Siege of Tbilisi (1122)

The Siege of Tbilisi was the successful siege of the city of Tbilisi, capital of the Emirate of Tbilisi, by the Georgians under King David IV, which ended in 1122. As a result, the Georgians were able to liberate the entire region from Muslim influence and even contest territories within the Seljuk Empire, which at that point was left almost defenceless.[1]

Siege of Tbilisi
Part of the Georgian–Seljuk wars
DateFebruary 1122
Result Georgian victory
End of the Emirate of Tbilisi
Emirate of Tbilisi
Seljuk Empire
 Kingdom of Georgia
Commanders and leaders
Unknown David IV

Background Edit

The Emirate of Tbilisi was established in 736, following the Marwan ibn Muhammad's invasion of Georgia, which managed to occupy the city of Tbilisi and its environs from their previous holders, Principality of Iberia. The emirate was controlled by Arab dynasties throughout the next centuries despite unsuccessful Georgian attempts during the reign of King Bagrat IV to recapture its capital.

In 1062, Tbilisi became governed by its city council composed mostly of monks until it was reoccupied by Alp Arslan six years later, during the Great Turkish Invasion. In 1080, the city council regained control in a period of weakened emirs' authority.

Following the devastating defeat of Muslim alliance forces at the battle of Didgori in August 1121, King David IV managed to drive the foreign occupiers out from the region until he reached the outskirts of Tbilisi.

Battle Edit

By the end of 1121, David resieged Tbilisi. The city tried to resist, but the military strikes of Georgians were so strong that it was pointless to continue fighting. The siege also put the population in a difficult time. The rulers of Tbilisi decided to negotiate with the king, in which they sent ambassadors to David and asked for a truce, but the king's decision was unwavering - Tbilisi had to submit to the central government. David refused to negotiate with the ambassadors. In the middle of February 1122, the Georgian army made a decisive attack and took the city.[2]

Aftermath Edit

David showed great severity towards the population, in which he killed many, including 500 Seljuks who were put on a spiked polearm and tortured to death. After taking Tbilisi, David moved the capital of Georgia from Kutaisi. However, the Arab historian al-'Ayni (1360–1451), who utilizes sources, some of which have not survived, admits that the city was pillaged but says that the Georgian king eventually showed patience and "respected the feelings of the Muslims." A well-educated man, he preached tolerance and acceptance of other religions, abrogated taxes and services for the Muslims and Jews, and protected the Sufis and Muslim scholars.

References Edit

  1. ^ Tsurtsumia, Mamuka (2015). "Medieval Georgian Poliorcetica". Historia i Świat (4): 175–204. ISSN 2299-2464.
  2. ^ Pubblici 2022, p. 20.

Sources Edit

  • Pubblici, Lorenzo (2022). Mongol Caucasia: Invasions, Conquest, and Government of a Frontier Region in Thirteenth-Century Eurasia (1204-1295). Brill.

  • Minorsky, Vladimir (1993). "Tiflis". In Houtsma, M. Th.; van Donzel, E.. E. J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936. Brill. p. 755. ISBN 90-04-08265-4.