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Artashat Timeline

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The town was officially named Ararat in 1947 after the nearby biblical Mountains of Ararat. Ararat (Hebrew: אֲרָרָט ‎ [2] Armenian: Արարատ , Ararat Western Armenian: Ararad).

The foundation of the Ararat cement was launched in 1927 within Soviet Armenia, accompanied with the construction of few residential apartments to accommodate the workers. In 1930, the settlement was officially formed as a labour accommodation area, while the cement plant gave its first production in 1933. In 1935, the settlement was enlarged with the inclusion of the surrounding rural areas. In 1947, it was officially named Ararat after the nearby biblical Mountains of Ararat. [3]

With the establishment of several industrial plants, Ararat was developed as a major industrial centre of the Armenian SSR, to become an urban-type settlement. Due to its rapid growth and the gradual increase of the population, Ararat was given the status of a town in 1962. In 1972, it became a city of Republican subordination.

After the independence of Armenia, Ararat was included within the Ararat Province, formed through the merger of Masis, Artashat and Ararat raions of the Armenian SSR, as per the 1995 administrative divisions law of Armenia.

Ararat is situated at the east of the central part of modern-day Armenia, occupying the southeastern part of the Ararat plain, only 7 km east of Araks river on the Armenia-Turkey border. Historically, the current territory of the town was part of the Vostan Hayots canton of Ayrarat province of Ancient Armenia.

At an approximate height of 825 meters above sea level, the town is surrounded by the villages of Avshar at the northwest, and Ararat at the west and the south. The Goravan Sands Sanctuary is located at the northeast of the town, while the mountains of Urts dominate over the town from the east and the north.

The town is generally characterized with an extremely arid climate, with low precipitation levels. Winters are cold and snowy, with temperature degrees ranging between -15 and -30 °C. Summers are long and hot.

However, the ecology of the town is in danger due to emissions of cement dust and cyanide from the gold manufacturing plant. In summer 2005, the impurity of the atmosphere was recorded to be 9.6 times the acceptable norm.

Climate data for Ararat
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 35
(2)
42
(6)
55
(13)
64
(18)
76
(24)
83
(28)
93
(34)
93
(34)
83
(28)
70
(21)
56
(13)
41
(5)
66
(19)
Average low °F (°C) 19
(−7)
22
(−6)
33
(1)
44
(7)
52
(11)
59
(15)
67
(19)
66
(19)
56
(13)
45
(7)
33
(1)
25
(−4)
43
(6)
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.9
(23)
0.5
(13)
0.2
(5.1)
0.8
(20)
0.8
(20)
0.4
(10)
0.3
(7.6)
0.7
(18)
0.1
(2.5)
0.5
(13)
0.7
(18)
0.2
(5.1)
6.1
(155.3)
Source: http://www.worldweatheronline.com/Ararat-weather-averages/Ararat/AM.aspx

The majority of the population in Ararat are ethnic Armenians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The Yerevan-based Araratian Pontifical Diocese covers the Ararat Province including the town of Ararat.

Here is the population timeline of Ararat since 1926:

Year 1926 1939 1959 1976 2001 2011 2016
Population 45 2,329 5,412 15,000 20,480 20,235 20,300

Religion Edit

The population of Ararat are mainly Christians who belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The town's Holy Saviour Church is under construction since October 2012.

However, there is a large presence of Jehovah's Witnesses in Ararat, as well as adherents of other religious movements.

Ararat has a cultural palace located at the central square near the town hall. The town is also home to an art academy, a sports school and a youth creativity centre.

On 16 September 2009, the statue of sparapet Vazgen Sargsyan was erected at the central town square of Ararat.

Ararat is a major point on the M-2 Motorway that connects the capital Yerevan with southern Armenia reaching up to the Iranian border.

The town has a railway station that is served by commuter trains to Yerevan and Yeraskh. It used to connect Yerevan with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic during the Soviet years.

