Book 1

Moses of Khoren’s History of the Armenians #

Translated from the Armenian by Robert Bedrosian


Book 1 #

Chapter 1 #

Response to Sahak’s letter and my promise to fulfill his request.
Movses Khorenatsi, in prelude to this composition, greetings and felicitations to Sahak Bagratuni.
I came to know the inexhaustible inspiration of divine grace and the sway of the indefatigable Spirit upon your thoughts through this lofty request of yours, having become acquainted with your soul before meeting you in person. Your request is dear to my affections and more so to my practice. Thus, it is not fit for me to merely praise you, but also to pray for you, that it may remain so with you always.
For if it is because of the Word that we, as it is said, are the image of God, and if the virtue of a rational [mind] is prudence, in which you have placed your ceaseless desire, then adorn the Word by which you remain in the image [of God] by keeping the flame of your prudence fervent with majestic thoughts. By this you may be said to make this archetype delight, roused and impelled as it were by a majestic and temperate impulsion.
Here I observe that the magnates and princes of Armenia (those who preceded us and who live among us alike) failed to command the wise men who were under their authority to record histories, and did not so much as think to import erudite talent from some place for this purpose. Yet having come to know you through just such an initiative, it is clear that you ought to be recognized as preeminent among all your predecessors and worthy of the highest praise as is fitting for this dedication.
Thus, having gladly received your request, I will carry it on to completion as an undying memorial to you and your descendants to come. For you are of ancient stock, noble and fecund, not only in words and indispensable prudence, but also in your very great and many honorable works. These we shall record in their proper place in our history when we genealogize all the [Armenian] azgs from father to son. As for the nakhararutyuns of the Armenians, we shall reliably summarize their wheres and hows as recorded in a number of Greek histories.

Chapter 2 #

As to why we chose to reference Greek sources when Chaldean and Assyrian books more favorably cover our subject matter.
Let none of my readers be puzzled as to why we promise only to reference Greek historians in our presentation of the genealogy of the Armenian azgs when the Greeks are clearly not the only historians, and when the Persians and Chaldeans in particular have written more about us than anyone else. For not only were the Greek kings diligent in transmitting accounts of both their conquests and their endeavors to attain wisdom, as in the case of Ptolemy (Philadelphus), but they also saw the need to domesticate the books and epics of all nations by having them translated into Greek.
(Now at this point let no one consider us as unlearned and slander us as being unversed and ignorant for calling the king of the Egyptians the king of the Greeks! For after submitting the Greeks, Ptolemy was called “king of Alexandria and of the Greeks”, which no other Ptolemaic ruler (or any other ruler of Egypt, for that matter) was ever named, and he was so philhellenic that he even had his reign chronicled in Greek. There are many other such reasons for our calling Ptolemy king of the Greeks, but in the interest of brevity let this suffice.)
And this was not only the case with Ptolemy, but also with many other personages and scholars from Greece, who took care not only to translate works from the royal archives of other nations (as we find in the case of the one who exhorted Berossus—the Chaldean versed in all wisdom—in this task), but also found and collected the greatest and most worthy opuses from various places with which to do so, as A from K [the text continues: “T from P, K from E, and Sh from T”]. These were all collected by men whose identities are known to us, and who dedicated these works to the glory of Hellas. These men ought to be praised as philosophers for their good sense and endeavors to seek out the works of other authors, yet more than them we ought to praise those among the Greeks who accepted and honored such works of sages. Hence, I do not hesitate to call the whole of Greece the mother and nurse of the intellect.

Chapter 3 #

Կամիմ զանիմաստասէր բարս առաջնոցն մերոց նախնեացն ոչ առանց յիշատակի բամբասանաց թողուլ, այլ աստէն իսկ, ի սկզբան մերոյ գործառնութեանս, զվասն նոցա կշտամբութեան յարմարել զբանս: Զի թէ արդարեւ արժանի գովութեան այնք ի թագաւորաց իցեն, որք գրով եւ պատմութեամբ զիւրեանցն հաստատեալ կարգեցին զժամանակս, եւ զգործս իմաստութեան եւ զքաջութիւն իւրաքանչիւր արձանացուցին ի վէպս եւ ի պատմութիւնս՝ ըստ նոցանէ եւ պարապեալքն այսպիսում ճգնութեան դիւանագիրք մատենից՝ ներբողականաց ի մէնջ արժանի եղեն ասից. ի ձեռն որոց եւ մեք յընթեռնուլն զառ ի նոցանէ շարածս բանից՝ ըստ աշխարհաւրէն կարգաց իմաստնանալ ասիմք, եւ քաղաքականս ուսանել կարգս, յորժամ զայսպիսիս ընթերցասիրիցեմք իմաստութեան ճառս եւ զրուցատրութիւնս, որք են Քաղդէացւոց եւ Ասորեստանեայց, Եգիպտացւոց եւ Հելլենացւոց. առ այսոքիւք եւ փափագիցեմք եւս արդեաւք իմաստութեան արանցն այնոցիկ, որ զայսպիսի փոյթ յանձին կալան. - ապա ուրեմն ամենեցուն մեզ յայտնի է թագաւորացն մերոց եւ այլոց առաջնոցն առ ի յիմաստն տխմարութիւն, եւ անկատարութիւն ոգւոյն բանականի: Զի թէպէտ եւ եմք ածու փոքր, եւ թուով յոյժ ընդ փոքու սահմանեալ, եւ զաւրութեամբ տկար, եւ ընդ այլով յոլով անգամ նուաճեալ թագաւորութեամբ՝ սակայն բազում գործք արութեան գտանին գործեալ եւ ի մերում աշխարհիս, եւ արժանի գրոյ յիշատակի, զոր եւ ոչ մի ոք ի նոցանէ պէտ յանձին կալաւ մատենագրել: Արդ՝ այնոքիկ, որ եւ ոչ անձանց խորհեցան բարի առնել, եւ անուն յիշատակի յաշխարհի թողուլ, զի՞ արդեաւք եւ մեղադրութիւն մեր այնպիսեացն ի ճահ պատահիցէ, զեւս մեծագոյնս ի նոցանէ պահանջել եւ որ ինչ հնագոյն քան զնոսա:
I do not want to leave the unlearned behavior of our first ancestors without a reproachful comment. Instead, at the very start of our work, [we want to] describe the reason for blaming them. Truly worthy of praise are the [foreign] kings who, in writing and through histories, set forth and put in order [events of] their own times, recording the deeds of wisdom and bravery of each one in stories and histories. Similarly deserving of praise from us are those who, with painstaking labor, compiled books from archives. I say that it was through these accounts, when we read them, that we became informed about [historical] world events. [From them] we learned about the order of the [different] polities, when we read such wise discourses and narratives—those of the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Egyptians, and Hellenes. Truly, it is to the wisdom of such men who so zealously undertook such matters, that we aspire. It is clear to all of us that our own [Armenian] and other [foreign] first kings lacked such interest because of their ignorance, and the lack of development of their rational faculties. Although we are a small nation, and very limited regarding numbers [of people], lacking in [military] strength, and often conquered by others and subjected to their rule, nonetheless many deeds of valor were wrought in our land, worthy of being remembered in writing—[deeds] which not a single one of them [our rulers] took the initiative to have written down. As for those [rulers] who did not think to do a good thing for their own [reputations] and leave some name [about themselves] as a memorial for the world, should we reproach them further, demanding from them [information] about what preceded them in antiquity?
Now some might say that [the absence of histories] was the result of [the Armenians] not having writing or literature at the time, or due to the different wars which came one after the other. But this view is not correct, since there were intervals [of peace] between the wars, and [there existed] writing [or, scripts] of the Persians and Greeks—which are used today among us in the many books which record information about property in the villages and districts, and each House [has written accounts] of their individual controversies and pacts, especially those that concern the succession of the noble families. Rather, it seems to me that the people of Armenia today, just as in the past, had a dislike of [abstract] wisdom and [a dislike of] collections of wisdom songs. Therefore, it is superfluous to continue our narration about unreasonable, stupid and savage people.
But I marvel at the fertility of your mind, that from the beginning of our nation to the present, you turned out to be the only one able to undertake such an important task and invite us to investigate, in a large and useful work, and reliably set forth the history of our people, [to write] about kings and naxarars, azgs, and tohms, about their origins, about the deeds of each of them, about which of the noted clans are local and our own, and which of them were immigrants who settled here and merged with us, [in other words] to describe in writing the deeds and times of each of them, from the time of confusion at the building of the Tower [of Babel] to the present, regarding this as a lovely tribute to you, for your glory and untiring pleasure.

Now, then, I conclude with this: “Is there a book near me?” as is said in Job,1 or does your homeland have a literature that I can, like the Hebrew historians, bring down to your time from the beginning without fault (or, if you prefer, take up to the beginning, starting with you and your contemporaries)? So I shall set out on this task, albeit effortfully, [in the hopes that] just one single person from among us will be found who will be grateful for these labors. I will begin at the same place that the others did, those [historians] who were in the Church and were Christians, considering it superfluous to repeat the legends of secular writers about the beginning—though I shall mention some of the later times and the famous men where the Divine Scriptures concur. [Then I shall] advance necessarily to pagan narratives, from which I will take what I consider reliable.


  1. Job 37:20 (LXX) ↩︎

Chapter 4 #

As to why other historians were not in agreement about Adam and the other patriarchs.
Apropos of the root of all mankind (or, if one prefers, its terminus a quo), it is necessary to say a few words as to why other historians (namely, Berossus, Polyhistor and Abydenus) thought contrary to the Spirit and disagreed [with Scripture] regarding Adam, as well as about the arkbuilder [Noah] and the other patriarchs—not only about their names and times, but also about the accounts of the origin of mankind in which we believe.
Քանզի ասէ վասն նորա Աբիւդենոս հանգոյն այլոցն այսպէս. «Եւ զնա ամենախնամն Աստուած եցոյց հովիւ եւ առաջնորդ ժողովրդեանն: Յետ որոյ ասէ. «Թագաւորեաց Աղովրոս շարս տասն», որ լինին ամք երեսուն եւ վեց հազար: Նոյնպէս եւ յաղագս Նոյի այլով անուամբ վարին եւ ժամանակաւք անբաւիւք. թէպէտ եւ վասն ջրոյն սաստկութեան եւ վասն ապականութեան երկրի՝ զոյգ հոգեւորացն բարբառին բանից. նոյնգունակ եւ զթիւ նահապետացն տասն՝ Քսիսութրեաւ հանդերձ թուեն: Որ ոչ միայն ըստ բոլորման առ ի յարեգականէ չորեքժամանակեան ըստ մեզ լինելոյ տարւոյն՝ հեռանայ յամաց մերայնոցն, - մանաւանդ թէ եւ յաստուածայնոցն, - այլ եւ ոչ որպէս Եգիպտացիքն զլուսնականսն հաշուեն ծագմունս. նա եւ ոչ, զառ ի դիցն ոմանց ասացեալս թէ տարիս ոք վարկցի՝ զուգեալ համեմատէ անհուն թուոց առարկութեանցս առ ի հաւասարել ճշմարտութեանն, երբեմն նուազ եւ երբեմն սաստիկ զհաւաքումն գումարելով: Արդ աւրէն էր մեզ աստանաւր զկարծիս նոցա յայտնել ըստ կարողութեան, թէ զի՛նչ իւրաքանչիւր ոք ի նոցանէ խորհեցան այսպէս զայսոսիկ գրել. այլ վասն երկարութեան առաջիկայ գործոյս՝ այլում տեղւոյ եւ ժամանակի ժամանակի զայսոսիկ թողեալ, հատցուք աստանաւր զբանս, սկսանելով յաղագս այսորիկ՝ որպէս եւ հաւատացեալ եմք:
For Abydenus (like the others) says of Adam: “All-provident God showed him to be the shepherd and leader of the people,” after which he says: “Alorus [the first Chaldean king to rule in Babylon] reigned for ten sars,” which is 36,000 years. So too does he treat Noah by a different name [Xisuthrus] and with infinite time [18 sars]. But although these historians concur with Scripture regarding the deluge and the destruction of the earth, and count 10 patriarchs (including Xisuthrus) in the same way, their calendar years diverge from ours according to the turn of the four seasons relative to the sun, as well as from the Biblical calendar and from the Egyptian lunar calendar. And if one were to also take pagan calendars into consideration, he would not be able to equate them due to the immeasurable ways of trying to estimate their correspondence. Now while it behooved us to express the opinions of these historians to the best of our ability, we now set them aside for another place and time due to the length of the present work and pick up with the accounts in which we believe.

Adam the progenitor: He lived 230 years and begot Seth. Seth lived 205 years and begot Enos.1 They both left inscriptions regarding two future events, as [Flavius] Josephus says, though the whereabouts of these inscriptions are uncertain. Enos was the first who wished to call on the name of God.


  1. Genesis 5:3-6 (LXX) ↩︎

But why? For what reasons did he first hope to call on the name of God? And how are we to understand his calling to God? For Adam was truly created by God, and as it is said he was commanded from the mouth of God. Yet transgressing God’s command and going into hiding, he was asked only by God: “Where are you?”.1 And in the same way did he hear his sentence from God’s mouth. Then Abel, being close and acquainted with God, brought an offering, and it was accepted. So if these were accepted and known to God, why is Enos said to be the first to have called on God, and with hope at that? Let us now address this matter directly:


  1. Genesis 3:9 ↩︎

For the first of mankind was found to transgress the command and was banished from the garden and from God, as it is said, because of the evil one. Then Adam’s son, who was the closest to God, was killed by his own brother, and there was not a word or revelation from God. Mankind fell into doubt, hopelessness and self-indulgence, out of which Enos called on the name of God, full of faith and uprightness. Now this calling on God can either denote a calling unto something that had been forgotten or an invocation of assistance. The former sense is not apt here because not so many years had passed for the name of God or the One it denotes to have been forgotten, considering that the man who was created by God1 had not yet even died. Therefore, it is an invocation to the assistance of God.


