Zakarid territories in the early 13th century
|Status||Fief of Georgia|
|Common languages||Armenian (native language)|
|Religion||Georgian Orthodox (state religion)|
Armenian Apostolic (predominantly)
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
• Conquered by Ilkhanate
|History of Armenia|
Zakarid Armenia (Armenian: Զաքարյան Հայաստան Zakaryan Hayastan), is a name for a various Armenian princedoms that existed between 1201 and 1335, ruled by the different branches of Mkhargrdzeli dynasty. The Mkhargrdzelis were subject of the Kingdom of Georgia. Their descendants continued to hold Ani until the 1335, when they lost it to a succession of Turkish dynasties, including the Kara Koyunlu, who made Ani their capital.
Following the collapse of the Bagratuni Dynasty of Armenia in 1045, Armenia was successively occupied by Byzantines and, following the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, by the Seljuks. Khosrov, the first historically traceable member of the Mkhargrdzeli family, moved from Armenia to southern Georgia during the Seljuk invasions in the early 11th century. Over the next hundred years, family gradually gained prominence at the Georgian court and became vassals of the Bagrationi kings, where they became known as Mkhargrdzeli (Long-shoulder) or in Armenian: Երկայնաբազուկ, (Yerkaynbazuk). A family legend says that this name was a reference to their Achaemenid ancestor Artaxerxes II the "Longarmed" (404–358 BC).
During the 12th century the Bagratids of Georgia enjoyed a resurgence in power, and managed to expand into Muslim occupied Armenia. The former Armenian capital Ani would be captured five times between 1124 and 1209. Under King George III of Georgia, Sargis was appointed as governor of Ani in 1161. In 1177, the Mkhargrdzelis supported the monarchy against the insurgents during the rebellion of Prince Demna and the Orbeli family. The uprising was suppressed, and George III persecuted his opponents and elevated the Mkhargrdzelis.
Despite some complications in the reign of George III, the successes continued in the reign of the Queen Tamar. This was chiefly due to the Armenian generals Zakaria and Ivane. The question of liberation of Armenia remained of prime importance in Georgia's foreign policy. Around the year 1199, Georgians retook the city of Ani, and in 1201, Tamar gave Ani to the brothers as a fief. Mkhargrdzelis amassed a great fortune, governing all of northern Armenia; Zakare and his descendants ruled in northwestern Armenia with Ani as their capital, while Ivane and his offspring ruled eastern Armenia, including the city of Dvin.
Zakare and Ivane commanded the Georgian-Armenian armies for almost three decades, achieving major victories at Shamkor in 1195 and Basian in 1203 and leading raids into northern Persia in 1210. By 1209 Georgia challenged Ayyubid rule in eastern Anatolia and led liberational war for southern Armenia. However during the siege, Georgian general Ivane Mkhargrdzeli accidentally fell into the hands of the al-Awhad on the outskirts of Akhlat, the latter demanded for his release a thirty-year truce. This brought the struggle for the Armenian lands to a stall, leaving the Lake Van region in a relatively secure possession of its new masters – the Ayyubids of Damascus.
Zakare was succeeded by his son Shanshe (Shahnshah). Zakare's new dynasty — the Zakarids — considered themselves to be the successors to the Bagratids. Prosperity quickly returned to Ani; its defences were strengthened and many new churches were constructed.
When the Khwarezms invaded the region, Dvin was ruled by the aging Ivane, who had given Ani to his nephew Shanshe, son of Zakare. Georgian army under command of Ivane saw bitter defeat at the battle of Garni, the results of the battle was that a quarter of the Georgian army was annihilated, leaving the country poorly steeled against an upcoming Mongol invasion. Dvin was lost, while Ani was unsuccessfully besieged in 1226. In 1236 Mongols captured and sacked Ani, massacring large numbers of its population.
In 1236 Avag (c. 1213-50) had been besieged by the Mongols in the fortress of Kayean (near Tavush), finally surrendered. He was gladly received by Chormaqan, who sent him to the Great Khan. Other powerful Armenian princes, such as Shanshe (c. 1227-61), prince Vahram Gageli and his son Agbugha, and Hasan Jalal (c.1214-65/6), a prince of the Khachen, followed Avag. The Mongols maintained a friendly attitude towards the Mkhargrdzelis. The members of Mkhargrdzeli family (Shanshe, Avag and Vahram) were confirmed in their fiefs. Their cooperation with the invaders helped the Mongols quickly subdue kingdom and thus Queen of Georgia, Rusudan was soon forced to accept the sovereignty of the Mongol Khan in 1242/3. Under the Mongols the Mkhargrdzelis continued to be the vassals of the Georgian monarch. Further, in 1243, Mongols gave Ahlat to the princess Tamta, daughter of Ivane.
During the period of interregnum (1245–1250) in Georgia, with the two Davids absent at the court of the Great Khan in Karakorum, the Mongols divided the kingdom into eight districts (tumen), five of which belonged to the Georgians, the remaining three tumens were Armenian, i.e., the territories of the Zakarids of Ani and Kars; of the Avagids in Syunik and Artsakh; and of the Vahramids (Gagi, Shamkor and the surrounding area).
The Mkhargrdzelis were still at Ani in 1320, but it is not known quite when after that date they ceased to rule. Another inscription lets us know that by 1335 the city had become the directly owned property of the Ilkhanate. Therafter the city was lost to Jalayirids between 1350 and 1355, and to the Kara Koyunlu Turkoman tribes perhaps about 1380, who made Ani their capital.
List of rulers
- George A. Bournoutian «A Concise History of the Armenian People», map 19. Mazda Publishers, Inc. Costa Mesa California 2006
- Chahin, Mack (2001). The Kingdom of Armenia: A History (2. rev. ed.). Richmond: Curzon. p. 235. ISBN 978-0700714520.
- Ronald Grigor Suny. The Making of the Georgian Nation. Indiana University Press, p. 40 ISBN 0-253-20915-3.
- Sim, Steven. "The City of Ani: A Very Brief History". VirtualANI. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia, 3th[clarification needed] volume
- Paul Adalian, Rouben (2010). Historical Dictionary of Armenia. p. 83.
- Minorsky, Vladimir (1953). Studies in Caucasian History. New York: Taylor’s Foreign Press. pp. 102–103. ISBN 978-0-521-05735-6.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911), "Ani", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2 (11th ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 47
- Suny (1994), p. 39.
- Lordkipanidze & Hewitt 1987, p. 154.[full citation needed]
- Humphreys 1977, pp. 130–131.[full citation needed]
- Korobeĭnikov, Dimitri. Byzantium and the Turks in the thirteenth century. (Oxford Studies in Byzantium) 1st Edition, 2014
- Eastern Turkey: An Architectural and Archaeological Survey, 1. T. A. Sinclair
- Babayan, 1969:120.