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Battle of Shamkor
Part of the GeorgianIldenizid wars and the Georgian-Seljuk wars
DateJune 1, 1195
Locationnear Shamkor (present day Shamkir, Azerbaijan)
Result Decisive Georgian victory
QueenTamarFlag.svg Kingdom of Georgia Atabegs of Azerbaijan
Commanders and leaders
David Soslani Abu Bakr
20 000 - 40 000 60 000 - 80 000
Casualties and losses
Minor losses Unknown

Battle of Shamkor (Georgian language: შამქორის ბრძოლა ) was fought on June 1, 1195 near the city of Shamkor, Arran (present day Shamkir, Azerbaijan), the Battle of Shamkor was a major victory won by the Georgian army, commanded by David Soslan, over the army of the Azerbaijani Atabeg Abu Bakr.

The battle was fought as part of several conflicts between the Atabeg State of Azerbaijan, also known as the Ildenizid State after its ruling dynasty, and Georgia. The consolidation of Ildenizid power, in the 1130s, coincided with a resurgence of military expansionism by the Georgian kings, whose territories intersected with Muslim Shirvan and Arran.

The battle was preceded by a dynastic war (1191–1195) in the Ildenizid possessions. Victorious in power struggle, Nusrat al-Din Abu Bakr b. Pahlawan Muhammad (ruled 1195-1210) had his elder brother Kutlugh Inanch assassinated and forced the younger brother, Amir Mihran, to take refuge at the court of the latter’s brother-in-law, Shirvanshah Akhsitan I b. Manuchehr (r. 1160-1196). The Shirvanshah together with Amir Mihran headed for Tbilisi, Georgia, and appealed for help to Queen Tamar, an official protector of Shirvan. Received with great honors at the Georgian court, they were given desired support, and the Georgian army led by Consort David Soslan marched to Shirvan.

Abu-Bakr, reinforced by his client Muslim emirs, met the enemy at the well-fortified city of Shamkor on June 1, 1195. David Soslan sent a relatively small force to break through the gates of the city, while he led the main Georgian troops to raid deep in the enemy’s rear. However, poor roads and difficult landscape were setback for the Georgians, and the Atabeg defended the city for a while. Nevertheless, David Soslan’s maneuver proved to be decisive and Abu Bakr’s army was severely defeated. Shamkor was eventually captured by the Georgians who then chased the enemy’s soldiers up to the city of Ganja which in its turn fell to the victors.

The Georgians seized numerous prisoners and huge amount of booty, including the Khalif's standard, which Queen Tamar donated to the Icon of Our Lady of Khakhuli. Shamkor and the surroundings were turned over to the Shirvanshah on terms of vassalage.

Following the battle, Abu Bakr retreated to Nakhichevan and Amir Mihran was installed as an atabeg in Ganja, only to be poisoned the same year. As a result, Abu Bakr was able to return to the capital, leading to a new confrontation with Georgia. Several Georgian inroads ensued, leaving several cities and towns in ruins between 1196 and 1209.

See also


  • Basil the Treasurer, Life of Queen Tamar, King of Kings. In: Georgian Chronicles, vol. 2. Tbilisi, 1959 (In Georgian)
  • Allen, WED. A History of the Georgian people: From the Beginning Down to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century. New York, 1971, p. 104

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