Georgian linguist Nicholai Marr and his father’s British roots, 20 November 2019

You are invited to a talk by Edward Marr to be held following our AGM on 20 November at the London Scottish House (95 Horseferry Road, SW1P 2DX). Doors open at 6.15 for a 6.30 start. Georgian wine and nibbles will be provided. 

Nicholai Marr, Stalin’s Favourite Linguist & his Father’s British Roots Or Who was the Real James Montague Marr?


During the first decades of Soviet Russia the brilliant Georgian linguist, Nicholai Marr, was famed for his Japhetic Theory on the origin of Caucasian languages. He gained many Marxist followers, including Stalin, until his ideas fell out of favour in the 1950’s.

Nicholai Marr was born to a supposedly 86 year old Scottish man, James Montague Marr and 25 year old Georgian mother in Kutaisi in 1865. James Montague Marr had gone out to Georgia in 1822 and to this day there are many of his descendants in the country all, rightly, proud of their unique ancestor.

But who was the real James Montague Marr, what were his roots and why did he emigrate to Georgia?

Through a chance encounter online, amateur family historian Edward Marr connected to his Georgian relatives and found his paternal family history to be far more compelling than he ever expected, uncovering possible answers to an old family myth.

Following on from Prof. Donald Rayfield’s talk in 2015 at the British Georgian Society on Nicholai Marr, Edward Marr has researched the family’s history in order to understand more about the origins of James Montague Marr.

Please RSVP: info@britishgeorgiansociety.org

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