Category Archives: HISTORY


At the last period of its conflict with Byzantium (late 6th – early 7th century)


Arsen K. Shahinyan

Key words – Iranian marzpanate of Iberia (Varǰan-Wiručān), Iranian marzpanate of Albania (Ārān), Byzantine-Iranian wars, Principality of Iberia (K‘art‘li), Principality of Albania (Ałuank‘), Ērismt‘avaris of K‘art‘li, išxans of Ałuank‘.

During the Byzantine-Iranian last two wars in history, via of 572–591 and 603–628, there have been fundamental changes in a political system of the Christian marzpanates, which had being existed since the partition of Anterior Asia between the Roman Empire and Sasanian Iran in 387. The marzpanates of Iberia (Varǰan-Wiručān) and Albania (Ārān) belonging to Iran had gained a political independence under the presiding and hereditary princes and this fact was recognized by official Constantinople.

In this article for the first time in scientific literature, the author considers the genesis of the national institutes of the “presiding princes” in Iberia (K‘art‘li) and Albania (Ałuank‘) as a creation, on the political map of the Southern Caucasus (Transcaucasus) of the states, namely hereditary principalities, under the auspices of Constantinople. He also specifies the time of their genesis de facto and de jure, the borders of distribution of the sovereign power by those “presiding princes” and their residences under the conditions of the constant changing of the geopolitical situation in Anterior Asia.

The author shows that these national institutes of the “presiding and hereditary princes” – of Khosrovids (Chosroids) in Iberia, and Mihranids – in Albania, were legally issued by the Byzantine authorities in 589 and 629 respectively, considered as a peculiar structure in the general system of administrative management of the vast empire. All those high titles in the Byzantine hierarchy, which were awarded to the early representatives of these national institutes by emperors, and the magnificent insignias of the power sent them, are visually testify to it. Therefore, the “presiding princes” of Iberia and Albania were considered in Constantinople as the Byzantine administrators in the countries of the Christian Caucasus. At the same time, this fact did not prevent them to conduct quite independent and balanced foreign policy in any way.

Emperor of Maurice (582–602) recognized the first autonomous principality of K‘art‘li created directly at the borders of Byzantium at the beginning of the 570th, and appropriated the title of “curopalates” to its presiding prince (ērismt‘avari) of Guaram (Gurgen) I only in 589 – after having received an official application from Tbilisi.

The next ērismt‘avari, Step‘anos I the Great, who had been approved in 591 as the governor of the Byzantine Iberia by emperor of Maurice, during the so-called “Twenty-five years’ war” of 603–628, when Khosrow II the Parviz won victories over the Greeks, occupied Jerusalem in 614, right then replaced his Byzantine suzerain of Heraclius I 610–641) with this Iranian. So Step‘anos reunited the Byzantine part of Iberia with Mtskheta (Mc‘xet‘a) as its center and Iranian part of Iberia with Tbilisi (T‘bilisi) as its center within the one principality.

The Byzantine sovereignty in K‘art‘li at the last time was approved only under
Guaram II, after 659, when Muslims had finally erased Sasanian Iran from the political map of the Anterior Asia. This Iberian ērismt‘avari also received the Byzantine imperial court title of “curopalates”.

Varaz-Grigor was confirmed in 629 to the position of the presiding prince (išxan) of neighboring Ałuank‘ by Heraclius I, who had come to him to his residence in Gardman. This išxan also received, most likely, a high Byzantine court title. Nevertheless, in 632/3 Varaz-Grigor recognized the suzerainty of the last Persian king of kings of Yazdegerd III (632/3–651). As a result he achieved also an appointment of his son of J̌uanšēr by the šahanšah as a sparapet, i.e. supreme commander of the armed forces of Ałuank‘.

Only after falling of Sasanian Iran, the išxan and sparapet of Ałuank‘ J̌uanšēr (636/7– 681) became about 659 a citizen of the new emperor of Constant II (641–668), having received other high Byzantine imperial court title of so-called “proton patricius” and magnificent insignias of the power.