The town of Ararat is home to 2 major industrial firms: the Ararat Cement factory founded in 1927, and the "Geopromining Gold" recovery plant operating since 1970. Other enterprises include the "AKZ Ararat Cognac Factory" for brandy and wine, opened in 1932 in the nearby village of Avshar.

Controversy over the Ararat Gold Company Edit

Besides the various enterprises based on the manufacturing of building materials, the town is also home to the Geopromining Gold recovery plant of Ararat, which extracts gold from the raw ore sent from the gold mine in Sotk which is 20 kilometres (12 miles) east of Lake Sevan. [4] About 0.46 grams of gold is extracted from each ton of sand unearthed at the mines. The extraction process involves first pulverizing the raw material, and then filtering out the gold using a cyanide nitrate chemical process. [4]

The soupy byproduct of the cyanide nitrate chemical process is both toxic and radioactive and collects in a tailing pond. There have been numerous incidents of animals dying near and around the plant's area. [4] Also, within the years 2003 and 2008, there have been at least 10 accidents at the plant, some of which have resulted in the discharge of the cyanide soup into neighboring agricultural lands and fisheries, killing off cows and fish stock. [4]

As of 2016, Ararat has 4 public education schools. The town has also its medical centre and number of art, music and sport schools.

Araks Ararat had represented the town in domestic and international football competitions. The club was founded in 1960 and dissolved in 2001 due to financial difficulties. They won the Armenian Premier League in 2 occasions: in 1998 as Tsement Ararat and in 2000 as Araks Ararat. In 2001, the president of Araks Ararat Abraham Babayan was unable to finance the club. Consequently, the rights of the club were sold to a new sponsor based in Yerevan in August 2001, and Araks Ararat FC was dissolved.

At the end of 2001, another football club with the name of FC Araks was founded in the town, in an effort to keep the football traditions alive among the new generation of Ararat. However, after 4 years of major difficulties, the financially struggling club was dissolved in 2005.

The town is served by the all-seater Ayg Stadium with a capacity of 1,280 spectators. It is part of a large sport complex with many other structures including an indoor sports hall, indoor swimming pool, billiards saloon, mini-football ground and other facilities.


Contents

Tigranes' expansion into the Near East led to the creation of an Armenian empire that stretched almost across the entire region. With his father-in-law and ally securing the empire's western flank, Tigranes was able to conquer territories in Parthia and Mesopotamia and annex the lands of the Levant. In Syria, he began the construction of the city of Tigranocerta (also written Tigranakert), which he named after himself, and imported a multitude of peoples, including Arabs, Greeks, and Jews, to populate it. The city soon became the king's headquarters in Syria and flourished as a great centre for Hellenistic culture, complete with theatres, parks and hunting grounds. Α]

This period of Armenian hegemony in the region, however, was coming close to an end with a series of Roman victories in the Roman–Mithridatic Wars. Friction between the two had existed for several decades, although it was during the Third Mithridatic War that the Roman armies under Lucullus made significant progress against Mithridates, forcing him to take refuge with Tigranes. Lucullus sent an ambassador named Appius Claudius to Antioch to demand that Tigranes surrender his father-in-law should he refuse, Armenia would face war with Rome. Β] Tigranes refused Appius Claudius' demands, stating that he would prepare for war against the Republic. [ citation needed ]

Lucullus was astonished upon hearing this in the year 70, and he began to prepare for an immediate invasion of Armenia. Β] Although he had no mandate from the Senate to authorize such a move, he attempted to justify his invasion by distinguishing as his enemy king Tigranes and not his subjects. In the summer of 69, he marched his troops across Cappodocia and the Euphrates river and entered the Armenian province of Tsop'k', where Tigranocerta was located. [ citation needed ]


The book is divided into three parts:

