Kirakos Ganjakets'i's

History of the Armenians


After [Yovhannes] the bishop was Hamazasp from the city of Ani. He built a wondrous church and a place to hang the bell, and [g99] [91] a great and marvellous refractory.

But let us turn from these matters and return to where we were. The kat'oghikosate of Armenia was divided into many parts. There were the lords Grigoris Vahram in Egypt, and Georg in the west and another one on the island of Aght'amar in Vaspurakan, and lord Barsegh in Armenia. It was divided into many parts.

Gagik, king of Kars went to see the Byzantine emperor, since he was under his authority. Returning home, he went to Caesarea. He had heard that a certain Markos, the metropolitan of Caesarea, had a dog which was given the name Armen, on account of the hatred which the Greeks have toward the Armenians. And he called him by this name since all peoples call the Armenians Armen on account of the bravery of Hayk's descendant Aram.

King Gagik went and took lodging with the metropolitan, who received him gladly.

When they were in their cups, the king spoke: "I have heard that you have a fine dog. Show me, let me see him."

The metropolitan said: "There he is, by the door across [92] [g100] from us."

And the king said: "Call him so he will come here." The metropolitan then called the dog, but by another name, not its real one. However, the dog did not jump up, and did not come in. The king said: "Now call him by his real name." And as soon as the metropolitan uttered "Armen, Armen" the dog immediately bounded up and came. The king asked: "Why do you call him by that name?" The metropolitan answered: "Because he is small." Then the king ordered his servants: "Bring a large sack and throw the dog in it." They were barely able to do this. The bishop thought that Gagik wanted to take the dog away with him, and so he got angry at the king's servants. Then the king said: "Throw the bishop in there too, so I may see if the dog is as small as he says." Now the bishop wept and pleaded with the king to forgive his crime. But the king angrily declaimed: "Strike that dog with a goad so they will eat each other up." And they struck the dog. The animal, smarting from the pain, mauled the metropolitan, tearing him to bits with its teeth and paws until he died. Then the king said: "Now you know whether Armen is small or not."

[93] Then [Gagik] sacked the bishopric and saw the emperor no more [g101].

One day (when the other Gagik had become king), Gagik went off to hunt and became drunk. At a sultry hour, he dismounted to rest under the shade of the trees, having no one with him except one small lad, since all the others were scattered about, hunting. Greeks came upon them, recognized Gagik, seized him and took him to a fortress. When the king came to his senses from the wine, he opened his eyes and exclaimed: "Where am I?" And the Romans replied: "Where is our metropolitan Markos?" And they hurled him from the wall of the fortress with insults. He crashed to the ground and died. As for the lad who was with him, an Armenian merchant purchased him and made him his son-in-law.

Subsequently, when the lad became a man, he went hunting for partridge with another man, near the border of Cilicia. A fortress which they call Bardzrberd stood there. A Byzantine (Roman) bishop resided in this fortress. An acquaintance was struck up between the man and the bishop, and they became dear to each other. They ate and drank together for many days. Yet the man had not put out of his mind what [94] the Byzantines had done to his relative, King Gagik [g102].

One day, when all the bishop's deacons had gone out of the fortress to see to some needed work, the bishop was left alone there with a youth. The hunter came close to the fortress to hunt partridge; seeing the bishop on the walls, he called to him to come out so that they might eat together. The bishop invited the man to come into the fortress, but he did not consent. So the bishop came down to him, without his deacon.

When the man saw that the bishop was coming alone, he realized that there was no one else in the fortress and he said to the man with him: "Today is a good opportunity to avenge with blood the murder of our king, which the Byzantines were responsible for. Take heed! Perhaps the bishop will send you into the fortress. If so, try to take it, and inform me by some hand signal that you have, and I will kill the bishop.

As soon as the bishop arrived, they began to eat. Once the wine gave out, the bishop said to the attendant: "Go to the fortress over there and bring us wine so we may rejoice together."

[95] The man went and gave the bishop's order to his servant. As soon as the servant kneeled over the barrel to fetch some wine, the man seized him by his feet, turned him upside down and drowned him in the wine. Going up to the walls, he notified his lord that he had taken the fortress [g103].

