Vardan Arewelts'i's

Compilation of History


In the year 579 A.E. [1130] Xurt', son of Kuz, came to Dwin and ruled, wounding Fadlun in warfare. [The latter] secretly was strangled by some traitors, who claimed he died of the wound—though it was not a fatal wound. The emirate was then taken by Fadlun's younger brother, Xushsher, who was succeeded shortly by the senior [brother] Mahmud. And the Ani country was again plunged into misery.

Not long afterwards Iwane', Apulet's son, wanted to kill Demetre' and his brother Gorgi. [Iwane's] father Apulet', plucking out his own hair in [Iwane's] presence, arrested him. And the two men were confined in Dmanis fortress on the pretext of some duplicity among brothers. Now when Demetre' learned about this, he said to Iwane': "You would have imprisoned me, father (Georg. mam)." Iwane' repented and said: "No, king, rather I wanted to hand over to you your brother who sought to take your kingdom." [Demetre'] seized and blinded him, and then let him go [g122].

In this period the plain of Gag filled up with limitless, countless cavalry assembled from all the infidel peoples who wanted to burn the holy cross which [was erected] in the name of the general Sargis. Crazed by the Lord's wrath, they destroyed each other. When Demetre' heard about this, he went and effortlessly appropriated their goods. In the same days a lad, one of Fadlun's brothers, who had heard that his grandmother Katay of the Bagratid House was a Christian [descended] from the line of kings, having moved his soul to the love of Christ, went to the mountain of blessed Gregory and was baptized and became a cleric there [living] fifteen years in great asceticism. [He remained there] until an ineffable light was seen blazing at the entrance of [his] cell. After this he went to Drazark and passed to Christ there.

In the year 580 A.E. [1131], Iwane' son of Apulet', rebelled in Gar'ni, but his troops were struck by Xurt'. Their severed heads were boiled in a soup, and the skulls were lined up on the stone walls on the prominence of a minaret. The next year Iwane' was killed treacherously by Demetre'. His son T'irk'ash went to the amirapet Shah-Armen from whom he received Arsharunik', and he devastated Georgia with great bravery.

In the year 588 A.E. [1139] the city of Gandzak was destroyed by an earthquake.


Seven years before this [1131/1132] the Shah-Armen, who was the grandson of Suk'man, ruled the Xlat' country and numerous cities. He killed his grandmother who had killed her sons and seized power. And as he grew up they wanted to strangle him as well [g123], but with God's help he escaped and came to rule over twelve cities. He was called "king of the Armenians", which is what Shah-Armen means in their language. He became the father-in-law of Saldux [the emir of Karin/Erzerum] and counselled him to do well by the land. In this time there was also Eltkuz At'abak who [behaved] in the same good way. Thus by the grace of God there were three of these philo-Christians who built up the land. This Shah-Armen went to Sasun and disported himself in a village. When the lord of the country, Vige'n, heard of this he went one evening and surrounded the house he was in. Someone said in jest: "Ay, Vige'n, where are you?" [Vige'n] at the entrance replied: "By the grace of God, I am here. Behold me." Capturing [the Shah-Armen], he was taken to the stronghold. After some days he was freed, with a vow and covenant of friendship.

In these days there arose against him the general of Persia, Eltkuz. Beaten, he departed in shame. And he took Amuk from Xetenek, and Sasun with all its monasteries from Vige'n. He preserved them in complete peace for sixty years.

In these days there was a severe famine in Mesopotamia. A priest named Awet, [a man] of Armenian nationality, loaded grain onto donkeys and took it to the mill for grinding. At the heart-breaking sight of the afflicted [folk] he divided all he had among the poor. He sold the donkeys and did the same [with the money]. He did not return home, rather he donned a goat-skin and wandered from city to village preaching Christianity. He was a brilliant speaker and the Lord had graced him with signs. Many people turned from wickedness and repented because of his words. He cared for orphans and widows, filling their needs by interceding with those able to help. His reputation grew and masses of people came to him. He went as far as Mantskert and the Shah-Armen [g124] came before him with great ceremony, requested prayers from him and honorably led him into the city. However, because he reprimanded the prostitution of the priests, they slandered him to the Shah-Armen claiming that he was a spy of the Roman king, and they had him stoned to death. For three days and three nights a divine light was seen over him. When the Shah saw this he regretted the saint's death, and ordered that his bones be venerated.


