Movses Dasxurants'i's

History of the Aghuans

Translated from Classical Armenian
by Robert Bedrosian

To the memory of unforgettable friends, Anya and Jacques Kayaloff

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


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in English:

from Armenia a Historical Atlas (Chicago, 2001) by Robert H. Hewsen:

Section from map 62 showing Aghuania [Albania] in the 4th Century, and the map legend.
Section from map 64 showing Aghuan Religious Centers, and the map legend.
Section from map 65 showing Aghuania in the 5-6th Centuries, and the map legend.
 The maps above are presented solely for non-commercial educational/research purposes.

in Russian:

Armenia in the 1-4th Centuries, and the map legend.
    Armenia in the 1-4th Centuries, Caspian Area.

Armenia in the 5-7th Centuries, and the map legend.
    Eastern Armenia and Aghuania in the 5-7th Centuries, cartographer S. T. Eremyan.

in Armenian:

Greater Armenia according to the Geography of Anania Shirakets'i (7th century):

Western borders, and the map legend.
Eastern borders.
Aghuania (Aghuank'), cartographer S. T. Eremyan.

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

Translator's Preface

Book 1

Chapters 1-4.
1. Preamble to the History of the Aghuans.
2. The genealogy of Japheth's line.
3. The countries which know writing.
4. Vagharshak establishes a government for the Aghuans.

Chapters 5-6.
5. Exposition on the fertility and abundance of Aghuania, and what it has for the needs of humankind.

6. Knowledge of the appearance of God comes to us easterners. Accurate history.

Chapters 7-9.
7. Discovery of the relics of Saint Elisha, Illuminator of the East.

8. From [the time of] Ar'an until King Ur'nayr we have not found [chronologically] arranged narratives, rather [this period] was recorded only in passing, [detailing] what was needed to inform.

9. Ur'nayr believes and is baptized by Saint Gregory and, with one accord, the Aghuans are illuminated by King Ur'nayr.

Chapters 10-12.
10. Regarding Vach'e', king of the Aghuans; how he abandoned pagan error and believed in the living God, and how he became a cenobite living a blessed life in the wilderness following war with Persia.

11. The letter from Bishop Giwt [of Armenia] to Saint Vach'e'.

12. Trdat wars against the king of the Basilk' in the land of the Aghuans; Sanatruk's rule as king over the Aghuans and his resistance to the Armenians; the arrival of Xosrov with his troops in aid; his taking of Aghuania and imposition of taxation.

Chapters 13-14.

13. Shapuh enthrones Tiran; he is saved from the northerners; he blinds Tiran; the disturbance among the northerners; the death of Arshak and the enthronement of Pap; the fall of Mehruzhan and the wound that Ur'nayr received in that battle.

14. A brief account of Saint Gregory, Illuminator of the Armenians, and about his venerable sons; the ordination of Saint Grigoris, son of Vrt'ane's, grandson of the great Saint Gregory, to the kat'oghikosate of the Aghuans and Iberians/Georgians; his coming to the land of the Aghuans for its illumination; his martyrdom and the bringing of his relics.

Chapter 15.

List of the names of the succession of rulers who are known from [the time of] Japheth and Ar'an until Vach'agan III.

Chapter 16.
The institutions created by King Vach'agan for the Aghuans as well as his life and deeds and the discovery of the relics of the Saints.

Chapter 17.
The enthronement of Vagharshak, and how Vach'agan received his kingdom of Aghuania from him.

Chapter 18.
The establishment by King Vach'agan of royal schools for the evil-born children of sorcerers; the discovery of the unclean sect of finger-cutters and their end.

Chapter 19.
The discovery of the relics of the blessed Zacharias, father of John, and of the blessed Pantaleon who was martyred in the city of Nicomedia, which the young Grigoris had brought to the land of the Chighbs.

Chapter 20.
The discovery of the relics of the blessed youth Grigoris, who had been martyred in the presence of King Sane'san of the Masgut'k'.

