List of Armenian monarchs

(Redirected from List of Armenian kings)

This is a list of the monarchs of Armenia, rulers of the ancient Kingdom of Armenia (336 BC – AD 428), the medieval Kingdom of Armenia (884–1045), various lesser Armenian kingdoms (908–1170), and finally the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (1198–1375). Also included are prominent vassal princes and lords who ruled during times without an Armenian kingdom, as well as later claimants to the position.

King of Armenia
First monarchHydarnes I (satrap)
Orontes II (king)
Last monarchLeo V
Formation521 BC (satrapy)
336 BC (kingdom)

Ancient Armenia (521 BC – AD 428)Edit

Early satraps (521–401 BC)Edit

Orontid dynasty (401–200 BC)Edit

Modern depiction of Orontes IV (r. 212–200 BC)

The Orontid dynasty lost its power in Armenia following a 200 BC revolt instigated by the Seleucid Empire. The Armenian lands were then incorporated into the Seleucid Empire under three vassal strategoi (military governors): Artaxias (Greater Armenia), Zariadres (Sophene) and Mithridates (Lesser Armenia). Armenian royal power was re-established after a decade of vassalage by Artaxias.[1]

Artaxiad dynasty (200 BC–AD 2)Edit

Coin of Tigranes II (r. 95–55 BC)

Non-dynastic kings (2–61)Edit

Coin of Tigranes V (r. 6–12)

This period of time saw conflict between the Roman and Parthian empires result in rapid appointments and depositions of Armenian client kings by both sides.[1]

Arsacid dynasty (61–428)Edit

Statue of Tiridates I (r. 54–58, 61/66–75/88)
Modern depiction of Tiridates III (r. 298–330)

The Sasanians appointed their own Armenian king (Khosrov IV) in 384, against the Roman-supported Arshak III, leading Armenia to becoming informally divided under the two kings. The division was made formal through an agreement between the Roman emperor Theodosius I and Sasanian king Shapur III in 387, which partitioned Armenia into a western (under Roman influence) and an eastern (under Sasanian influence) kingdom.[17]

Kings in western Armenia (387–389)Edit

  • Arshak III, 387–c. 389,[17] former king of all of Armenia[17]

Upon the death of Arshak III in 389, Emperor Theodosius I chose to not appoint another king, ending the western kingdom.[18] The territories formerly ruled by Arshak were incorporated into the Roman Empire as a province.[5]

Kings in eastern Armenia (384–428)Edit

The Sasanian king Bahram V deposed the last eastern king, Artaxias IV, in 428 with the permission of the Armenian nobility and annexed his domains into the Sasanian Empire.[18]

Vassal lords and princes (428–884)Edit

Marzbāns in Sasanian Armenia (428–646)Edit

20th-century artwork of Vahan I Mamikonian, autonomous marzbān 485–505/510

Following their deposition of the last Arsacid king Artaxias IV, the Sasanian Empire entrusted the rule of their Armenian territories to an official with the title marzbān,[19] a title variously interpreted as governor-general[19] or viceroy. The first marzbān, appointed by Bahram V, was the military officer Veh Mihr Shapur.[1]

The list of marzbān is not entirely contiguous due to both periods without an appointed marzbān and gaps in the historical record. It was relatively common for the office to be vacant since the Sasanians periodically tried to assert more direct control.[20]

Presiding princes of Armenia (628–884)Edit

Modern imaginary portrait of Ashot V Bagratuni, who served as the last presiding prince of Armenia 856–884 and later reigned as King of Armenia (as Ashot I) 884–890

The position of presiding prince of Armenia (formally "prince of the Armenians") was created by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century in order to legitimize a local vassal leader with Byzantine backing and counteract Sasanian efforts in the region. During later centuries, the presiding princes wavered in allegiance between Byzantium and the Caliphates, who competed over influence. Most often they were largely autonomous tributary vassals.[20] The earliest known presiding prince was Mjej II Gnuni, appointed by the Byzantines in the early 7th century.[21]

Restored kingdom (884–1045)Edit

Bagratuni dynasty (884–1045)Edit

Statue of Ashot II (r. 914–928)

