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In the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, the medieval Georgian kingdom was one of the preeminent powers of the Christian East. A "Georgianized" branch of the Perso-Armenian Bagratid dynasty had overseen Georgia's transformation from a series of disparate principalities and noble estates (some of which were under the hegemony of external forces) to a unified polity. This essay investigates one aspect of the Bagratid unification: the evolving terminology used by the eleventh-century Georgian historian Sumbat [David.sup.[subset]]is-dze that reflects the accumulation of political authority.

THE PROCESS BY WHICH MEDIEVAL Georgia in the Caucasus was unified is poorly documented by extant sources. [1] Surviving evidence speaks largely of the political unification of the various Georgian districts in the eleventh century, at first through Bagrat III's simultaneous rule over [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li, [Ap.sup.[subset]][xazet.sup.[subset]]i, and the neo[K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian enterprise in the southwestern domains and then through the systematic conquests of his successors. [2] But the literal gathering of lands is only one dimension of a considerably larger puzzle. Was there, for example, a conscious program to institute a standardized form of the Georgian language throughout central Caucasia, and if so, who directed it? Moreover, what was the precise role of the Georgian Church in the push for unification? These two questions are not unrelated because the medieval Church was the purveyor and guardian of culture and language. The Church's participation should not be negle cted for another reason: ecclesiastical jurisdiction was extended to some regions prior to the establishment of political hegemony. Central to any examination must be a consideration of how the eastern kingdom of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li, the Iberia of Classical and Byzantine writers, came to form the nucleus around which an all-Georgian realm was constructed. The fact that the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian dialect seems to have been the only one of the Georgian languages possessing a script has exaggerated the importance of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li at the expense of its neighbors--among them, [Kaxet.sup.[subset]]i, [Heret.sup.[subset]]i, Tao/[Tayk.sup.[subset]], [Klarjet.sup.[subset]]i, [Shavshet.sup.[subset]]i, [Javaxet.sup.[subset]]i, [Suanet.sup.[subset]]i, and [Ap.sup.[subset]][xazet.sup.[subset]]i. In fact, nearly all pre-modern "Georgian" historiography, at least that which has come down to us, is written from the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian perspective a nd expresses [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian concerns. [3]

Only when these questions and others like them have been tackled will a more comprehensive image of the dynamic processes leading to Georgian unification emerge. In an effort to broaden the scope of inquiry, this essay concentrates upon one particular but previously neglected facet of unification: the inflation of medieval Georgian terminology describing local political authority, a phenomenon attesting not only to the Bagratid accumulation of power but also to the interconnectedness of eastern Georgia and the Byzantine commonwealth. This investigation is restricted to the eleventh-century history of Sumbat [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze, [4] the only contemporaneous source specially devoted to the origins, development, and consolidation of Bagratid hegemony over the diverse Georgian lands.

Despite its brevity, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's Life and Tale of the Bagratids is a tremendously important work. Composed perhaps as early as Ca. 1030, [5] it survives only in select manuscripts of the medieval Georgian historical corpus titled [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba, literally "The Life of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li. [6] [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze does not acknowledge his sources, although it has been established that he had multiple lists of princes at his disposal. [7] The only surviving lists definitely exploited by the author--either directly or secondhand--are two of the Royal Lists incorporated into the independent corpus [Mok.sup.[subset]][c.sup.[subset]]evay [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lisay, literally "The Conversion of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li," which derives from the tenth century. [8]

Little about the author is known except for his name, yet even this is remarkable because earlier Georgian historians did not customarily identify themselves in their works. Sumbat's own praenomen is the Georgian rendition of the popular Armenian Bagratid name Smbat, while his cognomen, literally "the son of [Davit.sup.[subset]] (David)," may indicate that he was a scion of the Bagratid house, i.e., he was the "son," or descendant, of King David. [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's brief narrative is best known precisely for its articulation of the Georgian Bagratids' claim to be the direct biological descendants of the Hebrew King-Prophet David, through whom they professed to be uniquely suited to rule. However, the author also documents, rather obliquely, the migration of the Bagratids to Georgian domains, an event that occurred shortly after 772. For the most part, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze does not comment about the socic-cultural, religious, linguistic, and economic problems associated with the drive for unit y. Instead, he emphasizes that the Bagratids assembled a greater Georgian realm and that their kings were the most legitimate monarchs in Caucasia. [9]

When the Bagratids settled permanently in the southwestern Georgian territories in the late eighth century, [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian royal authority already had been in abeyance for over two hundred years. [10] At the instigation of the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian aristocracy, sometime in the sixth century, the Persian Great King dismantled the monarchy, thus duplicating the demise of Armenian kingship in 428. Persian troops were garrisoned in the chief [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian cities of [Tp.sup.[subset]]ilisi (modern [T.sup.[subset]]bilisi) and [Mc.sup.[subset]][xet.sup.[subset]]a already in the 520s. [11] If the testimony of the Georgian historian Ps.-Juansher [12] is to be trusted, it would seem that weakened [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian kings endured for a few more decades. On this basis of this important evidence, C. Toumanoff concluded that the monarchy was not finally dissolved until ca. 580, though it had been crippled decades before. [13]

