The Georgian Chronicle


Chapter 13.

In this period the Ossetians came through the Darband gates and captured all of K'art'li from the head of the Kur river to Xunan. They entered Movkan and Aghbania/Aghuania and took captives [including] Mihranduxt, Vaxt'ang's sister. The Byzantines also arose and took [territory] from below the Eger water to fort J'uji. All Iberia mourned unbelievably and said: "It is due to our sins that evils are being visited upon us for we do not keep the Christian faith the way our fathers did."

The lad Vaxt'ang was devout in the Christian religion. He was wounded by the fact that a fire-temple had been placed in K'art'li and that indeed such sorrows had beset us; [Vaxt'ang] was fifteen years old. He assembled all the grandees and consoled them, saying: "It was with a Paternal intent that God [68] [g75] advised us toward salvation and sensibility. Hereafter if each of you turns away from evil, the Lord will turn toward us with kindness. Perhaps you may see no goodness in me because I am a lad, but remember the service of my fathers and do not despair of the Lord because of my boyhood, for the Lord our God shall help us because of His Name and the prayers of our fathers." He sent to his mother's brother, Varaz-bakur, requesting aid against the Ossetians. The latter sent him 12,000 armed men. Then, notifying all Iberia, Vaxt'ang himself assembled 160,000 cavalry and infantry and prayed for seven days, fasting and keeping night vigils and giving alms to the needy. He entrusted the kingdom to his mother and said: "Should I die in battle, let Trdat's grandson, Mihran, take the throne and marry my sister, Xorandze." Then Vaxt'ang went to T'ianet'. Fifty thousand inhabitants of Caucasus came to him. He went through the Darial gates, entered the Ossetian plain and encamped on the far side of the Aragoy river. Now the Ossetians had mustered the Khazars and they came and encamped on the opposite bank of the river for seven days. Single-combatants on both sides tested one another. On the seventh day a Khazar named T'arxan arose and challenged someone from Vaxt'ang's army. They selected an Iranian who had displayed much courage to [Vaxt'ang]. When the two met, T'arxan struck him on the skull and split it in two. The [Iranian's] name was P'arsman-P'axur. King Vaxt'ang [69] was deeply saddened. He entered [his] tent and that night tearfully prayed to God. At daybreak, T'arxan arose to insult and dishonor Vaxt'ang. He found no one willing to [g76] fight with him. Then Vaxt'ang fell on his face and wept before the Lord. He wanted to fight, and he crossed himself. He did not heed those who would prevent him as an untried lad. Rather he said: "Help me with prayers, for this battle belongs to the Lord. He is my hope, confidence and dexterity." Then, attacking T'arxan, he struck him in the middle with a spear which went right through the thick armor and the body and out the other side. Falling from his horse, [T'arxan] died. Vaxt'ang prostrated himself right there and exclaimed: "Blessed art Thou my Lord, Christ God, Who sent Your angel and killed Your defamer." Cutting off [T'arxan's] head, he took it back to his army, in the sixteenth year of his youth. Now the next day a gigantic man crossed the river and requested Vaxt'ang [in combat]. By the strength of Christ, [Vaxt'ang] downed him also. Then the troops attacked, struck the Ossetians and Khazars, and put them to the sword. They entered village and city of their land, took booty and captives. They entered Bajanet' and Jik'et' which is below Abkhazia, taking them and making captives of them. Then the Ossetian kings who had fled into strongholds, sent emissaries to Vaxt'ang to make peace [under the terms that Vaxt'ang] return the captured [70] Ossetians and receive back the K'art'velians. [Vaxt'ang] agreed to this: he gave 30,000 Ossetians and received back 350,000 plus his sister, Mihranduxt. He sent them over the Darial road and sent the Iranians and Kovkas troops [g77] to their lands with much booty. He himself with his own army warred for three years against the district of Abkhazia and captured all the strongholds, for king Lewon was occupied with the Iranians. Then [Vaxt'ang] returned to Mts'xet'a in happiness and delight and held a feast of rejoicing to the glory of Christ our God, giving gifts to the poor. He sent presents to the King of Iran—20,000 horses and 10,000 servants through the chief priest, and he requested his daughter in marriage. [He sent] to his mother's brother 2,000 horses and 1,000 servants. When the Iranian king saw [Vaxt'ang's] success he gave him his daughter, Baleduxt, and placed Mt. Kovkas under his command. He wrote the following prologue in his letter: "From Ormzd Shahijan to Vaxt'ang Varnxosrovt'ang, champion of ten kings, rejoice! I have done as you requested. Grow strong and remain brave. Go against the Byzantines and take your uncle with you."

