FINNO-UGRIAN, or Finno-Ugric, the designation of a division of the Ural-Altaic family of languages and their speakers. The first part is the name given by their neighbours, though not used by themselves, to the inhabitants of the eastern shores of the Baltic. It is probably the same word as the Fenni of Tacitus and Φίννοι of Ptolemy, though it is not certain that those races were Finns in the modern sense. It possibly means people of the fens or marshes, and corresponds to the native word Suomi, which appears to be derived from suo, a marsh. Finn and Finnish are used not only of the inhabitants of Finland but also in a more extended sense of similar tribes found in Russia and sometimes called Baltic Finns and Volga Finns. In this sense the Esthonian tribes (Baltic), the Laps, the Cheremis and Mordvins (Volga), and the Permian tribes are all Finns. The name is not, however, extended to the Ostiaks, Voguls and Magyars, who, though allied, form a separate subdivision called Ugrian, a name derived from Yura or Ugra, the country on either side of the Ural Mountains, and first used by Castrén in a scientific sense.
The name Finno-Ugric is primarily linguistic and must not be pressed as indicating a community of physical features and customs. But making allowance for the change of language by some tribes, the Finno-Ugrians form, with the striking exception of the Hungarians, a moderately homogeneous whole. They are nomads, but, unlike the Turks, Mongols and Manchus, have hardly ever shown themselves warlike and have no power of political organization. Those of them who have not come under European influence live under the simplest form of patriarchal government, and states, kings or even great chiefs are almost unknown among them.
Their headquarters are in Russia. From the Baltic to south Siberia extends a vast plain broken only by the Urals. Large parts of it are still wooded, and the proportion of forest land and marsh was no doubt much greater formerly. The Finno-Ugric tribes seem to shun the open steppes but are widely spread in the wooded country, especially on the banks of lakes and rivers. Their want of political influence renders them obscure, but they form a considerable element in the population of the northern, middle and eastern provinces of Russia, but are not found much to the south of Moscow (except in the east) or in the west (except in the Baltic provinces). The difference of temperament between the Great Russians and the purer Slavs such as the Little Russians is partly due to an infusion of Finnish blood.
Physically the Finno-Ugric races are as a rule solidly built and, though there is considerable variation in height and the cephalic index, are mostly of small or medium stature, somewhat squat, and brachy- or mesocephalic. As a rule the skin is greyish or olive coloured, the eyes grey or blue, the hair light, the beard scanty. Most of them seem deficient in energy and liveliness, both mental and physical; they are slow, heavy, conservative, somewhat suspicious and vindictive, inclined to be taciturn and melancholy. On the other hand they are patient, persevering, industrious, faithful and honest. When their natural mistrust of strangers is overcome they are kindly and hospitable.
I. Tribes and Nations.—The Ugrian subdivision, which seems to be in many respects the more primitive, consists of three peoples standing on very different levels of civilization, the Ostiaks and Voguls and the Hungarians.
The Ostiaks (Ostyaks or Ostjaks) are a tribe of nomadic fishermen and hunters inhabiting at present the government of Tobolsk and the banks of the Obi. They formerly extended into the government of Perm on the European side of the Ural Mountains. The so-called Ostiaks of the Yenisei Ostiaks. appear to be a different race and not to belong to the Finno-Ugrian group. The Ostiaks are still partially pagan and worship the River Obi. Allied to them are the Voguls, a similar nomadic tribe found on both sides of the Urals, and formerly extending at least as far as the government of Vologda. The languages of the Ostiaks and Voguls are allied, though not mere dialects of one another, and form a small group separated from the languages of the Finns both Western andVoguls. Eastern. For further details of these and other tribes see under the separate headings.
