Rostom Gurieli (Georgian: როსტომ გურიელი; died 1564), of the House of Gurieli, was Prince of Guria from 1534 until his death in 1564. Alongside his royal suzerain, Bagrat III of Imereti, Rostom fought against the expanding Ottoman Empire to which he lost parts of his principality. Rostom's relations with Bagrat III subsequently deteriorated over his support to the king's defiant vassal, Levan I Dadiani.
Rostom was a son of Mamia I Gurieli by his wife Ketevan. In 1533, Mamia was taken captive during his disastrous expedition against the Circassians in which Rostom's brother Giorgi was killed. Rostom had to ransom his father, on whose death he succeeded as Prince of Guria a year later. By that time, Guria, a principality on Georgia's southwestern Black Sea coast, had been menaced by the resurgent Ottoman Empire, then being in war with Safavid Persia over hegemony in the Caucasus. Rostom stood by the side of his official royal suzerain, King Bagrat III of Imereti, in his struggle against the Ottoman encroachment.
In 1535, Rostom joined forces with Bagrat in an invasion of the Principality of Samtskhe, ruled by the pro-Ottoman atabag Qvarqvare III Jaqeli. At the battle of Murjakheti, the atabag was defeated, captured by Gurieli's cup-bearer Isak Artumeladze, and eventually delivered to Bagrat. Qvarqvare died in prison, while Rostom was awarded his share of Samtskhe: Adjara and Chaneti, long sought after by the Gurieli dynasty. The Ottomans retaliated with a major invasion: Bagrat and Rostom were victorious at Karagak in 1543, but decisively defeated, in 1545, at Sokhoista, where Rostom's son Kaikhosro was killed.
In 1547, the Ottoman military imposed a blockade of Guria's coastline and occupied the maritime settlements of Gonio and Batumi. Rostom appealed for help to Bagrat of Imereti and Levan I Dadiani, Prince of Mingrelia. However, the king of Imereti, indignant at Rostom's earlier decline of a combined attack on Mingrelia, disrupted the nascent Dadiani–Gurieli accord. Left to his own devices, Rostom attacked, pushed the Ottoman forces beyond the Chorokhi and forced them to evacuate Batumi, but he failed to prevent the loss of Adjara and Chaneti; the Gonio fortress became an important Ottoman outpost in southwestern Georgia.
Rostom Gurieli was married twice, first to Princess Tinatin (fl. 1534), a member of the Imeretian royal family, and secondly, to Princess Tamar (fl. 1562). He fathered three sons and two daughters:
- Prince Kaikhosro (died 1545), killed in the battle of Sokhoista with the Ottoman army;
- Prince Giorgi II (died 1600), Prince-regnant of Guria (1566–1583, 1587–1600);
- Princess Rodam, the first wife of Giorgi III Dadiani, Prince of Mingrelia (divorced in 1564);
- Princess N., wife of Mamia IV Dadiani;
- Possibly, Prince Vakhtang I (died 1587), Prince-regnant of Guria (1583–1587).
- Rayfield, Donald (2012). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 168–170. ISBN 1780230303.
- Bagrationi, Vakhushti (1976). Nakashidze, N.T. (ed.). История Царства Грузинского [History of the Kingdom of Georgia] (PDF) (in Russian). Tbilisi: Metsniereba. pp. 133–135.
- Church, Kenneth (2001). From dynastic principality to imperial district: the incorporation of Guria into the Russian Empire to 1856 (Ph.D.). University of Michigan. pp. 127–129.
- Grebelsky, P. Kh.; Dumin, S.V.; Lapin, V.V. (1993). Дворянские роды Российской империи. Том 4: Князья Царства Грузинского [Noble families of the Russian Empire. Vol. 4: Princes of the Kingdom of Georgia] (in Russian). Vesti. pp. 36–37.
Mamia I Gurieli
| Prince of Guria
Giorgi II Gurieli