The Personal Name Tariel ― The Artistic Enigma of the “Knight in the Panther’s Skin” [Historical and Philological Research]

DOI: 10.55804/jtsuSPEKALI-16-13


What is hidden behindthe personal name – Tariel that Rustveli gave to the main charactertherandom coincidence or the mono-lexical riddle, which will shed the light onthe intention of the poet.

We will start the discussion with already comprehended theory. “Tariel – the name of the main character of Shota Rustaveli’s  “Knight in the Panther’s Skin” is widely spread nowadays. As it is known, it is derived from Iranian Dariel, which consists of 2 parts:  Dar, Dara“The King”,” The Lord”, “The owner”  and  iel -  “the hero”, “the knight”. Thus, as Z. Chumburidze writes in his work [Chumburidze, 1982:113], Tariel means “king hero”, “knight king”. The basis of this understanding is the discussion about the etymology of the proper name - Tariel  provided by  I. Abuladze. The author considers the name of the Iranian nobleman – “Dariel” as the basic stem, which is  mentioned in the Georgian Royal Annalsof Queen Mariam - “The Georgian Chronicles “Kartlis Tskhovreba” [“Life of Kartli”]: “the name  “Dariel” consists of two parts - Dar  comes from old Iranian Dara, which is the same as “the lord”, “the king”. The word Dar itself means “the one who has something”, the owner”; it is the same as Dara or Daray − the common name of the Kings of Iranian Dynasty mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions of the Achaemenid Empire; the other part – Jal “iel” is one more Iranian word denoting the hero, the knight and thereby, has the same meaning of “the king hero”, “knight king”, like a Georgian equivalent “Tariel” [Abuladze, 1967: 256].


The different points of view are presented about proper name “Tariel” in Z. Gamsakhurdia’s work - “Tropology of The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”. According to the researcher, on the basis of the stem “Tar”, it might be connected to the supremesphere of the world of stars.. In the classical Sanskrit language, Tar has the same meaning as Star of Avesta; at the same time, the stem - tar relates to sacred rites in Sanskrit as well as in Hindustani language. As it is known, the stem - El denotes a divine being, the Lord; e.g., El-Elyon, Eliom, Eli, etc. Thus, on the basis of the content and meaning, Tari-el denotates the Lord of the world of stars, the King of the world, Pantocrator[Gamsakhurdia, 1991: 199-200].  In the same monograph, Z. Gamsakhurdia discusses the eastern divine being of the thunderstorm – Tarhu,who was painted with a panther skin on  cave walls and atone point, he mentions: “Tariel, Godman, the power of the God, th headman, the face of every form” is the main character of the poem “knight in the panther’s skin” [Gamsakhurdia 1991:202].


It is obvious that there is a particular connection between Tarhuss’ clothing in the panther skin and Tariel, but the conclusions drawn by Th. Gamkrelidze and V. Ivanov on the basis of the comparison of  ancient Indo-European languages and cultures, might also be taken into consideration in this context.  In Khetian language, according to thelist of “God-Animals”,  the Leopard /Panthera pardus/ from the family of the Felidae “takes the first or important place”. According to Th. Gamhrelidze and V. Ivanov, these animals are probably the symbols of women origins [Gamkrelidze... 1984: 500]. Originally,the cults of the Leopard /Panthera pardus come from the  Asia Minorand later on, they were spread in the east Mediterranean Basinand the western Asia. They also consider that “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”  is the reflection of this cult in the Caucasian world”. Not only the militant-knights of the Homer, Menelaus and Alexander with the panther’s skin on their shoulder show the astonishing similarity to  Rustaveli’s epic poem, but there are also other earlier faces from the Asia minor, dressed in the Leopard’s skins, who dance like these animals   [ibid.: 506-507]. On the basis of the mentioned idea about the character, it seems to be doubtful that the symbol of Tariel might be related to Tarhus alone; in addition,as the goal of our research does not consist in comprehending the practice of getting dressed in the panther’s skin as the artistic symbol, we will accept the above-mentioned idea.


We will review the above-mentioned points of view of I. Abuladze regarding the proper name of the central character of the epic poem and will hereby mention that one detail seems to be doubtful – the basis of the change of the prepositional consonant  D with the non-aspirated (ejective) consonant T. One row of the voiced stops become silent aspirated consonants and this tendency is a peculiarity of the western Georgian linguistic area mostly in the auslaut positions (“mokvda” ―› “mokvta” [died]; or:  gaskda  ―›  gaskta [burst], etc).

We are of the opinion that first of all, it seems contestable to find one-to-one correspondence between the origin of Rustveli and western Georgian linguistic practice; secondly, even if this phenomena existed in the 12th century dialectal practice, why Rustveli would have used dialectal variety when it is factually unimaginable that he knew nothing about the Royal Dinasty of Darius Achaemenid Empire; consequently,  it seems obscure why the author could have changed Dara or Daray  mentioned in the  Achaemenid Cuneiforms  with the personal name - Tariel (i.e. change of the voiced consonant D with the ejective stop T). Moreover, if Rustveli uses the Farsi version -  Dariel in order to name Tariel and considering the etymology,  also uses Iranian Jal (Hero, Knight), then what might have encouraged the author to write Taria in the numerous passages of the poem instead of Tariel abridging the stem that denoted a hero (I.Abuladze)  or the deity  (Z. Gamsakhurdia). The outstanding Hebraist – H. Haber notes: in the process of constructing the biblical theophoric names… the majority of the names assimilates only two letters in case of Elohim in the beginning (Elkana, Elkhanan, Eliezer, Eliah, Eliakim)  as well as in the end of the word (Gabriel,Netanel,Daniel, Raphael, Israel)” [Haber 2001]. Thus, if the suffix -el is the equivalent of the Semitic Elohim and this fact is well comprehended action, it seems complicated to imagine that he did not use -el/-iel suffix, i.e. the second and significantly important segment of the word in his own poem. It shouldnot be forthcoming in case of theophoric names and in the conditions of its deep analysis. According to the “Symphony of “Knight in the Panther’s Skin”, the usage of Taria is up to 14 units (e.g. “Asmath sprinkled water (upon him), Taria came back to consciousness” [339, 1]; or: “They resolved on that plan proposed by Taria” [1394, 2]).


