Georgian–Seljuk wars

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Georgian–Seljuk wars

A miniature depicting a battle with the Georgian king David IV the Builder. Le Roman de Troie by Benoît de Sainte-Maure. King David is shown in purple robe on the right, wearing crown-helmet.
Result Georgian victory

 Kingdom of Georgia

 Byzantine Empire

Seljuk Empire

Sultanate of Rum

Commanders and leaders
Bagrat IV
George II
David IV
George of Chqondidi
Barami [ka]
Sumbat Orbelian [ka]
Ivane Orbelian [ka]
Demetrius I
George III
Ivane Orbelian (son of Sumbat) [ka]
Sargis Mkhargrdzeli
Qubasar [ka]
David Soslan
Zakaria II Mkhargrdzeli
Ivane I Mkhargrdzeli [ka]
Shalva Akhaltsikheli
George IV
Alp Arslan
Malik-Shah I
Nizam al-Mulk
Sarang of Ganja
Muhammad I Tapar
Mahmud II
Ahmad Sanjar
Mesud I
Kilij Arslan II
Kaykhusraw I
Suleiman II of Rûm

The Georgian–Seljuk wars (Georgian: საქართველო-სელჩუკთა ომები, romanized: sakartvelo-selchuk'ta omebi), also known as Georgian Crusade,[1] is a long series of battles and military clashes that took place from c. 1048 until 1213, between the Kingdom of Georgia and the different Seljuqid states that occupied most of Transcaucasia. The conflict is preceded by deadly raids in the Caucasus by the Turks in the 11th century, known in Georgian historiography as the Great Turkish Invasion.


In 1048–9, the Seljuk Turks under Ibrahim Yinal made their first incursion in Byzantine frontier region of Iberia. The emperor Constantine IX requested help from the Georgian duke Liparit IV of Kldekari, whom the Byzantines had aided in his struggle against the Georgian king Bagrat IV. Liparit, who had been fighting on the Byzantine side, was captured at the Battle of Kapetron. Bagrat took advantage of this, and acquired his possessions.

Although the Byzantine Empire and Georgia had centuries-long cultural and religious ties, and the Seljuqs posed a substantial threat to the empire itself, Constantinople's aggressiveness on the Caucasian political scene contributed to an atmosphere of distrust and recrimination, and prevented the two Christian nations from effective cooperation against the common threat. With assertion of the Georgian Bagratid hegemony in the Caucasus being the cornerstone of Bagrat's reign, his policy can be understood as the attempt to play the Seljuqs and Byzantines off against one another.[2]

Seljukid invasions[edit]

Seljuk Empire circa 1090, during the reign of Malik Shah I. To the west, Anatolia was under the independent rule of Suleiman ibn Qutalmish as the Sultanate of Rum, and disputed with the Byzantine Empire. To the east, the Kara-Khanid Khanate became a vassal state in 1089, for half a century, before falling to the Qara Khitai.[3][4]

The second half of the 11th century was marked by the strategically significant invasion of the Seljuq Turks, who by the end of the 1040s had succeeded in building a vast empire including most of Central Asia and Persia. The Seljuks first appeared in Georgia in 1064, when Seljuk Sultan Alp Arslan invaded Georgia. Alp Arslan invaded in Meskheti, Javakheti, Shavsheti and Tao it was a invasion to plunder the lands. These intruders were part of the same wave of the Turkish movement which inflicted a crushing defeat on the Byzantine army at Manzikert in 1071.[5]

The Seljuk threat prompted the Georgian and Byzantine governments to seek a closer cooperation. To secure the alliance, Bagrat's daughter Maria married, at some point between 1066 and 1071, to the Byzantine co-emperor Michael VII Ducas. The choice of a Georgian princess was unprecedented, and it was seen in Georgia as a diplomatic success on Bagrat's side.[6]

On 10 December 1068, Alp Arslan, dissatisfied with the act of the last Caucasian monarch that he had not yet submitted, accompanied by the kings of Lorri and Kakheti as well as the emir of Tbilisi marched against Bagrat again. The provinces of Kartli and Argveti were occupied and pillaged. Bagrat's long-time rivals, the Shaddadids of Arran, were given compensation: the fortresses of Tbilisi and Rustavi. As soon as Alp Arslan left Georgia, Bagrat recovered Kartli in July 1068. Al-Fadl I b. Muhammad, of the Shaddadids, encamped at Isani (a suburb of Tbilisi on the left bank of the Kura) and with 33,000 men ravaged the countryside. Bagrat defeated him, however, and forced the Shaddadid troops to flight. On the road through Kakheti, Fadl was taken prisoner by the local ruler Aghsartan. At the price of conceding several fortresses on the Iori River, Bagrat ransomed Fadl and received from him the surrender of Tbilisi where he reinstated a local emir on the terms of vassalage.[7]

