CHAPTER 2 THE ALBANIAN PROVINCE (MARZPANAT) IN 428-637

The Armenians and Georgians were very careful to prevent that multiethnic group from pillage and had to be ready to fight against them if needed. The Artsakh and Utik population forefeited much from their activity as they were separated from Albania only with the river. In 428 the Albanian kingdom (situated on the left bank of the river Kura) collapsed and was abolished. The tribial units again were activised6. The Masktats country was in the east with its Chor center, Baghasakan – in the south with the centre Kapaghak (Kabala) and Lpink was in the West with the Tsri centre.

We possess abundent sources about the north-eastern part of Armenia (Artsakh and Utik). The historiographer Yeghishe testified that the archtraitor Vasak Siuni (the Persian viceroy of Armenia) betrayng the unity of Armenian notables (nakharars), decided to overthrow sparapet (military commander) Vardan Mamikonian and warned the Albanian ruler (marzpan) Sebukht that Vardan intended to attack Albania with his army. Vardan wanted to squeeze out the dangerous populations from the north-eastern frontier of Armenia. Vasak reported the Albanian king about this attack and said, “Don’t be afraid of him and his army. I am sure they will be beaten up and defeated against your might”7. The battle took place in 450, in autumn, near the town of Khaghkhagh (now Tavuz) which housed the Albanian kings in winter.

The armies from the left bank countries supported the marzpan. The Armenians, though small in number, won an absolute victory over the enemy. Then Vardan cleared the district of the Persian army and the mages. Yeghishe wrote, “Many of the Aghvank (Artsakh and Utik) princes and peasants who were scattered in the caves of Capkoh (Caucasus) mountains, seeing the Armenian success, came and joined the army an took part in their courageous deeds. Then attacked the Hunns’ Chor Guard (later Derbent) which the Persians had occupied and appointed Vahan a ruler there. He was from the family of Albanian kings…”9. Yeghishe reported then, that Vahan arrived at the Hunns’ country (north Caucasus) and entered into a treaty with them10. Undoubtedly Vahan descended from the Arranshahikids and before the above mentioned events was forced to hide in the mountains in Khordiun or in rocky parts of Kambejan. Yeghishe considered him to belong to the royal Albanian family. Supposedly the Persian court appointed viceroys parallel to the marzpan’s post both in Armenian (Artsakh and Utik) and Albania proper. They were chosen from the “Baghasakan kings family…” who fought against Armenians. Movses Kaghankatvatsi is considered the true historiographer of that historical land. But his book “The History of Caucasian Albanians” gives disconnected and little information about Albania (Aghvank) proper. As B.Ulubabian, S.Yushkov and thirteen other historians assure, the book includes only the history of Armenian Albania ie Artsakh and Utik. Kaghankatvatsi is considered to be the author of that book but in fact it’s a collection of works of different writers who lived in the V-X centuries. Each author witnessed his own period in Artsakh and Utik. That unique and valuable book was composed by Movses Daskhurantsi and was referred to as Kaghankatvatsi’s because he was the only historiographer who had signed his name in the book. As far as the language of the book concerns, many historians (T.Grigorian, Z.Buniatov, K.Trever, F.Mamedova) “forcibly” and absurdly call Movses Kaghankatvatsi an Albanian historiographer and consider the book as translated from Albanian into Armenian, ignoring historical and linguistic factors. And what they mean by “Albanian language” or “Albanian script” nobody can say.

The Armenian historiography (Yeghishe, Kaghankatvatsi, Bishop Giuts papers addressed to Vache) regards the two Artsakh-Utik princes as kings. Perhaps the weakening of Sassanid authority resulted in marzpan’s indifference to rule over the multinational district. The Persian King Yezdegird placed the region under the Armenian vassal Prince Vache (marrying him to his niece) who possessed the royal title of Arranshahikids. Yeghishe wrote that after Yezdegird’s death his two sons began to joust and argue laying claims to the royal inheritance of their father. The struggle went on for two years. “Yezdegird’s younger son’s nurse, whose name was Raham and who was from the Mihranid family (junior line of the Arsacid dynasty – B) saw the army partitioned to two, attacked the kings elder son, destroyed his army and arresting him, ordered to kill. The scattered warriors then united into a single army in loyalty to the throne of their new king, whose name was Perosh”14. Yeghishe continues, “During these disturbances the Albanian king (Vache) who was their cousin, rebelled. He was Christian by birth but the king Yezdegird had forcibly converted him to Mazdaism”15.

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