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ARMENIAN CONTINUING HISTORY

 

GLOOMY SITUATION AFTER THE SALE OF ANI CITY, AND THE TROUBLES OF GAGIK II.

Cheerful Byzantine emperor Monomakhos welcomed the arrival of forty keys of the city of Ani with a letter of submission from Vesd Sarkis, the hellenophile armenian high-ranked minister who gave the city to the Byzantines. Presumptuous and politically short-sighted, the emperor could never imagine that such an imprudent policy could conduct him to un incertain situation and the devastation of the armenian stronghold on the eastern section of the byzantine empire, weakening consequently the region against the invading forces of seljukid cohorts, coming just that time from the far east.

Gagik II, the Armenian king made prisoner on the instigation of Vesd Sarkis and the bishop Bedros Kedatarz and exiled by the order of Monomakhos, was summoned to come back quickly to Constantinople, where the emperor showed him the forty keys of Ani with a mocking gesture. When the young king was deeply astonished because of this unthinkable treachery, the malicious emperor added remorseless.

- This is what they did, your princes and ministers: they gave me the city of Ani and all the Orient...

Sorrowful and discouraged, Gagik began to weep bitterly, then raising his beautiful head as an impetuous protester, replied proudly in face of the emperor:

- Let Christ be judge between me and my betrayers. I am the king and patron of Armenians, nobody has the right to give my people to anybody else, I will never give you Armenia, because you called me to Constantinople insidiously.

For a long time Gagik was submitted to inhuman humiliation by the emperor, who unreasonably claimed Gagik's resignation and the abandon of Ani. Considering his cause lost, without possibility to recuperate his throne, Gagik signed his dismissal with grief and desperation.

As a flimsy consolation the emperor gave Gagik the city of Bizu with all its walls, castles and all arounds, recommending him never try to escape to Armenia. Meanwhile the young monarch married the daughter of the deceased king of Sebastia, inheriting all the paternal wealth of the young girl.

Along 34 years of exile, Gagik was thinking sore at heart about his lost kingdom, his relatives and the people whom he had left and who loved and cherished him deeply and would continue to have him as the king and head of the nation.

Then, during an unfortunate day, a detestable incident happened which tragically ended the life of king Gagik. The well-known metro-polite (or bishop) of Cesarea, invited Gagik for a dinner at the prelacy. In an unlucky moment, the mischievous prelate shouted to his dog, calling it Armen: "Armen, come here, Armen come here", visibly aiming to humiliate the king, or the Armenians. Deeply anguished in his heart, such an unbelievable dishonour made Gagik vindictif who decided further, to revenge, in an opportune moment, this shameless insult. As reciprocal respect, Gagik invited later the bishop for a festival-dinner, during which however, he suddenly ordered his guardians to keep the prelate tied to a mad dog and put them together in a large jute sack and from the outside beat strongly the animal with shepherd clubs until death of the bishop occurs by the bites of the enraged animal.

Gagik could never imagine - or perhaps he could easily imagine - that this irreverent mutual reply could conduct him to a tremendously awful death. Indeed, short time later, during a visit to Cappadoce region, in Asia Minor, transiting near the castle of Kizistra, three men supposed to be Mandaly brothers, captured Gagik and took him to their castle where they hanged him down the walls and killed him without pity. It was 1079 A.D.

Gagik was 52 years old.

HISTORY OF KHOOL KATCHIG (THE DEAF)

It's time to tell the following event, which occurred contemporaneously to the sale of Ani.

Let's go to Vasboura-gan province where a man, called Khatchik the Deaf, was the hero among the population at the Thor-navan region. He was an old man, who owned a castle where he lived with his three sons. Two of them had traveled westward in service at the Byzantine army. Their name was Hassan and Jenjgouk. The third one, named Ishkhanik, lived with his father, and was only thirteen years old.

Thornavan was considered as a forlorn locality and without defense. It was a country near the lake Urmia, surrounded by a vagabond and subversive population, who thought nothing but looting, plunder and murder.

Khool Katchik, (the Deaf) then 70 years old, feeling the awakening - of young enthousiasm in his heart, getting up as a well-shaped warrior, tried to face 5000 men with his only 70 sympathetic partisans. Leaving his son Ishkhanik to remain protected and sheltered in the castle, he run straight to fight at the warfield. At a point of a dangerous skirmish, he unexpectedly saw his son Ishkhanik fighting strenuously as a lion, riding a magnificent horse, wearing his armor. Soon his enemies approached him and killed him on the spot, before the eyes of his old father, who failed and fell down and soon was slaughtered by the enemy's sword. The intruders looted the country and then left the environment.

Some months later, Has-san and Jenjgouk came back home with their whole families. Everything was devastated and the people lived in a permanent consternation. The two brothers organized new defense plans and sent their own delegate to Herr province and cry like a hawker that Thornavan is an abandoned city with a plenty of unclaimed richness deposited everywhere, where unbridled and turbulent horses are running right and left in disorder, where flocks of sheep are with no graziers to take them at the pasture. Trusting to such cries, a big crowd of robbers and looters just tried to reach Thornavan where they met with a well organized group of fighters of 5000 men, hardly trained under the command of the two brothers.

