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one of the ancient tribes of the northwestern Caucasus; the ancestors of the Adygs. In the classical period, the Cercetae lived on the Black Sea coast (south of modern Novorossiisk). They are mentioned by classical writers (Strabo, Pliny, Ptolemy, Anonymus). In the Hellenistic era, the Cercetae were allied with a related tribe, the Thoretae. In the third and fourth centuries A.D., a tribe of Goths forced the Cercetae into the region of the upper course of the Laba River. The tribal name “Cercetae” was apparently the basis for the name “Circassians,” which arose later.