The History of the Armenians (Movses Khorenatsi)

Translated by David Allencourt

Introduction

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Movses Khorenatsi is, in many ways, the image of a perfect ancient historian. He consulted the best sources available, very frequently identifies his specific sources for information (placing him even above the celebrated Greek historian Thucydides, who rarely informs us of his specific sources – a bad habit of ancient Greco-Roman historians as a group), freely tells us when he is uncertain as to the truth of a piece of information or lacks reliable information on a subject altogether. He tells us when sources disagree on a matter, and unlike Greco-Roman historians, outright refuses to engage in practice of "speech-in-character", where the historian will invent a speech that gets the gist of what the person actually said, as he explicitly tells us.[1] Footnote 1

Movses Khorenatsi was born in the early 400’s AD and died in the late 400’s AD. He was a pupil of Mesrop Mashtots, the very inventor of the Armenian alphabet, making Khorenatsi’s work among the earliest written in Armenian. His teacher Mesrop Mashtots sent him to Alexandria in Egypt for further learning.[2] Along the way to Egypt he studied also in the archive of Edessa and in Israel.[3] On his return trip he went to Rome, then Athens, and then Byzantium as well[3], returning to Armenia not long after his teacher had died.[4] Later the Armenian prince Sahak, of the Bagratuni noble house, commissioned him to write a history of Armenia from the beginning until the present.

A meticulous care for accuracy and truth constantly shines throughout Khorenatsi’s work, and allowed him to be astoundingly accurate. Showing what borders on an obsession with the most ancient of archives, and sources that had consulted them (or had access to those that had), Movses was able to be supremely accurate even about the supremely distant past.

An example of archaeology uncovering an inscription which supports Movses Khorenatsi’s reports is to be found at Garni. Movses Khorenatsi reports of Garni that:

"About this time, Tiridates completed building the fortress of Garni. It was made of expertly cut hard granite which was reinforced with iron and mortared with lead. In it he built a residence for his sister Khosrovidukht which was shady, decorated with carvings, and had marvelous sculptures and towering constructs."[5] In 1945, an inscription was discovered at the site, which read: "Tiridates the Great of Greater Armenia, having as its lord subdued this city, founded for his sister, the queen, this impregnable fortress, to safeguard his kingdom, in his eleventh regnal year."[6]

Movses’ incredible accuracy is shown not just in archeology, but even today by the other sciences. An article in the New York Times in 2015 discusses how "Movses Khorenatsi, a historian in the fifth century, wrote that his native Armenia had been established in 2492 B.C., a date usually regarded as legendary though he claimed to have traveled to Babylon and consulted ancient records. But either he made a lucky guess or he really did gain access to useful data, because a new genomic analysis suggests that his date is entirely plausible. Geneticists have scanned the genomes of 173 Armenians from Armenia and Lebanon and compared them with those of 78 other populations from around the world. They found that the Armenians are a mix of ancient populations whose descendants now live in Sardinia, Central Asia and several other regions. This formative mixture occurred from 3000 to 2000 B.C., the geneticists calculated, coincident with Movses Khorenatsi’s date for the founding of Armenia".[7]

Not only his factual writing, but his literary style as well is a thing to be celebrated. The prominent Armenian author Aram Raffi writes that: "Moses of Khorene attempted to write the history of two or three thousand years...weaving his materials in such a way as to produce a vivid and life-like picture, tinged with the colours of all the centuries which he depicts...his style is simple and picturesque. Every event recorded by him becomes beautiful, noble, and great. There is not a paragraph, not a sentence, which falls below the general level of the work. The History is a marvellous panorama, which, as it unfolds, fills us with ever fresh wonder and admiration."[8] Indeed, his work is such an achievement that today the highest cultural award of the Republic of Armenia, awarded by the president himself, is the Movses Khorenatsi medal[9], awarded for cultural, artistic, and literary achievement.[10]

Unfortunately, a translation can only be as eloquent as the translator, and it is my chiefest regret that while I can reproduce the information in Khorenatsi’s history, reproducing the elegance which makes it a piece of world-class literature in its own right escapes me. However, the existing standard translation by Robert Thomson is out-of-print, available nowhere online, and has been harshly criticized in the strongest terms as "biased and anti-scientific", with even a suggestion of Thomson "intentionally aiming to mislead the reader" in his translation being raised[11]; and part of his translation described as "tantamount to corrupting the text".[12]:9, where "he records...more than fifty names in his chapter I.12, 19 & 22, each one of which is corroborated by Assyrian and Babylonian inscriptions starting from the tenth century BC".[12]:101 It appears that Robert Thomson did not conduct himself as a translator with the same integrity with which Movses Khorenatsi conducted himself as a researcher and writer, with Soultanian describing Khorenatsi as a writer by saying that "when one considers that this man created...a complete history, employed an honest attitude at all times and never sought to mislead the reader, I cannot but admire his genius"[12]:9-10. As such the need for a new version which was not only accessible but accurate became clear, whatever potential shortcomings I may have in reproducing the literary beauty of Movses Khorenatsi's writing into English.

So it is with great pleasure that I present, for the first time in a freely-available English version, Movses Khorenatsi's History of the Armenians.

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Footnote 1: Thucydides, for instance, is described by the Encyclopedia Britannica as the "greatest of ancient Greek historians".[13] Thucydides states in book 1, chapter 22 of his History of the Peloponnesian War that "With reference to the speeches in this history...some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in one's memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said".[14] Contrast this with Movses Khorenatsi, who, after reporting that one Sahak gave a great speech to the Persian king and his court, writes that "if anyone says that I ought to write down what the great Sahak said in his public speech to the Persians, let them know that its contents have never been brought to me with completeness and accuracy, and that I am not willing to fabricate one in this history."[1] Further, Britannica notes for Thucydides that “in the course of his narrative (except for the pestilence of 430 and his command in 424) he never gives his [source] for a statement. He does not say which of the speeches he actually heard, which of the other campaigns he took part in, what places he visited, or what persons he consulted”.[13] The difference between this and Khorenatsi will become immediately apparent as you read Khorenatsi’s work, where you will regularly encounter sources being cited and discussed.


THE HISTORY OF THE ARMENIANS

IN THREE PARTS

RECOUNTED BY

MOVSES KHORENATSI

AT THE REQUEST OF SAHAK BAGRATUNI

[In the original, the table of contents follows this heading, which is unnecessary to duplicate here due to Wikibooks' formatting]

Book 1: Genealogy of the Great Houses of Armenia

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Chapter 1: Replying to Sahak's letter promising to execute his request

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From Movses Khorenatsi to Sahak Bagratuni, I bid you greetings at the beginning of this history of our people.

It gladdens me to meet your Excellency’s request, and that you would make such a noble request speaks to the work of the divine grace of the Holy Ghost upon your understanding. Thus I praise you, and I pray that so praiseworthy you remain.

It is said that we are the image of God by virtue of our intellect. And so, with this virtuous intellectual venture, you show your godliness. I say that the Mind that has created all minds rejoices at your being driven in this goal of creating a history of our people by passionate, and yet tempered, enthusiasm.

This is especially to your credit since the Nobles and the royalty who came before us – even those in our own lifetime – never patronized the creation of a history of the nation. Not from the wise men under them, not from the wise men around them. So you prove yourself to be greater than all of them, truly worthy of the highest praise etched in this record of your own creation.

So, gladly receiving your request to compose this first history of our nation, I will endeavor to complete it as a monument for you for your family in the future. For your family line stretches far back into the ancient past, and has been prolific in deeds both wise and brave. We will see these as I trace the genealogies from father to son in the course of this history. Indeed, I will record briefly but accurately the history of all of the Armenian noble families, since these are recorded in the histories of the Greeks.

Chapter 2: If you want to know why I want to show these things about us from Greek sources even though Babylonian1 and Assyrian writings discuss us more often

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One should not be surprised by this. It is true that many nations, especially the Persians and the Babylonians, have produced works of history which include accounts of events in Armenia. But I just mentioned only the Greeks for a good reason. The Greek kings were diligent in creating and maintaining scholarly works of their own and of other nations. Like Ptolemy Philadelphius, who took great pains to have the books of all nations translated into Greek.Footnote 2

(And before anyone says that I'm some ignoramus because I just used someone who was king of Egypt as an example for kings of Greece, I’m well aware that he was king of Egypt. But after his conquests in Greece he was hailed as the king of Alexandria and the king of the Greeks, something that none of the other rulers of Egypt, not even any of the other Ptolemies, was ever called. And it was because of how Greek he was that he collected those aforementioned literary works in Greek. There are plenty of other reasons like these that I’ve called him a king of the Greeks, but to keep things brief let's move on.)

Getting back to the Greek sources, acclaimed Greek scholars translated the royal and temple archives of other nations into Greek, like we find with the Babylonian scholar Berossus. Not only those, but they found the greatest works of the nations and translated them into Greek: whether it was astronomy from the Babylonians, geometry from the Egyptians, mathematics from the Phoenicians, or music from the Thracians.Footnote 3 These are not anonymous works, we know the names of those who collected and translated the works and dedicated them to the glory of Greece. They should be praised for their wisdom in seeking, receiving, and honoring the wise works of others. Because of this, I would not hesitate to call Greece the mother and the nurse of learning.

So this is why I consider the information reported by Greek historians to be so useful for this history.

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Footnote 1: Or "Chaldean". Throughout this translation, the word rendered "Babylonian" can generally also be rendered "Chaldean", including throughout this chapter.

Footnote 2: Thus creating the famed Library of Alexandria

Footnote 3: The meaning of this sentence is uncertain. In the original it reads "whether it was A from the K, T from the P, K from the P, or SH from the T".

Chapter 3: The unintellectual ways of our former kings and lords

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I don't want to leave the unscholarly habits of our own ancestors without condemnation. No, here at the very beginning of this work I am going to rebuke them, and I'll tell you why.

The praiseworthy kings are those who recorded the deeds that make them worthy of praise, writing of these deeds and their decrees in histories and inscriptions. The writers of these deeds in books of history and compilers of these deeds in archives should be remembered as being engaged in similarly glorious acts. Through these records, we learn about the course of history and about the state of civilization. We learn these when we consult the wise records and writings of the Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Greeks. We aspire to the wisdom of the men who undertook these valiant efforts.

But it's obvious to everyone that, unlike them, our ancestors and kings were negligent and apathetic towards scholarship and intellectual life. Though we may be a small and often conquered nation, our history contains many valiant deeds worthy of record. Yet not a single one of them bothered to have any of these preserved in writing. That's hardly a surprise though, seeing as even self-interest failed to get them to make the effort to record their own legacies.

Now some might say that it isn't their fault because the Armenian alphabet hadn’t yet been introduced, or the lack of Armenian literature at the time, or because they were preoccupied with continuous wars that didn’t give them the chance. These excuses fail, however, since there were plenty of times of peace between wars, and the Persian and Greek scripts were used to write plenty of records: property records at the town, provincial, and family level, legal records and commercial transactions, and especially records of the inheritances of the noble families. All of these are stored and in use in the archives to this day. But just like today, the Armenians of the past apparently had no interest in scholarship or in songs of wisdom.

But let's say no more about those illiterate lazy barbarians of the past. I am amazed at how fertile your mind is, Sahak. From the beginning of our nation up until the present, you alone have decided to undertake the important work of having a complete history of our people written. And not a terse little summary either – a long and reliable work that provides complete details about our kings and noble families: their genealogies, what deeds they’ve done, which are native Armenian and which descend from immigrants; to record in writing the history of our country from the beginning of nations at Babel until the present.

I am delighted that you have commissioned me to create this glorious tribute. But like Job, I must say: is there a book before me? If only the Armenians had produced works that provide an inerrant history of their history from the very beginning like the Hebrews have! If only it was possible for me to start from the present and work backwards, instead of beginning with the difficult task of starting out with that hardest part, our most very ancient history. I hope someone appreciates the work I put into this.

As a Christian, I'm not going to bother repeating Pagan babble about the ancient past. I will only do so when it comes to certain times where they and the scriptures are in concord; and when the only sources available are Pagan stories I will only use the reliable portions of them.

Chapter 4: About the lack of agreement on Adam and other patriarchs by historians

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Starting from Adam, the base of all humanity (though he was more like the peak when you think about it), and the very most ancient times, we should examine why Pagan historians such as Berossus, Polyhistor, and Abydenus all contradict each other and disagree with scripture when it comes to the beginnings of humanity. Whether it’s the Ark and its builder, humanity's other ancestors, or the very origins of the human race, they say a bunch of clearly unreliable nonsense.

Abydenus for example writes that for Noah "the all-concerned divine designated him as the shepherd and captain of the people", and later he says “Atrahasis [I.E. Noah] reigned for ten shars”, which is thrity-six thousand years. These historians call Noah by multiple different names and say that he lived for unfathomable amounts of time, though they and scripture are all in agreement on the Flood and its destruction of the world. They also agree with each other and with scripture that the number of patriarchs prior to the Flood was ten, including "Xisutra" (yet another name for Noah).

