Ghazar P'arpec'i's

History of the Armenians


90. When Vahan Mamikonean had said all these words to Shapuh, the council scribe, and to Mihr-Vshnasp Chuarshac'i, he sent them away. Along with Nixor's messengers, Vahan Mamikonean [321] sent the following oath-keepers:

Yashkur Arcruni,
Sahak Kamsarakan, son of the venerable Arshawir,
Vasawurt Kark'ayin,
Arhawan Aghbewrkac'i, and
Pachok, from the Mardpetakan brigade.

Vahan Mamikonean bid them all farewell and sent them in peace to Nixor.

They went to Nixor in the district of Her. When Nixor saw the Armenians who had come to him from Vahan Mamikonean, with a happy heart he rejoiced delightedly. He ordered a diner and received them with much thanks and great affection, always recalling with each cup the brave Vahan Mamikonean. When the happy meal was finished, each went to his lodging. In the morning, all the Iranian atean assembled before Nixor, as well the God-forsaken [Zoroastrian Armenians] who were there. Then came the messengers who had been sent by Nixor to Vahan Mamikonean: Shapuh and Mihr-Vshnasp, and the Armenian naxarars and other men with them who were sent by Vahan Mamikonean. Shapuh and Mihr-Vshnasp gave Vahan Mamikonean's message openly, before everyone at the atean. When Nixor heard all the words of Vahan Mamikonean, he rejoiced in front of all of them, saying: [322] "All the words and message sent by Vahan are indeed befitting of the gods. For just as the men who were forcibly taken by Peroz and killed by the Hepthalites were innocent (and the gods will demand their blood from Peroz) so too Vahan is guiltless in all the things he planned and did. For he operated because of the tyranny of Peroz' wickedness, and not on his own will. To this day I have not been consoled over the great destruction visited upon the land of the Aryans [g162]. But this news has joyfully consoled me today. May the gods let me see the day when Vahan has been reconciled to me and accepts Aryan service." [323]

Thus did Nixor speak before the entire atean, and when the oath-keeping Armenian naxarars and the other men who had come from Vahan Mamikonean heard this, they glorified God in Whose hands are the hearts of princes, and as He wills it, so He has them speak. Then Nixor immediately summoned the same messengers, Shapuh the council dpir and Mihr-Vshnasp Cuarshac'i, and wrote a letter to Vahan Mamikonean with the following import:

"I have heard all your words from the messengers whom I sent to you. I have repeated your words in this letter to let you know that indeed they have relayed all of it to me, and that I listened. Now come, come to me in surety and the lord of the Aryans and all the Aryan nobility swear to grant and fully implement all the demands which you have sent to me via these men. And then the lord of the Aryans will—as you wish—exalt you and those with you and send you back to Armenia."

[324] Nixor, having affectionately received and honored the naxarars who had come from Vahan Mamikonean, sent them to Vahan Mamikonean, with his own messengers. With much urging, he charged them to bring Vahan Mamikonean quickly and without delay. Then, biding them farewell, he dispatched them affectionately. When those God-denying cheaters who had allied with the Iranians saw how the rebels who had come from Armenia were honored by Nixor and exalted by the Iranians, and that they themselves were scorned as useless, they filled up with shame and sank into the ground. When the oath-keeping naxarars of Armenia and the others with them saw that, they indicated their opprobrium to each other with their eyes. And one of the oath-keepers said to them: "If it is only the fact that Nixor spoke to us affectionately that has caused such a dark cloud and sadness to come upon you and to make you vanish into the ground, then when Christ favors, and you see Vahan Mamikonean and the other oath-keepers with him glorified, with glory given by Christ, will you not crumble and choke?" And on the great day when [you encounter] the unquenchable Gehenna, what will you miserable wretches do then?"

[325] When the man had said this, they went to Vahan Mamikonean with Nixor's messengers. When Nixor's messengers had reached Vahan Mamikonean and delivered Nixor's letter, [Vahan] learned from what was written that Nixor had been informed by the messengers of all that he had sent him and that there was [g163] nothing in any of Vahan Mamikonean's statements that Nixor had ignored. He also learned from the messengers about how Nixor had so delightedly and affectionately received and exalted the naxarars. They also described the wicked humiliation of the oath-breakers' brigade, and how very much his going there was desired. And Nixor's messengers convinced him to go quickly.

