Bagratuni dynasty

Last updated
Bagratuni flag.svg
Parent house Orontid Dynasty
Country Armenia
Caucasian Albania
Founded100 BC
Founder Ashot I
Final ruler Gagik II
Cadet branches Rubenids (possibly)
Hasan-Jalalyan (indirectly)

The Bagratuni or Bagratid (Armenian : Բագրատունի , Armenian pronunciation:  [bagɾatuni] ) royal family ruled many regional polities of the medieval Kingdom of Armenia, such as Syunik, Lori, Vaspurakan, Vanand, Taron, and Tayk. [1] According to historian Cyril Toumanoff they are also accepted as the progenitors of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty. [2] [3]

Armenian language Indo-European language

The Armenian language is an Indo-European language that is the only language in the Armenian branch. It is the official language of Armenia as well as the de facto Republic of Artsakh. Historically being spoken throughout the Armenian Highlands, today, Armenian is widely spoken throughout the Armenian diaspora. Armenian is written in its own writing system, the Armenian alphabet, introduced in 405 AD by Mesrop Mashtots.

Syunik was the ninth province (nahang) of the Kingdom of Armenia from 189 BC until 428 AD. From the 7th to 9th centuries, it fell under Arab control. In 821, it formed the Armenian principality of Khachen and around the year 1000 was proclaimed the Kingdom of Artsakh, which was one of the last medieval eastern Armenian kingdoms and principalities to maintain its autonomy following the Turkic invasions of the 11th to 14th centuries.

Vaspurakan was the eighth province of the ancient kingdom of Armenia, which later became an independent kingdom during the Middle Ages, centered on Lake Van. Located in what is now called southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran, the region is considered to be the cradle of Armenian civilization.


Early history

The Bagratuni family became princes in the 4th century. Their heritable rights were given to them by the Arshakuni dynasty, the kings of Armenia (52-428). They were given the title aspet, the commander of the cavalry, and were given the privilege of crowning Arshakuni kings upon their accession to the throne. Their domain included the region of Sper in the Çoruh River valley of Upper Armenia, which was famous for its gold, and Tayk. Movses Khorenatsi claimed they had an ancestor Sembat that came to Armenia from Judea in 6th century BC, however this is considered by modern historians to be an invention to give a biblical origin to the family. [4]

Arsacid dynasty of Armenia dynastic family

The Arsacid dynasty or Arshakuni, ruled the Kingdom of Armenia from 54 to 428. The dynasty was a branch of the Arsacid dynasty of Parthia. Arsacid Kings reigned intermittently throughout the chaotic years following the fall of the Artaxiad dynasty until 62 when Tiridates I secured Arsacid dynasty of Parthia rule in Armenia. An independent line of Kings was established by Vologases II in 180. Two of the most notable events under Arsacid rule in Armenian history were the conversion of Armenia to Christianity by Gregory the Illuminator in 301 and the creation of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots in c. 405. The reign of the Arsacids of Armenia marked the predominance of Iranianism in the country.

Aspet was a hereditary military title of the Armenian nobility, usually found within the Bagratuni family.

İspir Place in Erzurum, Turkey

İspir is a town and district of Erzurum Province in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, on the Çoruh River. The mayor is Osman Çakır (AKP). The district has a population of 30,260 while the town has a population of 11,789.

The Bagratid family first emerged as nakharars, members of the hereditary nobility of Armenia. As early as 288–301, the Bagratid prince Smbat held the hereditary Armenian titles of Aspet, which means "Master of the Horse," and T'agatir, which means Coronant of the King. [5]

Nakharar was a hereditary title of the highest order given to houses of the ancient and medieval Armenian nobility.

According to Prince Cyril Toumanoff, the earliest Bagratid prince was chronicled as early as 314 AD. In the 8th century, Smbat VII Bagratuni revolted against the Abbasid Caliphate but the revolt was defeated.

Cyril Leo Heraclius, Prince Toumanoff was a Russian-born American historian and genealogist who mostly specialized in the history and genealogies of medieval Georgia, Armenia, Iran and the Byzantine Empire. His works have significantly influenced the Western scholarship of the medieval Caucasus.

Smbat VII Bagratuni was an Armenian noble of the Bagratuni (Bagratid) family. He and his brother Vasak were the sons of Ashot III Bagratuni. He served as presiding prince of Armenia in 761–775, playing a leading role in the Armenian rebellion of 774–775 against the Abbasid Caliphate. He was killed in the Battle of Bagrevand. He was the father of Ashot Msaker, who restored the family's fortunes in the early 9th century.

