Home / Azerbaijan / Including Azerbaijan into the structure of The Sassanian Empire

Including Azerbaijan into the structure of The Sassanian Empire

One of the important phases in our native history can be considered the middle ages history, which continued approximately fifteen centuries. There were shaped and developed feudal relations, happened essential events that possessed decisive function in military – political, ethnic and religious life stock of Azerbaijan, as well as in whole region.

In the medieval history, which will be examined in below – mentioned chapters (it means, in 5th – 8th chapters) plenty of foreign tribes intervened to our territories and in the North of Azerbaijan there was extended Christianity, but in the south parts there was enlarged Zoroastrianism, according to historical evidences, after some time the religion of Islam became the superior religion here, there were shaped small and great states, there were developed culture, science, literature and art, the formation of Azerbaijan language and Azerbaijan nation were over.

The beginning of the Middle Ages in the history of Azerbaijan referred to including of South Caucasian lands to the content of Sasanian Empire – one of the most significant states of early medieval in the second half of the 3rd century. This was a period, when feudalism – much more progressive social – economic phase was shaped at the result of the crisis of slavery factors in the countries of Mediterranean and Asia. The mentioned processes that possessed decisive meaning for these countries were extended in the territories of Azerbaijan too. Differing from the societies that were enriched with slavery issues, feudal relations firstly were shaped earlier, secondly developed much more intensive in Azerbaijan. In 224, parfian governor of Fars-Ardashir district, the son of Babakan from the origin of Sassanids implemented uprising against Artaban V Arshakid (213-224) and obtained victory. In 226 Ardashir declared himself “ShahenShah of Iran”, chosed Ktesefon as a capital of its state – former residence of Arshakids; So, the dynasty of Sassanids’ came into the throne in Iran. During the governing of the kings from Sassanid’s dynasty Iran became the most powerful state of the region and the reign of Sassanids Empire were reflected in the destiny of Transcaucasia also its countries.

During the rule of Ardashir I (226-241) the state was divided into districts, which leaders were Shahrdar appointed by ShahenShah. Since the 5th century these districts were headed by marzbans, who possessed large responsibilities and obeyed to only the king of the state – ShahenShah. System of control of Sasanian Empire was classified as the ‘system of well controlled provinces’.

Both Ardashir I and his successor Shapur I (241-272) implemented huge expansive policy. Becoming of Sasanian Empire to powerful political state in the Middle East coincided to the period of weakening of Rome Empire. In military struggles between two states priority were preserved in the side of Iranians. In the big battle near Edessa in 260 the Roman emperor Valerian was defeated and he was captivated. In the monument of Naqshi – Rustam that was based in the honour of this victory the state of Atropatena and Albania ware also included to the provinces that aided to Shapur I. The monument proved that, all lands from Caucasian mountains to Albanian were subordinated to Sassanids.

During the Sassanid phase Atropatena, which had been already called Adurbadagan became one of the most important provinces of Iran and the residence of the governor was situated in Tabriz. Sassanids declared Zoroastrianism inclining to fire – the main and leading religion of Atropatena – the official religion of the state. The ShahenShah Shapur I gave resolution about the confirmation of Zoroastrism the leading religion in the whole country too. Everybody, who rejected to testify was committed. In 4th century, there were extended Christianity in the subordinated South Caucasian provinces of Sasanian Empire.

Zoroastrianism priests possessed high influence and rights in the country. They controlled the juridical system. Approximately a thousand peasants worked in the lands of main temple, situated in Qazaka, holy centre of Adurbadagan and crown celebrities of Sassanid ShahenShahs were also taken in this temple; New ShahenShah had to walk to the Qazaka temple in Novruz holiday and burn his fire: after the burning of fire his ruling period officially began.

