Appendix A

Supplementary Notes on the 11-13th Century Naxarars

Aspects of the Saljuq invasions and domination are dealt with in chapter two of this study. Here we shall examine features relating directly to the princes in this period, continuing through to the resurgence of Georgia. Supplementary information on institutions of the Zak'arid period likewise is provided. It should be noted, remarkable as it is, that despite Byzantium's inept and disastrous policies vis-a-vis the Armenians, the Saljuqs did in fact meet some Armenian armed resistance. In 1042, for example, Xul Xach'i Arcruni of T'orhnawan attempted a heroic but futile resistance against 15,000 Turkmens in Vaspurakan. In 1042/43, an unspecified number of Turkmens raiding Bjni in northeastern Armenia were defeated by king Gagik Bagratuni and Grigor Magistros Pahlawuni, son of former sparapet Vasak (1). In 1053 the Armenians of Surmari destroyed an army of 60,000 Turks (2) . The size of Turkmen detachments going against different parts of Armenia varied from about 5,000 to perhaps 50,000 troops. While these armies are not large by modern standards, it must be remembered that the Saljuqs were a determined [250] "cohesive" fighting force. The same may not be said of the Armenian and Greek forces of Asia Minor.

During and after the invasions, some princes, not wishing to emigrate, or unable to, took to a wandering life, hiding in caves, in some cases perhaps waiting for opportunities to avenge themselves (3). Others made accomodation with the Saljuqs and retained certain limited rights. Furthermore, the benevolent Saljuq sultan Malik-Shah granted the Armenian churches tax-free status in 1090, upon the request of the katoghikos. Probably some of the naxarar families were able to retain control of their lands through the clergy. In the absence of the naxarar confederational State, the naxararized Church became the medium of communication for the families. Indeed Smbat Sparapet described kat'oghikos Grigor Tgha Pahlawuni (1173-93) as being "like a king" in wealth. References in other sources also suggest a partial restoration of lands and privileges under various Muslim overlords. Matthew of Edessa, for example, describing the situation in the time of Malik Ismael Ibn Yaqut (1085-93) wrote "everyone ruled his patrimony in his [Yaqut's] time (amenayn ok' tireal er hayreneac' iwroc' yawurs nora)." [251] According to Vardan Arewelc'i, when the Shaddadid Manuchihr ruled Ani-Shirak, he recalled from exile Grigor Pahlawuni and restored his holdings (4). Furthermore, Armenians, Greeks and Georgians serving in the armies of the Shah-Armens and the sultans of Iconium/Konya also received iqtas —originally conditional landholds which quickly became hereditary (5).

The situation of shock and confusion which many cavalrymen or azats, the "gentry", found themselves in, dispossessed from their lands, was described by the late 11th century author Aristakes Lastivertc'i: "The cavalry wanders about lordlessly, some in Persia, some in Greece [Byzantium], some in Georgia. The sepuh brigade of azats has left its patrimony and fallen from wealth; they growl wherever they happen to be, like lion cubs in their lairs" (6). Members of the azatagundk' hayoc', the cavalry of Armenia, clustered around successful bandits like Gogh Vasil or Philaretus Varazhnunik' [252] in lands southwest of Armenia. Others found a very warm reception in Georgia. During the reign of David the Restorer (1089-1125), Georgia became a haven for Armenian lords and lordless azats . Matthew of Edessa says that David "received and loved the Armenian people. The remnants of the Armenian forces assembled by him" (7) . He also built a special city, Gori, for the refugees: "And he [David] established churches and many monasteries. He named the city Gorha [Gori] and received all the Armenian people with great joy and gladness" (8). According to the old medieval Armenian translation of the History of K'art'li ("Juansher"), David knew Armenian, and had as his father-confessor the Monophysite vardapet Sarkawag from Haghbat monastery (9).

[253] The emigration of Armenians to Georgia, Cilicia, and other parts of the Middle East led to a phenomenon we might call the internationalization of the great families. There were Georgian Bagratids, Armenian Bagratids, Aghbanian/Aghuanian Bagratids, and Graeco-Saljuq Bagratids, and the same applied to the Arcrunids and Orbeleans. The Pahlawunids in particular internationalized. They were hereditary archbishops of Ani from the 11-13th centuries, and also owned property in Mesopotamia and Cilicia, where in the 12th century they became kat'oghikoi. In the 12th century, another branch of the Pahlawunids settled in Egypt and acquired so much influence as veziers, that anti-Armenian riots took place in several Egyptian cities (10). It should be noted, however, that while the internationalization of the great families could and did lead to new trading opportunities and the accumulation of great wealth, such was not always the case. Often the different branches of a given family were in bitter rivalry with each other.

