XVII-XVIII centuries Georgian merchants in Safian Iran (according to the inscriptions on Georgian and Georgian-Armenian tombstones preserved at Armenian Church in Ispahan)

As it is known, Georgian-Persian relations revived in the period of Safavid Iran, more specifically, in the XVII-XVIII centuries. Of particular interest is the Georgian-Persian trade-economic relationship of that time. Tbilisi – the capital of the Kingdom of Kartli, as one of the trading centers and transit cities of the Transcaucasia, was economically particularly associated with the Iranian cities. The trade route from Tbilisi to Persia went to Kazakhstan-Ganja and Lore-Bambak. The first place in the close trade-economic relationship with the Kingdom of Kartli had exactly the Safavid Iran, from where precious fabrics, silk, salt, alum, leather, etc. were brought to Kartli. In its turn, the Kingdom of Kartli was supplying Iran with raw silk. In addition, wool and cotton fabrics were exported from Kartli. Various Georgian wines were also exported from Tbilisi to Armenia, Midia and Ispahan to meet the needs of the Persian Shah. Georgian and foreign sources provide rich material on how active the relationship was between that time Kartl-Kakheti Kingdom and Safi an Iran. A group of Georgian and Georgian-Armenian epigraphic monuments preserved at Armenian churches in Isfahan adds even more specificity to this rich source of knowledge, which provide a very valuable and unbiased information about Georgian merchants operating in Safi an Iran. In the seventies of the last century, to the tomb stones were drawn attention and were published by the famous Iranist – Magali Todua. The scientist in his work presents the epitaph of 22 gravestones. After Magali Todua, one part of these inscriptions was studied by historian Devi Katsitadze from the historical-source criticism point of view. In the present work we have made some adjustments to the texts of the less studied or unexplored part of the tombstones, and based on it we have studied them from the historical-source criticism point of view. On the ground of the historical-source-based analysis of the inscriptions, we have precisely determined the chronology of the activities of one part of the Georgian merchants in Safavid Iran. In addition, on the basis of the comparison of the epitaphs of the tombs and the data of Georgian historical documents, we found out their relationship to the royal court of Kartli and their important role in Georgian-Persian relations. According to the study of one of the tombstone inscriptions, we found that a well-known historian of the seventeenth century – Parsadan Gorgijanidze, besides son David, mentioned in his work, had also a daughter, who was married to Zurab, the son of Papua Tutunisshvili from Gori. Our findings up to date have been completely unknown to the scientific community.
Ahmadi-Miandashti A. (2019) qartuli safl avebi ispahanis wminda nesres somxur eklesiashi, (krebuli) “qartvelebi teiranis dulabis qristianul sasafl aoze”, Tb., “ilias saxelmwifo universitetis gamomcemloba”. (Georgian Graves in Isfahan St. Nesre Armenian Church. Georgians in Dulab Christian Cemetery. Tb., “Ilia State University’s printinghouse”.] (in Georgian).  Gabashvili V. (1966) Sefi anta iranis saqalaqo cyobileba tazqirat al-muluqis mixedvit, “narkvevebi maxlobeli aghmosavletis qalaqebis istoriidan”. [Safi an Iran City Structure according to “Tazkirat al-Muluk”. “Essays from the History of Near Eastern Cities”. Tb., “Metsniereba”.] (in Georgian).  Kakabadze S. (1925) Parsadan Gorgijanidze, saqartvelos istoria, “Saistorio Moambe”, V. II. Tb., Parsadan Gorgijanidze, History of Georgia, “Saistorio Moambe”, V. II. 1925 (in Georgian).  Katsitadze D. (1976) qartveli vachrebi sefi anta iranshi XVII-XVIII ss. [Georgian merchants in Safi an Iran XVII-XVIII cc.] “Studies from the History of Georgia and Caucasus”. Tb., “Metsniereba”, (in Georgian).  Kaukhchishvili S. (1959) “qartlis tskhovreba”, The Georgian Chronicles. Volume II. Tb., (in Georgian).  Kiknadze R. (1975.) “parsadan gorgijanidze da istoriani da azmani sharavandedtani”, [Parsadan Gorgijanidze and “The Histories and Eulogies of the Sovereigns”.] Tb., “Metsniereba”, 1975 (in Georgian).  Kldiashvili D., Surguladze M., Tsagareishvili E., Jandieri G. (1991.) “pirta anotirebuli leqsikoni”, XI-XVII ss. [Annotated Dictionary of Persons, XI-XVII cc. according to the historical documents. V. I. Tb., “Metsniereba”, 1991 (in Georgian).  Kutsia K. (1972). ispahanis qartveli tarughebi (1618-1722), maxlobeli agmosavletis istoriis sakitxebi. [Isfahan’s Georgian Tarughs (1618-1722). “Issues of Near Eastern History”.] B. 2, Tb., “Metsniereba”. (in Georgian).  Mgaloblishvili M. (1975.) “jan shardenis mogzauroba sparsetsa da aghmosavletis sxva qveynebshi”. [Jean Chardin’s Journey to Persia and Other Eastern Countries.] Tb., “Metsniereba”.(in Georgian).  Puturidze V. (1954.) Mohamed taheris cnobebi saqartvelos shesaxeb. masalebi saqartvelosa da kavkasiis istoriisatvis. [Mohamed Taheri’s Notes about Georgia. “Materials for the History of Georgia and Caucasus”.]V. 30, Tb., “Metsniereba”, 1954 (in Georgian).  Todua M.(1971.) “qartul-sparsuli etiudebi”. [Georgian-Persian Etudes.] Tb., “Metsniereba”, 1971 (in Georgian).  Jorjoliani G. (1987.) “qatl-kaxetis samefo XVII 30-50-ian wlebshi”. [Kartli-Kakheti Kingdom in XVII 30-50s.] Tb., “Metsniereba”, 1987 (in Georgian).
Safi an Iran, Kingdom of Kartli, Georgian merchants, Georgian inscriptions
Economics and Business, №4, 2019, pp. 205-214