The Middle Ages
Particularly under Bagratid kings Ashot I (also known as Ashot the Great or Ashot V, r. A.D. 862-90) and Ashot III (r. A.D. 952-77), a flourishing of art and literature accompanied a second golden age of Armenian history. The relative prosperity of other kingdoms in the region enabled the Armenians to develop their culture while remaining segmented among jurisdictions of varying degrees of autonomy granted by the Arabs. Then, after eleventh-century invasions from the west by the Byzantine Greeks and from the east by the Seljuk Turks, the independent kingdoms in Armenia proper collapsed, and a new Armenian state, the kingdom of Lesser Armenia, formed in Cilicia along the northeasternmost shore of the Mediterranean Sea. As an ally of the kingdoms set up by the European armies of the Crusades, Cilician Armenia fought against the rising Muslim threat on behalf of the Christian nations of Europe until internal rebellions and court intrigue brought its downfall, at the hands of the Central Asian Mamluk Turks in 1375. Cilician Armenia left notable monuments of art, literature, theology, and jurisprudence. It also served as the door through which Armenians began emigrating to points west, notably Cyprus, Marseilles, Cairo, Venice, and even Holland.
The Mamluks controlled Cilician Armenia until the Ottoman Turks conquered the region in the sixteenth century. Meanwhile, the Ottoman Turks and the Persians divided Caucasian Armenia to the northeast between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries. The Persians dominated the area of modern Armenia, around Lake Sevan and the city of Erevan. From the fifteenth century until the early twentieth century, most Armenians were ruled by the Ottoman Turks through the millet system, which recognized the ecclesiastical authority of the Armenian Apostolic Church over the Armenian people.
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