Today in Caucasian history: the Battle of Bagrevand (775)

When Arab armies moved out of Arabia in the 630s they brought an end to the Roman-Persian balance of power that had defined western Asia for centuries. It’s likely that nobody, apart from the Romans and the Persians, felt this change more acutely than the Armenians. The Kingdom of Armenia had long been a buffer between the two great empires, with dynasties ruling as Roman or Persian (first Parthian, and later Sasanian) clients, and coming and going often at the whim of one of the two imperial authorities. That state of affairs changed in the fourth century, when the Romans and Sasanians partitioned the ancient kingdom into two parts: so-called Lesser Armenia, which became a Roman province, and Persian Armenia, which held nominal independence for a time before becoming a Sasanian domain in the early fifth century. The events described here primarily affected Persian Armenia. Lesser Armenia, along the southern coast of the Black Sea, remained in Roman hands until it was taken by the Seljuk Turks in the late 11th century.

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3 thoughts on “Today in Caucasian history: the Battle of Bagrevand (775)

  1. Excellent piece, thought provoking. Now, “the Bagrationis,” would that have lingered in the Russian memory until – for instance – Operation Bagration in WWII?

    1. In a way, yes. Operation Bagration was named for Pyotr Bagrationi, a 19th century Russian (Georgian) general who was killed at Borodino. He was, clearly, a member of the Bagrationi family. The Bagrationis lost their royal authority in Georgia and its successor kingdoms when Russia annexed the area outright in the 1800s, but they transitioned pretty smoothly into a new role as one of the Russian Empire’s leading noble families.

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