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Tamar of Georgia

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Tamar of Georgia

Tamar the Great
Tamar at the church of Dormition in Vardzia
Queen of Georgia
Reign 27 March 1184 – 18 January 1213
Coronation 1178 as co-regent
1184 as queen-regnant
Gelati Monastery
Predecessor George III
Successor George IV
Spouse Yuri Bogolyubsky (1185–1187)
David Soslan (1191–1207)
Issue George IV
Dynasty Bagrationi dynasty
Father George III of Georgia
Mother Burdukhan of Alania
Born 1160
Died 18 January 1213
(aged 52–53)
Agarani Castle
Burial Undisclosed
Religion Georgian Orthodox Church

Royal monograms

Tamar the Great (

Tamar of Georgia
Preceded by
George III
Queen of Georgia
with George III (1178–1184)
George IV (1207–1213)
Succeeded by
George IV
  • Georgian coins minted in Tamar's reign, Zeno.Ru – Oriental Coins Database.

External links

  • Dondua, Varlam & Berdzenishvili, Niko (transl., comment., 1985), Жизнь царицы цариц Тамар (The Life of the Queen of Queens Tamar), English summary. Tbilisi: Metsniereba.
  • Vateĭshvili, Dzhuansher Levanovich (2003), Грузия и европейские страны. Очерки истории взаимоотношений, XIII-XIX века. Том 1. Грузия и Западная Европа, XIII-XVII века. Книга 1. ("Georgia and the European countries: studies of interrelationship in the 13th–19th centuries. Volume 1: Georgia and Western Europe, 13th–17th centuries. Book 1."). Nauka, ISBN 5-02-008869-2.


  • Javakhishvili, Ivane (1983), ქართველი ერის ისტორია, ტ. 2. (History of the Georgian Nation, vol. 2). Tbilisi: Metsniereba.
  • Melikishvili, Giorgi & Anchabadze, Zurab (ed., 1979), საქართველოს ისტორიის ნარკვევები, ტ. 3: საქართველო XI–XV საუკუნეებში (Studies in the History of Georgia, vol. 3: Georgia in the 11th–15th centuries). Tbilisi: Sabchota Sakartvelo.
  • Metreveli, Roin (1992), მეფე თამარი ("Queen Tamar"). Tbilisi: Ganatleba, ISBN 5-520-01229-6.


  • Vasiliev, Alexander (January 1936), "The Foundation of the Empire of Trebizond (1204–1222)", Speculum, Vol. 11, No. 1: pp. 3–37.
  • Toumanoff, Cyril (July 1940), "On the Relationship between the Founder of the Empire of Trebizond and the Georgian Queen Thamar", Speculum, Vol. 15, No. 3: pp. 299–312.
  • The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 4, pp. 593–637. Cambridge England: Cambridge University Press (Online version from Robert Bedrosian's Armenian History Workshop).
  • Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-20915-3.
  • Paris: Académie française.
  • . Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1163-5. Persians.[68][69] Tsar of All the Russias Ivan the Terrible before the seizure of Kazan encouraged his army by the examples of Tamar's battles[70] by describing her as:


    Prince Gagarin's reproduction of the royal panel at Betania, depicting George IV (left), Tamar (center), and George III (right), flanked by the warrior saints (1847)
    Signature of Tamar in 1202.

    Much of the modern perception of Queen Tamar was shaped under the influence of 19th-century

    • Alemany, Agusti (2000), Sources of the Alans: A Critical Compilation. Brill Publishers. ISBN 90-04-11442-4.
    • Allen, William Edward David (1932, reissued 1971), A History of the Georgian People: From the Beginning Down to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century. Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-7100-6959-6.
    • Ciggaar, Krijnie & Teule, Herman (ed., 1996), East and West in the Crusader States. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1287-1.
    • Eastmond, Antony (1998), Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia. Penn State Press, ISBN 0-271-01628-0.
    • Humphreys, Stephen R. (1977), From Saladin to the Mongols: The Ayyubids of Damascus, 1193–1260. SUNY Press, ISBN 0-87395-263-4.
    • James, Liz (ed., 1997), Women, Men and Eunuchs: Gender in Byzantium. Routledge, ISBN 0-415-14686-0.
    • Khazanov, Anatoly M. & Wink, André (2001), Nomads in the Sedentary World. Routledge, ISBN 0-7007-1369-7.
    • Lordkipanidze, Mariam (1987), Georgia in the XI-XII Centuries. Tbilisi: Ganatleba.
    • Rapp Jr., Stephen H. (1993), "Coinage of T'amar, Sovereign of Georgia in Caucasia", Le Muséon 106/3–4: pp. 309–330.
    • Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies In Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1318-5.
    • The Literature of Georgia: A History



