Old Georgian phrases and sentences   1 comment

I have for some time now been collecting from various translated and original Georgian sources phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that interested me for one reason or another. This corpus makes for reading-material that is both philologically instructive and diverting. While hardly making a commitment to daily offerings, I’m hoping to share regularly some of these selections with a translation and sometimes with a few philological remarks. So it is not a promise of “daily Old Georgian sentences” or the like, but even with less than daily frequency, perhaps for those that are interested — in practicing Old Georgian, in reading interesting sentences out of context, in finding unexpected words that lead to more things un-looked-for, etc. — the regularity and selection will prove to furnish a welcome pastime. The posts appear individually on the blog and are all compiled here.

1 (June 15, 2013)

აღდეგ და ვიდოდე ვინაჲცა გნებავს სახლსა ჩემსა

Surge et vade quocumque vis e domo mea.

Source: G. Garitte, Vies géorgiennes de S. Syméon Stylite l’Ancien et de S. Ephrem, CSCO 171-172 (Louvain, 1957), Life of Ephrem, § 2.

2 (June 16, 2013)

და ვითარ ესე ყოველი დავისწავე მე და შემიყვანა მე რიცხუსა ვარსკულავთა მოქცევისასა.

Cum autem haec omnia didicissem, me initiavit calculo conversionis stellarum.

When I had learned all this, he brought me to the number of the stars’ turning.

Source: Peeters, P. “La Version Ibéro-arménienne de L’autobiographie de Denys l’Aréopagite.” Analecta Bollandiana 39 (1921): 277–313. § 4. (Online here).

3 (June 18, 2013)

A nice, easy one:

რამეთუ ჟამი ახლოს არს

ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγὺς

…for the time is near.

Source: Revelation 1:3 (available here from TITUS).

4 (June 21, 2013)

Pilate’s famous question to Jesus in John 18:38, which reads the same in the Adishi, Pre-Athonite, Athonite versions (on the Old Georgian Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament, see the recent survey by Childers in the bibliography below):

ჰრქუა მას პილატე: რაჲ არს ჭეშმარიტებაჲ?

λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πιλᾶτος· τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

The last word of the line is derived from the adjective ჭეშმარიტი, itself from Armenian ճշմարիտ, on which see Ačaṛyan’s dictionary, vol. 3, p. 209, available online here. Other examples of this and related words are easy to find: John 1:9 (Adishi) იყო ნათელი ჭეშმარიტი Ἦν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν; 1:14 სავსჱ მადლითა და ჭეშმარიტებითა πλήρης χάριτος καὶ ἀληθείας; and from the K᾽art᾽lis c᾽xovreba, არა იყო წინასწარმეტყუელი და მოძღუარი სჯულისა ჭეშმარიტისა “there was no prophet and teacher of the true faith” (Rapp, Qauxch᾽ishvili, and Abuladze, eds., Kart᾽lis cxovreba: The Georgian Royal Annals and Their Medieval Armenian Adaptation, 2 vols. Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1998, vol. 1, p. 18).

Jacek Malczewski, Christ before Pilate, 1910. See here.
Jacek Malczewski, Christ before Pilate, 1910. See here.


Childers, Jeff W. 2012. “The Georgian Version of the New Testament.” In The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis, edited by Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes, 2nd ed., 293–327. New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents 42. Brill.

5 (June 27, 2013)

თქ~ნი წიგნი ზღაპარ არს

Your book is a fairy-tale.

Source: The Martyrdom of Babylas (cf. BHG 205), § 4, as published by K. Kekelidze in Monumenta hagiographica georgica: Keimena (Tblisi, 1918), vol. 1, p. 45. For a notice of this volume see Peeters in Analecta Bollandiana 43 (1925): 379-383.

6 (July 1, 2013)

ესრეთ იყვნეს მთასა მას სიმართლით და სიწმიდით. და იყო მუნ მშჳდობაჲ და განსუენებაჲ.

Thus were they on the mountain in righteousness and holiness, and there was there peace and rest.

Source: The Cave of Treasures § 7.3. See Ciala Kourcikidzé, ed. La caverne des trésors. Version géorgienne. CSCO 526. Scriptores iberici 23 (Peeters, 1993).

