By Juansher  Juansheriani  (Excerpt from The Georgian Chronicle)

      Translated by Robert Bedrosian







Chapter 15


Dach'i ruled Iberia as king [522-34], and rebuilt all that had been destroyed by the Iranians. kat'oghikos Petros died and was succeeded by Samuel, then T'ap'ejan, then Ch'imak'. King Dach'i died, and his son [Bacurius/Bakur II, 534-47] succeeded, then the latter's son, P'arsman reigned [Pharasmanes/ P'arsman V, 547-61]. In his day the Ossetians arose and ravaged K'art'li. Now because the Byzantines were too busy in the West to help P'arsman, he sought aid from the Iranians [saying that] he would submit to them in matters of taxation but let them use no force regarding the faith and the Church. The Iranians heeded him and in no way harassed them regarding their faith. After P'arsman's death, his brother's son, another P'arsman, [g94] reigned [Pharasmanes/P'arsman VI, 561- ?]. He was a benevolent man, a builder and adorner of churches. Kat'oghikos Ch'imak' died and they seated Saba as kat'oghikos without [the ordination of] Antioch, for thereafter the Iberians themselves designated kat'oghikoi from the line of the naxarars. After Saba, Yelat'i served. In his day Yovhannes (John) came from Mesopotamia to Iberia, a blessed man and a wonder-worker who wrought many miracles--both he and his students. The deeds were written down and placed in the church of K'art'li. From king Mirian to the second P'arsman, [88] two hundred years elapsed. [P'arsman] left a good memory of himself.

In his day [Step'an Curopalate, ca. 590-627], Samuel died and his office was occupied by Bart'ughomeos. [g95] In these days the emperor Maurice [582-602] was killed by a soldier named Phocas, who himself ruled the Byzantines [602-610]. Now when [Maurice's] wife's father, K'asre [Xosrov II] king of Iran heard these sad tidings, he became angered, went to the country of the Byzantines, destroyed many districts, captured Jerusalem and the Lord's Cross. Step'ane, prince of Iberia, turned submissively to the Iranians out of fear of them, and resided at Tiflis. Then Maurice's relative Heraclius killed Phocas and ruled over the Byzantines [Heraclius I, 610-641]. He assembled a very large army from the Turks of the west and went in search of the envivifying Cross. [g96] Journeying through Armenia, he came to Bznunik' and thence ascended to Tiflis. But Step'anos did not forsake allegiance to the Iranians. Rather, he closed the city and warred with the emperor, sallying forth each day. And many of the Byzantine braves perished. After [Step'anos] was killed, they took the city, excepting tbe citadel. From the citadel, the senior [commander] of the fortress insulted the emperor, [89] shouting: "Depart, you goat! For you do not resemble a king. Instead you have a goat's neck and beard." When the emperor heard this he laughed inwardly, had the book of Daniel fetched, opened it and sought the passage where it states: "The goat coming from the West will grow strong and attack the ram in the East with great force." And he said to the army: "Although the man dishonored me in his heart, nonetheless he revealed this thing to me." [Heraclius] summoned Adarnase [Atrnerseh, Adarnase I, 627-37/42] of Dach'i's line, who was in Kuxet' and gave Tiflis to him. With him he left the military commander Jibagh, and then went on to Iran. [The Byzantines] took that citidel and Jibagh seized the man who had dishonored the emperor. First he filled his mouth with gold, "For", he said, "the emperor rejoiced at the words which issued from your mouth." Then, removing his skin he sent the man to the emperor for insulting him. Now K'asre's son killed him [i.e., Kawad killed his father Xosrov II], made peace with the emperor and gave him the Lord's Cross. After five years Heraclius returned and came to Mts'xet'a. He took Mankli and Erushet', the tablet [placed] at the Lord's feet, [g97] as well as the nails which Constantine had given to king Mirian. And he took them with him, not heeding the pleas of Adarnase and the tears of all Iberia.[90]

After the death of kat'oghikos Bardoghomeos, the [patriarchal] throne was occupied by Yovhannes, then Babelas, then Tap'or. After Atrnerseh's death, authority in Iberia was exercised by his son Step'anos [Stephen/Step'anoz I, ca. 591/602-627], a man firm in the faith and a lover of [religious] festivals. It was he who convened a great assembly before the blessed Cross on the day of Cross Friday and Holy Thursday at the kat'oghikosal residence at [the church of] saint Sion and [on] Tuesday the festival of the proto-martyr Step'anos and all the [other] martyrs. "And", he said, "let Friday and Thursday not differ from Good Friday and Good Thursday."

