Talk:Gregory Pakourianos

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Why is he described Georgian politician in Byzantine service of Armenian descent? Isn't he Byzantine politician of Georgian and Armenian descent (since he did all those things described in the article in Byzantine service and not in Georgian or Armenian one)? I'm obviously not an expert but I fail to see logic in the current intro. Alæxis¿question? 06:21, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

He was a Byzantine politician but was also considered a vassal to King George II of Georgia during his service in Theodosiopolis (modern Kars; George himself was granted the Byzantine title of Caesaros and hence was superior to all Byzantine commanders in the empire's eastern provinces). Most importantly, he was a major contributor to the Georgian Orthodox culture. He founded the Bachkovo Monastery in Bulgaria which was neither Greek nor Armenian, but Georgian. Religion and culture was the most important determinants of the person's identity in the Middle Ages, much more important than ethnicity (indeed, an anachronistic term). --KoberTalk 06:30, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Oh, I see. Add this info to the article then. Alæxis¿question? 06:40, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Ethnicity is not same as religion, there are 2 sources on his Armenian ethnicity. There are aremenians adhering to different branches of christianity. Hetoum I 07:50, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Since we've got a ref calling him Armeno-Georgian and for the sake of preventing further edit warring let's settle with calling him Armenian-Georgian politician.
Btw, why do you think that he's best known for founding the Bachkovo monastery? Alæxis¿question? 10:23, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Alex, please don't engage in a useless discussion about the subject of which you have only a remote knowledge. Your interest in this article comes solely from your prejudice towards Georgia and personal grudges towards Georgian users. I removed the Armenian spelling because there is not a single contemporary document spelling his name in Armenian (I'm leaving it for the time being though). Why I think that he's best known for founding the Bachkovo monastery? Just because the modern scholarship knows him for his famous typicon [1] for that monastery. The Byzantine Empire had many generals, but not all of them are equally well-known. Gregory indeed came from the region where Georgians and Armenians lived together and there was a vigorous cultural dialogue between the two communities. Whatever Gregory's ethnic background, he was Georgian in his culture and religion. That's why he was so zealous in patronizing Georgian monasteries (e.g., the famous Iviron on Mount Athos) throughout the Byzantine possessions. Since this is a very specific issue in the history of medieval Georgia and Byzantium, I cannot condemn your ignorance, but I do object to your excessive boldness in reverting my edits. Btw, I think the current masters of Bachkovo know better than us who bult the most famous monastery in their country: "The monastery was founded in 1083 by the Byzantine military commander of Georgian origin, Grigorii Bakuriani and his brother Abazii." [2]. --KoberTalk 11:05, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Please don't engage in personal attacks. One could as well accuse you and Luis of having prejudice towards Armenia since you deleted the word Armenian in the article at least three times. ::: Btw there are some interesting facts about the ethnicity (or whatever) of Bakurianos in the Bulgarian-language article about him. Alæxis¿question? 12:28, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
I don't have any prejudice against Armenia and I have forged quite a prolific cooperation with the Armenian users. I have not deleted the word Armenian, but reworded the statement. You'd better check the history of the edits. It is simply ridiculous to see how you are trying to recapitulate Moscow's traditional policy of creating an anmosity between Georgians and Armenians. This is not the first example of how Russian users (I won't speficy them) in Wikipedia try to use even a minor disagreement between Armenian and Georgian colleagues for their own purposes.--KoberTalk 12:54, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Sure, that's one of our favourite tactics )).
However, as far as I know Luis is not Georgian and he removed the word Armenian two times not replacing it with anything. I especially like this edit summary considering that I found the description of Bakurianos I cited in the very first book on Byzantine I took from my shelf. I suppose he'll answer himself if he wants to so there's not much point in continuing this conversation. Alæxis¿question? 18:10, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Why? I really enjoy your nascent interest in medieval Caucasian nobility.:) Quite a surprising shift of your focus to something that is not related to the panegyrics of good old guys like Ardzinba and Kokoity. --KoberTalk 18:26, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Well, it may not be evident from my contributions but I'm rather interested in Byzantine and (to a lesser degree) Armenian history. Alæxis¿question? 12:56, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

I see no constructive use of removal or manipulation of cited verifiable quotes. Thank you for additional reference dear Alaexis.Hetoum I 20:15, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