91. Then Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, departed with all the oath-keeping naxarars and many others, and an organized brigade. Having heard of Nixor's sworn thesis Vahan Mamikonean went to him willingly and with a joyful heart. Vahan Mamikonean came to the district called Artaz, to the village named Eghind, where he and all the brigades with him stopped. He sent to Nixor and made him aware of his arrival. Vahan Mamikonean said to Nixor: "Now if you [326] want me to come and see you, have some senior Aryans and people from noted tohms come here and stay with my folk, until I come to see you and the two of us speak together and hear from each other what we think is appropriate to do." When Nixor heard about the arrival and wish of Vahan Mamikonean, he immediately had [these men] sent to Nerseh Kamsarakan, lord of Shirak:

Baze, shahap of Atrpatakan,
Veh-Vehnam, hazarapet of Armenia,
Nershapuh, Mihran's brother,
and five other senior Iranians.

Vahan Mamikonean saw the noble folk sent to him by Nixor, and received them happily. Rejoicing together that day, the next day he left the eight [Iranians] with his loyal men, ordering them to honor them worthily and to be careful. Then, with an organized brigade, he went to Nixor. Approaching the village where Nixor was, he ordered the troops who were with him to arm as if in preparation for battle. And on hearing Vahan Mamikonean's command, they fully prepared and presented themselves. Vahan Mamikonean gave the order to sound the war trumpets, and at the furious sound of the blaring trumpets, the earth shook. Amazed, the men of Nixor's force thought [327] that Vahan Mamikonean had come deceitfully to hurt them, and not in love for peaceful submission.

Nixor sent senior men in advance of him and had them say to Vahan Mamikonean: "What you are doing is not in accord with Aryan custom and is a new thing you have fashioned. From now on it is very necessary for you to hold and accept Aryan custom. For only the sparapet of the Aryan army dares to enter the Aryans' [camp] with the trumpets sounding [g164]; and no one would dare to be so audacious to the Iranians." Vahan Mamikonean responded to Nixor, saying: "First let the lord of the Aryans make me a servant, and then, without learning it from you, it seems I [will] know the custom and dignity of the land of the Aryans. Do not think that I am so forgetful, since it has not been so many years since I left you."

Thus did Vahan Mamikonean say these things to Nixor by means of the messenger, then he himself came to see him at the time of the atean. The Mamikonid came to Nixor at sunrise. When Nixor saw Vahan Mamikonean and the other naxarar oath-keepers with him, he embraced him for many hours and saluted him. He also conveyed the greetings of [328] Vagharsh, lord of the Aryans, and of all the nobility. [Nixor] greeted by name each of the naxarars who had come with Vahan Mamikonean, welcoming them with great affection, and likewise all the men in the brigade, senior and junior. When Vahan Mamikonean heard the greetings of the lord of the Aryans and all the court nobility, he prostrated himself giving thanks and received them with great rejoicing. Then Nixor commanded that all the men of Vahan Mamikonean's force be let inside and also ordered the senior Iranian folk to come inside to the atean. Everything that Nixor said was done, and when the atean was completely full of the men with Vahan Mamikonean and the other Iranian folk, Nixor began speaking with Vahan Mamikonean, as follows:

"Although you did not remain near me as a usual neighbor, nonetheless I have seen you many times at court and heard about you from men of the world, Armenians and Iranians (who are not unseeing or useless men, but good, perspicacious, and wise folk), and now all of us know about you first-hand from experience. Warfare is waged as much by bravery [329] as by prudence and wisdom—maybe more so. You have made the entire Aryan world see and acknowledge both capacities in your person. For you displayed bravery with but few men, always fighting against many men with a few, causing such great injuries and wearing [us] out. And you showed wisdom, knowing when to fight, when to give ground, keeping [your] brigade unharmed, but ready at the next moment to fight without fear. For if these two traits were not present and fully developed in you, how would you have been able to resist such a countless multitude of fighting folk with so few men, and at times to overwhelmingly win, at times to terrify and fatigue? Consequently, recalling your great feat and intellect, I regard all of your replies as extremely brave [when you say that] you will do everything you hear us say. For when we ask about your rebellion, how you dared to plot it, let alone effect it, you reply that you were forced as a last [g165] resort because of Peroz' lack of recognition, and that you were forced to the point of death. He demanded service and labor as a god and he thought not to give recompense for that service, as a stupid man would conduct himself. For a brave man it is better that he live but one day recognized for personal bravery, and then die, rather than live many hours with blows. None of the Aryans can blame you, not the one who presently [330] is lord of the Aryans, nor the court nobility which now exists, and you know that. For if the king of kings, Peroz, was unable to care for the safety of himself and his own sons, how could he concern himself about any good servant he had? What you did, no one could have dreamed of or attempted. But all of [his] servants, seeing the limitlessness of his insolence, thought of doing the same every day, but were unwilling to risk death."

