Demetrius I of Georgia
|King of Kings of Georgia|
"Coronation of Demetrius I, a fresco by Michael Maglakeli from the Matskhvarishi monastery, 1142
|6th King of Georgia|
|Father||David IV of Georgia|
|Mother||Rusudan of Armenia|
|Religion||Georgian Orthodox Church|
Demetrius was the eldest son of King David the Builder by his first wife Rusudan. He was brought up in Kutaisi. As a commander, he took part in his father’s battles against Seljuks, particularly at Didgori (1121) and Shirvan (1123). In 1117, he was sent by David at the head of a Georgian army into Shirvan, where Demetrius reduced the fortress of Kaladzor (later Alberd, now Ağdaş) and put to flight the men of Sukman, "commander of all the forces of Persia"—as a Georgian chronicler suggests. This Sukman was probably a Shah-Armenid prince, and subsequently, ruler in his own right, Sökmen II, whom the Shirvanshah Afridun I must have applied for help.
Demetrius succeeded on his father’s death on January 24, 1125. With his ascent to the throne, the Seljuk Turks attacked the Georgian-held city of Ani, Armenia. Demetrius I had to compromise and ceded the city to a Seljuk ruler under terms of vassalage.
In 1139, he raided the earthquake-ridden city of Ganja in Arran (the present day Azerbaijan). He brought the iron gate of the defeated city to Georgia and donated it to Gelati Monastery at Kutaisi, western Georgia. Despite this brilliant victory, Demetrius could hold Ganja only for a few years.
In 1130, Demetrius revealed a plot of nobles, probably involving the king's half-brother Vakhtang. The King arrested the conspirators and executed one of their leaders, Ioanne Abuletisdze, in 1138 (or 1145). In 1154 David, Demetrius's elder son forced his father to abdicate and become a monk, receiving the monastic name Damian (Damianus). However, David died six months later and King Demetrius was restored to the throne. David was survived by his son Demna who was regarded by the aristocratic opposition as a lawful pretender.
Although Demetrius was not as successful as his father David the Builder, Georgia remained a strong feudal power with a well-organized military and political system and a developed cultural and economical life.
He died in 1156 and was buried at Gelati Monastery.
Marriage and childrenEdit
The name of Demetrius's wife is unknown, but he had several children:
|Ancestors of Demetrius I of Georgia|
King Demetrius I was an author of several poems, mainly on religious themes. Shen Khar Venakhi (Georgian: შენ ხარ ვენახი, English: Thou Art a Vineyard), a hymn to the Virgin Mary, is the most famous of them.
- Hewsen, Robert H. (1992). The Geography of Ananias of Širak: Ašxarhac'oyc', the Long and the Short Recensions. Wiesbaden: Reichert. p. 249. ISBN 3-88226-485-3.
- Hasan, Hadi (1929). Falakī-i-S̲h̲irwānī: His Times, Life, and Works. London: Royal Asiatic Society. p. 8.
- (in Greek) Ὁ Ὅσιος Δαμιανὸς ἐκ Γεωργίας. 23 Μαΐου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.