Adarnase Bagratouni, Prince of Armenia

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Adarnase Bagratouni, Prince of Armenia

Also Known As: "Bagrationi"
Birthdate: (32)
Birthplace: Armenia
Death: circa 807 (24-40)
Immediate Family:

Son of Guaram III of Toumanoff and N.N, Daughter of Ašot III Chosroide
Husband of (Molher d'Adarnase) .
Father of Ashot I "Msaker", King of Armenia; Duke Ashot I Bagrationi of Tao-Klarjeti and Latavri of Tao-Klarjeti
Brother of Stephan II of Toumanoff and 2nd Daughter of Guaram III, Curopalate

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About Adarnase Bagratouni, Prince of Armenia

The history of Jews in Armenia presents many problems, but associations with Jews date to very early times. Mount Ararat, mentioned in the Bible as Noah’s landfall (Gen. 8:4), is situated in a part of historical Armenia that is now in Turkey; its biblical name derives from the ancient (pre-Armenian) state of Urartu. Jews from the Israelite kingdoms are said to have been deported to Armenia either by the Assyrians, after the destruction of Samaria, or the Babylonians, after the conquest of Jerusalem, and King Tigranes the Great (r. 95–55 B.C.E.) is said to have brought ten thousand Jews from northern Israel to Armenia.

Several later kings of Armenia were of partly Jewish stock through their descent from Tigranes V, a grandson of Herod the Great of Judea and nephew of Tigranes IV, who ascended to the throne of Armenia in 2 B.C.E. Much later, the Bagratids (Bagratouni), an Armenian (and Georgian) royal dynasty (9th–12th century), were commonly held to be descended from a high-ranking deported Jew named Šmbat (Sabbath) Bagrat.

Almost all of the Armenian historical writings that mention Jews are of much later dates than the events they treat. The rulers of Iran are said to have deported thousands of Jewish families from Armenia and resettled them in Isfahan, but nothing of this can be authenticated.

Little is known about the Bagratids in general, and Adarnase Bagratouni in particular - most of what we do know is from a singel document of that period written by Łewond in late 8th century Armenia.

Łewond was the author of a prose Patmutʿiwn (History) written ca 790, depicting the 8th-century Islamic domination over Armenia. Composed under the patronage of Šapuh Bagratuni (d. 824), Łewond's Patmutʿiwn covers in forty-two chapters the years between 632 and 788, rapidly moving from the Muslim invasions of Palestine, Syria and Mesopotamia to focus on the events of the annexation of Armenia to the Caliphate. The Patmutʿiwn ends with the election of Stepʿanos of Dvin as Katʿołikos (788).

Łewond's main written sources are Sebēos, of whose work his Patmutʿiwn is a continuation, and the anonymous 7th-century Armenian Geography. He claims to be an eyewitness for the second half of the 8th century. His Patmutʿiwn was probably continued in a lost Patmutʿiwn written by the 9th-century historian Šapuh Bagratuni, the grandchild of Łewond's sponsor. Although Łewond's person and work are consistently mentioned only from the 11th century, the silence of the 10th-century historians Yovhannēs Drasxanakertcʿi and Tʿovma Arcruni may arise from an indirect usage of Łewond through the intermediary of Šapuh Bagratuni's lost work. Preserved in eight surviving manuscripts, the oldest of which dates from the 13th century (Yerevan, Maštocʿ Matenadaran, ms. 1902), Łewond's Patmutʿiwn is the only contemporary chronicle for events in Armenia in the 8th century, and is particularly valuable for its accurate information on military, political and geographic conditions, and policies of Islamic rule in Armenia. Łewond is the first Armenian historian to date events according to the Armenian era, which starts in 552 ad.

One third of the text of the Patmutʿiwn is taken up by a letter from the Byzantine emperor Leo III to the Umayyad caliph ʿUmar II. This letter is a unique document on iconoclasm, translated from a lost Greek original, and inserted in Łewond's narration at a later stage; when it was added remains a matter of scholarly debate.

Emilio Bonfiglio


Texts: K. Ezean, Patmutʿiwn, 1887. Z. Arzoumanian, History of Lewond, 1982. Lit: J.-P. Mahé, "Le problème de l'authenticité et de la valeur de la Chronique de Łewond", in L’Arménie et Byzance, 1996, 119-26.

Amit, David, and Michael E. Stone. “A Jewish Cemetery in the Middle Ages in Eghegis in Southern Armenia,” Peʿamim 98–99 (2005), pp. 67–120 [Hebrew].

——–. “Report of the Survey of a Medieval Jewish Cemetery in Eghegris, Vayots Dzor Region, Armenia,” Journal of Jewish Studies 53 (2002), pp. 66–106.

Neusner, Jacob. “The Jews in Pagan Armenia,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 84 (1964): 230–240.