Differing from Adurbadagan that became one of the provinces of Sasanian Empire, Albania could preserve its independence and the reign of the dynasty of Arshakids, which were in the throne since the 1st century AD partly paid only taxes and participated in military actions of Sasanian Empire if there was any need. The main reasons of such differ of Albania from Atropatena were related to its geographic and strategic issues as well as the aid of Rome and Byzantine to Albania against the struggle of Sassanids Empire. Moistey Kalakatlu mentioned about 10 local governors from the dynasty of Parfian Arshakids during 3rd and 5th centuries, such as Vachaqan I, Vache I, Urnayr, Vachaqan II, Mikhravan, Satoy, Asay, Arsuaqen, Vache II, Vachaqan III.

In the subordinating provinces of Sasanian Empire there often occurred uprisings under the different religious names. One of them was the teaching of Mani (Maniism). This movement, directed against the official zoroastrism, was related to the name of Mani, the leader of uprising. Mani was born in the prominent family of Mesopotamia in 216 and wished about world religion. Really, Maniism united the elements of Zoroastrianism, Buddhism and Christianity in itself. There were mentioned the features of Asceticism, to live single and dualistic view – points too. The whole world was considered the place of struggle of light and dark powers.

Along these features Maniism was against the rich people and the successors of this movement considered that, a human being should live in a simple form, did not have to kill anyone and none of them should eat meat.

Maniism possessed success in the various areas of the world as well as became rival of such religions that were official in its time. Main results of this success were the simply of the movement and its cultural boundaries.

Maniists decorated their temples with plant ornaments, which shaped crosses and it had 4 main halls.

In the first years Sassanids did not feel any danger from this movement and that is why did not prevent its propaganda. In 246, during the meeting of Shapur I with Mani, the second even gave the ShahenShah his book, called “Shapurakan” (“The book of shapur”) where the main ideas of new created movement were presented. But, after that, when the movement of Maniism began to be against the state and its official religion, the successors were pursued. Mani obliged to run from Iran, but after years he was captured and was executed in 277.
Maniism was banned, its successors were able to run to the countries, where maniism was extended.

Then, in the 3rd century Bundos, the religious view – point that was enlarged in Rome and Iran became the successor of Mani. Bundos attempted to spread his movement even in Albania. The teachings of Bundos were differed from Maniism: this movement called the people to an active struggle against the powers of evil and proved that, the Good would win at the end. Calling to the struggle at the side of Good gave a chance to the shape of the movement of Mazdakids in the 5th century.

During the reign of Shapur II (309-379) political circumstances in all subordinated countries of Sassanid dynasty, also in Albania aggravated. In the 4th century there were going wars between Iran and Rome for obtaining Albania, Adurbadagan and other lands of South Caucasus. And both of these countries did their best to incline nomadic tribes, coming from North Caucasus into their own side.

Author of the first century Dionysus Perieget, in his work, called “Anonym chronograph” (354), as well as Fanstos Byzantiysky, the writer of the fourth century informed about huns (bulgars, khazars and barsils) that settled in the shores of Black and Caspian Seas.

At the beginning of 30s of the 4th century huns participated in the interference of North Caucasian tribes to South Caucasus along with alans and mascuts, but at the beginning of 60s of the 4th century they rebelled against Sassanid Shah Shapur II together with alanian tribes.

In 30s of the 4th century leader of united nomadic tribes Sanaturk declared himself the governor (298-338) of the Albanian province of Paytakaran.

According to sources, Sanaturk prepared to invade Armenia, but Armenians appealed to Rome emperor – Constantine and the last sent to their aid the army under the leadership of Antiox. Antiox brought to the throne the son of Tiridat III – Khosrov II Kotak and directed to Sanaturk with his army. And Sanaturk, together with Sassanid troops, coming into his side strengthened in Paytakaran (Beylagan). Then Antiox ordered to plunder the local population due to weaken Sanaturk, but did not gain anything. That is why, he returned to Rome with his army and considered his mission finished.

After the united campaign of Armenian, Iberian and Roman troops to the Albanian Paytakaran, there began the second phase of fought – campaign of Sanaturk against Armenia together with Albanian and hun troops.

