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  • Vardanank

    Here I'll post information about the great battle of Vardanank and why our ancestors had too fight and what lead too the battle but first I'll post some pictures of it.
    first picture Surp Vardan

    And heres a painting of Grigor Khadjian

    (sorry but the pic is pn its side because it was scaned in my computer)

    I'll post some detailed parts of his painting tomorow and afcourse what happend in the war

  • #2
    Re: Vardanank

    Here it is...


    • #3
      Re: Vardanank

      Thank you


      • #5
        Re: Vardanank

        The year 428 ad brought an end to Armenia's Arsacid (Arshakuni) monarchy, which had ruled the country since 52 ad, when its founder, Trdat I, received his crown from the Roman emperor Nero. Most of Armenia then fell under the rule of the Persian Sassanids and was governed by marzbans (governors-general), appointed by the king of Persia. The marzban was invested with supreme power, including the power to impose death sentences, but could not interfere with the privileges of the Armenian nobility. Of the 35 successive marzbans who ruled during a 200-year period, six were Armenians.

        In spite of the Arsacid monarchy's demise, the Armenians preserved their cultural identity through the spiritual power of their Christian faith. King Trdat III (286x336) had declared Christianity to be the state religion in 301 ad, thereby making Armenia the first officially Christian nation on earth. (The first Christian emperor of Rome, Constantine the Great, did not announce his conversion until 312.) Following the invention of the Armenian alphabet in 405, the Bible and works of the church fathers were translated into Armenian between 422 and 432, filling the soul of the nation with a fervent Christian zeal.

        During the marzbanic period, the Persians launched a series of intermittent persecutions against the Christian Armenians. In particular, King Yazdegird II (438x457), wanted to pressure the Armenians to accept Zoroastrianism, which included the worship of the supreme god Ahura Mazda. By doing so, he hoped to prevent any future alliance based on religion between the Armenians and Persia's archenemy, the Eastern Roman Empire.

        Yazdegird called the Armenian nobles to his court at Ctesiphon. Mihr-Nerseh, the grand vizier, promulgated an edict enjoining the Armenians to give up "the erroneous and foolish ways of the Romans, thus depriving themselves of the benefits of the Persian perfect religion."

        After returning to their country in 449, the Armenians held a general assembly in Artashat to ponder an answer to the edict. Catholicos Hovsep presided over the meeting. It was attended by 17 bishops, 18 major nakharars (feudal lords), many noblemen and prominent priests, whose spokesman was the Erets (priest) Ghevond.

        The Armenians' reply to Mihr-Nerseh concluded with the following words: "From this belief [Christianity] no one can move us; neither fire, nor sword, nor water, nor any other horrid tortures. All our goods and our possessions are in your hands, our bodies are before you; dispose of them as you will.

        "If you leave us to our belief, we will here on earth choose no other lord in your place, and in heaven choose no other God in place of Jesus Christ, for there is no other God but him."

        When the Persian king was informed of their rejection, he flew into a rage and sent an order for the chief dignitaries of Armenia to appear before him in Ctesiphon. Fifteen came, headed by Vassak Siuni and Vardan Mamikonian. Before receiving them in audience, Yazdegird had sworn "by the Sun God, that if tomorrow morning, at the rise of the magnificent one [the sun], the nobles would not kneel before it with him, and acknowledge it as god, they would be imprisoned and chained, their wives and children exiled into distant lands, and the imperial troops and herds of elephants would be sent to Armenia to demolish their churches."

        The dignitaries opted to make a pretense of yielding, for the sake of their homes and families. Yazdegird, in great joy, heaped honors and gifts upon them and sent them off to Armenia accompanied by 700 Magi, to convert the entire country to Zoroastrianism, or Mazdaism.

        Scarcely had the strange cavalcade crossed the frontier, 420 miles east of Dvin, when a horde of Armenian peasants, armed with clubs and slings and led by the fiery priest Ghevond, assailed the trespassers and sent them fleeing.

        The Armenian leaders, most of them ashamed of their sham apostasy, avoided appearing in public. Many young men and women were ready to fight and die for their Christian faith if the Persian king made good his threat of an armed invasion. They had implicit confidence in their commander, Vardan Mamikonian.

