Erekle I of Kakheti
Heraclius I or Nazar Alī Khān (ნაზარალი-ხანი) (1642—1709), of the Bagrationi Dynasty
Bagrationi Dynasty
The Bagrationi dynasty was the ruling family of Georgia. Their ascendency lasted from the early Middle Ages until the early 19th century. In modern usage, this royal line is frequently referred to as the Georgian Bagratids, a Hellenized form of their dynastic name.The origin of the Bagrationi...

, was a Georgian
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 monarch who ruled the kingdoms of Kakheti
Kingdom of Kakheti
The Kingdom of Kakheti was a late medieval/early modern monarchy in eastern Georgia, centered at the province of Kakheti, with its capital first at Gremi and then at Telavi...

 (1675—1676, 1703—1709) and Kartli
Kartli is a historical region in central-to-eastern Georgia traversed by the river Mtkvari , on which Georgia's capital, Tbilisi, is situated. Known to the Classical authors as Iberia, Kartli played a crucial role in ethnic and political consolidation of the Georgians in the Middle Ages...

 (1688—1703) under the protection of the Safavid dynasty
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

 of Iran.

Early life

He was born to Prince
Batonishvili was a title for princes and princesses of the blood royal in the Transcaucasian kingdom of Georgia, and was suffixed to the Christian name e.g., Alexandre Batonishvili, Ioane Batonishvili...

 David (1612-1648), son of King Teimuraz I
Teimuraz I of Kakheti
Teimuraz I , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a Georgian monarch who ruled, with intermissions, as King of Kakheti from 1605 to 1648 and also of Kartli from 1625 to 1633...

, by his wife Helene née Princess Diasamidze
Diasamidze was a Georgian noble family known from 1443.The family held a fiefdom around Aspindza in Samtskhe , and later acquired the former possessions of the houses of Abuserisdze and Khursidze...

 (died 1695). Taken to Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 when the pro-Persian king Rostom of Kartli
Rostom of Kartli
Rostom or Rustam Khan was a ruler of Kartli, eastern Georgia, from 1633 until his death. Appointed by a Persian shah as a Wāli of Kartli, he styled himself king of kings and sovereign.- Life :...

 defeated Teimuraz in 1648, he was raised and educated at the Romanov court at Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 where he was known as Tsarevich Nicholas Davidovich . In 1662, he returned to take over the then-vacant crown of Kakheti at the invitation of local nobility, but was defeated by the rival prince Archil who enjoyed the Iranian support. Nicholas had to flee back to Russia where he featured prominently (was best man of Tsar) at the wedding of Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Alexis Mikhailovich to Natalia Naryshkina
Natalia Naryshkina
Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina was the Tsaritsa of Russia from 1671 to 1676 as the second spouse of tsar Alexei I of Russia.-Biography:Coming from a petty noble family, daughter of Kirill Poluektovich Naryshkin and wife Anna Leontyevna Leontyeva Natalya Kirillovna Naryshkina was the Tsaritsa of...

 in 1671 and stood in high favor with the Russian court. By popular legend, he was a natural father of Peter the Great.

In Kakheti

In 1675, Archil conflicted with the shah’s government, abandoned Kakheti and defected to the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Prince Nicholas capitalized on the ensuing turmoil, returned for a second time and was proclaimed as King of Kakheti Heraclius (Erekle) I. Shah Suleiman I
Suleiman I of Persia
Suleiman I was a Safavid shah of Persia who reigned between 1666 and 1694. He was the elder son of the previous shah Abbas II and a Circassian slave, Nakihat Khanum....

 ordered him to Isfahan and promised to confirm him as king if Heraclius apostatized
Apostasy , 'a defection or revolt', from ἀπό, apo, 'away, apart', στάσις, stasis, 'stand, 'standing') is the formal disaffiliation from or abandonment or renunciation of a religion by a person. One who commits apostasy is known as an apostate. These terms have a pejorative implication in everyday...

 to Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The king refused to become Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 and the shah’s subject, citing the oath of allegiance
Oath of allegiance
An oath of allegiance is an oath whereby a subject or citizen acknowledges a duty of allegiance and swears loyalty to monarch or country. In republics, modern oaths specify allegiance to the country's constitution. For example, officials in the United States, a republic, take an oath of office that...

 given by his ancestor, Alexander II of Kakheti
Alexander II of Kakheti
Alexander II , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a king of Kakheti in eastern Georgia from 1574 to 1605. In spite of a precarious international situation, he managed to retain relative economic stability in his kingdom and tried to establish contacts with the Tsardom of Russia...

A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office of monarch of a nation or of a people . In most hereditary monarchies and some elective monarchies A reign is the term used to describe the period of a person's or dynasty's occupation of the office...

