Thomas of Metsoph (Armenian : Թովմա Մեծոփեցի, Thovma Metsobetsi) (1378–1446) was an Armenian cleric and chronicler who left an account of Timur’s invasions of the Caucasus (1386–1403). What we know of Thovma's life comes from a biography written by his own student Kirakos Banaser as well as a number of 15th-century colophons.
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.
Shuja-ud-din Timur, sometimes spelled Taimur and historically best known as Amir Timur or Tamerlane, was a Turco-Mongol Persianate conqueror who founded the Timurid Empire in and around modern-day Iran and Central Asia, becoming the first ruler of the Timurid dynasty. As an undefeated commander, he is widely regarded to be one of the greatest military leaders and tacticians in history. Timur is also considered as a great patron of art and architecture, as he interacted with intellectuals such as Ibn Khaldun and Hafiz-i Abru. He is often credited with the invention of chess. According to John Joseph Saunders, Timur was "the product of an Islamized and Iranized society", and not steppe nomadic.
Georgia, a Christian kingdom in the Caucasus, was subjected, between 1386 and 1403, to several disastrous invasions by the armies of Turco-Mongol conqueror Timur, whose vast empire stretched, at its greatest extent, from Central Asia into Anatolia. These conflicts were intimately linked with the wars between Timur (Tamerlane) and Tokhtamysh, the last khan of the Golden Horde and Timur’s major rival for control over the Islamic world. Timur officially proclaimed his invasions to be jihad against the region's non-Muslims. Although he was able to invade parts of Georgia, he was never able to make the country Muslim and even recognized Georgia to be a Christian state.
Born in Aghiovit, north of Lake Van, Thovma received his early education at the monastery of Metsob, northwest of the city of Arjesh (Erciş in modern Turkey). He had to spend a peripatetic life fleeing the repeated attacks by the Timurid and Turkoman armies. He engaged in teaching and literary activity at several religious centers of Armenian, including Sukhara, Tatev, Lim, and Metsob. He was also involved in the struggle against the influence of Roman Catholicism within the Armenian Church, and helped transfer the Armenian catholicosate from Sis in Cilician Armenia to back to Echmiadzin in Greater Armenia (1441). His major work is The History of Timur and His Successors, which is essentially an eyewitness account written for the most part from memory. Although not flawless, it is an important source for Armenia and Georgia in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. The classical Armenian text was published K. Shahnazarian in Paris in 1860, translated into French by Félix Nève in 1855, and into English by Robert Bedrosian in 1977.
Lake Van, the largest lake in Anatolia, lies in the far east of Turkey in the provinces of Van and Bitlis. It is a saline soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes —a volcanic eruption blocked the original outlet from the basin in prehistoric times. Although Lake Van has an altitude of 1,640 m (5,380 ft) in a region with harsh winters, its high salinity prevents most of it from freezing, and even the shallow northern section freezes only rarely.
Erciş is a town and district located in the Van Province, Turkey on Lake Van. In Classical Antiquity, it was known as Arsissa, and as Arjish in Arabic and Western Armenian during the Middle Ages. The Byzantines knew it as Arzes and the 10th-century emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos records in his De administrando imperio that it was under the rule of the Kaysite emirate of Manzikert.
The Oghuz, Oguz or Ghuzz Turks were western Turkic people who spoke the Oghuz languages from the Common branch of Turkic language family. In the 8th century, they formed a tribal confederation conventionally named the Oghuz Yabgu State in central Asia. The name Oghuz is a Common Turkic word for "tribe". Byzantine sources call the Oghuz the Uzes. By the 10th century, Islamic sources were calling them Muslim Turkmens, as opposed to shamanist or Buddhist. By the 12th century this term had passed into Byzantine usage and the Oghuzes were overwhelmingly Muslim.
