By the early 16th century the loosely knit kingdom of Georgia had disintegrated from the strong monarchy of the middle ages to a number of small states and principalities. This internal disunity made the Georgians easy victims of the power politics of the neighbouring Ottoman and Safavid empires and by the end of the century the southward drive of the Russians intensified the struggle for military and diplomatic control over the whole of the Caucasian isthmus. As a result of this struggle 17 embassies were exchanged between the Russian tsars and the Georgian kings ruling in Kakheti during the years 1564-1605. Mr Allen and Mr Mango (who undertook the translation) have selected the documents relating to the embassies of 1589-90 and 1604-05. Although the writers seem to be frequently preoccupied with questions of protocol, their observations give a clear picture of both current Russian administrative and diplomatic practice and of the life and customs of the peoples of the Caucasus and Georgia. The texts are further enlivened by dramas such as the murder of the Kakhian king Alexander II and the secret negotiations for the marriages of the son and daughter of the Tsar Boris Godunov. The documents are of considerable geographical interest as they provide the earliest extant accounts of the crossing of the main chain of the Caucasus from north to south. Mr Allen provides both a detailed background introduction and full commentary and notes on the texts. Volume II also contains some valuable genealogical tables which clarify the complicated relationships between the Caucasian royal and princely families and their connection with the Russian, Ottoman and Persian ruling families. The main pagination is continuous with the next volume (Second series 139). This is a new print-on-demand hardback edition of the volume first published in 1970.
Contents: Foreword; Note on transliteration and on the spelling of proper names; Introduction; The Embassy of Zvenigorodski and Antonov (1589-90); Commentaries on the text.
Routledge is pleased to be the publisher for the Hakluyt Society.
The Hakluyt Society has for its object the advancement of knowledge and education, particularly in relation to the understanding of world history. The society publishes scholarly editions of primary sources on the 'Voyages and Travels' undertaken by individuals from many parts of the globe. These address the geography, ethnology and natural history of the regions visited, covering all continents and every period over the last two thousand years. Such texts, many previously available only in manuscript or in unedited publications in languages other than English, are the essential records of the stages of inter-continental and inter-cultural encounter.
Established in 1846, the Society has to date published over 350 volumes. All editions are in English. Although a substantial number of the Society's past editions relate to British ventures, with documentary sources in English, the majority concern non-British enterprises and are based on texts in languages other than English. Material originally written in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French or Dutch has regularly appeared, material in Russian, Greek, Latin, Ethiopic, Chinese, Persian or Arabic occasionally.
All editions contain an introduction and scholarly annotation, giving both the general reader and the student a degree of assistance in understanding the material and providing guidance on the relevance of the episodes described, within the context of global development and world history. Volumes are often generously furnished with maps and contemporary illustrations.
Information about the Society may be obtained from the Administrative Assistant at the following address:
Hakluyt Society, c/o Map Library, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DG, UK