CHAPTER 3 ARRAN IN THE PERIOD OF ARAB DOMINATION

Hamam-Grigor’s son Atrnerseh ruled over Kambechan-Shaki, founding a petty kingdom there in 910. Smbat was the lord of Nerkin Khachen, Vassak of Verin Khachen (Haterk and Tsar).

Sahak Sevada gave birth to two sons, Grigor and David. Grigor had two sons – Sevada the Prince and Atrnerseh. Sevada the Prince ruled over Kambechan-Shaki.

Sahak Sevada was in good relation with the Armenian King Ashot II(Iron) who replaced Smbat Bagratuni on the Armenian throne. Sevada married his daughter to the king. Sevada the Prince was his brother in law’s ally. The Artsakh and Shaki-Kambechan principalities continued to be vassal states in the Bagratid kingdom of Armenia.When prince Moses revolted in Artsakh, the King Ashot II came to Sevada’s help and suppressing the rebellion, arrested Moses and as a punishment blinded him. Sahak Sevada married his second daughter to King Mushegh (962-984) of Kars. He was in friendly relations with the Siunid Houses. He married his daughter Shahandukht to Siunid prince Smbat. Thus the three Armenian Kingdoms were related by marriage. Later the Siunid prince Smbat founded a kingdom in Kapan. In fact the friendship of Artsakh-Utik and Siunik had a historical grounding. As far as we can tell, they all descended from the earliest royal families and spoke the same dialect of Armenian. Artsakh was often regarded as a consisting part of “Siunik Minor”. In critical or decisive historical situations they always came to each other’s help. The historiographer of “History of Albania” wrote that Sahak Sevada patronized the young teachers and the educational system as a whole. It was due to her Armenian education that the queen Shahandukht extended her cultural activity in Siunik. As the historian Stepanos Orbelian described “awarded with an irrestible Godly impulse she founded the beautiful and magnificent Vaghatun (Vorotnavank) monastry, which had been a sacred place for pilgrimage…”12

The domain of the great Albanian Prince Sahak Sevada was a place where not only the Armenian King Ashot II, the Armenian Catholicos, Atropateni governor Yusup, but also other princes and priests, who suffered internal persecution, could take refuge if needed. The Armenian Catholicos and historiographer Hovhannes, persecuted by foreign tyrants, lived in Sevada’s palace and then in his brother Atrnerseh’s estate(Kambechan-Shaki’s king) for some time. The Armenian King Ashot II too, avoiding his cousin Ashot Shapuhians intrigues, (who was enthroned by Atropateni governor Yusup) was given shelter by his father-in-law. But soon Sahak Sevada actively antagonized his son-in-law.

Ashot Bagratuni, following some unreliable advices, arrested Vasak, prince of Gegharkunik, and kept him in Kayan castle of Dzorapor. Sevada was dissatisfied with him for the decision and revolted against him. The unevitable war was prevented by Catholicos Hovhannes.

However the Albanian prince went to Dzorapor (Tavush-Taush), captured the castle and set Vasak free. Vasak soon left for his province Gegharkunik. Sevada captured some other fortresses and drew the population to his domain. The King Ashot was in Georgia at that time.After punishing the rebellious Georgian Prince Gurgen and uniting with Georgia by treaty, he was informed about his father-in-law’s revolt and hurried to Dzorapor. He met Sevada’s enormous army (8 thousand) and was quickly surrounded by them.Ashot sent an archbishop to his father-in-law asking for conciliation and suggesting to settle the conflict as a father and son. Sevada refused to condescend, preferring to fight. With a sudden attack Ashot won a victory over Sevada and arresting him and his son Grigor mercilessly blinded them both. After this he captured Sevada’s Gardman fortress (Utik’s Tigranakert) and announced it as his own, appointing the Prince Amram (nicknamed Tslik, “a bull” in Armenian) governor of the fortress.

The population of the whole Utik revolted against the Armenian king who was awarded with the title “Shahinshah” by the Caliphate.

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