According to the legend, Nimrod had two sons, Hunyor and Magyor. They married daughters of the prince of the Alans and became the ancestors of the two kindred nations, Huns and Magyars or Hungarians. This story corresponds with what can be ascertained scientifically about Magyars or Hungarians. the origin of these peoples. It is probable that the Huns and Magyars were allied tribes of mixed descent comprising both Turkish and Finno-Ugrian elements. The language is indisputably Finno-Ugrian, but the name Hungarian seems to lead back to the form Un-ugur, and to suggest Turkish connexions which are confirmed by the warlike habits of the Huns and Magyars. The same name possibly occurs in the form Hiung-nu as far east as the frontiers of China, but recent authorities are of opinion that the tribes from whom the present Hungarians are descended were formed originally in the Terek-Kuban country to the north of the Caucasus, where a mixture of Turkish and Ugrian blood took place, a Ugrian language but Turkish mode of life predominating. They were also influenced by Iranians and the various tribes of the Caucasus. Both Huns and Magyars moved westwards, but the Huns invaded Europe in the 5th century and made no permanent settlement in spite of the devastation they caused, whereas the Magyars remained for some centuries near the banks of the Don. According to tradition they were compelled to leave a country called Lebedia under the pressure of nomadic tribes, and moved westward under the leadership of seven dukes. They conquered Hungary in the years 884–895, and the first king of their new dominions was called Árpád. For the chequered and often tragic history of the country see Hungary. The Magyars were converted to Christianity in the 11th century and adhered to the Roman not the Eastern Church. They have in all probability entirely lost their ancient physique, but have retained their language, and traces of their older life may be seen in their fondness for horses and flocks.
The following are the principal Finnish peoples. The Permians and Syryenians may be treated as one tribe. The latter name is very variously spelt as Syrjenian, Sirianian, Zyrjenian, Zirian, &c. They both call themselves Komi and speak a mutually intelligible language, allied to Permians and Syryenians. Votiak. The name Bjarmisch is sometimes applied to this sub-group. Both Permians and Syryenians are found chiefly in the governments of Perm, Vologda and Archangel, but there are a few Syryenians on the Siberian side of the Urals. The Syryenian headquarters are at the town of Ishma on the Pechora, whereas the name Permian is more correctly restricted to the inhabitants of the right bank of the upper Kama. Both probably extended much farther to the west in former times. The Syryenians are said to be more intelligent and active than most Finnish tribes and to make considerable journeys for trading purposes. They are possibly a mixed race.
The Votiaks are a tribe of about a quarter of a million persons dwelling chiefly in the south-eastern part of the government of Viatka. Their language indicates that they have borrowed a good deal from the Tatars and Chuvashes, and they seem to have little individuality, being described as Votiaks. weak both mentally and physically. They call themselves Ud-murt or Urt-murt. About the 16th century some of them migrated, doubtless under the pressure of Russian advance, into the government of Ufa and, the country being more fertile, are said to have improved in physique.
The Cheremissians, or Tcheremissians or Cheremis, who call themselves Mari, inhabit the banks of the Volga, chiefly in the neighbourhood of Kazan. Those inhabiting the right bank of the Volga are physically stronger and are known as Hill Cheremiss. The evidence of place Cheremissians. names makes it probable that their present position is the result of their being driven northwards by the Mordvins and then southwards by the Russians. There is some discrepancy between their language and their physical characteristics. The former shows affinities to both Mordvinian and the Permian group, but their crania are said to be mainly dolichocephalic, and it has been suggested that they are connected with the neolithic dolichocephalic population of Lake Ladoga. They are gentle and honest, but neither active nor intelligent.
The Mordvinians, also called Mordvá, Mordvins and Mordvs, are scattered over the provinces near the middle Volga, especially Nizhniy Novgorod, Kazan, Penza, Tambov, Simbirsk, Ufa and even Orenburg. Though not continuous, their settlements are considerable both in extent and Mordvinians. population. They are the most important of the Eastern Finns, and their traditions speak of a capital and of a king who fought with the Tatars. They are mentioned as Mordens as early as the 6th century, but do not now use the name, calling themselves after one of their two divisions, Moksha or Erza. Their country is still covered with forest to a large extent. Their language is on the one side allied to Cheremissian. On the other it shows a nearer approach to Finnish (Suomi) than the other Eastern languages of the family, but it has also constructions peculiar to itself.
The Lapps are found in Norway, Sweden and Finland. They call themselves Sabme, but are called Finns by the Norwegians. They are the shortest and most brachycephalic race in Europe. The majority are nomads who live by pasturing reindeer, and are known as Mountain Lapps, but Lapps. others have become more or less settled and live by hunting or fishing. From ancient times the Lapps have had a great reputation among the Finns and other neighbouring nations for skill in sorcery.
