ISSN 1829-4618

THE FORMATION OF THE ARMENIAN AMIRA CLASS OF CONSTANTINOPLE

By: Khachatryan Susanna, Armenian State Pedagogical University after Kh. Abovyan

A new class of Armenian elite came out in Constantinople Armenian millet in the middle of the XVIII century as a result of social and economic changes which took place in the Ottoman Empire. The new elite also adopted a new name or a title - amiras. The problem of the elite formation was first viewed by H. G. Mrmryan, who studying the Armenian sources and finding no information about it called the problem “a Gordius’ knot”. The reason for the mystery is the fact that the scholars were looking for its reasons in the Armenian reality, while we think the problem should be considered on the basis of social changes which took place at the time in the Ottoman Empire, since those processes, though in small, were revealed in the Armenian colony, too. Of course the Armenians being under Muslim rule could not have the same privileges as the Muslims, but the subject of our study concerns not the whole community, but its elite, who for some social economic reasons were able to get some prerogatives. The amiras took themselves that title, because during the developed feudalism the Armenian metropolitan noblemen called themselves like that (amira kaxaki ["amira of the town"]). And since most of the amiras from Akn considered themselves as migrated from Ani and Vaspurakan, we can suppose that the use of this title comes from there. Thus, the formation of the amira class was the consequence of phenomena taking place in the Ottoman Empire of the time. It took place in the same way as in the Empire, that is a new class of metropolitan authority (ayans) rose and replaced the old elite. The processes began in the middle of the XVIII century and the first man called amira is Petros amira Aleksanyan from Akn

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