Vaxt'ang held a military review of 200,000 troops and went through Armenia, for they too had the same order. The Armenian naxarars came to them: Trdat Arshakuni, Arew lord of Siwnik', Juanber Vaspurakani, Hamazasp of Taron, Grigor and others besides. They went to Karaxpula—which is Karin city—[g78] [71] and left two princes there with 12,000 cavalry to fight against it. They then went through the middle country as far as Pontus and took three cities. And Vaxt'ang ordered the troops not to kill any of the impious folk needlessly [saying]:

"They worship Christ the way we do. For when my grandfather arose with the Iranian king [and went] to Byzantine lands reaching as far as Andziandz—where the tomb of saint Grigor is—they attacked the church clerics, and were then vanquished and but few of the many returned home in shame. Having traversed a ten days' journey by that route we have reached today as far as Constantinople (where king Constantine, believing in Christ, conquered multitudes by the sign of the Cross). Trdat the Great, king of Armenia, was punished by the Lord for torturing the blessed Illuminator and the holy women, but when he recognized Christ no man could conquer him. You brave Armenians yourselves know how Trdat, a giant renowned among all peoples, bore loads on his own shoulders and built a house of God. You know how the loathsome Julian was killed in Iran and that Jovian (Yubianos) took the realm. And the Lord said to the Iranian king: 'Do not fight with Jovian, for I shall not give him into your hand.' You native Iberians and Iranians know what is written about Nimrod, the first of all kings, that on foot he would seize the lion and mountain goat, all the deer and [other] beasts. Consequently all peoples [72] submitted to him. He built a tower of golden columns, placing a silver base at the foundation and covering it with calk and brick. He put luminous gems in the windows [g79], hyacinths and emeralds, so that at night it would not be dark in the temples and rooms which they built in it. And they say that its height required a three-day journey upward from the first step to the entrance. So high did they raise the summit that, passing through the life-giving air, they entered the suffocating, harmful stations of the stars where, from the turning of the ether, the place became heated and the gold and silver which they were leading through it started to melt, and the builders burned. There they learned the wisdom and mystery of the seven arcades of the stars [the zodiac] and many brilliant things, so that they would not appeal to God in vain. Then a voice spoke to Nimrod in Persian: 'I am Mik'ayel who speaks the Lord's words with you. Arise and go thence, for behold that work of yours has come up to Paradise. But this mountain I am on is but the border of Paradise from whose base the sun rises. From this arise the rivers Nile and Phison. Gehon brings fragrant incense and herbs which people mix with musk to tantalize the [sense of] smell and to create perfume. Now you who rightly long to go to see God, [may not see Him; instead,] go to the borders of your realm and build and dwell between the Euphrates and Jilas [Tigris] rivers, and let your people go wherever they will. But do not [73] let them [try to] go to God. At the proper time your Lord shall come to you in humility and be found among scorners and mad people and hated by them, He shall die. Coming He shall find you in Hell—Tartaros—and He shall remove you thence and, resurrected from the dead, He shall build you a tower and staircase to go to God upon.' Having said this, [the archangel Michael] cast about them the fragrance of Paradise, and they were intoxicated [g80], enraptured and comforted. And they forgot their plans and the seven languages which they previously knew, and they adopted foreign languages according to their numbers. Abandoning the city and the tower which they were building, they went to their own land: T'orgom to the T'orgomeans; Sidon to Sidet', Berdzeank' to Berdzan; Yoynk' [the Greeks] to Yunet', Ag and Mag to Agmaguzet'; Parsk' to Persia, and others elsewhere. Such things were not openly spoken of but written down and kept secretly as wisdom[lore]. I have told you to be useful so that you Iranians also know that you are not strangers of our Christ. Your ancestor Bel, Nimrod himself, also called Kronos, [will be] freed from Hell by Christ our God. Spare all who carry His holy name aloft and destroy not His blessed temple so that His wrath not engulf us."
Having said this, [Vaxt'ang ("they")] ordered everywhere that those in hiding come forth and that the Christians not [74] fear the sword, that they be given back their belongings and take back their captives. He himself clothed many of the captives and freed them, especially the clergy, giving three dahekans to each one. He kept with him the priest Peter and Samuel the monk, who were students of Gregory the Theologian. [Vaxt'ang] said to Peter: "From the time of my entry into Byzantine lands, I did not allow any attacks on the churches of God." Peter replied: "The [real] church of God is His rational flock which, after murder, neither you nor any other can lift up; but [destroying] structures is easy for whomever desires to do so. Do you not know that all sins were wiped away by the Flood and that Abel's blood still cries out before the Lord? All the wickedness of the Jews forgotten [g81], the blood of Barek'a's son, Zak'aria, will be demanded from them. How much such innocent blood has been shed by your hands!" Vaxt'ang replied: "You have shown me to be guilty and I have sinned against the Lord." The priest said: "If you adhere to what you have just said, your sins will be forgiven you. But hereafter do not war against the sons of God and you [should] extinguish the fire which you ignited." Vaxt'ang said: "Beseech God that tonight I shall see His pleasure." But Peter replied: "That is beyond me, but we shall recommend [you] to the saints." Now Samuel grew angry and said: "Do you know not of Christ's love which said to Polykarpos (Poghikarpos): 'If the angels did not waver and grow angry, I would have been crucified in every city and village so that [75] all might live.' And what did God say to the impious Ak'az: 'Seek a sign from your God in the depths or on the heights.' And Christ said: 'Whatever you seek in My name I shall give you.' Now king, pray with us and it shall be as you wish." At night the king reposed, praying. Peter and Samuel kept watch the entire night. The king saw saint Nino in a vision, and she said to him: "Arise and come forth, for behold kings of Heaven and earth are coming to you." Opening his eyes and looking up, Vaxt'ang saw the city of Byzantium wherein were two chairs occupied by a lad and a grown man. The man was Gregory the Theologian, and he spoke: "Wicked man, why do you strike the Lord's army, why did you destroy His flock? If I did not respect saint Nino, you would have born the same punishment as your fire-worshipping fathers." Then Nino said to Vaxt'ang: "Go and fall before the king's feet." He did so. [The king] seated [Vaxt'ang] near himself and placed on his hand a ring made of a luminous gem. [g82] And Peter and Samuel were guarantors for Vaxt'ang, that he would sin no more. Also there was a glorious cross with a crown on it. Vaxt'ang watched the emperor remove the crown from the cross and place it on his head, saying: "Behold your second crown. He saw all of this in a dream as if he was [actually] seeing it [in a waking state]. He awoke and glorified God. The next day he returned by way of Armenia, and ordered that no one be harmed.[76]

