Armenian Writers (13th century)

Armenian Writers (13th 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.


Dawit' K'obayrets'i, 1150?-1220?

Dawit' was from Dzoraget's K'obayri retreat (menastan), not far from Haghbat. He studied with vardapets Vardan (d. 1193) and Petros at Haghbat and became a vardapet himself. Among his own students were Sime'on Vanahayr Bagnayri (1233), Mxit'ar K'obayrets'i, and Xach'atur Abeghay. Dawit's signature appears on the letter sent to Grigor Tghay by the northern bishops. He participated in Zak'aria spasalar's conference. He is buried at Haghbat where his tombstone is visible.


Most of Dawit's works are exegetical:

1. Meknut'iwn Yobay.

2. Meknut'iwn Esayeay.

3. Nerboghean govesti i sk'anch'eli kayn K'ristosi Yovse'p' patani (martyred in Dvin, 1170), in Hayots' nor vkanere" [Armenian Neo-martyrs], 1155-1843, H. Manandyan and H. Acharyan, editors (Vagharshapat, 1903), pp. 61-64.

4. Patchar'k' ew lutsmunk' char'its' Grigori Astuatsabani.

5. Patchar'k' char'its' Grigori Niwsats'way.

6. Patchar'k' grots' Barsghi Kesarats'woy.

7. Patchar'k' grots' Piloni.

8. Patchar' Sahmanats' grots'.

9. Patchar'k' Awag Barekendanin.

10. Patchar' nawakateats' ekeghets'woy.

11. Lutsmunk' Dionesiosi grots'.

12. Ork'anut'iwn t'uots'n nahapetats'n ew arajnordats'n Israye'li yAbrahame' minch'ew i verjin gerut'iwnn Erusaghemi.

13. Yaghags patarman Zatkin, c. 1197.

Grigor Skewr'ats'i, 1150?-1230?

Grigor was from Lambron awan and received his education at Skewr'a monastery under Nerse's Lambronats'i. He later became a coworker with Nerse's. Grigor was the father-confessor to the Cilician Armenian monarch Lewon the Great and gave him his last communion in 1219. In 1220, on the death of Kat'oghikos Yovhanne's, Grigor became a candidate for the office, a rival to Kostandin Bardzrberdts'i. He is also noted as a copyist and miniaturist.


1. 1198. Sharakan Yovhannu mkrtch'i.

2. 1203. T'ught' ark'episkoposin Nekioy Yohannu ar' kat'oghikosn hayots' Zak'aria, translated at King Lewon's order. Yasmawork', 1834, I. p. 10.

3. 1204. Nerboghean i s. Nerse's Lamb., at the request of Nerse's' nephew, Nerse's K'ahanay. In Sop'erk', volume 15 (Venice, 1854), pp. 1-90.

4. Ban xratu, at the request of his relative Vardan diwanadpir. In Matenagrut'iwnk' Gr. Narekats'woy (Venice, 1840).

5. Ban govesti s. kusin Mariamu.

6. Aghot'k'.

7. Aghot'k'.

8. Meknut'iwn Ewagreay.

9. Char' i xorhurd metsi urbat'u. Written in old age for Prince Kostandin, lord of Lambron (d. 1250).

10. Char' i yarut'iwnn tear'n. At the request of Kostandin.

Vardan Aygekts'i (Marat'ats'i), 1170?-1235

Vardan was born in Marat'a village near Aleppo, and received his education in Ark'akaghin monastery in Cilicia. He remained at Hr'omklay a while (1205-1207) and then went to Tluk' district (Marat'a), thence to Aygek (1209), Sew Ler', Cilicia, where he established a retreat (anapat) around 1180. Vardan vardapet remained there a long time and thus was named Aygekts'i. He was an excellent preacher and prolific writer who frequently seasoned his discources with fables. His writings exist in many variants scattered in numerous manuscripts.


1. 1205-1207. Tsaghkak'agh vkayut'iwnk' e"ndde'm erkabnatats.

2. 1212. Bank' xratakank', 20 homilies written in Aygek for Prince Paghtin. It includes two letters from Vardan to Paghtin.

3. 1212? Bank' vasn tear'n hamaroy.

4. Bank' i xorhurd katarman tasn t'uin.

5. 1220? Tasn vachar'akank' ew ut' orogayt'k'. Marr places this in 1220.

