Georgiy Aleksandrovich Amichba


In memoriam


Georgiy Aleksandrovich Amichba, the eminent Abkhazian historian-Caucasologist, philologist and ethnologist, professor of the Abkhazian State University, the leading scientific researcher of the D. Gulia Abkhazian Institute for Humanitarian Studies (AIHS) of the Abkhazian Academy of Sciences, has died at the height of his creative activity.


Georgiy Amichba was born on May 10, 1936, in the village of Ghuada of the Ochamchyra district in a traditional Abkhazian family. He graduated from the Tbilisi State University, and then finished his post-graduate study at the Institute of History of the Georgian SSR Academy of Sciences.


Having started his work in the D. Gulia Abkhazian Institute of Language, Literature and History in 1958, he, with small breaks, had worked there until the last days of his life. He is the author of over hundred publications, including 70 scientific works, among which 10 monographs and collected works. His work received acclaim from among Caucasian and foreign specialists in the mediaeval history.


The basic direction of the scientific work of Georgiy Amichba was early mediaeval history of the Abkhazian people. The Middle Ages are the most important period in the Abkhazian history, because it is in that period that the consolidation of the Abkhazian tribes into a single nation took place, which lead to the creation of the Abkhazian Kingdom.


Cardinal problems of this epoch have been discussed in his books, such as “The political situation of early mediaeval Abkhazia. VI-Х centuries”,  “Culture and ideology of early medieval Abkhazia. VI-Х centuries”, „New Athos“  etc. The author, alas, was not able to see his last, just appeared book, “Abkhazia in early Middle Ages”. And the presentation of this most valuable contribution into Abkhazology will be held, alas, without the participation of Georgiy Aleksandrovich.


Georgiy Amichba is the author of interesting books on Abkhazian ethnology issued in the Abkhazian language: “The Abkhazian horse-riding”, “Articles on the history and ethnography of Abkhazia”. His book “The Abkhazians and the Laz” appeared in Istanbul in 1993 in the Turkish language.


The scientist thoroughly studied Georgian, Roman, Byzantine and Armenian written sources about Abkhazia and Abkhazians. The result of this painstaking work became the publication of his Russian translations of Georgian historical documents “The reports of medieval Georgian written sources about Abkhazia” and “Abkhazia and Abkhazians in the medieval Georgian narrative sources”. Georgiy Amichba was the co-author of the books “The Abkhazians” and “The Abkhazian biographical dictionary”, which are being prepared for publication by the AIHS.


Besides, Georgiy Amichba is the author of a number of unpublished works: "The History of Abkhazia" in the Abkhaz language and "The Abkhazian Historical Anthroponymics". Both books are unique and are priceless contribution into the Abkhazian science.


Georgiy Amichba is also known as a brilliant translator. He published his translations into Abkhazian of the works by the Rumanian writer V.Kernbach, by the Hungarian historian L. Tardi and by the American ethnologist S. Benet, which were devoted to Abkhazia. Among his translations are the Abkhazian "Nart Epos" into the Georgian language, as well as the work by Y. Tsurtaveli "The Martyrdom of St Shushanik", which he translated together with A.Gogua, etc.


During the period of more than 40 years he had been actively participating in the preparation of specialists for Abkhazia. He worked as a Dean of the Historical-Philological faculty of the Sukhum State Pedagogical Institute, the head of the Department of History, Archaeology and Ethnology of Abkhazia at the Abkhazian State University, he gave lectures on the history of the Ancient World and the Middle Ages, specialized courses on source study and historiography of Abkhazia, he was supervising post-graduate students and persons working for doctor’s degree.


His modesty, adherence to principle, cordiality, steadiness, desire to keep his conscience pure, an ability to be glad with the success of the others, his readiness to feel compassion and to come to rescue to a person in trouble - these qualities of Georgiy Amichba earned him great respect. Being a fine scientist, a courageous citizen and patriot, by his scientific research Georgiy Aleksandrovich has made his important contribution into the freedom and independence of Abkhazia and its people.


Georgiy Aleksandrovich Amichba, an outstanding scientist and teacher, a remarkable citizen and a caring friend, will live long in the memory of those who knew him.


Abkhazian State University,

The D. Gulia Abkhazian Institute for Humanitarian Studies,

Abkhazian Academy of Sciences