However the Byzantine emperor pursued him with 9,000 men and caused [soldiers] to flee from the Iberian forces. When Vaxt'ang's Iranian nephew (sister's son) saw this, he said: "Snake born of a viper, what have you done? As I have heard, your father's mother was from Byzantine lands ("Greece") and pulled you, rotten seed, in the same direction. For the love of the dead Jesus, lo, you destroy Iran. That shall not remain to you." Vaxt'ang replied: "The crucified one is my God and He saves me. Worship the fire and battle with the Greeks." Then [Vaxt'ang] drew apart, with the Armenians and Iberians. And the Iranians and Kovkasians warred against the emperor but were defeated. Vaxt'ang's uncle (mother's brother) died as did 25,000 Iranians, the Lek king, Ajaj, and many of his front-line fighters and the head of Aghbania/Aghuania. That was a terrible blow against Iran. Then [Vaxt'ang] descended from his vehicle and worshipped Christ, saying: "The victory belongs to you, Lord, and not to fire-worshippers and the impious." Then he said to Peter: "Bring the cross, place it over there, and let all who are with me adore it. Those who do not obey will die." The king of Movkan, Barzaw, scorned the cross and Vaxt'ang's words, and the sparapet of Iberia, Juanber, killed him. He said to the entire army: "This is our power and strength." All were terrified and said: "If that cross gives us power we shall then scorn all of our worship and worship Christ Who is in it."

