Slavic and Eurasian Studies

Lecture "Ancient West and East: Mtskheta, Capital of Caucasian Iberia"

Thu, February 9, 2006 | Chicano Culture Room, Texas Union 4.206

1:00 PM

Thanks to its geographical position, Caucasian Iberia, situated in modern-day eastern Georgia, has always been considered as a meeting-point of the cultures of the ancient West and East. It has proved more dif- ficult than was first thought to apply hard evidence to this cliche. In the Archaic and Classical periods, Iberia was part of the Achaemenid kingdom, most probably one of its satrapies. The Iberian kingdom, with its capital Mtskheta, was created in the early Hellenistic period and until the 5th century AD, when the capital was moved to Tbilisi, it was heavily influenced by ancient Persian culture and practices. This is visible especially in Mtskheta and in how the royal court was organised and displayed itself. At the same time, ancient Greek became the language of the elite and Greek architects were employed to construct royal residences. From the 1st century BC the Iberian kings developed a very close relationship with Rome. In epigraphic and literary sources, Mtskheta figures as a rich and important centre with wide political, cultural and trade relations with both East and West. Roman influences can be found in architecture, burial practices, etc.

Sponsored by: The Institute of Classical Archaeology, The Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, The Department of Art History, and Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA).

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