EU helps Georgian and Ossetian scholars to popularise Caucasus classics

EU helps Georgian and Ossetian scholars to popularise Caucasus classics

March 10, 2021

A children’s edition of the ancient ‘Nart Sagas’ mythology collection, Georgian-Ossetian and Ossetian-Georgian dictionaries, and an encyclopaedic album about Georgian-Ossetian relations before the 19th century are among the main results of an EU-supported project, jointly conducted by Georgian and Ossetian scholars.

These editions of high academic and educational value, presented to the public on 27 February, wrap up a nine-year joint initiative aimed at exploring and popularising the shared heritage of the Caucasus.

The team of Georgian and Ossetian researchers was brought together by the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with a civil society organisation ‘Caucasian Mosaic’.

“Grassroots initiatives and civil society projects in areas like history and culture help re-discovering and popularising a shared heritage and building constructive relations,” said Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia. “The European Union is proud to support such organisations and we welcome these efforts to strengthen ties between communities divided by conflict.”

The encyclopaedic Georgian-Ossetian Relations are based on archival documents dating from ancient times to the end of the 19th century, while the school dictionaries contain more than 22,000 word-articles developed by Georgian and Ossetian linguists, marking an important step forward in the study of Caucasian languages. The dictionaries were first published in 2012 with assistance from the EU and UNDP. Following growing public interest, their completed and amended editions were released in 2016 and 2020.

Nart Sagas is a modern edition of an ancient epos adapted for children and illustrated by Georgian and Ossetian artists. In 2018, with support from the EU and UNDP, these ancient stories were performed by young actors in Georgian and Ossetian languages at Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film State University of Georgia.

The joint EU-UNDP support to Georgian and Ossetian scholars is part of a broader initiative called the Confidence Building Early Response Mechanism (COBERM), which engages a wide range of civil society actors in building confidence between communities divided by conflict.

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