Outnumbered, But Still A Christian Victory!

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Outnumbered, But Still A Christian Victory!

Many times in the long and bloody history of European resistance to Islamic aggression, the warriors of Christ have gone into battle facing apparently overwhelming odds. But time and time again they have prevailed nonetheless. One such triumph was the little-known Battle of Didgori, fought just 17 years before the foundation of the Knights Templar.

 

Fought on 12th August 1122, in a beautiful valley in Georgia, the large majority of the Georgian army were native patriots, but they were joined by a force of tough Kipchak nomads and by a small elite of 200 Frankish (Germanic French) knights. Outnumbering them by at least six to one were hundreds of thousands of Muslim Turks.

According to the French knight and historian Walter the Chancellor, before heading off to battle, King David of Georgia inspired his army with these words:

“Soldiers of Christ! If we fight bravely for our Faith, we will defeat not only the devil’s servants, but the devil himself. We will gain the greatest weapon of spiritual warfare when we make a covenant with the Almighty God and vow that we would rather die for His love than escape from the enemy. And if any one of us should wish to retreat, let us take branches and block the entrance to the gorge to prevent this. When the enemy approaches, let us attack fiercely!”

The large Muslim army, under the command of Ilghazi ibn Artuq was unable to maneuver, and suffered a devastating defeat due to King David IV of Georgia’s effective military tactics.

The battle at Didgori was the culmination of the entire Georgian-Seljuk wars, and led to the Georgians’ reconquest of Tbilisi in 1122. Soon after that David moved the capital from Kutaisi to Tbilisi. The victory at Didgori inaugurated the medieval Georgian Golden Age and is celebrated in the Georgian chronicles as a (Georgianძლევაჲ საკვირველი, dzlevay sakvirvelilit. the “miraculous victory“). Modern Georgians continue to remember the event as an annual September festival known as Didgoroba (“[the day] of Didgori”).[9]

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