In dealing with the Georgian nobility, the Bagratid kings of Georgia utilized many of the same methods as did foreign rulers: circumvention of the dynasts whenever possible, [254] manipulation of the nobles' precedence, and "de-naxararization"—removal of the lords. During the 10-12th centuries, Georgian monarchs attempted to circumvent the autochtonous dynastic nobility by elevating to official positions, persons of non-noble origin. So many non-nobles (uaznoni) were thus elevated to noble status (aznauroba) that in the 11th century Georgian sources a new term, aghzeebulni ("the raised") appeared to designate this growing body (11). On the military front, the monarchs attempted to circumvent powerful Georgian dynasts by relying on foreign mercenaries (Caucasian mountaineers, Qipchaq Turks, Russians), the lesser nobility, and the increasingly influential Armenian emigre element. The availability of non-noble and foreign elements probably gave the Georgian Bagratids more leverage in dealing with dynasts than had been the case in Bagratid Armenia.

Apparently Georgian monarchs also were able to manuipulate precedence among the nobles more advantageously than their Armenian cousins. Occupancy of the office of commander-in-chief of the army (the amirspasalarate) illustrates this. Throughout much of the 12th century to 1155, the amirspasalars tended to be chosen from the mighty, rebellious Georgian branch of the Orbeleans. In the 1120's the Crown tried [255] to counter Orbelean influence by advancing the Abulet'isjes; and in the 1130's the Armenian Kiwrikean Bagratids (13). In 1155 king David V tried to check the Orbeleans' power by removing them from the amirspasalarate and giving that office to the Orbeleans' principal Georgian rivals, the Abulet'isjes, to whom other important duties had been given (14). Orbeleans, however, poisoned the king and regained the office, but after amirspasalar Iwane Orbeli's abortive revolt in 1176-77, the office was given to a Qipchaq Turk named Qubasar. In 1184, the Gamrekelis were elevated to the amirspasalarate, and several years later the Armenized Kurdish family of Zak'arean/Mxargrceli (15). Thus prior to the advent of the Zak'arids, the monarch was able to manipulate precedence by rewarding of office, although from the above it should be clear that the struggle against the dynasts was a continuous ongoing contest. The monarch could never rest or relax vigilance.

[256] In the 12th century the Georgian Crown also attempted de-naxararization. This was aimed primarily at the Bagratids' most powerful rivals, the Orbeleans. In 1176-77, the Orbeleans, hoping to seize the throne, rebelled with the support of many Armenian princes (including the Zakareans, who were Orbelid vassals at the time) (16). When the rebellion was put down, the entire Orbelean family (excepting two or three males) was exterminated, and the family assets were confiscated (17). The Georgian Bagratids also practiced a less drastic form of de-naxararization, namely the forcible exile of opponents. In the 11th century, the Georgian Bagratids fought their Armenian Kiwrikean cousins, the "kings" of Lorhi, According to Kirakos Ganjakec'i:

Kiwrike Bagratuni, who was from the town of Lori, having opposed the Georgians all his life, kept his patrimony (hayrenik') intact. But after his death [ca. 1090] his sons Dawit' and Abas were deceived by the Georgians and rose and went to the Persians and received from them as a heritage Tawush and Macnaberd and other places; then, after some days, the Persians took back Tawush, and they dwelt in Macnaberd (18).

[257] The Armenophile David III who ruled Georgia for less than a year (1155/56-1156/57) "showed such benevolence as to send for King Kiwrike, son of King Dawit' Bagratuni, and promise to return to him his patrimony which his ancestors had taken away from him; and thus he sent him back with presents, and arranged a meeting" (19). According to indications in the Aghbanian/Aghuanian Chronicle of Mxit'ar Gosh, the Arcrunids who held the position of mayor (amirapet, shahap) of Tiflis and also owned lands at Kayean and Mahkanaberd, were expelled from the kingdom under king Giorgi III (1156/57-1184), though Giorgi's successor, T'amar, restored them in their holdings (20).