  1. i.e., Adam ↩︎

He [Enos] lived 190 years and begot Cainan; Cainan lived 170 years and begot Maleleel; Maleleel lived 165 years and begot Jared; Jared lived 162 years and begot Enoch; Enoch lived 165 years and begot Mathusala. After he begot Mathusala he lived for another 200 worthy and pleasing years as the one whom he pleased knows, for He took him away from among the ungodly ones, which we will expound later. Mathusala lived 165 years and begot Lamech; Lamech lived 188 years and begot a son, and he named him Noah.1


  1. Genesis 5:9-28. ↩︎

Եւ ընդէ՞ր արդեաւք զսա միայն որդւոյ անուամբ յորջորջեաց, իսկ վասն այլոցն ամենեցուն պարզաբար ասաց, թէ ծնան. զորմէ ընդդէմ իմն մարգարէանայ հայրն. «Սա, ասէ, հանգուսցէ զմեզ ի գործոց եւ ի տրտմութենէ ձեռաց եւ յերկրէ՝ զոր անէծ տէր Աստուած: Որ եղեւ ոչ հանգիստ, այլ ջնջումն որ ինչ միանգամ ի վերայ երկրի: Ինձ թուի՝ հանգուցանելն դադարեցուցանել է. իսկ դադարեցուցանելն՝ զամբարշտութիւն եւ զչարիս, սատակմամբ մարդկան զազրագործաց դարուն երկրորդի: Քանզի գեղեցկաբար ասաց, թէ «ի գործոց մերոց», որ է յանաւրէնութեանց, «եւ ի տրտմութենէ ձեռաց», որովք կատարեմք զպղծութիւնս: Բայց եւ հանգչին արդարեւ ըստ այսմ մարգարէութեան ոչ ամենեքին, այլ կատարեալքն յառաքինութեան ոգիք, յորժամ չարիք որպէս հեղեղաւ ջնջեալ մաքրին, իբր առ Նոյիւ մոլեալքն ի չարիս: Իսկ որդւոյ անուամբ մեծարեաց զնա Գիր՝ իբրեւ զյայտնի եւ զնշանաւոր եւ զարժանաւոր ժառանգ հայրենեացն առաքինութեանց:

Now whereas it is simply said of all others that they were begotten, why is only Noah called son? Noah, of whom his father prophesied, that “He will cause us to repose from our works, and from the toil of our hands, and from the earth, which the Lord God has cursed”?1 There was no repose, in fact, but only the extinction of what was upon the earth. Therefore, it seems to me that repose here means to cease—to cease from impiety and evil by the destruction of the dissolute men of the second age. For he eloquently says “from our works,” which is from iniquity, and “from the toil of our hands,” with which we contaminate. Indeed, not everyone reposed according to this prophecy, except for the souls of perfect virtue when the evils of those who had strayed in Noah’s day were submerged, wiped out and purified. And Scripture honored Noah by calling him “son” as a mark of his being a prominent, notorious and worthy heir of his ancestral virtues.


  1. Genesis 5:29. ↩︎

Chapter 5 #

A comparison of the genealogies of the three sons of Noah to the time of Abraham, Ninus and Aram; Ninus is neither Belus nor the son of Belus.
It is clear to everyone how grueling it is to make discoveries about the past, from the beginning of time down to the present day. Much as one may wish to study each age, it is even more difficult to make discoveries about the genealogies of the patriarchal lines of Noah’s three sons, above all because Divine Scripture, by carving out its own lineage, has neglected the lineages of others as unworthy of being recorded. So it is with these lineages that we shall begin, as much as possible, based on what we have found to be reliable from ancient sources, doing our part to remain most truthful. Now, my clever reader, I call your attention to the astonishing concordance between the three lines [of Noah’s sons] terminating with Abraham, Ninus and Aram.

Sem lived for 100 years, and two years after the flood, according to Divine Scripture, he begot Arphaxad.1


  1. Genesis 11:10 ↩︎

SEM

Sem lived for 100 years and begot Arphaxad. Arphaxad lived for 135 years and begot Cainan. Cainan lived 120 years and begot Sala. Sala lived for 130 years and begot Eber. Eber lived for 134 years and begot Phaleg. Phaleg lived for 133 years and begot Ragav. Ragav lived for 130 years and begot Serug. Serug lived for 130 years and begot Nachor. Nachor lived for 79 years and begot Terah. Terah lived for 70 years and begot Abraham.1


  1. Genesis 11:12-26; 1 Chronicles 1:17-27 ↩︎

HAM

Ham begot Cush. Cush begot Misrayim. Misrayim begot Nimrod. Nimrod begot Babus. Babus begot Anebus. Anebus begot Arbelus. Arbelus begot Chaalus. Chaalus begot the other Arbelus. Arbelus begot Ninus. Ninus begot Ninuas.1


  1. Genesis 10:6-8 ↩︎

JAPHETH
Now all the scribes put Cainan as fourth from Noah and third from Sem. They also put Tiras fourth from Noah and third from Japheth, although he is nowhere to be found in the translation we used. As for Misrayim, who is fourth from Noah and third from Ham, we neither find him in our translation nor recorded by any of the scribes. But we found this set out by a very careful and well-read Assyrian, and it seemed very reliable to us. For Misrayim is Metsrayim, which is to be understood as Egypt, and many scribes have convinced us that Nimrod (who is Belus) was an Ethiopian, for he lived by the borders of Egypt.
Յետ որոյ ասասցուք եւ զայս. զի թէպէտ եւ ամք ժամանակաց ծննդոցն Քամայ մինչեւ ցՆինոս ոչ ուրեք գտանին թուեալ, եւ կամ թէ առ մեզ ոչ հասեալ, այլ հաւաստեաւ եւ ոչ նորին ինքեան Նինոսի, իսկ մերոյն Յաբեթի ամենեւին ոչ, սակայն ասացեալ ազգաբանութիւնդ հաւաստի է, երեցունց ցեղիցն մետասան գոլով ցԱբրահամ եւ ցՆինոս եւ ցմերն Արամ. զի Արայն երկոտասաներորդ՝ է յետ Նինոսի, մանուկ տիովք վախճանեալ: Եւ է ճշմարիտ, եւ մի՛ ոք յերկուասցի. քանզի պատմէ մեզ զայսոսիկ ի յոլով իրս հաւատարիմն Աբիւդենոս, եւ ասէ այսպէս. «Նինոս Արբեղայ, Քայաղայ, Արբեղայ, Անեբայ, Բաբեայ, Բելայ: Նոյնպէս եւ զմերն՝ ի Հայկայ մինչեւ ցԱրայն գեղեցիկ, զոր եսպան կաթոտն Շամիրամ՝ թուէ այսպէս. Արայն գեղեցիկ՝ Արամայ, Հարմայ, Գեղամայ, Ամասեայ, Արամայիսայ, Արամանեկայ, Հայկայ, որ եղեւ հակառակ Բելայ, միանգամայն եւ կենախուզ: Եւ զայս մեզ Աբիւդենոս յիւրում առաջնում առանձնականի իմն մանր ազգաբանութեան ասէ. զոր աստ ուրեմն յետոյ ոմանք բարձին:
To this we should add that the years corresponding to the births of Ham [and his descendants] to the time of Ninus are not found to be numbered anywhere (or, have not made it down to us). We also lack certainty regarding Ninus, and though we have absolutely no certainty regarding our forefather, Japheth, his genealogy is reliable, with the three branches having 11 generations down to Abraham, Ninus and our Aram. For Ara, being the twelfth, after Ninus, died in his youth. Now this is true, and let no one doubt it, for it was related to us by Abydenus who is reliable in all things, and who said: “Ninus, son of Areblus, son of Chaalus, son of Arbelus, son of Anebus, son of Babus, son of [the Assyrian king] Belus”. So, too, with our line, from Hayk down to Ara the handsome, whom the lascivious Shamiram [Semiramis] killed: “Ara the handsome, son of Aram, son of Harma, son of Gegham, son of Amasya, son of Aramais, son of Aramaneak, son of Hayk (who opposed and at once took the life of Belus).” Abydenus relates this in the first part of his genealogy, which some copyists later removed from his text.
Cephalion also witnesses this, for as he says in one chapter [of The History of Assyria]: “At the start of our work, we began recording everything about genealogies from the royal archives, however at the command of the king we were told to leave out the records of insignificant as well as bad men from ancient times, and only record the names of the mighty, the sages and conquerors among our ancestors, so as to not waste our time,” and so on.
But those who claim that Ninus was the son of Belus (or, perhaps even Belus himself) seem to us to be very far from the truth, for neither the genealogy nor the chronology attests this. Perhaps on account of their [Belus’ and Ninus’] being prominent figures, one supposed it made sense to bring them closer in time.
Truly did we find this information in Greek books, for although the Greeks themselves translated these from Chaldean, and although it was the Chaldeans (whether by their own will or by the command of their kings) who saw it as necessary to record all this (as with Arius and many others), we attribute it to the Greeks since we learned it from them.

Chapter 6 #

Regarding the fact that the accounts of other antiquarians sometimes agree with [patriarch and prophet] Moses [i.e., with the Old Testament accounts] and sometimes disagree, and about the ancient unwritten stories of the philosopher Olympiodorus.
We have presented the genealogy of the three sons of Noah down to Abraham, Ninus, and Aram—selecting, as far as possible, what is reliable from many narratives. I believe that no thinking person will object to this, except someone who, intending to violate the correct order, would prefer fables to the true accounts. In such cases, everyone is free to amuse himself as he pleases.
Այլ եթէ շնորհակալ եւ մերոցս տքնութեանց եւ ջանից լինիցիս, ո՛վ ուսումնասէր դու եւ յայսոսիկ զմեզ աշխատեցուցանաւղ, անցից սակաւ բանիւք յիշատակաց յաղագս որոյ վերագոյնդ կարգեցաք, թէ ո՛րպէս առաջինքն ի վիպասանացն յաղագս այսորիկ հաճեցան շարագրել. թէպէտ եւ ոչ ունիմ այժմ ասել, յամբարանոցս մատենից թագաւորա՞ցն այսպէս արդեաւք գտեալ, եթէ ըստ ախորժելոյ որպէս կամեցան իւրաքանչիւրքն փոփոխել զանուանս եւ զզրոյցս եւ զժամանակս, եւ կամ վասն այլ զինչ եւ իցէ պատճառանաց: Բայց որպէս ի սկզբանն երբեմն ճշմարտեն, երբեմն ստեն որպէս յաղագս նախաստեղծին, ոչ առաջին մարդ ասելով զնա, այլ թագաւոր, սոյնպէս անուն խժական նմա եւ աննշանակ կոչելով, եւ ամս տալով երեսուն եւ վեց հազար. իսկ թուով նահապետացն եւ ջրհեղեղին յիշատակաւ՝ զոյգ եւ հաւասար Մովսիսի, նոյնպէս եւ յետ ջրհեղեղին երիս կարգելով արս անուանիս յառաջ քան զաշտարակաշինութիւնն, զկնի նաւարկութեանն Քսիսութրեայ ի Հայս՝ ճշմարտեն. իսկ անուանցն փոփոխմամբ եւ բազմաւք այլովք ստեն:
But if you are grateful for our labors and efforts, O you lover of knowledge and patron of our labors, in a few words I shall briefly recapitulate what I set out above: how the first storytellers were pleased to write on this matter as romances, although I am not now able to say whether such materials were found in this [fabulous] form in the archives of the kings or whether each one [of the authors] enjoyed changing the names and the stories and the times as he chose, or if there were some other reasons [for the discrepancies]. But as for [accounts about] the beginning [i.e., Creation] sometimes they tell the truth, sometimes they lie. For example, just as they call the first created [being] not the first man but [the first] king, so they give him a barbarous name, attributing to him a life of thirty-six thousand years. Yet when it comes to the number of the patriarchs and the mention of the Flood, they concur and agree with Moses. Similarly, when [describing events] after the Flood they [erroneously] list three famous men before the building of the Tower, yet after the voyage of Xisut’ra to Armenia, they are correct; but in changing the names and in many other things they lie.
But now, I shall be happy to begin my account [based on] the words of my Sibyl, Berosus, who was more accurate than most of the other [antiquarians]. [Berosus] says that “Before [construction of] the Tower and before the human race became multilingual and also following the sea voyage of Xisut’ra to Armenia, the rulers of the world were Zruan, Titan, and Yapetost’e’.” These, it seems to me, correspond to Sem, Ham, and Japheth.
[Berosus continues] “When they had divided up the world under their rule, Zruan grew stronger and ruled over the other two.” Zradasht, a magus, and king of the Bactrians—who are the Medes—said that [Zruan] is the father of the gods. [Zradasht] said many other things about him of a fabulous nature, which would be inappropriate for us to repeat now.
«Արդ՝ ի բռնանալն, ասէ, Զրուանայ՝ ընդդիմացան նմա Տիտանն եւ Յապետոսթէ, ի մարտ պատերազմի ընդ նմա գրգռելով, վասն զի թագաւորեցուցանել զորդիս իւր ի վերայ ամենեցուն խորհէր: Եւ յայսպիսում խռան յափշտակեաց, ասէ, Տիտանն զմասն ինչ ի ժառանգութենէ սահմանացն Զրուանայ: Աստ ի մէջ անցեալ քոյր նոցա Աստղիկ՝ համոզեալ դադարեցուցանէ զաղմուկն. եւ յանձն առնուն թագաւորել Զրուանայ. բայց դաշինս ուխտից եւ երդմանց ի միջի հաստատեն, սպանանել զամենայն արու՝ որ ծնանիցի Զրուանայ. զի մի՛ ազգաւ ի վերայ նոցա թագաւորեսցէ: Ուստի եւ արս հզաւրս ի Տիտանացն ի վերայ ծննդոց կանանց նորա կարգէին: Եւ սպանեալ զերկուս ոմանս վասն երդմանն եւ ուխտին հաստատուն կալոյ՝ խորհի այնուհետեւ քոյր նոցա Աստղիկ հանդերձ կանամբք Զրուանայ, հաւանեցուցանել զոմանս ի Տիտանացն՝ ապրեցուցանել զայլ մանկունս, եւ յարեւմուտս կոյս յուղարկել ի լեառնն, որ անուանեալ կարդային Դիւցընկէց, իսկ այժմ կոչի Ոլիմպոս:»
[Berosus] says: “When Zruan had become a tyrant, Titan and Yapetost’e’ opposed him in battle, since he planned to establish his sons as kings over everyone. In this confusion, Titan seized a part of the territory allotted to Zruan. Then their sister, Astghik, convinced [them] to stop the conflict. [Titan and Yapetost’e’] consented to Zruan reigning as king, but made a sworn treaty between them to kill all the sons born to Zruan, so that they would not rule over them as a [hereditary] family. Thus, they designated strong men from the Titans to observe the births of the [children of Zruan’s] women. They had slain two [of the children] to keep the sworn agreement in force, when their sister, Astghik with Zruan’s women, convinced some of the Titans to let the other offspring live, [and, instead of killing them] sending them to the West, to the mountain once called Diwts’e"nke’ts’, and now called Olympus.
Now, whether some consider these [accounts] to be fables, or to be the truth, I myself am convinced that there is much truth here. It is for this reason, also, that Epiphanus, bishop of Constantia [Salamis] of Cyprus says, in his Panarion, when attempting to demonstrate the true and equitable God and regarding the destruction of the seven nations by the Israelites [Deuteronomy 7:1-2], that “God equitably destroyed these seven nations before the Israelites, for in the division of the earth these lands had fallen to the Semites, and the Hamites invaded the land and came to rule it by force. But God preserved their rights according to their sworn oath and requited the Hamites by returning the inheritance of the Semites to them. As for the Titans and Rephaites, they are recalled in the Divine Scripture.”
Բայց պարտ է մեզ զոմանց անգիր հին զրոյցս, որ պատմեալ եղեն վաղ ուրեմն ի մէջ իմաստնոցն Յունաց, եւ հասին մինչեւ ի մեզ այս զրոյցք ի Գորգի եւ ի Բանան անուն կոչեցելոց, եւս երրորդ ոմն Դաւիթ, թէպէտ եւ յոյժ սակաւուք՝ երկրորդել: Յորոց մի ոմն ի նոցանէ, վարժեալ փիլիսոփայութեամբ, ասէր այսպէս, թէ «Ո՛վ ծերք, յորժամ էի ի մէջ Յունաց զիմաստութիւն վարժելով՝ դէպ եղեւ ի միում աւուր, զի վասն աշխարհագրութեանց եւ բաժանմանց ազգաց ի մէջ արանց իմաստնոց եւ հմտագունից բան ճառիւր. ոմանք այլազգաբար եւ ոմանք այլաբանաբար զրոյցս մատենից տային. իսկ որ կատարելագոյնն էր ի նոսա, Ոլիմպիոդորոս անուն, այսպէս ասաց. «Պատմեցից ձեզ, ասէ, եւ զրոյցս անգիրս յաւանդութենէ ի մեզ հասեալ, զորս եւ բազումք ի գեղջկաց զրուցեն մինչեւ ցայժմ: Մատեան լեալ զՔսիսութրեայ եւ զորդւոց նորա, որ այժմ ոչ ուրեք երեւի, յորում, ասեն, կարգ լեալ բանից այսպիսի: Յետ նաւելոյն Քսիսութրեայ ի Հայս եւ դիպելոյ ցամաքի, գնայ, ասէ, մի յորդւոց նորա կոչեցեալն Սեմ ընդ արեւմուտս հիւսիսոյ դիտել զերկիրն, եւ դիպեալ դաշտի միում փոքու առ երկայնանստիւ միով լերամբ, գետոյ ընդ մէջ նորա անցանելով, ի կողմանս Ասորեստանի, դադարէ առ գետովն երկլուսնեայ աւուրս, եւ անուանէ յանուն իւր զլեառնն Սիմ, եւ դառնայ անդրէն յարեւելս հարաւոյ, ուստի եկն: Իսկ ի կրտսերագունից որդւոցն նորա Տարբան անուն, երեսուն ուստերաւք եւ հնգետասան դստերաւք եւ նոցին արամբք մեկնեալ ի հաւրէն՝ բնակէ անդէն ի նոյն գետեզեր, յորոյ անուն եւ զգաւառն անուանէ Տարաւն, եւ զանուն տեղւոյն ուր բնակեցաւն՝ կոչէ Ցրաւնս. զի անդ զառաջինն սկիզբն եղեւ բաժանելոյ որդւոց որդւոց նորա ի նմանէ: Նորին դարձեալ եւ առ եզերբ սահմանացն Բակտրիացւոց ասէին բնակել սակաւ աւուրս, մնացեալ եւ մի ոմն յորդւոց նորա անդ: Քանզի կողմանք արեւելից Զրուան զՍեմ կոչեն, եւ Զարուանդ զգաւառն անուանեալ ասեն մինչեւ ցայժմ:
We must repeat, though in an extremely abbreviated manner, certain old unwritten narratives which were told in the old days among the Greek sages and which have come down to us through [the writings of persons] named Gorgias and Banan and another, a third [writer], a certain David. One of them, versed in philosophy, said this: “O elders, when I was in Greece and was studying philosophy, it once happened that among wise and experienced men, the discussion had turned to [matters of historical] geography and the division of peoples [into nations]. Stories found in books were interpreted—some in one way, others, in a different way. But the most accomplished man among them, who was named Olympiodorus, said this: ‘I will narrate to you, unwritten tales that have come down to us by tradition and that many villagers repeat to this day. There is a book about Xisut’ra and his sons—which now cannot be found anywhere—in which, they say, the following account appears. After the voyage of Xisut’ra to Armenia, and after he encountered dry land, one of his sons, named Sem, went to examine the land to the northwest. Finding a small plain near a mountain with an elongated base, with a river crossing it, which flowed towards Assyria, [Sem] remained there for two lunar months. He named the mountain Sim, after his own name, and then returned to the southeast from where he had come. One of [Sem’s] youngest sons, named Tarban, with thirty of his brothers and fifteen sisters along with their husbands, left his father and settled by the same riverbank, from whose name he called the district Tarawn. He called the name of the place where he had dwelled Tsro’nk’, since it was there that the initial separation of [Sem’s] sons from him had occurred. They also say that he resided for a few days on the borders of Bactria, leaving one of his sons there. The eastern areas of Sim, they call Zruan, and to this day the district is called Zaruand.
Very often the old [descendants] of Aram mention such things in fabulous songs, ballads [sung] to the accompaniment of the p’andir [stringed instrument], with performances and dances. Whether these tales are true or false does not concern us. After all, in this book I will cite everything in full—both what is oral and what is written in books, so that you will know everything and will be convinced of my sincerity towards you.