[77] Just then a Greek named Polykarpos (Poghikarpos), the emperor's sister's son, arose and sought single-combat with [g83] any one of Vaxt'ang's soldiers. But no one dared rise to this challenge, for he was the slayer of the Iranian military commander. Vaxt'ang said: "The lion does not fight with the fox; however, to show the strength of the cross of Christ I shall battle with you." Making the sign of the cross, he adored and kissed it and then went against Polykarpos saying: "Since you know that the army has worshipped Christ's cross and yet you wish to fight us, let your blood be on your own head." Approaching, [Vaxt'ang] struck at [Polykarpos] and split him in two and then returned to his own people, glorifying Christ. Once more the Byzantines started to mass, but Vaxt'ang sent them fleeing to the sea. After this both sides held a review. Seventy-two thousand had fallen on the Byzantine side. Assembling the captured Greeks, and counting them, they found 780,000, all of whom they sent to the emperor, under the direction of the princes Nerses and Atrnerseh. When the emperor saw this he was delighted. He came to Vaxt'ang and they swore an oath to each other. The emperor gave back T'ughars and Klarchet' which he had taken from the Iberians and promised to give his daughter to Vaxt'ang. And Vaxt'ang returned home in great joy [g84].


[78]

Chapter 14.


Now the king of Iran heard about [Vaxt'ang's] oath with the Byzantines. He became enraged and went in person to Byzantine lands with a multitude of troops, and he died there. His son ruled. The latter arose against Vaxt'ang and they fought each other for four months until 80,000 troops arrived from the emperor, with gifts. When the Iranian king heard about this he sought peace from Vaxt'ang, saying : "Why are we fighting about religion? If God is fire, He Himself will revenge Himself against the Crucified One." Vaxt'ang responded: "Know that all kings pay you taxes [yet] they believe in the Crucified One. Strengthened by Him they vanquish you who worship fire, [fire] which I extinguished here in my land and [I] sent to you their [i.e., Zoroastrians'] chief-priest. Christ is my God: let fire be your god if you wish. I am of the line [g85] of Nimrod, although you have his throne. I shall subdue you like your father." This is what they did. They exchanged gifts and met together. Vaxt'ang gave his sister Mihranduxt in marriage to Xosrov, the Iranian king, for his other sister Xorazne was with the Armenian patiashx ("border lord") as a pledge. Vaxt'ang became a mediator between the Byzantines and the Iranians and made peace between them. Xosrov left Jerusalem to the Byzantines. Vaxt'ang's wife bore twins—a boy and a girl—and then she died. [79] They called the boy Dach'e [Dach'i]. Now Vaxt'ang made a helmet fashioned of gold and on it, images of a wolf and a lion. During battle [the enemy] would see and recognize [the helmet] and say: "Stay away from the wolf and the lion." And they called him Gurgasal, that is Wolf-Lion in Persian. However, his hope was in Christ God Whom he always glorified. The emperor sent him great thanks and gifts through the military commander, Lewon, and many presents to the Iranian king.

