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mainder of his father's dominions.^ This compact was observed
at least so far that Ashot the Fourth was never permitted by his
jealous colleague to enter the capital."- But the civil war loosened
the bonds which attached the feudatories to their king, and the
neighbouring states to a dynasty in its strength. The one partner
was obliged to have recourse to the Caesar Basil ; and it was not
without the assistance of a contingent of imperial troops that
Ashot IV. imposed his rule upon his allotted territories. The
other was defeated at the commencement of his reign by the
Bagratid king of Abkhasia and Georgia, whose troops entered and
pillaged Ani.^ These events appear to have been followed by a
period of comparative tranquillity, during which either monarch
was enabled to recover breath. But the Mussulman emirs were
encroaching ; the Seljuk Turks were harrying the frontiers ; and
the Armenian nation, the natural bulwark against their invasions,
was distracted by the separate counsels of the king with Ani and
the king without Ani, of the king of Lori and the king of Kars.
The king of Van, upon whom the brunt of the Mussulman and
Turkish incursions had fallen, was preparing or had already
accomplished the cession of his kingdom to the C?esar, in despair
of withstanding these unceasing assaults.

The tribes composing the wave of the great Turkish invasion
appear upon the stage of Armenian history as early as the com-
mencement of the eleventh century.^ The aspect and dress of
these savages were as unfamiliar to the Armenians as their mode of
conducting war. The Christian warriors, armed with the sword^
encountered swarms of archers whose long hair floated behind them
like that of women.'"" The signal defeat of his son David by these
nomads about the year 10 18 caused the reigning king of the Van

1 Aristakes of Lastiveit {op. cit. ii. pp. 35S seq.) and Matthew of Edessa {op. cit.
viii. p. 6). - Matthew of Edessa, op. cit. x. p. 8.

3 Matthew of Edessa and Aristakes of Lastivert.

* When Senekerim of Van ceded his kingdom in A. i). 102 1 it had been harried for
twenty-two years. Such is the statement of Samuel of Ani {op. cit. p. 723). It is true
he attributes these incursions to the "Saracens" ; but he must mean the Turks, unless
we are to discredit altogether the detailed statement of Matthew of Edessa (ch. xxxviii.),
that it was a horde of Turks that defeated the forces of Senekerim. I shall not attempt
to reconcile the Armenian accounts with the information which we have received from
other sources concerning the early incursions of the Seljuks. The Byzantine writers do
not appear to mention the invasions of I02I and preceding years, or the invasion of 1042
(Brossot aji. Lebeau, Hist, dii Has Empire, vol. xiv. p. 353).

'" Matthew of Edessa and Aristakes of Lastivert.



Ani, and the Armenian Kingdom of the Middle Ages 357

country to lose heart. The news was brought to him while he
was residing in the delicious town of Vostan, upon the wooded
spurs of the Kurdish mountains overlooking the lake of Van.
His despondency was confirmed by the recollection of a prophecy
in which St. Nerses, the fifth successor of St. Gregory, had foretold
the advent of great calamities at the hands of a barbarous people
a thousand years after the divine mission of Christ. Senekerim
despatched his son to the court of Constantinople, where he was
received with the greatest kindness by the Emperor Basil II.
The Caesar accepted the gift of his extensive and populous realm,
and gave in exchange a secure retreat within the borders of the
Empire, the city and territory of Sivas (a.D. 102 i). An imperial
governor was sent to take over the ceded dominions, in which were
included no less than 72 fortresses, 4000 villages, and 8 towns.^
Some display of force was necessary in order to fasten upon the
southern province the rule of the Byzantine monarchs ; and it is
probable that the measures taken to assert their authority still
further enfeebled the rampart they had come to defend. The
progress of the shepherds may be traced through the pages of the
Armenian historians during the ensuing years. In A.D. 1021
they advanced from Azerbaijan upon the town of Nakhichevan
under the conduct of their prince, the famous Toghrul Bey. This
incursion was directed up the valley of the Araxes into the country
about Ararat. It was resisted by a force of Georgians, who
retired without coming to an engagement, and, a little later, by a
small detachment of the Armenian army under Vasak, the
commander-in-chief. But no concerted action was taken against
the invaders, the Armenians contenting themselves with deeds of
personal prowess, and the Turkomans swarming over the settled
country, plundering, destroying, and putting the inhabitants to the
sword.^ In the year 1042 they were encountered by the king of
Armenia, Gagik, the successor of John Sembat and Ashot. At
the head of his troops he inflicted upon them a signal defeat on
the banks of the Zanga, the river of Erivan. The Turks retired
into the Van country, which they devastated anew.^ Three years

1 Samuel of Ani, Thomas Artsruni (quoted by Dulaurier, Rccherches stir la CJirono-
logie Armenienne, pp. 282 scq.), and Chamchean. I prefer to translate oppida by villages
and tirbes by towns in the Latin version of Samuel of Ani, feeling sure that these terms,
as understood in modern times, will be more in accordance with the facts.