  • "Genealogy of Armenia Major", embracing the history of Armenia from the beginning down to Alexander the Great
  • "History of the middle period of our ancestors", extending from Alexander to the death of Gregory the Illuminator and the reign of King Terdat (330)
  • the third part brings the history down to the overthrow of the Arshakuni Dynasty (428)
  • the fourth part brings the history down to the time of the Emperor Zeno (474-491), during this time there were three wars: a. the Armenian Independence War headed by Vasak Syuni (450), b. the civilian war between Vardan Mamikonyan and Vasak Syuni (autumn of 450 - May 451), inspired by Romans, Persians and Armenian clergy, c. the 2nd independence war headed by Sahak Bagratuni (who ordered Movses Khorenatsi to write the "history of Armenia") and then by Vahan Mamikonyan (after the death of Sahak Bagratuni in 482).

According to Tovma Artsruni, writing in the 10th century, there was also a fourth part which brings the history down to the time of the Zeno (474-491). This fourth part of the Movses's "History" is lost or destroyed by the Armenian clergy.

Legendary patriarchs

This first book contains 32 chapters, from Adam to Alexander the Great. List of the Armenian patriarchs according to Moses:

  • Haik, Haig (grandson of Tiras), Armenak (or Aram), Aramais, Amassia, Gegham, Harma, Aram
  • Ara Geghetsik, Ara Kardos, Anushavan, Paret, Arbag, Zaven, Varnas, Sour, Havanag
  • Vashtak, Haikak, Ampak, Arnak, Shavarsh, Norir, Vestam, Kar, Gorak, Hrant, Endzak, Geghak
  • Horo, Zarmair, Perch, Arboun, Hoy, Houssak, Kipak, Skaiordi

These cover the 24th to 9th centuries BC in Moses' chronology, indebted to the Chronicon of Eusebius. There follows a list of legendary kings, covering the 8th to 4th centuries BC:

  • Parouyr, Hratchia, Pharnouas, Pachouych, Kornak, Phavos, Haikak II, Erouand I, Tigran I, Vahagn, Aravan, Nerseh, Zareh, Armog, Bagam, Van, Vahé.

These gradually enter historicity with Tigran I (6th century BC), who is also mentioned in the Cyropaedia of Xenophon (Tigranes Orontid, traditionally 560-535 BC Vahagn 530-515 BC), but Aravan to Vahé are again otherwise unknown.

chapter 1: letter to Sahak chapter 5: from Noah to Abraham and Belus chapters 10-12: about Haik Haig chapter 13: war against the Medes chapter 14: war against Assyria, 714 BC chapters 15-16: Ara and Semiramis chapters 17-19: Semiramis flees from Zoroaster to Armenia and is killed by her son. chapter 20: Ara Kardos and Anushavan chapter 21: Paruyr, first king of Armenia at the time of Ashurbanipal chapter 22: kings from Pharnouas to Tigran chapter 23: Sennacherib and his sons chapters 24-30: about Tigran I chapter 31: descendants of Tigran down to Vahé, who is killed in resistance against Alexander chapter 32: Hellenic wars


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Acknowledgements

We thank J.-F. Wang and S.-D. Wang at Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, for electron microscopic analysis of virus. This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (project no. 2017YFD0501700, to Q.L.), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (project nos. 31672542 and 31372430, to Q.L.), the Pearl River Talent Plan in Guangdong Province of China (project no. 2019CX01N111, to Q.L.) and the ‘Three Major’ scientific research projects of Sun Yat-sen University in 2020 (project no. 50000-31143406, to J.Q.).


