Urnayr was the third Arsacid king of Caucasian Albania from approximately 350 to 375.[1] He was the successor of Vache I (r. 336–350).

King of Caucasian Albania
PredecessorVache I
SuccessorVachagan II
SpouseDaughter of Shapur II

The Treaty of Nisibis in 299 between the Sasanian shahanshah Narseh (r. 293–303) and the Roman emperor Diocletian had ended diastrously for the Sasanians, who ceded them huge chunks of their territory, including the Caucasian kingdoms of Armenia and Iberia.[2] The Sasanians would not take part in the political affairs of the Caucasus for almost 40 years.[2]

The modern historian Murtazali Gadjiev argues that it was during this period the Arsacids gained the kingship of Albania, by being appointed as proxies by the Romans in order to gain complete control over the Caucasus.[2] In the 330s, a reinvigorated Iran re-entered the Caucasian political scene, forcing the Arsacid Albanian king Vachagan I (or Vache I) to acknowledge Sasanian suzerainty.[2] Urnayr enjoyed good relations with the Sasanian monarch Shapur II (r. 309–379), whose daughter he was given in marriage.[3] The later Arsacid Albanian king Aswagen (r. 415–440) was most likely their son.[4] Urnayr fought alongside Shapur II at the battle of Bagrevand in 372, where he was injured by the Armenian general Mushegh I Mamikonian, who spared him.[5][6] Urnayr was succeeded by Vachagan II in c. 375.[1]


  1. ^ a b Gadjiev 2020, p. 33.
  2. ^ a b c d Gadjiev 2020, p. 31.
  3. ^ Gadjiev 2020, pp. 32–33.
  4. ^ Gadjiev 2020, p. 32.
  5. ^ Gadjiev 2020, p. 30.
  6. ^ Chaumont 1985, pp. 806–810.


  • Chaumont, M. L. (1985). "Albania". Encyclopaedia Iranica, Vol. I, Fasc. 8. pp. 806–810.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Gadjiev, Murtazali (2020). "The Chronology of the Arsacid Albanians". Gorgias Press: 29–35. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Preceded by
Vache I
King of Caucasian Albania
Succeeded by
Vachagan II