Aristakes Lastivertc'i's


Translator's Preface

Aristakes Lastivertc'i was an eleventh century Armenian cleric and historian. His History Regarding the Sufferings Occasioned by Foreign Peoples Living Around Us was written between 1072 and 1079, and describes the events of 1000-1071, including information on Byzantine-Armenian relations, the Saljuq invasions, and the T'ondrakac'i movement in the Armenian Church. The work opens with a poetic summary of the disasters befalling the Armenian people in the eleventh century. Subsequent chapters describe Byzantine attempts to subjugate the Armeno-Georgian district of Tayk'/Tao (1000-1022); conflicts and cooperation among Armenian and Georgian princes; and the Saljuq invasions from 1047 to the capture of the city of Ani (1064) and the battle of Manzikert (1071). His information confirms and supplements what is known from Byzantine, Arab, and Iranian sources.

Little is known about the author of this work. The village of Lastivert whence he hailed, is believed to have been located near the city of Arcn in the district of Karin/Erzerum. It is clear that he was well-versed in the Bible, which he cites frequently. His religious worldview leads him to attribute everything to God's design, and makes him blame the Armenians for the massacres committed against them by the Byzantines and Saljuqs. Unlike earlier Armenian historians, Aristakes had no patron and was not writing a eulogistic account of the role of a particular noble family in Armenia's history. Rather he was a patriotic historian who heaps scorn on those clerical and lay Armenian lords whose actions he considered detrimental to Armenia's national church and to the preservation of Armenian states. The History displays equal aversion to Armenia's foreign overlords, Byzantine and Saljuq.

The present translation was completed in 1978. It was made from the critical edition of the classical Armenian text, published by K. N. Yuzbashyan, Patmut'iwn Aristakisi Lastivertc'woy (Erevan, 1963). A full bibliography by H. A. Anasyan is contained in Yuzbashyan's edition. Additional bibliography is available in a French translation by M. Canard and H. Berberian, Recit des malheurs de la nation armenienne (Paris, 1973) as well as in Yuzbashyan's article, "The Daylamites in the History of Aristakes Lastivertc'i", in the Armenian Review 31 (1979) [pdf download available here] and C. Toumanoff's article, "Armenia and Georgia," [Chapter XIV in The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. IV, The Byzantine Empire, part I, (Cambridge, 1966), pp. 593-637]. [For a fascinating description of the history and subsequent fate of the Tondrakians (Armenian dissidents descended from the earlier Paulicians), now see Matti Moosa's Armenian Elements in the Beliefs of the Kizilbash Kurds.] For a discussion of the Saljuq invasions see The Cambridge History of Iran vol. 5 (Cambridge, 1968); for Armenia in particular, see see R. Bedrosian, The Turco-Mongol Invasions and the Lords of Armenia in the 13-14th Centuries (New York, 1979). This translation uses a modification of the Hübschmann-Meillet-Benveniste transliteration for Armenian.

Robert Bedrosian
(New York, 1985)

A Note on Pagination

The following modern chronological tables may be useful as accompaniments to the translation.

Rulers of Armenia and of Eastern and Western Empires
Kat'oghikoi and Corresponding Secular Rulers of the Armenians
Rulers of Armenia and Iberia/Georgia

Additional tables are available on another page of this site: Chronological Tables. Maps are available on our Maps Page.

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