Style of the Georgian sovereign

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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, Kakhetians, and Armenians". The king is depicted wearing sakkos with an imperial crown having pendilia and holding a cross alongside globus cruciger. 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 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 of the Messiah".

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 and saw themselves even as rulers of a new Byzantium based in the Caucasus.[12][13] Even though unprecedentedly "Byzantinized Georgia"[14] 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 and Arabic legends that would remain strong and intact; some of their styles would even become Islamic in type.[15][16] 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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19][20] Even though the capital punishment was extremely rare in high medieval Georgia, the royal court would never pardon the insult towards a monarch.[21] King Vakhtang VI maintained that there was no official punishment for lèse-majesté.[22]

Style[edit]

Sovereigns of Iberia[edit]

Style Sovereign
King of all Kartli and Eguri.[23][b] King Pharnavaz I
King of the Iberians.[24][c] King Artoces
King of the Iberians.[25] King Pharnavaz II
King of the Iberians.[26] King Artaxias II
Great King of Iberia.[27] King Pharasmanes I
King of the Iberians.[d] King Mithridates I
King of Iberia.[e] King Pharasmanes II
Great King of the Iberians.[28] King Ghadam
King of the Iberians.[29] King Aspacures I
King of Iberia, Somkhiti, Rani, Hereti, Movakani and Colchis.[30] King Mirian III
King of the Iberians.[31] King Mithridates V
King of Iberia, King of the Ten Kings.[32] King Vakhtang I
King of the Iberians.[33] King Bacurius III
King of the Iberians.[34] King Adarnase IV
King of the Iberians.[35] King David II
King of the Iberians.[36] King Bagrat II
King of the Iberians, the kouropalates of all the East, the eye of Orthodoxy.[37][38] King David III
King of Kings of the Iberians.[39][40] King Gurgen

Sovereigns of the united Georgia[edit]

Style Sovereign
King of the Abkhazians[h] and Iberians, of Tao, and of the Ranis and Kakhetians, and the great kouropalates of all the East.[41] King Bagrat III
King of the Abkhazians and Iberians, the kourapalates of all the East.[42] King George I
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, strong and invincible, the nobilissimus of all the East, the kouropalates, the sebastos.[43][44][45] King Bagrat IV
King of the Abkhazians and Iberians, the nobilissimus, the sebastos, the caesar of all the East and the West.[46][47][48] King George II
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, Armenians, of Shaki, Alania and the Rus,[49] Sword of the Messiah,[f] emperor (basileus) of all the East.[50][51][52] King David IV
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis and Kakhetians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah,[g] master of the East and the North, son of Demetre, sword of the Messiah.[53][54] King George III
King of Kings, Queen of Queens, empress (autokrator) of all the East and West.[55][56] 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.[57][58] King George IV
Queen of Kings and Queens, the glory of the world and of the faith, daughter of Tamar, champion of the Messiah.[59][60] 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.[61] 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.[62] King George V
King of Kings of all.[63] 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.[64] 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, the Sovereign and Suzerain of two kingdoms.[65] King George VII
King of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians and Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah of all the East and North, the Sovereign.[66] 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.[67][68] 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.[69] 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.[70] King Bagrat VI

Sovereigns of Kartli[edit]

Style Sovereign
King of Kings, of the Abkhazians, Iberians, Ranis, Kakhetians, Armenians, Shirvanshah and Shahanshah.[71][72] King Simon I
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[73] King George X
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[74] King Rostom
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[75] King Vakhtang V
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli.[76][77] King Luarsab II
King of Kings and Sovereign of Kartli, by will of God, by mercy of Shah Abbas.[78] King Bagrat VII
King of Kings of Kartli.[79] King Simon II
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kartli.[80] King George XI
King and Sovereign of Kartli, Lord of all Georgia.[81] King Vakhtang VI

Sovereigns of Kakheti[edit]

