Bagratuni dynasty

The Bagratuni or Bagratid (Armenian: Բագրատունի, Armenian pronunciation: [bagɾatuni]) royal family ruled many regional polities of the medieval Kingdom of Armenia, such as Syunik, Lori, Vaspurakan, Vanand, Taron, and Tayk.[1]

Bagratuni flag
Parent houseOrontid Dynasty
Caucasian Albania
Founded100 BC
FounderAshot I
Final rulerGagik II
Cadet branchesRubenids (possibly)
Hasan-Jalalyan (indirectly)

Early history

Moses of Chorene, who wrote a History of Armenia at the request of Isaac Bagratuni, in the middle of the fifth century AD, stated that Hratchai (Fiery-Eye) joined the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (c. 605 BC – c. 562 BC ) in his first campaign against the Jews, and took part in the siege of Jerusalem. From among the captives he selected the distinguished Jewish chief Shambat, and brought him with his family to Armenia, and it is from him that the Bagratuni claim descent.[2]

The Bagratid family first emerged as nakharars, members of the hereditary nobility of Armenia. Their holdings were in the region of İspir, in the Çoruh River valley. As early as 288–301, the Bagratid prince Smbat held the hereditary Armenian titles of Aspet, which means Master of the Horse, and T'agatir, which means Coronant of the King.[3]

According to Prince Cyril Toumanoff, the earliest Bagratid prince was chronicled as early as 314 AD. In the 8th century, Smbat VII Bagratuni revolted against the Abbasid Caliphate but the revolt was defeated.

Bagratids in Armenia

The Bagratid Princes of Armenia are known as early as 1st century BC when they served under the Artaxiad Dynasty. Unlike most noble families of Armenia they held only strips of land, as opposed to the Mamikonians, who held a unified land territory. These are the earliest Bagratid princes in Armenia prior to the establishment of the kingdom, as mentioned by the Union of Armenian Noblemen. Ashot I was the first Bagratid King, the founder of the Royal Bagratid dynasty. He was recognized as prince of princes by the court at Baghdad in 861, which provoked war with local Arab emirs. Ashot won the war, and was recognized as King of the Armenians by Baghdad in 885. Recognition from Constantinople followed in 886. In an effort to unify the Armenian nation under one flag, the Bagratids subjugated other Armenian noble families through conquests and fragile marriage alliances. Eventually, some noble families such as the Artsrunis and the Siunis broke off from the central Bagratid authority.[4] Ashot III the Merciful transferred their capital to the city of Ani, now famous for its ruins. They kept power by playing off the competition between the Byzantine Empire and the Arabs.

They assumed the Persian title of "King of Kings" (Shahanshah).[5] However, with the start of the 10th century and on, the Bagratunis broke up into different branches, breaking up the unified kingdom in a time when unity was needed in the face of Seljuk and Byzantine pressure. The rule of the Ani branch ended in 1045 with the conquest of Ani by the Byzantines.

The Kars branch held on until 1064. The dynasty of Cilician Armenia is believed to be a branch of the Bagratids, later took the throne of an Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia. The founder, Ruben I, had an unknown relationship to the exiled king Gagik II. He was either a younger family member or kinsman. Ashot, son of Hovhannes (son of Gagik II), was later governor of Ani under the Shaddadid dynasty.

Ani townwall

The Walls of Ani

Բագրատունի տարազ

Taraz (national costume) of an Armenian woman during Bagratid dynasty

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "ARMENIA -". Retrieved 2019-04-17.
  3. ^ Movses Khorenatsi. History of the Armenians. Translation and Commentary of the Literary Sources by R. W. Thomson. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1978 Appendix A. Primary History, pp. 358-359, 362, 365-366
  4. ^ Herzig, Kurkichayan, Edmund, Marina (2005). The Armenians: Past and Present in the Making of National Identity. Routledge. p. 43.
  5. ^ Tim Greenwood, Emergence of the Bagratuni Kingdoms, p. 52, in Armenian Kars and Ani, Richard Hovannisian, ed.
  • "Sebeos' History"
  • John Mamikonean's History of Taron"
  • "Aristakes Lastivertc'i's History "
  • "Kirakos Gandzakets'i's History of the Armenians"
  • Vahan Kurkjian - The Bagratid Dynasty — The Bagratuni


