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To the QUESTION OF ONE OF EARLY stages of Christianization of ALAN of the NORTH CAUCASUS


© 2006 A.Yu. Pogrebna


The problem of early familiarizing Alan to Christianity before an official baptism of the Western Alania at the beginning of the X century repeatedly rose a number of the researchers leaning both on archaeological and by written sources [1-6]. One of the earliest written certificates on it is information concerning stay of the Reverend Maximus the Confessor and two of his pupils - Anastasius of the monk and Anastasius an apokrisiariya - in Lazika where they were banished in 662 g because of an active sermon against the Monothelitism which was officially supported at that time by the Byzantine emperors. As the speech in this case goes about the middle - the second half of the 7th century and consequently, about time when the Christianity, perhaps, took the first steps in Alania society, we would like to dwell upon the analysis of these data concerning stay of Saint martyrs in close proximity to the Western Alania a little.

Will interest us, first, as there were relations between Byzantium and Alania at this time that came down an essential external prerequisite for penetration of Christianity to Earth subject to alana. Secondly, it is not less important to find out how major was then a role of Alania in policy of Western Caucasus also how far stretched its borders. And, at last, it is important to understand what relation Alan to Christians and Christianity was? All this is represented very significant for understanding of a situation in which the Christianity gradually got on Alania Wednesday, creating thereby the conditions which prepared Christianization Alan in the subsequent time.

It is supposed that Feodosiy Gangrsky, a svyashchennoinok from Jerusalem to which Anastasius of apokrisiariya shortly before the death wrote the letter on court and the last years of life of the Reverend was the originator of "Zhitiya of the Reverend Maximus the Confessor", perhaps. It is known that Feodosiy himself soon went to Lazika and to the lands adjoining to her. It was undertaken by him, probably, to bow to residences of Saint martyrs and at the same time most to make sure of reliability of the received data that, undoubtedly, increases the value of this source [7].

Here some excerpts interesting us from the Greek editorial office "Zhitiya", at the same time reporting to us data both from the third, and from

the first person. "When they reached the country of religious manholes, immediately divided them from each other [the greatest Maximus and this, writing it, and his namesake, and made it] on order of the local chief... And that divine husband, I understand the Saint Maxim who was not able to sit down neither on a donkey, nor on a stretcher as lay in relaxation, having weaved out of rods kind of a basket and having put it in it, bore in time of a way and left in the fortress called Skhiomaris, located near the people called alana. And mister Anastasius's avva and the one who writes this, having put on horses, sent and imprisoned one in the fortress called Skotoris near Avazgiya, and another in fortresses by the name of Bukolus, within the called alan. Then, a few days later, having taken it and blessed Anastasius from the called fortresses, sent that to the fortress [countries], called Suanis, already former, at last, half-dead from a set of tortures and tortures to which he underwent in Byzantium, as well as from troubles and oppressions to which they underwent here. Therefore in the middle of the way as tell some, he to God betrayed blissful soul. I testify in such a way that about the twenty second or about the twenty fourth of July in the Lord blessed Anastasius rested. Because eighteenth day of the same month of July both of us were brought to the place called Mukorisin and that blissful already was as I told, is half-dead, and since then I never as were immediately sent saw it: it in the fortress of [country] of Suaniya, and I in the fortress [countries], named by Fakuriya, near Avazgiya. The Christ's martyr Saint Maxim, in the thirteenth of August in the seventh day of the week, according to its preset phrase, goodwill of God, having a little been ill, in God's hands betrayed the soul, being happy and having fun. Also he was buried in the monastery called Saint Arseny's [monastery]" [8].