So as to limit Persian and then Islamic meddlings along their shared frontier (of which Caucasia was part), the Byzantine emperors appointed "presiding princes" beginning ca. 588. These presiding princes were of limited capabilities, however, and as a matter of political expediency they sometimes recognized the suzerainty of neighboring Islamic rulers. Yet, on the whole, connections with Byzantium were becoming more frequent. With the encouragement of Constantinople the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian Bagratid Ashot I "the Great" seized the principate in 813. Seventy-five years later, in 888, local royal authority was resuscitated by his kinsman Adarnase II.

The Bagratids' expansionistic agenda broadened incrementally and in 1008 Bagrat III succeeded in joining for the first time the thrones of [K.sup.[[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li and [Ap.sup.[subset]][xazet.sup.[subset]]i (the core regions of eastern and western Georgia, respectively) as well as the pivotal southwestern Armeno[K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian borderlands. Triumph over the Seljuq invaders, who were one part of the same wave of Turks who captured the Byzantine emperor at Manzikert in 1071, emboldened the Georgian monarchs even more, and they began to envisage themselves as equals of the Byzantine basileis (sing. basileus, [LANGUAGE IS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "emperor") within the purview of greater Caucasia. The consolidation of Georgia and especially with the final--and hugely symbolic--liberation of the former royal capital of [T.sup.[subset]]ilisi from the Muslims in 1122 compelled King [Davit.sup.[subset]] II (r. 1089-1125) to discard Byzantine honors once and for all, thus removin g any implication that the Georgian monarchs were subordinate to the emperor. [14]

In the course of his account of Georgia's political integration, Sumbat [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze employs a carefully selected vocabulary to describe the accumulation of power by the Bagratid dynasty. As a consequence of the relatively late manuscripts at our disposal, it must be borne in mind that we simply do not know whether this terminology accurately reflects the early Bagratid period or whether it was contrived by [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze himself so as to emphasize growing Bagratid superiority. In either case, the terms investigated here are plausible for the period and none of them constitute obvious anachronisms.

Genealogical treatises are notorious for their incorporation of legendary and even patently false information, especially for the generations of remote antiquity. [15] Memories about the distant past were not so clear, and sometimes the requisite traditions simply did not exist. Sometimes, common ancestors were invented so as to explain later relationships. In his description of the origin of the Bagratids, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze follows this familiar pattern. Through his erroneous identification of the distinct Guaramid princely dynasty as essentially Bagratid, the author has either committed a serious error or has intentionally manipulated the past. Despite their distinctiveness, Toumanoff's brilliant genealogical research has established that the Guaramids and [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian Bagratids were actually related through marriage. Furthermore, both families secured aid from Constantinople and the Bagratids occupied many of the former Guaramid estates once they themselves had come to power. [16]

As described by [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze, the early "Bagratids" -- that is to say, the Guaramids--were Jews who had migrated to Caucasia from the Holy Land. [17] This probably reflects the fact that the historical Bagratids had migrated from elsewhere, although not from Palestine but from neighboring Armenia just after 772. [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze maintains that the first "Bagratid" to command authority was Guaram, i.e., the Guaramid Guaram I (r. 588-ca. 590). He is styled merely as [erist.sup.[subset]]avi, [18] a compound of the Georgian words eri, "army" (later "people"), and [t.sup.[subset]]avi, "head," thus "head of the army." [Erist.sup.[subset]] avis were regional governors who, at least in theory, ruled in the name of the monarch; they are roughly equivalent to the Armenian naxarars. During the lengthy interregnum extending from ca. 580 to 813, the [erist.sup.[subset]]avis were the most powerful [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian figures, and although a presiding prince claimed ultimate sup remacy over all of them, in reality contemporary [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li was a loose federation of such principalities. The [erist.sup.c]a[v]obay is a very old Georgian institution, [19] and it is not surprising that Guaram should have actually held the position of [erist.sup.[subset]]avi or that he should have been understood by [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze to have occupied it. At the same time, Guaram's brothers who settled in Armenia--a circuitous admission that the Armenian and Georgian Bagratids were related--are said to have ruled as [mt.sup.[subset]]avaris, i.e., "princes." [20] The author makes the same assertion for Guaram's siblings who made their residence in the eastern "Georgian" regions of [Kaxet.sup.[subset]]i and [Heret.sup.[subset]]i. [21] Through the vocabulary employed by [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze, Guaram was depicted not only as a Bagratid but also as being superior to any Armenian Bagratid. Although he was surely apprised of the subordination of some early [K.sup.[subset]][art .sup.[subset]]velian Bagratids to their relatives in Armenia, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze remains silent on the matter. [22]

