Ghewond's History

Translated from Classical Armenian
by Robert Bedrosian

This translation is in the public domain. It may be copied and distributed freely.

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in English:

from The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. IV The Byzantine Empire part I (Cambridge, 1966), facing page 608

Caucasia in the 8th-11th Centuries Cyril Toumanoff, cartographer.

The map above, which is not in the public domain, is presented solely for non-commercial educational/research purposes.

in French:

From the Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 1 (Leiden, 1986), facing page 640.

Arminiya, 8-10th century Arab admnistrative unit. M. Canard, cartographer.

The sources for these maps, and additional maps are available on our Maps Page.

Translator's Preface

Ghewond's History, though divided into chapters which are numbered, lacks chapter headings or summaries. The table of chapter summaries below was created for the convenience of readers and is not part of Ghewond's text.

Chapter 1.

The first caliphs; Arab conquests of Judaea and Syria; fighting with the Byzantine empire.
Chapter 2.
War with Iran and the defeat of that country; initial attacks on Armenia; conflict between the Byzantine general Procopius and Prince T'e'odoros R'shtunik'; Arab successes and withdrawal.
Chapter 3.
Return of the Arab armies and their successes in Armenia; another withdrawal; after a ten year hiatus the Arabs attack again, take slaves and booty and withdraw for another two years.
Chapter 4.
The reign of Caliph Mu'awiya (661-680) and events on the Armenian Highlands; the role of the R'shtunik', Bagratunis, and Mamikoneans; the reigns of caliphs Yazid I (680-683) and 'Abd al-Malik (685-705); warfare among the Arabs; the Khazars raid Caucasia, their looting and departure.
Chapter 5.
The reigns of the patrician Ashot Bagratuni (686-689/90), and the Byzantine emperor Justinian [II, 685-695, 705-711]; Khazar and Arab attacks.
Chapter 6.
The Byzantine attack on Smbat Bagratuni's forces.
Chapter 7.
Attacks on Armenia by Muhammad ibn Marwan, brother of Caliph 'Abd al-Malik' [685-705], capture of towns, taking of captives, killing of clerics and expropriation of Church treasures.
Chapter 8.
The tenure of Prince Abu Shaykh ibn Abdullah in Armenia (701-703) and the failure of his plans toward the Armenian lords. The victories of Smbat Bagratuni and other lords against the Arabs; the mercy of Lady Shushan; Smbat passes to the Byzantine side and becomes curopalate. An Arab attack in Vaspurakan is defeated.
Chapter 9.
Muhammad ibn Marwan is sent by the caliph to exact revenge on Armenia; how kat'oghikos Sahak Dzorap'orets'i (677-703), in death, softened his wrath. Armenia submits to the Arabs.
Chapter 10.
The policies of Caliph al-Walid I (705-715); immolation of the naxarars in Naxchawan/Nakhichevan and Xram; arrest and punishment of the rebellious lords; 'Abd al-Aziz ibn Hatim ibn al-Bahili rules Armenia (705-709) and brings peace to the land. He rebuilds the city of Dwin.
Chapter 11.
General Muhammad ibn Marwan attacks China.
Chapter 12.
The reign of Caliph Sulaiman (715-717) and General Maslama's unsuccessful campaign against the Khazars.
Chapters 13-14.
Translation of the theological letters in Chapters 13-14 is omitted.
Chapter 15.
Caliph 'Umar II (717-720) releases the Armenian captives.
Chapter 16.
The fanaticism of Caliph Yazid II (720-724).
Chapter 17.
Caliph Hisham (724-743) increases Armenia's tax burden.
Chapter 18.
Djarrah ibn al-Hakami, ruler of Arminiya, (722-725; 729-730) and Khazar affairs.
Chapter 19.
Arab warfare against Byzantium during the reign of Emperor Leo III, the Isaurian (717-741).
Chapter 20.
General Maslama's disaster at Constantinople.
Chapter 21.
The rule of Marwan ibn Muhammad in Arminiya (732-744); conflict between the lordly houses of Mamikonean and Bagratuni; Ashot III Bagratuni becomes presiding prince for the caliph (732-748).
Chapter 22.
Prince Ashot Bagratuni participates in the Arab war against the Khazars.
Chapter 23.
The short reign of the debauched caliph al-Walid II (743-744) and his murder.
Chapter 24.
Ishak ibn Muslim al-Ukaili is governor of Arminiya (744-749/750); the reign of Caliph Marwan II (744-750); internecine warfare among the Arabs.
Chapter 25.
The released Armenian hostages cause problems in Vaspurakan, and Ashot Bagratuni reports them to the Arabs; conflicts between the Bagratid and Mamikonid houses.
Chapter 26.
Grigor Mamikonean and other princes get Ashot Bagratuni to join a rebellion against the Arabs; the Paulicians (the "sons of sinfulness") join the Arab side; Ashot Bagratuni is blinded by Grigor Mamikonean as he tries to return to Arab suzereignty. Ashot's death.
Chapter 27.
The fall of the Umayyads and the accession of the Abbasids in A.D. 750.
Chapter 28.
The Abbasid caliph Abu-l-Abbas al-Saffah (750-754) institutes new and heavier taxes. Yezid ibn Usaid al-Sulami, ruler of Arminiya (752-754, 759-770, 775-780), appoints Sahak VII Bagratuni as presiding prince (755-761).
Chapter 29.
The Byzantine emperor Constantine V, Copronymous (740-775) and events in Karin/Erzerum.
Chapter 30.
Arab looting and their alliance with the Paulicians cause trouble in the Vaspurakan area; the deaths of Sahak and Hamazasp Artsruni in battle.
Chapter 31.
The Arab governor of Armenia and Khazar affairs; the Khazar invasion of the Caucasus.
Chapter 32.
Concerning Saleh ibn Subaih al-Kindi, the previous governor of Arminiya (750/751-752); the deeds of Gagik Artsrunik', his arrest and death in jail.
Chapter 33.
The tax burdern is increased under Caliph al-Mansur (754-775); descriptions of the harsh methods of tax collecting.
Chapter 34.
The Armenian rebellion of 774-775 ends in disaster.
Chapter 35.
Arab retaliation.
Chapter 36.
The death of Caliph Abdullah Abu Jafar al-Manur (775).
Chapter 37.
Events during the reigns of Caliph Muhammad al-Mahdi (775-785) and Emperor Leo IV (775-780); resumption of Arab-Byzantine warfare.
Chapter 38.
Events at Amorium and in the borderlands.
Chapter 39.
Tachat Andzewats'i is alienated by the new emperor Constantine VI (776-780) and returns to Arab allegiance; 'Uthman ibn 'Umara ibn Kuzaim governor of Arminiya (781-785); the campaign against the Khazars.
Chapter 40.
Deaths of the Armenian lords at the hands of Khouzaima ibn Khazim at-Tamimi in 786/787.
Chapter 41.
The reign of Caliph Harun al-Rashid (786-809) and the increase in taxation.
Chapter 42.
Taxation of the Church; kat'oghikos Step'anos I Dvnets'i (788-790).
The copyist's request.

Note: because of its large size, the translation has been divided into multiple files (of about 30K each) for fast display. Use the Continue link at the end of each section to advance.

The following modern chronological tables may be helpful 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
Arab Governors of Arminiya, 8th Century

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

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