1902 Encyclopedia > Georgia (Central Transcaucasia)

Georgia
Central Transcaucasia




GEORGIA, a kingdom in central Transcaucasia, remarkable for the long list of its sovereigns, the monarchy having extended over a period of upwards of -2000 years, the kings reigning at times independently, or under the rule of Persia, Turkey, or the Eastern empire. The earliest name of the country was Karthli; the ancients knew it as Iberia, bounded on the one side by Colchis and on the other by Albania; and it has for centuries been called Georgia.

Georgia proper, which includes Karthli and Kakhetia, is bounded on the N. by Ossety and Daghestan, on the E. by Shekynn, on the S. by Shamshadyl and the khanates of Erivan and Ears, and on the W. by Gouria and Imeritia ; but the kingdom at times included Gouria, Mingrelia, Abkhasia, Imeritia, and Daghestan. and extended from the great mountain range to the Araxes. It now forms the government of Tiflis, divided into the districts of Doushett, Telav, Sygnah, Gori, and Akhalzikh, having an area of nearly 25,000 square miles, and in 1873 a population of 635,313, made up chiefly of Georgians and Armenians,— there being also Persians, Tatars, and a few Jews and Europeans. The chief city is the ancient capital of Tiflis, the seat of government, under a governor-general, for the whole of Transcaucasia, and the principal centre of com-merce. See CAUCASUS and TIFLIS.

Vegetable Products.—The valleys and declivities are fertile, producing maize, millet, barley, oats, rice, beans, lentils, and corn (which is best in the plains near Gori), also cotton, flax, and hemp, now exported exclusively to Russia. The vineyards cover 75,400 acres, the average produce of wine being at the rate of 230 gallons per acre; the valley of the Alazan yields the best qualities. It is consumed in the country and adjoining districts, the only wine ex-ported being that produced from vine-canes brought from the Crimea. Grapes are gathered in September, and the wine is fit for use one month after it has been put into a bourdyouk, " skin," or levevry, a huge earthen jar in which it may be preserved for years. New vines are planted every six, eight, or ten years, according to the nature of the soil, and are cut after the fruit is gathered, and again in March and April when the soil is turned up. The Lecanium vitis and Oidium have attacked the plants from time to time, though not in severe form, but the Phylloxera vastatrix has been hitherto quite unknown. In the vineyards are often seen the apple, pear, and quince trees; other fruits include the pomegranate, peach, apricot, plum, almond, mulberry, pistachio, figj cherry, walnut, hazel-nut, medlar, melon and water melon, raspberry, &c. In summer the banks of streams are covered with beautiful wild flowers,—the prim-rose in double form, the crocus of varied colours, and snowdrops appearing early in March in the greatest pro-fusion.

Animals.-—The domestic animals are the camel, ox, mule, ass, and buffalo as beasts of burden, with the goat, and an immense number of pigs, pork being favourite food. The horse—small, hardy, and enduring—is ridden more frequently unshod, except in the hills ; no pains are taken to improve the breed. The wild animals of greatest import-ance are the bear, ibex, wolf, hyaena, fox, wild boar, wild goat, and antelope; while the pheasant, woodcock, quail, and "partridge of the Caucasus" are the principal winged game. The fish taken in the Kour and other rivers are the sturgeon, silurus, carp, perch, trout, gudgeon, and a fish resembling the salmon, called oragoula by the Georgians. The great sturgeon, belouga or hansen, is taken at the estuary of the Kour in the Caspian.

Communication.—A railroad connects Tiflis with Poti on the Black Sea, the line over the Souram pass, 3037 feet above the sea, being laid at gradients of 1 in 22, over a distance of about 8 miles. Lines of rail are projected for connecting Vladykavkaz in the north, and Djoulpha at the Persian frontier, with the capital. Post-roads are excellent, and saddle-horses and comfortable vehicles for post-horses are to be obtained at the principal towns. Locomotion is very inexpensive.

