Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia by Donald Rayfield - review by Daniel Beer

Daniel Beer

Imperial Battleground

Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia

By

Reaktion Books 480pp £35 order from our bookshop
 

Edge of Empires offers a breathless narrative sweep of the turbulent and tragic history of Georgia over the last 3,000 years. Reaching back into the mythic origins of the Georgian people, Donald Rayfield takes the reader on a journey through the Roman Empire, conversion to Christianity, the Arab conquest, the Mongol invasion, state-building and unravelling in the Middle Ages, Russian colonial experiments both tsarist and Soviet, right up to Georgia’s explosively unstable history since independence. 

The country’s oscillating fortunes as an imperial battleground make for a fascinating story. Periods of violent conflict and internal fragmentation gave way to enlightened and peaceable decades of reconstruction, reform and progress. Davit IV, who reigned from 1089 to 1125, is shown to have been a rare example of goodly

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