As one more major manifestation of the sovereignty in Iberia it is possible to consider stamping for the first time in the Georgian history of national coins by ērismt‘avaris, and in Ałuank‘ – establishment of the independent institute of the military administration, via sparapet.



Ruslan A. Tsakanyan

Key words – Assyria, Tiglath-Pileser III, mass deportation, settlement, internal policy, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Urartu.

In this paper we discuss the application of the policy of deportations and resettlements in Assyria. This application of this policy begins in Assyria as a result of the military and political reforms of Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727B.C.). An opinion is expressed in the article that that policy was borrowed from Urartu. What concerns the application of the policy ofnasāḫu, the author tries to bring it into line with a corresponding policy (agency) of a later period. He comes to the conclusion, that the whole responcibility for that policy was concentrated in the hands of the “rab ummâni” agency and was carried out through “lúmušarkisu”. In all probability the functions of “rab ummâni” were similar to those of “hazarapati” in Iran of Achaemenid and Armenia of Arsacid dynasty and to those of “χιλίαρχος” mentioned in the Greek sources. The application of the policy of nasāḫuin Assyria had serious political and economic motivations (one paid especially a serious attention to installing of a control on the Assyrian part on the trade roads). One paid also serious attention to the question of resettlement of the deported population: In the deported population the experienced warriors were divided from the rest, who were given to the king and complemented the lines of the royal guard. One divided from the rest of the deported population a group of experienced (professional) people (in the manuscripts we have very heterogeneous information about these people among who we find high-ranking officials up to shepherds and gardeners), who were given to the stratum of pagan priests, especially they were given to the temple of God Aššur. One part of the deported people was given to the royal court who the royal officials divided between themselves. His share in the deported population had also the environment of the royal palace which had a firm place in the land and was a kind of a balance to the Assyrian military upper class. The last part of the deported population was given to the bigger cities (Aššur, Calah, Nineveh, Arbail). In the course of the massive resettlements the ethnic picture of each concrete region was changed, of course, and the possibility of an uprising on the part of those resettled became less probable, this happened, of course, in case of the presence of strong military forces. But the decay of the same military forces was, of course, to lead a catastrophic situation, the decline of Assyria.



Sargis G. Petrosyan

Key words – Armenos, Aramanyak, Angeltun, Hayk, Chayonyou, Archaeology, Halafian, Hassunian, culture, toponym, ethnonym, grain, husbandry, cattle breeding, hunting.

According to Strabo, companions of the legendary ancestor and the eponym of the Armenians, i.e.Armenos, once settled downpartlyin Sispiritis, partly in Qalakhene and others-outside of the Armenian highland-in Adiabene (in the North-East of Mesopotamia). Until now there has been no genuine comparativehistorical approach in assessing the information about Thessaly Argonaut Armenos. The theme of Armenos, in our opinion, is inseparably linked with the Armenian ancient stories about Aramanyak, which is connected both with the origin of husbandry and the ancient Armenian ethnos. The fact is that the IndoEuropean husbandry tribes played a dominant role in the formation of the ancient Armenian ethnic community. Ancient Armenian stories mention that Hayk, ethnarch of the Armenians, after the birth of his elder son Aramanyak, goes to the land of Ararad. At the end of the VIII Millennium BC in the basin of the Western Tigr is the culture of the first settled down farmers and cattle breeders was formed. Within this region, at the foothills of the Armenian Tavros in the future Armenian district Angeltun the early agricultural settlement of Chayonyou is situated. The excavations of Chayonyou revealed poly residues of cultivated plants– wheat, peas, lentils and vetch.



Yervand H. Grekyan

Key words – cuneiform, palaeography, Urartian monumental script, Urartian cursive, scribal school, Assyro-Mitannian, Middle Assyrian, Neo-Assyrian, periphery.

