Author of the Georgian national epic,
Knight in the Panther's Skin".
The meaning of the surname Rustaveli is landlord of Rustavi or a man from Rustavi. Rustavi was a city in Meskheti, South Georgia.
Little is known for certain of Rustaveli's early life.
According to Georgian legend, he was orphaned as a
child and was brought up by an uncle who was a monk.
Such a background may be reflected in the poet's
religious and philosophical preoccupations. Rustaveli
later composed a series of odes to the first Woman King of Georgia Tamari (c.
1160c. 1210), who reigned during the high point
of Georgian power and cultural attainment. As a
reward, Tamari appointed him treasurer of the
court. Tradition has it that Rustaveli fell in love
On the basis of his
Knight in the Panther's Skin", some scholars credit Rustaveli with the
creation of the Georgian literary language. Reflected
in his poetry are Chinese, Persian, and ancient Greek
philosophy, including direct quotations from Plato.
Shota Rustveli (a fresco in the Jerusalem Monastery of the Cross)