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"Shota Rustaveli’s The Man in the Panther’s Skin was penned in the 12th century during Georgia’s Golden Age, an era that saw the nation achieve both the status of a geopolitical power and a thriving intellectual life characterized by a strongly humanist world view. It was in this environment that Georgia’s most venerated ruler, Queen Tamar, ascended to the throne.
The Man in the Panther’s Skin belongs not just to one period in the history of one nation, however, but to all of humankind, as one of the world’s great monuments of intellectual creativity. This epic poem uniquely glorifies humankind’s individual essence, its God-given perfection, its ethical and social mission, and its inexhaustible capacity to fight for justice and good. The sermon delivered by the poet on the limitlessness of the latter is encapsulated in his famous words, “Good hath overcome ill; the essence of (good) is lasting.” It is widely recognized that Shota Rustaveli’s humanist ideals predate by almost two centuries that well-known event in humankind’s intellectual development known as the European Renaissance and its accompanying aesthetics.
The condensed prose retelling of the poem that you now hold in your hands is intended to help spread interest in the poem among new audiences worldwide, with commentary to draw the foreign reader’s attention to key passages and help them to identify and interconnect the poem’s major plotlines and themes."
Translated by Geoffrey Gosby
With Illustrations by Hungarian painter Mihály Zichy (1827-1906)