Not less interesting, in our opinion, the data supplementing Zhitiya Maximus the Confessor from "8sio1yup B^e NurotpeBY-sit" which belong to the direct participant of events Anastasius an apokrisiariya and which were included into his meeting subsequently are submitted [9, page 121-124]. However besides additions to Zhitiya in ZsIoIop there are also some specifications. So, fortress Skotory is placed in the territory of Apsiliya, and fortress Bukul (Visi1iB) - in lands misimiyan, with an explanation that "on border with above-mentioned alana". Further it is noted that Anastasius the monk died in several days when he reached Svaniya's strengthening, but not "in the middle of the way" as it is given by the author of Zhitiya. At last, Tatsiriya (TIasupa's) fortress where Anastasius of apokrisiariya was imprisoned, is located "near Iveriya", but not Avazgiya. On it the narration of its movements unlike contents of the hagiographical composition devoted to the Reverend Maxim do not come to an end. In two months Anastasius goes patrikiy Laziki from Tatsiriya to Apsiliya and Misiminiya's limits and gets to Fust's fortress (RIuB1a). Here before next

he writes with change of place of detention about negotiations concerning the future between representatives of the avazgiysky nobility and the governor of Alania. Avazg did not wish to send Anastasius an apokrisiariya to Alania because there the Christian belief was not approved yet, and, therefore, there he could experience heavy sufferings. A further explanation attracts attention that before that the governor of Alania was forced to run from the area, but was restored on a throne by means of avazg. Not less strange also the fact that, despite a promise to comply with a request of defenders, the master Alan sends Anastasius in Himar - the place of an imprisonment and death of the Reverend Maximus the Confessor looks. And only by a lucky chance, yet without having reached Skhemaria, he was returned by the new governor who came to the power in Alania - "God-fearing and religious" Grigory. As a result of Anastasius now delivered in another "really appropriate for monks" the place. "the fortress called Thusume, located above the farm of Mochoes on Apsiliya area borders, in the east of Pontus, at the sole of the Caucasus Mountains, near the country of religious avazg, at the tribe Alan, about five miles from Zichachorio estate, i.e. the residence (prima dominus) of truly religious patrician and the governor of that Alania" [9, page 121-124] became it.

What conclusions concerning Alania and its communications with the next people can be made on the basis of these two documents? Certainly, some difference in treatment concerning localization and reading of the geographical nomenclature attracts attention at once. But if discrepancies in names of fortresses can be explained with differences in phonetics of the Greek and Latin languages (for example, Thacyria on Greek sounds as Fakuriya, and in Latin - as Tatsiriya, etc. - A.P.), then various bindings of their location to any political and ethnic formations, most likely, are explained by the aspiration of authors to give to the contemporaries the most clear reference points. So, Skotory (Skoto-ris) in Zhitiya is localized "near Avazgiya", and in "Scholion" - in Apsiliya. In this case both references do not conflict, harmoniously supplementing each other. Other fortress, Bukul (Bukolus), in one source is located "within the called alan", in another - in lands misi-miyan "on border with above-mentioned alana". However, further it is explained that "exactly strengthening the same Alana took it and hold in the hands". Very curious detail (!) from which becomes clear that Anastasius of apokrisiariya who lived in the Caucasus from 862 to 866 as the eyewitness of transition of this fortress to submission Alan emphasizes its initial accessory to misimiyana [10]. Feodosiy Gangrsky, having appeared in these parts later, reflected the political situation which already developed by then in Zhitiya. Thereby it is fixed long military (and can be, and not only) that is extremely important for us, prisut-

a stviye Alan in the territory of the Western Transcaucasia in the 60th of the 7th century. It is remarkable that it is not the first fact of transfer to Bukolus's alana. Approximately century before, describing the events connected with a revolt in Misiminiya of 555 g [11, page 49], Agafy Mirineysky notes that when there arrived the Byzantine commander Soterikh, the misimiyena "were busy with discussion of a question of its intention to transfer one of their strengthenings located at the borders of manholes which they call Bukhloon, to alana that ambassadors of more remote people, gathering there, received subsidies and that there was no need bringing money to bend around the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains any more and most to go to them" [12]. From a context of this quote it becomes clear that Bukolus had a strategic importance, controlling movements from mountain passes of the Big Caucasian ridge, so, had to be somewhere near confluence of the Chkhalta River (Ats-gara) with the Kodori River. In this case are expensive from two main passes - Klukhorsky and Marukhsky - would meet together in the territory of Mi-siminii near Bukolus near border with Lazika [11, page 49]. However, A.A. Iyerusalimskaya for some reason correlates the Tsebeldinsky fortress located to "ancient Bukhloon" is much lower on a current of the Kodori River, referring at the same time to results of excavation of Yu.N. Voronov [1, page 6]. Yu.N. Voronov identifies fortress Tsibilium not with Bukhloon at all, and with the main fortress of Apsiliya Tzibiloy-Tsibiloy - Tib-liyey, attracting for this purpose and sources of the 6th century [13, page 116].