Great Turkish Invasion[edit]

The eristavi Kvariani, as a donor figure wearing sharbush, qaba and tiraz. Church of the Archangels, Zemo-Krikhi, Racha, northern Georgia. 11th century, Inv. No. 03086-75.[8]

Although the Georgians were able to recover from Alp Arslan's invasion, the Byzantine withdrawal from Anatolia brought them in more direct contact with the Seljuqs. In the 1070s, Georgia was twice attacked by the Sultan Malik Shah I, but the Georgian King George II was still able to fight back at times.[9] In 1076 Malik Shah surged into Georgia and reduced many settlements to ruins, from 1079/80 onward, George was pressured into submitting to Malik-Shah to ensure a precious degree of peace at the price of an annual tribute. George's acceptance of the Seljuq suzerainty did not bring a real peace for Georgia. The Turks continued their seasonal movement into the Georgian territory to make use of the rich herbage of the Kura valley and the Seljuq garrisons occupied the key fortresses in Georgia's south.[10] These inroads and settlements had a ruinous effect on Georgia's economic and political order. Cultivated lands were turned into pastures for the nomads and peasant farmers were compelled to seek safety in the mountains.[5]

George II was able to garner the Seljuk military support in his campaign aimed at bringing the eastern Georgian kingdom of Kakheti, which had long resisted the Bagratid attempts of annexation. However, tired with a protracted siege of the Kakhetian stronghold of Vezhini, George abandoned the campaign when snow fell. The Seljuk auxiliaries also lifted the siege and plundered the fertile Iori Valley in Kakheti. Aghsartan I, king of Kakheti, went to the sultan to declare his submission, and in token of loyalty embraced Islam, thus winning a Seljuk protection against the aspirations of the Georgian crown.[11]

George II's wavering character and incompetent political decisions coupled with the Seljuk yoke brought the Kingdom of Georgia into a profound crisis which climaxed in the aftermath of a disastrous earthquake that struck Georgia in 1088.

David IV[edit]

David IV, detail from icon at Saint Catherine's Monastery, 12th century.

In 1110 the Georgians led by George Chqondideli, his nephew Theodore, Abuleti and Ivane Orbelian, retaliated against the Seljuk settlement and recaptured the town of Samshvilde, which was added to the royal domains, without a major battle.[12] Following this capture, the Seljuks left a large part of their captured territories, allowing Georgian troops to capture Dzerna [ka].[13]

The Seljuks felt this kind of defeat very hard and they could not easily give up the territory they had once conquered. That is why, after the loss of Samshvilde and Dzerna, in 1110, the Sultan sent an army of 100,000 men to Georgia. David was in Nacharmagevi. David was faced with a choice: to avoid the enemy and gather an army or to try to stop them. The first option would result in ruining the country. More over, the king would probably not even be able to form an army before the Turks retreat. He chose the more aggressive course. All of his subsequent steps are brilliant illustrations of the implementation of the strategic maneuver proposed by the treatise: as soon as he received information about the Seljuk army, he made a swift decision. David with 1,500 Tadzreulis [ka] warriors, organized a forced march at night and managed to block the enemy's path in the Trialeti mountains, before they could enter the Kartli plain. As a result, events unfolded exactly as described in the treatise: the Georgian gained an obvious moral advantage and the Seljuk, exhausted by a long march, were forced to fight in an unfavorable position. Despite their numerical superiority, the Turks were unable to defeat David's detachment (located in a better position) and left the battlefield in despair. The Georgians then chased the Seljuks for a long time until they were sure that the enemy would not dare to come again.[13]

The Battle of Trialeti deprived the Seljuk Empire of the opportunity to conduct a major military campaign against Georgia for several years, and for the next 11 years, until the Battle of Didgori the Seljuks did not organized a campaign against Georgia. In 1115 while David IV was in Mukhrani (Shida Kartli), George Chqondideli who commanded the Georgian forces captured Rustavi,[13][12] one of the strong Seljuk strongholds in southern Georgia.[14]

