Kingdom of Vaspurakan

This article is about the kingdom. For the geographic area, see Vaspurakan.
Kingdom of Vaspurakan
The Kingdom of Vaspurakan from 908 to 1021
Capital Van
Languages Armenian
Religion Armenian Apostolic Church
Government Monarchy
   908-943 Gagik I Artsruni
  1003-1021 Seneqerim Artsruni
Historical era Middle Ages
   Gagik I recognized as King of Armenia by Arab Caliph 908
   Seneqerim Artsruni gave Vaspurakan to the Byzantine Empire 1021
Area 40,870 km² (15,780 sq mi)
   est. 1,000,000 
     Density 24.5 /km²  (63.4 /sq mi)
Currency Solidus (coin), Hyperpyron
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Bagratid Armenia
Byzantine Empire
Today part of  Turkey

Vaspurakan (also transliterated as Vasbouragan in Western Armenian; Armenian: Վասպուրական, (Vaspowrakan) meaning the "noble land" or "land of princes"[1]) was the first and biggest province of Greater Armenia, which later became an independent kingdom during the Middle Ages, centered on Lake Van. Located in what is now called eastern Turkey and northwestern Iran, the region is considered to be the cradle of Armenian civilization.[1]


During most of its history it was ruled by the Ardzruni dynasty, which first managed to create a principality in the area. At its greatest extent Vaspurakan comprised the lands between Lake Van and Lake Urmia (also known as Kaputan) in 908. During this time they were under the sovereignty of the Bagratuni Kingdom of Ani.

Vaspurakan was elevated to the status of a kingdom in 908, when Gagik I of Vaspurakan was recognized King of Armenia by the Abbasids and at first was on their side, but soon he regretted and together with Ashot II defeated the Arabs. Soon he was recognized as the King of Vaspurakan by the Bagratuni Ashot II. In 1021 Seneqerim Artsruni gave Vaspurakan to the Byzantine Empire, receiving Sebasteia and its surroundings. Vaspurakan became the Byzantine province (thema) of Vasprakania or Media.[2] In about 1050 Vasprakania was merged with that of Taron, but was conquered by the Saljuq Turks between 1054-1056. In the 13th century part of Vaspurakan was liberated by Zakarids. But soon was conquered by Mongols, then by Ottoman Turks. Turks several times tried to kill Armenians in Vaspurakan, especially in Van. But Van's Armenian population always resisted, especially is notable Siege of Van of 1915, when the Ottoman forces attacked on Van during 1915's Armenian Genocide.

After the Byzantine annexation the dynasty continued with Derenik, son of Gurgen Khatchik, who became lord of Antzivaziq by 1004 and had two brothers: Gugik and Ashot. King Hovhannes-Seneqerim also had several children among them David, Atom, Abushal and Constantine. There is a legend that one of Seneqerim's daughter is thought to have married Mendo Alao, an Alan who lived in Lusitania. David had a daughter that married King Gagik II of Ani.

Another branch of the family appeared on the person of Khatchik the Great in 1040, who had three children: Hasan, Djendjluk and Ishkhanik. Hasan had a son called Abelgharib who had a daughter that married King David of Ani.[3]

The kingdom of Vaspurakan had no specific capital, the court moving as the king transferred his residence from place to place – Van, Ostan/Vostan (modern Gevaş), and so on.[4]





  1. 1 2 Hovannisian, Richard G. (1999). Armenian Van/Vaspurakan. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publishers.
  2. Hewsen, Robert H. (2001). Armenia: a historical atlas. The University of Chicago Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-226-33228-4.
  4. Hewsen, Robert H. (2001). Armenia: a historical atlas. The University of Chicago Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-226-33228-4.

«Վասպուրական» Հայրենակցական միություն


Coordinates: 38°48′N 44°00′E / 38.8°N 44.0°E / 38.8; 44.0

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