Category Archives: HISTORY


In the light of the “North-South” antiunitary concepts


Sargis G. Petrosyan
The Indo-European tribes oriented themselves by facing the east, since for people who worshipped the sun, the East – the place of sunrise, was the sacred side of the world. Then, according to the system of binary mythological oppositions, the north – the dark side of the world, became the “left” side, and the south – the light side of the world, the “right” side.

Assyrian cuneiform sources from 722 BC mention the country of Gamirra and the people of Gamirra, Gamirrai, Gimirri, i.e. the Cimmerians. This country is located to the north of the Armenian Highlands, on the territory of present-day Georgia. In the ethnotoponym Gamirra <*gam-er, in our opinion, gam meant the North Star. In Armenian, “գամ” means “nail” and “բեւեռ” means “nail, pole”. It is known that in the mythological representations of different peoples, the Polar Star is a nail around which the firmament rotates. If this is the case, then gam-er should mean “northerner”. The ancient Armenians also called their northern neighbors “վիր-ք” – “Iberians”, and their northern country “Վիրք” – “Iberia”. This ethnotoponym is based on the Indo-European *seu-er <* seu – “left”, “north”, and -er suffix (compare gam-er). It is known that the kingdom of darkness was originally represented in the north. In ancient Armenian legends, it is said that Gushar Haykid inherited Mtin Mountain in northern Armenia. The oronym “Մթին” means “dark, gloomy” in Armenian.

As in the mythological ideas of the ancient Armenians, the mountains of the north, the left side of the world, were compared with the dark mountains of the kingdom of darkness, so the mountains of the south, the right side of the world, were compared with the clear, light mountains of the kingdom of the blessed.

Mount Savalan, located south of the ancient Armenian region of Parspatunik, is located in the north of ancient Atropatena (Iranian Azerbaijan). The oronym Saualan (<*Saual-an) is of Indo-European origin. In Indo-European *sauel “light > sun”. To the north of this mountain is the Salavat mountain pass. In Greek – pelasgus Σαλαβη “passage”. In Urartian inscriptions, the country of Puluadi is also mentioned here. The first component of this name is related both to the Armenian “փող” – “narrow passage, corridor”, etc., and to the Greek πύλη “gate” and the Greek pelasgus φύλαξ “guard, sentry, gatekeeper”. The second component of the name comes from the Indo-European *sadh – “right” > “south” (>Arm. աջ). The name of Puluadi country entirely means “Southern Passage”.

In the south of historical Armenia are the Sasun mountains, where the country of Šubria of Assyrian sources was located. This name is based on the satem reflex of the Indo-European *k՛ubh-ro. In Armenian “սուրբ” – “sacred, holy” (<*սուբր). From the same Indo-European word *k՛ubh- originates the Sumerian (borrowed) name of Northern Mesopotamia ŠUBUR (>Akkad. SUBIR, Šubari, Šubartu. etc.). Šubartu is later attested as a synonym of the name Aŝŝur//Assyria. In the north of Mesopotamia, south of Armenia, was ancient Adiabene (Greek: ’Aδιαβήνη). The name of this country consists of the components *Adi-au- (-ena/-ene toponymic suffix of the Greek language), where *adi- means “southern” (compare Pulu-adi), and *au- < in Indo-European *ai- “to spend the night, overnight”. In Armenian աւ-թ> օթ> օթեւան “lodging, dwelling, room, abode”.


Vardan A. Aleksanyan

The second half of the 9th century is the beginning of a new stage in the confrontation between the Armenian and Byzantine churches. At the beginning of the 860s, the correspondence of the Patriarch of Constantinople Photius (857-867, 877-886) with Catholicos Zakaria I (855-876) and the Prince of Princes Ashot I (862-887) began. The main subject of the correspondence was the relation to the Chalcedonian Cathedral and the attempts to create the Armenian-Byzantine church unity. It was a challenge not only to the Armenian Church, but to the entire Armenian people, since the hidden goal of the Constantinople throne was to create the ground for the final annexation of Armenia. For the purpose of discussing the proposal and making decisions, Zakaria Dzagetsi 862 convened a council in Shirakavan from numerous bishops and monks in the presence of the sparapet of Armenia Ashot Bagratuni. During the council, a tense struggle was waged between adherents of the Armenian faith and supporters of Chalcedonianism. Bishop Vahan (John) of Nicea spoke at it, trying to persuade the Armenians to accept the Council of Chalcedon. However, the Armenian clergy managed to diplomatically reject the proposals of the Greek Church.