Problems began to crop up for David now. His population, having been at war for the better part of twenty years, needed to be allowed to become productive again. Also, his nobles were still making problems for him, along with the city of Tbilisi which still could not be liberated from Seljuk grasp. Again David was forced to solve these problems before he could continue the reclamation of his nation and people. For this purpose, David IV radically reformed his military. He resettled a Kipchak tribe of 40,000 families from the Northern Caucasus in Georgia in 1118–1120.[15] Every Georgian and Kipchak family was obliged to provide one soldier with a horse and weapons. Kipchaks were settled in different regions of Georgia. Some were settled in Inner Kartli province, others were given lands along the border. They were Christianized and quickly assimilated into Georgian society.

In February 1116 by the order of the king, the army of Kartli and Meskhetians were gathered at Klarjeti, David IV suddenly attacked and destroyed the Turks in Tao ("fell unexpectedly upon the unsuspecting Turks").[14]

In 1117 David sent his son, Demetrius to Shirvan to fight, and the young commander astonished the people with his deftness in battle. Demetrius seized Kaladzori Castle and returned home with many captives and much wealth.[16]

The Georgian army's first notable defeat came in 1118, when Beshken Jaqeli was killed by the Seljuks in Javakheti, David heard from Nakhiduri the story of the Seljuks invasion of Javakheti and killing of Beshken Jaqeli. David refused to listen to his nobles' advice to retreat and managed to avenge Beshken's death by defeating the Seljuks in Rakhsi and massacred the Seljuk garrisons on Araxes in April 1118. [16]

In February 1120, David the Builder first moved to Geguti, and from there to Khupati. The Seljuks found out how far it was, they camped at Botora. On February 14, David attacked the Seljuks and completely destroyed them. In the battle the Georgians captured many opponents and gained a lot of booty.[17]

In November 1120, David's army attacked and defeated the Seljuks in Arsharunik and Sevgelamej, And in 1121 he did the same in Khunan. In June 1121, David with the Kipchaks raided the camped Seljuks in Barda. In all these episodes the camp was destroyed meaning that the Georgian army managed to secretly approach it and perform a surprise attack.[17]

In 1121, Sultan Mahmud b. Muhammad (1118–1131) declared a holy war on Georgia and rallied a large coalition of Muslim states led by the Artuqid Ilghazi and Toğrul b. Muhammad. The size of the Muslim army is still a matter of debate with numbers ranging from a fantastic 600,000 men (Walter the Chancellor's Bella Antiochena, Matthew of Edessa) to 400,000 (Smbat Sparapet's Chronicle) to modern Georgian estimates of 250,000–400,000 men. All sources agree that the Muslim powers gathered an army that was much larger than the Georgian force of 56,000 men. However, on 12 August 1121, King David routed the enemy army on the field of Didgori, achieving what is often considered the greatest military success in Georgian history. The victory at Didgori signaled the emergence of Georgia as a great military power and shifted the regional balance in favor of Georgian cultural and political supremacy. Following his success, David captured Tbilisi,[18] the last Muslim enclave remaining from the Seljuk occupation, in 1122 and moved the Georgian capital there and inaugurated Georgia's Golden Age.[19]

The city of Ani was an important economic center of Western Asia. During this period, the city was ruled by Abul-Aswar from the Shaddadid dynasty, who succeeded his father Manuchihr in 1118. Abul-Aswar oppressed the Christian population of the city, treated their religious beliefs harshly. Vardan Bardzberdets tells us that he brought a huge Nal (crescent) made of silver from the city of Ahlat and placed it on the dome of the Armenian church. In addition, he decided to sell Ani for 60,000 dinars to the Emir of Kars (he was a Seljuk). Naturally, this kind of action of Abulaswar caused a lot of grief to the people of Anis. The people of Ani decided to ask help from the king of Georgia. David sympathetically met the request of the people of Ani, gathered 60,000 horsemen in three days and marched to Ani. According to the Armenian historian Samuel Aneli, the residents of Ani turned their backs on Abulsuvar and opened the city's gates to King David of Georgia. David captured Ani and left Meskhetians nobles as guards. According to Vardan Bazberdets, the king gave Ani to Abuleti and his son Ivan.