        Vardan was the son of Sparapet (general) Hamazasp Mamikonian and Sahakanush, the daughter of the Catholicos Sahak Bartev, a descendent of Gregory the Illuminator. The Roman Emperor Theodosius II (408x450) and the Persian King Bahram V (421x438) had both conferred the rank of general upon Vardan. He had visited Constantinople on diplomatic missions. As a commander of Armenian contingents of the Persian army, with a record of service in 40 engagements, he had won laurels in campaigns in Khorassan (modern Turkestan).

        With war now inevitable, Vardan dispatched a delegation to the Eastern Roman court for help, but he was met with bitter disappointment. Atilla the Hun, ruling over a territory that stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Rhine, was threatening Constantinople. The Roman emperor had drained his meager treasury to purchase peace with the barbarian. As long as the Huns menaced the very gates of the capital, no Roman emperor dared irritate that other great enemy, the king of Persia.

        On Easter Day, April 13, 451, the Persian army, numbering 300,000 men, arrived at a location between Her and Zarevand (Khoy and Salmast in present-day Iran). The army's center was held by the division of the "Immortals"--10,000 horsemen. A herd of trained elephants, each carrying an iron tower full of bowmen, was another menace. The rear guard was reinforced by a column of elephants, on one of which, in a barbed tower, sat the commander, Mushkan Nusalavurd, viewing the entire battlefield and directing movements.

        The Armenian forces, comprised of 66,000 cavalry and infantry and accompanied by a considerable number of clergy, camped near the village of Avarair in the Plain of Shavarshakan (modern Maku, in the northwestern corner of Iran). The rivulet Ighmud ("muddy"), a tributary of the Araxes River, separated the two armies.

        On May 26, Vardan, who from childhood had been well versed in the Holy Scriptures, read aloud the heroic deeds of the xxxish Maccabees, who successfully fought against the Seleucid tyrant Anthiochus IV (175x164 bc) in defense of their faith. Then Ghevond delivered a discourse.

        Eghishé, a contemporary chronicler, described the Battle of Avarair, to which he was an eyewitness: "One should have seen the turmoil of the great crisis and the immeasurable confusion on both sides, as they clashed with each other in reckless fury. The dull-minded became frenzied; the cowards deserted the fields; the brave dashed forward courageously, and the valiant roared. In a solid mass the great multitude held the river; and the Persian troops, sensing the danger, became restless in their places; but the Armenian cavalry crossed the river and fell upon them with a mighty force. They attacked each other fiercely and many on both sides fell wounded on the field, rolling in agony."

        Upon seeing his left flank crumbling before the Persians, Vardan led a counterattack that cut off and destroyed the Persian right wing. Mushkan, however, rallied his troops and committed his reserves. Vardan and his warriors were surrounded by the Persian vanguard and went down fighting.

        The battle continued until evening. By that time, 1,036 Armenians and 3,544 Persians lay dead in heaps on the battlefield. The survivors were scattered over the hilltops and in more protected valleys. Despite the heavier Persian casualties, Mushkan had won the day. Vardan had fallen in battle, and there was no longer any chief who could rally his remaining troops.

        Though beaten, however, the Armenian army was far from destroyed. Vahan Mamikonian, son of the great Vardan's brother Hmayak, took charge and led the Armenians in a guerrilla war that flared around strongholds and along impregnable heights for the next 33 years.

        During that time, the Sassanids underwent three changes of rulers, and also had to deal with external conflicts with Rome and a new wave of eastern barbarians known as the Ephthalites, or White Huns. After the death of King Peroz at the hands of the White Huns in 484, his brother and successor, Balash, made a serious reassessment of the long, inconclusive conflict in Armenia and sued for peace. Vahan sent messengers to the Persian camp, with proposals for liberties in Armenia, the main one being: "Religious worship in accordance with Christian doctrines and rites to be declared free in Armenia, and fire altars to be removed."

