John Mamikonean's

History of Taron

Continuing on a short way he reached yet another prince and asked him: "Will you fall willingly or unwillingly?" The Iranian turned about and severed Varaz's horse's head and he fell. But [Varaz] ran [63] underneath the Iranian's horse and struck the horse's tendons, saying "Now you too fall." That place was named Vayrankanis ("Fall Down"). Now those [troops] who had remained at Pughk' took the two princelings and the head of the prince who had been frightened and brought them to Varaz. That place was named Pughk' [2 mss.: Poghk, another, Poghak]. Then Varaz returned to his son Smbat and they descended to Vahan. [Vahan] had cut down many men and was extremely fatigued. Fugitives were fleeing across the fleld, whence the placename P'andik [3 mss.: P'oyadik].

Now the clerics once again came from Kaghamaxeac' hill to a [g55] hill opposite the Matravank' plain. A brigade of Iranian fugitives came upon them and beseeched the clerics to save their lives. Now when the other brigades of the prince of Hashteank' arrived, they asked: "Where are the Iranians who came after the fugitives?" But the clerics would not hand the Iranians over to them. Then the prince of Hashteank' came up and asked: "What became of the Iranians?" [The clerics] replied: "Behold, they are with your fathers [hayr]." And that place was thenceforth called Hayrkert. Then the battle ceased. They turned the fugitives toward Meghti, finding [64] 480 of them. They gave them treasures and horses and released them to [go to] the Iranians as news-bearers [to relate] the wonders they had encountered from [the Armenians'] clerics.

Five virtuous princes conducted the war of Taron:

Vahan Kamsarakan, and

Blessed be their memory.

Patmut'iwn (History)

During the kingship of Heraclius [610-41], the Iranian king Xosrov grew strong. He went as far as Jerusalem, ruined the city, set fire to the gospels, captured the holy Cross, took it to the Iranians, and put it and [the city's religious] vessels in reserve, until the 17th year of his reign. And [when] Heraclius grew strong in his kingdom, he went to the Iranians, slew Xosrov, and retrieved the holy Cross along with the captives. Then he passed over many [65] lodging-places, [arrived in Armenia], and gave many relics to the land of Armenia and to the grandee princes. When he went to Ereznawan, an attendant stole a large piece of [the Cross] during the night, and wanted to flee. Now someone who found out informed the king who took back the relic from him and cut off [the thief's] head. [Heraclius] then went with his troops to Caesarea where he gave the relic to the patriarch of Caesarea named Yovhan. Then he returned to the royal city of Constantinople. The same year Vahan Kamsarakan went to Caesarea, gave the patriarch Yovhan 36,000 dahekans and brought [a piece of] the Cross to [the church of] St. Karapet in Glak monastery where it was placed in a cupboard on the altar. It remained there for 6 years.

Now the prince of the Arjk' area was Gorg Shataxos ("Gorg the Blabbermouth") who named his district Shatax after his nickname. [Gorg] came to the plain of Taron, to a man named Cicarhnik who had built a small awan and named it Cicarhn. The prince implored Cicarhnik: "Find some way to steal the Cross since the church warden is your relative. Bring the Cross to me and you will receive 6,000 dram." [66] But Cicarhnik replied: "Keep your money. I shall take the Cross and come to your country, select a secure place, build an awan and name it after myself." The prince agreed to this and went home. Now Cicarhnik sent his wife, sons, and clan (azgatohm) to the prince of Arjk' while he himself went to the church warden and explained the matter to him. The man agreed [to cooperate], removed [the Cross] from its repository and accompanied [Cicarhnik] to the prince's country. He chose a site and built a church, and they placed the holy symbol of the Lord there. The awan was named Cicarhn.