Their various chronologies of the ancient past cannot be reconciled. They measure the years differently than we do, and their methods differs either from our or the Bible's solar year or the Egyptian lunar year. Their vast spans of time can't be made to line up even if you count months as "years"; the counts still wind up with significant differences.

It might be best if I just write down what each of them gives, but I'll cut to the chase and give the accurate chronology.

Adam was the first man. When he was two-hundred and thirty years old, he had Seth.
When Seth was two-hundred and five, he had Enosh. Josephus reports that he can be credited with two monuments inscribed with prophecies, but these are now lost.
Genesis says that Enosh was the first of the patriarchs to call on the name of God with hope. Let’s take a moment to take a look at what this means. Afterall, Adam was directly created by God, and God directly spoke to him both when He commanded him and when He castigated him for breaking His command. Abel was close to God as well, sacrificing to Him and having his sacrifice accepted. So what does it mean when it says that Enosh was the first to call on God?
There are a variety of opinions on this, so let me give you mine. Evil got to the first man and so he was kicked out of Eden and cast away from God. Then the son of his that was closest to God was murdered by his own brother. After this God took no further direct actions and did not provide any revelations, and the human race fell into a dejected state of wickedness and doubt. But where those of his time had wickedness and doubt, Enosh had righteousness and hope.Footnote 1
Afterall, when it says he was the first to “call” on the name of the Lord, this can be interpreted in two ways. Either as him being the first to use God’s name after it had been forgotten, or the first to call upon God for help. It can’t be that God’s name had been forgotten since there hadn’t been enough time for this; Adam himself who was directly created by God was still alive. So it’s referring to how Enosh would call upon God to help him.

When Enosh was 190 he had Kenan. When Kenan was 170 he had Mahalalel. When Mahalalel was 165 he had Jared. When Jared was 162 he had Enoch.
When Enoch was 165 he had Methuselah. After he had Methuselah he a pleasing life for two hundred more years. He was then taken away from the wicked by One whom pleasant lives please. We’ll look at why in a little bit.
When Methuselah was 165 he had Lamech. When Lamech was 188 he had Noah.

A NOTE ABOUT NOAH

Now Scripture here breaks from the pattern of the earlier genealogy. Instead of just saying “so-and-so begat so-and-so”, it says Lamech “had a son”, and that Lamech called this son Noah. I believe it does this to highlight the prediction Lamech made about this son, and the irony of its fulfillment.

When Noah was born, Lamech made what turned out to be a rather ironic prediction. Lamech said of his new son that “he will give us rest from our work, and relieve us from the sorrow of our hands, caused by the ground which God has cursed”.

Which, there would be no rest, but at one time annihilation over the earth. Here's my opinion: to "rest" means to stop, and what was stopped was the wickedness and evil of the diabolical vile men of the second age. He quite finely put it: "from our work", which was injustice, "and from the sorrow of our hands", with which we do filth.

But yet a small numberNote 2 would rest truly in accordance with the prophecy: not all men, but instead those souls of perfect virtue, when those mad with evil in Noah's time were, all in the same manner, deleted clean by a torrent.Footnote 3

So scripture uniquely honors Noah with the title of "son" in this genealogy, a worthy and noteworthy heir to the values his righteous ancestors held.

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Footnote 1: I believe that if Khorenatsi were writing in modern English he might render the thought expressed here as “So when the world first fell into disbelief, Enosh was the first to contrast disbelief with faith; and in the first age that saw despair, Enosh was the first to contrast it with hope. The true hope, hope in God.”

Footnote 2: The meaning of the single Classical Armenian word rendered here as "a small number" is uncertain

Footnote 3: Were Khorenatsi writing this in modern English, I believe he might have written this as “This rest from their works came alright – but this rest was no sweet vacation, it was eternal slumber. ‘Rest’, after all, in my reading means to stop doing something, and the people of this time sure stopped their wicked work and the debased labor of their hands when all of it was destroyed by the Flood.

It’s like a river. The righteous like Noah get real rest floating gently down it in their boat, while the evil are washed away and get their ‘rest’ in their watery grave.”

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No one would deny that investigating extremely ancient times is a challenge. That goes double for teasing out the lineages of Noah’s sons. Particularly because Scripture singles out one specific nation to give a detailed genealogy of, the others being deemed unworthy of inclusion.

We’ll begin with what Scripture says, as far as it can take us. Then we’ll examine what we’ve found to be reliable along these lines in the ancient tales, to include on my part only what is fully accurate.

So let’s be impressed together at how well the genealogies of Abraham, Ninus, and Aram line up. It’s actually pretty neat.

According to Scripture, Shem was one hundred years old when he had Arphaxad, who was born two years after the Flood.

Shem’s Descendants

Shem had Arphaxad when he was 100.
Arphaxad had Cainan when he was 135.
Cainan had Shelah when he was 120.
Shelah had Eber when he was 130.
Eber had Peleg when he was 134.
Peleg had Reu when he was 133.
Reu had Serug when he was 130.
Serug had Nahor when he was 130.
Nahor had Terah when he was 79.
Terah had Abraham when he was 70.

Ham’s Descendants

Ham was the father of Cush.
Cush was the father of Mizraim.
Mizraim was the father of Nimrod.
Nimrod was the father of Bab.
Bab was the father of Anebis.
Anebis was the father of Arbel.
Arbel was the father of Khayal.
Khayal was the father of Arbel II.
Arbel II was the father of Ninus.
Ninus was the father of Ninyas.

Japheth’s Descendants

Japheth was the father of Gomer.
Gomer was the father of Tiras.
Tiras was the father of Togarmah.
Togarmah was the father of Hayk.
Hayk was the father of Aramaneak.
Aramaneak was the father of Aramais.
Aramais was the father of Amasya.
Amasya was the father of Gelam.
Gelam was the father of Harma.
Harma was the father of Aram.
Aram was the father of Ara the Handsome.

In Shem’s line, all the historical sources put Cainan as the fourth from Noah and third from Shem. Same with Tiras in Japheth’s line: they have him the fourth from Noah and third from Japheth, though he isn’t listed in the Armenian translation of the Biblical text here.
Similarly, Mizraim isn’t listed fourth from Noah or third from Ham in our Armenian translation of the Biblical text or most of the genealogies elsewhere. Instead, my source for that is a well-researched Syrian source which is quite reliable.Footnote 1 Afterall, Mizraim was the founder of the Egyptian nation. Many historical sources report that Nimrod, also known as Bel, was an EthiopianFootnote 2 so this appears to be correct given that Ethiopia and Egypt are bordering lands.

The years of the life of Ham and his descendants weren’t recorded — or, at least, such records didn’t make their way down to us. Neither is there an accurate record of how long Ninus or Japheth lived. Their genealogies here are reliable however. Each of the three have eleven generations up to the time of Abraham, Ninus, and our own Aram.
Ara was twelfth after Ninus and died young. Let no one doubt this since Abydenus, a reliable source in many ways, reports that Ninus was the son of Arbel, son of Khayal, son of Arbel, son of Anebis, son of Bab, son of Bel. Abydenus also gives the genealogy of our own Armenian people from Hayk to Ara the Handsome, who got killed because of Semiramis’ infatuation with him. Abydenus reports: “Ara the Handsome was the son of Aram, the son of Harma, the son of Gelam, the son of Amasya, the son of Aramais, the son of Aramaneak, the son of Hayk. Hayk was the enemy and the killer of Bel.” Abydenus reports this in the section of his work on genealogies.

Some, however, were none too happy about what Abydenus’ work said about who descends from who, and so they sought to suppress that section of his work. The historian Cephalion gives testimony to this sort of practice, saying that “At the beginning of our work, we began writing in detail all of the genealogies from the royal archives. But the kings commanded us to omit all of the nobodies and the scoundrels and only record their brave, wise, and regal ancestors. ‘Don’t waste your time on those others!’, they told me.” He says additional similar stuff.

Anyway, if you ask me, those who say Ninus was Bel’s son or even Bel himself are dead wrong, totally off from the truth. Neither the genealogy nor the chronology fits with this. If you ask me, it seems like someone tried to make the distant ancestors seem more recent in order to make it look like they themselves were more closely related to the great ancestors of the past, thus increasing their own prestige.

This information comes from the Greeks. (Now, yes, I know the Mesopotamians wrote much of this, and did plenty of translating of their own which was sometimes even state-sponsored — such as with Arius and others like him. But the texts come down to us in Greek preserved by Greeks so I said it was learned from the Greeks.)

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Footnote 1: Note Movses’ attention to potential textual alteration or corruption. He is aware of it and watchful for it, and judges judiciously among his sources, even biblical text.

Footnote 2: That is, a Cushite. Which Nimrod was as a descendant of Cush.

Chapter 6: How some historical sources agree and some disagree with the ancient genealogies in the previous chapter. Also a discussion on the ancient oral traditions of the philosopher1 Olympiodorus

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I've given the genealogies of Noah's sons down to Abraham, Ninus, and Aram by compiling, to the best of my ability, what is reliable from many sources. I don't think any thinking person will object to this, except for someone who wants to distort the genealogies because they prefer some legend or another over the truth.

Whatever, people like that can go for it if that’s what they want. But I know that you, my patron Sahak Bagratuni, are a lover of science. I know you are grateful to me for my vigilance against errors and efforts to find truth. So I will give a brief overview of what alternate accounts some ancient sources give concerning what I narrated in the previous chapter, but bear in mind that I cannot say whether these sources are getting their information from royal archives or whether they’re just making things up and giving whatever names and dates they felt like.

They have a warped view of the matter, getting some things right and other things wrong. They mistake the first man with the first king and give him a bizarre name and say he had thirty-six thousand years. However as to the number of generations, and the occurrence of a global flood, they agree with my account here. They also describe three great men from before the Tower of Babel fell but after Noah’s ark landed in Armenia. However their accounts are warped in many ways, with the names and other aspects of the actual history changed.

I’ll begin with what’s reported by Berossus Sibyl of.Footnote 2 I’m a fan of their’s, they are more reliable than most other historians. They wrote that before the tower, and before the human race began speaking multiple languages, and after Xisutra’s voyage to Armenia, the rulers of the earth were Zurvan, Titan, and Japetus. These seem to be Shem, Ham, and Japheth to me.

They continue, saying those had divided the world between them, but Zurvan elevated himself above the other two.
Note that it was Zurvan who Zoroaster the magus, king of Bactria and the Medes, later called the creator and the father of the gods. He composed a bunch of other tales about him, but that’s not what we’re looking at right now.

They say further when Zurvan seized power, he was planning on putting his sons in power. Titan and Japetus went to war with him. As the war went on, Titan’s forces conquered some of the territory that had been Zurvan’s. During Titan’s offensive, Zurvan, Titan, and Japetus’ sister Ishtar brokered a peace. They agreed that Zurvan would be emperor, but that all of his male children would be killed so that his descendants couldn’t forever rule over their own. So some of Titan’s men were assigned to guard Zurvan’s wives, monitoring them as they gave birth and killing the children if they were males. After two of Zurvan’s newborn sons were killed under this arrangement, Zurvan, Titan, and Japetus’ sister Ishtar and Zurvan’s wives convinced some of Titan’s men to let the other children live and send them to a mountain called Mt. Outcast, now called Mt. Olympus.

Some might consider all of that to just be a bunch of legends, but I think there’s a lot of truth to it. In the section of his work Panarion where he is arguing that God’s judgements are righteous and just, while addressing Israel’s destruction of the nations in Canaan, Epiphanius of Salamis (bishop of Constantia in Cyprus) discusses the history of the matter. He reports that when the lands were initially divided up between Noah’s sons, the region of Palestine was assigned to the descendants of Shem. But then the descendants of Ham attacked and conquered the area. So he says that this reconquest by the Israelites, as descendants of Shem, was preserving the rights of the Semites and restoring their land. It’s worth noting a potential association between these and the Nephilim and Rephaite peoples that the Bible mentions.

We should also take a quick look at relevant oral traditions on these matters. These were written by several Greek sources as they had been told by their wise men, such as Gorgias, Banan, and David. A philosopher of this group wrote as follows: “Listen to what I’ve learned, elders. While I was studying philosophy in Greece, the wise men discussed geography and how the land was divided between the various peoples. There were various written accounts which were interpreted in various ways by various people. But the wisest, Olympiodorus, said ‘Listen to the oral traditions that are still told in the villages today. They tell tales of a lost book of Xistura and his sons. They say that this book told of how Xisutra in his ship landed upon dry land in Armenia. After this his son Shem began exploring to the northwest. There he came to a small plain near a wide mountain that contained a river running towards the land of Assyria. He stayed in this area for a couple of months and named the mountain Mt. Shem. After this Shem moved on, but the clan of one of his youngest sons - Tarban, with thirty sons and fifteen married daughters – decided to split off and settle there. So Shem named the area Taron and the settlement Tsronk because that is where his crowd first began to shrunk.’ “ It’s also said that he spent some time on the borders of Bactria and one of his sons settled there as well. In the east Shem is known as Zurvan, and that area is known as Zaruand to this day.

