Armenian Writers (10th century)

Armenian Writers (10th century)

Armenian Writers (5th-13th Centuries) displays lists of the major Armenian authors, heads of the Church, and corresponding secular rulers of the Armenians. This material is based on a course entitled History of Armenian Literature taught by Professor Krikor H. Maksoudian at Columbia University in Autumn-Spring of 1972-1973, and compiled by his student, Robert Bedrosian, from class notes, handouts, and other sources.


Xosrov Andzewats'i, 900?-963?

Xosrov was married to the daughter of Anania Narekats'i's uncle and had three sons: Yovhanne's, Sahak, and Grigor. Apparently, after the death of his wife in the 940s, he became bishop of Andzewats'ik' district. Like other clerics of his day, Xosrov seems to have been a participant in Bishop Yakob Siwnets'i's rebellious movement. Supposedly, he claimed that the Catholicos was equal to the bishop (Ararat, 1897, p. 276). Therefore Catholicos Anania Mokats'i, excommunicated him. He was never reinstated. Xosrov's style is simple and clear.


1. Bats'ayaytut'win kargats' ekeghets'woy...e"st iwrak'anch'iwr zhamuts'.

2. Meknut'iwn pataragi, written down by his son, Sahak, c. 950. In Xosrovu Andzewats'eats' episkoposi meknut'iwn agho't'its' pataragin [Commentary on the Prayers of the Liturgy by Xosrov, Bishop of the Andzewats'ik'], edited by Levon (Ghewond) Alishan (Venice, 1869).

These two works were probably written at one time in one book.

Anania Mokats'i, 900?-968

Anania was born in P'as village, Mokk'. Prior to becoming Catholicos in 946, Anania was the director of Varag monastery. He held the position of Catholicos for 20 years, triumphing over the centrifugal tendencies of the Aghuan and Siwnik' bishops, and punishing Bishop Xosrov Andzewats'i. During his term he wrote numerous letters and, according to the 13th-century historian, Step'annos Orbelean, compiled collections of letters. These have not survived. Anania moved the Catholicosate from Aght'amar to Argina village, near Ani, at which place he is buried. Of all his writings, only four letters have been discovered, all written in an extremely difficult style.


1. 955? Yaghags or asen t'e' mi patiw hayrapetin ew episkoposin. Published in Ararat, 1897, pp. 277-280.

2. Ibid., pp. 280-288.

3. 958. Yaghags apstambut'ean tann Aghuanits'Ibid., pp. 129-144.

4. 963? Patchar' yaghags zXosrov nzoveloyn zAndzewats'wots' episkoposnIbid., pp. 275-277.

Mesrop Ere'ts' Hoghots'mets'i, 910?-975?

Mesrop Ere'ts' ("the Priest") speaks about himself in a colophon where he states that in 967 he made a compilation I hayots' mnats'ordats' yarewelits' grots' and composed the History of Nerse's the Great dedicated to Vahan Mamikonean (Sop'erk', volume 6, 136-139). Some consider the source of Mesrop's collection to be the so-called Patmut'iwn arewelean vkayits' [History of the Eastern Martyrs], authored by Abraham Xostovanogh, a younger translator. T'ovma Artsruni also used a work entitled Mnats'ordk' patmagrats'n hayots'. However, to the present, it has not been discovered. Mesrop Ere'ts' used P'awstos especially. In Mesrop's History, the Gahnamak is especially noteworthy. It recalls 154 gahs or positions (Sop'erk', volume 6, pp. 32-38). Mesrop's style is clear and exciting.

The History of Nerse's Part'ew appears in volumes six and seven of the series Sop'erk' Haykakank' [Armenian Writings]:

Patmut'iwn srboyn Nersisi Part'ewi hayots' hayrapeti [History of Saint Nerse's, Patriarch of the Armenians] (Venice, 1853), in 149 pdf pages. Contains the Genealogy of St. Gregory and his Descendants, and the Life of St. Nerses part one. 7. Patmut'iwn srboyn Nersisi Part'ewi hayots' hayrapeti [History of Saint Nerse's, Patriarch of the Armenians] (Venice, 1853), in 81 pdf pages. The Life of St. Nerses, part two.

Anania Narekats'i, 910?-985?

Anania received his appellation for founding the monastery known as Narekay Vank' and the school in R'shtunik'. His uncle's grandsons (Yovhanne's and Grigor) were his pupils, as was the historian, Uxtane's.