History.—The material at the disposal of the historian of Georgia is scanty. An anonymous work of the 12th century gives the his-tory from the earliest times to the year 1124 ; another, also anony-mous, is a continuation to the division of the kingdom in 1445 ; and a third is the compilation by the Czarevitch Wakhoucht, being the complete annals from the earliest times to the year 1745. These, and a few pamphlets indifferently edited, if we except the memoirs of his family by Stephen Orbeliani, archbishop of Siouny in the 13th century, comprise all that is left to us during an in-terval of upwards of 2000 years.

The earliest Armenian chroniclers have included facts on Georgia, which it is believed were founded on traditions they received from the Georgians. According to these authorities, the Geoigian, Armenian, Kakhetian, Lesghian, Mingrelian, and other laces in Transcaucasia are the descendants of Thargamos, who was the great-grandson of Japhet, the son of Noah, though we read in Gen. x. 3 that Togarmah was the son of Gomer, who was the son of Japhet. Those different populations were afterwards included under the general name of Thargomosiany. The second son of Thar-gamos, named Karthlos, having settled in that part where is now the rivulet Karthli, became the patriarch and king of the people in the land around, called Karthli after himself. His son Mtzkhethos founded the city of Mtzkhetha, whicli became the capital; and a son of Mtzkhethos, named Ouphlis, was the author of the rock-cut town near Gori. At that period the title assumed by the ruler was mamasatclysy, "lord or head of the house," the worship being that of the sun, moon, and five planets. The first to revive the title of king was Pharnawaz, 302-237 B.C., who rid the country of the tyrant Ason, a governor appointed by Alexander the Great. Phar-nawaz originated the orthography of the Georgian language, and is said to have invented the military alphabet. In 140 B.C. Mir van became king. His son and successor was dethroned by his own subjects, and the crown offered to Ardaces I., whose son, Arshag, ascended the throne 71 B.C., the dynasty of Arsaces thus commenc ing its rule. The deeds of Sulla, Lucullus, Pompey, and Mithra. dates next serve to illustrate the courage and warlike qualities ot the people of Iberia. In 265 the Sassanian dynasty commenced in the person of Miriam, son of Shapour I., who was married to a daughter of the late king Asphagor. Miriam and all his subjects were converted to Christianity by Nouna or Nina, a poor captive, who had escaped the persecution of Tiridates, king of Armenia. She prevailed upon the people of Karthli to desist from offering human victims, and to overturn their pagan altars ; and the king erected a sanctuary, which was afterwards replaced by a noble edifice, 364-379, on the spot where now stands the cathedral at M'zhett. Miriam applied to Constantine for priests to instruct his people, and many were sent, among them being Eustace of Antioch. In 469 King Vakhtang, surnamed Gourgasal, " wolf-lion," founded a city which, he called Tbylysys-Kalaky, now Tifiis, on account of the warm springs there. Vakhtang established a patriarchate at Mtzkhetha, and constructed the fortress of Souram. He conquered Mingrelia, and brought the Ossets and Abkhasians under subjec-tion. He also took possession of a large part of Armenia, and hav-ing formed an alliance with Chosroes, king of Persia, even advanced into India. The seat of government was transferred from Mtzkhetha to Tbylysys-Kalaky, when Datchy came to the throne in 499. At this epoch the Georgian and Armenian Churches had separated; and a century later, the Georgian and Russian Churches united. On the death of Stephanos, who had ruled under the protection of the Eastern empire, a Bagratide named Gouram was nominated couropolate by the emperor. Soon after the appearance of Mahomet in the 7th century, the Arabs, having conqueied the Persians, en-tered Armenia and Georgia, and for nearly a century compelled all, under pain of death, to embrace Mahometanism. In 787 the Sassanian dynasty came to an end. Ashod I., Medz, " the Great," a Bagratide, succeeded, receiving from the caliph Haroun al Ras-chid the title of grand prince, and that of couropolate from the em-peror ; but it was not until about 841 that the sovereign (Bagrat I.) was recognized by the caliph as ruler, the country during the interval having been continually ravaged by the Arabs. Their last expedition, in the reign of Bagrat I., included the occupation of Tiflis. The reign of Bagrat III. marks an epoch, for that monarch, who was king of Abkhasia, succeeded to the crown of Georgia by right of inheritance, his sovereignty extending from the Black Sea to the Caspian. He encouraged the arts and sciences, and was the founder of the noble cathedral at Koutai's, the first building in the style of architecture thenceforth denominated Georgian. During the reign of Bagrat IV. the Seljuks commenced in 1048 a succession of invasions, until they were effectually repulsed by Liparit Orboulk at the head of a comparatively small force of Georgians, Armenians, and Greeks. Liparit himself was taken prisoner, and Bagrat carried off his wife in his absence; but, regain-ing his liberty, Liparit took up arms against his sovereign, and drove him out of his capital into Abkhasia. Bagrat appealing to the emperor, it was arranged that he should return to his kingdom of Georgia and Abkhasia, Liparit being suffered, as his dutiful sub-ject, to retain the province of Meskhy.

