P'awstos Buzandac'i's

History of the Armenians

Book Four

Chapter 20. (Continued from Previous Page)

[141] Then all the Armenian troops moved forward and beseeched their king Arshak not to restrain them until the Iranian king Shapuh arrived. Rather, he should let them accomplish that which they had come to do, and let them attack [the Byzantines]. For they were impatient waiting in a foreign land and considered it better to die than to wait there [g139]. So king Arshak allowed it, and went against [the Byzantines] in war. Vasak, the general and sparapet of Greater Armenia, arranged, organized and prepared all the Armenian troops. He armed and at the appointed time went against the army together with all the military forces of the Ayraratean gund. They put all of them to the sword, so much so that not a single [Byzantine soldier] survived, Then [the Armenians] took the loot and booty of the Byzantine troops, and there was no estimating how much they loaded up with treasures or countless great articles of loot.

After this the king of Armenia remained there with his troops until Shapuh, king of Iran, arrived with countless, immeasurable Iranian troops. When he observed the bravery of the deed of the Armenian troops, how they fought, won and resolved the battle, he was very surprised. And [Shapuh] greatly honored king Arshak of Armenia and [142] all the Armenian grandees, as well as Vasak, the sparapet of Armenia.

King Shapuh of Iran then began asking his troops regarding what good gifts or what reward he could give Arshak, king of Armenia, for having accomplished such a deed, displaying such bravery, attacking such an enemy, waging such a battle and winning it as well as receiving such a good name. "For," he said, "we, the entire Aryan forces would have been able to do this with their help, but now the king of Armenia instead of us accomplished such bravery that none other could accomplish. Now what fitting reward can [g140] we give him?" Thus he pondered what they should give him. The Iranian king Shapuh's naxarars told him: "Give him anything you think will please him, much of your gold, silver, silk, and pearls". The Iranian king Shapuh replied to his princes: "What you suggest does not display [sufficient] affection. Rather, come, let us establish unshakable affection between ourselves and king Arshak of Armenia, such that he will be unseparable from us for eternity. I will give king Arshak of Armenia my daughter in marriage and a great tun, such a tun so that when he comes to us from Armenia as far as Ctesiphon, he will lodge within his own tun. Let us [143] give this to the king. As for general Vasak and the other grandees and generals, let us give them the gold, silver, silk, and pearls." The Iranian king's grandees and counselors approved of this plan and confirmed that it was fitting to do it.

Then king Shapuh of Iran greatly pressured king Arshak of Armenia to go with him to Asorestan so that he might exalt him there with very glorious honor and by making him his son-in-law. But king Arshak and all of his troops were annoyed [at the prospects] of going on such a long journey, for each of them, after the custom of Arnenians, longed for his own tun and his own customary place. Now when Andovk, the nahapet of the district of Siwnik', learned that king Shapuh of Iran wanted to marry his daughter to king Arshak of Armenia, he was very frightened and his mind was wracked with suspicions that when the Iranian king gave Arshak his daughter, his own daughter [P'arhanjem] would be dishonored afterwards. For at that time Andovk's daughter, P'arhanjem (who had been Gnel's wife), was the wife of king Arshak of Armenia, and [Andovk] suspected that as soon as [Arshak] took another [wife], his [daughter] would be dishonored [g141].

[144] Andovk then fell to thinking to find some ruse by which he could destroy the great affection which had blossomed between the two kings. First, Andovk presented much gold to Vasak, the general of Armenia, and he similarly bribed all the grandees, to devise some way of destroying the great affection between the two kings. All the grandees accepted, blinded by the gold with which they had been bribed. Then Andovk approached a certain one of the seniors of the Iranian king, making him one of his inner and central counselors in this matter so that he would through any means—treachery, deceit, or caprice—create tension between Shapuh, king of Iran, and Arshak. Andovk gave him a huge, inestimable amount of gold and told him to say, as an informer to king Arshak: "Look out for your life, for truly the king of Iran has planned to seize and kill you." Andovk continued: "When you have said this, get [Arshak] to summon us to a council, and the nobility will confirm your words."