At the battlefront, Hassan cried.

- Who is that man who killed my father..., let him show up quickly. I will see who is he.

A black man soon appeared in the middle of the field, crying.

- Here I am. I killed your father myself. Here I have his horse, his sword and his clothings.

A pitiless duel followed between the two warriors. Hassan with a strong blow threw him down, killing him instantly.

Then was the turn of Jenj-gouk asking who is the killer of his brother.

A stout soldier showed himself, confessing with no fear:

- I am the killer of your brother. Here are his white horse, his sword and his banner.

Acting rapidly, Jenjgouk crossed the field and reached the robber and plunged the dagger deeply in the outlaw's throat. Then turning their force against the attackers, the two brothers kept them prisoner and killed them all on the spot.

CONFUSED SITUATION IN ARMENIA WHEN GAGIK DIED

The anarchy was omnido-minant in our country after the exile of Gagik II. The Armenian people, enemy of the Byzantines, were subdued to their domination with curse and hatred. The selfish Byzantines transformed the city of Ani into a very common country village. The wealthy city was looted, antagonist religious men dishon-oured the Armenian clerical hierarchy, and left deserted the magnificent churches. And finally they obligated the Catholicos Bedros Keda-tarz to cancel the catholicos' dignity in Armenia.

A diligent people like Armenians, whose genius, sacrifices and sufferings were commonly known , had erected the most beautiful metropolis in Asia, where wealth and happiness were dominant everywhere under the protection of a valorous army, has been crashed by his own enemy.

Here is a description of what was the happy life during the Pakradouni kings, related by the historian Arisdakes Lasdiverdzi: "Armenia was like an Eden with plenty of fruitful trees. Princes and mag-nates lived joyfully listening to exultant music of cymbals and trumpets, and wearing beautiful cloth-ings. The king, exiting out from his palace looked like a luminous Lucifer, (or as a morning star), with his shining cloths, diamond-encrusted crown, riding a horse with golden bridles, sparkling under a shining sun. Preceding him was the army, soldiers walking and undulating like the waves of the sea. Now our king is a prisoner, the royal palace deserted, and our army is crying like a lion, banished out far away...".

In order to fasten the military and the political power to Constantinople, Byzantines dismembered the old Armenian officials, leaving few people on their duties, dis-mantled thoroughly the army of 50,000 men and instead they located their own guardians on the strategic points.

Then they begun a harsh persecution against the Pakra-douni dynasty, poisoning two of the sons of Gagik, Hovhannes and Tavit, in their early youth. They poisoned also the heirs of Arzrounis and the kinfolk of King Gagik III of Kars. By this repugnant behavior they hoped to handle the kingdom of Armenia by themselves. Ignoring any kind of honesty or anything else like human prudence or precaution, they never suspected the Seljukids were too close there to take from their hands Armenia, this paradise-like territory...

VAHRAM BAHLAVOUNI DIES

The emperor Monomakhos was a malicious man: after the occupation of Ani he planned the occupation of Tvin, one of the most important city after Ani, too close to this. A foreign emir reigning in the neighborhood named Abulsouar, would also conquer Tvin .

The Byzantine army was near Tvin reinforced by the cooperation of Armenian army, under the command of Wahram Bahla-vouni and his son Krikoris. The tricky Abul-souar ordered the flooding of all the villages with water so that the Byzantine soldiers should be soaked with dirth and the horses should sink in the mud, unable to fight. The Byzan-tines were defeated lamentably and Wahram and his son also died in the battle.

Constantin sent a new army against the foreign emir. Just that time a man named Tornik from the dynasty of Pakradounis rebelled against Monomakhos and won many successful fightings.

Monomakhos made a peace treaty with Aboulsouar, and tried, this time, to conquer Tvin with his help. Tornik was too late to be prepared against this huge intruders, and wished to deliver the city without bloodshed. He was captured and conducted on the spot to the stake on which he was bound and then blinded before being executed.

Gloomy days were at the door..., when hordes of Far East Asian people were approaching westward to the borders of Persian, Arabic or/and Byzantine empires, to take all these civilizations under their rule.

SELJUKIDS ARE COMING

Conducted by their leader Doughril Bek, this huge crowd conquered easily Persia and Arab emirats, threatening meanwhile the roman empire.

This irresistibly moving people who can pulverize everything under his pression, certainly didn't find any resistance against him during the Byzantine rule. It was just that time that the Byzantines had divided our coun-try into four zones, each of them distinctly governed by civil and military authorities who were completely unaware of the region. Constantin had been imprudent or even ignorant to deal with the local population and national forces to procure the means of their own defense against any eventuality.

 
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