Photius continued his efforts in the second period of his patriarchate (877- 886). He wrote a letter to the Prince of Princes Ashot and in various ways tried to convince the Armenian leadership to accept the Council of Chalcedon. In his answer, which was set forth by Sahak Apikuresh (Mrut), Ashot refutes the accusations against the Armenian Church and, in turn, accuses the Council of Chalcedon for being similar to Nestorianism. The content of Ashot Bagratuni’s answer demonstrates the unity of the Armenian spiritual and secular authorities in protecting the independence and independence of the national church. It is important that the Armenian nobility built their relations with Byzantium taking into account the interests of the Arab Caliphate, since the Arabs played a huge role in the region. By rejecting the proposals of the Greek Church, Armenia satisfied the age-old enemy of Byzantium, the Arab Caliphate. Having defended the independence and autonomy of their church, the Armenians fought for national identity, since religious identity was the basis of the national identity of the Armenians.


Armen E. Petrosyan

Šiuini – the name of the third great god of Urartu, should have been borrowed from a Hittite dialect, cf. Hitt. šiu- (šiuni, šiuanni, šiuna-) ‘god’, earlier: ‘sun god’, šiuatt- ‘daytime’ < *dyeu-, from the Indo-European name of the god of daylight sky. The consideration of this theonym as the Urartian parallel of the Hurrian sun god Šimigi is linguistically impossible (I. M. Diakonoff, V. V. Ivanov). The capital of Urartu Tušpa was the worship center of this god. The Armenian name of this city, Van, is derived from the declension form Bia(i)na of cuneiform Biainili, the name of royal domain and central land of the kingdom, where-ni is an Urartian suffix and -li a plural formant). It may be thought that in earliest times this region was inhabited by a Hittite speaking people.

Šiuini (to read: Siwini) is comparable to the name of the Armenian province of Siwnik‘ (< Siwini-yā, with Arm. plural formant k‘), where the largest concentration of toponyms derived from Arm. arew/areg ‘sun’ and traces of ancient cult of the sun god have survived. The local districts Vayoc‘ jor and Vaykunik‘ (Vay-ik-uni-k‘) are probably associated with the ethnonym of the ancient inhabitants of the East of the Lake Van, the Biai people (to read: Vyāy/Vǣy, which in Armenian reflected as Vay). This people of the Van region probably moved to Siwnik‘ in the beginning of the first millennium BC, under pressure of the Urartians.


Part II: deepening of the process of fragmentation of the Armenian kingdom

Arman S. Yeghiazaryan

In the 980s, important processes took place in the neighboring countries of Bagratid Armenia. The Middle Eastern regions of the significantly weakened Arab Caliphate were under the rule of the leaders of the Iranian peoples, who managed to capture Baghdad, conquer most of Mesopotamia and Syria, and approach Armenia from the south. At the same time, in the Byzantine Empire, which was at the peak of its power, the struggle for the throne sometimes resumed. Important processes also took place in Atrpatakan, where the Ravvadids, the rulers of Tabriz, were gradually gaining strength. A completely different situation developed in the Christian Transcaucasus, where such actors as the Abkhazian king Bagrat III (978-1014) and the Taik kurapalat David (961-1000) appeared.

