ქართული პარლამენტარიზმის სათავეებთან (ყუთლუ-არსლანი)

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Date
2016
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Abstract
Qutlu-Arslan’s rebellion occupies a particular place in the history of Georgia. It was not a large-scale rebellion; neither it resulted in any particular outcome. The only aspect of the conspiracy, attracting scholars’ special interest, is the political demands on the part of the rebellious royal treasurer and his supporters. Scholars justly state that Qutlu-Arslan’s political program, as a manifestation of the previously unknown trend of the ideological struggle incepted in medieval ages, was a new page of the world’s cultural history in terms of the division of state power, and, therefore, with its significance, it goes beyond the framework of the Georgian history. In 1184, following Tamar’s ascendance to the throne, a large part of feudal lords advanced their demands to the queen concerning the dismissal of “ugly” Apridon and Qubasar, having been incapacitated by a stroke. Tamar was forced to dismiss the officials, loyal to her father. Qubasar retained his fief except Lori Fortress. Apridon lost his landholdings. The chronicler continues with the story of Qutlu-Arslan’s rebellion. It can be assumed that those two events could have something in common. Moreover, Qutlu-Arslan’s rebellion can be viewed as a certain continuation of the feudal lords’ protests against the national authorities, having resulted in the withdrawal of Apridon and Qubasar. It is supported by the fact that Qutlu-Arslan intended to become “a commanderin- chief and king of Armenia residing in Lore.” It was in that period when Qutlu-Arslan advanced his political program. The Histories and Eulogies of the Sovereigns tells: “… and it is strange to recall: Qutlu-Arslan, an animal with a double nature of a mule, as his bastard mind was armed with deceitfulness, in the Persian manner, demanded that, next to the royal palace at Isani, a Karavi (House of Lords, lit. ‘tent’) be set up” and its members be given the sole right to appoint ministers and to enact laws, which will then go for royal assent to Queen Tamar. What did Qutlu-Arslan demand and what did he want to achieve? At one sight, the information provided by the author of The Histories and Eulogies of the Sovereigns is quite precise; however, if we look at the historiography of the problem, it will become clear that it is a controversial issue, similarly to many other ones associated with Qutlu-Arslan. According to the chronicler, the royal treasurer wanted to establish a totally new institution, Karavi. It was to be located in Isani. The historian lists the functions that the structural entity was to impose: “Those in session will decide to reward and to deprive, mercy and punishment, and report to Queen Tamar: then it will be properly administered.” It is clear that Qutlu-Arslan viewed the competences of the royal authority and Karavi as divided. Whereas, earlier Darbazi (Assembly, lit. ‘hall’) would meet occasionally to follow developments in the kingdom and assisted the monarch in ruling the country, this time it was planned to establish a form of cooperation between Karavi and royal power. It was a totally new phenomenon in Georgia’s royal administration. The chronicler clearly differentiates between the court and Karavi. The latter was to consist of the people to decide the issues of reward and deprivation, mercy and punishment, later reporting them to the queen, and “then it will be properly administered.” However, the chronicler’s passage provokes a question, the answer to which would shed light many issues, at least in part. This is to find out how those in charge of Karavi would behave in case Tamar did not accept any of their suggestions. Naturally enough, the nobility would try “to convince” the queen in the validity of their decision. This is the limitation of the absolutism of the royal power. Can Karavi be assumed to be an institution similar to a parliament? Parliament has taken a rather long path in its development. Naturally enough, in the feudal period it was totally devoid of the forms which are peculiar to it in our days. As it is known, the first representative body, the parliament, was established in England in the mid 1200s. As a matter of fact, the processes, preceding the establishment of the parliament, partly resemble the events that were under way in the 1180s. Of course, the causes were different in Georgia and England, but interests of feudal lords, their political directions were almost identical in the two countries. In 1258-1265, in England there actually was a revolutionary situation. On April 2, 1258, barons assembled in London, and later in Oxford parliament. The nobles in Oxford demanded that Henry III (1216-1272) to dismiss foreigners from the royal court, to forbid to levy or collect some taxes. Besides, the barons wanted the king to establish a committee consisting of twenty-six people for the sake of reforms and the improvement of situation in the country. It was these principles that were presented in the wel-known Provisions of Oxford. The committee worked for two months. Eventually, the barons worked out the following model of government: the king was to be a head of the state, to rule in association with a council of fifteen members. In 1258-1259, almost for nine monthe the council was in charge of principal state activities; however, a part of barons, supported by knights and burgesses, wanted to expand the functions of the council. In October, 1259, in Westminster, a part of the nobility, led by Simon de Montfort, put forth new demands, so-called Provisions of Westminster. Henry III repudiated the provisions. The barons reacted with strife. England was involved in the civil war. The decisive battle took place on May 14, 1264. During the battle, even the king was taken prisoner by the rebels. In January 1265, Simon de Montfort summoned the first parliament where barons, knights and burgesses sat together for the first time. This is the starting date in the history of the Parliament of England. As it is seen, the feudal aristocracy in England did their best to expand their rights mainly by way of increasing of political influence. Establishment of either a council consisting of fifteen members or summoning of the representative parliament is nothing than an attempt to limit the royal power by means of a new administrative structure. When one compares what happened in England in 1258-1265 to the events in Georgia, similarities are obvious. By means of Karavi, Qutlu-Arslan tried to deprive the king of the functions enjoyed by the sovereigns for centuries. Naturally enough, not everything developed in the same way in Georgia and England. Presently, it is essential to compare the main tendencies and demands present in the political plans of the nobility of the two countries. It should be noted that the struggle of the nobility, led by the royal treasurer, ceased in its middle and was not resumed. Therefore, Qutlu-Arslan’s rebellion arouses a number of questions; however, one thing is clear: in Georgia, the nobles demanded establishing of an institution which would make the king share some power. The process in point can be considered as a prerequisite for the establishment of parliament. Qutlu-Arslan’s political plan may be assumed as an initial step towards the establishment of the first Georgian parliament. Qutlu- Arslan’s rebellion did not end successfully. Since then, nobody has come back to the idea of the establishment of Karavi. Even Royal Treasurer Qutlu-Arslan was forgotten. The only source is The Histories and Eulogies of the Sovereigns, owing to which this prominent event has reached our days. Following that, the nobility and the royal power have opposed each other many times in Georgia, but nobody has set forth a political program similar to that of the royal treasurer of Queen Tamar. This is where Qutlu-Arslan’s genius lies in.
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https://geohistory.humanities.tsu.ge/ge/procedings/83-shromebi/165-shromebi-10.html
Keywords
ყუთლუ-არსლანი, კარავი, დარბაზი, პარლამენტარიზმი
Citation
ივანე ჯავახიშვილის სახელობის თბილისის სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტის საქართველოს ისტორიის ინსტიტუტის შრომები, X, თბილისი, 2016, გვ. 201-224 / Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Institute of Georgian History Proceedings, X, Tbilisi, 2016, pp. 201-224
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