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ISSN 2223-165X





Chibirov L.A. B. Kaloev as Nartologist Print

The scientific heritage of B.A. Kaloev can hardly be regarded as not known, yet researchers of his creativity have paid insufficient attention to the investigations of the folklore material, conducted by the scientist at the intersection of Ethnology and folklore studies. The study of the heritage of Kaloev allows to raise the question about the significant contribution of the scientist, not only into the Caucasian, but also into ethnographic study of folklore, particularly in Nartology.  In this article the first attempt is undertaken to systematize the Narts’ studies of Kaloev, based on the following pattern: Narts’ epic publications; ethnographic works with broad involvement of Narts’ sagas, legends; lexicographic articles in encyclopedic publications; scientific editing and commenting Narts’ studies. This systematization of scientific publications allows access to the available material and fully explore Narts’ research of the scientist. Kaloev was not limited to the analysis of the texts of Ossetian Narts’ sagas, but compared them with the texts of other national versions of Nartiada and came to the conclusion that Ossetian Narts’ epos is distinguished by the unity of composition, the presence of a number of interesting cycles that do not exist in other national versions. Kaloev agrees with those scholars, who consider VIII—VII centuries BC being the initial stage of the epic formation, and shares the opinion of the researchers of the epic, who traced its nucleus to the Alanian era. The scientist proves that several eras are reflected in Narts’ legends, including the Mongolian period and believes that some legends were formed at the time when the ancestors of the Ossetians were settled far from the modern borders of Ossetia. Kaloev reviews and analyses the epic from the ethnographic point of view, finds a lot of parallels in the areas of cultural and social life of Ossetian and Narts’ society. Revealed similarities confirm the representativeness of the folklore-ethnographic material in an ethnogenetic research. Kaloev has significantly enriched the scientific Narts’ studies, contributed to folklore studies and to the ethnography of the Ossetians, in particular to the problem of the Scythian-Alanian-Ossetian continuity.

Keywords: Ethnography, Narts’ legends, ethnographic parallels, material and spiritual culture, ethnogenesis of Ossetians, Nartiada's versions.



  1. Kaloev B.A. Osetiny. Istoriko-etnograficheskoe issledovanie [Ossetians: Historical and ethnographic research]. Moscow, 2004, 3rd edition.

  2. Kaloev B.A. Skifo-sarmato-alano-osetinskie paralleli [The Scythian-Sarmatian-Alanian-Ossetian parallels]. Osetinskie istoriko-etnograficheskie etyudy [Ossetian historical and ethnographic etudies]. Moscow, Nauka Publishing house, 1999. 393 p.

  3. Kaloev B.A. Nekotorye ehtnograficheskie paralleli k osetinskomu nartskomu ehposu [Some ethnographic parallels with the Ossetian Nart epos]. Skazaniya o nartah – epos narodov Kavkaza [Legends of the Narts – epos of the peoples of the Caucasus]. Moscow, 1969.

  4. Kaloev B.A. Motiv amazonok v osetinskom nartskom epose [Motif of the Amazons in the Ossetian Nart epic]. Osetinskie istoriko-etnograficheskie etyudy [Ossetian historical and ethnographic etudies]. Moscow, Nauka Publishing house, 1999. 393 p.

  5. Kaloev B.A. Dannye etnografii i fol'klora o proiskhozhdenii osetin [Ethnographic and folklore data on the origin of Ossetians]. Proiskhozhdenie osetinskogo naroda [The origin of the Ossetian people]. Ordzhonikidze, 1966.

  6. Mify narodov mira. Enciklopediya. V 2-h t. [Myths of peoples of the world. Encyclopedia. In 2 vols.]. Moscow, Sovetskaya Entsiklopediya Publishing house, 1991, vol. 1.

  7. Narody Rossii [The Peoples of Russia]. Moscow, 1994.

  8. Kaloev B.A. Istoriya zapisi i publikatsii nartskogo eposa [History of recording and publishing of Nart epic]. Nartskii epos [Nart epic], Ordzhonokidze, 1957.

  9. Kaloev B.A. Soveshchanie po nartovskomu eposu narodov Kavkaza [The session on the Nart epic of the peoples of the Caucasus]. Sovetskaya etnografiya [Soviet Ethnography], 1957. № 3, pp. 171-174.

  10. Kaloev B.A. Osetino-vainakhskie etnokul'turnye svyazi [Ossetian-Vainakh ethnocultural connections]. Osetinskie istoriko-etnograficheskie etyudy [Ossetian historical and ethnographic etudies]. Moscow, Nauka Publishing house, 1999. 393 p.

  11. Kaloev B.A. Ehtnograficheskie dannye o svyazyah ehtnogeneza osetin so Srednej Aziej [Ethnographic data on ethnogenesis communications of the Ossetians with Central Asia]. Voprosy iranskoj i obshchej filologii [Questions of the Iranian and General philology]. Tbilisi, 1977.