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Descendants of crusaders in modern Georgia

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    Posted: 14 Oct 2009 at 08:13
Khevsurs is a very interesting ethnic group of Georgians who very well may be descendants of Georginized local population likely of a similar (vainakh) background with Chechens and... Crusaders.
 
Some Russian ethnogrpaphers in the 19th century discovered interesting parallels in Khevsurs' culture and Western European culture and also an enormous role of Cross symbolism for Khevsurs.
 
It's possible that Khevsurs partly originate from Crusaders who actively visited and even settled in Georgia in medieval times.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2009 at 17:28
Were there even Crusaders in Georgia?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2009 at 17:46
I don't think it impossible that some Franks made their way to Georgia. There are a couple of possibilities as to how this occurred by my thinking:

*They were invited. Like the Scots bringing in Norman knights, and the Byzantine Emperors inviting in Frankish mercenary companies, the Georgian monarchy may simply have recognised the superiority of these warriors and invited a number of families into the area.

*They settled there due to trade. After 1204 the Italian cities of Venice and Genoa acquired even more quarters for their merchants in Black Sea cities. It is not unreasonable to assume some Westerners settled here.

Still, we must be careful about assuming a holy war ideology must be a result of Crusader settlement. These Caucasian people were in the perfect environment to develop such an ideology on their own.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Oct 2009 at 19:45
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Were there even Crusaders in Georgia?


Well, there were at least Georgians in the Holy Land.

Anyhow, the Georgians were quite avid Christians themselves, constantly battling Seljuks, Arabs and later Mongols. During the Crusader era they were very active funding monasteries and sending missionaries all around (including to the North Caucasus area) and they did have a highly feudal society themselves, so the conclusion that modern cross-wielding Georgians have to be Frankish descendants rather than Georgian is really not the most simple solution. I really don't find it strange that a society like described in the article could have developed locally: they were under constant pressure from non-Christian neighbours and religion must have been a support and made its way into family myths, not unlike the situation in the Crusader states.

As a side note about crosses; Thamar did offer to buy the True Cross from Saladin once, iirc.


Edited by Styrbiorn - 14 Oct 2009 at 19:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2009 at 01:27
Yes. I also agree that, the foundation of the ethnic composition of Khevsurs is native i.e. local Caucasian tribes related to Chechens and Georgians.
 
But according to researchers they have some interesting features. For example, they used to wear long coats with large red croses, they still have large traditional swords similar to medieval Frankish swords which is not common in Caucasus at all, they also have interesting menestrel culture with performance of ballads very similar to European (I'm not sure how it sounds like, but that's what I read) and also it's believed that they look more Western European (fair skin, blond and red hair, blue and green eyes) than the rest of Georgians.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2009 at 03:19
To say that these people are crusaders just because they have crusader style armour and weapons is too naive in my opinion. These are Caucassian peoples like the rest of the Caucassian peoples. Their traditions, customes and language is Caucassian not european.
 
Also having blond hair and blue eyes doesn't make one european. Kadyrov (Chechnia's president) has blue eyes and blond hair yet he is chechen and the Caucassians have a high frequency of blond hair than some western european countries if I am not mistaken.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2009 at 05:16
They, obviously, aren't crusaders. But there is nothing wrong if they had some crusaders' influence in the Middle Ages. The question is, was it really crusaders' influence or not? That's already interesting enough IMHO.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2009 at 17:27
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

also it's believed that they look more Western European (fair skin, blond and red hair, blue and green eyes) than the rest of Georgians.

Are you suggesting they look more 'Caucasian' than people from the Caucases?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Oct 2009 at 20:37
Originally posted by Sarmat Sarmat wrote:

They, obviously, aren't crusaders. But there is nothing wrong if they had some crusaders' influence in the Middle Ages. The question is, was it really crusaders' influence or not? That's already interesting enough IMHO.
 
Its an interesting idea, but is there any written evidence of Frankish families making it to Georgia in the middle ages? What about when the Kingdom of Acre itself had fallen, could some of the families eventually made their way there? (And at that stage its rather difficult to even consider them Franks..)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Oct 2009 at 02:51
There are in fact many documentary evidence about Crusaders' contacts with Georgia. There is also an interesting Georgian legend that says that some Crusaders escaped to Khevsureti (the name of the Khevsur region in Georgia) after Jerusalem was recuptured by Saladin.
 
We also should bare in mind that Georgia was a quite large and influential power in the Middle East until the Mongol invasion.
 
See for example the map of Georgia in the early 13th century here.
 
 
Also, besides being an Orthodox Christian kingdom Georgia had quite uneasy relations with the Byzantines which, definitely, would facilitate its contacts with the Crusaders.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote J-sus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2010 at 20:57

OK I've registered specially for this thread I'm Georgian Khevsur

and my family believes(my grand grand grand grandpa believed who was khevisberi spiritual leader of the tribe) that we really are  descendants of crusaders I have armor and couple of weapons and they really are similar to those worn by crusaders and also khevsurian outfit which is covered with Jerusalem crosses 

and my whole family doesn't look like Georgians nor Caucasians we are tall have fair skin Georgians aren't fair skinned people we have blue or green eyes father has blue eyes mother green and our dialect is similar to the one they were talking in the middle ages

and interesting thing is no one in my family as long as we can track was short and dark haired skinned 

and another interesting fact we have small noses which is really not Georgian :)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2010 at 23:44
Cool, you must be descended from the crusaders without a very good sense of direction.  Does your family often find they get lost too?  Just kidding.  Blond hair/blue eyes doesn't mean much especially since such people are a distinct minority even in Western Europe!
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 00:39
Welcome to AE, J-sus!
 
