The origins of this monument of ancient Georgian literature dates back to the 11th century. The central figure of the story is Vakhtang Gorgasal — one of the prominent figures of ancient Georgia — who lived in the second half of the 5th century A. D. The fact that the author wrote about events which had happened six centuries earlier, has naturally influenced the contents of his work. It abounds in anachronisms, and various mistakes, and historical facts are sometimes confused. More than this, the author sometimes gives free rein to his imagination. Therefore it is no wonder that "The Life of Vakhtang Gorgasal" was not considered by many critical historians as a reliable source of information. However, recent studies in interpretation of historical sources have achieved a significant success and thus it has become possible to find a kernel of truth even in the most "fantastic" ideas about the remote past. During recent decades many scholars (both in Georgia and outside its boundaries) came to the conclusion that his monument of ancient Georgian literature must be investigated more seriously and in more details. As a result of such investigations it was discovered that considerable amount of information contained in this monument stands the test of control sources of both Georgian and non-Georgian origin. Such a result is very important, the more so that the period to which this work is devoted as well as the time when it was written are rather poor in written sources reflecting the history of the peoples of USSR as a whole and the Caucasus in particular.

This is the first time that this work of Juansher has been translated into Russian. The translation is supplemented by a preface — "Juansher Juansheriani and his historical work"—and by detailed comments. It is also the first time that the so called "historical chronicle" of pseudo-Juansher is published separately in appendix. This piece of ancient Georgian literature has been detached from the traditionally established text of Juansher's work. The appendix is also supplied by the comments.

The translation is done from the critically verified text (textus receptus) of "Kartlis Tskhovreba" (The History of Georgia), vol. I. Prepared for edition by S. G. Kaukhchishvili. Tbilisi, 1955, in the ancient Georgian language, pp. 139—244.