Armenia in the 3rd-4th Centuries – Political Management System

Armenia in the 3rd-4th CenturiesShifts in the social-economic development of Armenia were reflected in its political system. However, supreme power still theoretically belonged to the king.

The king received foreign and administered Armenian ambassadors, declared war, and made peace. The royal court consisted of the highest political bodies of the country. In fact, the bureaucracy of Armenia was rather complex.

It was considered that the king ruled the country through his officials. However, the key question (including external questions) were to be preliminarily discussed by the board of nakharars (Armenian nobility of the highest order).

Formally, the board has played a consultative role. However, it could in reality impose their will upon the king. No important issue was resolved without the compliance of the nakharars. A king’s efforts to limit their privileges could result in armed resistance.

Nakharars headed highest state offices. Honorary positions were one of their privileges. Moreover, the title of nakharar was hereditary in Armenia. The position of the sparapet (army commander) has been another comparable title, which belonged to the dynasty of Mamikonyans.

Apart from the regular troops subject to the king, the main military forces were called together by the nakharars. During wars, the Armenian army consisted of 100 – 120 thousand soldiers. Nakharars were distributed to various military positions in accordance with the number of soldiers summoned by them. A special military document defined the number of soldiers called by each nakharar.

Source: “World History”, Volume I


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