GORGIJANIDZE, PARSADAN (b. Gori, Georgia, ca. 1626; d. 1696), a distinguished Georgian literary figure who served in the Safavid administration as deputy governor (nāʾeb-e dāruḡa) of Isfahan and royal chamberlain (išik-āqāsi); he was also a historian.

During the 16th and early 17th century, Georgians held important positions in the government and cultural spheres in the Safavid Iran (see GEORGIA vii. Georgians in the Safavid Administration). Georgian regal offsprings were appointed as military leaders (e.g., Allāhverdi Khan) and city metropolis governors (dāruḡa; Kutsia, pp. 93-103).  Parsadan Gorgijanidze is the most distinguished figure of the latter group in the second half of the 17th century.

Gorgijanidze was raised from the age of ten at Kartli in eastern Georgia at the palace of Ḵosrow Mirzā Rostam Khan, Shah Ṣafi I’s (r. 1629-42) vice-regent in Georgia.  He received a proper education and learned Persian, and several times he was sent by Ḵosrow Mirzā on various missions to Iran.

Ḵosrow Mirzā’s close relationship with Shah Ṣafi I dated from 1618, when he held the posts of divānbegi and dāruḡa of Isfahan under Shah ʿAbbās I (r. 1588-1629), and was firmly based on his critical role in the accession of Shah Ṣafi in 1629 after the death of Shah ʿAbbās (Eskandar Mirzā, p. 1078; tr., p. 1302; Chick, ed., p. 308; Wali-qoli Šāmlu, pp. 209-10).  In 1632, following unrest in Kartli, Shah Ṣafi sent Ḵosrow Mirzā, now titled Rostam Khan, as his vice-regent there (wāli; Giunashvili, pp. 149-50).

In 1656, with a recommendation from Ḵosrow Mirzā, Shah ʿAbbās II (r. 1642-66) appointed Gorgijanidze dāruḡa of Isfahan (Waḥid Qazvini, p. 386).  However, Gorgijanidze soon faced insuperable problems, which he refers to as “the great animosity and envy that he faced over Persia from officers who did not tolerate a rival” (Javakhishvili, 1945, p. 286).  Shah ʿAbbās held an inquiry into the case and had a culprit blinded.  He also removed Gorgijanidze from the dāruḡa position, granted him the post of išik-āqāsi (master of ceremonies), and gave him five villages in the Golpāyagān area as a fief (Maeda, pp. 220-21). However, Gorgijanidze again became target of slanders, this time, as he mentions himself, “by the Georgian king” (Vakhtang V ?).  Consequently, he was exiled to Shushtar, a town in southwest Iran, where he remained in banishment for six years (1666-71; Kiknadze, p. 16; Maeda, pp. 221-22).

Gorgijanidze was quite active in the promotion of the cultural aspects of Georgia. He actively participated in rewriting of the Georgian versions of the Šāh-nāma, as well as in its versification and editing (see ŠĀH-NĀMA TRANSLATIONS ii. Into Georgian). He was the first compiler of the Georgian-Arabic-Persian dictionary, which has been edited twice.  He also translated into Georgian some major oriental works, including Jāmeʿ-e ʿabbāsi, a Persian manual on Shiʿite jurisprudence by Shaikh Bahāʾ-al-Din ʿĀmeli (d. 1621; R. Kiknadze, p. 8). 

Gorgijanidze also made a notable contribution to the revitalization of Georgian historiography, which had gone through a period of serious decline, following the Mongol invasion up to Tamerlane’s onslaught (14th-15th cents.). Georgian historiography in the 15th-16th centuries is a truthful recorded image of Georgia’s decline (Javakhishvili, 1996, p. 278).

The rise of Georgian historical writings began in the second half of 17th century. In the last decades of the same century, Gorgijanidze wrote the first historical work while living in Isfahan, “The Life of Georgia” (“A history of Georgia”), in which is related a history of Georgia and neighboring countries from the adoption of Christianity in Eastern Georgia (Kartli) in the beginning of the 4th century up to the end of 16th century.  This work was extended by the author up to the last part of the 17th century (Kiknadze, pp. 8, 17).

Academician I. Javakhishvili divided Gorgijanidze’s “History” into four parts: (a) from the very beginning until the reign of Queen Tamar (12th-13th cents.); (b) from the sovereignty of Queen Tamar until the 14th century; (c) from Tamerlane until the middle of the 17th century; and (d) from the middle to the end of the 17th century, thus filling the gaps in Georgian historiography.

