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The Bagratid dynasty, which can be traced as far back as the fourth century, also reigned in neighbouring Georgia [formerly Iberia] until as late as the early nineteenth century. Is has been stated that the Bagratuni family was fully dealt with in "Manuel de Genealogie et de Chronologie pour l'Histoire de la Caucasie Chretienne" (Prince C.L. Toumanoff, 1976), but I have not been able to check this. Works that have been consulted include: "Historical Dictionary of Armenia" (Adalian, 2002); "A History of Armenia" (V.H. Kurkjian, 1959); "The Bagratids of Iberia from the Eighth to the Eleventh Century"; "Recherches sur la Chronologie Armenienne" (M.E. Dulaurier, 1859); "Collection d'Historiens Armeniens" (M. Brosset, 1876).
In the middle of the fifth century CE. Moses of Chorene wrote his "History of Armenia" at the behest of Sahek [Vasak, or Isaac] Bagratuni, [though later critics suggests this work is of a later period]. Moses used information collected by the Syrian historian Mar Abba Katina c.150 BCE.
In the 2nd Book of Chronicles in the Old Testament (chapter 36, verses 5-6) it says:
Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign], and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem [608-598 BCE]: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord his God. Against him came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and bound him in fetters, to carry him to Babylon.
In the Book of the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament (chapter 24, verse 1) it says:
... Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [604-563 BCE] had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, ... and had brought them to Babylon.
Because of the evil acts, the prophet Jeremiah placed a curse on the offspring of Jeconiah, referred to below as "Coniah's Curse".
The story goes that at some point in time King Hracheye [fierce eyes] joined Nebuchadnezzar in his first campaign [597 BCE] against the Jews and, from among the captives, he selected the distinguished Jewish chief Shambat [Smbat or Sabbat] and brought him with his family to Armenia. From Shambat the Bagratuni family claim descent, and the first-name Smbat thereafter often appears in the family lists.
In 384 CE Armenia was partitioned into Western (Roman sphere of influence) and Eastern (Persian sphere of influence). Gradually Western Armenia became a Byzantine province.
The following family list has been prepared from various sources. The reader should bear in mind that there can be generations omitted, and that consecutive entries could in fact be brothers, or some other near relation. The dates differ widely in the various sources. And finally, at the end of the day, no absolute proof has been seen that the Rhipsime who married Nikolas of Bulgaria was indeed the daughter of King Ashot I However, the later apparently had no male issue, so that Rhipsame could have been his sole heir.
Neriah (a Davidic prince, descended from King David) married Tamar. After Neriah died, Tamar married 2. King Zedekiah (son of King Jehoiakim) whose early death was the fulfilment of the prophet Jeremiah's "Coniah's Curse" placed on the offspring of King Jeconiah of Judah, (see above).
Nedebiah (son of Neriah).
Smbat I (son of Nedebiah)
around 30 generations later, the following appear
Yenanos, 1st Lord of Shirak (c.30 BCE).
There are alternative versions of this descent from here
[ARME021] Smbat, Lord of Shirak (c.220-50CE).
[ARME031] Trdat, Lord of Shirak (c.250-270).
[ARME041] Smbat, Lord of Shirak (c.220-50).
[ARME051] Trdat, Lord of Shirak (c.250-70).
[ARME061] Bagrat I, Lord of Shirak (c.320-50).
[ARME071] Sahak, succeeded his elder brother (Smbat) as Lord of Shirak (c.380-86).
[ARME081] Hamazasp, Lord of Shirak (about 386-410).
[ARME091] --- (unnamed son of Hamazasp), Lord of Shirak (c.410-30).
[ARME101] Sahak, Lord of Shirak (c.460-83).
[ARME111] Smbat, Lord of Shirak (c.483-510).
[ARME121] --- Lord of Shirak (c.510-40). [Perhaps Varaz-Tiroc].
[ARME131] --- Lord of Shirak (c.540-80). [Perhaps Manuel II].