7 (July 5, 2013)

მცირედ არიან აწინდელნი ესე ჟამნი

Pauca sunt haec praesentia tempora.

Slight are these present times.

Source: The Xanmeti Mravalt’avi 1.13. See Joseph Molitor, Monumenta iberica antiquiora, CSCO 166 (Louvain, 1956), 65-90.

8 (July 7, 2013)

რად უქმ ხარ, სიკუდილო, და არა შეჰკრებ სნეულთა საუნხეთა შენთა?

(The Devil speaking to Death) Why are you idle, Death, and not gathering the ill into your hoards?

Source: Homily on Death and the Devil, attributed to Ephrem, 3.4. See Gérard Garitte, “Homélie d’Éphrem «Sur La Mort et Le Diable»: Version géorgienne et version arabe.” Le Muséon 82 (1969): 123–163; here p. 142. As usual, Garitte gives a fine literal Latin trans. for the Georgian; the Arabic version was published by Krachkovsky (“Новозаветный апокриф в арабской рукописи 885–886 г.” Византийский Временник 14 (1907): 246-275), and Garitte adds more from Mingana Chr. Arab. 93, and a Latin trans. of Krachkovsky’s text.

9 (July 15, 2013)

პირველად გ(ა)ნიზრახე და მერმე ზრახევდი.

First think, and then talk.

Source: Sentences of Sextus 153 (Georgian 22). See Garitte, Gérard. “Vingt-deux ‘Sentences de Sextus’ en géorgien.” Le Muséon 72 (1959): 355–363.

The Sentences of Sextus, a Christian — the degree of its Christianness can be debated, as already noted by Jerome — gnomological text of the second or third century CE written in Greek, enjoyed notable popularity in Late Antiquity, with translations, in part or in whole, into Latin (by Rufinus), Coptic (Nag Hammadi), Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, and Gǝʿǝz. (I don’t know of an Arabic version of the Sentences, but there probably was one. Dimitri Gutas, Greek Wisdom Literature in Arabic Translation. A Study of the Graeco-Arabic Gnomologia, (New Haven 1975) would be a good place to start looking, but I don’t have access to it now.) Garitte published the collection of 22 sayings from the work in Georgian (სიტყოანი სოჳქესტისნი) based on Sinai codex 35 (10th cent.). This Georgian version was translated from the Armenian translation, not directly from Greek. Both the Armenian and Greek sentences have a clause not in the Georgian, but for comparison here are the corresponding parts: σκέπτου πρὸ τοῦ λέγειν and նախ խորհեսջիր եւ ապա խօսեսջին.

Chadwick, Henry. The Sentences of Sextus. Cambridge, 1959.

Sargisean, B. Srboy hōrn Ewagri Pontac’woy Vark’ ew Matenagrut’iwnk’. Venice, 1907.

10 (August 1, 2013)

ხოლო იგინი ჭამდეს და სუმიდეს და განსცხრებოდეს

They were eating, drinking, and amusing themselves.

11 (August 5, 2013)

Jn 16:33, Pre-Athonite and Athonite:

მე მიძლევიეს სოფელსა.

ἐγὼ νενίκηκα τὸν κόσμον.

The Adishi version, instead of the perfect (a-me-victum-est = vici), has the aorist ვსძლე.

Cave of Treasures 54.5. See Ciala Kourcikidzé, La caverne des trésors, version géorgienne, CSCO 526, Scriptores iberici 23 (Louvain, 1993), with FT by J.-P. Mahé in the accompanying CSCO 527, Scr. iber. 24.

12 (September 9, 2013)

Our next Old Georgian excerpt comes from an episode in the story of Symeon the Stylite, § 21 (Garitte, CSCO 171-172, with text also available at TITUS here), two sentences reporting a fiendish onslaught by some devil-inspired beasts.

