About Literature – The Knight in the Panther’s Skin

The Knight in the Panther’s Skin (Georgian: ვეფხისტყაოსანი) is an epic poem written in the 12th century by the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli (Georgian: შოთა რუსთაველი). Consisting of 1666 stanzas and 6500 lines, its story embodies the medieval knightly ideals of chivalry, friendship, courtly love and courage. Dedicated to Tamar the Great (Georgian: თამარი) it is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Georgian literature.

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther's Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther’s Skin

Several manuscripts of the poem were lost or destroyed during the numerous invasions of Georgia but oral traditions preserved it and the first print edition was made in 1712 in Tbilisi.

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther's Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther’s Skin

The poem describes how Avtandil (Georgian: ავთანდილი), a young Arabian nobleman, helps his friend Tariel (the knight in the panther’s skin), to rescue an Indian princess from sorcerers.

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther's Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther’s Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther's Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther’s Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther's Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther’s Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther's Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther’s Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther's Skin

Illustration from an edition of The Knight in a Panther’s Skin

Illustrations by Sergo Kobuladze (Georgian: სერგო ქობულაძე; 1909 – 1978) drawn in 1935-1937.

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  1. […] Begun in the eighth century, the monastery complex consists of 16 levels of cells, storerooms and stair tunnels.  There are two churches in the complex, including a small domed church that clings to the rock on the level of the highest tunnels. The church contains inscriptions dating from the second half of the 15th century, including two lines from Shota Rustaveli’s epic poem The Knight in the Panther’s Skin. […]

  2. […] during their reign. When David the Builder was in power, a famous poem was written called “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin“. Its themes of love, overcoming obstacles, hospitality and loyalty epitomize Georgia. […]

  3. […] during their reign. When David the Builder was in power, a famous poem was written called “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin“. Its themes of love, overcoming obstacles, hospitality and loyalty epitomize Georgia. […]



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