        Balash accepted Vahan's terms, and in 484, a treaty was signed in the village of Nuwarsak. Vahan was appointed marzban of Armenia. His victory was celebrated in the Cathedral of Dvin, with the Catholicos Hovhan I Mandakuni (478x490) officiating. Armenia had regained her autonomy and freedom of the national church and culture. Vahan ruled for 20 years (485x505).

        Vardan Mamikonian's analogy comparing the Armenians' struggle to that of the xxxish Maccabees proved to be remarkably apt. In both cases, followers of the Bible had fought for the right to worship in the face of religious oppression, and in each case the long, protracted struggle ended in a negotiated settlement assuring those rights. Both struggles also produced martyred heroes--Judas Maccabee the Hammer and Vardan Mamikonian the Brave.

        The Vardanian War, as it came to be called in Vardan's honor, began on May 26, 451, but the Armenian church celebrates the event in February. In the past, spring was considered the season for warfare. Armenia's ecclesiastical fathers had decided to commemorate the event in February, before spring, in order to inspire the youth and prepare their minds for battle, in defense of church and fatherland.

        By Antranig Chalabian


        @Yedtarts thanks for those pics ap


        • #6
          Re: Vardanank

          I got some better detailed information about armenia in the 5 century

          Marzban Government
          For two hundred years after the fall of the Arshakuni dynasty of Armenia in 428, the country was governed by Marzbans (Governors-general of the boundaries), nominated by the Persian King. Of the thirty-five Marzbans who ruled in succession, six were Armenians. Western or Byzantine Armenia was at that time ruled by Curopalates (Governors), almost all Armenians by race, but with limited prerogatives.

          The Marzban was invested with supreme power, even to the imposing of death sentences; but he could not interfere with the age-long privileges of the Armenian nakharars. The country as a whole, enjoyed a considerable autonomy. The office of Hazarapet, corresponding to that of a Minister of the Interior and Public Works, was entrusted to an Armenian, as was also the post of military Commander-chief. Each nakharar had his own army, according to the extent of his domain. The "National cavalry" or "Royal force" was under the Commander-chief. The tax collectors were all Armenians. The courts of justice and the schools were directed by the Armenian clergy.

          Three times during the Marzbanic period, Persian kings launched persecutions against Christianity in Armenia. The Persians had tolerated the invention of the Armenian alphabet and the founding of schools, thinking those would promote the spiritual severance of Armenia from the Byzantine Greeks; but on the contrary, the new cultural movement among the Armenians actually proved to be conducive to a closer relation with the Greeks.

          Intolerance under Yazdegert (Hazkert Â) II
          The internal policy of Sassanid Persia had now taken on an intolerant attitude in the matter of religion. All the races living within the Iranian Empire henceforth must, in conformity with Mazdeian tenets, worship the sun and fire. King Yazdegert  II (438-457), was a mixture of contrasting emotions. In the words of Yeghisheh, "One day a ferocious bull" or "an enraged lion" or "a furious tempest," on another day a man of "sweet disposition . . . who would humble himself from a haughty arrogance." He considered himself the first servant of Ormuzd (Ahura-Mazda), through whose grace he would crush the Graeco-Roman power, revive the empire of Cyrus and place all Asia under the influence of Iran. Repudiating the Hundred Years' Treaty of 420, Yazdegert invaded the Byzantine territories of Mesopotamia, destroyed cities, burned churches and seized captives. The Emperor Theodosius II, unable to take the field, concluded a humiliating peace in 441, which, among other terms, stipulated that those Persian Christians who had taken refuge in the Byzantine domain must be surrendered.

          The triumphant Iranian then turned his attention to Central Asia, marching against the Kushans or Hephtalites, a hardy people of Medean origin, ruled by Arshakid princes, descendants of Darius the Great. Their country embraced modern Bukhara and Pahl, and they had fought successfully against Persia. After seven years of hostilities (442-448), Yazdegert, at the head of a formidable army, inflicted a severe defeat on the Kushans, at Marvroud, near the River Murghab, where the Armenian cavalry became noted for its valor.