Hereby, some contentious issues arise regarding the plotof the “Knight in the Panther’s Skin”; in fact, it is obvious that the main narrative of the “commendatory” poem  starts with the tragedy of Tariel acting like a beast in the background. [„Here Tariel, become like a wild beast, weeps, his grief increases a thousandfold“: 490, 1].[1]It is also obvious that in the poem an attempt tokeep him away from the throneor his weeping [The knight, weeping] is used as the basis of the development of later events. In this case, it begs the question: how reasonable  would it be to consider him as the “King of the world”? Even in the final chapter, which tells us about the wedding of the  beloved couple (there is also a debate on whether the final part of the poem belongs to Rustveli), we see Tariel and his spouse sitting together on the same throne (“See the two sitting together; even the sun could not be better”: 1566, 1), the owners of the seven thrones of the state (“What Tariel and his wife had desired fell to their lot, seven royal thrones, of joy, unassailable”: 1565, 1-2).  In  our opinion, it might be an inaccurate understanding of the main event drawn in the poem to make theKing-husband equal to the sole ruler of thethrone.  At the same time, it seems doubtful to consider “Seven Thrones”, mentioned in the epilogue of the poem, as the whole world when it is a confirmed historical fact that Georgia of Tamar’s Epoch consistedof seven principalities(History and Eulogies of the Sovereigns, 1959: 30). 


We would like to put a question this way: can the denominations for “Da-var” or Chashnagir, as the food taster “muscular man”, one of the officers of the merchants’ kingdom, that has nothing to do with knightly virtue, be considered as an exception made by Rustveli? Did Rustveli, who considered it improper not to be able to hide one’s feelings,  do nothing about it?Allthemore, when there was afurious battle for the throne, speaking the truth bravely  in the conditions of the monarchy, might have cost at least great fury,  like it happened during the dialogue of King Rostevan and the vizier Ostrasa, who visited the King Rostevan as an  envoy (“By my head! I had cut off thy head, let there be no doubt of this!” [750, 2]).In our opinion, the parallelism or communicating narrative into the different stories is the mastery of Rustveli; in this respect, the interesting  references are reflected in those contexts and episodes, when the fury of monarchs are described. Indeed, intimes like this, the Indian and Arab kings swear by themselves exactly in the same manner (By my head!).[2]


It is clear that in such a political situation, when the throne was usurped and there were rather favorable conditions created for the sole ruling of a monarch, innuendos and implications were given more power and importance. Rustveli demonstrated extraordinary skill when it came to hiding one’s feelings and keeping  secrets - he created the enigmatic artistic canvas and  wordriddles; hence, we are of the opinion that the personal name Tariel should be one of those witty implications.


“cariel-tarieli” (<*calier-tarier[having nothing to call your own]) – is a compound word, which, we believe,  is related to the main narrative of the poem ideologically, considering thatPrince Demna is represented through the iconic character of TarielIn this respect, it seems logical that without finding relation between the name “Tariel” and theconcept of the poem, the background story cannot be identified (see below). As the prominent ancient thinker writes in his “Poetics”:  “It, which explains nothing with own existence or not existence, does not represent the part of the whole” [Aristotle, 2013:61]. Accordingly, at first, we will endeavor to solve not too complicated linguistic task.


“cariel-tarieli” - the word of Georgian origin, is compositionally completed -it is the linguistic fact; its segmentation separates the first “cariel” form from the same compound word, which is changed on the basis of the phonetic process from the old Georgian language period till nowadays.  The old Georgian language is well familiar with the mentioned lexical unit. It is presented in the Four Gospels – edition translated by the Athonites and it had the same meaning as it has nowadays. It is mentioned in the “Symphony-dictionary of the Georgian Gospel”: 1”. calier [carieli, χelcarieli, needy, having nothing to call own];  theyhad captured and anguishedhim and make him go needy”. Mr.12,3; or, ibid.: 2. calier [idle, is at a loose end]; When it arrives, finds it idle, readyand   accomplished  and decorated-adorned?, M. 12, 44 C [Imnaishvili, 1986, 715].In other words, the semantics of this form (namely, Adjective) – having nothing  led to the formations of its another interpretation by adding the -ier derivant (the affix denotation owing smth.)  to the cal  core stemlike it happened with the  long list of the Georgian adjectives, for example: ʒal-i/ ʒala ―›ʒlieri, χan-i/ χana―›χ[a]n-ier’i, c̣uti―› c̣utieri, etc.(for more see: Shanidze, 1980:123). There is no room for a debate as this is the case of the linguistic axiom. The form of the word cali, denoting a unit, singularity serves as a basis of all the additional meanings of this word, which are represented in the Georgian Language Explanatory dictionary at the level of the modern Georgian language,e.g. ‘Spoken: having anyof the excessive features [Explanatory Dictionary of Georgian Language, 1964: L. 581] should be based on the singular content in the presented contexts of the same dictionary. For example,: one is the “empty(only) brain” /[One has all the brains in the world.] or “empty(only) nose” means nothing but the noserather than “Only brain”or “only nose”.