  • Prince Cyrille Toumanoff, Manuel de généalogie et de chronologie pour l'histoire de la Caucasie Chrétienne (Arménie-Géorgie-Albanie). Edizioni Aquila, Roma, 1976. - still remains the only account of the family generally available in the West, although its scientific standard has been criticized as very low.
  • The Families of the Nobility of the Russian Empire, Volume III, Moscow, 1996. - contains the latest research available in Russian, compiled by Georgian scientists, some of them Bagratids themselves.
  • Armenian Nobility Site
  • Robert Bedrosian's History Page


  • R. H. Hewsen. "Armenia: A Historical Atlas", 2001 ISBN 0-226-33228-4

External links

Media related to Bagratuni at Wikimedia Commons

Abas I of Armenia

Abas I of Armenia (Armenian: Աբաս Ա.) was king of Armenia from 928 to 953. Abas was of the royal Bagratuni Dynasty. He was the son of Smbat I and the brother of Ashot "Yerkat" II. In contrast to the way his predecessors' ruled, Abas' reign was marked by years of peace, stability, and prosperity that Armenia had not enjoyed for decades.

Ashot III of Armenia

Ashot III (Armenian: Աշոտ Գ) was a king of Armenia, ruling the medieval kingdom of Armenia from 952/53–77. Known as Ashot III the Merciful (Աշոտ Գ. Ողորմած) and acknowledged by foreign rulers as the Shahanshah (king of kings) of Mets Hayk' (Greater Armenia), he moved his royal seat of residence to Ani and oversaw its development and of the kingdom as a whole. Armenia reached the height of its golden era during his reign and that of his sons and successors, Smbat II (977–89) and Gagik I (990–1020).

Ashot II of Armenia

Ashot II (Armenian: Աշոտ Բ; r. 914–929) was an Armenian monarch and the third king of the royal Bagratuni line. He was the son and successor of King Smbat I. His reign was filled with rebellions by pretenders to the throne, and foreign invasions, which Ashot fought off successfully, for which he is remembered by the epithet Yerkat (Երկաթ), or the Iron.

Ashot IV

Ashot IV (Armenian: Աշոտ Դ, died c. 1040–41), surnamed Kaj, i.e. "the Brave, the Valiant", was the younger son of King Gagik I of Armenia.

Ashot I of Armenia

Ashot I (Armenian: Աշոտ Ա; c. 820 – 890) was an Armenian king who oversaw the beginning of Armenia's second golden age (862 – 977). He was known as Ashot the Great (Աշոտ Մեծ) and was the son of Smbat VIII the Confessor and was a member of the Bagratuni Dynasty.


Bagratuni may refer to:

Kingdom of Armenia (Middle Ages), also known as Bagratid Armenia (861 to 1118 AD), ruled by the Bagratuni Dynasty

Bagratuni Dynasty, or in Western Armenian Pakradouni Dynasty, a ruling family dynasty in Armenia

Gagik II of Armenia

Gagik II (Armenian: Գագիկ Բ; c. 1025 - May 5/November 24, 1079) was the last Armenian king of Bagratuni dynasty. Known as Gagik II King of Ani (Ani being the capital of the kingdom at the time), a juvenile at the time, he was enthroned as Gagik II and ruled for a brief period from 1042 to 1045 before the Bagratid dynasty rule collapsed in Armenia.

Gagik I of Armenia

Gagik I (Armenian: Գագիկ Ա) was the king of Armenia who reigned between 989 and c. 1017/20, under whom Bagratid Armenia reached its height, and "enjoyed the accustomed experience of unbroken peace and prosperity."

Hovhannes-Smbat III of Armenia

Hovhannes-Smbat III was King of Ani (1020–1040). He succeeded his father Gagik I of Ani (989–1020) being the king's elder son and legal heir to the throne.

