Queen Tamar: The myth of a perfect ruler Sept. 17, 2020

from The Forum· ·

Queen Tamar was one of Georgia’s most iconic and colourful rulers, a powerful medieval sovereign who controlled large parts of the Caucasus and the eastern side of the Black Sea and forged strong cultural links with both the Byzantine West and the Persian South. Her influence extended beyond the battlefield: she presided over the last phase of the Georgian ‘Golden Age’ which saw the building of classic Georgian churches and a flowering of the Arts that produced one of Georgia’s most important poets. So who was Queen Tamar? How did she rise to power and outmanoeuvre her enemies? And why …



Queen Tamar was one of Georgia’s most iconic and colourful rulers, a powerful medieval sovereign who controlled large parts of the Caucasus and the eastern side of the Black Sea and forged strong cultural links with both the Byzantine West and the Persian South. Her influence extended beyond the battlefield: she presided over the last phase of the Georgian ‘Golden Age’ which saw the building of classic Georgian churches and a flowering of the Arts that produced one of Georgia’s most important poets. So who was Queen Tamar? How did she rise to power and outmanoeuvre her enemies? And why do the myths about her rule publicised by her faithful chroniclers persist till today? Bridget Kendall is joined by Dr. Ekaterine Gedevanishvili, Senior Researcher at the National Centre for the History of Georgian Art in Tbilisi; Alexander Mikaberidze, Professor of History at Louisiana State University; Dr. Sandro Nikolaishvili, researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, who works on retracing connections between the Byzantine and Georgian worlds; and Donald Rayfield, Emeritus Professor of Russian and Georgian at Queen Mary, University of London. (Image: Queen Tamar, detail of a mural in Vardzia monastery, Georgia, c. 12th century. Credit: G. Chubinashvili National Research Centre for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation, Tbilisi)