და ბრძოლა სცა ეშმაკმან მას შინა ბრძოლითა დიდითა, და მოიყვანნა მის ზედა მრავალნი მჴეცთაგანნი, გუელნი და ვეშაპნი, რომელნი ჰბერვიდეს და ისტუენდეს მის ზედა…

…et pugnam dedit ei diabolus in eo pugna magna, et adduxit super eum multas e bestiis, lupos [!] et dracones, qui sufflabant et sibilabant super eum… (Garitte’s LT)

…and the devil gave him a fight with a great fight within him, and brought against him many beasts, snakes and dragons, which were breathing and hissing at him…

Here are a few grammatical and lexical helps for those that might want them:


  • ს-ც-ა aor 3sg O3 ცემაჲ to give (the phrase with მას შინა here strikes me as a little strange, and that strangeness is also reflected in my translation, as well as Garitte’s LT)
  • მო-ი-ყვან-ნ-ა aor 3sg + N-infix მოყვანება to bring in
  • ჰ-ბერვ-ი-დ-ეს impf 3pl O3 ბერვა to breathe, blow (Z. Sarjweladze and H. Fähnrich, Altgeorgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch [2005], 101: “blasen, hauchen, einhauchen”)
  • ი-სტუენ-დ-ეს impf 3pl სტუენა to hiss (cf. სტუენა “hissing” in Rayfield et al., Comprehensive Georgian-English Dict.,1197, which also agrees with Garitte’s LT, but Sarjweladze-Fähnrich, 1116, “pfeifen”!)

Other vocabulary

  • ბრძოლაჲ fight, struggle
  • ეშმაკი devil, demon
  • მჴეცი wild animal, beast (here analyzed as მჴეც-თა-გან-ნი)
  • გუელი snake (e.g. ὄφις in versions of Mt 7:10 and Jn 3:14; but compare Garitte’s LT!)
  • ვეშაპი δράκων (cf. Arm. վիշապ, etc.; see H. Ačaṙian, Arm. Etym. Dict., IV 341-342)
13 (October 10, 2013)

A characteristic feature of certain verbs in Georgian, including those referred to in the study of modern Georgian as “Conjugation IV” or “indirect” verbs, is that in certain forms they take the “logical” (merely a term of convenience) subject in the dative case and the logical direct object in the nominative case (cf. Aronson, Grammar, Lesson 12). (Similar constructions are not unknown in Indo-European and Semitic languages.) Verbs with such a construction, often verbs of feeling and emotion, in Old Georgian include (with a few examples):

  • აქუს “to have”: ძესა კაცისასა არა აქუს, სადა თავი მიიდრიკოს | ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ (Lk 9:58 At)
  • ყუარება “to love”” უყუარს ძილი | φιλοῦντες νυστάξαι (Isa 56:10)
  • ძულება “to hate”: see below
  • ძინავს “to sleep” (cf. ძილი in Isa 56:10 above): ელის ეძინა | Ηλι ἐκάθευδεν (1Sam 3:2 Jer Lect)
  • წყურილი “to be thirsty”: ნეტარ არიან, რომელთა ჰმშიოდის და სწყუროდის სიმართლისათჳს | μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην (Mt 5:6 PA)
  • ნებვა “to want”: რომელთა ჰნებავს ბრძოლად | τὰ τοὺς πολέμους θέλοντα (Ps 67:31)
  • რწმენა “to believe”: რაჲთა ვიხილოთ და გურწმენეს იგი | ἵνα ἴδωμεν καὶ πιστεύσωμεν (Mk 15:32 Ad)
  • სმენა “to hear”: არა მესმიან ცუდნი ეგე სიტყუანი შენნი | I do not hear your empty words (MartAbo 70.23)

The first part of Proverbs 8:13, here from the Jerusalem Lectionary, gives an example of the construction: შიშსა უფლისასა სძულს უკეთურებაჲ გინებაჲ და ანპარტავანებაჲ და ზრახვაჲ უკეთურთაჲ | φόβος κυρίου μισεῖ ἀδικίαν, ὕβριν τε καὶ ὑπερηφανίαν καὶ ὁδοὺς πονηρῶν.

The Georgian glossed is:

შიშ-სა უფლ-ისა-სა ს-ძულ-ს უკეთურება-ჲ

fear-DAT lord-GEN-DAT 3SG.OBJ-hate-PRS.3SG.SBJ wickedness-NOM

გინება-ჲ და ანპარტავანება-ჲ და ზრახვა-ჲ უკეთურ-თა-ჲ

abuse-NOM and arrogance-NOM and counsel-NOM wicked-OBL.PL-NOM

“The fear of the Lord hates wickedness, abuse, arrogance, and the counsel of the wicked.”

