Queen_Tamar_-_Vardzia_fresco

Mechurchletukhutsesi (minister of finances) Qurtlu-Arslan’s rebellion against the royal power was organically connected with the demands of the high-born feudal lords. This rebellion had a carefully formulated program and a well-thought-out plan of political organization.

The leader of the rebellion agains Georgia’s royal power, Qutlu-Arslan, had “a high position because of his wealth”. The crown had appointed him to the high position of mechurchletukhutsesi because of his personal merits.

Qurtlu-Arslan was connected with city circles both by his birth and by his position. A statement contained in the supplemented Kartlis Tskhovreba (“History of Georgia”) cannot be left unnoticed-“the lowborn people reach a high position by being rich”. This phrase must refer to Qutlu-Arslan and the members of his political group. Ivane Javakhishvili thought that Tamar’s second historian, using the phrase “bold in their actions due to their wealth” had in minf those people who had reached high positions owing to their wealth. These were the people “who found time to fought as they had done at the beginning of Tamar’s reign”.

Those who were “bold in their actions due to their wealth” and “those who reached high positions” must have been the wealthy merchants, representatives of the highest stratum of the civic population, and especially members of his stratum who had reached high positions.

The participations of the feudal aristocracy in this rebellion cannot be excluded either. In this case, we mean that faction of the feudal lords who by their activities were close to the city circles and shared common interests. We must take into accounts that “Histories and Praises of Monarchs” clearly points to the diversity of the participants in this rebellion (this must have been determined by the wide spectrum of Qurtlu-Arslan’s political activities), for it states that “didebulis” and “troops”. Which were diverse in their composition, participated in the rebellion along with the others.

What was the purpose of Qurtlu-Arslan’s rebellion? Qurtlu-Arslan’s program was of a constructive character. His request was to establish a new institution, the karavi (a kind of a deliberative aasembly) at the royal court which would be quite independent of the royal power (“the requested to put the karavi in the Isani valley and on the property of Saghodebeli”. The fact that Qurtlu-Arslan demanded the installation of the karavi in the Isani Valley, i.e. near the royal palace, is not fortuitous either. This proposal, in turn, accentuated the opposition of the members of the karavi to the queen and the royal court. The essential goal of the political program of Qurtlu-Arslan’s party was to take the reins of government in their hands. This is how they saw the role of the karavi: “to appoint a certain person to some position at the meeting of the karavi, to pardon or to punish him. Then they would inform Queen Tamar about it, and the decision would be considered lawful”.

As can be seen from this official request, the nobles were fighting for legislative rights, and they wanted to dictate all the important decisions of the country: “to appoint persons to positions, to dismiss them”, “to pardon and to punish”.

The queen (or king) of Georgia was not to take part in the work of the karavi, nor was she interfere in trying the cases. According to Qurtlu-Arslan’s political program, the queen would be informed of questions only after they had been resolved. The queen was simply to carry out the decisions of the karavi. Learning about Qurtlu-Arslan’s revolt, the royal court was filled with indignation and arrested the impudent mechurchlutukhutsesi. The members of Qurtlu-Arslan’s group responded to this act with a suitable reaction” they “got together and opposed Tamar”.

They demanded that their leader be set free safe and sound, and at the same time oreoared to attack the royal palace.

The queen of  Georgia preferred to solve this problem by means of diplomacy. She sent two honorable ladies to them to talk the matter over. These were Khuashag Tsokali, the mother of Kartli eristavt-eristavi Rati, and Kravai Jaqeli, the mother of the high-born feudal lords, the Samdzivaris. This step was effective. The rebels concurred with the queen’s wished. Herewith, they were promised inviolability and Qurtlu-Arslan was set free.

Thus, Qurtlu-Arslan’s group was unable to carry out its program, they did not manage to divide the state power with the queen. The conferring of additional rights on the darbazi (the deliberative council) and enrolling of representatives of the higher stratum of the city-dwellers in it can be considered the results of this rebellion.

Photo Queen Tamar. Vardzia fresco

source:The Golden Age. Roin Metreveli

 

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