The Knight in the Panther Skin


August 14, 2022

In this article, the Georgian names are transliterated into Hungarian. The Panther Skin (Georgian: вефхиштъкаосани, Vephisztkaosani, with international transliteration: Vepkhist'q'aosani, pronounced [vɛpʰxist’q’ɑosɑni]) is the national poetic epic of Georgia, the defining work of the Georgian Golden Age. It was written by the national poet of the Georgians, Sota Rustaveli, between 1189 and 1207, during the reign of Queen Tamar (c. 1160-1213). The work is considered the pinnacle of medieval Georgian thought, poetic and philosophical art, and the pinnacle of Georgian literature. It has occupied a prominent place in the hearts of Georgians for centuries: many of them can recite all the verses of the work from memory, and until the beginning of the 20th century, a copy of it was part of every bride's dowry. To this day, it reflects the Georgian worldview: its ethics, aesthetics and philosophy are still strongly present in the behavior, values ​​and worldview of Georgians. It is a complex work both in terms of form and genre. Its genre is described as epic, chivalric romance, epic romance, lyrical epic poem. In 2013, the work published under the Hungarian title Tariel the panther-skin knight or The tiger-skin knight was declared part of the world heritage by UNESCO.


The author

About the work and its author 13–14. century data are not available. 15–18. Georgian writings of the 18th century unanimously attribute it to Rustveli (рустьвели), or in the more common form - widespread since the 18th century - to Sota Rustaveli (руставели). The identity of the author and other historical-literary questions of the work are answered by the poem itself, as well as by its prologue and epilogue (prologue and epilogue). In the prologue, the author reveals his identity and names himself twice: I, Rustaveli, with my heart and wound, once became his brother [Weöres stanza 7, line 3] I, Rustaveli, was an artist while I was forming my song [Weöres, stanza 8, line 1] His name also appears twice in the epilogue: Shall I, the meszh Rustaveli, go through with my rhymes? [Weöres 1667 stanza line 4] and I, Rustaveli, exalted Tariel in tears. [Weöres 1671 stanza 4, line 4] In the prologue, the author's name is in the first person in both places, while in the epilogue, in both places - unlike the Hungarian translation - it is in the third person. Based on this, it is assumed that the epilogue of the work was not written by Rustaveli, but by one of his successors. The poet named Sota presumably came from the settlement of Rusttavi(wd) in the Meszheti province in the south of Georgia (which is not the same as the city of Rusttavi, the seat of today's Lower Kartli region in eastern Georgia), from where he entered the service of Queen Tamar; probably as treasurer. It is also believed that he participated in several campaigns.

Time and place of its origin

The time of creation of the work is traditionally placed at the end of the 12th century, the beginning of the 13th century. This view, which is the most widely accepted by most researchers, is based on the data found in the work itself. Right in the prologue of the work, there is a hint: the author dedicates himself to the Georgian Queen Tamar (in Russian: Tamara), who ruled between 1184 and 1213 We praise Mistress Tamara, shedding bloody tears for her! [Weöres stanza 4, line 1] to the mistress of the armies, I live my life in vain: [Weöres stanza 8, line 2] This period can be narrowed down to two decades on the basis that both the prologue and the epilogue repeatedly mention Queen Tamar and her husband, Dávid (Dávid Szoszlanit(wd)) - all as living rulers in the case. Since Tamar and Dávid Szoszlani were married in 1189, and King Dávid died in 1207, the creation of the work can be placed between 1189 and 1207. Some rustvologists think so