The counselor of the Iranian king then went to the king of Armenia and began to speak the words which the malefactor Andovk had put in his mouth, saying: "Arshak, king of Armenia, look out [145] for your life, for Shapuh, the king of Iran plans to seize and kill you." King Arshak was stunned by these words and said: "Is that the reward I am to receive from him for my great labors?" Then king Arshak ordered all of his grandees summoned into his presence and all of his counselors, and the sparapet Vasak and his father-in-law Andovk and, generally, all of the naxarars. Then he told them what he had just heard from that Iranian. They all replied together: "We heard that long ago, but did not dare to tell you. However those words are correct. Now, king, see what you can do to save yourself and us." King Arshak then gave the Iranian who had told him many gifts of gold and silver treasures [g142]. [The Armenians] organized and prepared themselves, and king Arshak of Armenia thought. Everyone in the Armenian banak then arose at night, mounted, and fled. Leaving behind the tents, pavilions, furniture, goods, equippage and banak, they departed stealthily. And no one in the Iranian banak knew about this until morning.

When it was the hour to bid good morning to the Iranian king, all the kings, and his grandee princes came to greet the Iranian king [146] but nowhere among them was the king of Armenia, Arshak, with his grandees. So Shapuh the king of Iran ordered his men to go and see what had occurred in the banak of Arshak, king of Armenia, that he had so delayed in coming to bid good morning to the king of Iran, Shapuh. They went and saw that the banak was empty and without people, for [the Armenians] had left their pavilions, tents, canopies, hangings, gahs, beds, furniture, baggage and equippage, and even their treasures. They had taken only their weapons, borne aloft, and departed. Those who had gone to the banak returned and related everything to Shapuh, the king of Iran. When Shapuh heard this (since he was a wise man) he realized in his wisdom that the flight of the Armenian king was the result [of something done] by one of his own men. "For," he said, "that man Arshak was made to flee by people from among our court here." So he sent many of his senior grandees on a mission, galloping after the king of Armenia [bearing with them the promise] of a vow of affectionate alliance and a reproach that [the Armenians] return so that they examine the slander and rebuke it. But the Armenian king did not want to listen to the words of the messengers of Shapuh, the king of Iran, and they did not turn back to the land of Iran. From that day forth warfare and the agitation of battles [147] stirred between the king of Armenia, Arshak, and Shapuh, king of Iran. [It continued] for more than thirty years [g143].


How warfare took place between king Shapuh of Iran and Arshak, king of the Armenians, and how Arshak triumphed.

Now eight years after king Arshak of Armenia had fled from king Shapuh of Iran, the Iranian king desisted from hostility. He spoke with true entreaty, affectionately beseeching king Arshak of Armenia to be reconciled and united with him through an oath of peace. For the Iranian king was then in great agitated danger from the frequent and incessant wars waged by the Byzantine emperors. However, king Arshak of Armenia in no way wanted to listen to or approach him, to send emissaries, give gifts, approach him, be associated with him, or even hear his name. On the other hand, the king of Iran was constantly sending [Arshak] gifts and emissaries while he himself fervently did battle with the Byzantine emperors.

Now it happened that peace came about between the emperors of Byzantium and king Shapuh of Iran. The Byzantine emperor wrote, sealed, and sent the following peace treaty to the king of Iran: [148] "I give you the city of Nisibis (which is in Aruestan) as well as Syrian Mesopotamia. Furthermore I will vacate the interior of Armenia. Conquer them if you can and place them in your service. I will not come to their aid." For the emperor of Byzantium had become distressed, and in his sorrowful distress he sealed such a contract, gave it to the Iranian king, and thus got free of him.

Now when there was peace between the emperor of Byzantium and the king of Iran, king Shapuh organized his troops and went against king Arshak of Armenia in war. The border-guards of the Armenian king who were in Ganjak in Atrpatakan, [g144] informed [Arshak] of what was happening before [Shapuh] reached the borders of Atrpatakan. When king Arshak of Armenia learned about this, he commanded his sparapet Vasak to organize all of his troops and go against the Iranian king Shapuh. Sparapet Vasak quickly assembled and reviewed all of the Armenian troops. There were 60,000 cavalrymen, well-armed, with spears, who were united—of one heart and one mind. With them sparapet Vasak advanced and struck the [149] [forces of] the Iranian king, putting all the troops to the sword.