Chapter 7 #

Brief discussion of the fact that the one called Bel by secular authors is in truth Nimrod of the divine Scriptures.
Many [authors] say many things which differ from each other on the topic of Bel, during whose time our ancestor Hayk lived. But I say that the one called Cronus is [the same as] Bel Nimrod. The Egyptians order them in the same way as [the patriarch] Moses [namely] Hephaestus, the Sun, Cronus who is Ham, Kush, and Nimrod, leaving out Mestrayim. For they say that Hephaestus was the first man and the inventor of fire. (Why it is that [Hephaestus] discovered fire or how Prometheus stole the divine fire and gave it as a gift to humankind—which is an allegory—does not belong in the order of our narration.) The order of the Egyptian dynasties, and the sum of the years from the dynasty of [the] Shepherd [kings] to Hephaestus, coincide with what was noted among the Hebrews, from the time of Joseph to Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Let this much be sufficient [on this matter]. For if we undertake to explain to you in our history everything that has happened from the time of the building of the Tower to our own days, then when will we get to the historical narratives that you particularly want? This is especially the case, since the work ahead of us is [already] long and the lifespan of mortals is short and unknowable. So then, I now shall begin to show you [information] about our own [history], where [the material] came from, and more about it.

Chapter 8 #

Who found these stories and where they came from.

They say that Arshak the Great, king of the Persians and Parthians, who himself was of Parthian origin, rebelled from the Macedonians and ruled as king over the entire East and the Assyrians. In Nineveh he killed [the Seleucid] king Antiochus, and subjugated the entire world to his rule. He set up his brother, Vagharshak, to rule as king over the land of the Armenians, considering that this would be an appropriate way of making his own rule unshakable. [Arshak] gave to [Vagharshak] the city of Nisibis as his capital and and allocated his borders to include part of western Syria, Palestine, Asia, all of the Middle Lands,1 T’etalia, from the Pontic Sea to the area where the Caucasus runs into the Western Sea [Caspian Sea]. [This included] Atrpatakan “and as far as your thoughts and bravery can reach, because the borders of the brave,” he said, “are determined by their swords—as much as they can take and hold.”


  1. Asia Minor ↩︎

When Vagharshak had thoroughly put in order his own principality and had established his reign, he desired to know who and what kind of men had ruled over the land of the Armenians up to his time; whether in the past the place he occupied had belonged to the brave or the cowardly. Having found a certain Assyrian man named Mar [Lord] Abas Catina, a man learned and skilled in Chaldean and Greek writing, [Vagharshak] sent him to his brother, Arshak the Great, with fitting gifts so that [Arshak] would open the royal divan [for Mar Abas]. [Vagharshak] wrote to him a letter with this content:

Chapter 9 #

Letter of Vagharshak, king of the Armenians, to Arshak the Great, king of the Persians.
To Arshak, king of earth and sea, whose person and image resemble those of our gods, whose glory and destiny are loftier than those of all kings, and whose breadth of mind resembles that of the sky above the earth, from Vagharshak your younger brother and comrade, established by you as king of the Armenians: be well in all triumph.
Since I received a command from you to concern myself with valor and with all knowledge, I have never ceased doing what you advised. Rather, I have seen to all of these, to the extent that my intellect and comprehension permit. Now that my kingdom has been put into order, through your concern, I have a mind to learn who ruled the land of the Armenians before me; where the lordships which are here originated from. For there is no apparent order [to the lordships] here, nor [information] about the worship in the temples; nothing about who was the first and who was the last [in rank]. Nothing [seems to be] in order here; rather, everything is confused and wild.
Consequently, I beg your lordship to order that the royal divan be opened [to the man, Mar Abas] who has come before your mighty lordship, so that finding [the information] sought for by your brother and son, he may bring it back swiftly. I well know that the pleasure we shall receive from the fulfillment of our wishes, will be a source of joy for you. Be well, O eminent one, who dwells among the gods.
When Arshak the Great received the letter from the hand of Mar Abas Catina, with great deliberation he ordered that the royal divan in Nineveh be made available to him. [King Arshak] also was delighted that such a thought had arisen in his brother, to whom he had entrusted half his kingdom. Having looked through all the books, [Mar Abas] found a book written in Greek, which had this title on it.
THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK
This book, which contains authentic information about native antiquities and about the ancestors, was translated from Chaldean into Greek, at the order of Alexander.
The beginning of the book, he says, deals with Zruan, Titan, and Yapetost’e’, and in it, the descendants of these three men, the progenitors, who were all renowned men were arranged in order, each in his place, for many years. From this book, Mar Abbas Catina extracted the authentic history of only our people and delivered it to King Vagharshak in Nisibis, in the Greek and Assyrian languages. The attractive and valiant Vagharshak, expert at the bow, eloquent, and intelligent, received it, and regarding it as the first among his treasures, placed it in a repository in the palace with great care; and a part of it he ordered to be inscribed on a monument. Through this we have confirmed the order of our tales and repeat them now for your curiosity, extending our ancestral lordships as far back as Sardanapalus of the Chaldeans and even farther back. In this book the account begins as follows.
“Fearsome and majestic were the first gods, and they were the cause of very great benefits to the world, creating it and making it full of people. A race of giants separated from them, monstrous [creatures], who were huge of body. Seeped in impiety, they hatched out an impious plan, to build the Tower [of Babylon]. They were engaged in that very task when a ferocious and divine wind aroused by the anger of the gods pulled apart the construction. [The gods also] divided [people], by making languages unintelligible to one another and hurled [humanity] into noisy confusion. One of [those giants] was Hayk, the descendant of Yapetost’e’, a renowned and courageous lord, strong and accurate in drawing the bow.”
But let us finish with this order of narration, because our goal is not to tell the story in its entirety, but to try to show our first and most ancient ancestors. So, let me start to narrate from this same book: Yapetost’e, Merod, Sirat’, Taklad—who are Japheth, Gomer, T’iras, and T’orgom. After this, the same chronicler continues: Hayk, Aramaneak, and the others in order, whom we mentioned earlier.

Chapter 10 #

Այս, ասէ, Հայկ գեղապատշաճ եւ անձնեայ, քաջագանգուր, խայտակն եւ հաստաբազուկ: Սա ի մէջ սկայիցն քաջ եւ երեւելի լեալ, եւ ընդդիմակաց ամենեցուն, որք ամբառնային զձեռն՝ միապետել ի վերայ ամենայն սկայիցն եւ դիւցազանց: Սա խրոխտացեալ ամբարձ զձեռն ընդդէմ բռնաւորութեանն Բելայ, ի տարածանել ազգի մարդկան ընդ լայնութիւն ամենայն երկրի, ի մէջ բազմակոյտ սկայիցն, անհուն խաւլաց եւ ուժաւորաց: Քանզի անդ մոլեգնեալ այր իւրաքանչիւր, սուր ի կող ընկերի իւրոյ ձգելով՝ ջանային տիրել ի վերայ միմեանց. ուր պատահմունք ի դէպ ելանէին Բելայ՝ բռնանալ ունել զամենայն երկիր: Որում ոչ կամեցեալ հնազանդ լինել Հայկայ, յետ ծնանելոյ զորդի իւր զԱրամանեակ ի Բաբելոնի՝ չու արարեալ գնայ յերկիրն Արարադայ, որ է ի կողմանս հիւսիսոյ, հանդերձ որդւովք իւրովք եւ դստերաւք եւ որդւոց որդւոց որդւովք, արամբք զաւրաւորաւք, թուով իբրեւ երեքհարիւր, եւ այլովք ընդոծնաւք եւ եկաւք յարեցելովք ի նա եւ բոլոր աղխիւ: Երթեալ բնակէ ի լեռնոտին միում ի դաշտավայրի, յորում սակաւք ի մարդկանէ յառաջագոյն ցրուելոցն դադարեալ բնակէին. զորս հնազանդ իւր արարեալ Հայկ՝ շինէ անդ տուն բնակութեան կալուածոց եւ տայ ի ժառանգութիւն Կադմեայ որդւոյ Արամանեկայ: Այս արդարացուցանէ զանգիր հին ասացեալ զրոյցս:
This Hayk says [Mar Abas Catina] was handsome, strong, and personable, with curly hair, and bright eyes. Among the giants he was valiant and prominent, resisting all who would evilly turn their hand to absolute rule over all the giants and divine heroes. He scornfully raised his hand against the tyranny of Bel, during the spreading of the human race throughout the breadth of all the world, in the midst of incredibly foolish and mighty giants. Since everyone there had become frenzied and was trying to kill his own comrade with the sword, and trying to rule over one another, during these events Bel arose to tyrannize over the entire country. But Hayk refused to submit to him, and after the birth of his son, Aramaneak, in Babylon, [Hayk] picked up and went to the Ararad country, to the north, accompanied by his sons and daughters, and the sons of his sons, powerful men, numbering about 300, and others, domestic servants and others who had come to join him, with all their bags and baggage. [Hayk] went and dwelled at the foot of a mountain in a plain where a few people from a previous dispersion had settled and were living. Hayk subjected them to himself and then built a place of residence, a property which he gave as inheritance to Aramaneak’s son, Cadmos." This [information] confirms what is said in the ancient unwritten tales.
“And then [Mar Abas Catina] says, [Hayk] with his folk went to the northwest and dwelled in a certain highland plain, naming the area Hark’, meaning that the Fathers from the clan of the House of Torgom had dwelled there. He also built a village, naming it Haykashen after himself.” [Mar Abas Catina] notes in the same History, that living in an area to the south of this plain, at the foot of a mountain with a long base, there were a few people from earlier [times], who voluntarily submitted to the divine hero. This too verifies the unwritten tales mentioned earlier.