The ascendancy of the proto-Bagratids/Guaramids was made possible by the fall of the former Chosroid (Xosro[v]iani) dynasty which had been founded by Mirian III (r. 284-361), the first Christian king of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li. Like other Bagratid-era historians, Sumbat [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze does not habitually speak about the pre-Bagratid (especially pre-Guaramid!) monarchs. [23] After all, the old dynasties did not promote Bagratid legitimacy. However, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze does recollect the deteriorating state of affairs under the Chosroids, thus setting the stage for the coming of the Bagratids:

And since the time when the descendants of Gorgasali diminished the royal authority [[mep.sup.[subset]]obay], until [the arrival of the proto-Bagratid brothers], the aznauris had ruled [[up.sup.[subset]]lebay] over [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li. But the end of the rule [[up.sup.[subset]]lebay] of the aznauris in [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li came abut as the result of their [own] wicked deeds. [24]

This passage admits that royal authority, [mep.sup.[subset]] obay, [25] had existed in [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li prior to the arrival of the Bagratids. Here, "Gorgasali" is the sobriquet of the famous Chosroid king Vaxtang I Gorgasali (r. 447-522). As mentioned above, the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian monarchy was abolished in the sixth century, within fifty years or so of Vaxtang's death. [David.sup.[subset]]is-dze states that in the absence of kings the aznauris, or aristocracy, filled the political void. [26] These aznauris are supposed to have ruled as [up.sup.[subset]]alis, or "lords." The honorific [up.sup.[subset]]ali was generically attached to any sort of noble or even a priest or monk. Jesus Christ was the ultimate [up.sup.[subset]]ali. But the association of aznauri and [up.sup.[subset]]ali suggests that an aznauri's authority was less than that of [erist.sup.[subset]]avi. Therefore, Guaram's elevation as [erist.sup.[subset]]avi was an improvement in position over the aznauri lords. Moreover, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze does not use the word [up.sup.[subset]]ali or its abstract form [up.sup.[subset]]lebay to define the rule of the Bagratid princes or kings--these terms were consciously restricted to the pre-Bagratid epoch. It should be observed that the passage above also reports the domination of Caucasia by Persia. Persian suzerainty is described with the verb [up.sup.[subset]]lebdes, i.e., "they ruled [as lords]." It is possible that the use of the same word of authority for both the aznauris and Persians was intended to impart the sense they were not the rightful lords of the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velians.

Although Guaram had been "selected" (by his brothers?) as [erist.sup.[subset]]avi of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li, his position was further enhanced with a Byzantine honor. The emperor Maurice (r. 582-602) is said to have bestowed the coveted title of kuropalates [LANGUAGE IS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] upon Guaram. [27] So that he might preside over the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velians and dispense the will of the Byzantine emperor, the kuropalates took up residence in [Mc.sup.[subset]][xet.sup.[subset]]a, the ancient royal capital of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li located at the confluence of the Agarwi and Mtkuari (Kura) rivers. Down to the eleventh century the holder of the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian kuropalate commanded the preeminent position of rulership. Its title even adorned the intitulatio of Bagratid kings like Adarnase II and Bagrat III. A number of different Byzantine dignities, like magistros ([LANGUAGE IS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and patrikios ([LANGUAGE IS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]), were held by other high-ranking Bagratids. The Georgian term [mamp.sup.[subset]]ali (from mama, "father' and [up.sup.[subset]]ali, "lord") was also employed. [28] Not all of presiding princes after Guaram I were able to secure the title of kuropalates, and in such cases their rule was characterized in terms of local conceptions of authority, i.e., they were [erist.sup.[subset]]avis or even [mt.sup.[subset]]avaris. For example, Adarnase I (r. 627-37 or 642), the Chosroid prince of [Kaxet.sup.[subset]]i, who was installed as presiding prince by the emperor Heraclius (r. 610-41), is said to have governed as a [mt.sup.[subset]]avari, "prince." [29] Guaram II kuropalates (r. 684-ca. 693) allegedly held sway as [erist.sup.[subset]]avi [30] while Ashot I kuropalates, the first authentic Bagratid prince to rule [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li, is reported to have ruled as [mt.sup.[subset]]a-vari. [31] In these last two cases, the verbs [erist.sup.[subset]] aobda ("to rule [as [erist.sup.[subset]]avi]") and [mt.sup.[subset]]avrobda ("to rule [as [mt.sup.[subset]]a-vari]") are synonymous and [David.sup.[subset]]is-dze intended no variance of authority.

