Old Georgian phrases and sentences 30 (Amirandarejaniani)   Leave a comment

Today’s selection is actually not Old Georgian, but later, belonging to the corpus of Middle Georgian. In this period, beginning in the 11th and 12th centuries, religious literature continued to be copied and composed, but there is a flowering of secular literature alongside it, in terms of both poetry and prose, very much influenced by Persian literature, with even more than one version of parts of the Šāh-nāma. The most famous product of the period, of course, is Shota Rustaveli‘s (შოთა რუსთაველი) Knight in the Panther’s Skin (ვეფხისტყაოსანი). (On Persian-Georgian contacts see here and here from the Encyclopaedia Iranica.) Students of Georgian language and literature, and well as students of comparative literature generally, would benefit by more accessible studies of these texts and the language used in them. Complete English translations, published alongside Georgian texts, are an obvious need, but a lexicon specifically based on this corpus of literature would be of great value.

The text below comes from the Amirandarejaniani, ascribed to Mose Khoneli (12th cent.). Thankfully, along with a number of other Middle Georgian texts, the edition of I. Lolašvili (1960) is available at TITUS, and there is even an English rendering by R.H. Stevenson: Amiran-Darejaniani: A Cycle of Medieval Georgian Tales traditionally ascribed to Mose Khoneli (Oxford, 1958).

Picture 45

 

The excerpt below comes from Ch. 3 (the numbering is not the same in the ET), p. 303 of Lolašvili’s edition, lines 30-33:

გამოჴდა პატარა ხანი, მოვიდა ნოსარ და კაცი ჰყვა შეპყრობილი. ოდეს მოიყვანა, საკვირველი კაცი იყო: ორი პირი ჰქონდა, ერთი შავი და ერთი — ვითა სისხლი. მით შავითა პირითა სპარსულად უბნობდა და წითლისა ვერა გავიგონეთ რა.

After some time, however, Nosar Nisreli came up: with him he brought a captive — and truly a strange man it was we now beheld! For he had two faces, one black and one blood-red. With the black he spoke Persian and with the red [in some tongue] we could not understand. (ET Stevenson, p. 28)

Vocabulary and grammar notes

  • გამო-ჴდ-ა [typo at TITUS გამოჴთა] aor 3s გამოჴდომა to pass, go by
  • პატარა a little, short
  • ხანი time
  • მოვიდა aor 3s მოსლვა to come
  • ჰ-ყვ-ა aor 3s ყვება to accompany, follow
  • შეპყრობილი captured, captive
  • ოდეს when
  • მო-ი-ყვან-ა aor 3s მოყვანება to bring (here)
  • საკვირველი (საკჳრველი) wonderful, amazing
  • ორი პირი numerals with the counted thing in the singular are regular (also the norm in Modern Georgian, see Aronson § 6.6). For an example in Old Georgian: Mt 14:19 Adishi და მოიღო ხუთი იგი პური და ორი თევზი (λαβὼν τοὺς πέντε ἄρτους καὶ τοὺς δύο ἰχθύας)
  • ჰ-ქონ-და impf 3s ქონება, to have, with the possessor marked by the ჰ- and the thing possessed is the grammatical subject (the vowel in the root, when fully present, is -ო- in Middle and Modern Georgian, but -უ- in earlier Georgian [Old აქუს, Modern აქვს he has (Rayfield et al. 118; cf. Marr-Brière 688 s.v. ქუნ)], although the v.n. ქონებაჲ is in Old Georgian, too: S-F 1279)
  • შავი black
  • ვითა = ვითარ
  • სისხლი blood
  • სპარსულად in Persian
  • უბნობ-და impf 3s უბნობა to speak
  • ვერა = ვერ
  • გა-ვ-ი-გონ-ე-თ aor 1pl გაგონება to grasp, recognize

I have previously discussed a passage from another Middle Georgian text, the Visramiani, and there is, I hope, more to come!

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