Otar Beg Orbeliani

Otar Beg, also known as Otar Khan, later known as Zu al-Faqār (born circa. 1583,[1] – died 1662/63), was a Safavid royal gholam and official from the Georgian Baratashvili-Orbelishvili (Orbeliani) clan. His family continued to flourish until Nader Shah's time.


Not much is known about the early life of Otar Beg. His original family name was Baratashvili-Orbelishvili, which is also referred to as Orbeliani, and Qaplanshvili.[2] His father's name was Aslamaz.[1] He had two younger brothers, Vakhushti and Gorjasbi (later also called Mansur), who also held high positions like him. According to Alexander Orbeliani (1802–1869), Otar had one more brother named Kaykhosrow.[3] He furthermore had a known younger cousin named Qaplan Baratashili-Orbelishvili (Orbeliani) (?–1671), who had fled to mainland Iran in the early 17th century after the death of his father Erizbar Baratashvili-Orbelishvili, the latter being therefore Otar's uncle.[3] Otar was mentioned for the first time in the Iranian sources in 1626, when he held the function of darugha (prefect) of New Julfa, having succeeded Mirman Mirimanidze on this post. When king Abbas I died (1629), he had already been the governor of Semnan.[1] He was later given the governorship of Kandahar in the easternmost territories in 1649 under king Abbas II. As Prof. Maedo Hirotake adds, when Kandahar was surrounded by the Mughal forces in 1653, due to the protracted siege, the city nearly fell, and Otar was blamed for his soft attitude. Otar however answered that they would fight alone till the end, and after he would have died in battle, behave as generals liked to do. He is quoted: "I have served the Safavid kings for seventy years. My bones are made from Shah's (kings) different kinds of graces."[1] He was succeeded as governor of Kandahar by his brother Gorjasbi.



  1. 1 2 3 4 Maeda 2003, p. 252.
  2. Maeda 2003, p. 249.
  3. 1 2 Maeda 2003, p. 248.


Preceded by
Amir Khan Mohrdar Soklan Zu al-Faqār
Governor of Semnan
Succeeded by
Manuchehr Beg
Preceded by
Mirman Mirimanidze
Prefect of New Julfa
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mihrab Khan
Governor of Qandahar
Succeeded by
Gorjasbi (Mansur) Orbeliani
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