Cartu Fund Supports “King Erekle in the British Press" Project

Cartu Fund has pledged to give 20,000 GEL to the translating and printing of historical material that connects Georgian King Erekle II (1720-1798) to Europe through 500 plus newspaper articles dating from the mid-1700s.

The newspaper articles were discovered by Art Palace Director, Giorgi Kalandia, in 2014 whilst looking through the British Library archives from the National Library of Ireland for references to Georgia.

At a time when Ottoman and Persian forces were a great threat to both the European continent and to Christianity, the Christian prince of the eastern provinces held particular fascination for the British press.

“We learn from Persia that Prince Heraclius, whose exploits have made so great a noise in the world, was drawing all his forces into the provinces bordering upon the Caspian Sea, in hopes, by the vicinity of Georgia and the assistance he may receive by sea from Russia, to preserve that part of Empire; he proposes an equal toleration of all religions, professing himself a Christian of the Greek Communion.” Whitehall Evening Post or London Intelligencer (London), 2-5 November, 1754.

Through a series of letters and reports received from Venice, Petersburg, and other cities between the Ottoman Empire and Britain, we discover the exploits of King Erekle (known as Prince Heraclius), often exaggerated, sometimes contradicted, but nearly all painting him as a heroic, strong figure defending Christianity from the ‘barbarian hordes.’

“This is a treasure for Georgian historians and society,” Giorgi Kalandia told GEORGIA TODAY. “The National Library of Ireland and British Library had such documents in their archives which are totally unknown to Georgian society. Our team at the Art Palace immediately realized the value and put together a project for a bilingual English-Georgian book. Cartu Fund kindly agreed to finance and support the project, which we hope to have completed by December this year.”

The King Erekle project will perhaps be the first of a collection on Georgia in the Foreign Media, as other articles from the mid-1600s to the late 19th century have been identified in both Britain and Germany awaiting collection and translation.

Katie Ruth Davies

Photo: Giorgi Pridonishvili / GT


11 July 2016 18:18