In 963 the Armenian general Nakephor Pakos came to throne in Byzantium. Soon he conquered Cilicia. The chief commander of the eastern army was general Hovhannes Chmshkik, who was an Armenian too.He came to throne in 969. This was a flourishing period for Armenia. Here Smbat Bagratuni was reigning (977-990). He fought against the Abkhazs (Georgians) with the Vaspurakan, Siunid and Albanian joint army. Gurgen was frightened seeing Smbat’s might (the Byzantine David Kiurapaghat, who was the fourth after the Emperor in the court, supported Smbat) and suggested reconciliation. Then he returned to his country.

The brother of the King Smbat, Gurgen, being appointed the governor of Tashir province, in 982 assumed royal power, founding the Gugark Kingdom of Bagratids, which is famous also by the name of “Kiurikian” as Gurgen was called “Kiurike” by the Greeks.The Armenian King Smbat hated wars and disturbances, so he did nothing to prevent the state from being divided up. He was busy rebuilding the capital. He erected new cathedrals, churches, ramparts.

King Smbat was succeded by his brother Gagik I Bagratuni (990-1020), who unlike his elder brother, was fond of wars. He invaded Siunid Vaiots Dzor and Khachen and conquered many fortresses there. Reaching to Tigranakert (Shahaghbiur) in Khachen, he left an inscripted monument there. The Siunid Princess Kotramide (Catherine) married Gagik I and having inherited the bulk of her father’s domains, brought them into the hands of the Bagratid ruler of Armenia.

In 989 Gurgen’s son David came to power in Gugark. Gugark was a key outpost on the Armeno-Georgian frontier. David, extending his kingdom, seized new territories from Georgia and Utik. Continuously troubling the Emir of Tiflis, he at last managed to subjugate him. David never ceased expanding Utik. This expansionism was of great importance at a time, when the Shedaian inheritance of Emirs had settled in Gandzak. The dynast had a Kurdish descent. They ruled over Dvin too. Three brothers of the same origin, arriving from Dvin, murdered the Emir, and one of them, Patlun, took his place. Now it was this Patlun who tried to obstract king David’s advance. The very first clash resulted in the Kurds’ defeat. Patlun had a narrow escape. The subject Gag (Ghazakh in present day Azerbaijan), province’s Armenian prince revolted against David. The prince was supported by the Georgians, who had recognized his royal status. He declared about his right to independence, refusing to submit to “Shahinshah” Gagik Bagratuni. The Armenian elite of the region again reinforced their centrifugal tendences, counteracting Gagik’s centralizing policy, preventing him from establishing a mighty indivisible state. He was striving to unite all the Armenian principal provinces, which were divided and redivided among the various scions of the ruling houses. Gagik had to reconquer step by spet the old Armenian land, abolishing the emerging petty kingdoms. The mighty Baghk Kingdom, where the third branch of the Siunid house reigned, managed to survive the Bagratid annexation, in Artsakh, which was already famous by the name Khachen, Yessayi Apumussehs descendants, masters of Verin Khachen, Parrisos and Kambechan-Shaki, had also assumed royal power. Even in further Derbent a petty “Albanian Kingdom” had been set up by a junior line of Bagratuni branch25.

Without much difficulty the King Gagik conquered the territories of Gugark Kingdom. Catholicos Sargis mediated the peaceful settlement of the conflict between David and the King, who was David’s uncle. David set to building new fortresses and ramparts.

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