Chapter 11 #

Continuing his narration, [Mar Abas Catina] says that when the Titan Bel had established his dominion over everyone, he sent one of his sons, with trusted men, to the northern areas, to bring Hayk into obedience so that they would live in peace. “You have settled, [Bel] said, “in an icy cold [land]. Now warm and melt the freezing cold of your prideful nature and, submitting to me, live in peace wherever it pleases you to settle in my country.” However, Hayk sent back Bel’s envoys with a harsh response. The messenger [Bel’s son] returned to Babylon.
Then the Titan Bel assembled troops against him, and came with a mass of foot soldiers, arriving in the north, in the country of Ararad, close to Cadmus’ home. Cadmus fled to Hayk, sending swift runners before him [with this message]: “Know, O great one among the divine heroes, that Bel is coming against you with immortal braves, and with giants of combat whose stature reaches the sky. When I learned that they were close to my house, I fled and am coming in panic. Now hurry and think what you will do.”
Meanwhile Bel advanced impetuously, like a strong torrent pouring down from a height, with the unstoppable and huge force of his entourage and reached the borders of Hayk’s domain, placing confidence in the courage and physical strength of his mighty men. Here [Hayk], an intelligent and wise giant with curly hair and sparkling eyes, hurried and assembled his sons and grandsons, brave men and fine bowmen [but] extremely few in number, as well as others under his command. He came to the edge of a lake whose waters are salty and which contains small fish. Summoning his army, he said to them: “As we go against Bel’s host, let us try to reach the spot where Bel is surrounded by his braves. Either we will die and our folk will go into the service of Bel, or else we will show him the dexterity of our fingers and, having dispersed the mob of them, we will achieve victory.”
Եւ յառաջ կոյս անցեալ բովանդակ ասպարէզս՝ հասանեն ի միջոց ինչ դաշտաձեւ՝ լերանց բարձրագունից: Եւ յաջմէ ջուրց հոսանաց ի բարձրաւանդակում կուռ կալով ի տեղւոջ, ի վեր զերեսս ամբարձեալ՝ երեւեցաւ նոցա բազմութիւն անկարգ հրոսակի ամբոխոյն Բելայ, ցան եւ ցիր յանդուգն յարձակմամբ ընդ երեսս երկրին սուրալով. իսկ Բէլ հեզ եւ հանդարտ ամբոխիւ մեծաւ ի ձախմէ ջուրցն ի վերայ ոստոյ միոյ, իբրեւ ի դիտանոցի: Ծանեաւ Հայկ զխումբ վառելոյ ջոկատին, յորում Բէլ առաջի ամբոխին եկեալ հասեալ ընտրիւք եւ վառելովք ոմամբք. եւ երկար միջոց ճանապարհի ընդ նա եւ ընդ ամբոխն: Եւ ինքն գլխանոց ագուցեալ երկաթի, նշանաւորաւք վերջիւք, եւ տախտակս պղնձիս թիկանց եւ լանջաց, եւ պահպանակս բարձից եւ բազկաց. գաւտեւորեալ զմէջսն, եւ յահեկէ զսուրն երկսայրի. եւ նիզակ անարի ի ձեռին իւրում աջոյ, եւ յահեկումն վահան, եւ ընտիրք յաջմէ եւ ի ձախմէ: Եւ տեսեալ Հայկին զՏիտանեանն կուռ վառեալ, եւ զարս ընտիրս ընդ նմա աջինս եւ ահեկինս՝ կարգէ զԱրամանեակն երկու եղբարբք ընդ աջմէ, եւ զԿադմոս եւ զայլս երկուս յորդւոց իւրոց ի ձախմէ, զի արք կորովիք էին յաղեղն եւ ի սուսեր. եւ ինքն առաջի, եւ զայլս հրոսակին զկնի իւր կարգեաց. երեքանկիւնի իմն կարգեաց ձեւով, հանդարտ յառաջ մատուցեալ:
Advancing many stadia they came to a plain located between the highest mountains and halted in an elevated spot to the right of streams of water. Looking up they saw the disordered multitude of Bel’s host scattered in brazen array and swarming over the face of the country. As for Bel [he stood] indifferent and unperturbed, like a watchtower, with his vast host [positioned] to the left of the water on a hill. Hayk recognized among this group the armed band with which Bel had advanced to the head of the troops, surrounded by a few chosen armed men—and there was a wide distance between [Bel] and his [main] forces. [Bel] wore an iron helmet with distinctive plumes and plates of bronze over his back and chest; armor covered his legs and arms; a belt circled his waist. From his left side [hanged] a double-edged sword. An enormous spear was in his right hand and in the left, a shield. Select troops were to his right and left. When Hayk saw the Titan [Bel], so strongly armed and with select men on his right and left sides, he deployed Aramaneak and his two brothers on his own right, and placed Cadmus with two other sons on his left, because they were very competent with bow and sword. [Hayk] himself was in the front. He arranged his troops to the rear in the shape of a triangle, and then slowly moved forward.
Եւ հասեալ երկոցունց կողմանց սկայիցն ի միմեանս՝ ահագին դղրդմունս ի վերայ երկրի առնէին շահատակելով, եւ ահս պակուցանողս տարազուք յարձակմանցն սկայազունքն զմիմեամբք արկանէին: Անդ ոչ սակաւք յերկոցունց կողմանց արք յաղթանդամք բերանոյ սրոյ դիպեալք՝ տապալ յերկիր կործանէին, եւ մարտն յերկոցունց կողմանց մնայր անպարտելի: Զայսպիսի անակնունելի դիպուած տարակուսանաց տեսեալ արքայն Տիտանեան զարհուրեցաւ, եւ ի նոյն բլուր ուստի էջն՝ վերջոտնեալ ելանէր. քանզի խորհէր ի միջոցի ամբոխին ամրանալ, մինչեւ հասցէ բովանդակ զաւրն, զի միւսանգամ ճակատ յաւրինեսցէ: Զայս իմացեալ աղեղնաւորին Հայկայ՝ յառաջ վարէ զինքն, մաւտ հասանէ յարքայն, լի քարշէ զլայնալիճն, դիպեցուցանէ զերեքթեւեանն կրծից տախտակին, եւ շեշտ ընդ մէջ թիկանցն թափանցիկ լեալ՝ յերկիր հարստի սլաքն. եւ այսպէս ճոխացեալն Տիտանեան կործանի յերկիր զարկուցեալ, եւ փչէ զոգին: Իսկ ամբոխն տեսեալ զայսպիսի ահագին գործ քաջութեան՝ փախեան իւրաքանչիւր դէպ երեսաց իւրեանց: Եւ վասն այսորիկ այսչափ բաւական լիցի ասել:
The giants from both sides approached each other and a terrible roar sounded over the earth when they clashed. By the fierceness of their assaults, the giants brought fear upon each other. It was there that some gigantic men on both sides met the edge of the sword and rolled to the ground, dead. Yet the [outcome of the] battle remained undecided. When [Bel,] king of the Titans, saw this unexpected development and doubtful state of affairs, he was terrified and, turning back, began to ascend the same hill which he had just descended. He hoped to fortify himself in the midst of his host until the entire army arrived and he could restore his battle line. Realizing this, Hayk the archer advanced toward the king, pulled tight the wide-arched bow, and let fly a three-pronged arrow which hit [Bel’s] breast plate. That arrow, having passed through [Bel’s] back, fell out onto the ground. And here the arrogant Titan, falling to the ground, breathed out his spirit. When the host witnessed such an awesome act of bravery, each man fled where he could. On this matter, let this much be enough.

On the site of the battle, [Hayk] established a settlement, and named it Hayk’, because of the victory in battle. For that reason, even the district to this day is called Hayots’ dzor.1 As for the hill where Bel fell with his warriors, Hayk named that Gerezmans.2 Today it is called Gerezmanakk’. [Mar Abas Catina] says that Hayk ordered that Bel’s corpse be embalmed with drugs, taken to Hark’ and buried in an elevated spot, in the view of his wives and sons. Our land is called Hayk’ after the name of our ancestor Hayk.


  1. “Valley of the Armenians” ↩︎

  2. “Cemetery” ↩︎

Chapter 12 #

About the clans and generations descending from Hayk, and what each of them did.
Following this, much else is related in that book. However, we shall take from it only what serves for our compilation.
[Mar Abas Catina] says that after this, Hayk returned to his same dwelling place. He gave as gifts to his grandson, Cadmus, much booty from the war, and many renowned people from his own entourage. [Hayk] ordered him to hold his first home in his former dwelling place. Then he himself went and stayed in the plain called Hark’, for a few years. Now we mentioned earlier that [Hayk] had fathered Aramaneak in Babylon. [Hayk] died after living not a few years [i.e., after a long life], and entrusted the entire clan to his son, Aramaneak.
Now [Aramaneak] left two of his brothers—Xor’ and Manawaz, with all their entourages—in [the place called] Hark’, and [he left there] also Baz, who was Manawaz’s son. Of these [brothers], Manawaz inherited Hark’, while his son, Baz, [inherited] the shore of the salt sea to the northwest. He called the district and the sea by his own name. They say that it is from him that descend the heads of families named Manawazeank’, Bznunik’, and Orduni, which, they say, destroyed each other in battle after [the time of] Saint Trdat. Xor’ multiplied in the northern area and established his cultivated areas here. [Mar Abas Catina] says that it is from him that the great lordship of the Xor’xor’uni clan derives—brave, renowned men as are [folk from this clan] today prominent among us.
Իսկ Արամանեկայ առեալ զամենայն բազմութիւնն՝ խաղայ յարեւելս հիւսիսոյ, եւ երթեալ իջանէ ի խորին դաշտավայր մի, ի բարձրագագաթանց պարսպեալ լերանց, գետոյ կարկաջասահի յարեւմտից ընդ մէջ անցանելով: Եւ զդաշտն արեւելից գոգցես իմն իբրեւ որսայսեալ, ձիգ յարեգակն կոյս զերկայնութիւն պարզեալ. եւ առ ստորոտովք լերանցն բազումք ականակիտ բղխեալ աղբիւրք, որք ի գետոց եկեալ հաւաքումն հեզաբար: Առ սահմանաւք նոցա, ծնիւք լերամբք եւ եզերաւք դաշտին՝ պատանիք ոմանք իբր առ երիտասարդուհեաւք ճեմիցին. այլ հարաւայինն արեգակնաճեմ լեառն, սպիտակափառ ունելով գագաթն, ուղղորդ յերկրէ բուսեալ, երեքաւրէիւ, որպէս ասաց ոմն ի մերոցն, քաջագաւտւոյ առն շրջապատեալ ճանապարհաւ, եւ առ փոքր փոքր ի շեշտումն անկեալ, ծեր ոմն արդարեւ լեառն ի մէջ երիտասարդացեալ լերանցն: Յայսմ խորութեան դաշտի բնակեալ Արամանեկայ՝ շինէ զմասն ինչ ի հիւսիսոյ կողմանէ դաշտին, եւ զոտն լերինն ի նոյն կողմանէ, եւ զլեառնն անուանէ յանկագոյն յիւր անուն Արագած, եւ զկալուածսն՝ ոտն Արագածոյ:

Aramaneak took his entire multitude and went to the northeast, descending into a deep plain which was surrounded by the lofty summits of mountains, and crossed by a murmuring river flowing from the west. The eastern plain is, as it were, lying back extending toward [the direction of the] sun[rise]. At the foot of the mountains there gush many clear streams which merge into gentle rivers. At their borders, at the base of the mountains and edges of the plain, they almost seemed like some young lads walking about with young girls. And there was a southern mountain, pointed toward the sun, with a snow-white peak which rose gradually up from the ground becoming a steep top. Indeed, this was an old man of a mountain among the younger ones, [and a wide mountain] which—as one of our countrymen said—was a three-day journey for a well-girded man to walk around. Aramaneak dwelled in the depths of this plain and also cultivated a part of the plain in the north and the foot of the mountain on the same side. He named the mountain Aragats’, after his own name and his property [he named] Aragats’otn.1


