Jassic people

Jassic people

The Jassic people or "Jász" (from Iranic: Iyasi Os> Ossetian) are an ethnic group of Hungarians which mostly live in the "Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok" county of the Republic of Hungary. They are of Ossetic origin and originally spoke the Jassic dialect of the Ossetic language. Today, they speak Hungarian and consider themselves to be Hungarians, but a sense of the "Jassic ethnic identity" is also preserved among them.


The Jassic people live in the region known as "Jászság" (Jazygia), which comprise the north-western part of the "Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok" county. Their cultural and political center is the town of Jászberény.


The "Jász" (Jassic) people were a nomadic tribe which settled in the Kingdom of Hungary during the Thirteenth century. Their name is almost certainly related to that of the Iazyges, one of the Sarmatian Alanic tribes which, along with the Roxolani, reached the borders of Dacia during the late First century BC. Residual elements of these tribes, ancestors of the "Jász", remained behind in the central North Caucasus, mingling with Caucasian peoples to form the present-day Ossetes.

The "Jász" came to Hungary, together with the Cumanians from the East, including Moldavia (see Jaszvasar/Iaşi), chased by the Mongol-Tatars. They were admitted by the Hungarian king, Béla IV Árpád, hoping that the Jassics would assist in resisting a Mongol-Tatar invasion. Shortly after their entry, the relationship worsened dramatically between the Hungarian nobility and the Cumanian-Jassic tribes, which then abandoned the country. After the end of the Mongol-Tatar occupation they returned and settled in the central part of the Hungarian Plain.

Initially, their main occupation was animal husbandry. During the next two centuries they were fully assimilated into the Hungarian population, their language largely disappeared, but they preserved their "Jassic" identity and their regional autonomy was preserved up until the year 1876. Over a dozen settlements in Central Hungary (eg. "Jászberény", "Jászárokszállás", "Jászfényszaru", "Jászalsószentgyörgy") still hold their name.


The only literary record of the "Jász" language was found in the 1950s in the Hungarian "National Széchényi Library". The language was reconstructed with the help of various Ossetian analogies.

ee also

*Jassic dialect

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