Vardan Arewelts'i's

Compilation of History


In 659 A.E. [1210] locusts ruined numerous districts and at this time the great Zak'are' destroyed the land of Persia as far as the city of Ardabil, wreaking vengeance on them for the blood of the Christians [g139], filling their houses of prayer with men and then ordering the buildings set afire, sacrificing Quran readers and mullahs for the blessed priests and princes who were [similarly] sacrificed in the churches of Naxjuan and in Baguan where the walls of the churches were dyed with their blood. Returning from that assault, [Zak'are'] died with orthodox and unblemished faith and was buried in the blessed monastery of Sanahin in 661 A.E. [1212]. He left a five-year-old son named Shahnshah, so named in honor of the lordship of Ani. Iwane's wife, Xoshak', turned him toward the false doctrine of Chalcedon.

One year later [1213], the blessed and marvellous vardapet Mxit'ar Gandzakets'i, nicknamed Gosh, died and was buried at his building in Getik which he had constructed on the command of Iwane's nephew (sister's son), the great prince K'urd, at whose order he had come from his land of Kayean to so-called Old Getik. For at that time [K'urd] held Kayean as patrimony from Hasan of Kayean, the builder of the fortress.

In the year 663 A.E. [1214] the lords of Hat'erk' gave it to Iwane' for the natural lord [of that district], Vaght'ang and his sons, had died prematurely. Meanwhile the other Vaght'ang, Sakr'eants', the son-in-law of Iwane' and lord of Inner Xach'en also died leaving two sons. They were Hasan, known affectionately as Jalaldola, and Zak'are', called Nasrdola—two sons Iwane' was caring for together with their mother, Xorishah. The latter subsequently went to Jerusalem and remained there practising great asceticism until she passed to the Lord with great eulogies. And the great Iwane', renowned for his bravery, took Ch'arek' and all its outlying areas, and then aided his relation, Vahram son of Zak'are', in the capture of Shamk'or. In 668 A.E. [1219] he took Orotn [in Tsghuk, Siwnik'] and the nearby castles, though not all of them [g140]. For when the Haykazunk' held it, there were 43 noted fortresses and 1400 villages and 48 monasteries. The start of their destruction took place in 552 A.E. [1103] on account of a youth, the cup-bearer of Sultan Malik-Shah. For when the Haykazuni king was going to submit to the sultan, [the cup-bearer] plied him greatly with wine to the point that he promised his daughter in marriage, and, having tied his girdle, showed it to the sultan, after their own custom. Now after a few days [the sultan] requested the daughter and they attacked the king with insults, saying that he was an oath-breaker and he took numerous troops and ruined the land until everything was demolished and destroyed. Later the mighty Iwane' ruled over this.


During this same year Lewon, our crowned king, passed to Christ and his daughter Elisabeth succeeded him. She was called Zabel in the French (Frank) language. For two years she was married to a man named P'ilip, son of the lord of Antioch. But since he loathed the Armenian people and especially favored his own French people, he broke his oath to become Armenian in religion as well as philo-Armenian; and he sent to his father's house the honored crown and the royal treasures [of Cilician Armenia]. But the princes were unable to tolerate this and put [P'ilip] in confinement until he died. They gave the girl to Het'um, son of Kostand, a magnanimous and brilliant lad who was a personable, broad-shouldered and handsome youth. They were wed by Patriarch Kostand who had succeeded to the holy [kat'oghikosal] throne after the death of Lord Yovane's in the year 669 A.E. [1220] not by [right of] birth, honor, or riches, but [g141] rather called [to office] by favor of the Spirit and acclaimed by all tongues.