Down below the walls the hunter strangled the bishop. Then entering the fortress, he seized what was there and increased his own property both by force and deceit, until he, his sons, and grandsons ruled Cilicia, city and district. This man was the forbear of King Lewon, who enlarged the boundaries by his bravery, as we shall relate in its proper place.

After Emperor Basil, Constantine ruled, and after him Romanus the Old [III, Argyrus, 1028-34], followed by Michael, then Kiwrhzi, then Monomachus [1042-55]. They say that during his reign Gagik journeyed to Byzantium. After Monomachus, [the rulers were] Kyr T'odorh [Theodora, 1055-56], then Dukits [Constantine X, Ducas, 1059-67], then Diuzhen [Romanus IV, Diogenes, 1068-71]. In the first year of Diogenes' reign, Gagik Shahnshah, king of Vanand, died. In the eighth year of his reign, Diogenes arose with a great army and went to Iran to war. He came to Manazkert and took it. Once the tyrant [96] Alp-Arslan heard the news of the taking of Manazkert, he came forward and there was a fierce battle. Diogenes was defeated and captured by Alp-Arslan, a fine was levied on him, and then he was released. However, his people [g104] would not obey him. Instead they enthroned Michael [VII, 1071-78], Ducas' son. Again taking up arms, Michael struck against Diogenes. The troops put Diogenes into haircloth and sent him to Emperor Michael. On the way, they gouged his eyes out at the command of the emperor. He died in the year 521 A.E. [1072].

In the same year the judgements of the far-sighted, righteous God came down upon the arrogant and untameable beast Alp-Arslan. For while he ruled the world, growling with rage and ready to spill his bile on those not yet conquered, he was unexpectedly stabbed to death. Thus the impious one was removed from the world. And he did not witness the glory of God.

After Alp-Arslan, his fortunate son, called Malik-Shah, ruled. He did not imitate the wicked ways of his father, but rather, thinking about good things, he did good things for all his subjects, especially for the Armenians. Since he was intelligent, he denounced the conceptions of [97] his father as inimical to the peace of living people, [considering his father a man] crazed with blood and despoliation. But the son put everything into order with a wise and benign policy. He did such things and was more prudent than many kings, caring about everyone, [caring] that people deal with each other justly, that no one worry about being ravished, and that no one boast proudly. He was liberal and broad-minded, and physically he was worthy of the kingdom. In a short time he subdued the entire world not by war or tyranny, but by peace and love. Thus with a good reputation he ruled for twenty years, dying through his wife's poison [g105].

Then followed four years of unnarratable disturbances since [Malik-Shah's] brother Tutush (Dtush) and his son Bakiarukh (Bek'iaruk') tore the good land apart during these years with warfare. Since none of them ruled, soon afterwards streams of blood flowed in the land as if it were a torrent, not solely from the armed soldiers, but generally throughout the awans and districts. Thus the period following the death of the king [Malik-Shah] passed, one devoid of good things. Finally when Bakiarukh ruled, he murdered Tutush. Then Kizil (Xzl) ruled, his name meaning "Red." The latter took the city of Lorhe and its holy monasteries of Sanahin and Haghbat.

[98] Following Emperor Michael, Alexius [I, Comnenus, 1081-1118] wore the crown. In his seventeenth regnal year, the Byzantines went through T'irak in the area of Asia, seeking revenge for the destruction of the Christians by the Scythians, Iranians and Tachiks. Many people experienced grief because of [g106] this son of Belial called Alexius, who was the emperor in Constantinople and worked treachery in open and in secret. For this lawless man ordered that fatal poison be mixed with food and drink, and those it had been given to died. On the seas he deceived those who trusted him as their coreligionist. He deceitfully aided the barbarians, for which may the Lord repay him. He was not even a Christian, nor was his mother; for many of the Franks died. The survivors returned empty-handed to Antioch and took the city and Jerusalem. Two kinglets ruled there, Raymond (Maymon) and Tancred (Tanghril) and seven counts. Godfrey (Kontop'ri) ruled in Jerusalem and then Baldwin (Paghtoyn) for seventeen years and then Amari for nineteen years. This was in 546 of the Armenian Era [1097].

