Now because there were grandees in the environs [of Ashot's holdings] they unjustly took many places from him. He was unable to bear this, and so left [g27] his land and went to the court of the Byzantine emperor. Since he pleased him, [Ashot] requested auxiliary troops. He took them and came to his own land. God helped him to master many districts and fortresses and to grow stronger than all who had come before him. So much so, that many of the grandees left their patrimonial places to him and voluntarily submitted to him. Up to this point the narration is pleasing.
In 467 of our era  the emperor [of Byzantium] sent a certain Nicomedian prince who came and placed a capitation tax (mardahark) on the country, and, assembling a multitude of men, began reconstructing Theodosiopolis (T'eodosupolis/Karin/Erzerum).
In 468  lord Petros [Petros I Getadardz, 1019-1058] was ordained kat'oghikos during the lifetime of lord Sargis. And in 470  once more the emperor came to the East with a large army. He came and encamped in the large plain of Karin, and sent emissaries to Georgi—who was ruling the Georgians—to come to him and submit. For a certain bishop of Georgian nationality who resided in the city of Vagharshakert, had gone to the emperor and assured him that "When you come to Ekegheac' or Karin, [Georgi] will come before you." And [Basil] believed him, and placed his hopes on that [happening]. He awaited [Georgi's] arrival, moving from lodging-place to lodging-place. But [Georgi] did not agree to come at the emperor's summons, for many of his people had frightened him [by saying]: "When he sees you, either you will die, or he will shackle you and you shall not receive your honor." Now the emperor, crossing over to Bagean, sent messengers [to Georgi] two and three times, since he greatly desired that his journey end in peace and that the land remain [g28] in a flourishing state. However, when the sending of messages had ended in vain, the emperor, moved to anger, ordered that the great awan ("hamlet") known as Okomi and the villages and fields (agarakk') around it and belonging to it be disfigured through fire, sword, and captivity. He ordered the captives to be taken to Xaghteac' district, while he himself crossed Basean and reached Karmir P'orak in the Vanand district. Now Georgi, having found an appropriate time, went against the city of Uxt'ik' and ordered his troops  to scorch its beautiful estates with fire, and to loot its goods, but not to injure a single person. When the emperor heard this he became increasingly enraged, and turned back against him. The two armies met near the small lake called Paghakac'is, and clashed with a frightful roar. The flashing of swords and glittering of helmets sent fiery sparks flying about the mountain, and blazing sparks from the clash of swords fell to the ground. Looking upon this all, the emperor himself was astonished at the bravery of the combattants for, just as the rapids of a river strike against a rock, so did the Byzantine army strike against them, turning them to flight. In that spot the great prince Erhat died, because his horse fell into a swamp, and was unable to pass. They attacked that praiseworthy individual and slew him with swords, [an act] which caused great mourning to the House of Tayk'. Now Georgi went with his troops and secured himself into the stronghold of Abkhazia. Meanwhile the emperor sent [g29] troops to the four directions of the land, commanding them with a wrathful order not to spare either old or young, neither child nor adult, neither man nor woman nor anybody. And in this way he demolished and polluted 12 districts. It was a pitiful scene there  and one worthy of many tears. For the lofty regal palaces which had been constructed with very great expense and with the craft of architects, [creating] wonder in the beholder and joy in the occupants, fell down, gutted by flames, while their lords fell before them, stabbed by swords. Alas this narration, alas, this wicked deed! How can I, poor in wisdom and more ignorant than anyone else, put into writing how things were at that moment, or how can I lament our misfortunes in a fitting way? [This task belongs] to the spirit of Jeremiah who knew how to fashion laments to suit the misfortune. But we are recording these lengthy events in brief for the benefit of the generations coming [after us], so that when children are born and grow up they will relate this to their children so that they not forget the acts of God Who justly requites all that stray from His laws, as Job said: "He shall requite those who hate Him, and not delay" [II Deuteronomy 7.10].
Come now and tally up for me the numbers [slain] at that time: the venerable, respectworthy elderly who fell, their white hairs stained with blood; the youths stabbed to death with swords, the countless incalculable eyes which were blinded. It seems to me  that these things befell them in return for removing the nails of the regal Symbol [the Cross] from the door of the blessed cathedral and saying insultingly, "We shall make horse-shoes out of it." This bitter lesson [g30] befell them and those with them, deservedly. Azat women, having come forth, their veils removed from their heads, were shamelessly disgraced in the open sunlight. Those who had hardly been able to travel on foot to visit the sick or to go to a place of pilgrimage, now bare-headed and barefoot went before the captors, stripped of adornments, having fallen from honor, and subject to myriad humiliations. Of the suckling babes, some were torn from their mothers' embrace and hurled against the rocks, while others were pierced by lances in their mothers' arms, such that the mothers' milk mingled with the babies' blood. Yet others were thrown down at crossroads, trampelled under horses' hooves, and they died, every one. Oh God, [for] Your forgiveness at that time! Oh the merciless commands of the king! But despite all of this, [Basil's] anger did not fade, rather, he continued to raise his hand and to visit on them yet more evil. And through this deed he made the well-cultivated country devoid of people, a devastated wasteland, until the onset of winter.