This part of  the analysis needs to be comprehended in order to learn what form is used for a word formation -cal  noun or verbal stem, because, as we know, verbal stems are also used to build stems of proper nouns by adding -ier affix; as an example of this phenomenon, A. Shanidze names the derivation examples like:  mšieri[hungry]  (<mševa [hunger]), adnieri [boldface] (<adreba [to stoop]), etc. It is obvious that cal, which has noun origin, means one, single rather than two (pair) or more. However, it is also noteworthy that neither verbal root has  a significantly different meaning. The stative version of the modern Georgian language – [s]-cal-ia [has free time] or a bit older form of the same verb: s-cal-s  form is the state of being a lonely person, who is not busy with liaisingwith other people or doing any work. Thus, one and the same stem is used in the adjective and verb and these two parts of speech (adjective and verb) contain each other’s meanings; to say more clearly, they have the common  stem.


The stem cal can be also identified in the form used in  Rustveli’s prologue “mocaleoba[leisure]. The latter represents one of the characteristics (language, mind, to concede, etc.) of an idealpartner (beloved person). We believe that G. Imedashvili’s approach, not to share the earlier understanding and translation of“leisure”  corresponding to  the word “mocaleoba” in “Knite in the Panther’s Skin’s”,  is more acceptable to us. The scholar writes: “It does not mean leisure, but its meaning is a pair, equal, coequal; it might require the equality from the beloved person to be the deserving and worthy partner” [Imedasvili, 1989:110].Thus, as we have mentioned  above, the basic meaning of the stem cal   might be narrowed down to one single fundamental idea   it  represents the only one constituent of the pair or more than two  things. All other  additional meanings of the compound word “cal-ier-” should be considered as secondary meanings.


It is also noteworthy that one of the oldest affixes - ier (that might have consisted of 2 parts by itself ― *-iv-er> -i-er(*madl-iv-er-i>madl-i-er-I [thankful]) influences the dissimilation in the both – preceding and the second stem of the compound adjective expressing two concepts[3] and on the basis of the dissimilation -iel suffix is produced. The dissimilator  sound R  is not presented in the old Georgian derivated cal-ier stem; it seems like the function of the sound R, as the distinguishing consonant is  contravened.  The phonetic dissimilation function and strength of the sound R is so obvious and accepted linguistic phenomen that it does not require additional analysis. We would like to put a question this way – how dissimilation could happen in the stem “cal-ier” if there was no consonant R constituent within the same stem? To draw a comparison, it is enough to name the adjectives like  gan-ier-i [wide] or saχ-ier-i [shaped, having form]  (i.e. the dissimilation cannot be allowed in a stem without consonant R). Even Rustveli uses the stem  - calier, which does not have the dissimilation.  This form is used  only once in the “Knight in the Panther’s Skin” – “none remained empty, neither youth nor maiden” [55, 4].


In our opinion, the precondition of the dissimilation on the stem “cal-ier” should be caused by a different reason, which  should certainly be another stem of the compound noun – tar-iel. It is obvious that Tariel is considered as the separate root by the editors of the Explanatory Dictionary of the Georgian Language as it is written with hyphen in the dictionary: “cariel-tariel-i" (of cariel-tarieli) spoken: is the same as empty [Explanatory… 1964:582];nevertheless,the lexical fund of the same explanatory dictionary does not comprise an independent form of Tariel whereas the composition of the nouns containing two concepts cannot be considered completed otherwise. The separate stems become composedbecause of different reasons. This kind of phenomenon might occur due to two reasons: when there is a similarity in meaning, i.e. synonymy or the antonymy of the stems. For instance,  we have the composition examples in the following synonymous stems:  ʒal-ġone [power and effort], bed-iġbali[luck], etc. To illustrate the composition of the antonymous stems,we can draw the following example: mic̣a- c̣q̇ali [homeland], šav-tetri [black and white], etc. [modern… 1986: 151]. In the stem – cariel-tariel, the pairing phenomenon is reflected and it is well  shown by the meaning of the compound words. We can also suppose that in this specific case,we have such a reduplicated stem, which forms the compound (two-segment)unit  by replacing the  preceded syllable. But there is another systemic approach; namely, the syllable ma- replaces the simple stems in the second segment; the examples are the following: “koχ-maχi” [cabin], “giž-maži” [crazy], are-mare [surroundings], etc. [ibid, 1986: 150]. Similarly, the editors of the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Georgian Language” have fairly not considered cariel-tarieli as a duplicated form;consequently, the compound noun is written with a hyphen. If cariel-tarieli  is the same as carieli [empty] [Explanatory…1964: l. 581], it seems essential to explain the meaning of Tariel in order tocast light on the presented situation.


Whatis the stemof tar-iel? What is its origin? What do we see as a core element, when we remove the -iel < ier derivant from its stem? This is tari – the basic meaning - the handle of any weapon (beat-ax, sword, etc., also, flag…) [Explanatory… 1960:l. 1253]; it is obvious that it was a handle, which humansgot hold of to use work tools or weapons for the battle in olden times. It was an integral part of many types of armaments that they carried with them at all times. It is also noteworthy that there are verbal stems composed  from tar;the examples are the following:  a-tar-eb-s/u-tar-eb-s [is driving (for someone); or” a-tr-i’al-eb-s [brandishes]> tr-i’al-i [to brandish].  The latter is related to brandishing/using the handles of military weapons made of metal or wood as well as being able execute military maneuvers and using weapons bravely.


