CHAPTER 4 THE KHACHEN PRINCIPALITY IN X-XIII CENTURIES


At the end of the ninth century the weakening in the Abbacid inheritance arouse vivacity in the subordinative countries. The Caliphate was unable to command and keep armies in the farthest ends of its domain. The Armenian, Georgian and the native Albanian(Armenian) nobility was active in Transcaucasia. In 870-ies the revolt broke out against the Arabs in eastern Persia, under the leadership of Jakob (Saffi’s son). Ashot I Bagratuni was appointed “Prince of Princes” to rule over a vast administrative Unit named Arminiyya covering Georgia and the entire Albania. He was responsible for realizing the taxation in the mentioned territories.

The Byzantine Empire supported the centrifugal tendences against the Caliphate, intending to exercise his own influence on the area.

In 867 Basil I came to throne in Byzantium. He was Armenian by origin and as he assumed himself, a descendant of the Armenian Arsacid dynasty. Knowing that traditionally the Arsacid kings were ordained by the representatives of Bagratuni dynasty, he asked Ashot Bagratuni to enthrone him. Basil first founded the Macedonian (he was born in Alexandretta) or Armenian dynasty, which held the power for 160 years.

In 887 an Armenian delegation was sent to Baghdat. They asked the Caliph Motamid-Billah to recognize Ashot Bagratuni as king of Armenia. The Abbasid court approved the idea, considering Ashot Bagratuni a suitable candidate and sent a throne and other presents to the newly elected king. Ashot Bagratuni was crowned a king by the Armenian Catholicos Gevorg. Basil I sent presents to the king in his turn. Thus, Byzantium recognized the royal status of Armenia, although Basil I continued to apply to the Armenian monarch as “Prince of Princes”.

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