The name has been derived from either the Old Persian *viƒa/visapati “head of the clan”, or in more likelihood aspapati, later aspbed (or aspbad) which designated the Iranian office of Master of the Horse (commander of the cavalry). The Armenian army was comprised overwhelmingly of cavalry, under the command of the High Constable (sparapet), this left no room for a Master of the Horse. There are hardly any references by Armenian historians of the Arshakuni period to any Bagratids in command of the king's forces. Like the ma¬xaz of the Khorkhoruni family, Aspet seems to have been a special, gentilitial, title of the Bagratunis, who derived from it their other, short-lived, name of Aspetuni. This title disappears following the Arab conquest of Armenia. The existence of this title and name may possibly be due to Arsacid Armenia's imitation of Parthia, where one of the Seven Great Houses bore indeed the name of Aspahbad.
The name of the Aspietai, a Byzantine noble family of Armenian origin, is derived from aspet.
- Toumanoff, Cyril (1963), Studies in Christian Caucasian History III, pp. 202, 324-26. Georgetown University Press.
- Nicholas Adontz, Armenia in the Period of Justinian, tr. and rev. by N. Garsoïan, Lisbon, 1970, p. 312
- Joseph Markwart, Die Genealogie der Bagratiden und das Zeitalter der Mar Abas und Ps. Moses Xorenaci, Caucasica 6/2, 1930, p. 68
- Johann Heinrich Hübschmann, Armenische Etymologie, p. 109