The same verb “to hate” occurs again in at the end of the verse, but this time as aorist, where it takes a direct construction: გულარძნილნი ალაგნი მოვიძულენ | μεμίσηκα δὲ ἐγὼ διεστραμμένας ὁδοὺς κακῶν (nothing in the Georgian version corresponds to κακῶν).

გულარძნილ-ნი ალაგ-ნი მო-ვ-ი-ძულ-ენ

twisted-NOM.PL path-NOM.PL PRV-1.SBJ-CV-hate[AOR]-PL.OBJ (PRV = preverb, CV = character vowel)

“I hated the twisted paths.”

(As usual in Georgian, the aorist verb takes its direct object in the nominative, but this construction is otherwise quite unlike that used with the verb in the first part of the verse.)

14 (October 30, 2013)

Among the many hagiographic traditions that have found few linguistic bounds in the history of Christian literature is the story of Barlaam and Io(d)asaph, known in Georgian as the Balavariani. I don’t want to get into the question of how and where this tradition from India, going back to stories of the life of the Buddha (for accessible excerpts of which from the Pali Canon see here), was first made into a Christian text (see here e.g.); I only want to highlight this text in two ways: first, with a look at some lines from the beginning of the work to continue my Old Georgian phrases and sentences, and second, by putting together a convenient beginning bibliography on the text as it exists in Georgian and Greek, as well as some other languages of eastern Christianity. If the selected Georgian bit below is of no interest or use to readers, maybe the bibliography will be.

Ioasaph, apparently confused for Asaph (of the Psalms), in Walters 733, f. 36v; see here.
Ioasaph (?), apparently confused for Asaph (of the Psalms), in Walters 733, f. 36v; see here.

The Georgian text survives in two recensions (see Tarchnišvili 1958). The snippet here is from recension A, § 1 (available at TITUS here), and the accompanying English translation is adapted from Lang’s (1966).

(იყო იგი) შეყოფილი გონებითა ნებათა და საშუებელთა ამის სოფლისათა
He was tied to thinking on the desires and delights of this world

და დამონებულ ნებასა თავისა თჳსისასა,
and enslaved to his own will,

და ყოვლადვე ვერ წინააღმდგომელ შუებათა მიმართ განმხრწნელთა სულისათა.
and wholly unopposed to the indulgences that corrupt the soul.

The sentence of the Greek that most closely matches this one is κατὰ ψυχὴν δὲ ἐσχάτῃ πιεζόμενος πτωχείᾳ καὶ πολλοῖς κακοῖς συμπνιγόμενος, τῆς Ἑλληνικῆς ὑπάρχων μοίρας καὶ σφόδρα περὶ τὴν δεισιδαίμονα πλάνην τῶν εἰδώλων ἐπτοημένος (1.43-46, Volk 2006: 10). The Georgian text, a little before the above sentence, mentions the king’s non-christianity (იყო იგი წარმართი ფრიად, in recension B იყო იგი წარმართი, კერპთ მსახური), but the Greek expands it further here.

The text offers no difficulties in terms of grammar. As seen in the layout above, the structure is built around three participles (შეყოფილი, დამონებულ, [ვერ] წინააღმდგომელ) and their connected nouns. In the order of the text, here are all but the commonest words (but not all of these are uncommon):

  • შეყოფილი joined, bound
  • გონებაჲ thinking
  • ნებაჲ desire
  • საშუებელი treat, delight
  • დამონებული enslaved
  • წინააღმდგომელი opposing, antagonistic
  • შუებაჲ indulging
  • განმხრწნელი (also written with -ჴ-) corrupting, ruining


(For the older publications, see generally BHO 141-145 for Armenian [with Marr 1899 below), Arabic, and Gǝʕǝz (with Weninger 2003 below); for Syriac see GSL 97-98; and for Arabic, see GCAL I 546-548. Further works on the Georgian text are listed in D.M. Lang, Cat. of Georgian and Other Caucasian Printed Books in the British Museum (1962), cols., 25-27, and D. Barrett, Cat. of the Wardrop Collection (1973), p. 25. The non-Greek texts are treated more recently in Volk 2009: 495, but specifically on the Georgian text, see 98-115.)