Ancient Armenian songs say much the same. Now I’m not saying all of this is necessarily true or false, but in this book I intend to be thorough and review all of the relevant sources on the matter, both oral and written without picking and choosing. That way you can have complete information on the subject, and you can tell that I am not being dishonest.

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Footnote 1: If Khorenatsi were writing in modern English, I believe he may have referred to Olympiodorus more specifically as a folklorist.

Footnote 2: This phrase is interpreted in different ways. Some take it as Khorenatsi referring to Berossus himself, so something like “Berossus, he of the Sibyl”. Soultanian[12]:95 argues that Khorenatsi is here referring to Berossus’ daughter. As Classical Armenian is a genderless language, the rest of the text reveals no clues as to which Khorenatsi has in mind. I have translated references to this source in gender-neutral terms and the reader may decide their own thoughts on the matter. So keep in mind that “they” in regards to this source is singular and not plural.
Either way this reflects well on him: Khorenatsi either shows that he chooses top-notch sources here by going to Berossus or he shows how open-minded he is by praising the writing of a female historical source so highly.

Chapter 7: A discussion of how the person known as Bel in non-Christian sources is Nimrod from the Bible

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Bel was a contemporary of Hayk, ancestor of the Armenians. A lot of different sources say a lot of different things about him, but I believe that Bel and KronosFootnote 1 are Nimrod.
The Egyptians agree with the geneaology that Moses wrote, their version runs:
Hephaestus, Sol, KronosFootnote 2.
Which is Ham, Cush, Nimrod; Mizraim is left out.

The Egyptians say that the first man was Hephaestus, who was also the one who first contrived fire.Footnote 3 (Much like the story of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and giving it to mankind this is allegorical, but that’s not really relevant to our history here.)

The order and chronology of the Egyptian genealogy from Hephaestus to the dynasty of the HyksosFootnote 4 fits with the Hebrew account of the time from Shem, Hem, and Japheth to Joseph. But enough about that. There isn’t time in life to make a history of everything. If I were to try to give the full history from these times until now, how could I ever give you the detailed history of Armenia you’re wanting? So let’s start to look at the sources for and the course of our own history.

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Footnote 1: Also known as Saturn

Footnote 2: Khorenatsi appears here to have in mind what we would refer to as the Memphite Theology. We can tell Movses Khorenatsi really did have a good source on this as what he reports here was verified by the discovery of the Shabako Stone.[15] The myth recorded on the stone credits the creation of the world to Ptah[16], the Egyptian craftman god[17], who Khorenatsi here refers to using the Greek equivalent of Hephaestus (a practice known as interpretatio graeca where foreign gods are discussed using the more familiar name of their Greek counterparts). Then Atum, who Britannica describes as " one of the manifestations of the sun"[18] and hence called here "Sun", was made by Ptah (as Ptah-nun).[19] The full text can be read here. One might also render "Sol" there as "Sun" or "Helios", the word used is the word for the orb of the sun.

Footnote 3: A similar but subtly different valid rendering would be "The Egyptians say that Hephaestus was their first man and the one who introduced fire." It can be read as saying Hephaestus was either the very first man or the first of their men, i.e. the first Egyptian. As for what specifically he did with fire, the word used refers to invention.

Footnote 4: Literally "the shepherds". The Egyptian historian Manetho, as quoted by the historian Josephus in his work Against Apion, Book 1, chapter 14, wrote: “This whole nation was styled Hycsos, that is, Shepherd...These people, whom we have before named Kings, and called shepherds also, and their descendants...kept possession of Egypt five hundred and eleven years”.[20]

Chapter 8: Who found such accounts and where they found them

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It is said that the great Arsaces, an ethnic Parthian who was king of the Persians and the Parthians, gained independence from the Macedonians. Reigning the East and ruling Assyria, Arsaces brought death to Antiochus ruler of Mesopotamia and ruled a vast empire.

Arsaces made a move to secure his rule by appointing his brother Valarshak king of Armenia. Nisibis was declared Valarshak’s capital city and his domain encompassed the lands of western Syria, Palestine, Asia Minor, and Tetalia, and the lands between the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, including Atropatene. Arsaces told Valarshak he had permission to to take additional lands “as far as your courage and cleverness can take you. The borders of the brave are drawn by their sword!”

Once Valarshak had gotten things up and running, he wanted to learn more about the past kings of his new lands. Had he inherited the proud throne of warrior-kings or the easychair of a sorry series of softies? He found a certain AssyrianFootnote 1 named Mar Abas Catina, an intelligent man who was well-versed in Chaldean and Greek literature.

Valarshak sent Mar Abas Catina to his brother, asking Arsaces to grant him access to the royal archives. Valarshak also sent along with him gifts and a letter, which read as follows:

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Footnote 1: Or perhaps "Syrian". Broadly speaking, in ancient times the distinction between Syrian and Assyrian, Syria and Assyria that we may at times draw today was not drawn. Bear this in mind whenever either term is encountered in this translation.

Chapter 9: The letter of Valarshak, king of Armenia, to his brother the great Arsaces, king of Persia

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“Dear Arshak, king of earth and water. Dear one who talks the talk and walks the walk of one of the gods. Dear king with success and brilliance above that of other kings as much as the sky is above the earth. Your younger brother, your brother-in-arms, the one you made king of Armenia, Valarshak wishes you forever victorious!

I haven’t forgotten what you said about cultivating courage and wisdom. As far as my mind is able I’ve been striving to follow your advice. Now that I’ve secured my rule here in this land under your mentorship, I’ve begun a project to discover who ruled Armenia before me and why exactly it came to be divided into these particular provinces. This place is a mess! I have no idea who outranks who or what we’re supposed to be doing in the temples.

So please, Your Majesty, allow the bearer of this letter access to your royal archives. That way he can quickly find the information your little brother needs. This would really help me out and I know that if I’m happy, you’re happy.

May Your Divine Majesty prosper.”

Mar Abas Catina presented this letter to the great Arsaces, who was happy to grant him access to the archive in Nineveh, and very pleased that his brother (who he had entrusted with half the empire) was giving thought to such matters.

Mar Abas Catina examined the writings in the archive and found one written in Greek which contained the following introduction:

THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOKFootnote 1

“The book of the authentic ancestral and ancient history. Translated from Chaldean to Greek by the order of Alexander.” Mar Abas Catina reports that the book goes on to discuss Zurvan, Titan, and Japetus and their dynasties, each son having a long rule after his father.

Mar Abas Catina extracted only the reliable history of our people from this work and presented the history in both a Greek and Syriac version to King Valarshak in Nisibis. King Valarshak was an agreeable fellow, a skilled archer, a brave man, well-spoken, and intelligent. He considered this work of history to be his prized possession, and ordered it to be stored carefully and part of it inscribed in stone. From this I obtain certain supportFootnote 2 for the order of my narrative for your spirit of questioning; this source provides a narrative of the line of our native Armenian rulers, beginning with those who began to rule at the time of Sardanapalus the Chaldean and extending from there.

It begins by sayingFootnote 3:

The first gods were ones to inspire awe and fear, and bringers of the world’s great blessings. It was they who formed the earth and first populated it with people. The race of Gigantes split off, enormous in size and strength. In their pride they spawned the unholy plan to build the Tower. They were working on constructing the Tower when the gods, angered by their plan, sent a great storm which toppled the Tower, and the gods plunged mankind into confusion by implanting them with mutually unintelligible languages. One of these was Hayk, a descendant of Japetus, a renowned leader and a great archer.

I’ll stop there for now since at the moment I’m just showing who the earliest founders of Armenia were rather than attempting to write their biographies. Mar Abas Catina’s work gives the family line as Japetus, Merod, Sirat, and Taklad – i.e. Japheth, Gomer, Tiras, and Togarmah. The historian goes on to report that the lineage continues to Hayk, Aramaneak, and the others we looked at earlier, in the same order.

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Footnote 1: Note that this does not necessarily refer to what we in physical terms would call a “book” today, with bound sheets and pages, which is more specifically known as a codex. It could also refer to scrolls and other physical forms of document. Much like how the documents referred to as the Books of Moses were (and still are) often in the physical form of scrolls.

Footnote 2: The word translated “support” here is literally “second”, like we might say “I second that” or “he seconds what I’m saying”.

Footnote 3: Literally “with words like these”.

Chapter 10: Hayk's rebellion

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Mar Abas Catina reports that Hayk was agreeable in both appearance and personality, with thickly muscled arms, famously brave among the Gigantes and an enemy of those who sought to become emperor of all others. During the time humanity was spreading across the land among the unwise but mighty Gigantes, Bel had been able to seize power since it had turned into a time of chaos and conquest, with everyone having drawn their sword against their neighbor.

Hayk however was unwilling to obey him, and boldly rose against the tyrant Bel. Hayk had been living in Babylon, and his son Aramaneak had been born there. He went to Ararat, which is in the north. He went with and his sons and daughters and the sons of his sons, fighting men numbering three hundred. He also brought his servants, non-relatives who had joined him, and everyone’s belongings. They made their base on a plain at the foot of a mountain. Some people had already scattered to there previously, and Hayk conquered them. Hayk had a residence built there and gave it to Kadmea, Aramaneak’s son.Footnote 1 It’s worth noting that this part of Mar Abas Catina’s report verifies those ancient oral traditions discussed earlier.

Mar Abas Catina continues, reporting that Hayk himself and the rest went northwest from there. They settled in a highland and named it Hark, where the ancestors of Torgom’s clan settled. He also built a village and named it Haykashen after himself. Mar Abas Catina also reports that there were some who had already settled in the south of the region who willingly chose to accept Hayk’s rule, which also further verifies the oral traditions we looked at earlier.

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Footnote 1: His name is also rendered in English as "Kadmos". For archaeological evidence of the existence of Kadmea, the paper here says that Kadmea’s name "is the eponym of the ancient country of Kadmuhi/Katmuhu, in the north of present day mountains Ṭur-Abdin, known from the cuneiform sources of the 2nd-1st millennia BC...According to Assyrian data, the mountain of Corduena (Nibur / Nipur in Assyrian) was situated at the eastern border of this country".[21]; It is remarkable how much of what Khorenatsi reports about these extremely ancient times are supported by such ancient sources.

Chapter 11: The conflict and killing of Bel

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Mar Abas Catina continues, saying that Bel, having become the ruler of all peoples, sent one of his sons along with some of his loyal men as messengers to Hayk in the north to secure his obedience and peace. They brought the message: "You have gone to a cold land. Come, warm your proud heart to me, obey me and you may dwell in my land wherever you wish." Hayk flatly refused and dismissed Bel's messengers, who went from there to Babylon.

In response, Bel of the Titans gathered an army to make war on Hayk. They marched north to the land of Ararat, in the vicinity of Kadmea's residence. Kadmea fled to Hayk, sending runners ahead of him. The message delivered to Hayk was: "Great hero! Bel is coming with warriors of undying bravery and sky-high stature. Between that and how close he was to my house, I was alarmed and ran. Decide what you're going to do, quick!"

Relying on their strength of body and heart, Bel's large and mighty army stormed towards Hayk's land. There Hayk was gathering this sons and grandsons, brave men and skilled archers – though few in number – and the rest of his force. They went to a salt lake inhabited by small fish, where Hayk gave them the battle plan: 'When we face Bel's army, try to get at Bel himself, who will be surrounded by his crowd of warriors. Either we will die and all that we have will fall to Bel, or by our skill with our weapons we will scatter his horde and be victorious."

They advanced a long way and came to a flat area between very high mountains, with a stream to their right. They saw the bulk of Bel’s forces going about impetuously like a cocksure reckless crowd without being in any formation. Bel himself was standing silent and motionless like a watchtower, surrounded by a group of warriors. There was a large gap between the main body of troops and another far in advance of them, and Hayk recognized this as Bel’s select detachment of soldiers that accompanied him.
Bel wore an iron crown with distinct plumes, cupriferousFootnote 1 armor plates on his chest and back, and his arms and legs were armored as well. His armor was secured with a belt at his waist. On his left he had a two-edged sword, and in his right hand he had an extremely large spear, and at both the left and the right he had his select soldiers.

Seeing the well-equipped Titan with his select troops, Hayk assigned Aramaneak and two of his brothers to the right and Kadmea with two of Hayk's sons to the left. He arranged them this way because they were master archers and swordsmen. Hayk himself stood at the front and had the rest of the army behind in a wedge formation, and thus arranged they steadily advanced.

The Gigantes on each side crashed together, the fierceness of the mêlée causing mutual terror on both sides. Powerful men from each army were meeting the edge of the sword and falling. Neither side was giving way.

The Titan king was shocked by the unexpectedly uncertain situation. He had an idea for a way to strengthen his crowd and began to go back up the hill. He thought this would be a strong position to hold fast until the rest of his troops arrived, at which point they would battle anew.

Hayk became aware of this and moved forward towards the hill. He was a skilled archer and drew his bow fully, aiming at Bel's armor plates. The arrow, which had been triple-fletched, went straight through Bel into the ground, killing the Titan king who fell to the ground and breathed his last. Bel's army saw this and routed.

Let's move on from the battle. Following this, Hayk built a settlement on the battleground and in honor of his victory named it Haykh, now known as Hayots-Dzor. Hayk named the hill where Bel and his brave warriors fell Their Tombs Hill, now known as Graveyard Hill.