"But you and the men united with you, regarding their lives as nothing, bravely applied themselves to the deed. As for those of your number who died, the gods will demand that blood from the impiety of Peroz; and as for those of you who are still alive, you are guiltless and blameless. For the one who is now lord of the Aryans, and all the nobility, always talk about this, and inconsolably lament and mourn, recalling the intractable and impious ways of the man who had no parallel among men, but rather resembled a wild beast. He was the one who lost himself and the might and strength of the Aryan world and gave the great and free kingdom into service to the Hepthalites. As long as the Aryan world endures there will be no more bitter service from which we cannot free ourselves. But should you willingly submit, and perform the natural service of your ancestors, overlooking and forgiving the bad things between [331] us, with my intercession I will arrange that you return to Armenia and the king will have [this agreement] sealed and sent to you. Then when you come safely to the lord of the Aryans, he will affectionately and willingly grant and implement everything that you wish which is good and worthy for yourself and for whomever you choose."

92. Vahan Mamikonean listened to all that Nixor said at the atean to him and to the oath-keeping Armenian naxarars with him, and replied: "It is easy for forward-looking and thoughtful people to recognize when the peace of God is upon the land. When He gives us a benevolent, experienced and constructive prince, the feeble should understand the benevolence of God's visitation, since [that prince] will spread goodness over the land and renew it [g166] as is happening now, it seems to me and everyone else. For, although I have not yet seen the lord of the Aryans, I would like to (if God grants me your intercession), as would all Christians. However, we should also like to see you, the new peace-maker, sent as the cause of such goodness for a land such as Armenia and for us, people of that land, for your concern for everyone, land and people. [332] We see you as wanting and loving what is good, and regard you as a good thing for ourselves and our land. As for what you said about the king of kings, Peroz' behavior and self-indulgence—having servants with uncritical minds, his inability to choose bad from good, brave from cowardly, wise from stupid, deserving from undeserving, it was sufficient and full. I thank God that you did not weary me to respond to your inquiries. But I am still saddened by something about Peroz; how he and all the Aryans were constantly deceived by despicable men loathed by aIl pure people, men who were fugitives from the land because of their foul deeds, men who caused unrest in the mountains, brigand chiefs, those guilty of shedding blood, parasites, plagiarizers, cheats, blabbers, dissidents, the ignoble who realize that they are nothing, unable to accomplish anything, who lose courage at doing something, abandoned at the hunt, they come and fall upon the ashes. You give them the proposition and joyfully dispatch them, favoring them with position, honor, others' houses, lives and greatness. Having eluded you a little, you are silent about the other very great hostile acts by which each one insults the fire in his house. [333] They insult the fire with their excess waste. It is known by everyone and apparent that all craftsmen who know their craft and benefit from it, want to teach the same to their sons so that they can live. But such deceitful men know that they can live and grow great not through wisdom and bravery but through false traffic with ashes; and they hurry to teach the same to their sons. Therefore merit, intelligence, bravery, nobility and justice have departed from and ruined the land of Armenia, while people with affected dignity strut about. You Aryans, seeing all of that, not recognizing that it was your instruction that created them, do not blame them for learning and knowing nothing. Rather, you deride [the Armenians] even at atean, saying that the Armenians are the worst and least of the fighters placing them after the Syrians, the forsaken, [g167] the crippled and the paralysed, and others like them who are attached to your parasitical detachment and are not ashamed. For them such repute seems [a cause for] rejoicing. However, a real man would be shamed to the heart by such words spoken by the lord of the Aryans, and would expire upon hearing them not just once or twice, but, if he heard them ten times, he ought to die ten times.

[334] "Bearing this in mind, such words of ridicule that the lord of the Aryans placed on our land and insisted upon, we dared to plan and think about [rebellion]. And, although we thought about leaving the land and disappearing, recognizing the might and multitude of the Aryans (for we are not so stupid and crazed to think that we eould resist and not be destroyed by fighting such a countless multitude of troops with a paltry number of men, we knew this very well), nonetheless we then reasoned that were we, terrified, to imperceptibly steal away, we would certainly inherit the bad name which has been given to us as such backward and despicable men who truly were lost and vanished without a trace. And you would say that whether they were there or not, the matter ended the same way. But we chose first to inform ourselves and then either to die and be lost. Had we been able to remain united, had we not split and argued, we would have shown those coming against us whether indeed we resembed Aryans or Syrians. I will give you a sign—test it. Command those people who through magianism became lords in Peroz' reign, who now have station and honor, are princes of each district, lords of horse, troops, and brigades, to assemble together with all their cavalry. And we [will fight] with the few men whom you know we have, who lack house, servant, brigade and tanuterut'iwn. You Aryans should [335] then withold your assistance for a moment, and leave [ownership] of the land of Armenia to us and them. [You should] give the land to whomever can expell the other and make [that party] your servants.

