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Vaspurakan is a mountainous region that lies between the Videssian westlands and Makuran and southeast of Erzerum. Vaspurakan is rich in gold and iron ore and is said to have some of the best horses in the world of Videssos. It has been coveted and fought over by both Makuran and Videssos, prompting the Vaspurakaners to unite with each other if they are ever invaded by outsiders, despite the occasional internal feud.[1] At its height, Videssos ruled Vaspurakan but lost it not long after the Khamorth invasion. The constant state of war caused many Vaspurakaners to leave their country and try their luck elsewhere.
Vaspurakan map.

The location of Vaspurakan.

The Vaspurakaners were bushy-bearded with large fleshy noses and swarthy. They believed that their eponymous ancestor Vaspur was the firstborn man, the first created by Phos and Vaspurakan the first land made by Phos. Thus everyone Vaspurakaner was a Prince and Vaspurakan was called the Princes' Land.

Vaspurakaners were also known for a certain pastry used for long journey, which are jokingly called "princes' balls".[2] The people wore distinctive three-cornered hats with three streamers and broad neckflaps.[3] Their language caused them to speak Videssian with a throaty, guttural accent. The country is ruled by many nakharar (warrior-princes)[4] from heavily fortified cities and towns.

Many Vaspurakaners left their homeland to seek their fortunes in Videssos or the Videssian westlands, often serving a number of crucial roles in the military and bureaucracy, despite the average Videssians' ignorance of their importance.  In fact, Vaspurakaners had a substantial influence on Videssos throughout their shared history.  There was even a Vaspurakaner Avtokrator, Maniakes II. Nonetheless, Videssians anti-Vaspurakan sentiment continued in the empire. For example, the rebellious priest Zemarkhos regarded the Vaspurakaners as heathens and supported pogroms against them within his own short-lived state. He even named his dog Vaspur[5].

The Vaspurakaners customarily fought as cataphracts, with rider and horse armored with mail. One unit of Vaspurakaners unhorsed at the Battle of Maragha joined the Roman legion, becoming a century under the Nakharar Gagik Bagratouni.

Literary NoteEdit

The name Vaspurakan is the old name for Armenia. Like Armenia, Vaspurakan was situated between two great, squabbling powers as Armenia was stuck between the Byzantines and the Persians. Also, the hat Senpat Sviodo wore is similar to the traditional headgear worn by Armenians.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Misplaced Legion, pg. 249, mmp.
  2. Ibid., pg. 256.
  3. Ibid., pg. 245.
  4. Ibid., pg.255.
  5. Ibid., pg. 252