3. When the caliph read the letter and became aware of Smbat's demands, he immediately gladly carried out his wishes, and reducing the amount of the royal tribute, won over the heart of the king, to whom he extended an invitation to come to him. 4. Then, he sent to Smbat a magnificent royal robe, a crown, a gem-studded belt made out of pure gold, a precious sword and swift steeds in full armor and ornament. 5. Upon receiving these, Smbat rejoiced greatly. Subsequently, like all the other tributaries, he also brought his neck under the yoke of the caliph. Thus, he submitted totally to the will of the caliph.
6. At this time, the great sparapet of Armenia, Shapuh, who was the brother of king Smbat, came prematurely to the end of his futile existence, and joined his ancestors. 7. Thereupon, king Smbat, accompanied by all of his kinsmen, came to the funeral. They greatly bemoaned Shapuh's loss and buried him among his ancestors in the cemetery located in the town of Bagaran. Then, in place of his father, king Smbat set up the handsome and comely youth Ashot, the son of Shapuh, as sparapet of Armenia. 9. Upon his succession to his duties as sparapet, the latter conceived the wonderful idea of building the beautifully ornamented  church of Bagaran on the bank of the Axurean River, and decorating it with many valuable vessels, he conducted the consecration ceremonies in a proper manner. 10. After this, in the komopolis of Koghb he founded another church, on which he spent a great amount of money, and tried very hard to bring it to completion with God's will. 11. A short time later, the king's other brother, Dawit', who was the presiding prince (ishxan ishxanac') of Armenia, and a humble man with a sense of equanimity in all his transactions, died. The king mourned his death greatly. In his anxiety, he was deeply immersed in the gloom of grief, and cast himself into the abyss of eternal sadness. With consoling words I restored in him the hope of eternal life, and saved the works of the kingdom from deterioration, so that he might take care of wordly necessities, a task which was entrusted to him by God in order that he might tend to His flock.
5. Although the king learned of Yusuf's march toward the western side of the mountain rather late, and went in pursuit of him, he could  not catch up with him. Therefore, he marshalled his forces in the komopolis of Aruch, in the glens of the Aragac Mountain. 6. When the ostikan Yusuf realized that the king was getting close to him, he sent to him one of his venerable secretaries, a man of Syriac origin and a Christian by faith. By means of very friendly, pleasing and agreeable messages, and several generous, circumspect measures, he impressed on the heart of the king [the idea of a] treaty. He also removed from Smbat's mind all his fears and apprehensions, and left the payment of the royal taxes to him as he might wish and desire, provided that he would agree to a peaceful coexistence with Yusuf. 7. Learning of these good tidings transmitted by the gratifying message, and being happy with it, Smbat responded to the secretary's pleasing proposals at the conclusion of the dialogue and reciprocated equally all the fruits of friendship. Then, they exchanged sealed copies of the solemn agreement that they had made. 8. Subsequently, the king again returned to the summit of Erasxadzor, to the village of Naxchradzor, in order to spend the winter there. 9. As the ostikan wished to spend the harsh northern winter in the city of Dvin, 10. during the frigid chill of the season they treated each other with wonderful harmony and much friendship, exchanging generous gifts that were useful for the winter. 11. Then the king of Iberia, Atrnerseh, hurried there to visit Smbat out of respect, in order to celebrate with him the day of the great Pasek', that is Easter. [After the feast,] receiving many precious gifts from the king, [Atrnerseh] returned home. 12. King Smbat retired to his royal palace in the komopolis of Erazgawork'. 13. When the bitter frost of the snows of the winter season disappeared, and spring breezes began to emanate from the south, the ostikan Yusuf changed his place of residence, and prepared numerous swift steeds, spirited and fierce, decorated with embellished ornaments, armor, golden reins and tassels, as well as a crown made out of gold and sapphire, and over which was a diadem studded with rows of pearls and other valuable gems, and with these also numerous other precious, royal robes, which were embroidered with gold and beautifully braided veils. He sent these at once to king Smbat in order to honor him. 14. For Ashot the oldest son of the king he designated a new kind of distinction, by sending him a steed swift like the wind, and adorned with ornaments, armor, and multicolored garments. For his waist he provided a girdle studded with gems, and appointed him presiding prince [ishxan ishxanac'] of Armenia. 15. In addition, I myself, who wrote this work, was cordially honored by the ostikan with robes suitable for a man in my position, and received a mule richly adorned with gold-plated ornaments. 16. The king was overjoyed by the generous gifts of Yusuf, and having accepted them with much gratitude, reciprocated these equally with suitable beautiful and precious ornaments worn on robes, colorful outfits for officials dyed with the kirmiz, cups and musical instruments, a belt made out of  pure gold—the work of Roman craftsmen—and colored glass; in quantity what he gave was over ten times more than what he had received from Yusuf. 17. After this, Yusuf bid farewell to the king and retired to the region of Atrpatakan.