...In the year 594 A.E. [1145] the emir Zangi took Edessa, and two years later Joscelin took it, he being the lord. But after seventy days he was killed by the Turks who had come and taken the city again and this brave and very philo-Armenian man died. The vardapet Ge'org, who was his father-confessor, wrote a lament about him [g125]...


Now Demetre', king of Georgia, died after reigning for 32 years. The crown then was taken by his son Dawit', who was capable and benevolent. He removed from prison T'irk'ash (whom his father had jailed), making him a general. But [the latter] died after one month. Some say that [he was killed] as a result of a plot hatched by Smbat and Iwane' O'rbelean who, because T'irkash was put in their place, had made an agreement with Dawit's brother, Ge'orgi, to make them general(s). Ge'orgi took the crown in the year 605 A.E. [1156].

...In the year 610 A.E. [1161] Ge'orgi, king of Georgia, took Ani from Emir Fadlun. He replaced his brother Shatat. But fifty days later the Shah-Armen came upon the city with many troops, a city which had been beaten and polluted by the Sonk'. When Ge'orgi heard of this he turned back and struck them with the sword. It is impossible to know [g126] how many died, but 20,000 were arrested. [Ge'orgi] left prince Sadun at Ani. Now there was an opinion that [Sadun] was rebelling because he carefully fortified the city wall. When the king learned of this, he removed [Sadun] from his position. Disheartened, [Sadun] went over to Eltkuz. However [Sadun] was treacherously seized by the duke (Georgian erist'av) of Shak'i who brought him to the king, where he was executed. In his place at Ani they put the prince Sargis Zak'arean. Though Eltkuz was angered, he was unable to do anything, since 4,000 Persian [soldiers] had been lost with Sadun.

Now the king of Georgia assembled Caucasian troops and came and took Dwin, severely disgracing everyone with sword and fire, except the Christians. He took down from the minaret those skulls which had been boiled in t'an and adorned them with clothing made with golden thread. Placing them on biers, he put [the biers] on the shoulders of the mullahs (mukreats') and had them walk barefoot to his capital city of Tiflis in the year 612 A.E. [1163]. When Eltkuz heard about this he came to Dwin which had been burned and demolished. With a wounded soul and roaring like a mad beast, he went to Mren and burned the fortress there, where 4,000 people were burned to death for Christ. He turned to the plain of Gag and ordered the famous Cross [there] burned. As a result of this, because of the Lord's anger, he was punished day and night by poisonous snakes. After that, terrified of the king of Georgia, he fled, abandoning his equipage and captives there. Then [Eltkuz] invited Sultan Tsr'viz Aslan, son of Mahmud, and sent him to Ani, keeping the city in tribulation, uncultivated and uneasy, for four years. Finally Ge'orgi, king of Georgia, took pity on the city. He summoned the sultan to him and gave Ani to him, for because of the multitude of infidels, he was unable to hold it [g127].


...In the same year [1166] there was a massive earthquake, and Erznka was destroyed.

In the same period the foreigners took the remaining keeps of Kapan, Grham, Geghi, and Kak'awaberd, because our sins had become more pronounced.

In the same period, in consolation to the Christians, the youth Yovsep', a beautiful fruit, ripe and tasteful, was martyred with torture on the 20th day of the month of Aheak [g128]. He was buried at Hawut'ar'. He was of Persian nationality, from the environs of Dwin, from the village called Norashenk'...


In the year 623 A.E. [1174] Ge'orgi took Ani a second time. This occurred at the instigation of Amir spasalar Iwane', so that he could rule there and get back the Christian captives. The king took with him Emir Shahnshah [g129] and thereafter did not return [to Ani]. When all Turkestan learned of this, they assembled together, taking with them the sultan called Alp-Arslan. They came to Ani and ruined the Shirak area. Now Iwane' wanted to give the city to the Turks, but did not succeed because the city found out about it and took precautions. The sultan and his at'abak departed, deeply afflicted, and both of them died the same year.