It is obvious that tari is the base-part and the weapon cannot be used without it, but this part alonehas no use . Accordingly, it seems apparent why there is no significant difference between meanings of tar-iel and car-iel. These two lexical units, comprehended as the synonymous  pairs, will be placed as the mutually beneficial segments within two concept compound noun; similarly,ʒala [power] and ġone [effort] is united ina compound word. In spite of the fact that compound noun cariel-tarieli (having nothing to own) is written in more recent texts (see: “The Explanatory Dictionary of the Georgian Language” or the National Corpus of the Georgian Language), this might not be the reason to consider the mentioned adjective beingcoined later, in   the 19th century or more recent Georgian language.

Explaining the meaning of tar, Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani notes, that “tar is called the handle of spear, scythe, etc.” [Orbeliani, 1993:133].It seems baseless to date brandishing (according to Sulkhan: rolling – turning around like Tarabua)  arm(as well as thefarming tools) weapons and Georgian martial art or mastery back to 18th or moreover, 19th centuries in the Georgian reality. The adjective tar-ile-i could not be formed in Georgian language when Georgia had already been part of Russian Empire and the major or minor wars were mostly over.


As it seems,  the historical development of the Georgian language, not having the old spoken Georgian language registered and generally, its colloquial form have become the reason for thedisappearance of numerous stems, which were the peculiarity of the colloquial speech;  the form in question - tar-iel  is among them.


That fact that Rustveli uses the spoken language too will be confirmed in the following context:

“say to him: “I could never let India be food for/be eaten by the Persians” [110, 537]. The collocation – “food for the Persians” has the sign of the spoken language; cf. the  expressions, which are used even in the modern Georgian Language: “why have you eaten me?”, “Smb. has eaten the world”, etc. In the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Georgian Language” in order to define the indirect meanings of the dictionary articles, the word šeč̣ams [will eat]  is registered as separate collocation: sopels šeč̣ams  [Smb. eats the village].The latter is correctly qualified as the collocation characteristic to the spoken speech- “spoken. one will spend, destroy, own the wealth of the whole village [Explanatory… 1962: L. 1336].. To say shortly, one of the valuable characteristics of Rustveli language is the practice of presenting the spoken language forms in the poetic manner.


Accordingly, it is a linguistic fact that Tariel is the independent stem and it is identical to the most significant hero of the “Knight in the Panther’s Skin”. Also, it should not be excluded that the semantics of the handle and brandishing the weapon at the same time might refer to the military accomplishments of the character in question. However, we believe that the content – being left with nothing,  leaving him tariel [empty], i.e. the character is left only with a handle seems to be contradictory to the above-mentioned idea.  With regards to the possibility of forming the proper nouns on the basis of the common noun in Rustveli’s linguistic style,  we havesimilar model and method presented in the poem - the case of č̣ašniki   ―›č̣ašnagir.


The antiquity of the -ier > iel  format and its ineffectiveness(lacking the influence on the derivation phenomenon) at the level of the modern Georgian language reflects on the historical and archaic nature of the stem - tariel. Moreover, exactly in this core stem (tar-iel), we come across the above-mentioned dissimilator R, which caused the formation of the suffix -iel from the suffix -ier according to the rules of natural tendencies of the Georgian language (tar-ier > tar-iel); later on, presumably,  it has influenced the first segment of the compound word (i.e. thecal-ier stem) with the regressive rules in such a way that the first segment was also changed according to the same rule (car-iel   analogy might have several varieties. One of them is called neutral sound analogy  - the term coined by G. Akhvlediani who writes the following: “The sound analogy might be named neutral if its functioning or the changes caused by it is not reflected on the meaning of the word [Akhvlediani, 1999:234]. In this case as well, the neutral sound analogy was not able to change the independent  meanings of the words (cariel and tariel) and itunited these words in the spoken Georgian similarly to the other compound nouns, having created the complex, two concept compound word and having boiled both stems down to one meaning.


In our opinion, Rustveli is quite familiar the lexical unit – Tariel, which he borrows from the common language, makes it something of an enigma and starts to form the icon of Tariel.Unfortunately, we know nothing about the linguistic characteristics of the popular literature before the 12thcentury; that is why we cannot rely on the linguistic facts before this date. Even more, sadly enough,  we are unable toobserve the spoken language before and after 12th century as well. The epoch of Rustveli starts the new stage of the development of the Georgian Language, as for the “new Georgian literary language is enriched withthe colloquial speech of the eastern Georgia lowlands -the Kartlian and Kakhian spoken languages[Chikobava, 1950: 018].In our opinion, the colloquial speech is exactly the linguistic practice wherethe independent stem – tariel should have been produced.  In order to prove our point, we deem it necessary to  providerelevant historical sources  and facts.


We believe that the face  of Tariel is Prince Demetre-Demna [see: Eristavli, 1995][4].


We are restricted to only biased narratives written by the annalists when it comes to the political activities and personalityof the first-born son of David V.Now, we will endeavor to restore more-or-less objective portrait based onthe limited resources at hand.