The Scythian tyrant Kizil died during the taking of the city of Dwin by the Iranian troops. Then their kingdom was fragmented into many pieces. One tyrannized in Khurasan, one in Syria, another one in the areas of Cappadocia and Armenia, one in Egypt, and others in other localities, although their names are unknown to us [g107].

[99] In 562 of the Armenian Era [1113] lord Barsegh died after having been patriarch for thirty-three years. He was succeeded on the throne with grand solemnity by lord Grigoris, brother of Nerses. They were of the family of Saint Gregory. Therefore, as soon as he sat on the throne of the holy Illuminator, this marvellous patriarch Grigoris made the blessed Church sparkle with various regulations and canonical laws, in everything trying to deport himself after the example of his ancestor Saint Gregory and his son. He moved the patriarchal throne to the fortress called Hrhomklay, since once the Byzantines took to themselves King Gagik and lord Petros, there no longer was a patriarchal throne in the east, but it was under the domination of the Byzantines, sometimes in Sebastia, sometimes in a place called Tsovk', then later transferred to Hrhomklay. The reason for these moves was the troubles occasioned by the Scythians and Tachiks, which tossed them hither and thither. [During this time the kat'oghikos], having taken the Church's sacred things and vessels, gave them for safe-keeping to a beneficent woman of Frank nationality, [who lived in] the [g108] secure fortress. During these days the prince who was lord of the fortress died, leaving his wife a widow. The blessed patriarch beseeched the pious woman to give the fortress to the patriarch, so that it become the seat of the Armenian kat'oghikosate; and the woman gave it gladly. The blessed [100] patriarch sent the woman to Cilicia, to the great prince of princes of Armenia, T'oros, and he gave her villages, fields, and other property. Making her very happy, he sent her to her own land.

This prince T'oros and his brother Step'ane were sons of prince Lewon, son of Kostand, son of Ruben; they were of the sons and descendants of Gagik Artsruni. They enlarged their boundaries bravely, ruling over many districts and cities of Cilicia and Syria and many other places. They captured the famous cities of the land: Tarsus, Sis, Adana, Seleucia, and the districts and cities surrounding them.

Now when the emperor of the Byzantines (who was called Alexius) [g109] heard about this matter, he sent Andronikos against the princes Step'ane and T'oros with many troops. Andronikos treacherously seized Step'ane and had him killed. Then T'oros took his brother's sons, Rhuben and Lewon, put them in a secure fortress, then worked out the blood feud against the Greeks who lived there, for what they had done to his brother. For he destroyed the people by force and made them refugees from the country; and he ruled all the districts with great strength.

Now in the year 562 A.E. [1113], when kat'oghikos Barsegh died, the great and renowned vardapet Georg, who was called [101] Meghrik (Honey) for the sweetness of his ways, also passed to Christ. He put the famous convent called Drazark into order, being ceaseless in conducting services day and night, and perpetually keeping fasts. No one there possessed anything as private property, instead, all was held in common. In the same year the brave Roman, Tancred, the ruler of the city of Antioch, died poisoned by their patriarch. And after lord Barsegh, Grigoris occupied the Armenian kat'oghikosate for fifty-three years [g110].

The remarkable patriarch Grigoris [II, Vkayaser, 1065-1105] undertook to build a marvellous domed church in the same fortress. He also began making translations into Armenian of sacred writings and many other works; some he did himself, others, he asked other people to do.

In these days there lived the noted and learned vardapets Nerses the marvellous (the relative of the kat'oghikos) and the other Nerses, bishop of Lambron, brother of Het'um, who translated the Interpretation of the Revelation of John, the History of Pope Gregory of Rome and the Orders of the blessed Benedict. He also wrote his own interpretations of the Psalms of David and the Proverbs of Solomon, as well as the holy missal and the prayers of [102] of the Evangelist John which begin "He was with his brothers." He built a wondrous church in the monastery called Skewrha, close to the impregnable fortress of Lambron; and he arranged the services of the monastery according to the example of other peoples, with deacons and scribes and uncovered heads, for which he was greatly criticized by the Armenians.