2 Vardan (quoted by Dulaurier, notes to Matthew of Edessa, op. cit. p. 378), and
ISIatthew of Edessa, ch. xi. If Toghrul Bey was over seventy years old when he died in
A.h". 455, he would be in the flower of his age at the time of this expedition.

3 Matthew of Edessa, ch. Ix. p. 71 ; and Chamchean, vol. ii. pp. 127 seq.



358 Armenia

later they appeared again in the same province ; but this time
they were fugitives from Mesopotamia, where they had been
repulsed by the emir of Mosul. Their prayer for a safe passage
home into Persia was refused by the imperial governor residing at
Arjish, on the lake of Van. But the forces at his disposal were
routed by the tribesmen, who took him prisoner and put him to
death.^ The Turks returned in greater numbers during the
following years, laying waste the southern province, flooding
northwards into Pasin and into the valley of the Chorokh. To
this period belong the sack of Arzen (near Erzerum) in 1049, and
the pillage of Kars and massacre of its inhabitants in 1050.
Neither the imperial generals nor their Georgian and Armenian
dependents were successful in making headway against the storm.-
The year 1054 was made memorable in the native annals by the
siege of Melazkert. Toghrul had arrived at the head of an
immense army in the districts bordering the lake of Van on the
side of Azerbaijan. The town of Berkri was taken by assault, that
of Arjish purchased immunity ; and the conqueror led his host
across the level country at the foot of Sipan to the walls of the
fortress on the Murad. Melazkert was at that time in the posses-
sion of the Empire, and was stoutly defended by its governor.
After a close investiture, during which the garrison displayed
great resource and bravery, the Seljuk king was constrained to
retire. But he had already despatched detachments of his army
in all directions ; the Turks penetrated as far north as the slopes
of Caucasus and the Pontic forests, and as far south as the
mountains bordering the southern shore of Lake Van.^ The area
of their raids was still further extended during the subsequent
decade. The territory of Mush was overrun in 1058 ; and the
lonely cloister of Surb Karapet, which overlooks that extensive
plain, witnessed the prowess of the Armenian chiefs, who directed
their gaze towards it before falling upon their savage foes.* These
bands had perhaps returned from the sack of Malatia beyond and

^ Matthew of Edessa, ch. Ixix. p. 8o. See also Lebeau, op. cit. vol. xiv. p. 351.

2 The campaigns of this period are narrated by Matthew of Edessa (ch. Ixxiii. pp. 83
seq.) and Aristakes {op. cit. pp. 268-82 and p. 285), as well as by the Greek and
Arab historians. The subject is discussed by Saint -Martin {Mi'moircs, vol. ii. pp.
201 seq.).

^ Matthew of Edessa, ch. Ixxviii. pp. 98 seq., and Aristakes, op. cit. 1863, ch. xvi. p.
289. Melazkert owed its deliverance largely to the intrepidity of a Frankish adventurer.
It did not fall to the Turks until a.d. 1069, when it was taken after a siege of a single
day by Alp Arslan (Matthew of Edessa, ch. cii.).

■* Matthew of Edessa, ch. Ixxxi. p. 109.



Ani, and the Armenian Kingdo77t of the Middle Ages 359

on the west of the Euphrates.^ In the following year the
advancing tide reached the city of Sivas, that peaceful haven in
the interior of Asia Minor which had been allotted to Kinsr
Senekerim, and which was now in possession of his sons. These
princes fled for their life, and the Turks were for a moment
arrested by the spectacle of the multitude of white domes, be-
longing to the churches, which they mistook for the tents of their
enemy. But both the city and the plain of Sivas were given over
to pillage and massacre ; streets and countryside were deluged
with blood."^ North, south, and west spread the relentless inunda-
tion ; at one time the current sets towards the territory of Karin
(Erzerum), at another it eddies around the mountains in the south
between Diarbekr and Palu.^