After this, motivated by the love of Christ, Vaxt'ang went to Jerusalem, taking his mother and sister with him. Having revered the holy places, they returned with great joy. [Vaxt'ang] came to Andak [Antioch]. The Iranian king exalted [g86] him so that he go with his mother and sister to Iran and hold the wedding of the sister whom he had given to Xosrov. They went to Babylon, were received with great honor, and celebrated for six months. With very great honors they sent Vaxt'ang's mother [home]. Xosrov took Vaxt'ang and went to Jurjanet' the capital of Gelan. They depopulated it of its inhabitants and settled Iranians there; and to the present they are tributary to the Iranians. Thence they went to India and looted large areas, excepting the coastal cities. There Vaxt'ang slew twelve wrestlers, and they took as tribute musk and 100,000 lters of amber and incenses, boats, gems, a boat full of emeralds and [80] hyacinths, 100 camel-loads of Sovp'er gold, and 500 loads of silver, because they had remained there for three years. Then they went to Sndik. The Sindian king arose against them and killed many Iranian troops. However, the Christian troops put them to flight into the fortress and secure city of Sind. Every day the Sindian king personally came out for single-combat [g87]. Whoever came against him he quickly killed; and he tried to hunt out Vaxt'ang. At night, secretly, he dug beneath the city gate and concealed ten select men there, then he sent a certain single-combatant to challenge Vaxt'ang [and arrange matters] such that the men [hiding in ambush] would jump out at the appropriate time and seize Vaxt'ang. But Sayurmak, Vaxt'ang's hechup, went to the [challenger] and killed him. However, as he was returning, those lying in wait sprang out and killed him. Vaxt'ang grieved greatly and cried for [Sayurmak] as for a dear brother because he was nourished with him. After this the Sindian king went up onto the wall and said: "Hear me, king of Iberia, for I shall tell you whom you resemble. You are like a crow that takes a hawk, stripped of feathers by its other comrades, and heals it in its nest, bringing it small animals and snakes [to eat]. Yet when the hawk recovered somewhat it grabbed the crow and ate it, saying: 'I cannot grow strong on such food, unless I eat a bird.' You [81] now, stripped of feathers by us and others, behave contrary to your Christian beliefs." Vaxt'ang replied to him: "You are a fool, and a mole which, being eyeless, lives underground and, not partaking of the beauty of sky and land and the sun's rays, is happy with life. You, similarly, are mentally blind, and do not see what I have done. You laugh, not seeing what I have accomplished, implanting my faith in the fire-temple, establishing Christianity in the Iranian district. Furthermore I have taken Jerusalem, where the feet of my God [walked], the place of Christ's glory, from the Iranians. Nor did I come seeking glory and goods worldly and corrupting—the things you are mired in like a mole under the earth. For our wisdom commands us to risk our lives for brothers. I have carefully [g88] kept my land and blessed churches [in safety], putting my life into service for the forgiveness of my sins. And should I die in this, I shall pass from death to life." The Sindian king said to him: "If you believe that, then come forth and I shall transfer you from death to life as your prince who went as your precursor." Vaxt'ang replied: "Come out, and I shall first dispatch you to the outer darkness through the power of my Christ. He shall transfer me to life when He chooses." They went and clashed with each other. Vaxt'ang struck the Sindian with a spear and threw him from his horse, wounding, [and almost] killing him. Taking him by the feet, [Vaxt'ang] [82] dragged him before the Iranian king. There was great rejoicing and [Vaxt'ang] was praised before everyone. They brought forth a skilled man to heal his wounds. When they had revived him somewhat, they left him to his own people, took his two sons as hostages, and imposed taxes double [those imposed] on the Indians. All of this plus many presents besides were given to Vaxt'ang. Making peace they went on to Habashet', to the Kushan country on the borders of Iran, after spending four years in India and Sindet'. Now the Habashik' dwelled in a reed swamp where neither animal nor boat could penetrate. But by some strategem [the Iranian army] cut through the water, took and defeated them. They took 1000 Houses with them and dispersed them to various places. These are the Kurds and Kushans, varied and diverse.

And they came to the borders of Armenia and Byzantine lands. Because Leo, the Byzantine general, was with them with many troops, he went to his own country, taking emissaries [g89] with him [requesting] that they send the emperor's daughter as a wife for Vaxt'ang and that they ordain Petros kat'oghikos of Iberia, and Samuel as bishop. The emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople sent the priest Petros and the cleric Samuel to Antioch to be ordained there, "since", they said, "that is your diocese." Fulfilling the request, they sent [83] them back to Iberia. Now king Vaxt'ang went to K'art'li, and his son Dach'i and all the didebuIs ["glorious lords," Arm. p'arawork'n "glorious ones," "grandees"] of Iberia came before him and greatly rejoiced as he entered Mts'xet'a. But as soon as bishop Mik'ayel learned that a kat'oghikos and a bishop were coming to Iberia against his will, he was vexed. On a pretext he rebuked Vaxt'ang [claiming] that he had worshipped fire. The king swore [oaths] and beseeched him, [saying]: "Christ is my true God. Do not condemn me falsely." But the bishop would not listen, and he cursed and excommunicated [Vaxt'ang]. The king said: "Although I am innocent of that thing, I have other sins before the Lord and therefore it is fitting that I humble myself before him." So he went and threw himself at the bishop's feet, kissed [them] and requested pardon. But the latter drew back his foot, struck the king on the mouth, and knocked out a tooth. Taking his tooth, the king said: "This is the work of my sins and of satan who raised you up against me, for you do not follow your commandment which says, 'Destroy not the broken reed' and 'Do not snuff out the wick which is almost extinguished.' Rather, you envy Petros and share in the jealousy of Judas." He sent him to the patriarch of Constantinople together with the tooth so that he would try him without bias. Seeing Mik'ayel, the patriarch said to him: "Like Judas, you greedily fought with the church and spilled blood, and from the king's mouth with your foot at that, and you pulled down the structure of God. Now you are unworthy of the priesthood, and worthy of [84] the death of your lord. Why did you not heed Paul, who said: [g90] 'Obey the king', and also 'Pray for the king, otherwise know that it is not in vain that he puts the sword to work.'" [The patriarch] immediately sent Mik'ayel into exile.