I updated the details of his death with reference to the notes from DBM army list book 4 list 1 ( page 5). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:52, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The Typikon[edit]

Gregory Bakurianis-dze (the son of Bakurian) clearly refers himself as an ethnic Georgian in the typikon written and signed by himself. Here are the quotations:

"აღიწერა და დაემტკიცა ბრძანებითა ჩემ გრიგოლისითა, ნებითა ღმრთისაჲთა, სევასტოსისა და დიდისა დემესტიკოსისა დასავალეთისაჲთა, ძისა სანატრელისა ერის-თავთა მთავრისა ბაკურიანისაჲთა, აღმოსავალელისა და ქართველისაჲთა." (By the will of God, this was written and confirmed by me, Grigol (Gregory), the Sebastos and the Great Domestikos of the West, the son of the Mtavar of Eristavs (the chief of the dukes) the blessed Bakurian the Georgian from the East.)
Gregorius Pacurianus (Grigol Bakurianis-dze),The Typikon of the Georgian Petritzon Monastery (written in 1083 y.), 0,2

In the same Typikon Gregory the son of Bakurian states his Georgian ethnicity also with the pride:

"ქართველნი ვართ ნათესავით მჴნენი და მჴედრობითა აღზრდილნი და მარადის ჭირვეულსა ცხორებასა ჩუეულნი." (We Georgians are the valiant kin and raised to be warriors and are accustomed to hard life.)
Gregorius Pacurianus (Grigol Bakurianis-dze),The Typikon of the Georgian Petritzon Monastery (written in 1083 y.), 0,4

As for the Georgian ethnicity of inhabitants of the Petritzon Monastery, it is also clearly written in the same Typikon:

"დაიწერა ბერძულად და ქართულად, რამეთუ მონაზონნი მონასტრისა ჩემისანი გუარად ქართველნი არიან და არა იციან ბერძული წარკითხვაჲ და ჯერ-არს რაჲთა ქართულად წერილსა აღმოიკითხვიდენ და გულისჴმა-ჰყოფდენ აღწერილსა განსაზღვრებულსა ამას შინა ტიპიკონსა." (Was written in Greek and Georgian, because the monks of this monastery are of Georgian kin and they are not able to read in Greek and they have to read written in Georgian, in order to understand what is described and defined in this Typikon)
Gregorius Pacurianus (Grigol Bakurianis-dze), The Typikon of the Georgian Petritzon Monastery (written in 1083 y.), 36,2

This citation is interesting also, for it indicates the groundlessness of the late insertion in the New Greek distorted translation of the Typikon about the Armenian version of it, which is the source of unestablished speculations. --Benfaremo (talk) 17:19, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

  • It is obvious that the Georgian version is not a correct translation of the Greek Typikon which is the official document of the monastery. K. Ali 21:48, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
  • The Georgian version is not signed, but the above text (Bakurian the Georgian) show the Armenian last name of Gregory - Bakurian. The word "Georgian" is used to show his religious affiliation. K. Ali 06:26, 31 December 2010 (UTC)

Respect the rules[edit]

Kober, please give citation. Wikipedia isn't a place for promoting your personal ideas and beliefs. Readers need to know what the source of your information is. For example: "He was a son of Bakuri." (author, page).

Also, where is the other opinion that his name is Aluz? Why did you destroy my sitation given for this name? Karim Ali

It is not my personal idea and belief that many Byzantine dynastic names were derived from patrimonial names. Furthermore, both Georgian and Armenian annals call him Bakurianis-dze and Bakurian, respectively, indicating the name of his father. Anyway, I decided to remove his father's name at all to avoid further controversies over such a minor issue and to keep your nerves healthy. --KoberTalk 05:21, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

The Armenian Russian historian V. A. Arutiunova – Fidanian in her doctoral dissertation, which is а published book in Russian (Типик Григория Пакуриана, 1978, 34-43), after analyzing different opinions about the name of Gregory Pakourianos’s father comes to the conclusion that his father’s name is Aluz and his grandfather’s name is Pakourian. Also, in this book you can find the family tree of Pakourianos according different authors. Karim Ali, July 2007

Kober, why are you giving wrong information? For example:"... he served in Georgia, Armenia, and Syria". The correct is:

He "... spent a very long time traveling in Armenia and Georgia and Syria and visiting Roman Empire..." (Typicon, Chapter Eighteen). Karim Ali, July 2007.

