David Marshall Lang

David Marshall Lang (6 May 1924 – 30 March 1991), was a Professor of Caucasian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He was one of the most productive British scholars who specialized in Georgian, Armenian and ancient Bulgarian history.


Lang was born in Bromley and was educated at Monkton Combe School and St John’s College, Cambridge where he was a Major Scholar and later held a Fellowship. Aged 20, having graduated from Cambridge, he was an officer in Iran when he was appointed in 1944 as acting Vice-Consul in Tabriz, Iran, where he acquainted himself with the city's Armenian population. In 1949 he was the member of staff for the School of Oriental and African Studies at University of London. He began as Lecturer in Georgian language, then as Reader and in 1964 he became Professor of Caucasian Studies. In 1953 he held a Senior Fellowship at the Russian Institute of Columbia University and in 1965 he was a visiting Professor in Caucasian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Between 1962 and 1964 he was Honorary Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society of London.

Lang visited the Soviet republic of Armenia three times during the 1960s and 1970s. It was on one of these visits to the Soviet Union, in December 1963, that he was allegedly recruited by the KGB, according to KGB files copied in Moscow by archivist Vasili Mitrokhin.[1] The archivist also refers to his alleged career as an operative of English counter-intelligence which, according to the dates in The Mitrokhin Archive, would have been before he was 20 years old.

The historian Donald Rayfield alleged that Lang befriended Alexi Inauri, the head of the Georgian KGB, who might have instigated him to denounce anti-Soviet dissidents in Georgia.[2][3]

For a long time, Lang directed the Caucasian Studies Department at the University of London,[4] and lectured in Caucasian languages and history at Cambridge and various universities around the world.[5]

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • The Wisdom of Balahvar (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1957)
  • The Last Years of the Georgian Monarchy, 1658-1832 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957)
  • First Russian Radical, Alexander Radischev, 1749-1802 (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1959)
  • A Modern History of Georgia (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1962)
  • The Georgians (New York: Praeger, 1966)
  • Armenia: Cradle of Civilization (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1970)
  • The Peoples of the Hills: Ancient Ararat and Caucasus by Charles Allen Burney and D.M. Lang (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971)
  • Bulgarians: From Pagan Times to the Ottoman Conquest (London: Thames and Hudson, 1976)
  • Lives and Legends of the Georgian Saints (New York: Crestwood, 1976)
  • The Armenians: A People in Exile (London: Allen and Unwin, 1981)
  • Armenia and Karabagh: the Struggle for Unity (London: Minority Rights Group, 1991)


  1. ^ Armenians in Mitrokhin's KGB notes
  2. ^ Rayfield, Donald (2012). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. London: Reaktion Books. p. 375. ISBN 978-1780230306.
  3. ^ Edgar, Robert (21 September 2017). "Donald Rayfield on Researching Georgia, Literature & Politics". Georgia Today. Retrieved 28 September 2017.
  4. ^ Georgian Literature in European Scholarship by Prof. Elguja Khintibidze
  5. ^ Library of Congress website

See alsoEdit