The Esthonians are the peasantry of the Russian province Esthonia and the neighbouring districts. They were serfs until 1817 when they were liberated, but their condition remained unsatisfactory and led to a serious rebellion in 1859. They are practically a branch of the Finns, and Esthonians. are hardly separable from the other Finnish tribes inhabiting the Baltic provinces. The name Est or Ehst, by which they are known to foreigners, appears to be the same as the Aestii of Tacitus, and to have properly belonged to quite a different tribe. They call themselves Mā mēs, or country people, and their land Rahwama or Wiroma (cf. Finnish, Virolaiset, Esthonians.) Though not superior to other tribes in general intelligence, they have become more civilized owing to their more intimate connexion with the Russian and German population around them.
Livs, Livlanders or Livonians is the name given to the old Finnish-speaking population of west Livland or Livonia and north Kurland. We hear of them as a warlike and predatory pagan tribe in the middle ages, and it is possible that they were a mixed Letto-Finnish race Livonians. from the beginning. In modern times they have become almost completely absorbed by Letts, and their language is only spoken in a few places on the coast of Kurland. It has indeed been disputed if it still exists. It is known as Livish or Livonian and is allied to Esthonian.
The Votes (not to be confounded with the Votiaks), also called southern Chudes and Vatjalaiset, apparently represent the original inhabitants of Ingria, the district round St Petersburg, but have decreased before the advance of the Russians and also of Karelians from the north. They are Votes. heard of in the 11th century, but now occupy only about thirty parishes in north-west Ingria.
The Vepsas or Vepses, also called Northern Chudes, are another tribe allied to the Esthonians, but are more numerous than the Votes. They are found in the district of Tikhvinsk and other parts of the government of Old Novgorod, and apparently extended farther east into the government of Vepsas. Vologda in former times. Linguistically both the Votes and Vepsas are closely related to the Esthonians.
The Finns proper or Suomi, as they call themselves, are the most important and civilized division of the group. They inhabit at present the grand duchy of Finland and the adjacent governments, especially Olonetz, Tver and St Petersburg. Formerly a tribe of them called Kainulaiset Finns. was also found in Sweden, whence the Swedes call the Finns Qven. At present there are two principal subdivisions of Finns, the Tavastlanders or Hämäläiset, who occupy the southern and western parts of the grand duchy, and the Karelians or Karjalaiset found in the east and north, as far as Lake Onega and towards the White Sea.
The former, and generally speaking, all the inhabitants of the grand duchy have undergone a strong Swedish influence. There is a considerable admixture of Swedish blood; the language is full of Swedish words; Christianity is universal; and the upper classes and townspeople are mainly Swedish in their habits and speech, though of late a persistent attempt has been made to Russify the country. The Finns have much the same mental and moral characteristics as the other allied tribes, but have reached a far higher intellectual and literary stage. Several collections of their popular and mythological poetry have been made, the most celebrated of which is the Kalewala, compiled by Lönnrot about 1835, and there is a copious modern literature. The study of the national languages and antiquities is prosecuted in Helsingfors and other towns with much energy: several learned societies have been formed and considerable results published, partly in Finnish. It is clear that this scientific activity, though animated by a patriotic Finnish spirit, owes much to Swedish training in the past. Besides the literary language there are several dialects, the most important of which is that of Savolaks.
The Karelians are not usually regarded as separate from the Finns, though they are a distinct tribe as much as the Vepsas and Votes. Living farther east they have come less under Swedish and more under Russian influence than the inhabitants of West Finland; but, since many of the districts Karelians. which they inhabit are out of the way and neglected, this influence has not been strong, so that they have adopted less of European civilization, and in places preserved their own customs more than the Westerners. They are of a slighter and better proportioned build than the Finns, more enterprising, lively and friendly, but less persevering and tenacious. They number about 260,000, of whom about 63,000 live in Olonetz and 195,000 in Tver and Novgorod, but in the southern districts are less distinguished from the Russian population. They belong to the Russian Church, whereas the Finns of the grand duchy are Protestants. There also appear to be authentic traces of a Karelian population in Kaluga, Yaroslavl, Vladimir, Vologda and Tambov. It was among them that the Kalewala was collected, chiefly in East Finland and Olonetz.