Only Shapuh the Iranian king escaped on a horse and fled. [The Armenians] reached, enslaved, and burned the entire country of Iran. And they held the site of the battle, that is, they kept the borders of Iran.


How after this there was warfare with the Iranians in three parts of the country of the Armenians, at the very same time, on the same day of the same month, and how in these three cases as well, the Armenians were victorious.

In that period Shapuh, the king of Iran, assembled his forces, as countless and immeasurable as sand on the seashore, with an inestimable number of elephants. He then divided the troops into three parts. He designated Andikan and Hazarawuxt the military commanders of two brigades, while the king himself commanded one brigade. The king commanded the troops to go enter and invade the land of Armenia in three places. But this information was quickly learned by king Arshak of Armenia and by his general, Vasak. They in turn assembled many troops from the land, a countless multitude. Although they greatly hurried, the Iranian troops had already invaded the country of Armenia, raiding from three directions.

[150] So king Arshak divided his troops into three parts. He [g145] entrusted one brigade to sparapet Vasak. The second brigade was entrusted to his brother Bagas, [or, Bagos] who was incredibly courageous but not very bright. King Arshak himself led the other brigade. He ordered that they should advance to meet up with the Iranian troops. Sparapet Vasak came and found Hazarawuxt and the first of the Iranian fronts which had come as far as the district of Vanand to the place known as Ereweal. He clashed with them in war, defeating the Iranian troops who turned to flight and dispersed. But general Vasak pursued and killed all the fugitive troops, and [the Armenians] got much loot and elephants.

On the same day of the same week of the same month, Bagos and the troops under him located the second Iranian front under Andikan the military commander, encamped near the fisheries of Arhest. However, the Iranian troops were quickly informed of Bagos' arrival and prepared to wage war against the Armenian troops. Then Bagos with his entire brigade attacked the Iranian front, and killed all of the Iranian troops there, including Andikan. [151] Now Bagos chanced upon a brigade of elephants, and noticed that one of the elephants was greatly adorned and bore royal insignia. Thinking that the king was on that elephant, [Bagos] dismounted from his horse, took out his sword and attacked the elephant. He went under the elephant, raised the weapon and stuck it into the elephant's body. But the elephant fell upon [Bagos], and both of them perished, since he was unable to get out from under the elephant in time. In that battle [of the Armenians], only Bagos, the military commander of the troops died; but as for the Iranians, not a single one of them survived.

Now in the same year, the same week, the same day [g146]—since these three battles took place on the same day—king Arshak and the troops under him found king Shapuh himself who had come and encamped in the district of Basen, in the place called Osxa [or, Oxsa]. King Arshak fell upon the Iranian banak at night and put them all to the sword. Shapuh the king was the only one who escaped, barely, fleeing to the land of Iran on a horse. Then messengers bearing the glad tidings of the victories of the three brigades, met each other. Aside from Bagos, who had died in one of the battles, not a single one [of the Armenians] had been killed. Great assistance in the victory had come from God. [The Armenian troops] then raided the Iranian areas, striking [152] as far as the area called Xartizan. They loaded up with many treasures, weapons, ornaments, much loot, incalculable greatness, and were enriched beyond measure.


Concerning how Meruzhan Arcruni rebelled against king Arshak of Armenia, fell in with the king of the Iranians, and further aggrevated the conflict; and how he apostasized God and thereafter became an obstacle for the country of Armenia.

In that period, one of the grandee naxarars named Meruzhan Arcruni rebelled from the king of Armenia, went before Shapuh, king of Iran, and swore an oath that he would be his servant forever. First [Meruzhan] apostasized his own life, for he had been a believer in God, but he abandoned the Christian faith and confessed that he was not Christian. And he accepted the faith of Mazdaism, that is, of the mages, worshipping the sun and the fire and confessing that whatever the king of Iran worshipped were the gods. Then he [g147] made a vow with Shapuh, king of Iran that : "If Shapuh can and does conquer and hold the land of Armenia, and if I return to my land and my tun, I will first build an atrushan (that is, a temple for worshipping the fire) in my sephakan tun". [153] And he put his life and death along with theirs, in word and deed. They prepared even more Iranian troops than before to raid Armenia, and the malefactor Meruzhan was their leader. Under the leadership of Meruzhan, the country of Armenia was burned and pillaged: men were trampelled by elephants, women were impaled on wagons' stakes, and they took and killed all the inhabitants of the upper districts of Armenia.