During the reign of Smbat II Conqueror of the Universe (978-990), the process of feudal fragmentation deepened, which began during the reign of Ashot III the Merciful (953-978). In the late 970s and early 980s, kingdoms were created in Tashirk, Parisos and Syunik, as a result of which all more or less significant principalities within the kingdom of the Bagratids became kingdoms by the mid980s. Although all these new kingdoms continued to recognize the supremacy of the ruler of Ani, the unity of the state was seriously damaged.

At the same time, Byzantium, which, despite the uprisings, retained its power, being unable to directly interfere in the affairs of Armenia, tried to achieve its ambitious goals through local rulers. Among the latter, it is especially needed to mention the Taik kurapalat of David, to whom Byzantium granted vast provinces in the western and central parts of Armenia with the right to rule for life. Despite this, the viable and powerful Taik principality was condemned as an independent political entity, as David Kurapalat was eventually forced to bequeath the Taik empire. But before that, thanks to the territories received from Byzantium, he increased his military and economic capabilities and began to effectively intervene in the affairs of the Bagratid kingdom. In the end, a rather strong cooperation developed between the rulers of Taik and Ani, the result of which was the promotion of Bagrat III’s ascension to the throne in Abkhazia, and after the latter intended to march against David Kurapalat, forcing him to peace.

In the last years of his reign, Smbat II managed to stabilize the situation in the country, to some extent overcome the consequences of feudal fragmentation, and rally the local kings around him. As a result, according to Asoghik – the historiographer of the end of the 10th century, he was accompanied by success in internal and external affairs. The country was experiencing an economic upsurge, and Smbat II began to successfully expand the royal possessions in the direction of Syunik and the eastern regions of Armenia.

Although his father Ashot III the Merciful was buried in the Horomos monastery, Smbat II found his eternal rest in Ani. According to historian Asoghik, the king “… died and was buried in the same city (i.e., Ani – A. Ye.)”. The reason is that Ani, with its new and majestic appearance, was the work of Smbat II Lord of the Universe. It is no coincidence that the king ordered to bury him there. But it is not known in which part of Ani he was buried.


Part I: Internal and international situation of the Bagratid’s kingdom in the first period of the reign of Smbat II (late 970s – first half of the 980s)


Arman S. Yeghiazaryan
Studies show that in a relatively stable peace at the beginning of the reign, when Byzantium and neighboring Muslim emirates dealt with internal issues, Smbat II Bagratuni (978-990) was engaged in peaceful construction. At that time, the capital of the kingdom of Ani expanded greatly, and it became necessary to build a new, larger wall. Immediately after ascending to the throne, Smbat II began to implement a large-scale project of new defensive walls and adjacent protection systems, which lasted about 10 years. The author of this project was the famous medieval architect Trdat, who was also the author of the project for the restoration of the Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople after the earthquake of 989.

The new protection system of Ani and, above all, the city walls made a great impression on contemporaries, as they were simply huge. Thanks to the new defense system, Ani became one of the most impregnable cities of that era. Inside the fence in 989 the foundation was laid for the construction of the city cathedral, many other buildings and bridges were built.

During the reign of Smbat II, the process of division, begun during the reign of King Ashot III (953-978), continued. In the very first year of his reign, Smbat II proclaimed his younger brother Gurgen as king in the northeastern province of the royal possessions, in Tashirk, thus forming third kingdom in the possessions of the Bagratids. King Gurgen of Tashirk recognized the priority of his brother, who, as in the case of the Kars kingdom, had the right to approve the accession of each new king of Tashirk.

With the establishment of the kingdom of Tashir, the central power of Ani was significantly weakened. This reality first manifested itself when Smbat II captured the Shatik fortress belonging to the kingdom of Kars, after which the combined troops of King Mushegh of Kars (975-984) and David Curopalates of Tayk (961- 1000/1001) invaded the central province of Shirak and Smbat II was forced to return the fortress. However, this did not violate the seniority rights of Smbat II and, for example, in 984, when Abbas, the son of King Mushegh, ascended the throne in Kars, he asked for the consent of Smbat II.

