A copper coin of King David IV of Georgia minted in Georgian Asomtavruli script reads
ႣႧႫႴႵႣႧႫႴႤႠႴႧႵႰႬႩႾႧႱႾႧ
meaning "Jesus Christ, [glorify] King David, of the Abkhazians,[h] Iberians,[c] Ranis,[n] Kakhetians,[n] Armenians"[j]. The king is depicted wearing sakkos with an imperial crown having pendilia and holding a cross alongside globus cruciger. A coin shows the king as a true Byzantine emperor.[k] Kept at the British Museum in the United Kingdom.
A copper coin of Queen Tamar of Georgia minted in Georgian Asomtavruli script reads ႧႰႣႧ with ႵႩჃႩ representing Georgian numeral system, meaning "Tamar, David, AD 1200"; the text written in Arabic script[l] reads ملكة الملكات جلال الدنيا والدين تامار ابنة كيوري ظهير المسيح meaning "Queen of Queens, the glory of the world and of the faith, Tamar, daughter of Giorgi, champion[i] of the Messiah". Kept at the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia.

The style of the Georgian sovereign (Georgian: ქართველი მეფის წოდება, romanized: kartveli mepis ts'odeba) refers to the formal mode of address to a Georgian monarch (mepe)[1][2] that evolved and changed many times since the establishment of the ancient Kingdom of Iberia, its transformation to the unified Kingdom of Georgia and its successive monarchies after the disintegration of the realm.

Pre-Christian Georgian monarchs of the Pharnavazid dynasty were divinely assigned pharnah and its loss usually led to the monarch’s imminent death or overthrow in Georgian kingship.[3][a] Introductory part of the style for the monarchs from the Bagrationi dynasty always started with "By the Grace of God, We, of Jesse, David, Solomon, Bagrationi, Supreme by God, anointed and crowned by God",[4][5] underlining their divine right and claim for biblical descent.[6][7] The consolidation of the deified[8] Bagrationi dynasty and its unprecedented political unification of lands,[9] would inaugurate the Georgian Golden Age and creation of the only medieval pan-Caucasian empire[10] that would rule for a thousand years.[11] Georgian monarchs would have intense religious and political competition with the Byzantine emperors, saw themselves as the successors of the emperor Constantine the Great[12] and even as rulers of a new Byzantium based in the Caucasus,[13][14] whence the clergy would view the Georgian Orthodoxy as an "imperial church" that would fight the heretics.[15] Even though unprecedentedly "Byzantinized Georgia"[16] entertained its powerful neighbor's concepts and models of Constantinopolitan bureaucracy and aristocracy, it was never slavishly adopted or mimicked; rather, it was creatively and deliberately adapted to the local culture and environment. At the same time, the rulers of Christian Georgia would still be embracing the traditional influences of the Persian Shahnameh[17] and Arabic legends[18] that would remain strong and intact; some of their styles would even become Islamic[m] in type.[19][20][21] As the Crown would be gathering additional lands the style would continue to expand, but remain distinctly enumerated and include all the subjects of the Georgian monarch.[22] Even after the collapse of the unified kingdom, Georgian kings would continue to emblazon themselves with the former imperial style and they would stake the claim to be the absolute rulers of all-Georgia.[23] This imperial legacy of the Bagrations continues to bear fruit even today, with its self-image as the unrivalled pinnacle of the Georgian politics, culture and society.[24]

According to the chronicler of Queen Tamar, verbally insulting a monarch was punishable with tongue mutilation and decapitation, always carried out by non-Georgian executioners.[25][26] Even though the capital punishment was extremely rare in high medieval Georgia, the royal court would never pardon the insult towards a monarch.[27] King Vakhtang VI, however, maintained that there was no official punishment for lèse-majesté.[28]

