Battle of Sasireti
|Battle of Sasireti|
|Part of Civil war in the Kingdom of Georgia
|Georgian royal army, Viking auxiliaries||Georgian rebels, Byzantine auxiliaries|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Bagrat IV||Liparit Baghvashi|
The Battle of Sasireti (Georgian: სასირეთის ბრძოლა) took place in 1042 at the village of Sasireti in the present day Shida Kartli region, not far from the town of Kaspi, during the civil war in the Kingdom of Georgia. It resulted in a decisive defeat of the army of King Bagrat IV by the rebel feudal lord Liparit IV, Duke of Kldekari.
A feud between Bagrat IV and his former general, Liparit Baghvashi, a powerful duke of Kldekari, erupted during their campaign against the Georgian city of Tbilisi (1037–1040), which was ruled by Arab emirs. The king, advised by Liparit’s opponents, made peace with Emir Ali ibn-Jafar, a sworn enemy of the duke, in 1040. In retaliation, Liparit revolted and endeavoured to put Demetre, Bagrat’s half-brother, on the Georgian throne. However, he had no success and ended hostilities with Bagrat, receiving the title of Grand Duke of Kartli, but giving up his son, Ioane, as a hostage of the king. Soon Liparit rose again in rebellion, requesting Byzantine aid. Supported by a Byzantine force and an army of Kakheti (a kingdom in eastern Georgia), he released his son and again invited the pretender prince Demetre to be crowned king. The latter died at the very beginning of the war, but Liparit continued to fight the king’s forces.
The royal army commanded by King Bagrat was joined by a Varangian detachment of 1000 men, probably a subdivision of the expedition of the Swedish Viking, Ingvar the Far-Travelled. According to an old Georgian chronicle, they had landed at Bashi, a place by the mouth of the Rioni river, in Western Georgia.
The two armies fought a decisive battle near the village of Sasireti, eastern Georgia, in the spring of 1042. In fierce fighting, the royal army was defeated and retreated west. Liparit seized the key fortress of Artanuji, thereby becoming the virtual ruler of the southern and eastern provinces of Georgia. Defeated in the battle, it was not until 1059 that Bagrat IV was able to restore his authority in the kingdom, forcing the renegade Duke Liparit into exile in Constantinople.
- Levan Z. Urushadze. "Following the tracks of the Vikings." Yearbook of IACERHRG-2003, Tbilisi, 2004: pp. 100–101 (in English).
- Levan Z. Urushadze. "Some questions of the history of Georgia of 40s of the 11th century." Georgian Source Studies, Volume 10, Tbilisi, 2004: pp. 108–112 (in Georgian, English summary).
- Snorre Sturlason. "Heimskringla" (in Old Norse)