In this period Muhammad (Mahmet) the leader and legislator of the Saracens and Arab people appeared and ruled many lands. After holding sway for twenty years, he perished. His place was occupied by Abu Bakr (Abubak'r) who entered Iran with a great force. Now since [the Iranians'] kingdom had become weakened, he brought it into submission. Entering Babylon, [Abu Bakr] made it abandon fire-worship and converted it to the faith of the Saracens. When he died, the authority was wielded by Omar. And they told Heraclius that the Saracens wanted to enter the land of Mesopotamia, Syria and Jaziret'. The emperor went to the Pghshtats'ik' country and saw here a man of God, a monk, who said: "Flee from those who put Sarah to flight," (for the Saracens are called Sarah's servants). [91] "For the Lord gave to their people the south, east, and north. [g98] They are wandering stars who rule over those who do not wander." And they found prophecies about them in the writings of the philosophers Hermitron and Ijintos, that in 5840 of the Great Era, there would appear the son of the maidservant from the line of justice, and that [his rule] would last 240 years, that is 615 - (5 x 75) + 5. King Heraclius turned and came to K'art'li, declaring: "Iranian people who emigrated from the Ishmaelites to the northern regions, behold, your kingdom is finished. The Saracens have grown strong. Arise, come to us." And they at all hazards left their treasures, taking along a written [description of where the treasures had been concealed] and went with Heraclius. But the Byzantines came with those documents and found them. Now the prince of Iberia, Step'anos, had two sons, named Arch'il and Mihr, to whom he gave all of his property. They buried [the treasures] in various places, concealing it from the Ishmaelites, and then fled to Egris, because Mahumad's son Mruan, called Xul, was coming against them and K'art'li The latter seized the Darial Gate and destroyed the population of mt. Kovkas. Hearing that the lords of K'art'li had fled to Egris and thence to Abkhazia, [Mrwan] pursued, and took [92] the fortress of Egre. Then he descended upon the fortress of Anakop'os. Here was located an image of the Lord's Mother fashioned by no human hand, and no one knew where it had come from since it was discovered at the head of Gori mountain. In that fortress Arch'il and Mihr were staying after their father's death. Meanwhile Lewon (Leo) [g99] the Byzantine military commander had entered and fortified himself into Subagh fortress at the entrance to Oset'. The brothers said to each other: "If we remain here and they take the stronghold, we shall not be remembered; the treasure accumulated by the Christ-crowned Mirian and Vaxt'ang (who was made wise by God) will be lost, undiscoverable. So will that which Heraclius left here, the document [describing where] we concealed the two emerald crowns. Encouraged by God, with the intercession of Peter and Paul, and with the power of the image of the Lord's Mother which is here with us, let us attack them from the side where the sea rushes down." And they arose with 3,000 and the Lord struck dead on the spot an enormous number of [the enemy]. Thirty-five thousand died in pain because of the Lord, while 3,000 were killed by men's swords. Sixty of the Christians died, and Mihr was wounded. A certain Saracen said to his army: "God gave us ten victories, as He had promised Abraham and Hagar, but not [victories] over men of God and the temples [erected] in His name." They arose thence and went and encamped by two [93] of the rivers with seven springs. But suddenly the river rose up in a mighty flood and carried off 23,000 of the Habashk' soldiers with them and 35,000 horses. Thereafter, for its providential work, the rivers were called Dzxenis tsghal ["that which carried off the horses"] and Habashis tsghal ["that which carried off the Habashis"]. The survivors went over the Gori road, crossed the district of Sper, and so departed. The Christians who had been saved glorified God, and communicated to the emperor what had transpired. When the latter heard about matters, he rejoiced in the Lord and sent encouraging letters to the two brothers. However, Mihr, who had been wounded there, died and was buried at Mts'xet'a [A.D. 736]. For twelve years the country was calm. [g100]

