Battle of Ani – Heroes of Armenia Were, Are, and Will Be

Battle of Ani – Heroes of ArmeniaIn 1041 AD, Ashot IV and his elder brother Hovhannes-Smbat passed away. The capital city of the Kingdom of Armenia Ani was to be passed to the Byzantine Empire in accordance with the shameful Treaty of Trebizond. Thereby, the Byzantine Empire would gain control over Armenia.

The lawful heir to the throne Gagik II, the son of Ashot IV, would oppose the sovereignty of the Byzantines. Several Byzantine armies were sent by Emperor Michael IV the Paphlagonian to capture Ani. Looking forward to the arrival of the Byzantine troops, one Sargis Haykazian seized the royal treasury and took cover in the citadel of the capital. The traitor hoped that the Byzantines would bestow the throne on him for his “services.”

However, Armenian commander Vahram Pahlavouni would take command of the rebellion of the Armenian patriots of Ani. His small 30.000-men army paled in comparison with the 100.000-soldier army of the Byzantine Empire.

As the Byzantine troops approached the city, the furious defenders of their country surged out through its gates to clash with the Byzantines. The Armenians fought selflessly and to the very end. The Byzantines were perishing under the hooves of the Armenian horses or from the strikes of Armenian swords.

After the battle ended, shame would forever engulf the Byzantine army. Its legions retreated, having lost 20.000 soldiers. Vahram asked the Armenians to spare those retreating so they could deliver the message of their defeat. Gagik II would be crowned the King of Armenia and the traitor Sargis Haykazian would receive his punishment.

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