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BIOS OF ARMENIAN KINGS
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Bios of Armenian kings and dynasties

 

Haykazuni (Haykazian, Haykides) - The first dynasty of patriarchs, lords and kings of Armenia (2492 or 2107 before common era - 331 A.D.). 

Hayk Nahapet - On 11 August 2492 b.c.e. (according to the Armenian traditional chronology) or 2107 b.c.e. (according to "The Chronological table" of Mikael Chamchian) Hayk, patriarch of the Armenians, crushed the armies of the Assyrian tyrant Bel in the battle of Dyutsaznamart on the banks of the Hayots-Dzor river south of the city of Van, and thus laid the foundations of the future Armenian state named after him Hayq. Hayk built the fortress of Haykaberd at the site of Dyutsaznamart, as well as Haykashen in the county (gavar) Harq of the province (Nahang) Tauruberan. Hayk Nahapet was the founder of the dynasty of the first patriarchs and kings of ancient Armenia and the source of many ancient Armenian aristocratic houses. 

Armenak Haykazuni (2026 b.c.e.) - After the death of Hayk, his son Armenak inherited his power and rule. He became known as the collector of the Armenian lands. Thank to his policy the boundaries of the Armenian-populated lands were expanded considerably. 

Aram the Unifier Haykazuni (1824 b.c.e.) - He united in the Armenian tribes into a unified statehood stretching from the Caspian in the east to the river of Halis in the west, from the Armenian Mesopotamia in the south to the Caucasus mountains in the north. Some ancient historians derive the name of Armenia from the name of Aram. 

Vahagn (520 b.c.e.) - Son of Tigran, was an outstanding personality and possessed extraordinary courage and force. The Armenian epos and folk songs glorify his deeds. The Armenians sometimes compared him with Greek Hercules. 

Artashesian (Artaxides) - Armenian royal dynasty (189 b.c.e. - 62 A.D.). Founded by Artashes I the Great. 

Artashes I Great (? - about 160 b.c.e.) - King of Great Armenia since 189b.c.e. After the defeat of the Seleucides in the battle with Romans at Magnesium in 190 b.c.e., Artashes headed the uprising of the Armenians against the Seleucides, declared the independence of Great Armenia and became the founder of the Artashesian royal dynasty. Artashes I considerably strengthened and enlarged his possessions, and subordinating almost the entire Armenian highland. Wars enriched Artashes I and the Armenian aristocracy. With Artashes I moved the capital of Great Armenia from Armavir to the newly built city of Artashat. Artashes I conducted reforms that strengthened private ownership over land. 

Tigran (Tigranes) II the Great (? - 56 b.c.e.) - King of Great Armeni in 95 - 56 b.c.e. During the first years of his reign he annexed Tzophq (Sofena), Atrpatakan (Atropatena) and the western part of Midia. The kings of Caucasian Albania and Iberia declared themselves dependent vassals of Tigran II the Great. Tirgan concluded military and political union with Mithridates VI, king of Pontus, and they became relatives. Tigran later annexed the Syrian possessions of the Seleucides and the city of Antioch on the river of Horontes became one of the capitals of Armenia (other capitals were Artashat and Tigranakert that was founded by Tigran II). In 69 b.c.e. Tigran's army was defeted by the Roman general Lucullus near capital Tigranakert. In 66 Tigran II received the title of "the friend ally of the Roman people". The possessions of Tigran II were limited to the traditional Armenian lands, i.e. to the kingdom of Great Armenia. 

Artavazd II (? - 31 b.c.e.) - Son of Tigran II the Great, king of Great Armenia in 56 - 34 b.c.e. Artavazd II fought for complete independence from Rome. The defeat of Romans in the battle with the Parthians at Karra in 53 b.c.e. and the Parthian-Armenian union strengthened the independence of Great Armenia. Artavazd II again annexed the Armenian provinces of Tzophq (Sofena) and Lesser Armeni that were earlier seized by Rome. Later, with weakening of Parthia, he was forced to recognize dependence on Rome. In 37 b.c.e. Artavazd II refused to participate in the Roman campaign against Parthia. In 34 b.c.e. the Roman army attacked Armenia and captured Artavazd II and his family by fraud. They were taken to Egypt and in 3 years executed. King Artavazd II was known as a dramatic writer and historian. 

Arshakuni (Arshacides) - The Armenian royal dynasty (62 - 428), relatived of the Parthian Arsacides. The Armenian branch was founded by Trdat I (ruled in 62, officially in 66 - 80). After Xosrov I the Great (217 - 238) the rule of the Arshakunis became hereditary. The Arshakunis struggled against the feudal shattering and fought for the independence of Armenia. This fight however was largely unsuccessful. After the division of Great Armenia (in 387) between Iran and Rome, the Arshakunis became their vassals. In 428 the dynasty of Arshakuni fell. 