Mar Abas Catina reports that Hayk embalmed Bel's corpse and buried it in a high place, his wives and sons seeing it.
Our nation is called Hays after our ancestor Hayk.

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Footnote 1: The word used here can refer to either copper or bronze.

Chapter 12: Who’s who among Hayk’s descendants

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After this Mar Abas Catina relates a great many other things, but let’s focus on the information he presents that’s relevant to this particular work.

He reports that Hayk returned home and gave much of the loot gained from the battle to Kadmea, and also those close to him. He instructed Kadmea to go back to his home too and Hayk returned to live in Hark.

Hayk lived years after this. After he died, Aramaneak, who had been born in Babylon as discussed earlier, was his successor and ruled the nation.

Aramaneak migrated and left his brothers Khor and Manawaz, and Manawaz’s son Baz, and their clans to remain in Hark. Manawaz would inherit Hark and his son Baz would inherit the northwest coastal area of the salt lake and name the coastal area and the lake after himself. Some say that these are the ancestors of the Manawazean, Orduni, and Bznuneans who, as told, warred and destroyed each other after the time of St. Tiridates.
Khor’s clan grew in the northern part of the region and he developed the area. The Khorkhoruni clan are said to be his descendants. They were, and still to this day are, courageous and illustrious.

Arameneak and his crowd went to the northeast. They went down into a deep valley, surrounded by the high peaks of tall mountains, a river running through from the west. And the eastern field stretched to the horizon. At the foot of the mountains were many clear springs, their streams of water coming together to form gentle rivers. On the hillsides and on the border of the field they flowed like young men dancing to court young maidens. Contrasting with these energetic young men was the old man of a mountain to the south, his white head of a peak steeply rising and shining in the sun. As one of our countrymen put it, it would take a man with a tight belt three days to walk around that old man.
Here in this deep plain dwelt Aramaneak. He developed the land in its northern sector and developed the northern slope of the mountain. He gave them names similar to his own: he called the mountain Mt. Aragats, and the land before it The Foot of Aragats.

Mar Abas Catina reports something quite amazing: these were not in fact the first to settle Armenia, there were already a few scattered people dwelling here before our primary ancestor Hayk.

Several years later Aramaneak fathered his son Aramais. Living many more years after this, Aramaneak died.
His son Aramais built his home on a hill by the riverbank. He named the settlement Armavir after himself, and named the river Eraskh after his grandson Erast.
Aramais’ son Shara, who had many children and was quite the gourmand, was sent with his crowd to a nearby fertile plain before the north fact of Mt. Aragats, rich with flows of water. It’s said that from his name, Shara, the place took its name, Shirak. It seems that this is where the peasants’ saying originates: “If you have Shara’s belly we don’t have Shirak’s barns”.
Aramais lived some more years and had his son Amasya, and after having lived for some years after that he died.

Amasya settled in Armavir, and after a few years he had his son Gelam, and after him, the brave Parokh and Tsolak. After the birth of his children, he crossed the river and went south, towards the mountain. There he built two grand dwellingplaces. One was to the east near the springs that come from the foot of the mountain, and the other was half a long day’s walk to the west of it. He gave these as inheritances to the brave Parokh and the swift Tsolak. They lived there and named them after themselves: Parokh’s dwellingplace was called Parokhot, and Tsolak’s dwellingplace was called Tsolakert. Amasya named the mountain Mt. Masis after himself, and he himself resided in Armavir. He lived there some years, and then died.

After years passedFootnote 1 Gelam had Harma in Armavir. Gelam left Harma in Armavir with his other sons and he himself went northeast and settled at a mountain on the shore of a lake, building villages there. He named the mountain Mt. Gel after himself and the villages Gelarkuni, which is also what the lake is called. Here Gelam had his son Sisak, a good-looking and dignified man, a skilled archer and an eloquent speaker. Sisak received a large inheritance from Gelam: most of Gelam’s material possessions, a great many servants, and land from the lake to the east until the great plain where the river Eraskh, flowing through mountain rocks, turns into a loud waterfall.
Sisak lived there and developed the land, engaging in extensive construction projects. Sisak named it Siwnik after himself – the Persians call it something closer to his name, Sisakan.
Later, Valarshak, the first Parthian king of Armenia, found renowned men there among Sisak’s descendants and made them lords of the land. Valarshak’s course of action here standing verified by history; we’ll look this in greater detail in due course.

Gelam returned to the plain and founded a settlement in a secure valley near the foot of Mt. Gel. He named it Gelami after himself, though it would later be called Garni after his grandson Garnik. Among his descendants were, in the time of Valarshak’s grandson Arsaces, Varazh. As a young man Varazh was a skilled hunter of wild deer, goats, and boar, never missing his mark with his arrows. Arsaces made him Royal Master of the Hunt and placed him over villages on a river called the Hrazdan. He is said to be the ancestor of the Varahuni Noble house.
Gelam, as mentioned previously, after a number of years became the father of Harma and died some years after that. He had Harma continue to dwell in Armavir.

Such was Hayk, son of Togarmah, son of Tiras, son of Gomer, son of Japheth, ancestor of the Armenians, and such were his bloodlines, his descendants and the country where they lived. Mar Abas Catina reports that afterwards they continued to multiply and were the ones who populated the country.

Now Harma lived a number of years and then became the father of Aram. We’re told of Aram’s valiant acts in battle, and how he extended Armenia’s borders in every direction. All other nations call our nation by his name: for instance the Greeks call us “Armen” and the Persians and Syrians call us “Armenik”.

For the lengthy history of Aram’s brave enterprises, I can write a separate biography of him if you’d like, your Excellency. Otherwise I’ll just give brief coverage of his life in this particular work.

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Footnote 1: It isn’t immediately clear whether this means in a general sense that after Gelam lived some time he had Harma, or is specifically saying Gelam had Harma years after Amasya died.

Chapter 13: Aram’s war in the east, which he won, and the death of the Niwkar called Mades

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Creating this history that you commissioned, your Excellency, is a greater pleasure for me than the feasts and drinking preferred by others. As such, I’ve decided to include some brief material about the wars of Aram of the house of Hayk.

Mar Abas Catina reports that Aram was a hardworking and patriotic man, to the point that he would have preferred to die for his country rather than see it trampled by the sons of strangers and foreigners ruling over his folk.

At the time just prior to the beginning of the reign of Ninus over Assyria, Aram felt hard-pressed by the neighboring nations. Medes had been trampling the borderlands of Armenia under the hooves of their horses, raiders like the Kushans, lead by one NiwkarFootnote 1 called Mades, who Mar Abas Catina reports was a proud and warlike man. For two years they had oppressed the people there.

So from his compatriots Aram gathered a large force of courageous men – skilled archers and spearmen, youthful, healthy, agile and strong with high morale. They numbered about fifty thousand.

Aram launched a sudden night attack and destroyed the entire enemy force, capturing the Niwkar called Mades. He took him to Armavir and had him nailed by the head to the wall on top of a tower, in view of all who dwelt in the city or passed by it. Aram subjected his part of the world as far as a mountain called Zarasp to tribute, until the time of Ninus’ reign over Assyria in Nineveh.

The new king Ninus however harbored hatred in his heart over the memory of his ancestor Bel, knowing the traditions of the past concerning him. He had planned to avenge him for some years, waiting for the right moment to strike and wipe out the descendants of the brave Hayk. Yet, he also feared that this project could endanger his own dominion, and so he concealed his anger. He told Aram that Aram could rule his newly acquired territory without fear, and that he could wear a pearled crown, and gave him the right to call himself the second-highest ruler in the land. But that’s enough about that, the scope of our current work doesn’t allow us to write at great length about this matter.

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Footnote 1: The meaning of “Niwkar” is uncertain. It appears to be a foreign title of some sort.

Chapter 14: Aram's war in Assyria, which he won. Payapis Kaalea, Caesarea, and why parts of Armenia are called "First" and "Second" and so on are also discussed

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I will now briefly go over the brave deeds of Aram in the west that Mar Abas Catina reports, presenting in brief his lengthy account. I will go over his war in Assyria, its causes, and its effects.

The conflict in the east being concluded, Aram marched his same force to the Assyrian borderlands. There he faced Barsham, one of the GigantesFootnote 1, who had an army of forty thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry and was ruining the region with the supremely heavy payments he was demanding from themFootnote 2; the land was becoming deserted.
Aram faced him in battle and inflicted heavy casualties on his force, driving them through Corduene up to the Assyrian plain, Barsham himself being killed by Aram’s soldiers. The Syrians deified Barsham, because of his many brave deeds, and he would go on to be worshiped for a long time. A large part of the Assyrian plains became instead, for many years, subject to Aram’s taxes.

But I must still write of the deeds of valor that Aram performed in the west in his struggle against the Titans. Moving to the west with forty thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry of the first Footnote 3 he arrived at the place that’s today called Caesaria in Cappadocia. He had no further fear of an attack from any other direction, having subdued the areas to his east and south he placed them under the rule of two clans: the land in the east under the house of Sisak and the Syrian land in the south under the house of Kadmea.

As such Aram could remain the west for quite some time. He was opposed in battle by the Titan Payapis Kaalea, who controlled the area between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. Aram defeated Payapis Kaalea, who fled to an island in the Asian sea. Aram placed someone by the name of Mshak, one of his relatives, over the land and left him with a garrison of ten thousand troops. The inhabitants of the newly acquired land were instructed to learn and speak the Armenian language. Because of this, to this day the Greeks call it Proto-Armenia, which translated means “First Armenia”.

Governor Mshak built a town there, fortified with a low wall, and named it after himself. The locals called it Mazhak since they weren’t able to correctly pronounce its Armenian name. It would later be enlarged and called Caesaria.

Similar to what had been done with the Armenianization of the area’s language, settlers were brought in to many uninhabited areas, called Second, Third, and Fourth Armenia. That is the primary and true reason why, in the west of our country, there is a First, a Second, a Third and a Fourth Armenia. Other reasons for this given by Greek sources seem unacceptable to me; people can make up their own mind on this matter.

Thus the name of Aram became so famous due to his might that all the peoples around us, to this day, as you know, call our country by his name. He performed many other valorous acts beyond these, but let’s let what has been said so far suffice.

No one should be lead to doubt any of this because it isn’t mentioned in main royal or temple narratives. Firstly, Aram’s exploits began before the reign of Ninus, at which point no one had cared about such things, and secondly they didn’t feel the need or have the desire to record in the books of their own kings and temples the ancient narratives and old stories of foreign nations that they themselves couldn’t brag about and which wouldn’t bring them any glory.

But even though these events weren’t recorded in any main written accounts, Mar Abas Catina reports that they were gathered by unimportant and obscure men from oral accountsFootnote 4, and those were then placed in the royal archive. Mar Abas Catina gives the reason for this, which is also another reason these things weren’t mentioned in royal or temple narratives. He tells us that Ninus, being a proud and selfish man, wanted to show he himself alone as the great Founder and highlight his greatness alone. Consequently he ordered many books and records of the past which narrated the feats accomplished by great men of various places who had preceded him to be burned, canceling also annals being made in his time, such that what concerned him only would be recorded.

But that’s enough about that. After living a number of years Aram became the father of Ara, and after seeing many more years after that, he died.

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Footnote 1: It’s worth noting that the word rendered “Gigantes” in this translation is the same as the word used to translate “Nephilim” in Genesis 6:4 in the Classical Armenian translation of the Bible.

Footnote 2: That is, taxes or tribute. The Classical Armenian word used here encompasses both of these similar but subtly different methods of insisting upon payments. This should be kept in mind whenever either term is encountered in this translation, such as later on when Aram extracts this from the area as well.

Footnote 3: This beginning portion of the sentence is difficult to interpret as it isn't clear what exactly the word "first" signifies here. It could mean he now had added to his force 40,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry who had served under Barsham at first, who had defected to Aram's side and/or otherwise joined Aram after his defeat. It could be telling us that Aram used the same force as in his first war, which now has 40,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry — down from 50,000 at the beginning. Regardless there were at least 40,000 infantry and 2000 cavalry with Aram when he reached Cappadocia.

Footnote 4: More literally 'from Gusans', essentially bards. Mar Abas Catina’s source appears to have been sagas which were written down by otherwise unnoteworthy scribes. Interestingly, these being the sources for Armenia’s Aram is somewhat analogous to the situation European North Americans find themselves in with their vaguely analogous semi-founder Leif Eriksson, whose career has come down to us in the form of sagas which were written down by unknown or obscure scribes. The “unimportant and obscure men” who wrote them are likely similar to, for us, Jón Þórðarson and Magnús Þórhallsson, obscure figures about whom we know basically nothing but that they wrote the Flateyjarbók, which contains the Saga of the Greenlanders which is one of our two main sources on Leif Eriksson’s life. Scholars today who would study Leif Eriksson’s life find themselves in the same boat as Mar Abas Catina did studying Aram’s life.