6. 1227. Meknut'iwn xorhrdoy tasn vachar'akanats'n.

7. 1229. Patasxanik' ar' Mik'aye'l eps. Antiok'ay. Written at Aygek in old age.

8. 1229? Xratk' i yaytnumn barwoy ew ch'ari.

9. 1229? Vasn dzhoxots'n ew ank'un ordants'n.

10. Vasn dardzi ew zghjman ew apashxarut'ean.

11. Xrat vasn hawatoy. Written in the Ilkhanid period of Mongol rule.

12. Xrat varuts' arak'inut'ean.

13. Xrat vasn haghordut'ean.

14. Yaghags anarat siroy.

15. Xrat k'ahanayits' ew zhoghovrdean.

16. Aghot'agirk' s. tegheats'. Written in Jerusalem at age 61.

17. Xostovanut'iwn meghats' ew xaytar'akut'iwn anjin.

18. Govest nerboghakan i s. ar'ak'ealk'n Kristosi Yakobos ew eghbayr norin Yohanne's ew yerkotasansn.

19. Ar'akagirk' [Fables]. Dzer'. S. Y. T' 3189, p. 43 contains 16 fables; Dzer'. S. Y. T' 1444 contains 66. Tashean translated some of the fables into modern Armenian in volume 36 of the Azgayin matenadaran series Zhoghovatsoyk' ar'akats' Vardanay niwt'er patmut'ean hayots' mijindarean matenagrutean [Collections of Vardan's Fables, Materials for the History of Medieval Armenian Literature], by Y. Tashean (Venice, 1900). N. Marr published the Classical Armenian texts with Russian translations and a study in Sborniki pritch Vardana [Zhoghovatsoyk' ar'akats Vardanay/Collections of the Fables of Vardan] (Petersburg, 1899).

20. Vasn shatahaj k'nnoghats'n yandimanut'iwn, in the journal Bazmave'p 1968, pp. 273-277.

Aristakes Hr'etor, 1170?-1240?

Aristakes was from Greater Armenia. Only one of his works is known, the Verlutsut'iwnk' tar'its' ew bar'its', in L. G. Xach'eryan (Erevan, 1962) Grch'ut'yan arvesti...tesut'yun, pp. 227-286.

Aristake's presents ten rules governing the use of the letter hi (Յ/յ). After the last rule is a long alphabetical list to serve as a writing guide. A later writer, Ge'org Skewr'ats'i, added in the margin rules for the letters ben (Բ/բ), ech' (Ե/ե), lyun (Լ/լ), o (Ո/ո), vev (Վ/վ), and re (Ր/ր). Grigor Tat'ewats'i wrote a short study of this work.

Yovhanne's Gar'nets'i, 1180?-1245?

Yovhanne's became a celibate priest and joined the Ayrivank' convent. He withdrew to the deserts, and received the power of healing by laying on of hands. He visited Jerusalem in 1222-1223 and stayed at St. James, and also visited the Jordan River where he miraculously baptized three Muslims. While he was circulating about, his enemies at Colonea had him seized and thrown into the fire, but he was freed through divine intervention. Finally he was invited by Catholicos Kostandin Bardzraberdts'i (1221-1267) to visit Hr'omklay and asked to remain there for good, which he did. He was buried there. Kirakos Gandzakets'i has a separate chapter (52) on Yovhanne's.


