From the Vocabulary of Old Georgian Language: MANDA

In Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani’s Dictionary the word “mand” is defined as “in that place”.                                                                                                                          

According to “The Georgian Apostolic Symphony-Dictionary” the adverb “manda” in Old Georgian meant: “there, at that place”.

As a rule, “manda” is not defined in the dictionaries of Old Georgian language (the same can be said about the dictionaries attached to old texts). It is assumed, that in the ancient monuments it was used with its contemporary meaning and accordingly, nothing must be defined.

Hence, only I. Abuladze in his “Dictionary of Old Georgian Language” defined “manda’’ as “mand” (there) and gave two illustrative examples. Later we will see, that in reality this word has an absolutely different meaning.

The word “manda” is met in the following extract from “The Passion of Saint Shushanik”: “While we were discussing this, a boy came in and said: “Is Jacob here (manda)?” and I asked: “What do you want?” and he said: “The Patiakhsh is calling for you” [The monuments… 1963:18].

In this context the word “manda” is not defined in different editions of the monument. The same can be said about the dictionaries attached to the textbooks. Perhaps, it is assumed, that in “The Passion of Saint Shushanik” “manda” is used with its contemporary meaning and the definition is not needed. Hence, a well-known Georgian philologist  Korneli Kekelidze made an assumption that in the above mentioned context “manda” had the meaning “here”. In the Russian version of the monument he wrote: “Тут ли Яков? [Кекелидзе, 1979: 60 ]

Why could not the person sent by Varsken ask: “Is Jacob here?”. Does it sound strangely?

The similar example is presented in “The knight in the panther’s skin”:

“ I was looking at you sitting in the coffin,

Here (manda) I heard everything about you.” [Rustaveli, 1966 : 381].

In 1966 the text of “The knight in the panther’s skin” and its variants were published under the editorship of  A. Shanidze and A. Baramidze.  According to the reference of the selected strophe, in two manuscripts (IY) “manda” is replaced by “here”, in one manuscript (Z) by “I here”. Hence, the word combination “manda kvelai (all)” is changed by “I here all” in seven variants (FJKLORT). These data give grounds for making the following assumption:  in the 5th century and during the Middle Ages “manda” could have the meaning “here”.

For the purpose of clarification, I studied a lot of Old Georgain monuments, biblical texts,   Georgian and translated monuments. Sometimes a contextual meaning of “manda” was easily guessed. Sometimes both meanings (“here” and “there”) of the word were acceptable. Let’s discuss several examples:

“Once he walked on the road in the company of his students. One of them found a crude hoarse bean and asked the monk: “Father, do you want me to take this?” The monk looked at him observantly and asked: “Did you put it there/here (manda)?” and the brother answered: “No”” [Dvali, 1974:21].

“You are not worth standing there/here (manda) and speaking with me” [Gorgani, 1962: 255, 28]. In this case, “here” is more appropriate, than “there”.

Here is one more example from “The knight in the panther’s skin”:

“He said: My friend, stay here/there (manda), wait for me,  

I will look for the rope. I want to pull you out” [Rustaveli, 1966 :256].

Doesn’t the phrase - “Stay here, wait for me” - sound more natural? In this case “here” seems more appropriate than “there”.

“He began calling: Pavle, Pavle! And when Pavle looked back and recognized him, he said: Wait for me there/here (manda), until I come back” [Imnaishvili, 1975: 272].    

In the following examples, the meaning of “manda” is determined easily via the clear opposition of the adverbs “here” and “there”:

  1. “God led them here and there” [The monuments… 1963:101].
  2. “When you visited a lot of cities and looked for your Gods,… I was there/here (manda)” [The monuments…1963:122 B]. In the older redaction (A) “manda” is replaced with “mun”.
  3. “And look at the person, who is wearing a gorgeous garment and say: “Sit yourself here”, and ask a poor person: “Stand there or sit yourself at my feet” [Jac. 2,3].
  4. “And said Abraham: My child, remember it, in order to get kindness in your life and Lazarus immediately – those expensive. This one is consoled here and you are walking there (manda)” [Luk. 16, 25 C]. It’s worth mentioning, that this is an extract from the ancient Adishi redaction. In the other manuscripts (DEFGHIK) “manda” is omitted and the last four words of the extract are replaced with “but you are suffering”.

         The words corresponding to the adverb “manda” are not found in Greek, Russian and German redactions. It seems, that it was added by the Georgian translator for emphasizing a controversy. Hence, other scribes omitted “manda” in the Georgian version in order to correspond to the Greek original.