Please don't accuse me of giving wrong info and stop disrupting the well-balanced article. He was not a traveler but a Byzantine military officer in the Byzantine-controlled Georgian, Armenian, and Syrian lands. "Visiting Roman Empire"? This is ridiculous at best. He served in the Roman Empire throughout his life. According to you (or certain Arutiunova – Fidanian), it appears that he only traveled in Georgia, Armenia, and Syria and sometimes visited the empire. So, where did he live and serve? On the Mars? --KoberTalk 03:54, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Kober, thank you for your corrections. Could we also get rid of the following repetition: “He is … the founder of the then-Georgian Orthodox Bachkovo Monastery …” “… he founded the Georgian Orthodox monastery of Petritzos …” Karim Ali, August 2007.

Karim, with all due respect, I cannot agree that this particular passage is redundancy. WP:LEAD says: "The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, establishing context, summarizing the most important points, explaining why the subject is interesting or notable, and briefly describing its notable controversies, if there are any." --KoberTalk 04:26, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

But where is the alternate view for the monastery being named anything other than “Georgian”? Can you summarize the article from a neutral point of view? Karim Ali, August 2007

alternate view? Which one? All sources, including Bulgarian ones, say it was a Georgian monastery. The fact that one Armenian scholar wrote something in his dissertation cannot be regarded as a valid alternative view. Could find any other third-party sources claiming the same? --KoberTalk 04:49, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

The Greek historian C. Asdracha who is using many different sources, including Bulgarian, in her published doctoral dissertation, remarks that we can’t look at the Iberians in the monastery as an ethnic group. She named the monastery - “the Monastery of Bachkovo” (Asdracha, 74-75).

The above opinion is also confirmed by the Russian Armenian historian V. A. Arutiunova – Fidanian who states that the word “Iberian” in 11 century can have different meanings (Фиданян, 134).

  • Asdracha, Catherine. A région des Rhodopes aux XIIIe et XIVe siècles: étude de géographie historique. Athen: Verlag der “Byzantinisch-Neugriechischen Jahrbücher”, 1976.
  • Арутюновой – Фиданян, В. А. Типик Григория Пакуриана. Введение, перевод и комментарий. Ереван, 1978. - Karim Ali, August 2007.
So what? I agree that "Iberian" can not always have an ethnic meaning, but the "Georgian Orthodox" is not an ethnic term either. It is a confessional name. Most scholars, including Arutiunova–Fidanian, agree that those Armenians and other non-Georgians who were referred to as "Iberians" actually adhered to the Georgian version of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. That's why the Byzantines extended the term "Iberian" to them. Hence, I cannot see what is controversial about describing Bachkovo as a Georgian Orthodox monastery. Again, it is a denominational, not an ethnic term.--KoberTalk 04:52, 16 August 2007 (UTC)

This connection between Armenian-Iberian and Georgian Eastern Orthodox Christians must be included in the article because now it seems a little strange that Pakourianos founded Georgian Orthodox monasteries. Karim Ali, August 2007.

Don't Mix up the Things[edit]

“Engaged in a military service since at least the early 1060s, he served in the Byzantine-controlled Georgian, Armenian, Syrian, and Balkan Peninsula lands.” (in the article)

“I spent a very long time traveling in Armenia and Georgia and Syria and visiting the Roman Empire too, seeking to provide for my own life.” (in the Typikon of Gregory Pakourianos for the Monastery in Bačkovo)

Based on the Typikon of Gregory Pakourianos above, I am changing the text of the article to the following:

“He spent a very long time traveling in Armenia and Georgia and Syria and visiting the Roman Empire too, seeking to provide for his own life, before his military service since at least the early 1060s.” --Karim AliTalk 10:10, 19 August 2009 (UTC)


A mural painting of the two brothers, in the bone-vault house near the Monastery of Bachkovo in Bulgaria, is out of condition according: Костницата на Бачковския манастир (The bone-vault house of the Monastery of Bachkovo. A Bulgarian translation from Russian) --Karim AliTalk 03:40, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Signed in Georgian or Armenian[edit]

This is what is written here, Page 51

Is this contradicted by other sources? Alæxis¿question? 17:01, 4 January 2011 (UTC)


1. The word “Georgian” is not on the title of the Typicon of the Monastery. Adding the word “Georgian” in the name of the monastery is wrong.

