Now I shall describe how the savage insanity of the nation of the Ishmaelites came to a head. For when the lords of the Armenians saw [the extent of] the calamity they were ensnared in, they put their lives into their own hands [and decided to act]. However [g137] they were unable to realize [their goal] because they were few in number. Nonetheless they considered it better to die bravely than to live in danger, and so they opted for rebellion—to withdraw from obedience to the Ishmaelites. This [rebellion] was initiated by Artawazd of the Mamikonean House. When he went to the capital Dwin, he greatly organized his troops. There he received weapons and [other] war materiel. [Although] he himself took up shield, helmet, and all the armaments [of war], he made himself appear to be an intimate [supporter] of the Ishmaelite forces, someone who wanted to fight against their enemies. When he [finally] resolved to distance himself [from the Arabs] he went to the city of Kumayri in the Shirak district, where he killed the tax collector and seized whatever he found there. He took his own [Mamikonean] House and went to the land of the Iberians/Georgians, taking along all the lords of the land. News reached Dwin that the sons of Hmayeak had worked these criminal acts. Hasan [ibn Kahtaba al-Tai'i] swiftly assembled many troops, including Ashot's son Smbat, the sparapet [commander-in-chief], and other lords and pursued [Artawazd's forces] to the district called Samts'xe' in the land of Iberia/Georgia. He captured gorges, seized part of the booty, and sent them fleeing to the land of the Armenians.
So [the Armenian rebels] went and secured themselves in the land of the Egerians and [Artawazd] personally took over the reigns of power [g138] over the Egerians and over the Ve'r'i, who are the Virk' [Iberians/Georgians]. These events further enraged Governor Hasan, who immediately sent [word] to all parts of his realm that taxes be gathered with added force and violence. Thus there was additional grief from taxes in our land, since the discovery of silver had completely ended in the land of the Armenians. This inflamed the heart of one of the lords, named Mushegh, who was the son of Count Hrahat from the Mamikonean House. He united some of the Armenian lords with him and withdrew from submission to the Ishmaelites. He found some of the sons of Ishmael in his own district and [even] in his own home. They had come to demand from him the blood[price] for those clanmates who had been killed. [Mushegh] put them to the sword. Then he migrated to Artagers fortress with his House.
 Reaching the district of Bagrewand with 260 men, he seized the tax collector named Abu Mjur (Apumchur) and those with him and put them to his sword. Thus, in that country, demands for taxes were silenced. After this, all those [folk] who were grieving physically and spiritually flocked to him. Then enemies from all quarters arose and came against him. But before this, some 200 heavily armed sons of Ishmael had arrived from the city of Karin [g139]. In the nighttime [Mushegh] went against them with a few men, to the village of Xars where [the Arabs] had encamped their forces in the vineyards. [The Mushegheans], surrounding them, demolished the vineyards' weak walls, which were constructed with stones, without mortar. The horses were trapped under the strong explosion of falling rocks and many of the horsemen were trampled and died. [As for Mushegh], he gathered up the weapons, booty and horses of the fallen and gave them to his own troops. Then he himself went toward his fortress.
When news of this disaster reached the city of Dwin, the Muslim general Muhammad began receiving frenzied complaints from all sides. So he gathered up his troops and those from the city of Dwin, entrusting [the force] to a military commander named Abu Njib (Apunchip) to go and avenge the blood of the fallen. The general took approximately 4,000 choice cavalrymen and cautiously passed along the royal highway, reaching the village of Bagawan in the district of Bagrewand. Here Mushegh and some 200 of his men pounced on them [g140]. As they fought each other, the Lord's speedy assistance came to Mushegh's brigade. Delivering many blows, they slaughtered the Ishmaelite troops. The survivors took to flight, but [Mushegh's forces] pursued as far as Aruch village, seizing many of them including the general himself. And they wiped them out. In great triumph [the Mushegheans] turned back, heavily laden with the enemy's spoils.
