Nana of Iberia

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Saint Queen Nana
Queen Nana of Iberia.jpg
Queen of Iberia
Tenure 292–361
Predecessor Abeshura of Iberia
Spouse Mirian III of Iberia
Issue Rev II of Iberia
Aspacures II of Iberia
anonymous daughter
Dynasty Bosporan dynasty (by birth)
Chosroid dynasty (by marriage)
Father Tiberius Julius Theothorses
Born 3rd century
Bosporan Kingdom
Died 4th century
Mtskheta, Kingdom of Iberia
Burial Samtavro Monastery, Mtskheta
Religion Georgian Orthodox Church

Nana (Georgian: ნანა) was a Queen consort of Kingdom of Iberia as the second wife of Mirian III in the 4th century. For her role in the conversion of Georgians to Christianity she is regarded by the Georgian Orthodox Church as saint and is canonized as Saint Equal to the Apostles Queen Nana (Georgian: წმინდა მოციქულთასწორი დედოფალი ნანა).[1][2]

Family[edit]

According to the Georgian chronicles, Nana was "from a Greek territory, from Pontus, the daughter of Oligotos"[3] whom Mirian married after his first wife died (in 292 according to Cyril Toumanoff). Nana bore Mirian two sons: Rev II, Varaz-Bakur and a daughter who married Peroz, the first Mihranid dynast of Gugark.[4] Pontus here may refer to the Bosporan Kingdom, then a client state of the Roman Empire. Toumanoff has assumed that the name of Nana's father might have been a Georgian corruption of "Olympius" or "Olympus", a Bosporan dynast whose son Aurelius Valerius Sogus Olympianus, a Roman governor of Theodosia, is known from a Greek inscription of 306 dedicated to "the Most High God" on the occasion of the building of the Jewish "prayer house".[5] Alternatively, Christian Settipani identifies Nana as a younger daughter of Theothorses, a Bosporan king.[6]

Conversion[edit]

The medieval Georgian sources relate that Nana had been a staunch pagan and despised Christian preaching until she was miraculously cured of a terrible disease, and subsequently converted, by a Cappadocian Christian missionary, Nino. The Roman scholar Tyrannius Rufinus, writing his history half a century after the Iberian conversion on the basis of the oral account of Bacurius the Iberian, also mentions an unnamed queen of the Iberians who was cured by a woman, a Christian captiva.[7] Through Nino's ministry, King Mirian was also converted around 337 and Christianity became an official religion in Iberia. Nana outlived her husband by two years and died, according to Toumanoff's chrnology, in 363. She was canonized by the Georgian church. Nana and Mirian are traditionally considered to have been buried at the Samtavro convent in Mtskheta, where their tombs are still shown.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lang, David Marshall (1956), Lives and legends of the Georgian saints, pp. 13-39. London: Allen & Unwin
  2. ^ a b Machitadze, Archpriest Zakaria (2006), "The Feast of the Robe of our Lord, the Myrrh-streaming and Life-giving Pillar, Equals-to-the-Apostles King Mirian and Queen Nana, and Saints Sidonia and Abiatar (4th century)", in The Lives of the Georgian Saints. Pravoslavie.Ru. Retrieved on April 17, 2009.
  3. ^ Thomson, Robert W. (1996), Rewriting Caucasian History, p. 112. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-826373-2
  4. ^ Toumanoff, Cyril, (1969), Chronology of the Early Kings of Iberia. Traditio 25: pp. 21-23.
  5. ^ Toumanoff, Cyril (1969), Chronology of the Early Kings of Iberia. Traditio 25: p. 23.
  6. ^ (French) Settipani, Christian (2006), Continuité des élites à Byzance durante les siècles obscurs. Les princes caucasiens et l'Empire du VIe au IXe siècle, p. 406. De Boccard, ISBN 2-7018-0226-1
  7. ^ Amidon, Philip R. (1997), The church history of Rufinus of Aquileia, books 10 and 11, p. 48. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-511031-5