The Kara Koyunlu or Qara Qoyunlu, also called the Black Sheep Turkomans, were a Muslim Oghuz Turkic monarchy that ruled over the territory comprising present-day Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, northwestern Iran, eastern Turkey, and northeastern Iraq from about 1374 to 1468.
The Danishmend or Danishmendid dynasty was a Turkish Beylik that ruled in north-central and eastern Anatolia from 1104 to 1178. The dynasty centered originally around Sivas, Tokat, and Niksar in central-northeastern Anatolia, they extended as far west as Ankara and Kastamonu for a time, and as far south as Malatya, which they captured in 1103. In early 12th century, Danishmends were rivals of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, which controlled much of the territory surrounding the Danishmend lands, and they fought extensively against the Crusaders.
Ruy González de Clavijo was a Castilian traveller and writer. In 1403-05 Clavijo was the ambassador of Henry III of Castile to the court of Timur, founder and ruler of the Timurid Empire. A diary of the journey, perhaps based on detailed notes kept while traveling, was later published in Spanish in 1582 and in English in 1859.
Mirza Jalal-ud-din Miran Shah Beg was a son of the Central Asian conqueror Timur. During his father's lifetime, he was a regional governor as well as one of his military commanders.
The Chronicon or Chronicle was a work in two books by Eusebius of Caesarea. It seems to have been compiled in the early 4th century. It contained a world chronicle from Abraham until the vicennalia of Constantine I in A.D. 325. Book 1 contained sets of extracts from earlier writers; book 2 contained a technically innovative list of dates and events in tabular format.
Kirakos Gandzaketsi was an Armenian historian of the 13th century and author of the History of Armenia, a summary of events from the 4th to the 12th century and a detailed description of the events of his own days. The work concentrates primarily on the history of Medieval Armenia and events occurring in the Caucasus and Near East. The work serves as a primary source for the study of the Mongol invasions and even contains the first recorded word list of the Mongolian language. The work has been translated into several languages including Latin, French and Russian.
Alexander I the Great, of the Bagrationi house, was king of Georgia from 1412 to 1442. Despite his efforts to restore the country from the ruins left by the Turco-Mongol warlord Timur's invasions, Georgia never recovered and faced the inevitable fragmentation that was followed by a long period of stagnation. Alexander was the last ruler of a united Georgia which was relatively free from foreign domination. In 1442, he abdicated the throne and retired to a monastery.
Mongol conquests of Kingdom of Georgia, which at that time consisted of Georgia proper, Armenia, and much of the Caucasus, involved multiple invasions and large-scale raids throughout the 13th century. The Mongol Empire first appeared in the Caucasus in 1220 as generals Subutai and Jebe pursued Muhammad II of Khwarezm during the destruction of the Khwarezmian Empire. After a series of raids in which they defeated the combined Georgian and Armenian armies, Subutai and Jebe continued north to invade Kievan Rus'. A full-scale Mongol conquest of the Caucasus and eastern Anatolia began in 1236, in which the Kingdom of Georgia, the Sultanate of Rum, and the Empire of Trebizond were subjugated, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia and other Crusader states voluntarily accepted Mongol vassalage, and the Assassins were eliminated. Mongol rule in the Caucasus lasted until the late 1330s. During that period, the King George V the Brilliant restored the kingdom of Georgia for a brief period before it finally disintegrated due to Timur's invasions of Georgia.
Aristakes Lastivertsi was a medieval Armenian historian and chronicler. The author of many works, Aristakes' most valuable contribution in the field of the historiography was his History: About the Sufferings Visited Upon by Foreign Peoples Living Around Us, which described Armenia's relations with the Byzantine Empire and Georgia and the devastating Seljuk invasions of the 11th century and the torture of Christians by the Seljuks.
John or Hovhan Mamikonyan, was a 10th-century Armenian noble from the Mamikonian dynasty, author of the History of Taron, which is a continuation of the account of Zenob Glak. John is not known from any source other than his History, and in the colophon self-identifies as the 35th bishop of Glak after Zenob.
