History of Ancient Georgia: Classical and Late Antiquity


Giorgi Melikishvili, PhD (Author) – Professor, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, member of the Georgian National Academy of Sciences, Director of the Institute of History and Ethnology
Marine Khuroshvili (Translator)

Series: Georgian Classics
DOI: https://doi.org/10.52305/NJKM8361

This book “History of Ancient Georgia” written by a widely recognized Georgian scientist Giorgi Melikishvili covers the fundamental issues of the ancient history of Georgia. It presents a picture of the social structure and the social layers of the Kartli (Iberia) population; the book studies and analyzes the political and social institutions. A complex analysis of the history of ancient Georgia based on different sources: archaeological findings, linguistic data, Assyrian, Urartian, Graeco-Roman, Armenian, and Georgian medieval chronicles together with texts and original linguistic and methodological observations have been used. They have allowed the creation of new prospects in Kartvelological and Caucasiological studies and helped to reconstruct the history of ancient Georgia, the picture of the formation of the ancient political entities of Diauehi, Colchis and the first united Kartvelian state.

The reader can notice the influence of Soviet ideology: however, the book remains a standard work in the field even today. It is significant that even where the methodological basis and the questions have changed substantially in today’s science (for example, the understanding of ethnos, ethnogenesis, and some other issues), we cannot ignore the material and argumentation brought by the great scholar, Professor Melikishvili. Moreover, the general understanding of the history of ancient Georgia, its periodization, and the list of primary sources is still the same as set by this work.

The editors hope that this fundamental work on the history of Georgia will attract specialists and interested readers.

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Table of Contents

Introduction from the Editor
Giorgi Melikishvili and His Book History of Ancient Georgia



List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1. Georgian Political and Ethnic Formations in the Hellenistic Era
§ 1. Mtskheta, the Capital of the Kartli Kingdom
§ 2. The 3rd Century B.C., the Epoch of the Strength of the Kartli Kingdom
§ 3. Relationship of the Kartli Kingdom with Its Neighboring Mountain Tribes and the Population of Ereti (West Albania)
§ 4. Relation of Kartli with Seleucids. Deterioration of the External Political Situation for the Kartli Kingdom at the Beginning of the 2nd Century B.C. Relations with Armenia and Parthia during the 2nd – 1st Centuries B.C.
§ 5. The Population of the Southeast and East Coast of the Black Sea in the
3rd – 1st Centuries B.C.
§ 6. Development of the Early Slave-Owning Social-Economic Relations in the Kingdom of Kartli in the Hellenistic Epoch

Chapter 2. Georgia at the Late Stage of the Early Slave-Owning Relations (I-III Centuries A.D.)
§ 1. Roman Campaigns of Conquest to Iberia and Colchis. Interrelations between Colchis and Iberia with Rome and Neighboring Countries in the Middle and in the Second Half of the 1st Century A.D.
§ 2. The Strengthening of the Kartli Kingdom (Iberia) in the 1st – 2nd Centuries A.D.
§ 3. The Population of the Historic Colchis in the First Centuries A.D. the Formation and Strengthening of the Kingdom of Lazica
§ 4. The Kartli Kingdom in the 3rd Century A.D.

Chapter 3. The Issues of the Social-Economic System and the Structure and Organization of the Kartli State in the First Centuries A.D.
§ 1. Rural Community. Community Members
§ 2. Church Economy. Church and Community
§ 3. Forms of Private Land Ownership
§ 4. Royal Landowning. The Members of the Subordinated Settlements, “Glekhni,” and the Freeholders of Plots on the Royal Lands – “Tadzreuli”
§ 5. Slaves
§ 6. The Cities. The Trade and Craft Related Population of the Cities
§ 7. State Order. The Royal Family and Landowning Servicemen, the Ruling Layers of the Population of Kartli



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