The discovery of the first known Urartian school text in Ayanc‘ (Ayanis), near Van city stimulates to discuss again not only the hypothesis of the existence of schools in Urartu, but also the problem of the origins of Urartian scribal and literary culture in general. The results of the present study allow to find out formulae, which are typical for the Middle Assyrian annalistic texts of the 2nd half of the II millennium BC, as well as a number of cuneiform sign forms, which, in contrary to the contemporary Neo-Assyrian texts, occur only in the Urartian cuneiform inscriptions of the IX-VII centuries BC. These facts allow to develop again the theory, according to which Urartian scribal school had roots in the cuneiform culture of the 2nd millennium BC, perhaps, through the intermediary of a ‘peripheral center’ in the southern parts of the Armenian Highland, which continued to keep the traditions of the Middle Assyrian scribal school, at least, at the beginning of the I millennium BC.



Sargis G. Petrosyan

Key words – mythology, cult, Sevan, frog, Mother goddess, Thunder god, “vishap” (“dragon”), trout, bull, toponym, ethnonym.

The cult of the Lake Sevan is closely in touch with the worship of Water because in mythological imagines of the Armenians’ ancestor sliving in the regions surrounding Sevan, this lake was perceived as a mythical a quatic creature having the form of a huge creature. At the same time the river Hrazdan, that starts from the Lake Sevan, is perceived as that mythical creature’s long tongue. Accordingly river’s popular name Zangumeans ‘’tongue’’: compared with arm. zangik’’epiglottis, clapper’’ (<I.-E. *dņģhū). In Sevan’s basin Urartian there are cuneiform records certifyingtoponymsof Indo-European etymology as Arquqiu(ni),Ištikuniu, Kamaniu, Adaḫu(ni), Liqiu, Lueru(ḫi), Gurqumeli, Tuliḫu. In the Lake Sevan’s basin there are ‘’vishap’’ obelisks some of which are fishlike and some are bull like. The first ones arerelated to the mythological ‘’Trout’’ worship and the second ones – to the worship of God of Thunder. Gelam, that was the eponym of the ancient Sevan basin’s tribes was also the personification of the mouth Gel (Գեղ. ‘’big, large’’<I.-E. *ṷel-). His mythological prototype was the local tribes’God of Thunder (compare with Urart. Teišeba).


Nshan T. Kesecker
The XV inscription is located on the steep southern side of the Urartian fortress of Tushpa (modern Van Kalesi) on a precarious area of the cliffs. The inscription is trilingual containing texts in Old Persian (OP), Achaemenid Elamite (AE) and Akkadian (AA) from left to right, respectively.1 Each version of the text is 27 lines, with the OP taking up significantly more space than the AE and AA (the latter being the smallest). Editions of the text are Weissbach 1911, 116-119 (OP, AE, and AA); Kent 1953, 152-153; Vallat 1977, 217-221; Lecoq 1997, 263-264; Schweiger 1998; Schmitt 2009, 180-182. A legible photo comes from the Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative labeled as “Xerxes Cliff Relief.”



Vahan A. Ter-Ghevondian

Key words – Levon I, Al-Malik al-Adil, Kingdom of Cilician Armenia, Ayyubid sultanate of Egypt, Antioch, County of Tripoli, Seldjuk sultanate of Iconium, Ayyubid sultanate of Aleppo, Ibn al-Adim, Ibn Wasil.

Immediately after the proclamation of the kingdom of Cilician Armenia (1198), Levon I (1198-1219) made his main goal to support Ruben-Raymond, his brother’s grandson, to become Prince of Antioch, as he was the heir at law according to the agreement signed between the two states. But the claims of Cilician Armenia on Antioch contradicted to the political interests of the neighboring countries – County of Tripoli, Seldjuk sultanate of Iconium and the Ayyubid sultanate of Aleppo. In 1201-1203 a tripartite alliance was formed against Cilicia lasting up to 1216.