There was another bishop, named Ignatios, whom the kat'oghikos ordered to make an interpretation of the Gospel of Luke [g111]. But he did not consent until he had a dream in which all the vardapets of the Church were seen rejoicing in a luminous house decorated with every charm. He too wanted to enter, but they prevented him, saying: "Since you did not labor to interpret the Gospel, you shall not set foot in here." And when he awoke he began to interpret the Gospel of Luke with sagacious words.

Another marvellous vardapet named Sargis in the monastery called K'arashit'aw in Syrian, made an interpretation of the seven catholic letters, a large work with prefaces and full of homilies. There was yet another bishop active in the Antioch area, the venerable bishop Yovsep'.

Now in the East, there were noted men and scholars, illuminators of the Church. One such was Anania the vardapet at Sanahin [who lived] in the days of Deoskoros [103] [abbot of Sanahin, 1037], an intellectual, brilliant man, knowledgeable in the science of constructing calendrical systems, and an interpreter of Scripture. They say that he assembled in one volume for interpretation the words of Ep'rem, of the Apostles, of John Chrysostom, Cyril, and other saints in summary form for the reader's convenience [g112]. He also made a serious, intelligent survey and comparison of the Gospels with examples. In addition he wrote a clear commentary on the Trisageion which is recited in the churches of the Orthodox with [the expression] "Who Was Crucified"; and he wrote the eulogy Shoghakat'.

Like Anania, in Haghbat the brilliant Yovhannes called Sargawag [was active], a man more learned than many, a genius. Yovhannes studied many writings and left behind a fine memorial to himself. He achieved what many desired but were not competent to do: he established a fixed rather than a movable calendar and made correspondence between the calendars of all peoples and the Armenians. For he was extremely wise and a man adorned with divine graces, his words [written] in the most learned style rather than colloquial, just as those of Gregory the Theologian. He wrote homilies in praise of the mighty Armenian king, Trdat, the blessed patriarch Nerses, and the marvellous Sahak and Mesrop. He [104] also composed a sharakan on the Ghewondians with a sweet melody and appropriate words, which begins "The holy churches are gleaming today." In addition he wrote elegiac homilies for them and accurate paradigms of prayerbooks and other books [g113].

King David of Georgia (father of Demetre, grandfather of David and Giorg) liked Yovhannes Sargawag so much that on hearing of his arrival, he took himself before him to request his blessings. Placing his hand upon King David's head, Yovhannes recited this psalm: "I have found my servant David and with my holy oil I anoint him. Let my hand surround him and my arm strengthen him, Let him not be harmed by enemies and let the son of iniquity not torment him [Psalms 88, 21-23]." And because of Yovhannes, King David loved the Armenian people.

An event occurred one day because of the decision to remove from the solemn mass for debauched behavior a certain individual named Zomzoma. This Zomzoma, instead of feeling remorse and repenting, planned to slay the wonderful Yovhannes. One day he encountered him as he was emerging from a cave under the monastery. As [Yovhannes] stood looking at the river, the shameful one seized him, threw him to the [105] ground and pounced on him. Now since the blessed Yovhannes was a wise man, he said to Zomzoma: "Step'anos my son, do not kill me." And the bold one replied: "Until today I was Zomzoma, but now instead of one 'n' there are many 'n's, Step'annos." For his last name was Zomzoma. [Yovhannes] said: "Why do you want to kill me because you were removed [g114] from the Church? I will reinstate you in the Church." And [Zomzoma] let Yovhannes go. Going to the monastery [Yovhannes] said to the brothers: "What the brother said about this matter I think is false. Lo, I enter Zomzoma in the Church." He ordered the sacrist to accept Zomzoma as senior priest. This caused much grumbling, and people said that it was cheap and that [Yovhannes] had taken bribes and so reinstated him in the Church.

As soon as the hour for the solemn mass arrived, the wretched [Zomzoma] walked onto the bema to perform the service. The vardapet came amidst the assembly into the portico across from the holy table; he uncovered his head and began to pray. Instantly some evil spirit came and entered the impious [Zomzoma], threw him from the bema to the floor of the church and began to torment him greatly. They took him out of the church, like Ozia, and great trepidation came over the viewers.

