Shota Rustaveli

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Biography of the great poet

The most famous Georgian poet of the twelfth century and the author of the world-famous poem “The Knight in the Tiger Skin” was born in the sixties (according to other sources - in the seventies) of the 12th century. The place of his birth is also not specified by historians, but presumably it was the Georgian village of Rustavi.

He studied Shota Rustaveli in Greece, worked as the state treasurer of Queen Tamara, and then as an artist and restorer of the Georgian monastery of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. According to rare surviving facts, it is known that the poet was hopelessly in love with the queen, did not live long and died in the monastery where he worked. Unfortunately, other biographical information about Shota Rustaveli was not preserved. But his imperishable poetic creation entitled “The Knight in the Tiger Skin” became widely known and popular throughout the world.

The poem consists of 1637 stanzas, 16 syllables in each verse. Numerous manuscripts have come down to us, having many interpolations and additions to the poet's work. The continuation of the poem entitled “Omaniani” has also been preserved. The memory of the great Georgian poet is also immortalized in his homeland, in the Shota Rustaveli State Prize of Georgia, in the name of the Georgian State Drama Theater, in the name of the Theater Institute in Tbilisi and the Research Institute of Georgian Literature, in the name of the Batumi State Pedagogical Institute, in the name of the main avenue of Tbilisi and many other streets and avenues of different cities in several countries.

"Knight in tiger skin". Hymn to freedom and love

Since the eighteenth century, and only in Georgian, there are more than fifty editions of the poem. Many translations into foreign languages ​​have been made, among them five - in Russian. The plot of the poem is borrowed from an ancient manuscript, about which the poet himself spoke like this: "I found a Persian story and put it in verses, like a large pearl passing from hand to hand."

The poem “The Knight in Tiger Skin” consists of two plot cycles: Indian Tariela and Nestan-Darejan, and Arab Avtandil and Tinatin. Rustaveli managed to give a rather deep psychological characterization of the heroes, depict their inner essence, which became a novelty for twelfth-century poetry. Heroes of Rustaveli - with lively bright characters, fearlessly and selflessly fighting for justice and happiness. Their images are typical and generalized for people who lived in the twelfth century. Nestan-Darejan is the main character of the poem, steadfastly and patiently enduring the hardships of imprisonment after refusing a forced marriage. Three heroes are fighting for her release - the twin cities, and this struggle leads all the heroes to a happy ending.

The poem is permeated with the idea of ​​the triumph of justice over tyranny, arbitrariness and evil, and only the strength of the spirit and faith in good can bring happiness to the earth.

In general, “The Knight in the Tiger Skin” is an enthusiastic hymn to freedom and true sublime earthly love. Another ideological line of the poem is patriotism, as a condemnation of feudal strife and separatist aspirations of the nobility, and vice versa, the value of a rational life worthy of a noble person. The heroes of the poem are not afraid of death. False knights, cowardly warriors, vile cowards and traitors, flatterers and hypocrites are branded in shame in the poem.

The plot of the poem “The Knight in the Tiger Skin” has some plot similarities with Western European novels about knights and with eastern epic poems of the Middle Ages, but in general this is a completely independent author's work by Rustaveli. As a humanist, the poet extols the freedom of the individual, the freedom of thought and feeling, speaks a lot about the value of human life, created not by fate, but by the people themselves.

The significant value of Rustaveli's work is that he raised Georgian poetry as a whole to a great height, and also became the ancestor of the new Georgian literary language, thanks to the elegant poetic word and style of the poem.
“The Knight in the Tiger Skin” is an unsurpassed example of ancient Georgian poetry, which entered the world literature and became on a par with the greatest world epics.

Photos in the top: https://www.culture.ru

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