Rafael Eristavi

Eristavi, Rafael Davidovich


Born Apr. 9 (21), 1824, in the village of Chala, Kakhetia; died Feb. 19 (Mar. 4), 1901, in Telavi. Georgian poet.

Eristavi’s poems were first published in 1854. In the 1860’s, influenced by the group of writers known as the Tergdaleulebi, he turned from poetry intended for a small audience to civic poetry. The most prominent theme of his works was the hard life of the peasantry. Notable poems on this theme include “The Petitioner in the Judge’s Chamber,” “The Beggar and the Pauper,” “A Picture,” “Sesiia’s Thoughts,” and “A Large Family.” The poems “Native Tongue” and “Khevsur’s Homeland” (1881), both of which played an important role in raising the national consciousness of the Georgian people, are filled with a fervent love for Georgia and express a yearning for a national rebirth. Eristavi’s rich poetic language was influenced by Georgian folk poetry. He translated classic works of Russian and Western European literature into Georgian. Eristavi was also an accomplished ethnographer and collector of folklore.


[Erist’avi, R.] T’xzulebani, vols. 1–4. Tbilisi, 1935–38.
T’xzulebani: Lek’sebi, poemebi. Tbilisi, 1974.
In Russian translation:
lzbr. proizv. Tbilisi, 1958.


Baramidze, A., Sh. Radiani, and B. Zhgenti. Istoriia gruzinskoi literatury. Tbilisi, 1958.