Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood by Anthony Kaldellis

Streams of Gold, Rivers of Blood by Anthony Kaldellis

Author:Anthony Kaldellis [Kaldellis, Anthony]
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780190253226
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Published: 2017-01-15T00:00:00+00:00

The annexation of Ani

As we saw, in the Georgian war of 1022 the Armenian king Smbat III pledged his realm of Ani to Rome upon his death, which took place probably in 1041.38 Michael IV was in no position to claim it in 1041, and it is unclear whether he tried. Monomachos too was beleaguered until mid-1043, but then insisted on his legal claim. The Armenians had, however, elected a successor in the meantime, Smbat’s nephew Gagik II, who suppressed a rival and fought the Muslim emir of Dvin. Gagik was willing to recognize the emperor but not to surrender Ani, so in 1044 Monomachos ordered the doux of Iberia, Michael Iassites, to take it by force. The war went badly, so the emperor dispatched that old standby, Konstantinos VIII’s parakoimomenos and domestikos of the scholai, the eunuch Nikolaos, who had campaigned there almost twenty years earlier. Monomachos also invited the emir of Dvin, Abu al-Aswar, to attack Ani, allegedly ceding to him any forts that he captured. Another attack on Ani, which lay in a strong location, may have also failed, but imperial inducements prevailed in the end. Gagik traveled to Constantinople, where he exchanged his title for rich properties and titles. We should not accept the Armenian version that he had to be tricked in Constantinople to surrender; he would not have gone there if he did not intend to cede his claim. Ani may have resisted after his departure, but by early 1045 it too had surrendered to Iassites. It was made a doukaton, often united with Iberia in practice.

Unfortunately we know little about Roman rule in Armenia. It had never extended this far east and would not last for long, so it left little evidence of itself. Chalcedonian sees were certainly favored, and the Armenian katholikos Petros I was removed, first to Artze, then to Constantinople, and finally to Asia Minor. But his movements may not have been forced (unlike the Jacobite patriarch Yuhannan in 1029).39 The nobleman and scholar Grigor of the leading family of the Pahlavuni also surrendered his lands to the empire at this time, was made magistros, and given lands near Edessa. He did not accept Chalcedon, but was made doux of Vaspurakan in the early 1050s.40

So far, then, and contrary to his image as an irenic and civilian emperor, Monomachos had decisively suppressed internal challenges, firmly repulsed the Rus’, and expanded the empire’s control in Armenia, enforcing Roman claims. Ani was recognized at the time as “a major bulwark, defending against barbarians who intended to invade Iberia through that region.”41 Then, immediately in 1045 the emperor sent Iassites against the emir of Dvin to recover the lost forts of Ani, allegedly reneging on his promise to cede them. This was not a complacent emperor. But Abu al-Aswar led the Romans into a trap by flooding the plain, and massacred them. Iassites was replaced as doux by Kekaumenos and Nikolaos by one Konstantinos, an Arab eunuch from the emperor’s retinue, and they began reducing the forts individually.


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