Although the high-born feudal lords were oppressed, they did not consider themselves finally defeated and waited for a more favorable time to pursue their schemes against the toyal power. Such a time came whe Giorgi III died. In spite of the fact that Tamar had ascended the throne during her father’s lifetime(1179), the high feudal lords seem not to have thought this sufficient and decided to repeat the ceremony of coronation. This act, in itself amounted to protest against Giorgi III and his policies. By this action, the rights of the great feudal lords were to be emphasized. The perspective of Tamar’s first historian is interesting (he is the apologist for both Gioegi III and Tamar!) He describes the process of Tamar’s repeated coronation without any sense of surprise or indignation.)

The high-born feudal lords behaved as if Tamar had not reigned together with her father and had not taken part in addressin the questions of the kingdom. “The princes of the seven kingdoms of the country” asked Queen Rusudan to act as a mediator with Tamar so that the latter should agree to repeated coronation. Thus Tamar, who had already been made queen, was to be crowned again.

It cannot be imagined that Rusudan and Tamar should not have guessed what the intentions of the feudal lords were, or that they should not have known what they were aiming at. However, Tamar’s historian says, “The queen who heard about it, approved of it and trying to convince her told Tamar about it.” Queen Rusudan seems to have understood that there was no other way out. She was compelled to pretend that she approved of his proposal. The remark of the author of “Histories and Praises of Monarchs” is also interesting. He says that Tamar was compelled to obey the proposal of the “didebulis of the seven kingdoms”. Tamar had reigned with her father for five years. She must have been used to the idea that in future she would reign by herself. Giorgi III’s act of making her the ruler of the country together with himself also served this purpose. In our opinion, the phrase “she was made to obey by force” does not mean that she had to abdicate and was then forced to agree, rather, Tamar’s opposition to the ides of her repeated coronation proposed by the didebulis is clear, but Queen Rusudan seems to have convinced her that there was no other way out, and so Tamar was compelled to agree. This, of course, amounted to a victory for the high-born feudal lords.

The coronation ceremony was conducted in such a way that the rights of the high-born feudal lords were emphasized. “They raised the Sun to the throne of her ancestors and put the crown on her head”. Those who raised her to the throne were the high-born feudal lords: “As there was a custom of the country beyond Likhi they invited the Archbishop of Kutaisi Anton, son of Saghir, to put a crown on Tamar’s head.”

The historian seperately describes the symbolic act of handing Tamar the sword as a token of her being a commander-in-chief of the army: “and Kakhaber, eristavi of Racha and Takueru, and the officials and noblemen: the Vardanisdzes, the Saghirisdzes and the Amanelisdzes tied the sword to Tamar’s side.”

These didebulis seem to have had the right of “perfecting” and “Crowning“. We do not posses a detailed description of the coronation ceremony in the Georgian written sources. Thus, we cannot say with assurance whether this was a tradition, or whether it happened only in the case of Tamar’s coronation. It is more likely that the special importance of the old high-born families in the matter of entitling the heir(the heiress in the case) to the right to the throne was emphasized in the repeated coronation of Tamar. “The armies of all the seven kingdoms showed their reverence to her, blessed her and occupied their places at once.” Here “The Histories and Praises of Monarchs” states that in order that the king’s power should be perfect, it was necessary that the representatives of “all seven kingdoms” “bless” and “praise” her.

The protest of the high-born aristocracy against the existing policies of the royal court (beginning with the policy of Giorgi III) began from this moment. this protest grew and became stronger. The feudal lords of the east and west declared at once that they would no longer obey the low-born officials promoted in the times of Giorgi III. It is clearly seen from the demands of the high-born nobility that they wanted to restore the former priority of their class, and that they considered their positions higher than any consideration of personal merits. IT is noteworthy that the adversaries of the king’s policy did not request the dismissal of all officials of low origin, but demanded the dismissal only of a few of them, probably those most loyal to the queen. These were the amirspasalar Qubasar and the chief steward (msakhurtukhutsesi) Apridon.

The complicated political situation, along with the firmness and strength of the recalcitrant nobles, compelled the royal court to make concessions and to remove the queen’s loyal officials from the government of the state. Thus the didebulis won a new victory.

However, dissensions soon arose among the didebulis as to who was to fill these vacancies. “And those who fought for power and glory began to fight against one another.”


By Roin Metreveli “The Golden Age”