Ancient Armenian Presence in Gamirk, Cappadocia

Ancient Armenian Presence

In the Bible, the area of Gamirk (Cappadocia) is referred to as Gamer/Gomer. Gamirk was conquered by the Armenians and annexed to the Armenian state by the legendary patriarch (nahapet) Aram Haykazyan, the son of Armagh and the father of Ara the Beautiful.

Aram-nahapet, having accomplished many glorious feats and expanded Armenian possessions towards the east and west, overthrew the tyranny of the Titanian Payapis Kalea and appointed his relative Mshakim the ruler of Gamirk. Aram ordered the local population to learn the Armenian language. Then, leaving with Mshakim his 10,000-strong army, Aram returned to Armenia.

The father of Armenian history Movses Khorenatsi writes: “It is said that Aram performed many valiant feats in battles and that he pushed the limits of Armenia in all directions. All peoples are calling our country by his name – for example, the Greeks call the country ‘Armen’, while the Persians and Syrians ‘Armenikk’”.

In another chapter of “History of Armenia”, Khorenatsi writes: “Aram’s power was so great that the peoples around us to this day, as everyone knows, call our country by his name”.

Aram’s influence on Armenian history was so significant that even Armenian chroniclers often used the phrase “Aram’s House” or “Aram’s Clan” instead of the name “Armenia”.

As for Gamirk, Khorenatsi writes: “The Greeks still call this region Proti Armenia, which means First or Original Armenia”.

The Armenian presence in this region was so strong that 10th-century Arab historian Abu al-Faraj wrote about the dominance of the Armenians:

“[Their] number increased so much that they became vital members of the imperial army. Armenians were used as sentries in heavily fortified fortresses conquered from the Arabs. They distinguished themselves as experienced infantry soldiers and constantly fought with outstanding courage and success with the Romans – in other words, the Byzantines.”

Nowadays, only the remnants of the temples demolished by the Turks with destroyed murals and scraped-off letters remind of the Armenian presence in Gamirk. Temples silently gazing into the bottomless sky of the Armenian Highlands.

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