Capitals

    – The ancient town sits upon an escarpment overlooking the junction of the Arax River and Akhurian River. According to Movses Kaghankatvatsi, Orontes IV founded Yervandashat to replace Armavir as his capital after Armavir had been left dry by a shift of the Arax. The archaeological site has not been subject of major research, but preliminarily, the fortifications and some remains of palaces have been uncovered. Ancient Yervandashat was destroyed by the army of the Persian King Shapur II in the 360s. – King Artashes I founded Artashat in 185 BC in the region of Vostan within the historical province of Ayrarat (Ararat), at the point where Araks river was joined by Metsamor river during that ancient eras, near the heights of Khor Virap. The story of the foundation is given by the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi of the 5th century: "Artashes traveled to the location of the confluence of the Yeraskh and Metsamor [rivers] and taking a liking to the position of the hills (adjacent to Mount Ararat), he chose it as the location of his new city, naming it after himself." [19] According to the accounts given by Greek historians Plutarch and Strabo, Artashat is said to have been chosen and developed on the advice of the Carthaginian general Hannibal. The city's strategic position in Araks valley on the Silk Road soon made Artashat a centre of bustling economic activity and thriving international trade, linking Persia and Mesopotamia with the Caucasus and Asia Minor. Its economic wealth can be gauged in the numerous bathhouses, markets, workshops administrative buildings that sprang up during the reign of Artashes I. The city had its own treasury and customs. The amphitheatre of Artashat was built during the reign of king Artavasdes II (55–34 BC). The remains of the huge walls surrounding the city built by King Artashes I could be found in the area. After losing its status as a capital to Vagharshapat and Dvin respectively, Artashat gradually lost its significance. was founded by the Armenian emperor Tigranes the Great in the 1st century BC. Tigranakert was founded as the new capital of the Armenian Empire in order to be in a more central position within the boundaries of the expanding empire. Its population was 120,000 and it also had many temples and an amphitheater. – In the first half of the 1st century, during the reign of the Armenian Arshakuni king Vologases I (Vagharsh I) (117–144), the old town of Vardgesavan was renovated and renamed Vaghasrhapat (Վաղարշապատ), which still persists as the official appellation of the city. The original name, as preserved by Byzantine historian Procopius ("Persian Wars"), was Valashabad—"Valash/Balash city" named after king Balash/Valash/Valarsh of Armenia. The name evolved into its later form by the shift in the medial L into a Gh, which is common in Armenian language. Khorenatsi mentions that the town of Vardges was totally rebuilt and fenced by Vagharsh I to become known as Noarakaghak (The New City) or Vagharshapat. The city served as a capital for the Ashakuni Kingdom of Armenia between 120–330 AD and remained the country's most important city until the end of the 4th century. When Christianity became the state religion of Armenia, Vagharshapat was time by time called Ejmiatsin after the name of the Mother Cathedral. Starting from 301, the city has become the spiritual centre of all the Armenian nation, being the home of the Armenian Catholicosate, one of the oldest religious organisations in the world. Vagharshapat was home to one of the oldest schools established by Saint Mashtots and the home of the first manuscripts library in Armenia founded in 480 AD. Starting from the 6th century, the city had lost its importance—especially after the transfer of the seat of the Catholicosate to Dvin in 452—until the foundation of the Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia in 885. After the fall of the Bagratid dynasty in 1045, the city gradually became an insignificant place until 1441 when the seat of the Armenian Catholicosate was transferred from the Cilician town of Sis back to Etchmiadzin. – The ancient city of Dvin was built by Khosrov III the Small in 335 on a site of an ancient settlement and fortress from the 3rd millennium BC. Since then the city had been used as the primary residence of the Armenian kings of the Arshakuni dynasty. Dvin had a population of about 100,000 citizens who were in various professions including arts and crafts, trade, fishing, etc. After the fall of the Armenian Kingdom in 428, Dvin became the residence of Sassanid-appointed marzpans (governors), Byzantine kouropalates and later Umayyad and Abbasid-appointed ostikans (governors), all of whom were of senior nakharar stock. In 640 Dvin was the center of the emirate of Arminia.

Artaxias (Artashes) I "the Conqueror", King of Armenia

King Artashes was the founder of the Artashesid dynasty and grandfather of Tigran the Great). This dynasty was an offshoot of the Parthian royal house, reflecting Armenia's status then as Parthian protectorate. He built the city of Artashat (Artaxata) on the Araks River. He is mentioned in the works of Strabo and Plutarch.


