The Pope of Rome – a Desirable Celebrant of the Mass for King Davit – in the Prologue of the Poem “The Man in the Panther’s Skin”
The text of the famous Georgian poem “The Man in the Panther’s Skin” arrived to us in the present day through relatively different versions, preserved in numerous manuscripts. Respectively, numerous differences can be found in the prologue of the poem (a final version of which has not yet been established), as presented in those various manuscripts. The prologue of the poem in several old manuscripts contains two stanzas dedicated to King Davit, whose identity has yet to be determined, although several opinions have been expressed – e.g. by Sargis Kakabadze – as to who he might be. In the two stanzas, the king is portrayed as a very powerful and influential monarch, to whom even the neighboring monarchs submit. The author of the poem also presents a local monarchical legend, according to which the Georgian king is a descendant of the biblical King David. The poet also opines that a holy mass should be celebrated by the Pope in the name of the king. A scrupulous analysis has allowed me to advance the supposition that the King Davit of the prologue of the poem is King Davit X (1505-1525) of Kartli, who considered himself the King of All Georgia. The statement that it is necessary for a mass in the name of the king to be celebrated by the Pope takes its basis in the close relationship of Georgia with the Roman See, which became especially intense during the reign of King Davit's grandfather Giorgi VIII and his father Konstantine II, and continued during the reign of Davit’s son Luarsab I, and his grandson Svimon I. Some documents about King Davit himself, of which there are few, also support the supposition that King Davit of the prologue of the poem “The Man in the Panther’s Skin” was indeed King Davit X.