Hugo Schuchardt and Georgia

Hugo Schuchardt and Georgia

The correspondence of Hugo Schuchardt (1842–1927), a famous Austrian philologist, with Georgian scholars, writers and public figures concerning the Georgian language and culture is one of the most interesting and important phases for Kartvelology. Schuchardt worked in times of great “social turmoil and turbulence”, hence it is not surprising that this stage in the history of Georgian philology was insufficiently covered in Soviet scientific journals praising the superiority of Soviet science over the “representatives of the West.” Publications analysing the impact of western European philology on Georgian scholars appeared only in the post-Soviet period. These publications specifically stress the crucial role of Schuchardt in shaping Kartvelology.

The Georgian National Center of Manuscripts cherishes the letters of the Austrian scholar who was multilingual and fluent in Georgian. Zhuzhuna Peikrishvili and Iveta Vashakidze, the authors of Materials for the History of International Kartvelian Studies, indicate that Schuchardt was so knowledgeable of the structure of the Georgian language that he was the first to draw the Georgian scholar’s attention to certain interesting characteristics such as: (1) the features of the Georgian ejectives, (2) the character of stress, (3) forms of the instrumental case, (4) transitive verbs, (5) ergative structures, etc. Furthermore, Georgian culturologists note the invaluable contribution of Schuchardt to the study of the ancient Georgian manuscripts.

Unfortunately, only a small part of Schuchardt’s letters was preserved in Georgia. His lively correspondence with scientists, writers and public figures in Georgia included prominent names such as Ilia Chavchavadze, Nicholas Marr, Akaki Shanidze, Petre Melikishvili, Mose Janashvili, Alexander Khakhanashvili, or Ivane Javakhishvili. These letters reveal the exchange of opinions, requests to send books in Georgian, verification of the opinions, and, of course, scientific disputes. Vakhtang Imnaishvili, who studied the correspondence of the Georgian scientists and public figures, also worked with the Hugo Schuchardt Archive established at Graz University (, and very symbolically titled his study Ardavitskebaeba Mokvrisa (which in antonymic translation results in something like “Memory of the Loved Ones”), which analyses the correspondence of Hugo Schuchardt with Georgian scholars.

The present document aims to provide a first insight into the traces of materials on Schuchardt kept in Georgia today. Despite the importance of his works to the development of Kartvelology, there is no separate book devoted to Schuchardt in Georgian language. Also, his books were never translated into the Georgian, mostly because his contemporary linguists such as A. Shanidze, N. Marr or A. Chikobava knew German and/or French and were therefore able to draw on his German-language books as references. In Soviet Georgia, translations into Georgian got very limited in general, and translations of foreign scientists were not encouraged at all, neither into Russian nor into Georgian. Therefore, section 1 exemplarily shows a pre-Soviet translation of one of Schuchardt’s works into Russian. Section 2 stresses the public attention to Schuchardt’s works in Georgian society by looking at late 19th-century newspapers and contemporary comments on the philologist’s work on the Georgian language. Section 3 then reproduces the correspondence between Schuchardt and Georgian public figures of the time, in German, Georgian and French language, as they are kept today at the Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts. Section 4 then provides a few references to Schuchardt and his work by Georgian scholars with the already mentioned lack of a single monograph in Georgian language.


  1. Books by Hugo Schuchardt
  2. Georgian Newspapers on Hugo Schuchardt
  3. Correspondence by Hugo Schuchardt
  4. Literature about Hugo Schuchardt in Georgian Language



compiled by Marina Aroshidze and Nino Aroshidze

Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University


with friendly support of the Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts