Ghazar P'arpec'i's

History of the Armenians


[292] 81. After Hazarawuxt had departed for Iberia/Georgia, Shapuh remained at Ok'al and tried to implement Hazarawuxt's order: to hunt for Vahan Mamikonean, come upon him unawares, and kill him. But he was able to accomplish nothing, since security from On High surrounded and preserved [Vahan]. Indeed, Vahan Mamikonean with his troops ceaselessly took the Iranians in [their] encampment, each day. Every morning they shot arrows from below [the encampment] and there were those killed by the arrows of the Armenians themselves, and those Iranians killed when other Iranians, becoming a mob, suffocated them. Then Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, and the men who were with him went to encamp in a nearby village under the authority of the Mamikoneans, called Caghik. They wanted to cross to the border area of Hashteank' [district], to get help from the people there.

The Iranian general, Shapuh, was informed that lo, Vahan Mamikonean is encamped in a village and there are extremely few men with him. So before dawn the next day Shapuh, the Iranian military commander, taking all the multitude [of troops] with him suddenly went against the Armenian brigade. But the Armenian brigade was prepared (they were always prepared because [293] Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, taught them to be alert) and they went elsewhere, unharmed. Nonetheless, brigades of Iranian troops, not taking note of the others, went after Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean. For they said: "If only we find some way of dealing with him, all our business will be finished and done." Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, went eastward to the area of the sea/lake of Karin, while the brigades of Iranian warriors went after them unable to catch up. Now Mushegh of the Mamikonean tohm and Nerseh Kamsarakan, lord of Shirak, were travelling north of the lake, having missed [meeting] Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, at the appointed hour. They were with a few men, and were upset. They approached a village of Karin named Arcat'i, and reached a torrent which was near a village, and they wanted to rest by the bank of the torrent for a while, at a place where reapers of the outer fields (which lay around the villages) were working. [Subsequently] when the Iranians learned that they were unable to catch them, they wanted to harm the mshaks of the area. They said: "Why do you permit all servants of the king of kings to travel through your land" [g148]?

[294] Xurs (who was from Shirmac' village in Arshamunik' district), dayeakordi of the Kamsarakan lord of Shirak, saw that one of the Iranian soldiers wanted to kill one of the Karnec'i mshaks, and that the mshak had gone behind a haystack to evade his [would-be] killer. When Nerseh Kamsarakan's dayeakordi saw this he got angry at the Mamikonean sepuh, Mushegh, and at Nerseh Kamsarakan, saying courageously: "Truly, would not the avenging God demand [an explanation] from us for the man from different lands who dies because of an Iranian?" So Xurs attacked the Iranian with his lance and killed him on the spot, and the Karnec'i escaped his slayer. Stirred by Xurs' words and the deed he had bravely done, the sepuh of the Mamikoneans, Mushegh and the lord of Shirak, Nerseh, looked and saw that there were not too many people pursuing them. They fell upon the Iranians with only the few men who were with them, and, strengthened by God's aid, they caused many torrents of blood to flow, while the others were shamefully put to flight. Seven hundred and two men died there. When Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, heard of such successful work he glorified God that without his participation, God bent and broke the enemy's power. And he went to the border of Hashteank' in accordance with his previous plan. Reaching the place, he [295] encamped at the village called Erez in the district of Arshamunik', wishing to rest for two days.

82. Gdihon, general of Siwnik', urgently hurried Shapuh, the military commander of the Iranian brigade, saying: "You and the entire Aryan land should go and experience Vahan Mamikonean's bravery. I am unable to fathom the man's actions and deeds. For when the entire brigade at Duin was united around him, he showed us [an example of] his bravery. However the king of king's crown and the glory of the Aryans aided us such that (as you saw) his deeds resulted in one thing, while our's came to a good conclusion. Now tell me, what is the man doing with so few men that every day he depletes and defeats our brigade? See if you can get aid elsewhere, for he will reduce us to but a few, and make us retreat in shame. Furthermore, I am unsure about our retreat even. But hurry and do not let the man rest. Otherwise, perhaps we will slow down and he will exhaust us and embarass us. If you only left him to me, in but five days, with my brigade alone I would show you how severely I would defeat him and those with him" [g149].

[296] Because Gdihon's deeds were not those worthy of a clean soul, the impure [spirit] within him prophesied about him that: "After five days you will wickedly be killed by the men who are with Vahan Mamikonean." For when the dew saw that the man was completely abandoned by God's care, like Saul, [hs realized that] he could kill him wherever he wanted. Now when the Iranian military commander, Shapuh, heard all these words, he did not permit [Gdihon] or the men with him [to accompany his troops]; rather, in a rage, he himself went after [Vahan]. He encamped in a certain spot near where he wanted to go, thinking to hide in an unknown area by a branch of the river.

Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, and the troops with him were sleeping peacefully at least that night, after convincing the men in the village of Erez [to cooperate]. For everyone listened to his orders out of fear, willingly, as though he were a king set up by God upon the earth. And God Himself was with him in everything he did, wherever that might be. He took his troops and the shinakans of Erez and approached the encampment at night. Then, surrounding the battle-site with Erezites holding shields, they violently let loose with [297] a tumultuous downpour of arrows against the Iranian brigade which they terrified. The mob of troops in the encampment mingled with one another and the Iranians trampled one another even more; and there came the sound of weeping and of bad news from the camp of the impious. From the Armenian brigade, only Gabagh, sepuh of the Gabegheank', was pierced while enthusiastically battling and displaying great courage. After a few days he died of his wounds and was crowned, being worthy of acceptance by God.

83. Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, left the slaughter of the enemy and went to spend the remainder of the night at the village of Oghin called Shte', in the stables. At daybreak he went and encamped at Shte' village. Just as the Armenian troops of Vahan Mamikonean wanted to rest awhile from the weight of the evening's labors, they raised their eyes and who should they see but the Iranian military commander, Shapuh, coming against them, roaring like a wild beast with an enraged heart. For the wicked injuries of that particular night had seemed more and more serious than those [inflicted] on all previous days. And indeed this was so, since nothing done previously resembled [298] the great carnage which had thoroughly broken [the Iranians] and could now be observed. Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, saw the unexpected attack of the Iranian military commander, Shapuh, and all of the multitude of troops against them. Although he saw that his brigade at the time was unprepared and fewer compared to the enemy's mighty force, nonetheless, he overlooked [g150] nothing. Giving the order, he quickly assembled however many men he had. Then, like a lion, he bellowed: "The believing person cannot miss the mark twice. If he hits the mark both times, it is laudable and honorable. However, one is greater and more desirable than the other. The two encounters are not unwillingly or unthoughtfully met. Living and dying is part of that exaltation for those who wish to live prudently and die hoping. To die for a blessed vow is the lot of martyrdom. Now God has frequently glorified us with the victory and we are thankful of that. And the Almighty will also grant us and crown us with that which is above all else. Let no one ignorantly be frightened through lack of faith. For it was the holy Spirit which said: "Those whom the lord God strikes one through his dear ones can chase a thousand and two put ten thousand to flight" [II Deuteronomy 32, 30]. We belong to God and God will look upon and aid us. We are few in number. But if the Almighty [299] wishes to fulfill [His] promises, [i.e., that each of us will be able to chase away 1000 of the enemy] then the multitude of the enemy is lacking to become 300,000 [as against our 300]. For, to judge it by sight, they have no more than 4,000. But let us always exalt in God's name and always confess it, for eternity."

When Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, had expressed all these sentiments, he divided the troops he had and entrusted them to each of the military commanders whom he considered able and capable. While he was still organizing the attack and the Iranian troops arranged in fronts were ferociously coming to war, [Vahan] looked and saw that the entire Armenian brigade had turned tail from the oath sworn on the Gospel, and from the counsel of Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, and were all fleeing. Only about 40 people, more or less, remained: Vahan himself and the oath-keepers including Mushegh of the Mamikonean tohm, the two Kamsarakan [brothers], sons of the venerable Arshawir, two or three of their dayeaks, and other azats from the Mamikonean house [g151]. [300] Seeing the flight of the entire Armenian brigade, those who remained were terrified and one of them said to the general of Armenia, Vahan Mamikonean: "Lord, take care, take care"! In other words, [he thought] it was possible to give way and to save himself. But Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, made the sign of the Cross over himself and said in a loud voice: "Let no one tell me to take care, for I do not place my hopes in man or pride myself in them—God forbid! I [place my hopes] only in the Cross of our lord Jesus Christ."