Artaxias I«/b» (also called «b»Artaxes«/b» or «b»Artashes«/b», «u»Armenian «/u»: (reigned 190 BC/189 BCendash 160 BC/159 BC) was the founder of the «u»Artaxiad Dynasty «/u» whose members ruled the «u»Kingdom of Armenia «/u» for nearly two centuries.

By the end of the 3rd century BC, Armenia was a kingdom made up of around 120 dynastic domains ruled by «u»nakharars «/u», loosely united under the «u»Orontid «/u» kings of «u»Greater «/u» and «u»Lesser Armenia [1]«/u». Even though «u»Alexander the Great «/u» did not conquer Armenia, «u»Hellenistic «/u» culture had strongly impacted Armenian society. When «u»Antiochus the Great «/u» wrestled Armenia from Orontid rule he appointed Artaxias as «u»strategos «/u». Following his monarch's defeat by the «u»Romans «/u» at the «u»Battle of Magnesia «/u» in 190 BC, Artaxias and his co-strategos «u»Zariadres «/u» revolted and, with Roman consent, began to reign autonomously with the title of king Artaxias over «u»Greater Armenia «/u» and Zariadres over «u»Sophene «/u»/Lesser Armenia«u»[2]«/u».

Artaxias was married to «u»Satenik «/u», daughter of the king of «u»Alans «/u». They had six sons: «u»Artavasdes (Artavazd) «/u», «u»Vruyr «/u», Mazhan, Zariadres (Zareh), Tiran and «u»Tigranes «/u» (Tigran). Artaxias founded a capital, «u»Artaxata «/u» on the «u»Araks River «/u» near «u»Lake Sevan «/u». «u»Hannibal «/u» took refuge there at his court when Antiochus could not protect him any longer. Artaxias was taken captive by «u»Antiochus IV Epiphanes «/u» when he attacked Armenia around 165 BC.

«tab»«/b»«i»It is said that when «u»Hannibal «/u» fled from the «u»Romans «/u» and came to «u»Armenia «/u», he suggested different projects to the Armenian king and taught him several useful things. When he saw the beautiful landscape and nature in Armenia he drew a sketch for the future city. Then he took Artashes to the spot and asked him to personally supervise the building of the city. Thus a big and beautiful city was named after the king, Artashat, and became his capital.«/i» «u»[3]«/u»
«tab»
«b»Notes


Contents

Masis (Armenian: Մասիս ) is the Armenian name for the peak of Mount Ararat. [2] The History of Armenia derives the name from king Amasia, the great-grandson of the Armenian patriarch Hayk, who is said to have called the mountain Masis after his own name. [2]

Historically, the territory of modern-day Masis was included within the Vostan Hayots canton of the historical province of Ayrarat of Ancient Armenia.

Masis was officially founded by the Soviet government in 1953 as Hrazdan, after the merger of the villages of Narimanlu, Zangibasar, and Ulukhanlu. In 1969 the settlement was renamed Masis to become the centre of the re-founded Masis raion (formerly known as Zangibasar raion form 1937 until it was abolished in 1953). Within 2 years, Masis was given the status of an urban-type settlement in 1971.

The settlement was developed as centre for agricultural products and light industries during the Soviet years. It gradually became home to many large firms including the Al. Miasnikian furniture factory, the Masis unit of the Yerevan carpet weaving factory, as well as branch of the Yerevan paper manufacturing plant.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Masis was granted the status of a town within the newly-formed Ararat Province, based on the new law of the territorial administration of the Republic of Armenia passed in 1995.

Masis is connected with a number of villages stretching up to the Aras River at the border with Turkey. At nights, one can see the lights of many Kurdish villages on the slopes of Mount Ararat in Turkey.

Masis is located in the Ararat plain on the left bank of Hrazdan River, 16 km southwest of Yerevan on the road to the ancient city of Artashat. It has an average height of 854 meters above sea level.

Summer in general is short but hot in Masis, while winter is relatively long and very cold.

