Leave this aside now, and come and marvel at the Sultan's stupidity and at God's magnificent wisdom. [Wonder at the stupid Sultan] who declared himself omnipotent and God's coadjutor, and [marvel at] God's wisdom, for He struck him a blow, and sent him back to his own land heaped with contumely. Attend, now. The first time that [the Sultan] came with innumerable troops and surrounded the city [of Manazkert], its residents and livestock were caught unawares. Had he but prolonged the siege for ten days, he would have taken the city. However, God (Who does  not remain angry forever, does not eternally hold a grudge, and does not deal with us in accordance with our sins) caused a foolish plan to enter [the Sultan's] head. After three days [the Sultan] and his entire army moved down into Tuaraca Tap' and thence descended onto the extensive plain of Basen by the impregnable fortress called Awnik.
He observed there a great concourse of people and animals, but did nothing, because he could tell just by looking that [the place] was unassailable. So, passing it by, he came to the head of Basen, close to the village named Du. With a few men [the Sultan] [g89] ascended the promontory which looks toward Karin, and saw that the city was completely prepared [to withstand a siege]. After observing it for many long hours, he turned away. Now the people of Manazkert had gone forth out of the city without suspicion, and had prepared plentiful provisions for themselves and for the animals, since it was harvest time. By the time the Sultan, occupied with one thing or another, finally returned, the people were unconcerned [because they were prepared]. He came, boiling with anger, and commenced battling with the city. Now the prince who had the duty of superintendency of the city, since he was a pious man, called upon omnipotent God to aid  them, disciplining himself with fasting and prayer. Armed with this, he became yet stronger in the faith. Reading psalms, he said to God: "Lord, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me" [Psalms 22.4], and "I fear not the myriads of their soldiers which surround me" [Psalms 3.7]. He encouraged the men of the city and the troops, saying: "Take heart, my comrades and brothers, take heart and fear not, for this is a simple matter for God. As they come upon us with their carts and horses, let us recall the name of our Lord, be proud of God eternally, and confess His name, that He give strength and steadfastness to His people, He Who is blessed for all time." He urged the priests to pray and sing psalms, and they individually beseeched God night and day, with the Cross and the loud noise of the clapper, upon the walls they beseeched God to come to the aid of the threatened [people]. The tyrant's ears were wearied by the din and he inquired what the ceaseless clamor was and learned from the learned that [the people] were crying to God.
[The Sultan] remained there warring against the city for one month, and each day he would offer battle twice: once at daybreak [g90], and again at nightfall. But observe here  God's wisdom, how He knows how to use adversaries to help [one] party. For while the city stood in such consternation and danger, [God] caused a wonderful idea to be implanted in the heart of a prince who was one of the Sultan's close associates, that is, [the prince] informed the city either orally or in writing what [military] plans he learned from [the Sultan]. Often he would write [such information] on paper, attach it to the shaft of an arrow, approach the [city] wall in the course of battle, and shoot the arrow into the city. Thus did he acquaint [the citizens with all the battle tactics, [for example] that tomorrow the battle would be fought in such a way, or that at night via such and such a place [the Saljuqs] wanted to excavate under the walls and enter the city, and that [the citizens] should remain firm and guard those places.
This was done by God Who knows how to lay the foundation for great deeds [even] from afar. If God was able to turn Baghaam into a prophet during Baghak's day in order to govern the people, and made a dumb beast speak with a prophetic tongue, [or if God] during a time of famine was able to feed Eliah for three years by means of crows in the K'eriat' valley,  then why should it be surprising if He directed the city's salvation by means of its adversaries?
Thus wherever [the Saljuqs] commenced battle, at night or during the daytime, they found [the citizens] there armed and ready. After this they erected [war] machinery and fought with them. However, one of our presbyters, who was quite old and extremely informed about the art [of utilizing siege machinery] erected a catapult of his own, and when [the Saljuqs] would place a rock in the catapult's sling, and hurl it at the city, this presbyter [g91] would aim his own missile at their rock so that they would collide, and fall upon the infidels. The infidels tried [using their catapult] seven times, but were unable to accomplish anything, since the presbyter's blow was the stronger.