In 1064 the Seljuks under Arp-Aslan again overran Georgia, destroying Tiflis and slaughtering the inhabitants. In 1072 George II. ascended the throne, and in his reign Tiflis was again devastated by the Seljuks, the king himself being forced to fly. With his valiant son and successor, David III., the fortunes of Georgia changed, for the enemy was driven out of the plains of Kakhetia, and the land from Tiflis to Ani was freed of his presence in 1123 by Ivan Orbeliani, whose signal services were rewarded by elevation to the rank of constable. The next monarchs were Demetrius I. and David IV., the latter, at his death, entrusting his son Demna or Demetrius to the guardianship of Ivan Orbeliani, and the re-gency to his brother George, who with the assistance of Ivan, greatly extended the Georgian territory, rescuing from the Seljuks a largeI portion of Armenia. When in 1177 Demna had attained his majority, the nobles desirous of supporting the young prince's claims called upon Ivan, whose popularity had meanwhile been increasing, to place him on the throne. George fortified himself at Tiflis and awaited events ; his rule, how-ever, was too firmly established to be easily shaken, and, many of Ivan's partisans espousing his cause, he at length set out to besiege Lorhy, which Ivan and his charge had made their headquarters. Numerous desertions reduced the ranks of the besieged, until young Demna fled at last to the encampment of his uncle, and entreated him to spare his life. His prayer was granted, but he was deprived of his eyes, and otherwise mutilated. The prince having sur-rendered, Ivan declared his readiness to submit on condition that he should be honourably treated. George assented, showed his prisoner all honour until he had got the whole of his relatives into his power, when he ordered that all should be massacred, Ivan himself being blinded and brutally treated. Three only of his kinsmen were saved—a brother named Liparit, and his two sons who had gone to Persia to solicit the aid of the atabek Ildegouz. Erom them are descended the Orbeliani of the present day. At the time of their extermination, the possessions of the Orboulk comprised more than the half of Georgia. It is related that the ancestors of this powerful family, princes of the family of Djenkapour of the royal race of Djenesdan, first came to Karthli from that part of Asia which lies between China and the Ural; the fortress of Orpeth was given to them for a residence. In return for the friendly recep-tion accorded to them, they united with the Karthlosides in throwing off the Persian yoke, a service which obtained for the chief Orboulk the rank of sbasalar or generalissimo. During the reign of Pharnawaz, the Orboulk took precedence next to the sovereign, and matrimonial alliances were formed with the royal house. The first of the family individualized in the annals was the warrior Liparit (875-900). George III. died in 1184, and was succeeded by his only child Thamar, whose kingdom extended from the Caspian to the Black Sea, and from beyond the Caucasus to Armenia, for Trebizond, Erzeroum, Tovin, Kars, and Ani fell to her arms. Her missionaries travelled far and wide, and numerous churches were constructed, and thus it was that her many virtues and brilliant rule secured to her the title of Mep'he, "king." This great queen was succeeded in 1212-13 by her son George IV., surnamed Laska, "He who enlightens the world," who, assisted by the powerful noble, Ivan Mkhargrdzelidze, of the family that had replaced the Orbeliani in the royal favour, vanquished the Persians in many battles, conquering Gandja, and permanently occupying Kars. In 1220 and 1222 the Mongols again visited Georgia. The king left an infant son who afterwards reigned as David IV., but his own sister, Roussoudan, seized the crown in 1223, and passed a life not free from reproach. To revenge himself upon the queen, who refused his suit, Jalal-uddin twice occupied her capital, and her kingdom was again overrun by the Mongols, who committed fearful ravages. .Next follow the exploits of Timur, who invaded Georgia in 1386, and, having seized upon the capital, carried away the king, Bagrat V., who feigned conversion to Islamism that he might gain the confidence of the conqueror. By this means he succeeded in ob-taining from Timur a force of 12,000 men, for the purpose of pre-vailing upon his people to embrace Mahometanism. Bagrat had preconcerted his plans, and in due course every Tatar in his suite was slaughtered by his own warriors. In an ungovernable