1. Aghot'amatoyts' (Venice, 1911).

2. Patmut'iwn Mughroyn zankianu, in the Yaysmawurk'.

3. Vasn Dawt'ean saghmosis, see G. Yovsep'ian, Xaghbakeank', II. p. 98.

4. Sharakan, about Sahak Amatuni, in Parakanon Sharakanner, 1911.

5. Xrat hogeshah amenayn mardoy.

6. Tesil (Vision): Minch' e'i es i Hr' the Book of Letters, pp. 530-532.

7. Xrat kronaworats'.

8. Bank' yaghahs zhamu pataragin.

9. Ban shahawe't ew ogtakar amenayn mardkan.

10. Xratk'.

11. Vasn ts'aygapashtut'ean Kiwrake'i.

12. Xrat kronaworats'.

13. T'ught' xratakan ar' Sargis K'ahanay, in Xaghbakeank' II. 102.

14. Ar'akk'. Kar. Ts'uts'ak, 786. III.

Vanakan Vardapet, 1181-1251

Vanakan was born in Gandzak district, in the village of Tawush, and received his education at Getik monastery, studying with Mxit'ar Gosh (d. 1213). Returning to his native land, he built Xoranashat Vank' (1216) with a school and library. His labors were interrupted by the Mongol invasions during which he and his students were taken prisoner. Vanakan was freed when the Christians paid a 80 dahekan ransom fee. Among Vanakan's pupils were the historians Vardan Arewelts'i, Grigor Aknerts'i, and Kirakos Gandzakets'i, as well as Ter Israye'l, compiler of a yaysmawurk'. Vanakan died at age 70 and, at his request, was buried in the Xoranashat monastery cemetary for poor folk.


1. Bats'atrut'iwn aghot'its' Ambakumay margare'i. In Chr'ak'agh, 1859.

2. Xrat dawanut'ean, in Kirakos Gandzakets'i's History, chapter 50.

3. Yaghags taremti, in Bazmave'p, 1897 p. 336 (partial); Gitakan niwt'eri zhoghovats'u, #1 (Erevan, 1941), pp. 156-167.

4. Patchar'k' arajaworats' pahots'n, in the journal Ejmiatsin. 1959, June, pp. 41-43.

5. Meknut'iwn Yobay.

6. Hamematut'iwn hin ew nor ktakaranats'.

7. Tesut'iwn "uraxats'ir psak kusits'" sharakan.

8. Govest hayots' azgi, in the Book of Letters, pp. 533-535.

9. Ban hawatoy.

10. Harts'munk' zanazank' ew patasxanik' barar'nabar.

11. A lost History of the period 1200-1250, which is mentioned by Kirakos Gandzakets'i and Vardan who probably used it in their own works.

For a study of Vanakan and his school, see H. Oskean, Yovhanne's vanakan ew iwr dprots'e" (Vienna, 1922).

Vardan Arewelts'i, 1200?-1271

Vardan was probably born in Gandzak. He studied with Vanakan Vardapet (d. 1251), and Kirakos Gandzakets'i was a friend and classmate. We know nothing about his early life. He was a pilgrim to Jerusalem in 1240, and, on his return, he visited Cilicia, where he won the friendship of Het'um I and Catholicos Kostandin Bardzrberdts'i. He spent 1241-1246 in Cilicia with them.

During that period, the Catholicos convened a council at Sis (1243) and certain reforming canons were drawn up. Vardan was entrusted with these canons and a circulating letter directed to the vardapets and bishops of Greater Armenia for their signatures. With these, Vardan returned to Kostandin. He passed the remaineder of his life in various parts of Armenia: Andre'i Anapat in Kayen Valley (1246-1260), Xor Virap (1260-1265), Haghbat (1265-1266), Xor Virap (1267), Aghjoy Vank' (1268), Xor Virap (1269-1271) where he died and was buried.

Among Vardan's pupils were Nerse's Taronets'i (d. 1284), Yovhanne's Pluz (d. 1293), G'org Lambronats'i (d. 1301), Grigor Baluets'i (martyred, 1290), and Grigor Bjnets'i.


1. Druat govesti i s. Grigor vkayase'r ew i te'r Grigor kat'oghikos, at the request of Het'um and his father, the kat'oghikos.

2. Ban govesti patmagrabar vasn srbots'n Sahakay ew Mesropay ew aylots' t'argmanch'ats'n, in Banber Matenadarani, 7(1964), pp. 377-397.

3. Lutsmunk' i s. grots' (zhghlank'), at the request of Het'um I. See Banber Matenadarani, 8(1967), pp. 157-180.

4. Dawanut'iwn hawatoy, at the request of the kat'oghikos.

5. Yaghags ekeghets'woy.

6. Meknut'iwn k'erakani, for Het'um.

7. Vasn masants' bani, L. Xach'eryan, in Teghekagir 2(1943).

8. 1246. Translation of Michael the Syrian's Chronicle with the aid of Ishoh, the Syrian priest (two editions: Jerusalem, 1870 and Jerusalem, 1871 (longer edition)). An English translation of The Chronicle of Michael the Great, Patriarch of the Syrians, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (Long Branch, New Jersey, 2013), is available for reading online and downloading in different formats at Internet Archive.

9. Yaghags k'ahanayut'ean, trans. from M. Asori, in the Jerusalem, 1871 edition.

10. 1246. Nerboghean i s. ar'ak'ealn T'adeos ew i yAbgar ark'ay hayots' ew asorots', translated from Syrian.

