The Amiras: Lords of Ottoman Armenia

The Amiras: Lords of Ottoman Armenia

(trans. by Marika Blandin and
intro by Bernard Dorin, French Ambassador)
London: Gomidas Institute, 2012,
142 pp., photos
ISBN 978-1-903656-35-8
UK£17.00 / US$22.00
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The Amiras were a powerful class of Armenian commercial, industrial and professional elites in the Ottoman capital between the 18th and 19th centuries. They ran the treasury, mint and armaments factories, built palaces, mosques and public buildings, and operated many monopolies. Because of their unique position, they had good relations with Ottoman Sultans and administrators and played an important role in the development of the Armenian and Armenian Catholic millets.

Pascal Carmont's The Amiras: Lords of Ottoman Armenia is a sympathetic portrayal of these intrepid Armenians based on written sources and the author's contacts with their descendants.

Pascal Carmont (1928-2011) was a French diplomat of Armenian origin -and a descendant of the Amiras of Constantinople. His work, Les Amiras: Seigneurs de l'Armenie ottoman was originally appeared in French in 1999.


Map of Historic Armenia and the Ottoman Empire (14)
Map of the Bosphorus and Constantinople circa 1850 (52)

Preface (7), Preamble (11),

1. Armenia Before the Ottoman Conquest (14)
2. The Ascent of the Amiras 23, The Ancestors 23, The Patriarchate 26, Assuming Power 31, Control and Protection of Armenia 37, Armenians, Greeks and Jews 40, The Profession of Faith of the Church of Armenia 42.
3. The Arbitrations of the Ambassador of France 45.
4. The Universe of the Amiras’ Influence and Decline 53, Romances, Delights, and Tears 53, Court Painters and Other Men Skilled in the Arts 57, The Amiras’ Way of Life 60, The Fall of the Amiras (1860–1866) 67, Sovereigns and Cultured women 71.
5. The Great Families 76, The Momdjians 76, The Karakehias 85, The Balians 90, The Dadians 96, The Duz 105, The Noradounghians 112.
6. Two Portraits at the Junction of a Century 115, Artin Amira Kazaz (1771–1834) 115, Megerditch Amira Djezahirli (1805–1861) 117(1805–1861) 117.
7. From Empire to Republic or the History of a Genocide 120, Independence at the price of blood 120, A Very Promising Evening 120, The Strange Encounter of the Two Touchy Noses 122, An Independent Armenia 133.
Epilogue 137.
Decendants of the Amiras who Shared Their Memories with Me. 139.
Bibliography 140

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