Esayi Abu-Muse

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Esayi Abu-Musa (Armenian: Եսայի Աբու-Մուսե Եռանշահիկ, in Arabic sources: Isa ibn-Istifanus) was an Armenian[1][2] prince of southern Artsakh, who ruled a major part of Arran (Aghuank) in the mid-9th century[3] and is considered the founder of the House of Dizak.[4]

Name and Origins[edit]

Abu-Musa means "father of Musa" (Movses) in Arabic, in Armenian sources he is surnamed "the Priest's son". Arabic sources call him also Isa ibn-Yusuf (son of Hovsep) or Isa ibn-ukht-Istifanus (nephew of Stepanos), the latter being a reference to his maternal uncle Stepanos-Ablasad, who according to the historian Arakel Babakhanian was a Mihranid and whose fiefs succeeded to Esayi Abu-Muse after his murder in 831.

According to the same historian Esayi Abu-Muse was a member of the local Armenian House of Aranshahik.[4]


Esayi's succession took place in ca. 841 and he remained in power for 13 years.[5] Most of his domains included the cantons of Artsakh, which previously had offered a strong resistance against Babak Khorramdin. Esayi's seat was Ktish (Dogh), another important stronghold was Goroz. The ruins of this castles today lie near the villages Toumi and Togh in the province Hadrut of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.[6]

The Armenian historiographer Movses Kaghankatvatsi, who described Esayi Abu-Isa as a "man of peace", wrote that he ruled the following cantons:[7]

  • Verin-Vaykunik, Berdzor, Sisakan — western cantons of Artsakh bordering Syunik to the west.
  • Haband, Amaras, Pazkank, Mkhank — southern cantons of Artsakh bordering the river Araxes to the south.
  • Tri-Gavar — a south-eastern canton of Utik bordering the river Kur to the north-east.

Resistance at Ktish[edit]

In 854 the Dizak was invided by the Abbasid Army in command of Bugha al-Kabir al-Sharabi, who previous to that captured the Princes Atrnerseh of Khachen, Ktrij of Gardman and Kon-Stepanos Sevordiats of Utik.[8] Esayi was besieged in his Castle Ktish but remained victorious in 28 battles. According to the historiographer Tovma Artsruni the Abbasid Army had a strength of 200.000 men. He described one of Esayi's heroic resistance against a storming of Bugha. Mushegh Bagratuni (the son of Smbat Sparapet, who was forced to join the Abbasid Army) recited a poem to this battle, comparing it with the second coming of Christ.[9]

The resistance of Ktish endured more than a year. Esayi wrote to the caliph protesting against this attack and after receiving from him a safe-conduct, he went to Bugha for peace talks. Bugha however treacherously captured him. In 855 Esayi Abu-Muse, along with him all the princes of Armenia, who were captured by Bugha, were exiled to Samarra in Mesopotamia.[9]


  • 1. Esayi Abu-Muse
  • 1.1 Movses-Muse
  • 1.1.1 King Gagik of Dizak
  • 1.1.2 Princess Sophy
  • 1.1.3 Lord Vachagan of Goroz (Vashaqan ibn-Muse in Arab sources)

Princes Sophy left an Armenian inscription in the "Red Church" of Toumi, which dates back to 1000, presently preserved in the Artsakh State Museum.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Abu-l Faraj, Universal History, p. 68.
  2. ^ Michael the Syrian. Chronology, p. 45.
  3. ^ Tovma Artsruni and Anon, History of the House of Artsruni, Yerevan 1985, pp. 274–98.
  4. ^ a b (Armenian) Arakel Babakhanian (Leo). Երկերի ժողովածու (Collected Works). vol. ii. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Sovetakan Grogh, 1967, pp. 446–49.
  5. ^ V. Minorsky. Caucasica IV. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 15, No. 3. (1953), pp. 512–14.
  6. ^ a b (Armenian) Makar Barkhudarian, Artsakh. "Amaras Publishing", Yerevan 1996, pp. 52–7.
  7. ^ Movses Kaghankatvatsi. History of Aghuank. Critical text and introduction by Varag Arakelyan. Matenadaran" Institute of Ancient Manuscripts after Mesrop Mashtots. Yerevan, Armenian SSR: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1983, 3.19-20.
  8. ^ Hovhannes Draskhanakerttsi, A History of Armenia (Հովհաննես Դրասխանակերտցի, «Հայոց Պատմություն»). Yerevan State University, 1996, pp. 130-131.
  9. ^ a b Tovma Artsruni and Anon, History of the House of Artruni, Yerevan 1985, pp. 297–98.