Ashot I, the first [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian Bagratid to seize power, was murdered in 830 during an Arab ("Hagarite") invasion. [32] [David.sup.[subset]]is-dze relates that upon Ashot's enthronement as presiding prince, "the authority [[q.sup.[subset]][elmic.sup.[subset]]ebay] of the Hagarites became stronger..." [33] But Ashot's own authority is expressed twice by the same term: "... God granted [Ashot] victory and gave him authority [[aq.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]a] over [Shavshet.sup.[subset]]-[Klarjet.sup.[subset]]i," and "... the authority [q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]eba] which had been granted to him by God was confirmed by the will of the kings of the Greeks [i.e., the Byzantine emperors]." [34] The use of the word [q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]ebay (from the root [q.sup.[subset]]eli, "hand"; modern [xelmcip.sup.[subset]]eba) intimates that Ashot's authority and legitimacy--and those of his immediate successors [35]--were, at least in [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's mind, equal to those of his Muslim antagonists. Moreover, in Old Georgian [q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]e, "sovereign," is a less-impressive designation than [mep.sup.[subset]]e. Therefore, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze has effectively, and probably intentionally, denied proper royal authority to the caliphal Muslims. The application of [q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]ebay to Ashot, the first genuine Bagratid to govern [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li, endows him with an authority just below that of a proper monarch but higher than that of his princely predecessors. It is worth noting that the kings of Armenia are styled as [q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]e. By implication, their authority was far less than that of their Bagratid relatives ruling in the Georgian domains. [36]

Sumbat [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze does not draw special attention to the inflation of titles of authority, and the elevation of the first Bagratid king is no exception. During his skeletal notice about Gurgen I kuropalates (r. 881-91), he first mentions "Adarnase, king of the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velians." [37] The next reference to Adarnase and the nascent monarchy discloses Adarnase's death in 923 and the transmission of kingship to his son [Davit.sup.[subset]] II (r. 923-37). [38] Adarnase restored the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian monarchy in 888, and in accordance with pre-Bagratid convention, he was styled as [mep.sup.[subset]]e [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]][velt.sup.[subset]]a, or "king of the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velians." In the same period, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze also refers to the first [erist.sup.[subset]]avi of [erist.sup.[subset]]avis ([erist.sup.[subset]][avt.sup.[subset]]-[erist.sup.[subset]]avi), which represents a further stratification of the i nstitution. Henceforth, at least in theory, the [mep.sup.[subset]]e wielded ultimate control over his domains, while his ostensible agent, the [erist.sup.[subset]]avi of [erist.sup.[subset]]avis, directly supervised the affairs of the several [erist.sup.[subset]]avates. Of course, by this time the [erist.sup.[subset]]avates were held hereditarily by powerful aristocratic families who sought to increase their own domains at the expense of other nobles and the monarchy. Thus the effectiveness of the king depended largely upon smooth relations between the Crown and the semi-independent local governors.

The status of [mep.sup.[subset]]e is assigned by [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze with great exactitude. As was appropriate for his Bagratid sponsors, the first king mentioned by [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze is the King-Prophet David. [39] Armenia's monarchy is mentioned twice: first with respect to the brothers of the proto-Bagratid Guaram marrying into the Armenian royal family, and second in reference to the renowned Arshakuniani (Arsacid) dynasty. [40] But it should be emphasized that [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze does not allude to a single Armenian Bagratid king. For him, the legitimate Bagratid monarchs were those who ruled in the Georgian domains.

[Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze is familiar with other [non-[K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian monarchs. This holds true even within Caucasia itself. Following the establishment of the kingdom of [Ap.sup.[subset]][xazet.sup.[subset]]i ca. 795, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze occasionally styles its rulers as [mep.sup.[subset]]e. [41] [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze knew that the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian and [Ap.sup.[subset]]xaz thrones would be joined to form a single Georgian one, so it was not in the author's interest to deny the [Ap.sup.[subset]]xaz rulers their authentic royal status. The solitary reference to the "sovereigns" of [Klarjet.sup.[subset]]i is more difficult to comprehend. There was no tradition of royal authority among the [Klarjet.sup.[subset]]ian line of the Bagratids, though the head of that branch was the important [erist.sup.[subset]]avi of [Klarjet.sup.[subset]]i. [42] What is significant, however, is that the [Klarjet.sup.[subset]]ians are not assigned their own [mep.sup.[subs et]]e, or king.

The monarchs of adjacent empires (outside the confines of Caucasia) are assigned the generic title [mep.sup.[subset]]e. The Great King (the shahanshah) of Sasanid Persia [43] and the Byzantine emperor are both accorded this title. [44] It is possible to see [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's gradual inflation of the Bagratids' status as an effort to show that Bagratid authority eventually matched that of other polities. This is particularly striking in the last folios of his history, in which the army of King Giorgi I (r. 1014-27) clashed with that of the Byzantine emperor Basil II (r. 976- 1025). Throughout the account, both rulers are styled generically as [mep.sup.[subset]]e, thus imparting to both an equal title and, by consequence, equal authority in their respective realms.

