilisi, 1995.
13. Adats of the Dagestan area and Zakatalsky district: Legal proceedings in parts of the Caucasian region of military and national management. Tiflis, 1899. Page 29.
14. A.V. Komarov. Adats and legal proceedings on them//SSKG. Tiflis, 1868. Issue 1. Page 46-47.
15. The collection of the adats existing in the Kazikumukhsky district//From history of the right of the people of Dagestan. Makhachkala, 1968. Page 49.
16. Vasilyev of A.G. Kazi-kumukhtsa//Ethnographic review. M, 1899. T. 42, No. 3. Page 67.

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