Armenian patriots of the present day brand the memory of
King Senekerim, the Artsrunian, and insult his tomb in the cloister
of Varag, overlooking Van. No more lenient judgment is meted
out to the Bagratid king of Ani, who, as early as the year 1022,
willed away his dominions to the same Gsesar who had supplanted
the sovereign of the southern province. But these events are but
the outward signs of a general retreat of the Armenians before the
advance of Turks and Kurds, battering in the gates of the cali-
phate and pressing forward into the settled countries.* A fairer
view might impute it to these Christian kinglets that they failed
to stand their ground upon the bulwarks of Eastern Christendom,
drawing support from their powerful neighbours of the same
faith, who were welded together in a single and magnificent
empire. But that empire, so justly respected by the Mussulmans
as the realm of the Romans, was an object of particular aversion
to the Armenians as the home or the prey of the hated and
unorthodox Greeks. On every page of Armenian history is
written large the mutual suspicion which envenomed the relations
of the two races. Where co-operation might have seemed impos-
sible we may perhaps excuse the abdication of the weaker party,
and even justify the usurpation of the stronger. And the judicial
historian, who may sift the facts with greater care than the

1 Ibid. pp. 107, 108, and Aristakes, op. cit. 1864, ch. xxi.

^ Matthew of Edessa, ch. Ixxxiv. pp. ill seq.

3 See Aristakes, ch. xviii., and Matthew of Edessa, ch. Ixxxvi.

* We are informed in the History of Thomas Artsruni that Senekerim and the
Artsrunian princes were accompanied in their emigration by a population of 14,000
males, besides women and children. See Dulaurier, Recherches, etc., p. 284. Cham-
chean (vol. ii. p. 113) increases this estimate to 400,000 souls, I know not upon what
authority.



360 Artyienia

inquisitive traveller, will perhaps conclude that the blame must be
laid on wider shoulders — upon the Pan -Greek policy of the
Byzantine Caesars and their masterful hierarchy, and upon the
perversity of two cultured and Christian peoples, who, rather than
compose or postpone their quarrels, threw this culture and this
religion into the maw of savages.

At the time when the Bagratid kingdom of Armenia was
suffering from a fresh division of the regal authority under John
Sembat and Ashot, the neighbouring Empire was administered
by a worthy successor of Nikephorus and of Zimiskes. The
Emperor Basil the Second stands out in the Byzantine annals
as a monarch who did not disgrace the title of the Roman Cssars.
His personal intervention in the affairs of Armenia dates from the
reign of Gagik the First, and was occasioned by the death of the
prince of the Akhaltsykh country, David, who had during his
lifetime been a fast ally of the emperor, and who had named
him heir to his principality. Basil hurried to Armenia to take
over his new possessions ; he was greeted by the kings of Kars
and of Van ; but King Gagik excited his displeasure and pro-
voked his resentment by somewhat pointedly remaining away.
The Caesar appears to have made a peregrination of the Armenian
country, visiting Shirak, and perhaps occupying some of the
fortresses in the south, such as Akhlat, Melazkert, and Arjish.^
Years later he was again summoned to the scene of his former
successes ; but on this occasion it was his duty to combat the
folly of two Christian princes who had taken up arms against
that Empire which alone could save them from their doom.
King George the First of Georgia, in concert with King John
Sembat of Ani, had been raiding in the imperial dominions.
Basil established his camp in the plain of Erzerum, and summoned
the Georgian monarch to submit. Upon the failure of his
embassies he made his way by the plain of Pasin to the territory
of Kars. The armies came together in the neighbourhood of
Lake Chaldir ; and if the issue of a furious engagement may
have seemed uncertain, the result was established by the retire-
ment of the Georgians into their strong places, and by the
devastation of their country by the imperial forces, which included

1 Chamchean, vol. ii. p. 104; Saini- Martin, Mcmoires^ vol. i. p. 366; Brosset
ap. Lebeau, vol. xiv. pp. 184 scq. Chamchean and Saint-Marlin place this expedition
in A.n. 999, Lebeau in 991, while Aristakes assigns it to the year looi. The latter
attributes the capture of Arjish to Nikephorus, the Greek governor of Yaspurakan
appointed by Basil.



