Then they took me from my companions to serve their secretarial needs, writing and reading letters. During the  day they made me travel with them and in the evening they would bring us to the vardapet, with a pledge. Again they would come and take me either on foot or on an unsaddled, untrained pack animal; and they did this for many days.
When summer had passed and autumn came and [the Mongols] were close to departing from our familiar land into distant foreign ones, everybody risked their lives and gradually began to flee by night to wherever they could. In this way by Christ's grace, everyone was able to escape except for two priests who attempted to flee during the day and were unable to free themselves. The T'at'ars captured them and led them to the army and slew them before us to frighten and terrify us, for this is how they deal with all fugitives.
Then one day the marvellous vardapet said to me: "Kirakos" [g249]. And I said: "What do you command, vardapet?" He said: "My son, it is written 'Whenever you fall into adversity, forbear [Romans 12.12].' It is necessary for us to reflect the advice of Scripture in our own lives for we are no better than the saints of old, Daniel, Anania and Ezekiel, who were pious in their captivities until God visited them and glorified them in their slavery. Let  us also live by God's protection until He visits us, if He so desires." I replied: "Let us do as you order, holy father".
It happened one day that the very prince who had captured us came to where we were being kept. Seeing us, he turned aside to us, and we went before him. He said: "What do you need? Perhaps you are hungry? I shall give you horsemeat for food." For they indiscriminately ate all sorts of unclean animals including mice and all types of creeping things. The vardapet replied: "We do not eat horsemeat or your other foods. But if you wish to do good by us, let us go free to our home as you promised. For I am an old and sick man and I can serve you neither as a soldier nor as a pastor nor in any other way." The commander said to him: "When Ch'uch'u-Khan [g250] comes I shall think about this." Ch'uch'u-Khan was the overseer of his house and he had gone off looting with his troops. So we came before the commander two and three times, and his reply was always the same.
Finally the man returned from his travels and they summoned us to the prince's court. [Ch'uch'u-Khan] was sent to us with a translator and said: "Is it not as you [Christians] claim that to give things to the dead benefits the deceased  person's soul? Well now, if giving helps the dead, why will it not save the living? Give us what you have and purchase your souls and then go, sit in your home." The vardapet replied: "What we had were those things you already took—the crosses and the Gospels. Beyond that we have nothing." The man then said: "If you have nothing, then you cannot depart." The vardapet answered: "I tell you honestly that we have nothing, not even the price for a day's meal. But if you will, send us to one of the fortresses surrounding us and the Christians there will buy us."
They placed a heavy price on him, then reduced it, and sent him to the fortress known as Gag. [Vanakan] requested that our price also be paid with his, but [the Mongols] did not permit this, saying: "We need him to read and write letters. No matter what sum you offer, we will not give him up." And we parted from each other in tears. The vardapet said to me: "My son, I shall go and throw myself before the Holy Cross calling upon the name of Saint Sargis [g251] beseeching the Lord through him for you and for the other brothers held by the impious [Mongols] so that perhaps God in His compassion will free you." For there was at Gag a  wonder-working Cross which helped all those in difficulties, especially captives. The holy martyr Sargis himself would appear to those who took refuge in it with all their hearts, and he would open prison doors, loosening the fetters and irons and physically lead them to their places. The fame of its miracles had spread throughout all peoples. They say that the Cross was erected by our vardapet, Saint Mesrop.
It transpired as the vardapet had said. They bought him for eighty dahekans. As soon as they had taken him, that same day, Molar said to us: "Do not be saddened at the departure of the great priest. We did not let you go with him because we need you. I shall honor you as one of my grandees. If you have a wife, I shall bring her to you. If not, I shall give you one of our women." And he immediately gave us a tent and two lads to wait on us, saying: "Tomorrow I shall give you a horse and make you happy. Stay loyal." And he left.
By the grace of God, it happened that we secretly fled and escaped that same night. We came to the place of our birth, to the monastery called Getik; it had been ruined by them, the buildings in it, burned. And we stopped there [g252].
Prince Shahnshah took his wife and children, secretly went into the valley there and secured them in a cave. He gave superintendence of the city to his father-in-law['s sons] but because they were weaklings, they spent their time eating and drinking and getting drunk, trusting in the strength of the city walls, and not in God.
