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Aruch 1: Map. History


Aruch’s name was first mentioned by the historian Yeghishe (5th c.) according to whom it served as a winter-camp for the royal army of the Arshakuni kings. However its most important period is connected with Prince (Hayots Ishkhan) Grigor Mamikonian (661-685) when Aruch became his official seat of power, as granted by the Arab caliph.

According to the historians Movses Khorenatsi and Sebeos, the Mamikonians descended from the noblemen Mamik and Konak who migrated to Armenia from the Empire of Chenk (China) in the middle of the 3rd century. While the first recorded Mamikonian was Vacheh Mamikonian (d. 338), the family's prosperity began from 350, when it was headed by the new Sparapet (commander-in-chief) Vasak Mamikonian (d. 368).

Notable Mamikonians included the late 4th century Hamazasp, whose wife Princess Sahakanush was the daughter of Saint Sahak the Great, and their son Vartan Mamikonian (b. 388/391), who was the commander in chief in the Vardanants war. Martyred at the Battle of Avaraiyr (May 26, 451), in which Armenians fought against the forces of the Sassanid Persians, Vartan fell defending the Christian faith and was canonized by the Armenian Church as one of Armenia's most important saints.

During Persian subjugation, the Mamikonians allied themselves to Rome, sending many of their sons to serve in the Byzantine army, where they rose to the highest levels, in whom some believe include a line of Byzantine Emperors (Leo the Armenian and Basil I). Byzantine Regent Theodora and her brothers Bardas and Petronas the Patrician were also of Mamikonian heritage.

The fall of the Mamikonian house can be traced to intrigues against the Bagratuni dynasty (their capital at nearby Ani) and rebellion against the Arabs in 772-775, which eclipsed their power and marked the end of their rule.

Text edited by ICOMOS-Armenia, approved by the Ministry of Culture for the Republic of Armenia.