Ani, and the Armenian Kingdom of the Middle Ages 361

contingents of barbarous peoples such as Russians and Bulgarians.
The emperor spent the winter in the neighbourhood of Trebizond,
where he received an envoy from the king of Ani, no less a person
than the patriarch, accompanied by twelve bishops, seventy monks,
two scholars, and three hundred knights. The presence no less
than the gifts of this distinguished embassy might have appeased
the just wrath of the most Christian emperor ; but his expectations
were perhaps exceeded by the production of a testament in which
John Sembat named him the heir to his dominions. This
voluntary cession (A.D. 1022) secured the immunity of the
kingdom of Ani ; and Basil was free to exact his terms from
the Georgian. Measures were taken to ensure the future safety
of the domains of Akhaltsykh, and the imperial army was paraded
upon the extremities of the Armenian country, carrying fear into
the hearts of the inhabitants of Azerbaijan. Basil returned to
his distant capital, having smoothed the way for the extension of
the Empire across the natural bridge of the Asiatic highlands.
The masters of Akhaltsykh in the north and of Van in the south
could afford to wait for the death of a feeble and childless king.^

But the Emperor Basil died in the year 1025, and was
followed upon the throne by no less than six sovereigns within
the space of seventeen years. His bold policy was committed to
feeble hands and incapable brains ; and perhaps the testament
of King John was forgotten by the Emperor Romanus when he
bestowed his niece in marriage upon its author.'^ The bridegroom
did not profit by this opportunity of producing an heir who might
have rivalled the claims of the heir of Basil. Upon the death
of John, which occurred some years after this event, the reigning
emperor, Michael, took steps to enforce those claims. One of
the most powerful of the Armenian nobles, by name Sargis,
supported the cession of the kingdom in accordance with the
imperial demand. His proposal was resisted by his compeers,
and the imperial forces were despatched into Shirak. Arrived
under the walls of Ani, they were surprised by a sally of the
garrison, who were led by the chiefs of the faction opposed to

1 Aristakes in op. at. ch. ii., together with the authorities collected in the accom-
panying notes by M. Prudhomme. Chamchean attributes the cession of the kingdom of
Ani to the terror which had been inspired by the Seljuk invasions. Basil's policy of
taking over the hereditary possessions of the Armenian and Georgian princes and giving
them seats in other parts of the Empire was continued by his brother Constantine. See
Aristakes, op. ci't., third series, vol. xvi. pp. 51 seq.

2 Samuel of Ani, op. cit. p. 723 ; and Lebeau, vol. xiv. p. 249. Aristakes is our
authority for a curious story respecting the adventures of this testament (ch. x. ).



3



62 Armenia



Sargis, under the supreme command of the intrepid Vahram
(a.D. 1 041). The Greek army was routed after incurring heavy-
losses, and the river of Ani was reddened by the blood of the
GagikiT., Greeks. Gagik, the son of King Ashot, who was then a mere
A.D. 1042-45. yQ^^j-,^ ^y^g faiscd to his uncle's throne ; and the hateful Sargis
was taken prisoner by the successful party, but restored to liberty
by the clemency of the young king. The imperial anger con-
tinued to harass an inexperienced prince who was regarded by
the Byzantine court as an usurper ; but the death of Michael in
the same year suspended the delivery of a decisive blow. His
nephew, another Michael, ruled or tyrannised for a few months ;
the disorders of his reign were followed by those consequent
upon his expulsion ; and a short period was perhaps necessary
for his successor, Constantine Monomachus, to establish himself
upon the throne. The revenge which he inherited against the
kingdom of Ani was stimulated by the intrigues of Sargis, who
suggested that the youthful Gagik should be enticed to Constan-
tinople, in order to smooth the way for the surrender of the city.
The promises of the emperor, and the oaths of the nobles that
they would conserve his capital during his absence, were successful
in drawing the monarch away ; but a considerable display of force
was rendered necessary before the garrison could be induced to
surrender Ani. After a first reverse, measures were taken by the
absent emperor to secure the triumph of his arms. A Kurdish
emir, who was powerful in Karabagh and the valley of the
Araxes, was induced to join his forces to those of the Empire ;
and matters had become hopeless when the city was delivered
over to the emissary of the Cnesar by the notables in concert
with the patriarch (A.D. 1045). I'^ing Gagik was allotted a
territory in Cappadocia and a palace at Constantinople. A
Greek governor was despatched to take over Ani and the new
possessions, which placed the crown upon the extension of the
Roman Empire along the valley of the Araxes and round the
shores of Lake Van.^

In this manner and by these several stages the protagonists
in a world struggle were brought face to face. The Seljuks
reinforced the failing energies of Islam, but infused into the body
to which they lent new vigour an intractable strain of barbarism

1 Samuel of Ani ; Matthew of Edes.sa ; Aristake.s ; Kedrenus. The Byzantine
hi.storian.s omit the campaign of 1041, and maintain silence upon the disagreeable topic
of the deception practised upon King (Jagik.