[106] Living with such fine behavior in this world, the scholar [Yovhannes] passed to Christ in Haghbat. They buried him on the east side of the great church by the door of the smaller church. This [smaller church] was later torn down by bishop Hamazasp. In its place a marvellous structure was built adapted in style to the church, where the bell was hung. The blessed [Yovhannes] died in 578 A.E.[1129] [g115].

After one year the holy illuminating vardapet Dawit', son of Alawik, died. He wrote the Penetential, a beautiful and useful work, at the request of a priest named Ark'ayut'iwn from the city of Gandzak [For an English translation see C. J. F. Dowsett, trans. and ed., The Penitential of Dawit' of Ganjak (Louvain, 1961).] There was yet another marvellous vardapet called T'ok'aker's son, Grigor by name. Both of these men were from Gandzak, where I too am from.

It happened one day that the three marvellous men were seated together. A peasant (shinakan) came up and said to them: "If only I knew which of you is more learned." He said this in ridicule. T'ok'aker's son answered, saying: "While we were in our land, I was a chopper and tailor, and Sargawag only knew how to sew. But now he chops and sews and does many drawings besides." In his wisdom, he had spoken allegorically. This man was so interested in learning [107] that one day he went to a cave where books were housed. There were other people with him. He concealed himself inside, first leading the others to think that he had departed. When the others left, they shut the doors. After some days, they returned to the cave for something. They saw him inside and were astonished, asking: "However did you live without food and drink?" And he showed them the books he had been reading and said: "This has been my food and drink during these days " [g116].

In 588 A.E. [1139], there was a severe earthquake which destroyed the city of Gandzak. The city's buildings collapsed upon their inhabitants. King Demetre of Georgia, father of David and Giorgi came and took the city's doors to his land. Because of this earthquake, the Mt. Alharak crumbled and blocked the valley which led through to it. And thus a small lake was created there which exists to this day. It has excellent fish.

The marvellous patriarch Grigoris daily increased his good works for the glorification of the Church. He was loved by all people. It happened that he went to the holy city of Jerusalem to revere the sites of the Incarnation of [108] the Lord. As soon as he reached the city of Antioch, the entire population came out before him bearing torches and lamps. With great honor they took him and seated him on the throne of the Apostle Peter. As soon as he reached Jerusalem, the Frank people (who were ruling the city) and their patriarch more deeply established love between our peoples [g117], on account of Grigoris. For he was pleasing in appearance and adorned with knowledge of the holy Scriptures. According to tradition, the old agreement of Trdat and Saint Gregory, of Emperor Constantine and the patriarch Sylvester, was restored. Having lived with such decorum, he passed to Christ with perfect virtue, in ripe old age. His brother Nerses replaced him on the [kat'oghikosal] throne for seven years.

Nerses was more learned than many of his day; not only more than the Armenian vardapets, but more than the Greek and Syrian [clerics], so much so that his reputation spread throughout all the lands; to the point that when a certain Constantinopolitan scholar named T'eora heard of his reputation he packed his belongings on donkeys and came to evaluate Nerses and to listen to his wisdom. He came and spoke with Nerses for many days, finding him knowledgeable about everything and also filled with the Holy Spirit. When [T'eora] returned [109] to the city of Constantinople, people questioned him, asking: "What is he like? Is his reputation as they say, or not?" [T'eora] replied: "What we heard was what we saw, for he is a new Gregory the Theologian." Everyone marvelled at him.

Since he was a brilliant man, he introduced many sharakans into the churches, [hymns] in a xosrovean style, melodies, canticles, and verses. He was responsible for [the hymns] the blessing of Resurrection, the Third koghm, on the two days of the Assumption of the Mother of God, the blessing of Peter and Paul, Mankunk', Hambardzin which begins: "Rejoice today, Church of God, with the memory of the blessed Apostles." [He also wrote] the blessing of the Sons of Thunder [which begins]: "He who exists always is the son of God." [He also wrote] one sharakan for [the feast of] Anton, two for T'eodos, one on the forty martyrs of Sebastia, one on the Apostles, the blessing of three days of Easter week (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday), two sharakans on the feast of the Resurrection, on the Ninevites, the Archangels, about the holy Vardanants', as well as many other sharakans.