Asmussen, J.P. (1988). Barlaam and Iosaph. Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 3, p. 801. Online here.

Beck, Hans-Georg. (1959). Kirche und theologische Literatur im byzantinischen Reich. Byzantinisches Handbuch 2.1. Munich. Pages 482-483.

Doelger, F. (1953). Der griechische Barlaam-Roman ein Werk der H. Johannes von Damaskos. Ettal.

Krumbacher, Karl. (1897). Geschichte der byzantinischen Literatur. 2d ed. Munich. Pages 886-891. Available here; unfortunately these pages are in part poorly scanned.

Lang, D. M. (1955). St. Euthymius the Georgian and the Barlaam and Ioasaph Romance. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 17(2), 306–325.

Lang, D. M. (1957a). The Life of the Blessed Iodasaph: A New Oriental Christian Version of the Barlaam and Ioasaph Romance (Jerusalem, Greek Patriarchal Library: Georgian MS 140). Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 20(1/3), 389–407.

Lang, D. M. (1957b). The Wisdom of Balahvar. A Christian Legend of the Buddha. London: George Allen and Unwin.

Lang, David Marshall. (1966). The Balavariani (Barlaam and Josaphat): A Tale from the Christian East Translated from the Old Georgian. With an introduction by Ilia Abuladze. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Available here.

Mahé, J.-P., & Mahé, A. (1993). La sagesse de Balahvar. Une vie christianisée du Bouddha. Paris: Gallimard.

Marr, N. Y. (1899). Армянскоь грузинскіе матеріалы для исторіи Душеполезной Повѣсти о Варлаамѣ и Іоасафѣ (Armeno-Georgian Materials for the Story of Barlaam and Ioasaph). Записки Восточного Отделениа Императорского Русскаго Археологическаго Общества, 11, 49–78.

Martin-Hisard, B. (2002). Le monde géorgien médiéval et l’Inde. Travaux et mémoires, 14, 457–471.

Tarchnišvili, M. (1958). Les deux recensions du «Barlaam» géorgien. Le Muséon, 71, 65–86.

Wolff, R. L. (1937). The Apology of Aristides: A Re-Examination. Harvard Theological Review, 30, 233–247.

van Lantschoot, Arnold. (1966). Deux paraboles syriaques (Roman de Barlaam et Josaphat). Le Muséon 79: 133-154.

Volk, Robert. (2006.) Die Schriften des Johannes von Damaskos VI/2. Historiae animae utilis de Barlaam et Ioasaph (spuria): Text und zehn Appendices. Berlin and New York.

Volk, Robert. (2009.) Die Schriften des Johannes von Damaskos VI/1. Historiae animae utilis de Barlaam et Ioasaph (spuria): Einführung. Berlin and New York.

Weninger, Stefan. (2003). Bärälam wäyǝwasǝf. Encyclopaedia Aethiopica 1: 472-473.

Wolff, R. L. (1939). Barlaam and Ioasaph. Harvard Theological Review, 32, 131–139.

Zotenberg, H. (1886). Notice sur le livre de Barlaam et Joasaph. Notice et extraits des manuscrits de la Biliothèque nationale 28: 1-166. Available here.

15 (November 15, 2013)

In a previous episode of this series, I gave part of Luke 9:58 (// Mt 8:20) without any further explanation. Here’s the whole verse (minus the introduction of Jesus’ direct speech) in the Adishi version. The Pre-Athonite and Athonite versions have only small differences, which are indicated below. (Incidentally, it is usually instructive to read these three versions side-by-side. I am preparing some documents for the synoptic study of these Georgian versions of the Transfiguration and the Temptation of Jesus pericopes.)