We will start the discussion with one detail written by an unknown encomiast, the author of “History and Eulogiesof the Sovereigns”: “In this world his  [Giorgi III – I.S.) nephewgrew and reached ephebic stage, the son of his elder brother David, named Demetre, handsome and adroit in all tasks, educated, like other sons of their house” [Histories... 1959: 18]. It seems that even the encomiast and narrator of the Dynasty of Giorgi III found it hard not to mention the true virtue of Prince Demna, having due military skills, witand education and the resemblance to the other children of the Bagration royal family. This kind of “shift”in his narrative should not be written accidentally;it seems to be an objective evaluation.  One should not believe that the author was inspired by his personal liking of the prince while writing these kind words about Demna, because in the same passage he accuses Demna fornot being a God-fearing person, who did not observe the Commandmentsof Christ, using his skills and education for evil deeds – “He whodoes evil with the help of all his talent and education, beautiful  appearance and youth,will come to harm and will ruin  his life  [History… 1959: 18].According to the same author, Demnawas possessed by an evil spirit just like his father  − „The devil entered in his heart and mind [ibid: 18], continues the author of “History and Eulogies of the Sovereigns” absolutely forgettinghow he started  to write about Demna in the given passage. Compared to invincible Giorgi III(“Giorgigave the strength, the most powerful man”[ibid: 18]),what is the meritof Demetre’s royal origins, his belonging tothe Bagrations’Dynasty, his status as the first-born son or the  military skillsand education? In “History and Eulogies to the Sovereigns”, there is no mentioning of the fact that Demetre was also entitled to the throne and he was  mercilessly punished for being rightful contender (His eyes were burnt and he died and was buried in Mtskheta” [Lasha-Giorgi’s… 1955: 367]).


It is obvious that this unknown chronicler displays strong bias in favour of Giorgi III. Like the fable of “Sower”, the seed cannot grow in prickly bushes− „[Seeds] theyfallinthorns;  thorns grow and kill the seeds. [Georgian... 1979: M. 13, 7].[5]The fertile seed is trapped and there are no ways to grow it;they are  trapped forever, the emptiness willgovern… And all these misfortunes happen to David Aghmashebeli’s great-grandchild, who might have had numerous characteristics and virtuous traits of his great-grandfather;  he was handsome, adroit and educated; Demetre-Demna had followers as well.The people willing to have him as their king accounted for more than 30000 Georgian fighters from the army alone; Stepanoz Orbeli writes: the armyconsisted of more than thirty thousand [fighters]” [Orbeliani, 1978:A, 46].

It is a fact thatthis army, formed by the followers of Demna and Orbels, is firmly united around one ideaand objective. If we add their family members and people living in the feudal settlements to the total number, there is a high probability that almost half of the Georgian population of that time supported Prince Demna. It would not be reasonable to blame such an insurgency as well as organizing a large army on the impertinence of noble class Feudalists  alone. There should have been something of great importance behind such a political collapse. We are of the opinion that one of the significant and logical reasonsthat causedsuchdissatisfaction towards Giorgi III might have beenthe sense of iniquity, whichthe representators of the high social class as well as lower social circles felt regarding the feudal injustice, according to which the throne should go from father to son based on the principle of first-born son.


Attempting to figure out the concept of equity, Plato notes that “equity represents the only truth and giving back everything thatyou got. However,can one and the same action sometimes seem to be fair and sometimes – unfair(Plato, 2003: 7). In order to evaluate the events happened in the epoch of Rustveli, it is essential to take into the consideration certain opposing ideas. Stephanos Orbeli and Demetre are standing on one side  (according to the poem – Tariel) – “And there have been all the noblemen and esquires with Ioane /(Iovane), all of them united as a team and gathered in his country palace:the noblemen of Kartli, Korkorels, Javakhs, Kakhetians and their sons, Karmagel the Great and Jakel Memna and Tashirians “ [Orbeliani, 1978: A, 45], etc. Thus, neither the  titles nor quantity of the participants of the insurgency is insignificant. As we have mentioned above, at least half of Georgia was willing to have Demna ascend the throne. The dissatisfaction of the high social class and aristocracy and waging an insurgency against Giorgi III might have been based on fair claims. They saw that David V was killed under certain [?] circumstances for the assumption of the full sovereignty and power.[6]In those times, people must have known more about what had happened to David V. As it seems, back then, it was not possible to prevent the disclosure of certain secrets  or the evidences that are unfamiliar to us now. Suspicious issues –“there is no hidden deed that will not be disclosed”  [Georgian… 1986: m. 10, 26] – might have been brought to light at least partially, if not completely.  Giorgi III, clinging to the throne, was not fully content with the murder of his own brother alone (cf.I am a sister” /”Davar”) –having acted  like Cainonce was not enough for him; that is why,  he was doing everything to prevent the successor of David become the King (he made preliminarily stepsto this end, when he made Demetre marry  Ioane Orbeli’s daughter). He also made the aristocracy believethat Demna’s ascending the thronewould have been impossible due to number of reasons. The situation in the country was extremely tense;hense, we should consider that such insurgency and united Georgian army of 30 000 fighters against Giorgi III must have resulted from objective reasons and personal ambitions of certain disobedient feudalists had little to do with the existing tension in the country.


If we go through the history, Demetre I and his younger son -  Giorgi III that got promoted due to certain reasons - are standing on the other side of the double-faced equity.The latter needed to control defiant feudalists to have apowerful country and the unity; that is why, “Giorgi did not delegate the management to the noblemen in the newly conquered countries. He did not authorize them to have the political rule” [Lorkipanidze, 1979: 291]; and the unhappy feudalists took advantage of Demna and plotted an uprising against the King in 1178 [see Lortkipanidze, 1979].


It is logical that the son of Demetre I – Giorgi, at some point, hadrightful claims to the throne, becausehis father proclaimed him as a co-ruler monarch after having returned from the monastery where he served as a monk.  Accordingly, “after Demetre’s death, the eligible heir to the throne was his son Giorgi rather than his grandson -Demna [Lortkipanidze, 1979: 288]. This argument is definitelyin favour of Giorgi III. The fact that his younger son who was already in power showed the will of iron tounite the country andcleverly defeatedmany feudalistshiding behind Prince Demna’s back brought grist to his  mill.There must have beencertain individuals following their own ambitions or some others followers (in our opinion, bydisregarding Prince Demna), but we will definitely be mistaken, if we generalized such intentions to about 30 000 Georgians. There was no unity in that endeavor and the suppressing of the Orbels revolt perfectly demonstrates the above.