18. In those days, the Lord came down to the land of the Armenians. He protected everyone, and granted them success in all their undertakings. Each one lived in his own patrimony, and taking possession of the land that was his own, cultivated the vineyards and built orchards of olive and fruit trees. They sowed seeds free from thorns, and reaped fruits a hundredfold. At the time of the completion of the harvest, the granaries were overloaded. The wine cellars were full of the yield of the vineyards, and the mountains rejoiced, because the numbers of the grazing herds of cattle and sheep on their flanks grew larger. 19. Our chief naxarars, being secure and at ease from the onslaught of the enemy, erected in the hermitages, awans and agaraks churches built with solid stones that were cemented with lime mortar. 20. Nevertheless, they were surpassed by the prince of the race of Hayk, Grigor, and his brothers Sahak and Vasak, who ruled over the districts that surround the shores of the Sea of Gegham as their patrimonial possessions.
21. Thus, God by his grace, granted to everyone abundantly a blisssful state full of fruitful results. A fountain of goodness came forth from the House of the Lord, according to the prophet, and watered the valley of lots. 22. In addition to these happy circumstances, Leo the Emperor [king] of the Romans did not display a lesser degree of kindness toward king Smbat as his "beloved son". His relations with Smbat were bound by an indissoluble pact of friendship, and he was wont to send him every year numerous gifts and honors. 23. On his part, in gratitude for the benevolence of the Emperor [king] of the Romans, Smbat returned the favors tenfold with generous gifts, befitting one who was more august than himself and a real father.
10. But as Smbat could not resist them by force, and envisaged the mischief by them to be imminent, he thought that if he were to pay the tribute for one year, and temporarily drive away the storm of wickedness, then God with His providential power would provide for the future. 11. So, he sent orders throughout his domain to collect one fifth of all the herds of horses and cattle, and flocks of sheep toward the payment of the unjust tax. He considered that the fifth would secure peace for them from the court, while the four fifths could easily provide for their livelihood. 12. But if peace were disturbed, then having possession of all five of the fifths would be of no avail to the safety of human society. He took this course of action, and paid the tribute for that year.
13. These taxes seemed extremely burdensome to the king's naxarars, who were too ignorant to foresee the mockery and the scourging that were about to come. 14. Then one of the distinguished naxarars, whose name was Hasan—a prince in charge (hramanatar) of the entire domain of the king, and a man against whom no one dared to rise, so much so, that even the king always heeded his advice—was afflicted with the evil passion of Achitophel, and venturing on undertakings that were wicked as well as subversive, he conceived the idea of killing the king. He brought about a breach between the king and some of his naxarars, among others approximately fifteen of the chief Vanandac'i and Hawuni naxarars, who were his kinsmen. Through pernicious double dealing he conducted secret negotiations with the king of Iberia, and they decided to assassinate Smbat, and set him [Atrnerseh] in his place as the one in charge [hramanatar] of the Armenians, provided that he would take part in the wicked scheme with them. 16. The latter was immediately snared by them, and then they ventured upon the task of assassinating the king.