In those days a certain prince, from the house of the prophet David, named Adrnas [Adarnase], came to Arch'il. He had been in Armenia and had been captured by the foreigners together with his sons. Escaping thence, he asked him for a place to live. [Arch'il] gave him Rhisha, Shghuer, and Atone. [Similarly] three brothers came from Taron and at Arch'il's command they settled as far as Gaghgagh. Arch'il's wife was the daughter of the curopalate Gorom [Guaram III c. 693-748], from the clan of king Vaxt'ang. [g101]



Chapter 16

[94] No one can put into writing the disasters which the Christians experienced from the Saracens, formerly called K'aghrt'akank'. It is said even in the Bible that the tongues of K'aghrt' shall drink the blood of the innocent. For at the beginning of the strengthening of [that] people, there was a certain K'aghrt' who was prince of the few surrounding Ishmaelites. In his day a certain Mesopotamian prince, named Sargis, ravished the goods of [some] Ishmaelite merchants. K'aghrt' beseeched the plunderer not to do this again, but [Sargis] did not heed him. Taking heart, [K'aghrt'] assembled a huge crowd of his people, went and took back what was his and what was theirs. Gaining in power, they became even stronger. That same day they found Mahmet [Muhammad], persecuted by his own people. The latter had studied with a certain monk Arianos who professed the resurrection in a diseased, physical way [complete] with corporeal desire. They got [Muhammad] to come to them and made him their military leader. They fought with all countries to fill up the measure of the sin of the Christians of Greece, Armenia, Syria, Aghbania and Iberia. Thereby becoming rich, they also took the Iranians' scepter by which they made all peoples tributary. [g102]

[95] Now after twelve years, Xul amir departed and Mahadi's son Chichnaum [Khuzaima ibn Khazim c. 786] came. Prominent men turned against him and did not allow him into Klarchet'. Some of them went to the Tayk' country, found a rock there and built it into a stronghold, naming it Kamax. King Arch'il planned to go to the tyrant so that perhaps he might relieve the Christians, since the latter were tributary to him. As soon as he went, [the tyrant] arose before him, elevated him, praised his good looks, and the comliness of his form and held a banquet for him. But after a few days he [tried to] force him to adopt his own religion. He heard a very rough reply. The tyrant ordered [Arch'il] placed in irons. Then an aspostate prince, named Gardambel, stepped forward and said to Chichnam (also called Asim): "He is from the line of great kings and is lord of venerable treasures. Furthermore, the [hidden] treasure of the Greek emperor is in his hands." When [Asim] learned this, he rejoiced and summoned [Arch'il] for an audience. He said: "Show me the treasures of the emperor and of your ancestors, and convert to my religion, and I shall grant you what is yours, you shall have your principality, and I shall make you spasalar of all K'artli." Arch'il replied: "When Heraclius passed through our country I was a boy. The treasure which they kept is in the castle of the fortress whence emir Xul retreated, and which the Greeks hold at present. What you seek did not pass into my [96] hands. I shall not change my faith for the entire world, for my lord God is Christ, son of the living God." Looking at him, the tyrant said: "Was it you who defeated the Saracens in Abkhazia?" Arch'il responded: "I was there when God struck them." Asil asked: "God struck at us?" The saint replied: "Yes, Christ God, our hope, Who came to earth to save us, aided those who depend on Him." Then the tyrant laid [g103] this order on the honorable king: "Let him who chose a dead God die in His name." They took him out and beheaded him as he thanked and prayed to God. And he exchanged his mortal kingdom for the heavenly kingdom which does not fade [d. 786]. Taking the marytrs' crown, he stands before the holy Trinity in sorrowless joy. Now in the night the Goderdzets'ik' and Tbets'ik' and other azats who were with [Arch'il] came, stole his body, and buried it at Nutkara, a church which he had built. His wife gave gifts to those who brought the remains, and villages and awans to his place of rest. This abbreviated history was found in the time of confusion and placed in the book called K'artlis Ts'xorepa which means the History of K'art'li. It was found by Juansher, [the history] written up to [the time of] king Vaxt'ang. Up to the present point was added by Juansher himself. What follows [was written] by eyewitnesses and contemporaries.