"Although I do not want to burden your quick mind with verbosity, nonetheless it is impossible not to mention or be silent about benefit to many people. For my words regard the salvation or loss of a great land, and should be stated in full. We who placed our lives in peril of death, and abandoned the lord of the Aryans, wrote to you three times by means of messengers, and you, similarly repeated [the demands] in writing, from the king. We need only those demands; grant them in writing and with the king's seal. As for other gifts, luxuries, and merits, see that you reward each one according to his worth. You are our [g168] natural lords; we are your natural servants. Accept us with affection, and we shall happily serve you. Grant us forgiveness for that transgression which your tyranny forced us to perpetrate."

93. When Nixor heard such words from Vahan Mamikonean, with a greatly rejoicing heart he said before the atean: "The courageous and just words of Vahan and the good news about [his willingness to] submit has removed all the great [336] sorrow of the destruction of the land of the Aryans and the dark cloud which has come upon my heart, [Vahan's words] have consoled and gladdened me." He ordered the atean dismissed, saying: "Whatever else must be said between myself and Vahan will be aired day by day, and in a few days we will rejoice together." And that day Nixor ordered that Vahan should come and rejoice with him with all the oath-keeping naxarars and the entire brigade he had. But all the oath-breaking Armenians and the apostates were removed from the festivities, full of shame. After rejoicing that day with a great dinner, and bidding farewell to Nixor, they went to lodge in their own places.

The next day Nixor ordered the entire multitude of men to gather in assembly, and he had Vahan Mamikonean brought to his room while he himself was alone. They then spoke together for many hours about the important needs of the land's affairs, according to the princes' care, and then the two went together to the house of atean. Nixor ordered all who had come with Vahan Mamikonean, naxarars and rhamiks, to enter the atean and approach him, and [similarly he ordered that] the Iranian seniors come to him in the atean. The ushers [337] were ordered not to permit those [oath-breakers] who had made themselves loyal to the Iranians to approach the entrance, saying: "You are no good for anything having to do with wise words, and do not even know how to listen. So why prevent the site of the atean from achieving dignity? Now let a man who knows how to listen and profit from the words of seniors and the speech of the wise sit there."

One could then see at the atean righteous God's reward as he gave splendor and courage to his beloved oath-keepers, but filled with shame and ignominy the duplicitous class of apostates. And truly the word of Scripture was revealed, that "God is light." For as the light, and through God, the faces of the pious servants were illuminated. They chose [God] and were illuminated. But an ashen color descended upon the faces of the ash-worshippers, stripping away the [normal] faces of the impious, and accurately revealing [underneath] faces of deceitful parasites, full of shameful ignominy. Truly, as the church rhetorician said, their color had languished and waned [g169] and they resembled statues. And before all, indeed they were revealed as the slaves who disgraced the crucifixion of Christ. With regard to them the words of the psalmist were fulfilled: "The wicked are not so [Psalms I, 4]." These were [338] the wretches and pitiful men whom the atrushan did not favor, and who were expelled by the blessed people of the Church. They sat together stunned, broken, and as though awakened from a nightmare. They were awestruck and frightened at this act of God's power which so quickly and unexpectedly made them seem malignant and laughable in front of their dear ones. Now they wanted, if it were possible, to purchase even at great price, the name of rebellion, but it was not given to them. For whenever one of these nonentities wanted to enter the atean [and join] the multitude, he would say to the ushers: "I am from the brigade of the rebels," and immediately they let him in. But none of them were permitted to approach the doors of the atean nor to hear what the princes had to say. It was then at the atean that the clear eye of the lovers of truth saw brilliantly the flight of assistance of saint Gregory with all of his ascetic comrades over the army of the long-patient oath-keepers, who caused all the faces of the Iranians and others to look with awe and rejoicing at Vahan Mamikonean to whom Christ gave the wisdom of graceful preparation, aid in finding prudence and a strong voice. The words of Christ the Savior written in the Gospel [339] were realized: "It is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father Which speaks through you" [Matthew 10, 20].

When Vahan Mamikonean had repeated in the atean the same things [he had said before], he started to speak to Nixor again: "You are able to recognize and know how to requite the worth of each individual's request and benefit, of the naxarars, azats and others, the ostanik people and the cavalry folk who presently are here before you. But I and the oath-keeping naxarars with me [want] what we demanded from you through messengers and in writing, what yesterday and today I discussed with you face to face, and you promised to give us by order of the lord of the Aryans and all the court nobility in writing and sealed. Without this it is impossible for us to live or serve you—unless there is confirmation of the Christian faith, the removal of magianism and the atrushans from the land of Armenia, and [confirmation of] the brilliance and worship of the Church, as we wish. This is important and essential to us; confirm it with the king's seal. It is unnecessary to elaborate on whatever else was written in the letter, since you know all of it. As for the station, honor and luxury, look to each man's merits, give generously and do not deprive [anyone]." [g170]