King Levon was not going to give up his plans. From the other side Cilicia found itself in a hostile encirclement. It was impossible to come out from it only with military means. That is why Levon I initiated a very active foreign policy towards both Christian and Moslem states. One of the important lines of such an activity was the relation with the Ayyubid sultanate of Egypt. Levon I with the help of correspondence established friendly relations with the sultan of Egypt al-Malik al-Adil. These relations played important role in 1208 and 1216 in the struggle for control over Antioch. Some Arab and Syrian sources, first of all historians of XIII c. Ibn al-Adim and Ibn Wasil have valuable reports on that issue.



G. M. Badalyan

Key words – Tayk, Gurjistan vilayet, Sergi Jikia, Banak Nahiyah, Karshim Nahiyah, Liva of Panaskert, toponyms, personal names, indigenous Armenian characteristics, chalcedony, Islam.

A remarkable document from Ottoman period composed in the end of 16th century, which is known as “A Spacious List of Taxes of Gyurjistan Vilâyet”has a great importance for the study the historical demography of Tayk. This unique document was kept in the Eastern manuscripts department of the State Museum of Georgia. The context of the manuscript was published in 1947 by prominent Georgian turkologist Sergi Jikia (a propose, the same author has published the Georgian version of the same document in 1941). Needless to say, that the above mentioned manuscript contains many materials on the historical issues of Armenians and Georgians from this period. As we know, in the second half of 16th century the Ottoman Empire gradually subdued the north-western parts of Armenia and Samtskhe Princedome that contains the south-western parts of Georgia (in Georgian საათაბაგო- saatabago). In this region has been created the GyurdjistanVilâyet. The southern part of the last one contains many districts (with their main centers) of Great Armenia’s Tayk Province, such as Olti-Ughtiq, Mamrvan (Nariman), Kamkhis-Kaghamakhik, Panaskert, Banak (Panak, in Georgianბანა-Bana), which were located in Olti (historical Boghkha) brook’s whole pond of the river Tchorokh. Immediately after the Ottoman conquest, a detailed inventory was made here, such as the registration of the number of residents and the economic situation. “The spacious list of taxes of Gyurjistan Vilâyet” is particularly important because it contains almost all the important statistical information as on populated, as well on depopulated areas of the territory. In fact, in each area are noticed the detailed names of the male gender, which were paying the ispenj (25 akche). In the end of 16th century in the area that we are interested has been existed two liva ( districts) – Banak and Olti, which in turn were divided into nahiyah-cantons. The Banak Liva was consist of three small districts: the formal Banak (in Turkish Nısf-ı Penek), Kamkhis (in Turkish Kâmhis) and Panaskert, which had 109 settlements (14 of which were inhabited and the data are missing about 12 of them). The examination of names shows that in the above mentioned three districts have been registered 1974 people, which were representing the whole family, and 1850 (93.7 percent) of them were Armenians. In fact, the names often indicate a presence of Orthodox (Chalcedonian, in source “gürcü”, that is – Georgian) Armenians, which is quite a common phenomenon in Tayk and Upper Armenia. “A Spacious List of Taxes of Gyurjistan Vilâyet ” is also valuable in another point: it fully reveals the unitive policy of Ottoman Empire. If in the mentioned period the new created GyurjistanVilâyet’s population was almost consist of Christians (Armenians and Georgians) in 100 percent, and then only two centuries later, most of them were forcibly converted to Islam and lost their national identity.



Samvel A. Poghosyan

Key words – Alexandretta, Cilicia, Entente troops landing, Dardanelles, Gallipoli.