1. Nerboghean i kat'ughike' ekeghets'i or i Nor K'aghak. In Chr'akagh, 1859. This homily is noteworthy from a stylistic viewpoint.

2. Gir xostovanut'ean, in Miaban (Vagh., 1892). This may have been written at the request of Kat'oghikos Anania (946-968), to denounce the T'ondrak rebels.

3. Gir e"ndde'm Smbatay T'ondrakets'woy, recalled by N. Shnorhali, but presently unknown.

4. E"ndde'm erkabnakats'. Written in a grand style.

5. Hawatarmat, e"ndde'm erkabnakats'. Presented to Kat'oghikos Xach'ik I, probably in 973, at the beginning of his tenure.

6. Saks bats'ayaytut'ean t'uots'. Published in A. Abrahamyan, Anania Shirakats'u matenagrut'yune" (Erevan, 1944), pp. 237-250. It is defective. 

Bishop Uxtane's, 940?-1000?

Uxtane's studied at Narek Monastery (Narekay Vank') and was a close friend of Anania Narekats'i, whom he calls his "spiritual father." Subsequent authors considered him the bishop of Sebastia, although Kirakos calls him bishop of Edessa.


Uxtane's' principal work was a History written between 980 and 987 at the request of Anania Narekats'i. Its three sections once contained:

A. List of our kings and patriarchs.

B. Separation of the Georgian Church from union with the Armenians.

C. Baptism of the people called Tsats.

Unfortunately, the work has not reached us intact. The sole manuscript, housed at Ejmiatsin, has only 76 chapters from A (Adam to Trdat III, drawn mostly from Movse's Xorenats'i's History and from the Anonymous or Kayserats' girk Venice, 1904); 70 chapters from B, the last one defective, drawn mostly from the Book of Letters; section C is lost. The Classical Armenian text of Uxtane's was published in Vagharshapat, 1871. Despite its condition, the work is not devoid of historical interest. Uxtane's' language is clear, though he has a tendency to ramble. In the very first part of A, there are important details concerning the circumstances under which he wrote the History.

Grigor Narekats'i, 945?-1003

Grigor was the son of Xosrov Andzewats'i. He received his education at Narek Monastery (Narekay Vank'), studying under Anania Narekats'i, his relative (mother's father's brother's son). He was deeply acquainted with the Bible and Armenian literature. After completing his studies, he became a teacher (varzhapet) at the same monastery, passing his entire life in this peaceful environment, and dying before reaching old age. Grigor is considered Armenia's first poet, and he left a great legacy and impression upon future writers.


1. 977. Meknut'iwn ergots' ergoyn, written at the request of King Gurge'n of Andzewats'ik' (968-1003).

2. Nerboghean s. Ar'ak'elots'.

3. c. 1000. Patmut'iwn Aparanits' xach'in, written at the request of Step'annos, bishop of Mokk'. There is a modern Armenian translation of it (Const. 1955).

4. 1002. Aghot'agirk' (called Narek). This prayerbook is divided into 95 chapters, and is considered the pinnacle of Armenian spiritual literature. The best modern Armenian translation belongs to Archbishop T'orgom Gusakean.

5. Nerboghean s. Yakobay Mtsbnay hayrapetin.

6. T'ught' T'ondrakets'ineru de'm. Written in Kchaway Monastery. Published in Bazmave'p, 1893, pp. 59, 113, and in the Book of Letters, pp. 498-502.

7. Gandzk': A. I Galust srboy hogwoyn; B. I surb ekeghets'i; C. I surb xach'n astuatse"nkal.

8. Lines and melodies, some two dozen. A number of these are in a popular folk style and were translated into Eastern Armenian by Arshawir Mxit'aryan (Erevan, 1957).

Samue'l Kamrjadzorets'i, 940?-1010?

Samue'l may have been educated at the newly built Kamrjadzor Monastery in Arsharunik'. Subsequently (perhaps between 1000 and 1010) he was abbot there. He was a specialist in the Bible, music, calendars, and theology. It is said that in 1007—after the disturbances relating to Tsr'azatik (Erroneous Easter)—Samue'l was summoned to Constantinople by Emperor Basil I to explain the Armenian calendrical views, and that he successfully defended the Andrean system. He died after 1007, and was buried in Kamrjadzor Vank'.


1. Jatagovakan e"ndardzak tught', c. 986, at the request of Kat'oghikos Xach'ik (973-992) to the metropolitan Theodoros. In the Book of Letters, pp. 302-322.

2. Tonapatchar', written at the request of Bishop Anania Arsharunik', explaining the rationale and meaning of the feast system.

