Another world in Georgia Caucasus
Sunday, September 18, 2005
A profound history of the Kists from Pankisi with very interesting passages on the other Highlanders of the Northern and Southern Slopes of the Caucasus a found in the thrilling work Georgias Pankisi Gorge: An Ethnographic Survey
by Shorena Kurtsikidze and Vakhtang Chikovani from the University of California, Berkeley
Read the full work here http://tinyurl.com/8cw2w Here is a small exerpt:
"Historically, the Georgian highlander societies of the Khevsureti, Pshavi, and Tusheti were autonomous from the Georgian kings. These societies were regarded as borderland-dwellers and were not included in the administrative-territorial divisions of feudal Georgia. In these official administrative units, local princes (vassals to the king) governed and the general population lived in serfdom. The situation of the borderland-dwellers was entirely different. These inhabitants of the southern slopes of Caucasian mountain range were under the direct protection of the Georgian kings. They were free of any taxes. The major duties of these societies were protecting Georgias northern borders from invasion and participating in the military operations of the Georgian king. In return they had administrative and religous autonomy. In the 17th and 18th centuries, in order to protect its southern borders, the Russian administration organized settlements of Cossacks in the region of the Tergi River. The population of Pshavi, Khevsureti, and Tusheti played a similar role on the southern slopes of the Caucasian mountain range. Amazingly, one 19 th century traveler compared the Khevsurs to the old inhabitants of Zaporozhie (i.e., the ancestors of the Cossacks). Many Khevsurs and Tush today work as the northern border patrol in the Georgian military."