Ani, and the Armenian Kingdom of the Middle Ages 36



o



which it has retained to the present day. On the high-road of
their depredations they were now confronted by a redoubtable
adversary, the champion of Christianity and of whatever culture
the age possessed. But that religion, become debased, had
already sapped the foundations of culture ; the winged mind of
the Greeks had been imprisoned by a rigorous dogmatism ; and
their bodies were either crushed by the discipline of the monastery
or exhausted by the refinements of the life of sensual pleasure.
The greatness of their inheritance and the extent of the resources
which they administered had been equal to producing a Nike-
phorus, a Zimiskes and a Basil ; but this grain of Roman genius
was allowed to wither by the succeeding princes ; and we feel the
force of the comparison which is drawn by the Armenian historian
between the quiet strength and benignant policy of Basil and the
dissolute habits and feeble half-measures of Monomachus.^ The
safety of the provinces was made subordinate to the interests of
the Greek hierarchy ; the Armenians were irritated by renewed
attempts to bring them over to Byzantine orthodoxy ; and their
resistance was punished by the removal of the strongest
characters from the native seats in the defence of which they
would have given their lives. The new territories were handed
over to Greek eunuchs, to whom was entrusted their administration
and defence.' In the year 1055 the inhabitants were massacred
outside the walls of Ani by an enemy which perhaps consisted of
a detachment of Seljuks in concert with the forces of the emir
of Karabagh.^ The final blow was delivered nine years later by
the successor of Toghrul, the famous Alp Arslan. After a
successful campaign in the Georgian country he arrived before
Ani in the summer of 1064. The appearance of the city at that
date is described in eloquent terms, if with some exaggeration, by
Matthew of Edessa. Such was the number of the population
assembled within its ramparts that the Turks believed them to
comprise the greater part of the Armenian nation. Mass was
celebrated in a thousand and one churches. Precipitous cliffs
protected the site for almost the whole circuit, and it was embraced
by the sinuous course of the Arpa Chai. On one side only was
there level or slightly shelving ground for a distance about equal
to the flight of an arrow. It was upon the walls which defended
this vulnerable side that the Seljuk sultan' directed his attack.

' Aristakes, ch. xvii. ^ Matthew of Edessa, chs. Ixxxiv. and Ixxxv.

^ Aristakes, ch. xvii.



364 Armenia

After a siege of twenty-five days the Turks penetrated into the
city. Each man carried a knife in either hand and a third
between his teeth. The garrison had retired into the inner citadel,
and the defenceless inhabitants were mown down like grass. One
of the barbarians mounted upon the roof of the cathedral, and
hurled to the ground the great cross which rose from the dome.
A little door gave him access to the interior of the dome, whence
he precipitated a crystal lamp, perhaps of Indian origin, which
had been presented by King Sembat the Second. The capture
of Ani prepared the way for the investiture of Kars ; but the
king of Kars appeased the victor by attiring himself in black
robes, which he affected to be wearing out of respect for the death
of Toghrul. From these successes the Seljuks were carried forward
into the bosom of the Empire ; and the signal defeat near
Melazkert of the Caesar Romanus in 1071 finally decided the
long struggle in favour of the Mohammedan world.^

From these momentous issues, with which the fortunes of Ani
were so closely connected, it is an abrupt descent to the plane of
her subsequent history. I have already had occasion to mention
the two chief actors in this minor drama, the Bagratid dynasty of
Georgia and the Kurdish dynasty of Karabagh.-' The Georgian
Bagratids weathered the storm of the Seljuk invasions ; and they
attained during the course of the twelfth and the commencement
of the thirteenth century a wide dominion over the adjacent lands.
A lesser station must be assigned to the Mussulman family of the
Beni-Cheddad, who in the decline of the caliphate had established
themselves in the valleys of the Kur and the Araxes, and whose
kinsmen probably wandered over the mountains of Karabagh,
which at the present day still harbour Kurdish tribes. The
particular clan to which they belonged is said to have been named
Rewadi ; but they became possessed of the important town of
Gandzak in the valley of the Kur (the modern Elizabetpol), and
of Dvin, the ancient Armenian metropolis, in that of the Araxes,
I have twice spoken of their prince, a figure of some importance
during the reigns of John Sembat and Gagik the Second, at first
the ally and then the determined adversary of the Empire and
the coadjutor of Alp Arslan. Abulsevar — the Chawir of the
Arabs, the Aplesphares of the Greeks — is well known to the

' Matthew of Edessa ; Samuel of Ani ; Aristakes. The king of Kars gave over his
realm to the Empire shortly after the fall of Ani, taking in exchange the fortress of
Tsamentav near Amasia in Asia Minor (Matthew of Edessa, ch. Lxx.xviii.).



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