|Deities of Pagan Iberia’ by Vlas Vatsadze|
|July 11, 2008|
July 11, 2008
Caucasus House held a book presentation and small exhibition on July 8. The book by Vlas Vatsadze is entitled ‘Deities of Pagan Iberia,’ and as such, the event followed a somewhat mythical theme.
According to Vatsadze, the book is an attempt to analyze the question of the substance and origin of deities. The work concentrates on six gods worshipped in Pagan Iberia, modern-day Georgia. It was published and edited by doctor of historical sciences, Professor Tea Karchava.
In such a highly Christian Orthodox country as Georgia, such works may be of great interest to readers, especially when we realize that before Christianity, people worshipped many Asian, Persian and Mesopotamian gods, and also makes a strong connection between the lands that are now Georgia and Greece.
An excerpt from the book states: ‘The Iberian pre-Christian pagan pantheon is the one of the obvious examples that demonstrates connection of Georgians with pre-Hellenistic and Hellenistic cultures. There are poor and sometimes contradictory data on the deities of the Georgian pagan pantheon in Georgian written sources.’
This subject has previously been studied by many predominant historians and scientists, such as Niko Marr, but then as now, the lack of hard evidence hampered the reliability of any academic conclusions.
Vatsadze did, however, also use artifacts to research his book, studying a silver bowl which was discovered during an archeological dig in Karashamb. He used comparative analysis of this bowl and other artifacts to try and prove the existence of the Ishtar cult in the Caucasus.
The book presentation was enhanced by artwork depicting the deities. Paintings showing artists’ impressions of the gods were on display at the launch. The works were by Khatia Ketsbaia, Besa and Temo Qartlelishvili, Lasha Tsitsikashvili and Kote Kitiashvili.
‘Deities of Pagan Iberia’ is a fascinating book, and will enthrall anyone who is interested in religious and cultural history in the Caucasus region.