Of the many [Muslims] who fled, only a few reached the city of Dwin. All the men and women of [the governor's] people came before him, shrieking and wailing and casting dirt over their heads and striking their foreheads, tearing their collars and filling all the city's broad streets with sobbing and lamentation. Great dread descended on the Saracens' brigade, and it did not dare sally forth from the city. Rather, they took refuge in the city's fortifications.
When the Armenian lords saw the [positive] outcome of these developments, all of them became certain of [its eventual] success, and pursued the foolish plan. For they thought that the rule of the Ishmaelites was ending. They were even more deceived by the opinions of a monk who, filled with the spirit of fanaticism, began prophesizing [the following] vain and futile words: "Lo, the time of your salvation has arrived, for soon the royal scepter of authority will once again return to the House of T'orgom [the Armenians], and by means of you vengeance will be exacted from the race of Ishmael. Do not fret that your numbers are fewer than theirs. For just one of you can conquer a thousand of them, while two [of you can conquer] tens of thousands. This is because the Lord is fighting your war. Arm yourselves and fear not." Thus did [the monk] on a daily basis narrate such false and delusional visions, and everyone believed him [g141] and called him a seer. Tricked by such words they also gradually deceived the great sparapet Smbat, Ashot's son, into believing it.
 All the lords of the Armenians came together in some spot and swore an oath to die together [rebelling]. Consequently they united, some 5,000 men, since many of the common folk allied with their brigades. They arose from there and went to the city of T'e'odupolis which is [also] called Karin [Erzerum]. They besieged it with walls and throughout the entire winter they battled against it. They erected towers and punched holes in the city's outer walls. But they were unable to accomplish anything except to kill some people with rock-hurling machines.
Ashot of the Bagratuni House, the son of Prince Sahak, did not associate himself with this harmful and disastrous affair, since he was a prudent and brilliant man. Rather, he continued to advise them to distance themselves from the monk's fanatical and damaging counsel. He said: "You are too young, and I know that you cannot resist the power of that [g142] multi-headed dragon; and furthermore [their leader] has a limitless host at his disposal and his treasury can supply them with unlimited materiel. All the kingdoms which reject their authority they smash like earthenware pots. Indeed the Byzantine [emperor] cannot lift a hand [against them]. He quakes with fear at the sight of them and does not dare go against the divine command. You are unfamiliar with all the power of the Byzantine emperor, his personal bravery, [and the qualities of] his forces and materiel. He never once thought to capture the land of the Armenians [from the Arabs]. [Emperor] Constantine, son of Leo, in one day of single combat against ferocious wild beasts, slaughtered a lion as though it were a goat's kid. Yet now [even he] who possessed such strength drew back in fear from that very evil wild beast which now pollutes our country. On whom will you rely [for help]? Whose power, whose strength [will help you] against the invincible [Arab commander's] authority? If it pleases you, accept my advice. For my concerns are for your safety, and for the needs and peace of our land. The matter will resolve itself in [one of these] three ways. Either you will return and then submit to them, and your country will remain in peace. Or you will reject [submission], take to flight with all your comrades and their families, abandon the inheritance of your fathers and their dwellings, forests [g143], fields, even your fathers' graves—and go into exile to the Byzantine emperor. Or else you will fall into their hands in a single day and die a disagreeable death. For I know things about the godless caliph, [and I know that] he will not stop until he succeeds."
But [the rebels] did not accept the advice that they heard. Quite the contrary, they regarded it as treasonous since they were so [completely] under the sway of that delusional man. [The monk] continually exhorted them to stand firm in the undertaking before them, and not to entertain doubts. But the effects of his devious, destructive advice were revealed shortly, for they broke away from each other and became disunited. The lords of the Artsrunik' House, Hamazasp and his brothers, stayed where they were in the land of Vaspurakan; Vasak, Ashot's son, and those of the Amatunik' and Trunik' Houses, remained where they were, some in the secure fortress in the village of Dariwnk' and in the hideouts of Maku, some holed up in the valleys of Arageght. They circulated around the districts looking for food, took it, and returned to their keeps.