[97] Now Arch'il, the witness of Christ, left two sons, Juansher and Iwane, and four daughters, named Goranduxt, Mariam, Mihranduxt, and Shushan. The Khazar king heard that Shushan was beautiful and sent requesting her in marriage, promising to free her country from the K'aghrt' people. However, the mother and brothers did not want to give the lamb to the beast. After three years the Xak'an dispatched his spasalar Buljan with a large army by way of the Leket' road. He came, crossed into Kaxet' and surrounded the fortress where Juansher and Shushan were. After a short while he also took Tiflis [g104] and the entire country of K'artli, and then departed. And the blessed Shushan said to her brother: "I shall die a virgin in body and faith, and not be devoured by a beast." Taking off her ring, she removed the gem, and there beneath it was poison. She put this in her mouth and died unsullied before the Lord [d. 799/800]. Her brother buried her. Now when Buljan returned to the Xak'an and told about the virgin, he became very angry since [Buljan] had not kept her carefully and had not brought him even her corpse. [The Xak'an] had a rope tied around [Buljan's] neck and then ordered two mounted men to pull it between them until the head of this wicked polluter of the holy church was severed. After seven years Juansher was set free with gifts, and came to his own country. He found the Saracens at Tiflis and encamped in many places. Submitting, he paid taxes to them and married the daughter of Atrnerseh Bagratuni, named Latori [Georg. Latavr].

[98] After some time, Xosroydis, the ostikan of Armenia, came and rebuilt Tiflis, which had been ruined by the Khazars. Now a certain Leon, son of the Khazar king's daughter, took a crown and held Abkhazia and Egris as far as Lix mountain. Arch'il's sons Iwane and Juansher died. Their place was taken by Curopalate Ashot [Ashot I, the Great, 813-830]. The emperor elevated him so that the Hagarites' [influence] be weakened. After Leon's death, his place was taken by his son T'eodos. After some days, amir Xalil [Halid ibn Yazid ibn Mazyad ash-Shaibani] came and killed Ashot, and was himself slain in Jawaxet'. Two hundred and nineteen years after the first Mahmet, Bugha arrived and cast the Armenian country into sorrow. Reaching Tiflis, he killed amir Sahak, for the latter did not obey him. [g105] He went to Mt'elet' and took 300 hostages from them. [Bugha] wanted to enter Oset' and encountered a severe snow storm from which many perished However, no great harm was done to the multitude of survivors, who numbered about 120,000. [Bugha] returned to Baghdad to winter there. When spring came he went to Darband, opened the Gate, removed from there 300 Khazar houses and settled them at Shamk'or. He removed 100 Ossetian [houses ] from Darial and settled them at Dmanis. At that time the Abkhaz king, Giorgi, and Lewon's son-in-law, Demetre, arose and captured K'art'li while Liparit took T'rheghk' and built Kltekars. He made Bagrat's son, Dawit, his heir in the [99] time of the world-ruler (tiezerakal) Smbat, king of Armenia, who battled with the Abkhaz king, Constantine, and took K'art'li and Up'lists'xe. Once again making peace, they became in-laws and he turned back. In those days, the Saracen military commander, Bulkasim, came to Armenia, then to Tiflis and thence to Ujarma fortress which he took. The suffragan bishop Koyrike came to him, found affection and departed thence to Duin. Now Smbat, king of Armenia, eluded him and went wandering about the mountains of Abkhazia. The tyrant awaited him, for he had grown haughty with the conquest of Iberia, [g106] having taken all of K'art'li and numerous fortresses, [such as] T'mok' and Xuila, wherein he had slain the handsome and valiant lad Gorun, since he refused to deny Christ. [Gorun's] martyrdom was written down by our blessed father, Step'anos. The blessed king Smbat also was martyred by the same tyrant in the city of Duin. He was tortured for one full year, then strangled and hanged on wood, so that he share the death and Cross of Christ. [g107]