First, some vocabulary:

  • მელი fox
  • მიდრეკა to lean
  • [მფრინველი bird]
  • საყუდელი refuge, residence
  • ფრინველი bird (Rayfield et al. 1293; as such not in Sarj.-Fähn., but note ფრინვა to fly)
  • ჩენა to appear to/for (i.e. to be seen to belong to, with the CV უ- to mark an indirect object as possessor). For the second occurrence of this verb in the verse, the Pre-Ath. and Ath. versions have აქუს. (For უჩს, another place is Vep’xistqaosani 82a: მეფესა ესე ამბავი უჩს, ვითა მღერა ნარდისა, “This news seemed to the king [or The king held this news] as [lightly as] playing backgammon.”)
  • ჴურელი hole

αἱ ἀλώπεκες φωλεοὺς ἔχουσιν
მელთა ჴურელი უჩნს

καὶ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσεις,
და ფრინველთა ცისათა საყუდელი,
(Pa and At have მფრინველთა for ფრინველთა.)

ὁ δὲ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἔχει ποῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν κλίνῃ.
ხოლო ძესა კაცისასა არა უჩს, სადა თავი მიიდრიკოს.

Astute Gospel-readers will remember that this is not the only place where Jesus uses the word “fox”: he calls Herod one at Lk 13:32 (here again in the Adishi version):

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς·
ხოლო თავადმან ჰრქუა მათ:

πορευθέντες εἴπατε τῇ ἀλώπεκι ταύτῃ·
მივედით და არქუთ მელსა მას:

ἰδοὺ ἐκβάλλω δαιμόνια
აჰა, ესერა, განვასხამ ეშმაკთა

καὶ ἰάσεις ἀποτελῶ σήμερον καὶ αὔριον
და კურნებასა აღვასრულებ დღეს და ხვალე,

καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ τελειοῦμαι.
და ზეგე აღვესრულები.

16 (December 16, 2013)

It’s been too long since an update to “Old Georgian phrases and sentences”, so here is a seasonably fitting selection, Luke 2:7, given below in Greek and in three Georgian versions (Adiši, Pre-Athonite, and Athonite [the last two actually identical]).

καὶ ἔτεκεν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς τὸν πρωτότοκον, καὶ ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν αὐτὸν ἐν φάτνῃ, διότι οὐκ ἦν αὐτοῖς τόπος ἐν τῷ καταλύματι.


და შვა ძე იგი თჳსი პირმშოჲ და შეგრაგნა იგი და შთააწვინა ბაგასა, რამეთუ არა იყო მათდა ადგილ სავანესა მას.

Pre-Athonite and Athonite

და შვა ძჱ იგი მისი პირმშოჲ და შეხჳა იგი სახუეველითა და მიიწვინა იგი ბაგასა, რამეთუ არა იყო მათა ადგილ სავანესა მას.

Starting with the Adiši version, the vocabulary is:

  • შობა to bear (aor 3s)
  • ძეჲ son
  • პირმშოჲ firstborn
  • შეგრაგნა to wrap up (aor 3s)
  • შთაწვინა to lay down (aor 3s)
  • ბაგაჲ manger
  • -და to, for
  • ადგილი place
  • სავანეჲ housing, habitation

And the additional items for the other (identical) versions, differing from the Adiši version for ἐσπαργάνωσεν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀνέκλινεν, are:

  • შეხუევა to wrap up (aor 3s)
  • სახუეველი cover, wrapper, blanket (NB cognate acc.)
  • მიწვენა to lay down (aor 3s)

I hope to have something to post in a few days for the whole Xmas story from Luke in Old Georgian, so stay tuned!

17 (January 6, 2014)

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted a short Georgian bit. Here’s something from Jeremiah: nothing difficult, only a few vocabulary words that may be new to some readers.

Jeremiah 23:29 (Oški/Jerusalem: R.P. Blake and M. Brière, The Old Georgian Version of the Prophets, PO 29.6 and 30.3.)