The ongoing gathering of lands and the centralization of political authority encouraged further titular innovation. Thus, Gurgen I (r. 994-1008), [45] the father of Bagrat III, took the title of [mep.sup.[subset]][et.sup.[subset]]-[mep.sup.[subset]]e, or "king of kings," upon his accession:

And this Gurgen had a son Bagrat, who was the nephew by his mother to the kings of the [Ap.sup.[subset]]xaz, Demetre and [T.sup.[subset]]eodose. Until the enthronement of Gurgen, Bagrat was king in [Ap.sup.[subset]][xazet.sup.[subset]]i and therefore Gurgen was called king of kings. [46]

Thus royal authority was splintered, although the senior [mep.sup.[subset]]e was endowed with the title "king of kings." This division of authority was a mechanism by which the monarch designated his successor during his lifetime, thus providing for a smooth transition of power as well as the continued dominance of the dynasty. [47]

With Gurgen's son Bagrat III the graduation of the intitulatio attained its zenith in [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's History:

This king of kings Gurgen, son of Bagrat [II "the Simple"] king of the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velians, passed away in [k.sup.[subset]]oronikon 228 [1008 A.D.], and was survived by his son, Bagrat [III] king of the [Ap.sup.[subset]]xaz [and a] great kuropalates, and he occupied his ancestrat land of Tao and he ruled as absolute master [[t.sup.[subset]][wt.sup.[subset]]mpqrobeli] 3 over all Caucasia, from [Jik.sup.[subset]][et.sup.[subset]]i to the Gurgeni [Sea, i.e., from the Black to the Caspian seas]. And Adarbadagan and Shirvan became his tributaries [moxarke], and the sovereigns [[q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]e] of [Somxet.sup.[subset]]i [Armenia] acted according to his will. Owing to his wisdom and strength, he made the king of the Persians more of a loyal friend to him than his own household, and the king of the Greeks [i.e., the Byzantine emperor] harbored a constant fear of him. [48]

[T.sup.[subset]][wt.sup.[subset]]mpqrobeli, [49] a conflation of the reflexive [t.sup.[subset]][wt.sup.[subset]] ("self") and mpqrobeli ("master," "ruler"), is rendered in English as "autocrat" or "absolute ruler." Bagrat's depiction as [t.sup.[subset]][wt.sup.[subset]]mpqrobeli implies that he ruled only through his own devices, though in reality the contemporary Bagratids were still intimately connected to the Byzantine court. By [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's time, however, the Georgian monarchs openly opposed Byzantine aggression in Caucasia and endeavored to prevent Constantinople from annexing the area. Bagrat's dominion was relatively large, though the declaration that he was the autocrat of the land between the shores of the Black to the Caspian seas is the Bagratid equivalent of Wonderland. This extraordinary passage must be greeted with skepticism, for although Bagrat definitely became the first king of a united [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li and [Ap.sup.[subset]][xazet.sup.[subset]]i, it is not clear whether he ruled even this relatively restricted area, let alone the entire isthmus, in the capacity of an absolute ruler.

More likely, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze projected the limits of what he imagined an ideal greater Georgia should be. The imagined past thus became the blueprint for a desired future. It should be noted that subsequent Georgian monarchs took the title of "autocrat" and that, at least in some cases, it reflected political reality, as under [Davit.sup.[subset]] II and his great-granddaughter [T.sup.[subset]]amar. Significantly, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze identifies the rulers of the Byzantines and the Persians as mere [mep.sup.[subset]]es while Bagrat is made to be both a "king of kings" and "autocrat."

By the early eleventh century, then, there was a single [mep.sup.[subset]][et.sup.[subset]]-[mep.sup.[subset]]e and a corresponding [erist.sup.[subset]][avt.sup.[subset]]-[erist.sup.[subset]]avi standing at the head of Georgian society. It is significant that, at least according to Sumbat [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze, the ranks of the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian [mt.sup.[subset]]avari ("prince") and [erist.sup.[subset]]avi ("governor") were inflated to [q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]e ("sovereign") and then [mep.sup.[subset]]e ("king, monarch"). At various stages, all of these positions were augmented with Byzantine honors. When writing about his own time, [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze endowed the Georgian monarchy with royal titles which were at least equal to those of Byzantium and the various Islamic enterprises. The continued presence of Byzantine dignities, however, proves that Georgia's reliance upon the emperor persisted even during [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's lifetime in the first-half of the eleventh century.

(1.) The terms "Georgia" and "Georgians" do not exist in the Georgian language and impart a sense of unity that was absent in much of the pre-modern epoch. When speaking of the period prior to the political unification of the Georgian domains in the first decade of the eleventh century, precedence has been given to the names of individual regions (e.g., [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li, [Kaxet.sup.[subset]]i, [Ap.sup.[subset]][xazet.sup.[subset]]i), while after this time we may sometimes speak of all-Georgia (one meaning of the term [Sak.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velo). So as to limit confusion, I employ the attributive "Georgian" for language and historical tradition, though even this imparts an undue sense of unity. On the designations for Georgia and its inhabitants, see the essays in [Sak.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velos da [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velebis aghmnishvneli [uc.sup.[subset]]xouri da [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]uli terminologia [Georgian and Foreign Designations for 'Georgia' and 'Georgians'] ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1993), with English summaries.

I wish to thank K. Church for his perceptive comments on an earlier draft of this essay.

