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    * Battle of Avarayr *

    Battle of Vardanants

    نبرد آوارایر

    (Wikipedia) - Battle of Avarayr

    Coordinates: 39°20′19.65″N 45°3′25.53″E / 39.3387917°N 45.0570917°E / 39.3387917; 45.0570917

    Battle of Avarayr Belligerents Commanders and leaders Strength Casualties and losses
    A 15th century Armenian miniature depicting the battle
    Date Location Result
    May 26, 451
    Avarayr Plain, Canton of Artaz, Vaspurakan, Greater Armenia (modern-day Chors, Chaypareh County, West Azarbaijan Province, Iran)
    Pyrrhic Sassanid military victory Strategic Armenian victory
    Sassanid Empire Armenian "loyalists" Christian Armenian rebels
    Mushkin Niusalavurd Mihr Narseh Izad Gushnasp Ashtat Vardan Mamikonian Ghevond Vanandetsi
    260,000 Sassanids Unknown number-Elephants 60,000-20,000 Armenian "loyalists" 66,000 Armenian rebels
    Unknown, heavier than Armenian casualties Heavy
    History of Armenia
    • Etymology
    • Timeline
    • Traditional
    • Urheimat
    PrehistoryStone & Copper Age Shulaveri-Shomu culture c.6500–3400 BCEAreni-1 Cave ComplexKura–Araxes culture c.3400–2000 BCELegend of Hayk (?) 2492 BCEBronze & Iron Age Hayasa-Azzi c.1500–1290 BCEArme-Shupria c.1300s–1190 BCEArarat/Urartu Nairi Tribes 1114–860 BCEKingdom of Van 860–590 BCE
    AntiquityAchaemenid Period Satrapy of Armina 549–331 BCEOrontid DynastyAncient Armenia Kingdom of Armenia 321 BCE–428 CEArtaxiad Dynasty 189 BCE–12 CEEmpire 84–34 BCEArsacid Dynasty 52–428 CERoman–Parthian War 58–63 CERoman Province of Armenia 114–118 CEChristianization 301 CEArmenia Minor 331–72 BCEKingdom of Sophene c.200–94 BCEKingdom of Commagene 163 BCE–72 CEMarzpanate Period Byzantine Armenia 387–536Persian Armenia 428–646Mamikonian Dynasty Battle of Avarayr 451
    Middle AgesArabic Period Emirate of Armenia 653–884Hamamshen 700s–1300sAmatuni DynastyMedieval Armenia Bagratid Armenia 884–1045Bagratid Dynasty 861–1118Kingdom of Vaspurakan 908–1021Artsruni DynastyKingdom of Lori 979–1118Kingdom of Artsakh 1000–1261House of Hasan-JalalyanBattle of Manzikert 1071Cilician & Turco-Mongol Period Seljuq rule 1071–1201Georgian union 1201–1236Ilkhanid rule 1236–1335Principality of Khachen 1261–1750Turkmen rule 1335–1508Kingdom of Cilicia 1198–1375Rubenid Dynasty 1000–1261Hethumid Dynasty 1226–1373Lusignan Dynasty 1341–1375
    Early Modern AgePerso-Ottoman Period Safavid & Qajar rule 1508–1828Five Melikdoms Nakhichevan deportation 1606Ottoman rule 1548–1915Six Vilayets 1878Hamidian massacres 1895–1896Armenian Genocide 1909–1918Russian Period Russian rule 1828–1918Armenian Oblast 1828–1840Western Armenia 1915–1918National Liberation MovementArmenakan 1885S.D. Hunchakian Party 1887ARF (Dashnaktsutyun) 1890Caucasus Campaign 1914–1918Battle of Sardarapat 1918Battle of Karakilisa 1918Modern Armenia First Republic of Armenia 1918–1920Treaty of Batum 1918War with Azerbaijan 1918–1920War with Georgia 1918Treaty of Sèvres 1920Wilsonian Armenia 1920War with Turkey 1920Treaty of Alexandropol 1920
    Modern AgeSoviet Period Armenian S.S.R. 1920–1991February Uprising 1921Republic of Mountainous Armenia 1921Treaty of Moscow 1921Treaty of Kars 1921Territorial claims against Turkey 1945–1953Independence Armenian Diaspora Crypto-Armenians Republic of Armenia since 1991Nagorno-Karabakh Republic since 1994Nagorno-Karabakh War 1989–1994
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    The Battle of Avarayr (Armenian: Ավարայրի ճակատամարտ Avarayri čakatamart; Persian: نبرد آوارایر‎) also known as the Battle of Vardanants, was fought on May 26, 451 AD on the Avarayr Plain in Vaspurakan, between the Armenian Army under Vardan Mamikonian and Sassanid Persia. Although the Persians were victorious on the battlefield itself, the battle proved to be a major strategic victory for Armenians, as Avarayr paved the way to the Nvarsak Treaty (484 AD), which affirmed Armenia''s right to practice Christianity freely.


