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Resolution of International Scientific Conference «Issue of Ethnic Identity of Zichis/Jikis and Zichia/Jiketi in the History of Georgia»

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Resolution of International Scientific Conference «Issue of Ethnic Identity of Zichis/Jikis and Zichia/Jiketi in the History of Georgia»


"Georgian-Circassian  historical and cultural relations

 International Scientific Conference

"Issue of ethnicity of Jikis  and Jiketia in the history of Georgia "




12-13 December, 2015  

 Tbilisi, Georgia


Since  in Caucasology historiography practically nothing has been done to study  a problematic issue  like  the history of one of the important   regions of Medieval Georgia  - Jiketi  and an ethnic identity  of its indigenous population  Jikis,  Circassian (Adyghean) Cultural Center   initiated  the international conference. The conference was attended by  the scholars of interdisciplinary sciences.

 The main goal of the conference:

- To define a place and role of Jiketi in the history of Georgia ;

-  To bring more clarity to the issue of ethnic affiliation of Jikis;

- Actualization of the problem.


International scientific conference  which was dedicated  to the anniversary date  of Prof. G.Rogava  and was held within the forum  "Georgian-Circassian  historical and cultural relations"  was  attended by the scholars  (linguists, historians, ethnologists, archaeologists) from 7 countries. Conference participants, who worked  in two sections, listened and  reviewed  25 reports, adopted the  resolution and concluded:

Almost two-thousand-year  old ethnonym  Zichi  occurs in ancient Greek, Latin sources as well as in  Byzantine historiography of the 6-10th cc. According to these data,  accommodation area of  Zichis coincides with  ​​the historical inheritance of the Circassians / Adyges.   Italian authors of the 12-15th cc. call all  the Adyges "Zichis" .  A Genoese  traveler, the author  of the first  monographic description  of  Circassia  J. Interiano  titled  his book that had been published in 1502 in Venice,  thus: " Life and country of Zichis who are called Circassians…" (Lat .: “La vita et sito de sichi, chiamati circassi ...”). In the following period, when  an ethnonym "Circassian" was used to denote ‘Adyges”  (12th c.), the name "Zichi" gradually disappeared from  European sources. It has been  preserved in  Georgian sources  under  the name  "Jiki"    till  the19th  century.

Zichis –  according to Georgian  sources Jikis – were the aborigine population  of the Caucasus. Their historic homeland  are the northwest Caucasus mountain,  foothills and the Black Sea regions. In addition to the historical homeland  since the 1st c.  BC Jikis permanently  resided along with the local Georgian population on   the historical territory of Georgia, in particular,  in the present Gagra-Sochi. To the  east and south-west  there  resided  the Georgians and Apkhazs. At the end of the 4th c. a new surge  of Jikis  moved  to the  historical territory  of Georgia. Since  the end of the 6th c. a new, relatively small  surge  of Jikis  migrated  the same territory.  According to Georgian sources, "Jikis settled on the uttermost territory of  Apkhazia".

At the start of the 8th c. after the defeat  of Arabians  by Georgian royal  troops at Anakopia, Georgian jurisdiction  has been restored on the territory from the river of Minor Khazareti   up to the Kelasuri  river. Till the mentioned period this territory was  under the sway  of Greece, then of Rome, finally of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine Caesar recognized this fact. At the end of the 8th c. Leon  II  had to  strengthen the rights of Georgian kings once again. The Jikis  who were residing at the  border area  of the Georgian state  were under the patronage of  Georgia.

In the 6th c. Jikis   converted to Christianity.  In 538 Byzantines  sent a bishop in  Nikopsia  to control them. Later, in 840 Nikopsia Episcopal was transformed into a principal Episcopal, which had been subjected   to Mtsketa  patriarchate since the 10th  c.

 Jikis  were devoted to Georgian kings.  Georgian kings especially  respected and trusted them. Presumably, the territory from the river of a minor Khazareti up to present  Gagra was a  royal domain.  Jikis  who were residing there create a  kind of buffer  together with the Georgians and guarded the Georgia from the attacks of  steppe nomads.  As the most of sources inform , by  the 18th c.  Jiketi  covered  the territory of  Gagra-Sochi,  and  the territory from the  Kerch Strait including   Sochi up to the Psou river   belonged to Circassia. The changes in the location of Jiketi  are   accurately reflected   by the  Georgian  historian Vakhushti Bagrationi (18th c.): "The territory away from Apkhazia,  to the west of the Cappeti water, since the Bagrations’  time to date has been called  Jiketi. But in “Gorgasali’s life”  Jiketi  is called the territory  to  the north  of this Jiketi,  particular,  across the Caucasus Mountains  to the sea."

Since the 19th  c. Russia  has been conducting  active military   transactions to conquer the Caucasus.  The last stage of the Caucasian war was  Jikis.  Jikis  resettled and have been in  internally exile  up to date. Gagra-Sochi area  has been entirely emptied. By 1870 there  were only three Moldavians,  one Greek and  two Circassian  villages there. In the later period the area was  divided  into domains by Russian officials,  the  largest part of which was  in property of the Grand Prince.

The issue  in the  relationship between Jikis and Georgians  is noteworthy from linguistic viewpoint, as well. Special linguistic studies proved that the Common Kartvelian  and  Common Circassian  proto-languages ​​display  common origin, genetic kinship, which is based on the basic vocabulary fund ( “Circassian-Kartvelian etymological dictionary” compiled by Prof. M. Chukhua contains  more than  thousand  roots and stems), regular and natural correspondences of morphological and phonological inventories  occur systematically.  Borrowed words  demonstrate similarity  with genetically common  roots. Apart from mutual borrowing  the entries which entered   from the third source are revealed, as well.  This  indicates that the language contacts were homogenous  and reflected featured  regional data .

Anthropological studies  give  more weight to  conclusions of  paleolinguistics and  historical-comparative linguistics. The latter outlines  Circassian and Kartvelian (western Kartvelian) common anthropological type.  The outcomes of biological (resp. genetic) data  seem to be trustworthy  and  demonstrate that the national body (genetics) of Circassians  as well as Georgians,  has been mostly built  on the basis of endemic Y chromosome G2a (more) and J2a (less) haplogroups, which at the same time  approve the   autochthony  of Georgians and Circassians.


The conference takes for granted that the  historical-ethnographic picture of Circassian  subethnic groups, and, therefore, of entirely Adyghean ethnic unity  is based  on  proto-Jikian and Common Caucasian  layers in favor of the first. 

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Tagged as:

historical and cultural relations, Jiketi Jikis, Circassian, Resolution

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