Smbat Sparapet's


[84] In the year 610 A.E. [1161] Gorge', king of the Georgians, came against the city of Ani and took it in one day through battle, killing some 1000 Armenians and Turks. He left 2,000 men there as guards, and then returned to his own land. Now the lord of Xlat', the [Danishmendid] Shah-Armen, assembled 80,000 cavalrymen, brought them to Ani, and besieged it. When King Gorge' heard about this, he came against them in fury and wiped out [almost] all of them, seizing 6,000 of their principals. Out of that enormous multitude only 10,000 men were able to save their lives and escape by a hairsbreadth, empty-handed. King Gorge' loaded up with their spoil and joyfully returned to his own land. In the same year [g184] the lord of Antioch, Prince Renaud (E"r'naght), took 1,000 cavalry and infantry and came to the fortress of the Kat'oghikoi, to Tsovk' in the district of Duluk, and spread about taking captives and looting the tent-dwelling Turkmens. Now Majd-ad-Din, lord of Arewe"nd, who was Nur-ad-Din's second [in command], had previously assembled 10,000 men and concealed them in an ambush. He sprang out and killed them all. Seizing the prince and 30 cavalrymen, he took them to Aleppo with many insults. He notified Nur-ad-Din in Damascus about this, since he had massed there. As soon as [Nur-ad-Din] heard the news he ravaged all the districts of the Christians as far as Tripoli. Then he descended upon Harim. However, the king of Jerusalem and T'oros, Lewon's son, were in Antioch, and so he did not dare to remain there. Instead, he turned back. Nur-ad-Din went and took Arzghan by oath, pulling down the dwellings and taking captives to Aleppo. In the same year Sultan Kilij-Arslan came to Emperor Manuel in Constantinople, bringing along Nur-ad-Din's brother, Miran, and he made an agreement with the emperor to be friendly toward him for the rest of his life. Then he went back to his own land, laden with many gifts [g185].

[85] In the year 614 A.E. [1165] Step'ane', Lewon's son and the brother of the sebastius T'oros, was slain through the treachery of an impious Byzantine duke. [This occurred] in front of [the fortress of] Hamus in the land of Cilicia. They had called [Step'ane'] there in friendship. Then, seizing him, they subjected him to a cruel death, crucifying him on a sycamore tree. The godless Byzantines would not spare [even] such a valiant warrior. [Step'ane'] had two sons, Ruben and Lewon. Now his brothers, T'oros and Mleh, enraged at this act of treachery, exacted a thousandfold vengeance for the shedding of his innocent blood, and that duke was responsible for [the shedding of] their blood. In the same year the Georgian king Gorge' came to Duin with his troops. [The defenders] came against him in battle, and Gorge' destroyed them causing them to flee into the city. The king's troops pursued them and destroyed all of them. [The Georgian troops] set fire to the city, completely looted it, and then departed. In that period Lewon's son, the conquering T'oros, displayed his valor and held [secure] those parts of the Taurus Mountains over which he ruled. Now his brother, Mleh, was a malicious and treacherous man, and planned to kill his brother, T'oros. Getting together some others of the same tendency, one day while they had gone out to hunt [g186] deer, Mleh wanted to slay his brother there [at a place] between Mamistra and Adana. But T'oros had been forewarned. He furiously seized Mleh and interrogated him before the troops and the princes as to what he was hoping to accomplish. They reproached Mleh in their presence and he was shamed. Then [Mleh] gave [to T'oros] much of the inventory of his authority, horses, mules, weapons, and treasures. And they removed him from his district. Thus he received nothing in exchange for his wickedness. So [Mleh] arose and went to Nur-ad-Din, lord of Aleppo, and entered into his service. [Nur-ad-Din] gave him [the city of] Cyrrhus and its district. The wife of Step'ane', whose name was Rita, was the daughter of paron Smbat, lord of Paperon, brother of O'shin, ruler of Lambron, and the sister of Bakuran, who ruled Paperon following the killing of his father Smbat by T'oros' troops, as we mentioned earlier, at the gates of Mamistra. [Rita] took her children and went to her brother, Bakuran, at Paperon, where she settled and nurtured them. She was a pious, wise, and God-fearing woman. Vasak, a brother of Bakuran, was lord of the keep of Askur'os, Lamo'so, and those parts. Bakuran, lord of Paperon, was a good and generous man, well-disposed toward everyone, a lover of God and man. May his memory be blessed. Bakuran and Vasak had another brother, named Halkam, and Vasak was the father of the senior paron [g187].