Georgian conquest of Shirvan[edit]

The recapture of Tbilisi by David IV thus established the Kingdom of Georgia as the supreme protector of Christianity in the Caucasus, and the Georgians now attempted to assert their domination by trying to reduce the Muslim presence in the same region, which was considered an ally of the Seljuk Empire. This was the case in Shirvan, whose sovereign, who had already been defeated several times by Georgian troops, remained too independent of Georgian power and was forcibly replaced by one of the king's sons-in-law, Manuchihr III, in 1120. The Seljuks, alarmed by the situation in Transcaucasia, decided to respond militarily.

Sultan Mahmud II soon resumed the war against Georgia, despite his defeat at Battle of Didgori a year earlier. In November 1122, he began his invasion of Shirvan and captured Tabriz, before reaching the local capital, Shamakhi, the following spring. Mahmud then captured the regional sovereign Manuchihr III and sent a letter to the king of the Georgians saying: "You are the king of the forests, and you never go down to the plains. Now I have taken Shirvanshah and I demand Kharaj [tribute] from him. If you wish, send me suitable presents; if not, come and see me in all haste.[20]

Following this provocation, the Christian monarch called in all his troops and assembled an army of 50,000 men, most of them Kipchaks. The Seljuk sultan locked himself in Shamakhi after learning of the arrival of the Georgian troops, prompting David IV to halt his advance, deeming it disrespectful to pursue a retreating army. Mahmud II then offered the king the opportunity to regain control of his vassal province if he would let him leave in peace, but the monarch categorically refused and resumed his march towards the Shirvan capital after defeating an army of 4,000 Seljuks led by the Atabeg of Arran. Once he had laid siege to Shamakhi, the Seljuk left the city in a hurry via the commune's excrement drainage system.[21]

In June 1123, a month after the defeat of the Seljuks, David IV invaded Shirvan, starting by capturing the town of Gulistan. He soon dethroned his own son-in-law, establishing him in Georgia and directly annexing the region. [21]

David's battles were very important for Georgia and especially for Shirvan. The joint struggle of the Georgians and the people of Shirvan ensured the independence of Shirvan from the Seljuk conquerors. From now on, Georgia and Shirvan became closer to each other.[21]

In April 1124, David captured the fortresses of Sharvani, Ghassan and Khozaond and their adjacent country.[22]

After settling the issue of Armenia, David returned to Shirvan again. In the autumn of 1124, he marched on Shirvan, and captured Shamakhia and the fortress of Birit, and the whole Shirvan, David completely freed Shirvan from the Seljuks, and placed his warriors in the castles and cities. David's historian indicates that these marchers were Heretians and Kakhetians.[23]

Demetrius I[edit]

Demetrius I by Michael Maglakeli, from Matskhvarishi, 1140. He is wearing front-opening qaba with Arabic tiraz bands inscribed in Kufic script.[24]

The kingdom continued to flourish under Demetrius I, the son of David. Although his reign saw a disruptive family conflict related to royal succession, Georgia remained a centralized power with a strong military. As soon as he ascended to the throne, the neighbouring Muslim rulers began attacking Georgia from all sides. The Seljuqid sultans fought to restore the rule of the Shirvanshahs. Shirvan's large Muslim population rose against Georgia. This probably happened in 1129 or 1130, when Demetrius restored the Shirvanshahs to power in Shirvan, installing on the throne Manuchihr II, the husband of his daughter Rusudan. Shirvanshahs had to provide the Georgian king with troops whenever the latter demanded it.

In 1139, Demetrius raided the city of Ganja in Arran. He brought the iron gate of the defeated city to Georgia and donated it to Gelati Monastery at Kutaisi. Despite this brilliant victory, Demetrius could hold Ganja only for a few years.[25][26] In reply to this, the sultan of Eldiguzids attacked Ganja several times, and in 1143 the town again fell to the sultan. According to Mkhitar Gosh, Demetrius ultimately gained possession of Ganja, but, when he gave his daughter in marriage to the sultan, he presented the latter with the town as dowry, and the sultain appointed his own emir to rule it.