17. Then they sent a certain man of the Hawuni house, the father-in-law of Hasan, and their accomplice in the wicked plot, as well as certain others who were of the same mind, and incited them to assassinate the king. The latter set out on the pretext of serving the king, and hiding their dark plot under a bushel, waited for the opportune time. 18. On the designated day, which had been set up by the king of Iberia and the second Achitophel Hasan, as well as the others who had joined them, for the assassination of the king in agreement with the Hawuni whom they had sent for that purpose, they thought that they could succeed in accomplishing their task, but unable to resist the fervor of their hearts,  they made haste to set forth to the district of Shirak with a large army. 19. Immediately Hasan turned over the fortress of Ani to Atrnerseh, while they themselves remained stationed in the royal palace of Erazgawork', for king Smbat was in Tashirk'. 20. Then, the king was informed by some about the details of the treachery that had been committed by Atrnerseh, Hasan and their accomplices, who were ready and waiting in Erazgawork'. 21. Upon verifying these tidings, Smbat immediately set out, and hastily reached the district of Shirak. Seeing the failure of their plot, Atrnerseh and Hasan were terrified. Quickly they ravaged whatever they could find, and taking the great riches deposited in the fortress of Ani, fled and took refuge in the strongholds of Tayk'. 22. When the news of this upheavel was heard throughout the domain of the king, all the warriors gathered together as one, unified into a single soldiery clad in the same armor of truth, and protected with the girdle of fortitude. Death in avenging their king meant truly living to them.
23. Thus, when the whole army was gathered together, the king set out to meet the wicked enemy and the remaining embittered rebels. 24. Reaching the realm of Atrnerseh, every man prepared to die a martyr's death like David. They flung stones not merely at a single mound of flesh, but shed the blood of numerous warriors, until they were stopped by the king who made the remark that "the soul that sins shall die". He let the guiltless escape the sword and bid his men to lay hands only on the culprits. 25. Then, Atrnerseh of his own accord confessed the lure of wicked thoughts, and asked the king for forgiveness. 26. The gentle and peaceable Smbat accepted his apologies humbly, and offered him terms of peace, and took with him his oldest son as hostage. Also he received from him all the naxarars who had betrayed him, and blinding all of them, some he sent to the king of the Romans, and the rest to the king of Egrisi. 27. Thus, as if with the aid of Divine Providence, he was able to reestablish his suzerainty.
5. Notwithstanding these, the king conceived the idea of vanquishing the evil with kindness. He did not terminate the payment of the customary taxes of servitude, until Yusuf's wickedness was completely exposed. 6. But when the veil [of secrecy] was drawn aside, and we became aware of the raging threats of the barbaric Hagarite beast, then in compliance with the advice of king Smbat, who was desirous of good conduct, and the other naxarars, I set out, and went to Atrpatakan in Persia, to the embittered ostikan with numerous gifts and prizes from the royal treasuries, namely valuable gold-embroidered robes, and many cushions, which were the products of the colorful embroidery of women, as well as many horses, mules decked with ornaments and armor, and also treasures of gold and silver. 7. Besides these, I also took with me an additional gift that I could afford from the sacred repository of our house, so that somehow I might be able to come to terms of peace with him, before he poured his poison, laid desolate the stones of the holy church and took captive the people of Christ, and prevented Mother Sion from being deprived of her children. 8. Although at first he received me cordially, honored me with royal dignity and great respect, and also agreed to make peace in the land in every respect, as well as leave the king in peace, yet, I suspect that due to the intrigues of our own countrymen against him found reason to cherish his vain and insolent arrogance, so that his thoughts were not in agreement with his present statements.
 9. Thereafter, alienated by fatal perfidy, he seized me and confined me in a dark dungeon, which was surrounded by numerous guards, whose overwhelming uproar surrounded and stupefied me. 10. While the vain arrogance of the ostikan came out thus against me, suddenly, like a flying bird there arrived Gurgen, the marzpan of Armenia and brother of the crown-bearer Gagik. Out of inexperience and ignorance, he tried to persuade the ostikan to march upon our land. Then, prostrating himself before him in a cleverly calculated manner, he offered him gifts, and received from him credit befitting his position. From there he returned with the invitation of the ostikan asking his brother to come and visit him. 11. After a few months, in accordance with his promise king Gagik came, and carried out his transactions. He paid the tribute faithfully, as custom and regulation demands, and presented Yusuf with gifts from his copious treasures. All the decisions from their discussions concerned one thing only, namely to make preparations for their expedition into Armenia, and exact vengeance on king Smbat on behalf of one another. 12. Gagik did not realize that a blazing fire would spread in whatever direction it might find combustible material, and would devour and ravish everything without discrimination. He was once again crowned by Yusuf, and also exalted with honors, and returned home to make the preliminary preparations for the arrival of the ostikan in Armenia.
