History should not be written like this
03/06/2010 12:37
Tamaz Beradze
Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnology

In 2007 the History of Abkhazia from Ancient Times to Modern Days by Bgazhba and Lakoba was published in Sukhumi. The authors promise in a summary that by connecting well-known historical materials, results of the latest archeological findings and newly-discovered documents they would present a complete history of indigenous people of Abkhazia against the background of the most important events of the world history. As they maintain this book is for specialists as well as broad audience. This banal summary hides a desire of the Abkhazian authors to move away from the truth as far as possible and present the history of Abkhaz people in accordance with their own scheme.

Historical falsification begins right from the start. From the beginning the authors maintain that Abkhazian tribes occupied the territory of modern Abkhazia as early as 1 000 AD. And that is when formation of Abkhazia in modern borders was a very long-term historical and ethnic process and actually ended only in the twenties of the last century. Here the authors mention for the first time a union of Henioch tribes that never in reality existed and who, of course, as they claim, were ancestors of modern Abkhazians and they occupied the coastline of modern Georgia at the very least.

The first part of the book consists of 21 chapters. It describes the Abkhazian history beginning from the Old Stone Age to the first half of the VIII century. This part of the book states that famous Colchian-Koban culture of the Late Bronze Age which spread over the entire eastern and south-eastern part of the Black Sea coast were in fact a culture of Abkhazian tribes. It was those tribes that started so-called saltmines, as some archeologists mistakenly believe, used to be on sand seacoast of Georgia. The authors call great monuments of this culture masterpieces of art of "Abkhazian-Colchian bronze". After reading of this book "Specialists and broad public" will get an impression that Colchis of the myth of Argonauts was a state union of Abkhaz tribes and that king of Cholchis Aeetes and his son Absyrtus were, no doubt, ancestors of modern Abkhazians. And this Colchis used to have trade and economic contacts with numerous regions of the east. And the only exception, it seems, were just eastern and south-eastern Georgia where in reality archeologists have found many magnificent monuments of the Colchian culture of the late Bronze Age.

The 10th chapter of the first part is especially dedicated to "glorious Henioch tribes". According to them, and without backing by any historical data, they were ancient ancestors of the Abkhaz. Their territory that was spread to Trabzon was an area where Prometheus was chained and that was where rivers, where gold was produced, flew. In general, Abkhaz have relations with every people of the Caucasus except Georgians. For example, a separate chapter is dedicated to relations between Abkhaz and Scythes, Abkhaz and Goths, Abkhaz and Alans, Abkhaz and Armenians, Abkhaz and Genoeses (i.e. Italians). They even had relations with Goths through Christianity. More, in the IX century a bishop of Goths (in reality of Crimea) was consecrated in Abkhazia. The first part of the book discusses Greek colonization of the black Sea coast and relations between Rome and the Black Sea coastline. Abazgs and Apshils were, of course, ancestors of the Abkhaz. The authors never even mention that there is another opinion. Those chapters of the book which concern the history of the I-VII century do not mention a name of the kingdom of Egrisi (Lazika) and which in the IV-VI centuries included Abasgia i.e. Abkhazia, that in turn consisted of two regions that were governed by Eristavis and Apsilia was directly subordinated to a king of Lazika. Data about this is preserved in the works of Byzantine authors of the time. Our authors completely ignore georgian hisotrical sources but if they need they are not taking into account data of Byzantine and old Armenian sources either. The same chapter "determines" that Sanigs and Misimians were Abkhaz and that despite the fact that according to etymology of these ethnonyms they must have been Georgian tribes.

The second part of the book is about feudalism era in Abkhazia. In this case the fact is that the truth is very twisted here as well. Just a fact that a term "Georgians" is translated into Russian as "Kartliitsy" or Kartlelians (residents of one of Georgian region - Kartli) says a lot. And generally, the authors of the book are trying to avoid terms such as "georgian" and "Georgia". They are trying to change these terms with separate names of Georgian tribes - Mingrelians, Svans and so on in every possible moment. While describing history of spiritual and material culture of Abkhazia of the Middle Ages the authors never forget to mention none of more or less important archeological finds in Abkhazia that came to the territory of modern Abkhazia from other countries. But they never mention a fact that in the Middle Ages written language on this territory was Georgian. They neither remember that religious monuments and castles of that era there are only monuments of the Georgian architecture of the Middle Ages.

The authors remember Georgians only in the 3rd and 4th parts of the book where new and contemporary history is described. They remember Georgian just to create an image of an enemy out of them - enemies who are the main culprits in all misfortunes of Abkhazians.

A list of distortions of the historic truth that are presented in the book requires tens of pages of relevant comments so we will content ourselves with noting that such tendential description of history of any country or nation is a crime even before one's own people. This book was written with the only purpose - to somehow distance today's Abkhazians from Georgians and Georgian space and instigate hatred in Abkhazians towards Georgians.

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