The Regular Army of Ancient Armenia

The Regular Army of Ancient Armenia

The regular army of ancient Armenia was one of the main elements of the ancient Armenian society and state.

The first written sources, testifying to the creation of Armenia’s permanent and regular army, refer to its military art in the middle of the 6th century BC. According to sources, already then, the Armenian army had 40,000-strong infantry and 8,000-strong cavalry.

Many of the works of Armenian historians have preserved, though not always extensive, but nevertheless valuable information about the creation of the ancient Armenian regular army, its quantitative composition, the order of formation, its structure and training, equipment, the architecture of fortifications, strategy and tactics, and methods of warfare.

As evidenced by E. A. Razin, the Armenian army enjoyed fame in the ancient world, significantly contributing to the history of military art, as evidenced by Assyrian, Persian, Greek, and Roman sources. Greek and Roman authors often cite the ancient Armenian army as a criterion for military power, methods of warfare, and military art.

The scheme of the Armenian army drawn up in the 4th-5th centuries and known in Armenian historiography as “Zoranamak” has reached our days, retaining information about the army’s numbers and location.


Behistun inscription of King Darius I
Herodotus, “History of the Greek-Persian War”, Book VII, pp. 71-75
Xenophon, “Cyropedia”, Book II, chapters I-VI, Book III
Xenophon, “Anabasis”, Book III, Book IV, chapters I-VIII

Strabo, Book IX, chapters 14, 19
Movses Khorenatsi, “History of Armenia”, Book I, chapter II
Basmadjian K., “Darius I’s Campaign to Armenia”,
“Banaser”, Paris, 1899, Vol. I, 1, p. 6-45 (Armenian)

J. Manandyan, “A Critical Review of the History of the Armenian People”,Yerevan, 1944, Vol. 1, p. 38, 48-51, 63, 83 (Armenian)
Leo, “Collection of Works”, Yerevan, 1966, Vol. I, pp. 252-255, 369-370 (Armenian)
Piotrovsky B., “Urartu”, Leningrad, 1939, pp. 216-217, 247, 334-335
Movses Khorenatsi, “History of Armenia”

Yeghishe, “About Vardan and the Armenian war”
Ghazar Parpetsi, “History of Armenia”
Pavstos Byuzand, “History of Armenia”
Ghevond Yerets, “History of Armenia”

Lastivertsi, “History”
Matteos Urhaetsi, “Chronicle”
Toma Artsruni, “Arruni family history”

Hethum, “History of Tatars”
Abraham Yerevantsi, “History of Wars (1721-1736)”
E. A. Razin, “History of military art”, Vol. 1, p. 522
Matenadaran, manuscript number 1379
N. Adonts, “Armenia in the era of Justinian”, St. Petersburg, 1908, pp. 251-252

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