Alexander I of Kakheti
Alexander I (Georgian: ალექსანდრე I, Alek’sandre I) (1445 or c. 1456 – April 27, 1511), of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a king of Kakheti in eastern Georgia from 1476 to 1511. Alexander's pliancy and flexible diplomacy earned him security from the neighboring powers, only to be murdered by his own son George II "the Bad".
Alexander was appointed by his father George I of Kakheti (i.e., George VIII, formerly king of a united Georgia) a co-ruler in 1460, and succeeded on the throne upon George's death in 1476. Next year, Kakheti was attacked by the Ak Koyunlu nomads who had earlier ravaged the neighboring Georgian kingdom of Kartli. However, Alexander won peace by sending precious gifts to the Ak Koyunlu leader Uzun Hassan and succeeded in diverting his attention away from Kakheti. Alexander also preferred to keep peace with the rival Bagrationi branch in Kartli, which recognized him as an independent monarch in 1490.
He was the first Georgian ruler to have attempted to forge an alliance with the co-religionist princes of Moscow in order to counterbalance the growing ambitions of the Safavid dynasty of Iran. After the two Kakhetian embassies, in 1483 and 1491, to Grand Duke Ivan III, whose reign laid the basis for Russian unity, failed to bring any results, Alexander sent, in 1500, his younger son Demetre to deliver homage to Ismail I, the Shah of Iran, who was on a campaign in Shirvan in the immediate eastern neighborhood of Kakheti. Received with honors by the shah, the mission helped establish stable relations with Iran which would remain more or less peaceful until the early years of the 17th century. This allowed Alexander to strengthen the royal authority and to secure internal stability within his kingdom.
In 1511, Alexander’s reign was abruptly terminated in a coup led by his elder son, George, who, suspicious that Alexander intended to deprive him of legacy, had his father executed and his brother, Demetre, blinded.
According to the Georgian genealogists, Alexander was married twice. His first wife was Ana, daughter of Prince Garsevan Cholokashvili; the second wife is known only by her name, Tinatin. According to the historian Cyril Toumanoff, both names were bore by the same woman, a daughter of Prince Beena Cholokashvili, reflecting the polyonymy not infrequently found among the Georgian female royals. Alexander was the father of two sons:
- Giorgi (1469–1513), the future king George II of Kakheti;
- Demetre, forefather of the Princes Davitashvili.
- Mikaberidze, Alexander (2007). Alexander I (Kakheti) Dictionary of Georgian National Biography. Accessed October 5, 2007.
- (Russian) Вахушти Багратиони (Vakhushti Bagrationi) (1745). История царства грузинского. Возникновение и жизнь Кахети и Эрети. Ч.1. Accessed October 5, 2007.
- Toumanoff, Cyril (1949–51). "The Fifteenth-Century Bagratids and the Institution of Collegial Sovereignty in Georgia". Traditio 7: 188, 202.
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