11. Yaghags hin xorhrdots' ew orinakats' tear'n Hakob Srchech'i, trans.

12. 1246. T'ught' ar' Het'um, a reply to the Pope's letter to Het'um, written in demotic, in the Book of Letters, pp. 503-509.

13. Sharakank' (5).

14. Tesut'iwn ant'aram tsaghki (Jerusalem, 1834), p. 29.

15. Nerboghean i s. Gr. Lusavorich'. In Sop'erk volume 5 (Venice, 1853), pp. 39-82. Ararat, 1870.

16. Druat govesti patmagrabar i s. Aristake's ew i Vrt'ane's, i Yusikn ew i Grigoris ew i Danie'l.

17. Nerboghean i s. Yovhan Odznets'i. In Ararat, 1888, pp. 580-593.

18. Ban nerboghakan i xorhurd ashxarhamatran.

19. 1261. Meknut'iwn hngamateni.

20. 1265. Meknut'iwn saghmosats'.

21. 1265. Meknut'iwn ergots' ergoyn.

22. 1267. History from Creation to the death of Kat'oghikos Kostandin. This was stolen in 1265, and recovered one and a half years later in Tiflis. It contains a valuable interview with Hulegu in 1264. Hawak'umn patmut'ean Vardanay vardapeti [Vardan Vardapet's Compilation of History] (Venice, 1862). An English translation of Vardan Arewelts'i's Compilation of History [Extracts on the Saljuqs, Shaddadids, Zakarids, and Mongols], made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (Long Branch, New Jersey, 2007), is available for reading online and downloading at Internet Archive.

23. 1268. Meknut'iwn Danie'li.

24. Yaghags kahanayut'ean.

25. Harts'umn ew patasxani, In the Book of Letters, pp. 526-529.

26. E"nddem erkabnakats'.

27. Ashxarhats'oyts' hamar'ot [Concise Geography] (Paris, 1960), many manuscript additions from later times. See Ashot G. Abrahamyan, Hay gri ew grch'ut'yan patmut'yun (Erevan, 1959) on a Cilician list of writing attributed to Vardan.

Mxit'ar Skewr'ats'i, 1200?-1271?

There is little biographical information about this man. He was known as a skilled linguist, since King Het'um I took him along when he went to visit Mongke-Khan in 1254. In 1263 Kat'oghikos Kostandin and Het'um sent him to Akka (Acre) to negotiate with the legate of Pope Urbanus III, Archbishop Gulielmos, where Mxit'ar rejected as baseless the Latin view of the precedence of St. Peter. Mxit'ar may have been abbot of Skewr'a from 1254-1271. His major surviving work is Yaghags hamapatut'ean 12 ar'akk'elots', a brief description of his debate with the legate, written on the order of Het'um and the kat'oghikos. It was printed three times in the 1800s under the title Vasn patriark'ats'.

Kirakos Gandzakets'i, 1203-1272

Kirakos was born in Gandzak in 1203 and was educated at Nor Getik during the tenure of its director Martiros Vardapet (1214-1234) then with Vanakan Vardapet in the Anapat (retreat) of Tawush fortress. Kirakos with his teacher and fellow students was taken captive by the Mongols in 1236. When he escaped, he fled to Getik Monastery and remained there awhile, beginning his History (1240). Later he appears in Aragatsotn at Goshavank', where he began a new edition of the Tonapatchar' or Yaysmawurk' (1253). He was still there when King Het'um I returned from his visit to Monge-Khan (1255). Kirakos probably remained in Armenia another 10 years, until 1266 when his History suddenly halts. But three years later he was in Sis, where he finished the Yaysmawurk' (1269). When Kirakos came to Cilicia he was dubbed "the Easterner" (Arewelts'i). He probably died there in 1272.


