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George V of Georgia

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George V the Brilliant
გიორგი V ბრწყინვალე
King of Kings of Georgia
Fresco to George V in Gelati Monastery
King of Georgia
1st Reign1299–1302
PredecessorDavid VIII
SuccessorVakhtang III
2nd Reign1314–1346
PredecessorGeorge VI
SuccessorDavid IX
IssueDavid IX of Georgia
FatherDemetrius II of Georgia
MotherNatela Jaqeli
ReligionGeorgian Orthodox Church
KhelrtvaGeorge V the Brilliant გიორგი V ბრწყინვალე's signature

George V the Brilliant (Georgian: გიორგი V ბრწყინვალე, romanized: giorgi V brts'q'invale; also translated as the Illustrious, or Magnificent; 1286/1289–1346) was King (mepe) of Georgia from 1299 to 1302 and again from 1314 until his death in 1346. A flexible and far-sighted politician, he recovered Georgia from a century-long Mongol domination, restoring the country's previous strength and Christian culture.


Monument to George V in Akhaltsikhe.

The extant document attributed to Giorgi V only encompasses the final segment of his royal title, omitting the complete formulation. Mikheil Bakhtadze suggests that the full title of King George swould have been "the king of Abkhazians, Kartvelians, Ranians, Kakhetians and Armenians, Sharvansha and Shahansha, the unifier of Likht-Imer and LikhtAmer, the ruler of all the East and West." Bakhtadze also notes that the main difference between the title of King George V and previous rulers was an addition of "LikhtImer and Likht-Amer", as the unifier of both kingdoms. [1]


Territory of Georgia during the reign of King George V.

George was born to King Demetrius II of Georgia and his third wife Natela, daughter of Beka I Jaqeli, Prince and Atabeg of Samtskhe. Demetrius was executed by the Mongols in 1289, and the little Prince George was carried and grew up in Samtskhe, at the court of his grandfather, Beka I Jaqeli.

In 1299, the Ilkhanid khan Ghazan installed him as a rival ruler to George's elder brother, the rebellious Georgian King David VIII. However, George's authority did not extend beyond the Mongol-protected capital Tbilisi, so George was referred to during this period as "The Shadow King of Tbilisi". In 1302, he was replaced by his brother, Vakhtang III. After the death of both his elder brothers – David and Vakhtang – George became a regent for David's son, George VI, who died underage in 1313, allowing George V to be crowned king for a second time. Having initially pledged his loyalty to the Il-khan Öljaitü, he began a program of reuniting the Georgian lands. In 1315, he led the Georgian auxiliaries to suppress an anti-Mongol revolt in Asia Minor, an expedition that would prove to be the last in which the Georgians fought in the Mongol ranks. In 1319 supported in the Il-Khanate in helping crush the revolt of the Mongol commander Qurumushi, who was the military Governor of Georgia.[2] In 1320, he drove the marauding Alans out of the town Gori and forced them back to the Caucasus Mountains.

Royal charter of King George V, 14th century.

King George was on friendly terms with the influential Mongol prince Choban, who was executed by Abu Sa'id Khan in 1327. George used this loss as a pretext to rebel against the already weakened Ilkhanate. He stopped payments of tribute and drove the Mongols out of the country. The following year he ordered great festivities on the Mount Tsivi to celebrate the anniversary of the victory over the Mongols, and massacred there all oppositionist nobles. In 1329, George laid siege to Kutaisi, western Georgia, reducing the local king Bagrat I to a vassal prince. In 1334 he reasserted royal authority over the virtually independent principality of Samtskhe, ruled by his cousin Qvarqvare I Jaqeli. Having restored the kingdom's unity, he focused now on cultural, social and economic projects. He changed the coins issued by Ghazan khan with the Georgian ones, called George's tetri. Between 1325 and 1338, he worked out two major law codes, one regulating the relations at the royal court and the other devised for the peace of a remote and disorderly mountainous district. Under him, Georgia established close international commercial ties, mainly with the Byzantine Empire, but also with the great European maritime republics, Genoa and Venice. During his reign, Armenian lands, including Ani, were part of the Kingdom of Georgia.[3]

From the moment he became king, one of the main concerns of the king was to restore the unity of Georgia. After the death of David Narin in Western Georgia, Constantine I's own brother, Michael, rebelled. The fight between the brothers sometimes ended with a short truce, and sometimes it continued. In 1327, Constantine died and Michael took the throne, but two years later he also died. Michael was left with a young son, Bagrat, who was not supported by the princes. George took advantage of this, contacted the nobles of Imereti, moved to Western Georgia in agreement with them and captured all the castles and cities. Bagrat was fortified in Kutaisi with a small number of supporters, but when George's army approached the city, Bagrat surrendered to the king, in exchange for which he received a promise of inviolability and the nobility of Shorapani.[4][5] In Kutaisi the Dadiani, Gurieli, Abkhazian and Svan nobles presented King George with great gifts and expressed their obedience. Then the king himself traveled to Mingrelia, Abkhazia and Guria and settled the affairs there.[4]

