CHAPTER 4 THE KHACHEN PRINCIPALITY IN X-XIII CENTURIES

For his cultural activity Hamam was named “Pious” as his ancestor Vachagan the Pious. Hamam organized the building of numerous churches and monastries. He paid much attention to the districts Tchar (Jar), Tala and Belukan in southern Caucasus (the present day Zakatalah and Belokan districts, Republic of Azerbaijan), building fortresses and the churches Mamrukh and Likit, which bore a strong resemblence to Zvartnots. These two churches condescend the previous ones architecturally, but of course they are great achievements of art. The historians of Baku school (D.A. Akhundov) announce the mentioned constructions to be built in the IY-Y centuries, because of political considerations striving to denigrate the Armenian element in Albania and representing them as Azerbaijanian architectural monuments. Trying to prove that the Armenian character of Karabakh is a myth, he has deliberately missed to illustrate the cross on the hood. Hamam-Grigor had five sons; Apuli (Apu Ali Haikasuni), Artrnersah II, Vasak, Smbat, Sahak (Isaak) Sevada. As the historiographer assumed, Smbat murdered his elder brother Apuli, who was styled “Great Prince of Albania”. The whole family lamented over him. “The other son, Sahak Sevada, was a brave and wise man. He subjected the district of Gardman or Parisos, Kossa (Kusti) and Parrna and other lands to the north. He leaded the outlaws of Dzoraget. He was a pursuer of literacy and several teachers were hired by him. The Armenian King Smbat opposed to him in this, but could not do anything to make him change his mind”9. Probably Smbat Bagratuni, subjecting the greater part of Albania, intended to abolish the Albanian Kingdom. But the princes of Khachen reinforced centrifugal tendences and counteracted the centralizing policy of the Bagratids.

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

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