Samtskhe atabegate

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Samtskhe saatabago
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Principality of Samtskhe-Saatabago in the late 15th century
Capital Akhaltsikhe
Languages Georgian
Religion Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Government Principality
Prince of Meskheti
 •  1260–1285 Sargis I (first)
 •  1607–1625 Manuchar III (last)
Historical era Late Middle Ages
 •  Established 1266
 •  Vassal of Mongol Empire 1266–1334
 •  Reunited with Kingdom of Georgia 1334–1535
 •  Peace of Amasya 1555
 •  Disestablished 1625
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Georgia
Childir Eyalet
Today part of

The Samtskhe Atabegate or Samtskhe-Saatabago (Georgian: სამცხე-საათაბაგო), also called the Principality of Samtskhe (სამცხის სამთავრო), was a Georgian feudal principality ruled by an atabeg (tutor) of Georgia between 1268 and 1625. Its territory consisted of modern Samtskhe-Javakheti and the historical region of Tao-Klarjeti.


Principality of Samtskhe was established after the expansion of the dukedom of Samtskhe. Dukes of Samtskhe were always distinguished by their longing for higher autonomy from the Georgian monarch, after the Mongol invasion and their conquest of Georgia, Sargis I Jaqeli and David VII of Georgia rebelled against their Mongol overlords, but failed. In 1266, Prince Sargis Jakeli of Samtskhe (with Akhaltsikhe as the capital) was granted special protection and patronage by the khan Abaqa, thus winning virtual independence from the Georgian crown. Samtskhe–Saatabago managed to remain a culturally developed part of Georgia as well as maintaining territorial integrity, sometimes even expanding along its borders; in 1334 George V of Georgia reasserted royal authority over the virtually independent principality of Samtskhe, ruled by his cousin Qvarqvare I Jaqeli. In 1386 Tamerlane declared Jihad on Georgia and invaded Samtskhe-Saatabago several times. In 1394, he dispatched four generals to the province of Samtskhe, with orders to apply the Islamic law of ghaza (i.e. the systematic raiding of non-Muslim lands). After the weakening of Georgian monarchy, the rulers of Samtskhe turned to separatism once more.

When Qvarqvare II's son Kaikhosro I died two years after he ascended the throne, and was succeeded by his equally pious brother Mzetchabuk, the Iranian Safavids, led by the emerging Shah Ismail I were tempted to loot the feudal state, if only to distract himself from his main quarry; Shirvan.[1] In 1500, Shah Ismail inveigled the atabeg of Samtskhe, king Constantine II and king Alexander II of Imereti to attack Ottoman possessions nearby Tabriz,[2] as a precaution, Ismail had Aleksander send his son Demetre to the newly conquered region of Shirvan, where the prince negotiated a peace agreement. Ismail promised Constantine, once Tabriz was captured, to cancel the tribute he still paid the Ak Koyunlu Turcomans, each Georgian ruler contributed 3,000 men to the existing Ismail's own 7,000.[3] By 1503 they enabled him to recapture Nakhchivan from the Ottomans, but Ismail broke his promise, and made Kartli and Kakheti his vassals.[4]

Princes/Atabegs of Samtskhe[edit]


  1. ^ "Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia". Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  2. ^ "Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia". Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  3. ^ "Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia". Retrieved 15 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia". Retrieved 15 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

  • Georgian Soviet encyclopedia, vol. 9, pg. 48-49, Tb., 1985