[340] 94. When Vahan Mamikonean had said all this, Nixor heard it all and enthusiastically consented. Nixor requested from Vahan the native Armenian cavalry, saying: "Quickly organize and dispatch it to court, for Peroz' son, Zareh, resisting what the Aryans have done, has yet organized a brigade, to the ruination of himself and those who agree with him. Now quickly send the Armenian cavalry so that before you go to court you will have shown a great deed of service before the king and all the Aryans. For the king has also ordered me to quickly go to court. For the gods will resolve this matter successfully and benevolently. It is appropriate and fitting that I should go there even more quickly." Nixor and Vahan Mamikonean rejoiced with each other for a few days, while he quickly arranged what was necessary. Bidding each other farewell, they went in peace, Nixor to court and the king, and Armenia's general, Vahan Mamikonean, to Duin.

When [Vahan] reached the bank of the river which was turgidly swollen because of the season, they found the bridge of Artashat ruined. This had happened partly from the recourse of the inhabitants of the place, and partly from the fury of the waters. The troops were in doubt and sought for a place to cross, but [341] they did not find one. Some who tried [crossing at] many places were submerged in the water and were barely able to find a way out and save themselves. But Armenia's brave general, Vahan Mamikonean, approached a place on the bank of the river, made the sign of the blessed life-giving Cross over himself, descended into the river, and peacefully crossed through the water, as though going through very shallow water. This was the fording place for the entire brigade which crossed over without a care. This was a great and clear sign both for the horsemen and the entire cavalry which were able to cross easily, as they wanted. For Armenia's brave general, Vahan Mamikonean, rooted in the true faith, it was a sign resembling the passage of the Israelite people through the Jordan. Upon entering the ostan Duin, they worthily offered a mass of thanksgiving to God. First they gave provisions to the poor with compassion, in accordance with custom; then they themselves rejoiced according to God's pleasure, with delighted hearts.

Vahan Mamikonean organized the Armenian cavalry, entrusting it to Vren Vanandac'i, and sent it to court. [342] Among those sent was one of [Vahan's] own nephews (brother's son), Grigor, son of the hero Vasak. When they arrived at court, they went off, ready to make war. When the two brigades clashed, Zareh's brigade was defeated and fled, and many of the wounded died. There the sepuh of the [g171] Mamikoneans, Grigor, became valliant like his father, and displayed great bravery, which was clear to the general and to all the troops. He received a good reputation and [the news of it] reached the ears of king Vagharsh. The Vanandac'i sepuh, Vren, also did well, displaying outstanding work. Then Zareh fled to the mountainous areas where he secured himself. But they arrested him and brought him to the royal assembly where they mercilessly slaughtered him, like an animal.

95. After a few days, Vahan Mamikonean urgently assembled the Armenian cavalry and then he and all the oath-keeping naxarars with him went to king Vagharsh. Going to the lodging places en route in a proper number of days, he reached the court. When the king and all the Aryan nobility learned about Vahan's arrival at court, they quickly and hurriedly set a time for him to see the king and all the Aryan nobility. Considering Vahan Mamikonean's fatigue from traveling, king Vagharsh rejoiced merely in affectionately inquiring about his well-being, but asked no more of him on that day. [343] The next day all the court nobility assembled there, as well as the entire multitude of Aryans, and the great palace was filled with a huge number of folk.

King Vagharsh began speaking with Vahan Mamikonean, as follows: "We have fully heard about all the conversations through Nixor, what you said via messengers, what [you wrote] in letters, and what the two of you said to each other when meeting face to face. In no way did you err in what had been said. For had you alone been lost to the Aryans through my brother Peroz' self-indulgent nature, uncooperativeness, unwillingness to listen to anyone and arrogance, the damage would have been light. When one servant is lost, it is usually possible to replace him. But because of his pride, such a countless multitude of good folk were lost, that there is no way of replacing them today. Furthermore, he finally destroyed himself, his sons and women. Now had you been the cause of your own ruination and that of such a multitude lost because of you, you would today be worthy of interrogation, and of a wickedly tormented death. However, since there is another cause for all that you did and for the loss you caused, to punish you [344] for another's tyranny and damage would be very heavy, and our laws do not command it. For the same act which you were able to carry out because of Peroz' contemptuous and crooked behavior, many of the Aryans thought of doing, but were incapable of it. For unlike you, they were unable to fearlessly commit their lives to death, regarding life as sweet. But you, never regarding this world as anything, bravely died (those who died), while those who lived have done so even more bravely [g172]. How unfortunate that the other folk whom Peroz futilely led to destruction were unable to behave as bravely as you did. Perhaps they would be alive today and, like you, with us."

