Members of the upper class of medieval Armenian society were known as nakharars and azats, (also aznvakans).
Translated from contemporary Armenian the word azat literally means "the one who is free", a "freeman." The word ``Azat" is derived from the Middle Persian word "azat" and equivalent to modern Persian "âzâd". The lower-aristocratic portion Sassanid Persian society was dominated by the Azatan, who guarded their status as descendants of ancient Aryan conquerors. The Azatan were low-level administrators, mostly living on small estates. This knightly caste provided the cavalry backbone of the Sassanid army.
Many - if not the majority - of the ancient Armenian noble clans traced their origins back to the gods of the old Armenian religion - most of which were based on the Persian Zoroastrian faith - or to the heroes and patriarchs of the Armenian people. For example, the noble houses of Vahevuni and Mehnuni were believed to be offspring of Vahagn and Mihr, ancient Armenian deities of fire and war, and heavenly light and justice respectively. The House of Artzruni traced its origins to Sanasar, son of Mher from the Armenian epos Sasna Tzrer, i.e. to the same Persian deity Mihr. According to the Armenian aristocratic tradition, the princely houses of Khorkhoruni, Bznuni, Mandakuni, Rshtuni, Manavazian, Angelea (Angegh tun), Varajnuni, Ohanian, Cartozian, Apahuni, Arran tun and some others, are all believed to be direct descendants of Nahapet (Patriarch) Hayk, whose epithet was Dyutsazn (from Ancient Greek θεός, meaning "divine"), or of Hayk's descendants. It is quite common in all parts of the world for members of the nobility to purport to trace their ancestry back to gods, or legendary heroes.
Read more about Armenian Nobility: Historical Origins, The Institutions and Structure of The Armenian Nobility, The Fate and The Present State of The Armenian Nobility, Steps Toward Revival, Bibliography
Other articles related to "armenian nobility, armenian":
... Abrahamian, Rafael The Armenian Knighthood (4th - 6th centuries) ... The Armenian Encyclopedia ... Pirumyan, Grand Duke Gevorg The Union of the Armenian Nobility ...
Famous quotes containing the words nobility and/or armenian:
“These hands do lack nobility that they strike
A meaner than myself.”
—William Shakespeare (15641616)
“The exile is a singular, whereas refugees tend to be thought of in the mass. Armenian refugees, Jewish refugees, refugees from Franco Spain. But a political leader or artistic figure is an exile. Thomas Mann yesterday, Theodorakis today. Exile is the noble and dignified term, while a refugee is more hapless.... What is implied in these nuances of social standing is the respect we pay to choice. The exile appears to have made a decision, while the refugee is the very image of helplessness.”
—Mary McCarthy (19121989)