passion Timur re-entered Georgia (1393-94), and laid waste the entire country, levelling towns and villages, without sparing a single life. Satiated of bloodshed, he withdrew to the plains of Karabagh, and George VII., son and successor to Bagrat, returned upon the death of his father (1401) from the mountains where he had remained concealed, and occupied the capital. Timur made war upon him as well, compelling his submission, and in 1403 finally quitted the country. George was succeeded by Constantine II., whose successor, Alexander I., son of GeorgeVlL, restored the kingdom to prosperity; but towards the close of his days he conceived the unhappy idea of dividing his kingdom among his three sons, an act that was followed by internecine wars, rebellions, massacres, and foreign invasions. From about this period commence the relations of Russia with Georgia and its neighbouring principalities, for in 1492, during the war fomented between Turkey and Persia, Alexander, king of Kak-hetia, sought the protection of the czar John III. Again, in 1587, Boris Godounoffwas appealed to for succour; and when, in 1618, Shah Abbas invaded Georgia, Teimouraz I. applied for assistance to Michael Eebdorovitch (the first of the Romanoffs), as did also, in 1621, George III. king of Imeritia, and Mamia Gouriel the ruler of Gouria. In 1638 Levan, sovereign of Mingrelia, took the oath of allegiance to Alexis Michaelovitch, and in 1650 Alexander of Imeritia acknowledged the sovereignty of Russia. That empire, however, could not render material assistance to those petty sovereigns in distress, and little was done until fresh excesses committed by the Turks and Persians afforded Peter the Great the excuse for sending an expedition, in 1716, under Bekevitch a Circassian chieftain, to survey the Caspian shore and erect defences. Bekevitch was over-powered by the Tatars, and slaughtered with the whole of his force. Peter then occupied the western shore of the Caspian, taking the king of Georgia under his protection. This was Vakhtang VI., the author of a code that was in vogue until 1841, when Russian laws were in great measure introduced. But he was unable to resist JSadir Shah, and abdicating in 1724, retired to Astrakhan, where lie died. Peter being at peace with Turkey, and having concluded the treaty of Nystadt with Sweden, left Moscow, May 24, 1722, and embarked at Astrakhan with troops destined for Georgia and the Persian provinces. Derbent, Bakou, Ghylan, and Mazanderan fell into his power, and he constructed a fort on the river Soulak, which he named St Croix. All these places were ceded by treaty, in 1732, after Nadir Shah had delivered Karthli and Kakhetia from Turkish oppression. A few years later, in 1735, Turkey renounced all claim to those countries in favour of Persia. AVhen war broke out with Turkey in 1768, General Todleben was sent to the assist-ance of Solomon I., king of Imeritia, and the Turks were expelled that kingdom. Then followed the treaty of Kainardschi in 1774, by which Georgia, Imeritia, and Mingrelia were placed under the protection of Russia. In 1795 Aga Mahomet Shah laid Tiflis in ruins, a disaster that was succeeded by dissensions in the royal family; and Heraclius II., who in 1783 had declared himself the vassal of Russia, now appealed to that country for protection. The next sovereign, George XIII., renewed this appeal, which would have been granted but for the sudden death of the emperor Paul. Alexander 1. hesitated for a time, until George finally renounced his crown in 1799 in favour of Russia, drawing down upon him the hatred and curses of his country. His younger brother, Alexander, made an effort to secure the crown, but the chiefs saw the hopeless-ness of attempting to throw off the Russian yoke, and, being but poorly supported, the prince was beaten on the banks of the Lora. George died the following year, being the last of the Bagratides to occupy the throne of Georgia, which his ancestors had held for the space of 1029 years. It may he stated that the Bagrations claim descent from David, by his adulterous intercourse with the wife of Uriah! Georgia was now virtually annexed to the empire, and on September 12, 1801, Alexander I. issued a proclamation announc-ing the fact to the people of that country. In 1810 the prince of Imeritia revolted against Russia; but this movement was quickly suppressed, and the principality annexed. Mamia V., the ruler of Gouria, recognized the suzerainty of Russia in the same year, his principality being eventually annexed in 1829.

