The Kartvelologist

The Kartvelologist” is a bilingual (Georgian and English) peer-reviewed, academic journal, covering all spheres of Kartvelological scholarship. Along with introducing scholarly novelties in Georgian Studies, it aims at popularization of essays of Georgian researchers on the international level and diffusion of foreign Kartvelological scholarship in Georgian scholarly circles.

“The Kartvelologist” issues both in printed and electronic form. In 1993-2009 it came out only in printed form (#1-15). The publisher is the “Centre for Kartvelian Studies” (TSU), financially supported by the “Fund of the Kartvelological School”. In 2011-2013 the journal is financed by Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation.

Donald Rayfield’s ”A History of Georgia”


drIt is my great honour and pleasure to introduce to our readers another extremely interesting book dedicated to the history of Georgia (Donald Rayfield’s ”Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia”. Reaktion Books, London 2012). The author of the book is Donald Rayfield, an eminent English scholar, who knows Georgia very well and, at the same time, is a very good friend of our country. Professor Rayfield in Georgian academic fields first of all is associated with a Comprehensive Georgian-English Dictionary[1], as one of the authors and inspirer of it. Donald Rayfield’s “History of Georgia” is generally intended for English speakers, which means that it is for readers from all over the world. As expected, the history of Georgia is discussed in the book in the context of the history of the World’s Empires, which is apparent from its title – “Edge of Empires”. However, in spite of this, the book is not intended to please just the superficial interests of a wide range of readers but the author presents a book which is significant for scholars as well.

Professor Rayfield demonstrates a profound knowledge of varied written sources on which his work is based and, at the same time, the book reads easily and with interest. While re-telling about the history of Georgia the author, who is an excellent philologist and literary critic, emphasises the episodes that are vividly narrated from the source material.

keywords:Donald Rayfield, A History of Georgia Category: SCHOLARLY STUDIES Authors: Levan Gordeziani

The Name of a Saint Disclosed and Established through Iconography


None of the old Georgian sources from the 9th century to the 1830’s mentions the name of ‘Sidonia’, the sister of Elioz, who brought the Lord’s tunic from Jerusalem to Mtskheta. Sidonia is not depicted or mentioned either on the murals, miniatures, or icons dating back to the 9th to 13th and also the 17th to 19th centuries that represent the erection and ascension of the living pillar or on the seals of the catholicoses of the 17th and 18th centuries, or the flag of Vakhtang VI. In the stories of Life of Saint Nino, published in the 19th century, Elioz’s sister is mostly referred to as ‘Sidonia,’ and the understanding is that she is well known to Georgians. In Teimuraz Bagrationi’s work – The History of Iveria from the Origins …, for the first time in 19 centuries, we encounter the name of Sidonia, the sister of Elioz and the embracer of the Lord’s tunic. The placement of the name ‘Sidonia’ in brackets at the mention of Elioz’s sister in Nikoloz Gulaberidze’s Sakitkhavi (The Reader), which was included in M. Sabinin’s book Georgia’s Paradise and the mentioning the name of Elioz’s sister on the icon The Glory of the Holy Orthodox Church of Georgia greatly contributed to the popularization and establishment of the name of Elioz’s sister - ‘Sidonia.’

keywords:Sidonia, Teimuraz Bagrationi, M. Sabinin Category: SCHOLARLY STUDIES Authors: Nana Gonjilashvili

Ioane Minchkhi – Georgian Hymnographer of the 10th Century


The 10th century is a “golden age” of Georgian hymnography. During that period several generations of hymnographers lived and worked in the churches and monasteries of Tao-Klarjeti and Mount Sinai: Ioane Minchkhi, Mikael Modrekili, Ioane Mtbevari, Ioane Zosime, Stepane Sananoisdze-Chqondideli, Ioane Konkozisdze, Ezra, Kurdanai, Philipe and others. Most of them are known under the name of “Mekheli”. They were the composers of both hymn text and melody at the same time. The greatest authority of the Georgian church, George the Athonite, evaluates their activity in the following way: “I love the Mekheli more than anyone else. I consider them to be my spiritual guides” (Ath. 45,40v).