Sanaturk captured Armenia and about a year ruled to this state. Only after a year Armenians could withdrew Sanaturk from their capital Valarshapat.

Soon, after above mentioned events, Armenia was governed by Tiran (338-345) for a decade and Albania again became the centre of struggle between Sassanid Iran and North Caucasian tribes, which came here through Chor strait (Derbent). They attacked both Armenia and Adurbadagan from there, and in this case, ShahenShah Shapur II came to the help of Tiran and “prevented North Caucasian invasion to Armenia”. In subsequent decades friendship relations between Shapur and Albanians lasted. In 359 there became inevitable war between Sassanid and Roman Empires (Rome Empire also defended Armenia).

Before the battle, Iranian troops strengthened in the foot of Agridagh; major camp of Sassanid ShahenShah was situated in Nakhichevan.

Roman author Ammian Martsellin described Shapur before the battle of Amid in 359 in such words: Shapur was accompanied by tsar Qrumbat on the left (he was the king of khionits) and “tsar of albanians with various military officers at the back sides” on the right. The results of Amid battle were the assassination of Armenian general Vasak and captivating Armenian tsar – Arshak II in one of the castles too. Then, several regions as Artsax (Mountenous Karabakh), the country of mars (Nakhichevan), the country of Caspian’s (Caspiana) and Iberia were subordinated to Sasanian Empire.

Last decades of the reign of Shapur II was intensified by political fights and military battles with Rome Empire. Shapur’s policy was consisted of subordinating whole South Caucasus, firstly inclining Albania, then Iberia to his side. It is important to mention that, Shapur II attacked to Iberia in 368. In 371 Armenian tsar Pap, which brought to the throne by Emperor Valent (364-378) began an active struggle against Sassanid Iran. Albania aided to Iran at that time, especially Urnayr, who was married to Shapur’s sister, was well-known among Sassanid nobles. When Shapur began the campaign against Armenian and Roman army, Urnayr aksed Sassanid Shah to fight independently against Armenian tsar Pan as the gift.

Battle in the Dzirav field, near the region of Baqavan was over by the victory of Rome and its allies. (It happened in 371). After this victory the river of Kura became the frontier between Armenia and Albania for short time (till 387).

Sassanid-Roman wars lasted for a long time and finally in 387 there was concluded treaty between them. According to this agreement  Armenia was divided between Iran and Rome Empire – its Western part went to Roman Empire, and the eastern part was included to Iran.

According to an agreement between Albania and ShahenShah, former lands of Albania that were frontiers between Albania and Armenia during 371-387 were returned to the first one.

Information of Favstos about the participation of hun and alanian tribes in the events of 60s of the 4th century were the last information about them, as tribes playing an important role in the South Caucasus till the beginning of the 5th century.

During the reign of Yezdigerd I in Sasanian Empire (399-420) conditions of Albania and Christian church were improved. This period was very compound for Sasanian Empire; firstly, because of local struggle between ShahenShah and local nobles, secondly because of bad relationship with Middle Asian eftalits.

Because of difficult circumstances Yezdigerd I decided to use from the aid of Christians against nobles and give Christians a lot of privileges. Iranian Christians should play the role of bridge between Iran and Rome Empire (Byzantine) for Yezdigerd I. General soviet, called in 410 and took to the agenda the issue to join Persian and Byzantine churches. Such policy of Sasanian Empire could not influence to the positions in Albania and Adurbadagan that was politically related with Iran.

Sassanid ruler paid great attention to Albania because of its rich natural resources and geo – strategic positions. Northern nomadic people often invaded to Albania, i.e. Sassanid provinces and so, Sassanid rulers did their best to close Derbent passage, due to prevent their attacks.

At the end of the 4th century then cavalry that was consisted of barsils, khaylandurs, khazars and savirs passed from Chor (Derbent) passage and plundered the territories of Albania and Adurbadagan.