In the same period the great prince Apirat emerged from prison in Kars and came to Ani. He was the brother of the bishop of the city, Lord Barsegh, who petitioned the king of Georgia to make him the emir's successor. Thus he took [the city] and 17,000 dahekans. In that period Iwane' revealed his evil, having drawn to his side the nephew (brother's son) of their king Dimitri (Demne') and many nobles, he planned to kill the king while the latter was at Saxata, unaware. But when [the king] found out about this, he arose and fled to Tiflis, since he had few men with him. Many people assembled there with him, abandoning that evil plot. And when the king's side grew strong and wanted to go against the rebels, those at Saxata fled to their fortresses. Then they entered Lor'e', except for Liparit, who went over to the Persian side with two sons. And the king took the entire treasure of the O'rbe'leans and all of them fell at the king's feet, the nephew and others with him, including Iwane' himself. [The king] blinded him and killed his younger son, K'avt'ar, and also Liparit's son, Ine' [Iwane']. Thus the wicked plots all came to nought in the year 626 A.E. [1177].

Now Tughril succeeded Sultan Alp-Arslan and Pahlavan (P'alhawan) succeeded Eldiguz (Eltkuz). [The latter] ruled the inner land [Iran], while Qizil-Arslan (Xizlaslan) ruled the upper land [Armenia]. They were his sons [g130]. During these same days Tsar'ak'ar was taken by thieves by order of Qaracha (Gharach'ay) the emir of Kech'ror. He sold it to Qizil-Arslan for a large quantity of gold. [The latter] settled there destructive men who did not cease bloodletting, morning or evening, to the point that they slew Christians who had sunk into a dark abyss through hunger and through the loathesome odor of those who had died before. Among [the Christians killed] were five renowned clerics who were slaughtered by knives with racking wounds made, for a joke, in the shape of crosses.


...In the year 629 A.E. [1180] Ge'orgi [king of Georgia] eliminated thief and robber from the country. When all the troops were assembled he legislated that all people guilty of small and large offenses be hanged without mercy. Many of the venerable [people] were hanged. The goods which were uncovered were taken and hanged, and even animals, dogs and mice, were hanged. Awe descended upon everyone and there was great peace [g131].

...In the year 631 A.E. [1182] Qaracha, who had taken Tsar'ak'ar and destroyed with hammers the cross known as Goroz, became afflicted with fear and suddenly quit his home, Kech'ro'r, Uxt'is, and the whole valley of the Arax, and went with his wife and sons to Dwin. He saw a frightening man who said to him: "I am the Goroz Cross which you destroyed. And lo, I shall kill you by the hands of one dear to you, the Shah-Armen." [Qaracha] related the vision. The next morning he departed, getting away by force, despite the fact that he had been confined out of terror of the vision. [People] even had locked the gates. But [Qaracha] descended the wall and went with two steeds to Manazkert (Mantskert). He went before the Shah-Armen who immediately arose and plunged a knife into his heart, slaying him.

In the same year a certain Sargis from Xach'en was in Gandzak collecting the kharaj (tax). A certain Persian crucified him on the wall on Good Friday, saying: "Be crucified with your Christ." When the princes [of Gandzak] heard about this they brought the Persian to themselves and put him to a wicked death.

In these days a certain Yordanan, from a Tachik clan, was martyred with great ceremony in the city of Karin. They put his remains with those of his relations, Yovsep' and Sahak.


In the year 633 A.E. [1184] Ge'orgi, king of Georgia, died leaving no son [g132]. Dimitri (Demna), son of Dawit' had been mutilated in eye and torso. So his daughter, T'amar, wore the crown. They brought her as a husband So'slan, son of the Russian king. He took the city of Dwin. The next year, the Shah-Armen died sonless, and destruction, the sword, and captivity increased in his land, caused by the surrounding peoples. Since the grandson of Vigen, Shahnshah, the nephew (sister's son) of the kat'oghikos Lord Grigor was nearby at the time of the Shah's death, he took his folk and returned to Sasun. Be'kdamur, prince of the entire House of the Shah, fell into his hands. From [Be'kdamur] [Shahnshah] took the fortress called T'ar'dzean and then released him [making him swear to this concession] with an oath. But [Be'kdamur] violated that oath when he came to rule the throne of the Shah. [T'ar'dzean] and all Sasun was taken [from Shahnshah] while the churches and monasteries were placed under taxation.

