TIMOTHE GABASHVILI ABOUT SHOTA RUSTVELI
Shota Rustveli‘s biography is obscure due to lack of documented information. Those few documented sources, where Shota Rustveli, or only the last name, Rustveli or the first name Shota is mentioned are not enough to restore d his biography. The sources survived till present can be divided into two groups by their value and significance: 1. Historical-documentary materials and 2. Folklore materials. Historical-documentary sources contain very scarce information, limited to the name and title, while the folklore materials (legends, myths, folk poetry) generally depict the folklore fantasy, though might be memorising historic facts and events as well. Drawing a dividing line between these two is almost impossible today. The situation is even more difficult since we do not have an original manuscript of the „ The Knight in the Panther‘s Skin― dated earlier than 16th century Studying Shota Rustveli‘s biography, apart from having the value in itself, is needed for getting historical aspects of the „ The Knight in the Panther‘s Skin ―, behind which the allegories, symbols and enigmatic essence of the epic poem can be found.
The limited documentary materials about Shota Rustveli‗s biography can be divided into three groups: 1. Notes about the title - Rustveli, which should be the main focus for research, since this very name is mentioned in the prologue and epilogue of the poem, without mentioning the first name; 2. Notes about the name Shota, which is sometimes mentioned together with the last name Rustveli and sometimes separately; 3. Notes about Shota Rustveli, from those the inscription made underneath the Jerusalem fresco in Holy Cross Monastery is worth mentioning first of all, since others were made later. In this regard, the most interesting are the inscriptions made to the frescos and bas-reliefs of Rustveli such as the fresco in Kvabiskhevi basilica, Adzikvi bas-relief and the Jerusalem Holy Cross Monastery fresco, also the notes made to the Jerusalem repast book about Shota, a household keeper; as well as the historical sources and deeds from the Shota Rustveli‘s epoch – a note from the „Life of Kartli― about Shota Toreli written by Chiaberi, i.e. the one made by the author of the signature on Zhinvani deed. In my work I will discuss the documented sources survived in the Jerusalem Holy Cross Monastery, namely regarding the Shota Rustveli‘s fresco and the notes about Shota as a household keeper, mentioned in the repast book on the base of notes kept in Timote Gabashvili‘s work, The validity of Jerusalem source study materials about Shota Rustaveli‘s biography produced by Georgian and foreign scholars (Z. Chichinadze, V. Tsaferis, Sh. Amiranashvili, I. David, E. Mamistvalishvili and others) and a legend based on them are not clearly defined. Therefore the aim of my work is to divide the reality and a legend when it comes to scientific discourse. This viewpoint is based on the notes in Timote Gabashvili‘s work.