Then [Vahan] plunged into the entire Iranian army, attacking with the few good oath-keeping men who remained with him. The Iranian military commander Shapuh, astonished by the awesome and courageous strength of Armenia's general, Vahan, and the few men with him, quickly sent to Gdihon, prince of Siwnik', saying: "Help me on this side, because [Vahan] is doing something peculiar and new. I do not know if there is indeed some invisible force aiding them which we cannot see. But if they stupidly want to commit suicide, then let us get them in our midst and arrest all of them today." Gdihon, prince of Siwnik', became ecstatic at Shapuh's summons, and arising, he quickly went to where the campaign was being conducted. Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, with the few like-minded people with him, attacked assisted by the right-hand of the Almighty. He plunged into the entire Iranian brigade as though it was merely a torrential rain which falls [301] to the ground and vanishes. [Vahan] himself, together with his brave oath-keepers, like a lion, forcefully plowed through the middle of the entire mass and came out on the other side. He and the men with him killed many powerful warriors of the Iranian troops. Among them was Gdihon, the haughty prince of Siwnik', whom they mortally pierced with a lance through the armpit. With a frightful sound they rent the security of his armor in which the impious one had confidence, and the tip of the spear plunged into his liver. After several days of wickedly bitter gasping for air, [Gdihon] gave up the ghost, without confessing. He had at one time immodestly boasted: "I will not fight Vahan and the other Armenians with arrows, but rather with the notch of a single arrow I will scatter and disperse all of them across their valleys and plains."

His prideful words destroyed him. God had betrayed the prince of Siwnik', Gdihon, once and twice to the hands of men in the force of Vahan Mamikonean. God patiently and forgivingly pardoned [g152] him out of humanity, so that perhaps [Gdihon] would repent, [re]convert, do pennance, and be saved. But when he did not come to his senses, and instead thoroughly scorned the truth, and did not respond to the divine inquiry, he received his shameful end, in this world and in the next. The Iranian troops went after the fugitive Armenians, and they killed many of these weakened cowards.

[302] After Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean with his colleagues had completed this deed of bravery (with the power of God), he then went unconcernedly as though he were a wing of the Iranian force. All the brigades of Shapuh's troops did not even dare to look at their faces. Because God had so inspired them with fear and dread of Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, that the Iranian troops thought that if they merely looked at the Mamikonean and the men with him, they would be unable to escape without injury. Of the oath-keeping and strengthened men who were with Armenia's general, Vahan, and who attacked and were then martyred were:

K'ont ' Arhawenean,
the venerable Ners Yovsepean,
the venerable Atgen, sepuh of the Vanandac'ik',
and the venerable Gherpargos, who was of Greek nationality.

84. Because of the extremely disagreeable odor, the Siwnik' troops threw the entrails of their prince on the ground. Then, after wrapping him in reeds, his relatives and servants took him to the land of Siwnik'. When the Siwnik' cavalry saw this, dismayed and distraught, they separated and splintered from each other and each returned to his place via different roads.

[303] When Shapuh, the military commander of the Iranian brigade, saw the collapse of the Siwnik' brigade and the awesome might of [his] adversary Vahan Mamikonean, he recalled the irresistible strength [of God] and was thoroughly frightened, wondering but not knowing what to do. For he said: "Vahan regarded as nothing the life of such a man as Gdihon and conquered him, the men with him, and the select brigade, as well as the men here with me. He attacked three and four thousand men with only thirty men, crushed the hearts of all, destroyed such a huge multitude of troops, and caused such massive damage. With what assurance can we (who have become few) resist such brave folk. Thinking it over, I fear that in accordance with [Vahan's] brilliance, he will send to [g153] the nearby bordering places, to the Armenians of the district of Anjit or Cop' or Hashteank', and take auxiliaries from them as from his own relatives; and we survivors will be unable to save our own lives. Come now, let us hasten to the place of the ostan of Armenia and quickly send emissaries to inform the king of kings. Even though the Gods' assistance settled his affairs, it is time to return to the ostan. Thereafter, with the force of the brigade or by himself, he will try to take charge of the affairs of Armenia. But as I review the [304] events of the day before yesterday, I am unable to think or imagine anything. Although I am not so old, I have never even heard from the Aryan military commanders about warriors in centuries past, nor have I witnessed in my own time [an instance when] someone with ten men attacked 3000 select cavalrymen, accomplished so much, and then got away unharmed."

85. So Shapuh thought all of this over. The next day he went to the district of Basean, to a village called Aluar. While he was tormented by fearful thoughts of Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, suddenly an emissary arrived from the Iranians bearing exceedingly bad news and letters containing much unpleasantness, written to Shapuh by the Iranian noble folk, and each of his relatives and friends who had escaped countless severe defeats from the Hepthalites. Shapuh took the letters, and, coming upon those passages which related the heavy and serious torments and the awesome destruction of the land of the Aryans, he sank into a state of dismayed terror. He remained speechless for a while like a fainting person, unable to ask the bringer of the correspondence anything or to come to his senses. After many hours he awoke as though from being dazed and drugged, and called the man, questioning him alone as to how and why such an end and destruction should have been visited upon [305] the land of the Aryans, or who could escape and bring the news of the destruction of such a countless multitude of troops, and why did the godlike lord Peroz die, and what sort of a death was it?

The emissary responded: "Your questions are proper and appropriate to anyone who wants to hear important and useful information from emissaries. However, it is very difficult for me to speak bad words and to narrate such wicked calamities and the escape of the fugitives. This is especially so when the cause of such injury and destruction was none other than the godlike lord of the Aryana, Peroz, himself. Although for [g154] a serving-man speaking ill about the gods brings death and destruction, nonetheless, it is necessary to say what was seen and heard and the matter cannot be ended without this. This is because presently the bad experience of the lord of the Aryans and of the entire land was due to the wrath of the gods, and the cause was none other than the lord of the Aryans himself. First, when Peroz was still in Hyrcania and massing troops from all sides, he wanted to go against the Hepthalites. He kept his thoughts to himself and did not ask anyone about the worthiness or unworthiness of the men. But everyone in the brigade knew that he wanted to fight the [306] Hepthalites. Recalling the terror and besiegement which [the Hepthalites] had put the lord of the Aryans and the Iranians to [previously], all of the men felt abandoned and broken-hearted and were unable to see a Hepthalite, or hear the name Hepthalite, to say nothing about actually going to fight against the Hepthalites. Every mouth was plainly saying: 'If we are condemned to death, and the king of kings wants to kill us, let him order us killed here with his own sword, instead of letting the Hepthalites destroy the Aryans with their swords. For from such a deed he personally and the land of the Aryans will receive eternally a bad name.' All the court nobility was constantly saying the same thing, especially the sparapet of the Aryans, Vahram, who boldly and publicly protested many times to Peroz. But [Peroz] would not listen to anyone nor did he sense or remember his disgraces from earlier enemies—disgraces which he personally and all the Aryans had experienced from the Hepthalites. So, with a huge multitude of Aryans and non-Aryans, he went against them. [The men] went as people condemned to death, not as warriors going to fight. The survivors also state that when they had approached, the Hepthalite [leader] sent to Peroz, saying: 'You have an oath with me— sworn, written, and sealed—that you will not fight with me. We stipulated a boundary over which we would not dare to cross to inimically fight each other. Now recall that oath, and the difficulties of the [307] besiegement from which I mercifully released you. I did not kill you but let you return in peace. Do not die! Now if you do not heed my words, know that I will destroy you and the entire useless multitude in which you are placing your hopes. For I and the justice of oath-keeping are fighting together on one side, while you and the falseness of oath-breaking are together on the other side. So how are you going to be able to vanquish me?' When the Aryans heard the Hepthalite's words, they said to Peroz: 'He is right; we are fighting falsely.' Peroz, becoming greatly enraged at the Aryan nobility, haughtily replied to the Hepthalite, saying: 'With the multitude of this brigade which you will see, I will use half [of the soldiers] to fight with and defeat you, and with the other half I will transport the soil from the places where you are now to the sea and the trench to fill them up.' Because of the insensitivity of his heart [Peroz] did not realize that the corpses of his own [155] servants would fill the trench which he dug to destroy himself and the entire Aryan world. When the two sides met and clashed, [Peroz], all his sons, and land were lost. The few men who had escaped from the carnage reached Hyrcania and narrated to everyone all of these wicked developments, and this caused [308] all the awags and other people in Hyrcania to flee to Asorestan. They sent an emissary to Hazarawuxt in Iberia/Georgia and they dispatched me to come to you, so that you would quickly assemble together and devise ways of keeping yourselves and the Aryan world alive."