Then [the Saljuqs] readied another military device which they themselves called baban—a very frightful thing, which, it was said, required four hundred attendants to pull [back] ropes. They placed a rock weighing sixty litrs in the sling, and hurled it at the city. In front of it they set up a wall of cotton loads and many other materials, so that the presbyter's rock would not touch it. When everything was so  arranged, they released a rock which violently struck the wall, caused it to crumble, and opened up a passageway. When the citizens observed this, they began to tremble, and with great sighing they beseeched God to come to their aid. The infidels were delighted. Now the following day, the prince of the Delm troops [Dailamites] took his soldiers and came to battle with our people, for he was a brave man. Coming to the breach [in the wall] he wanted to enter in force, but suddenly he himself fell. Then those who were stationed upon the wall threw down an iron claw, seized him, and drew him up over the wall. When the troops saw this, they turned back full of grief, but within the city there was no small amount of rejoicing.
At that time a certain general of the Byzantine troops, brave-hearted and manly, prepared [a mixture] of sulphur and flamable oil, put it into a glass vessel, mounted a thoroughbred steed, and, protected by merely a shield, rode out of the city gates going to the foreigners' army, claiming to be a mandator or messenger. He rode up to the [g92] baban and around it, and then unexpectedly poured the contents of the bottle [he was carrying] upon the baban. Instantly a fire ignited, a purplish flame shot forth, while  [the general] hastily turned back. When the infidels saw this they were astounded, jumped onto their horses and pursued him, but they were unable to catch up. As for [the general], he peacefully entered the city unharmed, with the aid of God. Now when the Sultan saw what had happened, burning with rage he ordered the [machine's] guards executed.
Do you see the humane concern of God, [do you see] how close His salvation is to those who fear Him? How He knows the way to overcome great [ones] by means of small things? [Through God's aid] Moses [overcame] the colossal giant Ovgin who was nine cubits tall; the child David [overcame] Goliath; K'aber's wife Hayel [overcame] the foreign titan Sisar, and another woman [overcame] Hoghep'erhnes. I have recited this so that we do not become disheartened when we fall into unbearable difficulties. For it is God's way to temporarily countenance such dangerous straits, so that the patient people merit the crown of glory, while the impious receive recompense for their wickedness by righteous verdicts. We see this in the case of the children in the [fiery] furnace. God countenanced [matters] until the king expresssed all of his anger and rage, and prepared a furnace the flames  of which reached up forty-nine cubits. Then [the king] said with terrible impiety: "Who is God to save you from my hands?" Compare this with the children's stout-hearted faith, how when they were at trial with that beast replied even more [g93] boldly after that tyrant's insults: "We need not answer you." After this what happened when the king's threats were exhausted, and when [the children] bound, were tossed into the furnace? It was then that [God] speedily came to their aid, and did not shame those who correctly called upon Him. Note here the deep wisdom of God, which none can attain. For He divided the fire in two and it burned those Chaldeans it encountered. But an angel sprinkled the children with dew, and the fire neither approched them, distressed, nor harasssd them. This put sense into [the head of] that barbarian [king] who, at the sight of such unutterable marvels, confessed, saying: "Come forth, servants of God, that I along with you bless Him Who is blessed for all eternity." In this case also, God, by means of an insignificant man, displayed very great wonders. Let this serve as counsel and teaching for us.
Now Basil, the prince of the city, ordered the rabble to insult and curse the Sultan from the walls.  After two days [the Sultan] departed with his army. He went away, and en route encountered a city called Arcke, located in the Sea of Bznunik' [Lake Van] which had a secure, impregnable fortress near it. The citizens, placing their hopes on the sea and the stronghold, remained unconcerned. But those bloody beasts found a shallow way through the waters—either because someone pointed it out to them, or because they craftily discovered it themselves—and entered the city. Putting swords to work, they killed [almost] everyone. Then taking captives and the city's loot, they departed. Although this calmed the Sultan's heart a little, nonetheless, he returned to his own land in great sadness, since he had been unable to accomplish what he had wanted [g94].