It is a fact that the chroniclers carefully tried to hide the real reason of changingthe most significant article in the Feudal Law. The arguments preserved in the sources are not enough (e.g.  the author of History and Eulogies of the Sovereignsnames  Demetre I as a

denunciant” of his elder son), when the matter is about inheriting the throne. Probably, the scarcity of written information provided by modern chroniclers of the epoch in question can be explained with the lack of cogent arguments available for the moment being. It seems, the co-ruling of Giorgi III and the attempt to leave Prince  Demna without the throne  deepened  the hatred of the Georgian society towards him. Although Giorgi III promoted the centralization of Georgia, we believe that the familiarand unfamiliar details of the prince’s tragedy was rather sensitive for XII century Georgian society.


In order to highlight the literary interpretation of Prince Demetre-Demna in the icon of  Tariel - the most important character of “Knight in the Panther’s skin”, we believe we should focus on the war between Indians and Khataetians. It is impossible to disregard that by the war of the Indians and Khataetians Rustveli in fact refers to  Didgori war (1121). T. Chiladze notes: “Rustaveli’s connection with the native land is revealed on the background of David the Builder’s ideas and actions [Chiladze, 1914: 83].In this case, we try to focus on the connection between one idea of the poet and the victory in Didgori War.

We would like to note here that the war of Indians and Khataetians bear resemblance to Didgori War according to the existing circumstances  and tactical steps. Under the concept of “????” we mean having a small army fight the large number of fighters, as well asthe practice of dispatching 200 men[7]to the enemy’s army. Proportion wise, there were 300.000 Seljuk Turks against David the Builder’s armyof 56.000 fighters i.e. approximately 5 or 6 Muslims to each Georgian fighter, which  significantly reduced the chances of winning the battle. “All of them gathered, negotiated , consolidated like the sand of the see, which brimmed the country [with the sand] [Davit… 1995: 340-341] – writes David the Builder’s annalist.


Thus, as Saridan informs Tariel, the army of the Khataetian enemies are significantly larger at one spot and even worse, they are in abundance in other spots of the battlefield („in one place are hidden for thee one hundred thousand troops,“ [427, 2]).Only effective military  tactics could beat the multiple rows riders, bound like a caravan  or countless army (“they had countless army”). One cannot detect even a trace of fear in Rustveli’s narrative. Everything is planned – the spear with a long handle should break through the front rows of the enemy’s army. The lighting-like attack is planned - Seljuk-Turk-Khataetians cannot even imagine this because of their multitudinousarmy. Aligned armies are 120 steps (approximately, 100 meters) apart from each other and this distance seems to be Rustveli’s way or arranging opposing army forces. The actions of the commander-in-chief developed in a dynamic manner. The battle scene presented in the poem is so vividly described that one can hear the clangor of helmets dropping(„I applied my hand to helming myself“), followed by a fascinating scene of instantaneously falling of a horse („I extended a stadium's length, I made ranks and advanced in a long line“[438, 3]).The fate of Seljuk Khataetian was already decided - [David] handled all with great wisdom and tranquility and managed to protect his fighters [David’s... 1955: 341].

We believe that there is no need to write further in order to deem David-Tariel a hero of the war of Indians and Khataetians, which was so beautifully portrayed by Rustveli. But what was the goal of the poet? Was it to illustrate the inimitable example of the past heroic accomplishments, or recalling theglorious and unprecedented victory or a successful attemptto transform Tariel into David? We believe that the second thesis – presenting Tariel as David – is the underlying detail of Rustveli’s mindset, for which he made the most of his art of narrating to describe the battle of Indians and Khataetians.

The point is that the fundamental article of the Georgian Feudal Law – handing the throne to the elder son - was broken in the case of Prince Demetre-Demna. According to the same law, nobody had the right to grant a non-firstborn child to seize control of the country and decide its future. If we follow the dynastic linage of Bagrations from David the Builder and if we align it according to the traditional legal principle of the first-born sons, we will see the breach: David IV the Builder ―› Demetre I ―› David V ―› Demetre-Demna.  Giorgi III is obviously not included in this dynastic lineage. As we mentioned above, this should have been thereason of dissatisfied Georgian Society and the main cause of the 1178 uprising. At least the progressive and pro-state thinking part of the society  should have thought this way. Due to a certain group of feudalists and their indecent attempts to use the situation to their own advantage, the uprising reached a dead end, which perished the life ofPrince Demna as well as decided the grim fate of his descendants; Rustveli must have been complaining about such a fundamental breach of the legal article.


We believe that symbolizing Tariel in the icon of David the Builder stems from the combination of two different phenomenahistorical and artistic. In the war of Indians and Khataetians Demna-Tariel is David (the icon-character of David the Builder); he is the direct descendent [of David] with similarriding skills, intelligence,military tactics and the ability to win glorious victories. He must have been killed before the age of 25, as in the time of the uprising, he was only about 22 years old. 


Demna goes from Lore Castle to his uncle for the sole purpose of having his life spared. Stephanos Orbeliani deems the prince’s decisionunreasonable act  caused by fear; however, nobody really knows what made the prince to surrenderto his uncle. The historian – S. Orbeli seems to show bias when he narrates the event, as he cannot help being deeply concerned about the fate of Orbels rather than Demna’s tragedy. He mostly blames what happened after on Demna’s imprudent conduct (the entire family of Orbels were perished). As it seams, the lack of accurate information or the integrityof Prince Demetre pursued him into a cul-de-sac. He realized that independent feudalistshad made a fool of him (especially in the final period of the uprising). So, he himself secretly left the castle and turned to his uncle, which ended tragically Giorgi III treated his nephew with an unspeakable brutality – he castrated and tortured Prince Demna – the only rightful descendant thus having wiped out an entire male lineage of the royal dynasty.


