Gagik I, Brother of Sempad II The Conqueror, on the Throne of Pakradounis.
He was The Right Man Who Reigned For Thirty Years (A.D. 990-1020)
For more convenience, let's remember what we said, last year in the closing remarks of our report concerning the Pakradouni king Sempad II, the son of Ashod Voghormadz: "Sempad and his brother Gagik never knew the advantages of mutual reconciliation, so they anxiously lived in political dissension since the crowning days. Gagik could never appreciate his brother's system "of buying the peace by money" instead of facing the enemy valorously. "Many suspicious and pessimistic writers assert Gagik could have killed his brother Sempad by poisoning him in his eatings or drinkings…
"Sempad had no children".
During the first months of Gagik's reign, a certain mentally insane woman having asserted that she dreamed king Sempad telling her that he is laying alive in his tomb, created bitter disturbances among the population because of her awful and subversive talks, so that Gagik, in order to avoid further and other unexpected troubles, was obliged to exhume his brother's corpse and put it in common display. Very easily Gagik acceded to the vacant throne of his brother, (A.D. 990) in good conditions. Certainly being a man of vigorous character, very instructed, clever and valiant, he sought the adequate means to restore peace and welfare all around the country.
As his predecessors, Gagik I intensively dedicated himself to adorn the Ani City with new buildings and magnificent churches. He has been, on the other side, very fortunate man to have as his wife the young lady called Gadramideh, daughter of prince Vasak of Sunik. She has been, shortly after, the right helping hand for her husband in his constructive opportunities. By her own expenses she ordered the construction of St. Mary's church and then supervised the completion of that beautiful temple. Very soon, she ordered also an enormous cross to be erected on the sky-scraping dome and an exceptionally precious chandelier brought from India to be hung from the ceiling of the basilica, and illuminate abundantly the whole area of the church.
Being insured about internal quietness, Gagik I showed conveniently also strength of mind and tactical ability everywhere and every time it was necessary. With perseverance and some innate dexterity he snatched off many fortresses and annexed them to his kingdom. He later concluded an alliance with David Gurabaghad, a king of neighboring regions of Van Lake, to fight against the Arab forces in Aderbadagan. The city of Manazgerd was an "apple of discord" between Arabs and other Christian nations. The armed forces of Gagik and David, fighting strenuously, surrounded the city in order to capture it and get all the foreigners out. The same thing happened for the city of Khlat.
Mamloon, an Arab emir reigning in Aderbadagan, refused accepting such arrangements, and insisted for the prompt return of the former Arab people to their residences. There was no any possible compromise for David and Gagik, consequently a new war broke out between Christians and Arabs. Then, furious Mamloon, gathering many other ethnics confessing his religion, came later to the region called Zaghgodn; but there he met all the wealth of the united forces of Gagik, David, king Abbas of Kars and king Pakarad of Vrasdan, marching victoriously on the war front, waving their national and military flags. At the presence of such a gathering of Christian forces, Mamloon avoided having any imprudent confrontation with them and escaped nightly with all his soldiers, leaving behind him immense regions terribly devastated by fire and desolation.
But, again, this stubborn scoundrel refusing to admit any possibility for a mutual or convenient understating about the acts or facts to do, returned back on the Armenian territories with more growing and huge armies of hundred thousands men, entering from the upper valley of Arazani, at the north of Vaspouragan region. All Armenian and other auxiliary forces took refuge on the high mountain Sugaved.
A valorous man called VahramBahlavouni commanded Armenian forces. But soon discrepancies appeared and prevailed among the allied forces. Because, even if the 100,000-men army of Mamloon was disorganized, it was evident that all this crowd of looters and killers were there causing great fear and anxiety among the Christians. The incorrigible Mamloon sent many delegates to ask the adverse side to take a decision for the beginning of the war, but the Christian leaders remaining continuously indecisive, Mamloon ordered his men to blow the horns and initiate the assault.
