King of Armenia Gagik II – The Byzantine Conspiracy – Analogies with Today’s Realities

King of Armenia Gagik II - The Byzantine ConspiracyIn 1041, the Armenian King from the Bagratuni dynasty Ashot IV and his brother Hovhannes Smbat almost simultaneously died, in all probability as a result of a conspiracy organized by the Byzantine imperial court.

Taking advantage of the moment, a large Byzantine army invaded Shirak and destroyed the capital city of Armenia Ani in the same year. However, the townspeople and the Armenian troops led by Vahram Pahlavouni managed to defeat the invaders and drive them out of the city.

At the initiative of Vahram Pahlavouni in 1042, the 18-year-old son of Ashot IV Gagik II became the king of Armenia. By 1044, the Byzantine Empire had attempted to again besiege Ani twice. But both times, the Byzantine army was defeated by the army of Armenia.

To avoid new losses, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Monomachos gave false promises to the Armenians. In 1045, Constantine invited Gagik II to sign a peace treaty with him. But instead, Constantine captured the king of Armenia.

In the same year, the Byzantine troops captured Ani, as well as the central territories of the Bagratid kingdom after prolonged fights. Under the control of Armenia remained the fortresses of Pisa and Kalonapalat situated on its border with Cappadocia and Northern Cilicia.

After 1045, most of Armenia passed under the control of the Byzantine Empire. During this short-term rule over Armenia, the Byzantine emperor sought to force mass emigration of Armenians to weak their political and military power. The emperor also subjected the Armenians to economic pressure and attempted to force them to convert to the Chalcedonian faith.

This all had grave consequences not only for Armenia but also for the Byzantine Empire. The destruction of the powerful Armenian defensive barrier provided the nomadic tribes of the Seljuk Turks with freedom of movement both in Armenia and in the small Asiatic possessions of Byzantium.

Katvalyan M.

Editor’s note: The period of the reign of Gagik II has obvious analogies with today’s Armenian realities. Half-ruined Russia for some reason considers itself to be the successor of the Byzantine Empire. Russia has adopted almost the same aggressive policy towards Armenia as the Byzantine Empire had in the Middle Ages.

Thus, the outcome of the mediocre policy of the Kremlin is pretty much predetermined. Recall that the Byzantine Empire, as well as other empires preceding and succeeding it no longer exist. One of the obvious reasons is described above. Armenia was, is, and will be!

King of Armenia Gagik II - The Byzantine Conspiracy


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