13. But I had my eyes set on the arrival of king Gagik, because I hoped that somehow he might, as his Christian duty, help me to be released from my confinement. But my expectations were not fulfilled and I was subjected to more severe incarceration because of my sins. 14. But when the fresh breezes from the south melted the frost of winter, the ostikan drew up a large army, and with irreconcilable mischief in his heart, set forth and came to our land, where I followed him in fetters. 15. After he had reached the city of Naxjawan, he remained there for a few days, until Gagik and Gurgen, his forerunners, who had been invited to come, arrived, and they marshalled the army into battalions. 16. Then, like brigands he turned upon the region of the province of Siwnik'. 17. The chief gaherec' prince of Siwnik', accompanied by his brothers and all of his forces, made haste to hold the passes and defiles on the highways with manliness befitting their well-renowned fame. Buckling on their armor they raised their arms against him and cut down many of the enemy. 18. But as they had been forsaken by the providence of God, they could not check the mighty rage of the enemy, and took refuge in the fastnesses of caverns and in the glens of lofty mountains. 19. The impious ostikan turned back, and coming upon the fugitives who had been despoiled or left behind, he put some to the  sword and took the remaining captive. 20. These events took place during the great paschal feast of Easter, on the three hundred fifty eighth revolution of the Armenian (T'orgomian) era [A.D. 909/910].
21. After remaining there for twelve days, the ostikan proceeded to march to the capital city of Dvin from a northeasterly direction. 22. Here he halted along the bank of the River Erasx. Soon Supan, the lord of Siwnik' arrived and submitted to the ostikan. 23. Being greatly amazed by this, Yusuf became more vehement than ever in his wicked wrath against the king. 24. Subsequently, arming himself with devious tricks, he sent [envoys] to king Smbat, [and demanded from him] the total payment of the tribute of that year in return for positive terms of peace and his own departure. 25. Although Smbat knew that the demands of the stealthful enemy gave cause for no joy, in order to save himself from the reproach of God and men, he immediately complied with his demands and paid approximately sixty thousand dahekans. Upon receiving this, the ostikan immediately began to pursue Smbat as far as Iberia, until the latter took refuge in the inaccessible fastnesses of Kgharjk'.
26. On the other hand he incarcerated me in the city of Dvin, behind iron bars and in fetters. Thenceforth I was subjected to beating, confinement, the rack and incarceration in dark and narrow places by my executioners whose insults bore the stench of death. Also I was cast into the depths of pits and dungeons which I suffered in bitter agony. 27. From evening until dawn, the terrible clamor and the overwhelming uproar of the guards never ceased to bother me, and because of that I could not sleep and rest my body.
4. But when Ashot saw that the Hagarite pharaoh did not acknowledge Joseph, and realized that he was cunningly plotting to torment our people, as well as being unable to attain what he had sought, he was terrified of the raging intrigues of the tyrant. At the same time, being in danger of death, because he could not find a way of disengaging himself [from Yusuf], he was forced contrary to this wishes to submit to the will of the ostikan in everything, in deed as well as thought. In the course of their communication, he gradually yielded to him completely. Yet, even then, the fickle and base rogue could not completely win the confidence [of Ashot]. 5. The ostikan retired to Dvin in order to spend there the severe winter season. 6. Thereupon, I was compelled to ask for amnesty from the ostikan, as someone in time past was accustomed to ask the sandaramet Prodoriad. I took this course of action not so much because of my fear of death, which is something temporary for God, but because he kept me for acquiring gold, and I had frequently paid the unjust exactions with the money that I had raised with the help of many [friends]. Yet, I had run short of funds, and as there was no one who could help me, I was forced to act accordingly. 7. Through the heaven sent succour I was able to get myself away from the blood-stained hands of the ostikan, and out of my fear of the obstinate Pharaoh, I ran away from him and went to Madian like Moses; like Elijah I fled the second Jezabel and took refuge in Sarephta of Sidon. 8. As the cruel devastations of the wicked enslavers extensively spread throughout our land, I heeded the order of the Lord and wandered from one city to the other in the region of Albania (Aghuank') in the East, where I went to stay with the great prince Sahak, and their king Atrnerseh, who rules in the northeastern regions of the Caucasus. These people were of our fold, and flocks of our pasture. Each one of them out of obligation contributed his share of the large allowance set for me that paid for all of my needs. 9. Departing from there, we went to the region of Gugark' and resided there, expecting our salvation from the Lord.