Chapter 21.
King Vach'agan's letter to all the bishops and priests asking that, through their prayers, the hidden treasure might be revealed to him.

Chapter 22.
The venerable monk Job converts the very large district of Parskank' in Artsakh.

Chapter 23.
In the same assembly Xochkorik, the illegitimate son of the Aghuan king Esuaghe'n, who had been appointed a governor, narrates to the king a vision he had.
Chapters 24-25.
24. King Vach'agan's question to the learned priest Matt'e'.

25. The letter from the blessed Abraham, bishop of the Mamikoneans, to Vach'agan, king of Aghuania, concerning the dead.

Chapter 26.
The canons of Vach'agan, king of the Aghuans, issued at the assembly at Aghue'n.

Chapter 27.
Narrative history about Saint Mesrop and his companions.

Chapter 28.
An account of Saint Mashtots' students is presented below.

Chapter 29.
The invasion of all the borders of Aghuania, Armenia, and Georgia by the Northerners, and the martyrdom of Mesrob's students.

Chapter 30.
The great general of the Tubal troops believes in Christ, [and accepts] that He is God; and how [the general] is martyred with his troops, children, and his clergy by his king in the land of the Aghuans.

Book 2

Chapter 1.

History according to my book.
Chapter 2.
How the Aghuans were threatened by the impious Yazdgird and were saved by Vardan, Armenia's general.
Chapter 3.
Mesrob Vardapet comes to Esuaghe'n, king of Aghuania, invents an alphabet, organises schools again, and destroys the remaining sects, confirming the faith in the house of the Aghuans
Chapter 4.
The transfer of the patriarchal see of Aghuania from Ch'oray to the great city of Partaw due to the Khazars' destructive raids.
Chapter 5.
The appearance of the martyrs on Mount Dizap'ayt and the discovery of their relics in the time of Abas' patriarchate.

Chapter 6.
The vision of Vehik.

Chapters 7-8.
7. The letter from Yovhanne's, kat'oghikos of Armenia, to Lord Abas, kat'oghikos of Aghuania, concerning the confirmation of the Faith.

8. The expulsion from Aghuania of the heretics whom Lord Abas, kat'oghikos of Aghuania, exiled on receipt of the above letter.

Chapter 9.
History of the rising of barbarian peoples and about the universal disasters which befell the lands.

Chapter 10.
This historical account begins from the first [year] of the 18th nahanj.

Chapter 11.
How Xosrov mobilized his troops against the emperor of Byzantium and defeated him for many years by sword and enslavement on Byzantine territory.
Chapter 12.
Arrival of the Northern troops to aid Heraclius.
Chapter 13.
The slaying of Xosrov.
Chapter 14.
Concerning Viroy, head of the kat'oghikosate of Aghuania, and the great tribulations and the mercies of God
Chapter 15.
About the famine, sword, and captivity which occurred together.

Chapter 16.
About the great miracles which avenged us of our enemies.
Chapter 17.
How the Mihrakan clan, which derived from the line of Xosrov the Sasanian, became head of the Aghuan Houses.
Chapter 18.
The deeds and valor of the great prince Juanshir, second son of Varaz-Grigor, who demonstrated bravery and courage among the Persians.
Chapter 19.
Concerning the sparapetut'iwn of Juanshir, his victories over the Persians, the death of Yazdgird, and Juanshir's submission to the emperor of Byzantium.
Chapter 20.
Juanshir's letter to Constantine [Constans II, 641-668], emperor of the Byzantines.

Chapter 21.
Text of the document [of Constans II's reply].
Chapter 22.
The Byzantine emperor comes to Persia and summons Juanshir.
Chapter 23.
Concerning the raid of the Khazars and their defeat by Juanshir on the far side of the Kur River.
Chapter 24.
The completion of the temple of the Lord in the fortress of Gardman and its dedication by Juanshir; it is consecrated, and the Cross of Christ is erected in it.
Chapter 25.
The prayer of Juanshir.

