Brief History of Armenia
Ancient Land At Grips With Adversity
The present-day Republic of Armenia occupies but a fraction of the ancient Armenia, which extended from the lesser Caucasus Mountains south across the Armenian plateau to the Taurus Mountains. Frequent earthquakes still remind us that the land lies near the great geological fault between the Asian and African subcontinent plates. The Armenian plateau is a highland which rises directly above its surrounding regions. Geography undoubtedly played a key role in the history and culture of Armenia. Forming an important coin of vantage and a highway of great value for trade and commerce between Asia and Europe, Armenia it seems was destined to be at grips with adversity. The land with its untold riches and its strategic position of primary import, stirred the ambitions of many "superpowers" of the region. For a succession of centuries, the Armenians were in constant warfare with invaders and conquerors - Assyrians, Romans, Byzantines, Parthians, Arabs and Turks - who rolled over their homeland, although certainly not without meeting the most stubborn resistance. Throughout these turbulent centuries, the Armenians successfully asserted their historical identity and upheld their national heritage against great odds. Although on occasions overpowered by superior forces and reduced to the status of vassals, they nevertheless enjoyed a semblance of national autonomy. Yet, the very vicissitudes that troubled its existence contributed to the creation of a varied and original culture, held together by the constants of social, intellectual and religious institutions.