The enemy arrived. They dug at the base of the walls and made them collapse, then settled around them and kept watch so that no one would flee. Now once the inhabitants of the city saw that [the Mongols] had taken the city, they began to crowd with fear and filled up the valley. When the enemy saw that, they started to enter the city and indiscriminately  cut down men, women, and children, taking their goods and belongings as booty. They discovered the treasures of prince Shahnshah which he had extorted and robbed from those he had subdued. [He had] constructed there a sturdy treasury which no one could see, since the mouth of the pit was so narrow that treasures could be cast in, but nothing could be removed [g253]. They killed Shahnshah's father-in-law['s sons] and they did reconnaissance around all the fortresses in the district, taking many both by threats and by treachery. For the Lord gave them into their hands.
They did the same to other cities, to Dumanis, to Shamshoylte, to the capital Tiflis, taking everything as booty, destroying or enslaving, spreading their raiding expeditions everywhere with merciless attacks, ravishments and destruction. There was no one to resist them or offer war against them. Therefore fear was everywhere. The queen of the Georgians, Rusudan [1223-45], had fled to wherever she was able. So all the princes surrendered [to the Mongols].
They settled around all sides of the wall at the base of the fortress and sent messages to Awag to come out to them in obedient service and not to be afraid. Many times they sent to him, saying the same thing. Now [Awag], desirous of winning their favor, gave his daughter and many goods [to the Mongols], so that perhaps they would loosen the siege. But they took his gifts and demanded his presence even more insistently. Those around the fortress and those in it began to be troubled by thirst. So they gave over to the T'at'ars their horses and all their livestock so that they allow some of them to go and bring water for their animals. Undertaking their plan in a body of many men, they went to the  water source there. The T'at'ars blocked their path to the water. They killed no one but told them to lower down their families and to live among them. Unwillingly and in grief they brought down their families. They were given water to drink and were kept among the T'at'ars. The T'at'ars took the women they wanted and killed their men, leaving others with their husbands [g255].
As soon as Awag saw that the T'at'ars did not let off besieging or destroying them, he wanted to surrender to them so that perhaps things would be lighter for the people. So he sent Grigor called Tghay (one of the Xach'en azats, the overseer of his house) in advance of himself to go, meet and flatter their leader, Chormaghun, who had pitched his tent by the shores of Lake Geghark'unik' (Sewan). When the great noyin Chormaghun heard this he was delighted and immediately sent to Itulata who was besieging Kayean to quickly come to him and to stop harrying the inhabitants of the fortress and district. Itulata took Awag and quickly came to Chormaghun. When Chormaghun saw the prince he asked him: "Are you Awag?" The prince replied: "I am he." The great commander then asked: "Why did you not come quickly to me when I entered the borders of your land?" The prince responded: "While you  were far away and my father was living, he served you with many gifts. As soon as my father died, I served you according to my capability. And now that you have come to my land, lo, I have come before you. Do with me what you will." The commander said to Awag: "There is a proverb, 'I came to the window/skylight, you did not come. I came to the door, behold, you have come.'" And [Chormaghun] ordered that [Awag] sit lower than all the grandees who sat before him, and he ordered a great meal served in his honor [g256].
They brought large quantities of meat both from clean and from unclean animals, cut apart, ground, and cooked and also kumiss (xmuz) made from mare's milk, according to their custom. They brought this food in many bags, threw them before the guests, and they began to eat and drink. But Awag and those with him did not eat or drink. The commander asked him: "Why don't your eat and drink?" Awag replied: "Christians are not accustomed to eat this food and to drink this beverage, rather, they eat meat from clean animals which we have sacrificed, and they take wine to drink." So [Chormaghun] ordered that such be given to those who requested it. The next day [Chormaghun] seated [Awag] above many of the grandees and in this way, day by day, he honored the prince  yet more until he was even seated in the rank of the truly great lords. [Chormaghun] further ordered all of his troops not to fight with the fortresses and cities under [Awag's] domination. And great ease came about in his land, and many captives were freed because of him. [Chormaghun] gave him back all of his lands and more besides, and established indestructible friendship with him. Taking [Awag] and all his troops, [Chormaghun] marched against the city of Ani [g257].
