Georgia in the Developed Feudal Period (XI–the first quarter of the XIII cen.)


Georgia in the Developed Feudal Period
(XI–the first quarter of the XIII cen.)
At the time of the death of Bagrat III, outside the unified Georgian Kingdom still remained Tbilisi,
which was the centre of a little Mohammedian Princedom, and the Southern part of Georgia, which
was conquered by the Bizantium Empire after 1001. So, the main problem of the inheritors of
Bagrat III was to join these territories.
Giorgi I (1014–1027) fighted with Bizantinnes to get back Georgian lands in vain. At the
beginning of reign of his son, Bagrat IV (1027–1072) Bizantinnes invaded Georgia themselves but
they were defeated. Bagrat IV fighted for liberation of Tbilisi and fortresses, which were still in the
hands of Bizantinnes. But he couldn't end his deed because of particularizm of Feudalists and
invasions of a new enemy – Selchukid-Turks, who invaded Georgia for the first time in 1064.
The invasions of Selchukid-Turks became wider in 1080. Georgia was cruelly ruined by them, 

and the important part of the population was exterminated and captured. It forced the King Giorgi II
(1072–1089) to visit the Great Sultan of Selchukid-Turks, Melik-Shah, and promise to pay the
annual tribute. But it didn't stop the raids of the Turkish separate groups in Georgia. Besides there
were the garrisons of Selchukid-Turks in the most important fortresses of Eastern Georgia (Tbilisi
among them).
The situation was changed at 90s, in the XI cen. when after the death of Melik-Shah, in the
Kingdom of Selchukid-Turks set anarchy, and from the West part it was advanced by European
Crusaders. The new King of Georgia David IV (1089–1125) used this situation well and in 1097
stopped paying the tribute to Selchukid-Turks and began struggles for the final banishment of the
enemy from Georgia. David was a vigorous person, was a clever general and the great statesman.
The reforms held by him made Georgia become the strong Kingdom. With the leadership of David,
Georgians defeated Selchukid-Turkish armies several times, especially in Didgori on August 12,
1121 and in 1122 advanced Tbilisi which was declared as the Capital of Georgia.
After liberation of Georgian lands in 1123–1124, David IV banished Selchukid-Turks from the
neighbouring Armenian and Azerbaijanian provinces and annexed these territories to Georgia.
Thus, at the end of the reign of the King David, estate of Georgia was from the Black Sea to the
Caspian Sea.
David IV also drew his attention to construction of cities, roads and bridges, which supported
the economical revival of Georgia. The King, who was very educated for this period, and fond of
books, cared for the development of cultural-educational centres too. For example, at the Gelati
Cloister, with his indication, there was created Academy, where the subjects: philosophy,
astronomy, mathematics, rhetoric, music and others were taught. The other Academy was
established in Ikalto (East Georgia). For such many-sided constructive activity, Georgian people
called David IV "David the Builder".
From the period of David the Builder, begins Feudal, so-called "The Golden Age" of Georgia,
and the most important period of political,

 cultural and economical blossom. In the periods of
Giorgi III (1156-1184) and the Queen Tamar (1184-1213) Georgia was one of the strongest
Kingdoms in Near East. The wars mostly ended with the victory of Georgian Armies. With the
scale and political results, the struggles of Shamkor (1195) and Basiani (1202) are especially
important, where Georgians defeated forces of Governors of North-West Iran and Small Asia. In the
period of the King Tamar the Kingdom of Georgia owned the big part of Transcaucasus and its
political influence was spread on the neighbouring territories - from the North Caucasus Highland
till the Southern Coast of the Black Sea, where in 1204, with the efforts of the King Tamar was
established the Greek-Georgian Trabson Empire.
The one of the important factors, which conditioned the success of Georgian armament, was the
military activity, perfected in numerous wars. The kernels of the Georgian armed forces were the
permanent army of the King and the knight-aznaur groups,

 based on the feudal system, and the
kernel of helping force was contingents of allies and hired groups, mainly from the North Caucasus.
In the first quarter of the XII–XIII cen. Georgians could lead to the struggle 60–90 warriors at the
same time. It was mainly cavalry, which was well armed and recruited.
The military-political strength of Georgia relied on developed many-sided economic. To the
economical strength of the country indicates creation of complicated system of irrigating channels.
For example, during the reign of the King Tamar, only one such channel was 119 km long and
watered the area of 53 000 hectares. Besides the channel-building, there also developed gardening,
viticulture and husbandry. Georgia was famous with flax, rice, cotton and seliculture. The second
important part of agriculture was cattle-breeding.
The main centres of trade and handicraft were cities. At the beginning of the XIII c. there lived
approximately 100 000 people in Tbilisi. The important cities also were Kutaisi, Rustavi, Gori,
Dmanisi and etc.
Georgia was trading with the countries of Near East, Bizantium and Russia.
In the XI–XIII cen. Georgian Feudal culture reached the top of blossom. There developed
philosophical thinking, historygraphy, philology, ecclesiastical and national literature, art. To the
end of the XII cen. belongs the works of Georgian great poet Shota Rustaveli, whose poem,
"Knight in the Panther's Skin" is one of the masterpieces of the World Literature.
In the XII cen. there also was created an official collection of Georgian historical essays "Kartlis
Tskhovreba". The chronicles of the authors of the VIII–XII cen. were unified in the collection so
that it became the permanent description of history of Georgia from ancient times till the time of
creation of the book. Then, until the XVIII cen. the "Kartlis Tskhovreba" was periodically
completed with new essays. Thus was established the main written source of history of Georgia of
Feudal Age, which included the most important data also about the other countries of Caucasus.
Important Georgian Architectural Monuments, which are created in this period are Bagrati,
Svetitskhoveli and Alaverdi Cathedrals (XI cen.), Gelati Cloister, the King's Palace in Geguti,
Cloister in the Rock, Vardzia (XII cen.), Phitareti and Betania Churches (the beg. of the XIII cen.)
and others. In the Churches and Cloisters there still are the brilliant examples of stone carving and
mural painting. On the high level of development was also decoration of manuscripts, gold-work,
production of partition enamel and etc.
After the death of the King Tamar on the Throne set her son, Lasha-Giorgi IV (1213-1222). The
beginning of his reign was notified with the military successes. Inspired by his victories, Giorgi IV
was going to make the Crusade in Palestine, but at the borders of Georgia in 1220 suddenly
appeared Mongolians of Genghis Khan. In the struggle against them, the King was wounded and
soon died. On the Throne of Georgia set his sister Rusudan (1222-1245).

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