Before writing about literature and writers, I would like all of you to know what Georgian lanugage, and therefore Georgian scripts means for Georgians and for the world.

Georgian scripts and alphabet

Georgian alphabet was created by king Farnavaz in the III century B.C. (but the scripts existed centuries before that) They are known as one of the oldest scripts that are still in use and they are recognized as the world heritage by unsco world heritage.
Georgian scripts have developed through the centuries, they have changed three times. First, writing system was called Asomtavrui, then the system changed and was called Nuskhuri, then it was Mkhedruli, and the last one, which georgians use today is called Mtavruli.

We celebrate the day of Georgian language on 14th April. The alphabet that georgian kids are learning now was created by georgian writer, Iaob Gogebashvili. (I am going to talk about him in the next article)

Image by Bored being
From left to right: Asomtavruli, Nuskhuri, Mxhedruli (this is not the whole alphabet, unfortunately I couldn't get better pic for the whole one)

Begining of Georgian literature

The Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik is the earliest surviving extant piece of Georgian literature. Purported to have been written between 476 and 483, the earliest surviving manuscript, a translation of it into Armenian, dates from the 5th century. The author is Iakob Tsurtaveli (Jacob of Tsurtavi), a contemporary and participant of the events described in this hagiographic novel.

Image by Bored being
Holy Queen Shushanik or as I call her, a badass. :D

The manuscript describes the martyrdom of Saint Shushanik, an Armenian noblewoman, at the hand of her spouse, bidaxae (high prince) Varsken, who had renounced Christianity and embraced Zoroastrianism. Shushanik, whose father was Vardan Mamikonyan, the sparapet (military leader) of the Christians in Armenia, refused to follow him, and died as a martyr after years of imprisonment and torture. (Christianity is a big part of Saqartvelo's culture and i'm going to talk about it when I write about Qartuli(Georgian) culture.)

I said she's a badass because of how strong and brave this woman was. Also, there are parts in the book where she is literally chained but still manages to be sassy to his horrible husband, who can't kill her because he wants her to be on his side and this situation is driving him nuts! :D

After Shushaniki's death king Vakhtang punished Varsken by death. (Got what he deserved.)

The first printed version was published in 1882. It has been translated into Russian, French, English, German, Spanish, Hungarian and Icelandic. In 1979, UNESCO marked the 1500-anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Holy Queen Shushanik.

Hope you enjoyed learning something new. In the next article i'm going to write about Qartveli(Georgian) writers, their works and how they shaped Saqartvelo.

Previous article