Chapter 15: Ara snuffed by Semiramis

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Ara, like his father Aram, was regarded as deserving of such a favor by Ninus and took over the government of his ancestral lands a few years before Ninus died. Ara, like his father Aram, was regarded as deserving of such a favor by Ninus and took over the government of his ancestral lands a few years before Ninos died. However, Semiramis, libindinous and promiscuous, had long heard of Ara's beauty and desired to see him. However, she was unable to do so openly. After the demise of Ninus - or after he fled to Crete, as I would posit - Semiramis unreservedly strutted her passions and sent couriers to the attractive Ara with gifts and contributions, requesting with numerous pleas and the commitment of gifts that Ara come to her in Nineveh, either to wed her and rule over the entirety realm that Ninus had controlled, or to fulfill her longings and afterward return to his own territory in peace with wonderful gifts.

The ambassadors came and departed several times, but Ara refused to accept the offer. At the conclusion of these negotiations, Semiramis became extremely irate, and she took her army and quickly traveled to Armenia to fight Ara there. However, as the outcome demonstrated, her desire was not so much to kill him or drive him away as to subjugate and control him in order to achieve her goals. For in the imprudence of her extraordinary passion, at the reports about him she had become frantically enflamed as though she had seen him already.

She got to the plain of Ara, which is called Ayrarat after his name. When the battle line was drawn, she told her generals to try to keep Ara alive if possible.However, when the conflict came together, Ara's army was routed, and Semiramis' troops killed Ara in the battle.After the victory, the queen sent plunderers to the battlefield to look for her lover among the slain bodies. She instructed them to place Ara on the roof of her palace after they discovered him dead among his warriors.

When the Armenian army found its courage to fight Queen Semiramis and avenge Ara's death, she declared, "I have instructed my gods to lick his wounds, and he shall be restored to life." At the same time, she sought to resurrect Ara via the enchantment of her sorcery, driven insane by love for her heartthrob.

But as his body began to stink, she ordered that it be thrown into a large ditch and covered up. She disguised one of her lovers and said of him: "The gods licked Ara and brought him back to life, satisfying our wish and delight. As a result, as they fulfill our pleasures and fulfill our desires, they are now all the more deserving of worship and honor from us". In addition, she erected a brand-new idol in the name of demons and lavishly honored it with sacrifices in the sight of all, as if the gods' power had brought Ara back to life. She also disseminated these reports about him throughout Armenia and persuaded everyone, ending the war.

In terms of Ara, it will suffice to state the following briefly. He lived for a while and fathered Cardos.

Chapter 16: Semiramis' construction of the city, aqueduct, and her own palace after Ara's death

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Semiramis spent a considerable amount of time in the plain that is referred to as Ayrarat after Ara following these successes.Because it was summer and she wanted to enjoy the flowering plains and meadows, she ventured out into the mountainous region on the southern side of the land.

She said, seeing the beauty of the land, the purity of the air, the clarity of the flowing streams, and the murmur of the smooth rivers: "We must build a city and royal residence in such a temperate climate and purity of water and land, so that we can spend a fourth of the year's cycle, the summer season, in Armenia because of all its charms. And the remaining three cooler seasons will be spent in Nineveh."

She traveled through numerous locations before arriving at the salt lake's edge from the east. She noticed a long hill on the lake's shore that extended in the direction of the setting sun. With a cave in the vertical rock, it dipped somewhat to the north but stared up sheer to heaven to the south. From it on the south there broke out a broad plain-like meadow that descended from the mountain on the east to the lake's edge—a roomy and lovely valley through which streams of pure water flowed; they gathered in the folds at the base of the mountains and fanned out as grand rivers. To the east of the pleasant hill was a small mountain, and there were a few villages in the valley that were located to the right and left of the waters.

After careful consideration, this determined and decadent Semiramis ordered forty-two thousand skilled workers from Assyria and other lands empire-wide, and six thousand chosen from her most skilled craftsmen in working wood, stone, bronze, and iron to be brought immediately to the desired location. Everything was done as she instructed. A plethora of specialists and knowledgeable artisans were brought right away. She first gave the order to construct an infinitely long and tall stone waterwork for the river, which they say has stood firm up to the present.

I have also heard that today, men from the area hide out in the waterwork for banditry and refuge, as if they were safe on the rocky peaks of mountains. Even if someone attempted, he would be unable, no matter how hard he tried, to extract even a single stone suitable for a sling from the structure of the waterwork. The skillful mortar has the appearance of a lipidic substance melted and poured.

In this way she extended the waterwork for many stadia and brought it to the place intended for the city. There she gave the order to divide the large group of laborers into numerous groups and to set selected master craftsmen over each group. And so by focing them to work supremely hard she finished the magnificent city with strong walls and cupriferous gates in a short amount of time.

She also constructed numerous exquisite palaces with two- and three-story ceilings, each facing the sun when appropriate, and decorated with a variety of stones and colors within the city. Beautiful, wide avenues divided the city into sections.She built some charming baths for people's needs in the middle of the city with beautiful art.She diverted a portion of the river that ran through the city to meet all of the needs and to water the parks and flower gardens.To supply water to the city and its surroundings, the remainder she made ran to the right and left along the lake's edge. She adorned all of the areas east, north, and south of the city with villas and leafy trees that produced a variety of fruits and leaves. She established numerous productive vineyards there. She created an absolutely stunning and magnificent walled city and settled a large number of people there as residents.

As for the city's acropolis and the wonderful construction that was there, many tried to witness it, but none subsequently described it. Surrounded by very high walls, with almost unattainable entrances and even more difficult exits, she raised an eerie secret royal dwelling. I am unwilling to include more about this site in my history due to the lack of accurate information regarding its nature and construction. I'll just say that, according to what I've heard, this is her crowning achievement, the most majestic of all the royal works.

She carved out numerous temples, chambers, treasure houses, and expansive caverns on the sun-facing side of the rock, which is so hard that no one can scratch a line with an iron point today. No one is sure how she created such magnificent structures. She then inscribed numerous texts over the surface of the rock after smoothing it, like inscribing wax with a stylus. The mere sight of these texts will astound anyone. Additionally, she erected stelae in numerous locations throughout the country of Armenia and had memorials to herself inscribed in the same script. She also used the same writing to fix boundaries in numerous locations.

Chapter 17: Semiarmis slaying her sons, zipping from Zoroaster, and next nixed by Ninyas

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Semiramis left as her governor and prefect for Assyria and Nineveh Zoroaster, the magus and leader of the Medes, as she frequently traveled to the northern regions to her summer resort in Armenia. Having this arrangement for many years, Semiramis compeletely trusted him to exercise her power.

She killed her sons all — with the exception of the youngest, Ninyas, who was saved — because she was frequently criticized by her sons for her extremely lascivious and obscene character. She did not give a thought to her own sons as she lavished all of her wealth and power on her friends and lovers.

Her husband Ninus did not, as some claim, die and be buried by her in the Palace at Nineveh. Rather, realizing her harmful and depraved way of life, he fled to Crete and left his kingdom. However, once her sons reached maturity, they brought all of this to her attention in the hope that it would convince her to give up her diabolical desires and hand over the power and treasures to them. However, she was even more enraged at this point and slaughtered them all. As previously stated, only Ninyas remained.

Then, when Zoroaster misbehaved toward the queen and conflict erupted between them, Semiramis instigated war against him because the Mede intended to seize all power. At the height of the conflict, Semiramis escaped Zoroaster and went to Armenia. Ninyas took advantage of the opportunity to exact revenge there and killed his mother, after which he ruled Assyria and Nineveh.

Thus you have now been informed as to why and how Semiramis died.

Chapter 18: How we know Semiramis’ first war was in India and that she later died in Armenia

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Let me get out ahead of anyone that would mock my history by saying that yes people, I’m aware of what Cephalion says. He says, with others, first about Semiramis’ birth, then about her war with Zoroaster, which Cephalion says that Semiramis won, and then about her war in India after that.Footnote 1

But Mar Abas Catina’s research in the Chaldean works seemed to be more reliable to me than Cephalion’s account. Mar Abas Catina writes methodically and identifies the causes of the war. Further, Armenian legend supports this Assyrian’sFootnote 2 scholarship here about her death in this country, with our legends of her escape on foot, her burning thirst for water and its quenching, how the swordsmen drew near to her and, as they approached, she threw her talisman into the sea, from which comes “Semiramis’ Beads in the Sea”. And if you’re hungry for a myth, the tale of Semiramis turning to stone before Niobe did.

But that’s enough about that, let’s move on to the events that followed.

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Footnote 1: Notice how Movses Khorenatsi is always diligent with telling us where sources disagree and differ.

Footnote 2: As noted above, the reader is reminded that this could also mean what we refer to as Syrian.

Chapter 19: What happened after Semiramis' death

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In the following chapters, I am going to present in chronological order the deeds of the grandest forefathers of our nation. We’ll look at the accounts concerning them and their actions, not adding anything fictitious, not including anything wrong, but only repeating what I have learned from the books, the writings of knowledgeable people from whom I have worked to thoughtfully compile the records of antiquity.

I have strived for truth and to do justice to my sources in this. Those are the principles according to which I have compiled this. In the sight of God I have done that, and whether men praise or criticize the results is of no importance to me.

The precision with which I have put this together from my research is supported by the corroborations among and consistency of the accounts, and the equal number and order of individuals in the genealogies. Here, assuring, certain or almost certain, the truth, I will begin by expounding the successive facts to you, drawn from the notes compiled during my research.Footnote 1

After Semiramis' death at the hands of her son Zames, also called Ninyas, which itself happened after the death of Ara, the following is the reliable order of events.

After causing his perverse mother to perish, Ninyas became king and had a peaceful reign. During his time Abraham died.

So now let’s compare the lineages of the Armenians, the Hebrews, and the AssyriansFootnote 2 down to the Assyrian Sardanapalus, also called Tonos Concoleros.

Hebrews

Isaac
Jacob
Levi
Kohath
Amram
Moses
Joshua

Starting with Joshua and going onward, we’re going not by direct lineage but by who lead the nation. They all descend from Abraham, after all. When Joshua defeated the Canaanites, they fled and took refuge in AlgeriaFootnote 3, sailing to TigisisFootnote 4. This can be seen from stelae in Africa that have survived to this day that bear the inscription “We Canaanite noblemen, fleeing the robber Joshua, came to live here”. One of the Canaanite noblemen, the most honorable Canaanidus, wound up in Armenia. Having made careful inquiries, I can prove that the Gntuni house undoubtedly descends from him. They certainly behave like Canaanites.Footnote 5

[Moving on with the lineage of the Hebrews:] Othniel
Ehud
Barak
Gideon
Abimelech
Tola
Jair
Jephthah
Ibzan
Elon
Abdon
Samson
Eli
Samuel
Saul
David and his successors


Assyrians

Arius
Aralius, also known as Amyrus
Xerxes, also known as Balaeus
Armamithres
Belochus
Balaeas
Aladas
Mamythus
Machchalaeus
Spherus
Mamylus
Sparethus
Ascatades
Amyntas
Belochus
Balatores
Lamprides
Sosmares
Lampares
Pannias
Sosarmus
Mithraeus
Teutamus
Teutaeus
Theneus
Derusus
Eupalmes
Laosthenes
Peritiades
Opratios
Pratinis
Acrazanes
Sardanapalus

Armenians

Ara II

He was the son of the previously discussed Ara, named Ara by Semiramis and entrusted with governing our country. After him were:

Anushavan
Paret
Arbak
Zavan
Parnak
Sur

Joshua, son of Nun, lived during Sur’s time.

Havanak
Vashtak
Haykak

They say that he lived during the time of Belochus and that, thoughtlessly, he got together a group of fighting men, which he died from.

Ampak
Arnak
Shavarsh
Norayr
Vstamkar
Gorak
Hrant
Yndzak
Gzak
Horoy
Zarmayr

He was sent to reinforce Prriamu by Teutamus, along with the Ethiopian army, and was killed by brave Greeks.Footnote 6

Perch
Arbun
Bazuk
Hoy
Yusak
Kaypak
Skayordi

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Footnote 1: This phrase is quite difficult to interpret. Some take Movses here to be referring to a specific source, called something like the "Web of Reports". In the translator’s opinion, he is referring here to his own notes compiled during his research rather than to the title of a specific outside work. This appears to fit with the rest of this beginning section of this chapter. Very literally translated the phrase here means something like “from Web/Woven-Thing history of/from Necessity”, with the capitalizations in the original text.
When he refers to “the writings of knowledgeable people from whom I have worked to thoughtfully compile the records of antiquity” and then to this Web, I believe he is essentially saying that out of necessity he weaved a web of notes from those writings and that web-born-from-necessity is his thoughtful compilation. Given the large number of sources he cites (with just a sampling being Mar Abas Catina, Julius Africanus, Cephalion, Manetho, Phlegon of Tralles, and Josephus among many others) he likely took notes as he read these, and later used these notes for creating his history.
This is arguably the most difficult phrase to interpret in the entirety of Book 1 of Khorenatsi’s work, however, and so this interpretation should be taken only as an educated guess.