Concerning localization "the fortress the [country] called Suanis" special difficulties does not arise because under it some strengthened place in the territory of Svaneti obviously meant. In the same way both sources are unanimous in characteristic Mukorisin (Mukhiris) as the certain inhabited place, for any reason without entering it into the category of fortress. It is possible that it is Mokhiris Procopius of Scythopolis mentioned among the most considerable cities of manholes on the right bank of the Fasisa River at borders with Iva-riyey [14, page 139]. Yu.N. Voronov and O.H. Bgazhba identify with it medieval strengthening near Kutaisi, using the double name "Kutais-Mokhorisis" [13, page 132].

As for Fakurii-Tatsiriya, it is the most probable that fortress misimiyan Ttsakhar that, according to the historian of the 6th century Agafiya Mirineysky, in translation from a local dialect had to mean "iron" could be her. The bases for such identification along with proximity in phonetics is also its inaccessibility. "The majority of [its] dwellings was not surrounded with a wall, but was in the rocky area located close. Rocks and steep rocks, stretching in length, did extremely difficult any access to it and pass for all strangers, unfamiliar with the area" [15]. If to trust instructions on Fakurii-Tatsiriya's accommodation near Iveriya (as in "8s! yuiop Б^е NurotpeBYsit") or Avazgiya (as in "Zhitiya of the Reverend Maxim Is-

a povednik"), being border, it hardly in that case would be the administrative center of Misiminii as it is assumed by Z.V. An-chabadze [11, page 13]. Especially as further from Tatsiriya Anastasius of apokrisiariya gets already to Apsiliya and Misiminiya's limits. He could not get from "the administrative center of Misiminiya" to its internal lands. Therefore, it is about movement of the convict, most likely, from border lands which submitted to the power Laziki's patrikiya, to the internal Areas of Apsilii and Misiminii in Fust's fortress (Ru81a). This the last, despite the absence of any exact instruction on location, could settle down in internal borders of the specified territory because, according to Z.V. Anchabad-ze, the toponymic term "Fusta" or "Pusta" can be output from the Abkhazian name of Apsiliya - Apstvyla [11, page 64].

Further the apokrisiariya waited for Anastasius one more change of the place of an imprisonment. To it threatened to get to fortress Skhemary (Shtag), being, apparently, under control of Alania that Alan can follow from a short remark of the eyewitness of events on an essence of the dispute which arose before that between the avazgiysky nobility and the master. Where this fortress was? At the end of XIX - the beginning of the 20th centuries were suggested by M.G. Dzhanashvili and K. Gunn, the soundings based, first of all, on similarity that Humarinskoye ancient settlement could be Skhemary that lies on the right coast of the Kuban River in 11 km to the north of Karachayevsk [16, page 11, a comment 20; 17, page 148]. The archaeological researches which began from 60th of the 20th century on the Humarinsky ancient settlement did not find layers before the 8th century completely disproved such point of view [18, page 132-133]. But even long before excavation by S.A. Brilliantov it was specified that Skhemary could not accommodate outside Laziki [19, page 39]. M.Ya. Chikovani goes further and makes bold to specify its exact place. According to him, fortress Kimarin on average a current of the Rioni Rivers and Tskhenis-Tskali to whom there corresponds remote Takversky fortress [20, page 134-135] could be Skhemary. The offered localization is not faultless at least because because of considerable remoteness of the southern Laziki from Alania any even temporary entry of its territory into the list of the last that follows from both sources, could not be. A.I. Sidorov's hypothesis that corresponded to Skhemary Ukhim - riya, mentioned by Procopius of Scythopolis though the author also doubts definition of the concrete place of the called point [21, page 176, a comment 126] is represented more similar to the truth in this case. Based on the general geographical background of the sources given above concerning stay of the venerable martyr with two pupils in Lazika, one more version concerning location Skhemaria V.A. Kuznetsov stated. Its attention was drawn by a toponym of Svan origin Sgimar noted in the gorge on the Saken River at sources of the Kodori River in the territory of Misiminiya [4, page 31]. Approximately in the same area near Sakensky