See Wakhoucht, Histoire de la Oiorgie, trans, by Brosset. and additions, S vols.,
3t Petersburg, 1849; Vladykyn, Sabesyednyk v'pouteshestvyry pa Kaclazou,
Moscow, 1874; Zeidleitz, Oic/ierk Vynadyelya Kavkdza, Tiflis, 1875; Comm. J.
Buchan Teller. R.N., The Crimea and Transcaucasia, 1877. (J. B. TE.)

Ethnology. —Of the three main groups into which the Caucasian races are now usually divided, the Georgian is in every respect the most important and interesting. It has accordingly largely occu-pied the attention of Orientalists almost incessantly from the days of Klaproth to the present time. Yet such are the difficulties con-nected with the origin and mutual relations of the Caucasian peoples that its affinities are still far from being clearly established. Anton Schiefner and P. V. Uslar, however, who must be accepted as undoubtedly the greatest authorities on the subject, have at least arrived at some negative conclusions valuable as starting points for further research. In their valuable papers, published in the Memoirs of the St Petersburg Imperial Academy of Sciences and elsewhere, they have finally disposed of the views of Bopp and Brosset, who attempted on linguistic grounds to connect the Georgians with the Aryan family. They also clearly show that Max Miiller's "Turanian" theory is untenable, and they go a long way towards proving that the Georgian, with all the other Cau-casian languages except the Ossetian, forms a distinct linguistic family absolutely independent of all others. This had already been suspected by Klaproth, and as the same conclusion has been arrived at by Fr. Miiller and Zagarelli, it is not likely to be set aside by further investigation.

Uslar's "Caucasian Family" comprises the following three great divisions:—

1. Western Group. Typical races: Tcherkessians and Abkhasians.
2. Eastern Group. Typical races : Tchetchenzes and Lesghians.
3. Southern Group. Typical race : Georgians.

Here the term " family" must be taken in a far more elastic sense than when applied, for instance, to the Aryan, Semitic, or Eastern Polynesian divisions of mankind. Indeed, Uslar would perhaps be the first to admit that the fundamental unity of the three groups has not yet been established, and that they present at least as wide divergencies as are found to exist between the Semitic and Hamitic linguistic families, whose primitive relationship has not yet been definitely determined. Thus, while the Abkhasian of group 1 is still at the agglutinating, the Lesghian of group 2 has fairly reached the inflecting state, and the Georgian seems still to waver between the two. In consequence of these different stages of development, Uslar hesitates finally to fix the position of Geoigian in the family, regarding it as possibly a connecting link between groups 1 and 2, but possibly also radically distinct from both.

Including all its numerous ramifications, the Georgian or southern group occupies the greater part of Transcaucasia, reaching from about the neighbourhood of Batoum on the Euxine eastwards to the Caspian, and merging southwards with the Armenians of Aryan stock. It comprises altogether nine subdivisions, as in the sub-joined table:—

1. The GEORGIANS PROPER, who are the Iberians of the ancients and the Grusya of the Russians, but who call themselves Karthalinians, and who in mediaeval times were masters of the Rion and Upper Kur as far as its junction _with the Alazan.
o2. The IMERITIANS, west of the Suram mountains as far as river Tzchenis-Tzchali.
3. The GURIANS. between the Rion and Lazistan.
4. The LAZES of Lazistan on the Euxine.
5. The SWANITHIANS, SHVANS, or SWANIANS, on the Upper Ingur and Tzchenis-Tzehali rivers.
6. The MINGRELIANS, between rivers Tzchenis-Tzchali, Rion, Ingur, and the Black Sea.
7. The TUSHES or MOSOKS, "1 u t , . . c ^
8. The PSHAVS or PH'TCHAVT, VAB?UT the "eadstreams of the Alazan and
9. The KHEVSURS, ..'.J J°™ "vers.