    1. ^ Rapp (2003), p. 338.
    2. ^ a b
    3. ^ a b c d Eastmond (1998), p. 94.
    4. ^ Toumanoff (1966), "Armenia and Georgia", p. 623.
    5. ^ Allen (1932), p. 104.
    6. ^ Machitadze, Archpriest Zakaria (2006), "Holy Queen Tamar (†1213)", in The Lives of the Georgian Retrieved on 2008-07-21.
    7. ^ (Greek) Ἡ Ἁγία Ταμάρα ἡ βασίλισσα. 1 Μαΐου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.
    8. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 108, fn. 49.
    9. ^ Toumanoff (1940), p. 299, fn. 4.
    10. ^ Khazanov & Wink (2001), pp. 48–49.
    11. ^ Eastmond (1998), pp. 106–107.
    12. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 108.
    13. ^ a b c d e f Khazanov & Wink (2001), p. 49.
    14. ^ a b
    15. ^ Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 135.
    16. ^ a b c d e f g h Suny (1994), p. 39.
    17. ^ Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 141.
    18. ^ a b c Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 142.
    19. ^ Alemany (2000), p. 321.
    20. ^ a b Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 143.
    21. ^ a b Eastmond, Antony. "Gender and Orientalism in Georgia in the Age of Queen Tamar", in James (1997), pp. 111–112.
    22. ^ Eastmond (1998), pp. 135–137.
    23. ^ Rapp (2003), p. 263.
    24. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 109.
    25. ^ Luther, Kenneth Allin. "Atābākan-e Adārbāyĵān", in: Encyclopædia Iranica (Online edition). Retrieved on 2006-06-26.
    26. ^ Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 148.
    27. ^ Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 150.
    28. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 121.
    29. ^ Lordkipanidze (1987), pp. 150–151.
    30. ^ a b c Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 154.
    31. ^ Humphreys (1977), pp. 130–131.
    32. ^ Tamar's paternal aunt was the Komnenoi's grandmother on their father’s side, as it has been conjectured by Toumanoff (1940).
    33. ^ Eastmond (1998), pp. 153–154.
    34. ^ Vasiliev (1935), pp. 15–19.
    35. ^ a b Pahlitzsch, Johannes, "Georgians and Greeks in Jerusalem (1099–1310)", in Ciggaar & Herman (1996), pp. 38–39.
    36. ^ a b Eastmond (1998), p. 96.
    37. ^ a b Eastmond (1998), pp. 122–123.
    38. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 122.
    39. ^ Rapp (2003), p. 413.
    40. ^ (Georgian) Shengelia, N., საქართველოს საგარეო პოლიტიკური ურთიერთობანი თამარის მეფობაში ("Foreign Relations of Georgia during the reign of Tamar"), in Melikishvili (1979).
    41. ^ Salia (1983), pp. 177–190.
    42. ^ In the Middle Ages, the terms "Abkhazia" and "Abkhazians" were predominantly used in a wider sense, covering, for all practical purposes, the whole of western Georgia. It was not until the 15th/16th century, after the fragmentation of the unified Georgian kingdom, that these terms resumed their original, restricted sense, referring to the territory that corresponds to modern-day Abkhazia and to the ethnic group living there. Barthold, Wasil & Minorsky, Vladimir, "Abkhaz", in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 1, 1960.
    43. ^ "Kartvelians", the modern self-designation of the Georgians, originally referred to the inhabitants of the core central Georgian province of
    44. ^ Lordkipanidze (1987), p. 157.
    45. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 135.
    46. ^ Rapp (2003), p. 422.
    47. ^ Suny (1994), p. 43.
    48. ^ Amirani 9: pp. 7–23.
    49. ^ Suny (1994), p. 40.
    50. ^ Toumanoff (1966), "Armenia and Georgia", pp. 624–625.
    51. ^ Suny (1994), pp. 38–39.
    52. ^ Eastmond, pp. 94, 108–110.
    53. ^ Rapp (1993), pp. 309–330.
    54. ^ Rayfield (2000), pp. 76–83.
    55. ^ Javakhishvili (1983), pp. 280, 291–292.
    56. ^ Vateĭshvili (2003), p. 135, fn. 3.
    57. ^ Pahlitzsch, Johannes, "Georgians and Greeks in Jerusalem (1099–1310)", in Ciggaar & Herman (1996), p. 38, fn. 17.
    58. ^ Vateĭshvili (2003), pp. 135–140.
    59. ^ (Georgian) Robakidze, Grigol (13 May–15, 1918), "თამარ" ("Tamar"). Sak'art'velo 90/91.
    60. ^ Vateĭshvili (2003), p. 135.
    61. ^ a b Eastmond (1998), p. 97.
    62. ^ Rayfield (2000), p. 77.
    63. ^ Rayfield (2000), pp. 83–85.
    64. ^ Eastmond (1998), pp. 97–98.
    65. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 98.
    66. ^ Sikharulidze, Ksenia (1979), "Rituals and Songs of Weather in Georgian Poetic Folklore", in Blacking John & Kealiinohomoku, Joann W., The Performing Arts: Music and Dance. IXth International Congress of Anthropologica. Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 90-279-7870-0.
    67. ^ Dragadze, Tamara (1984), Kinship and Marriage in the Soviet Union: Field Studies, p. 179. Routledge, ISBN 0-7100-0995-X.
    68. ^ Tschižewskij, Dmitrij (1960), History of Russian Literature: From the Eleventh Century to the End of the Baroque, p. 236. Mouton.
    69. ^ Suny (1994), p. 49.
    70. ^ История русской литературы, Дмитрий Дмитриевич Благой, Volume 1, p208
    71. ^ History of the Georgian nation, Kalistrat Salia, p189
    72. ^ Eastmond, Antony. "Gender and Orientalism in Georgia in the Age of Queen Tamar", in James (1997), p. 116, n. 39.
    73. ^ Vasiliev (1936), p. 13.
    74. ^ Eastmond, Antony. "Gender and Orientalism in Georgia in the Age of Queen Tamar", in James (1997), pp. 103–104.
    75. ^ Københavns, Elisabeth Oxfeldt (2005), Nordic Orientalism: Paris and the Cosmopolitan Imagination, p. 220, n. 117. Museum Tusculanum Press, ISBN 87-635-0134-1.
    76. ^ Eastmond, Antony. "Gender and Orientalism in Georgia in the Age of Queen Tamar", in James (1997), pp. 103–111.
    77. ^ Suny (1994), p. 290
    78. ^ Tillett, Lowell (1969), The Great Friendship: Soviet Historians on the Non-Russian Nationalities, p. 329. University of North Carolina Press
    79. ^ Spurling, Amy (2003), "The Georgian Literary Scene". PEN Bulletin of Selected Books. 53–54: 100
    80. ^ Eastmond (1998), p. 262.


