Akakii Tsereteli

Tsereteli, Akakii Rostomovich


Born June 9 (21), 1840, in the village of Skhvitori, in what is now Sachkhere Raion, Georgian SSR; died there Jan. 26 (Feb. 8), 1915; buried in Tbilisi. Georgian poet and public figure.

Tsereteli came from a princely family. He studied at the faculty of Oriental languages at the University of St. Petersburg from 1859 to 1863, and in 1864 he returned to Georgia.

The Russian revolutionary democratic movement exerted a determining influence on Tsereteli’s world view. Together with I. G. Chavchavadze, Tsereteli headed a group of Georgian shestidesiatniki (men of the sixties) known as the Tergdaleulebi. From 1897 to 1900 he published the journal Akakis tviuri krebuli (Akakii’s Monthly Anthology). In 1905 he edited the antigovernment satirical journal Khumara (The Joker), for which he was arrested. In the same year, Tsereteli wrote a poem entitled “Down With It!,” in which he called for the overthrow of the government and the annihilation of the existing order. The poem became a revolutionary anthem in Georgia. Tsereteli also translated the Internationale into Georgian (1906).

Tsereteli’s literary views were based on the principles of materialist aesthetics. He considered his main task to be the realistic depiction of life. Tsereteli’s poetry is filled with compassion for the simple worker and wrath against oppressors. His most outstanding civic poetry and love lyrics, which won wide popularity, include “On the Upswing,” “The Sick Woman,” “Amiran,” “To The Beloved,” and “Suliko.” Tsereteli employed historical chronicles as a basis for the narrative poems Bagrat the Great (1875), Tornike Eristavi (1884), and Natela (1900), which depicted the Georgian people’s struggle for freedom and independence.

Tsereteli’s notable prose works include the novella Bashi-Achuki (1895–96), which re-creates episodes from the Georgian people’s heroic struggle against the Persian oppressors in the 17th century, and the autobiographical novella What I Have Lived Through (1894–99). Tsereteli also wrote popular comedies and vaudevilles, and he helped establish a resident drama theater in Tbilisi.

In 1939 a Tsereteli Museum was opened in the village of Skhvitori.


Ceret’eli, A. Txzulebat’a sruli kregshli, vols. 1–15. Tbilisi, 1950–63.
In Russian translation:
Izbrannoe. Moscow, 1940.
Lirika. Moscow, 1962.


Abzianidze, G. Akakii Tsereteli. Zhizn’ i tvorchestvo. Tbilisi, 1959.
Margvelashvili, G. Akakii Tsereteli. Tbilisi, 1960.
Asatiani, L. Zhizn Akakiia Tsereteli. Tbilisi, 1971.