All these formed jointly the ancient kingdom of Iberia, whose mep'he or " king " resided at Mtzkhet till 469 A.D., when the seat of government was removed to the neighbouring Tphlissi or Tphilis-kalaki, i.e., "warm town," so called from its thermal springs. This place has ever since continued to be the capital of the king-dom, and now hears the abbreviated name of Tiflis. The repre-sentative branch of the race have always been the Karthalinians, a name which the native Christian chroniclers profess to trace back to Khartlos, second son of Thargamos, son of Japhet, son of Noah. From Thargamos all their tribes are by their writers called, collect-ively, Thargamossiani, and from Khartlos their country receives the name of Karthveli or Karthli. But no weight can be attached to these genealogies and etymologies, which would doubtless never have been heard of but for the national desire to connect the race with the Mosaic account of the dispersion. It is now pretty well established that the Georgians are the descendants of the aborigines of the Pambaki highlands, and that they found their way to their present homes from the south-east some four or five thousand years ago, possibly under pressure Irom the great waves of Aryan migra-tion flowing from the Eranian table-land westwards to Asia Minor and Europe. The terms Georgian and Grusya are simply corruptions of the Persian Qurj, as in Gurjistan = Gurjland = Georgia. The Georgians proper are limited on the east by the Alazan, on the north by the Caucasus, on the west by the Meskhian hills, separating them from the Imeiitians, and on the south by the Kur river and the Karadagh and the Pambaki mountains. Southwards, however, no hard and fast ethnical line can be drawn, for even immediately south of Tiflis, Georgians, Armenians, and Tatars are found inter-mingled confusedly together.

The Georgian race, which represents the oldest elements of civilization in the Caucasus, is distinguished by some excellent mental qualities, and is especially noted for personal courage and a passionate love of music. The people, however, are described as fierce and cruel, and addicted to the vice of intemperance, though Von Thielmann speaks of them as " rather hard drinkers than drunkards.'" Physically they are a fine athletic race of pure Cau-casian type ; hence during the Moslem ascendency Georgia supplied, next to Circassia, the largest number of female slaves for the Turkish harems and of recruits for the Osmanli armies, more especially for the select corps of the famous Mameluks.

The social organization rested on a highly aristocratic basis, and the lowest classes were separated by several grades of vassalage from the highest. But since their incorporation with the Russian em-pire, these relations have become greatly modified, and a more, sharply defined middle class of merchants, traders, and artisans has been developed. The power of life and death, formerly claimed and freely exercised by the nobles over their serfs, has also been expressly abolished. They are altogether at present in a fairly well-to-do con-dition, and it cannot be denied that under the Russian administra-tion they have become industrious, and have made considerable moral and material progress.

Missionaries sent by Constantine the Great introduced Christi-anity about the beginning of the 4th century. Their efforts were greatly aided by the exemplary life of a female slave named Nina, who came into Georgia during the reign of King Miriam (265-318), and who occupies a prominent place in the ecclesiastical records of the country. Since that time the people have, under severe pressure from surrounding Mahometan communities, remained faithful to the principles of Christianity, and are still amongst the most devoted adherents of the orthodox Greek Church. Indeed it was their attachment to the national religion that caused them to call in the aid of the Christian Muscovites against the proselytizing attempts of the Shiite Persians—a step which ultimately brought about their political extinction.

