|Intro||King of Georgia|
Demetrius I (დემეტრე I) (c. 1093 – 1156), from the Bagrationi dynasty, was King of Georgia from 1125 to 1156. He is also known as a poet.
Demetrius was the eldest son of King David the Builder by his first wife Rusudan. As a commander, he took part in his father’s battles, particularly at Didgori (1121) and Shirvan (1123).
Demetrius succeeded on his father’s death on January 24, 1125. With his ascent to the throne, the Seljuk Turks attacked the Georgian-held city of Ani, Armenia. Demetrius I had to compromise and ceded the city to a Seljuk ruler under terms of vassalage.
In 1139, he raided the earthquake-ridden city of Ganja in Arran (the present day Azerbaijan). He brought the iron gate of the defeated city to Georgia and donated it to Gelati Monastery at Kutaisi, western Georgia. Despite this brilliant victory, Demetrius could hold Ganja only for a few years.
In 1130, Demetrius revealed a plot of nobles, probably involving the king's half-brother Vakhtang. The King arrested the conspirators and executed one of their leaders, Ioanne Abuletisdze, in 1138 (or 1145). In 1154 David, Demetrius's elder son forced his father to abdicate and become a monk, receiving the monastic name Damian (Damianus). However, David died six months later and King Demetrius was restored to the throne. David was survived by his son Demna who was regarded by the aristocratic opposition as a lawful pretender.
Although Demetrius was not as successful as his father David the Builder, Georgia remained a strong feudal power with a well-organized military and political system and a developed cultural and economical life.
He died in 1156 and was buried at Gelati Monastery.
He is regarded as a saint in the Orthodox Church and his feast day is celebrated on May 23 on the Eastern Orthodox liturgical calendar.
Marriage and children
The name of Demetrius's wife is unknown, but he had several children:
- Rusudan, married firstly with sultan Masud Temirek and secondly with Sinjar Shah of Seljuk
- Giorgi, who succeeded him
- Bagrationi, who married prince of Kiev
|Ancestors of Demetrius I of Georgia|
King Demetrius I was an author of several poems, mainly on religious themes. Shen Khar Venakhi (Georgian: შენ ხარ ვენახი, English: Thou Art a Vineyard), a hymn to the Virgin Mary, is the most famous of them.