Born 1675; died March 1737 in Astrakhan. Vicegerent and later king of Kartli from 1703 to 1724 (from 1712 to 1719 he was ousted from power by the shah of Iran). Georgian writer, scholar, and political figure.
Following his predecessors in the sphere of foreign policy, Vakhtang VI continued the policy of orientation toward Russia. Under the direction of Vakhtang VI, the Code of Laws and a collection of directives and instructions on state government (Dasturlamali) were composed. In 1709 the first Georgian printing shop was opened on his initiative in Tbilisi. It published not only religious but also secular literature. (For example, in 1712 it issued the first printed edition of Sh. Rustaveli’s poem The Knight in a Tiger’s Skin, with scholarly commentaries by Vakhtang VI.) Vakhtang VI organized a commission of scholars to compose the history of 14th-18th-century Georgia and include it in the collection Kartlis Tskhovreba (The Life of Kartli). Deteriorating foreign and domestic conditions and the inability of Vakhtang VI to withstand Turkish aggression forced him to emigrate to Russia in 1724 with his family and a large retinue (about 1,400 persons). While an émigré, Vakhtang VI did not break his ties with Georgia, but nurtured a plan for its liberation. A patriotic content characterizes the poetry of Vakhtang VI (the lyrical poem “Madzhama”). Some of the poems bear the mark of mysticism and disillusionment with life. Vakhtang VI was also a lexicographer and translator. He produced two versions of a translation of the collection of fables Kalila and Dimna (1714-16).
REFERENCESIstoria Gruzii, vol. 1. Tbilisi, 1962. Pages 338-53.
Baramidze, A., Sh. Radiani, and B. Zhgenti. Istoria Gruzinskoi Literatury: Kratkii Ocherk. Tbilisi, 1958. Pages 82-84.
M. D. LORDKIPANIDZE