Caucasian Albania (Sasanian province)

Caucasian Albania (Middle Persian: Arān, Ardān, Armenian: Ałuank) was a kingdom in the Caucasus, which was under the suzerainty of the Sasanian Empire from 252 to 636.[3][4]

Caucasian Albania
Arān, Ardān

Map of the Caucasus in 387–591
Status Province (largely autonomous vassal principality) of the Sasanian Empire
Capital Kabalak(488–636)
Common languages Caucasian Albanian, Armenian, Parthian, Middle Persian[1][2]

Christianity, Zoroastrianism
Government Monarchy
Historical era Late antiquity

Preceded by

Succeeded by
Caucasian Albania
Rashidun Caliphate
Emirate of Armenia

. . . Caucasian Albania (Sasanian province) . . .

In 252/3 Albania, along with Iberia and Armenia, was conquered and annexed by the Sasanian king Shapur I (r. 240–270). Albania retained its monarchy, although the king had no real power and most civil, religious, and military authority lay with the Sasanian marzban (“margrave“) of the territory. In 297 the Treaty of Nisibis stipulated the reestablishment of the Roman protectorate over Iberia, but Albania remained an integral part of the Sasanian Empire.[3] In the middle of the 4th century the king of Albania, Urnayr, arrived in Armenia and was baptized by Gregory the Illuminator, but Christianity spread in Albania slowly, and the Albanian king remained loyal to the Sasanians. After the partition of Armenia between Byzantium and Iran (387), Albania with Sasanian help was able to seize from Armenia the entire right bank of the river Kura up to the river Araxes, including Artsakh and Utik.[3]

The Sasanian king Yazdegerd II passed an edict requiring all the Christians in his empire to convert to Mazdaism, fearing that Christians might ally with Roman Empire, which had recently adopted Christianity. This led to rebellion of Albanians, along with Armenians and Iberians. However, the Albanian king Vache, a relative of Yazdegerd II, converted to the official religion of the Sassanian empire, but quickly reverted to Christianity. In the middle of the 5th century by the order of the Sasanian king Peroz I Vache built in Utik the city initially called Perozabad, and later Partaw and Barda, and made it the capital of Albania.[5] The seat of the Albanian Catholicos was also transferred to Partaw,[6] as well as the marzban.[3] After the death of Vache, Albania remained without a king for thirty years. The Sasanian Balash reestablished the Albanian monarchy by making Vachagan, son of Yazdegerd and brother of the previous king Vache, the king of Albania.

By the end of the 5th century, the ancient ruling dynasty of Albania was replaced by princes of the ParthianMihranid family, who claimed descent from the Sasanians. They assumed the title of “Arranshah” (i.e. shah of Arran, Iranian name of Albania).[7] The ruling dynasty was named after its founder Mihran, who was a distant relative of the Sasanians.[8] The Mihranid dynasty survived under Muslim suzerainty until 821-2.[9]

In the late 6th – early 7th centuries AD the territory of Albania became an arena of wars between Sassanian Iran, Byzantium and Khazar kaganate, the latter two very often acting as allies. During the Third Perso-Turkic War, the Khazars invaded Albania, and their leader Ziebel declared himself lord of Albania, levying a tax on merchants and the fishermen of the Kura and Araxes rivers, which was “in accordance with the land survey of the kingdom of Persia”. The Albanian kings retained their rule by paying tribute to the regional powers.[10] Albania was later conquered by the Arabs during the Islamic conquest of Persia.

. . . Caucasian Albania (Sasanian province) . . .

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. . . Caucasian Albania (Sasanian province) . . .

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