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Lesser Armenia: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lesser Armenia (also known as Armenia Minor and Armenia Inferior, "Փոքր Հայք" "Pok'r Hayq" in Armenian) refers to the Armenian populated regions, primarily to the West and North-West of the ancient Armenian kingdom and North-East of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.



Lesser Armenia (or Armenia Minor) was the portion of historic Armenia and the Armenian Highland lying west and northwest of the river Euphrates. It received its name to distinguish it from the much larger eastern portion of historic Armenia — Greater Armenia (or Armenia Major).

Lesser Armenia is a part of the Armenian Highlands (Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey), more or less coinciding with the modern provinces of Sivas (Sebasteia, Armenian: Սեբաստիա), Erzincan (Armenian: Երզնկա), Gumushane (Greek: Αργυρούπολις, Argirocastron), Malatya (Melitena, Armenian: Մելիտենէ, Մալաթիա).



Early history

Armenian Kingdom under the royal dynasty of Orontids in 4th-3rd centuries BC

Prior to 4th century BC, the territory of Lesser Armenia was part of the ancient Armenian kingdom, which was ruled by the royal dynasty of Orontids (Yervanduni, Armenian: Երուանդունի) and, in the 4th c. BC, was subject to the Persian Achaemenid Empire.

Following the campaigns of Alexander the Great in 330s BC, as the Persian Empire collapsed, Mithridates, an Armenian general of the Persian army, declared himself king of Lesser Armenia. Thus two independent kingdoms emerged from the territory of the ancient Armenian kingdom — Lesser Armenia and Greater Armenia. By the 3rd century BC, the kingdom of Lesser Armenia reached its greatest extent and covered also the territories of southeastern coasts of the Black Sea, including the provinces of Trapezus, Rizon and Hamshen (the area where the ethnic Armenian Hamshenis originated).

Roman-Persian wars

Armenia was disputed kingdom between Rome and Parthia during the Roman-Persian Wars from 66 BC to the 2nd century AD. Roman influence was first established with Pompey's campaign of 66/65 BC, and again in 59 AD in the campaign of Gnaeus Domitius Corbulo which resulted in the deposition of Tiridates I. Armenia became a Roman province in AD 114, and was lost again to Vologases IV of Parthia in AD 161. In 163, a Roman counter-attack under Statius Priscus once again installed a favoured candidate on the throne of Armenia, and Roman influence in Armenia remained until the Roman defeat at the Battle of Barbalissos in 253.

Lesser Armenia was reunited with the kingdom of Greater Armenia under the Arshakuni king Tiridates III in AD 287, until the conquest of Shapur II in 337.

Byzantine Empire

After the division of Armenia by Byzantian and Sassanid Persian Empires in 384[1], Lesser Armenia, along with western regions of Greater Armenia, became part of Byzantine Empire. Its population remained Armenian, new territories were added to it and formed the Byzantian provinces of First Armenia, Second Armenia, Third Armenia, and Fourth Armenia, the latter being originally the province of Tsopk (Armenian: Ծոփք, modern Elazig) of Greater Armenia. The borders of Byzantine part of Armenia constanty changed until the Arab conquest of Armenia in 639, after which the part of Lesser Armenia remaining under Byzantine control (in a lesser extent) formed the theme of Armeniakon. Until the 10th century two new provinces of Colonia and Sebastia were created on its territory.

Later History

After the downfall of Bagratid Armenia in 1045 and resulting subsequent losses of Byzantine Empire in the East in 1071 after the Battle of Manzikert, Lesser Armenia fell to the Seljuks and then was parts of Mongol Empire for 92 years and Ottoman Empire for the entire duration of the latter's existence, until the formation of Turkey in 1923, as "Western Armenia" after the acquisition of Eastern Armenia by the Russian Empire after the Russo-Turkish War of 1829. During 11th-14th centuries the term Lesser Armenia (sometimes Little Armenia) was applied to the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.

The Christian Armenian population of Lesser Armenia continued its existence in the area until the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23.


  1. ^ George Rawlinson, The seven great monarchies of the Ancient Eastern World: Parthia and Sassania. p. 381


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Lesser Armenia northwest of Greater Armenia.




Called so to distinguish it from Greater Armenia.

Proper noun

Lesser Armenia


Lesser Armenia

  1. (historical) A region in the of upper reaches of Euphrates, northwest of Greater Armenia.
  2. (historical) Sometimes erroneously used to refer to the medieval Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia to the south.



See also


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