There is some difference of opinion as to whether the Samoyedes should be included among the Finno-Ugrian tribes or be given the rank of a separate division equivalent to Finno-Ugrian and Turkish. The linguistic question is discussed below. The Samoyedes are a nomad tribe Samoyedes. who wander with their reindeer over the treeless plains which border on the White and Kara seas on either side of the Urals. In culture and habits they resemble the Finno-Ugrian tribes, and there seems to be no adequate reason for separating them.
Various other peoples have been referred to the Finno-Ugrian group, but some doubt must remain as to the propriety of the classification, either because they are now extinct, or because they are suspected of having changed their language.Other inclusions.
The original Bulgarians, who had their home on the Volga before they invaded the country which now bears their name, were probably a tribe similar to the Magyars, though all record of their language is lost. It has been disputed whether the Khazars, who in the middle ages occupied parts of south Russia and the shores of the Caspian, were Finno-Ugrians or Turks, and there is the same doubt about the Avars and Pechenegs, which without linguistic evidence remains insoluble. Nor is the difference ethnographically important. The formation of hordes of warlike bodies, half tribes, half armies, composed of different races, was a characteristic of Central Asia, and it was probably often a matter of chance what language was adopted as the common speech.
At the present day the Bashkirs, Meshchers and Tepters, who speak Tatar languages, are thought to be Finnish in origin, as are also the Chuvashes, whose language is Tatar strongly modified by Finnish influence. The little known Soyots of the head-waters of the Yenisei are also said to be Finno-Ugrians.
The name Chude appears to be properly applied to the Vepsas and Votes but is extended by popular usage in Russia to all Finno-Ugrian tribes, and to all extinct tribes of whatever race who have left tombs, monuments or relics of mining operations in European Russia or Siberia. Some Russian archaeologists use it specifically of the Permian group. But its extension is so vague that it is better to discard it as a scientific term.
II. Languages.—The Finno-Ugric languages are generally considered as a division of the Ural-Altaic group, which consists of four families: Turkish, Mongol, Manchu and Finno-Ugric, including Samoyede unless it is reckoned separately as a fifth. The chief character of the group is that agglutination, or the addition of suffixes, is the only method of word-formation, prefixes and significant change of vowels being unknown, as is also gender. This suggests an affinity with many other languages, such as the ancient Accadian or Sumerian, and Japanese. A connexion between the Finno-Ugric and Dravidian languages has also been suggested. On the other hand, the more highly developed agglutinative languages, such as Finnish, approach the inflected Aryan type, so that the Aryan languages may have been developed from an ancestor not unlike the Ural-Altaic group.
The Finno-Ugrian languages are distinguished from the other divisions of the Ural-Altaic group both in grammar and vocabulary. Compared with Mongol and Manchu they have a much greater wealth of forms, both in declension and conjugation; the suffixes form one word with the root and are not wholly or partially detachable postpositions; the pronominal element is freely represented in the suffixes added to both verbs and nouns. These features are also found in the Turkish languages, but Finno-Ugrian has a much greater variety of cases denoting position or motion, and the union of the case termination with the noun is more complete; in some languages the object can be incorporated in the verb, which does not occur in Turkish, but the negative is rarely (Cheremissian) thus incorporated after the Turkish fashion (e.g. yazmak, “to write”; yazmamak, “not to write”), and in some languages takes pronominal suffixes (Finnish en tule, et tule, eivät tule, “I, you, they do not come”). Vowel-harmony is completely observed in Finnish and Magyar, but in the other languages is imperfectly developed, or has been lost under Russian influence. Relative pronouns and particles exist and are fully developed in some languages. The tendency to form compounds, which is not characteristic of Turkish, is very marked in Finnish and Hungarian, and is said also to be found in Samoyede, Cheremissian and Syryenian. The original order in the sentence seems to be that the governing word follows the word governed, but there are many exceptions to this, particularly in Hungarian where the arrangement is very free.
In vocabulary the pronouns agree fairly well with those of Turkish, Mongol and Manchu, but there is little resemblance between the numbers. Many of the languages contain numerous Tatar and Turkish loan-words, but with this exception the resemblance of vocabulary is not striking and indicates an ancient separation. But the similarity in the process of word-building and of the elements used, even if they have not the same sense, as well as analogies in the general construction of sentences and in some details (e.g. the use of the infinitive or verbal substantive), seem to justify the hypothesis of an original relationship with the Turkish languages, which in their turn have connexions with the other groups.