2. Where is written Iberian (Georgian)? No one of authors in 2, 3, and 4 wrote that the monks of the Bachkovo monastery were Iberians (Georgians). In 11 century, the word “Iberians” in Byzantine was used mostly for the citizens of Byzantine Theme of Iberia which population was in majority Armenians.

3. Where is the sing of Pakourianos in the Georgian language Typicon if his last pages are mising? Please, do not mislead people who do not know Georgian language. See this Typicon in the part “External links”. Simba22 (talk) 22:04, 1 July 2011 (UTC)

Origins (cont'd)[edit]

The reason those sources are not kept is because they are not speaking as authorities on the matter. The ethnicity of "my" (whatever that means) sources is not and should not be made an issue here and I ask that you do not bring it up again or else I will lodge a complaint at the Wikipedia Administrators' noticeboard. They are, however, specialists on the matter and their articles or writings are specifically addressing Pakourianos' ethnic identity. If you actually bothered to read Kazhdan's and Toumanoff's works you'll see they are are much more ambivalent about his identity than you are leading the readers to believe. Kazhdan, who have you cited as supporting a Georgian background, takes a more nuanced position in his article and states that Pakourianos was most probably of mixed Armenian-Georgian background, which Garsoian has accepted in her entry in the ODB. You yourself have engaged in gross POV editing, and have even distorted the meaning of the word "Vrats'", which in Classical Armenian referred to Chalcedonian Armenians (Iberians), and not Georgians per se.--Marshal Bagramyan (talk) 21:47, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Dear MarshallBagramyan

Thank you for your comments.

Firstly, I don’t appreciate being threatened. I have not removed any of the existing text in the article and all new information was well referenced from world leading publications. You on the other hand have simply deleted on two occasions all my contributions because you were unhappy that already existing statement was slightly bulked up, so it should be me sending you a warning.

Secondly, your arguments are completely flawed:

i) Regarding me confusing Matteos de Urhas statement, its NOT my assumption of the translation of the word Vrats it’s the assumption of 1) Russian/Soviet Academy of Sciences 2) Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Between the Danube and the Caucasus, Akadémiai Kiadó, 1987) 3) Indian Institution on Macedonian Studies (New Dehli, 1988). They all put Matteos’s statement as a counter to Anna Comnena’s statement. So DO NOT remove this note.

Regarding scholars noting his Georgian, not Armenian Chalcedonian heritage:

i) Paul Lemerle states that Pakourianos was Georgian by blood, not purely religion. FYI he is founding president of the International Association of Byzantine Studies (AIEB) and the leading scholar on the subject in France

ii) Judith Herrin (Princeton), John Philip Thoma (Harvard), Robert Browning (Washington) differentiate between the two. Paul Magdalino (St. Andrews) even reverses the Armenian connection stating he was a “Georgian noble or an Armenian with a Georgian background”.

iii) Pakourianos himself notes that he is Georgian, using the Georgian word for self denomination Kartveli on 3 different occasions in the original Typikon written in Georgian. He says that he belonged to "the glorious people of the Georgians," he insisted on his monks knowing the Georgian language”

I believe some compromise needs to be found. I hence suggest the following wording [see updated below]:

Please revert if you are happy with this wording. Its strongly backed by facts, so there should be no issues. I will wait for your confirmation before uploading.

Best regards, --AktadG (talk) 19:22, 1 April 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by AktadG (talkcontribs)