keywords:Ioane Minchkhi Category: SCHOLARLY STUDIES Authors: Lela Khachidze

English-Georgian Dictionary


The history of European-Georgian lexicography gives a chronographically precise account of both the interest of European nations in Georgia and the Georgian people’s aspirations to and their interest in European countries. The history of European-Georgian lexicography begins back in 1629 with the publication in Rome of a Georgian-Italian Dictionary[6]. The book is important for its being the first printed book in Georgian. The dictionary was compiled by Stefano Paolini and a Georgian diplomat Niceforo Irbachi. In the 17th century, the lexicographic work with respect to the Italian language continued. An Italian missionary, Bernardo Maria da Napoli, who had lived and worked in Georgia for almost 10 years, compiled Italian-Georgian and Georgian-Italian dictionaries. The said dictionaries have not been yet published in their printed form and exist in the form of manuscripts[33, pp. 30-78; 30, pp. 171-180].

Bilingual Georgian dictionaries of the 17th century were created mainly with respect to the Italian language. The aggressive policy of the neighbouring Muslim states towards Georgia made Georgians seek Western help and support. In its turn, the Roman Catholic Church was interested in the setting up of its missionary centres in the East. They believed that the establishment of such centres would promote the spreading of the Roman Catholic faith. Georgia was among the states which attracted the attention of the Vatican. In the 17th century missionaries were sent to Georgia from Rome and they showed considerable interest in the Georgian language and culture and also learned Georgian which, as they believed, could facilitate their preaching Catholicism and would help them spread the Catholic religion much more successfully. This situation naturally had its impact on the Georgian bilingual lexicography of the 17th century.

keywords:English-Georgian word-lists, learner’s dictionaries, semantic asymmetry Category: SCHOLARLY STUDIES Authors: Tinatin Margalitadze

Georgian Hymnography


The paper sheds light on several trends of the development of Georgian hymnography, schools and the history of its study: from the standpoint of form, theology, literary-historical, symbolic-imagery and ideological standpoints. Identified are hymnographic schools of Palestine and Sinai, Tao-klarjeti, Mt. Athos, Gelati, Shiomghvime, David Gareja and the Catholic sate of Mtkheta, in particular the theological-hymnographic schools of Anton the Catholicos, which determined the stages, level and trends of the development of hymnography in Georgia. Georgian hymnography was in close relations with that of Byzantium with its themes, world view and metaphorical system, hence it is conceptualized in the context of Byzantine hymnographic culture.

The difference is shown between the musicality and poetics of Georgian and Byzantium hymn, manifested in the polyphony of Georgian song and the originality of the form of hymn. The outlines the prospects of research from a new point of view into the history and theory of Georgian and Byzantine hymnography.

keywords:Georgian hymnography, the oldest iadgari, Tao-Klarjeti Hymnographical schools, Athonite Hymnographic school. Category: SCHOLARLY STUDIES Authors: NESTAN SULAVA

The Hymn on Tiflis from the Wardā Collection


tfThe hymn under discussion is found only in one copy of the Wardā‘ōnītā collection, the largest East Syriac hymnologic collection, containing more than two hundred hymns, still being in use in the Church of the East (so called Nestorian). The hymn is met only in one manuscript of the collection, namely in Add. 1983, dated to 1550 AD (fol. 181r), in the Cambridge University Library.

The composition of the hymn on Tiflis is typical for one of the ‘catastrophic’ hymns ascribed to the poet GīwargīsWardā (the 13th century). Its main part consists of very detailed and shockingly naturalistic descriptions of the terrors and destruction caused to the city by the foreign invaders. The terrible devastation and massacre makes the author doubt God’s justice, which he expresses by addressing to Him the crucial questions left without answer (stanzas 50–55). Finally Righteous God rebukes the author and explains to him His will, i.e. testing humans before their transition to the other world of the eternal life (stanzas 56–61). Such a structure is met also in several other hymns ascribed to Warda. The role of the final condemner and revealer in different hymns may be played by various figures, such as God’s Righteousness, or the author’s Mind, or someone else. Thus, this type of hymn may be considered apologetic.

The historical context of the hymn is of particular interest. It describes the events that took place in 1220–1226 AD, a period when several different invaders encroached upon the Georgian people. These events were described in Arabic, Persian, Armenian and Georgian sources, and hence, there is enough information with which to compare the hymn.

keywords:Syriac hymnography, Warda Collection, A hymn on Tiflis. Category: SCHOLARLY STUDIES Authors: Anton Pritula