While king Arshak was still in the area of the lower districts in Angeghtun [seeing about] provisions, the Iranian troops were demolishing and digging up the central parts of the land. So the general of Armenia, Vasak, called up the troops. He then had 10,000 select, brave cavalrymen which he organized and prepared. He went with them, hurrying to meet the Iranian troops. Now when the generals of the Iranian king's troops learned that the general of Armenia, Vasak, had massed troops [and was coming] against them, they plundered and enslaved those remaining in the land and fled to their [154] own land at great speed. But Vasak Mamikonean went swiftly after them, catching up as they were going over the Atrpatakan border. Now the troops of the king of Iran left the captives and fled with Meruzhan. After freeing a countless, immeasurable host, all who had been taken in captivity, [Vasak and the troops] returned in peace to king Arshak [g148].


How Meruzhan rebelled, provoked king Shapuh of Iran into further military actions; and how he became a leader for the Iranian king Shapuh, conducted bandit raids into the land of Armenia; and how he captured the bones of the Arsacid kings. How Vasak, the general of Armenia, freed what had been captured and defeated the enemy.

After this the infamous Meruzhan in great anger provoked the Iranian king, Shapuh, against king Arshak. The Iranian king, Shapuh, massed troops and dispatched spies to observe Arshak, king of Armenia. And while Arshak, king of Armenia, with his troops were located near the Atrpatakan borders, watching those parts—for he expected the Iranian troops to come from there—[the spies], with Meruzhan as their leader, came through a different area and raided Arnenia. They came through Aghjnik', Greater Cop'k', Angeghtun, through the district of Anjit, through Shahunoc' Cop'k', through the district of Mzur, through Daranaghe and Ekegheac'. Shapuh, the king of Iran, with countless troops [entered these districts] and spread about with his multitudes like a flood.

[155] They subjected the country to fire and pillage, putting many men to their swords. Women and children were thrown under the shafts of wagons, some were ground under threshers, a multitude of men were tranpled by elephants and a countless number of tender children were led into captivity. They demolished many strongholds and secure fortresses. They took and destroyed the great city of Tigranakert, which was [located] in the district of Aghjnik' in the principality of the bdeshx. [The Iranians] immediately led 40,000 households into slavery, and then invaded Greater Cop'k'. There they found fortresses, some of which they took, others they were unable to take. They came and besieged the secure fortress of Angegh (which is in Angeghtun district), for at [that place] were the mausoleums of many of the Armenian Arsacid kings, and many treasures had been stored and kept there from [their] ancestors, [g149] from ancient times on. So, [the Iranians] went and besieged that fortress. But when they were unable to take it because of the security of the place, they left off and departed. They passed by many fortresses because they were unable to fight with the strongholds. However, the secure fortress of Ani in Daranaghi district was betrayed [156] into their hands, because the malefactor Meruzhan devised a strategem against this secure fortress. [The Iranians] climbed up, destroyed the walls, and had countless treasures lowered down from the fortress. They opened the tombs of the first kings of the Armenians, of the Arsacid braves, and took the bones of the kings into captivity. However, they were unable to open only the tomb of king Sanatruk because of its colossal, gigantic firm construction. So they left that place and went on elsewhere raiding, advancing through the Basen areas seeking to come up behind the troops of the king of Armenia.

While all this was taking place, the bad news reached king Arshak. They said to him: "Behold, while you were sitting in Atrpatakan expecting the enemy to come forth, they passed through the side, destroyed the land, and now are coming against you." When king Arshak of Armenia and his general, Vasak, heard this they reviewed their troops. At that time under general Vasak's disposition were some 60,000 select and martial men who were united in war with one mind and one heart to go and fight for their sons and wives, to give their lives for the land and for the districts of the land they inhabited, to fight for their Church, for the oath of worship of their blessed churches, for the oath of faith in the [157] name of their God, and for their native Arsacid lords. For many people and even the bones of the dead kings had been seized from their own places and transferred to a foreign land.