Fadl's successor, Fakr al-Din Shaddad, a Shaddadid emir of Ani asked for Saltuk's daughter's hand, however Saltuk refused him. This caused a deep hatred in Shaddad towards Saltuk. In 1154 he planned a plot and formed a secret alliance with the Demetrius I. While a Georgian army waited in ambush, he offered tribute to Saltukids, ruler of Erzerum and asked the latter to accept him as a vassal. In 1153-1154 Emir Saltuk II marched on Ani, but Shaddad informed his suzerain, the King of Georgia, of this. Demetrius marched to Ani, defeated and captured the emir. At the request of neighbouring Muslim rulers and released him for a ransom of 100,000 dinars, paid by Saltuk's sons in law and Saltuk swore not to fight against the Georgians he returned home.[27]

George III[edit]

In 1156 the Ani's Christian population rose against the emir Fakr al-Din Shaddad, and turned the town over to his brother Fadl ibn Mahmud. But Fadl, too, apparently could not satisfy the people of Ani, and this time the town was offered to the George III, who took advantage of this offer and subjugated Ani, he took much loot from Ani and carried off into captivity the whole family of Shaddadids, including Fadl. Appointing his general Ivane Orbeli as its ruler in 1161.

Caucasus region during 1072–1174.

In July, 1161 troops of a muslim coalition consisting, namely those of the Shah-Armens of Ahlat, Saltukids of Erzerum, and the lord of Kars and Surmari was formed. Allies selected the route through the river Araxes, and the Artuqid lord Najm al-din set out to join them. In August, 1161 they arrived before Ani and besieged it. When the king George III of Georgia has arrived to meet them, the emir Saltuk II remembering his oath to the king Demetrius, lifted the siege and left the battlefield. Muslims were defeated and put to the sword and many of them perished. King George liberated the people of Ani who had been taken captive and gave the devastated town assistance. He then marched against the Saltuk II, and in the same year, 1161, defeated and made him prisoner, who was redeemed by his sister, Shahbanu Hatun, wife of the ruler of Ahlat.

Georgians then entered in Shah-Armen possessions and looted Van. Some 9000 Muslims, including the nobles and members Sökmen II family were taken as prisoner. The news of the defeat reached the lord Najm ad-din when he had arrived in Malazgirt, the latter went back to Mayyafariqin without having joined Shah-Armens or taken part in the battle.

The capture of Ani and the defeat of the Saltukid forces enabled the Georgian king to march on Dvin. The following year in August/September 1162, Dvin was temporarily captured and sacked, the non-Christian population was pillaged and the Georgian troops returned home loaded with booty. The king appointed Ananiya, a member of the local feudal nobility to govern the town.

Shams al-Din Eldiguz, ruler of Azerbaijan embarked upon a campaign against Kingdom of Georgia in early 1163. The Seljukid Sultan, Arslan marching from Hamadan met Eldiguz in Nakhchavan. He was joined by the Sökmen II the ruler of Ahlat, Saltuk II the ruler of Erzurum, As-Sunkur the ruler of Maragha, and many others. With an army of 50,000 troops they marched on Georgia. In 1163 Eldiguz attacked Mren (north of Dvin) where he burnt the fortress, with 4000 Christians in it. On 9 July 1163 Seljuks inflicted a heavy defeat on Georgians. They penetrated into the fortress al-Krkri (Gyargyar) where a battle took place, where Georgians sustained a most ignominious defeat. George III was put to flight. Then Seljuks took the fortress of Gagi, laid waste as far as the region of Gagi and Gegharkunik, seized prisoners and booty, and then moved to Ani. In April, 1164 Georgians evacuated the town. Eldiguz arrived and gave Ani to the emir Shahanshah ibn Mahmud.

The Muslim rulers were jubilant, and they prepared for a new campaign. However, this time they were forestalled by George III, who marched into Arran at the beginning of 1166, occupied a region extending to Ganja, devastated the land and turn back with prisoners and booty. The struggle for Ani continued. For four long years Ani was attacked ceaselessly. The population was reduced to misery, the land was not tilled and the economy was dislocated. There seemed to be no end to the war between George III and atabeg Eldiguz. But the belligerents were exhausted to such an extent that Eldiguz proposed an armistice. George had no alternative but to make concessions. Eldiguz restored Ani to its former rulers, the Shaddadids, who became his vassals.

The Shaddadids, ruled Ani for about 10 years, but in 1174 King George captured the Shahanshah ibn Mahmud as a prisoner and captured Ani once again. Ivane Orbeli, was appointed governor of Ani.

