This book tells the compelling story of a Christian noblewoman named Tamta in the thirteenth century. Born to an Armenian family at the court of queen Tamar of Georgia, she was ransomed in marriage to nephews of Saladin after her father was captured during a siege. She was later raped and then married by the Khwarazmshah and held hostage by the Mongols, before being made an independent ruler under them in eastern Anatolia. Her tale stretches from the Mediterranean to Mongolia and reveals the extraordinary connections across continents and cultures that one woman could experience. Without a voice of her own, surviving monuments - monasteries and mosques, caravanserais and palaces - build up a picture of Tamta's world and the roles women played in it. The book explores how women's identities changed between different courts, with shifting languages, religions and cultures, and between their roles as daughters, wives, mothers and widows.
Antony Eastmond is A. G. Leventis Professor of Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. He has published extensively on the world of eastern Christianity and its connections with the Islamic world around it, especially in Georgia and the Caucasus, and Trebizond. He has also published on Late Antique and Byzantine art, with a particular interest in ivories and the visual power of inscriptions. Notable among his works are Royal Imagery in Medieval Georgia (1998), Art and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium: Hagia Sophia and the Empire of Trebizond (2004), The Glory of Byzantium and Early Christendom (2013) and Viewing Inscriptions in the Late Antique and Medieval World (2015).
1. A new world of encounters: the life of Tamta Mqargrdzeli; 2. Tamta's origins: the world of the Mqargrdzelis; 3. Tamta, Ivane and Akhlat in 1210; 4. Al-Awhad and Tamta's first marriage; 5. Women and power; 6. Akhlat: identity and life in the medieval city; 7. Tamta: Ayyubid wife of al-Ashraf Musa; 8. Tamta: a Christian at the Ayyubid court; 9. Tamta at court; 10. Akhlat, builders and buildings; 11. Tamta and the Khwarazmians; 12. Tamta and the Mongols; 13. Tamta as ruler of Akhlat; 14. Afterlife.