One year prior to his ordination, there was a frightful earthquake and the ornate church in Mshakakavank' [Koghbap'or district in Gugark'] collapsed on the eleventh day of January at mealtime, and four celebrants were martyred in the great slaughter. Now in the heavens a spear-shaped star was observed by everyone all night long. These two phenomena portended the transformation of the world's peace into disturbance by a spear-carrying enemy—as in fact happened in 669 A.E. [1220]. For foreign-looking and foreign-sounding people called Mughal and T'at'ar moved from the land of Ch'in and Mach'in and came to Gugark's meadowlands by way of Aghbania/Aghuania. There were some 20,000 of them. They destroyed everything that they found alive and then quickly turned back. Now [King] Lasha pursued them with all his forces, reaching [the Mongols] by the Kotman river. He was defeated by them and saved himself by flight, with Iwane'. Some prince had hamstrung the latter's horse such that Iwane' lost him. However Vahram, lord of the land, who was informed that the others had fled, went [in pursuit of the Mongols] as far as Gardman, displaying great bravery in the face of severe destruction.

In 671 A.E. [1222] those same [Mongols] wanted to depart. Furthermore, their scouts had found Armenia and Georgia [militarily] prepared and assembled and they so reported. [Thus] they did not dare approach but rather turned and went away. And in the same year a large army called Qipchaqs [Xwch'agh] separated from the Huns, came to Gandzak and united with them. Because our forces went against them carelessly and confidently, they were dispersed, separated, and fled. [g142] Many were killed by the sword, while others were taken alive and put into prison—including some from the glorious azats. Now among the prisoners were the prince named Grigor son of Xaghbak and his nephew (brother's son), the manly and valiant champion named Papak'. They were avenged the next year when our forces wiped out a large part of the Qipchaqs when they came to the land of Vardanashat.


Now toward the end of 674 A.E. [1225] two sons of the Khwarazm-Shah, defeated and harassed by the T'at'ars, came in a body of 200,000 [troops], so they say, through the land of Atrpatakan to the ostan [capital] city of Armenia [Gandzak]. This they captured and filled the plain with wide tents. Our forces went against [the Khwarazmians] and not a few from our side were lost both by the town of Garhni and, a larger group, falling over ditches into chasms. This was God's wrath upon Iwane' in recompense for the new and alien evils worked by his wife. For when the presbyter Parkesht died, she had his body removed from the grave and burned. Then a dog was sacrificed on the place for the frequent traffic of pilgrims. God honored [Parkesht] by a descent of light over [the grave]. [The light was] visible in the renowned fortress-city of Bjni where [the cultists] had established a church, encouraged by a certain man who was a bansarku [slanderer; tempter, devil, satan]. The Lord struck him by lightning on the evening of the very day such events had transpired.

As for the sultan [Jalal al-Din Mankobirdi] he was carefree and boasting immoderately. He had invaded many places and had returned to Tabriz. After a year he came to Tiflis by way of the plains of Gag. After committing many crimes [g143] he turned on Xlat', took it, and, enriched with booty, went on to Hor'omk' [Rum, territory of the Saljuq Sultanate of Rum] against Sultan Alatin and [the Shah-Armen] Melik'-Ashraf. However he suffered a great defeat in battle and fled with a few [followers] to Mughan, that plain so suited for all human and animal needs. Then the T'at'ars—who had expelled him from his country earlier—fell upon him suddenly and thence put him to flight to Amida. Either he died inadvertently while fleeing or he fell to the T'at'ar sword or else, as is said, he was killed by one of his own people whose relative had been summarily executed was disgruntled on this account and also because of the uncomfortable movements of the army which [Jalal al-Din] was responsible for. And so vengeance was exacted for the blood of the innocent man that had been shed. Now those people called T'at'ars, who had earlier come [to Armenia] with few soldiers in 669 A.E. [1220] and wanted to return in 671 A.E. [1222] but did not dare, assembled countless multitudes. Having as a leader the general named Chormaghun (Ch'armaghan), they came to Gandzak shahastan in 674 A.E. [1225]. Chormaghun besieged Gandzak for some days and then took it, destroying mercilessly except for the young children and the women who pleased them. Gaining strength from this [victory] they entered the Georgian kingdom and divided up the notable places in the districts and the secure fortresses among the grandee princes whom they call noyin. Each of these princes then went to the castles in the districts alloted to him. These were soon betrayed into their hands, as punishment for our sins. Chaghada-noyin captured the city of Lore' and the districts in those parts. Dolada-noyin took Kayean fortress whence they removed Awag, the lord of the land. The great Chormaghun captured Ani and Kars and their environs. Ghatagha-noyin took the Charek' area, Getabak and Vardanashat. Now the fortresses in the districts [belonging to] the great prince Vahram fell lot to Moghar-noyin [g144]. First he took Shamk'or by strategem. Vahram and his son, Aghbugha, fled from place to place until they learned that the T'at'ars spared those people who voluntarily submitted to them. Then [Vahram and Aghbugha] went and received back from the T'at'ars those castles and districts they had captured, which were their sep'akan [property] from their hayrenik' [patrimony]. All of them were taken: Tawush, Katsaret', T'erunakan, Ergevank', Matsnaberd which was [the property] of Asxart'an Kiwrikean, Norberd [the property] of the royal Vasak; and the impregnable fortress of K'awazin; the renowned fortress of Gag and the district built up by King Gagik where are located the noted, blessed monastery of the Cross, and the church in the name of St. Sargis the General, blessed by St. Mesrob, vardapet and translator of the Armenians. This stands at the head of Gag and faces a broad and extensive plain. [The Mongols also took] other fortresses and villages and fields. Everything was surrendered to them in a short period with no effort or labor. For we knew that it was the hand of the Lord which before our very eyes had given over our lands as food for the foreigners.