          Derbend Gates
          The reconstruction of the Derbend Gates had already been accomplished before the Kushan War. The road is between the Caucasian Mountains and the Caspian Sea, in flat country, which offered an easy way for incursions into northern Persia by the Mazkouts or Black Huns, a nomadic tribe ruled by princes and claimed Arshakid descent. Acting under the suspicion that the Armenians might, in an attempt to revolt against him, get assistance from the Mazkouts, Yazdegert rebuilt a great wall called the Jora Bahag or Gate of Jor-Derbend by the Armenians.

          Yazdegert's persecutions
          He then unleashed a religious persecution. In his opinion, a model king, who adhered to the true faith and laws of Zradasht (Zoroaster), must devote his life to the glory of Mazdeism, by abolishing false creeds and bringing their followers into the true path of God. Speaking to the Armenian nakharars, whom he had summoned to Ctesiphon, he said, "I look upon you as herds of animals scattered through a wilderness. It gives me deep grief to think that God may be angered at me and be revengeful on your account." He of course did not admit that he was prompted also by political considerations. His vast empire was inhabited by many peoples with different religions and languages. Some of them were of Aryan stock, others non-Aryan or Touranian. Several of these peoples, such as the Armenians and Caucasians, were looking to the Emperor of Byzantium for aid at the opportune time for revolt.

          Mihr-Nerseh advises moderation
          In his desire to achieve his political purposes, Yazdegert called in Mihr-Nerseh, an elderly retired official, a military, diplomatic and administrative genius. He advised peaceful means rather than force in the effort to absorb Armenia. "You know," said he to his King, "how extensive and valuable Armenia is. But that country is also a neighbor of the Roman Caesar, whose tenets and worship she has adopted. If we succeed in bringing her people to our own laws, then they will love you and the Aryan world. And when the Armenians come nearer to us, we shall certainly win the Georgians and the Aghouans (Caspio-Albanians), too."

          The role of Vassak
          The rapprochement policy seems to have found a supreme Armenian advocate in the person of Vassak, the Marzban, the powerful nakharar of Sewniq, the mountainous province bordering on the Persian frontier. While a youth of fifteen, he had been sent, in accordance with the Oriental custom, to the Persian capital as a hostage. After his coming of age and returning home to inherit his father's realm, he evinced brilliant qualities. The bishop-historian Koriun speaks of him as "the brave Sissakan, sagacious, ingenious and foresighted through God-given grace." This worthy grandson of the fearless nakharar Andok had effectively sponsored Mesrop's educational efforts. But his later conduct marred his early reputation. Upon the downfall of the Arshakuni dynasty, Vassak developed a burning aspiration for royal distinction, through the restoration of the kingdom. In the early stages of the politico-religious crisis, he artfully worked in harmony with the nationalist group; but when the hour of final test arrived, he became the head of the pro-Persian party, in opposition to the pro-Roman element. This party included chiefs of prominent aristocratic families, such as the Mamikonian brothers Vardan, Hmayak and Hamazasp; Arshavir Kamsarakan, the Lord of the Arsharuni and Shirak districts; Ardak the great Ishkhan (prince) of the province of Moks, Vahan Amatuni; Nershapuh Ardzruni; Tatoul Vanandatsi; Arsen Endzayetsi. Among the motives of the chiefs in league with Vassak "the renegades," as they are called by the historians, Parbets and Yeghisheh was their grudge against the clergy who had been preaching the gospel of human brotherhood and the protection of the peasant and laborer against exploitation by the feudal masters of the land.

          Restrictions tighten
          Den-Shapuh, the Persian High Commissioner, concealed the iron hand in the velvet glove. His lavish entertainment of the aristocratic families and cultivation of social relations between them and the Persian residents, with a view to implanting in the country such alluring customs and ways of life as were prohibited by the Christian church, contrast sharply with his political and economic repression of the people. After completing a census and land registry of the country, he imposed oppressive taxes on property and persons. He then replaced Vahan Amatuni, the "nation's father" and Hazarapet, with a Persian, and conferred upon a Mazdeian magian (priest) the post and dignity of chief justice.

          These measures did not bring results quickly enough, so Mihr-Narseh, "Grand Vizier and Commander-Chief of Eran and An-Eran," promulgated an edict, enjoining upon the Armenians the advisability of "giving up the erroneous and foolish ways of the Romans, thus depriving themselves of the benefits of the Persian perfect religion." He exhorted the Armenians to remain no longer astray, deaf and blind, but to study and adopt the doctrines of Zardusht.

