Georgian mythology

Georgian mythology (Georgian: ქართული მითოლოგია, romanized: kartuli mitologia) refers to the mythology of pre-Christian Georgians, (/kʌrtˈvɛliənz/; Georgian: ქართველები, romanized: kartvelebi, pronounced [kʰɑrtʰvɛlɛbi]), an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group native to Georgia and the South Caucasus.The mythology of the Kartvelian peoples is believed by many scholars to have formed part of the religions of the kingdoms of Diauehi, Colchis and Iberia.

Later influences include the mythologies of the Ancient Greeks,[1] the Vainakh peoples[1] and Iranians – the last-named comprising both the belief systems of the Northern Iranian nomad Scythians and Sarmatians (still preserved to some extent in the mythology of their descendants the Ossetians) and that of the Zoroastrian religion of the Ancient Persian empire, which has left an enduring legacy among the nations of the Caucasus.[2] (See also Iranian religions)[3]

Georgian myths and legends are preserved mainly as popular tales, many of them eventually fusing with Christian legends after the Christianization of Georgia seventeen centuries ago. The evangelizing of Georgia, however, was far from uniform. While the lowland populations embraced Christianity in the fifth century, the highlanders of the mountain valleys in the Greater Caucasus range were converted some ten centuries later – and only superficially. Survivals of pagan beliefs and practices in the Georgian plains are thus, understandably, heavily influenced by Christianity, lacking in mythological unity and essentially folkloric.[4][5]

The mountain Georgians, on the other hand, preserved a rich and well-organized [pagan] religious system to the beginning of the twentieth century, with differentiated cults that continued to be productive [thanks largely to the persistence of] a priestly class with an orally-transmitted body of knowledge.[5]