21 October - Giorgi Tsereteli was born
Added: 2012-12-21 13:15:38

Giorgi Tsereteli was a son of the famous physician, essayist, politician and public person, Vasil Tsereteli (1862-1937). He was a descendant of King of Imereti David II (reigned in 1793-1790). In 1927, he graduated from Tbilisi State University, Faculty of Philosophy. In 1928, he continued his study in the USSR Academy of Sciences to receive his degree in Oriental Studies. Afterwards, he became a docent of the State Institute of Living Oriental Languages (1931). In 1933, he returned to Georgia and began to teach future specialists of Semitic studies. 

In 1933-36, he was head of the Chair of Oriental Languages at the Institute of Language, History, and Material Culture. In 1942, he received a doctoral degree in philology for his monographic work Bilingual Inscriptions from Armazi. In the same year, he received Professor Degree.


On Tsereteli’s initiative, Faculty of Oriental Studies of Tbilisi State University was founded (1960). He was head of the Chair all his life. The Institute of Eastern Studies is named after Giorgi Tsereteli. He was also a founder of the Committee for Study of Foreign Sources on Georgia. 

In 1946, he was elected academician of the Georgian Academy of Sciences. In 1968, he was elected academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences. In 1957-1967, he was head of the Department of Social Sciences at the Georgian Academy of Sciences. Tsereteli served as its Vice-President (1967-1970) and as a member of the Academy Presidium (1970-1973). 

During his long career, Tsereteli produced over 100 works that deal with linguistics, Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic studies, history of writing systems, history of Georgia and the Caucasus, etc. Among his major publications are Arabic dialects in Central Asia (1956), Bilingual Inscriptions from Armazi (1941), and Ancient Georgian Inscriptions from Palestine (1960).

Tsereteli’s scholarly contribution was awarded with many orders and prizes.

Giorgi Tsereteli died on September 9, 1973. He is buried in the garden of Tbilisi State University.  

In his home village, Tskhrukveti, his memorial museum was opened. One of Tbilisi’s streets bears his name.


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