After more than four centuries of dormancy, the Armenian kingdom was restored under the Bagratuni dynasty, which had already produced several vassal princes during the previous centuries. The Bagratuni princes were during their efforts to gain power of the other Armenian noble families supported by the Abbasid caliphs, who feared Byzantine influence in the region. In 884, the Bagratuni prince Ashot V was crowned king (as Ashot I) by his peers. His new position was recognised by both the Byzantine Empire and the Abbasid Caliphate; both Emperor Basil I and Caliph Al-Mu'tamid sent him a royal crown.[22]

The Bagratid kingdom and its capital of Ani was conquered by the Byzantine Empire under Emperor Constantine IX Monomachos in 1045.[22]

Lesser medieval Armenian kingdomsEdit

Artsruni dynasty of Vaspurakan (908–1021)Edit

The Artsruni family were princes ruling in Vaspurakan under the Bagratids. They revolted against the Bagratuni dynasty after King Smbat I ceded some of their land to the nearby princes of Syunik and Vaspurakan became a separate kingdom under the Artsruni dynasty shortly thereafter in 908, after prince Gagik Artsruni was recognised as a king by Abbasid caliph.[22]

Senekerim-Hovhannes, the last king of Vaspurakan, surrendered his crown to the Byzantine Empire in 1021 under pressure from incursions by the Seljuk Turks and resettled with his family in Cappadocia.[14]

Bagratuni dynasty of Vanand (961–1065)Edit

The Kingdom of Vanand was created as a vassal state by the Bagratids in 961, ruled by members of their dynasty.[23]

  • Mushegh, 961/962–984,[1] son of Abas I of Armenia[21]
  • Abas I, 984–1029,[1] son of Mushegh[21]
  • Gagik-Abas II, 1029–1065,[1] son of Abas I;[21] claimed the position of king of all Armenia following the collapse of the main Bagratid kingdom in 1045.[23]

Vanand was ceded to the Byzantine Empire by Gagik-Abas II[23] in 1065.[14][23]

Kiurikian dynasty of Tashir-Dzoraget (982–c. 1145)Edit

Kiurike I of Tashir-Dzoraget (left, r. 982–989) and Smbat II of Armenia (right, r. 977–989)

The Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget was a vassal kingdom founded in 982 by Kiuriki I, youngest son of Ashot III of Armenia, and thereafter ruled by his descendants. It was for most of its history ruled from the fortress of Lori.[24]

Tashir-Dzoraget was largely conquered by the Seljuk Turks in 1081/1089.[21] In the early 12th century, further conqueste led to David II and Abas only retaining control of the fortress of Macnaberd. The kingdom was fully conquered by around 1145, though it is possible that some members of the Kiurikian dynasty retained control of fortresses and settlements in the region thereafter.[24]

Siunia dynasty of Syunik (970–1170)Edit

The independent Kingdom of Syunik was established under the Siuni prince Smbat Sahak in 970.[14]

The Kingdom of Syunik was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in 1170.[26]

Shah-i Armens (1100–1185; 1420–1437)Edit

Coin of Qara Iskander, the last Shah-i Armen (r. 1420–1437)

Ahlat Shah-i Armens (1100–1185)Edit

In the decades following the Battle of Manzikert (1071), one of the Turkmen[27] vassal dynasties of the Seljuk Turks gained control of the city of Ahlat in the former Armenian heartland. These Muslim emirs took the title Shah-i Armen ("King of the Armenians");[28][29] the same title the Caliphates had previously used for the Bagratuni kings.[30]

Sökmen II left no heirs and his death in 1185 terminated the Shah-i Armen dynastic line. Ahlat was thereafter ruled by a series of slave emirs;[27] Seyfeddin Bektimur 1185–1193, Bedreddin Aksungur 1193–1198, Sücaeddin Kutlug 1198, Melukülmansur Muhammed 1198–1207, and Izzeddin Balaban 1207.[32] The city's period of relative autonomy came to an end when it was captured by the Ayyubid Sultanate in 1207.[27]