Vahan Mamikonean responded to king Vagharsh in front of the entire multitude, saying: "It is improper to speak at length before God and before you kings. For you and all the court nobility have been shown through Nixor's written and sealed [letters] all of our words, the problem and boldness of the act, and [our willingness] to give our lives. To repeat the same thing many times, prolongs matters and is tedious. As you described it, your brother Peroz' will and unyielding tyranny were excessive and unbefitting a king. Others who experienced his tyranny at least were granted life or tormented by something else, but you attacked us spiritually. Neither our ancestors nor we were able to be [345] stopped by the needs or danger [of resistance]. We constantly complained and are complaining that your faith/laws seem false to us and like the babblings of stupid people. Do not force us to be enemies over something which we cannot willingly and thoughtfully revere and love, for it seems laughable and we do not believe [in Zoroastrianism]. But, not heeding our protests, imperiously and forcibly you wanted to destroy us, and were youselves destroyed. For our faith demands purity and does not accept or allow all the impurities by which the souls of people are ruined. [Our faith] commands [us] to serve [our] masters and obey, as though [they were] God. But come now and show [me] one man who, through the king of kings Peroz, accepted and revered your faith and also displayed merit and accomplishment because of his usefulness or [abilities] in fighting. Many of your Aryan military commanders have been in diverse places, and one of them should be able to say what prominent accomplishment they have done which was seen by your military commanders, and as a result of such meritorious service were rewarded by you. People from the same district as they and other people from the land of Armenia clearly know about their impure acts and how much they deserve to be put to death. They know what kind of people they are, full of all impurities, false, despicable, doers of filthy things, people who do things by stealth, thieves, [346] people who create agitation in the mountains, grave robbers, cheats. Even the lesser shinakan people of the land of Armenia are loath to eat bread with them or even to go near them so that in accordance with the command of our faith they not be polluted. Coming from you duplicitously they hold your faith, but they pollute the fire as they wish and regard you as stupid.

"Today I speak before you boldly and forthrightly about this. Remove that traffic in duplicity from the land of Armenia [g173]. [It is something] which we do not regard as just, and we do not revere anyone as God. But the last have been made first, the bad, good; the despicable, useful; the son, disobedient toward his father; the servant does his lord ill, and whenever someone wants to hold someone back or destroy him, taking your false faith in hand, he does all the evils he wishes, and settles the matter with it. But now demand that we honor you as servants honor lords; recompense each man according to his work, merit, subordination, benefit, honesty, worthily with godlike undepriving intentions. These words and this issue come from us all. If you grant confirmation of our demand and do not want to remove us from your service, then confirm it for us in writing and with the seal as are the laws of kings [confirmed]. And demand submission from us [347] as from serving folk. With your intelligent and all-seeing eye examine a man and his work, and reward appropriately."

When Vahan Mamikonean had spoken all these words before king Vagharsh and all the court nobility, all of them loudly praised and esteemed him, all marvelled at the Mamikonid's wisdom and the grace of the words issuing from his mouth. It was clear not only to believers, but to non-believers that the outpouring of words from the Mamikonid was granted by God. He spoke to the ears of everyone with agreeable sweetness.

King Vagharsh replied to Vahan Mamikonean and to all his oath-keeping naxarars: "Everything which you have thought about and revealed which was described before us by your Vahan I shall give you written and sealed—from today to eternity—all you demand. Today I forgive you the act of rebellion which you did because of Peroz' tyranny and not of your will. Let none of the kings who hold this throne, or an Aryan hereafter recall it, either alone in his conversations or before an Armenian. Now fully discharge the submission which it is fitting for a servant to do for the lords." After this was said, they dismissed the atean.

[348] 96. The next day the court nobility advised king Vagharsh (whom they knew would be agreeable to hearing and doing it) to give Vahan Mamikonean the terut'iwn of the Mamikoneans and the sparapetut'iwn of Armenia. The king willingly and gladly agreed, and they informed Vahan Mamikonean of the the united wish of the king and the court nobility. Vahan Mamikonean responded, saying: "I do [g174] not have the authority to resist your wishes and command; your wishes and what you have done for me is very great and [even] excessive. I wish that you would allow me to display some small act of service which you might look upon and then do as is proper and what pleases you. In this fashion I hope that you will forgive me."

The king and all the Aryan nobility silenced Vahan Mamikonean's words, and sat him on the throne of the Mamikonean lordship, giving him (in the example of his ancestors) the sparapetut'iwn of the land of Armenia. They also favored each of the other oath-keeping naxarars of Armenia who were united with the sparapet of Armenia, Vahan, with what was necessary and proper for the dignity of each. Then after king Vagharsh and all the nobility had received all of them full of affection and willing honor, they were ready to return in peace to the land of Armenia.