Hayton of Corycus was a medieval Armenian nobleman, monk and historiographer.
Akhtala ; also known as Pghindzavank is a 10th-century Armenian Apostolic Church monastery located in the town of Akhtala in the marz of Lori, 185 kilometers (115 mi) north of Yerevan. The monastery is currently inactive. The fortress played a major role in protecting the north-western regions of Armenia (Gugark) and is among the most well preserved of all in modern Armenia. The main church at the compound is famous for its highly artistic frescoes, which cover the inside walls, the partitions, and the bearings of the building. The modern name of Akhtala was first recorded in a royal decree of 1438. The etymology of the name Akhtala is believed to be of Turkic origin, meaning white glade. The original Armenian name of the settlement where the monastery is built is Pghindzahank, which means copper mine.
Ghazar Parpetsi was a 5th to 6th century Armenian chronicler and historian. He had close ties with the powerful Mamikonian noble family and is most prominent for writing a history of Armenia, History of Armenia, sometime in the early sixth century.
The Samtskhe Atabegate or Samtskhe-Saatabago, also called the Principality of Samtskhe, was a Georgian feudal principality in Zemo Kartli, ruled by an atabeg (tutor) of Georgia for nearly three and a half centuries, between 1268 and 1625. Its territory consisted of the modern-day Samtskhe-Javakheti region and the historical region of Tao-Klarjeti.
After the devastating invasions by Timur and subsequent enfeeblement of the Kingdom of Georgia, it soon faced a new threat. Timur's death in 1405 marked the beginning of the end of his Empire, unified only by fear and blood of the subjected peoples. Turkomans, particularly the Kara Koyunlu clan, were among the first to rebel against Shah Rukh who ruled most of the Persia and Mawerannahr. Qara Yusuf, ruler of the Kara Koyunlu, defeated Shah Rukh, captured Baghdad, and repulsed Timurids from western Persia. After they established themselves as the new leading power in the middle east. They took advantage of the temporary weakness of Georgians and launched attacks against them, apparently in which, George VII of Georgia was killed. Constantine I of Georgia, fearing further encroachment, allied himself with the Shirvanshah Ibrahim I to counter Turkoman advance and engaged them in the Battle of Chalagan, in which he was defeated and taken captive. In captivity Constantine behaved very proudly, which infuriated Qara Yusuf to such an extent, that he ordered his, his half-brother David's and 300 Georgian nobles' execution.
The Bagratuni or Bagratid royal family ruled many regional polities of the medieval Kingdom of Armenia, such as Syunik, Lori, Vaspurakan, Vanand, Taron, and Tayk. According to historian Cyril Toumanoff they are also accepted as the progenitors of the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty.
Samshvilde is a ruined fortified city and archaeological site in Georgia, in the country's south, near the homonymous modern-day village in the Tetritsqaro Municipality, Kvemo Kartli region. The ruins of the city, mostly medieval structures, stretch for a distance of 2.5 km in length and 400 metres (1,300 ft) in width in the Khrami river valley. Some of the most recognizable monuments are the Samshvilde Sioni church and a citadel erected on a rocky river promontory.
Timurid conquests and invasions started in the eighth decade of 14th century with Timur's control over Chagatai Khanate and ended at the start of the 15th century with the death of Timur. Due to the sheer scale of Timurid wars, and the fact that he was generally undefeated in battle, he has been regarded as one of the most successful military commanders of all time. These wars resulted the supremacy of Timur over Central Asia, Persia, Levant, South Asia, Caucasus and Eastern Europe and also the formation of short-lived Timurid Empire. Scholars estimate that his military campaigns caused the deaths of 17 million people, amounting to about 5% of the world population at the time.
Izz al-din Shir or Yozdan-Shir (d.1423) was the founder of the Emirate of Hakkâri, which ruled an area to the south and east of Lake Van up until 1845.