Category Archives: HISTORY


Part I. Strengthening of the Armenian kingdom (953-966)


Arman S. Yeghiazaryan
The reign of Ashot III the Merciful (953-978) is one of the most discussed one in the history of Armenia. This is due to the fact that during this period Ani became the capital of Armenia and gradually became the focus of the civilizational accomplishments of the Armenian people, and it was then that the collapse of the kingdom of Armenian Bagratids began.

Despite these important circumstances, the history of the reign of Ashot III the Merciful is still not fully researched. There are many questions for which the historian must find answers.

Ashot III the Merciful ascended to the throne in 953 and immediately set about choosing a new capital. The facts show that the attempt to liberate the ancient capital of Armenia, Dvin, immediately after the accession in 953, served to resolve this issue. The attempt was unsuccessful after which Kars remained the capital of Armenia for 8 years.

It should be noted that the liberation of Dvin was part of Ashot III the Merciful’s big plan to subjugate the Muslim emirates of the Arax river valley. And if the attempt to liberate Dvin failed, the rest of the plan was implemented with great success. The emirates of the Arax river valley from Dvin to Nakhijevan were subordinated to the king of Armenia, who appointed his governors there.

Until 961, when Ani was declared the capital of the kingdom of the Bagratids, Ashot III the Merciful was busy strengthening and improving the state. It should be noted that he inherited a united, powerful and developed kingdom from his father, the king of Armenia Abas (929-953) and managed to continue its further strengthening and development.

At the beginning of Ashot III the Merciful’s reign, the Hamdanids state, whose troops were defeated by the Armenian army in 959 in the southwestern border of the Armenian kingdom threatened the Armenian kingdom. For the second time the enemy was defeated in Taron canton.

Although the name “The Merciful” is attributed to him because of the beautification of the church and help to the poor and sick, it should be noted that he was also a gifted person and king.


To the 100 anniversary of its adoption


Ararat M. Hakobyan

Key words – Mets Hayk, statehood, act, independence, “28th of May”, “United Armenia”, delegation, memorandum, congress, Pogos Nubar, V. Tekeyan, A. Aharonyan, Paris assembly, Versailles, “10th of August”, treaty of Sevres, W. Wilson, Nations League, Senate, arbitral award.

On May 28 1919 – a year after the declaration of Armenia’s independence, a historical opportunity for the idea of uniting the Homeland and nation for creating United and Independent Armenia had emerged.

Till then, May heroic battles had given us the opportunity to solve two problems: a) to save the Eastern Armenians and Western Armenian refugees who had found shelter in Eastern Armenia and b) to make the Turks recognize Armenia’s independence on a small native land.

Therefore the declaration of Armenia’s independence had to become the basis for initiating the steps for fulfilling the main aim of creating United Armenia. The very existence of the Republic under the land name of “Armenia” in itself supposed that despite the extreme narrowness of its territory in case of favorable political conditions it would claim to land acquisition and completion.

After the end of the First World War the main issue of the foreign policy of RA was the comprehensive solution of the Armenian Question through the unification of the two main parts of Armenia.

During the session on December 5, 1918 the Armenian government decided to send a delegation to Europe for presenting the Armenian demands. After sending the delegation to Europe the next step of the Republic of Armenia was the official announcement concerning the United Armenia.

Until then for the purpose of accomplishing the political aspirations and programs of the Armenian nation and giving it an official outlook on February 6-13, 1919 the 2nd (B) congress of the Western Armenians was held in Yerevan with the participation of 55 delegates chosen from 223.630 Western Armenian refugees living in RA, as well as, other charity organizations. Here the idea of creating one united state through unification of the Eastern and Western Armenian parts was developed. Then, since February 24 up to April 22 The First (A) Armenian (Western Armenian) Congress was held. 

On April 27, 1919 the Armenian council adopted a law about ceasing its works for a month and transmiting the rights of the parliament to the government. And on the last days of monthly terms of legislative authority given to the government of Armenia by the parliament two important laws were adopted: one of them was adopted on May 26 “About the United and Independent Armenia” while on the next day – on May 27 another one deriving from the former , i.e. ”On Replenishment of the Council of Armenia” was adopted. On May 28, 1919 – on the anniversary of the declaration of the independence of Armenia by relying on the 3rd provision of the law adopted on May 27 a solemn session of parliament and government was conveyed in the hall of the council of Armenia in which the acting president of the government Al. Khatisyan read the official declaration about the unification of Armenia. It was published under the title of “The Act of Declaration of the Independence of the United Armenia”.


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.