Dec 9, 2017

Georgia Boys are Always on My Mind

Remember the Beatles' song "Back in the USSR"?

Well, Ukraine boys really knock me out
They leave the rest behind
Moscow boys make me sing and shout,
And Georgia boys are always on my mind....

If you're like me, you've often wondered why there is a country named Georgia in the Caucasus mountains, with no connection to the U.S. state of Georgia.

Georgia the state was named after King George II.  Who was Georgia the country named after?

Nobody.  The official name of the country is  Sakartvelo.  Georgia comes from the Persian name for the people, gurgan ("wolves"), which entered Arabic as jurjan, and European languages as georgian.

If that's not confusing enough, its ancient name was Iberia, which has nothing to do with Spain or the Iberian Peninsula.

The capital is Tbilisi, which is easier to pronounce than it looks.

If you're interested in languages: Georgian, aka Kartvelian, is in the South Caucasian family (which has nothing to do with white people). The family is an isolate, connected to no other languages on Earth.

English: I have a big sausage.
Georgian: Me mak’vs didi dzekhvi

English: Come to my room.
Georgian: Modi ch’ems ot’akhshi

If you're interested in religion: Georgia is dotted with ancient monasteries, some carved right into the mountains.  Of course, the strong religious conservatism has resulted in some virulent homophobic, similar to the U.S. in the 1950s.  There is some gay activism, but it's been met by widespread and violent opposition.

If you're interested in literature:  The Knight in the Panther Skin, a Medieval epic by Shota Rustavelli., tells of the love of two warriors, the civilized Avtandil and wild, skin-clad Tariel.  Sort of like the Gilgamesh and Enkidu in ancient Sumeria.

If you're interested in sports: Eldar Kurtanidze has won five world wrestling championships and represented Georgia at the Olympics twice.  He's now a politician.  Sort of like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

More after the break

Or maybe you're just interested in looking at Georgia boys.

1 comment:

  1. Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was Georgian. Actually, as a young man, he was not unattractive:

    During the USSR years, Georgia was considered one of the more attractive republics in which to live (along with the Baltic states), it had a somewhat easy - going "Mediterranean" type of culture. Georgia is a big wine producer, and it is the home of "shashlik" (meat cooked on a skewer); Georgians were also "hustlers", they were involved in black - market dealings. And yes, the language is interesting, cool alphabet...


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