With the same sublimity as the sharakans, he also wrote [110] sermons on the holy mass, as well as two gandz which bear his name, Vardavarh and the Translation of the Mother of God, as Grigor Narekats'i wrote the Coming of the Spirit, the Church [g119], and the Holy Cross with profound and deep words, and the Prayerbook, the Eulogy on Jacob of Nisibis and the Apostles. [Nerses Shnorhali] similarly compiled an abbreviated version of the Gospel of Matthew full of radiant and rich ideas, which reached as far as the passage where the Lord said: "Do not believe that I came to overturn the laws and the prophets [Matthew 5.17]." At that point, I do not know why, the work halts. He wrote homilies on the archangels according to the style of Dionysius the Areopagate. He also translated many homilies about the martyrs of God. Having accomplished such fine deeds, he passed to Christ—the hope of all—with a desirable, venerable death. The wish of this blessed man was that if possible people should abstain from speaking crassly, and instead occupy themselves with learning, not in wine bibbing or any other pleasure. Therefore he created songs and instructed the men who held the fortresses that instead of their vain noises they should utter the beginning lines of the psalm of David: "In the night I recalled Your Name, Lord," and solemnly in order "Arise my Glory" which is now recited at evening worship in church [g120].

[111] Occasionally [Nerses] was summoned by the great Alexius, who was the son-in-law of the king of the Byzantines, Emperor Manuel. [Nerses] went to the city of Mamestia in Cilicia and [Alexius] asked him deep and difficult questions from books. He found him perfected in everything and greatly exalted him. Once he wrote to [Nerses] requesting that he be given in writing a description of the confession of faith of the Armenians, the solemn festivals, primary fasts, and the mystery of One Nature (we say that there is unity in [the natures of] Jesus Christ), and about other laws of [our] Church which are not the same as other peoples'. Nerses wrote what had been requested, concisely and clearly, and gave it to him. In the orthodox Church of Armenia this confession is repeated as follows: [We omit the translation of pp. 120-46 (much of section 2.) which deals with doctrinal matters.]


2.


When all the Byzantine wise men had read this, they praised the faith of the Armenians. Since [Nerses] was such a brilliant man, he also created allegorical proverbs based on the themes of Scripture as well as riddles, so that [112] people would repeat them in place of the pagan legends when drinking and at weddings. Nerses himself was a worthy man of God, mild and modest in everything.

After him, Grigor succeeded as patriarch and ruled for twenty years. He built the embellished church at Klayn [Hrhomkla] and lavishly adorned it. Then Grigoris, called Tgha (the sister's son of them [i.e., of Grigor and Grigoris]) ruled, for one year [The text is corrupted here, or Kirakos was confused. The correct order of kat'oghikoi is Gregory IV Tgha (1173-93), Gregory V (whom Kirakos calls Tgha, 1193-94), followed by Gregory VI Apirat (1194-1203).]. He was a man of fine stature and handsome appearance, but because there were many bishops jealous of [g147] him, people who spread slanders about him and deceitfully betrayed him to King Lewon, Lewon ordered that [the kat'oghikos] be held in a fortress until an examination take place on the accuracy [of the charges], and he himself wrote a letter to the East [i.e., to Greater Armenia], to the vardapets and bishops of Armenia inquiring what their will was regarding the man. But before their reply arrived, the kat'oghikos died in the following manner. One day his body was discovered with linen wrapped around the waist, fallen at the walls of the fortress. Some say that it was because of their rancor that certain bishops threw him over the wall, bishops who [113] had their eyes on inheriting the [kat'oghikosal] throne. One of these, they say, was Yovhannes, who occupied the throne after him. [Another suspect] was also Anania who was a counter-patriarch in Sewast/Sebastia, under the domination of the Sultan of Rum, as well as six other bishops from there. Others claim that [Gregory] wanted to flee the fortress at night, and was able to lower himself from the wall with linen, but the cloth tore and he fell to his death. We do not know what the truth in this matter is. It is known only by righteous God, to whom all the secrets of mankind are revealed.