In the year 616 A.E. [1167] Lord Grigoris, who had grown extremely old and had held the patriarchate according to God's will for 54 years, as though under the influence of the Holy Spirit, [decided] to hold an assembly of bishops, vardapets, abbots of monasteries, and many [other] blessed men. [At this assembly] he ordained his renowned brother, Nerse's, to the Armenian kat'oghikosal throne. Nerse's [accepted] with great reluctance, as he had rejected the honor, regarding himself as unworthy of the divine calling. He wrote many spiritual hymns for the church and administered the patriarchal throne according to God's will. He was a blessed man adorned with all good qualities and arrangements, virtuous and filled with all manner of learning and grace of the Holy Spirit. He resembled a river which flows with abundant streams, for none of the previous patriarchs had been like him. And none of his successors were either, up until our own time. The reputation of his learning reached the Byzantine emperor Manuel who requested from him [an account of] the confession of the Armenian church. [Nerse's] wrote this. When the emperor, the patriarch, and all the Byzantine savants saw this [document], they amiably approved of the orthodox confession of the Armenians. [The emperor] then sent a certain philosopher, named T'o'riane', to Hor'omkla [g188]. [T'o'riane' and Nerse's] spoke with each other for many days, and when [T'o'riane'] returned to the emperor he told him about the blessed man's fathomless knowledge and complete virtuousness. Roused by the account to affection for the blessed patriarch, the emperor sent again to effect friendship and unity between the two peoples who had been divided from each other through the influence of evil. However this blessed work [of uniting the churches] remained unfulfilled owing to the death of the blessed patriarch Nerse's.

[86] In the year 617 A.E. [1168] the great T'oros died. He was the son of Lewon, son of Kostandin, son of Ruben, who bravely held [his] area of the Taurus Mountains, displaying acts of bravery in numerous places and having won many battles through his wisdom. May the Lord have mercy on him. As he was dying he designated prince T'umas as an administrator for his small son, Ruben. He ruled T'oros' land for one year.

In the year 618 A.E. [1169] T'oros' brother, Mleh, took aid from Nur-ad-Din, lord of Aleppo, and came with many Turks to the country of Cilicia. He mastered the principality of his brother and the Turks took much loot and booty. Showing vengeance to those who opposed him, he pillaged and despoiled them, put them into prison and fetters, arrested the bishops, and pulled out their teeth. Wherever he suspected that gold [g189] or silver existed, he seized it. He disgraced honest, modest women and polluted with loathesome prostitution and shameless lust. He filled up with gold and silver and wallowed in the luxuries of the innocent people he had despoiled. He had a bestial mentality, [and was] wicked and merciless, and everyone hated him and wanted to get rid of him. But they did not find an opportune moment.

In the year 619 A.E [1170] on June 29th a severe earthquake occurred which caused the walls of Antioch and Aleppo to collapse. It also demolished the church named for the blessed Mother of God, and many people were killed. Now once Mleh ruled over his brother's principality, T'umas fled to Antioch. And they sent the lad T'oros to the patriarchal see at Hor'omkla, to the kat'oghikos, where he died. O'shin's son, Het'um, who was married to T'oros' daughter as we mentioned earlier, highly respected [T'oros] during his lifetime and did not dare to do anything. But after the death of his father, he sent and removed himself [from Mleh]. As a reult, Melh was enraged. He went with his troops and besieged Lambron and inflicted great distress on its inhabitants. For a long time the Rubenians and the Het'umians had held a grudge against one another. And this became yet another cause for conflict between them. Consequently [Mleh] fiercely afflicted them with warfare and famine.

[87] In the year 622 A.E. [1173] on the 16th of August the blessed illuminator patriarch, Lord Nerse's, passed to Christ leaving the Armenian churches in great mourning. He had written in his will [g190] urging the enthronement of his senior brother Vasil's son, the archbishop Lord Grigor, nicknamed Tgha. Doing as [Nerse's] had ordered, an assembly of many bishops seated him as kat'oghikos of the Armenians [Grigor IV Tgha ("the lad"), 1173-1193]. Lord Grigoris was a man of gigantic stature and awe-inspiring appearance, with a happy face and a generous soul, full of wisdom and learning and divine grace, brilliant and sagacious in speech and style, and learned in the Old and New Testaments. And with [these skills] did he adorn the blessed [kat'oghikosal] throne in the temple which was erected in the name of Saint Gregory. He adorned it and made it glitter with sacred vessels of gold and silver, and vestments sewn with gold [thread]. He made the blessed temple so resplendent that none of his successors, though they melted down the gold and silver items, were able to reduce [the majesty of the church]. He also made three crypts in the temple and placed in them the remains of the blessed patriarchs Grigoris and Nerse's and their predecessor, Grigoris Vkayase'r, which he brought from the district of Kesoun to the Red monastery. He lived in a royal manner [dispensing] great sums and generous gifts, and keeping a sumptuous table. In this year Nur-ad-Din, lord of Aleppo, died and his son, Malik Saleh, occupied his throne.

Now after five years of Mleh's rule, in the year 624 A.E. [1175], his princes hatched an impious plot. They [g191] united together and killed him in the city of Sis because of his disruptive ways. Then they sent to Paper'o'n and summoned Stefane's son, Ruben, in order to seat him on the throne of his ancestors. He immediately sent his sister's brother, Bakuran, with many gold and silver treasures. Then Ruben came and ruled his patrimony, and the Armenian princes gladly submitted to him [Ruben III, 1175-1186]. He was a young man of thirty years, benevolent, generous, and attractive, brave in battle and a skilled bowman. He began by generously giving gifts to everyone and started to distribute the treasures that Mleh had accumulated to the needy, and with a bountiful table he inclined everyone to him, heart and soul. Wherever he went with them, he bravely pushed back the bands of the enemy, thus taking Mamistra, Adana and Tarsus. At the commencement of his rule he gave very great gifts to his princes in thankful gratitude for what they had done by killing his father's brother and establishing him in the place of his ancestors. He promised further good things to those who had actually slain his uncle, if he could determine who they were. Two men, deluded by their stupidity, came forward and said: "We killed him with our own hands out of love for you." And [Ruben] was extremely thankful to them. But [later] he ordered that rocks be attached to their necks and that they secretly be thrown into the river. Their names were Jahan and Aplgharib (who was a eunuch). Once Ruben had [g192] consolidated his rule he began to harass [the fortress of] Lambron with battle and siege for three years. And he put them into dire straits owing to the old rancor which [the Rubenids and the Het'umids] had between them. But he was unable to accomplish anything.

[88] In the year 625 A.E. [1176] Sultan Kilij-Arslan of Iconium defeated the Byzantine emperor on the other side of Iconium, before the ruined fortress called Melitene. He seized the emperor and again left him, having established friendship with him through an oath and treaty.

In the year 626 A.E. [1177] Manuel [I Comnenus, 1143-1180], emperor of the Byzantines, died and his son, Alexius [II Comnenus, 1172-1180] was seated on his throne.

In the year 627 A.E. [1178] Andronicus arose against Alexius, killed him, and ruled in his stead [Andronicus I, 1182-1183, 1183-1185].

In the year 629 A.E. [1180] Andronicus was slain and Angelus ruled [Isaac I Angelus, 1185-1195].

In the year 630 A.E. [1181] paron Ruben went to Jerusalem with much expense, took as a wife the daughter of the lord of K'arak', and then returned. His brother, Lewon, distrusting him due to the slander of some evil people who had told Ruben that [g194] Lewon was going to rise up against him, went as a fugitive to Tarsus and thence to Constantinople. Divine power protected him there and he received much honor and affection from the emperor.

In the year 631 A.E. [1182] Lewon returned from Constantinople and came to his brother, Ruben, who received him with affection and gave him the fortress of Kapan. Now Ruben occupied himself fulfilling his lascivious desires and so he went to Antioch to the prostitutes. Prince Bohemond seized him and put him into prison, while those princes who were with him escaped by a hairsbreadth and went to their own homes.

This had occurred in the year 634 A.E. [1185]. Ruben sent to his uncle Bakuran for him to send hostages to the prince in place of himself, so that he could go and get the ransom for himself. Bakuran sent his sister and Ruben's mother and others of his relations. Ruben agreed that his ransom would consist of [the surrender of] Sarvandikar, T'il, and Chker in addition to 1,000 dahekans. The prince released him, he came to his own country, delivered up what he had agreed to, and secured the release of the hostages.

