In the Knight in the Panther’s Skin by Shota Rustaveli and Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

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Lia Karichashvili


In The Knight in the Panther’s Skin by Shota Rustaveli, the syntagma “native land” was mentioned twice. It has binary meaning: directly it means the homeland (“the native land is mine”, 544) allegorically  – the paradise (“They gave me the native land so desired for me” 812). The concept of the homeland has the binary meaning in the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri as well. The poet defines its metaphorical sense: We should imply the heaven as the homeland (91).

In the both texts the biblical concept is apparent: the paradise was Adam’s homeland, once lost and returning to it became the eschatological aim of the humans. Naturally, there are deep internal ties between the worldly and heavenly homeland: the heaven is a divine idea of the worldly native land (archetype). “From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands” (The Acts of the Apostles 17:26). Thus, the individual is born at predetermined time and place, to seek for God. The purpose is mystic and its understanding takes place with the person’s self – comprehension (“who is he, where came he from, where is hi and where will he go” David Guramishvili).

In The Knight in the Panther’s Skin God is “who fixes the bounds” (792,3) and in the Divine Comedy the homeland and mother tongue is determined by Lord: the nature gives the men the mother tongue / and what kind of speech this should be, is ruled by the Lord” (127).

In the Christian literature the heaven is frequently mentioned as the divine Jerusalem or Zion and the world as Egypt. Dante also applies such paradigmatic eloquence as well: That’s why he was allowed to come from that darkness of Egypt here, to Zion (55).

For both poets, the invisible stairs from the worldly homeland to the heavenly one is the faith, realized in the lifestyle of the characters, serving to lord, homeland and human being.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

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"The Knight in the Panther's Skin" in the Context of World Civilization