Samoyede is classed by some as a separate group and by some among the Finno-Ugrian languages, but it at any rate displays a far closer resemblance to them in both grammar and vocabulary than do any of the Turkish languages. The numerals are different, but the personal and interrogative pronouns and many common words (e.g. joha, “river,” Finn. joki; sava, “good,” Finn, hywä; kole, “fish,” Finn, kala) show a considerable resemblance. The inflection of nouns is very like that found in Finno-Ugrian but that of the verb differs, verb and noun being imperfectly differentiated. In detail, however, the verbal suffixes show analogies to those of Finno-Ugrian. Vowel-harmony and weakening of consonants occur as in Finnish.
Excluding Samoyede, the Finno-Ugrian languages may be divided into two sections: (1) Ugrian, comprising Ostiak, Vogul and Magyar; and (2) Finnish. The Permian languages (Syryenian, Permian and Votiak) form a distinct group within this latter section, and the remainder may be divided into the Volga group (Cheremissian and Mordvinian) and the West Finnish (Lappish, Esthonian and Finnish proper).
The Ugrian languages appear to have separated from the Finnish branch before the systems of declension or conjugation were developed. Their case suffixes seem to be later formations, though we find, t, tl or k for the plural and traces of l as a local suffix. Ostiak and Vogul, like Samoyede, have a dual. Moods and tenses are less numerous but the number of verbal forms is increased by those in which the pronominal object is incorporated. Hungarian has naturally advanced enormously beyond the stage reached by Ostiak and Vogul, and shows marks of strong European influence, but also retains primitive features. Vowel-harmony is observed (várok, “I await,” but verek, “I strike”). The verb has two sets of terminations, according as it is transitive or intransitive, and the pronominal object is sometimes incorporated. Alone among Finno-Ugrian languages it has developed an article, and the adjective is inflected when used as a predicate though not as an attribute (Jó emberek, “good men,” but Az emberek jók, “the men are good”). There is great freedom in the order of words and, as in Finnish, a tendency to form long compounds.
The Finnish languages are not divided from the Ugrian by any striking differences, but show greater resemblances to one another in details. None of them have a dual and only Mordvinian an objective conjugation. The case system is elaborate and generally comprises twelve or fifteen forms. The negative conjugation is peculiar; there are negative adjectives ending in tem or tom and abessive cases (e.g. Finnish syyttä, without a cause, tiedotta, without knowledge).
Permian, Syryenian and Votiak exhibit this common development less fully than the more western languages. They are less completely inflected than the Finnish languages and more thoroughly agglutinative in the strict sense. In vocabulary, e.g. the numerals, they show resemblances to the Ugrian division. Syryenian has older literary remains than any Finno-Ugrian language except Hungarian. In the latter part of the 14th century Russian missionaries composed in it various manuals and translations, using a special alphabet for the purpose.
Unlike the Finnish and Esthonian branch, the languages of the Volga Finns (Mordvinian and Cheremissian) have been influenced by Russian and Tatar rather than by Scandinavian, and hence show apparent differences. But Mordvinian has points of detailed resemblance to Finnish which seem to point to a comparatively late separation, e.g. the use of kemen for ten, -nza as the possessive suffix of the third personal pronoun, the regular formation of the imperfect with i, the infinitive with ma, and the participle with f (Finnish va). On the other hand it has many peculiarities. It retains an objective conjugation like the Ugrian languages, and has developed two forms of declension, the definite and indefinite.
Cheremissian has affinities to both the Permian languages and Mordvinian. It resembles Syryenian in its case terminations and also in marking the plural by interposing a distinct syllable (Syry. yas, Cher. vlya) between the singular and the case suffixes. Most of the numerals are like Syryenian but kändekhsye, indekhsye, for eight and nine, recall Finnish forms (kahdeksan, yhdeksän), as do also the pronouns.