Chapter 17


In that period the Abkhaz king, Constantine, died leaving two sons, Gorgi and Bagarat, who fought for the realm until Bagarat died. Then Georgi, a good man and a church-builder, reigned. The suffragan bishop Koyrike died and was succeeded [100] by his son, P'atl, who built Lodzoban fortress. In Georgi's day, amir Sajab came and burned Mts'xet'a and captured the fragmented cross of Nune. He became afflicted with a stomach ailment and they realized that the scourge was caused by the cross. Gathering together the broken fragments, they filled them into a pan and hung it in its proper place. The Abkhaz king gave K'art'li to his son, Constantine. But after three years [g108] he rebelled and entered Up'lists'ixe. He was treacherously lured out and slain. The suffragan bishop, Kiwrike, replaced P'atl, and Lewon, son of king Gorgi, replaced his father. In this period, Ishxanik was king of the Heret' region and was a heretic but his mother turned him to orthodoxy. After Lewon, his son Demetre reigned. His brother T'eodos arrived from Rome and they quarreled about the patrimony. But then they made peace and swore [oaths of reconciliation] with each other. Demetre broke [the oath] and had his brother's eyes put out. But after his own death, they placed T'eodos on the throne.

David Curopalate, king of T'ayk', raised Gurgen's son, the lad Bagrat. They sought him as king of Abkhazia. Now Rhat was at Kars and also held the fortress of Aten and the south side of the Kur river. He did not submit to Bagrat. So [Bagrat's] father, Gurgen, came to his son and they wanted to go against Rhat. But [their foes] whispered to David the Curopalate, indicating that [the two] wanted his head. [101] And [David] believed it. With Armenian assistance, he put their forces to flight. Bagrat then went [to David] alone, fell at his feet and swore that he was going against Hrat. [g109] [David] believed that too and released him in peace. [Bagarat] then went to Abkhazia, and, in wintertime, turned upon Kltekars to subjugate Hrat. The latter arose before him, taking his son, Liparit, along. He entrusted Kltekars to him and then resided at his patrimony, Arguet'. At that time the amir of Gandzak, P'atlun, grew strong and struck at the princes of Kaxet' and Heret'. And Bagrat, king of Abkhazia, sent to Gagik, king of Armenia, so that he go with him against amir P'atlun. The two went to Gandzak, made it tributary, and returned with booty. Bagrat's kingdom prospered. He built monasteries and churches [for] 36 years. He died in 235 of the Georgian Era [1014].

His son Georgi succeeded him [George I, 1014-27], ruling for 16 years. In the fifth year of his reign, the emperor Basil came, and [Georgi] went against him in the Basen district, but when he observed their multitude, he turned back. Now Basil pursued him and burned the city of Uxtik'. Georgi turned back and they fought. Many fell on both sides at the place called Shirimk'. They killed Liparit's son, Hrat, and Xursi. Georgi displayed great valor and made Basil turn back. The Iberians, swelled with pride over their small triumph, [102] pursued the Greeks and put them to the sword. Twice and three times the Iberians provoked battles, but they were lost and wiped out, and their land was ruined. For the saint-loving Basil had placed the envivifying Cross before [him] saying: [g110] "If You destroy me before my enemies, I shall not serve You as the cause of our salvation and the symbol of victory." Consequently, Georgi defeated and in a state of total confusion, gave his son, Bagarat, as a hostage for three years and promised to serve [Basil]. Basil then went to Trapizon and summoned the great Armenian kat'oghikos Petros for the feast of Epiphany. Petros blessed the waters in his presence. The emperor saw a great miracle [unfold] above the water, praised the faith of the Armenians, and then returned to Constantinople. After three years he sent the boy Bagarat back to his father. Two years following the return of his son, Georgi died leaving two sons, Bagrat and Demetre, and two daughters.