These invasions continued subsequently. In order to prevent such attacks there was concluded agreement between Iran and Byzantine in 422. This agreement implied that, Byzantine took the obligation of security of Daryal passage.

Anyway, Sasanian Empire, which was scared of the increase of Christianity and influence of Byzantine in the state began to strict fought against this religion. Problems on the strengthening of Zoroastrism (Zardushtism) and fire worshiping were entrusted to the representative of nobles – Mihr Nersekh. At the result of strict policy of Sassanid government tsar reign was liquidated in Armenia, but in Albania and Kartli (Iberia) the rule of local dynasties was preserved. Sasanian Empire kept strong troops in the frontiers in order to protect the territory from the attacks of northern nomadic tribes, as well as used these troops for subordinating obeyed nations.

Expansion policy of Sasanian Empire pursued the liquidation of interior independence of Albania and transition of this country into frontier provinces of the   Empire.   Persians shaped a   chain of strengthening means, which began from Caspian Sea in the North and began to construct Derbent castle.

New period of this active and aggressive policy was related to the reign of ShahehShah Yezdigerd II (438-457), who was famous for his cruel and severe policy to obeyed nations. Exactly, during his reign there began final phase of subordination of Albania at the instigation of Zaroastrianist priests. The parts of this policy were to incline local nobles of Albania to office works, to extend Zaroastrianism in the areas and by these means, to provide loyalty and cultural-religious influence of civil population. As Iran implemented war against Eftalits of the Middle Asia, she need plenty of strong soldiers and troops, which should be provided by subordinated people. Yezdigerd II increased taxes twice and called cavalry from Albania, Iberia and Armenia, in order to weaken their struggle against the Empire.

Guide of this policy of Empire had to be the governor in Berde marzban, which was directly subordinated to ShahenShah. This governor should govern not only areas in Albania, but also in Kartli and other strategic regions.

Construction of defence walls and castles, great armies and troops were implemented by the vehicle of ordinary people. Moisey Kalankatlu wrote: “Iranian Shahs weakened the country bringing constructers, bricklayers and various building materials for the construction of great surroundings between Caucasus and Eastern (Caspian) seas”. Due to create durable security for themselves, Sassanid ShahenShahs settled in strategic places people, who, spoke in Persian. They were especially from Deylem (Tabaristan), North Iranian province. Settlers occupied regions from Absheron peninsula to Derbent, they were provided with special benefits, at that time when native people of these areas gave plenty of taxes.

According to sources, the heaviest tax form was khara-land tax (cess), which was composing 1/5 of gathered grain. Also, peasants and craftsmen gave the tax of qezit, but merchants gave-bac. Population could not utilize their harvest till they gave all taxes. Except of this,  ordinary people implemented labour obligation, called kar (work). According to plenty of sources, Persians plundered ordinary people with these taxes.

In the middle of the 5th century Albania was governed by nephew (sisters son) of Yezdigerd II-Vache II (440-463). He was son and successor of Turk from origin tsar Arsu agen. They were the successors of Urnayr and came from the Turkish origin, the dynasty of Aran. The circumstances in Albania became strained during the reign of Syunik Vasak (443-451). He closed Derbent passage and prevented hun tribes to enter the South Caucasus. Major cause of this was related with the desire of huns to aid Armenia, where was prepared the revolt against Sasanian Empire under the leadership of Vardan Mami.

Konyan Sassanid oppression caused to disagreement in subordinated people. Due to prevent revolts Sassanid rulers did many measures, such as called men of such regions to army. They were sent to far places, for example to Central Asia, where most of them died in the battles with nomadic tribes. Simultaneously, Persians did their best to extend Zoroastrianism in subordinated regions in order to protect their cultural-religious positions.

