Then the enemy extended their raiding in the district of Bagrewand and adjacent areas, causing great crises among the inhabitants of the country. They stubbornly resolved to wreck and ruin the [Christian] temples of prayer and to pollute the churches of Christ's holiness. They wrecked the glorious symbol of Christ's Cross which had been erected at the entrances and exits as [a source of] refuge and protection for those who had come to worship the consubstantial Trinity, burning and eliminating them. They treated with fanatical spite the priests, monks, and their servitors—as though they were the leaders of those who had died in the battle. From various places they ravished Church vessels and relics of God's saints and carried them off as booty. Once the infidel troops had loaded up with this spoil from the land of the Armenians they turned again to the fortresses and conquered the strongholds where people had taken refuge, summoning them to peace, giving them written oaths and bringing them down from the fortresses.
Then [General Amir ibn Isma'il] left the land of the Armenians as though he had enjoyed some wonderful and valiant triumph and [g152] went through the land of the Persians. He wanted to stand before the caliph and receive a reward from him for his labors. But at that very moment the verdict of righteous God was delivered upon him and he perished in the country of the Persians. He died suffering from horrible pains, a worthy recompense for the blood of innocents shed by his hands. He was killed not by the sword of man, but by an invisible sword wielded from On High, [a sword] more forceful than any double-edged [earthly] sword which severed his spirit, breath, sinews, and mind. That sword [of God] sought vengeance for the blood of [His] sons and repayment for those who hated Him. [God] cleansed and preserved the country of His [believing] people, and drew back the scepter [used for punishing] them. And once again [people] were secure in their dwellings.
 Once more the caliph sent Yazid [ibn Usaid] to Armenia as commander/governor as a replacement for Hasan [ibn Kahtaba]. [Caliph] Abdullah [Abu Jafar al-Manur], having worked all the malice his heart desired, crushing his own soul with the sickness of greed for money—his clan's particular greed—cursed by the prophet [g153], hopelessly died that same year.
[God] revealed the full recompense of the judgement to be meted out to him in the next life by means of one of His worthy servants, a certain priest. For [this priest] had a vision a few days before [the caliph's] death in which he saw the place of his torments, a deep prison sealed off with an iron door. [The caliph] was brought to the mouth of the abyss by two soldiers who opened the door. And he saw flames shooting up to the sky. [The soldiers] took and hurled this malefactor down the stairs of the pit where he was trapped and received the punishment that he merited. Such was the revelation of that vision about the fate which awaited him, judicious punishment for his wicked deeds by the righteous judge.
Now after this [al-Mansur's] son, Muhammad al-Mahdi succeeded him [775-785]. He was much more noble than his father and of much better disposition. He opened all the treasuries which the impious al-Mansur had kept closed, and distributed gifts to his troops. He also opened the border gates, allowing merchants [g154] to trade and to satisfy the requirements of those in need. And then there was plenty in the country, and the discovery of [new sources of] silver expanded, and the inhabitants of the country were at peace from the coercive extraction of taxes. Although [al-Mahdi] tightened the yoke of taxation, the country rested somewhat from the cruel and calamitous tribulations because of the discovery of silver. This was due to the additional discovery of silver in the mountains in the land of the Armenians. During his reign pure silver ore was extracted [which satisfied] the needs of the population [for taxes].
Then [Caliph] al-Mahdi began to attack the authority of the Byzantines. He assembled a force which he entrusted to one of his generals, his own brother who was named 'Abas [al-'Abas ibn Muhammad], and sent it to Byzantine territory. For in the same year that Abdullah [al-Mansur] had perished, Emperor Constantine [V] also died, and his son, Leo [IV, 775-780] occupied his father's throne. While [al-Mahdi] was planning to begin raiding Byzantine territory with his troops, the emperor quickly sent a large force against Basanastan, which is called Bishan [Commagene]. [This army] was commanded by three generals, two of whom were Armenian lords, Tachat from the Andzewats'i House, and Artawazd from the Mamikonean House, plus a third who was from the Byzantine army. Advancing with many troops, they reached the areas of Cilicia and Bishan where they raided throughout the land capturing numerous cities, districts [g155] and villages. Those resisting them in battle were crushed, ground to dust. As booty they also took into captivity a multitude of common folk. They say that their number exceeded 150,000 men. These [captives] were taken to Byzantine territory. Then they went and presented their booty to the Byzantine emperor. Emperor Leo received his troops with great adulation and gave very magnificent gifts to his generals. Then they rested for [the remainder of] that year.
