Ani Kingdom

Ani Kingdom

 

an Armenian feudal state (from the 860’s to 1045) with its capital at the city of Ani (from 961). It arose as a result of the unification of Armenia by the Bagratids and the overthrow of the Arab caliphate’s rule. The Ani kingdom was the most important and influential Armenian feudal state of the Middle Ages—it unified most of Armenia, particularly the eastern region. Some areas of Southern Armenia were also subjugated by the first Bagratids (Ashot I, Smbat I, and Ashot II the Iron). The Shirak region formed the nucleus of the Ani kingdom. Feudal landownership was developed in the Ani kingdom, and the system of peasant serfdom was strengthened. The development of crafts and trade furthered the growth of the cities. The strengthening of feudal exploitation was responsible for the powerful antifeudal people’s movement of the Thondracians (end of the ninth to the first half of the 11th century). The economic growth of the Ani kingdom was accompanied by significant developments in Armenian culture. In the Ani kingdom, high levels of achievement were attained in historiography, philosophy, mathematics, medicine, and also literature and art— architecture, stone and wood carving, painting (miniature), and applied arts. The Bagratid kings sought to unify Armenia and strengthen central rule, but the economic, social, and political conditions were not yet ready for this. Feudal disintegration resulted in the formation of the kingdoms of Vaspurakan (908), Kars (963), Siuniq (970), and Tashir-Dzoraget (978), which were vassals of the Bagratids. A bitter class struggle, deterioration of the internal political situation of the Ani kingdom, and dissension between the feudal lords and the high clergy facilitated Byzantine expansion. In 1045, Byzantine forces seized the city of Ani and the Shirak region, and the Ani kingdom fell.

B. N. ARAKELIAN