Tamar the Great[edit]

Approximate dates of Georgian control. Mouseover for name.
Blue circle=Capital
Black dot=Georgian held cities and fortresses
Red dot=Conquered cities and fortresses
X=Major battles

The successes of his predecessors were built upon by Queen Tamar, daughter of George III, who became the first female ruler of Georgia in her own right and under whose leadership the Georgian state reached the zenith of power and prestige in the Middle Ages. Tamar was successful in neutralizing this opposition and embarked on an energetic foreign policy aided by the decline of the hostile Seljuq Turks. Relying on a powerful military élite, Tamar was able to build an empire which dominated the Caucasus until its collapse under the Mongol attacks within two decades after Tamar's death.

Once Tamar succeeded in consolidating her power and found a reliable support in David Soslan, the Mkhargrdzeli, Toreli, and other noble families, she revived the expansionist foreign policy of her predecessors. Repeated occasions of dynastic strife in Georgia combined with the efforts of regional successors of the Great Seljuq Empire, such as the Eldiguzids, Shirvanshahs, and the Ahlatshahs, had slowed down the dynamic of the Georgians achieved during the reigns of Tamar's great-grandfather, David IV, and her father, George III. However, the Georgians became again active under Tamar, more prominently in the second decade of her rule.

Early in the 1190s, the Georgian government began to interfere in the affairs of the Eldiguzids and of the Shirvanshahs, aiding rivaling local princes and reducing Shirvan to a tributary state. The Eldiguzid atabeg Abu Bakr attempted to stem the Georgian advance, but suffered a defeat at the hands of David Soslan at the Battle of Shamkor[28] and lost his capital to a Georgian protégé in 1195. Although Abu Bakr was able to resume his reign a year later, the Eldiguzids were only barely able to contain further Georgian forays.[29][30]

The question of liberation of Armenia remained of prime importance in Georgia's foreign policy. Tamar's armies led by two Armenian generals, Zakare and Ivane Mkhargrdzeli overran fortresses and cities towards the Ararat Plain, reclaiming one after another fortresses and districts from local Muslim rulers.

The Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in 1190

Alarmed by the Georgian successes, Süleymanshah II, the resurgent Seljuqid sultan of Rûm, rallied his vassal emirs and marched against Georgia, but his camp was attacked and destroyed by David Soslan at the Battle of Basian in 1203 or 1204. The chronicler of Tamar describes how the army was assembled at the rock-hewn town of Vardzia before marching on to Basian and how the queen addressed the troops from the balcony of the church.[31] Exploiting her success in this battle, between 1203 and 1205 Georgians seized the town of Dvin[32] and entered Akhlatshah possessions twice and subdued the emir of Kars (vassal of the Saltukids in Erzurum), Akhlatshahs, the emirs of Erzurum and Erzincan.

In 1204-1205, the Georgians raided the northern areas of Lake Van, the Archesh and Manzikert. After the death of the last Sokhmenid ruler of Shah-Armen without an heir, a struggle began between the Ayyubids to seize power in the Sultanate. Disturbances at home and external pressure turned out to be the reason for the weakening of Shah-Armens and they were no longer able to deal with the threat from the Georgians. The Muslim rulers of the region, could not adapt to the strengthening of Christian Georgia, and that is why the Sultan of Ahlat called for help from the Emir Toghrulshah of Erzurum. They marched with a common army towards the borders of Georgia. When the Georgians found out about the enemy's intentions, they were overconfident, ignored the danger coming from them and faced the enemy defenseless.

Georgians marched on Ahlat in 1205-1206. However, this attempt also ended in failure, because the purpose of this campaign was not the complete conquest of the Shah-Armens, but its plundering. The two crushing defeats experienced against Shah-Armens had a negative impact on Georgia's international status. The situation needed to be corrected immediately.

Simultaneously with the murder of Balaban, the last ruler of the Shah-Armens, in 1206 the Kingdom of Georgia under the command of Davit Soslan besieged Kars (vassal of the Shah-Armens) and other fortresses along the Aras river. The Emir of Kars appealed to the Sultan of the Shah-Armens for help, but he was powerless to find help. In such a situation, the emir of Kars asked the Georgians for a truce and in return gave up the fortress. Ivane Akhaltsikheli was appointed as the Amirtamira of Kars.

Georgian campaign against the Eldiguzids in 1208 and 1210-1211 years.

