Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Osseti, a people of Caucasia, where they occupy both slopes of the central range between Lezghistan and Imeritia, east and west, and from Kabardia southwards nearly to Tiflis; three main divisions, Iron, Digor, and Tualt, speaking three distinct dialects of a rude Aryan language, showing decided structural affinities to the old Iranian (Persian). Under each division are a large number of tribes of very mixed origin, as shown by the great diversity of types (Iranian, Georgian, Kabard, Mongol, and even Semitic), with total population from 110,000 to 120,000. The Iron, i.e. Iran, are probably of Iranian descent, while the others have been traced to the Aryan Alans, some of whom settled in North Caucasia at a remote epoch. These appear to be the Assy (Iassy) of the Russian chronicles, whence the general name, Ass, Oss, Osseti, applied to the whole people by the Georgians. During the historic period the Osseti have been twice Christians and twice Mohammedans, and at present about twenty per cent. are Moslem, the rest nominal Christians, still practising many old superstitious rites. Field operations are left to the women, while the men ply various crafts, such as saddlery, tanning, forging, besides hunting and, till lately, brigandage. The vendetta is still observed in its full vigour, despite the efforts of the Russian authorities to suppress a custom which leads to constant bloodshed. (Klaproth, Schifner, Pfaff, Kokief, Miller.)