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The Mordvin Language Branch

The Proto-Mordvins began to separate into present day Erzas and Mokshas around the first century. The separation was complete by the 7th century, and by the 12th century they were distinguishable from each other racially, and had separate languages and Cultures.

In 1989 there were 1,153,987 Erzya and Mokshas residing in Russia, 67.1 % considered either Erzya or Moksha there mother tongue.

In modern times some scholars wanted to fuse the Moksha and Erzya people into one identity so far this has been unsuccessful, there really is no sense in doing this since the two peoples have languages and cultures that differ greatly from each other.

The first mention of the Mordvins was by Jordan an Alanian monk in the 16th century, in his book The Provenance and Deeds of the Gothic People. In many historical sources Erzyas and Mokshas are listed as one group of peoples under names like Merens and Mordens. The Erzyas and the Mokshas were forced to pay tribute to the Gothic King Hermannarich during the Middle Ages.

The Erzyas

Population: Approx. 800,000 (All Mordvins are registered as one group in Russia, so figures are only approximations)

Concentration: Less than one fourth live in the Mordovskaya (Mordvin) Autonomous Republic, mainly scattered between the Oka and Volga Rivers.

Religion: Converted to Russian Orthodox.

Ethnic inheritance: Blended with Mongoloid and European features. Generally less Mongoloid traits than the Mokshas.

Language: Erzya

The literary language of the Erzas was formed after the October Revolution in 1917, it was based on a dialect of the village of Kozlovka in the Atyashevo district of Mordovia. The literary language was unified by 1930,and the writing system was based on the Russian alphabet since the 18th century. The Erzya are the fourth largest Uralic Group.

 

The Mokshas

Population: Approx. 300,000 (All Mordvins are registered as one group in Russia, so figures are only approximations)

Concentration: Less than half live in the Mordovskaya (Mordvin) Autonomous Republic, mainly scattered between the Oka and Volga Rivers.

Religion: Converted to Russian Orthodox.

Ethnic inheritance: Blended with Mongoloid and European Feautures, more Mongoloid traits visible than in the Erzas.

Language: Moksha

The Moksha language has close ties with the language of the Erzas and has had literary status since the Russian Revolution in 1917.