Style

Sovereigns of Iberia

Style Sovereign
King of all Kartli and Eguri.[29][b] King Pharnavaz I
King of the Iberians.[30][c] King Artoces
King of the Iberians.[31] King Pharnavaz II
King of the Iberians.[32] King Artaxias II
Great King of Iberia.[33] King Pharasmanes I
King of the Iberians.[d] King Mithridates I
King of Iberia.[e] King Pharasmanes II
Great King of the Iberians.[34] King Ghadam
King of the Iberians.[35] King Aspacures I
King of Iberia, Somkhiti, Rani, Hereti, Movakani and Colchis.[36] King Mirian III
King of the Iberians.[37] King Mithridates V
King of Iberia, King of the Ten Kings.[38] King Vakhtang I
King of the Iberians.[39] King Bacurius III
King of the Iberians.[40] King Adarnase IV
King of the Iberians.[41] King David II
King of the Iberians.[42] King Bagrat II
King of the Iberians, the kouropalates of all the East, the eye of Orthodoxy.[43][44] King David III
King of Kings of the Iberians.[45][46] King Gurgen

Sovereigns of the united Georgia

Style Sovereign
King of the Abkhazians[h] and Iberians, of Tao, and of the Ranis and Kakhetians,[n] and the great kouropalates of all the East.[47] King Bagrat III
King of the Abkhazians and Iberians, the kourapalates of all the East.[48] King George I
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, strong and invincible, the nobilissimus of all the East, the kouropalates, the sebastos.[49][50][51] King Bagrat IV
King of the Abkhazians and Iberians, the nobilissimus, the sebastos, the caesar of all the East and the West.[52][53][54] King George II
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis,[n] Kakhetians,[n] Armenians,[j] of Shaki, Alania and the Rus,[55] Sword of the Messiah,[f] emperor (basileus) of all the East,[56][57][58] servant and defender of God.[59] King David IV
King of Kings, Sword of the Messiah, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians.[60][61] King Demetre I
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah,[g][m] master of the East and the North, son of Demetre, sword of the Messiah,[62][63] son of King of Kings.[64] King George III
King of Kings, Queen of Queens, empress (autokrator) of all the East and West, champion[i] of the Messiah,[65][66] of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, and Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah, the Glory of the World and of the Faith, daughter of the great King of Kings.[67] Queen Tamar
King of Kings, son of Tamar, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah, the Sovereign of all the East and the West, sword of the Messiah.[68][69] King George IV
Queen of Kings and Queens, the glory of the world, kingdom and of the faith, daughter of Tamar, champion[i] of the Messiah.[70][71] Queen Rusudan
King of Kings, son of King of Kings Rusudan, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah, the Sovereign of all Georgia and the North.[72][73] King David VI
King of Kings of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, Armenians, Shahanshah and Shirvanshah, of the East and the West, of the South and the North, of both countries, of two thrones and crowns, the godlike Suzerain and the Sovereign.[74] King George V
King of Kings of all.[75] King David IX
King of Kings of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shahanshah and Shirvanshah, the Suzerain and Sovereign of all the North, the East and the West, descendant of Gorgasali.[76] King Bagrat V
King of Kings of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah, of all Georgia, of all the East and the West, of the North, the Sovereign and Suzerain of two kingdoms, the ruler of all.[77][78] King George VII
King of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah of all the East and North, the Sovereign.[79] King Constantine I
King of Kings, of many, Shirvanshah, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, Armenians, of all Georgia and the North, of the West and the East, the Suzerain and Sovereign of two golden thrones and all the lands.[80][81] King Alexander I
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of two thrones and kingdoms, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, descendant of Nimrod.[82] King George VIII
King of Kings, strong and invincible, majestic and protector of the holy kingdom, of the Jikians, Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shirvanshah, of all the East and the West, of all Georgia, of all the North, the Suzerain and Sovereign of the throne.[83] King Bagrat VI

Sovereigns of Kartli

Style Sovereign
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah.[84][85] King Simon I
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[86] King George X
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[87] King Rostom
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[88] King Vakhtang V
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[89][90] King Luarsab II
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli, by will of God, by mercy of Shah Abbas.[91] King Bagrat VII
King of Kings of Kartli,[92] by will of God, by order of Shah Abbas.[93] King Simon II
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kartli.[94] King George XI
King and Sovereign of Kartli, Lord of all Georgia.[95] King Vakhtang VI