Sources proved that, ShahenShah Yezdigerd II sent letter to the tsars of Iberia, Albania and Armenia by the instigation of Zoroastrianist priests in 450. In this letter he demanded them to accept Zoroastrianism as well as called them to the capital of Sasanian Empire-Ktesifon. Moisey Kalankatlu informed that, “strict order of the ShahenShah obliged us to stop worshiping our religion and accept pagan religion of mags”. Nobles of Caucasian countries made an agreement among themselves to accept Zaroastrianism, in order to gain time and protect their lands from plunder.

Tsar of Albania, Vache II was also among the people who came to the capital of Sassanid’s and accept fire-worshiping. Lazar Parbsky wrote that, “after that, the nobles of all three countries swore to Gospel and returned to their countries”. Then Albanian tsar, queen and priest of three states went to the “house of sacrifice”, worshiped to fire and ShahenShah gave them gifts and presents. 300 mags were sent to different regions of Albania.

Zoroastrianist mags, being in Albania demanded from ordinary people to accept this religion. Till the construction of zoroastrianist temples Christian churches were changed into temples. Zoroastrianist mags attracted people with presents and promises about decreasing of taxes. Simultaneously, they feared them that, men would be killed, women and children would be turned into slaves. All of these evidences certainly excited the population, so that Persian government sent much more troops to the castles of this region.

The population firstly resisted to new religion passively. But when mags began to intervene to trial issues and did not implement their promises about decreasing taxes, especially, peasants began the uprisings against them.

The people, who were disagreed from current conditions killed mags, also Iranian troops that were sent here for preventing revolts were destroyed by united Albanian, Armenian and Iberian troops. Big battle between rebels and Iranian army took place near the winter residence of Albanian tsars – the city of Khalkhal. Although the great number of Iranian troops, which were led by marzban of Derbent – Sebukht, rebels again overwhelmed this army. Albanian historian wrote that, the battle was so bloody that, the river near here was coloured into red. Iranian troops were destroyed completely, only one soldier was survived and exactly, he ridding on a horse informed about defeat to the leaders of Sasanian Empire, settled in the camp near Kura.

After this battle big part of Albania was cleaned from enemies, Albanians destroyed Persian garrisons, under the leadership of prince Vakhan they liberated “castles and cities, which were subordinated to Persia. Then they directed to “hun”, Derbend gates, objected them to Albanian rule and after that all these regions were united under the governance of Vakhan, “the man, who was from the origin of Albanian tsars”, wrote Elishe, author of the 5th century, who dedicated his work to anti-Sassanid revolt. Vakhan went to the “country of khans and other tribes of barbars”, which were allies of khons, made agreement with them and shaped durable alliance.

Although huns promised to aid Albania, they could not do it in the same year, because of their own local quarrels. ShahenShah Yezdigerd II sent big army under the leadership of khazarapet Mihr Nersekh and marzban Mushkan Nisalavyurt to the rebelling regions.

Decisive battle between the troops of Vardan Mamikonian and Persian armies occurred in the field of Avarayr (near Maku) in May, 451.

The troops of rebels that were consisted of Albanians and Iberians were defeated in this battle. Hired tribes of huns, kabails, hels and other North Caucasian tribes, inclined by Vasak also fought on the side of Sassanids. In this battle Vardan and other Alanian and Armenian feudal were killed. Those, who worshiped Christianity and survived at that time hid in the mountains. There were sent cavalry squads to  Albania, Armenia and Iberia due to straighten with disobedient population. Although Sassanids restored their authority, they couldn’t completely strengthen in Albania.

Only after a year, on oguz and haylandur tribes intervened to Caucasus and exterminated Persian troops. If we took into account the size of plundering, this movement was very essential. So that, according to historians’ information hun tribes exterminated Sassanid Persian troop in Albania, arrived even in Byzantine and returned to their native lands with great trophy.

