Battle of Marabda
|Battle of Marabda|
|Part of Kartli-Kakhetian Uprising (1625)|
The plains of Marabda.
|Kingdom of Kartli||Safavid Empire|
|Commanders and leaders|
Jesse of Kakheti (Isa Khan)|
|20,000 men||60,000 men|
|Casualties and losses|
|9,000 to 10,000||14,000|
The Battle of Marabda took place on July 1, 1625, when the Iranian Safavid army defeated a Georgian force. This battle occurred after the Battle of Martqopi in the same year, when the Iranian army was routed.
The battle was the result of the Kartli-Kakhetian Uprising of 1625, when Teimuraz I took the leadership of the second rebellion against the Safavid Empire in his lifetime. Abbas I of Persia sent a large army under the command of a Persianized Georgian Jesse of Kakheti to quell the uprising. The Safavid army also included the Beylerbeys of Shirvan and Erivan, as well as soldiers from northern and central Iran. Shah Abbas I was commanding the expedition from southern Azerbaijan, where he was encamped.
The Iranian army crossed into Georgian territory at the end of June 1625 and encamped in the valleys of Algeti River on plains of Marabda. King Teimuraz and Giorgi Saakadze assembled 20 thousand men and encamped in Kojori-Tabakhmela plains. The Iranians were waiting for the army of Beglarbeg of Azerbaijan, Shah Bende Khan and hence were not planning on launching an attack yet. Georgian commanders were at contention about the specifics of the strategy they would use in battle. Giorgi Saakadze was insisting on waiting for the attack of the Persians in order to utilize the landscape of the Marabda plains, whereas King Teimuraz was suggesting the opposite. In the end, the plan of Teimuraz was favored over that of Giorgi and so the battle began with the personal leadership of the king, removing Giorgi Saakadze from command.
The Persians were prepared for the attack: sangars had already been built and artillery pieces were laid out in the front, behind of which stood the riflemen in four rows. The front of the force was put under the leadership of Amirghuna Khan, while Jesse commanded the center of the army. The Georgians came down from the Tabakhmela highlands during the night and charged the Persian fortifications at dawn. The musketeers and artillery caused heavy casualties but were unable to stop the Georgian attack, which broke through the front and destroyed the Iranian vanguard, mortally wounding Amirghuna Khan. Georgians were able to break the riflemen infantry lines and launched a massive offensive to the center of Jesse's army. In the heat of battle, the Persian flanks were unable to help the center, got separated from the main force and, according to Teimuraz's plan, started fleeing from the battlefield. The victory of the Georgians seemed almost inevitable, but Isa-Khan was stubbornly trying to halt the Georgian advance. After much of the Persian army was routed and the rest of it was reduced into a large pocket, one of the Georgian flanks lost the contact point with the enemy and started to celebrate their soon-to-be-had victory. At the same time, Teimuraz I's cavalry battalions got separated from the main battleground while chasing down the retreating Persians. The Qizilbashs used the advantage by reassembling the broken lines and concentrating them around Jesse's personal guard and launching a powerful counter-attack on the Georgians. Utilizing the newly arrived reinforcements under Shah Bende Khan, Isa-Khan managed to break the decimated Georgian lines and rout them in the direction of Kojori Narrows.
The defeat at Marabda was extremely costly for Georgians, killing many nobles and experienced generals in Teimuraz I's loyal service. The main reasons behind the defeat were non-disciplinary actions of the rebels and the usage of outdated weaponry. Despite the crushing defeat, Georgians continued to fight a guerrilla war against the Persians. The costly victory for the Persians at Marabda did not quell the overall uprising in Kakheti. Teimuraz, along with his comrades, actively continued to oppose the Persian hegemony. Teimuraz's political and military maneuvers effectively resulted in restoration of autonomy in eastern Georgia, reinstituting the throne of Kakheti to Teimuraz I himself.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Battle of Marabda.|
-  მარაბდის ბრძოლა, Battle of Marabda, "Istoriani", June 2013
- "მარაბდის მოვლენების განხილვაც ისეთი განსაზღვრებით არის წარმოდგენილი, თუ რა მისია შესრულდა 20-ათასიანი ქართველი მეომრის მიერ, როცა ამ ომში 60 ათასი ირანელის პირისპირ ქართველი დიდებულების ნაწილმა სარდლად თეიმურაზ I აირჩია."
- Jamburia, Givi. Development of Georgian Sociopolitics in the First Half of the XVII Century Part VI, pg. 425-426, Tbilisi 1983
- History of Georgia, R. Metreveli, Tbilisi State University. -