Then Bagrat reigned. His mother, Mariam, went to Constantinople and returned with a treaty of peace and the dignity of curopalate for her son [ca.1031/32]. A woman named Heghine, from the line of the Greek kings, was sent to be his wife. Bagrat married her and [after her death] took another wife, Borena, daughter of the Ossetian king. Under the urging of some princes, his brother Demetre, born of [103] the same father but not of the same mother, planned to reign. Not succeeding, he arose and went to Constantinople taking with him the Anakop'os country, which has remained theirs until the present. [g111] And Bagrat ruled his entire patrimony. The military commanders Liparit and Iwane aided the kingdom. By siege they took Tiflis from amir Jap'ar, but then regretted this and left it to him. However, he did not remain loyal to the Abkhaz king. The king arose and besieged Tiflis, as did Gagik, king of Kaxet', son of the Armenian king. The city was so reduced by hunger that one litr of ass flesh cost 500 dram. They took Tiflis but left it to the amir until Jap'ar died. Then king Bagrat entered Tiflis and took the fortress' stronghold. It was [Bagrat] who built the wall of Axalk'aghak'. And since his mother, Mariam, was the daughter of Senek'erim [Artsruni], the Armenian king, the residents of Ani gave that city to the queen[-mother] Mariam. Now great Liparit, in consultation with other azats, called Demetre back from Greece, to enthrone him. But this did not succeed. Rather, the Roman troops who were with [Demetre] turned back, and Basil was obliged to cede to king Bagarat nine fortresses. And Bagrat became extremely great. He gave the rule of his monarchy to his son, Gorgi, and went to emperor Monomachus in Constantinople [1042-1055], who exalted him. After three years the emperor returned him to his own country, requesting of Bagrat his sister, Goranduxt. All the [104] grandees (didebuls) came before him and rejoiced greatly. However, the curopalate Liparit held completely the upper land and was displeased with Bagrat's rule, despite the fact that he had raised his son and had been made [a] king. Consequently prince Sula ambushed him and his son, Iwane, and took them before Bagrat. At this [the king] was delighted [g112] and gave Sula Ts'ixisjuar, Odzrxe, and many gifts. Torturing Liparit, the king took many [of his] strongholds, dressed him in clerical garb, and sent him to the emperor. After a few years there, he died. Servants took his body and buried it in his patimonial cemetary in Kats'xe. And they made his son, Iwane, the lord of Arguet' only.

At that time a certain man from T'urk'astan, named Dughlubak' [Tughril Beg] grew strong and became sultan, as the Saracens were growing weaker. He ruled many peoples and districts. He was succeeded by his son, Arp'aslan [Alp-Arslan]. He came and took all of K'art'li, killing and enslaving. Then he went to Ani, capital of Armenia, took it, and filled it up with the blood of the slain. He further threatened [to ravage] the land of Iberia if Bagarat refused to give him for a wife his uncle's [mother's brother's] daughter who was daughter of [his] brother Kiwrike, the Armenian king. Bagarat requested her with entreaties, but Kiwrike refused. Then the Iberian military commanders, Varazbakur and Gamrikel, entraped and seized him in the K'ushoy forest. They notified [105] Bagarat, who went to him, took from him the girl and Shamshoyte, and then set him free. But after three years he turned upon Iberia and filled the country with blood. Capturing Tiflis, he gave it to the amir of Gandzak, P'atlun. And Asxart'an, son of Gagik, king of Kaxet', came to him and circulated around with the Sultan until he departed. After this, king Bagrat wanted to go against Tiflis, but P'atlun heard about this and came against him. And he dispatched Liparit's son, Iwane, before him with all the Iberian troops and they defeated the entire army such that only twelve men escaped by a hairsbreadth over the Tsilkan road. Then he went and spread about by the sources of the river Argag. He said to those he encountered: "I am P'at'lun's messenger of glad tidings, for the Abkhaz army was defeated." [g113] Recognizing him, a certain man said: "Why, you are the amir of amirs, P'at'lun himself!" He roared with a great noise and the ground quaked. The inhabitants of the district, informing each other, seized him and took him to Bagrat. And [Bagrat] took from him Tiflis, Gag, and K'ozin, which the Iranians had taken from the Armenians and Iberians, 848 dahekans, and his son as a hostage, and then let him go.

