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Queen Tamara: Why she had to fight with her own husband, and how she began the golden age of Georgia
Queen Tamara: Why she had to fight with her own husband, and how she began the golden age of Georgia

Sometimes the personality of the Georgian Queen Tamara is difficult to distinguish from the collective epic image. In terms of legend, it will overtake any other ruler of Georgia since the beginning of the history of the state. In every somewhat self-respecting Georgian settlement there is a street named after Queen Tamara. Historically, all architectural delights in the country are attributed to her merits. Tamara, who led Georgia in the difficult and alarming 12th century, remains, perhaps, the only woman who bore the title of tsar. In Georgian, she was officially called "mepe", which means exactly "tsar".

How a woman ruled the Georgian people for the first time in history

Mihai Zichy "Shota Rustaveli presents the poem" The Knight in the Panther's Skin "to Queen Tamara"

Lermontov's work "Tamara" is about an evil and insidious queen, deceptively beautiful from her face. Queen Tamara is presented by her compatriot poet Shota Rustaveli in a completely different way. Despite the fact that the author transfers the events taking place to other countries, there are few doubts that the main character is copied from the legendary Georgian ruler. But about Tamara from Lermontov, the opinions of researchers agree that the speech in the poem is still about another heroine.

Whatever it was, but the chronicle information that has come down to us about the negative features of Tamara is not available. But the years of her reign are certainly not named in vain. As a woman, Tamara managed to take the throne only at the cost of blood, harshness and mutual political curtsy with the clergy and nobility. The father of the future ruler, George III, married his daughter to the kingdom much earlier than her real reign. But that act was symbolic, designed to protect the heiress from encroachments on her rights after the death of the parent. Tamara became the sole queen of Georgia after the death of George III. And despite all the attempts of the feudal lords to bring confusion into the state and drag power to their side, the woman had enough wisdom and knowledge to take the reins of government into her own hands.

The victories of a female military leader: new conquests and a tough response to the sultan

Monument to Queen Tamara in Tbilisi

Tamara was well educated and possessed a diplomatic talent, which turned out to be especially valuable in the then conditions of the encirclement of Georgia by the Muslim world. Georgia, ruled by a woman, not only survived, but also turned out to be capable of new conquests. Immediately after the second coronation, Tamara took up military reforms. The army was reorganized according to the new system, the future defenders of the fatherland were seriously trained in military craft, not leaving the inexperienced on the battlefield. Intelligence was now assigned a special role.

Tamara, at the cost of incredible efforts, secured Georgia's political dominance in Asia Minor. All the enemies of the proud little country were defeated, and Georgia's borders expanded. Realizing the inevitability of a Turkish attack on the Georgians, Tamara gave preference to offensive tactics. And this is in conditions of a significant numerical superiority of the Turks. The victory over Turkey in southern Armenia was achieved by extremely tough military discipline and the experience of the military leaders, which became an ordinary matter during the reign of Tamara. The list of Georgian conquests for nearly three decades was amazing.Almost the entire territory of the Caucasus, ex-Byzantine provinces, Iranian cities. The Georgian state has reached the pinnacle of power.

Cultural victories and a new structure of society

The Georgian Orthodox Church canonized Tamara

The progressive queen was not only at war. In the list of her merits, first of all, the arrival of the inhabitants of the mountainous regions of the country to Christianity is recorded. Historians also recall the fact that during the reign of Tamara, executions were practically not carried out, and corporal punishment of subjects was significantly reduced. The ruler did not rely on intimidation and fear, preferring to condemn the confiscation of property and deprivation of titles and privileges. Thanks to her efforts, the shortest route from central Georgia to the southern region of Meskhetia appeared, irrigation canals hundreds of kilometers long and water pipelines were built, supplying water to distant temples and monasteries. Strong bridges were erected, so some have survived in their original form to this day.

The masterpieces of architecture were adorned with the most skillful ornament, chasing, jewelry and cloisonné enamel of that era could not be found even in Byzantium itself. Due to the tribute collected from the conquered peoples, Georgia has become one of the richest countries in the world. Some of these funds were spent on education. In schools, the list of subjects studied has significantly expanded, emphasis has been placed on the exact sciences. Arts and crafts began to flourish, but literature reached the greatest development. The monasteries did not have time to translate and rewrite the manuscripts that flocked to Georgia from all over the world.

Winning the War with Your Own Husband

Fragment of lithography, 1895

The queen's first marriage turned out to be not the most successful. Tamara was not familiar with the future spouse, his candidacy was chosen by the nobles at a general meeting. After going through the overseas sultans and Byzantine kings, the courtiers settled on Prince Yuri of Suzdal. The queen was forced to come to terms with the imposed candidate. But the color of the nobility was greatly mistaken, believing that Yuri, grateful for the knocked out throne, would turn into a pawn in their hands. The prince turned out to be wayward and secretive. He controlled squads, won military victories, but at the same time drank a lot, clashed with loved ones and lewd.

Tamara decided to break up with an unpleasant spouse. However, the vengeful Yuri did not recognize the divorce. He gathered a fairly strong army from the Greeks, to which the Queen's ill-wishers from the Georgians immediately joined, and moved to conquer the country led by his former wife. At first, Yuri managed to occupy Kutaisi, where he was crowned. His associates made constant raids deep into Georgia and sowed confusion among the people. But soon the rebellion was brutally suppressed. Tamara, who showed the wise talent of a commander, coordinated the troops directed against Yuri, defeating him on the outskirts of the city of Tbilisi. Not being bloodthirsty, she took pity on her ex-husband, simply sending him out of the country. There is information that after a while Yuri decided to re-enter. But the result was the same. And all her subsequent victories Tamara won already walking hand in hand with her second husband - the son of the Ossetian king David.

And in the days of the USSR Georgia was considered the richest republic in the country.

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