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B.Javakhia:New Rome - The idea of united Christian Empire in Georgian medieval write

Rome – the Eternal City – was a symbol of the Centre of the World in the Middle Ages; this was well reflected by the contemporaries in the letters composed about Rome. However, later when Ancient Rome lost its old importance, the name Rome remained a symbol of the Centre and the Leader of the World. Thus, all those states that made claims on their supremacy and originality used titles like “New Rome”, “Another Rome”, “The Second Rome” and “The Third Rome” regarding to their countries or principalities.

Application of epithets “New” and “Another” Rome indicates the integrity of European World, Rome can also be a symbol of the integrity of Christian World, both in Roman Catholic and Orthodox world as well.

Legacy of Rome became very important in the political thinking of the Middle Ages and modern history. Idea of Rome and transfer of Empires (translatio imperii) is differently represented in the works of different mediaeval authors. Thinking about the end of the world in the mediaeval theology was unchangeable, though their idea about transfer of empires and empire shifting was different. German historian and theologist Otto, Bishop of Freising, gives a following route of transfer of empires: Rome-Byzantium-Langobards-Holy Roman Empire of German Nation, like St. Jeronim, who also considered the end of the world inevitable. If St. Jeronim saw it in Roman Empire, Otto saw it in the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation. French poet Chrétien de Trua in his “Cliges”, which belongs to a number of novels dedicated to King Arthur, saw transfer of empires from Rome to France. English Bishop of the XIV century Richard De Burr (Richard Aungerville), Bishop of Durham (1333-1345), Lord Chancellor of Edward II, gave in his book “Philobiblon”, 1344, the following scheme of transfer of empires: Athens-Rome-Paris-England. We can bring many similar examples. When we are acquainted with these examples, we see one remarkable thing. All the abovementioned authors, who as we can say, were standing at the start point of their national states, thought that the perfection of Empire and its end would take place in their countries. It is true that we must treat comparative history carefully but we find it desirable to note that the similar theory developed in mediaeval Georgian literature and we come across it in the text of “Praise and Glory of Georgian Language”:

“Buried is the language of Kartuli
To be tortured until the Second Coming of the Lord,
As God opens all tongues through this language.”

Feeling of unified Christian space accompanies Georgian mediaeval literature. We come across the symbol of unified Roman State- “New Rome”-in the XIII century in “Abdulmesia” (Slave of the Messiah) by Ioane Shavteli. 

In “Abdulmesia”, which is dedicated to Tamar, the author writes about Gelati: “New Rome, it is for you they say that you are superior to everything, I dream about Helade, about Gelati itself, where they will burry the Holy body”.

In this work by Shavteli, there is one more line, which is significant. One place author refers to Tamar as to a Caesar. It is said in “Abdulmesia”:

“Contribute your arrow, you are the Caesar, Use your arrow, you are rich and the owner of the East”.

We should not view this epithet of Tamar as a title granted by Byzantine Imperial Court, on the contrary, it means a title for an emperor.

Generally, from the X century when Georgia was standing at the beginning of its statehood under the leadership of Bagrations processes here developed analogically to those in other Christian states. In Georgia, there appeared a title of the King of Kings, which carries a wider claim than simply a title of a king. From the XI century, a new epoch begins in Georgia, which is presented as the Renaissance of the XII-XIII centuries. Concept of Rome, transfer of the Empire appears in the epoch of the Renaissance. The same claim is seen in high Middle Ages, in so-called Georgian Renaissance epoch. In the first place, these are claims to the Byzantine Emperor given in the works of Georgian scholars, when Giorgi Mtatsmindeli reprimands the Greek for their arrogance and haughtiness. In this period, there appear works, which are looking for information about the acts of Apostles in Georgia in old historical sources. On this stage, Cathol icos of Georgia receives the title of a Catholicos–Patriarch. This is the time when narrative about divine origin of the Georgian Royal dynasty appears in Georgian writings.

Category: Abstracts | Added by: margalita (18.10.2009)
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