During the reign of Smbat II, the Muslim emirates in Armenia were initially unstable and did not pose a threat to the kingdom of the Bagratids. The situation changed in the 980s, when they significantly intensified, began to interfere in the internal development of the kingdom, creating a significant threat to the central government of Ani and Vaspurakan.


The Mystery of Sherif Pasha


Aram S. Sayiyan
After the overthrow of the Young Turks’ power, the Ottoman Committee in Geneva, using Sherif Pasha’s ambition and childishness, managed to include him in the Ottoman delegation to the Paris Peace Assembly, and then nominated him in the position of the head of the non-existent Kurdish delegation, so that, as a counterbalance to the Armenian Issue, he would raise the Kurdish question, thus gaining the opportunity to reduce the demands of the Armenians.

However, Sherif Pasha soon began to play an independent political game, trying to become the Emir of Kurdistan with the help of the English. In order to guarantee itself from a possible double game by Sherif Pasha, the Ottoman government organized the sending of telegrams of complaints from Kurdish organizations in Istanbul and influential Kurdish tribesmen in Western Armenia to Paris to prevent allies from declaring him ruler of Kurdistan.

Though Sherif Pasha’s demands at the Peace Assembly were of no importance to Great Britain, especially since the British knew very well that there was no real Kurdish force behind him, not even a delegation, and, what is more probable, they knew about the real purpose of the Turkish game of appointing Sherif Pasha as the head of the non-existent Kurdish delegation by the Ottoman Committee, Great Britain realized that the real owners of the situation in Western Armenia were the Kurds, yet the Armenians made up a negligible percentage there. As for the Republic of Armenia, it could not ensure its security on its own, and there was no question of liberating Western Armenia by own forces. In this historical period, the only force that could resist the Kemalists inside the country were the Kurds, thus ignoring them would mean gifting them to the Turks. Therefore, in such conditions, Great Britain planned to create a Kurdish state in the territory of Southern Armenia in order to make a buffer zone between the Kemalists and its sub-mandate colony Iraq.

Along with the strengthening of the Kemalists, the British decided to unite the Armenian-Kurdish delegations, so not only Poghos Nubar Pasha, but also the Republic of Armenia had to accept the Kurdish claim, because of which the Kurds, instead of being punished like the Turks, were equated with the Armenians. Moreover, Sherif Pasha cynically stated that the Kurds had suffered a lot during the war, including from the Armenians. All this was done on the one hand to free the Kurds from the influence of the Ottoman authorities, and on the other hand to support the plans of Great Britain interested in the Armenian-Kurdish alliance, which were aimed at suppressing the growing Kemalist movement. Although such a policy was criticized by some Armenian circles, who accused both of the Armenian delegations of ceding part of the six vilayets to the Kurds, but the whole problem with it was that the Kurdish delegation had no role in resolving the territorial issues. The claim of the six vilayets turned into the so-called “Little Armenia” plan: to divide Southern Armenia and the Kurdish-populated territories into French and British zones.

According to various sources, Sherif Pasha resigned from the post of head of the Kurdish delegation in the spring of 1920, giving way to grievances between Kurds and Turks, but in our opinion, these were just occasions. Whereas the reasons were deeper, they did not depend on Sherif Pasha at all. They were two: in the spring of 1920, the Kemalists and the Bolsheviks became so powerful that they turned into a real threat to the British hegemony in the Middle East. The real owners of the country in Turkey were the Kemalists, who were joined by most of the Kurdish tribes in Western Armenia.

Combining these geopolitical realities, we come to the conclusion that the presence of Sherif Pasha would not change anything in the Kurdish part of the Treaty of Sèvres, as first the military-political situation had changed completely not in favor of the Kurds (as well as the Armenians), then the Kurds were disunited and there was no real power behind Sherif Pasha. Experienced British officers and diplomats were convinced that the Republic of Armenia would not be able to resist the Bolsheviks in the future, the only force that could do that was the Kemalists in the event of unification with the Kurds of Western Armenia. In this light, the presence of Sherif Pasha in the Peace Assembly in the spring of 1920 had lost its meaning. Neither the Ottoman delegation nor the British needed him anymore.

