Kingdom of Hereti

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Kingdom of Hereti
ჰერეთის სამეფო
situation in the Caucasus in 850s
situation in the Caucasus in 850s
Status Kingdom
Capital Shaki
Common languages Georgian
Caucasian Albanian
Religion Georgian Orthodox Church
Monophysite Christianity
Historical era Early Middle Ages
• Established
• Disestablished
Succeeded by
Kingdom of Kakheti-Hereti
Today part of

The Kingdom of Hereti (Georgian: ჰერეთის სამეფო), was a medieval monarchy which emerged in Caucasus on the Iberian-Albanian frontier. Nowadays it roughly corresponds to the southeastern corner of Georgia's Kakheti region and a portion of Azerbaijan's northwestern districts.


The area was inhabited in earliest times by Hers (referred to as Èrs as well), Sujs, Tchilbs, and Lbins. Collectively called Hers (Heretians), these tribes came under the rule of the Caucasian Albania.[1] Hereti was populated by Caucasian Albanians, Dagestani, Armenians, Persians and Georgians. It had flourishing towns that traded with Persia and Armenia.[1]

With decline of Caucasian Albania, the area was gradually incorporated into the Iberian kingdom forming one of its duchies (saeristavo) in the 5th century and its peoples were eventually assimilated into the Georgians proper. It was when the name Hereti first appeared in the Georgian sources. According to traditional accounts, the name of the province originated from the legendary patriarch "Heros", the son of Thargamos, who founded the city of Hereti (later known as Khoranta) at the Alazani River.


As a reward for the contribution in struggle against the Arab occupantion, the Iberian ruler (erismtavari) Archil gave Hereti to the noble family of Bagrationi in the 740s–750s. After the death of the last Iberian princes John and Juansher, the Heretian lords extended their fiefdoms and, in 787, established an independent principality (samtavro) with the capital in Shaki. The principality gained significant strength and prestige by 893 allowing Prince Hamam to be crowned the king. Alarmed by the increasing power of the Heretian kingdom, Kvirike I (c. 892–918), the ruler of the neighbouring Kakhetian principality, allied himself with King Constantine III of Abkhazia and, in 915, campaigned against King Adarnase II Patrikios of Hereti (c. 897–943). The allies occupied and divided the country but for a short time as Adarnase Patrikios soon reconquered what had been lost.

Ishkhanik (c. 943–951), a son and successor of Adarnase Patrikios, ruled together with his mother Queen regnant Dinar, sister of Grand Magister Gurgen IV, Prince of Klarjeti (c. 918–941). Under them, Hereti was forced to recognize the supremacy of the stronger neighbour, Principality of Daylam, ruled by the Salarid dynasty (Iranian Azerbaijan). According to The Georgian Chronicles Queen Dinar, along with her son Ishkhani converted Hereti to the Orthodox faith and delivered its people from the Monophysite heresy in the tenth century. In 950, Ishkhanik took advantage of the bitter power struggle in the Salarid state, and ceased to pay tribute effectively restoring his independence. According to the Armenian historian Movses Kaghankatvatsi, Rus' tribes that carried out raids in the southernmost Caucasus often traveled through the Transcaucasus, and it was with these tribes that the story of Queen Dinar made its way to Russia.

The next Heretian ruler, John (Ioane Senekerim, 951–959) added to his kingdom part of the former Albanian kingdom and the eastern Georgian mountainous area Tzanaria. After his death, a local dynasty seems to have ceased to exist, and the kingdom fell under Kvirike II, Chorepiscopus of Kakheti (c. 929–976). The area then was contested between his successor, David (c. 976–1010), and the Georgian king Bagrat III who sought to bring all Georgian lands into a single monarchy. The next Kakhetian ruler, already titled as the king, Kvirike III the Great (1010–1037) finally absorbed Hereti into his Kingdom of Kakheti-Hereti in the 1020s. When the Georgian king David the Builder brought the kingdom under his control in 1104, Hereti became a saeristavo (i.e. a duchy) within the Georgian realm. Georgian rule of Hereti was interrupted by Atabegs of Azerbaijan, Khwarezmid Empire and Ilkhanid rule. After the final disintegration of the unified Georgian monarchy in 1466, Hereti came under the Kakhetian crown. Afterwards the name of the province itself has gradually disappeared from the historic records and public usage due to successively Kara Koyunlu, Aq Qoyunlu, Safavid, Afsharid, and Ottoman rules.

Rulers of Hereti[edit]

Ruler Reign title Notes
1. Sahl Eṙanshahik 815–840 Prince
2. Adarnase I 840–865 Prince
3. Grigol Hamam 865–897 King King (since 893)
4. Adarnase II Patrikios 897–943 King
5. Ishkhanik 943–951 King co-ruler: Queen regnant Dinar
6. John Senekerim 951–959 King became "King of the Tsanars"
995–997 briefly occupied by David of Kakheti
997–1020s interregnum
1020s annexed by Kvirike III of Kakheti

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rayfield, Donald. Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. p. 60. 

External links[edit]


  • Papuashvili, T. Problems of Heretian history. Tbilisi, 1970. (in Georgian)
  • Papuashvili, T. Kingdom of the Rans and Kakhs. Tbilisi, 1982. (in Georgian)