οὐχὶ οἱ λόγοι μου ὥσπερ πῦρ φλέγον, λέγει κύριος, καὶ ὡς πέλυξ κόπτων πέτραν;

აჰა ესერა სიტყუანი ჩემნი ვითარცა ცეცხლი მოტყინარჱ, იტყჳს უფალი, და ვითარცა წერაქჳ, რომელმან განკუეთის კლდჱ

Some vocabulary:

  • ცეცხლი fire
  • მოტყინარჱ burning, flaming
  • წერაქჳ pick-axe
  • განკუეთა to split (here, aorist iterative)
  • კლდჱ rock

18 (January 13, 2014)

Again with the prophets, this time Isaiah. Here is part of the confrontation between the messenger of Sennacherib and the representatives of the people of Judea, where they tell him to speak to them in Aramaic, not in “Judean” in the hearing of the rest of the people (Isa 36:11). The Georgian version (Oški/Jerusalem, ed. Blake and Brière) is notable for having “in Persian” immediately before “in Aramaic”, and also for specifically mentioning the name/title Rab-šāqēh; the former characteristic is unique, as far as I know, and the latter agrees with the Syriac (and Hebrew) text, over against the Greek and Armenian (see below). This Georgian version does, however, have the extended question at the end of the verse, in agreement with the Greek and Armenian. What about სპარს-ებრ (spars-ebr, “in Persian”)? At the risk of seeming harebrained: One wonders if a wandering eye or ear of some Georgian scribe who had before him an Armenian version somehow inadvertently turned the combination of պարսպաւս (parspaws, “the wall”) and the ending -րէն (of ասորերէն and հրէարէն) into Պարսկերէն (Parskerēn, “in Persian”), which would be სპარს-ებრ in Georgian! The possibility may be present, but it is remote; I can, however, come up with no more likely explanation for now.

Here’s the text, with the phrases separated into lines for easy reading.

Isaiah 36:11 (Oški/Jerusalem)

და ჰრქუეს ჰრაფსაკს ელიაკიმ და სომნა და იოაქ˙

ეტყოდე მონათა შენთა სპარს-ებრ ასურ-ებრ.

რამეთუ მესმის ჩუენ.

და ნუ მეტყჳ ჩუენ ჰურია-ებრ˙

და რაჲ სარგებელ არს შენდა სიტყუაჲ ეგე ჰურია-ებრი ყურთა მიმართ ამის ერისათა.

რომელნი ესე წარმოსხდომილ არიან ზღუდეთა ზედა:


  • ჰრქუეს aor 3p რქუმა to say
  • ეტყოდე pres imv 2s სიტყუა to speak
  • მონაჲ servant
  • სპარს-ებრ in Persian
  • ასურ-ებრ in Aramaic
  • მესმის pres 3s + 1(p) IO სმენა to hear (INV, i.e. “we hear”)
  • მეტყჳ aor iter 2s + 1p IO სიტყუა to speak
  • ჰურია-ებრ in Judean, Jewish (for ჰურიაჲ and its derivatives, cf. Armenian հրեայ, on which see Hübschmann, Armenische Gramm., 309)
  • სარგებელი use, advantage
  • ჰურია-ებრი Judean, Jewish
  • ყური ear
  • ერი people
  • წარმოსხდომილი sitting (cf. წარმოჯდომილი in Sardshweladse-Fähnrich, 1503; both სხდომა and ჯდომა mean “to sit”)
  • ზღუდეჲ wall

For those who are interested, here is the LT in Blake and Brière of the Georgian text:

Et dixerunt ad Hrap’sak Eliakim et Somna et Ioak’: Loquere servis tuis persice, hoc est syriace, quia audimus nos; et noli loqui nobis iudaice; et quid prodest tibi loqui verbum istud iudaicum ad aures huius populi, qui foris sedent super muris?

The words supplied for clarity they put in italics (as the translators of the King James Version also did). The “hoc est” following “persice” probably goes too far. It’s hard to imagine that Georgian hearers and readers would have heard სპარსებრ ასურებრ and simply equated the two as different names for the same language.

And finally, for convenience, here are the other texts for this verse that were mentioned above.


וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֶלְיָקִים֩ וְשֶׁבְנָ֨א וְיֹואָ֜ח אֶל־רַב־שָׁקֵ֗ה דַּבֶּר־נָ֤א אֶל־עֲבָדֶ֨יךָ֙ אֲרָמִ֔ית כִּ֥י שֹׁמְעִ֖ים אֲנָ֑חְנוּ וְאַל־תְּדַבֵּ֤ר אֵלֵ֨ינוּ֙ יְהוּדִ֔ית בְּאָזְנֵ֣י הָעָ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֖ר עַל־הַחֹומָֽה׃


καὶ εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτὸν Ελιακιμ καὶ Σομνας καὶ Ιωαχ Λάλησον πρὸς τοὺς παῖδάς σου Συριστί, ἀκούομεν γὰρ ἡμεῖς, καὶ μὴ λάλει πρὸς ἡμᾶς Ιουδαϊστί· καὶ ἵνα τί λαλεῖς εἰς τὰ ὦτα τῶν ἀνθρώπων τῶν ἐπὶ τῷ τείχει;


ܘܐܡܪ ܐܠܝܩܝܡ ܘܫܒܢܐ ܘܝܘܐܚ ܠܪܒ ܫ̈ܩܐ܂ ܡܠܠ ܥܡ ܥܒ̈ܕܝܟ ܐܪܡܐܝܬ ܡܛܠ ܕܫܡܿܥܝܢܢ܂ ܘܠܐ ܬܡܠܠ ܥܡܢ ܝܗܘܕܐܝܬ ܩܕܡ ܥܡܐ ܕܩܝܿܡܝܢ ܥܠ ܫܘܪܐ܂

w-emar elyāqim w-šebnā w-yoʔāḥ l-rab šāqē. mallel ʕam ʕabdā(y)k ārāmāʔit meṭol d-šāmʕinan. w-lā tmallel ʕamman ihudāʔit qdām ʕammā d-qāymin ʕal šurā.


Եւ ասէ ցնա եղիակիմ, եւ սովմնաս, եւ յովաք. խօսեա́ց ընդ ծառայս քո ասորերէն՝ զի լսեմք, եւ մի́ խօսիր ընդ մեզ հրէարէն. եւ ընդէ՞ր խօսիս յականջս մարդկանս որ անկեալ կան զպարսպաւս։

19 (Jan 22, 2014)

First, a general note: I’m under no illusion that a great host of people care about these little posts on Old Georgian, but for those few of you that may, please let me know if you find them to be of any use. How might they be made better?

Now to the main object. The first chapter (and other parts) of Qohelet/Ecclesiastes never gets old, and several verses are good for learning basic vocabulary, etc. Here is Eccl. 1:8, Greek and Georgian (Oški/Jerusalem).

πάντες οἱ λόγοι ἔγκοποι·
οὐ δυνήσεται ἀνὴρ τοῦ λαλεῖν,
καὶ οὐκ ἐμπλησθήσεται ὀφθαλμὸς τοῦ ὁρᾶν,
καὶ οὐ πληρωθήσεται οὖς ἀπὸ ἀκροάσεως.

ყოველნივე სიტყუანი შრომით,

ვერშემძლებელ არს კაცი სიტყუად,

და ვერცა თუალი განძღეს ხილვად,

და არცა აღივსოს ყური სმენითა.

Some vocabulary

  • შრომითი tiresome, difficult
  • ვერშემძლებელი incapable
  • განძღომა to be satisfied
  • აღვსება to fill (here passively, or with self-interest [middle], with the CV -ი- [სათავისო/sataviso in Georgian])

20 (Jan 30, 2104)

21 (Feb 10, 2014)

22 (Feb 14, 2014)

23 (Feb 19, 2014)

24 (Mar 3, 2014)

25 (Mar 27, 2014)

26 (Apr 14, 2014)

27 (Apr 15, 2014)

28 (Jun 27, 2014)

29 (Jul 7, 2014)

30 (Jul 23, 2014)

31 (Aug 13, 2014)

32 (Aug 30, 2014)

33 (Sep 1, 2014)

34 (Sep 11, 2014)

35 (Sep 16, 2014)

36 (Sep 25, 2104)

37 (Oct 10, 2014)

38 (Oct 17, 2014)

39 (Oct 20, 2014)

40 (Nov 5, 2014)

41 (Dec 15, 2014)

Posted June 14, 2013 by adam_bremer-mccollum

One response to “Old Georgian phrases and sentences

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  1. Pingback: Old Georgian phrases and sentences | hmmlorientalia

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