Qara Qoyunlu (1420–1437)Edit

The title Shah-i Armen was temporarily revived in the 15th century under the rule of the Turkmen Qara Qoyunlu,[29] being used by Sultan Qara Iskander as part of his policy to cultivate the Armenian population, particularly the clergy and local nobility.[33]

Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (1080–1375)Edit

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia was a state formed in the Middle Ages by Armenian refugees who fled the Seljuk invasion of their homeland.[34] It was initially ruled by the Rubenids, an offshoot of the Bagratuni dynasty. While the Rubenid rulers were initially regional princes, their close ties with the Western world after the First Crusade saw the principality recognised as a kingdom under Leo I by the Holy Roman Empire in 1198.[35] The rulers of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilia thereafter styled themselves simply as "King of Armenia".[21]

Rubenid dynasty (1080–1252)Edit

19th-century depiction of Leo I (r. 1198–1219)

Hethumid dynasty (1226–1341)Edit

Coin depicting Isabella (r. 1219–1252) and Hethum I (r. 1226–1269)

The Hethumid dynasty gained power through marriage with Isabella of the Rubenid dynasty. Upon her death, her husband Hethum I became sole ruler and was followed as king by their descendants.

Lusignan and Neghir dynasties (1342–1375)Edit

Bust of Leo V, the last King of Armenia (r. 1374–1375)

After the death of Leo IV in 1341 his cousin Guy de Lusignan was elected to succeed him as Constantine II, beginning the rule of the Lusignan dynasty. This dynasty ruled for just over three decades before Cilicia was captured by the Mamluks, bringing an end to the kingdom.

  • Constantine II, 1342–1344,[21] cousin[21] and chosen successor[36] of Leo IV (House of Lusignan)
  • Constantine III, 1344–1363,[21] elected by the Armenian nobility;[36] grandnephew of Hethum I (House of Neghir)
  • Leo (V) "the Usurper", 1363–1365,[36][37] unknown lineage; seized the throne and then abdicated after a reign of two years[36]
  • Constantine IV, 1365–1373,[21] cousin of Constantine III[21] (House of Neghir)
    • Peter de Lusignan, King of Cyprus, was invited to become king by some Armenian barons in 1368 but died in 1369 while making preparations to cross the sea to Cilicia with his forces[21][36]
  • Marie of Korikos, regent 1373–1374,[36] widow of Constantine III and Constantine IV; served as regent while delegations were sent to negotiate with prospective new candidates for the kingship[36]
  • Leo V (or VI), 1374–1375,[36] nephew of Constantine II[21] (House of Lusignan)

Later claimantsEdit

Lusignan claimants (1375–1489)Edit

The deposed Leo V continued to claim the title "King of Armenia" in exile until his death in 1393. His claims were then inherited by his distant cousin James I (both were great-grandsons of the Cypriot king Hugh III), who ruled as King of Cyprus. From 1393 to the end of the Cypriot kingdom in 1489, the rulers of Cyprus claimed the full title "King of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia".[38]

After the fall of the Kingdom of Cyprus in 1489, Catherine Cornaro sold her claims and titles (including her claim to Armenia) to the Republic of Venice, which at times thereafter advanced a shadowy claim to Cilicia or Armenia as a whole.[39]

Savoyard claimants (1485–1946)Edit

The House of Savoy claimed the titular style "King of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia" for centuries. It was in use as late as the 20th century, for instance by Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (pictured).[40]

Charlotte, who ruled as Queen of Cyprus 1458–1464, was deposed in 1464 but maintained claims to her dispossessed titles in exile. In 1485, Charlotte ceded her titular claims to her first cousin once removed Charles I, Duke of Savoy.[41] As a consequence of Charlotte's sale, the House of Savoy is often seen as the heirs of the Lusignan kings of Cyprus and Armenian Cilicia.[39] For centuries thereafter, the heads of the family maintained the style "Duke of Savoy and titular King of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia".[42] The title "King of Cyprus, Jerusalem and Armenia" was maintained even after the Savoyard dynasts became kings of Italy, for instance being used by both Victor Emmanuel II[43] and Victor Emmanuel III.[40]

See alsoEdit


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