Post-classical history

Tamar (d. 1213)

Queen of the kingdom of Georgia (1184-1213); co-regent in 1178, and successor to her father, King Giorgi III, six years later. Tamar’s reign is usually acknowledged as the Golden Age of Georgia.

On Tamar’s accession, powerful lords took advantage of the passing of the king to reassert themselves. She was forced to agree to a second coronation that emphasized the role of noble families in investing her with the royal power. Royal officials from nonnoble families were dismissed, and the nobility then demanded the establishment of the karavi, a political body with legislative and judicial power. Nobles were also actively involved in choosing a husband for the young queen. On their decision, Tamar married the Russian Prince Yuri Bogolubskii, the son of Grand Duke Andrei Bogolyubskii of Suzdal’, in 1185, but the marriage was dissolved because of Yuri’s debauchery and intrigues. Tamar later married Prince David Soslan, a member of the Ossetian branch of the Bagration dynasty (1189). In 1189-1191, Yuri allied himself with certain Georgian nobles and organized two unsuccessful revolts.

Despite internal dissent, Georgia remained a powerful kingdom and enjoyed major successes in its foreign policy. In 1193-1194, the Georgian army expanded its operations into Armenia and southwestern Transcaucasia. In 1195, a large Muslim coalition was crushed in the battle at Shamkhor. In 1203, Tamar achieved another triumphant victory when the sultan of Rûm was crushed at Basiani. The Georgians annexed Ani, Arran, and Duin in 1201-1203, and, in 1209 captured the emirate of Kars, while the mighty Armen-Shahs, the emirs of Erzurum and Erzincan, and the north Caucasian tribes became vassals of the kingdom. In 1204, Tamar actively supported the Greek nobleman Alexios Komnenos in establishing the Empire of Trebizond. The Georgians then carried war into Azerbaijan and advanced as far as Ardabil and Tabriz (1208) and to Qazvin and Khoy in northern Persia (1210). She died in 1213; her burial place remains unknown. She was succeeded by her son Lasha-Giorgi.

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