Iberia

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Iberia

(ībĭr`ēə), ancient country of Transcaucasia, roughly the eastern part of present-day Georgia. It was inhabited in earliest times by various tribes, collectively called Iberians by ancient historians, although Herodotus called them Saspirams. Between the 6th and 4th cent. B.C. the kingdoms of ColchisColchis
, ancient country on the eastern shore of the Black Sea and in the Caucasus region. Centered about the fertile valley of the Phasis River (the modern Rion), Colchis corresponds to the present-day region of Mingrelia in Georgia.
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 (western Georgia) and Iberia were founded. Iberia was allied to the Romans, ruled by the Sassanids of Persia, and became (6th cent. A.D.) a Byzantine province. Its later history is that of GeorgiaGeorgia
, Georgian Sakartvelo, Rus. Gruziya, officially Republic of Georgia, republic (2005 est. pop. 4,677,000), c.26,900 sq mi (69,700 sq km), in W Transcaucasia.
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Iberia

 

The ancient name of eastern Georgia (Kartli) used by classical and Byzantine authors.

At the turn of the fourth century B.C. a state was founded in Iberia. Some of the farmers, united in communes, were free, while others were subordinate to the royal family and nobility. Slave labor, drawn mainly from prisoners of war, was employed in construction and other heavy work, as well as in the king’s household. The most important city was the Iberian capital, Mtskheta. Crafts and trade flourished there and in the cities of Urbnisi and Uplistsikhe. In the first centuries A.D. , the Iberians wrote in the Greek and Aramaic scripts. At this time, Iberia was very powerful, particularly during the reign of Pars man II (second century A.D.). Feudalism developed in Iberia in the fourth century A.D.; Christianity was declared the state religion in 337. Toward the end of the fourth century, Iberia was subjugated and heavily taxed by Persia. During the fifth century, King Vakhtang I Gorgasal led a rebellion against the Sassanids. The Persians, crushing the rebellion, abolished the Iberian monarchy and made Iberia a Persian province.

REFERENCES

Istoriia Gruzii, vol. 1. Tbilisi, 1962.
Mtskheta: Itogiarkheologicheskikh issledovanii, vol. I.Tbilisi, 1958.
Boltunova, A. I. “Opisanie Iberii v ‘Geografii’ Strabona.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1947, no. 4.
Melikishvili, G. A. K istorii drevnei Gruzii. Tbilisi, 1959.

Iberia

1. the Iberian Peninsula
2. an ancient region in central Asia, south of the Caucasus corresponding approximately to present-day Georgia