12 April, 2012

Farsman’s descendents return to Rome


For the first time after almost 2000 years, Rome will host Georgian warriors. At the traditional festival dedicated to the foundation of the capital of Italy, together with Roman legionnaires, Georgian ‘Shavparosnebi’ (Blackshields) will stage a festive performance. For the first time the Georgians were hosted in 144 by Emperor Antonius Pius when Farsman Qveli, the King of Iberians was invited there together with his retinue.

The annals have kept a story that tells us about the Romans

who were in raptures after seeing the combat mastery of Georgians. At that time in respect of the Georgian King the host erected a sculpture at the square of Mars. Unfortunately, time doesn’t spare monuments but sometimes history is revived.



The festival ‘Natale di Roma’ invites only those countries that had historical relations with the Roman Empire. The Federation of Georgian Combat Art ‘Shavparosnebi’ (Blackshields) will present Georgia in Rome on 20-23 of April. It’s to be put down to Georgian immigrant Irakli Soselia’s credit who tried to find out why Georgia didn’t participate in this show.

It turned out that despite centuries-old relations between Georgia and Rome, the organizers of the festival, the Ministry of Culture of Italy and Mayor’s office of Rome had no idea about Georgian-Roman relations. Even more, on the map displayed in Coliseum that shows the countries historically connected with Rome, there is no mention of Georgia and our territory bears the name –Armenia?!

The ‘Shavparosnebi’ hope that from now on Georgia will be given its name on the map of Coliseum as well. Before departure to Rome we spoke with some members of ‘Shavparosnebi’:

Zura Shaverdashvili: ‘Georgian emigrants are already waiting for us at the festival and we’d like our appearance to be unforgettable for them. We’ll try to make it so that the Romans recall this festival as the distinguished return of Farsman’s descendents. Italians know Georgia as a country of good cuisine and wine where they also wonderfully sing and dance. Up-till now they haven’t heard anything about our centuries-old martial art that made many invaders, including Pompey say that battle with Iberians was difficult, that even women and children were the best warriors.

Zura Makharadze: ‘We are preparing visually effective combat numbers. At the time of Farsman’s Rome the Georgians amazed the Romans by their fancy riding and gymnastics. It’s known historically that Georgians had no equal in equestrian art’.

The Shavparosnebi

During the invasions when not numerous Georgian Army had to avoid direct fighting with numerous enemies, the Georgians waged partisan fighting. They attacked the enemy at night and painted their shields in black so that they didn’t reflect the moon-light and they were unnoticed for the enemy. For this reason they are mentioned as ‘Shavparosnebi’.  The ‘Shavparosnebi’ were the warriors who made the enemies suffer big losses and they were outstanding for their unique combat mastery.


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