Style Sovereign
King and Sovereign of Kakheti.[82] King Levan
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kakheti.[83] King Alexander II
King and Sovereign of Kakheti.[84] King Teimuraz I
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kakheti.[85] King Heraclius I
King of Kings, Sovereign of Kakheti, son of Great King and High Sovereign of Iran.[86] King David II
King of Kings, Sovereign of Kakheti, Beglarbeg of Yerevan, Lord of Shamshadin and Qazax.[87][88] King Constantine II
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Kartli, Kakheti, Lord of Qazax and Borchali.[89] King Teimuraz II

Sovereigns of Imereti[edit]

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.[90][91] 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.[92] 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.[93] King George II
King of Kings, the Sovereign of both two thrones.[94] 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.[95] 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.[96][97] King George III
King of Kings, the Sovereign.[98] King Alexander III
King of Kings, the King.[99] King Alexander V
King of Kings, Suzerain and Sovereign of Imereti.[100] King Solomon I
King of Kings of all Imereti.[101] King David II
King of all Imeretians.[102] King Solomon II

Sovereigns of Kartli—Kakheti[edit]

Style Sovereign
King of Kartli, Kakheti and all Georgia, Lord of Ganja, Yerevan, Qazax, Shamshadin and Borchali.[103][104] King Heraclius II
King of all Georgia, King of all Kartli, Kakheti and all the other lands, the Lord.[105] King George XII

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  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.[106]
  2. ^
    Kartli and Eguri were known in the classical antiquity as Iberia and Colchis respectively.[107]
  3. ^
    "Iberians" refers specifically to Kartvelians/Georgians.[108] The term Iberia/Iberian would undergo a transformation, its "all-Georgian" reach would be extended by the Bagrationi monarchs and their contemporaries.[109]
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
    This title entered the style in spite to the contemporary Muslim laqab, the Sword of Islam and Sword of Allah. The title was pointedly militant and meant "Defender of Christianity" (Messiah i.e. Jesus Christ).[110] David IV was the first Georgian king to assume the title "Sword of Messiah".[111]
  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.[112]
  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.[113]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 578
  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 (2014), pp. 231-228
  13. ^ Tavadze, p. 221
  14. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 482
  15. ^ Rapp (2014), pp. 232-233
  16. ^ Pagawa, pp. 221-222
  17. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 571
  18. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 459
  19. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 191
  20. ^ Rayfield, p. 103
  21. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 326
  22. ^ Khakhanov, p. 6
  23. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 6323
  24. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 30—14
  25. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 32—8
  26. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 33—17
  27. ^ Rayfield, p. 32
  28. ^ Rayfield, p. 34
  29. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 62—8
  30. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 7131—7140
  31. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 139—5
  32. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 9500
  33. ^ The Georgian Chronicles: 216—13
  34. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 4
  35. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 10
  36. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 11
  37. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 20
  38. ^ Tavadze, p. 100
  39. ^ Rayfield, p. 69
  40. ^ Bakhtadze, p. 17
  41. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4175
  42. ^ Tavadze, p. 103
  43. ^ Khakhanov, p. 11
  44. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 458
  45. ^ Dolidze, p. 7
  46. ^ Rayfield, p. 85
  47. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 459
  48. ^ Tavadze, p. 162
  49. ^ Rapp (1997), pp. 570-571
  50. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4185
  51. ^ Rayfield, pp. 89—93
  52. ^ Dolidze, p. 18
  53. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4194
  54. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 460
  55. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 4182
  56. ^ Rayfield, p. 109
  57. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 461
  58. ^ Silogawa, p. 16
  59. ^ Dundua & Tavadze, p. 392
  60. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 577
  61. ^ Silogawa, pp. 72—73
  62. ^ Silogawa, p. 26
  63. ^ Dolidze, p. 100
  64. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 13
  65. ^ Silogawa, p. 100
  66. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 434
  67. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 35
  68. ^ Dolidze, p. 118
  69. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 436
  70. ^ Silogawa, p. 19
  71. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 140
  72. ^ Dolidze, p. 205
  73. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 534
  74. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 2
  75. ^ Dolidze, p. 224
  76. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 39
  77. ^ Kartvelishvili & Jojua, et al. p. 99
  78. ^ Kartvelishvili & Jojua, et al. p. 145
  79. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 141
  80. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 144
  81. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 151
  82. ^ Dolidze, p. 193
  83. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 185
  84. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 1
  85. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 4
  86. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 193
  87. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 252
  88. ^ Dolidze, p. 231
  89. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 160
  90. ^ Takaishvili, vol. II p. 517
  91. ^ Kakabadze, p. 3
  92. ^ Kakabadze, pp. 7—8
  93. ^ Kakabadze, p. 17
  94. ^ Kakabadze, p. 34
  95. ^ Kakabadze, p. 36
  96. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 537
  97. ^ Kakabadze, p. 37
  98. ^ Kakabadze, p. 63
  99. ^ Kakabadze, p. 119
  100. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 253
  101. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 257
  102. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 235
  103. ^ Khakhanov, p. 9
  104. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III p. 168
  105. ^ Takaishvili, vol. III pp. 183—308
  106. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 6776
  107. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 702
  108. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 686
  109. ^ Rapp (2016) location: 665
  110. ^ Pagawa, pp. 243-247
  111. ^ Pagawa, p. 245
  112. ^ Javakhishvili, p. 86
  113. ^ Rapp (1997), p. 637