Population Edit

The majority of the population in Masis are ethnic Armenians who arrived in the area from the Iranian cities of Khoy and Salmas, after the Russo-Persian War of 1826–28.

Here is the population timeline of Masis since 1959:. [3]

Year 1959 1970 1975 1980 2001 2011 2016
Population 3,138 4,961 8,142 13,248 21,376 20,215 18,500

Religion Edit

The vast majority of the population in Masis belong to the Armenian Apostolic Church. The regulating body of the church is the Araratian Pontifical Diocese, headed by Archbishop Navasard Kchoyan (seat in Yerevan).

The small church of Saint George opened in 2009, was the first church of Masis. However, the town's main church is the church of Saint Thaddeus, consecrated on October 4, 2015, by Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II. The foundations of the church were laid in 1991. In 2005 the construction of the church was initiated and financed by philanthropist Hrant Vardanyan, and all the construction works were completed by his sons Mikayel and Karen.

Masis has a 16th-century chapel named after Saint Thaddeus, and a 19th-century church known as the Holy Mother of God.

Currently, the town has a public library and a music school named after Arno Babajanian.

The World War II monument erected in 1983 is one of the main landmarks of Masis.

Masis has a railway station since the formation of the town. It used to connect Yerevan with Nakhchivan as well as Iran during the Soviet era. However, after the dissolution of the USSR, the station was abandoned.

The M-2 Motorway that connects the capital Yerevan with southern Armenia, passes through the eastern borders of the town of Masis.

The industrial district of Masis occupies the western half of the town. Unfortunately, most of the Soviet industry in Masis was abandoned after the independence of Armenia. However, Masis is currently a major centre for tobacco products in Armenia and Transcaucasia, with 2 giant manufacturers: Masis Tobacco factory (since 1999) and International Masis Tabak factory (since 2002).

It is also home to the Grand Master corrugated cardboard packaging manufacturing and label printing factory (since 1995), Masis Garun knitting factory (since 1995), Berma company for construction and building materials (since 1997), Masis Woodcraft factory (since 2004), Medical Horizons pharmaceuticals factory (since 2005), [4] Masis Woodworking Center, and Sonomad plant for building materials .

Masis is home to the largest slaughterhouse in Armenia, the Voske Katsin Armenian-Iranian joint-venture. [5] It was founded in 2015 and became the first slaughterhouse in Armenia that provides its products with the Halal certification. [6]

As of 2017, Masis has 6 public education schools and 6 kindergartens. It is also home to the Masis State Agricultural College.

Masis FC represented the town in the domestic football competitions until 1994 when the club was dissolved due to financial difficulties.

The Masis Children and Youth Sports School named after Armen Nazaryan was opened in September 2016. [7]

On March 28, 2017, the construction of a new sports centre was launched in the town of Masis, with the donation of the Adibekyan Family Foundation for Advancement (AFFA). [8] The centre which is set to be completed in June 2018 with a cost of US$2 million, will have fields for mini-football, basketball, outdoors sports, as well as a children's playground and a social family club. [9]


Patriarch of Patriarchs (a Christian Persia timeline)

It seems that christianity is more partitioned than IOTL, more in line with the organization of orthodoxy. What a surprise that the church on the British isles is called "celtic" in modern times.

I guess the future posts will be more political, now with a Parthian king being christian.

HistorianofAlt

The conversion of Ardashir I to Christianity is subject to much scholarly study by historians of theology and anthropology. His background in the Parthian Empire makes the Shahanshah's conversion to Christianity as much of a surprise as Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism several centuries earlier. Christianity was mainly the religion of choice among the peasants and to a certain extent merchants in the Parthian Empire. The nobility of the Empire were mostly Zoroastrians with a minority following Hellenistic cults. While the Parthians tolerated Christianity, it was viewed as an inferior religion from their traditional practices. There was a small exception in the aristocracy's view of Christians in that they did respect Christian scholars on non theological matters.