  1. “Foot of Aragats'” ↩︎

Now the historian relates this wonderful information, that in many places in our country [the Haykids] found a few scattered men dwelling here and there, [people who were resident there] before the arrival of our native ancestor Hayk.
Aramaneak having lived [some] years fathered Aramayis, and then died after living many years. His son, Aramayis, built his dwelling on a hill by the bank of a river, and named it Armawir. As for the river, he named it Eraskh [Arax] after his grandson, Erast. And his son, Sharay—who had many children and was a big eater—he sent with all his entourage to a nearby plain which was rich and fertile where not a few streams flowed on the northern flank of the mountain called Aragats. It is said that the district of Shirak is named after him. Thus it seems that the proverb which circulates among the villagers is justified: “You may have the throat of Sharay, but we do not have the granaries of Shirak.” This Aramayis lived some years and fathered a son, Amasia. Then [Aramayis] died, after living some more years.
Amasia dwelt in Armavir; after some years he fathered Gegham, and after Gegham, the valiant P’ar’ox and Ts’olak. After fathering them, he crossed the river near the southern mountain and built there by the caves at the foot of the mountain two houses at great expense: one to the east near the sources of the springs that emerge from the base of the mountain, and the other to the west of this dwelling, distant about half a long day’s journey for a man on foot. [Amasia] gave these in inheritance to his two sons, the valiant P’ar’ox and the swift Ts’olak. The latter dwelt in them and named the places after themselves: P’ar’axot from P’ar’ox, and Ts’olakert from Ts’olak. Amasia named the mountain Masis after himself, and then he returned to Armawir. Having lived a few years longer, he died.
Իսկ Գեղամ յետ ամաց անցանելոյ ծնաւ զՀարմայ յԱրմաւիր. եւ թողեալ զՀարմայ յԱրմաւիր հանդերձ որդւովք բնակել, եւ ինքն գնաց զմիւս լերամբն արեւելեան հիւսիսոյ, յեզր ծովակի միոյ: Շինէ զեզր ծովակին, եւ թողու անդ բնակիչս. եւ յիւր անուն եւ սա զլեառնն անուանէ Գեղ, եւ զշէնսն՝ Գեղարքունի, որով կոչի եւ ծովն: Աստ ծնաւ զորդի իւր զՍիսակ, զայր սէգ եւ անձնեայ, բարեգեղ, կորովաբան եւ գեղեցկաղեղն: Սմա զմեծ մասն ընչից իւրոց տուեալ եւ ծառայս անձինս բազումս՝ սահմանս հատանէ նմա ժառանգութեան ի ծովէն ընդ արեւելս մինչեւ ցդաշտ մի, ուր գետն Երասխ հատեալ զքարանձաւս լերանց՝ անցանէ ընդ խոխոմս ձիգս եւ նեղս, ահագին դնդնչմամբ իջանէ ի դաշտն: Աստ բնակեալ Սիսակ՝ լնու շինութեամբ զսահմանս բնակութեան իւրոյ. եւ զաշխարհն կոչէ իւրով անուամբն Սիւնիք. այլ Պարսք յըստակագոյնս եւս Սիսական կոչեն: Ի սորա ծննդոց աստ ուրեմն Վաղարշակ, որ առաջին ի Պարթեւաց արքայ Հայոց, գտեալ արս անուանիս՝ տեարս աշխարհին կարգէ, որ է Սիսականդ ազգ. եւ զայս առնէ Վաղարշակ՝ ի պատմութենէն ստուգեալ: Այլ այս թէ ո՛րպէս է, յիւրում տեղւոջ պատմեսցուք:

Gegham, after the passsage of some years, became the father of Harmay, in Armawir. Then [Gegham] left Harmay in Armawir to dwell with his sons, and he himself went to the northeast around another mountain, to the shore of a lake. He cultivated a place by the shore of the lake, and left inhabitants there. After his own name, he called the mountain Gegh, the cultivated place Geghark’uni, and also the lake.1 It was here that [Gegham] fathered his son, Sisak, an exalted, personable, handsome, eloquent man, and an excellent archer. It was to Sisak that [Gegham] gave most of his property and many of his personal servants. He set the borders of his inheritance [extending] from the lake in the east to a plain where the River Araxes cuts through the mountains’ caves, flows through the long and narrow gorges, and with an awesome roar descends to the plain. Here is where Sisak dwelled, and he filled the boundaries of his habitation with cultivation. He called that land Siwnik’, after his own name; however, the Persians more accurately call it Sisakan. Vagharsh, the first Parthian king of the Armenians, found here his [Sisak’s] descendants, renowned men, whom he designated as lords of the land, from the line of Sisakan. That Vagharsh did this is confirmed by the history, but how it occurred we will narrate in the proper place.


  1. i.e., Lake Geghark’uni (Sevan) ↩︎

Gegham returned again to the same plain, and at the foot of the same mountain [Gegh] in a small secure valley, he built a settlement and gave it his own name, Geghami, which later was called Gar’ni, after his grandson, Gar’nik. From his offspring, in the time of Artashes, grandson of Vagharshak, descended a certain youth named Varazh who was skillful in hunting deer, wild goats, and boars and was an accomplished marksman. [Artashes] established [Gegham] [as head] of the royal hunt, and gifted him a cultivated area on the bank of the river which is called Hrazdan. They say that it is from him that the House of the Varazhnuni descends. This Gegham, as we mentioned before, became the father of Harmay after some years, then died after living additional years. He had ordered his son Harmay to reside in Armawir.
This Hayk, son of T’orgom, son of T’iras, son of Gomer, son of Japheth, was the ancestor of the Armenians; and these were his clans and descendants and their land of habitation. Subsequently they began, he says, to multiply and fill the country.
As for Harmay, he lived some years and became the father of Aram.
It is told of Aram that he performed many valiant deeds in battles and that he extended the borders of Armenia on all sides. By his name all peoples call our land [Armenia], such as the Greeks, Armenia, and the Persians and Syrians, Armenikk’. Now if you wish, we may set forth outside this book (or omit) [Aram’s] complete history and his deeds of valor, how they were done, and in whose time; otherwise [we shall include those accounts] in this one.

Chapter 13 #

Regarding the war and victory over the inhabitants of the East, and about the death of Niwk’ar Made’s.
Since executing the work you ordered is more pleasant to us than eating, drinking, and carousing is to others, we have agreed to discuss briefly and in order the wars of Hayk’s descendant, Aram. [Aram] was an industrious, patriotic individual, as the same historian reveals, and he thought it better to die for his fatherland than to see the sons of foreigners trampling the borders of his patrimony, and foreigners ruling over his genuine blood relations.
Այս Արամ, սակաւուք ամաւք յառաջ քան զտիրելն Նինոսի Ասորեստանեայց եւ Նինուէի, նեղեալ յազգացն որ շուրջ զիւրեաւ՝ ժողովէ զբազմութիւն ընտանի արանց քաջաց եւ աղեղնաւորաց, եւ որք ի տէգ նիզակի կամակարողք, նորատիք եւ հարուստք յոյժ եւ յաջողաձեռնութիւն իսկ, եւ երեսաւորք ի սիրտ եւ ի պատրաստութիւն պատերազմի, իբր թէ բիւրս հինգ: Պատահէ Մեդացւոցն երիտասարդաց, որոց առաջնորդէր Նիւքար ոմն ասացեալ Մադէս, այր հպարտ եւ պատերազմասէր, որպէս ցուցանէ նոյն ինքն պատմագիրն, յեզերս սահմանացն Հայոց: Որոց միանգամ քուշանաբար հինիւ սմբակակոխ արարեալ զսահմանս Հայոց՝ ծառայեցոյց ամս երկուս: Որում յանկարծաւրէն ի վերայ հասեալ Արամ յառաջ քան զծագել արեգական՝ սատակեաց զբազմութիւն ամբոխիցն, եւ զնոյն ինքն զՆիւքարն զկոչեցեալն Մադէս ձերբակալ արարեալ ածէ յԱրմաւիր, եւ անդ ուրեմն ի ծայրս աշտարակի պարսպին ցից վարեալ երկաթի ընդ ճակատն, յորմն վարսել հրամայէ, ի տեսիլ անցաւորաց եւ ամենայն եկելոց անդր. եւ զաշխարհն նորա մինչեւ ի լեառնն անուանեալ Զարասպ՝ ի ծառայութեան հարկի կալաւ մինչեւ ցթագաւորութիւնն Նինոսի ի վերայ Ասորեստանի եւ Նինուէի:
This Aram, a few years before Ninus ruled over the Assyrians and Nineveh, being harassed by the peoples living around him, assembled a multitude of his own select brave men, numbering about 50,000: bowmen, powerful spearmen, young and strong, attractive of face, dexterous in battle, bravehearted, and ready for battle. [Aram] encountered [a group of] Median youths, under the leadership of a certain Niwk’ar, called Made’s, a proud and warlike man, at the borders of Armenia, the same historian notes. Like a robber, like the Kushans, he trampled the borders of the Armenians for two years with his horses’ hooves and controlled them for two years. But suddenly, Aram came upon him before sunrise and killed the multitude of his host. He captured this same Niwk’ar, called Made’s, and took him to Armavir. There, at the top of a tower of the wall, he pierced [Niwk’ar’s] forehead with an iron nail, and ordered him to be hanged to the wall in the view of passersby, and all who went there. [Aram] subjected to tribute [Niwk’ar’s] land as far as the mountain named Zarasp, until the kingship of Ninus over Assyria and Nineveh.
And so it came about that when Ninus began to rule in Nineveh, he remembered the grudge that his ancestor [Bel] had, having learned about it from legends. For many years he thought about revenge, hoping to wait for a convenient time for the complete extermination of the entire tribe descended from the seed of the descendants of the valiant Hayk. However, he hid his evil [intentions] as he planned such actions, due to the fear and uncertainty that his own kingdom might fall into danger. And so, he ordered [Aram] to hold that same principality without suspicion, and gave him permission to wear an ornament of pearls in his hair, and to be called the second [after Ninus]. But enough of this [account], for the work ahead does not permit us to dwell any longer on this narration.

Chapter 14 #

About fighting against the Assyrians and [the Armenians’] victory; and also regarding Payapis K’aagheay, and Caesarea, and [the geographical designations] First [Armenia] and [the] other Armenias.
Կարգեսցուք դոյզն յիշատակաւք բանից եւ որ ինչ զկնի այսորիկ յարեւմուտս սորա գործք քաջութեան պատմին ի նոյն մատենի, եւ որ ընդ Ասորեստանեայս կռիւն. զպատճառս եւ զզաւրութիւն իրացն միայն յայտնելով, եւ զերկարութիւն գործոյն համառաւտ բանիւ յանդիման կացուցանելով: խաղայ զկողմամբք Ասորեստանի. գտանէ եւ անդ զոմն ապականիչ երկրին իւրոյ, չորիւք բիւրովք վառելովք հետեւակաւք եւ հինգ հազար հեծելազաւրու, Բարշամ անուն, յազգէ սկայիցն. որոյ սաստկագոյնս նեղեալ հարկաց խստութեամբ՝ անապատ զբովանդակ շրջակայն իւր առնէր: Սմա ճակատու պատերազմի ի դիմի հարեալ Արամ, հալածական ընդ մէջ Կորդուաց ի դաշտն Ասորեստանի արկանէ, զբազումս ի նոցանէ սատակելով. իսկ Բարշամ առաջի զինակրաց նորա պատահեալ՝ մեռանի: Եւ զայս Բարշամ վասն իւրոց արութեան բազում գործոց աստուածացուցեալ պաշտեցին Ասորիք ժամանակս յոլովս: Իսկ զմեծ մասն դաշտացն Ասորեստանի կալաւ ի ծառայութեան հարկի Արամ բազում ժամանակս:
Let us set out in a few words what is narrated after that in the same book about [Aram’s] deeds of bravery in the West and about the war with the Assyrians, explaining only the causes and significance of events and presenting a concise [account] of the lengthy work [of Mar Abas Catina]. This same Aram, on the conclusion of his war with the inhabitants of the East, advanced to the borders of Assyria with the same force. He found there a certain Barsham, from the race of giants, who was ruining his land with forty thousand armed infantry and five thousand cavalry—[an individual] who was oppressing [the inhabitants] by the severity of his taxes, and turning the surrounding areas into a desert. Aram defeated him in battle and chased him through Korduk to the Assyrian plain, killing many of his troops. Barsham himself died, overtaken by [Aram’s] warriors. Barsham, because of his many deeds of valor, was deified and worshipped by the Assyrians for a long time. Aram put much of the Assyrian plain under taxation, for many years.
Before us now is the work of describing his deeds of valor against the Titans in the West. [Aram] had gone to the West with [an addition] to his former [military force of] 40,000 infantry and 2,000 cavalry, to a place now called Caesarea in Cappadocia. He no longer had any doubts about [the security of] the [eastern and southern areas] which might result from conflicts, since the eastern and southern areas had already been conquered and he had entrusted [their rule] to two clans—the east to the Sisakans and [the south,] Assyria, to House of Cadmus. So as he was spending a long time in the West, he encountered in battle the Titan Payapis Kaagheay who had seized the territory between the two great seas—the Pontus and the Ocean. [Aram] fought him and put him to flight, expelling him to an island in the Asian sea. Then [Aram] returned to Armenia, leaving over that land a certain member of his clan named Mshak, with 10,000 troops.
[Aram] issued an order to the inhabitants of the land to learn the Armenian speech and language. Therefore to this day the Greeks call that area Prote Armenia, which translated means “First Armenia.” And the estate which Mshak, Aram’s lieutenant, had built in his own name and fortified with low walls was called Mazhak by the old inhabitants of the land, since they were unable to pronounce it correctly, until it was later enlarged by some people and called Caesarea. In the same manner, he filled many uninhabited areas with residents, from that place up to his own borders, [areas] which were called Second and Third Armenia, and also Fourth. This is the primary and true reason for the naming of the western areas First and Second as well as Third and Fourth [Armenia]. Whatever else is said by some in the Greek areas does not please us; others [may think] as they wish.
Now [Aram] became so mighty and renowned that the peoples around us to this day, as everyone knows, call our land by his name. He performed many other deeds of bravery, but we will confine ourselves to those mentioned above.
Բայց թէ ընդէ՛ր այսոքիկ ի բուն մատեանս թագաւորացն կամ ի մեհենիցն պատմութիւնս ոչ յիշատակեցան, մի՛ ոք ընդ այս երկբայացեալ տարակուսեսցի: Մի՝ զի յառաջ քան զՆինոսի ժամանակ թագաւորութեանն է, յորում ոչ ոք այսպիսի իրաց փոյթ յանձին ունէր. երկրորդ՝ զի ոչ հարկ ինչ եւ ոչ պէտք կարեւորք էին նոցա՝ զազգաց աւտարաց եւ զաշխարհաց ի բացեայ եւ զհամբաւս հինս եւ զզրոյցս նախնականս յիւրեանց թագաւորաց կամ մեհենից մատեանս գրել. մանաւանդ զի եւ ոչ պարծանք ինչ նոցա եւ ոչ բարգաւաճանք՝ աւտար ազգաց քաջութիւն եւ գործք արութեան: Բայց թէպէտ եւ ոչ ի բուն մատեանսն, սակայն որպէս Մար Աբաս Կատինայ պատմէ՝ ի փոքունց ոմանց եւ յաննշանից արանց, ի գուսանականէն այս գտանի ժողովեալ ի դիւանի արքունեաց: Ասէ եւ այլ իմն պատճառս նոյն այր, թէ, որպէս ուսայ՝ հպարտ եւ անձնասէր գոլով Նինոս, եւ կամելով զինքն միայն աշխարհակալութեան եւ ամենայն քաջութեան եւ լաւութեան ցուցանել սկիզբն՝ հրամայէ զբազում մատեանս եւ զզրոյցս առաջնոցն, տեղեաց տեղեաց եւ ուրուք ուրուք գործոց քաջութեան, այրել, իսկ որ առ իւրովք ժամանակաւք՝ դադարեցուցանել, եւ որ ինչ վասն իւր միայնոյ՝ գրել: Այլ զայս աւելորդ եղեւ մեզ երկրորդել:
But regarding why such [accounts] were not written in the original books of the [Mesopotamian] kings, or in the [Mesopotamian] temple histories, let no one doubt or hesitate. [This happened] first, because [Aram lived] prior to the time of the reign of Ninus, [in a period] when no one bothered about such things. Second, because they saw no need or urgent necessity to write down in the books of their own kings or temples the ancient reports and ancestral stories of foreign peoples and remote lands. This was especially the case since, for them, the valor and brave deeds of foreign peoples were not objects of boasting or glorifying. But although they were not [recorded] in their original books, nonetheless, as Mar Abas Catina relates, they were collected by some lesser and obscure men from the ballads of gusans and are found in the royal divan. This same man mentions another reason, namely, that, as I have heard, Ninus was proud and self-centered, and so he wanted to show that he alone was the origin of empire and of all bravery and everything good. Consequently, he ordered that many books and stories of the ancients concerning deeds of valor performed in various places and by various people be burned. As for what was [recorded] in his own time [Ninus ordered that the writing of it] should be suspended, and only things concerning himself should be written down. But it is superfluous for us to repeat this.
As for Aram, after some years he became the father of Ara, and after many more years of life, he died.