8. As Ashot was in that wing of the army, against his wish he was forced to retreat with them, for the assaults of the foreign invaders had become more intense. 9. Mushegh, however, who had been cast into the midst of the enemy, displayed astonishing valor to everyone's amazement. Nevertheless, unable to withstand the multitude alone, he was seized and taken to the ostikan. 10. The latter was overjoyed at the capture of the youthful royal prince (Mushegh), and held many a feast for his troops. 11. Thenceforth, considering such victories as fuel for the inflamed bitterness of his mind, he spread the extensive conflagration throughout our land, where at midday dusk, haze and somber darkness blinded the people of Ashkenaz, as if it were night. Putting our laborious toils on the scale, we discovered that the burdensome fetter weighed heavier on us than the stones in the valley of Achor, because the arrows of the invaders and the spears of the Lord struck us. 12. For the root of bitterness, which formerly the Lord had plucked out of the house of  Togarmah, once again was planted in the midst of our reasonable vineyards and turned into thorny bushes that are destructive and defiled.
13. Behold! Henceforward my heart will be tormented with agony and my stomach will shrink from shedding tears, for Providence disregarded us because of our lawlessness, and the righteous sun looked askance at us because of the black notoriety of our deeds. We fell into the hands of the obstinate second Pharaoh and his relentless agents, who inflicted on us more wounds, than [one would receive] from the shackle [used for] mixing mortar to make bricks. They destroyed us by striking blow upon blow. 14. Like a tempest, the deathly Ishmaelite winds blew bitterly and banishing us from our homes, disappeared whirling away like a dust storm. With the fierceness of torrents, inundating every land, they quenched their foolish spirit by driving us to slaughter like sheep. 15. Presently, the faculty of perception, which is located in the storage of my mind, has become so dull and blank in view of these events, that it is incapable of helping me to put to words my thoughts on the considerable number of misfortunes that came upon us. 16. Nevertheless, I shall call upon the outspoken Isaiah to come to my succor and teach me how to play the philosopher, and grieve for the wounds received by the recent blows brought about by the wrath and the admonitory mercy of the Lord. "Awake," He says, "Awake, stand up, and look at me, O Jerusalem, that hast drunk [at the hand of the Lord] the cup of calamity, the cup of wrath which thou hast drunk and drained, and there is none to comfort thee of all the children whom thou borest." 18. [I refer now] to another passage: "I looked for some one who could grieve with me but there was none; and I found no comforters." 19. In a third passage he [Isaiah] says: "And who shall sympathize with thee? Desolation, and destruction by famine and sword?"
20. Verily, in accordance with the foreboding prophet, our sons, who faint and are enslaved, persecuted and murdered, and lie at the head of all the streets, cannot comfort us. 21. And, indeed, such a deathly and acrid stench rose in our midst that even though we were honored and blessed with the kindness of God's will, we did not duly acknowledge Him from whom we received good things, and contrary to the call of duty, we were not thankful to the giver of comfort. Because of this we were admonished with such misfortunes, and repaid for the sins in our bosom sevenfold. 22. The prophet is in mourning with us when he says, "Judah has fallen, and the glory of Sion has been brought low." 23. For even the God-built churches of Christ were left forlorn by the Exalted, in the likeness of huts in vineyards, or gardners' shelters in melon orchards. The gates of the churches were destroyed by axes and hammers. The host therein was burned and the altars raised in His name desecrated. The patrimony of the Lord was trampled under the heels of the impure and swine-like beasts wandering over the roads. The unblemished blood  of the clerics of the church was shed in vain like water, shed around Jerusalem. The roots of bitterness sprouted more from our house than from outside. 24. Some of the supposed pillars [of the kingdom] rose against the Lord. They sharpened their tongues with insidiousness and impiety, and spoke before our princes words that were deceptive and false. Liars and slandereres replaced men who were just and truthful in words. Before the eyes of our generals and chief princes the true pastors of the flock of Christ were dishonored. In their midst they received several pastors who brought disgrace upon them. 25. For this reason, we received insults from deceitful and insolent men, who made us the laughingstock of the nations that lived around us. The flock, together with her pastors, was snatched away by the harsh insurgents and condemned to captivity in order to be sold as slaves. 26. There were some with pure hands and unblemished hearts, who suffered the agony of many blows, tortures, fetters, torments, prison and unbearable toils. The latter were annihilated because of the iniquity of those who had exalted the scandalous aberration within themselves. 27. The bodies of the servants of the Lord were cast out as prey to the birds in the sky, and the bodies of the saints of the Exalted were given to the beasts to feed on. No one was left with the zeal of the Almightly Lord so as to be able to drive away those tillers of injustice from the house of the Lord, and those who wished to do this indeed suffered dishonor for their aberration.
