Dvin (Classical Armenian: Դուին, reformed: Դվին; Greek: Δούβιος, Doύbios or Τίβιον, Tίbion; Arabic: دبيل, translit. Dabīl or Doubil; also Duin or Dwin in ancient sources) was a large commercial city and the capital of early medieval Armenia. It was situated north of the previous ancient capital of Armenia, the city of Artaxata, along the banks of the Metsamor River, 35 km to the south of modern Yerevan. The site of the ancient city is currently not much more than a large hill located between modern Hnaberd (just off the main road through Hnaberd) and Verin Dvin, Armenia. Systematic excavations at Dvin that have proceeded since 1937 have produced an abundance of materials, which have shed light into the Armenian culture of the 5th to the 13th centuries.
Shown within Armenia
|Location||Southwest of the Dvin village; between Hnaberd and Verin Dvin, Ararat Province, Armenia|
|Builder||King Khosrov III|
Ancient Armenian literary sources almost always give the name of the ancient city of Dvin as Dwin or Duin. Later authors favored the Dvin appellation, which is the most common form given in scholarly literature. The word is of Middle Iranian origin, and means hill.
The ancient city of Dvin was built by Khosrov III Kotak in 335 on a site of an ancient settlement and fortress from the 3rd millennium BC. Since then, the city had been used as the primary residence of the Armenian Kings of the Arsacid dynasty. Dvin boasted a population of about 100,000 citizens in various professions, including arts and crafts, trade, fishing, etc.
After the fall of the Armenian Kingdom in 428, Dvin became the residence of Sassanid appointed marzpans (governors), Byzantine kouropalates and later Umayyad- and Abbasid-appointed ostikans (governors), all of whom were of senior nakharar stock. Under Arsacid rule, Dvin prospered as one of the most populous and wealthiest cities east of Constantinople. Its prosperity continued even after the partition of Armenia between Romans and Sassanid Persians, when it became the provincial capital of Persian Armenia, and eventually it became a target during the height of the Muslim conquests. According to Sebeos and Catholicos John V the Historian, Dvin was captured in 640 during the reign of Constans II and Catholicos Ezra. During the Arab conquest of Armenia, Dvin was captured and pillaged in 640, in the first raids. On January 6, 642 the Arabs stormed and took the city, slaughtered 12,000 of its inhabitants and carried 35,000 into slavery. Dvin became the center of the province of Arminiya, the Arabs called the city Dabil.
Although Armenia was a battleground between Arabs and Byzantine forces for the next two centuries, in the 9th century it still flourished. Frequent earthquakes and continued warfare led to the decline of the city from the beginning of the 10th century. During a major earthquake in 893, the city was destroyed, along with most of its 70,000 inhabitants.
Following a devastating Daylamite raid in 1021, which sacked the city, Dvin was captured by the Shaddadids of Ganja, and ruled by Abu'l-Aswar Shavur ibn Fadl, who successfully defended it against three Byzantine attacks in the latter half of the 1040s.
In 1064, the Seljuks occupied the city. The Shaddadids continued to rule the city as Seljuk vassals until the Georgian King George III conquered the city in 1173. In 1201-1203, during the reign of Queen Tamar, the city was again under Georgian rule. In 1236, the city was completely destroyed by Mongols.
Dvin was the birthplace of Najm ad-Din Ayyub and Asad ad-Din Shirkuh bin Shadhi, Kurdish generals in the service of the Seljuks; Najm ad-Din Ayyub's son, Saladin, was the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Saladin was born in Tikrit, Iraq, but his family had originated from the ancient city of Dvin.
Situated in the central square of the ancient city was the Cathedral of Saint Grigor. It was originally constructed in the 3rd century as a triple-nave pagan temple with seven pairs of interior structural supports. The temple was rebuilt in the 4th century as a Christian church, with a pentahedral apse that protruded sharply on its eastern side. In the middle of the 5th century, an exterior arched gallery was added to the existing structure. At the time that the cathedral was built, it was the largest in Armenia and measured 30.41 meters by 58.17 meters.
Ornate decorations adorned the interior and the exterior of the building. The capitals of the columns were decorated with fern-like relief, while the cornices were carved in the design of three interlaced strands. The interior floor of the structure was made up of mosaic multi-colored soft-toned slabs in a geometric pattern, while the floor of the apse was decorated in the 7th century with a mosaic of smaller stone tiles representing the Holy Virgin. It is the most ancient mosaic depiction of her in Armenia. By the middle of the 7th century, the cathedral was rebuilt into a cruciform domed church with apses that protruded off of its lateral facades. All that remains of the cathedral today are the stone foundations uncovered during archaeological excavations in the 20th century.
Dvin may refer to:
Dvin (ancient city), an ancient city and one of the historic capitals of Armenia
Dvin, Armenia, a modern village in Armenia named after the nearby ancient city of Dvin
Verin Dvin, a village in the Ararat Province of Armenia
FC Dvin Artashat, a dissolved Armenian football club from Artashat (1982–1999)Sasanian Armenia
Sasanian Armenia, also known as Persian Armenia and Persarmenia (Armenian: Պարսկահայաստան – Parskahayastan), may either refer to the periods where Armenia (Middle Persian: 𐭠𐭫𐭬𐭭𐭩 – Armin) was under the suzerainty of the Sasanian Empire, or specifically to the parts of Armenia under its control such as after the partition of 387 AD when parts of western Armenia were incorporated into the Byzantine Empire while the rest of Armenia came under Sasanian suzerainty whilst maintaining its existing kingdom until 428.
In 428, Armenian nobles petitioned Bahram V to depose Artaxias IV (r. 422); Bahram V (r. 420–438) abolished the Kingdom of Armenia and appointed Veh Mihr Shapur as marzban (governor of a frontier province, "margrave") of the country, which marked the start of a new era known as the Marzpanate period (Armenian: Մարզպանական Հայաստան – Marzpanakan Hayastan), a period when marzbans, nominated by the Sasanian emperor, governed eastern Armenia, as opposed to the western Byzantine Armenia which was ruled by several princes, and later governors, under Byzantine suzerainty. 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 were under the influence of the Sasanian marzpans during this period.The marzban was invested with supreme power, even imposing death sentences; but he could not interfere with the age-long privileges of the Armenian nakharars. The country as a whole enjoyed considerable autonomy. The office of Hazarapet, corresponding to that of Minister of the Interior, public works and finance, was mostly entrusted to an Armenian, while the post of Sparapet (commander-in-chief) was only entrusted to an Armenian. 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 did Vahan Mamikonian in 485 after a period of rebellion against the Iranians.
Three times during the Marzpanic period, Iranian kings launched persecutions against Christianity in Armenia. The Iranians 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 proved to be conducive to closer relations with Byzantium.