Medieval Georgian Literary Culture and Manuscript Production in the Christian East and Byzantium

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The Pharos Arts Foundation, in collaboration with the Embassy of Georgia in Cyprus, present a lecture by Thamar Otkhmezuri – Senior Research Fellow at Korneli Kekelidze National Centre of Manuscripts in Tbilisi, Georgia – focused on the Medieval Georgian Literary Culture and Manuscript Production in the Christian East and Byzantium.

Since the ancient times, Georgian culture and literature have been evolving in close correlation with other cultures of the world. Since its beginnings, the Georgian literary culture, which originated simultaneously with the Christianisation of Georgians in the 5th century, has been connected to the monastic centres of the Christian East and Byzantium. The intellectual activity of Georgian scholars in foreign monastic and educational centres played a crucial role in shaping the Georgian Christian culture and thought. Georgians established monasteries in Palestine, Mount Athos, Syria, and in various regions of the Byzantine Empire. These centres undertook large-scale cultural and educational projects, including the translation of the most significant works of the Christian literature, as well as the creation of original Georgian writings and precious manuscripts.

By presenting, in a coherent and diachronic manner, the literary work of Georgian scholars in foreign monastic centres – Palestine, Mt Sinai, Mt. Athos, Constantinople, Cyprus and Black Mountain (the Antioch region) – Thamar Otkhmezuri’s research aims to show how the Georgians adopted the ideas and values that were predominant in the advanced literary and cultural centres of the Christian world, and how they introduced these ideas and values into the Georgian national literature, turning them into an essential part of Georgian thought. Researching the worldview of medieval Georgians and their literary activities leads us to those cultural foundations that Georgians share with the civilised world in Medieval epoch.


Thamar Otkhmezuri is a Senior Research Fellow at Korneli Kekelidze National Centre of Manuscripts (Tbilisi, Georgia). Her work focuses on the study of the problems of Georgian-Byzantine literary relations, and the publication of Old Georgian ecclesiastic texts.

Otkhmezuri participated in the international project The Critical Edition of the Works of Gregory the Theologian (Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, 1990-2005). She edited several works on the Georgian translations of the commentaries on writings by Gregory the Theologian; among her monographs are: Pseudo-Nonniani in IV orationes Gregorii Nazianzeni commentarii. Versio iberica (Turnhout – Leuven, 2002), and The Commentarial Genre in the Medieval Georgian Translation Tradition (Tbilisi, 2011). Recently she published a catalogue – Georgian Manuscripts Copied Abroad in Libraries and Museums of Georgia, compiled by V. Kekelia, N. Mirotadze, Th. Otkhmezuri, D. Chitunashvili, Th. Otkhmezuri (ed.), Tbilisi, 2018.

Otkhmezuri has published articles in both Georgian and foreign periodicals on the problems of literary activities of medieval Georgian scholars, Georgian monastic centres in Christian East and Byzantium, Old Georgian translation tradition of the 10th-12th cc., among others. She also studies Greek materials preserved in Georgia, namely, medieval Greek manuscripts and inscriptions.

Monday, November 25th, 2019
Time: Starts at 20:00

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