Now the Tachiks who were in the city of Dwin came and began raiding here and there in the districts around them. They looted and shed blood in the village of Ptghunk', in T'alin, and in Koghb [g144] causing great bloodshed and killing many people.
When spring arrived, the caliph organized brigades [to go] against the country of the Armenians. He assembled some 30,000 select, heavily armed cavalrymen mounted on choice horses, from the clan of the Khurasan brigade, and entrusted them to a general named Amir (Amr) [ibn Isma'il]. He sent them off from the expansive, renowned city which Abdullah [Caliph al-Mansur] himself had built, that city, securely fortified with impregnable defending walls, which was named Baghdad.
 Then general [Amir], with great caution and extensive preparation, went to the city of Xlat' in the land of the Armenians, reaching it via the Syrian areas. When he entered the city, he was informed by the citizens there about the caliber of the Armenian forces, their numbers, whether they were [merely] youths, who were the military commanders, whether they were closely united, how brave, whether [inexperienced lads] without moustaches or seasoned fighters. Having been informed about all this, he prepared his own military commanders accordingly.
Now Sahak's son Ashot was in that city at the time and notified the Armenian lords about the enemy's arrival, and instructing them to assemble in one place, wherever they happened to be, to live or die as one. But they considered the information in this document unreliable [g145], as though he deceitfully wanted to save the city from besiegement and thereby show himself as loyal to the Ishmaelites. Therefore, with this in mind, they ignored his words and persisted in carrying forward their earlier scheme. After this the lords of the Artsrunik' clan assembled troops in the land of Vaspurakan [including] Hamazasp and his brothers and those from the Amatunik' clan together with their troops. As auxiliaries they called upon Ashot's son Vasak, the brother of Smbat sparapet from the Bagratunik' clan with his forces, and they advanced upon the village of Arch'e'sh to destroy it to its foundations and to kill the soldiers in it.
They reached the village of Berkri in the district of Ar'beran and waited for the others to assemble. Many of the common folk were attracted to them as foot soldiers for the battle. One and all wanted to do this, but then, suddenly, [bad] news reached them. Someone arrived and informed them that a large force of the sons of Ishmael had arrived and were awaiting them. But Hamazasp, lord of the Artsrunik', did not believe [the messenger] and beat and tortured him as a liar. [Hamazasp] himself boastfully proceeded against the village of Arche'sh with his troops. As they neared the town, the residents informed the commander Amir in the city of Xlat' [g146] about the arrival of the Armenian lords. [Amir left Xlat'] with a multitudinous host and lay in ambush near the village of Arche'sh. Thus, while the Armenian brigade was battling against the fortress, [the Arabs] suddenly emerged from the ambuscade where they were concealed and pounced on the Armenian troops. [The attackers] put them to flight, killing the majority of the infantry brigade which consisted of local residents—since they were naked, weaponless, and unskilled in warfare. [The Arabs] mercilessly slaughtered those they encountered in the bitter light of that day, while others [of the fugitives], in their panic, fell into the river and drowned. Four men from noble clans also perished, three from the Trunik' House and one from the village of Urts'. Moreover some 1,500 of the common folk fell. As for those who turned to flight, almost none of them was able to save his own life. This terrible disaster occurred on Saturday, the fourth day of the month of Hrotits' (December). The enemy pursued and struck the Armenian troops as far as the place known as Tay village. Then [the Arabs] turned back and their army greatly rejoiced.
As a result [of this defeat], despair increased in our land of Armenia, while the infidel enemy was delighted and overjoyed. After catching their breath, [the Arabs] resumed their assaults, travelling by the royal [g147] highway through the district of Apahunik'. They reached the village of Artsni in the district of Bagrewand, where they encamped by the banks of the river which flows through it. With them were all the craftsmen and creators of armaments who prepare weapons and war materiel.