[258] As a result of territorial expansion, especially southwest into historical Armenia, the Georgian monarchy had at its disposal an ample fund of land. Choice sites especially in the Armeno-Georgian borderlands were available for gifts to court officials as rewards for military or other services, or to guarantee loyalty. Now the Crown intended such land gifts to be conditional, that is, they were given to a particular individual for the duration of his life or of his tenure. Such was the situation with the district of Lorhe and the amirspasalarate. In 1118, Lorhe was Orbelean property. After the dispossession of the Georgian Orbeleans in 1176-77, Lorhe was confiscated and given to the amirspasalar Xubasar. When Xubasar was removed from office in 1184, T'amar left him in all of his holdings except Lorhe, by now considered the property of the amirspasalar (21). The fact remains, however, that with time, just as appointed offices (such as the amirspasalarate) tended to become hereditary, so did those conditional landholds (such as Lorhe) become hereditary within one family (Zak'areans).

[259] While this study concerns the 13-14th centuries and not merely the Zak'arid restoration, we feel obliged to make some mention of Zak'arid institutions. These institutions have been examined thoroughly by Babayan, most recently. Regrettably, details are lacking concerning the precise workings of political administration in the immediately pre-Mongol period. The brothers Zak'are and Iwane, both notable generals, also held official positions within the Georgian court. Zak'are was the commander-in-chief of the army (amirspasalar) as of 1191, and the mandaturt'-uxuc'es from 1203 on; while his brother, first the msaxurt'-uxuc'es (foremost vezier at court) became atabeg in 1212, an office which was instituted within the Georgian court at Iwane's own request (22). [260] In the view of L. H. Babayan, the nature of the Zak'arid brothers' service to the Georgian Crown was primarily of a military sort. Armenian lands recaptured from the Turks, he suggests, did not pay taxes to Georgia, but to the Zak'arids who sometimes are styled "kings","Caesars", and "sahnshs" in the Armenian sources, apparently in recognition of this (23).

Within the vast territories under their jurisdiction the two Zak'arid brothers apparently established many of the same offices as existed in the Georgian Court. The men chosen by them to fill these offices were those same individuals who had been instrumental as warriors in the reconquest of Armenian lands. The service (carhayut'iwn) tendered the Zak'arids by their appointees consisted of military aid and the payment of taxes. Thus, in return for his service, Zak'are titled Vach'e [Vach'utean] his "prince of princes" (24). Members of the Xach'en aristocracy served as Zak'arid hejubs, chamberlains, court directors, and guardians of Zak'arid children (25). Prince Bubak, Iwane's subordinate, is styled "prince of princes" and "the great sparapet" [261] in the sources (26). As Babayan notes, Bubak also was known by the Georgian title of msaxurt'-uxuc'es-the same title originally held by Iwane in the Georgian Court (27). [262] This lends credence to the view that the Zak'arids created a partial microcosm of the Georgian Court hierarchy on their own lands.

Other important offices (gorcakalut'iwnk') fleetingly referred to in the sources are the koghmnakalut'iwnk' or lieutenancies. In Zak'arid Armenia there were three of them, held by three major families: in Siwnik', the Orbeleans, in Ayrarat the Vach'uteans, and in Vayoc' Jor the Xaghbakean-Prhosheans. Babayan reasonably suggests that the koghmnakals were endowed with some administrative-judicial powers (28). The same author believes that the amiras or emirs were city mayors who stood at the head of an elaborate but poorly-understood governing body which included clergy and wealthy laymen. It is clear from inscriptions that at times even the administrative heads of large villages were appointed directly from the top, in one case by Iwane himself (29). The sources also contain a welter of terms such as tanuter, gaherec' ishxan, patronac' patron and others, some known from the dawn of Armenian writings, others new. However, the manner in which the real content of such terms changed over time is not clearly known. Often titles such as shahnshah or marzban appear as the given names of individuals who held titled official positions, adding to the confusion (30). [264] Furthermore, since the political reality of the time was Armeno-Georgian and not exclusively Armenian, sometimes Georgian titulary is used alongside the Armenian, increasing the confusion (31).


Return to Turco-Mongol Menu