 But the city mob and the commoners (rhamikk') killed [Chormaghun's] delegation. When the foreigners' troops learned of this, in rage they besieged Ani on all sides. They erected many catapults and, skillfully battling against the city, they took it [in 1236]. Some of the princes of the city surrendered to the enemy, thereby saving their lives. Many were called out of the city and promised that nothing evil would be done to them.
But as soon as these princes had emerged from the city and gone [to the Mongols] in all their multitude, the enemy divided them amongst themselves and put them to the sword, mercilessly cutting down one and all and sparing only a few women and children and some artisans whom they led into captivity. Then they entered the city, took all the goods and possessions, looted all the churches, ruined and destroyed the entire city and corrupted the glory of its beauty [g258].
It was a pitiful sight there. Dead parents and their children were heaped on top of one another, like a pile of rough stones, priests and deacons and officials of the church, old, young, children, adolescents, and many virgins dealt with as it says in the holy Gospel: "You shall be betrayed to hunger and slavery." The same prescription fell upon the inhabitants of Ani, for [their corpses were] scattered here  and there, fallen across the face of the plains; the land drank in the blood and fat of the wounded. Tender bodies, once washed with soap, lay blackened and swollen. Those who had not gone out of the city were led away barefoot into captivity; and those who had communed in the holy blood and body of the Son of God now ate unclean, sickening meat and drank foul mare's milk. Modest and prudent women were deflowered by wanton, lewd men; blessed virgins who had vowed to God to keep their bodies and souls pure were fouled by various prostitutions and corrupted with indignities. This was the end of the affair [g259].
The same army also took the city of the blessed Mari (Surb Mari), which Shahnshah and Awag had taken from the Tachiks several years before. While [the residents] were still mending their wounds, suddenly a certain one of the nobles named Ghara Bahatur came upon them with many troops and quickly took the city, ravishing all that he found in it [g260].
When [the Mongols] had worked such deeds throughout the entire land, a command was given to the survivors who had outlived the sword and captivity for each to go to his own place, whether village or city and to build it in their name and to serve them. And the land began to be rebuilt gradually.
However, it is the custom of God to recall mercy in His anger, and He did so here, since "He dealt with us not according  to our sins, and repaid us not according to our impiety [Psalms 102, 10]." It was summertime when they raided us, and the harvest had not yet been reaped or gathered into the granaries. They came with camels and livestock and ate and trampled everything. Close to winter when [the Mongols] had left for the plain called Mughan in Aghbania/Aghuania (they spent the winter season there and in springtime spread throughout the land) the people there who had survived the sword were naked and without food and they fell upon the husks and ground them to fill their needs. Yet winter was not severely cold, as at other times [g261] but as mild as one would wish. Since they had no oxen to work the land and no seed to sow, when spring came, at the command of God the land blossomed forth of its own accord and was sufficient to fill the people's needs. Moreover, everywhere there was a plentitude of bread by which the refugees lived. Furthermore, the merciless Georgian people displayed much kindness and concern for the exiles reaching them. In this way, merciful God consoled the bereaved.
Now [Awag] went before the great king, showed him letters from his own commanders, and recalled the reason for his coming, that he had come to him in service. Once the great king heard that, he received [Awag] with affection, gave him a T'at'ar bride and sent him to his own land. He also wrote to his commanders to give [Awag] his own lands and with his help to subdue all the rebels, as happened.
When he came to his land and the commanders implemented the orders of their king, the following men came [to the Mongols] in service: Shahnshah, son of Zak'are, prince Vahram and his son Aghbugha, Hasan called Jalal, prince of the Xach'en area, and many others. [The Mongols] gave to each one control over  his lands, and, for the time being, a pardon.
Then by taxation, coming and going, and military activities [the Mongols] began to place them in straits; but despite all this and more besides, though they harassed them, nevertheless they killed no one. After a few years had passed, prince Awag was harassed [by the Mongols] and he was unable to [g263] satisfy all of them. Not only were [the Mongols] not satiated by eating and drinking, but they also demanded horses and expensive clothing, for they were very fond of horses. Therefore they took all the horses from the land. No one dared to keep horses or donkeys openly, but did so in secret for the war tax, because wherever [the Mongols] discovered horses they ravished them. Moreover, wherever they found their brand (for all their own animals and all the ones they took were stamped with the brand of each commander, on any limb), even if the horses had been purchased [from the Mongols], whenever one of them discovered [such a branded horse] they took it and punished the people as thieves. Not only did the grandees do this, but the lesser soldiers too. This was done even more when the commander Chaghatai died. For the Mulhedk' [Assassins] killed him at night. As a result, there was a severe destruction of captives in the army. This [Chaghatai] was a friend of Awag. As soon as he died, many enemies arose against the prince.
