Category Archives: HISTORY


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.


Albert A. Stepanyan
Antique and Early Medieval (Christian) social theory is considered to be based on the concept of the isomorphism of the two principal components of social life – individual and social bodies. This approach reached back to the Sophists, Socrates, and Plato. In his treatise, Politics, Aristotle brought the concept of focusing attention on the household/family (oivjkoς) to fruition and finding in it the first (and the basic) form of social partnership (koinoniva) [Aristot., Polit., II, 1259a, 3 – 7]. He believed that the socialization of two opposite individuals – men and women – was only effectively formed within a family.


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.