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Kingdom of Lazica
ეგრისის სამეფო
131 AD–697 AD
The kingdom of Lazica in Late Antiquity
Capital Archaeopolis
Languages Zan language Kartvelian languages
Religion Eastern Orthodox Church
Political structure Kingdom
 •  131 AD Malassas (first)
 •  696/697 Sergius (last)
Historical era Classical antiquity
 •  Established 131 AD
 •  vassal of Byzantine Empire 3rd to 5th century
 •  Lazic War 541 to 562 AD
 •  annexation of Lazica by Byzantine Empire 7th
 •  Union with Kingdom of Abkhazia 780
 •  Disestablished 697 AD
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Roman Empire
Kingdom of Abkhazia
Today part of

Lazica (Georgian: ეგრისის სამეფო, Egrisi; Laz: ლაზიკა, Laziǩa; Greek: Λαζική, Lazikē; Persian: لازستان‎, Lazistan; Armenian: Եգեր, Yeger) was the Latin name given to the territory of Colchis during the Roman/Byzantine period, from about the 1st century BC.


By the mid-3rd century, Lazica was given partial autonomy within the Roman Empire and developed into the kingdom of Lazica-Egrisi. Throughout much of its existence, it was mainly a Byzantine strategic vassal kingdom occasionally coming under Sassanid Persian rule, the kingdom fell to the Muslim conquest in the 7th century. Egrisi in the 8th century successfully repelled the Arab occupation and formed the Kingdom of Abkhazia-Egrisi from c. 780, one of the early medieval polities which would converge into the unified kingdom of Georgia in the 11th century. Under Georgian King Bagrat III of the Bagrationi Royal House, Lazica united with the eastern Georgian lands of Iberia-Kartli to form a Kingdom of Georgia.


The known rulers of Lazica were:

  • Malassas, a king of the Lazi as a vassal of the Roman Emperor Hadrian mentioned by Arrian in 131
  • Pacorus, a contemporary of the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius (r. 138–161)
  • Gubazes I, attested c. 456 – 466
  • Damnazes, ?–521/522
  • Tzath I, attested 521/522 – 527/528
  • Opsites, dates of reign unknown, likely some time before 541
  • Gubazes II c. 541 – 555
  • Tzath II, 556–?
  • Lebarnicius, c. 662, mentioned as "patricius of Lazica" in the Hypomnensticum of Theodosius and Theodore of Gangra
  • Grigor 670 – c. 675
  • Sergius, son of Barnucius, c. 696/697

Ecclesiastical history[edit]

In the early 4th century, the Christian eparchy (eastern bishopric) of Pitiunt (Bichvinta ბიჭვინთა ) was established in this kingdom, and as in neighboring Iberia Christianity was declared as an official religion in AD 319.[1][2] Other ancient episcopal sees in Lazica include Rhodopolis,[3] Saesina,[4] and Zygana;[5] in 325 among the participants of the First Council of Nicaea was the bishop of Pitiunt, Stratophilus. The first Christian king of Lazica was Gubazes I; in the 5th century, Christianity was made the official religion of Lazica. Later, the nobility and clergy of Lazica switched from the Hellenic ecclesiastic tradition to the Georgian, and Georgian became the language of culture and education, the Bichvinta Cathedral is one of oldest monuments of the Georgian Christian architecture constructed by the Georgian King Bagrat III Bagration (978-1014, an Orthodox saint).[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Church Triumphant: A History of Christianity Up to 1300, E. Glenn Hinson, p 223
  2. ^ Georgian Reader, George Hewitt, p. xii
  3. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 959
  4. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013, p. 979
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013, p. 1013
  6. ^ W.E.D. Allen, A history of the Georgian people (1932), p. 276.

History of[edit]