The patriarch of Antioch, while ordaining Petros as kat'oghikos also gave him twelve bishops. [Thereafter] they went first to Constantinople where they received numerous gifts and the emperor's daughter, Helen (Heghine), and thence they went to Vaxt'ang. And the country was gladdened. The kat'oghikos sat at the church of Sion, in Mts'xet'a, which Vaxt'ang had built, and Samuel resided at the bishop's palace of Mts'xet'a. One bishop was stationed in Klarchet', one in Artahan, one in Jawaxet', one in Manklis, one in Bolnis (Bawghnis), one in Risha, one at the place named Saint Nino above the gate of Ujarma, one in Jeram, one in Ch'elt', one for two churches, Xornoyboj and at Agarak opposite Xunan. Vaxt'ang built a church at Nik'oz over the martyrium of Razhden, the Iranian nourisher of Vaxt'ang's first wife, [a man] who believed in Christ, was persecuted for the faith by the Iranians, but did not renounce Christ. They killed him for his good confession in the glory of Christ God, and the seat of a bishop was located on the site of his martyrium. Now Vaxt'ang had three sons and one daughter from [his wife] Helen. Then Vaxt'ang [85] dwelled at Ujarma, giving the greater part of the country [g91] to his senior son, Dach'i, and he married Xorandze, his senior sister, to the Armenian bdeshx, Bakur.

At that time Xosrov, the king of Iran, died and his homonymous son sat on his throne. He sent to Vaxt'ang [telling] him to be his guide in going to war in Byzantium. Vaxt'ang laid the foundations for the city of Tiflis and vigorously built it. The king replied [to the Iranian shah], "There is a proverb which says: 'Blacksmith, sharpen the sword so that I may cut off your head'". He said [to the messenger]: "Go and say to the one who sent you to me, 'First fight with me, and then with the Greeks,' for we spared and preserved you." In those days Dach'i took his sister's son and went through Kuxet' to the Lawpat country to the cliff-caves whose inhabitants were a great multitude of barbarous peoples who worshipped fire and water. The entire country fortified itself, while Vaxt'ang, his wife and sons went to the Ujarma valley, away from the Iranian king since they had heard that he was coming against him. Soon he did arrive, and destroyed the city of Kambech and the fortress of Cheram. They reached Kuxet' and encamped by the Orin river. Vaxt'ang arose with 240,000 troops against the Iranians' 740,000 on a gloomy day, [86] and destroyed them until the king's entreaty, and killed [the king's] son, Bartom (Bartam), although the Iranian king escaped. But an Iranian fatally wounded that brave Vaxt'ang in the side. [Vaxt'ang], taking heart, quit the battle triumphantly killing 130,000 of them, and then went to Ujarma.

In that period the Byzantine emperor died and his son Zeno reigned [474-491]. He came to aid Vaxt'ang, but when he reached Sper [g92] he heard the sad tidings of Vaxt'ang's death from his wound, and he returned to Karin city. Now Xosrov, the Iranian king, ruined Tiflis and Armaz and the area around Mts'xet'a and then went against the Byzantines. Iranians and Byzantines fought each other inconclusively. The Iranians returned by way of K'art'li.

Vaxt'ang died [A.D. 522] giving many instructions to his son, Dach'i, to whom he entrusted the kingdom, and [instructions] to all the troops concerning the Christian faith and unity. He was buried in Mts'xet'a. And the Iranian king returned to his own country [g93].


[87]

Chapter 15.