(2.) Scholarly literature devoted to the question of Georgia's political unification is voluminous. See esp. the lucid account by I. Javaxishvili, [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]veli eris istoria [History of the Georgian People], vol. 2, reprinted in his [T.sup.[subset]]xzulebani [Collected Works], vol. 2 ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Sak.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velos ssr [mec.sup.[subset]][nierebat.sup.[subset]]a akademia; [T.sup.[subset]]bilisis [saxelmcip.sup.[subset]]o universiteti, 1983), 92-163. See also M. [Lort.sup.[subset]][k.sup.[subset]][ip.sup.[subset]]anidze [Lordkipanidze], Essays on Georgian History ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1994), 48-188, reprinted from her Georgia in the 11th--12th Centuries, tr. D. Skvirsky ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Ganat.sup.[subset]]leba, 1987). For cultural developments, see A. Surguladze, [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]uli kulturis istoriis narkvevebi ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: Xelovneba, 1989), with English summary, "Review of the History of Georgian Culture," 478-500.

(3.) The notable exception is The Monument of the [Erist.sup.[subset]]avis (Dzegli [erist.sup.[subset]][avt.sup.[subset]]a), compiled in the early fifteenth century and written for the regional governors of the [K.sup.[subset]]sani valley northeast of [Tp.sup.[subset]]ilisi: [T.sup.[subset]]. Zhordania, [K.sup.[subset]]ronikebi da sxva masala [sak.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velos istoriisa da mcerlobisa [Chronicles and Other Materials of Georgian History and Writing], vol. 2 ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi, 1897), 1-40; tr. [Russian] S. S. Kakabadze, Pamiatnik eristavov ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1979), English summary, 53-54.

(4.) Sumbat [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze, [C.sup.[subset]]xorebay da ucqebay [bagratoniant.sup.[subset]]a, ed. G. Araxamia ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1990), hereafter: SD. See also the earlier ed. by S. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba, vol. 1 ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: Saxelgami, 1955), 372-86. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili's ed. has now been reprinted as [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba: The Georgian Royal Annals and Their Medieval Armenian Adaptation, intro. S. Rapp, Jr., vol. 1 (Delmar, N.Y.: Caravan Books, 1998).

(5.) C. Toumanoff, "Medieval Georgian Historical Literature (VIIth-XVth Centuries)," Traditia 1 (1943): 154-56, assigns [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's history to ca. 1030, while Araxamia (pp. 10-32) suggests a date in the 1050s or 1060s.

6 [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's tract is preserved in three manuscripts of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba: the Mariamiseuli (M) variant of ca. 1640 (Kekelidze Institute of Manuscripts, [T.sup.[subset]]bilisi, no. S-30); the so-called [Mc.sup.[subset]][xet.sup.[subset]]a (Q) variant of 1697 (no. Q-1219); and the [Mach.sup.[subset]]abliseuli (m) variant of 1736 (no. H-2135). [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's history is not found in the oldest extant manuscript of the corpus, the Arm/A redaction of the medieval Armenian-language adaptation copied in 1274-1311. Nor is [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's work one of the early components of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba translated by R. W. Thomson, Rewriting Caucasian History: The Medieval Armenian Adaptation of the Georgian Chronicles; the original Georgian texts and the Armenian adaptation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996).

(7.) E. [T.sup.[subset]]aqaishvili, Sumbat [davit.sup.[subset]]isdzis [k.sup.[subset]]ronika tao-[klarjet.sup.[subset]]is [bagrationt.sup.[subset]]a shesaxeb [Sumbat [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's Chronicle of the Bagratids of Tao-[Klarjet.sup.[subset]]i] ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1949), 13-15, identified [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's principal, but now-lost sources as mokle istoriuli sagvareulo [k.sup.[subset]]-ronikebi tao-[klarjet.sup.[subset]]is bagrationebisa, "short family historical chronicles of the Tao-[Klarjet.sup.[subset]]ian Bagratids." Cf. Toumanoff, "Medieval Georgian Historical Literature," 155.

(8.) The second and third Royal Lists enumerate the kings from the fourth-century A.D. Mirian down to the ninth century: [Mok.sup.[subset]][c.sup.[subset]]evay [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lisay, ed. I. Abuladze in Dzveli [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]uli [agiograph.sup.[subset]]iuli literaturis dzeglebi [Monuments of Old Georgian Hagiographical Literature], vol. 1 ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Sak.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velos ssr [mec.sup.[subset]][nierebat.sup.[subset]]a akademiis [gamomc.sup.[subset]]emloba, 1963-64), 91-97; and Shatberdis krebuli X saukunisa [The Shatberdi Codex of the Tenth Century], eds. B. Gigineishvili and E. Giunashvili ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1979), 324-27. Araxamia, Dzveli [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]uli sagvareulo matianeebi ([cqarot.sup.[subset]][mc.sup.[subset]][odneobit.sup.[subset]]i gamokvleva) [Old Georgian Family Chronicles] ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1988), 22-27, demonstrates that [Davit.sup.[subset] ]is-dze did not always blindly follow the information provided by the Royal Lists. Other unacknowledged sources of [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze include The Life of Vaxtang Gorgasali and its brief continuation by Ps.-Juansher, collectively known as [C.sup.[subset]]xorebay vaxtang gorgaslisa.