lakes Yu.N. Voronov open and described the fortress of the huge sizes with walls 4-5 m thick and two small odnoapsidny churches inside [22, page 149, fig. 20, 4-6]. Without entering polemic concerning the probability of coincidence of toponyms Skhemary and Sgimar and bindings to them of the mentioned fortress, it should be noted that this area really was "the people called alana" in close proximity. Moreover, for some period of time it quite could appear under their direct power as controlled an important binding artery of the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia - a way through the Klukhorsky pass. Not accidentally Anastasius reports about unwillingness of avazg to send him to Alania, meaning sending to Skhemary.

In positioning the fortress to Tusuma (Tichitt) is of special interest. Z.V. Anchabadze considers it one of border check-points of Apsiliya in the southeast sector, settlements Mokvi (Mosioyeb) are higher. And as it places the last on average a current of the river of the same name when falling the Duab River into it [11, page 7, 63], to Tusuma is almost randomly localized by it somewhere north of the specified place at the foot of the Kodorsky ridge. If to Tusuma really was where she is defined by Z.V. Anchabadze, and at the same time belonged to alana as Anastasius of apokrisiariya accurately points to it, then Bukolus would be located not on border, and in the depth of the territory occupied with alana in the 60th of the 7th century. But it not so because Bukolus which was much to the north to Tusuma in the area between Kodorsky and Abkhazian ridges deprives of sense the question about transfer to fortress alana. Let's address a source.

In "8sio1yup B^e NurotpeBYsit" it is accurately designated that fortress Tichitt was "on Apsiliya area borders, in the east of Pontus, at the sole of the Caucasus Mountains, near the country of religious avazg, at the tribe Alan". The most suitable for such geographical nomenclature could be the area of division of Bzybsky and Abkhazian ridges where borders of all three called ethnic formations presumably at the same time met. On the one hand, it is valid "a sole of the Caucasus Mountains", from where network of the ridges covered with eternal snow directly conducts to Greater Caucasus. With another - from this area there were direct exits to the Marukhsky pass and at once to three gorges: Bzyb-sky, Kelasurskoye and Chkhaltinskoye (Atsgarinskoye), and from the last also in Kodorskoye. Such arrangement allowed to reach freely other key passes of Western Caucasus or to go down on the plain to lands of abazg to Pitiunt and apsil to Sevastopolis. At the same time the alleged region of location of TIiBite is not bad covered with natural protection against possible unexpected attacks from the plain. And, perhaps, one more argument in favor of the put-forward version. The name of "the residence of truly religious patrician and the governor of that Alania" Zichachorio ^сИасИопо) contains a root which can be connected with

the name of one of local tribes - the zikh living on East coast of the Black Sea just in the neighbourhood from abazga and alanam [14, page 139]. To ^У! century of a zikha amplify and settled in the considerable territory of the Northwest Caucasus that it had to is inevitable to lead to their closer contacts with the last, having been reflected in the name of a residence of the possessor of Alania [23, page 111-112].

However, unfortunately, today it is not possible to tie these points to a certain place more definitely [24, page 33]. For this purpose, first of all, accumulation of new archaeological data is required that is not excluded over time. In our case sufficient it is represented to reveal at least their approximate location.