[89] In the year 636 A.E. [1187] Ruben died and his brother, Lewon, ruled the principality. He was a benevolent, ingenuous man without a grudge toward anyone, who took his refuge in God and guided his principality accordingly. He was a wise, brilliant man, a skilled horseman, brave-hearted in battle, with attention to human and divine charity, energetic and happy of countenance. In this period Aleppo [g194], Damascus, and Egypt were ruled by Yusuf (Yuse'), son of Ayyub, who was called Saladin [Salah al-din]. They were two brothers from the district of Dwin, sons of a Kurdish peasant named Ayyub, one was named Yusuf and the other, 'Adil (Ye'tl). They left their country on account of drink, and went into the service of Nur-ad-Din, lord of Aleppo. He pitied them and gradually had mercy on them, and they served him devotedly. Day by day they advanced until they achieved some power. Whatever came to them they shared with everyone, food and drink, and for this reason they were liked by everyone. And they came to rule with great authority over extensive lands. Saladin was a rough and warlike man who began to grow hostile toward the Christians. He grew stronger by the day, and through his clever cunning he pulled apart and destroyed the united strength of the Christians throughout his realm. In this year Saladin went against the king of Jerusalem. The king and the Franks of the coastal areas, the count of Tripoli, and the Frères with their cross-emblazoned clothing, came together and encamped against Saladin. The Frankish troops were encamped on a hill and the infidels threatened their water [supply]. Well the God-denying [g195] count of Tripoli sent to Saladin, saying: "What will you promise to give me if I relocate the Christian army to a waterless place? You and your troops could go and encamp where you have control over the water." And [Saladin] promised him numerous treasures and confirmed it in writing. So the impious count began to advise the king and the chiefs, saying: "It is not convenient for us to remain here. Rather, let us arise and encamp in a mountainous area where we can secure our flanks." He convinced all of them to accept his devious plan. As soon as the Christians moved, the sultan encamped above the water [supply], and the Christians thereafter were unable to drink the water. They were in dire straits and in crisis and were unable to find a way out [of their difficulty]. Hopelessly they applied themselves to battle, preparing to die. Once assembled on the battlefield, the impious count of Tripoli detached his brigade from the Christians, and that broke them. Facing death they engaged in battle and, as the battle lengthened, the Christians were defeated, with man and beast prostrated from thirst. It was extremely dry and hot, and the hands of the infidels were strengthened, and they killed everyone. At that time the king and others of his forces were secured on the summit of a hill. [The king] asked the sultan that he be taken to him. [The sultan] immediately sent and had him brought forth. [90] When the [g196] king arrived in the sultan's presence, [the sultan] knelt and prostrated himself before the king, embraced and kissed him, took him by his hand and led him into the tent, seated him on a cushion, and himself sat humbly before him. [Saladin] said: "Blessed king, a thousand welcomes. You have entered the home of your brother. Be not saddened, for such is the nature of military activities, sometimes to be defeated, and sometimes to defeat [others]. You are a just, righteous, and oath-keeping monarch, and I am pleased at your behavior. Therefore, I will not take a hair from your head, and because of you I will display great mercy and free many." While they were so engaged, Renaud, prince of Tripoli was brought before him, and the king got up when he saw him, and the sultan also arose because the king had done so. Renaud, prince of Tripoli, greeted the king and the sultan said to him: "Oh faithless one, I did not arise for your sake, but because of your king." And the prince replied: "And I am not grateful to you, but to the king." Then the king requested water, and the sultan ordered that a golden goblet be brought containing water mixed with rose water and snow. The sultan took the goblet and drank some of it first, so that it would not be suspect, and then he offered it to the king. The king took it and drank half, then gave it to the prince of Tripoli who also drank. The sultan said to the prince: "I did not give it to you to drink, rather to your king." And the prince replied to the sultan: "I do not thank you, but the king." Then the sultan said [g197] to the prince: "Faithless one, how many times have you sworn [oaths] to me and given me written assurances, and then not kept those pledges you made me? Instead, you engaged in slave-taking and killed a great multitude [of people]. You took my treasures on the road to Damascus, and caused much bloodshed in Ser'sim, and did not remember your pledge. Now what answer will you give me?" The