Reviews

This article analyses the negative views on the female in Adyghe-Circassian folklore and traditional culture.  Every culture in the world has indeed different, often inconsistent views on femininity.  On the one hand, woman is considered a realisation of vital energy and fertility, and on the other the feminine origin of humankind is viewed as a source of evil.  The author pays special attention to characters of the Narts epics and fables (Nagutitsa, Narybei, Aliguje-guashe) as well as to characters of fables and people beliefs (Psych-guashe, the almasts etc.).  All the characters of both mythology and epics are hypostases of natural (unsociable) women.  Originally, they had esoteric knowledge, and are connected to the cult of fertility.  The author comes to the conclusion that the views on feminine characters have been subject to change:  The gods of fertility take negative power under new social conditions where the matriarchate ideology is replaced by the patriarchate one.  A lot of factors have been determining such change: the growth of rational knowledge on nature and humankind, the creation of a pantheon of male gods, the development of monotheism, the decrease of women’ status in society , etc.

Naima Nefliasheva, Centre for Civilisational and Regional Studies, Moscow
CER: I-7.3.A-621