    Demetrius I
    King of Georgia, 1125–1154
    David V
    King of Georgia, 1154–1155
    George III
    King of Georgia, 1155–1184
    Burdukhan of Alania
    Queen of Georgia, 1184–1213
    1. Yuri Bogolyubsky
    2. David Soslan
    George IV
    King of Georgia, 1213–1223
    Queen of Georgia, 1223–1245
    Ghias ad-din
    David VII
    King of Georgia, 1247–1270
    David VI
    King of Georgia, 1245–1293

    The chart below shows the abbreviated genealogy of Tamar and her family, tracing it from Tamar's grandfather to her grandchildren.[80]


    [79] Tamar's marriage to the Rus prince Yuri has become a subject of two resonant prose works in modern Georgia.

    [76] In Georgian literature, Tamar was also romanticized, but very differently from the Russian and Western European view. The Georgian romanticists followed a medieval tradition in Tamar's portrayal as a gentle, saintly woman who ruled a country permanently at war. This sentiment was further inspired by the rediscovery of a contemporary, 13th-century wall painting of Tamar in the then-ruined

    naming it as "Tamara". symphony composed a Mily Balakirev Russian conductor [75] ("Queen Tamara") was less successful; the theatre critics saw in it "a modern woman dressed in a medieval costume" and read the play as "a commentary on the new woman of the 1890s."Dronning Tamara's 1903 play Knut Hamsun [74] Yet, the memory of the military victories of her reign contributed to Tamar's other popular image, that of a model warrior-queen. It also echoed in the [3] While Tamar occasionally accompanied her army and is described as planning some campaigns, she was never directly involved in the fighting.

