Armenian Writers (8th century)

Armenian Writers (8th 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.


Xosrovik Vardapet, 670?-730?

Nothing is known of Xosrovik's early life. He appears at the Council of Manazkert (726) as an associate of Odznets'i. Truly orthodox, he refutes the Severan and Julian heresies as well as diophysitism. A study of Xosrovik was made by Garegin Yovse'pean in the preface to his Xosrovik T'argmanich' (Vagh. 1899). Xosrovik's style is hunaban as the works so demand.


Items 1-5 below were written during 727-728:

1. Ar' aynosik or asen bnut'eamb andzew anskizbn e"nkaleal zmardkut'iwn Astuatsn ban, i kuse'n. Published in Yovse'pean, Xosrovik T'argmanich' (Vagh. 1899) pp. 3-75.

2. Yaghags t'e' part e' zmarminn ter'unakan hamagoy asel Astuatsn bani?

3. Ar' aynosik or yerkus zmardkayinn anjaden bnut'iwn.

4. Ar' aynosik or tarakusin i veray P'rkch'akann krits' mardaynots'. Letter addressed to Athanasius III, patriarch of Antioch (724-740).

5. Letter to Bishop Sargis Geradekoray.

6. Harts'munk' hayrapetin Antiok'ay yaghags ztsnundn ar'neloy.

7. Ban Vardapetut'ean yaghags K'arasnordats', in Hande's Amso'reay, 1904, pp. 310-316.

Movses Siwnets'i, 670?-731?

Almost nothing is known about this man. He appears to have been a vardapet by 701 and the teacher of Step'annos Siwnik' (d. 735). Movses occupied the throne of bishop of Siwnik' from 725-731 in which latter year he probably died, since his successor was Anania II, who ruled from 731-733.


The following may be his works:

1. Yaghags vardavar'in xorhrdoy. In Movse'si Xorenats'woy Matenagrut'iwnk' [The Writings of Movse's Xorenats'i] (Venice, 1865).

2. Sharakank': Anton Anapatakan; Teodos the King; Ar'akelots'; Beheading of John the Baptist, NaxayawiteanHogegalstean A. Awurn, Y. Mkrdch'in, Zmargare' bardzreloyn; Or yerknayin; Hayrapetats' or vardapetats'.

3. I yergs erits' mankants'n.

4. Et'e' e"nde'r E" kanoniwk' kargeal e' zSaghmosn Dawt'i

Stepannos Siwnets'i, 680?-d. 735

Stepannos was the son of a senior presbyter of Dvin, and received his primary education in the Catholicosal school. Then he studied with the abbot of Makeneats Congregation, Soghomon and Movses Siwnetsi. A fellow citizen and classmate was Grigor K'ahana of Ayrivank', a fine musician. Both of them went for study in Athens (c. 710). From there they passed to Constantinople and did translations with the participation of Dawit' Hiwpatos. They remained there a long while, becoming acquainted with Patriarch Germanus (715-730). The return to Armenia took place in 728. Stepannos remained several years at the Catholicosate, studying and writing. He became bishop of Siwnik' in 735, the very year a woman (whom he had reprimanded) stabbed him to death while he was sleeping in a hammock suspended from a tree. His body was buried at T'anahatits' Vank'. A study of Step'annos' works was made by Vardapet Mesrop Grigorean (Beirut, 1958).


1. 712. Dionysius Areopagate's On the Heavenly Priesthood.

2. 715. Cyril of Alexandria's Parapmants' Girk'.

3. 718. Gregory of Nyssa's On the Composition of the Body.

4. 719. Nemesios Emesia's On the Nature of the Body, an unsuccessful translation.

5. Five homilies of Athanasius, translated at the order of Y. Odznets'i (Venice, 1899).

6. George of Pisidia's On the Six Days of Creation (Venice, 1900).

7. 728. Reply to Germanus. In the Book of Letters, pp. 373-395.

8. Reply to the Bishop of Antioch's Letter, BL, pp. 323-334.

9. Reply to the Aghuanian vardapets.

10. On the Incorruptible Body of Christ. G. Ter Mkrtch'ean, 1902.

11. 731. Interpretation of the Four Gospels.

12. Patchark' ew t'eladrut'iwnk' A. tesleann Ezekie'li.

13. Meknut'iwn Danie'li, used by Vardan Arewelts'i.

14. Meknutiwn Yobay, used by Vanakan Vardapet.

15. Sharakank', Awag Orhnut'iwnik', AJ-DK.

16. Meknut'iwn Zhamakargut'eanVardapet Sahak Amatuni (Ararat, 1915-1917) in two editions, a large and small. Similar to Odznets'i's "On the Orders of the Church," it is suggested that the two authors used a common source.

17. Meknut'iwn k'erakani, published by N. Adontz (Pet., 1915), pp. 181-219.

Sahakduxt Siwnets'i, 675?-736?

Sahakduxt was the sister of Step'annos Siwnets'i and, like him, was a poet and musician. She made herself a retreat in Gar'ni valley, where she even taught, seated behind a curtain. Step'annos Orbelean writes that Sahakduxt wrote kts'urds and melodies, one of which was Srbuhi Mariam.

Ghewond, 730?-790?

Nothing is known of Ghewond, who writes about the 156-year period from 632-788. He may have been a Bagratuni priest or bishop, since the colophon at the end of his History says that the work was comissioned by Prince Shapuh Bagratuni. The style is not especially lofty. No critical edition of the work exists; therefore, the Classical Armenian text we use is Shahnazarean's 1857 edition.

Ghewond's History includes descriptions of the Arab invasions of Armenia in the mid 7th century, the wars fought by the caliphate against Byzantium and the Khazars, the settlement of Arab tribes in Asia Minor and the Caucasus, and the overthrow of the Umayyads, as well as information on Arab tax policies, the status of the Armenian Church, and the Armenian and Arab nobilities. Ghewond is considered a trustworthy historian. He correctly lists the caliphs and the lengths of their reigns, except for the reigns of the initial three caliphs. He correctly lists the names and reigns of the ostikans or Muslim governors of the newly-created administrative unit called Arminiya, which included Armenia, East Iberia/Georgia, and parts of Aghuania (Atrpatakan/Azerbaijan). About 1/3rd of Ghewond's History is the non-authentic correspondence between Leo III, the Isaurian (717-740) and 'Umar II (717-720). See Arthur Jeffery, Ghevond's Text of the Correspondence between 'Umar II and Leo III, from the Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Oct., 1944), pp. 269-332. This is a translation and study of chapters 13-14 of Ghewond's History.

Akinean studied the unedited text in Ghewond ere'ts' patmagir [The Historian Ghewond the Priest]. This important article appeared in the journal Hande's Amso'reay 43(1929), columns 330-348, 458-472, 593-619, and 705-718. In his article on Ghewond and Xorenats'i, Akinean associated MX's lament with Ghewond. Ghewond is not mentioned by the ninth-century John Catholicos.

An English translation of Ghewond's History, made from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian (Long Branch, NJ., 2006), is available for reading online and downloading in different formats. This translation was published by Sophene in 2021 with the Classical Armenian text on the facing page.


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