Thus who, after all, was Sherif Pasha? An Ottoman official who, according to his secretary, Galib Bey, carried out the task of the Turkish government, or an adventurous person who pursued the coveted goal of becoming Emir of Kurdistan being used by all interested parties for their own purposes and eventually thrown out? Analyzing his actions and expressed thoughts presented in the article, it can be concluded that the second version is more probable.


And the Armenian-Byzantine church confrontation at the end of the 10th century


Vardan A. Aleksanyan
In the last quarter of the 10th century Armenia took the path of political, economic and cultural development. Constructive relations were created between the political and religious authorities of Armenia. The Armenian Church contributed to the efforts of the Bagratids to strengthen the state.

Having ascended the Patriarchal throne, Khachik I Arsharuni (973-992) overcame the bifurcation of spiritual power and unified the Armenian clergy around the Catholicosate. He undertook construction activities, improved the spiritual center of Armenia – Argina. Khachik Arsharuni created new dioceses and episcopal thrones in Nakhijevan and Tashirk. The foundation of new dioceses strengthened and expanded the spiritual borders of Armenia. Due to the increase of the Armenian population in Northern Syria, Cilicia and Cappadocia, it became necessary to establish episcopal thrones, which were designed to satisfy the spiritual needs of the Armenians living there. By creating dioceses outside the borders of Armenia, Catholicos Khachik Arsharuni promoted the unification of Armenians and prevented the assimilation of Armenians in a foreign ethnic environment. The expansion of thegeography of the Armenian Church contributed to the growth of a sense of national identity, the immunity against encroachments on the Armenian national identity strengthened.

At the end of the 10th century Byzantine expansionary policy aimed at the assimilation of Armenians intensified. The Armenian population was subjected to violence by the Greek clergy of Sebastia and Melitina, which forced the Armenians to adopt the Greek faith. Under Khachik, Armenian-Greek religious correspondence and theological polemic resumed. In their letters, the metropolitans of Sebastia and Melitina urged the Armenian clergy to accept Chalcedonism. Referring to the teachings of the fathers of the Universal Church and the position of the first three ecumenical councils, the Armenian scholars in their letters thoroughly refuted the principles of the Greek belief and justified the correctness of the Armenian Monophysite faith. In the letters which were saved in the composition of the medieval Armenian historian Asoghik and in the Book of Letters, the Armenian clergy manifested a single unyielding position. The Armenian clergy were more indomitable against Byzantine challenges than the political authorities.



Sargis G. Petrosyan
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.


And the Armenian celestial symbols


Sargis G. Petrosyan-Doctor of Historical Sciences
The winged Sun – the symbol of the Hittite Sun god, was present on the stamps of several Hittite kings. The prototype of this symbol is found on the rockcarvings in Armenia, and in Urartu this symbol was used both as that of the Sun god and sometimes as the symbol of Haldi. One of the gods of the Hittite pantheon was called “rising from the sea”, “Sun god of Water” and was described “with fish on his head”. The city of Tushpa (Van), on the eastern shore of Lake Van, was a well-known centre of the Sun worship. The River Berkri, which is rich in fish, flows into Lake Van in its north-east. Here were the fishery trades of the ancient Armenian kings. It is in this region where the Urartian king Menua erected a stele which according to its script, was dedicated to the Sun god.

The stamp of Suppiluliuma I differs from those of other Hittite kings with the contour image of the constellation of Orion printed on it. It is also found in the Armenian cave drawings, on the ceramic products of the Bronze Age, in the Urartian hieroglyphic scripts, even in the Medieval Armenian manuscripts (in the list of “The Letters of the Sages”). As a written sign, in ancient times it was considered the symbolic sign of Hayk, the main god of the ancestors of Armenians. It is known that ancient Armenians called the constellation of Orion-Hayk(-n).