...In the year 635 A.E. [1186] the people of Ani took Tsar'ak'ar, the patrimony of Lord Barsegh. They mercilessly destroyed whomever they found there, excepting women and children. When the emir of Dwin, Alishe'r, heard about this, he pulled out his beard and dressed in black because of his wife and sons who were there and because of the destruction of his troops. The Christians, however, blessed the Holy Trinity... [g133].


In these time there lived the glorious princes Zak'are' and Iwane', sons of Sargis, son of Vahram, son of Zak'are', son of Sargis of Kurdish nationality (i K'urd azge') who had emigrated to the kings of Dzoroget, who are of the Bagratid line. They accepted Christianity and were honored. Xoshorni was given to them as a place of habitation. Since they were very valiant folk they advanced daily with regard to position and honor. In the time of T'amar [co-ruler, 1179, queen of Georgia, 1184-1212] they were glorified still more and she gave them Lor'e. By their bravery, [the Zak'areans] cleared numerous fortresses and districts of Turks in a brief period: in 640 A.E. [1191] they took the land of Shirak; in 645 A.E. [1196], Anberd; in 648 A.E. [1199], Ani; in 650 A.E. [1201], Bjni; in 652 A.E. [1203], Dwin; in 655 A.E. [1206] they took the royal city of Kars, and thereafter Getabakk' and Ch'arek'. Their renown spread everywhere. However Iwane' was tricked by Queen T'amar and grew weak in the faith [i.e. became a Chalcedonian Christian], he became unsuccessful [in battle] and was taken prisoner at Xlat'. By the valiant renown of his brother [Zak'are'], Iwane' was set at liberty again. He gave his daughter in marriage to Melik' Ashraf, the lord of Xlat'. Now Zak'are', Iwane's brother, remained [firm] in his own [Apostolic] faith. Thus he wanted to commemorate the feast of the Mother of God and of the Cross on the [proper] day of the month, and not to break vigils, not to permit clerics to eat meat, to have mass offered for the living, to offer mass in the open with a tent [with a portable church], lectors and deacons. [To get permission] for this he sent to Lewon [of Cilicia] who had been annointed king by the Franks and the Greeks [g138] who sent Lewon crowns in 646 A.E. [1197]. He was mighty, victorious, a setter of taxes and a man who placed all the surrounding peoples under his yoke. Now they delayed giving a response [to Zak'are's letter] for after [the kat'oghikos] Grigor passed to the Lord, the [patriarchal] throne was occupied by Grigoris, called Tghay, whom Lewon had seized and placed in prison after one year. The same Grigor wanted to escape from the fortress' prison by descending a rope, but he perished when the rope broke. Then Apirat occupied the [patriarchal] throne for five years [Grigor VI Apirat, 1194-1203]. He was followed by Lord Yovhanne's, who had rebelled from Lewon. Vexed at him, King Lewon installed as kat'oghikos Lord Dawit' at Ark'akaghni. Barely reaching a consensus out of that discord, they all replied in agreement to let Zak'are' do as he requested. They said: "For it is not prohibited by Scripture, and it is [within] our patrimonial bounds, and it has been upset by the ruin of the Church." However in the East [in Greater Armenia] the accomplished men held one then another meeting in Lor'e and Ani and did not accept [Zak'are's proposals] lest, they said, "in all matters we should be obliged to follow the false doctrine of the Greeks and Georgians."

Now in the days of T'amar, queen of Georgia, the Christians grew strong. Even so, she broke with her Russian husband and married the Ossete Soslan who advanced the Georgians with captives and booty from the Turks. By Soslan T'amar bore a single son and named him Lasha. She herself wore the crown for 23 years and then died. Lasha, called Ge'orgi by the troops, was enthroned in 657 A.E. [1208].


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