By Sirarpie Der Nersessian
Add: Salah Zyaada
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Additional info for Armenia and the Byzantine Empire
The Armenians formed the largest foreign element within the Byzantine empire and they played an important part in Byzantine history. Many obtained the highest honors and a few even ascended the imperial throne. Leo V (813-820) is the only emperor who has been officially recognized as an Armenian by the Byzantine historians. 15 18:17 20 Historical Survey Adontz has conclusively shown that Leo was a descendant of the princely family of the Ardzrunis. The Armenian origin of Basil I is now generally recognized, though he still retains the surname "Macedonian" as he was born in Macedonia of Armenian parents.
In the following century, the name of Petronas, the brother of the empress Theodora, stands out in the wars against the Arabs, and that of Manuel Mamikonian, strategos of the Armeniac theme. Most important of all is John Curcuas, appointed domesticus by Romanus Lecapenus, the ancestor of a long line of famous generals. " He was repeatedly victorious over the Arabs, captured Melitene and compelled the citizens of Edessa to surrender to the Byzantines the miraculous image of the Saviour which was triumphantly brought back to Constantinople.
Armenians also held high offices in the western provinces of the empire. Isaac, whose Armenian descent is proudly claimed in his epitaph, was the exarch of Ravenna in the early seventh century. Basil II appointed Gregory the Taronite governor of Thessalonica, and Theodorakanos, governor of Philippopolis. The name of the latter appears not only in Byzantine writings but also in a handsome Armenian Gospel, now in Venice, written and illustrated at Adrianople, in 1007, for the protospatharios John, the proximus or assistant of the dux Theodorakanos.
Armenia and the Byzantine Empire by Sirarpie Der Nersessian