    [67], Tamar's image fused with a pagan goddess of healing and female fertility.Pshavi Similarly, in the highland district of [66] In popular memory, Tamar's image has acquired a legendary and romantic façade. A diverse set of folk songs, poems and tales illustrate her as an ideal ruler, a holy woman onto whom certain attributes of

    [65] Later periods of national revival were too ephemeral to match the achievements of Tamar's reign. All of these contributed to the cult of Tamar which blurred the distinction between the idealized queen and the real personality.[64] The idealization of Tamar was further accentuated by the events that took place under her immediate successors; within two decades of Tamar's death, the

    The queen became a subject of several contemporary colophon attached to the manuscript of the Vani Gospels.[61]

    Over the centuries, Queen Tamar has emerged as a dominant figure in the Georgian historical [62]

    Shota Rustaveli presents his poem to Queen Tamar, a painting by the Hungarian artist Mihály Zichy (1880s)


    Legacy and popular culture

    In the 20th century, the quest for Tamar's grave became a subject of scholarly research as well as a focus of a broader public interest. The Georgian writer [59] An orthodox academic view still places Tamar's grave at Gelati, but a series of archaeological studies, beginning with Taqaishvili in 1920, has failed to locate it at the monastery.[60]

    In later times, a number of legends emerged about Tamar's place of burial. One of them has it that Tamar was buried in a secret Saracens. He was carrying, the report said, the remains of his mother, the "powerful queen Tamar" (regina potentissima Thamar), who had been unable to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in her lifetime and had bequeathed her body to be buried near the Holy Sepulchre.[57][58]

    [56][55] Tamar outlived her consort, David Soslan, and died of a "devastating disease" not far from her capital

    The Gelati monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a presumptive burial place of Queen Tamar

    Death and burial

    [54][36][16] The contemporary Georgian chronicles enshrined Christian morality and patristic literature continued to flourish, but it had, by that time, lost its earlier dominant position to secular literature, which was highly original, even though it developed in close contact with the neighboring cultures. The trend culminated in

    With this prosperity came an outburst of the distinct Georgian culture, emerging from the amalgam of Arabic. A series of coins minted c. 1200 in the name of Queen Tamar depicted a local variant of the Byzantine obverse and an Arabic inscription on the reverse proclaiming Tamar as the "Champion of the Messiah".[53]

    A folio from the Vani Gospels manuscript, copied at the behest of Queen Tamar


    With flourishing commercial centers now under Georgia's control, industry and commerce brought new wealth to the country and the court. Tribute extracted from the neighbors and war booty added to the royal treasury, giving rise to the saying that "the peasants were like nobles, the nobles like princes, and the princes like kings."[49][50]

    [48] The queen never achieved autocratic powers and the noble council continued to function. However, Tamar's own prestige and the expansion of

    A copper coin with Georgian and Arabic inscriptions featuring Tamar's monogram (1200)

    The royal title was correspondingly aggrandized. It now reflected not only Tamar's sway over the traditional subdivisions of the Georgian realm, but also included new components, emphasizing the Georgian crown's hegemony over the neighboring lands. Thus, on the coins and charters issued in her name, Tamar is identified as:

    Georgia's political and cultural exploits of Tamar's epoch were rooted in a long and complex past. Tamar owed her accomplishments most immediately to the reforms of her great-grandfather David IV (r. 1089–1125) and, more remotely, to the unifying efforts of Speri to Derbend, and all the Hither and the Thither Caucasus up to Khazaria and Scythia."[40][41]

    A fragment of the early 13th-century fresco of Queen Tamar from Betania

    Feudal monarchy

    Golden age

    The Georgian court was primarily concerned with the protection of the Georgian monastic centers in the True Cross, offering 200,000 gold pieces to Saladin who had taken the relics as booty at the battle of Hattin – to no avail, however.[35][37]

    Tamar sought to make use of the weakness of the Byzantine Empire and the crusaders' defeat at the hands of the Ayyubid North Caucasus and the expatriate monastic communities were scattered throughout the eastern Mediterranean. Tamar's chronicle praises her universal protection of Christianity and her support of churches and monasteries from Egypt to Bulgaria and Cyprus.[37]

    Among the remarkable events of Tamar's reign was the foundation of the Komnenoi.[33][34]

    The Monastery of the Cross in Jerusalem was formerly populated by the Georgian monks and patronized by Queen Tamar
    The Iviron monastery on Mount Athos, a major center of Christian culture favored by the Georgian crown

    Trebizond and the Middle East

    [30], pillaging several settlements on their way.Iran in northwest Qazvin, and Tabriz, Marand, to Julfa and Nakhchivan In a great final burst, the brothers led an army marshaled throughout Tamar's possessions and vassal territories in a march, through [30] The Mkhargrdzeli captured

    Alarmed by the Georgian successes, battle of Basian in 1203 or 1204. The chronicler of Tamar describes how the army was assembled at the rock-hewn town of Vardzia before marching on to Basian and how the queen addressed the troops from the balcony of the church.[28][29]

