Descent From Antiquity

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The most complete proposal for a DFA is the Bagratid one. The route starts with Arsaces, the first of the Arsacids, flourishing ca. 250 BC. One of his descendants, king Tiridates III of Armenia, who reigned early in the 4th century, is known to have been ancestor of Nerses the Great. The latter's son Sahak I was the father-in-law of Hamazasp I, an Armenian ruler from the Mamikonian dynasty. Then the line can be traced, though not with certainty, to a much later Mamikonian, Samuel II of Armenia, whose son-in-law was Smbat VIII Bagratuni, Constable of Armenia and forefather of all the living Bagratids. The advantage of this route is that its crucial links (from Arsacids to Gregorids, from Gregorids to Mamikonids, and from Mamikonids to Bagratids) may be corroborated by near-contemporary sources, dating to within a century after the key marriages took place.

Genealogists wishing to trace a DFA to Western Europe by this route face the difficulty of establishing a valid line of descent from the Bagratids to the nobility and royalty of Western Europe. One possibility is the Taronid link. It is known that one of the branches of the Bagratids were rulers of Taron. After they entered Byzantine service, one Maria Taronitissa married Ioannes Komnenos (1128-76), Duke of Cyprus, whose daughters were the wives of the Crusader monarchs of Antioch and Jerusalem. Thence a line can be traced easily to the Lusignans and hence to the House of Savoy. Another line, researched in a paper by Dr. Rafal T. Prinke, a well-known Polish genealogist, leads through Helene Komnena, wife of George I "Longhands" Grand Duke of Kiev, and is based on identyfing her mother Irene as Kata, daughter of David IV "the Builder", King of Georgia.

Another DFA proposes that Blanche d'Artois, Regent of Navarre (d.1302), and wife of Edmund Plantagenet, 1st Earl of Lancaster descends from David IV, King of Georgia. And then many generations earlier from Sumbat I, Prince of Kartli who descends from Ashot "the Great" Kouropalates of Iberia (d. 29 Jan 826), who descends from the Exilarch's in Baghdad.

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