Dach'i ruled Iberia as king [522-534], and rebuilt all that had been destroyed by the Iranians. Kat'oghikos Petros died and was succeeded by Samuel, then T'ap'ejan, then Ch'imak'. King Dach'i died, and his son [Bacurius/Bakur II, 534-547] succeeded, then the latter's son, P'arsman reigned [Pharasmanes/ P'arsman V, 547-561]. In his day the Ossetians arose and ravaged K'art'li. Now because the Byzantines were too busy in the West to help P'arsman, he sought aid from the Iranians [saying that] he would submit to them in matters of taxation but let them use no force regarding the faith and the Church. The Iranians heeded him and in no way harassed them regarding their faith. After P'arsman's death, his brother's son, another P'arsman [g94], reigned [Pharasmanes/P'arsman VI, 561- ?]. He was a benevolent man, a builder and adorner of churches. Kat'oghikos Ch'imak' died and they seated Saba as kat'oghikos without [the ordination of] Antioch, for thereafter the Iberians themselves designated kat'oghikoi from the line of the naxarars. After Saba, Yelat'i served. In his day Yovhannes (John) came from Mesopotamia to Iberia, a blessed man and a wonder-worker who wrought many miracles—both he and his students. The deeds were written down and placed in the church of K'art'li. From king Mirian to the second P'arsman, [88] two hundred years elapsed. [P'arsman] left a good memory of himself.

In his day [Step'an Curopalate, ca. 590-627], Samuel died and his office was occupied by Bart'ughomeos [g95]. In these days the emperor Maurice [582-602] was killed by a soldier named Phocas, who himself ruled the Byzantines [602-610]. Now when [Maurice's] wife's father, K'asre [Xosrov II] king of Iran heard these sad tidings, he became angered, went to the country of the Byzantines, destroyed many districts, captured Jerusalem and the Lord's Cross. Step'ane, prince of Iberia, turned submissively to the Iranians out of fear of them, and resided at Tiflis. Then Maurice's relative Heraclius killed Phocas and ruled over the Byzantines [Heraclius I, 610-641]. He assembled a very large army from the Turks of the west and went in search of the envivifying Cross [g96]. Journeying through Armenia, he came to Bznunik' and thence ascended to Tiflis. But Step'anos did not forsake allegiance to the Iranians. Rather, he closed the city and warred with the emperor, sallying forth each day. And many of the Byzantine braves perished. After [Step'anos] was killed, they took the city, excepting the citadel. From the citadel, the senior [commander] of the fortress insulted the emperor, [89] shouting: "Depart, you goat! For you do not resemble a king. Instead you have a goat's neck and beard." When the emperor heard this he laughed inwardly, had the book of Daniel fetched, opened it and sought the passage where it states: "The goat coming from the West will grow strong and attack the ram in the East with great force." And he said to the army: "Although the man dishonored me in his heart, nonetheless he revealed this thing to me." [Heraclius] summoned Adarnase [Atrnerseh, Adarnase I, 627-637/42] of Dach'i's line, who was in Kuxet' and gave Tiflis to him. With him he left the military commander Jibagh, and then went on to Iran. [The Byzantines] took that citidel and Jibagh seized the man who had dishonored the emperor. First he filled his mouth with gold, "For", he said, "the emperor rejoiced at the words which issued from your mouth." Then, removing his skin he sent the man to the emperor for insulting him. Now K'asre's son killed him [i.e., Kawad killed his father Xosrov II], made peace with the emperor and gave him the Lord's Cross. After five years Heraclius returned and came to Mts'xet'a. He took Mankli and Erushet', the tablet [placed] at the Lord's feet [g97], as well as the nails which Constantine had given to king Mirian. And he took them with him, not heeding the pleas of Adarnase and the tears of all Iberia.

[90] After the death of kat'oghikos Bardoghomeos, the [patriarchal] throne was occupied by Yovhannes, then Babelas, then Tap'or. After Atrnerseh's death, authority in Iberia was exercised by his son Step'anos [Stephen/Step'anoz I, ca. 591/602-627], a man firm in the faith and a lover of [religious] festivals. It was he who convened a great assembly before the blessed Cross on the day of Cross Friday and Holy Thursday at the kat'oghikosal residence at [the church of] saint Sion and [on] Tuesday the festival of the proto-martyr Step'anos and all the [other] martyrs. "And", he said, "let Friday and Thursday not differ from Good Friday and Good Thursday."