3. A doctrinal letter in response to questions asked by Prince Oskedzer'n.

4. Gahnamak hay episkoposats'. This document is lost. However, Mxit'ar Ayrivanets'i utilized it and gives the arrangement for 38 episcopal thrones, substantially differing from Uxtane's (A. p. 100). See Yovsep'eants', Mxit'ar Ayrivanets'i, pp. 13, 20.

Step'annos Asoghik, 935?-1015?

Asoghik is also called Taronets'i, after the district of his birth. Apparently, he spent some part of his life in Ani.


The History he wrote was executed at the request of Catholicos Sargis (992-1019) and is in three sections, the first two comprising a review of past history from other historians. The third section, patmut'iwn zhamanakats' ink'naxosut'ean, treats the period from Ashot I to Gagik I (887-1004), and is original.

Asoghik lists the historians previous to himself: Agat'angeghos, Movse's (or k'ert'oghats'n anuani hayr); Eghishe' Vardapet; Ghazaru P'arbets'woy; P'awstos (or ew Biwzand); patmut'iwn Herakli, or i Sebe'ose' episkopose' asats'eal; Ghewond erits'u; yetoy i verjin awurs patmut'iwnk' Shaphoy Bagratunwoy ew Tear'nn Yovhannisi hayots' kat'oghikosi, ork' ar' zhamanakok'n Ashotoy ew Smbatay, arajin t'agaworats' Bagratuneats'.

Asoghik probably lived a while after completing his History, since in a letter sent to Ge'org Vardapet, Grigor Magistros calls Asoghik "erjanik tsayragoyn tser."

Asoghik's History was first published by Karapet Shahnazareants', using defective manuscripts. A better edition was published by Step'anos Malxaseants' in Petersburg, 1885.

Movse's Dasxurants'i (or Kaghankatuats'i), (1004)

An Armenian-language History of the Aghuans has reached us, written by the Aghuanian Movse's, in a peculiar national spirit, but relying substantially on Armenian historians. The work is divided into three books. Book I consists of a brief summary of Armenian and Aghuan history, in 30 chapters, reaching to the end of the 5th century. Book II has 52 chapters and narrates events from the 5-7th centuries, reaching the year 683 (chapter 39) but it has a remembrance of an event occuring in 791 (chapter 48). Book III has 24 chapters and the narrative reaches the year 914, describing the Arab domination. Chapter 23, A brief summary of genealogies, reaches 1004, while Chapter 24, The names, years, and deeds of the Aghuanian patriarchs ends with Te'r Movse's, 998 A.D. The final event mentioned in Book III occurred in the reign of Senek'erim king of Siwnik' (1080-1105).

While the name Movse's Kaghankatuats'i appears at the beginning of the printed work as the author, no such individual is mentioned in the text. Probably, the postulation of the name and locale was derived from the last Catholicos mentioned, Movse's, plus the statement in Book II.11 "' storotov ler'inn, or e' yandiman geghjn metsi Kaghankaytuats', or e' i nmin yUti gawar'i, yorme' ew es. [ the foot of the mountain, opposite the great village of Kaghankaytuats', which is in the same district of Uti, whence I, too, come.]"

There was debate about the author already in the 13th century among Armenian clerics. Mxit'ar Gosh (d. 1213) considered the author of the History of the Aghuans to be one Movse's Dasxurants'i (See Gosh's Aghuanian Chronicle in Alishan, Hayapatum, vol. 2 (Venice, 1901) p. 384). An English translation of this is available online at Internet Archive: Mkhitar Gosh's Colophon or The Aghuanian Chronicle). According to Vanakan Vardapet, the author was Movse's from Dasxoren village. Like Kaghankatuats'i, these individuals are unknown. "Movse's" to whom the entire work is attributed, could have been any of the authors or compilers from the 7th through the early 12th centuries.

History of the Aghuans existed in Armenian by the mid 10th century as Kat'oghikos Anania Mokats'i testifies, since he used it for research around 948. The final redaction was made in the 11th century, by which time it included three books.

Dasxurants'i's work is quite valuable since it includes numerous documents not known from other sources. The Classical Armenian text of the History of the Aghuans was published in 1860 in Paris by Karapet Shahnazarean, and in Moscow by Mkrtich' Emin.

An English translation of Movses Dasxurants'i's History of the Aghuans, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (Long Branch, New Jersey, 2010), is available for reading online and downloading. This translation was published by Sophene in 2021 (in three books) with the Classical Armenian text on the facing page.


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