 1574-1605), to Feodor I of Russia
Feodor I of Russia
Fyodor I Ivanovich 1598) was the last Rurikid Tsar of Russia , son of Ivan IV and Anastasia Romanovna. In English he is sometimes called Feodor the Bellringer in consequence of his strong faith and inclination to travel the land and ring the bells at churches. However, in Russian the name...

. Hence, he was deprived of the crown, being allowed, however, to settle to Isfahan.

In Kartli

In 1688, when the government of Iran declared its recalcitrant subject George XI of Kartli
George XI of Kartli
George XI was a Georgian monarch who ruled Eastern Georgia from 1676 to 1688 and again from 1703 to 1709. He is best known for his struggle against the Safavid Persia which dominated his weakened kingdom. Being an Eastern Orthodox Christian, he converted to Islam prior to his appointment as...

 deposed, Heraclius acceded to the shah’s pressure. He converted to Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 assuming the title of Nazar Alī Khān in 1676. In reward, Heraclius was confirmed as King of Kartli and given a Persian army to win over the crown. To buttress Heraclius's authority, the shah appointed 'Abbās-qolī Khan, formerly a beglarbeg of Ganja
Ganja, Azerbaijan
Ganja is Azerbaijan's second-largest city with a population of around 313,300. It was named Yelizavetpol in the Russian Empire period. The city regained its original name—Ganja—from 1920–1935 during the first part of its incorporation into the Soviet Union. However, its name was changed again and...

, as Persian viceroy in Kakheti (residing at Qara-Agach). The khan failed, however, to prevent George XI from staging a comeback in 1691 and blockading Heraclius (Nazar Alī Khān) in Tiflis, his capital. It was not until 1696 that George admitted defeat and came to Isfahan to offer his submission to the new shah, Soltan Hosayn
Husayn (Safavid)
Sultan Husayn was a Safavid king of Iran . He ruled from 1694 until he was overthrown in 1722 by Shah Mahmud Hotaki, an Afghan warrior of Pashtun ethnic background...


At the same time, the shah grew increasingly dissatisfied with Nazar Alī Khān’s administration. Having spent most of his life in Russia and Iran, his lack of knowledge of Georgian national traditions he had already estranged his subjects. A vacillating ruler, addicted to strong drink, though capable at times of being brave, philanthropic and reformist, he never really achieved a firm control of his possessions, or made himself popular with the populace of Kakheti. Meanwhile, George XI managed to gain the favor of Shah Hosayn and was reconfirmed as King of Kartli in 1703, while Nazar Alī Khān was removed from the throne and ordered to Isfahan where he was invested by Hosayn as King of Kakheti and appointed the commander of the shah’s personal guard. He was never able to return to his kingdom, however, and died at the Persian capital in 1710, being succeeded on the throne by his son, David II (Imām Qulī Khān)
David II of Kakheti
David II also known as Imām Qulī Khān , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a king of Kakheti in eastern Georgia from 1709 to 1722...

, who had run Kakheti during Nazar Alī Khān’s absence at Isfahan.


Erekle I married, in 1677, Ana née Cholokashvili
Cholokashvili is a former noble family in Georgia. It claimed an exotic foreign lineage and first appeared in the eastern Georgian province, and later kingdom, of Kakheti in 1320...

, who became a nun in widowhood and died before April 1716. Erekle had several children by Ana and his anonymous concubine:
  • David II [Imam Quli Khan], King of Kakheti
  • Helene (died 1745), Queen Consort
    Queen consort
    A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

     of Jesse of Kartli
    Jesse of Kartli
    Jesse , also known by his Muslim names Ali-Quli Khan and Mustafa Pasha, , of the Mukhranian Bagrationi dynasty, was a king of Kartli , acting actually as a Safavid Persian and later Ottoman viceroy from 1714 to 1716 and from 1724 until his death, respectively.He was a son of Prince Levan by his...

  • Constantine II of Kakheti
    Constantine II of Kakheti
    Constantine II also known as Mahmād Qulī Khān , of the Bagrationi Dynasty, was a king of Kakheti in eastern Georgia from 1722 to 1732....

  • Ismail
  • Rostom (1685—1703)
  • Vakhtang (died 1695)
  • Demetre (1688—1700)
  • Gorgasal (died 1697)
  • George
  • Macrine (1696—1744), married Prince Edisher Cholokashvili and became a nun in widowhood
  • Kethevan (died c. 1742), married Prince Abdullah-Beg
  • Teimuraz II
    Teimuraz II
    Teimuraz II , of the Bagrationi dynasty, was a king of Kakheti, eastern Georgia, from 1732 to 1744, then of Kartli from 1744 until his death.- Life :...

  • Reza Quli Mirza
  • Mustafa Mirza
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