საქართველო V საუკუნის პირველ ნახევარში: ქართლის მეფე არჩილი

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Date
2017
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Abstract
Three kings by name Archil are mentioned in Georgian royal lists. The first one – he is a focus of my investigation - occupied the throne of Kartli Kingdom in ca. 420s-430s. The life of many Georgian kings, let say, Vakhtang Gorgasali, David the Builder, Queen Tamar etc are familiar to the widest strata of Georgian society (which is characterized with great interest in national past) in detail. As for Archil, he remains actually unnoticeable; text-books in Georgian history for primary schools are completely ignoring his reign, so do text-books for high schools. Only in exceptional cases they represent Archil’s epoch at the best in two sentences. Georgian historians, those not specialized concretely in the antique period, also have very uncertain knowledge about Archil, while the opinions of those directly involved in research of Georgian history in period of Late Antiquity, are dramatically divided. I myself have published several investigations in which among the other themes attempted to outline political and personal profiles of king Archil, however, I am not sure that my representations had had any impact on subsequent study of the problem. They were neither accepted, nor criticized, but simply ignored. This specific state of problem study served for me as motivation to direct my attention again to this complicated problem. All the sources I am using for the present investigation are well known for specialists in field. The novelty of my research lies in new interpretations of these sources and new understanding of connections between information they are providing. The evidences, previously viewed as contradictory and mutually exclusive, harmoniously co-exist in my concluding narrative. Below I will display this narrative briefly. Archil belonged to the royal house of Chosroids. Chosroids were Georgian kings of Persian origin. The founder of this house was Mirian – the illegal son of Iranian Shah. Mirian had established Christianity as a state religion in Kartli Kingdom. Archil was Mirian’s grandson. He was ascetic. He made royal apartments like church and retained his virginity even after being forcibly married. His father Rev also was of ascetic mood and refused to occupy the throne. The ascetic spirit was common among the Christian aristocracy in Late Antiquity. Very interesting examples of this kind might be found in history of imperial court in Constantinople. Georgian royal family was closely linked with the centers of Christendom and the ideal of ascetic ruler deeply persuaded worldview of Georgian political elite. Archil occupied the throne in rather old age after his two brothers (Bakur and Trdat) death; after his son-in-law (husband of his brother’s daughter) Varaz-Bakur who lost the power because of Persian invasion; his brothers’ and sister’s sons ( king Bakur, Parsman and Mirdat) also ruled before him. All of these kings, except Trdat and Varaz-Bakur, died without heir. Trdat’s heir Bakur also died without heir. Finally, only Varaz- Bakur had son from Chosroid princess. This son was Murvanos (//Mirvan, Mirian) who by this time was as respected hostage in Constantinople. He is a well known Georgian ascetic Peter the Iberian. Thus, after the death of above mentioned king Mirdat, the royal house of Chosroids faced the crises occurred because of absence of heir. Archil had no chance to have his own kids. The only heir was Murvanos who inherited the throne in the maternal line. He was Arcil’s grandson (Archil was brother of Peter’s grandfather in maternal line). Evidently Archil was ignoramus in state affairs. It is why he needed Peter’s father Varaz- Bakur as co-ruler. By occupying the throne Archil as Chosroid gave legitimacy to Varaz-Bakur. Actually both Archil and Varaz-Bakur were waiting returning of Murvanos. However, Murvanos who also was ascetic by nature from the very early years, escaped imperial apartments and fled to Palestine where he became monk and by this decision put end to the hopes of his father and grandfather. In the new circumstances Georgian ruling circles found alternative solution to the problem: Archil adopted Varaz-Bakur’s son Mirdat from his first marriage. Later on Mirdat, became father of great Georgian king Vakhtang Gorgasali. Thus, Vachtang Gorgasali actually was not Chosroid, however, he as well as all next Georgian kings until the eighth century ruled in name of Chosroids. This is quite understandable: adopted members of the family enjoyed all rights of real (based on actual kinship) members. The epoch when Archil was in power represents one of the most unfavorable period in whole Georgian history: the pressure of Iran was too intensive and because of this political situation was characterized by instability. Four archbishops were changed, evidently because they were not able to please Iran. Iranians tried to make archbishops like Shah’s officials. At last they achieved this goal. Though this happened after Archil’s death, however, it is clear that during Archil’s reign Iranians permanently attempted to do this and the fact of changing of four archbishops reflects these sad reality. The economical affairs of the country also were very far from perfection: the first church in the capital city of Mtskheta which was made from wood had been fallen down. According to Georgian tradition this was special church marking the sacral center of the Universe: church was built on the place where the most sacral thing – The Robe of Lord was entombed and kept Vivifying Pillar. As it was impossible to restore the church, archbishop who was residing here, had to be moved to another church and took with him the Vivifying Pillar. However, at least one positive fact definitely happened during the Archil’s reign. This was Church of Proto-martyr Saint Stephen built in this period. In 415 the remains of Stephen miraculously were obtained in Palestine. This fact echoed throughout the whole Christendom. From now on saints began to be treated as special agents in spread of Christianity; their relicts too had been endowed with great importance. Georgian Christian rulers even before these facts showed great interest in obtaining relicts. Especially vigorous in this was Varaz-Bakur whose efforts affected his son Peter; Peter admired the relicts of Persian Saints which were sent to his father from Persia by his men. These relicts indeed had played great role in life of Peter the Iberian. The building of Saint Stephen Church in Mtskheta was almost synchronous with building of Church in Jerusalem where the greatest portion of relict had been deposed. By this time Peter the Iberian was in Jerusalem and even attended the consecration of the church in 438. He was very close to the persons who had direct access to these relicts. First of all I mean Melania the Younger and also Empress Eudocia. It is why I think that Peter was able to acquisite some relicts of Saint Stephen for the Church in his native city. Thus, it is high probability that the church in Mtskheta possessed the relicts of Saint Stephen. Only by this fact might be explained the initiative of Georgian nobility to build Saint Stephen Church in Mtskheta in extremely unfavorable times when even restoration of Church of Vivifying Pillar (Svetitskhiveli) was impossible. Stephen’s Church in Mtkheta should be considered as an important fact in history of Christianity. It was evidently one of the most ancient Churches of Saint Stephen with relicts from authentic source. This Church is preserved fragmentally until today and one can find it easily nearby the Church of Vivifying Pillar – Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.
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https://geohistory.humanities.tsu.ge/ge/procedings/83-shromebi/169-shromebi-12.html
Keywords
არჩილი, ქართლი, პეტრე იბერი, ხოსრიოდები
Citation
ივანე ჯავახიშვილის სახელობის თბილისის სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტის საქართველოს ისტორიის ინსტიტუტის შრომები, XII, თბილისი, 2017, გვ. 75-110 / Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Institute of Georgian History Proceedings, XII, Tbilisi, 2017, pp. 75-110
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