David the Builder

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David the Builder

 

(David IV Georgievich). Born about 1073; died January 1125. Became Georgian emperor of the Bagration dynasty in 1089.

David was an important statesman who furthered the unification of the Georgian principalities into a single centralized state. In 1097 he put an end to the payment of tribute to the Seljuks and restored the independence of Georgia. He annexed Kakheti and Ereti (1104) and other lands to his domains. In the battle of Didgor in August 1121. the Georgian troops defeated the numerically larger force of the coalition of Muslim rulers. In 1122. after liberating Tbilisi, David transferred his capital there from Kutaisi. With the support of the service nobility and the upper strata of the merchant-artisan population of the cities, he led the struggle to centralize power. In 1118–20. during David’s reign, a standing army under the emperor’s command was formed alongside the feudal militia. He subordinated to his power the feudal lords, the church, and the cities that he had liberated from the Seljuks, establishing his officials and garrisons over them. In 1123–24, he freed Shirvan and the city of Ani from the Seljuks.. David gave a great deal of attention to the building of cities, roads, bridges, palaces, and caravansaries. A well-educated man and a lover of books, he promoted the development of enlightenment and founded an academy at Gelati. For his activity he was named “the Builder.”

REFERENCE

Istoriia Gruzii, vol. I. Tbilisi, 1962.

M. D. LORDKIPANIDZE