Now at that time the kat'oghikos of Armenia, Nerses (who was [g57] born in Tayk' and who built [the church of] the Blessed Mother of God at Vagharshakert) came to see the holy Cross. Vahan took the kat'oghikos and came to Glak monastery, and he requested the holy Cross. The [church] attendants sought for, but were unable to find it. The princes, the kat'oghikos, and the bishops mourned, and for 7 days Vahan neither ate nor drank. While he was asleep by the door of the church on Friday, he saw himself, prince Vahan, and a certain luminous man crossing over the threshold of the church. The man said to him: "They stole me and they built Arjk'. So permit it [to stay there], since that country is secure, and they cannot steal it from there". Then [Vahan] awoke full of joy and hurried to give the kat'oghikos the good [67] news that the Cross was at Arjk'. Overjoyed, the following day they held a celebration and then went to the place [mentioned in Vahan's vision], seized the cleric who had stolen the Cross, and gave him to the kat'oghikos who had the man's two eyes gouged out since he had robbed St. Karapet. Vahan seized Cicarhnik and beheaded him, while the prince of Arjk' was placed in Oghkan [fortress] until he paid 100,000 dahekans. Then [Vahan] built the church which stands on Mush hill named after his younger son, Step'annos (who is buried at the door of the same [church]). Now Vahan gave the Cross to the bishop of Arjk' and he set up over the church 7 priests so that each year one would have [charge of] it; and they arranged to give 6,000 drams to the Armenians of Taron.

This History was written and placed in the church of Cicarhn. This was in the year 130 A.E. [681] and the year 427 of the Roman Era. Accurately written, the History was placed in [the church of] St. Karapet at Glak monastery by order of Nerses, the 29th kat'oghikos of Armenia [in succession] from St. Gregory, and during the princehood of Vahan Mamikonean. [Vahan] was the 32nd prince of the Mamikonean clan [in succession] from Mushegh. He was prince of Taron for 30 years, and marzpan for 10 years.

[68] After the recital of such accounts, mourning descended upon our tranquil country, for Vahan was gathered to his fathers. He is buried at the door of [the church of] St. Karapet, having been prince of Taron and Apahunik' for 30 years. But his son Tiran, prior to Heraclius' going to Iran, went to [king] Xosrov's court at the command of the Iberian/Georgian prince Vashdean and his own father Vahan. Being thus among Xosrov's adopted sons, he became marzpan of Armenia. He took many troops and came against the Byzantines as though in war. But he sent [a message] to the emperor, saying: "Do not be frightened by my coming. Instead, give me a city where I may assemble the Armenian troops and I shall be your auxiliary." And between them he made an oath of friendship, [being] considered not only the marzpan of Armenia and Iran, but also dimeslekos of all the Greeks.

When the Iberian prince Vashdean heard about this, he sent to Xosrov, saying: "Tiran has betrayed you and joined the Byzantines. Now send 8,000 cavalry by way of Vanand, and I shall deliver him up to you." The king called the Iberian princeling, Jojik [g59], and made him marzpan, and he had the prince of Siwnik' beaten up and removed as [a person belonging to a] treacherous and deceitful azg. [Xosrov] himself sent 5,000 troops to Vashdean. Now Vashdean wrote a letter to [69] Tiran as follows: "You have aggrevated [Xosrov] with your migration. But come and we shall consult about the king."

As soon as [Tiran] read the letter, another letter arrived the same day from Vashdean's sister's son, Hamam, acquainting [Tiran] with the treachery before him from the troops who had come from Iran. He immediately wrote a letter to Vashdean reprimanding him for his plot. Vashdean grew angry and had Hamam's feet and hands loped off. Then, taking the Iranians, [Vashdean] crossed the Chorox river and went to Hamam's city, named Tambur, which he attacked with fire and sword and enslaved. Now the blessed bishop of the city, Manknos, severely cursed the prince. [Vashdean] ordered the Iranians to kill the priests in the church named Holy Zion. The bishop had silently prayed to God to ask only that the city be turned into a desert and a ruin and that for all eternity no one reside there. He threw himself on the altar and [the Iranlans] sacrificed him on Pentecost before mass was offered to Christ. On the next day there was a cloudburst and [Vashdean] was consumed by fire as he sat by the city gates of Tambur. Hamam subsequently [re]built this [city] calling it after himself, Hamamashen. [70] And Mangnos' prayer was realized. In one night 3,000 men died, others fled, and the city remained a ruin.

