Iberia Forever

Parnavaz (Pharnabazus) I's Coins

The Kingdom of Iberia (4th century BC–5th century AD) established in Eastern Georgia by the Georgians (Kartvelians). The king of Iberia, Parnavaz (Pharnabazus) I unified the territory from the Caucasus Range till the source of the River Euphrates and was a reformer of the Georgian alphabet. He was also founder of the dynasty of Parnavazians. The capital of this Kingdom was Mtskheta, existing at the mouth of the Rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi.

Kartlis Tskhovreba ("History of Georgia").


Pharnaces' son Pharnabazus ruled Dascylium from at least as early as 413 until 388/7 B.C.E. (Thucydides, 8.108; Table 3). His activities are relatively well documented, as most of them touched on Greek affairs in the Aegean. In fact, he was one of the few Achaemenid nobles to find a place in Greek popular imagination (Athenaeus, 13.570c). From this more abundant documentation it is possible to see how deeply rooted in the political landscape of Dascylium (known to the Greeks as Hellespontine Phrygia) the descendants of the first Pharnaces had become (Thucydides, 8.58.1). Pharnabazus was occupied in warding off external and internal threats to his domain. With royal permission he assembled a fleet under his own command and defeated the Spartans, thus setting the stage for imposition of the "king's peace" upon the Greeks in 387 B.C.E.). Within the satrapy a short-lived rebellion was led by the lesser officer Spithridates (Hellenica Oxyrhynchia 21-22; Xenophon, Hellenica 3.4.10, 4.1; cf. Weiskopf, 1989). After 388/7 Pharnabazus seems to have divided his time among Susa, Dascylium, and other parts of the Near East, where he twice commanded forces sent to pacify Egyptian rebels (Isocrates, 4.140; Diodorus, 15.29 ff.; Nepos, Datames 3; Plutarch, Artoxerxes 24). He married several times; Ariobarzanes, probably his son by an unknown wife, was satrap of Dascylium from about 388 to 363 (Xenophon, Hellenica 1.4.7, 5.1.28). A younger son, by his wife Parapita, accompanied Pharnabazus on campaign in 395 B.C.E. (Xenophon, Hellenica 4.1.39-40; Plutarch, Agesilaus 13). In about 388/7 Pharnabazus married Apama (q.v.), daughter of Artaxerxes II (q.v.; 405-359 B.C.E.), and their son Artabazus (q.v. 2) was satrap of Dascylium in the 360s and 350s (Plutarch, Artoxerxes 27; Xenophon, Agesilaus 3.3; idem, Hellenica 5.1.28; Plutarch, Alexander 21). Two other sons, Oxythras and Dibictus, were also resident in the satrapy in the 350s (Polyaenus, 7.33). Pharnabazus' uncle Susamithras and his brother Bagaeus were mentioned in connection with military campaigns (Plutarch, Alcibiades 39; Xenophon, Hellenica 3.4.13).