Sovereigns of Kakheti

Style Sovereign
King and Sovereign of Kakheti.[96] King Levan
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kakheti.[97] King Alexander II
King and Sovereign of Kakheti.[98] King Teimuraz I
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kakheti.[99] King Heraclius I
King of Kings, Sovereign of Kakheti, son of Great King and High Sovereign of Iran.[100] King David II
King of Kings, Sovereign of Kakheti, Beglarbeg of Yerevan, Lord of Shamshadin and Qazax.[101][102] King Constantine II
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kartli, Kakheti, Lord of Qazax and Borchali.[103] King Teimuraz II

Sovereigns of Imereti

Style Sovereign
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shahanshah and Shirvanshah, of all the East and the West, the South and the North, of both two thrones and kingdoms.[104][105] King Alexander II
King of Kings and the Sovereign of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shahanshah and Shirvanshah, of the East and the West.[106] King Bagrat III
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shahanshah and Shirvanshah, of all the East and the West, the South and the North, of both two kingdoms and countries, the High King, Godly anointed and invincible, the most excellent King of all, of the most brilliant purple crown, son of Great, all-powerful and invincible King of Kings.[107] King George II
King of Kings, the Sovereign of both two thrones.[108] King Levan
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Kakhetians, Armenians, Shahanshah and Shirvanshah, of all the East and the West, the South and the North, the Sovereign of both two thrones and countries, Godly given and anointed, great and invincible, the most excellent King of all, of the brilliant sceptre and a purple crown.[109] King Rostom
King of Kings, the Sovereign, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, Armenians, Shahanshah and Shirvanshah of all the other kings and countries, strong and invincible,[110][111] supreme by God and unyielding by God.[112] King George III
King of Kings, the Sovereign.[113] King Alexander III
King of Kings, the King.[114] King Alexander V
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of all Imereti.[115][116] King Solomon I
King of Kings of all Imereti.[117] King David II
King of all Imeretians.[118] King Solomon II

Sovereigns of Kartli—Kakheti

Style Sovereign
King of Kartli, Kakheti and all Georgia, Lord of Ganja, Yerevan, Qazax, Shamshadin and Borchali.[119][120] King Heraclius II
King of all Georgia, King of all Kartli, Kakheti and all the other lands, the Lord.[121][122] King George XII