         It is natural, that in the old texts “manda” was mainly used with its contemporary meaning. Let’s discuss the following examples:

  1. “Hence, my flesh is far away, my soul is with you: I made a decision as if I were with you. You have done such a work” [Apostle… 5,3].
  2. “The woman said: “What do you want? I have come. Tell me. I will not go there (manda)” [Moskhi Ioane, 1960:36].
  3. “Don’t fall into the water, because there are evil beasts there (manda)” [The passion… 1941:116].
  4. “And the boarders of Egrisi, until they were there (manda) or went away from there (mandit)” [Juansher, 1955:240]. In one manuscript the adverb “mandit” (which means “from there”) is replaced with “mandat”.
  5. “He came to the door and asked us: “What do you want?”  “We want to enter. Open the door and we will enter” – said the man who had brought me there. “Nobody will enter this place” – answered the man [Moskhi Ioane, 1960:60].
  6. “Holy fathers, we have heard about your being there (manda) and we are quite annoyed with your refusal to visit this holy and famous mountain for praying here. We entreat your holiness to come and stay with us” [The monuments…1967:57].
  7. “Your efforts caused the condemnation of my name in that house and are you there (manda)?” [The monuments… 1967:246].
  8. “You did your work as if we were there. Our being among you is quite believable. Therefore, fulfill everything” [Didi…1975:88].

         In the following examples the adverb “manda” is used with the opposite meaning (here):

  1. “Jesus came to the borough… and told them: “Sit yourself here (manda) while I go there (iki) and pray” [Mat. 26:36].
    Kaq…sate  aÙtoà[1]
    Setzt euch hier, bis ich dort hingehe  und bete
    посидите тут, пока Я пойду, помолюсь там
    (In this sentence the words “manda” and “iki” are used. “Manda” means “here”. This fact justifies the existence of another sentence: while I go there and pray).
  2. “Moses told them: stay here (manda) and let me listen what God says for you” [Numb. 9:8].
    In Gelati redaction this extract is written differently (“And he told them: Stay here during the night and I will say what God tells me about you”). Hence, the existed difference does not refer to the word of our interest.
    It’s worth mentioning, that in the Greek version “StÁte aÙtoà” corresponds to the word “manda”, while in the German and Russian translations the adverbs “aka” (here) and “manda” (there) are omitted.
    Wartet, ich will hoeren, was der Herr euretwegen befiehlt.
    Постой, я послушаю, что повелит о вас Господь .
  3. “Abraham said to his slaves: “Sit yourself down here (manda) near the donkey. I will go there with my son and worship”[ Job...  22:5].  The word “manda” is used in two manuscripts (A and S). In the other manuscripts (C and B) it is replaced with “here” (aka): “Sit yourself down here (aka)”.
    Kaq…sate aÙtoà
    Bleibet mit dem Esel hier! Ich aber und der  Knabe  wollen dorthin gehen.
    Останьтесь здесь с ослом, а я и сын пойдем туда .
  4. “The old were told: “Be silent here (manda), until I come to you and here is Ahron and two others. If anybody deserved punishment, go to them” [Exoduc. 24:14].
    Esuc£zete aÙtoà
    Befahl  er  den   Ältesten: ”Wartet hier af uns, bis wir zu euch zurückkommen!”
    А старейшинам сказал: оставайтесь здесь, доколе мы не возвратимся к вам!" 
  5. “Is  here standing anybody, who has not “faced” the death?” [Luk. 9:27]
    tîn  ïde
    Es sind Einige von denen,die hier stehen.
    Есть некоторые из стоящих здесь .
  6. “Stay here during the night and let me see what God tells me” [Numb. 22:19 Gelat.]
    Øpome…nate  aÙtoà
    Doch bleibt  auch ihr diese Naht hier!
    Останьтесь здесь и вы на ночь, и я узнаю, что to скажет  мне Господь! 
  7. “Moses told the sons of Gadis and Ruben: “Your brothers will fight in the war and why are you sitting here (manda)?” [Numb. 32:6 Gelat.].
    kaˆ  Øme‹j kaqÁsesqe  aÙtoà
    Eure Brüder sollen also in den Kampf ziehen, und ihr wollt hier ruhig sitzrenbleiben?
    Братья ваши пойдут на войну, а вы останетесь здесь
  8. “Jesus said to his disciples: “Sit yourself down here (manda), while I go and pray” [Mark. 14:32]. This extract is taken from Latali manuscript. In other manuscripts “manda” is omitted. In Adishi redaction “manda” is replaced with “aka”.
    Kaq…sate  ïde
    Setzt euch hier, bis ich hingehe und bete 
    Он сказал ученикам Своей: посидите здесь, пока я помолюсь

           This example is very interesting. It seems, that at the end of the 11th century when the Adishi Gospels (one of the oldest manuscripts of the Georgian Four Gospels) was rewritten,  the word “manda” was rarely used with its contemporary meaning (firstly in oral speech, afterwards in written monuments). In Adishi redaction it appeared with the meaning “aka” (here). Supposedly, at that period of time, some copyists of the manuscript didn’t change the word “manda”, while others replaced it with “aka” in order to avoid ambiguity caused by homonymic character of this “double-faced” adverb. Therefore, the final establishment of the word “aka” was facilitated.

