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History




The territory of modern-day Georgia has been continuously inhabited since the early Stone Age. The classic period saw the rise of the early Georgian states of Colchis and Iberia. The proto-Georgian tribes first appear in written history in the 12th century BC. Archaeological finds and references in ancient sources reveal elements of early political and state formations characterized by advanced metallurgy and goldsmith techniques that date back to the 7th century BC and beyond. In the 4th century BC a unified kingdom of Georgia—an early example of advanced state organization under one king and an aristocratic hierarchy—was established.

The two early Georgian kingdoms of late antiquity, known to ancient Greeks and Romans as Iberia (in the east of the country) and Colchisi (in the west), were among the first nations in the region to adopt Christianity (in AD 337, or in AD 319 as recent research suggests). In Greek Romans as Iberia  (in the east of the country) and Colchis  (in the west), were among the first nations in the region to adopt Christianity (in AD 337, or in AD 319 as recent research suggests). In Greek Mythology, Colchis was the location of the Golden Fleece sought by Jason and the Argonauts in Apollonius Rhodius' epic tale Argonautica. The incorporation of the Golden Fleece into the myth may have derived from the local practice of using fleeces to sift gold dust from rivers. In the last centuries of the pre-Christian era, the area, in the form of the kingdom of Kartli-Iberia, was strongly influenced by Greco-Roman culture from the Roman Empire to the west and byPersian culture to the east.

   After the Roman Empire completed its conquest of the Caucasus region in 66 BC, the kingdom was a Roman client state and ally for nearly 400 years. Christianity was declared the state religion by King Mirian III as early as 327 AD, which gave a great stimulus to the development of literature, arts and the unification of the country. In AD 330, King Mirian III's acceptance of Christianity ultimately tied the kingdom to the neighboring Byzantine Empire, which exerted a strong cultural influence for several centuries.

Known to its natives as Egrisi or Lazica, Colchis was often the battlefield and buffer-zone between the rival powers of Persia and Byzantine Empire, with the control of the region shifting hands back and forth several times. The early kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early Middle Ages. This made it easy for Arabs to conquer Georgia in the 7th century. The rebellious regions were liberated and united into a unified Georgian Kingdom at the beginning of the 11th century. Starting in the 12th century, the rule of Georgia extended over a significant part of the Southern Caucasus, including the northeastern parts and almost the entire northern coast of what is now Turkey.

    After the Roman Empire completed its conquest of the Caucasus region in 66 BC, the kingdom was a Roman client state and ally for nearly 400 years. Christianity was declared the state religion by King Mirian III as early as 327 AD, which gave a great stimulus to the development of literature, arts and the unification of the country. In AD 330, King Mirian III's acceptance of Christianity ultimately tied the kingdom to the neighboring Byzantine Empire, which exerted a strong cultural influence for several centuries.

Known to its natives as Egrisi or Lazica, Colchis was often the battlefield and buffer-zone between the rival powers of Persia and Byzantine Empire, with the control of the region shifting hands back and forth several times. The early kingdoms disintegrated into various feudal regions by the early Middle Ages. This made it easy for Arabs to conquer Georgia in the 7th century. The rebellious regions were liberated and united into a unified Georgian Kingdom at the beginning of the 11th century. Starting in the 12th century, the rule of Georgia extended over a significant part of the Southern Caucasus, including the northeastern parts and almost the entire northern coast of what is now Turkey.

    

 

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