Chapter 15 #

Ara commenced overseeing his patrimony a few years before the death of Ninus. He was granted [sovereignty] over it having been deemed worthy by Ninus, like his father Aram. Now it came about that the lustful and lascivious Shamiram for many years had been hearing about his good looks and was desirous of achieving her aims, but [at the time] she did not dare to do anything openly. However, after the death of Ninus—or, as I believe, after Ninus’ flight to Crete—she gave free reign to her sickness and sent envoys to Ara the Handsome with gifts and offerings, with many entreaties and promises of [more] gifts that he should come to her in Nineveh and [either] marrying her, reign over everything that Ninus had reigned over, or else after fulfilling her will and desire, return to his own place in peace and with great rewards.
Եւ ի բազում անգամ երթեւեկութեան հրեշտակագնացութեանն լինել, եւ յոչ հաւանել Արային, ի սաստիկ ցասման լեալ Շամիրամայ՝ ի վախճանի պատգամաւորութեանն առնու զբազմութիւն զաւրաց իւրոց, եւ փութայ երթալ հասանել յերկիրն Հայոց ի վերայ Արայի: Բայց որչափ ի դիմացն էր նշանակեալ, ոչ այնչափ ի սպանանել զնա եւ ի հալածել փութայր, քան թէ ի նուաճել կամ զբռամբ ածել, զի լցցէ զկամս ցանկութեան իւրոյ. զի առ յոյժ ցանկականի մոլեգնութեանն, ի բանսն որ զնմանէ՝ որպէս ի տեսութիւն շամբշութեամբ վառեալ էր: Գայ հասանէ տագնապաւ ի դաշտն Արայի, որ եւ յանուն նորա անուանեալ Այրարատ: Եւ ի լինել ճակատուն՝ պատուէր տայ զաւրապետաց իւրոց, թէ դէպ լինիցի՝ հնարել ապրեցուցանել զԱրայն: Իսկ ի լինել մարտին՝ հարկանի զաւրն Արայի, մեռանի եւ Արայ ի պատերազմին ի մանկանցն Շամիրամայ: Դիակապուտս առաքէ տիկինն յետ յաղթութեանն ի տեղի ճակատուն, խնդրել ի մէջ դիականցն անկելոց զըղձալին իւր եւ զտարփածուն: Գտանեն զԱրայն մեռեալ ի մէջ քաջամարտկացն, եւ հրամայէ դնել զնա ի վերնատան ապարանիցն:
Despite the frequent traffic of [Shamiram’s] messengers, Ara did not agree [to her proposals]. Transported into a rage, [Shamiram] stopped sending messengers, gathered a multitude of her troops, and hastened to go against Ara in the country of the Armenians. But, as was clear from her face, she did not so much want to kill him or expel him as to subdue him and get him in her grasp so that he would satisfy her desire. For in the foolishness of her great passion, [merely] at the reports about him she had become madly inflamed as if she had actually seen him. She arrived in a hurry at the plain of Ara, which was named Ayrarat after him. When the battle line was formed, she ordered her military commanders that they should let Ara live, if possible. However, in the battle, Ara’s army was defeated and Ara himself was killed by Shamiram’s warriors. After the victory, the queen sent [scouts] to the site of the battle to find the object of her desire, her beloved one, among the fallen bodies and to steal the corpse. They found Ara dead amidst his warriors, and she ordered them to place [his body] in the upper room of her palace.
Իսկ ի գրգռել միւսանգամ զաւրացն Հայոց ի մարտ պատերազմի ընդ տիկնոջն Շամիրամայ, քինախնդիր լինել մահուանն Արայի՝ ասէ. «Հրամայեցի աստուածոցն իմոց լեզուլ զվէրս նորա, եւ կենդանասցի:» Միանգամայն եւ ակն ունէր դիւթութեամբ վհկութեան իւրոյ կենդանացուցանել զԱրայ, ցնորեալ ի տռփական ցանկութենէն: Իսկ իբրեւ նեխեցաւ դի նորա՝ հրամայէ ընկենուլ ի վիհ մեծ եւ ծածկել. զմի ոմն ի հոմանեաց իւրոց զարդարեալ ունելով ի ծածուկ՝ համբաւէ զնմանէ այսպէս. «Լիզեալ աստուածոցն զԱրայ եւ կենդանացուցեալ լցին զփափագ մեր եւ զհեշտութիւն. վասն որոյ առաւել յայսմ հետէ պաշտելիք են ի մէնջ եւ փառաւորեալք, իբրեւ հեշտացուցիչք եւ կամակատարք: Կանգնէ եւ նոր իմն պատկեր յանուն դիւաց, եւ մեծապէս զոհիւք պատուէ, ցուցանելով ամենեցուն, իբր թէ այս զաւրութիւն աստուածոցն կենդանացուցին զԱրայ: Եւ այսպէս համբաւեալ զնմանէ ի վերայ երկրիս Հայոց, եւ հաւանեցուցեալ զամենեսեան՝ դադարեցուցանէ զխազմն:
When the troops of the Armenians again were roused to fight with Queen Shamiram, to avenge the death of Ara, she said: “I have ordered my gods to lick his wounds and bring him back to life.” And indeed, she really believed that she could revive Ara by the magic of her sorcery, being mad with lust for her darling. However, when his corpse began to decay, she ordered that it be thrown into a deep pit and covered up. Then, having secretly dressed up one of her lovers [to look like Ara], she spread the following [rumor] about him: “The gods licked (the wounds) of Ara and, restoring him to life, have fulfilled our wish and pleasure. Therefore, henceforth, they are even more worthy of worship and glorification among us, as they fulfill our pleasures and accomplish our desires. [Shamiram] then erected some new idol to the glory of the gods and revered it with great sacrifices, wanting to show everyone that it was the power of these gods, supposedly, that brought Ara back to life. And she spread these reports about him throughout this country of the Armenians and convinced everyone, thereby bringing the war to an end.
As regards Ara, let what we have recorded in brief be sufficient. He lived some years and became the father of Kardos.

Chapter 16 #

After these successful events, Shamiram lingered not a few days in the plain named after Ara, Ayrarat. She went out to the mountainous region on the southern side of the land because it was summertime and she wanted to enjoy the flowering meadows and plains. Seeing the beauty of the country, the purity of the air, the clearness of the flowing streams, and the gurgling of the fast rivers, she said: “In such a temperate climate and purity of waters and countryside we must build a city and palace, so that we may spend a quarter of the year, the summer season, in Armenia because of all its charms. The other three cooler seasons we shall spend in Nineveh.”
Passing through many areas, she arrived at the eastern shore of a salt lake. On the shore of the lake she saw a long hill whose length ran toward the setting sun. To the north it sloped somewhat, but to the south it looked straight up to heaven, with a cave in the vertical rock. To the south of the hill there opened out a wide meadow like a plain, descending from the mountain on the east to the edge of the lake–a spacious and beautiful valley through which ran streams of sweet water. These streams, descending from the mountain and flowing through the valleys and meadows, accumulated in the crevices at the base of the mountains, and then spread out as extensive and luxurious rivers. There were not a few cultivated areas in the valley, built on both sides of the waters, and to the east of the hill she liked was situated a low mountain.
Աստ իմն ակնակառոյց լեալ այրասիրտն այն եւ կաթոտն Շամիրամ, հրաման տայ չորից բիւրոց եւ երկուց հազարաց արանց անարուեստից գործաւորաց յԱսորեստանեայց եւ յայլոց իշխեցելոց, եւ վեց հազար իւրոց ընտրելոց յամենայն արուեստաւոր գործաւորաց փայտի եւ քարի, պղնձոյ եւ երկաթոյ, որք ամենեւին կատարեալք իցեն յարուեստագիտութեան, ածել անխափան ի փափագեալ տեղին. եւ գործն հաւասար հրամանին առնոյր զկատարումն: Եւ վաղվաղակի ածեալ լինէին բազմութիւն խառնաղանճից գործաւորացն եւ բազմարուեստից հանճարեղաց իմաստնոցն: Եւ հրամայէ նախ զամբարտակ գետոյն ապառաժիւք եւ մեծամեծ վիմաւք շինել, կրով եւ աւազով մածուցեալ, անբաւ լայնութեամբ եւ բարձրութեամբ. որ կայ հաստատուն, որպէս ասեն, մինչեւ ցայսաւր ժամանակի: Եւ ի պատառուածս նոյն ամբարտակի գետոյն այժմ, որպէս լսեմք, մարդիկ աշխարհին ի հէն եւ ի գաղթականս փախստեամբ ամրանան, իբր ի ծայրս քարանձաւաց լերանց ամրացեալք: Եւ եթէ զփորձ առնուլ դէպ ումեք լինիցի եւ ոչ իբր պարսատկաց քար մի արժանաւոր ի շինուածոյ ամբարտակին խլել ոք զաւրեսցէ, թէեւ մեծաւ աշխատութեամբ ջանայցէ: Եւ ի հեղուսուածս արուեստին որ զքարամբքն՝ հայեցեալ ուրուք, որպէս ճարպոյ ինչ հեղման հայեցողացն երեւեցուցանէ կարծիս: Եւ այսպէս ընդ բազում ասպարէզս անցուցեալ զամբարտակն՝ հասուցանէ ի նկատեալ տեղի քաղաքին:
After careful examination, it was here, to this desired spot, that Shamiram, resolute and lascivious, ordered to be brought at once 42,000 regular workers from Assyria and other lands under her sway and 6,000 chosen from her most talented craftsmen in wood and stone, bronze and iron, who were [experts] most proficient in their skills. And the work was completed according to her command. Immediately a diverse multitude of workers and expert craftsmen was brought in. First she ordered that an aqueduct [or dam/reservoir] of unlimited width and height should be built for the river, made from pieces of rocks and massive bolders, cemented with mortar and sand. It has remained firm, as they say, until the present time. And in the crevices of the aqueduct nowadays, as we hear, people from the land entrench themselves for robbery and hide, using it a place of refuge from flight, as though they were as secure here as they would be on the rocky summits of mountains. Moreover, should anyone make the attempt, he would be unable to remove from the structure of the aqueduct even a [small] stone suitable for a sling, no matter how hard he might try. And if one were to examine the skill of the cementing around the stones, it would appear to him [so smooth that it seemed] to have been made with melted lard. In this manner she extended the aqueduct over many stadia and brought it to the place designated for the city.
Եւ անդ հրամայէ զամբոխն ի բազում դասս որոշել, եւ ի վերայ իւրաքանչիւրոց դասուց զընտիրս ի ճարտարացն վարդապետս կարգել. եւ այսպէս ի սաստիկ ճգնութեան պահեալ՝ յետ սակաւ ամաց կատարէ զհրաշալին ամրագունիւք պարսպաւք, հանդերձ դրամբք պղնձակերտիւք: Շինէ եւ ընտիր ընտիրս եւ բազումս ի մէջ քաղաքին ապարանս ի պէս պէս քարանց եւ ի գունից զարդարեալս, կրկնայարկս եւ եռայարկս, եւ ըստ պատեհի իւրաքանչիւր՝ արեգակնակս. եւ գեղեցկագունիւք եւ ընդարձակ փողոցիւք զկողմանս քաղաքին որոշելով: Շինէ եւ զչքնաղս ոմանս եւ զզարմանալոյ արժանաւորս ըստ պիտոյից միջոցաց քաղաքին լուալիս: Եւ զմասն ինչ գետոյն ընդ մէջ քաղաքին բաշխեալ անցուցանէ ի սպաս ամենայն պիտոյից եւ յարբուցմունս բուրաստանաց եւ ծաղկոցաց. եւ զայլն զեզերբ ծովակին յաջմէ եւ յահեկէ՝ քաղաքին եւ բովանդակ շրջակային յարբուցումն: Եւ զամենայն արեւելեան եւ զհիւսիսային եւ զհարաւային կողմանս քաղաքին զարդարէ դաստակերտաւք, եւ սաղարթիւք ծառոց վարսաւորաց, զանազանեալք ի պտուղս եւ ի տերեւս. եւ բազումս բազմաբերս եւ գինեբերս ի նմա տնկեաց ովիտս: Եւ ամենայնիւ հոյակապ եւ հռչակաւոր զպարսպեալն յաւրինէ, եւ անթիւ բազմութիւն մարդկան ի ներքս բնակեցուցանէ:
There she ordered the crowd [of workmen] to be divided into many groups and over each group to be set chosen masters of the craft. And thus, by maintaining strict discipline, within a few years she completed the marvelous [city, built] with strong walls and bronze gates. Inside the city she also built many choice palaces, adorned with stones of various colors, [structures] of two and three stories, each one turned to the sun where possible. The sections of the city were divided by beautiful broad avenues. In the middle of the city she built some delightful baths for people’s needs, with admirable art. She diverted part of the river through the city to serve every necessity and for the irrigation of the parks and flower gardens. The rest she made run along the shore of the lake to the right and left, to irrigate the city and all the surrounding area. All the regions east, north, and south of the city she adorned with estates and with leafy trees that produced varied fruit and foliage. There she planted many types of fruit trees and wine-producing vineyards. She made the walled city absolutely splendid and magnificent, and settled there a countless multitude of inhabitants.
As for the summit of the city and the different marvellous structures on it, many men cannot comprehend them nor is it possible to describe them. [Shamiram] enclosed the summit with a wall and erected there royal buildings, difficult of entry and exit. The nature of this site and construction we have not heard from anyone with accuracy, so we are unwilling to include it in our history. Let us only say that of all the royal works, this, as we have heard, is considered the first and most magnificent.
On the side of the rock that faces the sun—and it is rock of such hardness that today one cannot scratch a line on it even with iron—[Shamiram carved out] various chambers and rooms, treasuries, and deep recesses—such astonishing things that no one knows how they were built. Over the entire surface of the rock, smoothing it like wax with a stylus, she inscribed many texts, the mere sight of which makes anyone marvel. And not only this, but also in many places in the land of the Armenians she set up monuments and ordered [inscriptions] in memory of herself to be written on them in the same writing. Furthermore, in many places she fixed her boundaries with the same writing.
Now let what we have said about the deeds of Shamiram in Armenia be sufficient.

