- Marzpanate Armenia
History of Armenia
This article is part of a series
2400 BC - 590 BC
Name of Armenia Hayk Hayasa-Azzi Nairi · Urartu Antiquity
591 BC - 428 AD
Orontid Armenia Kingdom of Armenia Kingdom of Sophene Kingdom of Commagene Lesser Armenia Roman Armenia Dynasties: Orontid · Artaxiad · Arsacid Middle Ages
429 - 1375
Marzpanate Period Byzantine Armenia Sassanid Armenia Arab conquest of Armenia Emirate of Armenia Bagratid Armenia Kingdom of Vaspurakan Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia Zakarid Armenia Dynasties: Bagratid · Rubenid · Artsruni Foreign Rule
1376 - 1918
Persian · Ottoman · Russian Armenian Oblast Armenian national movement Hamidian massacres Armenian Genocide Contemporary
1918 - present
Democratic Republic of Armenia Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic Nagorno-Karabakh War Republic of Armenia
Marzpanate period (Armenian: Մարզպանական Հայաստան) refers to the period in Armenian history after the fall of the Arshakuni Dynasty of Armenia in 428, when Marzpans (governors-general of the boundaries), nominated by the Sassanid Persian King, governed the eastern part of Armenia. Meanwhile, Byzantine Armenia was at that time ruled by several princes under Byzantine control and was finally organized into four provinces under the emperor Justinian in 536 (Governors). The Marzpanate period ended with the Arab conquest of Armenia in the 7th century when the Principality of Armenia was established. An estimated three million Armenians fell under the sway of the Persian marzpans during this period.
The Marzpan was invested with supreme power, even to the imposing of death sentences; but he could not interfere with the age-long privileges of the Armenian nakharars. The country as a whole enjoyed a considerable autonomy. The office of Hazarapet, corresponding to that of a Minister of the Interior, public works and finance, was entrusted to an Armenian, as was also the post of Sparapet, commander-in-chief. Each nakharar had his own army, according to the extent of his domain. The "National Cavalry" or "Royal force" was under the Commander-in-chief. The tax collectors were all Armenians. The courts of justice and the schools were directed by the Armenian clergy. Several times, an Armenian nakharar became Marzpan, as Vahan Mamikonian 485 after a period of rebellion against the Persians.
Three times during the Marzpanic period, Persian kings launched persecutions against Christianity in Armenia. The Persians had tolerated the invention of the Armenian alphabet and the founding of schools, thinking these would encourage the spiritual separation of Armenia from the Byzantines, but, on the contrary, the new cultural movement among the Armenians actually proved to be conducive to closer relations with Byzantium.
Marzpans of Armenia
- Vasak of Syunik, 442-451
- Sahak II Bagratuni, 482-483
- Vahan Mamikonian, 485-505/510
- Vard Mamikonian, 505/10-509/514
- Mjej I Gnuni, 518-548
- Phillip Syuni, 574-576
- Mushegh II Mamikonian, 591
- Varaz-Tirots II Bagratuni, 628
- This article incorporates text from History of Armenia by Vahan M. Kurkjian, a publication in the public domain.
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