After this, Bagrat died with a good reputation [A.D. 1072], and his son, the curopalate Georgi [George II, 1072-1112], who had been ruling with his father during his lifetime,[106] succeeded. Liparit's son, Iwane, rebelled from him. Winning over the guards at the keep of Gag, he sold it once again to the lord of Gandzak. In those days, Sultan Melik' Shah [Malik-Shah] came and took Shamshoyte, looted K'art'li, and turned to Gandzak. Leaving amir Srahang there, he went to his own place. After some days Srahang came against Georgi; but, vanquished by him, he fled back to Gandzak. Georgi took back from the Greeks all the fortresses which they had taken from them: Anakop'i to the head of Abkhazia, and in the Klarchet' country, and in Shawshet', Jawaxet', and Artahan and many strongholds, plus Kars, and Vanand as well as Shamshoyte from the Turks. As soon as sultan Malik-Shah heard about this, he came and retook Shamshoyte, captured Iberians and prince Iwane, and departed. In those days, while Georgi was in the army, Grigor, son of Bakuran, lord of Uxtik', Kars and Karin city, came to him and requested Kars of him, leaving the matter to him. In those days, the Turks raided Iberia, spilling much blood, [g114] taking captives, and then departing. Their head was named Buzhghub. And the word of Isaiah was fulfilled, that "Woe to the people sinful and full of blame, for there shall be no health given them from head to foot." When king Georgi saw and bore this, as he expected salvation from no quarter, he gave up to [Buzhghub] his son and went to sultan Malik-Shah. He found favor with him and returned thence with gifts and a peace treaty [to the effect that] if he would obediently [107] see to [paying] taxes, he should have no fear. But because our wickedness comes back upon us, our multiplied sins prevented us from joyously celebrating the resurrection of Christ on Easter. For the Lord looked upon the country in anger and shook it from its foundation. For mountains of rock crashed down like dust, and cities, villages and churches were overturned, and our feast turned to mourning, as it is written. [g115]



Chapter 18


However, the Lord did not become totally angry, and did not keep His grudge forever. Rather, He pardoned [us] as a father [pardons a] son and gave us a son so that we not resemble Sodom and Gomorrah. He raised up for us the horn of salvation from the House of David--Georgi's only son, David, from the very same line of the father of God, David--from the Bagratid house. His father Georgi, in his old age, crowned him, speaking the truth: "The heavenly Father said unto him, 'I have found my servant David and I annoint him with my holy oil. May my hand lift him up and my arm strengthen him, with others.' It became morning for us, and the spirit of life breathed in us and blew [cool air] upon our weary brows. [David] was 16 years old and full of brilliant wisdom. For [in] Liparit's son, Iwane, he recognized a rebel and after [108] [Iwane] returned from captivity, [David] put him into prison so that he be counseled. But as soon as he had removed his fetters and honored him with the same greatness [he had enjoyed before], [g116] then, like a dog, he returned to his own vomit. Once again [David] seized him and sent him to the Greeks.