 I do not know why all of this befell them, whether it was a fitting lesson for the excessive impiety of the country's inhabitants, or whether it resulted from the fierce behavior of the western troops which had been gathered from barbaric (xuzhaduzh) peoples. Now the emperor turned to his wintering quarters in temperate Pontus, he encamped in the Xaghteac' district and passed the night. Patriarch Petros followed after him and met him on the great feast-day of the Revelation of God, and was exalted by him.
On the day of the Revelation, the day when the Christian kings and princes are pious, making themselves equal to the directors of the Church, descending to the waters on foot and performing there the sacrament of the Lord's baptism, on that day, the emperor commanded the patriarch Petros to bless the waters in accordance with our [Armenian] canons, while the Byzantine bishops who happened to be there [were to celebrate] in accordance with their canons. When the patriarch sprinkled holy chrism on the water, suddenly rays of light streamed forth from the waters. Everyone saw this and glorified God, and the horn of our faith  was raised up. Then, yet more honored by the emperor and the officers, patriarch Petros returned to his home. But it was there that the destruction of Armenia occured [through] a written letter. For Yovhannes had ordered the patriarch: "Give the emperor a written will so that after my death he shall inherit my city and country." For he had no royal heir for his kingdom, since his son Erkat' ("Iron") had died prematurely without succeeding to his father's position. The emperor went and reached his wintering place at the aforementioned spot; and the troops sold their captives to distant peoples.
In these very times the blessed and worthy patriarch, lord Sargis, passed from this world. His grave is at Horhomos monastery.
As soon as the emperor [Basil] heard about this, he fell into great uneasiness, and went and secured himself into a certain strong fortress called Mazdat, for such was the ancient custom of Greece. However, I do not know whether this is a divine law—that servants must not arise against their lords—or  whether the emperor then had some special goodness. But I do know for sure, and saw with my own eyes, that those who arose against him died laughable deaths. The same sort of affair had transpired at the beginning of his reign when Vard [Phocas], called Scleros (Siklarhos) rebelled against him, and took with him almost all the Byzantines, to the point that the emperor [had to] request an auxiliary army from the Georgian Curopalate. With these troops [Basil] struck at the tyrant and made him flee the land. Then [Vard] went to Babylon, the city of the Chaldeans. After [Vard Phocas] his homonymous [relative, Nicephor] Phocas was infected with the same disease, and ruled [g33] the entire East for 7 years. [Basil] with only 4,000 men crossed the sea at night and attacked the myriad troops of the rebel. No one died of that multitude excepting the rebel himself. Having severed his head, [Basil] commanded that the trumpet of peace be sounded, and all the troops returned to their homes. Then the emperor himself, in great triumph, went and entered his city of Constantinople.
Similarly here, their [the rebels'] childish game was not prolonged, [but was] rather like a structure  built on sand which quickly falls into ruin from the blows of a flood. For Dawit', who was called Senek'erim, being harassed by the Persians, gave his patrimonial inheritance, the House of Vaspurakan, to the emperor Basil, receiving in exchange the city of Sebastia and the districts surrounding it. Now these events did not transpire in the distant past, but only two or three years previous. From then on, up to the present, the Byzantines ruled the East. [Senek'erim] at that time was united in counsel with the rebels, and loyal to them. But then suddenly, as a person awakening from sleep, or as a mighty man coming to himself after drunkenness, he realized the impropriety of the deed. And because there was no other way of disrupting the wicked union, one day, at an unexpected hour, he took the one whom they had styled king and went away from the army as if to advise him. Suddenly, pulling out his sword he killed [Nicephor Phocas], beheaded him, gave the head to his servants and had it speedily taken to the emperor.
Now when this happened every one of those assembled scrambled over the next man to quickly, secretly reach his own home. And all of their plans  came to nought forthwith [g34].
When the emperor saw the tyrant's head, he ordered it raised aloft on a pole in view of the entire army, for there were many among them who though they followed after the emperor with their feet, nonetheless, in word and thought they were one with the rebels. [Basil] did as he did out of his deep wisdom, so that seeing [Nicephor's head] they would stand clear of such vain plots, and [re]direct their hearts toward obedience to the emperor.
After these [events], the emperor and his troops descended to the large plain of Basen. He sent cavalrymen of the heathen troops to capture the rebel P'ers, while he himself went to the border of Basen, to the place called Salk'ora, dug a deep trench around the army as a barricade, and remained there for a month or longer.
Now those who had been sent by the emperor seized P'ers and his son-in-law, Andronicos (Andronike), who was his partisan. They brought them as far as the stronghold called Xaghtoy Arhich at the border of Karin.
 Reaching the field which is opposite the stronghold, they camped, and bringing forth P'ers and Andronicos, they beheaded them. For the emperor had so commanded them. [This was because] during their rebellion, the Abkhazes had been allies, and they had promised to give to him [territory] up to that place as his share. For previously that [territory] had been ruled by Dawit' the Curopalate, not, however, as his patrimonial inheritance, but as gifts received from the emperor in return for [Dawit's] loyal obedience. [Dawit'] had promised that after his death, his district would be returned to the emperor; but [the conspirators] did not bother about that. On the contrary they generously gave gifts which were not theirs to give. For this reason, the emperor ordered them to be beheaded at that spot [g35].
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