See also

Notes

  1. ^
    A custom dictated that the new monarch should have had a biological connection to the existing dynasty, in part because kingly pharnah was the prerogative of certain families. King Pharnajom unwisely abandoned Georgian polytheism thus losing the kingship.[123][124]
  2. ^
    Kartli and Eguri were known in the classical antiquity as Iberia and Colchis respectively.[125]
  3. ^
    "Iberians" refers specifically to Kartvelians/Georgians.[126] The term Iberia/Iberian would undergo a transformation, its "all-Georgian" reach would be extended by the Bagrationi monarchs and their contemporaries.[127]
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
    This title entered the style in spite to the contemporary Muslim laqab, the Sword of Islam and Sword of Allah.[128] The title was pointedly militant and meant "Defender of Christianity" (Messiah i.e. Jesus Christ).[129] David IV was the first Georgian king to assume the title "Sword of the Messiah".[130]
  7. ^
    These titles entered the style from Persian shah and was motivated by the aggressive expansionist policies of the Georgian monarchs in and beyond the region.[131] The inclusion of Shirvanshah (lit. the shah/king of Shirvan) and Shahanshah (lit. the shah of shahs/King of kings) in style by the Georgian monarchs was an usurpation of Islamic and Sasanid political ideals. These titles were specifically directed against Persian dynasties.[132] George III was the first Georgian king to assume these titles.[133] They were afforded mostly last place in the style, following the "King of the Armenians" title.[134] They later on would get corrupted, and original meaning be forgotten.[135]
  8. ^
    The Kingdom of Abkhazia was afforded first place in the style as a memory of sequence of acquisition of authority by King Bagrat III, from being King of Abkhazia first and later on king of all-Georgia. The Georgian royal court was inspired by the Byzantine model of rule of law and the continued rendering of Abkhazia to the first place in the style of the Bagrationi kings was largely due to legal considerations. Also, as Abkhazia was under heavy Byzantine influence, the Georgian monarchs wanted to raise the status of the western region to such a high level to reflect the importance of this area to the Georgian realm. The court would have set up the majority of the royal residences mostly in the western regions of the kingdom, in Abkhazia and Imereti.[136][137]
  9. ^
    Queen Tamar and Queen Rusudan were not afforded title "Sword of the Messiah" but "Champion of the Messiah". This circumstance doubtlessly reflect the fact that Tamar and Rusudan, although they were the mepe, they were not an actual heads of the army and battlefield leaders, by virtue of their gender.[138] It is noteworthy that Tamar was never depicted on frescos with a sword.[139] Despite the fact that The Georgian Chronicles explicitly state that when Tamar was recrowned after his father's death, "all by one consent joined in raising to Tamar her father's sword, bestowed on her at the same time as her father's throne", still none of the depictions of the queen show her carrying the sword. The chronicle would explain this by stressing Tamar's hatred of violence.[140]
  10. ^
    The title "King of the Armenians" entered the style after King David IV annexed Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget in 1118,[141] or after he captured Ani in 1124.[142]
  11. ^
    Where the coins of his father, George II, and grandfather, Bagrat IV, had slavishly imitated Byzantine examples, David IV had taken over the imagery to glorify himself,[143] instead of Mother of God. Per Bagrationi symbolism Virgin Mary was a patron saint of all Georgia, her cult being established as the governing royal image of the whole kingdom. The coins issued by his forebears depicted a bust of the Mother of God on the obverse and inscriptions proclaiming the Byzantine titles of the kings on the reverse.[144]
  12. ^
    Tamar's choice of terminology in Arabic derives from Islamic coins and was similar to known examples of coins minted by Mamluks in the thirteenth century.[145] Tamar's royal imagery had to cope with the diverse nature of her empire[146] as it had to accommodate both Christian and Muslim subjects, as well as many separate territories.[147]
  13. ^
    A shift toward an Islamic expression of power can be found in the adoption of new royal titles during the reign of King George III, when he, in 1170, added to his titles those of Shirvanshah and Shahanshah. This was the first evidence of these titles being adopted by a Georgian king and must have been taken over from the Shaddadids, whom George had defeated in 1161. Reign of George III can be seen to mark a decisive shift in the nature of Georgian power. Any expression of inferiority to Byzantine Empire had been ended by his grandfather, King David IV, who abandoned the use of any Byzantine titles, but took over Byzantine forms of imagery to promote himself as an independent power. Now George was establishing this more clearly by usurping titles of his rivals into his own as an expression of his dominance over them.[148]
  14. ^
    The title "King of Ranis and Kakhetians" officially entered the style after King David IV annexed First Kingdom of Kakheti in 1104.[149]