Bibliography[edit]

  • The Georgian Chronicles, Life of the Georgian kings, royal annals
  • Javakhishvili, I. (1929) History of the Georgian Justice, Vol. II, Tiflis
  • Rapp, S. H. Jr. (1997) Imagining History at the Crossroads: Persia, Byzantium, and the Architects of the Written Georgian Past, Volume II, University of Michigan
  • Rapp, S. H. Jr. (2014) Caucasia and Byzantine Culture, Edited by Dean Sakel, Ankara
  • Rapp, S. H. Jr. (2016) The Sasanian World Through Georgian Eyes, Caucasia and the Iranian Commonwealth in Late Antique Georgian Literature, Sam Houston State University, USA, Routledge, ISBN 9781472425522
  • Rayfield, D. (2013) Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia, Reaktion Books, ISBN 9781780230702
  • Bakhtadze, M. (2015) Georgian titles of the Bagrationi rulers of Tao-Klarjeti, Institute of the Georgian History, Tbilisi State University, ISSN 1987-9970
  • Khakhanov, A. (1895) Title, coronation and regalia of the Georgian kings, Tbilisi
  • Takaishvili, E. (1909) The Georgian Antiquities, Georgian History and Ethnography, Volume II, Tbilisi
  • Takaishvili, E. (1910) The Georgian Antiquities, Georgian History and Ethnography, Volume III, Tbilisi
  • Kakabadze, S. (1921) Diplomata ecclesiastica Georgiae occidentalis, Monumenta Georgica, V, Tbilisi State University
  • Dundua, T. & Tavadze, L. (2017) Imperial Titulature of the Georgian Kings, Tbilisi State University
  • Silogawa, W. (1984) Georgian Historical Documents of IX-XIII centuries, Vol. I, Metsniereba Publishing, Tbilisi
  • Kartvelishvili, T. Jojua, T. Baindurashvili, Kh. Gelashvili, I. Gogoladze, T. & Shaorshadze, M. (2019) Sources of the XVII century about the Kings of Kartli and Kakheti, Vol. I, Tbilisi
  • Dolidze, I. (1965) Georgian monuments of Law, V. II, Metsniereba Publishing, Tbilisi
  • Pagawa, I. (2012) Rediscovering the Specie of Davit IV the Builder (1089-1125), King of Kings and Sword of Messiah, Eds. Bruno Callegher and Arianna D’Ottone, Trieste
  • Tavadze, L. (2012) Byzantine imperial style in Georgia, Tbilisi State University, The Institute of the Georgian History, Tbilisi