The Caucasus region refers to the vast area where the Caucasus Mountains are located between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. The Caucasus Mountains are divided into the Greater Caucasus Mountains and the Lesser Caucasus Mountains. The Greater Caucasus Mountains are the boundary between Europe and West Asia, and the Lesser Caucasus Mountains are the main national boundary between Armenia, northern Georgia and Azerbaijan.
Taking the Greater Caucasus Mountains as the boundary, the Caucasus region is divided into two parts. The north is called “North Caucasus” and belongs to Russia; the south is called “Transcaucasus”, which refers to the three countries of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.
Transcaucasian Three Kingdoms and Three Religions
Among the three Transcaucasian countries, Armenia established Christianity as the state religion in 301 AD, the world’s first government with Christianity as the state religion. However, Christianity in Armenia belongs to the Apostolic Church and is the earliest organization of Christianity. Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant) is different.
Azerbaijan, who believes in Islam, belongs to Shia like Iran.
Georgia, like Russia, believes in the Orthodox Church.
The formation of the Three Kingdoms and Three Religions is the result of the game between the major geopolitical forces in the Middle East and Europe for thousands of years-Persia, Greece, Rome, Arabia, Turks, and Russia.
2. The Persian Empire conquered the Caucasus
Due to the proximity to the two rivers region, the Transcaucasus region has a very long history of civilization. It is the birthplace of wine and one of the birthplaces of modern Europeans, although it belongs to West Asia geographically.
When the Middle East entered the age of civilization, the Akkadian Empire in the Mesopotamia Region, the Egyptian Empire in Egypt, and the Hittite Empire in Asia Minor all invaded the Caucasus, and it became an important slave production area for each empire.
By the 9th century BC, a powerful Urartu kingdom emerged in the Caucasus .
The Urartu Kingdom competed with the Assyrian Empire in the two rivers region, and successively conquered the vast areas of Lake Sevan, Lake Rezaye and the upper reaches of the Euphrates River, and was finally conquered by the Kingdom of Medes in Iran in the 6th century BC.
In 550 BC, Cyrus the Great of Iran raised troops to replace the Kingdom of Medes and established the first Persian empire spanning Asia, Europe and Africa in human history-the Achaemenid dynasty. The entire Transcaucasus region was included. The empire territory.
It was during the period of the Persian Empire that the Transcaucasus region was Persianized in all aspects of politics, economy and culture, and Persian Zoroastrianism became the religious belief of most people in Transcaucasus.
3. The Alexander Empire Hellenized the Caucasus
The southeast of Transcaucasus is the Persian Empire, and the west is Greece.
The Hippo War not only divided the world permanently into the East and the West, but also affected the Transcaucasus region, which was sandwiched between the two civilizations.
By 330 BC, Alexander the Great’s Eastern conquests conquered the Persian Empire and also initiated the Hellenization process of Transcaucasus.
After the death of Alexander the Great, the empire was divided into three, and the Armenian region was ruled by the Seleucid dynasty. Later, as the Seleucid dynasty was defeated by Rome and the Parthian empires, Armenia took the opportunity to obtain an independent status, which was the Altashis dynasty.
From 95 to 65 BC, this was the most glorious era in Armenian history. Its territory extended from the sponge to the Black Sea. Armenians called themselves “Armenia from sea to sea.” For this reason, Armenia is the country with the most historical presence among the three Transcaucasus countries.
However, the geographical pattern between the big countries determines that no regime in the Transcaucasus region can last for long.
4. The game field between Rome and Persia
Around AD, the Roman Empire turned the Mediterranean into its own inner lake, and the Transcaucasus region was also included in the empire’s territory and continued to be Hellenized.
At the same time, the Parthian Empire that appeared successively in the Persian region also pointed the spearhead at the Transcaucasus region.
Rome VS Parthia , the war is constantly fought on the east coast of the Mediterranean, from Asia Minor, Mesopotamia to Transcaucasus are the game grounds of the two empires.
Under the two sides of the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire, the most glorious Altasian dynasty in Armenian history was destroyed. Its western part became a province of Rome, while the eastern part was annexed by Parthia.
In 224 AD, the Persian Sassanid dynasty rose to replace the Parthian Empire in Iran. The Sassanid dynasty almost restored the territory of the Persian Achaemenid dynasty, and in order not to be assimilated by the Persian Zoroastrianism, in 301 AD, Armenia officially designated Christianity as the state religion.
Persia VS Rome, Armenia in this period was still divided by the two empires.
5. The rise of the Arab Empire and the entry of Turks
When the wheel of history entered the 7th century AD, Arabs rose between Persia and East Rome. The Arab Empire destroyed the Persian Sassanid dynasty in 651 AD, and at the same time extended its power to the Transcaucasus region.
The Arabs tried to force the Armenians to convert to Islam, but ultimately failed.
In the 10th century AD, the Arab empire began to decline, and the Eastern Roman Empire began to rejuvenate the Macedonian dynasty and drove the Arabs out of the Transcaucasus region. However, the Eastern Roman Empire finally failed to establish effective rule in the Transcaucasus region. Many small countries were established here. Later, the Turkic people took advantage of this fragmented situation to conquer the Transcaucasus region.
The Turks first appeared in the Middle East. It originated from the Arab empire’s suppression of the Persians in North Korea and China. The Arabs used the Turks to expel the Persians who controlled the government, but they became the puppets of the Turks. This is the Seljuk of the Turks. empire.
In 1071 AD, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantine Empire in the Battle of Manchkert, and thus occupied Asia Minor and Transcaucasus.
This battle not only led to the subsequent two-century crucifixion, but also made the Turks become the rulers of the Transcaucasian region.
The Seljuk Empire later split into the Roma Sultanate, and the Roma Sultanate split into the Ottoman Empire. In the Persian region, the Turks established the Timur Empire, the Black Sheep Dynasty, and the White Sheep Dynasty.
Turkicization became the mainstream of Middle Eastern history in the 11th to 19th centuries after the Arab empire. The Transcaucasus region is no exception. It has basically been under the rule of different Turkic hegemons.
The Turkic people eventually turned Azerbaijan into an Islamic country.
6. Ottoman Empire, the Safavid Dynasty of Persia, and the Russian Empire
The endgame after the fall of the Arab Empire finally ended with the Turkic Ottoman Empire and the Persian Safavid Dynasty (Safavid) side by side. The Ottoman Empire was Sunni and the Safi-Persia Shia established the pattern of today’s Middle East. .
The Ottoman Empire and Safi-Persia are constantly fighting for the Islamic world in domineering wars, just like the repetition of the dispute between Persia and Rome.
It was in the battle for hegemony between the two empires that the Armenian Plateau was finally divided into three, which belonged to Iran, Turkey and Armenia. The three Armenian lakes-Lake Van, Lake Sefan, and Lake Urumier are now also They were separately occupied by three countries-Turkey, Armenia, and Iran.
After that, the Russian Empire rose and fought against the Ottoman Empire for more than two hundred years. At the same time, it gradually eroded the territory of Persia (Kaijia Dynasty) and finally annexed the Transcaucasus three countries.
Today, although the three Transcaucasus countries have achieved independent status, surrounded by Russia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq and other countries, they can easily become pawns in the game of great powers.