Gorgijanidze, due to his significant position at the Persian royal court, must have been well aware of the contemporary political events in Georgia, which makes the last part of his work a reliable source of valuable data and great significance for the study of Georgia’s history (Javakhishvili, 1996, p. 288).  On the other hand, since he had been living in Iran for a long time without having access to Georgian sources related to ancient period of Georgian history, he had to rely mainly on Armenian and Persian historical and literary works for the first part of his history (Javakhishvili, 1996, p. 25). In the last part, Gorgijanidze performed the task that, nearly two centuries later, was carried on by Marie Brosset (1802-80) and Bernhard Dorn (1805-81) by compiling Persian historical data on Georgia (Kiknadze, p. 20).

Recorded in Gorgijanidze’s “History” are attested facts that are not mentioned in other Georgian sources.  It is a rich source of informative data, mostly quite significant for scholarly research dealing with existing historical works, and it elucidates many issues of Georgian history in the 12th-13th centuries.


H. Chick, ed., A Chronicle of the Carmelites in Persia and the Papal Mission of the XVIIth and XVIIIth Centuries, 2 vols., London, 1939. 

Parsadan Gorgijanidze, “Georgian-Arabic-Persian Dictionary,” in M. Janashvili, ed., Parsadan Gorgijanidze and His Works, Tbilisi, 1896, pp. 29-72; ed. W. Puturidze, Tbilisi, 1941 (in Georgian). 

Parsadan Gorgijanidze, Parsadan Gorgijanidzis istoriya (Parsadan Gorgijanidze’s history), ed., S. Kalabadze, Tbilisi, 1926; partial tr. Marie Brosset, as “Extrait de l’Histoire de Pharsadan Giogidjanidzé,” in idem, ed. and tr., Histoire de la Géorgie depuis l’antiquité jusqu’au XIX siècle, 2 vols., St. Petersburg, 1856, II, pp. 509-61; Russ. tr. R. K. Kiknadze and Vladimir S. Puturidze, as Istoriya Gruzii, Tbilisi, 1990. 

Eskander Beg Monši Torkamān, Ḏayl-e Tāriḵ-e ʿālamārā-ye ʿabbāsi, Tehran, 1938.  J. Giunashvili, Kārnāma-ye panjāhsāla: Gozida-ye neveštahā dar zamina-ye irān-šenāsi wa rawābeṭ-e tāriḵi-farhangi-e Gorjestān wa Irān, Tbilisi, 2012. 

Ivane Javakhishvili, Parsadan Gorgijanidza de misni shromani (Parsadan Gorgijanidze and his Works), Tbilisi, 1896. 

Idem, “Parsadan Gorgijanidze,” in Old Georgian Historical Writing, Tbilisi, 1945 (in Georgian). 

Idem, “History of the Georgian People,” III, Tbilisi, 1966 (in Georgian). 

R. Kiknadze, Parsadan Gorgijanidze da’istoriani da azmani sharavandtani (Parsadan Gorgijanidze and history and praising of crowned heads), Tbilisi, 1975 (in Georgian). 

Karlo Kutsia, Georgian Dāruḡas of Eṣfahān (1618-1722): Issues in the History of the Near East II, Tbilisi, 1972, pp. 93-103 (in Georgian). 

Hirotake Maeda, “Parsadan Gorgijanidze’s Exile in Shushtar: A Biographical Episode of a Georgian Official in the Service of the Safavids,” Journal of Persianate Studies 1/2, 2008, pp. 218-29; available online at Abstracta Iranica, vol. 31, 2008, document 155, http://abstractairanica.revues.org/39397

Giorgio Rota, “Caucasians in Safavid Service in the 17th Century,” in Raoul Motika and Michael Ursinus, eds., Caucasia between the Ottoman and Iran, 1555-1914, Wiesbaden, 2000, pp. 107-20. 

Moḥammad-Ṭāher Waḥid Qazvini, ʿAbbs̄-nāma, ed. Ebrāhim Dehgān, Arak, 1950.

Waliqoli Šāmlu, Qeṣaṣ al-ḵāqāni, ed. Sayyed Ḥasan Sādāt Nāṣeri, Tehran. 1992.

(Jemshid Giunashvili)

Originally Published: March 8, 2016

Last Updated: March 8, 2016

Cite this entry:

Jemshid Giunashvili, “GORGIJANIDZE, PARSADAN,” Encyclopædia Iranicaonline edition, 2016, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/gorgijanidze-parsadan (accessed on 08 March 2016).