The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a member of the main working population of early medieval Armenia.

The shinakans were originally legally free. In Armenian sources of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are contrasted to the azats (the privileged class). The shinakans had smaller fines to pay for violating church rules than did the azats, but unlike the azats they were subject to corporal punishment. The shinakans’ elders had the right to attend the state class assemblies of Armenia, and the shinakans paid a tax to the ruler.

During the development of feudal relations, most of the shinakans were brought under the yoke of the nakhararq (princely families). The term shinakan, along with the term ramik, became a designation for a serf at various stages of feudal dependence.


Novosel’tsev, A. P., V. T. Pashuto, and L. V. Cherepnin. Puti razvitiia feodalizma (Zakavkaz’e, Sredniaia Aziia, Rus’, Pribaltika). Moscow, 1972.
Arutiunian, B. M. “Sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoe polozhenie krest’ian v Armenii XII v. po Sudebniku Mkhitara Gosha.” Voprosy istorii, 1952, no. 8.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.