86. When Shapuh heard all these words from the emissary, he replied: " I and the brigade that you now see with me, even before this wicked news arrived, were seeking an excuse to get away from the work we have been engaged in. For the rebel Vahan has so stupefied and terrified, so endangered and fatigued us that his actions and deeds are not those of a man of this period such as we have seen or know about, but rather like those of the first Kajs which are related in romances and which we have heard. Forget about the deeds and courage which I and other noble folk have seen him and the men with him accomplish in earlier times. For ten days ago he attacked not only this multitude which is presently here and which you see, but also [we then had with us] the brigade of the prince of Siwnik', Gdihon, with the choice cavalrymen of his district. Like an eagle swooping down upon a flock of partridges, Vahan with [309] only thirty men attacked [us] and there were those who were killed, and many others who were dispersed into crevices and holes in the rocks. In the same fashion this huge multitude of troops was scattered. After killing the giant-like Gdihon and killing many from the brigade, they themselves went off unharmed, fearing no one at all. Now, was it not Peroz' unseeing and contemptuous pride which removed such folk and such a great and useful land from serving the Aryans? Were I to be able to subdue and bring over to our side such people as Vahan (whom I previously knew to be brave, but whom I now know even better as a brave man) and the comrades with him, especially the three brothers from the Kamsarakan tohm, I would regard that [accomplishment] as a great consolation for the heavy destruction which has come over the Aryan world."

When Shapuh Mihranean and the emissary had spoken, they ordered the troops to go at all possible speed to the land of Iran [g156]. But Shapuh left the Kamsarakan women there at Boghberd, entrusting them to the fortress-keeper whom he repeatedly ordered to keep them very carefully and in extreme sanctity in accordance with the rules of the Christian faith. Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, heard all these words and information and accepted the visitation from God and the facts of the news and the needs and cares of the land of Armenia. He knew each as proper and useful, and offered with [310] his mercy in accordance with the rationality of the seekers. Then he reached the city of Vagharshapat with the rational, loyal, oath-keeping Armenian naxarars. He conducted the usual oaths and masses in the holy cathedral church which the brave general of Armenia, Vahan Mamikonean, rennovated with glorious splendor since the structure founded by his ancestors had become old. In the martyriums they first requited the needs of the poor, then they rejoiced delightedly. They then went on to the ostan, Duin, and spent some days there where they awaited and expected the command of Christ's leadership.

87. When Hazarawuxt, who was in the land of Iberia, heard about the slaying of Peroz and the inestimable destruction of the Iranian multitude, he was horrified and wracked with doubts, and immediately left for the country of Iran. When he reached the court, the remnants of the Aryan nobility gathered around him—the son of one, the brother of another—whoever had managed to survive at the time. They consulted among themselves as to whom they could make worthy of the kingship. They thought this over for many days and unitedly fixed on Vagharsh, king Peroz' brother, a benevolent and mild man [Valash/Balash, 484-488]. When everyone had [311] assembled near Vagharsh, Hazarawuxt began to speak and reveal to him what all of them were thinking, reminding him of the self-indulgence and capriciousness of king Peroz, saying: "Whatever he wanted to do, he did through force alone—as he wished, with no regard for anyone and without consulting anyone, accomplishing everything through his tyrannical will. The result of his unquestioned thinking brought destruction and fragmentation not only to himself but to the Aryan world generally. Now all of us have enthusiastically chosen you as an agreeable, world-building man, so that through you the throne of the kingdom of the Aryan world would be made firm and so that the remaining portion of the Aryan world and the other lands subject to this kingdom be made to flourish. [We want you] to achieve reconciliation with the peoples who resist and rebell by using [your] mildness [g157] and affection; to recognize each of the Aryans and the non-Aryans according to merit; to know how to select the useful from the useless [people]; to consult with the wise; to love those who love their comrades, and to hate and destroy the envious and the slanderers; to observe everyone, recognizing the doers of good, and rewarding the meritorious with recompense suiting their labors." Having said all of this and other similar counsel to him, and after giving testimony, they seated him on the throne of the kingdom of Iran.