The sublime, renowned and productive man called Vanakan vardapet, who had begun his ascetic practises in a cave, was [because of these events] bothered by a lack of necessities and more so, by a lack of water [g145]. He and his students, and many other fugitives who had sought refuge with him, were suffering. In a Christian fashion Vanakan gave himself up and went as a captive, thereby freeing these people. For a while he circulated around in the army of this barbarian people, but then he was ransomed by the Christians of Gag fortress. His ransomers purchased him for 50 dahekans, acting not like the Hebrews [saving him] from a martyr's death, but like the Lord, for the freedom of glory. For the ransomer of the Lord was so miserly and the price was made accessible and light, which he himself was worthy of. After this Vanakan lived on for 15 years in the glory of God and giving aid to many. Then he rested in Christ [passing] from his greatly tiring asceticisms to the altars of the illuminators of the world, in 700 A.E. [1251], the 18th of March, or on the 10th of Areg by the old system, on Saturday in Lent [on the day] of the commemoration of Ovrend and his brothers on the calendar, and according to us [on the day] of Cyril, patriarch of Jerusalem, celebrating the feast of Upper Jerusalem which hence the celebrant and the caresser was of his children, of the sons of light to the glory of his bridegroom to the immortal king, Jesus, and to his Father and to the Holy Spirit. Here on this world he left one hundred times greater the renown of knowledge to his students and in the writing of church gandz which he gathered by the grace of God and by reason of his clear, prolific intellect.


Our glorious father Vanakan vardapet and our brother Kirakos vardapet [Gandzakets'i], like his father [Vanakan] have written in detail concerning what the Nation of Archers did from the year 685 A.E. [1236] to the year 714 A.E. [1265]—the point where we currently are—in the lands and principalities on this side of the great sea in Persia, Aghuania, Armenia and Georgia and in the land called Rum where Armenians, Syrians, Greeks, Arabs, and Turkmens dwell [g146]. We are not so bold as to copy or enlarge on their writings but have in abbreviated form introduced only the dates of noteworthy events and deeds with recollections in completion of our work begun long ago and left incomplete due to our respect for the venerable writers mentioned above. Nonetheless, it is impossible to delve through word and subject and to recall the plethora of our multitudinous sins, transgressions and insensitivity and not the just recompense of vengeance in God's judgement. It is never possible to fully count the recompenses and the number of our evils. The infinite mercy of God conquered and ever conquers the depths of the deep and the abyss of abysses. To whom grace and strength, glory and honor, blessing and thanks for limitless, unbounded eternity from the sum and the parts of His creations from the wise and sensible—to which "Amen" is said for inexhaustible, unlimited immortality.


