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Updates

1 August 2011:

Another semester is over, another book is published. My two volume book "Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World" came out last week in the US.

9 July 2010:

My book Historical Dictionary of Georgia went through a second edition, this time in a different series of references, "The A to Z of Georgia".

10 April 2010:

My new book finally came out in Britain and US Napoleon's Great Escape: The Battle of the Berezina and first book review is already out.

5 August 2009:

I began a new project concerning the Georgian heraldry and you can see it at The Georgian Heraldry Blog.

12 May 2009:

I have been busy teaching, writing and giving interviews. The Napoleon Podcast posted two more interviews with me.
Part 2
Part 3

27 March 2009:

The Napoleon Podcast, the premier podcast on Napoleonic Era, interviewed me today and posted the podcast on it website. If you are interested in Napoleon and want to hear me talk endlessly about him, please check it out.

5 March 2009:

I have been gone for another six months: no major travels, but occasional trips throughout the southern US. My book on Napoleon's crossing of the Berezina River is done and expected to be released in the summer of 2009. I have two very good news: First is that I managed to create a new website for Napoleonic Society of Georgia, which I established with a group of my friends back in 1999. Second: I have been awarded the Medaille d'Honneur of the International Napoleonic Society for my work in the Napoleonic studies. I also added a new cadel to Georgian Letter Illuminations."

27 October 2008:

I have been gone for six months: spent June traveling in Europe, July - teaching history, August - traveling to the Bahamas (and publishing articles on Russo-Georgian war) and September-October - completing my book on Napoleon's crossing of the Berezina River in 1812. In all, life is quite hectic and busy but when is it not? I added a few new illuminations to Georgian Letter Illuminations, including my first attempts at "cadels."

 

Georgia . . . For many, this word evokes images of a namesake United States state, and probably very few would recall a tiny republic squeezed between the Black Sea and the Caspian Seas. Some might recognize it as a founding member of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or a turbulent country from recent news headlines and especially in light of the events of the Rose Revolution of 2003 that were reported across the entire world. But those, whose minds are open to the world of myths and history, could imagine the defiant Titan Prometheus chained to one of the Caucasian mountains, punished for bringing Fire, a symbol of the sacred knowledge, to humanity; or they could visualize the Greek Argonauts sailing to the legendary Colchis and stealing the Golden Fleece. Indeed, it is a country with an ancient past, thousands of years of winemaking, 3,000 years of statehood, and almost two millennia of Christianity.

A favorite story of Georgians relates how God came upon the Georgians only after he had divided all the countries of the world to other nationalities. The Georgians were in typically festive mood and invited the Creator to join them in wine and song ! The Lord so enjoyed himself that He decided to give these merry and carefree people the one spot on the earth that He had reserved for Himself - the sunny valleys and hills that lie to the south of the Great Caucasus Mountains. The Lord has lavished great bounties on this land. It is a land of contrasts, of savage mountains snow-topped and swept with wild gales, of tumultuous rivers and dark forests; and of vast, warm plains and pasturage and valleys soft with tropical heat. Its mountains are stored with minerals and its valleys are smiling with corn and flowers.

Due to its special position between Europe and Asia - at the crossroads of peoples, cultures and languages - since early times Georgia has been a place of passage and enormous migrations. Peace has been permanently sought by the peoples in this part of world, but without much success. It has been an arena of great historical dramas, which have largely determined the destiny and history of its inhabitants. The life of Georgians was turned into a constant and tragic fight for the preservation of their land and liberty. Powerful conquerors have desired to possess this land but one by one they passed away while Georgia lived on and over the centuries an original culture, rich traditions, and unique way of life had originated in this land.

Georgians. . . . In the early 20th century, a Englishman, close friends with the famous Georgian commander Leo Kereselidze, left an interesting characterization of the Georgians that is worth citing here: 

"They are a strange people and in many ways difficult to understand. Their origin and the origin of their language is going back to millenniums. They are fighters always, chivalrous, brave to folly, gay, haphazard, reckless, taking good and bad as equal chances, and while with success they grow indolent, defeat braces them to effort. Virile and handsome, both men and women are delight in all joy and in danger. They are generous, spontaneous without any morbid mysticism and are warm-hearted and yet proud as Lucifer. They are fierce and vindictive if their Honor is touched, hot-headed, quarrelsome and quick to lash out and hit at the smallest insult - and without counting the cost: tireless in revenge and as often fantastically generous in forgiving. To talk, to discuss, to spend hours in amiable conversation or argument is a habit of Georgians: they get an active pleasure from talking and often for them words are more real than actions. They are never bothered with saving a few cents by bargaining. When they have money they spent it with open hand, surrounded by tens of friends and relatives, carelessly and without calculation, trusting to the gods to bring them more. The fondness of celebration is in their blood and is evidenced in the patterns of incredible hospitality - the groaning board of welcome, the elaborate speeches of the Tamada (the master of the feast) as food and drink show no sign of ceasing to fill plates and glasses, the week-long festivities that are held on every occasion... Intense individualists they lack in discipline and self-control, and resent orders or being commanded. Yet above all they are filled with a great patriotism, Love of Georgia and Liberty so intense that no defeat and no disaster can destroy or temporarily break them!"


So, welcome to the land of Georgians... 

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