1. History. Beginning with Grigor Lusavoritch' and ending in 1266. This lengthy work, which has survived in 65 chapters, is divided thematically into several sections. Part one is a summary of Armenian Church and political history from the 4th through the 12th centuries. This section, which describes the lives and times of the heads of the Armenian Church (kat'oghikoi), is based on earlier Armenian sources, many of which have survived. The second section describes political and military events in the 12th century both in Eastern (or Caucasian) Armenia and in the Armenian kingdom of Cilicia on the Mediterranean. The next section (chapter 10), resembling the first, contains a biographical list of the kat'oghikoi of Caucasian Aghbania/Aghuania (modern Azerbaijan). In chapter 11 and subsequent chapters, Kirakos described the events of his own day: the period of the Zak'arids, the Mongol invasions and domination, and their impact on the Armenians and other peoples of the Middle East. Among those supplying him with information were Vardan Arewelts'i, Het'um I, and Prince Prosh Haghbakean. The History is written in a clear, neat style. The critical edition of the Classical Armenian text is by K. Melik'-Ohanjanyan (Erevan, 1961). An English translation of Kirakos Gandzakets'i's History of the Armenians, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (New York, 1986), is available for reading online and downloading in different formats. This translation was published by Sophene in 2022 (in two volumes) with the Classical Armenian text on the facing page.

2. Tonapatchar'-Yaysmawurk', finished in Sis in 1269. Six manuscripts of this work are known.

Smbat Sparapet, 1206-1276

Smbat Sparapet (or, Gundstapl/Connétable) was the eldest son of Kostandin Payl (d. 1263) and Lady Alice, and the brother of King Het'um I (d. 1270). A bright child, he captured the attention of King Lewon I (d. 1219) who saw to it that he received a good education. Smbat was conversant with the important languages of his day, especially French.

While a youth, Het'um acceded the throne in 1226 and Smbat was designated sparapet (commander-in-chief of the armed forces), a position he held for 50 years. As a feudal lord, Smbat received the fortress of Paper'on, and he built the impregnable fortress named Smbataklay. He married the princess T'efano and had four sons from her: Het'um, O'shin, Kostandin, and Lewon.

Smbat was also a skilled diplomat. He sealed a treaty between the Mongols and Armenians during his visit to Guyuk-Khan (d. 1248), a trip taking place during 1248-1250. He died from an accidental wound he received, when he struck a tree limb after chasing away Egyptian invaders on the field of Saruandik'ar, at 70 years of age. He was also an important writer, and the main representative of the so-called Middle Armenian or medieval ashxarhabar school.


1. 1244. Colophon in verse. in Yish. Dzer'. pp. 954-955.

2. 1248, Feb. 6th. Letter in French written in Samarkand to King Hentry of Cyprus, his sister's husband. Published with the Ansiz Antiok'ay, pp. 90-91. The Old French text with an English translation by Henry Yule is available online at Internet Archive: Letter of Smbat Constable to King Henry I of Cyprus.

3. 1250? Taregirk' Smbatay sparapeti [Chronicle of Smbat Sparapet], K. Shahnazareants', editor (Paris, 1859).The first section of this is an abstract of 10-11th century events mostly based on Urhayets'i. A better edition of the Classical Armenian text was published by Serope' Age"lean [Smbatay sparapeti taregirk' [The Chronicle of Smbat Sparapet] (Venice, 1956). See also Sion, 1960, p. 304. An English translation of Smbat Sparapet's Chronicle, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (Long Branch, New Jersey, 2005), is available for reading online and downloading in different formats. This translation was published by Sophene in 2021 (in two volumes) with the Classical Armenian text on the facing page.

4. 1265? Ansiz Antiok'ay [Assises d'Antioche], translated from French to Cilician Armenian then sent to Antioch to recheck its accuracy. The old French text has not survived. Alishan published a new French translation of it in 1876 along with the grabar.

5. 1265. Datastanagirk' [Law Code], edited in Cilician Armenian and culled from the codes of Gosh and the cannons of St. Sahak. Text and German translation by Jozef Karst (Strasburg, 1905).

6. 1268. Colophon in verse, in the Chashots' girk'Ansiz Antiok'ay, p. 93; Sisuan, p. 72.

Mxit'ar Ayrivanets'i, 1222-1290?

Archbishop Mxit'ar became prominent in the last decade or so of his life. From 1278 he became the director of Ayri or Geghard Monastery. Probably between 1282 and 1285 he compiled a great Char'e"ntir comprising numerous books and homilies, some of which are important and rare. This work is #1500 at the Matenadaran. Unfortunately, some of the last portion is damaged or destroyed.


1. 1279. Vkayabanut'iwn Step'anosi Siwnets'woy. G. Yov., Mx. Ayr. (Jerusalem, 1931) pp. 17-23.

2. 1286. Gandzaran. 20 gandz, three of which are published.