Abbasid Caliphate Third Islamic caliphate

The Abbasid Caliphate was the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Muttalib, from whom the dynasty takes its name. They ruled as caliphs for most of the caliphate from their capital in Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, after having overthrown the Umayyad Caliphate in the Abbasid Revolution of 750 CE (132 AH).

Bagratids in Armenia

The Bagratid Princes of Armenia are known as early as 1st century BC when they served under the Artaxiad Dynasty. Unlike most noble families of Armenia they held only strips of land, as opposed to the Mamikonians, who held a unified land territory. These are the earliest Bagratid princes in Armenia prior to the establishment of the kingdom, as mentioned by the Union of Armenian Noblemen. Ashot I was the first Bagratid King, the founder of the Royal Bagratid dynasty. He was recognized as prince of princes by the court at Baghdad in 861, which provoked war with local Arab emirs. Ashot won the war, and was recognized as King of the Armenians by Baghdad in 885. Recognition from Constantinople followed in 886. In an effort to unify the Armenian nation under one flag, the Bagratids subjugated other Armenian noble families through conquests and fragile marriage alliances. Eventually, some noble families such as the Artsrunis and the Siunis broke off from the central Bagratid authority. [6] Ashot III the Merciful transferred their capital to the city of Ani, now famous for its ruins. They kept power by playing off the competition between the Byzantine Empire and the Arabs.

Ashot I of Armenia King of Armenia

Ashot I was an Armenian king who oversaw the beginning of Armenia's second golden age. He was known as Ashot the Great and was the son of Smbat VIII the Confessor and was a member of the Bagratuni Dynasty.

Baghdad Capital of Iraq

Baghdad is the capital of Iraq and the second largest city in West Asia. Located along the Tigris River, the city was founded in the 8th century and became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Within a short time of its inception, Baghdad evolved into a significant cultural, commercial, and intellectual center for the Islamic world. This, in addition to housing several key academic institutions, as well as hosting multiethnic and multireligious environment, garnered the city a worldwide reputation as the "Centre of Learning".

Constantinople capital city of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire, the Latin and the Ottoman Empire

Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire (330–395), of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire (1204–1261) and of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1923). In 1923 the capital of Turkey, the successor state of the Ottoman Empire, was moved to Ankara and the name Constantinople was officially changed to Istanbul. The city is located in what is now the European side and the core of modern Istanbul. The city is still referred to as Constantinople in Greek-speaking sources.

They assumed the Persian title of "King of Kings" ( Shahanshah ). [7] However, with the start of the 10th century and on, the Bagratunis broke up into different branches, breaking up the unified kingdom in a time when unity was needed in the face of Seljuk and Byzantine pressure. The rule of the Ani branch ended in 1045 with the conquest of Ani by the Byzantines.

Shah Persian title

Shah is a title given to the emperors, kings, princes and lords of Iran. It was also adopted by the kings of Shirvan namely the Shirvanshahs. It was also used by Persianate societies such as the rulers and offspring of the Ottoman Empire, Mughal emperors of the Indian Subcontinent, the Bengal Sultanate, as well as in Afghanistan. In Iran the title was continuously used; rather than King in the European sense, each Persian ruler regarded himself as the Shahanshah or Padishah of the Persian Empire.

The Kars branch held on until 1064. The dynasty of Cilician Armenia is believed to be a branch of the Bagratids, later took the throne of an Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia. The founder, Ruben I, had an unknown relationship to the exiled king Gagik II. He was either a younger family member or kinsman. Ashot, son of Hovhannes (son of Gagik II), was later governor of Ani under the Shaddadid dynasty.

See also

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  2. Toumanoff, C. Iberia on the Eve of Bagratid Rule, p. 22, cited in: Suny (1994), note 30, p. 349: "All this has now come to be accepted in modern Georgian historiography".
  3. Toumanoff, Cyril, "Armenia and Georgia", in The Cambridge Medieval History, Cambridge, 1966, vol. IV, p. 609. Accessible online at
  4. Kurkjian, Vahan (1958). A History of Armenia. New York: Armenian General Benevolent Fund. p. 186.
  5. Movses Khorenatsi. History of the Armenians. Translation and Commentary of the Literary Sources by R. W. Thomson. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1978 Appendix A. Primary History, pp. 358-359, 362, 365-366
  6. Herzig, Kurkichayan, Edmund, Marina (2005). The Armenians: Past and Present in the Making of National Identity. Routledge. p. 43.
  7. Tim Greenwood, Emergence of the Bagratuni Kingdoms, p. 52, in Armenian Kars and Ani, Richard Hovannisian, ed.



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