After the death of Yezdigerd II in 457, there began intestine fought for the throne in Iran (457-459). This fought was between Yezdigerd’s sons – Hormuzd and Peroz, which ended with the victory of Peroz, especially by the great aid of eftalits (white huns). Vache II utilized the circumstances, denied Zoroastrianism and again began extend Christianity in Albania. Due to prevent hun intervene to Albania Vache II destroyed Persian troops, entered to Derbent and strengthen the passage with his own army. Finally, in 459 Vache II declared his disobedience to the new Sassanid ShahenShah Peroz (459-484). Revolt and disobedience of Albanians, under the leadership of tsar lasted till 463. Albanians had struggled for their independence by the vehicle of their allies – maskuts, lpins and neighbourhood mountainous tribes for 2 years. This uprising was prevented only after that, when hun – on oguz tribes, hired by Peroz crossed Alanian gates (Daryal passage) and intervened Albania in 462.

That war, which brought misfortune and unhappiness to the ordinary people and that destroyed the most part of Albanian territory ended only by refusal of Vache II from independence and from throne too. Vache II requested from ShahenShah Peroz to preserve his ancestral domain and thousand families that were given him by his father and Peroz agreed with this. So, after that the dynasty of Arshakids was over in Albania in 463. Northern part of Azerbaijan was turned into marzbanianity and passed to the subordination of marzban-governor of Sasanian Empire. Residence of the governor-Marzban, which was situated in Partav (Berde) was not only the centre of Albania, but also Eastern Georgia and Persian army, placed in these two states.

Neverthless, Sassanids could not completely break the resistance of Albanians and neighbourhood people: unfortunate wars of ShahenShah Peroz against his former allies – hun – eftalit tribes, increasing of taxes, religious pursuing caused to new anti-Persian revolt, taken place within 482-484s. But the major event was the death of Peroz in one of the battles with eftalits and destruction of Persian army. This reason obliged Persian government to concentrate namely on Iran and that’s why, all Persian gorrisons, excepting strategic areas were withdrawn from South Caucasus.

New ShahenShah Valaria (485-488), who brought empty treasure (because of continual wars), political fights and bad economic conditions from his predecessor stopped the religious persuing of Caucasian people and signed the “Nvarsak agreement” with them.

According to this agreement, Sassanids did not have to impose Zoroastrianism to Christians and Christians should not impose Christianity to Zoroastrianism. Approximately, after 30 years of leading of marzbans in Albania the dynasty of Arshakids was restored here – new owner of Albanian throne was the nephew of Vache II – Vachagan III Pious (487-510).

There are some evidences that, after the death of Vache II in 470, Vachagan converted to Zoroastrianism and was appointed the governor of Artsakh. Being the tsar of Albania, Vachagan III attained to restore former privileges of Albanian tsars, decrease the taxes and so on.

Moisey Kalankatly described Vachagan’s coming into throne in such words: “population of Albania were re-united under sole realm, appointed to the throne the son of King’s family Vachagan. He was the son of Yezdogerd, brother of Vache who was the tsar of Albania and Vachagan came into the throne by the vehicle of Valarsh, the king of Persia”. According to the information of historian, Vachagan had to convert to the religion of mags by oblige of Persian king, but he was Christian secretly. Moisey Kalankatlu informed that, Vachagan declared about his Christianity, before than ShahenShah of Persia gave freedom to religious consciousness.

When Vachagan III became the governor of Albania, in 487 it was happened by the permission of Valarsh. But when Valarsh was overthrown in 488, Vachagan’s authority was limited only with Artsakh. In 488, Kavad I (488-531) came into the throne and Vachagan extended his authority to the whole Albania in 493. Although at the result of this, Albania became under the vassal authority of Sasanian Empire, Vachagan III attained to took all power into his hands. Peasants, who obliged to hide in the mountains, gradually returned to their native lands: Vachagan III sent information to all areas of country and warned population that, no one would be pursued – peasants, craftsmen and others could return to their motherland. So, there was developed agriculture, craft and trade after this event.