That same year Heraclius arose and killed Xosrov. He remembered [g60] the oath made between himself and Tiran. He made [Tiran] marzpan of all the Armenians and he himself went to Constantinople. Eight years later, Mahmet's sister's son, Abdrhahim, came with much baggage bringing 18,000 cavalry with him, demanding taxes from Armenia. Now Tiran sent [a message] that the entire army assemble for war. However Vashdean's son, Jojik, prince of Iberia, finding the time favorable, had caused all of Armenia (Hayk') to rebel so that they would not go to [Tiran]. When Tiran saw that all was up, he spoke these words before his army of 8,000 soldiers who had come willingly "Oh people of Christ, it is better for me to die than for the Church of God to become tributary to the Tachiks."

The next day they assembled at the foot of Grgurh [mountain] and fought in the plain to the south, from morning until the third [71] hour. While they were still putting the Tachkastank' to flight, suddenly the prince of Anjawac'ik', [Sahurhh], rebelled, came out [of the ranks], and turned his sword upon the Armenian troops. Now Tiran, tearing through the troops, encountered Sahurh and said: "Stop, apostate Sahurh, for Christ has made you fall into my hands." And he cut off Sahurh's head with his sword. Yet he himself was martyred there by the sword [together] with two princes. Then the Armenian army was trapped and every man lost his life. But some fled and passed across to swampy Oj ("Snake") city. [Remains of] those killed by the Iranians [1 ms.: i tackac' "by the Taciks"] are kept in the reliquary of the martyrium renamed Holy Host. Abdrhahim passed through Hark', to Basean, to Virk', and to Jawaxk' and to Vanand. He took taxes and returned to Tachkastan.

The same year the church at Ashtic' monastery [1 ms.: Ashtishat] was pulled down. That church was founded by St. Gregory. [The churches of] Karapet at Innaknean, Matravank' in Taron, the great cathedral at Astghaberd, and the cathedral of patriarch Nerses at T'il in Ekeaeac' district [were also pulled down]. [72] The marzpan is buried at the door of the cathedral in Jiwnkert, Taron, in Porp city.


This chronology was begun by the Syrian Zenob with [the time of] St. Gregory [and concerns] what had transpired in that place. [Zenob] left a written [account of these events] in the same church. It seemed agreeable to others succeeding [Zenob] to keep the list [in] the same [manner], and thus, each abbot wrote of the events of his own time—what prince of this house displayed what brave exploits and left them. [These compilations] grew and were called the History of the Syrians. For those abbots who are recorded until T'odik were all Syrians, and that place [tun] conducted its writing and worship in Syriac until T'odik. The latter changed the system and drove all the Syrian clans out of the monastery.

However, I did not find [information] written down concerning the [events] transpiring from Trdat until Xosrov king of Iran in the [73] house of the Mamikoneans. Then I learned from some people that in the Edessa area there was a certain cleric named Marmarha who had that [material] written. I went and saw the writings he had which had been composed in that very monastery of Innaknean. He had got hold of it from some Iranian soldier or others who had polluted the country, and the book, I believe, thence fell into his hands. [I] translated from it 28 episodes and [there were] 10 episodes that I had in my possession. I put them together, making 38 episodes, collected them into one book, and left them to the clergy [g62].

In the time of the reign of Heraclius when Xosrov was dead, by order of Nerses, kat'oghikos of Armenia [this was written], in the principality of Vahan Mamikonean who was called Kamsarakan on his mother's side, the 32nd [prince in succession] from Mushegh called K'ajakorov—written and bound in the monastery of Glak at the door of the blessed [church of] St. Karapet, in which are [found] the relics of Karapet. I have left an unforgettable memorial of myself and of my own [family]. [I am] bishop Yovhan Mamikonean, 35th [bishop in succession] from Zenob, first bishop of the Mamikoneans, in the 4th year of the patriarchate of Samuel.

Now as for those others who sat as monastics after them, and [74] what was wrought in their times in this house is seen in [this] same book. For thus have we modelled ourselves on our predecessors.

Again I, lord Yovannes, bishop of the Mamikoneans, beseech the clergy of the Church of God that when you make a copy of this composition let nothing appear ridiculous to anyone. Instead, rewrite my exemplar fully and without deletions, so that you will be blessed by St. Karapet and in our humble shepherd's prayers, and completely by Christ. May God reward you scribes and you, the readers [g63].


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