 One day in Awag's home, one of the not very noble [Mongols] came to the tent where Awag was seated. Because Awag did not immediately arise before him, [the Mongol] beat him on the head with a switch of horsehair which was in his hand [g264]. When the prince's servants saw this they were angered at the indignity suffered by their lord, the prince, and rose to strike the man. But the prince forbade them, even though he was angered. That man (whose name was Joj-Bugha) departed. Taking along other comrades, he wanted to kill the prince at night. When [Awag] learned about this, he escaped by a hairsbreadth and fled to the Georgian queen who was still in rebellion, having migrated to a fortified region of Georgia.
Such disorders increased because the great general who was the head of all of them, Chormaghun, had become deaf from a devil and wounds. However, the authority had not been removed from his house, since his wife and children, together with the officials of his house, held the authority. This is because the Khan had so ordered, [and that] should he die his bones were to circulate around with the troops, for he was a most successful and favored man.
When Awag fled, the grandees were saddened, blamed that man [Joj-Bugha] and sent ambassadors after the prince telling  him not to rebell against them, and swearing that nothing evil would be done to him. [The Mongols] gave his land to his brother Shahnshah, and they did this for greater faithfulness [g265]. Now Awag wrote a letter and sent it to the Khan saying: "I have not come out of your service, but have fled from murder. I obey your command."
While Awag delayed going and waited for the reply from the great king, [the Mongols] removed and examined all of his treasures which were hidden in the fortress. Once again, one after the other, they sent messages to Awag telling him to come to them, for they feared their king.
As soon as Awag came to the army, immediately the command arrived from the Khan to his troops, saying: "Let no one dare do any evil to Awag"; and he also sent gifts and a letter to Awag, telling him to go freely and not to fear. [The Mongols] honored him. They removed from the troops those men who had wanted to murder him. And they sent Awag and a certain commander named Tonghus-agha (who had come at the Khan's order to demand taxes from everyone) to the queen of the Georgians, Rusudan [telling her] to obediently submit to the Great King.
Those who went to her encouraged her to submit to the Great King and not to fear. Taking troops from her, they  returned to the emissaries with [a treaty containing] conditions [g266] of peace and friendship, that the queen would submit with her son (the young Dawit', the newly-enthroned king). And they did not break the oath.
 However, because destruction comes from the Lord, [the Mongols] at an unexpected hour secretly arose and entered the fortifications. They put a multitude of people to the sword, while others they hurled off the cliffs. From the multitude fallen covering the earth a small river of blood flowed and coursed like water, and no one was spared. Even after a long time the bones of the slain could be seen piled up like heaps of stones [g267].
[The Mongols] also came against the pious prince Hasan whom they call Jalal. He was the sister's son of the grandee princes Zak'are and Iwane, a pious and God-loving man, mild and meek, merciful, and a lover of the poor, striving in prayers and entreaties like one who lived in the desert. He performed matins and vespers unhindered, no matter where he might be, like a monk; and in memory of the Resurrection of our Savior, he spent Sunday without sleeping, in a standing vigil. He was very fond of the priests, a lover of knowledge, and a reader of the divine Gospels.
He also had a pious mother who, after the death of her husband Vaxt'ank (called Tankik), provided for her three sons Jalal, Zak'are and Iwane, and then went to the holy city of Jerusalem remaining there for many years practising great  asceticism. She astonished all who saw or heard about her. For she had spent all her possessions for the poor and needy (like Abgar's wife, Heghine) and she fed herself by her own embroidery work. She died there, and since God glorifies those who glorify Him, an arc-shaped light appeared over her grave to encourage others to do similar benevolent deeds [g268].
