Armenia

   The kingdom of Armenia. The term also refers to the region of Armenia, which comprised a buffer zone in eastern Asia Minor (qq.v.) between Cappadocia and the Tigris River (qq.v.). From the early fourth century, Armenia was Christianized; in the fifth century Armenians created an alphabet and began translating Greek and Syriac texts. Divided between Byzantine and Persian (q.v.) spheres of influence in 387, Armenia was fought over during the Byzantine-Persian war of the late sixth and early seventh centuries, only to accept Arab (q.v.) suzerainty in 693. Not until 884, under the Bagratid dynasty (q.v.), did it regain much of its independence. Beginning in the 10th century, Byzantium (q.v.) was able to annex it piecemeal. By 1045 this annexation was complete. However, after the battle of Mantzikert (q.v.) in 1071 Armenia fell under Seljuk (q.v.) domination. Beginning in the sixth century, Armenians emigrated to Byzantium in great numbers, becoming the most assimilated of any ethnic group, while, at the same time, maintaining their distinct literature, religion, and art. Thousands of Armenian soldiers served in imperial forces, and a number of important military leaders and civil administrators were Armenian, including emperors Leo V, Basil I, Romanos I Lekapenos, and John I Tzimiskes (qq.v.). This illustrates the larger point that Byzantium was a multiethnic society that throughout its history welcomed people of talent and ability. Like other immigrants, Armenians became, in effect, Byzantines.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

Look at other dictionaries:

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