Amatuni (Armenian: Ամատունի) is an ancient Armenian noble family, known from the 4th century in the canton of Artaz, between lakes Van and Urmia, with its center at Shavarshan (latter-day Maku), and subsequently also at Aragatsotn, west of Lake Sevan, with the residence at Oshakan.[1]

Medieval dynasty

The Amatuni who was of Caspio-Median or Matianian-Mannaean[2] origin, is given a specious Jewish ancestry by the early Armenian tradition (Moses of Chorene 2.57). Their forefather's name Manue suggests a connection with royal house of Adiabene.[3]

After the Sassanids of Iran abolished the Arsacid monarchy in Armenia in 428, Vahan (II) Amatuni was appointed by the Great King as assistant governor to the Iranian marzpan. However, the Sassanid propagation of Zoroastrianism among the Christian Armenian caused the reversal of Amatuni's loyalty and, in 451, Vahan revolted, only to be banished to Gorgan. Ironically, when preparations were underway for another insurrection in 482, it was an Amatuni, Varaz Sapuh, who revealed the plan to the Iranians. During the Roman-Iranian war of 572-91, Kotit Amatuni, together with other Armenian princes exasperated by the bureaucratic oppression of the emperor Maurice, fought on the Iranian side, but Amatuni fell into disgrace c. 596 at Ctesiphon, and the king of Iran had him executed. The transfer of regional power from the Sassanids to Muslim Arab rule provoked a large-scale aristocratic insurrection of 774-75. The revolt's failure forced many of its leaders to flee to Georgia or the Byzantine Empire. Sapuh Amatuni, his son Haman, and some 12,000 followers moved to Byzantium. In the 9th century, Amatuni still remained in the possession of Artaz, but under the suzerainty of the Artsruni of Vaspurakan. In the 13th and 14th centuries, this house, under the name of Vachutean, once more came to prominence in the Georgian sphere of influence; under the suzerainty of the Mkhargrdzeli (Zakarid) princes, they ruled again over Aragatsotn, as well as a portion of Shirak and Nig, a key fortress in Amberd.[1] The Vachutean genealogy, based on epigraphic data, was reconstructed by Marie Brosset and can be found in his Rapports sur un voyage archéologique dans la Géorgie et dans l'Arménie (St. Petersburg 1849-1851) III: 99-100.

Later family

After the Middle Ages the Amatuni family disappeared from history, though in 1784 a family of the same name (Georgian: ამატუნი) was recognized as descended from it, and therefore as princely, in the kingdom of Georgia.[1] After the Russian annexation of Georgia, the family was confirmed in the dignity of knyaz on March 25, 1826.[4]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Toumanoff, Cyril. Amatuni. Encyclopaedia Iranica Online Edition. Retrieved on December 25, 2007.
  2. C. Toumanoff, Introduction to Christian Caucasian History II: Status and Dynasties of the Formative Period, Traditio, Vol. XVII, pp.1–107, 1961, Fordham University Press, New York. (see p.48-49)
  3. Jacob Neusne, 1969, A History of the Jews in Babylonia, Volume 2, page 352-3
  4. (Russian)Аматуни. Russian Biographic Lexicon. Retrieved on November 28, 2007.
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