The connexion between the various West Finnish languages is more obvious than between those already discussed. Lappish (or Lapponic) forms a link between them and Mordvinian. Its pronouns are remarkably like the Mordvinian equivalents, but the general system of declension and conjugation, both positive and negative, is much as in Finnish. Superficially, however, the resemblance is somewhat obscured by the difference in phonetics, for Lappish has an extraordinary fondness for diphthongs and also an unusually ample provision of consonants.
The affinity of Esthonian (together with Votish, Vepsish and Livish) to Finnish is obvious not only to the philologist but to the casual learner. In a few cases it shows older forms than Finnish, but on the whole is less primitive and has assumed under foreign influence the features of a European language even more thoroughly. The vowel-harmony is found only in the Dorpat dialect and there imperfectly, the pronominal affixes are not used, and the negative has become an unvarying particle, though in Vepsish and Votish it takes suffixes as in Finnish. On the other hand, the laws for the change of consonants, the general system of phonetics, the declension, the pronouns and the positive conjugation of the verb all closely resemble Finnish. Esthonian has two chief dialects, those of Reval and Dorpat, and a certain amount of literary culture, the best-known work being the national epic or Kalewi-poeg.
Finnish proper is divided into two chief dialects, the Karelian or Eastern, and the Tavastland or Western. The spoken language of the Karelians is corrupt and mixed with Russian, but the Kalewala and their other old songs are written in a pure Finnish dialect, which has come to be accepted as the ordinary language of poetry throughout modern Finland, just as the Homeric dialect was used by the Greeks for epic poetry. It is more archaic than the Tavastland dialect and preserves many old forms which have been lost elsewhere, but its utterance is softer and it sometimes rejects consonants which are retained in ordinary speech, e.g. saa’a, kosen for saada, kosken.
The affinity of Finnish to the more eastern languages of the group is clear, but it has been profoundly influenced by Scandinavian and in its present form consists of non-Aryan material recast in an Aryan and European mould. Not only are some of the simplest words borrowed from Scandinavian, but the grammar has been radically modified. Un-Aryan peculiarities have been rejected, though perhaps less than in Esthonian. The various forms of nouns and verbs are not merely roots with a string of obvious suffixes attached, but the termination forms a whole with the root as in Greek and Latin inflections; the adjective is declined and compared and agrees with its substantive; compound tenses are formed with the aid of the auxiliary verb, and there is a full supply of relative pronouns and particles.
Finnish and Hungarian together with Turkish are interesting examples of non-Aryan languages trying to participate, by both translation and imitation, in the literary life of Europe, but it may be doubted if the experiment is successful. The sense of effort is felt less in Hungarian than in the other languages; though they are admirable instruments for terse conversation or popular poetry, there appears to be some deep-seated difference in the force of the verb and the structure of phrases which renders them clumsy and complicated when they attempt to express sentences of the type common in European literature.
III. Civilization and Religion.—The Finno-Ugric tribes have not been equally progressive; some, such as the Finns and Magyars, have adopted, at least in towns, the ordinary civilization of Europe; others are agriculturists; others still nomadic. The wilder tribes, such as the Ostiaks, Voguls and Lapps, mostly consist of one section which is nomadic and another which is settling down. The following notes apply to traces of ancient conditions which survive sporadically but are nowhere universal. Few except the Hungarians have shown themselves warlike, though we read of conflicts with the Russians in the middle ages as they advanced among this older population. But most Finno-Ugrians are astute and persevering hunters, and the Ostiaks still shoot game with a bow. The tribes are divided into numerous small clans which are exogamous. Marriage by capture is said to survive among the Cheremiss, who are still polygamous in some districts, but purchase of the bride is the more general form. Women are treated as servants and often excluded from pagan religious ceremonies. The most primitive form of house consists of poles inclined towards one another and covered with skins or sods, so as to form a circular screen round a fire; winter houses are partly underground. Long snow-shoes are used in winter and boats are largely employed in summer. The Finns in particular are very good seamen. The Ostiaks and Samoyedes still cast tin ornaments in wooden moulds. The variation of the higher numerals in the different languages, which are sometimes obvious loan words, shows that the original system did not extend beyond seven, and the aptitude for calculating and trading is not great. Several thousands of the Ostiaks, Voguls and Cheremiss are still unbaptized, and much paganism lingers among the nominal Christians, and in poetry such as the Kalewala. The deities are chiefly nature spirits and the importance of the several gods varies as the tribes are hunters, fishermen, &c. Sun or sky worship is found among the Samoyedes and Jumala, the Finnish word for god, seems originally to mean sky. The