In the fourth year of David's reign, sultan Malik-Shah died [1092]. Then the Franks arose and (re)took Jerusalem, Antioch and the entire [Levantine] coast. David grew powerful and built up K'art'li, and did not pay taxes to the Turks. King Kiwrike of Kaxet' died and Asxart'an, his brother's son, reigned. David looked upon the Church wisely--for it had no light. Rather, the leaders were blind and avaricious and robbers had entered [the churches] through the walls and windows rather than through the doors, like shepherds. Such were the bishops in this period. They ordained priests for bribes, as they themselves [had been ordained], they set up stupid, greedy suffragan bishops and emplanted lawlessness in the House of God. The great eye observed this and was displeased. For the sins of the church and land were not those of shepherds and flocks, vardapets and common people but rather [resembling] the servant who, knowing his lord's will and straying, must take many beatings. Consequently [David] assembled by him [109] the kat'oghikos, the bishops, and the stupified priests, and ordered that an election be held among the good and bad and that the worthless ones be expelled. [So that] seeing the canonical orders the church hierarchy so act and [so] command the ignorant. They moved in accord with the command of Scripture, giving the [ecclesiastical] throne to the good, and removing the worthless, just as the inedible and loathsome are removed from the nets. He did this like Constantine the Great. Receiving strength from God, he struck the multitude of Turks with but a few troops and stopped their comings and goings in the land of the Christians. For the Lord had given him the promise of the just, and one [man] could put to flight 1,000 [enemies], and two [men], 10,000. For [he acted] not as Eghiazaros Awaran, who grew dazed, [g117] sticky with the enemies' blood, on the contrary, himself dripping with blood, he turned back the multitude, and then loosened his belt, bled, and relaxed. He was, moreover, a builder of monasteries and churches, just as he constructed two churches to the blessed Mother of God in a charming spot. He went in person to see after the monasteries, the orders of worship, and the comfort of hostles, and he provided whatever was lacking. In various places he constructed houses for the soul, for the rest of travelers.

[110] In that period some 10,O00 Turks raided in Trialeti (T'rheghk'). David was at Nacharmad. When he heard about them, he came in the night with few troops. In the morning, with God's aid, he beat them until evening. Only a few survivors fled at night. Similarly there were tens of thousands of Turkic troops which had descended into the Tayk' country. [David] went and struck them, and took their goods; and the country of Iberia filled up with good things. He sent his son, Demetre, to the Shruan area, and he succeeded in taking the fortress of K'aladzor, returning thence in joy. But while the great David was celebrating the feast of Easter at Naxedran, they brought him news that the Turks had slain Beshken in Jawaxet' and had come and encamped on the shores of the Erasx. He went against them and destroyed and captured their entire army. David made marriage alliances with the kings of Greece and Shruan giving his daughters to them and [thereby] getting [their] support. His wife, Goranduxt, was the daughter of the Qipchaq chief, that is At'rak of the Huns. With their aid he subjugated the Ossetian kings, took hostages from them and made peace between the Ossetians and Huns. He took the Darial fortress and all the gates of Oset' to mount Kawkas. From there he sent the Qipchaqs, who went and destroyed the might of the Turks. [David] also took the fortress-city [g118] of the Armenians, Lorhe. At this time Malik-Shah's son, Malik', died, as did the Greek king Alexs and Georgi Dchqondideli [111] (Chghunditel) who had been loyal from birth. The king and the entire kingdom mourned him for twenty days and buried him at Nor vank'.

Now [David] kept with him on Iberian land 40,000 Qipchaqs with their families and sons, plus 500 young children whom he raised at his court as Christians, and still others, day by day, were baptized and studied the faith of our Lord. He armed the 40,000 and designated spasalars for them and repelled Iran and T'urk'astan with them. It is said that he resembed a swift, fleet-footed panther, by which the vision of Daniel described Alexander. Our Alexander was no less than he, although younger, yet comparable in fortune. For he struck at the Turks in [their] wintering grounds of T'ughark' and filled up with booty. On the thirteenth of February and on the same septenary of fasting, he took Kapa city and filled Iberia up with gold and silver. On May fifth he raided Layizhk' as far as K'urdawan and Xshtalan and returned to K'art'li in wealth. The same year he went to Ashorni and beat the army of Turks until there were not [even] mourners left in their tents. During wintertime he went to Abkhazia as far as Binchit'a and put [these areas] in order. Now the Turkmens ascended the mountains of Armenia in summertime and in wintertime descended to the warm meadows by the banks of the [112] Kur river--but not without great preparation due to fear of David. However, that year they were without a care because of the king's distance. The king returned, skirting mount Lix before him, and came to K'art'li. [g119] He found prepared troops in the month of March and went to Xunan and did not allow [any] of the multitude of Turks to live. He crossed to Partaw and, in the villages, he discovered fugitives from the Turks. He put them to the sword and returned in peace…


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