Footnote 2: Or “Chaldeans”, same throughout this chapter. It is interesting that this word is used to refer to both what we would call Babylonians and what we would call Assyrians. “Mesopotamians” would be a more direct rendering of such a concept.

Footnote 3: Or “Jagras”. Al-Jagras→Algeria.

Footnote 4: Or “Tarshish”. Though the two may refer to the same locale

Footnote 5: Khorenatsi can be read either as insulting them here by saying something like “They act like a bunch of Canaanites” or as simply neutrally noting that they have Canaanite customs.

Footnote 6: Diodorus Siculus, a Greco-Roman historian, discusses this event as well. In his Bibliotheca Historica, Book 2, chapter 22 he writes that “when Teutamus, they say, was ruler of Asia, being the twentieth in succession from Ninyas the son of Semiramis, the Greeks made an expedition against Troy with Agamemnon, at a time when the Assyrians had controlled Asia for more than a thousand years. And Priam, who was king of the Troad and a vassal of the king of the Assyrians, being hard pressed by the war, sent an embassy to the king requesting aid; and Teutamus despatched ten thousand Ethiopians...”.

Chapter 20: Ara II and his son Anushavan the Tree Devotee1

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While Semiramis was alive, Ara’s beloved wife gave birth to a son. This son was twelve years old when Ara died, and Semiramis called him Ara in memory of the love she had had for his father, Ara the Handsome. Faithfully believing in him, she appointed him ruler of Armenia. They say that he went on to die together with her in the war.

But added to the line of events afterwards was this. Ara, son of Ara, dies in the war together with Semiramis, leaving a male child. Richly talented in word and deed, he was called Anushavan the Tree Devotee because he was dedicated to the cult of the trees of Aramaneak in Armavir. The rustling of their leaves and the gentler or stronger blowing of the wind through them was used for divination for a long time among the Armenian people.

Anushavan languished at the royal court, suffering Zames’Footnote 2 contempt for a long time. Aided by friendship he managed to become ruler of part of Armenia; aided by taxes he managed to become ruler of all of Armenia. But it would be too much if I were to begin to record all the worthy words and all the worthy deeds of all the men in the list above.

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Footnote 1: Or “the sycamore sacrificer”. Phonetically “Sosanuer”. The word in Classical Armenian is “Սօսանուէր”: սօս (word for various kinds of trees, see the definition here, sixth from the bottom on the righthand side for details), ա (link in compound words), նուէր (offering).
Less literally perhaps “the poplar prostrator”.

Footnote 2: Ninyas

Chapter 21: Paroyr, son of Skayordi, the first king of Armenia, who assisted Arbaces the Mede in seizing the throne from Sardanapalus

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So since there’s no way to record all the worthy words and all the worthy deeds of all the men in the list above, let’s focus on the most significant facts. Continuing on with the earlier list, the next Armenian is Payroyr, Skayordi’s son, who reigned during the time of Sardanapalus. Payroyr was the last who was under the Assyrians, as Armenia had been since the time of Semiramis and Ninus. He gave Arbaces the Mede quite a bit of assistance in seizing the kingdom from Sardanapalus.

I am overjoyed to have reached the point where the line of Armenians became kings! So, now it’s time for me to set to a great task. To state many propositions concerning the sequence of eventsFootnote 1, the foundation of which will be such words that merited four booksFootnote 2 of the one prolific in words and wise — the wisest in the midst of the wiseFootnote 3 — which we ourselves indeed read.

Arbaces was from Media, from an insignificant outskirt of the land, he was cunning in his conduct and brave in war. He learned of Tonos Concoleros’ weakness and hedonistic lifestyle, and through his generosity and good-nature he began gaining allies among the courageous and competent men who kept a firm grip on their duties of administration of the Assyrian Empire.
Arbaces won over our daring ruler Paroyr, promising him kingship and the splendor that goes along with it. Troops of brave and skilled swordsmen, spearmen, and archers joined to Arbaces as well. And so he seized the throne from Sardanapalus, becoming the ruler of Assyria and Nineveh. Leaving others to govern in Assyria, he moved the capital of the empire to Media.

If other sources report these events differently from me, don’t be surprised. In the previous chapter, I castigated our ancestors for their unscholarly habits, and the same applies here. The deeds of Nebuchadnezzar’s father were recorded by the supervisors of their annals, but our own people never thought of doing such a thing, and so it was only in annals such as those that their deeds were written. So if you were to ask: “where did you learn the names and the deeds of our ancestors?”, I reply: “From the ancient archives of the Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians, since their names and deeds were included in official royal documents as they served as officials, governors, and satraps appointed by them.”

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Footnote 1: This phrase could be interpreted in a number of ways. Possible interpretations include “state many propositions on the discourse”, “state many objections to the narrative”, “scrive many historical speeches”, and others.

Footnote 2: Some have attempted to translate Khorenatsi here as referring to four "rhapsodies". This is, in the translator's opinion, absolute butchery of the text. Such a rendering is contradicted by the paragraph at the end of this chapter where Khorenatsi directly discusses his source, even posing and answering the question “if you ask me where I learned these things”. Further, in Book 2 chapter 92 Khorenatsi uses the same word some want to translate as "rhapsody" here again in reference to his own work, which is most clearly not anything resembling a rhapsody. Rather, as Khorenatsi uses it, this word by all indications means "one of the major divisions of a long work" – i.e. volume or chapter or book (in the sense that his work here and many other long ancient works are divided into "books", despite being one whole work as we today classify them). This is directly confirmed by Khorenatsi's use of the word in Book 2 chapter 10 of his work, where he uses the term when citing Eusebius of Caesarea's Ecclesiastical History, explicitly citing, just as we would today since the Book and chapter divisions are the same, "Book" 1 chapter 13.

Footnote 3: One of the greatest mysteries of Khorenatsi’s text is who he is referring to here.

Chapter 22: The order and number of our kings, from father to son

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Now I'll go over the list of our great men, notably the kings, down to the Parthian period. For these men descended from our kings are dear to me as countrymen and kindred of my own blood and real brothers. How precious it would have been for me if the Savior had arrived at that time and rescued me, and if my birth had occurred in their time, if I could enjoy in their rule and avoid the evils of the present!

But that circumstance, indeed that fortune, has long since passed us by. But now, while foreigners govern, I will put down the order of our nation's kings alongside theirs. The men whose names I will write here were our country's national rulers.

The fact that our nation existed as a kingdom at this time is attested by the prophet Jeremiah in his speech calling for war against Babylon: "Summon", hey says, "the kingdom of Ararat and the troops of Ashkenaz"Footnote 1, verifying the existence of our kingdom at the time.

As we set out the list of our kings we will list out alongside it it that of the kings of the Medes:

FIRST OF THE KINGS OF THE MEDES'
Arbaces
Maudaces
Sosarmus
Artycas
Deioces
Phraortes
Cyaxares
Astyages

Our first king, crowned by the Mede Arbaces:

Paroyr, son of Skayordi
Hrachea

Hrachea was so named because of his fiery eyes and bright features.Footnote 2 They say that he was a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who took the Jews into captivity. They also say that he brought one Shambat, one of the captive Hebrew leaders, to our nation with great honor after asking Nebuchadnezzar for him. According to the historian, the Bagratuni family is descended from him, and this is certain. We shall go into more depth later on regarding the efforts taken by our kings to force them to worship idols, and who and how many of them lost their lives for their worship of God.
But some unreliable men, on their own whims and not according to the truth, say that your Bagratuni family, who place the crown on the king's head during coronation, descend from Hayk. My reply to that is not to believe any of that nonsense. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that that claim is true. It's just absurd babbling about Hayk and those like him. Rather, know that the name Smbat, which the Bagratuni often give their children, is in truth the name Shambat, corresponding to the family's original language, which is Hebrew.Footnote 3

Parnavaz
Pachoych
Kornak
Paros
The other Haykak
Eruand the Short-Lived
Tigran

From the names of the latter two, kings were later called in recent times Eruand and Tigran, hoping to be like them, since the memory of these names was not so distant.Footnote 4

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Footnote 1: Jeremiah 51:27

Footnote 2: "Hrach" is likely a compound of the Armenian word for "fire", "hur", and "eyes", "achk".

Footnote 3: Note this passage well against those who may claim Khorenatsi may have allowed bias in favor of his patron to slant his history. Khorenatsi, so far as we can tell, never knowingly sacrifices the truth in all of his history.

Footnote 4: This paragraph is challenging to interpret. It could also be rendered as having the sense of something like: "I know these last two are not indigenous Armenian names, but since they have acted as kings of our land, I hope some people remember the names, since they're not as distant in the past as the others in the list."

Chapter 23: The line of Sennacherib and how the Artstruni and Gnuni families descend from him, as well as the house which inherits the title of Bidaxsh1 of Arzanene2. And the house of Angel descends from Paskam.

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Before we get to the history of Tigran the Great, the ninth native Armenian king, who was strong, famous, and victorious with other world leaders, let’s discuss some things that are important for the completeness of our account.

So far I’ve neglectedFootnote 3 to give an account of Sennacherib. About eighty years before the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Assyria was Sennacherib. He besieged Jerusalem during the time of Hezekiah, leader of the Jews.Footnote 4 But his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer assassinated him and then fled to Armenia.

Our brave ancestor Skayordi settled Sharezer in the southwest, close to the border with Assyria. His descendants came to populate Mt. Sim. Subsequently, the foremost and most outstanding among them, offering faithful service to the king, came to be honored by being made Bidaxsh of those regions.

ArgamozanFootnote 5 lived on his side in the southeast of the same area. The historianFootnote 6 reports that the Artsruni and GnuniFootnote 7 descend from him. That’s the reason I bring to mindFootnote 8 Sennacherib.

The same historian reports that the house of Angel descends from Paskam, a grandson of Hayk.Footnote 9

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Footnote 1: Armenian “Bdeashkh”, a noble title for the ruler of a certain region or type of region, or perhaps certain type of ruler. See Book 2, chapter 8 for more. Appears to perhaps mean something like “borderland duke”.

Footnote 2: This phrase could also potentially be rendered as “the noble house which inherits the Bidaxsh title called the Arzaneneians”, with the name referring to the family rather than necessarily where they ruled. The Armenian, Aghdzneats’i, is similar to Movses’ own surname Khorenats’i, sometimes rendered into English as “of Chorene”.

Footnote 3: Could also mean “I forgot”.

Footnote 4: The Sennacherib Prism provides an account of this from Sennacherib himself

Footnote 5: This appears to be Adrammelech’s name but spelled differently

Footnote 6: Presumably Mar Abas Catina

Footnote 7: Two noble families of Armenia

Footnote 8: Or “remember”

Footnote 9: There is a textual variant here, with at least one manuscript having “Haykak” instead of “Hayk” here.[12]:141

Chapter 24: Tigran! What type of man he was in all aspects

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Let's now discuss Tigran and his enterprises, for he was the most powerful, wise, and courageous of all our kings. He helped Cyrus overturn the Medes' dominion, and he subjected the Greeks to himself for a long period. He stretched our territory's bounds and established them to their most extreme limits in antiquity. He was the envy of those who lived in his time and the admiration of those who came after.

Who among true men and those who value bravery and prudence would not be moved by his memory and want to be such a man? He was foremost among men, and by displaying his bravery, he exalted our country. He enabled subjects to subject, exacting tribute from many. He enlarged the stockpiles of gold, silver, and jewels, as well as clothes and rich fabrics of various colors for men and women, making the ugly appear as wonderful as the handsome, and the handsome as if they were divine. (As divinity was seen in those days.) The footsoldiers got horses, those with slings got bows, those with clubs got swords and spears, those without clothes got armor and shields. The very sight of them gathered in one place, with the gleaming rays of their armor and weapons, was enough to rout the enemy. A peacebringer and a builder, he slathered the land in oil and honey.

Tigran, son of Eruand, brought all of these and many other good things to our country. He had blonde hair with gray flecks, a ruddy complexion, and kind eyes. He was friendly and broad-shouldered, strong-legged, and had noble feet. He ate and drank moderately, didn't go wild at feasts, and was moderate in the pleasures of the flesh, as our ancients who sang to the accompaniment of the pandirn used to say. He was wise, eloquent, and outstanding in every virtue men possess.

What then could be more precious to me in this book than repeating his praises and stories? He was just and fair in all of his judgements, neither jealous of the high nor despising the low, but instead spreading his cloak of care over all.

At first he was allied with Azhdahak, a Mede. Tigran gave Azhdahak his sister Tigranuhi's hand in marriage after Azhdakah's insistently sought to marry her. Azhdakah said "that way, either to have a constant love for Tigran due to such closeness, or to easily betray him in this way to kill him". He had suspicions about Tigran due to an unexpected prophecy about future events.

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Footnote 1: This is also reported by Xenophon in his Cyropedia, beginning at book 3, chapter 1, section 7.

Chapter 25: Azhdahak's apprehension and uncertainty caused by Cyrus and Tigran's alliance

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Azhdakah was having such thoughts because of the friendly alliance between Cyrus and Tigran. "How," he constantly asked his advisors, "how will we be able to break this bond of friendship between the Persian and the Armenian, with his tens of thousands of soldiers?"