prince responded to Sultan Saladin: "Don't bark so. I did your bidding, and I took vengeance for [events] which occurred 40 years ago when my [people's] blood was shed by the Muslims. Henceforth I will give nothing for my death." The sultan signalled his attendants and they bound [the prince] hand and foot before the sultan. He unsheated a sword of steel, threw it onto [the prince's] back, and the attendants immediately killed him. When the king saw this, he was greatly saddened. The sultan said to him: "Be not saddened over the loss of one unfaithful to you." Then they brought in the Frères with their magister and set them before him. And the sultan said to the magister: "Oh honorable chief of your brothers, although you have killed many of our troops, I like you because of your bravery. Now, apostasize your faith and convert to our religion, and I shall give you gifts and honors, and I will rank your men, and especially you, higher than all my grandees." The magister replied: "Oh great sultan, I will gladly do your bidding, if you order that I may speak with my brothers and urge them all to comply." And [Saladin] gave such an order [g198] and told him: "If you do my bidding you shall live, but if you do not heed me, you will perish by the sword." [91] Then the magister assembled everyone and said: "Oh, brothers, lo the days of the salvation of our souls have arrived by which we shall inherit the kingdom. I beseech you to remain united and indivisible in the love of Christ. Today let us mingle our blood with His saving blood. Do not fear the killers of the body, but rather the ruler of the soul and the body, and let us, transitory beings, not obstruct our [spiritual] greatness." He said many other things to them from sacred writings, and urged them to die for the same faith. Then he went before the sultan and said: "There are those who will comply with your commands and those who are opposed. Order them brought before you." When they had come in, [the sultan] began to question them one by one and those who did not agree [to become Muslim] he ordered killed. Then he said to the magister: "And how do you look upon our faith?" Then the magister filled his mouth and spit into the sultan's face to infuriate him and cause him to slay him immediately so that he could join his spiritual sons. [The magister] said to the sultan: "I urged all of them to choose death in order to achieve the supreme life. Why should I be the one to do your will?" So the sultan ordered that he too be killed. And when they killed him, a heavenly light descended upon them for three days, to the shame and disgrace of the unbelievers and to the pride of the believers. When this had occurred, the sultan freed the king with many gifts and also those who were with him. Then he ordered that each of the Jerusalemites [g199] give him one Egyptian dahekan, take what he needed from his home, and depart in peace. Those who wanted to remain there would provide one red dahekan. Many remained, and many arose and departed. And Saladin took control of Jerusalem and its [surrounding] district, and gradually he took the entire coastal area and the district of Antioch, and all the Christians trembled out of fear of him. In the same year a certain Turkmen named Rustom (E"r'e"stom) massed countless numbers of Turkmens and entered the land of Cilicia, threatening to eliminate the name of Christianity. He went as far as Sis and encamped opposite the city of R'awin, covering the face of the earth with his innumerable multitude. Then the divinely-strengthened Lewon fought with him with 30 men and immediately downed their leader, Rustom, while the rest took to flight. [Lewon's forces] pursued and killed them as far as Sarvandikar. They say that Saint Ge'org and Saint T'oros, physically visible to the eye, descended from the fortress of Sis and killed [the Turkmens].

In the year 637 A.E [1188] the noble prince Sir Baudoin, the constable, was killed at the fortress of Pr'akana which he had gone to capture. Two months later Lewon took Pr'akana through theft, and killed the chief of the fortress, Emir Tip'li, who had slain Baudoin, as well as 200 [g200] Turks. In this period the sons of Choruanil of Sasun, sons of the sister of Lord Grigor, kat'oghikos of the Armenians, were with Lewon. They were attractive men. Lewon gave to the senior one, Het'um, the eldest daughter of his brother, Ruben, named Alice. He also gave them the city of Mamistra and to [the brother] Shahnshah he gave [the city of] Selewkia. Phillipa, the younger daughter of Ruben, was with Lewon's mother. Lewon also took for a wife the daughter of the brother of the wife of the prince of Antioch, whom the woman willingly gave [in marriage]. Lewon gladly took her since he feared the prince and had always distrusted him and felt that having a wife who was the prince's relative would preserve him from any wickedness on the prince's part. And indeed, this turned out to be the case.


Return to Historical Sources Menu
Return to History Workshop Menu