We know that Ardashir's maternal line has its origins at a Zoroastrian fire temple. His biological father is supposed to be a decedent of the Achaemenid Dynasty. However, not much is known for certain about Ardashir's father as he was raised in his maternal grandfather's house. Being the grandson of a minor king, Ardashir was raised as a prince and, as he is supposed to have said, wanted for nothing in his youth. Surviving court documents show that he was brought up in the Zoroastrian faith and held the typical views of the nobility as a child.

Ardashir's introduction to Christianity is supposed to have happened sometime between 198 and 201 AD. He was heading to Ecbatana with a small retinue to go to the Parthian King's court. The party had been making good time and Ardashir decided to split with his retinue in order to spend the afternoon hunting. The prince sent other members of his party ahead to the city in order to prepare for his arrival. Precisely what happened during this hunt is unknown. What records we do have is that Ardashir, while hunting a deer, was attacked by a predator. Most accounts hold that he was attacked by a lion, but several claim it was a bear. The future Shahanshah was able to kill the animal, but was gravely wounded in the process and his horse was killed. Ardashir tried to make his way to Ecbatana, but he collapsed from his wounds. In his own words he was, "Dead to the world."

By luck, Ardashir was found by a monk who was returning to the monastery of Ecbatana from a solitary retreat. The monk, whose name is not known, carried Ardashir to the monastery where he spent the next three weeks recovering. It was during this time that Ardashir talked to the monks about their beliefs, why they had saved him, the scholars' knowledge in mathematics and literature, and why the bishop refused his offered reward. At the end of the fourth week, Ardashir was deemed strong enough to leave the monastery and left with his retinue.

After this experience, Ardashir grew dissatisfied with the Zoroastrian faith and became increasingly interested in Christian theology. He commissioned the monastery of Estakhr to make him a copy of the Bible and certain commentaries on the Christian faith. It is also known that he visited several monasteries over the next several years trying to see if his experience was the rule of the Christian centers or not. The monastery of Ecbatana was personal favorite of his to visit besides the monastery of Estakher. In 204 AD, Ardashir was baptized by St. Theodore while the then prince was attending the Parthian king in Ctesiphon.

The conversion of Ardashir was viewed with amusement among the Parthian nobility. Many of Ardashir's peers viewed him as not having complete control of his faculties. One of those who held this view was Artabanus IV of Parthia. The Parthian's belief that Ardashir was a fool is viewed by some historians as a critical factor in the latter's rise to power.

As was stated earlier, Ardashir became king of central Fars in 212 AD. This was following the accidental death of his brother/biological uncle Shapur. While a devout Christian, Ardashir was very ambitious and quickly began expanding his control of the Fars province. By 219 AD, Ardashir had forced the other lords of the province to recognize him as their king. His ambitions suffered a temporary setback when many of the princes revolted in 221 AD. However, Ardashir crushed the revolt by 222 AD and put the nobles who had challenged him to death. To the shock of many, the king spared the households of the revolting princes.

This victory over the lords of Fars brought the attention of Artabanus IV onto Ardashir. For the next four years Ardashir and Artabanus fought for control of the empire. Court records show that the two sides each had their own successes and failures in the war. However, Artabanus's dismissal of Ardashir early in the war and the inherit weaknesses of the Parthian Empire gave the critical early edge to Ardashir. Artabanus died in 226 collapsing the remains of Parthian controlled territory. With only some mop up left in the war, Ardashir declared himself victor and had himself declared Shahanshah in Ctesiphon.

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Ardashir's reign saw the start to several changes that would fundamentally change the Middle East. One of these changes was a shift in the societal makeup of Sassanid Empire to a more meritocratic form than the Parthian Empire's more aristocratic setup. The decline of the nobility in the region for the next several centuries can be traced back directly to the Nobles' War of 229-232 AD.

Unlike what popular film and literature suggest, the Nobles' War was not about whether Christianity or Zoroastrianism would be the state religion. The cause of this war lies in Ardashir's centralization efforts to bring his new empire more under his direct control. While recognizing Arashir as the legitimate Shahanshah, many of the nobles resented his curtailing of their traditional rights. The Parthian Empire was a much less centralized entity then the Sassanid Empire.