The narratorFootnote 1 recounts that while the man was plagued by these thoughts, he had a prophetic dream in which he saw the following future events:

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Footnote 1: Presumably Mar Abas Catina

Chapter 26: The suspicious Azhdahak sees his future in an astonishing dream

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According to himFootnote 1, the alliance between Cyrus and Tigran was no small threat to Azhdahak the Mede. Because of this, and because his mind was so wildly racing, he experienced a dream in which he saw and heard things he'd never encountered during the day. He woke up suddenly and didn't wait according to custom until the council hour. Instead, even though there were still several hours left of nighttime, he called for his advisors. Sighing from the depths of his heart, he cast his eyes downward and put on a sorrowful expression. When they asked him what was wrong, he didn't answer them for hours. Finally, with a groan, he began to share the specifics of the terrifying vision as well as his innermost thoughts and doubts.

"My friends," he said, "today I was in an uncharted country next to a high mountain whose summit looked to be covered in thick ice. One would have said it was in Armenia. As I stared at the mountain for a long period of time, a purple-clad woman wearing a veil the color of the sky sat atop this tremendous height. Her eyes were gorgeous, her height was tall, her cheeks were rosy, and she was experiencing labor pains. As I gazed in awe at this scene for a prolonged period of time, she suddenly gave birth to three fully-grown heroes. The first, riding a lion, went westward; the second, on a leopard, headed north; the third, riding a monstrous dragon, attacked our nation.

In the midst of these perplexing visions, I seemed to see the roof of my palace, decorated with beautiful awnings of many colors. The gods, who gave me the crown, were present in all their wondrous majesty, and you and I were there honoring them with sacrifices and incense. Suddenly, looking up, I saw the man on the dragon swooping down with eagle's wings. He was already near, intent on destroying the gods. Instead I, Azhdahak, got between them and took the hit, and entered into combat with this astounding warrior. We began by lancing each other and sending streams of blood pouring forth; we covered the surface of the palace, which glistens like the sun, in a sea of blood. We battled like this for several hours with a variety of weapons.

But what do I gain by dragging this out? My annihilation was the final outcome. As a result, the danger made me break out in a sweat and caused my sleep to flee; I didn't even seem to be alive afterwards. The way these visions went,, it can only mean one thing: Tigran the Armenian is going to launch a brutal attack on us. So, who wants to share my throne? With the help of the gods, provide me with sound advice in word and deed."

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Footnote 1: Again presumably, though not necessarily, the "him" here is Mar Abas Catina

Chapter 27: The opinions of Azhdahak's advisors, his thoughts thereafter, and the immediate action taken

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"My friends", he said, "I have heard many insightful and wise things from you. I will tell you which, with the help of the gods, I regard as that which will be most effective. For nothing is more advantageous when taking measures against the adversary and seeking to learn his plans than for someone to plot his demise under the guise of friendship.

Moreover, we cannot do this with money or deceptive words unless we conduct as I desire. His sister Tigranuhi, who is a most beautiful and smart woman, is the bait for my trap and the method by which I will achieve my objective. Because of her many connections in the outside world, we will be able to easily and covertly plot his assassination while she travels. By giving gifts and promising honor, we can persuade one of his friends to kill him by the sword or poison him. Or by bribery turn his in-group and officials against him, and so seize him as easily as a child."

His friends thought that this plan would work, so they got ready to put it into action. He gave a large sum of money to one of his counselors and sent him out with a letter that read as follows:

Chapter 28: Azhdahak's letter, Tigran's subsequent agreement, and Tigranuhi's move to the land of the Medes

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"Dear brother,

You already know that the gods have given us nothing more useful in this world than a lot of friends, especially wise and powerful ones. For with this thing, troubles from the outside don't bother us, and the ones that do get to us are quickly pushed away. Likewise, nothing bad can get inside us without being pushed out. Now seeing how helpful friendship is, I've decided to confirm our love for each other even more strongly and deeply, so that we can both be safe on every side and keep our empires safe and stable. This will happen if you give me the hand of the princess of Great Armenia, your sister Tigranuhi, in marriage, if you think it would be good for her to be queen of queens. May you be well, our fellow king and dear brother."

But let's not unnecessarily prolong the account. I'll just say that the messenger came and did his job about the beautiful girl. Tigran agreed and gave his sister Tigranuhi to Azhdahak as a bride. He didn't yet know of Azhdahak's scheme, and sent his sister in accordance with royal custom. Azhdahak took her in and he made her the top-ranking of his wives, not only because of the deception in his heart but also because of her beauty. And so he spun his evil web.

Chapter 29: How his duplicity was revealed and the conflict that killed Azhdahak began

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After this, heFootnote 1 reports that once Azhdahak made Tigranuhi queen, he did nothing in his kingdom without her permission. Instead, he did everything she told him to do and told everyone to do what she said. Having set everything up in this way, he began to softly say deceitful things to her: "Do you not know," he asked, "that your brother Tigran is jealous of your power over the Aryans because his wife Zaruhi incites him to be? What will happen, other than that I will die and Zaruhi will rule over the Aryans and take a place among the goddesses? So, you have to choose between two options: you can remain friendly with your brother and accept shameful ruin in the eyes of the Aryans, or you can think about what's best for you and give some good advice and take care for the future."

If Tigranuhi did not make a proposal that went along with the desires of the Medo-Persian, he hid a plan for her death in all of this. The wise and lovely woman, however, saw through his trickery; she responded to Azhdahak with loving words, but she quickly alerted her brother to the treachery through loyal allies.

Azhdahak then suggested to Tigran through diplomatic channels that they meet midway on the boundaries of their two kingdoms for mutual talks, as though a major issue had arisen that could not be resolved by letter or messenger but only through a face-to-face meeting. Tigran knew what he was up to and didn't hide it: he sent Azhdahak a letter telling him everything that was in his heart. Once such lowliness was exposed, there was no longer any excuse or lie that could cover such evil, and open war began.

The Armenian king assembled the Cappadocians, and soldiers chosen from Georgia and Aghuania, and from Greater and Lesser Armenia. He marched his entire force to the borders of Media, and the threat compelled Azhdahak to meet the descendant of Hayk with an army of no small size. Tigran's thoughts often returned to his adored sister, delaying his ability to act swiftly and decisively, causing the conflict to drag on for a whole five months. He tried to manipulate the course of events so that Tigranuhi would have a way to escape. After this was done, the time for battle had come.

So I praise my brave hero, my lance-bearer, well-proportioned in all his limbs and faultless in the beauty of his physique, energetic and expert in everything, he had no rival in strength. But why go on and on about it? In the battle his spear went through Azhdahak's iron armor like water, when he pulled it out he brought out half of Azhdahak's lungs with it.
The battle was amazing, champions against champions, none of whom turned their backs easily on the enemy; so the clash lasted a long time. Only the death of Azhdahak ended the battle. Tigran's glory grew as a result of this accomplishment, added to his tally of successes.

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Footnote 1: Again it isn't immediately clear who "he" is here

Chapter 30: Tigran sending his sister Tigranuhi to Tigranakert. Anoysh, Azhdahak's first wife. What was done with the prisoners.

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It is also told that after this victory, he dispatched his sister Tigranuhi to Armenia — with royal grandeur and a sizable guard — to Tigranakert, the city that Tigran had built and named after himself, and he gave her this region as her domain. He also says that the aristocracy of the regions, called Ostan, the royal, descend from her.

And Azhdahak's first wife Anoysh, and many of the young lasses from Azhdahak's seed, with other youngstersFootnote 1 and a multitude of bondsmenFootnote 2, numbering more than ten thousand, were made to inhabit east of the slope of the great mountain as far as the borders to Goghtn, as far as the riverbank which is opposite the fortress of Nakhchivan. That is, Tumbul, Voksioghay, Dazhgoynk, and other estates towards the riverbank—one of which is Vranjunik. They were also made to inhabit three villages: Nehram, Julfa, and Khorshakunis. In effect, they were made to inhabit the whole plain which has Azhdanakan as its capital, as far as the aforementioned fortress of Nakhchivan.

But Tigran settled queen Anoysh, the first wife of Azhdahak, with her sons in the place where the debris of the great mountain landslide ends. (Those who went on many expeditions at Ptolemy's request and measured, using stadia, from the tropics to Cimmeria the land where people lived, the sea, and the uninhabited land say that this came about because of a terrible earthquake.) He gave Anoysh servants from the Medes at the base of the mountain.

This is supported by the verses of the sagasFootnote 3 of the Goghtn region. Wine is an important industry there, and the people preserve these songs with pleasure, as I've heard myself. Arsaces and his progeny are sung of, and they also sing of Azhdahak and his descendants. They allegorically call Azhdahak's descendants the sons of the dragon, since since Azhdahak means "dragon" in our language.

They tell that:
"Argavan held a feast in honor of Arsaces; a plot was hatched against him in the temple of the dragons."

And also that:
"When Artashat was established, the brave son of Arsaces, Artavazd, could not find a place for his palace, so he went and constructed the city of Marakert in Media. (On the plain called the plain of Sharur)Footnote 4"

They also say that:
"Queen Satenik had a great desire to be out of the crown, out of complications, for games after dark in Argavan's cushions".Footnote 5

Do you not admire here, once again, my historical reliability, with how I managed to discover the secret of the "dragons" who live on noble Mt. Masis?

❦❦❦

Footnote 1: The word translated here as "[other] youngsters" could also be translated as "lads".

Footnote 2: This word can mean either slaves or captives. Though these are, of course, not mutually exclusive stations in which one can find oneself.

Footnote 3: The phrase here is difficult to translate. It appears to be a form of the word "number" modifying the word for "song/poem".

Footnote 4: It isn't immediately clear if this statement, which I have included in the quote but put in parentheses, is part of the oral tradition or Movses' own commentary

Footnote 5: Supporting Movses' discussion of these as preserved ancient oral traditions, this example is especially difficult to translate and appears to contain Proto-Armenian, a version of the language even more ancient than Classical Armenian. [12]:145–150 This rendering is based primarily on Soultanian's analysis and commentary.

Chapter 31: The descendants of Tigran

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As a historian, it is a mission dear to me to provide an accurate account of the native Tigran I and his deeds. May the same be true for you, reader: as the man and his deeds were, so should his record be.

As such, I will honor Hayk, Aram, and Tigran in that order for bravery. According to the reputation of heroic nature, heroes have heroic descendants. People call men who come in second-rank to heroes whatever they wish.
Aramazd never existed, except in the minds of those who want to hear that Aramazd is real. Of the four versions of Aramazd, one is the hub the others come out of like spokes on a wheel. Similarly, there are many called Tigran, but only one who is a descendant of Hayk, who killed Azhdahak and took his royal family captive including Anoysh mother of the Dragons, and who with the assent and assistance of Cyrus, held domains of the Medo-Persian Empire.

This Tigran's sons were Bab, Tiran, and Vahagn. The legends of our land say of Vahagn:

"The sky was in travail, the earth was in travail, the sea was in travail. A red reed rose from the sea. From its tube came smoke, from its tube came fire. From the fire rose a ruddy lad. His hair was fire, his beard flame, and his eyes suns."

I've heard some singing this song to the accompaniment of the pandirnFootnote 1 with my own ears. The song would go on to say that he fought dragons and slew them and did deeds like those of Hercules. They say he was deified, and in Georgia a life-size statue of him was raised, honored with sacrifices.

Vahagn's descendants are the Vahuni, and the Aravaneans descend from his youngest son Aravan. He was the father of Aravan, who was the father of Nerseh, who was the father of Zareh. The families known as the Zarehavan descend from Zareh. Zareh's firstborn was Armog, who was the father of Bagam, who was the father of Vahan, who was the father of Vahe. Vahe opposed Alexander the Great and was slain.

From this point to the reign of Valarshak in Armenia I have no accurate information to give you,Footnote 2 because there was chaos caused by various factions, men vying with one another for control of our nation. Hence the great Arsaces easily entering Armenia and appointing his brother king over it.

❦❦❦

Footnote 1: A musical instrument.
If the reader wishes to hear this sung as it may have been sung in Khorenatsi'a day, an excellent rendition can be found here.

Footnote 2: Note Movses Khorenatsi's honesty here that testifies to his accuracy as a historian. When he has no reliable information on a subject, he is not shy about informing the reader of this. This includes an amusing passage where he berates his own patron which is coming up soon in his section on the legends of the Persians.

Chapter 32: The war in Illium during the time of Teutamus. Our king Zarmayr's participation, along with a small Ethiopian force, where he was killed in action.

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Your desire for knowledge comes with two criteria that make this a challenging work indeed.
The work must be concise in style, yet comprehensive in content.
In style it must be breviloquent: a mixture of speed and beauty; elegance combined with clearness, like something from the works of Plato. In content, far from lies and filled with truth, giving history from the very first man down to you.
It is impossible to truly bring concision and completeness together. The One who created all things himself could have done it all at once in the blink of an eye, but instead he set the days on which and the order in which everything was to be created. Some things are creations of the first day, others creations of the second and third, and of the other days. So the Holy Spirit teaches us this manner of making things! But I see this divine limit does not limit your longing – you want it all, you want it all right, and you want it all right now. Look, in my writing I can either give you something complete, which you'll like, or something quick, which you won't.Footnote 1
Because you were so hasty I haven't yet discussed the MacedonianFootnote 2 or the IllianFootnote 3, but I'll affix them here. (I don't know whether I'm being a savvy writer by saving the best for last, or acting like an unskilled carpenter tacking on something important at the end of the job.)