Bagratuni (Bagratides, Bagration) - Ancient Armenian aristocratic family, which traces its genealogy to patriarch Hayk. The first accounts about Bagratunis were record ed in the 1st century before common era. During the Arab occupation of Armenia in the 8-9th centuries, the Bagratunis gradually gained the large part of Armenia. Shiraq became the center of their possessions. The Bagratunis acquired the post of the "prince of the princes" of Armenia and headed the struggle against the Arabs for the independence of Armenia. In 886 year Ashot I Bagratuni became the king. The Bagratunis became a royal dynasty in 886 - 1045. In 961 Ani became the capital of the Bagratide Armenian kingdom. The royal dynasty of Bagratunis reached it apex in the second half of the 10th century and until the beginning of the 11th century during the reign of Ashot III, Smbat II and Gagik I. In 1045 after the Byzantine conquest of Armenia, the reign of the Bagratunis came to and end. They are most widely known Bagratunis were: Ashot I, Smbat I, Ashot II the Iron, Ashot III the Gracious, Gagik I. 

Ashot I Bagratuni - King of Armenia (886 - 891). Founder of the Bagratuni dynasty. Being a prominent military leader and a talented politician, Ashot I headed the struggle for the independence and unification of Armenia. He subordinated the major feudal lords of Armenia. In 880 Ashot I crushed the Arab army. The Arab caliph and the Byzantine emperor - competing with one another - both sent a crown to Ashot I in 886, thus recognizing the independence of Armenia. 

Ashot II Yerkath (the Iron) Bagratuni - King of Armenia (914-928). He conducted a persistent struggle against the Arabs, who were attempting to end Armenia's independence. In 921 Ashot II crushed the Arab army on the shore of Lake Sevan and freed the large part of Armenia from Arab conquerors. For his persistence and durability in the struggle against the Arabs Ashot II was named the Iron. In 922 caliphs was forced to recognize Ashot II as the lord of Armenia. Caliph granted Ashot the Iron the hereditary title of "shakhinshakh of Armenia and Georgia". 

Ashot III the Gracious Bagratuni - King of Armenia (953-977). Like his predecessors, Ashot III conducted the policy of strengthening of the centralized authority and unification of the country, for which he created a strong permanent army. In 961 Ashot III transferred his residency from Kars to Ani, which became the capital of the entire Armenia and played the eminent role in its unification. Ashot III organized extensive constructions. Capital cit of Ani grew rapidly. 

Gagik I Bagratuni (? - 1020) - King of the Armenian Ani Kingdom (990-1020). Gagik I unified the Armenian lands and pursued the policy of centralization of the country. He oppressed the military campaign of the Armenian Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget. During Gagik's rule capital Ani became a large trade, handicraft and cultural center. 

Artzruni (Artsruni, Artzrunides) - Armenian royal dynasty (908-1021). Initially, the Artzrunis were an influential Armenian princely house known from the 4th century. The ancestral possessions of the Artzrunis were located in county (gavar) of Great Albak with the administrative center in Hadamakert (contemporary Bashkale in historical Western Armenia). At the end of the 7th century the Artzrunis acquired the possessions of the princely house of Rshtuni on the southern and eastern coasts of Lake Van. City of Van became the political center of the Artzrunis. Subsequently, the Artzrunis subordinated the entire province of Vaspurakan. In the 9th century the Artzrunis were competing with the Armenian Bagratuni house. During the reign of Gagike Artzruni (908-943) their land possessions were proclaimed a kingdom, which existed up until 1021. The invasion of Seljuks and the offensive of the Byzantine troops forced Senekerima Artzruni to transfer his kingdom to Byzantium. Artzrunis obtained lands in Lesser Armenia with the center in the city of Sebastia (contemporary city of Sivas in Turkey). In their homeland the descendants of the Artzrunis lived in city of Van (historical Western Armenia - now in Turkey), where by they inherited the post of Katolikos of Akhtamar. 

Rubenian(Roubenides) - Armenian royal dynasty in the Cilician Armenian Kingdom (1080-1375). The founder of the dynasty was Ruben I, the proxy of King Gagika II of Ani kingdom. The most prominent representatives of the Rubenians were: Levon I (reigned in 1129 - 1141), Mlekh (reign in 1169 - 1175), Ruben II (reigned in 1175 - 1187), Levon II (reigned in 1187 - 1219), Khetum I (1226 - 1270), Levon III (1271 - 1289), Levon V (1320 - 1341). In 1375 the last king from the dynasty of Rubenian - Levon VI - was captivated by the Mameluks and sent to Egypt.

 Tomb of King Levon (Leon) V of Armenia in St-Denis royal cathedral near Paris and his signature

Sources:
Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition. Moscow, 1974.
http://kavkaz.memo.ru/encyclopediatext/encyclopedia/id/497598.html
http://www.edic.ru
http://e-world.com.ru
http://www.academic.ru


© The Union of Armenian Noblemen 2004