Tales of the Narts: Ancient Myths and Legends of the Ossetians
The Nart sagas are to the Caucasus what Greek mythology is to Western civilization. Tales of the Narts presents a wide selection of fascinating tales preserved as a living tradition among the peoples of Ossetia in southern Russia, a region where ethnic identities have been maintained for thousands of years in the face of major cultural upheavals. A mythical tribe of tall, nomad warriors, the Narts were courageous, bold, and good-hearted. But they were also capable of cruelty, envy, and forceful measures to settle disputes. In this wonderfully vivid and accessible compilation of stories, colorful and exciting heroes, heroines, villains, and monsters pursue their destinies though a series of peculiar exploits, often with the intervention of ancient gods. The world of the Narts can be as familiar as it is alien, and the tales contain local themes as well as echoes of influence from diverse lands. The ancestors of the Ossetians once roamed freely from eastern Europe to western China, and their myths exhibit striking parallels with ancient Indian, Norse, and Greek myth. The Nart sagas may also have formed a crucial component of the Arthurian cycle. Tales of the Narts further expands the canon of this precious body of lore and demonstrates the passion and values that shaped the lives of the ancient Ossetians.
About the Author
John Colarusso is professor of anthropology and modern languages and linguistics at McMaster University and one of the world's most distinguished scholars of comparative linguistics. He is the author of The Northwest Caucasian Languages: A Phonological Survey and A Grammar of the Kabardian Language. He is also the editor of Nart Sagas: Ancient Myths and Legends from the Circassians and Abkhazians (Princeton). Tamerlan Salbiev is professor of English at North Ossetian State University and an expert of Old English.
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Indonesia has been an electoral democracy for more than a decade, and yet the political landscape of the world’s third-largest democracy is as complex and enigmatic as ever. The country has achieved a successful transition to democracy and yet Indonesian democracy continues to be flawed, illiberal, and predatory. This book suggests that this and other paradoxes of democracy in Indonesia often assume occult forms in the Indonesian political imagination, and that the spirit-like character of democracy and corruption traverses into the national media and the political elite. Through a series of biographical accounts of political entrepreneurs, all of whom employ spirits in various, but always highly contested, ways, the book seeks to provide a portrait of Indonesia’s contradictory democracy, contending that the contradictions that haunt democracy in Indonesia also infect democracy globally. Exploring the intimate ways in which the world of politics and the world of spirits are entangled, it argues that Indonesia’s seemingly peculiar problems with democracy and spirits in fact reflect a set of contradictions within democracy itself. Engaging with recent attempts to look at contemporary politics through the lens of the occult, Democracy, Corruption and the Politics of Spirits in Contemporary Indonesia will be of interest to academics in the fields of Asian Studies, Anthropology and Political Science and relevant for the study of Indonesian politics and for debates about democracy in Asia and beyond.
About the Author
Nils Bubandt is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Culture and Society at Aarhus University, Denmark. He has carried out ethnographic fieldwork on politics, witchcraft, and magic in Indonesia since 1991. Co-editor of Varieties of Secularism in Asia: Anthropological Explorations of Politics, Religion, and the Spiritual (2012) and of Experiments in Holism: Theory and Practice in Contemporary Anthropology (2011), his monograph entitled The Empty Sea Shell: Witchcraft and Doubt on an Indonesian Island is forthcoming.
Just who are ‘the Malays’? This provocative study poses the question and considers how and why the answers have changed over time, and from one region to another. Anthony Milner develops a sustained argument about ethnicity and identity in an historical, ‘Malay’ context. The Malays is a comprehensive examination of the origins and development of Malay identity, ethnicity, and consciousness over the past five centuries.
- Covers the political, economic, and cultural development of the Malays
- Explores the Malay presence in Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and South Africa, as well as the modern Malay show-state of Malaysia
- Offers diplomatic speculation about ways Malay ethnicity will develop and be challenged in the future
About the Author
Robert Gottlieb is Henry R. Luce Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. Mark Vallianatos is Research Coordinator at the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. Regina M. Freer is Associate Professor of Politics at Occidental College. Peter Dreier is E. P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Program at Occidental College.