 Now Theodora, the daughter of king Constantine [Monomachus] seized the throne as her own patrimonial inheritance, which none could resist. [g95] [Tughril], the Sultan of the Tachiks, sent emissaries to her and wrote her an edict with the following import: "Either give me those cities and districts which your forebears took from the Tachiks, or else every day send me one thousand dahekans." But Theodora [instead] sent him white horses and mules, many treasures, and purple attire. [The Sultan] received [the gifts], but, keeping the purveyor of them, he took [that man] along with him to Babylonia. This transpired in 504 of our [Armenian] era .
In the same year Persian troops under the Sultan's name arrived in Armenia. But some say that they were the forces of Apusuar, who held Duin and Ganjak and was the son-in-law of Ashot, king of Armenia. People from populated places fled from their raiding to the city of Ani, but everyone did not manage to get inside, because night fell, and the city gates were closed. Now the Persian troops came at night, seized the city gates, put swords to work, and wreaked unbelievable destruction [on people] who had none to help them. Then, taking booty and captives, they returned to their own land.
 In the Taron area the prince of the district was T'eodoros, son of Aharon whom [the Persians] called Awan since [their alphabet] lacks a letter. A brigade of soldiers came [to T'eodoros] from Turkestan, submitted to him, and wanted to display their loyalty. Entering the district of Xlat', they seized much booty and brought it to Taron. But then troops assembled from Persia and Turkestan sent to T'eodoros saying: "Either surrender those rebels to us or we shall lead your country into slavery." But T'eodoros refused. Therefore they came and battled two and three times. The prince displayed much valor, but was fatally wounded, and died a few days later. His premature [g96] death was most regrettable, because he was only a lad and exceedingly good looking, resembling the prophet David, and he was braver than many.
The next winter, during the days of the feast of Epiphany the infidel troops came at night to the town called Mankan Gom in Hark' [district]. The [Saljuqs] came upon the people while they were unconcernedly celebrating the evening services. Putting swords to work, they killed [virtually] all of them, and did the same in the surrounding villages and fields.  Taking captives and booty, they moved on to the village of Aracani, as they were passing by. Taking the captives and loot over ice, suddenly the ice broke, and everyone on it fell in.
Oh how bitter this history is, how worthy of lamentation! Perchance someone will blame me wondering "How long will he continue to thrust before us these accounts of grief and troubles?" How much the prophets predicted the threatening things which subsequently occurred; yet the people were vexed at them. Now I sermonize not about what threatens, but about matters which have transpired, and I narrate the accomplished fact, to move all listeners to tears over just how very bitter was the period we lived in. Our life was not a real one. As the prophet in lamentation complained against his own [people] that the sins of our fathers will be visited upon us, [I say] woe are we that must pay the debts of our fathers. God, speaking to Ezekiel said "Son of Man, what is that proverb which they repeat in Israel, 'The fathers ate sour grapes, and their children's teeth were on edge'"? As I live, this proverb shall no more be used [g97] [solely] in Israel. The Lord says: "Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine" [Ezekiel 18. 2-4]. And He freed  the son from his father's debt. If all of this [misfortune] was visited upon us because of our evils, then we are more pitiful than all other peoples. The entire world dwells in peace, yet we are slaves and captives, stabbed by the sword, homeless, and pillaged of our belongings.
Armenia had four thrones of kingship, to say nothing of the Curopalate's principality and what [existed] in Byzantium. [It once had] a patriarchate, great and envied by all peoples, as well as vardapets of the first order, truthful and sagacious, at whose words all the legions of heretics were humiliated and cast down, unable to enter the fold of the Believers. For the gate-keeper would not accept them, since he recognized his own and was recognized by his own. Our churches resembled a new bride, adorned with all comliness to satisfy the desire of the immortal Bridegroom. The clerics, newly born from the immaculate womb of our mother Sarah, resembled dove chicks clustering together, singing angelic songs with open mouths.