On the stamp of Suppiluliuma I there was also a written sign which in the Hittite hieroglyphic writing meant “deity”. In Armenia, the same signs are found on one Bronze Age ceramic vessel (18th-16th cc. B.C.) and on one bronze jug (8th6th cc. B.C.) from Lake Sevan basin. In the Armenian Highland this sign was attributed to the Sky god (most probably to the same Hayk). It was a picture of an ellipsoidal eye, i.e. the same image which was attributed to the sky by our ancestors. In the mythological images of the Indo-Europeans/Indo-European peoples, the concepts “eye” and “sky” are comparable in the same way as the conceptions “eye’s light” and “light” or “tear” and “rain”.

The appearance of symbols like the winged disk of Sun, the constellation Orion and the Sky in the form of eyes on the stamp of Suppiluliuma I and on materials related to the cult of Hayk – the mythical progenitor of Armenians, is not the result of an accidental coincidence. Most likely, we are dealing with the IndoEuropean heritage.

In case of Armenian material, one must keep in mind that the archetypes of these symbols are already present in the oldest rock paintings of the Armenian mountains. In case of the stamp of Suppiluliuma I, it should be borne in mind, that the symbol of the constellation Orion has been added to the symbols of the wingy solar disk and the celestial eye known to the Hittites long ago.

The need for a parallel research of these symbols in the paper is dictated by the logic of the hole Hittite and Armenian adduced and discussed material.


Part II: Struggle for preserving of the unity of Armenian kingdom


Arman S. Yeghiazaryan-Doctor of Sciences in History
The late 960s and the first half of the 970s became the most difficult and decisive stage of the reign of Ashot III the Merciful. The Armenian kingdom at the peak of its power was in great danger, since the Byzantine Empire at this stage showed ambitious plans for conquest in the East. The main goal of Byzantium was to conquer countries and territories, stretching from Cilicia to Palestine, and in its activities, on the one hand, it enjoyed the support of the armed forces of Bagratid Armenia, and on the other hand tried to conquer more new territories of Armenia and contribute to a split within the country.

Byzantine politics aimed at the conquest of Taron-Turuberan in the west of Great Armenia, the western areas of the Ayrarat province, and in the future, the Vaspurakan kingdom. Pursuing its policy of expansionism, Byzantium sought to maximize the problems between the Armenian local feudal lords and the central authority of the Bagratids, as well as the ambitions of some Armenian nobles. Unfortunately, the emperors were able to achieve their goals, which, on the one hand, reduced the territory of the kingdom of Armenian Bagratids, and on the other hand, the fragmentation of the united kingdom weakened its ability to resist, making it more vulnerable to neighbors.

The loss of Taron was the result of Byzantine pressure on the rulers of this region and occurred in the context of the aggravated Arab-Byzantine conflict. Under such conditions, the rulers of Taron were forced to cede their domains to Byzantium, in exchange receiving new possessions and honorary titles from the empire.

Through the efforts of the Byzantine court, the king of Vaspurakan also decided to confront Ashot III in church and confessional matters and sought to the dominate position in Armenia. But after the annexation of Taron, he abandoned his claims.

Ashot III did not conform with the current situation, as a result of which relations between the Armenian kingdom and Byzantium became tense. In the age of John Tzimiskes reign Armenian-Byzantine relations were settled, moreover, as a result of considerable military assistance from the Armenian king to the emperor of Byzantium, they even trmporarily acquired features of a military alliance.

Despite Byzantium succeeded in annexing Taron, but Ashot III managed to prevent its further advancement. But the empire was waiting for a convenient opportunity to achieve its goals.

As a result of Byzantine intervention in the affairs of the Armenian kingdom in 875, Mushegh, the ruler of the Kars fortress and the Vanand region, proclaimed himself king. Ashot III was forced to acknowledge the fact, recognizing the reign of his brother Mushegh in exchange for his submission to the Ani throne.

The spiritual life of the kingdom in the studied period was not calm either: the kingdom again faced the danger of the spread of Chalcedonism, but this challenge was neutralized.