Sasireti, Battle of (1046)

Battle between the armies of King Bagrat IV (1027–1072) of Georgia and the powerful Lord Liparit IV Baghvashi of Kldekari at the village of Sasireti, near modern Kaspi. A dispute between King Bagrat IV and Lord Liparit Baghvashi gradually developed into a bitter struggle over power. In his youth, Bagrat had been held hostage in Constantinople after his father King Giorgi I (1014–1027) lost the first Georgian-Byzantine War for the southwestern Georgian lands. Ascending the throne in 1027, Bagrat fought the second Georgian-Byzantine War in 1027–1030 which ended in a peace agreement between the two states. However, the Byzantine Empire often interfered in Georgian affairs, supporting the renegade nobles against Bagrat. In 1032, Amir Jafar of Tbilisi was captured by the powerful Georgian lords Liparit Bagvashi of Kldekari and Ivane Abazas-dze. However, influenced by the nobles who were resentful of Liparit Baghvashi, Bagrat released the Arab ruler, a decision he later came to regret. Liparit Baghvashi was offended by the royal decision and gradually turned against the king.

In 1038, Bagrat and Lord Liparit besieged Tbilisi for two years, but the king later signed a peace agreement with Amir Jafar without consulting Liparit Baghvashi, who now became Bagrat’s sworn enemy. In 1046, the Byzantines allied themselves with Liparit Baghvashi and launched a major campaign to defeat Bagrat and replace him with his half-brother Prince Demetre. In 1046, Liparit Baghvashi routed Bagrat IV’s army, which also included Viking mercenaries, at Sasireti, capturing Tbilisi and forcing Bagrat to retreat into eastern Georgia. The battle undermined the royal authority in Georgia and further accelerated the decentralization process, leaving Georgia vulnerable to the Seljuk attacks. It would take King Bagrat another six years to restore his authority over the eastern and southwestern Georgian provinces.


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