Kars Museum

The Kars Museum was opened in 1963 in the Cathedral of Kars (now the Kümbet Mosque) of Kars, Turkey.

The structure was first built as an Armenian church (The Holy Apostles Church) under the Armenian Bagratuni Dynasty by Abbas II in 930–937. In 1579, it was converted to a mosque. Archaeological works from Kars and its surrounding region, as well as objects uncovered by the excavations of the medieval Armenian city of Ani were gathered here. After the new museum building was completed the works were moved and exhibited there.

The new museum in Kars can be found in a road which forks off the road to Ani in the northeast of the town. Finds from the Bronze Age to the present day are on display. An annex also houses an ethnography department.

Katranide I

Katranide (Armenian: Կատրանիդե Ա, 9th century) was the first Queen of the Bagratid Kingdom and member of the Bagratuni Dynasty. She was the wife of the first Bagratuni king - Ashot the Great (885-890). Katranide is known for her khachkar (879), which is situated in Garni, Armenia.Little is known about her ancestors. Despite that, the names of their children and grandsons are known.

They had 4 sons and 3 daughters

List of Armenian kings

This is a list of the kings and queens of Armenia, for more information on ancient Armenia and Armenians, please see History of Armenia. For information on the medieval Armenian Kingdom in Cilicia, please see the separate page Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

See List of kings of Urartu for kings of Urartu (Ararat), the predecessor state of Greater Armenia.

Sahak II Bagratuni

Sahak II Bagratuni (Armenian: Սահակ Բ Բագրատունի), was an Armenian nobleman from the Bagratuni Dynasty. He served as the marzban of Persian Armenia from 481 to 482.

Smbat II of Armenia

Smbat II (Armenian: Սմբատ Բ Տիեզերակալ, Smbat II Master of the Universe) reigned as King of Armenia from 977 to 989. He was of the Bagratuni line of kings, and the son of Ashot III, whom he succeeded.

Smbat IV Bagratuni

Smbat IV Bagratuni (Armenian: Սմբատ Դ Բագրատունի; Greek: Συμβάτιος) was an Armenian prince from the Bagratuni Dynasty who served first in the Byzantine army before switching, ca. 595, to the Sasanian Empire, where he had a distinguished military career and earned high honours until his death in 616/7. He was succeeded by his son, Varaztirots.

Smbat I of Armenia

Smbat I (Armenian: Սմբատ Ա; 850–912/14) was the second king of the medieval Kingdom of Armenia of the Bagratuni dynasty, and son of Ashot I. He is the father of Ashot II (known as Ashot Yerkat) and Abas I.

Smbat VII Bagratuni

Smbat VII Bagratuni (Armenian: Սմբատ Է Բագրատունի; died 25 April 775) was an Armenian noble of the Bagratuni (Bagratid) family. He and his brother Vasak were the sons of Ashot III Bagratuni. He served as presiding prince of Armenia in 761–775, playing a leading role in the Armenian rebellion of 774–775 against the Abbasid Caliphate. He was killed in the Battle of Bagrevand. He was the father of Ashot Msaker, who restored the family's fortunes in the early 9th century.

Smbat VI Bagratuni

Smbat VI Bagratuni (ca. 670 – 726) was a member of the Bagratuni family who was presiding prince of Armenia from 691 to 711. During his reign, he frequently shifted alliances between the Byzantines, who gave him the title of kouropalates, and the Umayyads. He was the son of Varaz-Tirots III Bagratuni, and the uncle of Ashot III Bagratuni.

Varaztirots II Bagratuni

Varaztirots II Bagratuni (Armenian: Վարազ-Տիրոց Բ Բագրատունի; c. 590 – 645) was an Armenian nakharar from the Bagratuni family, the son of Smbat IV Bagratuni. He was marzpan of Armenia c. 628, fled to the Byzantine Empire soon thereafter and was exiled for several years to Africa for his participation in a plot against Heraclius. On his return c. 645/6, he was named curopalates and presiding prince of Armenia, but died before being formally invested.

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