Archive for the ‘Georgian literature’ Tag

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!

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 22 (Visramiani)   2 comments

For Valentine’s Day, there may be no better Georgian text to turn to than the Visramiani, the Georgian version of the Persian poem Vis o Rāmin. In addition to the prose version, there is an adaptation in verse, both fortunately available at TITUS. Here is where Ramin happens to see the face of Vis, and what the sight does to him, from ch. 12 of the prose version (p. 61, ll. 19-24 in the edition of Gvakharia and Todua).

ანაზდად ღმრთისა განგებისაგან ადგა დიდი ქარი და მოჰგლიჯა კუბოსა სახურავი ფარდაგი. თუ სთქუა, ღრუბლისაგან ელვა გამოჩნდა ანუ ანაზდად მზე ამოვიდა: გამოჩნდა ვისის პირი და მისისა გამოჩენისაგან დატყუევდა რამინის გული. თუ სთქუა, გრძნეულმან მოწამლა რამინ, რომელ ერთითა ნახვითა. სული წაუღო.

Suddenly, by the providence of God, a great wind arose, and it tore the covering curtain of the sedan chair: as if lightning shone forth from a cloud, or the sun suddenly arose, the face of Vis appeared, and at her appearance the heart of Ramin was taken captive, as if a sorcerer had poisoned him; at one look he had his soul taken away. [Adapted from Wardrop’s ET, p. 50]

Some vocabulary

  • ანაზდად all of a sudden
  • განგებაჲ guidance, direction, decision, order
  • ადგომა to arise (ადგა)
  • ქარი wind
  • მოგლეჯა to tear, rip (მოჰგლიჯა)
  • კუბოჲ sedan chair
  • სახურავი covering
  • ფარდაგი curtain
  • ღრუბელი cloud (ღრუბლისაგან)
  • ელვაჲ lightning
  • გამოჩინება to appear (გამოჩნდა)
  • მზეჲ sun
  • ამოსლვა to come up (ამოვიდა)
  • დატყუენვა to apprehend, usurp, conquer (დატყუევდა) (cf. Šaniże, Gramm., § 22 for ვ after a consonant, and § 27 for the falling away of ნ)
  • გრძნეული magician, sorcerer, witch
  • მოწამვლა to poison (მოწამლა) (cf. მოწამლეჲ sorcerer)
  • ნახვაჲ sight, glimpse
  • წაღება to take away (წაუღო)

Even after this, the narrator continues for many lines describing the ravishing and intoxicating effect on Ramin of having seen Vis, but the few lines here and the supplied vocabulary will have to serve us for now.


*See further bibliography at Giunashvili 2013.

Gippert, J. (1994). Towards and Automatical Analysis of a Translated Text and its Original: The Persian Epic of Vīs u Rāmīn and the Georgian Visramiani. Studia Iranica, Mesopotamica et Anatolica, 1, 21–59.

Giunashvili, J. (2013). Visramiani. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved from

Gvakharia, A. (2001). Georgia iv. Literary Contacts with Persia. In Encyclopaedia Iranica. Retrieved from–1

Lang, D. M. (1963). Rev. of Alexander Gvakharia and Magali Todua, Visramiani (The Old Georgian Translation of the Persian Poem Vis o Ramin): Text, Notes, and Glossary. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, 26(2), 480.

Vashalomidze, S. G. (2008). Ein Vergleich georgischer und persischer Erziehungmethoden anhand literarischer Quellen der Hofliteratur am Beispiel von Vīs u Rāmīn und Visramiani. In A. Drost-Abgarjan, J. Kotjatko-Reeb, & J. Tubach (Eds.), Von Nil an die Saale: Festschrift für Arafa Mustafa zum 65. Geburtstag am 28. Februar 2005 (pp. 463–480). Halle (Saale). Retrieved from

Wardrop, O. (1914). Visramiani: The Story of the Loves of Vis and Ramin, a Romance of Ancient Persia (Vol. 23). London: Royal Asiatic Society. Retrieved from

%d bloggers like this: