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Artsakh

Artsakh (Armenian: Արցախ, Armenian pronunciation: [ɑɾˈtsʰɑχ], Arc’ax) was the tenth province (nahang) of the Kingdom of Armenia from 189 BC until 387 AD and afterwards a region of Caucasian Albania. In 821, it formed the Armenian principality of Khachen and in around 1000 was proclaimed the Kingdom of Artsakh, which was one of the last medieval eastern Armenian kingdoms and principalities to maintain its autonomy following the Turkic invasions of the 11-14th centuries.
Folk etymology has that the name is derived from "Ar" (hero in azerbaijanian) and "sakh" (the name of people lived in here) togehther it means the hero of sakhs this words are still used in azerbaijan language. the name Karabagh which is used to day has a different meaning. It consist from two parts kara ( black colour-in azeri language) and the bagh ( garden )

Geography

Template:History of Karabakh Artsakh covered the north-eastern range of the Armenian Plateau and was mostly mountainous and afforested. In medieval Armenian sources it is styled as a strategical and fortified region.It was bounded by the following Armenian principalities: Utik to the east, Gardman to the northeast, and Syunik to the southwest. The river Arax formed the southern boundary. The Kingdom of Artsakh (1000–1261) also included Gardman, Gegharkunik and Sodk (the southeastern shore of the Sevan Lake).Its area is estimated to have been 11,528 km2.

Important places (mostly fortified towns) included Parisos, Tigranakert, Sodk, Tsar, Vaykunik, Asteghblur, Goroz, Berdaglukh. The fortress of Tigranakert, which was first excavated in 2005, was probably founded by King Tigranes I of Armenia (123-55 BC).Later, in the Albanian period, the village of Guetakan (known as the "Royal Village") became of great importance as the residence of Vachagan III the Pious (467-510 AD), the last King of Caucasian Albania. By early medieval times, the castle of Khachen served a considerable time as the centre of Artsakh.

Noteworthy, Strabo described Armenia (Artsakh and Utik included) in the 2nd century BC as "monolingual",though this does not mean that its population consisted exclusively of ethnic Armenians.
By medieval times, from at least the 9th century, Artsakh has been a stronghold of Armenian national identity. Its people spoke a local Eastern Armenian dialect, the Artsakhian dialect (today known as the Karabakh dialect), which is mentioned by 7th century grammarian Stepanos Syunetsi in his earliest record of the Armenian dialects.

Christianity

In 301 Armenia was converted to Christianity. The Armenian historian Agathangelos mentioned the princes of Utik and Sawdk (which probably comprised Artsakh) among the sixteen Armenian princes, who escorted Grigor the Illuminator to Cesaria, where he would be enthroned the High Priest of their land.
Artsakh became a major stronghold for Armenian missionaries to spread the Christianity in the neighboring countries. In 310 St Grigoris, the grandson of Grigor the Illuminator, was ordained bishop of Caucasian Iberia and Caucasian Albania in the monastery of Amaras, being just 15 years old.After his martyrdom by the Mazkutian king on the field of Vatnean (near Derbent), his disciples conveyed his body back to Artsakh and buried him in Amaras, which has been built by Grigor the Illuminator and Grigoris himself. Hence St Grigoris became a patron saint of Artsakh. The historiographer Pavstos Buzand wrote that "... every year the people of that places and cantons gathers there [in Amaras] for the festive commemoration of his valor".
In the 5th century, Christian culture flourished in Artsakh. In around 410 Mesrop Mashtots opened at Amaras the first Armenian school.[28] Later, more schools were opened in Artsakh.

Armeno-Persian wars

The second half of the 4th century saw a series of wars between the Kingdom of Armenia and Persian Empire. After it lasted 34 years, the Armenian nobility of Artsakh and most of other provinces of Armenia revolted and refusing to support the Armenian king Arshak II anymore because of war-weariness. Following the defeat of the Sassanid and Albanian armies, the Armenian strategist (sparapet) Mushegh Mamikonian punished severely the rebelled Armenian provinces, among others Artsakh, and subjected them to the king's rule. Then in 372 he attacked Caucasian Albanians and took back from them the neighboring province of Utik and made the river Kur the border between Armenia and Albania as it has been earlier.

Medieval Period

However, war between the Sassanid Persians and Romans continued, and in 387 AD, according to the peace treaty between the two powers, the Armenian kingdom was partitioned between them. Albania, as an ally of the Sassanids, gained all the right bank of the river Kura up to the Araxes, including Artsakh and Utik.
Following the inconclusive Battle of Avarayr (451), where the Christian Armenian army clashed with the Sassanid army, many of the Armenian nobles retreated to impassable mountains and forests in several provinces, including Artsakh, which became a center for resistance against Sassanid Iran.
Furthermore, the Armenian rulers of Artsakh began to play a considerable role in the affairs of Albania. In 498 in the settlement named Aghuen (in present-day Mardakert region of Nagorno-Karabakh), an Albanian church assembly was held, in the presence of the nobility and princes ("azgapetk") of Artsakh and the king Vachagan the Pious, to adopt the Constitution of Aghven, which would arrange relations between the of nobility (landlords), clergy and village people.

In the 7th-9th centuries the Southern Caucasus was dominated by the Arabian Caliphate. In the early 9th century two Armenian princes - Sahl Smbatian and Esayi Abu-Muse - who revolted against the Arab rule and established two independent principalities in Artsakh – Khachen and Dizak. At the time the Byzantine emperor Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos addressed letters "to prince of Khachen - to Armenia", being the residence of the Armenian prince Sahl Smbatian. The House of Khachen ruled Artsakh until the early 19th century, when it was conquered by Imperial Russia.It was then often referred to the Land of Khachen (later Karabakh).










 

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