CHAPTER 3 ARRAN IN THE PERIOD OF ARAB DOMINATION

The representatives of the Padlunian family resided in the administrative centre Gandzak and ruled over the lowlands. Cracking the unity of the eastern Armenian Koghmants provinces, the new masters entered into rivalry with the descendants of ancient royal dynasts, and tried to do away with them32. The Aranshahikids were forced to leave for the highlands. Some of them, as Arranshahikid Prince Oshin, emigrated from the homeland. Oshin was successful in founding a new kingdom in Cilicia (1080-1375), with its capital at Sis33. Oshin was succeeded by Hetum I, by name of which the royal dynast was called Hetumian. The motherland of Prince Oshin was the Utik Shakashen (Arshakashan) province, not far from Gandzak.

Troubled by the Kurd Emir, the Albanian Catholicos Stepanos moved to Kapan and died there in Vahanavank monastry.

Another disaster followed the earthquake. The shahap (mayor) of Utik and Artsakh, Khuhtughti, revolted against Sultan Masud(1134-1155), who was Melik Shah’s grandson. He intended to extend his territories and found a new large Emirate. As Mkhitar Gosh told; in 1142 he surrounded the two fortresses of Catholicos’ Kar (Catholicos’ stone) and Karapet’s Kar (Karapet’s stone), kept under siege for some time and then, capturing it, destroyed and burnt down the buildings and the churches34.

To suppress the Khughtught revolt, the Sultan sent his general Choly. The rebel was punished. Choly blinded him and then moved to Khachen, taking fortresses, destroying churches and villages, slaughtering the population on his way. Samuel Anetsi wrote, that inviting the princes of Khachen to his place, Choly imprisoned them35. In the Albanian chronicle of Mkhitar Gosh we learn that in the year 1144-1145 the Turkish Emir, “Choly, growing arrogant, turned against the region of Khachen, captured all its fortresses, demolished the churches and burned down the monastries”. In 1145-1146 Choly was back a second time, “As the fortresses he took on the first occassion did not remain in his hands…The nobles hiding in the forest caves retook them and rebelled. Angered by this, he marched against them, seeking revenge.He was not able to capture the fortresses, but he completely laid waste the entire land. The Dadivank monastry was also burned down”. In another lithograph of Prince of Princes Hasan (1182), we read that he had fought innumerable wars for forty years and had won victories over all his enemies36.

Reinforcing their centrifugal tendencies, the local Muslim rulers of Seljuk state were eager to despoil the region, and though the Armenian princes responded to this in a vigorous way, they were not always successful. Sometimes they tried to save their principalities by not only accepting the Seljuk overlordship, but also by marrying their daughters to the tyrants. This marriages excited the temper of other princes and the internal discordance began to spread all over the district. The Khokhanabert Prince Grigor, for example, had married his daughter to Toghan, who was a governor residing in Charaberd (Jraberd) fortress. Grigor’s relative Hassan was the father-in-law of another Turkmen leader. They began to joust and argue over the leadership in the region. Toghan himself tried to occupy the whole Arran with his father-in-law’s help. Prince Grigor(1147) allied to Toghan moved to the Herkan district of Artsakh, (later Giulistan Melikdom, now Shahumian district of Karabakh Republic). He settled his army at the foot of Kaitsi Tsar mount, near the Herkan (Zevu or Giulistan) fortress37. They fought a battle with Gurbugha’s son-in-law Rovad, who refused to obey. Rovad’s Turkmen army attacked from Divakhorr mount and put to sword all the enemy soldiers. Prince Grigor was also killed. His body was carried back and buried in the funerary chapel of his ancestors. Such wars were endless. Taking advantage of the turmoil, the Emir of Nakhichevan province Elktuz occupied Gandzak, then replaced the deceased Atropateni King Sultan Masud by Aslan Shah and he himself as a trustee of Sultan Atabak, ruled over eastern Armenia and Georgia.

But he didn’t succeed in subjugating the Khachen principality, as its fortresses were unapproachable, and the rulers and people disobedient.

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