The ancient Georgian kingdom of Kartli or Iberia as it was known to the Greco-Roman world, was involved in Roman politics from the time of Pompey onwards. Over the centuries the relationship between ancient Georgia and Rome changed from being hostile to diplomatic, based on mutual interests.
It was in Roman times that Georgians were gradually drawn towards a western lifestyle and aspired to western ideology and values. Georgia’s geo-political location made the region into a crossroads where influences from Roman, Persian and North Caucasian cultures merged and inspired local craftsmen to produce exquisite gold jewellery, carved gems and silver vessels.
Extraordinary finds came from the capital of Iberia Mtskheta, where elite burials have been found, containing important inscriptions, diplomatic gifts and luxury goods. Aristocratic sarcophagi from the remote provinces have also yielded artefacts which matched the high artistic quality of the capital. The objects were carefully chosen to demonstrate the wealth and importance of the deceased, whose name and status were often revealed by the imported luxury goods from Persia or Rome inscribed with Greek and Armazian (a local version of Aramaic) inscriptions. A wide range of remarkable luxury artefacts from second-fourth century Iberia provide valuable information about their provenance as well as the historical and artistic background of their time.
Manana Odisheli of the
Centre for Archaeological Studies of the Georgian Academy of Sciences,
Tbilisi (emerita) will present "The Elite Burials of Ancient Georgia in
Roman Times" at a free public lecture on Wednesday, February 13th at
7:00pm, sponsored by the CU Department of Classics. This lecture will be
held in Hellems Room 201 at the University of Colorado Boulder.