 The next year the Caliph sent emissaries [to Constantinople], puffing greatly and hoping thereby to terrify [the Byzantines]. We learned that along with his message, [the caliph] sent two sacks of mustard seed to the Byzantine emperor and wrote:
"I shall soon send an enormous number of my troops against your land, as many [soldiers] as the mustard seeds which you see. Will your country be large enough to hold my countless troops? If you have some strength in your hands, get ready to fight me."The emperor read this document but did not get upset. Instead, he calmly wrote a reply:
"Man does not [g156] secure victory by himself. Rather [the victory] goes to whomever God grants it. God might give your troops to my troops as food, like the mustard seeds you have sent. Do what you have promised to do, but whatever is the will and pleasure of God, that is what will be done."Simultaneously the emperor issued an order to relocate the inhabitants of the countryside to the cities, strongholds, and secure fortresses. And the caliph, having assembled countless troops, entrusted them to the same general whom we mentioned earlier, and sent them against the country of the Byzantines. This multitude [of troops] arrived in the Galatia country and besieged the expansive city called Amorium. Though the city was invested by this host of soldiers and besieged for some three months, nonetheless [the Arabs] were unable to capture it, because it was [well] protected by its walls and the surrounding areas had been carefully attended to. For the sources of the Sagaris River are near the city and form swamps all around it. Thus [the Arabs] were unable to inflict damage, but could only sit and maintain the siege. Yazid [ibn Usaid], the governor of Armenia, had also assembled his forces and came to the aid of General 'Abbas. He went to the areas of Pontus, to the fortress-cities of Koloneia, Govat'a, Kastighon and the district of Marit'ene's and fought them. But [g157] none [of these battles] bore any fruit, and [Yazid] returned in great humiliation to the land of the Armenians. Furthermore the Ishmaelite army gave up on its siege of the city of Amorium and returned to the land of its residence.
 It remains for us to describe the events which followed. In the seventh year of Muhammad [al-Mahdi's reign], Emperor Leo, Constantine's son, died and his son Constantine [VI] succeeded him, an extremely young boy. When Caliph al-Mahdi learned about the death of the Byzantine emperor, he assembled many troops, appointed his son Harun (Aharon) as general, and sent [the army] against the land of Byzantium. Just as the Ishmaelite army reached Byzantine territory, the Byzantine army came against them. [The Byzantines] had already blocked the roads, so [the two armies] sat there, facing each other. The Ishmaelite troops were unable to arise to get food, and thus there was severe famine among the Ishmaelite forces.
