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Kingdom of Lazica
ეგრისის სამეფო
131 AD–697 AD
The kingdom of Lazica in Late Antiquity
The kingdom of Lazica in Late Antiquity
Common languagesZan language, and other Kartvelian Languages
Greek (religious)
Eastern Orthodox
• 131 AD
Malassas (first)
• 696/697
Sergius (last)
Historical eraClassical antiquity
• Established
131 AD
• vassal of Roman Empire
3rd to 5th century
• Lazic War
541 to 562 AD
• annexation of Lazica by Byzantine Empire
• Disestablished
697 AD
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Roman Empire
Kingdom of Abkhazia
Today part of
Countries today

Lazica (Georgian: ეგრისი, Egrisi; Laz: ლაზიკა, Laziǩa; Greek: Λαζική, Lazikí; Persian: لازستان, Lâzestân; Armenian: Եգեր, Yeger) was the Latin name given to the territory of Colchis during the Roman/Byzantine period, from about the 1st century BC.


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By the mid-3rd century, Lazica was given partial autonomy within the Roman Empire and developed into kingdom. Throughout much of its existence, it was mainly a Byzantine strategic vassal kingdom that briefly came under Sasanian Persian rule during the Lazic War. The kingdom fell to the Muslim conquest in the 7th century. Lazica in the 8th century successfully repelled the Arab occupation and formed part of the Kingdom of Abkhazia from c. 780, one of the early medieval polities which would converge into the unified kingdom of Georgia in the 11th century.

Ecclesiastical history

In the early 4th century, the Christian eparchy (eastern bishopric) of Pityus was established in this kingdom, and as in neighboring Iberia Christianity was declared as an official religion in AD 319.[1][2] Other ancient episcopal sees in Lazica include Rhodopolis,[3] Saesina,[4] and Zygana.[5] Bishop Stratophilus of Pityus was among the participants of the First Council of Nicaea in 325. The first Christian king of Lazica was Gubazes I; in the 5th century, Christianity was made the official religion of Lazica. Later, the nobility and clergy of Lazica switched from the Hellenic ecclesiastic tradition to the Georgian, and Georgian became the language of culture and education. The Bichvinta Cathedral is one of oldest monuments of Georgian Christian architecture. It was constructed by King Bagrat III of Georgia (978-1014, an Orthodox saint).[6]


Ruler Reign Notes
1. Malassas mentioned by Arrian in 131 vassal of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
2. Pacorus a contemporary of the Antoninus Pius (r. 138–161) his name is found on a coin issued by him.
3. Gubazes I attested c. 456 – 466
4. Damnazes ?–521/522
5. Tzath I attested 521/522 – 527/528
6. Opsites dates of reign unknown, likely some time before 541
7. Gubazes II c. 541 – 555
8. Tzath II 556–?
9. Lebarnicius c. 662 mentioned as "patricius of Lazica" in the

Hypomnensticum of Theodosius and Theodore of Gangra

10. Grigor 670 – c. 675
11. Sergius c. 696/697

See also


  1. ^ E. Glenn Hinson, The Church Triumphant: A History of Christianity Up to 1300. p 223
  2. ^ George Hewitt, Georgian Reader. p. xii
  3. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013 (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2013, ISBN 978-88-209-9070-1), p. 959
  4. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013, p. 979
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2013, p. 1013
  6. ^ W.E.D. Allen, A history of the Georgian people (1932), p. 276.