Book

Vitalij Naumkin, Vitalij Vitaly, Vitalij Naumkin, Naumkin Naumkin, Naumkin Vitaly, Naumkin Naumkin, Vitalij Naumkin, Vitalij Vitaly, Vitalij Naumkin

Islands of the Archipelago of Socotra : Expeditions of 1974 – 2010

Языки славянской культуры

Москва, 2012, 528 стр.

The author of this book, famous Russian scholar and Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies (RAS) brings together almost four decades of research into the lives of the inhabitants of one of the most mysterious and remote places in the Middle East. The book is a unique investigation of the nature, history, origins, physical features, traditional economic activity, social and tribal structure, customs, beliefs and folklore of this small ethnic group within the population of present-day Yemen.
Chapter 1 is a general description of the geography, climate, water and soil, as well as the flora and fauna of the islands.
Chapter 2 is dedicated to the history of the islands based on the original Arabic and European sources, medieval chronicles, accounts of journeys by Arab and Western travelers, etc. It introduces all the stages of the island’s history from the time when immigrants from the Arabian peninsular settled here.
Chapter 3 illuminates with the physical characteristics of the Socotrans, the study of the dermatoglyphics, odontology and craneology of the population of the islands.
Chapter 4 deals with the archeology of Socotra. Russian archeologists have concluded that Socotra might have played a much more influential role in Mediterranean trade than previously assumed.
Chapter 5 considers various aspects of the social organization of Socotrans, as well as the types and forms of economy.
Chapter 6 analyses the material culture of modern Socotrans. The focus here is on animal husbandry as the main activity of Socotran Bedouins which has retained many archaic traits. The chapter contains valuable vocabulary collected by the author and related to the economy.
Chapter 7 deals with marriage and the Socotran kinship system, including choice of marriage partner, remnants of dual organization, locality of marriage, divorce, remarriage and polygamous marriage, system of property inheritance, etc. Particularly noteworthy is the lexicographic material which has not as yet been considered in academic literature.
Chapter 8 examines Socotran family, in particular, such types as the nuclear family, complex family, divided family, etc.
In Chapter 9 the author concentrates on the spiritual culture of Socotra. Sections on magic and sorcery, remnants of pre-Islamic beliefs, different customs and rituals, popular festivals, folk medicine, etc. are of particular interest. Based on this research the author offers his own system of classification of the Socotran folklore.
Chapter 10 presents a brief but complex overview of the social structure, settlement and economy of the tribes of the island of Abd al-Kuri. The chapter provides examples of their folklore and analyses family relations. Conclusion contains general reflections and research implications based on many years of fieldwork on the island. The book is supplied with illustrations and bibliography. This work is meant not only for specialists, but also for a wide readership taking a great interest over the last years in Socotra.

РУССКАЯ ВЕРСИЯ: Острова архипелага Сокотра (экспедиции 1979 – 2010 гг.)