         The given supposition can be supported by the extract from the manuscript 4 of Shukharti Collection of the Georgian manuscripts held in the library at the University of Graz. The manuscript #4 consists of “The Compline of the Apostle Saint Jacob” and “The Rule of Renewal of the Purity”. Its first text is followed by a significant postscript, which is placed right after the main text (page 95) and therefore, contradicts to the usual style of writing on the edge of the paper. The postscript, which is written in Nuskhuri (only the first line (three initial words) is presented in Asomtavruli) offers the following information:

          “Saint fathers, forgive me. The original of this compline (from the beginning to the end) lacked for prayers and words which I had heard from the confessor and which had been written in my compline. The person who asked me to rewrite, entreated me to create an exact copy. I created it regretfully. Forgive me for the lacked words and remember me in your payers forever. This compline was written in Sinatsminda by quite sinful Ioane Zosime for praying during his oldness. The date of creation was the chronology ˜˜ and ˜˜˜˜ in Georgian. I entreat you again to forgive me for lacked words. Remember me (quite sinful) and all the above mentioned in your holy prayers. Christ forgives you. Amen” [The life… 1975:272].

         This postscript is very significant. On the one hand, it shows the exact date of rewriting of the monument (985) in two ways: ხფ˜პთ=6589-5604=985, ს˜ე=205+780=985. On the other hand, the praise must be given to the position of the customer, who obligates the copyist (the copyist was Ioane-Zosime -  a skilled specialist in rewriting) to rewrite the text without any changes (despite the fact, that according to Ioane-Zosime’s point of view, the language of the original was obsolete and some issues were unacceptable).  

          It seems, that during the process of rewriting, the customers obligated the copyists to maintain the obsolete forms of words for creating unalterable variants of the original. Some scriveners didn’t obey the “imperative” entreaties (according to Ioane-Zosime’s words: “He entreated me to leave everything unchanged”). Therefore, they changed the obsolete words with their new forms. It seems, that all the customers did not claim the use of old forms so categorically. Gradually, they were superseded by new variants. The process of replacement couldn’t be stopped by the efforts of several persons. Therefore, the word “manda” of Latali manuscript was replaced by “aka” in other redactions of the Old Georgian Four Gospels. One of the rewriters neglected the old and the others followed this example. It’s difficult to make the first step. Hence, when the precedent is created its easier to imitate, to violate the rule or to destroy a strong fence. It occurs not only in literature, but it is a rule of the life as well.

        “Mandai” is seldom met with the meaning “mandauri” “ikauri” (of/at that place). For example: “The brothers came and told us what happened at that place (mandai) - in blissful, holy and majestic Jerusalem” [Appearance…, 1946:75].

        The same form is met in the following example: “And Moses told them: Stand there (mandai). Let’s listen what God says for you” [Numb. 9, 8 pb]. Hence, this example mustn’t be taken into account. It could be a printing mistake or a copy of a bad original. Therefore, in the first example “mandai” is derived in accordance with the rule, while in the second quotation the presence of iota in the words “mandai” and “hrkuai” (told) is totally unjustifiable.

        “Mandauri” (of that place) and “mandit” (there) – the derivatives of the adverb “manda” (there) are met in “The knight in the panther’s skin”. For example: “Everything you know about that place (mandauri), write down” [Rustaveli, 1966, 1274], “We need an exact report of the soldiers of that place (mandauri)” [Rustaveli, 1966, 1273], “The fire lit there (mandit)… ” [Rustaveli, 1966, 138H]. Compare: “The fire lit there (mandit)” (GR) with an extract from the main redaction: “The fire lit by you”. All these forms correspond to the contemporary meaning of “manda”.

          All the above mentioned can be summarized in the following way: In Old Georgian language the word “manda” meant “there”, but in the rare cases it was used with the meaning “here”. When one word of the language conveys two incompatible concepts, the necessity of demarcation of two opposite meanings of the word emerges. Therefore, in the above mentioned case, the word “manda” changed the form (the last vowel “a” was abbreviated) and remained in the language with its old meaning[2]. The problem of the indication of the proximity to the first person was solved by active use of the adverb “aka”, which conveyed an appropriate meaning.

      It seems, that “manda” more “sharply” changed its meaning (“ak” (here) → “ik” (there)) after the word “mun” had gone out of use and its place had remained half free (iki → ik did not fully cover the place of the adverb “mun”, which had gone out of use).

       According to Davit Chubinashvili’s “Georgian-Russian Dictionary” (Saint Petersburg, 1887): “mand (mandet) meant “at that place”, nen= nfv= nelf  mandave, mandve nfv ;t”. It follows the  definition from Niko Chubinishvili’s dictionary (“Georgian Dictionary”, Tbilisi, 1961): “mand, mandet “at that place” [Mat. 26,36]  nen= nfv= nelf” . It’s worth mentioning, that in the Four Gospels “aka” (here) is implied in the specified place (nen=). Therefore, nfv and nelf do not correspond to the reality. It seems, that none of the authors identified “manda” with the adverb “ak” (here). Otherwise, they would have mentioned about that. 

      In contrast to Chubinashvili, Korneli Kekelidze guessed a special nuance of the adverb “manda” and consciously preferred nen to the expectable nfv.

[1]  Here and below we are grateful to Prof. R. Gordeziani for helping us with the clarification of the Greek text.

[2]  In one of the versions (manuscript H-1370) of “The Passion of Saint Shushanik” “mand” is read instead of “manda” (The old monuments…, I, page 18). 


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