By a bright moonlight, Vahram Bahlavouni's mounted soldiers of the cavalry forwarded for a fiery and violent attack obliging the left wing of the Arab army to leave the battleground. Thus, encouraged by this satisfying victory, the soldiers of David and the vratzi divisional units began to disperse the remaining right and central wings of the enemy. Shameful, and intensely humiliated, Mamloon preferred to leave the country.
Vasil II, Emperor of Byzance (Constantinople)
After the decisive battles of Manazgerd and Sugaved Mountain, the Byzantine emperor Vasil II initiated his trip with all his military powers towards the Asian borders. Surreptitiously he aimed to subjugate the little kings of Armenia and of the whole area of Caucasus, wishing to appropriate their territories. That was time just to be prepared to face the approaching first millenary (A.D. 1000), so that everywhere everyone was living fearful to meet with dignity the Last Day of Judgment, meanwhile endeavoring to make good acts and charity acts in order to earn the heaven. It was during this dreadful period, that Vail II of Byzance decided to strengthen and extend the eastern confines of the empire. Passing over the City of Karin, he came to the region of Dayk, pertaining to David Gurabaghad, but this time burdened with heavy and precious presents. Then the emperor required, in an opportune moment, from David to let by legal promise and testament all these territories to the throne of Byzantium. Having no children who could inherit his properties, David was pressed to yield and write the legacy. Consequently all the kings of Vrasdan and Abkhazia presented their submission to the emperor. Then continuing his way down from Dayk, Vasil II reached the region where Senekerim king of Vasbouragan and Abbas I king of Kars presented themselves to the emperor with wealthy gifts. Vasil mutually transmitted his graceful gifts to them accepting their submission and considering them as his vassals. In the region of Pakrevant, Basil II hoped to find Gagik I, the king of Armenians, and oblige him to the same conditions as the over mentioned kings. Basil had not even the idea what kind of man could be the king of Pakradounis, a proud and self-confident man, who never could think any kind of submission. Despite all accusations and bad intrigues against Gagik, the emperor was unable to impose his will anyway, so he returned to Constantinople before terminating his trip.
David Gurabaghad Murdered
Witnesses about the person of David Gurabaghad are very laudatory and praiseful. For example, the Armenian historian Stepanos Asoghik affirms: "He (David) was a quiet and affable man, and being victorious on many fronts, he installed peace in Armenia and Vrasdan, processing to many constructions." In the year 1000 A.D., David was a very old man. A conspiracy was prepared in order to kill him, by the nobles of Dayk, with the collaboration of a clergyman. The clergyman - a bishop named Hilarion - poisoned David receiving the Holy Communion, but David survived miraculously. It was after that impious attempt, that the dishonest churchman tried a second time to kill the king, nightly entering the room where David was sleeping, and quickly putting a pillow on the mouth of David, and sitting on it he murdered him by suffocation…
Learning about the death of David, Basil of Byzantium sent troops and delegates to Armenia, and according to the previous agreements, he annexed all the territories pertaining to David, from Karin to Passen, Olti and Dayk.
Gagik and David Named "Unearthly"
A man like Gagik I, could never be satisfied with the simple title of King of Kings, so he wished to demonstrate that he was meritoriously also the supreme guide of the little kings, who ought respect and submission to him. A serious affair rising between Gagik and the vassal kingdom of Kurikian, created the discordance about the domination of lands and other properties with another man named also David, just Gagik's nephew. David was a clever man, and a select diplomat. By a delightful jock, people called him "Anhogh" (that is with no land, or unearthly). He extended the confines of his lands, occupied the region of Udik, (a little portion from Artzakh), reached Tblissi (Capital of Vrasdan) and kicking the Arab emir out, declared himself governor of that country.
Then feeling himself free to act and completely sure, he tried to emancipate from the oppressive yoke of his uncle, Gagik I. The consequence has been very useful for both sides. The two men remained cooperative, collaborating together for their own interests. David ordered the construction of many fortresses in the region of Kukark, fortifying also the northern frontiers of Armenia. Gagik I reigned gloriously for thirty years and died in advanced age (A.D. 1020). He was buried in the monastery of Horomos.
Next Issue: King Hovanness - Sempad - Seljukids in Armenia

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