In 1210-1211, the Zakarids–Mkhargrdzeli brothers waste to Ardabil – according to the Georgian and Armenian annals – as a revenge for the local Muslim ruler's attack on Ani and his massacre of the city's Christian population.[33] In a great final burst, the brothers led an army marshaled throughout Tamar's possessions and vassal territories in a march, through Nakhchivan and Julfa, to Marand, Tabriz, and Qazvin in northwest Iran, pillaging several settlements on their way.[33]


George IV continued Tamar's policy. He put down the revolts in neighbouring Muslim vassal states in the 1210s and began preparations for a large-scale campaign against Jerusalem to support the Crusaders in 1220. However, the Mongols approach to the Georgian borders made the Crusade plan unrealistic. The first Mongol expedition defeated Georgian armies in 1221–1222. George IV died fighting them in 1223 and his sister Rusudan made a desperate alliance against Mongols when she and her daughter Tamar married to Seljuk princes of Erzurum and Sultanate of Rum. The former enemies were now the closest allies (Battle of Köse Dağ) but that did not prevent the Mongol advance.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ René Grousset, L'Empire du Levant : Histoire de la Question d'Orient, 1949, p. 417
  2. ^ Lynda Garland & Stephen Rapp. Mary 'of Alania': Woman and Empress Between Two Worlds, pp. 94–5. In: Lynda Garland (ed., 2006), Byzantine Women: Varieties of Experience, 800–1200. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0-7546-5737-X.
  3. ^ Stone, Norman (1989). The Times atlas of world history. Maplewood, N.J.: Hammond Incorporated. p. 135. ISBN 0-7230-0304-1.
  4. ^ Peacock 2015, pp. 62–63.
  5. ^ a b Suny 1994, p. 34
  6. ^ Lynda Garland with Stephen H. Rapp Jr. (2006). Mart'a-Maria 'of Alania'. An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors. Retrieved on 24 December 2007.
  7. ^ V. Minorsky, "Tiflis", p. 754. In: M. Th. Houtsma, E. van Donzel (1993), E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936. Brill, ISBN 90-04-08265-4.
  8. ^ Flood, Finbarr Barry (2017). A Turk in the Dukhang? Comparative Perspectives on Elite Dress in Medieval Ladakh and the Caucasus. Austrian Academy of Science. p. 253, Fig. 20.
  9. ^ Thomson 1996, p. 310
  10. ^ Allen 1932, p. 98
  11. ^ Lordkipanidze, Mariam Davydovna; Hewitt, George B. (1987), Georgia in the XI-XII Centuries, pp. 76–78. Ganatleba Publishers: Tbilisi.
  12. ^ a b Samushia 2015, p. 29.
  13. ^ a b c Metreveli 2011, p. 66.
  14. ^ a b Metreveli 2011, p. 67.
  15. ^ Norris 2009, p. 36.
  16. ^ a b History of Georgia 2012, p. 386.
  17. ^ a b Metreveli 2011, p. 80.
  18. ^ Pubblici 2022, p. 20.
  19. ^ (in Georgian) Javakhishvili, Ivane (1982), k'art'veli eris istoria (The History of the Georgian Nation), vol. 2, pp. 184-187. Tbilisi State University Press.
  20. ^ Metreveli 2011, pp. 110–111.
  21. ^ a b c Metreveli 2011, p. 111.
  22. ^ Metreveli 2011, p. 112.
  23. ^ Metreveli 2011, p. 115.
  24. ^ Flood, Finbarr Barry (2017). A Turk in the Dukhang? Comparative Perspectives on Elite Dress in Medieval Ladakh and the Caucasus. Austrian Academy of Science. p. 252, Fig. 18.
  25. ^ Rayfield, Donald (2013). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. Reaktion Books. p. 100. ISBN 978-1780230702.
  26. ^ Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. p. 259. ISBN 978-1442241466.
  27. ^ Prof. Yaşar Yüce-Prof. Ali Sevim: Türkiye tarihi Cilt I, AKDTYKTTK Yayınları, İstanbul, 1991, p 149-150
  28. ^ Suny 1994, p. 39.
  29. ^ Luther, Kenneth Allin. "Atābākan-e Adārbāyĵān", in: Encyclopædia Iranica (Online edition). Retrieved on 2006-06-26.
  30. ^ Lordkipanidze 1987, p. 148.
  31. ^ Eastmond 1998, p. 121; Lordkipanidze 1987, pp. 150–151.
  32. ^ Lordkipanidze 1987, p. 150.
  33. ^ a b Lordkipanidze 1987, p. 154.

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