Now Tachat, son of Grigor from the Andzewats'ik' House, whom we mentioned earlier, had previously come as a fugitive to the Emperor Constantine [V] from the caliph. [The emperor] received him with great ceremony and delight, and honored him because of his personal bravery, since he had earlier learned about [g158] his courageousness. [Tachat'] had demonstrated his bravery to the emperor previously in the territories of the Sarmatians who are called Bulghars, whence he returned with great victory. When the emperor observed his brave heart, he appointed him general over 60,000 men; and he remained obedient to the emperor of Byzantium for 22 years. But after the death of Constantine and his son Leo, and the accession of Constantine [VI, 776-780], Emperor Constantine's mother the queen treated [Tachat] with great rancor. For that reason [Tachat] turned to the caliph. When the Ishmaelite troops were being besieged by the Byzantines, [Tachat] requested a written oath from them so that he could return to his country. He promised to lift the blockade on them and convey them to the country of their residence. When the caliph heard about this, he swiftly acceded to the request, promising [Tachat] whatsoever he wanted. When this had been confirmed in writing, [Tachat] arose and quit the country of the Byzantines with his entire House and extricated the Ishmaelite troops from the siege. Harun, the caliph's son, styled [Tachat] his father and gave him very splendid gifts. And when Tachat came before the caliph, the latter personally thanked him and gave him many valuable items from the royal treasury. He also gave him the dignity of the principate over the country of the Armenians [presiding prince of Armenia] and sent him back to his land with great grandeur. But when Prince Tachat [g159] had returned to the land of the Armenians by order of the caliph and had come to 'Uthman [ibn 'Umara ibn Kuzaim, ostikan 781-785] who was then governor and chief of the country, ['Uthman] did not implement his prince's order. Instead he delayed and sent emissaries to their caliph claiming that it was not the will of the united lords of the Armenians that someone who had rebelled from [Arab] authority and aided the Byzantine emperor should be set up as prince over them, people who had submitted to our rule, for he might be a traitor in our forces.
Now despite the fact that Tachat, on numerous occasions, wanted to inform the caliph about the rupture of his authority, he was unable [to reach him]. This was because ['Uthman's allies] held all the routes leading out [of the country], they seized [Tachat's] emissaries and imprisoned them. Thus his complaints did not reach the ears of [Caliph] Muhammad [al-Mahdi] and his son Harun until the end of that year. Thereafter, when all of [Tachat's] protests finally reached the ears of Caliph Muhammad [al-Mahdi] and his son Harun a great disquiet was visited upon 'Uthman, the governor of our country. Unwillingly, at the caliph's command, he [finally] gave the principate to Tachat.
Then 'Uthman assembled the troops of the lords of Armenia and went to the country of the Aghuanians to the city called Darband by the Caspian Gates, [a city] well fortified with a wall which was built to resist the troops of [g160] the Huns and the Khazars. ['Uthman] also summoned Prince Tachat, as well as the sparapet [commander-in-chief] Bagarat and Nerse'h Kamsarakan and other Armenian lords during the very hot days [of summer] when Hephestus was at its peak, in the most disagreeable sweltering heat. He encamped on the plain called K'eran. They passed the entire summer on that furnace-like rocky plain. Some of the Armenian lords were unable to bear the extremely hot weather and died, [among them] Tachat and the sparapet Bagarat and Nerse'h Kamsarakan and other troops. Caliph Muhammad [al-Mahdi] was enraged when he learned about the lamentable deaths of prince Tachat and the lords with him. He terminated ['Uthman's] rule and sent as a replacement a certain prince named Rauh (R'oh) [ibn Hatim, ostikan 785-786/87] as governor of the land of the Armenians.
Muhammad [al-Mahdi] reigned for 8 years and then died, as Rauh arrived [in Armenia].
 After [al-Mahdi], his son Musa (Muse') [al-Hadi, caliph 785-786] ruled for one year. He was a wanton, impudent and possessed person, so manipulated by the demon inside him that when he was disporting himself in accordance with his unworthy behavior [g161], he designated men as targets instead of objects and shot arrows at them, and killed them. When he was confirmed in his authority [as caliph] he sent a certain Khouzaima (Xazm) [ibn Khazim at-Tamimi, ostikan, 787] to the country of Armenia in place of Rauh. Truly, as befitted his name he was contentious (xazmabar) and fiendish. When he arrived at the city of Dwin, all the Armenian lords came out to meet him, including the Artsrunid princes Hamazasp, Sahak, and Mehruzhan.
Now when that malicious enemy [Khouzaima] saw their magnificent and glorious aspect, and the excellent readiness of their troops, he immediately had them seized, bound, and put in prison for three months—these proto-martyrs and heroes. Then he sent accusations about them to Caliph Musa [al-Hadi] and received back an order to kill them. This wrathful verdict and unjust death sentence was sent to the prison where the venerable martyrs were being held.
