The author deals with the relations between Armenia and Iran in the thirteenth century, through the life of Sahib Diwan Shams al-Din Muhammad Juwayni, the brother of famous historian ‘Ata-Malik Juwayni. Based on a large range of Armenian, Georgian and Persian primary sources, the article is divided into two parts. The first one is purely historical: the author shows the close links established with Armenia by Shams al-Din Muhammad through his activity in the economy of the region, the purchase of cities (first Mren, then Ani), and his marriage with Koshak, a sister of Armenian-Georgian prince Awak Zakare. The second part is more ambitious: the author deals there with the issue of the Armenian ethnic identity, through the question of the loss and reconstruction of Koshak’s identity. Armenian-born, with a Christian education, Koshak preserved her religion even after her marriage with a Muslim and living part of her life in Iran. About Zakare, the author suggests that it remains difficult to assign him a clear community affiliation, brushing aside those simplistic studies that exclude the possibility of a mixing of different communities. Besides, it was not the first time when the Zakarian family was establishing matrimonial alliances with Muslims: the author provides other cases of this policy. In all, this article shows the close links between Armenians, Georgians and Iranians in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, whilst many scholars have been insisting yet on interethnic barriers, excluding the possibility of a passage from a community to another. So doing, the author suggests the existence of innovative tracks for historical research on this exceptionally complex region of the mediaeval world.
Julien Gilet, Practical School of Advanced Studies, Paris