However the continuous wars undermined the Khachen principality. In the second half of the XII century Khachen was divided up between three princely families. Each third of the land was ruled by a different line of the Siunid branch of the family. One of the lands centres was Khokhanaberd, or the palace “Darpasner” (gates), the other – Haterk and Akanaberd (on the left bank of the Tartarr river), and the third – Handaberd (in Tsar province). Parallel to the three principalities, there existed also petty domains, under the suzerainity of one of the three, maintaning the “Prince of Princes” title, which was inherited by the family, whose leader was the most influential. Thus, though the Arranshahikids had lost the royal status, they managed to preserve the “Prince of Princes” title, which enabled them to realize the defence of their country.

The XII century was the rise of the Georgian State, especially during the reign of Queen Tamar the Great (1187-1213). The royal dynast descended from the Armenian Bagratids. The Bagratid branch ruling in Sper, Taik and Kgharjk, adopted the Chalcedonian faith in the ninth century.

As the Turks and their various Muslim vassals began to falter in the twelfth century, Georgia expanded into northern and eastern Armenia, capturing Ani, Dvin and Kars and all of Siunik, wisely placing the regions under Armenian vassal princes, and reducing to the same vassalage the rulers of Dizak and Khachen. The Armenians profited from the Georgian domination, as it enabled the survival of the state and the preservation of its autonomy, which were Armenia’s foremost concerns.

The Armenian sparapet Sargis Zakarian, being in treaty with the Georgian State, soon was raised to the rank of commander of the joint army39.

As the Armenian historian Ashot Hovhannisian wrote, “The Georgian Bagratids were considered not as conquerers but as heirs to the Armenian throne, and were supported by the whole nation. Reuniting Armenia and Georgia they referred to Armenia not as a subject state but as a family domain, which had achieved its feudal freedom by joint effort of Armenia and Georgia40.

The Armenian Zakarian dignitaries at the Georgian court (the liberators of Armenia) were the hereditary claimants of the “amirspasalar’s” and “atabek’s” positions. Sargis Zakarian married his four daughters to the princes of eastern Armenian most influented families, thus establishing close relashionship with all Armenian domains.They may be dreaming of restoring the Armenian monarchy. They liberated Gardman, Karherdz, Yergevank, Toush, Terunakan, Gagard and Shamkor41.

Sargis Amir spaslar (sparapet, military commander) married his daughter Khorishah to the lord of Nerkin Khachen (Khokhanaberd) -Vakhtang-Tangik. His second daughter Dop was the wife of Verin Khachen ruler Hasan I. The next daughter Nana married Abbas Kiurikian of Lori, and the last daughter Nargis was the daughter-in-law of Mamikonian family in Psegh. All these princes were the Armenian vassals of Georgian kings, but on the whole they were considered as the only masters of their indivisible family domains42. The lords of Nerkin Khachen descended from the Albanian king Hamam-Grigor and his son Sahak(Isaak) Sevada, whose branch originated from the Arranshahikids. The junior line of the branch resided in Haterk.

From the second half of the XII century the Artsakh Prince of Princes was the Haterk lord Hassan*(1142-1182). His son Vakhtang inherited his father’s title and domain. He had five brothers – Vasak, Smbat, Grigor, Khoidan and Grigoris.

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