“Abdulmesiani” is a literary monument of the classical era of ancient Georgian literature. It is a collection of panegyrical odes whose authorship is attributed to Ioane Shavteli. Based on some historical facts mentioned in this monument (the establishment of the Kingdom of Trabzon and the Battle of Basiani), researchers think that Abdulmesiani was created in the first decade of the 13th century. This work, along with King Tamar (Queen of Georgia), eulogizes her husband, David Soslan; this is confirmed by the relevant historical facts, ideological directions, and the titles of some of the manuscripts. N. Marr disagreed with this established view and thought Abdulmesiani eulogized Davit Aghmashenebeli (David the Builder). According to K. Kekelidze, this work also eulogizes King Tamar and Davit Aghmashenebeli. He also agrees with ancient Georgian scholars (Ioane Batonishvili, Teimuraz Batonishvili, etc.) who believed that Abdulmesiani is the name of some other lost work and not of this one. While Sh. Nutsubidze thought that two authors known as Shavteli existed at different times. From these two, the first one created the eulogy to Davit Aghmashenebeli, and the second one eulogized King Tamar and Davit Soslan. The combination of these two works created the collection of odes known as Abdulmesiani that we have today. The old (18th-19th century) and fully damaged text of this manuscript makes it challenging to resolve this issue. Furthermore, Iakob Dumbadze (17th century) created many conundrums when he, according to tradition, rewrote the work as a eulogy to Archil the Second.

“Abdulmesiani” is the name of the work and the epithet of the eulogized hero (Arabic. Abd Al-masih – ‘servant of Messiah, Christ) and not the byname of the author, as it was thought by David the Rector, P. Ioseliani and others. One of the oldest sources also considers Abdulmesiah to be the hero of this work. Namely, a bibliographic stanza from Shota Rustaveli’s epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin says – [Shavteli (eulogized) Abdulmesiah].

Abdulmesiani was a typical example of panegyrical odes at the royal court that eulogized the excellent deeds of the monarch. Abdulmesiani has well-known classical motifs about a strong, centralized state governed by an absolute monarch appointed by the divine right. Along with the robust national spirit, the fundamental basis of this work is the proclamation of strong Georgian unity. This served an important purpose in the Middle East of that period – to protect and strengthen Christianity. With its messianic concept, Abdulmesiani resonates with other works from the classical period. We can find direct parallels of ideological orientation between it and other historical works from the epoch of King Tamar. The eulogy is written with a high literary style, and the author shows broad and profound erudition.

Publication: შავთელი ი., თამარ მეფსა და მეუღლისა მისისა დავით მეფისა შესხმა, პლ. იოსელიანის გამოც., ტფ., 1838; ძველი ქართველი მეხოტბენი, [წგნ.] 2, ი. ლოლაშვილის გამოც., თბ., 1964; Марр Н. Я. Древнегрузинские одописцы (XII в.) «Тексты и разыскания по арм.-груз. филологии», 1902, кн. 4; Шавтели, Абдулмессия, пер. с груз. Ш. Нуцубидзе, тб., 1942.

Literature: ბ ა რ ა მ ი ძ ე  ალ. ნარკვევები ქართული ლიტერატურის ისტორიიდან, [ტ.] 1, თბ., 1945; კ ე კ ე ლ ი ძ ე  კ., ქართული ლიტერატურის ისტორია, [ტ.] 2, თბ., 1958; ქართული ლიტერატურის ისტორია, ტ. 2, თბ., 1966.

S. Tsaishvili