Chapter 17 #

About Shamiram: why she killed her sons, and how she fled to Armenia [escaping] from the mage Zoroaster. And how she died at the hands of her son, Ninuas.
Now since [Shamiram] was continually going to spend the summers in the northern regions, [travelling] to the summer residence that she had built in Armenia, she left as her governor and overseer for Assyria and Nineveh the mage Zoroaster. [Zoroaster] was a mage and also patriarch of the Medes. And Shamiram, having made this arrangement over a long period of time, entrusted him with the whole government of her realm.
Since she was often reproached by her sons for her extremely lewd and prostitute-like behavior, she killed all of them. Only the youngest, Ninuas, was spared. With no concern for her own sons, [Shamiram] bestowed all her power and treasures on her friends and lovers. Her husband Ninus had not, as is said, died and been buried by her in the palace at Nineveh. Rather, [Ninus] had abandoned his kingdom and fled to Crete, since he had become aware of her diseased and malevolent lifestyle. But when her sons attained maturity and understanding, they reminded her of all this—thinking that they would reduce her demonic passion, and that she would hand over the power and treasures to her sons. This [reproach] made her even more furious, and she killed all of them. Only Ninuas remained, as we said above.
Then, due to some errors [committed] by Zoroaster toward the queen, strife arose between them. Shamiram waged war against him, because the Mede planned to tyrannize over everyone. When the war intensified, Shamiram fled from Zoroaster, going to Armenia. Ninuas, finding the time appropriate for his revenge, killed his mother and then he himself ruled over Assyria and Nineveh. So we have now explained the cause and circumstances of Shamiram’s death.

Chapter 18 #

Concerning the certainty that Shamiram first waged war in India and later died in Armenia.
I am aware [of the account] of Cephalion [and will mention it] so that we do not provide [an excuse] for many [folk] to laugh at us. For among many other topics, [Cephalion] mentions first the birth of Shamiram, then Shamiram’s war with Zoroaster, which he says she won, followed by warfare with the Indians. More reliable to us than this seems the account by Mar Abas Catina [made] through examination of the Chaldean writings. For [the latter] wrote in a consistent style and reveals the causes of the war. Furthermore, the fables of our own land confirm the learned Assyrian [author’s account], when they speak of the death of Shamiram here, her flight on foot, her thirst and desire for water, and the quenching of her thirst; and, when the armed men [pursuing her] drew near, the [throwing of] the amulet into the sea, and the saying derived from that: “The pearls of Shamiram [thrown] into the sea.” But if you delight in fables: [know that] Shamiram [was turned into] stone before Niobe. But enough of this. Now we must describe what happened subsequently.

Chapter 19 #

What transpired after the death of Shamiram.
Having put everything in order, I shall present to you in this book the greatest men and ancestors of our people, the stories that concern them, and each one’s deeds—not inserting anything fictitious or improper, but only what has been taken from books and, similarly, from wise men learned in these matters. From [these sources] we have attempted to make an accurate collection [relating to] antiquities. And I will say that in this history we adhere to the truth according to our commitment to truthfulness. God knows that our [entire] collection has been made according to these principles. But whether people will praise or criticize it is of no importance to us. Nonetheless, the conformity of the accounts and the equivalence of the numbers of descendants suggest the accuracy of our labor. Having arranged all this in such a fashion, either with [complete] certainty, or with minor deviations from the truth, I shall begin to tell you about further events from the history [called] the Web of Chries.
Now after the death of Shamiram, caused by her own son Zames, that is, Ninuas, which occured following the killing of Ara, we can know for certain the order of the following events. Ninuas came to the throne and lived in peace after killing his lascivious mother. It was in his time that the days of Abraham came to an end.
The agreement of the genealogy of our people with those of the Hebrews and Chaldeans down to Sardanapalus, who was called Tawnos Konkoleros.
From the Hebrews
After him, [leaders are listed] not according to family but by their precedence, and all of them descend from Abraham.
Now when it came about that Joshua killed the Canaanites, [some of them] fled from him to Agras, sailing for Tarsis. [The truth of] this can be seen from the inscriptions on stone pillars, in the land of the Africans, which have survived to this day, on which is written precisely this: “We, the Canaanite lords, fled from the thief Joshua, and came here to dwell.” One of them—our most venerable Kananidae—[appeared here] among the Armenians. We made inquiries and found out, accurately, that the generations of the Gnt’uni family undoubtedly descend from him. Moreover, the character of men of this family reveal them to be Canaanites.
[From the Canaanites] Got’oniel Avod Barak Gideon Abimelek T’ola Yayir Ep’t’ayi Esebon Elon Labdon Samson Heli Samuel Saul David, and his descendants.
The Chaldeans
Arios Ar’alios, [who is] Amiwr’os Xerxes, [who is] Baghe’os Ar’mamit’r’eos Belok’os Bale’os Aghtados Mamit’os Mask’agheos Sp’eros Mamighos Sparet’os Askatade’s Aminte’s Belok’os Baghotor’es Ghampar’ite’s Susar’is Ghampar’is Pannias Sosar’mos Mit’r’eos Tewtamos Tewte’os T’inews Der’kiwghos Ewpaghmos Ghawost’enis Per’itiade’s Op’r’atios P’r’atinis Akr’azanis Sardanapalus.
The Armenians
Ara, [son] of Ara.
He is the son of our Ara, called Ara by Shamiram. She entrusted him with the overseership of our land. From him [descend]:
Anushawan Pare’t Arbak Zawan P’ar’nak Sur In his time lived Joshua son of Naw.
They say about him that he lived in the time of Belok’os and that he caused senseless riots and died in them.
Ampak Ar’nak Shawarsh Norayr Vstamkar Gor’ak Hrant E"ndzak' Gzak Ho’roy Zarmayr.
He was sent by Tewtamos to help Priam with the Ethiopian army and was killed by the braves of the Hellenes.

Chapter 20 #

About Ara, the [son] of Ara, and his son Anushawan Sawsanue’r.
Ara had fathered a son from his beloved wife, Nuard, during Shamiram’s lifetime, a boy who was twelve years old at the time of Ara’s death. Shamiram named him Ara after her earlier infatuation for Ara the Handsome. She set him up as overseer of our land, having full confidence in him. [Some] say that [this Ara also] died in a war with Shamiram.
But [Mar Abas Catina] narrates affairs after this as follows: Ara [son of] Ara, died in the war with Shamiram, leaving a male child who was exceedingly accomplished and gifted in word and deed. [This child] was named Anushawan So’sanue’r [dedicated to the sos tree].
[He was so called] because he had been dedicated to the worship of the sos [poplar tree] at [the grove of] Aramaneak in Armawir. The rustling of their leaves and the direction of their movement at the gentler or stronger blowing of the wind was used for divination in the land of the Armenians, [a practice which] went on for a long time.
This Anushawan, who had endured Zames’ [Ninuas’] contempt for a long time, was embittered at the royal court. But helped by friends, he gained control over part of the land, accumulated money through taxation, and later [gained control] over the whole land. However, it would be far too much if we were to repeat in this account everything worthwhile in the words and deeds of the men mentioned above.

Chapter 21 #

Paruyr, son of Skyordi, becomes the first king among the Armenians; he helps the Mede Varbak to take possession of [the Median] kingdom from Sardanapalus.
Leaving out of our narration [material] which is least important, let us discuss the most important. I will name our Paruyr as the last of those [rulers] who lived under Assyrian domination, from [the time of] Shamiram or Ninus. [Paruyr lived during the time of] Sardanapalus, and [Paruyr] provided considerable assistance to the Mede Varbak in wresting the kingdom from Sardanapalus.
At this point, I will rejoice with no small delight, since I have reached the point [in my History] when the descendants of our original ancestor reached the level of [having] kingship. Therefore it is right for us now to make great efforts here and to present a lot of information. As the basis for such information we considered it worthwhile that we ourselves should read the four sections of that eloquent and wise man, indeed the wisest of wise men.
Varbake’s the Mede, who hailed from the most remote part of that inaccessible district, was very cunning in his conduct and renowned in battle. [Varbake’s], being aware of the unmanly lifestyle and pleasure-loving softness and sloth of T’on Konkogher’os [Sardanapalus], through his generosity and liberality gained friends among the warriors and noteworthy men by whom the Assyrian empire at that time was being governed with great and evident stability. He attracted to himself our valiant lord Paroyr, promising him the splendor and attributes of kingship. In addition, he assembled many groups of brave men who were expert with the lance, bow, and sword. Thus he seized the kingdom for himself from Sardanapalus and ruled over Assyria and Nineveh. However [after this], leaving others as governors for Assyria, he transferred the [seat of the] kingdom to Media.
Now should others narrate this [information] differently, do not be surprised. For as we observed above, in an earlier section the blame for [the lack of information] was due to the unscholarly dispositions of our first ancestors. Here, too [in describing later times], the same [situation obtains]. While the deeds of the father of Nebuchadnezzar were written down by those who supervised [writing] their [Assyrian] memorials, [here, in Armenia] since our own people did not think to do such a thing, [only] in recent times have [the deeds of the noteworthy] been recorded. So if you ask: “From what [sources] did we learn the names of our ancestors and the deeds of many of them?” I reply: “From the ancient archives of the Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Persians, since their names and deeds were entered by the court secretary [on deeds] listing them as appointees over our land, as overseers and great governors.”

Chapter 22 #

The order of our kings and their number, from father to son.
Now I shall pass on to enumerating our [noteworthy] men, especially those who were kings up to the time of the lordship of the Parthians. For such men among our kings are as dear to me as my very own blood relations and true brothers. I would be happy if the Savior had appeared at that time and redeemed me and I had been born into the world under them [the Armenian kings], to enjoy the pleasures of their rule, avoiding the present troubles [of our day]. But that situation [i.e., self-rule] or even the chance for it escaped us long ago. Now I, living during the reign of foreigners, shall set forth the order of the kings of our people next to theirs. The native monarchs of our land were those men whose names we shall record below.
That there truly was a kingdom of our people in that [ancient] period is attested by [a passage in the Biblical book of] the prophet Jeremiah in his words inviting [other peoples] to come to war against Babylon. He said: “Order [to come forth] the kingdom of Ayrarat and the brigade of Ask’anaz” [Jeremiah 51:2], which [passage] authenticates the existence of our kingdom in that period.
Now let us present the order of our [kings] alongside [the chronology] of the kings of the Medes.
The First Median [kings were]:
Varbake’s Mo’dakis So’sarmos Ar’tikas De’ovkis P’r’awortis Kwak’sare’s Azhdahak
Our first [kings] crowned by Varbake’s the Mede:
Paroyr, son of Skayordi Hrach’eay
Սա Հրաչեայ կոչի վասն առաւել պայծառերես եւ բոցակնագոյն իմն լինելոյ: Առ սովաւ ասեն կեցեալ զՆաբուգոդոնոսոր արքայ Բաբելացւոց, որ գերեաց զՀրեայս: Եւ սորա ասեն զմի ի գլխաւորաց Եբրայեցւոցն գերելոց խնդրեալ ի Նաբուգոդոնոսորայ՝ Շամբաթ անուն, ածեալ բնակեցոյց յերկրիս մերում մեծաւ պատուով. եւ ի սմանէ ասէ պատմագիրն լինել զազգն Բագրատունեաց, եւ հաւաստի է: Բայց թէ ո՛րպիսի ջան եղեւ թագաւորացն մերոց՝ զնոսա ի պաշտաւն կռոցն խոնարհեցուցանել, եւ կամ թէ քանի՛ք եւ ո՛յք ոմանք ի նոցանէ որք աստուածպաշտութեամբ վճարեցին զկեանս՝ յետոյ պատմեսցուք ոճով: Քանզի ասելն ոմանց անհաւաստի մարդոց, ըստ յաւժարութեան եւ ոչ ըստ ճշմարտութեան, ի Հայկայ զթագադիր ազգդ Բագրատունեաց լինել: Վասն որոյ ասեմ. մի՛ այսպիսեաց յիմար բանից հաւանիր. զի եւ ոչ մի շաւիղ կամ ցուցումն գոյ նմանութեան յասացեալսդ՝ որ զարդարութիւն ակնարկէ. զի ի բայ բանից եւ անոճ իմն յաղագս Հայկայ եւ նմանեացն կակազէ: Բայց ծանի՛ր, զի Սմբատդ անուն, զոր յաճախ Բագրատունիք ի վերայ պատանեաց կոչեն՝ ճշմարտութեամբ Շամբաթ է, ըստ նախնի իւրեանց խաւսիցն, որ է եբրայեցի:
This Hrach’eay was so named because of his very radiant face and fiery eyes. They say that in his day lived Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians, who took the Jews captive. They say that [Hrach’eay] requested from Nechuchadnezzar one of the chiefs of the Hebrew captives, named Shambat, who was brought and settled in our country with great honor. It is from him, historians say, that the Bagratuni azg descends. And that is the truth. Later we shall relate in detail what efforts our kings made to make them submit to idol worship, and about [the Bagratids’ losses] how many of them, and who they were that paid with their lives for worshipping God. For some unreliable men say, willfully and not truthfully, that it was from Hayk that your Bagratuni clan, [clan of] the coronants, descended. Therefore I say, “Do not believe such foolish words since there is no trace or sign of reality or verisimilitude in them. For these are disordered babblings and nonsensical words [supposedly] about Hayk and his kind. But know that this name Smbat, which the Bagratunik’ often give to their children, is in truth Shambat’ in their original language, Hebrew.”
P’ar’navaz, Pachoych, Kor’nak, P’ar’os, The other Haykak, Eruand the Short-lived, Tigran.
I believe that the later Eruand and Tigran were named after these [people in the list], in the hope [of resembling them]; the time was not very distant, and someone remembered these names.