[ARME141] Smbat bazmahaghth [=the victorious] and Xosrov Shum [=the joy of King Xosrov of Iran], Lord of Shirak (c.580-617), Marzpan [Governor] of Gurgan (c. 600-608), King of Armenia (603-11), Marzpan of Armenia (610-613), Governor responsible to Persia (593-613). He married a [IBEX202] --- (unnamed daughter of King P'arsman VI of Iberia (see IBERIA KINGDOM).
[ARME151] --- (unnamed younger son of Smbat bazmahaghth). His elder brother (Varaz-Tirots) was Lord of Shirak (617-628), King of Armenia (628-34), and Marzpan (628-35), again King of Armenia (645-46), and died 646.
[ARME161] Varaz-Sahak I, Jawitean Xosrov [=forever loyal to Xosrov] (nephew of Varaz-Titots), Lord of Shirak (628-36 & 643-66), Marzpan of Armenia, married Latavr of Iberia.
[ARMY171] --- of Armenia (born c.620, son of Varaz-Sahak I) is described under PRINCES OF IBERIA.
[ARME171] Smbat (born c.620, son of Varaz-Sahak I)), Lord of Shirak (646-72), Prince of Armenia (648-53), married (643) [ARSH162] --- (daughter of Magister Manuel Arsacid, see ARSHAKUNI PRINCEDOM).
[ARME181] Ashot I, Lord of Shirak (672-89), and Prince of Armenia (685-90).
[ARME191] Smbat VI Byuratian, Lord of Shirak (689-726), Ishkan [Governor responsible to the Caliphate] (691-711), Prince of Armenia (693-95 and 696-705).
[ARME201] Ashot III, Prince of Armenia (732-45 & 746-50), was blinded by rival nobles (c.748).
[ARMZ191] Vasak (son of Ashot the blind), married [ARMY212] --- (daughter of [ARMY201] Prince Guaram III, see IBERIA PRINCES).
[ARMZ201] Adarnase I (son of Vasak).
[ARMZ212] --- (daughter of Adarnase) married [ARME221] Ashot IV (see below).
[ARMZ211] Ashot I (son of Adarnase).
[TAOD221] Adarnase II (son of Ashot I), is dealt with under TAO DUKEDOM.
[ARMZ221] Bagrat I (son of Ashot I), married [ARME243] --- of Armenia (daughter of Smbat VIII, see below).
[ARMZ232] --- (daughter of Bagrat I) married [TAOD241] DUKE ADARNASE III, see TAO DUKEDOM).
[ARME211] Smbat VII (son of Ashot the blind) married [MAMI212] Dzoyk/Dzovik (daughter of Governor Samuel II Mamikonian of Taron, see MAMIKONIDS DYNASTY). He was High Constable of Armenia (761-73), and Prince of Armenia (771-72), Lord of Shirak (782-804). He was killed fighting Arab forces at Bagrewand (15th April 775).
[ARME221] Ashot IV msaker [=meat-eater], Governor of Armenia responsible to the Caliphate (804-24), married [ARMZ212] --- (daughter of Adarnase, see above). He died 826.
[ARME232] --- (unnamed daughter of Ashot IV) married [IBEZ221] Guaram Mamphal, Curopalate of Iberia (see IBERIA CUROPALATES).
[ARME233] Rhipsime/Hripsime (daughter of Ashot) IV married [VASP231] Prince Hamazasp II of Vaspurakan (see VASPURAKAN KINGDOM).
[ARME234] Pancalo (daughter of Ashot IV) [MAMN221] Constantinos (see MAMIKONIDS).
[ARME231] Smbat VIII Aboulabas Xostovanol [=the confessor] (son of Ashot IV), Lord of Shirak (824-55), was Governor responsible to the Caliphate (824-55). (He was joint Governor 830-52 with Bagrat II, his older brother.) He married Hripsime/Rhipsime/Eirene (daughter of Bardas [died 866], who was brother of Theodora, wife of Byzantine Emperor Theophilos [829-42]). Smbat died 856.
[ARME242] --- (daughter of Smbat VIII) married [TAOD231] DUKE GOURGEN I (see TAO DUKEDOM).
