Khorashan of Kartli

Teimuraz I and his wife Khorashan. A sketch from the album of the contemporaneous Roman Catholic missionary Cristoforo Castelli.

Khorashan (Georgian: ხორაშანი, also Khoreshan, ხორეშანი, or Khvareshan, ხვარეშანი; died 1658) was a member of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty, a daughter of King George X of Kartli and a consort of Teimuraz I of Kakheti, whom she married as his second wife in 1612. She spent more than four decades of her life with Teimuraz, whose eventful reign ended with his final overthrow by a pro-Iranian faction in 1648. Khorashan accompanied him in his flights and comebacks. She was involved in diplomacy and patronized Catholic missionaries.

Family background and marriage

Khorashan was a daughter of George X of Kartli by his wife Mariam Lipartiani. Among her four siblings was Luarsab II, George X's successor to the throne of Kartli and, eventually, a saint of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Khorashan had been promised to Baadur, eldest son of the influential Georgian nobleman, Nugzar, Duke of Aragvi, but the girl was given by Luarsab in marriage to a 23-year-old widower, King Teimuraz I of Kakheti, in 1612. This breach of faith offended the ducal family and brought trouble to Luarsab in the following years.[1] A younger brother of Khorashan's former fiancé, Zurab, would later marry her daughter Darejan in spite of Khorashan's opposition to this union.[2][3]

Teimuraz's marriage to Khorashan was encouraged and even insisted upon by Abbas I, the Safavid shah of Iran, an overlord of both Kartli and Kakheti. Teimuraz was initially reluctant as Khorashan was his relative through their common great-grandfather Levan of Kakheti, but he eventually bowed to the shah's will and wed her at Gremi. Further marriage arrangements to cement loyalty of the Georgian rulers were made in the same year; Khorashan's younger sister, Tinatin, was sent to the harem of Shah Abbas, where Elene, a sister of Teimuraz, had already been installed.[1] When discussing the rationale behind these marriages, the 18th-century Georgian chronicler, Prince Vakhushti, claims Abbas desired to humiliate the Georgian monarchs and offend their Christian values.[4][5]


Khorashan thus became a queen consort of Teimuraz and his faithful companion for 47 years of the king's turbulent life. Four times, in 1614, 1616, 1633, and in 1648, the couple was forced into flight from their kingdom as a result of Teimuraz's obstinate resistance to the Iranian hegemony. Twice, in 1625 and again in 1633, was Teimuraz able to briefly extend his rule over Kartli, the kingdom of his brother-in-law, Luarsab, who had been put to death at Shah Abbas's order in 1622. In the course of these events, Kakheti was devastated and the population shrank significantly as a result of war and waves of deportation to Iran's interior.[6]

At least on one occasion, Khorashan nearly fell into the hands of the Iranian soldiers. In 1620, when Khorashan was accompanying Teimuraz in his journey in the Ottoman Empire during their second exile from Kakheti, Shah Abbas sent a force under the beylerbey of Erivan, Amirgune Khan, to seize Khorashan and her entourage, staying at that time at Olti. According to the Georgian chronicles, Khorashan had a dream that she was attacked and robbed by soldiers. The queen was so alarmed that she immediately retired, with her people, into a hideout within the town's citadel. Amirgune Khan appeared at dawn, but he failed to find the fugitives, and withdrew, only to be attacked and defeated by the queen's majordomo, Prince Nodar Jorjadze, on his road back to Iran.[7] This description of events is similar to that provided by the contemporary Portuguese Augustinian monk Ambrósio dos Anjos in his account of the martyrdom of Teimuraz's mother, Queen Ketevan, in Iran. According to Ambrósio dos Anjos, Shah Abbas intended to take Teimuraz's wife Khorashan as his own in order to humiliate the recalcitrant Georgian ruler. Capitalizing on Teimuraz's temporary absence from home, the shah's men attempted her abduction, but the besieging Iranian force was stalled until Teimuraz was able to return unexpectedly, putting the intruders to rout.[8]

Prince Vakhushti also reports an incident in which Teimuraz, outraged at defection of the nobles of the Baratashvili clan, was about to have their wives mutilated, but Khorashan did not allow him such an act of revenge.[9]

Last years

The couple eventually ended up in exile in the Kingdom of Imereti in western Georgia in 1648, having lost their only son, Prince David, in a battle with the Iranian army in the same year. The latest downfall of Teimuraz, which proved to be permanent, was occasioned by the enthronement of Rostom of Kartli, a pro-Iranian relative of Khorashan. The beleaguered king Teimuraz sent Khorashan to parley; Rostom treated the queen with honor and magnanimously allowed his adversary a safe passage to Imereti.[10] Teimuraz's last hopes rested on Russia, whither he departed in 1656. He returned to Imereti in 1659, with no tangible results, finding his queen already dead.[11]




Wikimedia Commons has media related to Khorashan Bagrationi.
Royal titles
Preceded by
Ana Gurieli
Queen consort of Kakheti
Kakheti deposed and union with Kartli
Title next held by
Ketevan of Kakheti
Preceded by
Jahan of Kakheti
Queen consort of Kartli
Succeeded by
Ketevan Abashishvili
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