          Council of Artashat
          A general assembly was held in Artashat in 449, to discuss this edict and ponder an answer. The meeting was presided over by the Katholikos Hovsep, and attended by seventeen bishops, eighteen major nakharars of both parties, many noblemen, chor-episcoposes (suffragans), monks of high rank and noblemen priests, whose spokesman was Ghevond Yeretz (Priest).

          Courageous answer
          The answer of the Council to the Vizier, though respectful in tone, was a categorical refusal. The lengthy missive, as quoted by Yeghisheh, may not be a verbatim copy, but it throws much light on the sentiment and temper of the leaders of the nation at that critical moment. The following lines epitomize their carefully reasoned decision:

          "From this belief no one can move us, neither angels nor men; neither fire nor sword, nor water, nor any other horrid tortures. All our goods and our possessions, are in your hands, our bodies are before you; dispose of them as you will.

          "If you leave us to our belief, we will here, on earth choose no other lord in your place, and in heaven choose no other God in place of Jesus Christ, for there is no other God but him. But should you require anything beyond this great testimony, here we are; our bodies are in your hands, do with them as you please. Tortures from you, submission from us; the sword is yours, and here are our necks.

          "We are no better than our forefathers, who, for the sake of this faith surrendered their goods, their possessions and their bodies. Were we even immortal, it would become us to die for the love of Christ. We should die as mortals, that He may accept our death as that of immortals."

          Yazdegert summons Nobles
          The King of Kings, when informed of this rejection, flew into a rage and sent an order for the chief dignitaries to appear before him in Ctesiphon. They came, fifteen in number, headed by Vassak Sewny and Vardan Mamikonian. Their arrival was not heralded with military honors, as was the usual custom. Before receiving them in audience, Yazdegert had sworn "by the great Sun God, that if tomorrow morning, at the rise of the magnificent one (the sun), the nakharars would not kneel before it with him, and acknowledge it as god, they would be imprisoned and chained, their wives and children exiled into distant lands, and the imperial troops and herds of elephants would be sent to Armenia to demolish their churches and shrines."

          Nakharars' submission
          The nakharars, after their dismissal from the awesome presence of the great monarch, spent the whole night in discussing their dilemma, and finally agreed among themselves to make a pretence of yielding, for the sake of their homes and families. So on the next day, escorting the King of Kings, they went to the "House of Ashes" and knelt as in adoration of the rising sun, in accordance with the Mazdean rites. Yazdegert, in great joy, heaped honors and gifts upon them and called them "his beloved ones and friends."

          The Magian propagandists
          In pompous array, the nakharars were sent off to Armenia accompanied by 700 Magi, who, within twelve months from the Armenian New Year's Day in Navassard (August) were to convert the entire country to Mazdeism. They were required, so Yeghisheh, to lock and seal the doors of the holy churches; to deliver to the imperial treasury all the sacred symbols, vessels and ornaments; to prohibit teaching by Christian priests; to educate in public the wives of nakharars and the sons and daughters of noblemen and people in accordance with the Magian doctrine; to force the monks and nuns to wear lay costume; to suppress marriage laws and establish polygamy, to let daughters marry their fathers, sisters their brothers, grandchildren their grandparents; to have edible animals slaughtered after being sacrificed to the gods; to keep rubbish and cow-dung away from fire; to forbid the killing of certain animals but to destroy reptiles and vermin; to wash their hands with cow's urine, so that water might not be defiled.

          Peasants drive off Magians
          Fantastic laws and indecent practices such as these above were to be forced upon a people which had inherited and developed a civilization of its own, and for 150 years or more had officially adopted Christianity. But the Persian experiment proved unworkable. Scarcely had the strange cavalcade crossed the frontier at the village of Anghel (Anggh), 120 parasangs east of Douin, in July, 449, when a horde of peasants, armed with clubs and slings and led by a fiery priest, Ghevond, assailed and put the trespassers to feeling an ominous rumble of a coming storm.

          I'll post the rest later :d