Gandzak (Ganja) and Northern Artsakh at the Beginning of the Second Millennium and the Question of Armenian Cultural Identity

The fortress P҅ aŕisos (Koroğlu qalası) seen from the north-west; photograph taken by late Samvel Karapetyan and used with permission.

Tuesday, June 29, 7:30 PM.

The author will discuss the modes of interaction between Christians (Armenians and Caucasian Albanians) and Muslims (Kurds and Turks) in the borderlands between Arc̔ax and the former Caucasian Albania (the ancient kingdom which had once been centred on the plains of the present-day Azerbaijan) from the eleventh to the twelfth century. These contacts played a decisive role in shaping the social life of the Armenian melikdoms, which during the subsequent centuries  were  established  in  Arca̔  x and  the pre-Caspian regions, as well as determining their relationships with powerful Islamic neighbours. They are of crucial importance for our understanding not only of the stages of Islamisation of the Eastern Caucasus, but also of the resilience of Christian Armenians polities at a very short distance from major centres of Islamic power.

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Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev Habil., Ph.D.

Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev, Ph.D. (2002) and Habilitation (2009) at ÉPHÉ – Sorbonne, is a lecturer in Armenian civilisation at the University of Aix-en-Provence. He is interested in the interaction of religions across pre- modern Eurasia and in the cross-cultural development of ecclesiastical institutions in Syria, the South Caucasus and Anatolia.

In his recent publications, he has focused on the transmission of apocrypha in the South Caucasus and on the phenomenon of cultural blending in apocrypha. Amongst his recent publications are the monograph Christ in Armenian Tradition: Doctrine, Apocrypha, Art (Sixth–Tenth Centuries), Leuven 2016, and a study dedicated to the history of Artsakh: ‘Concerning Four Kings from the Land of “Deep Ravines, Dense Forests and Dark Thickets”’, in The Good Christian Ruler in the First Millennium: Views from the Wider Mediterranean World in Conversation, eds Ph.M. Forness et al., Berlin 2021, pp. 247-286. (in print)  For more info, please see

Click here to view publications by Dr. Dorfmann-Lazarev Habil.