Georgian Surnames

Nikoloz Baratashvili


The Georgian poet Nikoloz (Tato) Baratashvili was born on 4 December 1817 in Tbilisi, to the family of impoverished aristocrat, who was a loyal servant of the empero.  His mother, Efemia, the sister of Grigol Orbeliani, was the granddaughter of Erekle II.  He was taught by Solomon Dodashvili, who influenced him greatly, in a Tbilisi gymnasium from 1827-1835.  Because his family had little money, he was unable to fulfill his desire to continue his education in Russia.  Due to a bodily defect, he also was unable to march in the front-line forces, as he wished to do. With the threat of poverty looming over his family, he was forced to start working as an ordinary clerk.  Baratashvili also had a dramatic private life, including intense involvement with Ekaterine Chavchavadze.  All this left deep marks on the poet’s soul, as is reflected in his private letters.

 On 21 October 1844, at the age of 27, Baratashvili died with of malaria. Baratashvili’s re-interment in 1893 in Tbilisi (from Gandja) took the form of a national celebration.  Since 1938 his ashes have lain in the Mtastminda pantheon.

The volume of Baratashvili's creative work is not big - 37 verses and poem all-in-all, though these works are sufficient to mention his name together with Byron, Omar Chaiam, Pushkin, Mizkewicz, Lorca. The pearl of his work is his poem "Merani" where the author brilliantly grounded the necessity of systematic, continuous renewal of life.Baratashvili couldn't imagine life as somebody's "private property", to his mind, life is good only when it is spent for one's motherland, for people's welfare.

The poet dreamt to live his life so that the generation could take the way he paved for them. And he addresses his "Merani".

To Baratashvili's pen belong such masterpieces of Georgian peotry as: "Merani", "Twilight over Mtatsminda", "Meditation of the Banks of the River Mtkvari", "The Blue Sky", a poem "Fate of Georgia" and others. They are translated into many foreign languages and the languages of the peoples of former SU.