In 428 AD the Sassanid Persians put an end to the existence of the kingdoms of Armenia and Albania(Aghvank) and formed a new tributary administrative unit comprising Arran(Artsakh and Utik) and Albania proper1. The centre of this province (marzpanat) was the city of Chogh (Derbent) till 460AD, then Partav. They were also the residences of marzpans. The marzpanat system did not prevent the local rulers from being heads of their own domains (as noted in Sahak Partev’s courtletter).

Analysing this period the outstanding orientologist Adonts wrote, “Armenia on the whole took an active part in the international policy of the Persian State since ancient times. Both nations developed under the same socio-cultural influences. When the Arsacids occupied Persia and their junior line settled in Armenia, their social and secular relations grew more and more close”2. During the reign of Sassanid dynasty the Persian State was divided into four regions: eastern, western, northern and southern. The northern region was called “Kustak i Kapkoh”. Each kustak (region) was ruled by the padospan, appointed by the king. The governor of Caucasian region was Zadoin. The king Khosrov I divided the Persian army into four groups and appointed military heads, separating the military commandment from the administrative-political system3.

Persia, Armenia and the Roman Empire were always interested to preserve the subordinate state of Albania, enabling it to guard the Chogh (Chol or Chora guard) frontier, (between the Caucasian Mountain range and The Caspian sea) from the northern barbaric tribes who permanently threatened to sweep in and flood the southern fertile lands. During the Armenian dominance of Transcaucasia (the Great Armenian State) the defence of Chogh frontier was realized by the rulers of Gugark. The adjacent bordlands were obliged to support Armenia materially. The Roman Empire, for example during the reign of Emperor Severius (193-221) paid tributes to Armenia for keeping guard of the Chora Gates4. Later Persia was in charge of the obligation. The 26 different tribes inhabiting the Armenian territory were also inclined to unite for pillage from time to time. They often overran the southern and western bordlands. The father of Armenian historiography Movses Khoranatsi testified that “here he (the Armenian King Vagharshak) invited those barbaric tribesmen to his court. They lived in the Northern valley (on the left bank of Kura River – B) and at the foot of the Caucasian Mountain, in the long stretched dale on the southern side of the mount. The king ordered them (the Albanian chieftains) to give up plundering, treachery, to be obedient to the orders of the king and pay tributes and the king would appoint good governors and princes to them”5.

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