[ARME243] --- (daughter of Smbat VIII) married [ARMZ221] Bagrat I (see above).
[ARME241] Ashot V the great (born c.820), Lord of Shirak (855-86), Governor responsible to the Caliphate (855-90). He married Kotramide.
The court at Baghdad gave him the title Prince of Princes (c.875). This provoked a violent reaction from the many semi-autonomous Arab states in the area. They banded together and with an army of 80,000 men attacked Ashot with his smaller army, but were soundly defeated. Ashot's prestige increased. Later (c.884) the caliph recognised Ashot as Shahanshah [=king of kings, or =Great King]. He was crowned as Ashot I the great King of Armenia by the Caliphate (at Bagaran, 26th August 884). This was confirmed later by the Byzantium EMPEROR LEO VI (887). Armenia thus continued to play its important role as buffer state between the opposing Christian and Muslim empires. Ashot died in 890.
[ARME252] Sofie (daughter of Ashot V), married [VASP251] Prince Grigor-Derenik Artsruni (see VASPURAKAN KINGDOM).
[ARME251] Smbat IX the martyr (son of Ashot V) was King Smbat I of Armenia (890-914). Yusuf, Emir of Azerbaijan, allied with Armenian princes suffering Smbat's taxation, captured Smbat and tortured him for a year before murdering him, at Erndjak (912).
[ARME262] Ashot VI yerkat [=the iron] was King Ashot II of Armenia (914-28), and later (919) granted the title of Shahanshah (king of kings, or Great King). He married (917) [SION512] Marie of Albania (daughter Prince Isaac Sevada I, see SIOUNIE). He died 928.
[ARME272] Hripsime (born after 917, daughter of Ashot VI) married [BULG271] Nikola (born c.906, see BULGARIA).
[ARME261] Abas/Apas I, married [TAOD262] --- of Tao (see TAO DUKEDOM), succeeded his brother Ashot VI as King of Armenia (928-952).
[ARME271] Ashot/Ashod/Aschot III, King of Armenia (952-77), married Khosrovanousch.
[ARME281] Gagik I, King of Armenia (989-1020), married [SIOE522] Kotramide (daughter of King Vasak VII, see EAST SIOUNIE).
[ARME292] Khoshush (daughter of Gagik I & Kotramide) married [VASP281] King Sennacherib-John, of Vaspurakan (see VASPURAKAN KINGDOM).
[ARME291] Ashot IV (born c. 990, son of Gagik I), Shahanshah of Armenia. He died c.1044.
[ARME301] Gagik II (born c.1020, son of Ashot IV), Shahanshah of Armenia, married --- Acruni (daughter of David Acruni, son of Senekerim). He died 1091.
[ARME312] Helena Bagratuni (daughter of Gagik II) married [GEOR311] King Giorgi II (see GEORGIA KINGDOM).
The capital of Eastern Armenia was moved from Dvin to Ani (996). This fabulous city had been built during the reign of King Ashot III (952-77), with its "thousand and one churches". When the city fell into Byzantine hands (1045), it signalled the beginning of the end. Armenia lost its function as buffer-state and it was not long before the Byzantine Empire started to crumble in the face of Islam. Ani itself was captured by the Seljuk sultan Alpaslan (1064). The present writer visited the site in June 1989, not long before the end of the East-West "cold war". Ani is at the Turkish border, alongside the narrow Arpacay river, which was overlooked by Russian soldiers in their watch-tower. There was an unwritten understanding with the Russian soldiers that they would not shoot at tourists visiting Ani, provided they had no cameras, did not point or stare at the Russian soldiers, did not "have a picnic" (a most curious rule), and were accompanied by Turkish soldiers. Usually, cameras had to be left behind in the coaches for safety. Not surprising, there was a thriving black-market with Turkish soldiers selling their discretely-taken photographs to the tourists (see illustration below).
Present-day ruins of the church at Ani dedicated to St. Krikor (Gregory), built in the time of King, Gagik I, (reigned 989-1020), great-grandson of King Smbat the martyr
Church of St. Krikor