Ancient Sources About Artsakh as Part of Armenia

Ancient Sources About Artsakh

Strabo (c. 64/63 BC – c. 24 AD). “Cyrus (Kur River) originates in Armenia, immediately enters the indicated plain, and, taking into itself Aragon (Aragvi) flowing from the Caucasus and other tributaries, pours into Albania along a narrow river valley. The abounding river runs between it [Albania] and Armenia through the rich pastures of the plains… and flows into the Caspian Sea.”

Strabo, XI, 3, 2

“[Among the valleys of Armenia], some are fertile moderately and others extremely: for example, the Araksen valley, along which the Araks River flows towards the borders of Albania and then into the Caspian Sea; similar is Sakasen (Shakashen), also bordering Albania and the Cyrus River, and then Gogarena (Gugark).”

Strabo, XI, 14, 4.

Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) “Now, the inhabitants of the regions bordering Armenia will be listed: the whole plain (along the river), starting from the Cyrus River, is inhabited by a tribe of Albanians and also Iberians…”

“Natural History”, VI, 28-29.

“This tribe [of Albanians] settled in the Caucasus Mountains and their land, as has been said, reaches the Cyrus River, which forms the border between Armenia and Iberia.”

“Natural History”, VI, 39.

Plutarch (46-120 AD) “…Pompey left Afranius to protect Armenia, and he, seeing no other way out, went to pursue Mithridates through the lands inhabited by Caucasian tribes. The smallest of these tribes are the Albans and the Iberians: the Iberian region extends to the Moskh Mountains and Euxine Pontus, and the Albanians live east of the Caspian Sea.

The Albanians first agreed to let Pompey pass through their country. But when winter caught the Roman army in this land and the Romans were celebrating the feast of Saturnalia, the Albanians, gathering no less than forty thousand people, crossed the Kournas River, and attacked them.

The Kournas River originates from the Iberian Mountains, takes in the Araks River flowing from Armenia, and then flows into the Caspian Sea via twelve mouths.

Pompey calmly allowed the barbarians to make the crossing, although he could have prevented it. Then, he attacked the enemies and put them to flight, killing many. When the king of the Albanians asked for mercy through ambassadors, Pompey forgave him the grievance and, making peace, marched at the Iberians.

…Pompey received news of the Albanian riot. In exasperation and rage, Pompey turned back against them. He again crossed the Kournas River, but this time with difficulty and putting the army in danger, for the barbarians had built a long fence on the river…”

“Life of Pompey”, p. 34-35.

Claudius Ptolemy (c. 100 AD – c. 170 AD) “…Greater Armenia is bordered from the north by part of Colchis, Iberia, and Albania along the aforementioned line passing through the river Cyrus.”

“Geography”, V, 12, 1.

“… Albania borders… part of Greater Armenia from the south, from the border with Iberia to the Hyrcanian Ocean (Caspian Sea) to the mouth of the Cyrus River.”

“Geography”, V, 11, 1.

“… Cities and villages in Albania are the next. Between Iberia and the river flowing from the Caucasus and flowing into the Cyrus, which flows across the whole of Iberia and Albania, separating Armenia from them.”

“Geography”, V, 11, 3.

Appian (c. 95 AD – c. 165 AD). “… But Oroz, the Albanian king, and Artok, King of Iberia, with 70 thousand soldiers waylaid him near the Kournas River, which flows into the Caspian Sea via its twelve navigable mouths after many rivers flow into it, the largest of them being Araks.

Noticing this ambush, Pompey connected the banks of the river with a bridge and drove the barbarians into dense thickets… [He] put an army around these thickets and set fire to them; he chased those who ran out of them until they all sent hostages and brought gifts… From here, turning back, Pompey moved to Armenia…”

“Civil Wars”, 103-104

From the book Nagorno-Karabakh in international law and world politics Y. Barsegov. Нагорный Карабах в международном праве и мировой политике Ю. Барсегов.

Read also: Ancient Sources About Artsakh as Part of Armenia – Part II

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