Come now and see the wicked unconsolable replacement which we received. Where are those thrones of the kingdoms?  They appear not. Where are the multitudinous hosts of troops before them, whose rainment shone with variegation resembling the hues of spring flowers? Behold, they are no more, nor shall they reappear. Where is the great and wondrous patriarchal throne which that venerable man of God, Gregory (Grigorios), established upon an apostolic throne, after descending into the deep pit and being tested by fatiguing labor for fifteen years? Today it is vacant, without an occupant [g98], stripped of adornments, covered with dust and spiderwebs, and the heir to that throne has gone to a foreign land as a slave and a captive. The voices and sermons of vardapets have ceased. The ranks of heretics which previously resembled mice running for cover into this or that hole, chased away by [the vardapets'] theological words and orthodox confession, presently resemble lions which fearlessly, mightily, sally forth from their dens open-mouthed to wolf down innocent people. What shall I say about the Church, which formerly was so embellished, comely, fruitful and sanctified that it would have astonished a prophet? Today it sits ingloriously, unadorned, stripped of all beauty, resembling a childless widow, stripped of adornments, fallen from honor, sitting unconsolably in  tattered clothing. Its chandeliers and candles are extinguished, the smell of incense and sweet fragrances is gone, the frame of the Lord's altar is covered with dust and ash. Those clerics who could be seen at the [church] doors, books in hand, singing Davidic psalms, dance before the doors of those dew-infested lairs called mosques learning the sayings of Islam (mahmetawand). Modest, prudent women who had been legally married, taking large dowries from their men today have learned dissolute, licentious adultery.
If everything which I have related was visited upon us because of our wickedness, inform Heaven and those who are in it and over it; inform the earth, and the animals living on it; inform the mountains and hills, trees and dense forests, let them mourn [g99] and lament our destruction. Prophets did so in their joy. For they would command the mountains and hills to leap for joy; the rivers to applaud; the sea to make merry; and the forests to rejoice. They are all our comrades, and since they share in our joy, they should partake of our sorrows, as it was in times past, when they  bowed down with us in our day of humiliation and tribulation, because they were created for us. Yet for us this brings neither aid nor consolation. Though they weep and sob and shroud themselves in darkness, in no way does this help the dead one. How did Jeremiah's tears benefit the Jews, Christ, Jerusalem or Judas? Tell me. In no way. Consequently, realizing this, we should work to appease God with our righteousness. Should that occur, then the enemy's sword will vanish for good, the difficult will become easy for us, the rough road will become flat, and everybody will see God's salvation. For if God is on our side, who can oppose us? Did not God Himself so state in Deuteronomy, "I shall be the enemy of your enemies, and shall destroy those who hate you" or, "I shall not abandon you and cast you down" [Psalms 17.41]. We need only have peace with God, and turn to Him with sincere hearts, having [our] good deeds as a pledge, and no adversary can grieve us. These too are the Lord's words, which we find in the book of Isaiah: "Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear" [Isaiah 65.24] words which surpass the most fervent words of the Fathers. Yet [God] withdraws His aid from worthless folk, saying: "I shall not be with them,"  and also: "Though you beseech Me, I shall not hear you; though they seek Me, the wicked shall not find Me" [Proverbs 1.28], or "When you [g100] raise your hands [in prayer] I shall turn My face from you, and if you pray continuously, I shall not hear you" [Isaiah 1.15], for what has light in common with darkness?
Brothers, be fearful and heedful of the heavenly messengers. Be not unknown to Him, that He not say: "I do not know you." Rather, let us be among the ranks of His friends, that He say to us: "Come, O blessed of My Father, inherit the Life Everlasting" [Matthew 25.34].
Now the queen satiated the Sultan as though he were a famished beast, giving him such a plethora of gifts that he forgot to attack us. Rather, he continued fighting in Babylon and the surrounding areas, since he was a very [g101] martial man. However neither summer nor winter did those aroused neighbors of ours, or those whose borders marched with ours cease coming and sullying the land of Armenia. For by means of spies they sought out and discovered where the populated places were. Then at night they would suddenly fall on them, and with unheard of blows, put everyone to death. Unconcernedly and fearleasly they would remain many days in [one] spot until they had examined the houses to see if anything [of value] lay concealed there. They would remove everything leaving the place totally demolished, and then, taking the booty and captives, they would return to their own land.
