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G. L. Kavtaradze. The Georgian Chronicles and the raison d'être of the Iberian Kingdom

G. L. Kavtaradze. The Georgian Chronicles and the raison d'être of the Iberian Kingdom

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The Historical value of old Georgian chronicles and the problem of state formtion in Central Transcaucasia
The Historical value of old Georgian chronicles and the problem of state formtion in Central Transcaucasia

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Giorgi Leon Kavtaraże on Apr 06, 2008
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RBIS TERRARUM
INTERNATIONALE ZEITSCHRIFT F
Ü
R HISTORISCHEGEOGRAPHIE DER ALTEN WELTREVUE D'HISTOIRE G
É
OGRAPHIQUE DU MONDE ANCIENJOURNAL OF HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF THE ANCIENTWORLDRIVISTA DI STORIA GEOGRAFICA DEL MONDO ANTICO
6/2000
 
StuttgartFranz Steiner Verlag
 
2001
 
 p. 177 
Giorgi Leon Kavtaradze, Tbilisi
 
CAUCASICA II*
 
THE GEORGIAN CHRONICLES AND THE
 RAISON D'
 È
TRE
 
OFTHE IBERIAN KINGDOM
 
 
 
If in the physical world the process of emergence, growth and decomposition issubmitted to a strictly fixed order, one part of the same world, the social life and itscomponents, among them of such a complicated nature as a state, are also exposed tothe regular circle of formation and development. As soon as mankind entered therather complicated stage of social life, more and more it tried to perceive the characterof the changes due to the flow of time. This had a practical meaning: the attempts tofind the sense in the development of society was one of the main questions for theinquisitive mind of man; understanding this process it would be more possible toanticipate the future. After the Classical (Graeco-Roman) times a particularly greatinterest in this problem emerged during the last two centuries. The breakdown of theCommunist system gave to the scientists of countries, belonging to this system, thepossibility of using such ideas of our century which are far away from the dogmas of Marxism-Leninism and which sometimes were already rather out of date in otherparts of the world.One of the most prominent authors of this century whose heritage was studied in thecommunistic countries only in the negative sense is Arnold Toynbee. Hisunderstanding of the historical development was based on the conclusion that theprocess of the creation of civilisation, in the broadest meaning of this term, wasconnected with the reaction,
 Response
, which was given to the society by the stimulus,
Challenge
, initiated in the natural or social environment. In his opinion, this model of 
Challenge-and-Response
is as much in accordance with the emergence anddevelopment of civilisation as the environmental pressure becomes more important(of course untill it will not reach a certain limit). The stimulus created by externalhuman environment are of two types: of a sudden blow and of a continuous pressure.After having received the stimulus of blow, the society is either annihilated, whathappened rather seldom, or meets the heavy blow with redoubled moral strength and____________________________________
* An article published in 1996 (Kavtaradze, G. L. Probleme der historischen Geographie Anatoliensund Transkaukasiens im ersten Jahrtausend v. Chr. in:
 
Orbis Terrarum 2, 1996) is considered as‘Caucasica I’ though it did not have that heading at the time of its publication.I owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Eckart Olshausen for his insightful suggestions as to my work andfor his proposal to write this article for ‘Orbis Terrarum’ and to Dr. Gisela Burger who improved uponthe phraseology and helped me constantly.
 
178 
vigour; so, the society reacts to the heavy blow by an incredible outburst of purposefulenergy.[1] There are many such examples in the history of the medieval Caucasia. We can agreewith the assumption that if the Seljuk phase in Transcaucasia crushed any hope for a
 
revival of Armenian statehood, the surviving state, Georgia, in responding to thisshock, underwent a remarkable recovery, and dominating the entire region, created apan-Transcaucasian monarchy, for a brief period.
 In the case of A. Toynbee's second type of stimulus, the impact takes the form of acontinuous pressure. In terms of political geography, the peoples, states and citiesexposed to such a pressure belong for the most part to the general category of 
marches
(boundary zones between different "civilisations"). As one of the mostimpressive examples of such a phenomenon, A. Toynbee considers the fact of thecreation of the united commonwealth of Poland and Lithuania -
 Rech Pospolita
by theLublin treaty 1569 as a counter-stroke to the advance of the newly formed Russianstate which pushed back the eastern frontier of Lithuania, formerly east of Smolensk,to a line running west of Polotsk on the Dvina. So,
 Rech Pospolita
gained a newfunction - and, by it, a new vitality - as one of the
marches
of the Western worldagainst a new pressure from Russia. Poland shared this new function with thekingdom of Sweden, and the pressure took the form of simultaneous Polish andSwedish counter-offensives. The Poles recaptured Smolensk and held even Moscowfor a brief period, while the terms of the peace treaty with Sweden excluded Russiafrom all access to the Baltic. As to A. Toynbee, these misfortunes produced aprofound psychological effect in the
 Russian Soul
. The inward spiritual shock translated itself into an outward practical act of equivalent magnitude: the deliberate"Westernisation" of Russia by Peter the Great. By this act the continental frontier of the Western world suddenly shifted from the eastern borders of Poland and Sweden toChina's frontiers. The Poles and Swedes thus found the ground cut from under theirfeet. Their function in the Western
body social
was snatched out of their hands, andthe loss of the stimulus was followed by a swift decay - within little more than acentury Sweden had lost to Russia all her possesions east of the Baltic, includingFinland, while Poland had been wiped out from the political map. Thus, Poland andSweden both flourished as long as they fullfilled the function of anti-Russian marchesof the Western Society, and both began to decline as soon as Russia achived the
tour de force
of filching this function to them.
 
 
179 
The political history of the Georgian state, like of other Transcaucasian counries, waspredetermined by the geographical disposition of Transcaucasia south from the GreatCaucasian Ridge. The key importance of the location of the Caucasus waspicturescuely stated by Pliny the Elder (Plinius Magnus), already in the first century,namely that the Caucasian Gates divides the world in two parts
 
. It seemed even forthe powerful Pompeus to be impracticable to pursue Mithridates VI, the king of Pontus, after his defeat and successful Caucasian campaign, by the land route throughthe Caucasian mountains and passing the hostile tribes of the steppes beyond the

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