And which of these should come first if not that which was narrated in Homer's story, the Illian War in the time of Teutamus the Assyrian? The Armenian ruler Zarmayr, a vassal to the Assyrians, assisted Prriamu along with a small Ethiopian army.Footnote 4 Zarmayr was wounded by the brave Greeks and died. I wish by Achilles rather than an ordinary solider.Footnote 5

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Footnote 1: It's worth noting that this chapter tells us Khorenatsi is sending his work to Sahak Bagratuni in sections, perhaps chapter-by-chapter.

Footnote 2: Alexander the Great

Footnote 3: The Trojan War

Footnote 4: Or "assisted Prriamu with a small force, alongside the Ethiopian army".

Footnote 5: This sentence appears to be ambiguous as to whether Khorenatsi knows for certain Zarmayr was killed by an ordinary soldier and instead wishes it had been by Achilles, or if it's unknown who specifically killed Zarmayr and Khorenatsi is saying that ideally it'd be by Achilles.

The End of the First Book, the Genealogy of the Great Houses of Armenia

Persian Legends of Bevarasp Azhdahak

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But what leads you to have this passionate interest in Bevarasp Azhdahak, a nasty and silly legend? And why make me work on the unfit and muddled accounts of Persia? These accounts are above all especially irrational. First Bevarasp Azhdahak's malicious kindness, and how he was served by demons, how it was "no can do" in terms of misleading the mislead. And the kiss on the shoulders from which the serpentsFootnote 1 were born. And how from that point his evil became frequent, and his expending of man to satisfy the wants of the stomachFootnote 2.

And they tell of how afterwards, someone named Hruden bound him with a cupriferousFootnote 3 chain, and took him to a mountain called Damavand. But on the way Hruden fell asleep, and Bevarasp dragged him to the hill. Hruden awoke, and carriedFootnote 4 the man off to a certain mountain and bound him, and set up a statue of himself which terrified Bevarasp who was still and submitted himself to the chaining, and had not the strength to get out and corrupt the land.Footnote 5

What need do you have for these false legends?Footnote 6 Hmm...I wonder...what need could silly and senseless stories even be suitable for? These aren’t the smooth and elegant Greek legends afterall, which have truth hidden in allegory. You’re asking me to make sense of the senseless and decorate the undecorated.

Here’s what I say to you. Why do you need these? Why would you want to add to our workload with a desire for the undesirable?

Ah but this is a youngster's desire, coming from your youth. So I'll fulfill it here:

Addendum: What’s Historically Reliable About the One Called Bevarasp

Now I will boldly proclaim the Platonic saying: "Those that love lose themselves and become one another."Footnote 7 I've made other impossibilities possible for you, and I'll do the same here! I detest these words and works; the reports that above all bother me to hear: my hand will compose those today. They themselves think foolish thoughts concerning these things: their very ancient affairs when they were yet a young people are here revealed, that perhaps you may delight or gain utility. But know that I hate these things so I did not say anything about them in the first book, I do not consider them worthy of being even at the end of it, instead I am putting them in this separate and distinct place. And it begins like this:

Bevarasp Azhdhak was their ancestor, a contemporary of Nimrod. When the languages were divided over all the land, the people weren't all mixed up and confused and weren't leaderless. Instead a certain divine markFootnote 8 signified with power the head of each nation and each clanFootnote 9 and decided every border which was given to them, each in their turn.
Now Bevarasp's true name I know to be Centaur PiuridaFootnote 10, as I discovered in a work from Assyro-BabyloniaFootnote 11. It was not because of valor but rather wealthFootnote 12 and cleverness that the patriarchship of the nation was his to have, as a vassal of Nimrod. Bevarasp desired all of them to know a way of life alike—and he said a thing must not be someone's to possess privately of their own, instead all possessions must be held alike.

And all that he did was known, both his words and his works. His thoughts were not concealed, but every secret hidden in his heart his tongue brought out to the ears of all. His friends could come and go day or night. This was the malicious kindness which he had at first.Footnote 13

Astrology was his forte—because of this he was disposed to learn, and to do, evil. Yet this was impossible for him; for the reason given above—his behavior was geared towards deceiving the public at large, he did nothing in secret, and so it was not possible for him to be obviously studying such complete and potent evil. He employed a bitter method of obtaining an education in these matters: he pretended to have torturous stomach pain which only using a certain magic word and invoking a certain horrible name could heal, but which would harm anyone else who heard them.

And thatFootnote 14 learned one, who plotted evil, taught him in his house and in public places—doubtlessly putting their head on Bevarasp's shoulders and speaking into his ears teaching the wicked art; this lead to the legend of the child of Satan serving and obliging Bevarasp that they tell today. And because a gift was requested, a kiss on the shoulders was received.

Really this is the sprouting of the serpentsFootnote 15, or Bevarasp completely turning into a dragonFootnote 16, that they tell of. This is said of him because he began to sacrifice countless men to demons, until the populace got sick of him and all united to expel him. He fled to the mountainFootnote 17 mentioned above. His enemies were violently pursuing him; his men left him. This boosted the confidence of his pursuers, who then took some days to rest in the area.

But Bevarasp was able to gather his scattered supporters back together and then suddenly ambush the opposing force, inflicting severe damage. Nevertheless, his enemies prevailed and Bevarasp fled. They caught him and killed him near the mountain, throwing him into a very deep pit of sulfur.

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Footnote 1: Or "dragons". Armenian is վիշապ, "vishap". This is similar to the Old English word "wyrm", in that it encompasses both what we would call a dragon and what we would call a serpent.

Footnote 2: Literally "Expending/selling/consuming human for needs/wants of belly". This could refer to cannibalism on Zahak's part, but I believe it to be referring to the Persian myths of how he made a pact to feed humans to the snakes which emerged from his shoulders to ease their bothering of him. The Classical Armenian word used here, ծախել, translated "expending", is used in Book 3 chapter 68 for what a lion does to a person, and in Book 2 chapter 36 for what one does with money. A perfect word to use for describing people being sold in a bargain to be consumed by a monster.

Footnote 3: The Armenian word used here can refer to either copper or bronze.

Footnote 4: Or more generally "took".

Footnote 5: The Armenian indicates the statue was set up "opposite/before/opposing" Bevarasp.

Footnote 6: Those interested in these legends of Bevarasp are encouraged to read the Shahnama, a Persian work written about five hundred years after Khorenatsi's account of the legends. Its account of Zahhak, known also as Azi Dahaka and Bevarasp, follows very closely to Khorenatsi's summary of the legends about him in this section of his work. It can be read here. A good summary is available here.

Footnote 7: Literally translated "For one who loves another, could one's own self exist, since it is not self?". Khorenatsi is essentially saying that since he and Sahak Bagratuni are friends, what Sahak wants is what he wants. Conceptually similar to "if you're happy, I'm happy". For details on this and the Platonic background of the saying that Khorenatsi refers to, see the paper Some Veiled Allusions in Movsēs Khorenati's History by Edward Gulbekian which can be read here.

Footnote 8: Or "divine sign".

Footnote 9: Literally "marked the chiefs and chieftains". The Classical Armenian words used are գլխաւորք and ցեղապետք. A form of the word ցեղապետք is used for the heads of tribes of Israel in Deuteronomy 1:15 and clans of Israel in 2 Chronicles 26:12 in the Armenian Bible, so the distinction between the two appears to be heads to national and sub-national groups.

Footnote 10: This name is quite interesting. For his first name, Centaur, note that Khorenatsi is not using a usual word for the mythological creature "centaur", յուշկապարիկ, which he will use later in Book 2 chapter 63 when he is expressly referring to that kind of mythological creature, but rather Khorenatsi using a transliteration of the Greek word "centaur". In Classical Armenian he writes Կենտաւրոս, "Kentawros", capitalized as a proper name.

"Bevarasp" in Persian means "he with ten thousand horses". To offer my own theory, I suspect that as his name was translated or went through sources it perhaps underwent translations along the lines of "He with many horses" (Persian)➡"Horseman" (the Chaldean source Khorenatsi says records his actual name)➡"Horse Man" (Khorenatsi translating the latter literally, as "Centaur" as a name).

"Piurida" is interestingly similar to “Pirithous”, a Greek figure who fought centaurs. Khorenatsi however does not appear to believe them to be the same figure as he later in Book 2 chapter 63 directly refers to Pirithous and uses a different word for his name, Պերիթեայ vs. Պիւռիդայ.
There appears to be an interesting connection there with the quite similar names though. They could perhaps be very, very distant echos of one another. The memory of Piurida the "Man That Has Many Horses", and his fight, and an echo of a tradition of animal-human hybridization, may have come together to form the tale of him fighting many horse-men in the Greek tradition as the myth of Pirithous, with the same pieces coming together in a different combination to make the Persian legend of Bevarasp, the animal-man who men had to fight.

Just as the myths of Baal of later eras appear to be only the faintest echos of the true man Bel, so perhaps the Greek Pirithous in the Illiad and Greek mythology (see here) is the faintest, vaguest echo of the man Piurida who would have lived roughly 1500 years before the Illiad was written. A conceptually similar example would be a certain Josaphat, who was a virtually unrecognizable garbled legendary version of Buddha popular in Europe roughly 1500 years after the actual man lived. After so much time, it appears that only the faintest traces of a connection between a man and his legend remain.

Footnote 11: Literally "a Chaldean book/work/writing". As noted above the word translated here generally encompasses what we would call Assyro-Babylonia or Mesopotamia.

Footnote 12: Or perhaps "family connections".

Footnote 13: Which Khorenatsi referred to in the first paragraph.

Footnote 14: The Classical Armenian word translated here as "that", "այս", is nearly always used as a normal word for "this" or "that" (such as we might say "This book is a translation") but the same combination of letters can refer to a demon and is taken by some to refer to such here, as in Bevarasp was being instructed by a demon. However Khorenatsi routinely uses the word այս in its normal sense and uses another word expressly meaning "demon", դիւաց, when he wishes to specify such a thing, as he does multiple times in very chapter. In fact, in all of Khorenatsi's work, there is no point at which he clearly uses the word այս to refer to a spirit. So this interpretation of այս here strikes the translator as very unlikely to be what Khorenatsi intended with the word.

Footnote 15: Or "dragons", as in footnote 1.

Footnote 16: Or "turning into a serpent/wyrm/vishap", as in footnote 1.

Footnote 17: Or "to the region of the mountain", or "to the side of the mountain".

References

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  1. a b Khorenatsi, Movses. The History of the Armenians. Book 3, chapter 65.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  2. Khorenatsi, Movses. The History of the Armenians. Book 3, chapter 61.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  3. a b Khorenatsi, Movses. The History of the Armenians. Book 3, chapter 62.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  4. Khorenatsi, Movses. The History of the Armenians. Book 3, chapter 68.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. Khorenatsi, Movses. The History of the Armenians. Book 2, chapter 90.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  6. Lendering, Jona. "Garni, Greek Inscription". Livius.
  7. Wade, Nicholas (March 10, 2015). "Date of Armenia’s Birth, Given in 5th Century, Gains Credence". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/11/science/study-backs-5th-century-historians-date-for-founding-of-armenia.html. 
  8. Aram, Raffi. "Armenian Drama and Heroic Poems". The New Armenia. Page 190: The New Armenia Publishing Company.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  9. "Herant Markarian Receives the Movses Khorenatsi Medal, the Highest Cultural Award of the Republic of Armenia (USA)". Hamazkayin.
  10. "The Medal of Movses Khorenatsi". The Office to the President of the Republic of Armenia.
  11. Gasparyan, S., & Gasparyan, L. (2019). On Translational “Lacunas” in the English Translation of “The History of Armenia” by Movses Khorenatsi. Armenian Folia Anglistika, 15(1 (19), 191–211. https://doi.org/10.46991/AFA/2019.15.1.191
  12. a b c d e f Soultanian, Gabriel (2011). The History of the Armenians and Mosēs Khorenats'i. Bennett & Bloom. ISBN 978-1-898948-13-1.
  13. a b Gomme, Arnold. "Thucydides". Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  14. Thucydides. History of the Peloponnesian War. Book 1, chapter 22.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  15. "Object: The Shabako Stone". The British Museum.
  16. "Shabaka Stone transcript" (PDF). The British Museum. p. 3.
  17. {{cite web |title=Ptah |url=https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ptah |publisher=Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc}
  18. "Atum". Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
  19. http://www.columbia.edu/itc/religion/f2001/edit/docs/memphis_theogony.htm
  20. Josephus. Against Apion. Book 1, section 14.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location (link)
  21. Petrosyan, Armen (December 2016). "Biblical Mt. Ararat: Two Identifications" (PDF). Comparative Mythology.