This wise prince [Hasan Jalal], as soon as he saw the attack of the infidels, secured the inhabitants of his land in the fortress which is called Xoxanaberd in Persian. When [the Mongols] arrived to besiege the fortress they saw that it was not possible to take it. So they called him to them amicably; and he wisely satisfied them. Later he himself went to them with many gifts. [The Mongols] honored him and gave him back his land and other lands besides and ordered him to come to them each year for military service, and to serve them loyally. Now he prudently arranged his land. Whatever it was possible for him to take for the needs of the [Mongol] travelers [baskaqs] who came to him he took, whether food or something else. He kept this himself, accumulated it and gave it to them when they came to him. [The Mongols] did not harry the land [by demanding provisions]; instead, they came to him. But in other lands, [the Mongols] did not do this;  rather, wherever they went they harassed the inhabitants.
Once it was completed a solemn preliminary ceremony was held to [begin to] consecrate it. Present were the kat'oghikos of Aghbania/Aghuania, lord Nerses with many bishops, the great vardapet Vanakan with many teachers, the holy vardapets of Xach'en, Grigoris and lord Eghia, relatives, both glorifiers of God (They passed to Christ and are buried in the cemetary of the glorious church at Xada. Grigoris died in 687 A.E.  and Eghia in 698 A.E. ). They blessed the church with many priests and it is said that the number of priests present reached seven hundred.
When the church was anointed, a great dinner was prepared and [Jalal] himself served the multitude with his own hands.  He gave abundant gifts to each according to his rank and sent the crowd on its way. This occurred in 689 A.E.  on the day of the great Feast of the Transfiguration.
[Jalal's] wife Mamk'an built a marvellous portico in front of the church. She herself was given over to a life of virtue; she practised asceticism, fasting and praying and reading with enthusiasm, adhering to the precepts of the Lord day and night, according to Scripture [g270].
[Translator's note: for a scholarly commentary on this chapter see J.A. Boyle, "Kirakos of Ganjak on the Mongols," Central Asiatic Journal 8(1968) pp. 199-214.]
We gladly leave a testament for the generations to come for we have hope of salvation from the difficulties of this world, which surround us. Therefore we shall briefly set forth for the inquisitive [an account of] what [the Mongols] looked like, and what their language was like.
They had a hellish and frightening appearance. They had no beards, although some of them had a few hairs above their lips or on their chins. They had narrow and quick-seeing eyes, high, shrill voices; they were hardy and long-lived.
 Whenever possible they ate and drank insatiably, but when it was not possible, they were temperate. They ate all sorts of animals both clean and unclean, and especially cherished horsemeat. This they would cut into pieces and cook or else roast it without salt; then they would cut it up into small pieces and sop it in salt water and eat it that way. Some eat on their knees, like camels, and some eat sitting. When eating, lords and servants share equally. To drink kumiss or wine, one of them first takes a great bowl in his hand and, taking from it with a small cup, sprinkles the liquid to the sky, then to the east, west, [g271] north and south. Then the sprinkler himself drinks some of it and offers it to the nobles. If someone brings them food or drink, first they make the bearer eat and drink of it, and then they themselves [will accept it] lest they be betrayed by some poison.
They take as many women as they want but they do not let prostitutes live among their women. However, wherever they chance upon foreign women, they copulate with them indiscriminately. [The Mongols] loathe theft so much that they torture to death anyone caught at it.
There is no religion or worship among them, but they  frequently call on the name of God in all matters. We do not know (nor do they) if this is to thank the God of Being or some other thing that they call god. However, usually they say that their king is a relative of God. God took heaven as his portion and gave earth to the Khan, for they say that Chingiz-Khan, the father of the [present] Khan was not born from the seed of man but that a light came from the unseen, entered through a skylight in the home, and announced to his mother: "Conceive and you will bear a son who will be ruler of the world." And they say that [Chingiz-Khan] was born from that.
This was related to us by prince Grigor, son of Marzpan [g272], brother of Aslanbek, Sargis and Amira of the Mamikonean family. [Grigor] himself heard it from one of their great nobles named Ghut'un-noyin one day while he was instructing small children.