[312] 88. On the second day of Vagharsh's reign, Hazarawuxt and the nobility held counsel. In king Vagharsh's presence [Hazarawuxt] said: "As you yourself know, your violent, self-indulgent and obstinate brother, king of kings Peroz' contemptuous depravity caused many people to flee from the Aryan realm. In a major, not minor way they have damaged the land of the Aryans. A primary example is the great land of the Armenians who today stand outside your service. The man who holds such a land aloof from you is a good man whose worth and essence went unrecognized by Peroz who drove him away from serving the Aryans. Everyone knows the injuries and blows occasioned by this man against the Aryan world. I think that you have heard and are informed about all of this. But Shapuh-Mihran whom you appointed [marzpan] knows about [Vahan's] bravery and wisdom even better through experience. If you wish to interrogate him and listen, he himself will tell you."

Then king Vagharsh asked Shapuh-Mihran about Armenian affairs: "What were you able to accomplish in the land of Armenia, what are Vahan's thoughts and strength, and how has he been able to resist the Aryans for so many years?" Mihran replied: "Brave of the Aryans, it seems that Vahan was triumphant in the battle which Hazarawuxt and we fought, even [313] though Vahan was there with all of his forces. Despite the fact that we were the victors, I know that they killed a countless multitude of our men. They dealt with your rule in such a way that half of the Armenian brigade engaged select warriors elsewhere. Hazarawuxt himself and other Iranian folk who were the seniors there know, nonetheless, what great damage [Vahan] inflicted with only a few men. After Hazarawuxt went to Iberia and left me there [in Armenia] as military commander, the way Vahan fatigued us with very few men (sometimes only hundreds, I am not exaggerating; and the noble folk of our brigade who were there and now are here testify) it is very difficult to say, and the words are unbelievable. For how could he fearlessly resist in battle with so few men [g158], and come against the encampment all day, inflicting very great harm? But I who was there recall the events of one day in particular, and again consider the affair beyond human capabilities, though who upon hearing can believe it? For [Vahan] with thirty men fearlessly attacked 3,000 [of us] and wrought such a deed that all who observed it recall it today and probably fear of it will not depart. Such new deeds resemble nothing so much as diligent mshaks with good sharp sickles and scythes chopping grass, putting it in many heaps close to each other, and then joyously returning to their [314] homes without a care. In just this way did they attack Mihran with so many men and completely split the entire brigade, killing many good folk including that awesome man, Gdihon, lord of Siwnik'. I had thought that only Gdihon with ten men of his brigade could encounter so many men and alone [be able to] do that. And [the Vahaneans] put to the sword such a man, and other distinguished and brave Iranian men. Nor did they then ride off on their horses and elude us. Rather, unconcernedly, they followed alongside for many hours. No one in our brigade dared to look at them. For it seemed to all of us that they were gods, not men. Although my words may seem audacious before you, I dare to express these views because of the appropriateness of the time. For you yourself well know the greatness and benefit of the land of the Armenians. I feel that if Vahan and the other folk with him were today peacefully in your service, a great deal of good and important consolation would ease our sorrow. For when the Armenians with such folk, are ours, the Iberians and Aghbanians/Aghuans would never dare to deviate or think anything contrary."

[315] When king Vagharsh heard such statements in order from Mihran, Hazarawuxt, and all the other Iranian nobility, they all praised what Mihran had said as true indeed. They immediately dispatched to Armenia Nixor Vshnaspdat, a mild, intelligent and constructive person, with many select men. He was instructed by the king himself and even more so through the superintendance of Hazarawuxt and the other court nobility: "Go to Armenia and do whatever is necessary with all mildness and affection, according to the wishes of Vahan and his comrades, to bring these folk into Aryan service. But be careful to first assemble with you the cavalrymen of Atrpatakan who are near Armenia and the cavalry of Her and [g159] Zarawant district. For perhaps when you send to Vahan he will give you friendly pretexts but then trick and somehow harm you. The man is brave and shrewd. For to the present he and those with him have not accomplished such feats merely through bravery. Be well prepared. But it seems that Vahan would not think of such a thing, since the work which he and those with him made bold to do resulted from Peroz' lack of knowledge of human nature (in accordance with his proud and willful personality) [316] and the inability of Vahan and those men who allied with him, to bear the ridicule. Willing to face death, they were forced to do such things." When the lord of the Aryans, Vagharsh, and all the nobility had said these things to Nixor Vshnaspdat, they bid him farewell and dispatched him to Armenia.