Then lord Grigor Apirat ruled for seven years. Thereafter bickering arose among those jealous of Grigoris, as [g148] to who should sit on the patriarchal throne. Yovhannes, since he was an intimate of King Lewon, forced his way and occupied the throne. As soon as the other bishop, Anania, saw this, he went to the Sultan of Rum, bribed him, and sat as kat'oghikos in Sewast/Sebastia, for he claimed that he was of the line of the kat'oghikos Petros who was buried there. And so the throne of Saint Gregory was divided into three parts: one (the real one) which Yovhannes occupied in Hrhomkla; one occupied by Anania (who had rebelled), in Sewast/Sebastia; and yet one more on the island of Aght'amar [114] [occupied] by Dawit'.

After Emperor Alexius, Kalozhan ruled, followed by Manuel. Now in 598 A.E. [1149], the Byzantines held a military review with their myriad upon myriad of troops, and turned to this side of the Ocean first passing through Thrace, as we noted under the year 546 A.E. [1097]. They had forgotten the impossible difficulties caused by that son of Belial, Alexius. Those who did not know the false treachery of this man, viewed him as a co-religionist and a servant of Christ. Those people here, who did not remember those disastrous events, were even more tricked and cheated by [Alexius'] grandson, whose name (like that of the Antichrist) was pseudo-Christos). He was a man named Manuel who like Emmanuel was rancorous and contrary in everything—actions and relgion—and who betrayed the Byzantines with fatal food and drink [g149].

In the days of his grandfather Alexius, a certain count came to Antioch from Jerusalem. As soon as he entered the temple of Saint Peter the Apostle, and participated in the service, the blessed Saint Peter appeared to him and said: "The lance with which they pierced our Savior is buried in the window of this church. Take it to your country." Thus [115] the man took it with joy and went to Constantinople. When Emperor Alexius heard about this matter, he greatly honored the count and gave him many treasures, requesting the lance from him. The count left the lance with him and went on his way.

Now in 636 A.E. [1187] a certain tyrant of Kurdish nationality whose name was Saladin [Salahadin, Salah al-Din] and who came from [the area of] Maseats'otn arose. He was the vassal of the sultan of Mertin and Aleppo. Gathering together an enormous army he went against the city of Jerusalem. The king of Jerusalem, a Frank, went against him with numerous troops. But his sailors betrayed him; for the lord of Tripoli was a friend of the enemy of the Frank king, and betrayed the king to his enemies in the following manner.

The season was very hot, and the place was waterless. The count, being an advisor to the king, urged him [g150] to take a waterless area for their base, while the enemy held the shores of the Jordan River. At noon they were in battle formation. Since the horses of the Christian soldiers were parched with thirst, as soon as they spotted the water, they raced for it, dragging their riders along and plunging them into the midst of the enemy, who put their swords to work [116] and mercilessly cut them down. Now since the king of Jerusalem was a brave man, he slew many of the enemy with his own hands. But when he realized that it would be impossible for him to get free (since they had killed his horse), he wanted to surrender to the enemy. They made him swear that he would never again unsheath his sword against them, and let him go free. He went to Byzantium. Saladin's forces went against Jerusalem, took it and the surrounding cities, killing everyone. Then the sun dimmed for many hours. The Saladinites ruled Palestine, Egypt, Mesopotamia and a large part of Armenia, they and their grandsons who are called 'Ayyubids (Edleank'); among them were Melik' K'eml, Melik' Ashrap' and other sultans who ruled many lands.

Kiwrike Bagratuni, who was in the city of Lorhe spent his entire life fighting against the Georgians to preserve the stability of his patrimony. After his death, his sons Dawit' and Abas, deceived by the Georgians, left the home [g151] of their ancestors and went over to the Iranians. They received from the Iranians as hereditary property [the cities of] Tawush, Matsnaberd and other places. Subsequently the Iranians took Tawush from them and they resided in Matsnaberd. Then Dawit' and Abas passed away. Kiwrike succeeded his father Dawit'. He was a mild man, accomplished in virtuous deeds; more so than his father. Passing from this world [117] in goodness, he left as heir his small son Abas, who was twelve years old. He took as a wife Nana, the daughter of the pious prince Sargis son of Zak'aria, son of Vahram, sister of the great princes Zak'are and Iwane. Their deeds were many, as we shall note in the proper places. After living with his wife for two years, Abas died at the age of nineteen. He had no son from this wife.