    In 1199, Tamar's armies scored another major victory when two brothers, Zak'are and Ivane Mkhargrdzeli, dislodged the Shaddadid dynasty from Ani, the erstwhile capital of the Armenian kingdom, and received it from the queen as their fief. From their base at Ani, the brothers surged ahead into the central Armenian lands, reclaiming one after another fortress and district from local Muslim dynasts: Bjni was taken in 1201 and Dvin fell in 1203.[27]

    [26][25] Early in the 1190s, the Georgian government began to interfere in the affairs of the Ildenizids and of the Shirvanshahs, aiding rivaling local princes and reducing

    Once Tamar succeeded in consolidating her power and found a reliable support in David Soslan, the Mkhargrdzeli, David IV, and her father, George III. However, the Georgians became again active under Tamar, more prominently in the second decade of her rule.

    The ruined cave-town of Vardzia
    Georgia and its neighbors in 1213

    Muslim neighbors

    Foreign policy and military campaigns

    [2] David Soslan's status of a

    [21] Tamar and David had two children. In 1192 or 1194, the queen gave birth to a son, George-Lasha, the future king

    [20] David, a capable military commander, became Tamar's major supporter and was instrumental in defeating the rebellious nobles rallied behind Yuri.[19] In 1187, Tamar persuaded the noble council to approve her divorce with Yuri who was accused of addiction to drunkenness and "

    Tamar as depicted on a 13th-century mural from the Kintsvisi monastery

    Second marriage

    [16] Their choice fell on Yuri, son of the murdered prince [13][3] Pursuant to dynastic imperatives and the ethos of the time, the nobles required Tamar to marry in order to have a leader for the army and to provide an heir to the throne.

    Tamar was also pressured into dismissing her father's appointees, among them the constable Qubasar (ყუბასარი), a treasurer Qutlu Arslan who now led a group of nobles and wealthy citizens in a struggle to limit the royal authority by creating a new council, karavi, whose members would alone deliberate and decide policy.[16] This attempt at "feudal constitutionalism" was rendered abortive when Tamar had Qutlu Arslan arrested and his supporters were inveigled into submission.[13] Yet, Tamar’s first moves to reduce the power of the aristocratic élite were unsuccessful. She failed in her attempt to use a church synod to dismiss the catholicos Michael, and the noble council, darbazi, asserted the right to approve royal decrees.[16] Even the queen’s first husband, the Rus' prince Yuri, was forced on her by the nobles.[16]

    [16], thus placing him at the top of both the clerical and secular hierarchies.chancellor However, the young queen was forced into making significant concessions to the aristocracy. She had to reward the catholicos Michael's support by making him a [15] For six years, Tamar was a co-ruler with her father upon whose death, in 1184, Tamar continued as the sole monarch and was crowned a second time at the

    Tamar (left) and George III (right). The earliest surviving portrait of Tamar from the church of the Dormition at Vardzia, c. 1184–1186

    Early reign and the first marriage

    [13] At the same time, he raised men from the gentry and unranked classes to keep the dynastic aristocracy away from the center of power.[12] Tamar's youth coincided with a major upheaval in Georgia; in 1177, her father, George III, was confronted by a rebellious faction of nobles. The rebels intended to dethrone George in favor of the king's fraternal nephew,

    Tamar was born in c. 1160 to their claim to be descended from David, the second king of Israel.[9]

    Early life and ascent to the throne


    • Early life and ascent to the throne 1
    • Early reign and the first marriage 2
    • Second marriage 3
    • Foreign policy and military campaigns 4
      • Muslim neighbors 4.1
      • Trebizond and the Middle East 4.2
    • Golden age 5
      • Feudal monarchy 5.1
      • Culture 5.2
    • Death and burial 6
    • Legacy and popular culture 7
      • Medieval 7.1
      • Modern 7.2
    • Genealogy 8
    • Notes 9
    • References 10
      • English 10.1
      • Georgian 10.2
      • Russian 10.3
    • External links 11

    [7][6] 1 May).O.S. (14 May commemorated on feast day), with her წმიდა კეთილმსახური მეფე თამარი Tamar's association with the period of political and military successes and cultural achievements, combined with her role as a female ruler, has led to her idealization and romantization in Georgian arts and historical memory. She remains an important symbol in Georgian popular culture and has been

    [5][4] Tamar was married twice, her first union being, from 1185 to 1187, to the

    Tamar was proclaimed heir and co-ruler by her reigning father Seljuq Turks. Relying on a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build on the successes of her predecessors to consolidate an empire which dominated the Caucasus until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death.[3]


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