(9.) For analyses of [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's tract, see: Javaxishvili, Dzveli [k.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]uli saistorio mcerloba (V-XVIII ss.) [Old Georgian Historical Writing, Fifth--Eighteenth Centuries], reprinted as vol. 8 of his [T.sup.[subset]]xzulebani [Collected Works] ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Sak.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velos ssr [mec.sup.[subset]][nierebat.sup.[subset]]a akademia; [T.sup.[subset]]bilisis [saxelmcip.sup.[subset]]o universiteti, 1977), 195-97; C. Toumanoff, Studies in Christian Caucasian History (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown U.P., 1963); idem, "Medieval Georgian Historical Literature," 154-56; and S. Rapp, Jr., "Imagining History at the Crossroads: Persia, Byzantium, and the Architects of the Written Georgian Past" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Michigan), introduction and ch. 6.

(10.) According to Georgian tradition, the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian monarchy was established in the early Hellenistic period and was subject to the Seleucids of Mesopotamia.

(11.) Following Procopius, many specialists in Georgia believe that the monarchy was abolished in the 520s: e.g., A. A. Bogveradze, "Rannefeodal'nye gruzinskie gosudarstva v VI-VIII vv.," in Ocherki istorii Gruzii, vol. 2 ([T.sup.[subset]]bilisi: [Mec.sup.[subset]]niereba, 1988), 141-44.

(12.) Scholars typically refer to this historian, who flourished about 800 A.D., as Juansher Juansheriani. For Ps.-Juansher as the author of only the brief continuation of The Life of Vaxtang, see Rapp, "Imagining History at the Crossroads," 112-35 et seq.

(13.) Toumanoff, Studies, 360-82.

(14.) Rapp, "Imagining History at the Crossroads," esp. ch. 7.

(15.) See R. P. Lindner, "What Was a Nomadic Tribe?" Comparative Studies in Society and History 24 (1982): 689-701.

(16.) Toumanoff, Studies, 192 et seq.

(17.) Movses [Xorenac.sup.[subset]]i [Moses [Khorenats.sup.[subset]]i], History of the Armenians, I.22, tr. R. W. Thomson (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1978), 110-11.

(18.) SD, chs. 3 and 6, 40-41 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 373-74.

(19.) [Erist.sup.[subset]]a[v]obay denotes the rule or institution of an [erist.sup.[subset]]avi. The claim (ca. 800) of the author of The Life of the Kings (the first text in [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]is [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba; see notes 4 and 6) that the first [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian king [P.sup.[subset]]arnavaz (r. 299-34 B.C.) invented the network of [erist.sup.[subset]]avis is a gross back projection of the institution. See [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba, ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 1:24 = tr. Thomson, 34-35.

(20.) SD, ch. 2, 40 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 373. The word [mt.sup.[subset]]avari (from the root [mt.sup.[subset]]a, "mountain, peak") is attested already in the fifth-century Martyrdom of Shushaniki. See Toumanoff, Studies, 92 (esp. n. 132) and 388-89 (for the title of [mt.sup.[subset]]avari among the presiding princes).

(21.) SD, ch. 3, 40 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 373.

(22.) E.g., see the testimony of the tenth-century Armenian historian Yovhannes [Drasxanakertc.sup.[subset]]i, 36. 14-16:

The great curopalate of Iberia [i.e., [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li], Atrnerseh [i.e., Adarnase], honored in every way the peace treaty and alliance with [the Armenian] king Smbat. With great veneration he wisely submitted himself to the king like a son to his father, or more evident than this, like a servant willingly overwhelmed by the awe of his master in moderation, he always turned his eyes to him with utmost attentiveness and entrusted Smbat even with his life. Being greatly pleased by this, king Smbat summoned him and treated him with kindness. Subsequently, he crowned Atmerseh king with great glory ... he set him over the land of Iberia, and granted him the second place in his realm. After his promotion to the royal rank, Atrnerseh displayed no insolence ... (History of Armenia, tr. Rev. K. H. Maksoudian [Atlanta, 1987], 150-51).

(23.) The eleventh-century Chronicle of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li (part of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba) is the only medieval Bagratid history to engage seriously the pre-Bagratid past; it opens with an account of the pre-Bagratid princes Iovane and Juansher (late eighth and early ninth centuries).

(24.) SD, ch. 4, 40-41 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 373.

(25.) [Mep.sup.[subset]]e lacks grammatical gender and is most precisely rendered as "monarch." In Old Georgian, nouns are made abstract by means of the suffix -obay, e.g., [mep.sup.[subset]] "kingship, royal authority."

(26.) By the twelfth century, the aznauris constituted the lower nobility (they were outranked by the didebulis, i.e., "those possessing greatness," thus "grandees").

