Vahram Pahlavouni

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Vahram Pahlavouni (967–1045) was an Armenian army commander (sparapet) and Prince of Bjni and Nik in Bagratuni Armenia. He was the head of the noble family of Pahlavouni, who held the hereditary title of sparapet in the Bagratuni kingdom of Ani.

In 1041 Vahram Pahlavouni prepared the coronation of the successor to Smbat III, the king’s nephew Gagik II who at that time was only fourteen years old.

The Byzantine emperor, was aiming to take control of Ani and its surroundings and annex them to the Empire. To that end, he began supporting the rebel Vest Sarkis, an Armenian pro-Byzantine prince and adviser of king Smbat III, who took over the city of Ani with the intention of handing it over. The princes and nobles that remained loyal to the Bagratuni dynasty, rallied around Vahram Pahlavouni and resisted three assaults of the Byzantine Army over the Kingdom of Ani, compelling the imperial forces to retreat. The Byzantines then sent a very large army through the southern part of Bagratuni Armenia and at the same time convinced the king of Caucasian Albania to attack Armenia from the east[citation needed].

During a fierce battle that was fought in 1042 under the walls of the capital city of Ani, general Vahram Pahlavuni heavily defeated the Byzantine army, killing at least 20,000 men. This victory allowed Vahram Pahlavuni along with Catholicos Petros Guedadarts to crown Gagik II as king of Armenia and subsequently take the fortress of Ani, which was in the hands of Vest Sarkis. The latter ran to the fortress of St. Mary and was eventually captured. After these victories, Vahram and the new Armenian king defeated an army of the Seljuk Turks and the security of the kingdom was temporarily restored. Nevertheless, Byzantine diplomacy, the treachery of Catholicos Petros and the young king's political mistakes led to the occupation of Ani by Byzantine troops in 1045. After this tragic event, Armenian statehood in Greater Armenia continued for a few more decades through the Armenian Kingdoms of Kars, Siunik and Lori, the former vassals of the Kingdom of Ani.

Vahram's military talent and heroic contributions were sung in Armenian literature and popular songs. Vahram built the Marmashen fortress and Marmashen monastery where he was probably buried as well.

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