89. Nixor came to the land of Armenia and did not dare to enter Armenian areas, but rather stopped in the district called Her at the village named Nuarsak. He sent as messengers to Vahan Mamikonean:

Shapuh, council scribe [xorhrdean dpir]
and Mihr-Vshnasp Chuarshac'i,

through whom [Nixor] informed [Vahan] of his coming to Armenia, saying: "I have a hrovartak for you from king Vagharsh and a message to peaceably subdue you and all the noble folk who [formerly were] with the Aryans. Now come and listen, and choose what is good, what you find agreeable."

[317] When Vahan Mamikonean saw Nixor's messengers and heard from them all the words of this message, he assembled a brigade of all the loyal oath-keepers—naxarars, azats and all the cavalrymen. Vahan Mamikonean ordered those who had come from Nixor to say the words of king Vagharsh and of all the Aryan nobility in the presence of everyone. When Vahan Mamikonean had all the mass of the Armenian folk listen to Nixor's message, he informed the Iranian emissaries that he would reply to them on the next day.

The following day all the Armenian folk assembled by Vahan Mamikonean and first discussed among themselves the long-standing needs and problems of the matters. Nixor's emissaries came to the atean and the Mamikonid started replying to Nixor's words: "There are many important words regarding affairs of our rebellion—such a significant and potentially fatal act to which we have dedicated our lives—that it is impossible to deal with them in writing or by message; but only by speaking face-to-face with the one who is lord of the Aryans, and with you [a member] of the court nobility. But I will tell you three things which, if responded to in a manner desired by me and everyone here, if these three points are conceded to us in writing with the king's seal, then we [318] will do all that is fitting and appropriate, and will heed your words as our ancestors did. For the words which I [g160] presently speak with you are not my own, but those of all the people who are now before you, seniors and junior folk. Nor did we just today decide upon these words; rather, that was done on the day we dedicated ourselves to death. Everyone had previously resolved upon these three [demands]. If the Iranians consent to grant us these three [demands] we will serve them as natural and loyal servants. But if they do not agree to it, and become [more] severe, we shall arise through the land, be ruined, and gladly die, but we shall not worship an Iranian.

"First and foremost among the three demands is this important and useful point: let us keep our patrimonial and natural laws/faith, let no Armenian become a mage; do not give station and honor because of [acceptance of] magianism; remove the fire-temples from the land of Armenia, and hereafter let us not see those loathesome and useless men who are enemies of the Church. Permit Christians and priests the order and worship of Christianity boldly and fearlessly. This is good, and it is our first demand.

[319] "The second demand is that you do not recognize a man on the basis of princeship but rather that you correctly learn the good and bad, and select the useful, not the useless; know the noble and ignoble, respect and honor the brave and useful, and scorn and regard as nothing the bad and useless. Love those who labor and loathe those who are not meritorious; keep wise people around you and consult them; do not permit the foolish to approach, but even chase them from the assembly. When all of this has been implemented, all the affairs of the Aryan world will be successful and correct. But if you like it otherwise, as is the case now, then events and affairs will go in a contrary way, as indeed happened and as you saw.

"Our third demand is that we want the one who is the lord of the Aryans and king of the land to see with his own eyes, hear with his own ears, know and speak with his own mouth, and not with the eyes and ears of another. Let him not always recognize a man as good or bad on another's say-so, or talk about what is necessary with another's mouth. Otherwise, there will not be correct observations, or fair audience. For many words are false, many orders futile, and all wisdom is different. [320] When all these [evils] operate, all the meritorious and their servants are destroyed, and neither the land nor its inhabitants can remain stable and unmoved. But the king who sees with his own healthy eyes and hears with unbiased hearing and speaks fairly with his servants, will envivify his servants and they will not be satisfied with their labor but will increase their efforts, trying to increase the good, day by day. In this way the land is cultivated and the lord is always resplendent in luxury.

"Now if you can promise this, and can give us these promises in a written and sealed form, call us and we will willingly come and hear your words and accept whatever the king orders. But if you cannot give us these three demands, and know that it is impossible, then just as we gave our lives before, so we now are ready to die, but we cannot serve the lord of the Aryans. Should I come [to Iran] there are other words which I will personally speak with him; otherwise, should I not come, the words and matters will remain [as problems]."



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