Arsen Kotsoyev

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Arsen Kotsoyev
Коцойты Арсен
File:Arsen KOCOJEV.jpg
Born January 15, 1872
Gizel, Terek Oblast
Died February 4, 1944(1944-02-04) (aged 72)
Pen name A. K., Botash, Xabosh
Occupation Prose writer, translator, opinion writer
Nationality Ossetian

Arsen Kotsoyev (Ossetian: Коцойты Арсен, tr. Kocojty Arsen; January 15, 1872 - February 4, 1944) is one of the founders of Ossetic prose, who had a large influence in the formation of the modern Ossetic language and its functional styles. He participated in all of the first Ossetic periodicals, and was one of the most notable Ossetian publicists.

There are streets named after Kotsoyev in Vladikavkaz and Beslan. Masterpieces by Kotsoyev are used in school courses on Ossetian literature.


Kotsoyev was born to a poor family in the Ossetian countryside (the village of Gizel, close to Vladikavkaz) in Terek Oblast. At the age of nine he was enrolled in the local school. There he found a large collection of books; reading those books enriched his education. After school Kotsoyev studied at the Ardon Orthodox Seminary. A sudden illness made the young man leave the seminary. He returned to Gizel and began writing short essays for newspapers of the North Caucasus. He also worked as a teacher at the local school.

In 1902 Kotsoyev took part in the uprising at Gizel; this caused his expulsion from the region. He chose to go to South Ossetia, where he continued to work as a teacher and write short stories and essays.

In 1910 he began publishing a magazine called "Æфсир" (Æfsir, ear [of wheat]) based in Tiflis (today's Tbilisi, Georgia). Only 14 issues of the magazine were made, but it had an immense impact on Ossetian literature and journalism. Many masterpieces of Ossetian literature were first published in Æfsir.

In the year 1912 Kotsoyev moved to Saint Petersburg, where he worked in many places, including Vladimir Lenin's famous newspaper Pravda. Though he was raised in the Ossetian countryside, because of his strong education, Kotsoyev knew the Russian language well enough to enable him to proofread a Russian language newspaper.

After the October Revolution, Kotsoyev's fame grew. He worked for different newspapers and magazines and worked in education and related fields. He died in Vladikavkaz and was buried in the yard of the Literature Museum.


Most short stories by Kotsoyev are tragic ones. The action is often about the severe traditions of the highlanders, such as "blood revenge" (vendetta), irad (bride money), and superstitions. Arsen Kotsoyev wrote a lot about the place for a person from traditional highland culture in the new, Europe-oriented world, and about the fate of a highlander in a larger city.

Kotsoyev also translated a lot. For example, he translated several stories by Pushkin into Ossetic.

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