As shows the analysis given above, seven of nine fortresses in the events connected with the last days Maximus the Confessor and both Anastasiyev are quite well localized near Bzybsky, Abkhazian and Kodorsky ridges in the areas inhabited by misimiyets, svana and boundary lands of apsil from abazga. At the same time six of them had to be to a degree under supervision Laziki's patrikiya. Otherwise to be and could not as Maximus the Confessor's reference without any supervision from the Byzantine officials lost the meaning. By close examination of sources it becomes clear that all these settlements were rather nearby from each other - in two-four days of traveling - and, most likely, most of them had to enter the uniform system of the strengthenings built with the purpose to protect coastal areas from attacks from mountains. About such system built with active assistance of Byzantium in the second quarter of the 6th century and stretched from the Kelasuri River to the Inguri River on distance about 160 km quite detailed data, in particular, at Z.V. Anchabadze, Yu.N. Voronov, O.H. Bgazhby who refer to Prokopy Kesa-riysky's work "About constructions" (III, 7) and results of archaeological researches [11, page 41, 53 contain; 13, page 116, 132, fig. 33; 25, page 86-91]. The banished Saint martyrs not without reason were not late for a long time in one fortress. Laziki Patriky was obviously afraid of sympathy from local community. The fact of protection of the avazgiysky nobility for Anastasius an apokrisiariya, in particular, demonstrates to it. Perhaps, it happened on the soil of rejection of Monothelitism the abazga which were not penetrating deeply into its essence. Inhabitants of mountainous areas and the foothills adjoining them owing to bigger traditional character of public way, as a rule, were also big conservatives in the religious relation in this connection rejection by them of new interpretation of earlier accepted Christian doctrines would should not be surprising. However the fact that the refusal to accept Monothelitism was more caused by the aspiration of local tribes to keep the independence of Constantinople is represented to the most probable. Using a religious factor, they separated as from the impe-

the ratorsky power, and from those who expressed it full submission, in this case from manholes. So, it is known that else in the 620th the patriarch Sergius - the creator of the monothelitic union - found to himself the close adherent acting through the bishop from Laziksky Fasis Cyrus [26].

What conclusions relatively Alan allows to draw the analysis of written sources on Maximus the Confessor's reference and with two of his pupils in Lazika?

1. It is obvious that Alania and Byzantium had between themselves to the second half of the 7th century quite steady relations. Far not accidentally at some point the fate of the exiled Anastasius the apokrisiariya began to depend not from a patrikiya of Laziki who was directly appointed the emperor, and on the Alania governor. The explanation for it can be connected with weakening of influence of Byzantium on Western Caucasus during the Arab expansion from 30th of the 7th century to the middle of the 9th century the Alania, on the contrary, began to endure at this time rise, having extended the influence on the neighboring border Areas of Transcaucasia that was promoted in no small measure by relative tranquility on northern borders and also development of transit trade through the mountain passes of the Caucasus [27, to page 59-69; 28, page 11-70; 29, page 156-175]. Mutual political and economic interest in each other gave to count a chance of the temporal and spiritual power of Constantinople of support from the Alania master in such delicate question as isolation of the ideological opponent. It is necessary to notice that similar calculation came true in the beginning. But further events disproved it, having reflected complexity of a political situation in Western Caucasus. Circumstances attract attention reflected in "8sIoIop B^e IurotpeBYsit" following, at first sight contradictory. Avazgiya's territory was not Laziki's part, however the avaz-giysky nobility hesitated to resist to will of the Byzantine deputy openly. The Alania governor was restored on an avazgama throne, but contrary to their requests sent Anastasius to Skhemary. And, at last, the new governor Alan, having come to the power as a result of an internal revolution, made at the same time the decision which arranged avazg.
2. Follows from the text of sources that Alana could the middle - the second half of the 7th century not only to control key mountain passes of the Northwest Caucasus, but also even to occupy a part of the territory of Transcaucasia. So, fortress Skhemary as it was noted above, probably, was under control Alan, Bukolus in "Zhitiya of the Reverend Maximus the Confessor" definitely is located in their limits, Tshite - already directly belongs to alana, and Zichachorio's estate ^сИасИопо) is called "the residence of truly religious patrician and governor of that Alania" at all. From all this it is possible to conclude that to the second half of the 7th century of Alana owned areas of Bzybsky, Abkhazian and Kodorsky ridges, strategically important for them. It allowed, being under protection work -

