This drawing was done in Sochi in 1841 and reflects the actual events of this year. In the centre stands an elderly prince in a white cherkesska. This is the Abkhazian prince Arslanbey Gechba, an outstanding political figure and influential representative of the Gechba princes, who owned the seaside part of Sochi.
Exploring the Hospitable Sea Proceedings of the International Workshop on the Black Sea in Antiquity held in Thessaloniki, 21-23 September 2012 edited by Manolis Manoledakis. ISBN 9781407311142.
Abstract: The tribes of the Eastern Black Sea region played a crucial role in the political and economic affairs of the ancient kingdoms of the Bosporus and Colchis, i.e., at the edge of the Greek oikoumene. While ancient Greek and Latin sources refer to a number of these tribes by name, descriptions of them tend to be brief and biased. In order to understand the true nature of these peoples, and place them geographically, it is essential to examine both linguistic and archaeological evidence. Linguistic analysis of the tribal names and epigraphic evidence clearly attest to the distinct identities of these tribes. Archaeological evidence, however, plainly demonstrates a shared material culture of the Maeotians. Variations in the burial culture, together with the linguistic distinctions, allow us to classify the ancient tribes of the region as different sub-groups of the Maeotians, while also serving to establish their individual territories within the Eastern Black Sea region.
An excerpt from ‘The solitude of Abkhazia’ (pp.191-220), where Douglas W. Freshfield affectionately describes not only the wonderful scenery but also the sad desolation following the migration of the bulk of Abkhazia’s autochthonous population to Ottoman lands following the end of the great Caucasian war (1864) and the Russo-Turkish war (1877-78). The Exploration of the Caucasus Volume II:
Immediately after the Caucasian War (21 May 1864), in June 1864 the independent princedom of Abkhazia was abolished, and the sovereign prince Mikhail Shervashidze (Chachba) was subjected to political repression; in 1866, he died in exile in Voronezh.