The Last Photo of Ashot II Yerkat’s Grave

The Last Photo of Ashot II Yerkat’s GraveThe grave of the Armenian King Ashot II Yerkat (the Iron) has been retained up until 1920. Now, not a single stone remains from it. Taking into account the symbolical and historical significance of that grave and also the fact of its sudden disappearance, one could conclude that its destruction was driven by political motives and was most likely committed by the Turkish government.

Ashot II Yerkat (reigned 914 – 928) from the Bagratuni dynasty was an Armenian King, the son of King Smbat I. Just like his predecessors, he continued to maintain the leading political positions of Armenia in the Transcaucasia.

Since 914, Ashot along with his father has been participating in the national liberation movement against the Atropatene Shah Yusuf and Vaspurakan Prince Gagik Artsruni who had allied with the shah.

In 910, Ashot commanded the Armenian troops in the battle of Dzknavachar. The Armenian army was defeated due to a treachery from the side of Armenians, as told by Armenian historian and Catholicos Hovhannes Draskhanakerttsi.

Smbat eventually surrendered to Yusuf but was tortured and beheaded in 914. Ashot acceded to the throne of Armenia. Along with his brother Abas Bagratuni, Ashot carried on his father’s struggle against Yusuf. At the time, the shah’s army had already seized most of Armenia and was plundering the country.

Since 915, Ashot II with great difficulty managed to free Bagrevand, Shirak, Gugark, and the Aghstev Canyon. For the courage demonstrated during the conflict, Ashot was nicknamed Yerkat (the Iron).

Aside from exterior threats, Ashot also had to deal with forces opposing him within the country. Nonetheless, Ashot managed to win a victory in the battle of Sevan, forcing the armies of the shah to leave Armenia. The king thereby restored the independence of Armenia and was recognized by the Arabs as Shahanshah, or “king of kings.”


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