In this period Muhammad (Mahmet) the leader and legislator of the Saracens and Arab people appeared and ruled many lands. After holding sway for twenty years, he perished. His place was occupied by Abu Bakr (Abubak'r) who entered Iran with a great force. Now since [the Iranians'] kingdom had become weakened, he brought it into submission. Entering Babylon, [Abu Bakr] made it abandon fire-worship and converted it to the faith of the Saracens. When he died, the authority was wielded by Omar. And they told Heraclius that the Saracens wanted to enter the land of Mesopotamia, Syria and Jaziret'. The emperor went to the Palestinians' (Pghshtats'ik') country and saw here a man of God, a monk, who said: "Flee from those who put Sarah to flight," (for the Saracens are called Sarah's servants). [91] "For the Lord gave to their people the south, east, and north [g98]. They are wandering stars who rule over those who do not wander." And they found prophecies about them in the writings of the philosophers Hermitron and Ijintos, that in 5840 of the Great Era, there would appear the son of the maidservant from the line of justice, and that [his rule] would last 240 years, that is 615 - (5 x 75) + 5. King Heraclius turned and came to K'art'li, declaring: "Iranian people who emigrated from the Ishmaelites to the northern regions, behold, your kingdom is finished. The Saracens have grown strong. Arise, come to us." And they at all hazards left their treasures, taking along a written [description of where the treasures had been concealed] and went with Heraclius. But the Byzantines came with those documents and found them. Now the prince of Iberia, Step'anos, had two sons, named Arch'il and Mihr, to whom he gave all of his property. They buried [the treasures] in various places, concealing it from the Ishmaelites, and then fled to Egris, because Mahumad's son Mruan, called Xul, was coming against them and K'art'li The latter seized the Darial Gate and destroyed the population of Mt. Kovkas. Hearing that the lords of K'art'li had fled to Egris and thence to Abkhazia, [Mrwan] pursued, and took [92] the fortress of Egre. Then he descended upon the fortress of Anakop'os. Here was located an image of the Lord's Mother fashioned by no human hand, and no one knew where it had come from since it was discovered at the head of Gori mountain. In that fortress Arch'il and Mihr were staying after their father's death. Meanwhile Lewon (Leo) [g99] the Byzantine military commander had entered and fortified himself into Subagh fortress at the entrance to Oset'. The brothers said to each other: "If we remain here and they take the stronghold, we shall not be remembered; the treasure accumulated by the Christ-crowned Mirian and Vaxt'ang (who was made wise by God) will be lost, undiscoverable. So will that which Heraclius left here, the document [describing where] we concealed the two emerald crowns. Encouraged by God, with the intercession of Peter and Paul, and with the power of the image of the Lord's Mother which is here with us, let us attack them from the side where the sea rushes down." And they arose with 3,000 and the Lord struck dead on the spot an enormous number of [the enemy]. Thirty-five thousand died in pain because of the Lord, while 3,000 were killed by men's swords. Sixty of the Christians died, and Mihr was wounded. A certain Saracen said to his army: "God gave us ten victories, as He had promised Abraham and Hagar, but not [victories] over men of God and the temples [erected] in His name." They arose thence and went and encamped by two [93] of the rivers with seven springs. But suddenly the river rose up in a mighty flood and carried off 23,000 of the Habashk' soldiers with them and 35,000 horses. Thereafter, for its providential work, the rivers were called Dzxenis tsghal ["that which carried off the horses"] and Habashis tsghal ["that which carried off the Habashis"]. The survivors went over the Gori road, crossed the district of Sper, and so departed. The Christians who had been saved glorified God, and communicated to the emperor what had transpired. When the latter heard about matters, he rejoiced in the Lord and sent encouraging letters to the two brothers. However, Mihr, who had been wounded there, died and was buried at Mts'xet'a [A.D. 736]. For twelve years the country was calm [g100].

In those days a certain prince, from the house of the prophet David, named Adrnas [Adarnase], came to Arch'il. He had been in Armenia and had been captured by the foreigners together with his sons. Escaping thence, he asked him for a place to live. [Arch'il] gave him Rhisha, Shghuer, and Atone. [Similarly] three brothers came from Taron and at Arch'il's command they settled as far as Gaghgagh. Arch'il's wife was the daughter of the curopalate Gorom [Guaram III c. 693-748], from the clan of king Vaxt'ang [g101].

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