Ostiaks worship a water-spirit of the river Obi and also a thunder-god. We hear of a forest-god among the Finns, Lapps and Cheremiss. There are also clan gods worshipped by each clan with special ceremonies. Traces of ancestor-worship are also found. The Samoyedes and Ostiaks are said to sacrifice to ghosts, and the Ostiaks to make images of the more important dead, which are tended and honoured, as if alive, for some years. Images are found in the tombs and barrows of most tribes, and the Samoyedes, Ostiaks and Voguls still use idols, generally of wood. Animal sacrifices are offered, and the lips of the idol sometimes smeared with blood. Quaint combinations of Christianity and paganism occur; thus the Cheremiss are said to sacrifice to the Virgin Mary. The idea that disease is due to possession by an evil spirit, and can be both caused and cured by spells, seems to prevail among all tribes, and in general extraordinary power is supposed to reside in incantations and magical formulae. This belief is conspicuous in the Kalewala, and almost every tribe has its own collection of prayers, healing charms and spells to be used on the most varied occasions. A knowledge of these formulae is possessed by wizards (Finnish noita) corresponding to the Shamans of the Altaic peoples. They are exorcists and also mediums who can ascertain the will of the gods; a magic drum plays a great part in their invocations, and their office is generally hereditary. The non-Buddhist elements of Chinese and Japanese religion present the same features as are found among the Finno-Ugrians—nature-worship, ancestor-worship and exorcism—but in a much more elaborate and developed form.
IV. History.—Most of the Finno-Ugrian tribes have no history or written records, and little in the way of traditions of their past. In their later period the Hungarians and Finns enter to some extent the course of ordinary European history. For the earlier period we have no positive information, but the labours of investigators, especially in Finland, have collected a great number of archaeological and philological data from which an account of the ancient wanderings of these tribes may be constructed. Barrows containing skulls and ornaments may mark the advance of a special form of culture, and language may be of assistance; if we find, for instance, a language with loan words of an archaic type, we may conclude that it was in contact with the other language from which it borrowed at the time when such forms were current. But clearly all such deductions contain a large element of theory, and the following sketch is given with all reserve.
The Finno-Ugrian tribes originally lived together east of the Urals and spoke a common language. It is not certain if they were all of the same physical type, for the association of different races speaking one language is common in central Asia. They were hunters and fishermen, not agriculturists. At an unknown period the Finns, still undivided, moved into Europe and perhaps settled on the Volga and Oka. They had perhaps arrived there before 1500 B.C., learned some rudiments of agriculture, and developed their system of numbers up to ten. They were still in the neolithic stage. About 600 B.C. they came in contact with an Iranian people, from whom they learned the use of metals, and borrowed numerals for a hundred (Finnish sata, Ostiak sāt, Magyar szaz; cf. Zend sata) and a thousand (Magyar ezer; cf. hazan̅ra and hazar). Magyar and some other languages also borrowed a word for ten (tíz, cf. das). This Iranian race may perhaps have been the Scythians, who are believed by many authorities to have been Iranians and to be represented by the Osetians of the Caucasus. There was probably a trade route up the Volga in the 4th century B.C. About that time the Western Finns must have broken away from the Mordvinians and wandered north-westwards. At a period not much later than the Christian era, they must have come in contact with Letto-Lithuanian peoples in the Baltic provinces, and also with Scandinavians. Whether they came in contact with the latter first in the Baltic provinces or in Finland itself is disputed, as there may have been Scandinavians in the Baltic provinces. But the distribution of tombs and barrows seems to indicate that they entered Finland not from the east through Karelia but from the Baltic provinces by sea to Satakunta and the south-east coast, whence they extended eastwards. From both Lithuanians and Scandinavians they borrowed an enormous quantity of culture-words and probably the ideas and materials they indicate. Thus the Finnish words for gold, king and everything concerned with government are of Scandinavian origin. Their migration to Finland was probably complete about A.D. 800. Meanwhile the Slav tribes known later as Russians were coming up from the south and pressed the Finns northwards, overwhelming but not annihilating them in the country between St Petersburg and Moscow. The same movement tended to drive the Eastern Finns and Ugrians backwards towards the east. The Finns know the Russians by the name of Venäjä, or Wends, and as this name is not used by Slavs themselves but by Scandinavians and Teutons, it seems clear that they arrived among the Finns as greater strangers than the Scandinavians and known by a foreign name. Christianity was perhaps first preached to the Finns as early as A.D. 1000, but there was a long political and religious struggle with the Swedes. At the end of the 13th century Finland was definitely converted and annexed to Sweden, remaining a dependency of that country until 1809, when it was ceded to Russia.