As soon as his sister Balrina saw that their line was extinct she fell into inconsolable mourning. They told her: "There is one woman who has a suckling baby from your brother." Balrina was delighted. She took the lad, nourished him, and named him [g152] Aghsart'an. He became the heir of Matsnaberd, and was a pious man who loved the priests. Aghsart'an was living in our time, though in old age his feet pained him. Dawit', the prince of Norberd, dealt with him deceitfully, for he too was of the Bagratid family, father of prince Vasak who built the marvellous church in the monastery called Anapat, close to Norberd with the direction and cooperation of Yovhannes Tuets'i. He was the archbishop of the areas of Shamk'or, Gardman, Ergevank', Terunakan, Tawush and other regions under the sway of prince Vahram. The church was completed, anointed and consecrated in the name of the holy Mother of God in 689 A.E. [1240]. Bishop Yovhannes [118] was a blessed, virtuous, benevolent man who often fasted for forty days at a time.

However the prince of Norberd, Dawit', deceived the lad Aghsart'an; he married his daughter to him and ruled Matsnaberd himself. Then he retrieved his daughter from Aghsart'an. But Aghsart'an won over the inhabitants of the fortress. Suddenly and unexpectedly they seized Dawit' [g153] with his entire family and expelled them from the fortress which they gave to Aghsart'an. The latter, toward the end of his life, gave authority to his son Kiwrike, and became a cleric in the monastery of Getakits'k'.

Kiwrike had [several] sons: one was named P'ahlawan, the second, T'aghiadin, and the third Aghsart'an.


3. Regarding the Kingship of Lewon in the West


Whatever was narrated up to this point was culled from works that were written previously. But the history before us now concerns matters about which I heard with my own ears and to which I was an eyewitness.

[119] When the great prince T'oros, son of Lewon, son of Constantine, son of King Rhuben of Cilicia died, his brother's son named Rhuben took authority. Rhuben was the son of Step'ane who was treacherously killed by the Greek general Andronikos. After a short while, he too died and Lewon, a brave and warlike [g154] man, took authority. As soon as Lewon took power, he enlarged the borders of his lordship. For he made war against the surrounding peoples and conquered them, in accordance with the bravery of his name, like a lion; for Lewon [Leo] means lion.

When the tyrants among the Turks and Tachiks (who were called sultans) observed Lewon's successes, the sultan who ruled Aleppo and Damascus mustered his men and came against him, with countless troops and weapons. When Lewon, the prince of princes, heard that the foreigners were coming against him, he hurried and gathered his troops and quickly came against them, like an eagle swooping down on a flock of hens, and he struck them many great blows. The sultan fled, escaping by a hairbreadth, this sultan who had come against Lewon boasting. Lewon levied a tax on him and made him his vassal. When the surrounding Tachiks saw this feat of bravery, they feared him and paid him taxes. And this is the way that Lewon ruled over all, with force.

[120] When Lewon saw that he had succeeded in forming a lordship greater in size than his forbears', he consulted among [g155] his princes and grandees to become king. He sent [a messenger] to the world-renowned city of the Romans, to the autocrat emperor and the Pope [requesting] that they give him the order and a royal crown; for he did not want to be vassal to any but to the Frank people. At the same time, his pride was excited by the [tombs of the] holy Apostles Peter and Paul which were in the city, as though he were receiving the crown of blessing from them.

The emperor and Pope of Rome sent him a worthy crown of earlier kings and a dignitary, that is, an archbishop to place the crown on his head and to demand three things from him: to celebrate the feasts of the Lord and of all the saints on whatever days they occurred; to utter prayers in the church during the day and evening, something the Armenians had not done for some time because of Ishmaelite attacks, instead [reciting prayers] only at the time of the administration of the sacrament during the holy mass; and not to break the fasts on the eves of Christmas and Easter, except with [g156] fish and olives.

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