Now in the year 691 A.E. [1242] Baiju-noyin replaced the authority of Chormaghun, captured the city of Karin and removed from it a venerable man named Umek, who was wealthy and fearful of the Lord, together with his relatives, the sons of paron Yohann, Step'annos, and his five brothers. In 692 A.E. [1243] [Baiju captured] the entire territory of Rum and its notable cities: first Caesarea, then Sebastia [whose population] was spared destruction because they had submitted early on, then Eznka which was mercilessly destroyed and enslaved, since it has resisted. [The Mongols also took] many lands and districts where the Armenian people were to dwell in distress. For a census was conducted in 692 A.E. [1243] by which they worked deeds worthy [g147] of lamentation and tears not merely for [the sake of] rational beings but for dumb animals, the mountains and plains which were watered with blood and tears. The same lamentation was repeated in 698 A.E. [1249] because Baiju and the other nobles got wind of the presumptuousness and rebelliousness of the king and the princes of Georgia. King Dawit' was arrested as were other grandees who were bound and sentenced to death. Though they were spared death by concern from On High, nonetheless countless numbers were killed and enslaved, villages and fields [were destroyed] and they disgraced women in Armenia, but more so in Georgia.

In 699 A.E. [1250] Awag, Iwane's son, died and was buried in Pghndzahank' with his father, a generous, prayerful warrior.


In the year 700 A.E. [1251] the great Pope of Rome created a dilemma by writing to all the Christian peoples [saying] that it was necessary to confess that the most Holy Spirit of God derived from the Father and from the Son, [a formula] which displeased Syrians, Greeks, and Georgians. However the Armenians examined the confession of earlier saints through the care of vardapet Vanakan, a man who was close to God, and found [the Papal formulation] in agreement with these prominent and glorious men: Athanasius, Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory the Illuminator, and other saints.


In 701 A.E. [1252 locusts came to the lands of Upper Armenia and damaged many districts.

In 703 A.E. [1254] Mongke-Khan ordered the prominent man called Arghun to take stock of the lands subject to his authority, and to levy taxes by head on men, excepting women, the very old and the very young.

In 703 A.E. [1254] the philo-Christian king of [Cilician] Armenia [g148], Het'um, journeyd to Batu, the great king of the North, relative of Chingiz-Khan, and thence to Mongke-Khan. He was received in a fitting manner, and returned to his throne in peace after a year.

In 704 A.E. [1255] Hulegu, the brother of Mongke-Khan, came with countless troops and great authority against Persia, Asorestan, Armenia, Georgia and Aghuania. And he commanded the troops there previously to go to the land of Rum with all their belongings. These warrios thus left upper Armenia through dread; they were forced to leave. They captured all of Mijerkreayk' ["Anatolia"] to the sea, ruling over the lands which [previously] were subject to the authority of the sultans of Rum.

Now the great Hulegu, in the same year of his arrival, 704 A.E. [1255] went to the land of the Assassins [Mlhedk'], to the place called Alamut, and he captured it and removed the leader. For prior to his arrival they had besieged and placed into straits the troops whose leader was called Isawur-noyin. Returning from there Hulegu summoned King Dawit' of Georgia and the grandees of the land and looked upon everyone with love and respect, especially the Christians. For Hulegu's senior wife, Dokuz-khatun (Toghuz xat'un), was a Christian of the Syrian persuasion who are the Nestorians. However [the Mongols] were not well versed in their false doctrine. Instead, with sincere love they honored all Christian peoples and besought their prayers, just as did Hulegu himself, who was called the Il-Khan. [The Mongols] took along with them a portable tent of canvas in the shape of a church. Priests and deacons constantly offer mass and the holy liturgy to the sound of bell-ringers. And there are schools and open teaching of the clergy. And there [among the Mongols] rested churchmen who had gone from all parts and in all the languages of the Christians to request peace and found yet more, and returned home with joy and gifts [g149].

In 705 A.E. [1256] Batu, the great governor of the North died, and in that same year his son Sartakh was poisoned by his envious brothers. For the kingdom had been entrusted to Sartakh by his father and Monge-Khan additionally. His death caused great mourning among Christians since he was a full Christian and was the cause of the salvation of many, bringing to the faith his own relations and foreigners.


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