George V managed to incorporate Samtskhe peacefully. In 1334, when his uncle Sargis II Jaqeli, Prince of Samtskhe, died, the king came to Samtskhe and confirmed Sargis's son, Qvarqvare, as the Prince of Samtskhe. This fact meant the restoration of the king's supremacy on Samtskhe and its return to Georgia. With this act, George V essentially completed the process of reunification of Georgia.[5][4]

In 1327, Abu Sa'id Bahadur Khan investigated his guardian and de facto governor of Qa'ena, Chupan, with his sons and supporters. The death of a powerful government hastened the further decline and disintegration of the Ilkhanate. The young and weak politician Abu Sa'id could not stop the decline of the state. In 1335, after his death, complete chaos began in the country, and in fact, Ilkhanate was divided into several neighboring states.

George V took good advantage of the situation. He stopped paying tribute to the Mongols and expelled their army from the country. It was a long process, during which both peaceful and diplomatic and forceful means were used (this process lasted from 1327-1335).[6] It is true that in the 30s and 40s of the 14th century, the Mongols organized several campaigns in order to restore their domination in Eastern Georgia, but they did not succeed.[6]

George V the Brilliant on the 2013 Georgian postage stamp

George V also extended diplomatic relations to the Bahri Mamluks of Egypt, achieving the restoration of several Georgian monasteries in Palestine to the Georgian Orthodox Church and gaining free passage for Georgian pilgrims to the Holy Land. According to Kldiashvili (1997), the introduction of the Jerusalem cross, taken as the inspiration for the modern national flag of Georgia in the 1990s, might date to the reign of George V.[7]

In the 1330s, George secured the southwestern province of Klarjeti against the advancing Osmanli tribesmen led by Orhan I. In 1341 he interfered in the power struggle in the neighbouring Empire of Trebizond and supported Anna Anachoutlou who ascended the throne with the help of the Laz, only to be put to death a year later. He also organized a successful campaign against Shirvan, a neighboring state of Georgia.[8]

George V had friendly relations with King Philip VI of France, as evidenced by the correspondence between them. George V wrote to the King of France that he was ready to participate with him in the liberation of the "Holy Lands" of Syria-Palestine, and had 30,000 soldiers.[9]

George V died in 1346. He was succeeded by his only son, David IX. He was buried at the Gelati Monastery near Kutaisi, western Georgia.

Marriage and child[edit]

The identity of his wife is not known. The "Georgian Chronicle" of the 18th century reports George V marrying a daughter of "the Greek Emperor, Lord Michael Komnenos". However the reigning dynasty of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th century were the Palaiologoi, not the Komnenoi. The marriage of a daughter of Michael IX Palaiologos and his wife Rita of Armenia to a Georgian ruler is not recorded in Byzantine sources. Neither is the existence of any illegitimate daughters of Michael IX.[citation needed] The Komnenoi did rule however in the Empire of Trebizond. A Michael Komnenos was Emperor from 1344 to 1349, but his only attested child was John III of Trebizond; whether John III had siblings is unknown.[10] He had a son David IX of Georgia and a daughter Soldane who married John of Poitiers-Lusignan.


  1. ^ მიხეილ ბახტაძე: გიორგი V ბრწყინვალის ქართული ტიტულატურისათვის; ივანე ჯავახიშვილის სახელობის თბილისის სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტის საქართველოს ისტორიის ინსტიტუტის შრომები, XIX, თბილისი, 2023, გვ. 59-66
  2. ^ Lang, D. M. (1955). "Georgia in the Reign of Giorgi the Brilliant (1314-1346)". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 17 (1): 80. ISSN 0041-977X. It will also be recalled that al-'Umari says that Chupan counted on King Giorgi as 'a remover of any unpleasantness'. As an example of this we may cite Giorgi's active role in the suppression of the revolt of the Amir Qurmishi, who was military governor in Georgia. In 1319 this personage tried to take advantage of Chupan's many commitments in order to secede from the Il-Khanian empire. King Giorgi, however, refused to countenance this and helped to crush Qurmishi. The situation was soon brought under control.
  3. ^ W. Barthold, ' Die persische Inschrift an der Mauer der Manucehr-Moschee zu Ani ', trans. and edit. W. Hinz, ZDMG, Bd. 101, 1951, 246;
  4. ^ a b c History of Georgia 2012, p. 78.
  5. ^ a b Kekelia 2015, p. 24.
  6. ^ a b History of Georgia 2012, p. 79.
  7. ^ D. Kldiashvili, History of the Georgian heraldry, Parlamentis utskebani, 1997, p. 35.
  8. ^ Vasil Kiknadze, Georgia in the XIV century, Tbilisi, 1989, p.105
  9. ^ Vazha Kiknadze, European sources of Georgian history, Tbilisi, 1983, p.159
  10. ^ Kelsey Jackson Williams, "A Genealogy of the Grand Komnenoi of Trebizond", Foundations, 2 (2006), p. 178


Preceded by King of Georgia (first rule)
Succeeded by
Preceded by King of Georgia (second rule)
Succeeded by