    BackgroundThe area of Armenia under Persian rule at the time.

    The Kingdom of Armenia was the first nation to officially convert to Christianity, in 301 AD under Tiridates III. In 428, Armenian nobles petitioned Bahram V to depose Artaxias IV (Artashir IV). As a result, the country became a Sassanid dependency with a Sassanid governor. The Armenian nobles initially welcomed Persian rule, provided they were allowed to practice Christianity; but Yazdegerd II, concerned that the Armenian Church was hierarchically dependent on the Latin- and Greek-speaking, Orthodox Christian Church (aligned with Rome and Constantinople rather than the Aramaic-speaking, Persian-backed Nestorian Church) tried to compel the Armenian Church to abandon Rome and Byzantium in favor of the Nestorians or simply convert to Zoroastrianism. He summoned the leading Armenian nobles to Ctesiphon, and pressured them into cutting their ties with the Orthodox Church as he had intended. Yazdegerd II himself was a Zoroastrian rather than a Christian, and his concern was not enforcing a Nestorian orthodoxy but securing political loyalty.

    According to Armenian tradition, attempts at demolishing churches and building fire-temples were made and a number of Zoroastrian magi were sent, with Persian military backing, to replace Armenian clergy and suppress Christianity.

    But Yazdegerd''s policy created, rather than forestalled, a Christian rebellion in Armenia. When news about the compulsion of the nobles reached Armenia, a mass revolt broke out; on their return, the nobility, led by Vardan Mamikonian, joined the rebels. Yazdegerd II, hearing the news, gathered a massive army to attack Armenia. Vardan Mamikonian sent to Constantinople for aid, as he had good personal relations with Theodosius II, who had made him a general, and he was after all fighting to remain in the Orthodox Church; but this assistance did not arrive in time.


    The 66,000-strong Armenian army took Holy Communion before the battle. The army was a popular uprising, rather than a professional force, but the Armenian nobility who led it and their respective retinues were accomplished soldiers, many of them veterans of the Sassanid dynasty''s wars with Rome and the nomads of Central Asia. The Armenians were allowed to maintain a core of their national army led by a supreme commander (sparapet) who was traditionally of the Mamikonian noble family. The Armenian cavalry was, at the time, practically an elite force greatly appreciated as a tactical ally by both Persia and Byzantium. In this particular case, both officers and men were additionally motivated by a desire to save their religion and their way of life. The Persian army, said to be three times larger, included war elephants and the famous Savārān, or New Immortal, cavalry. Several Armenian noblemen with weaker Christian sympathies, led by Vasak Siuni, went over to the Persians before the battle, and fought on their side; in the battle, Vardan won initial successes, but was eventually slain along with eight of his top officers.

    OutcomeA tactical overview of the battle.

    Following the victory, Yazdegerd jailed some Armenian priests and nobles and appointed a new governor for Armenia.

    The Armenian Church was also unable to send a delegation to the Council of Chalcedon, as it was heavily involved in the war. The Armenian Church would reject the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon, instead adhering to Miaphysitism.

    Armenian resistance continued in the decades following the battle, led by Vardan''s successor and nephew, Vahan Mamikonian. In 484 AD, Shah Peroz I signed the Nvarsak Treaty, which guaranteed religious freedom to the Christian Armenians and granted a general amnesty with permission to construct new churches. Thus, the Armenians see the Battle of Avarayr as a moral victory; May 26 is considered to be a holy day by Armenians, and is one of the most important national and religious days in Armenia.

    Tags:Aramaic, Armenia, Armenian, Asia, Avarayr, Azarbaijan, Azerbaijan, Bahram V, Battle of Avarayr, Byzantine, Byzantium, Casualties, Central Asia, Christian, Christianity, Cilicia, Constantinople, Ctesiphon, Dynasty, Georgia, Greek, Iran, Kars, Manzikert, Mongol, Moscow, Narseh, Nestorian, Ottoman, Parthian, Persia, Persian, Qajar, Rome, Russian, Safavid, Sassanid, Satrapy, Shah, Theodosius, Timeline, Tiridates, Turkey, Wikipedia, Yazdegerd, Yazdegerd II, Zoroastrian

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