3. 1289. Zhamanakagrut'iwn hamar'ot [Concise Chronology]. From creation to 1289. M. Emin, ed., Mxit'aray Ayrivanets'woy patmut'iwn hayots' [Mxit'ar Ayrivanets'i's History of the Armenians] (Moscow, 1860), in 69 pages; a more complete version is by K. Patkanean (Petersburg, 1867). An English translation of Part 3, made by Robert Bedrosian, is available at Internet Archive: Mxit'ar Ayrivanets'i's Chronological History, Part 3

4. Kanon nor girk' orhneloy.

5. Tagh, in Sion 1932, pp. 141-142.

Vahram Rabuni, 1215?-1290?

Vahram was the scribe of King Lewon II (1270-1289), and was probably a teacher as well.


1. Ban i yaytnut'iwn tear'n ew yotsumn Lewoni ark'ayi (Jerusalem, 1875), a 59-page pamphlet. At the end, Vahram recalls Queen Zape'l (d. 1252).

2. A History of the Rubenian Dynasty, in verse, written around 1276 at the request of Lewon II, as a continuation of Shnorhali's Vipasanut'iwn. Published by K. Shahnazarean (Paris, 1859) with Smbat's Taregirk'. An English translation was published by Sophene in 2020 with the Classical Armenian text in the same volume.

3. Yaghags s. errordut'ean ew mioy astuatsut'ean, for Lewon II.

4. Char' i hambardzumn K'ristosi.

5. Lutsmunk' storogut'eants'n Aristote'li.

6. Lutsmunk' mardakazmut'ean grots'n Grigori Niwsats'woy.

7. Meknut'iwn Periarmeniasay.

8. Meknut'iwn sahmanats' grots'n Dawt'i anyaght'i.

9. Lutsmunk' neratsut'ean Porp'iwri.

Yovhanne's Erznkat'siPluz 1240?-1293

Yovhanne's was born in Arkay village in Ekegheats' and received his education in Surb Minas Vank' on Mt. Sepuh. He was a deacon in Erznka in 1266, and in 1268 he was a vardapet. He also studied a while with Vardan Arewelts'i in Haghbat in Kayenoy Dzor, and returned to Erznka after Vardan's death (d. 1271). The next year, in the ruins of the church at T'il, near Erznka, someone miraculously discovered the body of the 4th century Nerse's Part'ew, and with the archbishop of Erznka, Sargis, the remains were moved to Erznka. Yovhanne's was present at this ceremony and wrote a sharakan to Nerse's. In 1281 he went to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. At the request of Kat'oghikos Yakob (1268-1286) he taught grammar at Hr'omklay (1281-1283). In 1284 he was in Tiflis. During the 1287 earthquake at Erznka he was on Mr. Sepuh. Yovhanne's' tomb was in St. Nshan's church at Erznka. He was named Pluz because of his short stature.


1. 1273. Patmut'iwn yaytnut'ean nshxarats' metsin Nersisi, in Sop'erk' volume 7 (Venice, 1853), pp. 33-78.

2. 1280. Kanonk' ew sahmank' miabanut'ean eghbarts' Erznka kaghak'i, in Banber Matenadarani #6(1962), pp. 371-376.

3. 1283. Atenaxosut'iwn Lewon t'agawori ordwots' Het'um ew T'oros arkayordineru aspetakan astichan stanalun ar'tiw; Er. Ms. 2173.

4. 1284. Yaghags erknayn sharzhmants', for Prince Vaxt'ank.

5. 1288. Nerbogh. s. Gr. lusaworch'i, in Sop'erk' volume 5, pp. 83-164.

6. 1289. Xrat hasarakats' k'ristone'its' ew k'ahanayits' ew zhoghovrdean, includes sections on rituals, false oaths, not marrying minstrels, on making wills, not mourning excessively for the dead, and other topics.

7. 1292? Meknut'iwn k'erakani, uses old grammars.

8. ? Meknut'iwn pataragi.

Step'annos Orbelean, 1260?-1304

Step'annos was the son of Prince Tarsayich of Siwnik', and a Muslim princess, Aruz, who had accepted Christianity. Step'annos was ordained a celebate priest in 1280. Completing his studies in the school at Tat'ev, he was ordained by Nerse's Gladzorets'i (d. 1284). Soon Step'annos became a candidate for the metropolitanship of Siwnik' and went to Cilicia for ordination from the newly-elected Catholicos Kostandin II (1286). He was a zealot for Armenian orthodoxy and reprimanded Gr. Anawarzets'i's foreign introductions.