[349] When Vahan, lord of the Mamikoneans and sparapet of Armenia, came to say farewell to Vagharsh, king of the Aryans, and to all the court nobility, king Vagharsh asked him: "Vahan, sparapet of Armenia, are you satisfied with us, did we receive you well? If there is anything else you need, say so." Armenia's general, Vahan, lord of the Mamikoneans replied to king Vagharsh: "Whatever benevolence you have done for me could only have been done by God Who is the creator of all and desires the good and beneficial for all people. Only He could have done what you did to us, your unworthy servants; it would have been impossible for a mortal to have done it. For you pardoned crimes, exalted with throne and honor, became a raiser of the dead, and having found a confused and ruined land, you righted it. But since you asked and encouraged me to speak the truth, just as, godlike, you became the envivifier of my death, and raised me up from it, I would like my entire person to be raised, not just half. For I see that half [of me] is still dead." King Vagharsh inquired: "Now tell us in plain words what you need so that we will know." The sparapet of Armenia, lord Vahan Mamikonean said: "Were it possible for you to grant [me] the Kamsarakan terut'iwn, [I would be] fully favored by you, and would see the death in all of my limbs turn to life."

King Vagharsh replied to the sparapet of Armenia, lord of the Mamikoneans, Vahan: "So that you will not be very [350] saddened now, and also, since you first and foremost sought that present from us, let the Kamsarakan terut'iwn be given [g175] to you. But regarding the Arcrunid terut'iwn, wait a while until people from that tohm know [about this matter], perform some service for us worthily and some merit to the benefit of the Aryan world, and then we will look to what is fitting."

97. King Vagharsh said farewell to the sparapet of Armenia lord of the Mamikoneans, Vahan, and to all the Armenian naxarars, and released them in peace. When Vahan, the general of Armenia and lord of the Mamikoneans, and all the oath-keeping naxarars of Armenia with him arrived in the land of Armenia, that blessed man of God, the kat'oghikos of Armenia, Yohan, came before them with the revered symbol of the Cross and the blessed remains of the ascetic champion Gregory, which had indeed accompanied all of them to Court. When the blessed kat'oghikos Yohan encountered Vahan, the general of Armenia and lord of the Mamikoneans, and the other Armenian naxarars with him and the entire multitude of the troops, he greeted them with the kiss of blessing and said with a joyous heart: "I rejoice in the Lord Who wiped away the sweat from the diligent sons of His Church for which they toiled, for the name of Christ. He ended fatigue, cleaned the dirt of weapons, washed the souls of the faithful with the water of oath-keeping and clothed all in the dress of salvation [351] and the robe of joy. He gave a crown as if to the bridegroom and adorned you with ornaments as a bride in His Kingdom. With the intercession of His saints may He grant that you be adorned with that ornament given to the apostles of the just and the prophets on the day of Christ. The brilliance of that ornament is such that no eye has seen before, no ear has heard of, and no heart has experienced. Such is the ornament which God has readied for His loved ones."

After the blessed kat'oghikos had said all of this and blessed everyone, they came first to the city of Vagharshapat which is now called Nor Kaghak' [New City]. In accordance with their custom Vahan, the sparapet of Armenia, and the oath-keeping Armenian naxarars with him, remained there for some days and fulfilled vows and made presents to the blessed Cathedral church, then to each site of the martyred virgins. First they concerned themselves with the needs of sustaining the poor, and fulfilled them amply. All the naxarars of Armenia united, and the other multitude came every day with great rejoicing, with psalms, and homilies of the spiritual vardapets of the holy Church. They rejoiced happily with the general of Armenia Vahan, lord of the Mamikoneans, and with each other. After remaining there for some days, Armenia's general, Vahan lord of the Mamikoneans, with the entire Armenian multitude left and came to the natural ostan of Armenia, Duin, blessing and glorifying the power of the holy Trinity [g176].

[352] 98. Then a marzpan named Andekan came to the country of Armenia, an intelligent, prudent and perspicacious man who could distinguish the wise from the stupid, and the good from the bad. Daily he observed the intelligence of Vahan, Armenia's general and lord of the Mamikoneans, his judicious nature, concern for the welfare of the land, brave-heartedness, appropriateness in everything, total progress; and he also saw that whatever work [Vahan] involved himself in, even though it be very difficult, the Lord aided his hand and everything was concluded easily and effortlessly. Seeing daily such God-given wisdom which dwelled in Armenia's general Vahan, lord of the Mamikoneans, and thinking all of it over, Andekan was secretly astonished and rejoiced at his benevolent thoughts.

