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Fresco portrait of Demetre II from chapel of the Annunciation at Udabno, c. 1290

Saint King Demetre II the Self-sacrificer (დემეტრე II თავდადებული) (1259 – 12 March 1289), from the Bagrationi dynasty, was king of Georgia in 1270-1289.


Son of King David VII Ulu and his wife Gvantsa, Demetre was only 2 years old when his mother was killed by the Mongols in 1261. He succeeded on his father's death in 1270, when he was 11 years old. He ruled under the regency of Sadun Mankaberdeli for some time. In 1277-1281, he took part in Abaqa Khan's campaigns against Egypt and in particularly distinguished himself at the Second Battle of Homs, (29 October 1281). Although he continued to be titled "king of Georgians and Abkhazians, etc", Demetre’s rule extended only over the eastern part of the kingdom. Western Georgia was under the rule of the Imeretian branch of the Bagrationi dynasty, and the southern province of Samtskhe was subjected directly to Mongol governance.

"Demetre II's farewell to his people", by Henryk Hryniewski.

King Demetre was considered quite a controversial person. Devoted to Christianity, he was criticized for his polygamy. Generally, he was loyal to the Ilkhan dominance, and developed friendly relations with the Mongol nobles. In 1288, on the order of Arghun Khan, he subdued the rebel province of Derbend at the Caspian Sea. The same year, Arghun revealed a plot organized by his powerful minister Buqa, whose son was married to Demetre's daughter. Bugha and his family were massacred, and the Georgian king, suspected to be involved in a plot, was ordered to the Mongol capital, or Arghun threatened to invade Georgia. Despite much advice from nobles, Demetre headed for the Khan’s residence to face apparent death, and was imprisoned there. He was beheaded at Movakan on 12 March 1289. He was buried at Mtskheta, Georgia, and canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church.

He was succeeded by his cousin Vakhtang II.

Marriages and children

At one point, he had three wives. In 1272, he married a daughter of Manuel I of Trebizond by whom he had 5 children

  • Prince Lasha
  • Prince Baindur
  • Princess Rusudan

Demetre also had 3 children by his second wife, Mongol princess Solghar:

  • Prince Mamia
  • Princess Iodigar

In ca. 1280, he married his third wife, Natela, daughter of Beka Jakeli, Atabeg of Samtskhe and Lord High Steward of Georgia. They were the parents of Giorgi the Brilliant.

External links

Preceded by
David VII
King of Georgia
1270 – 1289
Succeeded by
Vakhtang II


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