Please tell us more about your amazing people and their beliefs!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 01:29
My cousin who was born in the middle of the desert has green eye and his kids have blue and some have brown/light blond hair, does this mean I am descendent of the crusaders?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 06:09
Actually it would make you one of my grandchildren. Hug
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 10:56
Originally posted by J-sus J-sus wrote:

OK I've registered specially for this thread I'm Georgian Khevsur
That's awesome!
 
So why did Crusaders go to Georgia?
For that matter, how old is the armour and the weapons? Wouldn't it have become kind of useless in the 16th century?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 19:07
Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

My cousin who was born in the middle of the desert has green eye and his kids have blue and some have brown/light blond hair, does this mean I am descendent of the crusaders?
 
The premise is wacked. The blond gene is a mutation that occurs naturally in all humans, even Negroes, and there is no need for an immigration theory to explain it.
 
Originally posted by Omar Omar wrote:

For that matter, how old is the armour and the weapons? Wouldn't it have become kind of useless in the 16th century?
 
You forget the Georgians were still fighting with swords and chainmail in the 20th century.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 19:43
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

Originally posted by Al Jassas Al Jassas wrote:

My cousin who was born in the middle of the desert has green eye and his kids have blue and some have brown/light blond hair, does this mean I am descendent of the crusaders?
 
The premise is wacked. The blond gene is a mutation that occurs naturally in all humans, even Negroes, and there is no need for an immigration theory to explain it.
 
 
 
In airports he is usually mistaken for a european (he worked for the embassy), his 1st cousins obviously look Arab despite the looks but he and his brothers are not.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 20:09
Maybe a legacy of Lawrence?
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote fantasus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 20:50
There is a lot of ways genes could have "flowed" from Europe to the Eastern Meditteraneans and Caucasus as well as the other way. Even over 2000 years ago before the socalled "Great Migrations" there were celtic invasions at least into Balkans and Anatolia(Galatians). Then there was the greeks and Macedonians, the Romans, perhaps some slavic peoples, slaves from the north, Mercenaries to Constantinople, tradesmen, Crusaders, Venetians and Genovans, Russians, european peoples in the service of the ottoman sultans. Then even from prehistoric times there were campaigns (the Illiad could perhaps refer to some past events). So it would be strange if there was not some degree of "mixing", perhaps to be traced even to Georgia or the Arabian peninsula.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 21:38
Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Maybe a legacy of Lawrence?
Not given what one knows about Lawrence's preferences, or lack of them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 22:26
Maybe he was "keeping up appearances", more literally than figuratively.


Edited by Zagros - 04 Aug 2010 at 22:27
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Reginmund Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 23:15
Originally posted by fantasus fantasus wrote:

There is a lot of ways genes could have "flowed" from Europe to the Eastern Meditteraneans and Caucasus as well as the other way. Even over 2000 years ago before the socalled "Great Migrations" there were celtic invasions at least into Balkans and Anatolia(Galatians). Then there was the greeks and Macedonians, the Romans, perhaps some slavic peoples, slaves from the north, Mercenaries to Constantinople, tradesmen, Crusaders, Venetians and Genovans, Russians, european peoples in the service of the ottoman sultans. Then even from prehistoric times there were campaigns (the Illiad could perhaps refer to some past events). So it would be strange if there was not some degree of "mixing", perhaps to be traced even to Georgia or the Arabian peninsula.
 
I agree, but in no way would it be necessary to explain blondness among Georgians. Besides a lot of these so-called migrants are southern Europeans, among whom only a minority are blonde, so even if they had a big genetic impact I doubt it would be visible.
 
I'm confused though. I always presumed fair skin and hair was common among Georgians, and a few google searches seem to confirm the presumption, making this a non-issue. Yeah, many of them have dark hair, but so do many of my own countrymen.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 23:38
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Originally posted by Zagros Zagros wrote:

Maybe a legacy of Lawrence?
Not given what one knows about Lawrence's preferences, or lack of them.


I read Zagros' post and then was about to write this same reply, but you beat me to it LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Aug 2010 at 23:56
I was aware of that and also the fact that he wouldn't have been the first to have had children or maybe he was a dual citizen.
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2010 at 00:12
Originally posted by Reginmund Reginmund wrote:

 
I'm confused though. I always presumed fair skin and hair was common among Georgians, and a few google searches seem to confirm the presumption, making this a non-issue. Yeah, many of them have dark hair, but so do many of my own countrymen.
Nope. Most of Gerogians are dark skinned and fair hair is extremely rare among them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2010 at 01:09
What do you mean by dark?  Do you mean like Med olive or..  
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2010 at 01:58
I mean something called "Southern Mediterranean subrace," southern Italy and Greece, Turkey, Spain, etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2010 at 02:17
Sarmat, in re your: "For example, they used to wear long coats with large red croses..."

If I am not mistaken, the red crosses were worn only by the Knights Templar, one of three military religious orders, the others being the Teutonic Knights (Black Crosses) and the Hospitallers of St. John (Green Crosses). Ergo, if true 'crusader' traditions were being followed, the original wearers of the red crosses would have taken a vow of celibacy and would have been ordained priests. Not that they couldn't have adopted the customs of the Eastern Church (i.e., marriage), but one supposes that the religious military order requirement to don and wear the red cross would have continued. (And yes, Dr. G, the Red Cross was taken up by the Order of Santiago upon the dissolution of the Templars.)

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Aug 2010 at 02:44
Well, the Templars weren't really known for "strict" observance of "Crusader tradition" or whatever it is, if it existed at all...

Edited by Sarmat - 05 Aug 2010 at 04:02
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