The Court Society of the Artaxiads (structure, function semiotics)

Albert A. Stepanyan
The paper looks at one of the crucial aspects of modern historical sociology developed thanks to the pioneering works of N. Elias and his followers in the last decades. It deals with the problem of social networks in various historical ages and environments from antiquity to our days.

The experience of the Achaemenians and Seleucids are of undoubted importance for the purpose of the paper. Therefore, they are examined with scrutiny. Their parallels are useful in establishing the structure, function and ideology of the court society of Hellenistic Great Armenia.

In this light, the inner and outer courts of Artaxiads have been taken as the main focus of discussion. The said concerns particularly the two opposite sections of Armenian nobility; one represented the tribal (dynastic), the other the bureaucratic aristocracy. They had various political ideals. For the dynasts a less centralized state was perspective. And they looked at the Parthian state as an acceptable model. As to the bureaucratic nobility, it was in favor of a centralized state and found its ideal in Rome. Artaxiad kings balanced between these two wings guaranteeing homeostasis of Great Armenia.

Armenian aristocracy and court society accumulated the core values of national identity. And in crucial points of history, it acted unanimously in accordance with the interests of national security.

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