Segal, J. B. “The Jews of North Mesopotamia Before the Rise of Islam,” in Sefer Segal, ed. J. M. Grintz and J. Liver (Jerusalem: Israel Society for Biblical Research, 1964), pp. 32–63.

Shapira, Dan. “Armenian and Georgian Sources on the Khazars: A Re-Evaluation,” in The World of the Khazars: New Perspectives. Selected Papers from the Jerusalem 1999 International Khazar Colloquium, ed. H. Ben- Shammai, P. B. Golden, and A. Roná-Tas (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 307–352.

——–."Gleanings on Jews of Greater Iran under the Sasanians According to the Oldest Armenian and Georgian Texts", Iran & the Caucasus 12/2 (2008), pp. 191-216

——–. “Judaeo-Armeniaca: On Jewish Lexica in Classical Armenian,” Xristianskij Vostok, n.s. 4, no. 10 (St. Petersburg, 2003) [published 2006]), pp. 340–346.

Topchyan, A. “Jews in Ancient Armenia (1st Century BC–5th Century AD),” Le Muséon 120 (2007), pp. 435–476.

Adarnase (Georgian: ადარნასე) was a late 8th-century nobleman of Iberia (Kartli, modern Georgia) and the founder of the Georgian Bagratid dynasty. He established himself in Tao-Klarjeti as a vassal of the Chosroid dynasty of Iberia and, as a matter of inheritance, acquired more lands, setting stage for the elevation of the Bagratids – in the person of his son Ashot I – to the principate of Iberia.


The medieval Georgian chronicle History of King Vakhtang Gorgasali, attributed to Juansher, relates that the prince (mtavari) Adarnase came to the Georgian Chosroid ruler Archil and asked for land, agreeing in turn to be his vassal. He was given Shulaveri and Artani (modern Ardahan, Turkey). According to the same passage, Adarnase was a descendant of the prophet David and the nephew or – according to another manuscript – grandson of "Adarnase the Blind"; his father was "related to the Bagratids" and had been set up a duke in the Armenian lands by the Byzantines. Oppressed by the Arab Marwan, he had arrived to the "children of the curopalates Guaram III and remained there."[1][2][3][4]

Professor Cyril Toumanoff assumes that "Adarnase the Blind" in Juansher – who is unattested elsewhere – is a simple error for Ashot III the Blind of Armenia (r. 732–748), thus making Adarnase Ashot's grandson, not a nephew, through his son Vasak who might have married the daughter of the Georgian prince Guaram III and lived as a fugitive at his court after the disastrous rebellion of Armenian nobility against the Arab rule in 772. Vasak is unknown to Georgian records in which the origin of the Georgian Bagratids is largely obscured in favor of the dynasty’s claim of Davidic descent.[5] Thus, Sumbat Davitisdze, the 11th-century biographer of the Georgian dynasty, makes only a bypassing reference to Adarnase and projects, erroneously or intentionally, the arrival of Bagratid forefathers back to several centuries earlier.[4]


Adarnase had two children. His son, Ashot, succeeded him in Tao-Klarjeti and went on to become the first Bagratid presiding prince of Iberia. According to the Chronicle of Kartli, Adarnase also had a daughter, Latavri. She married Juansher, a son of the same prince, Archil, from whom Adarnase received land and patronage. Juansher’s mother was initially opposed to the marriage, as the chronicle claims, because of her ignorance of the Bagratids’ Davidic origin.[4] This dynastic alliance allowed Adarnase to further expand his estates. Archil’s territorial holdings had been divided between three heirs; Juansher was one of them. When Juansher died (c. 806), Adarnase inherited Juansher's third through his daughter and combined it with the lands acquired in the lifetime of his son-in-law, thus laying the foundation to the hereditary fiefdom of the Georgian Bagratids in Tao-Klarjeti and Javakheti.[5] Latavri and his late father Adarnase are commemorated in a Georgian inscription from the Kabeni monastery near Akhalgori.[6]


^ Thomson, Robert W. (1996), Rewriting Caucasian History, p. 248. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198263732

^ Rapp, Stephen H. (2003), Studies in Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts And Eurasian Contexts, p. 233. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 90-429-1318-5

^ Toumanoff, Cyril (1963). Studies in Christian Caucasian History, p. 345. Georgetown University Press.

^ a b c (French) Aleksidzé, Zaza & Mahé, Jean-Pierre (2001), Le Nouveau Manuscrit Géorgien Sinaïtique N SIN 50, pp. 37-38. Peeters Publishers, ISBN 9042909811

^ a b Toumanoff (1963), p. 353

О Adarnase Bagratouni, Prince of Armenia (русский)

^ (Russian) Меписашвили Р. С., Цинцадзе В. Г., Архитектура нагорной части исторической провинции Грузии - Шида-Картли, с. 20. Тб., 1975

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