The punishment and the suffering of Tariel seem to be  in relevance to bloody events in Georgian history. Here, the evaluation made by Asmath is rather noteworthy:

“Hitherto none has heard in story of sufferings like unto his:

such torture would affright' not only men, (but) even stones,

 sufficient for a fountain are the tears that have flowed from his eyes. [840, 1-2-3].


According to the poet, nobody has ever heard of such a terrible punishment that horrified even the stones and nobody has ever witnessed the amount of tears that the hero shed, which was compared to the rich waters of River Tigris. Rather importantly, the motif of spilling blood is common in almost every passage of the poem. Sometimes, Tariel and Asmati shed blood as tears from their eyes  (The maiden swooned, he embraced her; they wiped each other's tears of blood” [219, 4]); sometimes it leaks from the sword of the fighter for justice, Pridon („his sword was broken and soiled, blood flowed down;“ [585, 3]). In short, the motif of blood is dominant in the poem, because during those times, the country was merely covered in bloodshed. Giorgi III was not fully content with the blood of Orbelis, the initiators the uprising and with the blood-stained tears that flowed from the burnt-out eyes of Prince Demna - with all the cruelty, he followed Herod’s example. It must have been characteristic of Giorgi III to wipe out his rivals and their entire families – the second son of Demetre I who he himself made a king was covered in blood. As Aristotle notes, one should have some sympathy for those who suffer unjustly [Aristotle, 2013: 67]. It is rather feasible to think that events in Rustveli’s poem follow this kind of logical chain -making the “crying”young man the central figure of the poem and choosing the name Tariel as a depiction of emptiness, i.e. wiping out the main line of Bagrationi Kings. Although, there are other interesting details to discuss, unfortunately, the limitations of one paper does not allow us to move on further. 


Lastly, we believe that the central figure of the poem that is not naturalist, but the artistic interpretation of Prince Demna and portraying the emptiness, i.e. the perishingof the male linage of Bagrations in the personal name Tariel should be related to the events happened in the 12th-century Georgia. And even if our perspectivesmight seem to be rather arguable,  it is an obvious fact that the adjective Tariel-i is the independent stem of the Georgian origin and the ier―›-iel suffix  reflects on the archaic nature of this unit. Tar-iel’i should haveemerged in Georgian language in the timewhen the word cal’I ―›cal-ier’I, gon’i―›gon-ier’I, sakhe – sakh’ieri, pasi ―›pas-ier’I, zala―›zl-ier’I, s-cad-i-s ―› cad-ier/cad-ier-ad[8]and other stems with the -ier marker became common.

[1]Note: the examples are extracted from the 1966 anniversary issue of “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin”. The number of the stanza and line of the poem is sited [„”Knight in the Panther’s Skin“ 1966].

[2]Cf. the lines containing Pharsadan’s threat towards her sister, Davar:  Now, by my head! I will slay her who is called my sister; [567,1]; or: “Your brother sworn by his head, he will not leave you alive, the people know it" [569,2].

[3]The phonetic process developed in cal-ier>car-iel  is analyzed by I. Imnaishvili and interrelation metathesis; we are of the opinion that the provided derivative stem should be influenced by the external factors, namely, adding the stem tariel as a second segment.  In our opinion, it seems less likely that the part of the suffix – R and the lateral consonant L might have changed their places. It will not be easy to find another example of the interrelation metathesis when we consider the affixes ier or ur. This fact itself raises doubts about recognizing interrelation metathesis in the stem of cal-ier. But on the basis of the Georgian Language characteristics, it seems obvious to develop the dissimilation in case of two R-s. 

It is also worthy mentioning the antiquity of the stem “cal”.  Namely, in Georgian linguistics it is well known that the archaic type of the root *cal is restored on the basis of the comparison of the Kartvelian Languages , which might have been  coined in the Georgian-Zan Unity period [H. Fenrich.... 2000: 590].


[4]In spite of the fact that  T. Eristavi in his work considers the tragedy of Demna in the context of “wild love” towards King Tamar, we think that seeing Prince Demna in the icon-character of Tariel  seems much more interesting.However, we do not share the theory about Demna’s and Tamar’s lovestory. The Scholar writes: As Nestan is the allegory of Tamar’s  unconscious love in the context of projection of India, and Tariel is the complete essence of Demna’sfeelings, it seems that  Demna performs the acts of heroism provoked with love, dictated by this love, like Tariel”  [Eristavi, 1995: 71].

[5][5]The provided example is extracted from I. Imnaishvili’s  “Two last editions of the Georgianfour gospels“ [Imnaishvili, 1979].

[6]cf. the accidental death of the King Saridan, expressed in two-word context: “My father died”.

[7]M. Lortkipanidze notes, “David used the military tactics: before starting the war, 200 knights left the Georgian side and went to theenemy base. The Muslims thought that they were traitors and they did not regard them as a threat and let them enter the base, where they [the Georgian soldiers]  immediately yelled the butter-cry“ [Lortkipanidze,  1979: 240] (cf.the confusion of Khataetians and exclamationWild!“).

[8]The samples are extracted from the 4-volume Symphony Dictionary of the Georgian Language.