Chapter 23 #

About the sons of Senek’erim, from whom are descended the Artsruni and the Gnuni [houses] and the [house of the] one called the bidaxš of Aghdznik’; and, in the same chapter, that the House of Angegh descends from Pask’am.
Before we undertake our account of Tigran the Great—a robust, renowned, and triumphant figure among world rulers, who was the ninth of our crowned native [kings]—let us mention what is most important for the coherence of our narration. We have forgotten to mention Senek’erim. Senek’erim had become king of Assyria some 80 years or so years before the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. [It was King] Senek’erim who had besieged Jerusalem in the time of Hezekiah, the leader of the Jews. But [Senek’erim’s] sons, Adramelek’ and Sanasar, killed him and fled to us.
Skayordi, our brave ancestor, settled one of them in the southwestern [part] of our land, near the border of the same Assyria. This [brother] was Sanasar, and his descendants grew and multiplied and filled the mountain called Sim. Subsequently, the grandest and chiefs among them, having displayed some significant merit toward our king, were deemed worthy of receiving the [position] of border lordship of those areas. As for [the other brother,] Ardamozan, he inhabited [land] to the southeast of the same area, and from him, says the historian [Mar Abbas Catina], descend the Artsruni and Gnuni. This is the reason for our recalling Senek’erim.
The same historian says that the House of Angegh descends from a certain Pask’am, grandson of Hayk.

Chapter 24 #

Regarding Tigran, and what kind of person he was in everything.
Now let us move on to Tigran and his deeds, for he was the most powerful and intelligent of our kings, who surpassed in courage not only [the other Armenian kings], but all others. He aided Cyrus in ending the overlordship of the Medes, and he conquered the Greeks and made them subject to himself for no short period of time. He extended the borders of our habitation and established them at their extreme limits in antiquity. He aroused the envy of all his contemporaries, and his life and period have been cherished by those who came after him.
Զի ո՞ ոք ի ճշմարիտ արանց, եւ որոց ի բարս արութեան եւ խոհականութեան սիրելութիւն կայցէ, սորա յիշատակաւքն ոչ զուարճասցի, եւ յորդորեսցի այսպիսի այր լինել: Արանց կացեալ գլուխ եւ արութիւն ցուցեալ՝ զազգս մեր բարձրացոյց, եւ զընդ լծով կացեալսս՝ լծադիրս եւ հարկապահանջս կացոյց բազմաց. մթերս ոսկւոյ եւ արծաթոյ եւ քարանց պատուականաց եւ զգեստուց եւ պէս պէս գունից եւ անկուածոց՝ արանց միանգամայն եւ կանանց՝ հասարակաց բազմացոյց. որովք տգեղագոյնքն իբրեւ զգեղաւորս երեւէին սքանչելիք, եւ գեղաւորքն ըստ ժամանակին առ հասարակ դիւցազնացեալք: Հետեւակամարտքն ի վերայ ուսոց ձիոց բերեալք, եւ պարսաւորքն առ հասարակ դիպաղեղունք, եւ շերտաւորքն ի սուսեր եւ ի տէգ նիզակի վառեալք. մերկքն վահանաւք եւ զգեստուք երկաթեաւք պարածածկեալք: Որոց ի մի վայր հասելոց բաւական էր տեսիլն միայն, եւ որ ի նոցայն պահպանակաց եւ զինուց փայլմունք եւ շողիւնք՝ զթշնամիսն արտահալածել: Խաղաղութեան եւ շինութեան բերող, իւղով եւ մեղու զամենայն հասակ պարարեալ:
Who among true men and those who appreciate deeds of valor and reason would not be gladdened by his memory and aspire to become such a man? Bravely leading men and displaying his valor, he exalted our nation. We, who had been under a yoke [to others], he put in a position to subject and demand tribute from many [others]. He increased the stores of gold and silver and precious stones, of garments and fabrics of various colors, both for men and women. By such means, the ugliest [people] seemed to be attractive, while the [already] attractive, according to the conceptions of the time, were [made as attractive] as deities. The [former] infantry, [now transformed into cavalry], was carried on the backs of horses. The slingers were [now] all skilled archers. Those with clubs were [now] armed with swords and lances. [Even] the [previously] unarmed [fighters] were entirely protected by shields and iron armor. Just the sight of them gathered in one place, with the brilliance and sparkle of their armor and weapons, was enough to put the enemy to flight. [Tigran] the bringer of peace and prosperity, fattened everyone with oil and honey.
Benefits like these and many besides were brought to our land by Tigran, son of Eruand. He had light colored hair that curled at the ends, and was physically attractive with a fine complexion, a gentle-eyed gaze, broad-shoulders, strong legs and noble feet. [He also was] moderate in eating and drinking at feasts. As our ancients who played the p’andir’ would sing, [Tigran] was moderate in the desires of the flesh, wise and eloquent, and endowed with all human virtues. What could be more pleasant for me in this book than to write about the accolades he received and the stories associated with him? Fair and impartial in judging all things, he mentally weighed the way of life of everyone on scales. He did not envy the best, and did not despise the inferior, but strived to spread the cloak of his caring equally over all.
Now formerly, [Tigran] was an ally of Azhdahak the Mede and had given his own sister, Tigranuhi, in marriage to him, as [Azhdahak] had greatly desired this. For the latter said [to himself]: either such an alliance will lead to a stable friendship with Tigran, or [if it fails to do this], it will be easier to eliminate him through assassination. For there was a suspicion [about Tigran] due to some unexpected prophecy about future events.

Chapter 25 #

About Azhdahak’s fear and doubt over the friendly unity between Cyrus and Tigran.
The cause of such reflections was the warm alliance between Cyrus and Tigran. Because of this [alliance], sleep fled from Azhdahak whenever he thought of it, and he was constantly asking his counselors about it: “With what stratagems,” he asked, “can we break the bonds of friendship between the Persian and the Armenian with his tens of thousands [of troops]?” While [Azhdahak] was troubled with these thoughts he had a vision of the future through a prophetic dream, which he [Mar Abas Catina] relates as follows:

Chapter 26 #

In those days, he says, the alliance between Cyrus and Tigran posed no small threat to Azhdahak. [Because of the threat and] from the disturbed state of his mind, a vision appeared to him at night, such as he had never seen with his eyes or heard with his ears while awake. Waking up suddenly, he did not wait for the hour of the meeting according to established custom. Rather, he summoned his counselors [at once], even though there were still several hours of night remaining. With a sad face and downcast gaze, he sighed from the depths of his heart. When the counselors asked him why that was, he delayed his response for some hours. Finally, with a groan, [Azhdahak] began to reveal all that had been hidden in his heart—thoughts and doubts and also the details of the frightening vision.
“O dear ones, it happened to me today that I found myself in an unfamiliar land, near a mountain that rose high above the earth and whose peak seemed to be covered with thick ice. One might have said that this was the country of the Armenians. As I gazed for a long time at the mountain, some woman dressed in purple and with a veil the color of the sky appeared seated atop its crest. Her eyes were lovely, she was tall, with red cheeks, and she was seized with pains of labor. As I looked for a long time in astonishment at this sight, the woman suddenly gave birth to three heroes, fully grown in height and nature. The first of them jumped on a lion and rushed to the west; the second—on a leopard—headed north; the third, having bridled a monstrous dragon, swiftly attacked our realm.
In the midst of such confused dreams it seemed to me that I was standing on the roof of my royal palace. I observed that the surface was adorned with beautiful tents of many colors. The gods who crowned me were present in a wonderful spectacle, and I, along with you, was honoring them with sacrifices and incense. Suddenly I looked up and saw the man who was riding the dragon (which flew as though with eagle’s wings), bearing down [on us]. He was already close by, intending to destroy the gods. But I, Azhdahak, throwing myself between them, received this attack upon myself and came to grips with the fantastic hero. First we both struck each other’s bodies with the tips of our spears, causing streams of blood to flow. We turned the roof of the palace, which shone like the sun, into a sea of blood. Thus, and later with other arms, we fought for not a few hours.
But what good does it do me to prolong this narration? For the matter ended with my destruction. [The vision] put me into a great sweat and sleep fled from me. After that, [from fear] I did not seem to be alive. The action in these visions indicates nothing except that Tigran the Armenian is about to come upon us in a violent attack. Beyond help from the gods, I wonder who [among you, as a reward] would not like to become our fellow king, by offering us advice useful in word and deed?"

Chapter 27 #

About the advice of his advisors, his own thoughts, and the course of action he took at once.
Բազում ինչ հանճարով եւ իմաստութեամբ ի ձէնջ լուեալ, ասէ, ո՛վ սիրելիք, ասացից եւ որ ինչ իմ յետ աստուածոցն աւգնականութեան յայսոսիկ աւգտակարագոյն բան եւ մտածութիւն: Քանզի ոչ ինչ առ թշնամեացն զգուշութիւն վեհագոյն բերէ աւգնականութիւն, եւ ծանաւթութիւն նոցայցն առաջի արկելոց գործոց՝ քան թէ որ ի ձեռն սիրով դաւելոյն զկորուստ խորհեսցի: Եւ զայս դարձեալ ոչ ի ձեռն գանձուց, եւ ոչ ի ձեռն բանից պատրողաց այժմ մեզ հնարաւորութիւն է կատարել, եթէ ոչ որպէս կամք են ինձ այժմ գործել: Եւ այն է նիւթ կատարման խորհրդոյս եւ հնարք որոգայթիցս, գեղեցիկն ի կանայս եւ խոհեմն, քոյր նորա Տիգրանուհի: Զի այսպիսիքս իսկ արտաքուստ եւ եկամուտ հարազատութիւնք համարձակ զդաւելն ի ձեռն երթեւեկութեան անյայտաբար ընդարձակ մարթեցուցանիցեն վարժել. կամ յանկարծաւրէն իւրոց մտերմաց, ընչիւք եւ խոստմամբ պատուոց, տալ հրաման խողխողել սրով եւ կամ հնարիւք դեղոց, եւ կամ զմտերիմս նորա եւ զկուսակալս գանձիւք ի նմանէ ի բաց մերկանալ, եւ այսպէս իբրեւ զանզաւր տղայ ի բուռն առցուք:
“My dear ones, having heard many thoughtful and wise words from you, I will now tell you which of them, with the help of the gods, I consider to be the most useful advice. For nothing brings greater advantage, when one is taking precautions against enemies and wants to know their plans, than for someone through the pretense of friendship to plot their destruction. Moreover, we can accomplish this now, not through money or deceitful words but only in the way that I have decided to act. The executor of my plan, and the bait for the trap, will be his sister Tigranuhi, the most beautiful and intelligent among women. We could conduct quite a large conspiracy and operate freely and unseen, due to her many connections with the outside and the goings and comings of kinfolk. [As examples,] we might on some opportune occasion, via gifts and the promise of honors, get one of [Tigran’s] friends to slay him with the sword or poison him; or, through bribes, [we might] strip him of his intimates and lieutenants, and thus get our hands on him as though he were a powerless child.”
[Azhdahak’s] friends considered such a plan to be effective, and set to work on its implementation. To one of his advisors [Azhdahak] gave a large amount of treasure and sent him off with a letter having the following contents:

Chapter 28 #

Azhdahak’s letter, followed by Tigran’s acceptance [of its proposal], and Tigranuhi’s journey to Media.
You, my dear brother, know that the gods have bestowed upon us nothing more useful in our worldly lives than [the gift of having] a great number of friends, and especially really wise and powerful ones. For then there are no hostile encroachments from the outside to disturb us, and if [problems] do arise they are quickly suppressed. Now, seeing that such a beneficial situation derives from friendship, I have thought to further strengthen and deepen the love which exists between us. Then we may both be secure on every side and also keep our empires strong and unshakable. And this will happen if you give me in marriage the princess of Greater Armenia, your sister, Tigranuhi—if indeed you consider it a good thing for her to become queen of queens [of Media]. Be well our fellow sovereign and beloved brother.
Without lengthening the narration, let me say that the envoy arrived and made arrangements for [the marriage of] the beautiful princess, since Tigran had consented to give his sister, Tigranuhi, in marriage to Azhdahak. Not knowing of the plot [being prepared], he sent off his sister according to royal custom. And Azhdahak received her, not only because of the deceit in his heart, but because of her beauty, and made her first among his women, [all the while] weaving an evil web in the background.

Chapter 29 #

How the treachery was revealed, and how the war was provoked in which Azhdahak himself perished.
After this [Mar Abas Catina] says that once Azhdahak had established Tigranuhi as queen, he did nothing without her consent in his kingdom. Indeed, at her word he regulated everything and ordered everyone to obey her. Having thus arranged everything, he gradually began to ply her with dishonest statements. “You do not know it, but your brother Tigran, incited by his wife Zaruhi, is envious of your authority over the Aryans. And what will be the result of this, if I do not first die and then Zaruhi reigns over the Aryans and occupies that place among the goddesses? Now you have a choice: either remain friendly with your brother and accept disgraceful ruin in the eyes of the Aryans, or, for your own good, contribute some useful advice and take heed for the future.”
Concealed within such cunning was the [hidden] threat of Tigranuhi’s [own] death if she should think of anything contrary to the wishes of the Medo-Persian. But the perceptive and beautiful [Tigranuhi] discerned this treachery and replied to Azhdahak in loving words—but she quickly informed her brother of the treachery through trusted [people].
After that, [Azhdahak] set to work [on his trap, suggesting to Tigran] through an embassy that they should meet somewhere on the border of the two realms for mutual discussions, as if some pressing matter or business had arisen that could not be handled by means of a letter or an exchange of messengers but only if the two met face to face. However Tigran, understanding what the end result of the proposal would be, did not hide the fact that he knew all about Azhdahak’s plot. Instead, in a letter [to Azhdahak, Tigran] revealed what was [hidden in] the depths of his heart. And when such evil was exposed, no words or tricks could cover it with a veil. After that, war broke out.
The king of the Armenians assembled [troops] from the territory of the Cappadocians, as well as select [troops] from the Iberians and Aghuans, and all the select troops from Greater and Lesser Armenia. He advanced with this entire multitude to the Median areas. At that point, this danger compelled Azhdahak to muster not a small host to engage the Armenian in battle. However, the conflict was delayed for five [additional] months because as soon as Tigran recalled his beloved sister, [the idea of] a swift and successful attack faded. He tried to arrange the outcome of events in such a way that a means could be found to save Tigranuhi. Once this had been achieved, the hour of battle approached.