Colchis (Modern Mingrelia And Part Of Imerethia), an ancient country of Asia, at the E. extremity of the Euxine, bounded N. by the Caucasus, E. and S. E. by Iberia and the Mos-chian mountains, S. by Armenia, S. W. by Pontus, and W. by the Euxine. Colchis was celebrated in Greek mythology as the destination of the Argonauts, and as the country of Medea and the golden fleece. Its early history is involved in obscurity. The early Greek writers speak of it only under the name of AEa, the seat of King AEetes. Cyrus or his immediate successor seems to have annexed it to the Persian empire; but its inhabitants soon recovered their liberty, and erected their territory into an independent state. During the Mithri-datic war it was tributary to the kingdom of Pontus. On the overthrow of Mithridates it was annexed by the Romans; and after the conclusion of the civil wars it was incorporated with Pontus, and subjected to the rule of a proconsul. Under the later emperors it was known as Lazica, from Lazi, a predominant tribe. In A. D. 572 the Colchians rose in rebellion, and joined the Persians against the Byzantine empire. Colchis, according to Strabo, abounded in fruit of every kind, and in material for ship building.
It was inhabited by a number of tribes, whose dark complexion, crispy hair, language, and customs indicated, in the opinion of Herodotus, their Egyptian origin. They were famous for the manufacture of linen. Their chief town was Dioscurias. The Phasis (now the Rion) is the celebrated river of this country.