As already stated, the Karthli language is not only fundamentally distinct from the Aryan linguistic family, but cannot be shown to possess any clearly ascertained affinities with either of the two northern Caucasian groups. It resembles them chiefly in its phonetic system, so that accoiding to Rosen (Sprache der Lazeri) all the lan-guages of central and western Caucasus might be adequately rendered by the Georgian alphabet. Though certainly not so harsh as the Avar, Serghian, and other Daghestan languages, it is very far from being euphonious, and the frequent recurrence of such sounds as ts, ds, thz,
kli, khh. gh (Arab. £), q (Arab. JJ), for all of which there are distinct characters, renders its articulation rather more energetic and rugged than is agreeable to ears accustomed to the softer tones of the Irenian and western Aryan tongues. It presents great facilities for composition, the laws of which are very regular. Its peculiar morphology, standing midway between agglutination and true inflexion, is well illustrated by its simple declension common to noun, adjec-tive, and pronoun, and its more intricate verbal conjugation, with its personal endings, seven tenses, and incorporation of pronominal subject and object, all showing decided progress towards the inflect-ing structure of the Aryan and Semitic tongues.

Georgian is written in a native alphabet obviously based on the Armenian, and like it attributed to St Mesropius (Mesrob), who flourished in the 6th century. Of this alphabet there are two forms, differing so greatly in outline and even in the number of the letters that they might almost he regarded as two distinct alphabetic systems. The first and oldest, used exclusively in the Bible and liturgical works, is the square or monumental Khutsuri, i.e., "sacer-dotal," consisting of 38 letters, approaching the Armenian in appear-ance. The second is the Mkhedruli kheli, i.e., "soldier's hand," used in ordinary writing, and consisting of 40 letters, neatly shaped and full of curves, hence at first sight not unlike the modern Bur-mese form of the Pali.

Of the Karthli language there are several varieties ; and, besides those comprised in the above table, mention should be made of the Kakhetian current in the historic province of Kakhetia. A dis-tinction is sometimes drawn between the Karthalinians proper and the Kakhetians, but it rests on a purely political basis, having origi-nated with the partition in 1424 of the ancient Iberian estates into the three new kingdoms of Karthalinia, Kakhetia, and Imeritia. On the other hand, both the Laz of Lazistan and the Swanian present such serious structural and verbal differences from the common type that they seem to stand rather in the relation of sister tongues than of dialects to the Georgian proper. All derive obviously from a common source, but have been developed independently of each other. The Tush or Mosok appears to be fundamentally a Kistian or Tchetchenz idiom affected by Georgian influences.

The Bible is said to have been translated into Georgian as early as the 5th century. The extant version, however, dates only from the 8 th century, and is attributed to St Euthyniius. But even so, it is far the most ancient work known to exist in the language. Next in importance is, perhaps, the curious poem entitled The Amours oj Turiel and Western Darejan, or The man clothed in the panther's skin, attributed to Rustevel, who Eved during the prosperous reign of Queen Thamar (11th century). Prince Leonidze of Akhmeti in Kakhetia showed Baron von Thielmann a rare and very old MS. of this poem, written on fine hemp paper in exquisite Mkhedruli char-acters, and embellished with arabesques and miniatures evidently the work of an eminent artist. Other noteworthy compositions are the national epics of the Baramiani and the Bostomiani, and the prose romances of Visramiani and Darejaniani, the former by Sarg of Thmogvi, the latter by Mosi of Khoni. Apart from these, the great bulk of Georgian literature consists of ecclesiastical writings, hymns sacred and profane, national codes, and chronicles.

Seo Baron Max von Thielmann's Journey in the Caucasus, Persia, and Turkey in Asia, translated by Dr Charles Hemeage, London 1875; Fr. MUller's Ethnographie and Reise der Oestr. Fregatte Novarra, Vienna, 1868; Anton Schiefner and General P. V. Uslar, numerous papers in the Bulletins ot the Académie Impériale des Sciences de Saint Petersbourg for 1859, Ac; M. Zagarelli's Examen de la littérature relative à la grammaire Géorgienne, St Petersburg, 1873 ; Michel Smirnow's paper In Revue d' Anthropologie, April 15,1878. (A. H. K.)



The above article was written by two authors, Commander Telfer and A. H. Keane.








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