1. Patmut'iwn nahangin Sisakan [History of the State of Sisakan]. Written in 1297, treating Siwnik' from the beginning to the end of the 13th century, and using many documents and inscriptions. First published in 1860 in Paris by Karapet Shahnazarean and improved upon with many footnotes. It was translated into French by Brosset in 1864, Petersburg. An English translation of Step'annos Orbelean's History of the State of Sisakan, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (Long Branch, New Jersey, 2012-2014), is available for reading online and downloading in different formats.

2. Oghb i s. Kat'ughike'n. A poem written in 1299 at the request of Xach'atur Kech'arets'i, which is a lament on Armenia, the Church, and the princes.

3. Hakacharut'iwn e"ndde'm erkabnakats', written in 1302.

4. Zhamanakagrut'iwn. Published by A. Abrahamyan (Erevan, 1942).

Grigor Anawarzets'i, 1240-1307

Grigor Turk'erits'ants' was educated by his uncle Yakob, who later became kat'oghikos (1268-1286). He learned Greek and Latin well. He was the abbot of Metsk'ar Monastery for a long time (1274?-1293) and may have educated his nephew, Yakob, who also subsequently became kat'oghikos (1327-1341). After the death of Step'annos Hr'omklay, Grigor was ordained kat'oghikos in 1293 at the order of the Latinophile King Het'um II, and seated in Sis. Grigor tried to forge union between the Apostolic and Orthodox Churches, but to no avail. He wrote a yasmawurk' including many Latin saints in it; he also wrote some weak sharakans. His only work of historical interest seems to be the T'ught' ar' Het'um II [Letter to Het'um II], written around 1305 in demotic. In Clement Galanus' Miabanut'iwn vol I (Rome, 1650) pp. 435-451.

Grigor Aknerts'i, 1250?-1335?

Very little is known about Grigor, the author of an historical work which treats the forty-four year period from 1229/30 to 1273. He is presumed to have been born in Cilicia around 1250, and his death has been placed around 1335. Nothing is known about his parents, although by his own testimony Grigor did have a brother, Mxit'ar, who had died by the time Grigor completed his work. A colophon dated 1312/13 speaks of Grigor as the abbot of Akner monastery in Cilicia, a noted center of medieval Armenian scholarship. The most detailed secondary sources on Aknerts'i are those of Nerse's Akinean in the journal Hande's Amso'reay [Nerse's Akinean, "Grigor k'ahanay Aknerts'i patmagir T'at'arats' Patmut'ean 1250-1335 (Grigor the Priest of Akner, Historian of the History of the T'at'ars)", (1948) pp. 387-403, and, in the same volume, "Akants' kam Akneri vank'e" (The Monastery of Akants' or Akner)", pp. 217-250.

Grigor's History of the Nation of Archers (HNA) differs from the works of other Armenian historians of the Mongol period. First, as the product of a Cilician author in his early 20's when the work was completed in 1273, this history lacks the immediacy found in the compilations of eastern Armenian eyewitnesses to the Mongol conquest and domination, such as those of the well-educated and polished churchmen Kirakos Gandzakets'i, Vardan Arewelts'i, and Step'annos Orbelean. This circumstance probably accounts for some of the chronological inaccuracies committed by Grigor in the early portion of his work. For the post-1249 period, however, Grigor generally is accurate.

A second difference between Grigor's work and the histories of Kirakos, Vardan, and Step'annos concerns the scope of his undertaking. Aknerts'i wrote a relatively short history of a forty-four year period. Far from being a universal history of the Armenians, the author focused on but two principal areas, Greater Armenia and Cilicia in the thirteenth century, devoting considerable space to the latter. A third important difference is that Grigor, clearly, was not a well-educated or deep individual. His occasional lapses into fantasy compromise the credibility of other information for which he is our only source. Despite its limitations, the HNA remains a valuable source for thirteenth century Armenian and Mongol studies.

An English translation of Grigor Aknerts'i's History of the Nation of Archers [Mongols], made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (Long Branch, New Jersey, 2003), is available for reading online and downloading in different formats. This translation was published by Sophene in 2020 with the Classical Armenian text on the facing page.


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