Andekan also liked [Vahan] and frequently acquainted all the court nobility and his friends with the man's wisdom. He also had king Vagharsh fully informed about everything. Andekan himself travelled from the land of Armenia to court where, before all the court nobility, he informed king Vagharsh about all the successes of Armenia's general Vahan, lord of the Mamikoneans, greatly marvelling: "All the good wisdom [of his], about which I have written to you many times and now describe in person, is growing greater by the day and in no way is his advance ever lessened. Consequently, I make bold to openly [353] state before you that it would be most inappropriate for you to appoint anyone else as marzpan. For should another marzpan go to the land of Armenia, first and foremost he would lack the counsel which that man possesses. No one aside from you (who are godlike and above human nature) possesses such grace and adept prudence. But as for mortals, I boldly say that there are few to compare with him.

"Furthermore, assuming that a foreign marzpan went to the land of Armenia, [he would find that] it is a large land; in two or three years he would hardly be able to recognize the principal affairs of the land, the simple and difficult, the good, bad, useful or despicable people of the land. He would act through ignorance in a confused manner which would be a burden for the people. But [Vahan], since he is a native of the land, recognizes everyone at a glance—keeping the good with the good and the despicable in last place. There is yet more to the matter. If an Iranian marzpan goes to the land, he will travel with wife, sons, court, dear ones, servants and maid-servants. Should all of them consume a stipend from the lord of the Aryans, it will not be a small expense [g177]; should they consume [stipends provided] from the land [of Armenia], much danger will be visited upon the people of that land. [354] But if he [Vahan] were to be [the marzpan], he would consume his own House provisions, and all of that [would-be expense] would go to the royal treasury and benefit royal affairs. After watching Vahan's goodness and successfulness and thinking it over in my mind for many hours, I think that [the appointment of Vahan as marzpan] would be good both for the affairs of the land and for the court. I have made bold to say this. To decide what is proper and to do it, you, brothers, know."

When king Vagharsh and all the court nobility heard all of Andekan's words, they were pleased with them. All who heard were surprised and with great praise they considered Andekan to be a man who loves his master and builds up the land.

99. Then with the unity of all the court nobility and the Aryans, king Vagharsh immediately ordered that a hrovartak be sent to Armenia to establish Vahan, lord of the Mamikoneans and general of Armenia, as marzpan of the land of Armenia. Bringing the hrovartak of the marzpanate they presented it to Vahan, Armenia's general and lord of the Mamikoneans. And through the right-hand of Almighty God they established and confirmed him as marzpan over the land of Armenia.

[355] Now Vahan, lord of the Mamikoneans, general of Armenia, and marzpan, received the hrovartak of the marzpanate from the hands of the emissary, although he recognized the envy of [certain] Armenian people and was burdened by the matter. Nevertheless he did not dare to resist the king's order and be disobedient. Taking the hrovartak, he immediately requested a horse to go to the House of God. When the people who were in the city heard this, they also rushed there, one and all—everyone: naxarars and azats, ostaniks and rhamiks, men and women, old and young, and even brides of the nuptial chamber (forgetting for the moment in the jubilation, the modesty of bridehood) hurried to the church. And the House of God was insufficient to hold all of them. The porticos outside the church, the streets, and all places in the surrounding squares were filled. That was a day of immeasurable joy and inexhaustible happiness for pious lovers of good and the rationally right-minded people, but [a day] of tearful mourning and unconsolable sorrow for the stupid and the rogues.

When the blessed kat'oghikos of Armenia, Yovhan, saw the unexpected glad tiding, the venerable one thanked God and with a heart breaking with joy he had the psalm read: [356] "Bless God in the great congregation, the Lord, Oh you who are of Israel's fountain" [Psalms 67, 27]. He ordered readings from the passage describing Israel's deliverance from the servitude of pharaoh, and from Kings, the passage where David crowns his son Solomon as king. Then [Yovhan] came to the part where he himself was to read. Giving the greeting of peace, he said:

[Translator's note: According to the editors (p. 179 n. 1), section 100 of the History is a combination of a homily by John Mandakuni and citations from different books of the Bible (see below). It clearly is a later addition, containing, as they note, certain inappropriate themes and words juxtaposed with the more sublime. Consequently, we have avoided translating this section. Among the Biblical books and passages cited are: Luke 10, l, 9; Psalms 67,27; Genesis 2, 10; Matthew 22, 21; Mark 12,17; III Kings I, 48; Hosea 8, 4; Isaiah 30, l; III Kings II, 17; Isaiah 9,13; Jeremiah 9,l; Psalms 46, 2; Matthew 11, 29; Matthew 9,13; Romans 15,1; Song of Songs 4,10; Exodus 32,6; I. Corinthians 10,7; Galatians 3, 25-26; II Corinthians 3,3; Matthew 11, 29; Luke 17,10; and Matthew 25, 34.]



Return to Historical Sources Menu
Return to History Workshop Menu

--   This is a mirror of one of Robert Bedrosian's web pages   --