When one of them dies or they kill him, they do as follows: some they take around with them for many days since [they believe that] a devil entered the body and would say frivolous things; and there were those that they burned. Others they buried in the ground in deep ditches, placing with the deceased his weapons and clothing, gold and  silver, whatever was his share. And if the deceased was one of the great ones, they place some of his servants and maids in the grave with him so that, they say, they will serve him. They also put the horse in since, they say, warfare there is fierce. If they want to remember the dead [with a memorial], they cut open the belly of a horse and pull out all the flesh without the bones. Then they burn the intestines and bones and sew up the skin of the horse as though its body were whole. Sharpening a great piece of wood, they pierce the horse's abdomen and draw it out of the mouth, and so erect it on a tree or in some elevated spot.
Their women are witches and divine everything. Without a command from the witches and sorcerers, they go on no journey; only if [the sorcerers] permit it. [The Mongolian] language is barbarous and [was] unknown to us. They call God t'angri; man, ere, haran; woman, eme, ap'ji; father, ech'ka; mother, ak'a; brother, agha; sister, ak'achi; head, t'iron; eyes, nitun; ears, ch'ik'in; beard, saxal; face, yiwz, niur; mouth, aman; tooth, sxur, sidun; bread, ot'mak; ox, ok'ar; cow, unen; sheep, ghoyna; lamb, ghurghan; goat, iman; horse, mori; donkey, losa; camel, t'aman; dog, noxay; wolf, ch'ina;  bear, aytk'u; fox, honk'an; rabbit, t'ablghay, t'ulay; chicken, t'axea; dove, k'ok'uch'in; eagle, burk'ui-ghush; water, usun; wine, tarasun; sea, naur-tangez; river, moran-ulansu [g274]; sword, ioltu; bow, nemu; arrow, semu; king, melik'; patron, nuin [noyin]; great patron, ek'a nuin; earth, el, irkan; sky, gogay; sun, naran; moon, sara; stars, sargha, hutut; light, otur; night, soyni; secretary bit'ik'ch'i; satan, barhahur, elep, and so on with similar barbarous names which were unfamiliar to us for many years, but now, unwillingly, are known to us. The venerable, foremost leaders [of the Mongols] are as follows: first there is the great head and commander of all the forces, Chormaghun-noyin, a judicious and just man. His colleagues are Israr-noyin, Ghut'un-noyin, Tut'un-noyin, and Chaghatai who was a general of the army killed by the Mulhedk' [Assassins]. They had many other leaders and countless troops [g275].
When Rhaban arrived, many things became propitious for the Christians, and the killings and captivity ceased. Likewise he built churches in Tach'ik cities, where previously no one dared utter the name of Christ—even in Tabriz and Naxchawan which were yet more inimical to the Christians, so much so that Christians did not dare appear or walk about [g276] openly, to say nothing of constructing a church or erecting a cross.
Yet [Rhaban] erected cross and church, and the  sounding-board was heard day and night. Christians openly took their dead for burial with hooded crosses, Gospels and worship, as is the Christian custom, while those opposing them were put to death. No one dared come out against [Rhaban's] order. On the contrary the T'at'ar army revered him like their king and without him they neither planned nor did anything.
His merchants, [people] who had his tamgha, that is to say his insignia and letter, boldly circulated throughout the lands and no one dared approach those [merchants] who mentioned Rhaban's name. Instead all the T'at'ar commanders gave him gifts from their booty.
[Rhaban) was a man of pious conduct, also modest in eating and drinking. Once a day, during the evening, he ate a small amount of food. Thus God visited His people in exile with the care of this kind of man. He baptised many of the T'at'ars; and on account of his marvellous behavior and great honor, everyone was terrified by him [g277].
The events described happened here [in Greater Armenia] in 690 A.E. . At the same time, the kingdom of  the Armenians in Cilicia was under the rule of pious King Het'um. This was during the generalship of his brother, the brave Smbat; during the reign of his father Kostandin as prince of princes; in the kat'oghikosate of the old and virtuous Kostandin, occupant of the throne of Saint Gregory in Hrhomkla; in the pontificate as archbishop of lord Barsegh, brother of King Het'um, whom they held as substitute on the holy throne of the kat'oghikosate; in the kat'oghikosate of the Aghbanians/Aghuans of the meek and humanitarian lord Nerses, who at this time resided in the monastery called Xamshi in the Miap'or district; in the pontificate as archbishop of his brother's son who had been ordained recently; during the tyrany of the T'at'ars over everyone; and when I was forty years old, more or less.
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