Vachagan III returned all properties of Albanian nobles and officers, which was confiscated because of their participation in anti- Sassanid revolts. Otherwise, those people who served to Iran were deprived from their properties, and were assassinated. Albanian church was also interested in the strengthening of tsar’s authority. “The history of Albanians” informed us about strengthening of the church power during Vachagan’s reign, increased the struggle against Zoroastrianism, built new churches, also had constructed new schools under these churches. Due to further strength of the positions of church and Christianity, tsar Vachagan III called assemble in the territory of Aluen (in modern Aghdam region) in 498.

According to Albanian tsar’s mind, Aluen assemble had to stimulate the confirmation of independence of Albanian church, strengthening of religious ceremonies, destruction of remaining of non- Christian religions. On the other side, Vachagan III did his best to strengthen state power, prevented unauthorized behaviour of feudal, equal klir (clergy) with secular world by the vehicle of the accepting of these church obligations. These obligations (rules) was also essential for protection of state independence and struggle against foreign invaders. So, Aluen rules (obligations) possessed historical need.

Aluen assemble possessed some rights and power, which was confirmed in “The history of Albanians”, wrote by Moisey Kalankatlu: “I, Vachagan, Albanian tsar/then church and secular nobles/-we confirmed rules in such way…” The author finished assemble rules as below-mentioned: “These rules were confirmed and accepted by bishops, priests and azats by the participation of tsar. These obligations were confirmed by the signatures of: adviser of tsar Mihr, khazarapet Mirhorik, forefathers: Marut, Tirazol, Asparakos, Shama, Bakur, Aratan, Arshes, Vardan Brave, possessor of Gardman: Khurs, Hermanosan, Hosken, senior representative Pyuraq and other leaders and azats of Albania. Due to the confirmation of this assemble there was put the signature of Vachaqan, Albanian tsar”.

There were put such issues in the assemble, which were disagreed by religious and secular world. The analyses of assemble obligations showed that, most of the problems were decided behalf on the Albanian church.

Laws, accepted in the Aluen assemble and which reflected social relationship of various types of population were the only historical law documents of early medieval Albania. This codex of laws, consisting of introduction and 21 articles gave the church simple rules of society of Albania-for example, about marriage and divorce issues, types and amount of taxes were solved behalf on church.

According to church obligations, church authority was determined by church-administrative entity-diocese. The frontiers of diocese were in appropriation with the territorial frontiers of lands. But not in all territories there were own diocese, for instance, there were eleven regions in Artsakh, but only Gaband, Kolmank, and Irank possessed diocese. But sometime whole province (nakhanq) entered to an only diocese, as Paytakaran did. Aluen laws and obligations accelerated the development of feudal relations in Albania.

Tsar Vachaqan attained several goals that he thought by the vehicle of Aluen assemble. Assemble assisted to the confirmation of independence of Albanian church, as well as Vachaqan attempted to strengthen the state authority, prevented unauthorized behaviour of feudal, equal klir (clergy) with secular world, achieved religious unity of all population, which was essential for state independence too.

To the end of the reign of Vachaqan III, i.e. in 503 nomadic tribes of hun-savirs, which destroyed the union of onaqurs in North Caucasus, intervened Albania and Iberia through the defended by Sassanid army, Derbent passage and captured these two states. Only after five years, in 508 Sassanid ShahenShah Kavad could withdraw saviours from the South Caucasus and returned Derbent and Daryal passages. During these difficult circumstances, when Sasanian Empire attained stability in the centre, it abolished the governing of Arshakids in Albania in 510.

Reign in the country was given again to the governor-general of Sassanids.

Undoubtedly, Vachaqan was the prominent governor in the history of Albania. Exactly, in his governing period there was the most suitable conditions for economic and social prosperity, for strengthening of Christianity and prosperity of Albanian church. The name of Vachaqan was mentioned as “Pious” in historical sources of that time.

About Ismayil bey Zardabli

Author of t extbook for the higher educational institutions "THE HISTORY OF AZERBAIJAN, from ancient times to the present day"