Immediately after the outbreak of World War I, the British authorities discussed the issue of landing the troops in Alexandretta. It was an important port in Cilicia, in the northeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. The landing would entail the destruction of the Ottoman Empire. For this reason the Turks and Germans were worried, because Britain would need only 30,000 soldiers to organize this military action. Cilicia was populated mostly by Armenians, who were ready to help the British troops. The British Intelligence Service examined the area in detail and gave a positive conclusion on the landing. In January 1915, the British authorities decided to attack the Dardanelles by the forces of the navy and at the same time land at Alexandretta. Nobody in the British elite doubted the success of landing in Alexandretta, but some did not believe in success in the Dardanelles. However, the military operation in Alexandretta was eventually rejected by the British authorities. There were some reasons for this: the French authorities opposed this because they wanted to colonize Cilicia after the war. They were worried that if Cilicia was occupied by British troops, later they would not be able to get it back. The British recognized the rights of France in Cilicia and Syria, but at the same time they wanted to get Alexandretta. The latter was the most important port in the East of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, Britain and France prevented each other from landing at Alexandretta. In the end, the Allies decided to land at Gallipoli, which was a great catastrophe for them. Thus, imperialism won, and the allies lost an important chance to overcome the Ottoman Empire. The refusal to land at Alexandretta and the failure in the Dardanelles gave the Turkish government a chance to organize the Armenian Genocide. This is one of the episodes of the story, when an almost real operation was revised at the last moment and this led to negative consequences.



Yervand H. Grekyan

Key words – C.F. Lehmann-Haupt, Biainili-Urartu, chronology, king list, Rusa Sarduriḫi, Rusa Erimenaḫi, Rusa Argištiḫi, Toprakkale, Keşiş-Göl, Gövelek (Ermanc‘).

Among the pioneers of Urartian studies C.F. Lehmann-Haupt was the first scholar who compiled and presented the chronology of the Urartian kings on a scientific basis. In his study published in 1894 he considered Rusa, the son of Erimena as the first king who bore that name.

Like C.F. Lehmann-Haupt, another prominent Assyriologist of that period – François Thureau-Dangin, presumed that Ursa of Urartu, the adversary of Sargon II of Assyria in 714 B.C., was Rusa, the son of Ermiena, whom he considered to be the founder of a new dynasty.

Later on, C.F. Lehmann-Haupt, whom already became known the existence of another king named Rusa, the son of Sarduri, considered him to be the king of Urartu during the Sargon II’s campaign to Urartu in 714 B.C. In contrast to his previous opinion, he positioned Rusa, the son of Erimena at the end of the Urartian king list, after Rusa, the son of Sarduri, and Rusa, the son of Argišti, naming him “Rusa III”.

Apart from the succession of the Urartian kings, many other ideas of Lehmann-Haupt were refused by almost all following researchers. On the other hand, the Keşiş-Göl inscription ascribed by Lehmann-Haupt to Rusa, the son of Sarduri, was connected with the foundation of the new city Rusaḫinili named after the Urartian king. It was considered as a new political center of the Urartian kingdom after the devastation of the old capital city Ṭušpa by Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria during his campaign to Urartu in 735 B.C. Thus, Rusa, the son of Sarduri became Rusa I, the son of Sarduri II.

Publication of the inscription on a preserved upper part of a stele discovered not far from the modern city Van in 2002, near the ancient Armenian village Ermanc‘ (Ermanis, nowadays, Gövelek), opened a new page in these discussions, as soon as it became clear that it was the missing upper part of the well-known Keşiş-Göl inscription. In 2006 another inscribed stele, the duplicate of that inscription was also discovered at Hefšesorik (nowadays, Savacık). Thus, there was no doubt that both stelae were left by Rusa, the son of Erimena. This discovery made to review the chronology of the Urartian kings in the 8th7th centuries B.C.

The article discuss the arguments, which allow to consider Rusa, the son of Erimena as “Rusa I” (variant A), “Rusa II” (variant B) and “Rusa III” (variant C) and offers succession of the Urartian kings of the 8th-7th centuries B.C. with different variations. The “variant B” seems more convincing. Moreover, it seems possible to date the period of his reign between 713- 708 B.C. The possible short-term reign of Rusa, the son of Erimena, could explain the small number of monumental stone inscriptions left by him, informing us only about the king’s building activity, and the fact, that one of these inscriptions remained unfinished.