 Meanwhile those [Armenian] troops who were besieging the city of Karin had brought it close to the breaking point. Famine had become very severe there and, unwillingly, [the Arabs] wanted to give it into their hands. But as soon as the news about the defeat of the [Armenian] brigade reached the city of Karin, the Armenian fighting force lost heart and lifed the siege of the city. They could have left for Byzantine parts and saved themselves from the iniquitous, malicious slanderers, but instead they thought it better to die than to witness the destruction of our land and the desecration of Christ's churches. Having so resolved, despite the fact that their numbers were fewer than the enemy's, they voluntarily turned to this peril. They assembled a force of some 5,000 men, quit the city of Karin, and crossed through the confines of Basen into the district of Bagrewand. Next they crossed the Arsanias River and courageously attacked the enemy, [after first] leaving their equipment and horses two stadia distant. They went on foot, ferociously prepared to battle the enemy. Enemy brigades also arose against them with great preparation [g148].
At daybreak [the two sides] were in battle array. When they clashed with each other, initially the Armenian brigade was dominant, delivering many blows, putting the enemy to flight, and killing many of them. But then [the Arabs] regained strength, turned from their flight, and resisted [the Armenians] with a wild rage, inflicting wounds on most of the common soldiers. Some of the lords then fled with their cavalry and the commoners who were with them. For many of them had fallen [and their corpses] covered the plain.
 Yet these valiant martyrs ignored the bitter deaths awaiting them, even though they were vastly outnumbered by their wicked hunters. Until their final breaths they vied with each other, saying: "Let us bravely die for our land and our people. Let our eyes not witness our sanctuaries and the sites of the glorification of our God trampled by these loathsome men. Before that happens, let our enemy's sword confront us and have their way with us. Let us trade our persons for the truth of our faith and not for earthly concerns. For this death is temporary whereas life is eternal." This is the encouragement they gave each other, fixing their gazes On High for assistance, saying: "God, help and accompany us quickly. Pity the great shame we are found in [g149]. In our peril we call upon Your name, Oh Lord, and glorify You in the dangers surrounding us. For countless evils surround us and hold us and the hour of our death has arrived."
[The Armenians] offered these and even more fervent pleas [to God]. Then fortified anew with aid from On High, nothing could shake their earlier determination, despite the fact that they were not even 1,000 [soldiers] facing 30,000 [Arab troops]. As we learned directly from the enemy, a multitude of angels was fighting on their side and appeared to the enemy in human form. They also confirmed that they had seen clerics and priests with gospels, candles, and incense at the front encouraging them. Then [the Armenians] mercilessly began to take vengeance on their foe until their hands weakened from the weight of their weapons. Some, devoid of weapons, fell at once, exchanging this transitory sinful life for the venerable hope of eternal life, and thus they became valiant martyrs. The names of the military commanders were as follows: Sparapet [commander-in-chief] Smbat and his ally and comrade Sahak from the Bagratuni House; General Mushegh and Samue'l, lord of the Mamikonean [g150] House, a vibrant and handsome young man who was the son-in-law of the sparapet; from the Gnunik' House, Vahan dashnak [the dagger], and many lords and commoners who cannot be named one by one. Close to 3,000 men fell [in that battle], but [they lay there] in a pitiful and dishonored state, since their bodies found no graves. Rather, the corpses of these war dead remained out in the open, exposed to the sun, dust, rain, and tempests.
Then again lamentations and wailing greatly increased in our land of Armenia. For great leaders and respectable military commanders were snuffed out in one moment. And thus the country was plunged into deep despair and the deepest sorrow over the loss of these brave and preeminent warriors. For [the country] was bereft of their help and was betrayed into the hands of the bestial and crazed enemy. Yet they recalled the mercy of God's visitation, [God] Who showered His mercy on humanity from the start, especially on those who glorified His name. They called upon God's loving mercy and sought His assistance for the hopeless and those living in doubt on earth. For this [latest disaster] followed on the heels of the [earlier] destruction in the town of Arche'sh, [and occurred] on a Monday in the same month, on the 14th day of [the month of] Hrotits' (December). Yet this tribulation was even more severe, since there was no way to [g151] grieve for and mourn the dead openly and to have funeral meals in their homes. Neither could they even bury the dead.
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