References

  1. ^ Rayfield, pp. 65—159
  2. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 8763
  3. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 6731
  4. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III pp. 146—206
  5. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 84
  6. ^ Rapp (2014), p. 227
  7. ^ Khakhanov, pp. 6—7
  8. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 87
  9. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 492
  10. ^ Rapp (2014), p. 226
  11. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 453
  12. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 666
  13. ^ Rapp (2014), pp. 231-228
  14. ^ Tavadze, p. 221
  15. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 646
  16. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 482
  17. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 595
  18. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 581
  19. ^ Eastmond, p. 91
  20. ^ Rapp (2014), pp. 232-233
  21. ^ Pagawa, pp. 221-222
  22. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 571
  23. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 583
  24. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 459
  25. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 191
  26. ^ Rayfield, p. 103
  27. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 326
  28. ^ Khakhanov, p. 6
  29. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 6323
  30. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 30—14
  31. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 32—8
  32. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 33—17
  33. ^ Rayfield, p. 32
  34. ^ Rayfield, p. 34
  35. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 62—8
  36. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 7131—7140
  37. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 139—5
  38. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 9500
  39. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 216—13
  40. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 4
  41. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 10
  42. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 11
  43. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 20
  44. ^ Tavadze, p. 100
  45. ^ Rayfield, p. 69
  46. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 17
  47. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4175
  48. ^ Tavadze, p. 103
  49. ^ Khakhanov, p. 11
  50. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 458
  51. ^ Dolidze, p. 7
  52. ^ Rayfield, p. 85
  53. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 459
  54. ^ Tavadze, p. 162
  55. ^ Rapp (1997), pp. 570-571
  56. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4185
  57. ^ Rayfield, pp. 89—93
  58. ^ Dolidze, p. 18
  59. ^ Eastmond, p. 47
  60. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 575
  61. ^ Pagawa (2021), pp. 396-403
  62. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4194
  63. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 460
  64. ^ Eastmond, pp. 104-106
  65. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4182
  66. ^ Rayfield, p. 109
  67. ^ Eastmond, pp. 127-135
  68. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 461
  69. ^ Silogawa, p. 16
  70. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 392
  71. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 577
  72. ^ Silogawa, pp. 72—73
  73. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 581
  74. ^ Silogawa, p. 26
  75. ^ Dolidze, p. 100
  76. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 13
  77. ^ Silogawa, p. 100
  78. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 582
  79. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 434
  80. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 35
  81. ^ Dolidze, p. 118
  82. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 436
  83. ^ Silogawa, p. 19
  84. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 140
  85. ^ Dolidze, p. 205
  86. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 534
  87. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 2
  88. ^ Dolidze, p. 224
  89. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 39
  90. ^ Kartvelishvili & Jojua, et al. p. 99
  91. ^ Kartvelishvili & Jojua, et al. p. 145
  92. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 141
  93. ^ Kartvelishvili & Jojua, et al. p. 181
  94. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 144
  95. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 151
  96. ^ Dolidze, p. 193
  97. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 185
  98. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 1
  99. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 4
  100. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 193
  101. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 252
  102. ^ Dolidze, p. 231
  103. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 160
  104. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 517
  105. ^ Kakabadze, p. 3
  106. ^ Kakabadze, pp. 7—8
  107. ^ Kakabadze, p. 17
  108. ^ Kakabadze, p. 34
  109. ^ Kakabadze, p. 36
  110. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 537
  111. ^ Kakabadze, p. 37
  112. ^ Kartvelishvili & Jojua, et al. p. 124
  113. ^ Kakabadze, p. 63
  114. ^ Kakabadze, p. 119
  115. ^ Zagareli, p. 96
  116. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 253
  117. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 257
  118. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 235
  119. ^ Khakhanov, p. 9
  120. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 168
  121. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III pp. 183—308
  122. ^ Zagareli, pp. 169-188
  123. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 6776
  124. ^ Rayfield, p. 25
  125. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 702
  126. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 686
  127. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 665
  128. ^ Eastmond, p. 72
  129. ^ Pagawa, pp. 243-247
  130. ^ Pagawa, p. 245
  131. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 86
  132. ^ Pagawa (2021), pp. 417-418
  133. ^ Pagawa (2021), p. 410
  134. ^ Pagawa (2021), p. 408
  135. ^ Rapp (1997), pp. 578-582
  136. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 637
  137. ^ Pagawa (2021), p. 382
  138. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 608
  139. ^ Rapp (1997), pp. 577-578
  140. ^ Eastmond, p. 182
  141. ^ Eastmond, p. 70
  142. ^ Pagawa (2021), pp. 367-380
  143. ^ Eastmond, pp. 56-58
  144. ^ Eastmond, p. 54
  145. ^ Eastmond, p. 135
  146. ^ Eastmond, p. 98
  147. ^ Eastmond, p. 6
  148. ^ Eastmond, p. 92
  149. ^ Eastmond, p. 56

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