6. Confining some in prison, he gradually executed them by sword, starvation and clubbing; the others, who he made believe were men respected by him, he condemned to death secretly. Thus, he first betrayed prince Grigor, descended from Hayk, and the son of king Smbat's sister. In accordance with my earlier account, he had submitted to Yusuf 's service. The latter gave him a deathly poison to drink, as a result of which the prince died in agony. His body was taken and buried in the sanctuary of Saint Simon, which had been built by him. 7. Likewise, the son of king Smbat, the valiant and youthful Mushegh, who had been seized because of the high treason of the inhabitants of the province of Uti, was subjected to the same torments, and given the fatal drug, whereupon he died. His body was claimed by the sparapet Ashot, who sent it to be buried in the ancestral cemetary of their family in Bagaran.
8. Similarly, the nephew of [king] Smbat, the youthful Smbat still in the prime of youth, was executed by the same insidious machinations, despite his willingness to enter into the service of the Hagarite. He was buried in Daronk' among his ancestors. 9. For this very reason I made mention of my grief for those beloved people, and bemoan [them] with tears and lamentations. For it was because of our sins, that our days ended in mist and perished hopelessly.
10. Subsequently, they killed in a similar manner certain azats, about whom it is not proper for me to speak individually at this time. Of the illustrious nobility that had surrendered to him or had fallen into his hands, almost no one survived the penalty of horrible and insidious death, save for the prudent king Gagik and the handsome sparapet Ashot, who weighed the matter carefully in their minds, and through their wisdom perceived at once the fate of the lords, their brothers. Being terrified of such an unbearable death, they submitted to the wishes of the ostikan in everything, and made haste to carry out their instructions. 11. Also the youthful Vasak son of Ashot, the gaherec' prince of Siwnik', who had willingly surrendered to the ostikan, was confined in prison. 12. However, one day when dusk had fallen, he suddenly put to use his  steel sabre, and having struck the guards headlong to the ground, traversed a considerable distance, and suspending himself from the bastion of the city, made his escape.
13. Before the outcry of the guards could be heard and a force could be gathered to pursue him, Vasak, in the confusion, was able to get himself on the road to the vineyard, and took refuge in the security of his ancestral homeland. 14. Subsequently, [Yusuf's] wickedness was stripped of its outward pretexts. Some of the illustrious azats fell prey to the sword, slaughterer of multitudes. The rest were forced to take refuge in the glens and rocky gorges. Thereupon, everyone in the land withdrew in a state of terror to the caves, hid themselves in the woods and ascended to the craggy dens. 15. Even women of distinction, such as princesses, were seized by the conquerors. More than ever, they bore the heavy burden of physical toil, and in no way remembered of the luxury of azat motherhood which they had enjoyed. 16. Some of them were confined in dark prisons, clad only in cilice and coarse close. They were handicapped by poverty, and lacked their daily provisions. The azats enjoyed less tenderness than the unfortunate peasants. 17. Certain expectant mothers met their end in unbearable agony, and became their children's graves. 18. There were others, whose lives had been wasted by the pestiferous bitterness of death to the degree that they appeared in no way different from those who could not have a taste of this life. 19. Thus the fetters on the daughters of our land could not be released, nor could the old dust be shaken from the heads of the grief-bearing ladies on whom it remained affixed in the likeness of ashes in the furnace. Also they were tormented with calamitous agonies and numerous sufferings. 20. The containers of their ornaments stood in sorrow, and the vessels of their dining tables were left in disorder. Their nuptial chambers were filled with smoke. Thus, death prevailed, and having devoured the multitudes, it caused tears to be shed, and covered the entire face of the world. 21. Let these suffice; I shall return to the sequence of my history, in order not to leave my narrative incomplete.
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