Battle of Aspindza

Coordinates: 41°34′26.76″N 43°14′58.88″E / 41.5741000°N 43.2496889°E / 41.5741000; 43.2496889
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Battle of Aspindza
Part of Russo-Turkish War (1768–1774)
Date20 April 1770
Location41°34′26.76″N 43°14′58.88″E / 41.5741000°N 43.2496889°E / 41.5741000; 43.2496889
Result Georgian victory[1]
Kartli-Kakheti Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Heraclius II
David Orbeliani
Prince George
Gola Pasha 
3,000 9,500[2]
Casualties and losses
63 4,500+[2]

The Battle of Aspindza (Georgian: ასპინძის ბრძოლა) was fought on 20 April 1770 between the Georgians, led by king of Kartli-Kakheti Erekle II, and the Ottoman Empire.[3] The Georgians won a victory over the Turks.[4]


In the 1760s, shortly before the formation of the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, King Heraclius II of Kakheti and his father, King Teimuraz II, repeatedly attempted to establish a military alliance with the Russian Empire against the Muslims who occupied the entire southern border of the kingdom. Later, during the Russo-Turkish War, Empress Catherine II dispatched an expeditionary force of 1,200 men under the command of General Gottlieb Totleben[5] to Georgia and King Heraclius II opened a second front against the Sublime Porte. In March 1770, Russian-Georgian forces marched on the Borjomi Valley and captured the Sadgueri [ka] fortress on April 14. Three days later, they besieged Atsquri, but the Georgian king and the Russian general soon came into conflict. They did not agree on the strategic way in which to continue the campaign. Heraclius II wanted to take advantage of his successes and continue the conquests as far as Akhaltsikhe, the capital of the Childir Eyalet, but Totleben refused to come to his aid and remained Atsquri.[6]


The Ottoman governor of Akhaltsikhe rallied his troops to save Atskhouri. Victorious in his first advances, he spread fear among the allied troops, whose Russian contingent took advantage of the situation to leave Georgia on April 19, literally abandoning the Georgians. Then, King Heraclius II had no choice but to retreat, pursued by Turkish troops who tried to cut the Georgian defense lines in order to force them back on the town of Aspindza.

On April 20, King Heraclius first routed the Ottoman advance guard, made up of 1,500 men. By this trick, he let through the approximately 18,000 soldiers of the main Turkish forces who soon arrived on the banks of the Kura, which passed through Aspindza. During the night of April 20, Ottoman troops began crossing the only bridge connecting the two banks of the river, with the aim of secretly advancing to Tbilisi. However, a group of Georgians, led by Aghabab Eristavi and Simon Moukhranbatoni, destroyed this bridge, even before the action of the enemies and soon, a strong Georgian army surprised the Ottomans. The left flank was led by prince George, the center by Heraclius II in and the right of the troops by General David Orbeliani. The Turks were routed and lost around 4,000 men, including the Avar leader Kokhta-Beladi, commanders and pashas. The survivors manage to swim across the Kura river.

The battle is the subject of the patriotic ode "On the Battle of Aspindza" by Besiki.[7]


  1. ^ Rayfield (2012), p. 243.
  2. ^ a b Mikaberidze (2015), pp. 148–149.
  3. ^ Mesxia (1968), p. 31.
  4. ^ Allen (1971), p. 207.
  5. ^ Gottlieb Heinrich Totleben (1715-1773). Selon A. Manvelichvili, Histoire de la Géorgie, p. 328 note 4 : « Aventurier allemand originaire de Thuringe, d'où il avait été chassé pour crime de droit commun, accueilli à la cour de Russie il y occupa de hautes fonctions ». Il sera remplacé par le général Soukhotine.
  6. ^ A. Manvelichvili, Histoire de la Géorgie, p. 328 note 5 & p. 329 note 7 : « Totleben devait laisser les Géorgiens combattre seuls et utiliser les forces russes à un coup d'État qui après l'enlèvement du roi Héraclius lui aurait livré le pays ».
  7. ^ Kveselava (2002), p. 181.


  • Allen, William Edward David (1971). A history of the Georgian people: from the beginning down to the Russian conquest in the nineteenth century. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-7100-6959-7.
  • Gvosdev, Nikolas (2000). Imperial Policies and Perspectives towards Georgia, 1760–1819. Springer. ISBN 9781403932785.
  • Kveselava, M. (2002). Anthology of Georgian Poetry. The Minerva Group. ISBN 978-0-89875-672-2.
  • Mesxia, Šotʻa (1968). An outline of Georgian history. Tbilisi University Press. OCLC 292912.
  • Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia. Rowman & Littlefield.
  • Rayfield, Donald (2012). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. Reaktion Books Ltd.

General References[edit]

  • Gogebashvili, Jacob (1937). "The Battle of Aspindza". Georgica (4–5). OCLC 1586281.