The sparapet Vasak with 60,000 troops advanced, turning about, [g150] leaving king Arshak in a secure spot somewhere in the Marac' country with attendants. Then [Vasak] himself came and reached the interior of Armenia, the district of Ayrayrat. He found the Iranian troops which had encamped en masse in the district of Ayrayat. resembling the sand on the seashore. Vasak and the brigade with him fell upon the banak of the Iranian king suddenly, at night. And they put all of the Iranian troops to the sword. Only the king [Shapuh] was able to escape by a hairsbreadth and flee. [The Armenians] pursued the survivors and chased them beyond their borders, and retrieved from them much, countless loot, an inestimable amount. They put all [of the Iranians] to the sword and retrieved from them the bones of their kings which the Iranians were taking into captivity to the land of Iran. For they, in accordance with their pagan faith said: "We are taking the bones of the Armenian kings to our land so that the glory, fortune and bravery of the kings of this land will come to our land with the kings' bones". Vasak retrieved all [158] that had been captured from the land of Armenia. The bones of the Armenian kings which Vasak retrieved they buried at the stronghold in the village called Aghjk', in the Ayrarat district, which is located in one of the narrow crevices of the great Aragac mountain, [in a place] difficult of access. They then took care to pacify the land, to reform, to [re]build all the pillaged and burned [places] and to see to the captives. But this time too the malefactor Meruzhan had survived, fleeing along with the Iranian king. Thereafter king Arshak and general Vasak protected their land, carefully watching the two gates of the borders, all the days of their lives [g151].


How king Arshak of Armenia invaded the country of Iran and ruined the Atrpatakan country; how he pulled apart, struck, and destroyed, and how he seized the camp of king Shapuh in T'awresh.

King Arshak of Armenia then mustered troops, surrounding himself with a host as incalculable as the sand, and went against the land of Iran. Vasak took the Armenian brigade and summoned the Honk' and the Alans to come to assist the Armenian kingdom against Iran. At the same time the king of Iran was coming with all of his troops to go against the country of Armenia. [The Armenians] quickly reached Atrpatakan and found the banak of the Iranian king encamped at Tawresh.

Sparapet Vasak went against the Iranian banak with 200,000 troops and fell upon them. The king escaped by a hairsbreadth fleeing on a horse, and [the Armenians] took the loot of the entire Iranian caravan. They killed all the troops of the Iranian multitude, taking so much loot from the banak that there was no counting it. They raided the entire Atrpayakan country, demolishing, and digging up the country, destroying to the foundations. And they took more captives from the country than there are stars. They put all the men of the country to the sword. Then they carefully watched over the borders of their country with great caution [g152].


Concerning the Iranian Vin who came to do battle with 400,000 troops, but was conquered by the Armenian forces.

King Shapuh of Iran sent Vin against king Arshak of Armenia, with 400,000 troops. Vin arrived and spread about raiding in all the boundaries of the country of Armenia. When Arshak, king of Arnenia, learned about this [the Armenians] went against the Iranian troops, killing all of them and chasing the survivors as fugitives to the areas of the borders of Iran. They killed them and turned back, holding the place of battle. [160]


How the Iranian general Andikan came with 400,000 men to loot the country of the Armenians; and how the sparapet Vasak with 120,000 Armenian troops went in advance of him and destroyed the Iranian troops and their commander.

Then the king of Iran sent against the king of Armenia a brigade of organized, prepared men, his select warriors, and 400,000 troops to come, take, burn and destroy the country of Armenia. Andikan, who was their military commander, arrived and pillaged the country of Armenia. But then Vasak Mamikonean, the sparapet of Armenia, came before him with 120,000 troops. They struck and killed [Andikan] and his troops, taking their ornaments, and not sparing a single one of them. And [Vasak] himself, valliantly held the site of the battle [g153].


Concerning Hazaruxt, one of the Iranian naxarars who was sent by king Shapuh with 800,000 troops to attack the country of the Armenians; and how Vasak came before him with 11,000 men, struck and destroyed him and his troops in the boundaries of Aghjnik'.

Hazarawuxt came with the Iranian troops to burn, pillage, and overturn the country of Armenia to its foundations. Approaching through the Aghjnik' country, he wanted to spread through the country of Armenia and all its boundaries. However Vasak came up before him with 11,000 [troops], struck at, killed, and chased the survivors to the Iranian country. He also killed Hazarawuxt.


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