The social reality of Atalychestvo in Abkhazia in the 19th and Start of the 20th Century, by Shalva Inal-Ipa

Traditional Fostering-practices among the Abkhazians

In two consecutive issues of the trilingual (Abkhaz, Russian, Georgian) scholarly journal Works of the Abkhazian Institute of Language, Literature and History (XXVI, 1955, pp. 155-203, and XXVII, 1956, pp. 71-125) published in the Abkhazian capital Aqw’a/Sukhum the late eminent Abkhazian ethnographer Shalva Denisovich Inal-Ipa described traditional aspects of the family- and social life of the Abkhazians, specifically the practices known as atalychestvo and milk-brotherhood. The two articles were republished in the 1988 volume of the author’s Works (Materials and Researches on Questions of the Historical Ethnography of the Abkhazian People (in Russian; Alashara Publishing-house, Aqw’a/Sukhum) on pages 53-116 and 117-188 respectively.

Several years ago Dr. Peter Parkes of the University of Kent approached me to see if my wife, Zaira Khiba, and I could possibly translate for him the second of Inal-Ipa’s articles in view of his long-standing interest as an anthropologist in cross-cultural systems of adoption and fostering. We are now pleased to make available our translation of that article, which in Russian was entitled Sotsial’naja sushchnost’ atalychestvo v Abkhazii v XIX—nach. XX veke.

The full text in PDF can be downloaded by clicking here