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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Name of Georgia

Georgia is sometimes thought to be named after St. George. 15th c. cloisonné enamel on gold.
Ethnic Georgians call themselves Kartvelebi (ქართველები), their land Sakartvelo (საქართველო - meaning "a place for Kartvelians"), and their language Kartuli (ქართული). According to the ancient Georgian Chronicles, the ancestor of the Kartvelian people was Kartlos, the great grandson of the Biblical Japheth. The name Sakartvelo (საქართველო) consists of two parts. Its root, kartvel-i (ქართველ-ი), specifies an inhabitant of the core central-eastern Georgian region of Kartli, or Iberia as it is known in sources of Eastern Roman Empire.Ancient Greeks (Strabo, Herodotus, Plutarch, Homer, etc.) and Romans (Titus Livius, Cornelius Tacitus, etc.) referred to early eastern Georgians as Iberians (Iberoi in some Greek sources) and western Georgians as Colchians.
Like most native Caucasian peoples, the Georgians do not fit into any of the main ethnic categories of Europe or Asia. The Georgian language, the most pervasive of the South Caucasian languages, is neither Indo-European, Turkic nor Semitic. The present day Georgian or Kartvelian nation is thought to have resulted from the fusion of aboriginal, autochthonous-inhabitants with immigrants who infiltrated into South Caucasus from the direction of Anatolia in remote antiquity. The ancient Jewish chronicle by Josephus mentions Georgians as Iberes who were also called Thobel Tubal.
The terms Georgia and Georgians appeared in Western Europe in numerous early medieval annals. The French chronicler Jacques de Vitry and the English traveler Sir John Mandeville wrote that Georgians are called Georgian because they especially revere Saint George. Notably, in January 2004 the country restored the five-cross flag, featuring the Saint George's Cross; the flag was used in Georgia from the 5th century throughout the Middle Ages

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