Regarding your first point on Matthew's use of the words "Vrats'i azgav": Hrach Bartikyan, in the note to his annotated translation of the Chronicle, is very clear in saying that this should be understood to be "Chalcedonian" or belonging to the Georgian Church, an institution many Armenians belonged to at the time, despite their ethnic origin. I don't know who the credentials of the authors of the aforementioned academy of sciences were, but do you know for a fact if they knew the subtle nuances of the Classical Armenian language? I would attach greater authority to Bartikyan since this (Byzantine-Armenian relations) is, after all, his specialty.
  • If Vrats is supposed to mean Armenians of Chalcedonian faith, what do you call Georgians proper? In any case all your references are Armenian and you are excluding numerous studies by world's leading academics. The book from Soviet Academy of Sciences and the Hungarian one (Between the Danube and the Caucasus), includes Armenian scholars working on the article, so subtle nuances of the Classical Armenian language would have been accounted for. If you have the right to site Bartikyan from Yerevan, the article should have the opportunity to show (without disturbing your citation) the view of founding president of the International Association of Byzantine Studies for example.
The compromise solution was hammered out with Nina Garsoian's recent entry in the ODB and article on Armenians in the empire (which is entirely n conformity with the statement "an Armenian with a Georgian background"). You took several of the sources, including Toumanoff and Kazhdan, and turned their words to support a theory they did not actually support. Pakourianos' own identification is interesting but I'd like to read the citation it is based on, as well as the opinions of the scholars who have studied it.--Marshal Bagramyan (talk) 20:31, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
  • OK, so lets exclude Toumanoff and Kazhdan and keep the final sentence as a direct citation from Gasoian, I dont have an issue with that. BUT direct quote from Pakourianos himself from the Typikon he wrote (numerous books cite it, including some of my sources) should be included in the article. As right now its a group of Armenian scholars talking about their view on the subject and no neutral sources are quoted. Here is updated article proposition, please confirm you are happy with it and I will upload:

Gregory himself notes that he belonged to "the glorious people of the Georgians," and insisted on his monks knowing the Georgian language”. His ethnic origins however, are a matter for scholarly dispute. According to the contemporary historian Anna Comnena, who knew Pakourianos personally, Gregory was "descended from a noble Armenian family", while according to another of his contemporaries, an Armenian historian Matthew of Edessa (Matteos of Urha), Pakourianos was Georgian. According to the others, Pakourianos was born into either a Chalcedonian Armenian or Georgian family in the region of Tao or Tayk, which had been annexed by the Byzantines to the theme of Iberia in 1001. According to the scholar Nina G. Garsoïan, "the most likely explanation is that [the Pakourian family] belonged to the mixed Armeno-Iberian Chalcedonian aristocracy, which dwelt in the border district of Tayk'/Tao

I am not an expert in Classical Armenian – Bart'ikyan is and other scholars have noted the confusion that has ensued with this special class of "Iberians," who were in reality Armenians in Chalcedonian garb. The question is not about my "right" to cite Bart'ikyan, but you need to find scholars who specialize in the area and have studied the primary sources in detail, and are not just relying on secondary works. The term Iberian, I gather, was also meant to denote the region they hailed from, irrespective of ethnic identity.
Toumanoff and Kazhdan should be kept simply to familiarize the reader with the problem and to direct them to the more specialized literature. It was Kazhdan himself who originally proposed the term "Armeno-Iberians." Again, Pakourianos' self-identification should be added in English translation (I take he meant "Iberian") in the text (with the original in a footnote) and Lemerle's study should be cited in the list of sources to be consulted on his disputed identity (maybe his arguments can be quoted in a footnote as well). And again, please stop making an issue of the ethnic identity of the authors - they're historians who specialize in Armeno-Byzantine relations, pure and simple. If you think being an Armenian somehow damages their credibility, I'd like you to speak up and say so, so we have it on the record. If not, then please don't mention it again.--Marshal Bagramyan (talk) 02:11, 4 April 2012 (UTC)
OK, lets stick to the primary sources that state Georgian rather Iberian (inc. the one my Mathew since only Bartikyan seems to note that as non-Georgian, all other scholars and academies count as Georgian and put that against Anna's remark, so we should listen to experts on the subject and include that argument) --AktadG (talk) 20:28, 11 May 2012 (UTC)
What is the original word Gregory uses to describe himself? Is it the Georgian equivalent of an ethnonym or is it Iberian, which as noted above, could have at the same time denoted an Armenian Chalcedonian? Again, the scholars who actually have focused on Gregory's identity are Bart'ikyan, Arutunjova-Fidanjan, Lemerle and so on. Even Browning's work is not a particular study on Gregory per se.--Marshal Bagramyan (talk) 21:36, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

The monks of the monastery and Gregory Pakourianos did not know Georgians. They were Aremenians from the Byzantine theme of Iberia!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:32, 19 June 2012 (UTC)