Khosaru of the House of Aspahapet, one of the Seven Noble Houses of Parthia, cited the usurpation of traditional rights as his pretext for revolting in the spring of 229 AD. Khosaru was able to rally a significant number of supporters to his cause. Exact figures are unknown, but Khosaru's supporters controlled most of the empire east of the Zagros Mountains. He made Yazd his capital and declared himself Shahanshah as a direct challenge for the throne.

This civil war placed a great challenge on Ardashir. Conquering the Parthians had eliminated many of the soldiers that had originally come from his ancestral lands leaving most of his remaining standing army suspect as they came from noble levies. Ardashir had been residing in Ctesiphon planing an invasion of Armenia when he received word of the revolt. The Shahanshah gave orders for the army loyal to him to form a defensive line along the Zagros Mountains in order to consolidate his control in the west. A significant number of these soldiers soon switched sides as Khosaru won their noble's allegiance.

Unwilling to accept defeat and knowing that he had few loyal forces, Ardashir headed to the Patriarchal Academy with his loyal generals. They stayed in the Academy for the next month pouring over all of the military texts that had been collected at the Academy. While the Patriarchal Academy's library was focused on theology and other subjects to help men, it did have the largest collection of military texts in the region. This was due to donations and the monks unwillingness to lose any bit of knowledge even if it was something they despised.

With the military texts, Ardashir and his generals rebuilt the Sassanian Army. This new army was designed to meet several criteria: it had to be effective against mounted troops, it had to be able to be raised quickly, and it had to eliminate the threat of a noble lead defection. It's backbone was infantry due to having to be raised directly from the peasant population. These new soldiers were armed with a ten foot long reinforced spear to fend off cavalry with an ax for close quarters. They were given chain mail vests, iron vambraces, iron greaves, and a wicker-leather shield for armor. Ardashir had his spearmen grouped into units of 500 men and trained to use of technique that was a hybrid of the phalanx and the Roman tortoise. These soldiers were supported by crossbowmen armed with gastraphetes. Most crossbowmen were on foot, but a small number were put onto elephants. For artillery, the Sassanids adopted a modified catapult with wheels that could fired a ten pound rock. Ardashir's own calvary was reduced by necessity to a small force of light skirmishers with the exception of his personal bodyguard.

Most of 229 was spent by Ardashir and Khosaru consolidating their respective bases with minor skirmishing along the Zagros. On February 13 of 230, the two shahanshahs marched their armies out and fought outside the city of Najafabad. Khosaru and many of his nobles were dismissive of Ardashir's army thinking that he had been left with rabble as Ardashir barley had any cavalry. However, the greater mobility of Khosaru's forces was of little use. Ardashir's spearmen were able to use their shields to protect against arrows. At the same time, the crossbowmen had greater range then the horse archers and they were trained to fire in volleys to lower the effect of their slower reload time. While Najafabad was not a decisive victory for Ardashir, he did force Khosaru to retreat with much heavier losses.

Ardashir spent the next two years fighting Khosaru and slowly reconquering his empire. Every time the Shahanshah retook a province he had its nobility striped of their lands, money, and titles. Khosaru's supporters were put to death while their families were allowed to retire to small estates that could just barely support them. Ardashir also declared that no man besides the Shahanshah was allowed to own more than 200 acres of land. Christian monasteries were given a reprieve from this edict as they were owned 'by God for the good of many and not by a man for the benefit of one man'. Nobles who had supported Ardashir were given gold and a reprieve from royal taxes for the rest of their lives in compensation for the loss of their estate lands. The land he had seized from revolting nobles would be given to the tenets who used to work the land. Slaves of the revolting lords were declared free and given half of the land allotment that was given to the peasants. Historians believe that this last edict was meant to build another base of support for the Shahanshah in the reconquered regions rather then out of altruism.


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