There was a populous and rich awan in the Basen district close to the base of Ciranis mountain, named Okomi. At nightime  on the day of the great feast of Epiphany, the infidels approached it. Because of the severe frost on that plain, the hands and feet of these beasts in human form froze. Now when they drew near to the habitation they spotted a good deal of fodder for the animals piled up. This they set on fire, and from the blaze of that fire they entire plain was lit up as though it were high noon. There [the Saljuqs] stood warming themselves and their horses. Then, stringing their bows and baring their weapons they attacked the shen ("settlement") [battling] as easily as though it were summertime. They put to the sword [virtually] everyone, some 30,000 people, and none of the residents remained alive except for those who had gone journeying elsewhere. [The Saljuqs] remained there for three days. Then, taking away all the accumulated grain, on the backs of oxen, asses, and horses, [taking] goods and a small amount of useful items, and captives, they went off to their own land. Who can record the diverse evils which they wreaked on that place? As a result the entire countryside became devoid of inhabitants, the only survivors being those secured into strongholds [g102].
Now after the Empress [Theodora] ruled the realm for two years, and having reached deep old age, she grew ill and died of that illness [A.D. 1056]. [Before she died] the principals of the city came before her and said beseechingly: "While you are still  alive, set up somebody as king so that the city will remain without agitation." The queen agreed to this. She summoned one of the principals of the city, named Michael [VI, Stratioticus, 1056-1057], who, in the time of her fathers, had been an official at the palace, and who was quite old and exceedingly rich. [Theodora] established him as emperor with the approval of the city. Then, after three days, she embarked upon that journey which, as the Davidic psalm says, all mortal kings and paupers must travel. Now as soon as the very great and the small princes of the lands heard about [Michael's] enthronement, they all came forth to tender their submission. While [Michael] should have kept them happy with sweet words and generous gifts and kept them loyally under his sway, on the contrary, since he was uncivil, infected with Robovam's disease, he kept some princes [with him], considering them unfit to rule. At court he said to the grandees: "Either go forth in war against the Persians and prevent the land from being ruined, or else I shall pay the Persians your stipends and thus keep the land in peace." The princes did not accept this. Without replying they quit the emperor's presence, formed an alliance, went overseas and assembled innumerable troops. The leaders [of these forces] were Komianos, who later ruled, and Kamenas. Thus did they rebel from the emperor and swore oaths that they would not submit to his  rule. And this transpired in the year 506 of our [Armenian] era , which was the tenth Byzantine indiction [g103].
Alas that year, alas that destructive plan by which the inhabitants of the country were ruined and destroyed! [The land] became unadorned as it had been at the Creation: "The land was desolate and unprepared, for there was no one to work it" [Genesis 1.1 and 2.5]. It resembled the handsome face of a person in the flower of youth which always appeared very beautiful and agreeable to beholders; but when death has removed that embellishing soul, depriving [the face] of its former glow and beauty, to the beholders it seems ugly, unworthy of respect, frightening, and even unworthy of pity, as is said: "I have passed out of mind, like one who is dead" [Psalms 30.13]. Thus was the country. For when it was still cultivated and full of people, the agriculturalists filled up their fields with plentiful seeds which, sprouting, dyed all the plains with rich green hues, and growing higher until ears appeared at their tips. Then with their dense height they looked like clouds, undulating in the soft breezes, or rippling like the ocean's waves. So too did the herds and flocks leap and play in evergreen valleys by cold fountains, and the country, resembling a guardian (zdayeak) took on a beautiful appearance because of them, as is said [in Scripture]: "May the fields and all upon them rejoice" [Psalms 95.17].
 Presently we see just the opposite: a country laid waste and empty of inhabitants, destroyed cities, uncultivated fields which produce thorns, reflecting frightful, terrible neglect. The sweet-voiced flocks of birds have also vanished, the birds which by their human-loving nature had grown used to our species, which filled the land with their sweet [g104] melodies, with their morning twitter and loud chirpings, which, like a goad would rouse the farmer from lethargic sleep, calling each to his trade. Presently the cultivated places are in ruins, desolate, depopulated, and lacking places of habitation. Where do the storks build their nests? Where may the weaker birds find refuge in them, as is said in the Psalms. Where does the swallow in agitation fashion a nest to fearlessly raise her chicks? Let this matter rest here. We shall return to our sorrowful, unfortunate history.
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