(27.) SD, ch. 6, 41 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 374. On the Byzantine honor bestowed upon the [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velian / Georgian Bagratids, see Rapp, "Imagining History at the Crossroads," 486-88 and 560-68. The highest Byzantine dignities adopted by Georgian monarchs were sebastos ([LANGUAGE IS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and panhypersebastos, though by the end of his reign, [Davit.sup.[subset]] II (r. 1089-1125) styled himself as basileus (!). For kuropalates, see esp. R. Guilland, "Curopalate," Byzantina 2 (1970): 187-249, reprinted in his Titres et fonctions de l'Empire byzantin (London: Variorum, 1976).

(28.) The Byzantine emperor-scholar Constantine VII Porphyrogennitos (De administrando imperio, ch. 46, ed. Gy. Moravesik, tr. R. J. H. Jenkins, rev. ed. [Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1967], 214-15) is familiar with the title [mamp.sup.[subset]]ali in the corrupted form mampalis and erroneously translates it as panagios ([LANGUAGE IS NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) "all-holy." It should be noted that Constantine is an exceedingly important source for the early Bagratids in [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li (chs. 45-46). He knows, for example, about the Davidic clamorings of the family.

(29.) SD, ch. 14, 43-44 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 375-76.

(30.) SD, ch. 15, 44 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 376.

(31.) SD, ch. 16, 44 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 376.

(32.) SD, ch. 20, 46 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 377, relates that Ashot was martyred in [k.sup.[subset]]oronikon 46, i.e., 826 A.D. (the [k.sup.[subset]] oronikon is the medieval Georgian era; this is the first date supplied by [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze). However, Toumanoff has shown that Ashot's demise actually occurred in 830: "Chronology of the Kings of Abasgia and Other Problems," Le Museon 69 (1956): 83-85.

(33.) SD, ch. 16, 44 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 376.

(34.) SD, ch. 17, 44-45 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili. 376.

(35.) SD, ch. 21, 47 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili 378, for Bagrat kuropalates being granted authority [[q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]ebay] by God; and ch. 22, 47 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 378, for the [q.sup.[subset]][elmcip.sup.[subset]]ebay of Gurgen kuropalates.

(36.) SD, ch. 54, 53 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 382.

(37.) SD, ch. 32, 49 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 379.

(38.) SD, ch. 38, 50 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 380.

(39.) SD, ch. 1, 39 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 372.

(40.) SD, chs. 5 and 70, 41 and 59 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 374 and 386.

(41.) SD, chs. 28 and 52, 48 and 52 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 379 and 382.

(42.) SD, chs. 55, 53 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]ishvili, 382.

(43.) SD, ch. 11, 43 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 375.

(44.) Medieval Georgian historical literature customarily refers to the Byzantine emperor as "the king of the Greeks," [mep.sup.[subset]]e [berdzent.sup.[subset]]a, from berdzeni, or "wise [man]." Byzantium, "Greece," was called [Saberdznet.sup.[subset]]i by the Georgians.

(45.) This Gurgen I, of the Line of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li (Iberia), is not to be confused with the aforementioned Guaram I, who was of the Line of Tao/[Tayk.sup.[subset]. I have adopted the dates and ordinals proposed by Toumanoff.

(46.) SD, ch, 52, 52 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 381-82. Thomson (tr., p. 307, n, 52, Georgian text) says that the reference here to Giorgi as [mep.sup.[subset]][et.sup.[subset]]-[mep.sup.[subset]]e "is the first occurrence of this title"; however, the source, The Chronicle of [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]li, was written after [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's history though it was placed before [Davit.sup.[subset]]is-dze's tract in all extant manuscripts of the corpus. Therefore, the reference to Gurgen as king of kings actually constitutes the first mention of this title in [K.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]lis [c.sup.[subset]]xovreba.

(47.) Cf. C. Toumanoff, "The Fifteenth-Century Bagratids and the Institution of Collegial Sovereignty in Georgia" Traditio 7 (1949-51): 204-10.

(48.) SD, ch. 54, 53 = ed. [Qauxch.sup.[subset]]ishvili, 382. The lack of the term [Sak.sup.[subset]][art.sup.[subset]]velo, which in the eleventh and twelfth centuries came to denote the all-Georgian realm, is striking in this passage.

(49.) [T.sup.[subset]][wt.sup.[subset]]mpqrobeli is based upon the older word mpqrobeli that is considerably less emphatic (it lacks the prefix [t.sup.[subset]][wt.sup.[subset]]-, signifying self-legitimacy); cf. [mp.sup.[subset]]lobeli and [t.sup.[subset]][uit.sup.[subset]][mp.sup.[subset]]lobeli. In numerous ninth-century sources, mpqroheli denotes both the act of mastery and of protecting. On the evolution of the title [t.sup.[subset]][wt.sup.[subset]]mpqrobeli see Rapp, "Imagining History at the Crossroads," 579-80.
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