Amiraniani. Georgian epos about a hero-sufferer

Well, I decided to tell you the legend of Amirani. It is the most famous legend of Georgia, which was born in Mtskheta and spread through the entire Caucasus.

However, despite this fact, in Soviet schools (the place where I started my education) only one paragraph in a history book was dedicated to this old Georgian legend. But later when I was filled with salty taste of Borjomi and under the auspices of this I wanted to know more about the culture of Georgia as a whole, I came across several sources, which told the legends almost completely. There are different versions of paraphrase, but I will tell you the most popular.

It was like this.

Amirani is a son of Dali (the goddess of hunting) and unknown hunter, who was mortal, of course. The fact that the man was mortal shows us that this legend was created during the time of matriarchy, when the identity of father wasn’t taken into account (approximately 3rd century BC). Some other later sources say that the father of Amirani was a blacksmith or a farmer.

Amirani was strongly prematurely born that is why to ripen he was placed (attention!) in a stomach of a bull. When he left therefrom (how he did it in a legend isn’t specified, or I haven’t found) … on shoulders of Amirani the moon and the sun was represented, and these images, that appeared at his birth by itself, was a proof of his divine origin. Some parts of a body of Amirani completely consisted of gold. He was huge growth and remarkable force and precipitancy, the real giant. «Twelve pairs of bulls and buffalos won’t be compared to his strength, and the log flying from a rock – to his speed» — it is told in a legend. Indispensable attribute of Amirani’s life was huge, very heavy sword that was forged by himself (blacksmith craft he has seized, possibly, genetically).

Where did he get such power? Some say it was Amirani’s godfather who gave him power (it is clear that after the coming of Christianity in Georgia the story of the blessing of our hero was remade, because earlier he was a pagan). But other sources say that when Amirani was a child he bathed in the magical source of Mtskheta (well, you never know what supernatural skills can be expected after swimming in Georgian sources:).

Epos «Amiraniani” tells us about the heroic deeds, which were accomplished by this huge hero in the fight with a dragon Veshapi and with poisonous plants. Once
Veshapi swallowed Amirani, but Amirani managed to come out by cutting the belly of the dragon. Another time Amirani threw sun into the dragon’s stomach in order to burn it inside. Also he kidnapped the beautiful Kamari (the daughter of the ruler of weather and storm clouds) by killing her father previously (I’d say it is quite a strange vision of an ideal relationship with future father-in-law). Amirani was also a teacher. He taught people blacksmith craft.

However, like any other (well, almost like any other) godlike, Amirani sooner or later pays for his theomachism. He is chained to a rock, which is located in the cave of the Caucasus ridge, and every day an eagle pecks his liver and his faithful dog licks this very thick chain in the hope to lick it away, but in vain, because the chain is changed every year, on Thursday of Holy Week. And every seven years the cave opens up the stones, so any stranger with his own eyes can see this sad and terrible picture.

According to the experts in literature, Shota Rustaveli wrote his «Man in the Panther’s Skin” by focusing on the image of a hero Amirani.

All the dialects of the Georgian language are full of tales of Amirani, because this legend appeared along with the people of Georgia. Related peoples of the Caucasus also have variations of this legend. Archaeologists even find historical monuments, which can be attributed to Amirani: bronze belt of Mtskheta, Kazbegi treasure, Trialet silver cup. But who knows the true identity of these things:).

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