Parsadan Gorgijanidze

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P'arsadan Gorgijanidze (Georgian: ფარსადან გორგიჯანიძე; or Giorgijanidze, გიორგიჯანიძე) (1626 – c. 1696) was a Georgian factotum and historian in the service of the Safavids. Early in his career he served at the residence of the viceroy (vali) of Kartli, and later at the Safavid court in Isfahan. He is principally known for his informative chronicles The History of Georgia (საქართველოს ისტორია, sak’art’velos istoria).


Born in the town of Gori, Gorgijanidze was brought up at the local court of the Safavid viceroy (vali) of Kartli, Rostom (Rostam), in Tbilisi.[1] He engaged in Georgian-Iranian diplomacy early in his career.[1] In 1656, he was appointed, through the recommendation of Rostom, as a darugha (prefect) of the Safavid capital, Isfahan.[1][2] For thirty years, Rostom had held the function of prefect of Isfahan himself, though the actual administration was maintained by the deputy prefect, Mir Qasem Beg.[1][2]

Gorgijanidze converted to Islam on the occasion, entered the gholam corps, and was to spend four decades in the service of the kings (shahs) Abbas II (1642-1666) and Suleiman I (1666-1694).[1][3][4] Then grand vizier Mohammad Beg (1654-1661), who was responsible for the dismissal and execution of Mir Qasem Beg, tried to take more revenge on the latter by using the new prefect, Gorjijanidze, in his scheme.[4] Angered by the fact that king Abbas II had not ordered for the confiscation of Mir Qasem's property, he encouraged Gorgijanidze to accept bribes and perform extortion.[4] Mohammad Beg wanted to show, that if a newly appointed prefect could amass such amounts of wealth in a short period of time, then Mir Qasem Beg must have had "pocketed fantastic amounts of money" in his thirty years of holding the office as deputy.[4] Gorgijanidze soon followed the grand vizier's advice.[4]

However, it was not Gorgijanidze's attempt at gathering wealth that caused his direct downfall.[4] Shortly after his appointment as prefect of the capital, Parsadan's harsh administrative rearrangements and new laws raised him opposition with the Isfahanians, and his direct superior Ughurlu Beg, the divanbegi (chancellor, chief justice), who received complaints about Gorgijanidze's misrule.[4] The divanbegi took the side of the citizens, and had a part in the rioting that ensued.[4] Mohammad Beg, realizing that his scheme was getting thwarted by Ughurlu Beg, formed the event to make it look like a "threat to security" for which the divanbegi should be held responsible.[4] After the report was made to king Abbas II by Mohammad Beg, Ughurlu Beg was removed from his post and blinded, while Parsadan was also dismissed from his post.[4][5] Abbas II then appointed Parsadan as the new eshik-agha (Master of Ceremonies) of the royal court, and gave him five villages in the confines of Golpayegan as a fief.[1] Parsadan's family remained in Kartli, but several of its members were also active in mainland Iran. Thus, one of Parsandan's brothers, Alexander, served as the zarabibash (chief of the Shah's mint) of Isfahan;[6] another, Melik Sadat-Bek, was yuzbash (lieutenant) of the shah’s army. Parsadan's son, David, was trained as an officer of the shah's guard (gholam).

Gorgijanidze found himself involved in the incessant intrigues in the Safavid administration and twice fell in disfavor with the shah. His post also allowed Gorgijanidze to intervene in the domestic politics in his native Georgia. His antagonism with Rostom's successor as ruler of Kartli, Shah Navaz Khan (Vakhtang V) undermined his position and Gorgijanidze was exiled, from 1666 to 1671, to Shushtar, the governor of which, Vakhushti Khan, was a close relative of Shah Navaz Khan's wife Rodam.[7][1]

Chronicle and overal literary efforts[edit]

A manuscript of Gorgijanidze's untitled chronicle was discovered by the Georgian scholar Platon Ioseliani in 1841 and was conventionally named The History of Georgia by the 19th-century scholars of Georgia Marie-Félicité Brosset and Teimuraz Bagrationi. It is a voluminous work which seems to have been completed by the author by 1694 or 1696 while living in Isfahan.[1] The chronicle relates the Georgian history from the ascension of Christianity in Georgia in the 4th century down to the late 17th century.[1] Gorgijanidze's account of his contemporary events is of special value.[1] He made extensive use of foreign, primarily Persian, historical works in order to confirm or supplement information from native Georgian sources.[8] The chronicles contain also autobiographic information and is written in vernacular Georgian apparently because of the author's poor knowledge of the contemporary standards of Georgian literary language.

Gorgijanidze was also actively involved in the editing, versification and rewriting of the Georgian versions of the Shahnameh epic.[1] Amongst the several major works Gorgijanidze translated into Georgian, there was the Jāmeʿ-e abbāsi, a book written by Sheikh Baha'i on Shia jurisprudence.[1] He also composed a trilingual Georgian-Arabic-Persian dictionary.[9][1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Giunashvili 2016.
  2. ^ a b Matthee 2012, pp. 49-50.
  3. ^ Mikaberidze 2015, p. 344.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Matthee 2012, p. 50.
  5. ^ Newman 2008, p. 85.
  6. ^ Paghava, Turkia & Akopyan 2010, p. 22.
  7. ^ Maeda 2007, pp. 125-136.
  8. ^ Hitchins 2001, pp. 490-493.
  9. ^ Alasania.