Georgian Hagiography

Authored by: Bernadette Martin-Hisard

The Ashgate Research Companion to Byzantine Hagiography

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9780754650331
eBook ISBN: 9781315612799
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043966


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The term Georgia is taken here as encompassing all the territories to which the language referred to as Georgian (or more precisely kartvelian) spread and where it became dominant. Originally, this was merely one of the dialects spoken south of the Caucasus, but it became a literary language thanks to the alphabet it acquired at the beginning of the fifth century. Georgia did not begin to exist as a unified political entity until the eleventh and especially the twelfth century. Actually, its western portion, Ap’xazet’i, 1 1

The system of transliteration for Georgian used here is a simplified version of the one currently used in Anglo-Saxon scholarship.

long tied to the Byzantine empire, only became unified under native princes at the end of the eighth century. The eastern portion, K’ar’tli (the Byzantine Iberia) came under powerful direct and indirect Sasanian influence before passing under the domination of the Arabs in the seventh century; however, Georgian princes had begun to establish their control over peripheral regions, in particular over Klarjet’i and T’ao next to Byzantine Chaldia, from the end of the eighth century. Based in these territories and in Ap’xazet’i, the family of the Bagratids inaugurated at the end of the tenth century a policy of political acquisition of more eastern parts (K’axeti), which was to culminate in the twelfth century. Subsequently, the coming of the Kwarezmians, followed by that of the Mongols in the thirteenth century and the invasions of Tamerlane in the fourteenth, destroyed their policy of unification and the unit that had become Georgia broke apart in the fifteenth century into several rival kingdoms whose control was disputed between the Ottomans and the Safavids.

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