აბულაძე იუ.
რუსთველოლოგიური ნაშრომები. ი. მეგრელიძის გამოცემა. თსუ გამომცემლობა.თბილისი.
პოეტიკა. ნ. და მ. თურმანიძეების გამოცემა და თარგმანი. გამომცემლობა „პეგა“.თბილისი.
ზოგადი ფონეტიკის საფუძვლები. სულხან-საბა ორბელიანის სახ. თბილისის სახელმწიფო პედაგოგიური უნივერსიტეტის გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
გამსახურდია ზ.
ვეფხისტყაოსნის სახისმეტყველება. გამომცემლობა „მეცნიერება“. თბილისი.
Гамкрелидзе Т.В. Иванов Вия.Вс.
Индоевропейский язык и индоевропейцы. Т. II. Издательство Тбилисского университета. Тбилиси.
დავით აღმაშენებლის ისტორიკოსი. ცხოვრება მეფეთ-მეფე დავითისი. „ქართლის ცხოვრება“. ს. ყაუხჩიშვილის გამოცემა. ტ. I. გვ. 318-364. გამომცემლობა „სახელგამი“. თბილისი.
ერისთავი თ.
„ესე ამბავი სპარსული, ქართულად ნათარგმანები“, ანუ „ვეფხისტყაოსნის“ სიუჟეტის მეორე განზომილება. გამომცემლობა „ნეკერი“. თბილისი.
შოთა რუსთაველი.
„ვეფხისტყაოსანი“ [მიძღვნილი შოთა რუსთაველის დაბადებიდან 800 წლისთავისადმი]. გამომცემლობა „საბჭოთა საქართველო“. თბილისი.
თანამედროვე ქართული სალიტერატურო ენის ნორმები. გამომცემლობა „მეცნიერება“. თბილისი.
იმედაშვილი გ.
ვეფხისტყაოსანი და ძველი ქართული მწერლობა. გამომცემლობა „საბჭოთა საქართველო“. თბილისი.
იმნაიშვილი ივ.
ქართული ოთხთავის ორი ბოლო რედაქცია. ივ. იმნაიშვილის გამოცემა. თსუ გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
იმნაიშვილი ივ.
ქართული ოთხთავის სიმფონია-ლექსიკონი. ა.შანიძის რედაქციით. თსუ გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
ისტორიანი და აზმანი შარავანდედთანი. „ქართლის ცხოვრება“. ს. ყაუხჩიშვილის გამოცემა. ტ. II. გვ. 1-114. გამომცემლობა „საბჭოთა საქართველო“. თბილისი.
ლაშა გიორგის...
ლაშა გიორგის-დროინდელი მემატიანე. „ქართლის ცხოვრება“ .ს. ყაუხჩიშვილის გამოცემა. ტ.I. გვ. 364-371. გამომცემლობა „სახელგამი“. თბილისი.
ლორთქიფანიძე მ.
საქართველოს საგარეო და შინაპოლიტიკური ვითარება XII ს. მეორე მეოთხედიდან 80-იანი წლების დასაწყისამდე. საქართველოს ისტორიის ნარკვევები. ტ. III. გვ. 263-295. გამომცემლობა „საბჭოთა საქართველო“. თბილისი.
ორბელიანი ს.ს.
ლექსიკონი ქართული. ტ. II. გამომცემლობა „მერანი“. თბილისი.
ორბელიანი სტ.
სტეფანოზ ორბელიანის „ცხოვრება ორბელიანთა“-ს ძველი ქართული თარგმანები. საქართველოს ისტორიის წყაროები. ე. ცაგარეიშვილის გამოცემა. წ. 4. გამომცემლობა „მეცნიერება“. თბილისი.
სახელმწიფო. ბ. ბრეგვაძის თარგმანი. გამომცემლობა „ნეკერი“. თბილისი.
ქართველურ ენათა ეტიმოლოგიური ლექსიკონი. შედგენილი ჰ. ფენრიხისა და ზ. სარჯველაძის მიერ. სულხან-საბა ორბელიანის სახ. თბილისის სახელმწიფო პედაგოგიური უნივერსიტეტის გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
ქართული ენის განმარტებითი ლექსიკონი. რვატომეული. გამოცემული არნ. ჩიქობავას საერთო რედაქციით. ტ. VI. საქართველოს სსრ მეცნიერებათა აკადემიის გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
ქართული ენის განმარტებითი ლექსიკონი. რვატომეული. გამოცემული არნ. ჩიქობავას საერთო რედაქციით. ტ. VII. საქართველოს სსრ მეცნიერებათა აკადემიის გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
ქართული ენის განმარტებითი ლექსიკონი. რვატომეული. გამოცემული არნ. ჩიქობავას საერთო რედაქციით. ტ. VIII. საქართველოს სსრ მეცნიერებათა აკადემიის გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
შანიძე ა.
ქართული ენის გრამატიკის საფუძვლები. ტ. III. თსუ გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
ჩიქობავა არნ.
ქართული ენის ზოგადი დახასიათება. [შესავალი სტატია]. გვ. 018-080. ქართული ენის განმარტებითი ლექსიკონი. რვატომეული. გამოცემული არნ. ჩიქობავას საერთო რედაქციით. ტ. VIII. საქართველოს სსრ მეცნიერებათა აკადემიის გამომცემლობა. თბილისი.
ჭილაძე თ.
ვარდის ფურცლობის ნიშანი. კრებულში: „უკვდავების ათინათი“ [წერილები, ესეები]. გამომცემლობა „ინტელექტი“. თბილისი.
ჭუმბურიძე ზ.
რა გქვია შენ? [მესამე შევსებული გამოცემა]. გამომცემლობა „განათლება“. თბილისი.
Haber H.
Theophoric Names in The Bible. JEWISH BIBLE QUARTERLY. Vol. 29. No. 1 -