nodostupny mountain systems to hold all perevalny ways in the hand and also to influence policy in Transcaucasia, constantly threatening rich plains of Laziki. By one force to keep these areas south of the Big Caucasian ridge, and a long time, it was hardly represented possible. The explanation for it can be found if to assume that the part of tribes of abazg, misimiyan, zikh and svan on any given bases supported Alania or was depending on it. What were conditions of this dependence, it is difficult to tell. It is possible to assume that these relations followed from features of social and economic and political development of these people during the considered period which were characterized by decomposition of the primitive-communal relations and formation of early feudal bases. Gegemo - the niya Alan had important positive aspect. Thanks to it the uniform economic and ethnocultural space on Western Caucasus on both sides from the Big ridge was created. But even recognition of dependence on more powerful neighbor did not exclude the return influence. It could be shown not only in policy (as it is visible on the example of Anastasius's fate an apokrisiariya), but also in culture, and in particular in its spiritual component of religion.

3. Alanam, undoubtedly, the Christianity was already familiar. Moreover, despite Anastasius's certificate the apokrisiariya that in Alania "the Christian belief was not approved yet" a part of a top of Alania society treated it very favourably that confirms the instruction on coming to power in Alania of "religious" Grigory. The Christianity, first of all, created a strong basis in contacts with Byzantium, allowing alana to count on support from its party. At the same time it provided close good-neighbourhood ties with abazga and zikha which part was already converted to Christianity. It is confirmed, in particular, by a mention of the bishop Pitiunt Stratofil in lists of participants of the Nicaean Cathedral of 325 g [30, page 83; 31, page 8] and the bishop Zikhiya Damian in materials of the Constantinople Cathedral of 526 g [4, page 9-14; 32, page 79-80]. Thereby it is possible to conclude that from 6th century the Christianity becomes an important element in foreign policy on Western Caucasus. The fact that, despite the "hristolyuby", Grigory in a question of the fate of the exiled of the monk-martyr unlike the predecessor preferred to keep friendship with the closest neighbors, than with Byzantium from where actually and there was "light of Christ's belief" attracts attention. Means, the arrangement to Christianity (because we cannot claim with full confidence that "hristolyuby" it is equivalent to the fact of acceptance of a baptism) was not the defining factor in foreign policy of Alania governors when they would be obviously committed to the Byzantine position.

Anyway critical reading of two written sources which reached us connected with stay of the Reverend Maxim Is-

a povednik and his two pupils in the Caucasus, allows to draw an undoubted conclusion that already to the second half of the 7th century some part of the Alania population was not only is familiar with Christianity, but also treated it favourably that, in turn, created favorable prerequisites for its distribution in the territory of the North Caucasian part of the Western Alania. However there had to pass nearly three and a half more centuries before the official baptism of the Western Alania could take place [4, page 42].


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Stavropol state Pedagogical Institute On July 6, 2006

© 2006 of T.M. Shavlayev


Carriers of the North Caucasian culture long since were engaged in house weaving what numerous archeological finds on ancient settlements testify to, namely: pro-splittings, prickers, crests, a pryaslitsa, prints of fabrics on clay vessels [1].

Unlike a simple sucheniye and weaving, weaving is more difficult production based on the principle of an interlacing of threads of a basis and weft. The set of the devices making a weaver's camp participates in it.

At the end of HK of century crafts of the people of the North Caucasus become an attention object from the advanced intellectuals of Russia, for this reason the subject of our research partly found reflection in O.V. Markgraf, A.S. Piralov, G.A. Vertepov's works. We find some data on weaver's craft of Chechens in the monograph on Vainakh women's clothing of the ethnographer L.M. Garsayev. Direct relation to a problem

Adam Burke
Other scientific works: