Ian James
© January 2010

'Georgian Script' in Georgian

The writing system Kartuli Damts’erloba for the Caucasian language of Georgian emerged in the 5th century AD. The alphabet is quite remarkable: in addition to the interesting assortment of shapes it contains, it matches the language’s phonemes almost perfectly.


In the first column are the original Asomtavruli capitals, in the 2nd column are the Nusxuri miniscules of the 9th century. These two forms have been used together, in a style known as Xutsuri (ecclesiastical). The third column contains the modern alphabet, Mxedruli, which emerged in the 11th century. (Mxedruli is the cavalry script, and I wonder if the shapes were not inspired by the accessories of a knight’s stable.) The letters in blue are now obsolete. The 4th column has the pronunciation in IPA, and the 5th column has the old numerical assignments. Altogether there are 45 glyphs.

table 1 table 2 table 3

You may also be interested in some extensions to the Mxedruli alphabet I made for my SIGIL series of scripts.

Headline script

A modern style called Mtavruli is used for titles and headings. Here, the mxedruli letters are simply made to fit a single channel, without the distinctive ascenders and descenders.


This is a folk poem from

example of Georgian script

“I built a castle of despair,
I shut my anguish up inside.
From the realm of the dead they came
to look upon this citadel.

“The castle they encircled tight,
but their might failed to breach the door.
Then they said: when the time will come
the door will open of itself.”

Georgian fonts used here are DejaVu Serif and BPG Mikheil Stefane Um.

St.George playing polo with negative cosmic forces

All material on this page © Ian James, unless otherwise stated.