Ishpuini – Ruler of the Kingdom of Van

Ishpuini - Ruler of the Kingdom of VanAround 825-810 BC, the ruler of Tosp (Tushpa-Van) was the son of Sarduri I, King Ishpuini. The reforms initiated by Ishpuini and carried on by his son Menua would play a crucial role in the establishment and the development of the Kingdom of Van (Urartu) as a regional power.

The reforms carried out in the early years of Ishpuini’s reign were associated only with his name. Later, his son Menua acted as a co-author of his programs, which is attested by their joint inscriptions.

While the reforms in the Van writing and the creation of a local cuneiform were carried out during the early years of Ishpuini’s rule, religious reforms — the creation of a single pantheon for the whole kingdom — were carried out when Menua joined him in his endeavors.

Because of that, the authorship of the pantheon on the “Gates of Haldi” – which would later become colloquially known as “The Door of Mher” – was shared by Ishpuini and Menua. All the deities of the former Nairi countries were united in the single Urartian pantheon, which, in fact, was the South Armenian pantheon of the 9th century BC.

Aside from that, Ishpuini began reforms in the military sphere. Menua would continue the reforms during his rule. The former federal cavalry was replaced by a skilled (professional) regular army. Re-equipment of the army and other measures were also carried out.

Thanks to these reforms, Ishpuini recorded his first major successes in the late 820s, expanding the boundaries of his country towards the basin of Lake Urmia. He annexed the country of Ardini Musasir to the Kingdom of Van and turned its capital into the religious center of his kingdom.

Later, Ishpuini organized trips to the headwaters of the Aratsani River and the upper borders of the Araks River where he collided with the forces of the Ethuinian state. As a result, the Haykakan Par mountain range became the northern boundary of his kingdom.

Ishpuini conquered the territory from the mountains of Kotur-Vaspurakan to Araks and carried out large-scale construction works on the Makvi field. He would then march towards Syunik, from the valleys of Araks to the east, from the basin of Lake Urmia to the south, towards the tribal kingdom of Parsua.

Movsisyan Artak


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