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CIRCAR—CIRCASSIA

the centre of Pergolesi’s bands of ornament, and they were continually reproduced upon the elegant satin-wood furniture which was growing popular in his later days and by the end of the 18th century became a rage. Sometimes these designs were inlaid in marqueterie, but most frequently they were painted upon the satin-wood by other hands with delightful effect, since in the whole range of English furniture there is nothing more enchanting than really good finished satin-wood pieces. There can be little doubt that some of the beautiful furniture designed by the Adams was actually painted by Cipriani himself. He also occasionally designed handles for drawers and doors. Cipriani died at Hammersmith in 1785 and was buried at Chelsea, where Bartolozzi erected a monument to his memory. He had married an English lady, by whom he had two sons.


CIRCAR, an Indian term applied to the component parts of a subah or province, each of which is administered by a deputy-governor. In English it is principally employed in the name of the Northern Circars, used to designate a now obsolete division of the Madras presidency, which consisted of a narrow slip of territory lying along the western side of the Bay of Bengal from 15° 40′ to 20° 17′ N. lat. These Northern Circars were five in number, Chicacole, Rajahmundry, Ellore, Kondapalli and Guntur, and their total area was about 30,000 sq. m.

The district corresponds in the main to the modern districts of Kistna, Godavari, Vizagapatam, Ganjam and a part of Nellore. It was first invaded by the Mahommedans in 1471; in 1541 they conquered Kondapalli, and nine years later they extended their conquests over all Guntur and the districts of Masulipatam. But the invaders appear to have acquired only an imperfect possession of the country, as it was again wrested from the Hindu princes of Orissa about the year 1571, during the reign of Ibrahim, of the Kutb Shahi dynasty of Hyderabad or Golconda. In 1687 the Circars were added, along with the empire of Hyderabad, to the extensive empire of Aurangzeb. Salabat Jang, the son of the nizam ul mulk Asaf Jah, who was indebted for his elevation to the throne to the French East India Company, granted them in return for their services the district of Kondavid or Guntur, and soon afterwards the other Circars. In 1759, by the conquest of the fortress of Masulipatam, the dominion of the maritime provinces on both sides, from the river Gundlakamma to the Chilka lake, was necessarily transferred from the French to the British. But the latter left them under the administration of the nizam, with the exception of the town and fortress of Masulipatam, which were retained by the English East India Company. In 1765 Lord Clive obtained from the Mogul emperor Shah Alam a grant of the five Circars. Hereupon the fort of Kondapalli was seized by the British, and on the 12th of November 1766 a treaty of alliance was signed with Nizam Ali by which the Company, in return for the grant of the Circars, undertook to maintain troops for the nizam’s assistance. By a second treaty, signed on the 1st of March 1768, the nizam acknowledged the validity of Shah Alam’s grant and resigned the Circars to the Company, receiving as a mark of friendship an annuity of £50,000. Guntur, as the personal estate of the nizam’s brother Basalat Jang, was excepted during his lifetime under both treaties. He died in 1782, but it was not till 1788 that Guntur came under British administration. Finally, in 1823, the claims of the nizam over the Northern Circars were bought outright by the Company, and they became a British possession.


CIRCASSIA, a name formerly given to the north-western portion of the Caucasus, including the district between the mountain range and the Black Sea, and extending to the north of the central range as far as the river Kuban. Its physical features are described in the article on the Russian province of Kuban, with which it approximately coincides. The present article is confined to a consideration of the ethnographical relations and characteristics of the people, their history being treated under Caucasia.

The Cherkesses or Circassians, who gave their name to this region, of which they were until lately the sole inhabitants, are a peculiar race, differing from the other tribes of the Caucasus in origin and language. They designate themselves by the name of Adigheb, that of Cherkesses being a term of Russian origin. By their long-continued struggles with the power of Russia, during a period of nearly forty years, they attracted the attention of the other nations of Europe in a high degree, and were at the same time an object of interest to the student of the history of civilization, from the strange mixture which their customs exhibited of chivalrous sentiment with savage customs. For this reason it may be still worth while to give a brief summary of their national characteristics and manners, though these must now be regarded as in great measure things of the past.

In the patriarchal simplicity of their manners, the mental qualities with which they were endowed, the beauty of form and regularity of feature by which they were distinguished, they surpassed most of the other tribes of the Caucasus. At the same time they were remarkable for their warlike and intrepid character, their independence, their hospitality to strangers, and that love of country which they manifested in their determined resistance to an almost overwhelming power during the period of a long and desolating war. The government under which they lived was a peculiar form of the feudal system. The free Circassians were divided into three distinct ranks, the princes or pshi, the nobles or uork (Tatar usden), and the peasants or hokotl. Like the inhabitants of the other regions of the Caucasus, they were also divided into numerous families, tribes or clans, some of which were very powerful, and carried on war against each other with great animosity. The slaves, of whom a large proportion were prisoners of war, were generally employed in the cultivation of the soil, or in the domestic service of some of the principal chiefs.

The will of the people was acknowledged as the supreme source of authority; and every free Circassian had a right to express his opinion in those assemblies of his tribe in which the questions of peace and war, almost the only subjects which engaged their attention, were brought under deliberation. The princes and nobles, the leaders of the people in war and their rulers in peace, were only the administrators of a power which was delegated to them. As they had no written laws, the administration of justice was regulated solely by custom and tradition, and in those tribes professing Mahommedanism by the precepts of the Koran. The most aged and respected inhabitants of the various auls or villages frequently sat in judgment, and their decisions were received without a murmur by the contending parties. The Circassian princes and nobles were professedly Mahommedans; but in their religious services many of the ceremonies of their former heathen and Christian worship were still preserved. A great part of the people had remained faithful to the worship of their ancient gods—Shible, the god of thunder, of war and of justice; Tleps, the god of fire; and Seosseres, the god of water and of winds. Although the Circassians are said to have possessed minds capable of the highest cultivation, the arts and sciences, with the exception of poetry and music, were completely neglected. They possessed no written language. The wisdom of their sages, the knowledge they had acquired, and the memory of their warlike deeds were preserved in verses, which were repeated from mouth to mouth and descended from father to son.

The education of the young Circassian was confined to riding, fencing, shooting, hunting, and such exercises as were calculated to strengthen his frame and prepare him for a life of active warfare. The only intellectual duty of the atalik or instructor, with whom the young men lived until they had completed their education, was that of teaching them to express their thoughts shortly, quickly and appropriately. One of their marriage ceremonies was very strange. The young man who had been approved by the parents, and had paid the stipulated price in money, horses, oxen, or sheep for his bride, was expected to come with his friends fully armed, and to carry her off by force from her father’s house. Every free Circassian had unlimited right over the lives of his wife and children. Although polygamy was allowed by the laws of the Koran, the custom of the country forbade it, and the Circassians were generally faithful to the