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CIVILISATION IDENTITY OF GEORGIA IN TERMS OF RETROSPECTIVE AND MODERN REALITY

EMZAR KAKHIDZE
Batumi State Maritime Academy

Georgian civilization was formed in the presence of ancient oriental hegemony, although our region has not become its organic part.
The same happened in relation with the Antique world, which had its influence mainly on the elite but, unlike other regions of Black Sea Coast, level of culturization was not deep enough to make serious qualitative changes. Hence, at the end of Roman Period, the greatest cultural and historical importance of relations with the Antique world became obvious. Even only falling under the influence of the united empire had caused the great civilization breakthrough and contributed to the Christianization of our country. It was the crucial epoch for Georgia. It is not accidental that during the 6th7th centuries, both Lazika and Kartli were making choices between the Byzantine and Oriental civilizations. Activeness of the East cannot be explained only by the geostrategic situation of that time or “characteristic” aggressiveness of that world. Determination of the East to return its former periphery was quite natural, especially, when Georgia was not considered as organic part of opposite side. The very choice made by Georgian statehood has determined its future achievements. Apart from the Georgian experience, state model of David the Builder was based on the Byzantine matrix, which was progressive in the East Christendom of that period. The latter had successfully survived three centuries, despite some setbacks. After the 15th century, Georgia, which could never cope with the end of David’s (and in general, Byzantine) model, was actually left behind the world historical processes. The East “had not forgotten us”. It had doubled the efforts to reintegrate former periphery. We have to remember that Byzantium itself was not “pure West”. Eastern element was one of its organic parts, along with the Christianity and Antique legacy. Accordingly, partial Islamization of the country was not accidental but the result of objective historical process. For Georgia, presence of Russia in the Caucasus turned out to be equal to the revival of old Byzantine Idea. Although the relations with Moscow, despite the unification of national organism, had not resulted in rise of statehood; but on the other hand, forgotten Western wave had stormed into Georgia via Russia, followed by great cultural breakthrough. Ilia Chavchavadze has become its symbol. His assassination points at the dualism of this idea, which, apart from its progressiveness, has destructive aspects. Modern stage is determined with this very dualism. Present development actually repeats inorganic nature of the elite of Antique period or “third party”, when certain ideas are imitated, instead of being creatively transformed. The only difference is that all this has already acquired common national character. Today, Ilia’s course lies in full mastering and not fragmentation of Georgian Civilization legacy, which should be directed towards the improvement of the existing, i.e. so called progressive ideas, and not blind repetition of ready recipes. Georgia should become a new model of “rejected” multiculturalism, where different languages, religions and cultures coexist instead of being evened out.

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