The Ugrians and Eastern Finns took no part in the westward movement and did not fall under western influences but came into contact with Tatar tribes and were more or less Tatarized. In some cases this took the form of the adoption of a Tatar language, in others (Mordvin, Cheremis and Votiak) a large number of Tatar words were borrowed. We also know that there were considerable settlements of these tribes, perhaps amounting to states, on the Volga and in south-eastern Russia. Such was Great Bulgaria, which continued until destroyed by the Mongols in 1238. The pressure of tribes farther east acting on these settlements dislodged sections of them from time to time and created the series of invasions which devastated the East Roman empire from the 5th century onwards. But we do not know what were the languages spoken by the Huns, Bulgarians, Pechenegs and Avars, so that we cannot say whether they were Turks, Finns or Ugrians, nor does it follow that a horde speaking a Ugrian language were necessarily Ugrians by race. An inspection of the performances of the various tribes, as far as we can distinguish them, suggests that the Turks or Tatars were the warlike element. The names Hun and Hungarian may possibly be the same as Hiung-nu, but we cannot assume that this tribe passed across Asia unchanged in language and physique. The Hungarians entered on their present phase at the end of the 9th century of this era, when they crossed the Carpathians and conquered the old Pannonia and Dacia. For half a century or so before this invasion they are said to have inhabited Atelkuzu, probably a district between the Dnieper and the Danube. The isolated groups of Hungarians now found in Transylvania and called Szeklers are considered the purest descendants of the invading Magyars. Those who settled in the plains of Hungary probably mingled there with remnants of Huns, Avars and earlier invaders, and also with subsequent invaders, such as Pechenegs and Kumans.
Bibliography.—Among the older writers may be mentioned Strahlenberg (Das nord- und östliche Theil von Europa und Asia, 1730), Johann Gottlieb Georgi (Description de toutes les nations de l’empire de la Russie, French tr., St Petersburg, 1777); but especially the various works of Matthias A. Castrén (1852–1853) and W. Schott (1858). Modern scientific knowledge of the Finno-Ugrians and their languages was founded by these two authors. Among newer works some of the most important separate publications are: J. R. Aspelin, Antiquités du nord finno-ougrien (1877–1884); J. Abercromby, Pre- and Proto-historic Finns (1898); and A. Hackmann, Die ältere Eisenzeit in Finnland (1905).
The recent literature on the origin, customs, antiquities and languages of these races is voluminous, but is contained chiefly not in separate books but in special learned periodicals. Of these there are several: Journal de la Société Finno-ougrienne (Helsingfors) (Suomalais-Ugrilaisen Seuran Aikakauskirja); Finnisch-Ugrische Forschungen (Helsingfors and Leipzig); Mitteilungen der archäologischen, historischen und ethnographischen Gesellschaft der Kais. Universität zu Kasan; Keleti Szemle or Revue orientale pour les études ouralo-altaïques (Budapest). In all of these will be found numerous valuable articles by such authors as Ahlqvist, Halévy, Heikel, Krohn, Muncácsi, Paasonen, Setälä, Smurnow, Thomsen and Vambéry.
The titles of grammars and dictionaries will be found under the headings of the different languages. For general linguistic questions may be consulted the works of Castrén, Schott and Otto Donner, also such parts of the following as treat of Finno-Ugric languages: Byrne, Principles of the Structure of Language, vol. i. (1892); Friedrich Müller, Grundriss der Sprachwissenschaft II., Band ii., Abth. 1882; Steinthal and Misleli, Abriss der Sprachwissenschaft (1893). (C. El.)