As their death sentence was being read out, the captives asked a man named K'ubeida, who was sympathetic to them and a friend, if there was any way to elude the unjust sentence meted out to them. And he told them: "The only way to escape from their clutches and live is to agree to convert to our faith and to [g162] accept the word of our Prophet. That is your only deliverance from the death you have been condemned to." When Meruzhan heard this pronouncement he was terrified about his temporal death and condemned his person to loss in eternal Gehenna. He destroyed the mild yoke of faith in Christ and separated from the flock of the Lord, dressing himself in the clothing of wolves, making himself liable to eternal judgement. But since this was done out of fear of imminent death and not willingly, perhaps Christ will have mercy on his repentant soul.
 Then the courageous martyrs donned the armor of faith and put on their heads the fortifying helmets of salvation and replied [to K'ubeida]: "God forbid that we should exchange the truth of God for falsehood, eternal life for daily life, eternal glory for transitory glory, Christ the hope of all, for our insignificant blood." Thus did they vie with each other while in prison, saying: "Oh brothers, we have enjoyed enough this fleeting glory. Hereafter let us not live for greatness, transitory glory, gleaming golden robes, not for love of kinfolk, the tenderness of [our] children, or any of the good things of this world [things which] many have aspired to yet instead inherited hopelessness." Thus did they encourage each other during their grief in prison. In prayer they united with God and anticipated inheriting eternal life [g163].
Finally the day of decision arrived when the course of their martyrdom would be completed. It was the blessed, glorious day of the Epiphany of Christ, which is celebrated for eight consecutive days by the Christian faithful. [Khouzaima], that instrument of injustice, summoned them before him at a tribunal. Since he was previously cognizant of their firm adherence to the Christian faith and their enthusiasm for it, he did not repeat the same arguments to them. Rather, he had the venerable Sahak brought into the arena first. The instrument of torture which they used was of the latest design: two forked blocks of wood firmly anchored to the ground on the right and left. The martyr was attached [to this device] with his armpits on the forked ends and his hands tightly tied to the wood. Then [Sahak] was beaten on the back with a cudgel so severely that his body separated [into pieces]. Meanwhile the venerable Hamazasp was being held outside, in chains. He prayed to the Lord in his heart without moving his lips or making any audible sound. It was only in his heart that he lamented and sighed and called on the Lord for aid in the tribulation he was about to face.
Having severely tortured [Sahak], they released him from the painful bonds and led the venerable Hamazasp to the same place of torture. In the same fashion they tied him between the two wooden struts and also beat [g164] him with even greater ferocity. [Hamazasp] also courageously withstood the torments. So [Khouzaima] issued the order to kill them with a sword. When the executioners heard the judge's order, they immediately raised their swords and chopped off their heads. Thus did [Sahak and Hamazasp] surrender their souls and depart this life. On the following day [Khouzaima] ordered that their bodies be hanged on wood. And he appointed soldiers to guard [their corpses] so that no Christian would steal and bury the bodies. So full of bitterness was the heart of that unjust judge that even after their deaths [his heart] was not softened. Rather, he had the bodies removed from the wood and the bones of these venerable generals burned to ash in the fire. Even these ashes were not spared for burial but were tossed into the waters of a river. According to the words of the Apostle [Luke] in return for the afflictions they experienced they will be richly rewarded a hundredfold with glory, as the Lord said: "Anyone who has left father, mother, wife, children or fields for my name will receive a hundredfold more in this world and eternal life in the world to come" [compare Luke 18: 29-30].
This [martyrdom] occurred during the reign of [Caliph] Musa [al-Hadi], in the governorship of Khouzaima, on the day of the blessed Epiphany of the Lord, in the year 233 of the Armenian Era [A.D. 784; should be January 6, 786].
Musa held the caliphate for one year and [g165] then died. During his day the prince of the Iberians/Georgians [Stephen III, the Guaramid, 779/780-786] also was cruelly slain, raised up by his hands and feet and cut in two at a tender age. Thus after his death, he was regarded as a sacrificial lamb. After working all this evil, [al-Hadi] perished a year later.
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