CIRCASSIANS, sir-kash'anz, or TCHER TIES'SES. A term applied in general to the northwestern group of peoples inhabiting the region of the Caucasus. and in particular to the ,kdighe or Teherkesses (the first is their own name; the second, from which the word Circas sian comes, is that by which they are known to the Turks and Russians). the most noteworthy of these tribes. Other Circassian tribes are the Abkhasians on the Black Sea, the Kabardians, Shapsuklis. Abadzeh. etc.. all related more closely by language than by race; for all are more or less mixed with Tatar, Asiatic. Aryan. and other intrusive elements. Except the Abkhasians (the difference may be due to artificial lateral coin pre,sion), the Circassian tribes tend to he brachyeephalie. and of average rather than tall stature. The Abkhasians arc darker-skinned, and not so well formed or featured as the Cir. eassians proper: and of the latter those of Kuban are the least attractive. The Kabardians. who formerly laid claim to greater purity of blood, are now less pure than some of the Adighe. The Circassian% have produced many men and women of great physical beauty. and Circassian girls, famous for their good look, have long adorned the harems of Turkish sultans. pashas. and men of wealth, refining to no little extent their Mon golian blood—many of them, indeed, being ready enough to ehange their mountain home for a Turkish or Persian palace. The ethics of the
Cireassians have always been of a primitive type, and is said to signify as much as 'brigand': but Over against this may be set their hospitality and brave struggle for liberty against the Itusians. When the Itnssian conquest was completed in Ps64, more than 300,000 of them left the r aucasus for various parts of Asiatic and European Turkey, and they are said later to have had a share in the Bulgarian massacres. Those who ar2 still in the old habitat number about 150.1m0, and are losing more and more of their racial purity. The higher classes of the have adopted !slant, while among the lower exists a certain kind of Christianity or Islamism in combination with survival: of ancient heathenism. The of the Cir cassian tribes are by some authorities to be incorporating rather than agglutinative. Since Neumann's itwsskHtd 1111d die Tseherkesseu (1S'40i, the literature about the Circassian: has grown considerably. Especial reference may be made to It. von Er•kert's Dee liaukasus seine r ( Leipzig, 1887), and the fourth volume of Chantre's comprehensive Recherches anthropuloaiques dans lc Cauease (Lyons, 1885 87).