Bagrat VI of Georgia

Bagrat VI (Georgian: ბაგრატ VI) (c. 1439 – 1478), a representative of the Imeretian branch of the Bagrationi royal house, was a king of Imereti (as Bagrat II) from 1463, and a king of Georgia from 1465 until his death.


He was the son of Prince George. Around 1455, he was granted the title of Eristavi (duke) of Samokalako (Kutaisi, western Georgia, and the surroundings) by the Georgian king George VIII. In the early 1460s, Bagrat supported the rebel prince Qvarqvare I Jakeli, atabeg of Samtskhe, and the king took Bagrat's duchy away. In 1463, Bagrat led a coalition of western Georgian nobles who met and defeated George VIII at the Battle of Chikhori. Subsequently, Bagrat captured Kutaisi and was crowned king of Imereti. But in return for their aid, the new monarch was obliged to create a principality (samtavro) for each of his four allies. Henceforth the Gelovani clan in Svaneti, the Shervashidze (Sharvashidze) in Abkhazia, the Dadiani in Odishi (Mingrelia), and the Vardanidze in Guria ruled as semi-independent princes.

In 1465, after the king George VIII was defeated and imprisoned by Qvarqvare of Samtskhe, Bagrat used the opportunity to seize control of Tbilisi. Crowned king of Georgia, he ruled both Imereti in the west and Kartli in the east, but remained mostly in western Georgia. In his western possessions, he also established a separate church, Catholicosate of Abkhazia, independent from the Patriarchate of Mtskheta (i.e., Georgian Orthodox Church). To justify this step, he asked Michael IV, Patriarch of Antioch and Jerusalem, to compose a "Law of Faith" which stated that western and eastern Georgia had different history of conversion and, therefore, they should be independent from each other.

Once freed from captivity, George VIII attempted to recover his throne, but was only able to secure the eastern Georgian province Kakheti, leaving the field in Kartli to his nephew, Constantine who seems to have established himself as a virtual ruler in part of Kartli in 1469. During this time of triarchy, Georgia was at least twice attacked by Uzun Hasan, the prince of the Ak Koyunlu clan (Münejjim Bashi speaks of three invasions, in 1466, in summer of 1472, and after Uzun Hassan's defeat by the Ottoman Turks in 1476-7).[1] Bagrat had to make peace with the invaders, abandoning Tbilisi to the enemy. It was only after Uzun Hasan's death (1478) when the Georgians were able to recover their capital.

Bagrat died in 1478, and was succeeded by his son, Alexander II.

Bagrat VI was buried at the Gelati Monastery near Kutaisi.

Family and children

He was married to Elene (died November 3, 1510), who bore him three sons:



Preceded by
Demetre II
King of Imereti
Succeeded by
Alexander II
Preceded by
George VIII
King of Georgia
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