Chapter 26.
Juanshir's alliance with the Huns and his establishment of friendship with his enemies.
Chapter 27.
You shall find here [a description of] what great honors the king of the South gave to [Juanshir] the prince of the East.
Chapter 28.
Juanshir goes a second time to the tyrant of the South; his wise aid to the Greeks, and the halving of the tribute.
Chapter 29.
The vision of Israye'l, hermit and man of God, concerning St. Mashtots' and his martyred students and the discovery of the holy cross which was at Gis.
Chapters 30-31.
[Texts of ecclesiastical letters.]

Chapter 32.
The Aghuan lords form contaminating marriage ties and are accursed.
Chapter 33.
The holy man of God Israye'l becomes a priest; a narrative account of the discovery of the holy Cross.
Chapter 34.
The death of the great prince Juanshir.
Chapter 35.
Elegy on the death of the great prince Juanshir.

Chapter 36.
Varaz Trdat sits on Juanshir's throne as prince; the Huns seek vengeance for [Juanshir's] murder; and how [Varaz Trdat] made peace with them.
Chapter 37.
Concerning the reign of Varaz Trdat, how he received station and honor from many places; the death of Dawit', bishop of Mets Kuenits', and his replacement by Israye'l, who was a good leader.
Chapter 38.
Israye'l is sent by the great prince Varaz Trdat to the great patriarch of Armenia Sahak in the district of Ayrarat and to the pious prince as an expression of friendship.
Chapter 39.
Prince Varaz Trdat confers with his lords about sending Bishop Israye'l to the country of the Huns regarding conciliation.
Chapter 40.
Bishop Israye'l confirms the land of the Huns (Honastank') in the faith, due to his teachings and they listen to him sweetly because of the miracles he worked.
Chapter 41.
The Huns believe in Christ through the efforts of Bishop Israyel; the sacrificial altars are destroyed and the Cross of Christ is erected.
Chapter 42.
The discussion held by the great prince of the Huns Ilut'uer with his lords about getting Bishop Israye'l to remain among them and establish a patriarchal see there.
Chapter 43.
The return of Israye'l, bishop of Mets Koghmank', from the Huns, accompanied by two [Hun] chiefs requesting that he be made their leader.
Chapter 44.
The letter of the prince of the Huns to the land of the Armenians, written with the same intention.
Chapter 45.
Response to the letter from the Huns.
Chapters 46-49.
46. The question asked by Dawit', bishop of Mets Koghmants', of Yovhann Mayrogomets'i, concerning images and pictures.

47. Information concerning the time when the evil Council of Chalcedon was cursed, and how Aghuania remained unaffected by the heresy; the schism of the Georgians from the Armenians, and what the kat'oghikos Abraham did concerning the Aghuanians.

48. Concerning [the remonstrances made] by the Greeks to the Armenians for not having the nine grades in the hierarchy of the Church; the efforts of the Armenians to make the Aghuanians subordinate to them as an archbishopric, to which the Aghuans do not agree; Siwnik' turns from the Armenians to the Aghuanians for consecration and chrism.

49. The reply given by the Armenians to the letter of Mxit'ar, bishop of Amaras, concerning some blasphemies contained in his writings.

Chapter 50.
Concerning the hermit Yovse'p' who lived in Artsakh, went to Jerusalem, and returned bringing with him relics of the Saints.
Chapter 51.
The number and type of churches built in holy Jerusalem. You will find the truth here.
Chapter 52.
Concerning those monasteries built in the name of the Aghuans in Jerusalem, according to what we have learned from [the letter of] the venerable Anastasius to Vahram Mamikonean

Book 3

Chapter 1.
First, regarding the attack made [on us] by the people of Ishmael from the Southern country with the aim of ruling the entire world; and about the beginnings of the false prophet Muhammad.
Chapter 2.
The caliphs who held power after Muhammed, the false prophet.
Chapter 3.
Concerning a certain Nerse's Bakur, a Diophysite, who became kat'oghikos of Aghuania.
Chapter 4.
Letter of homage from the united Aghuan synod to Eghia, kat'oghikos of the Armenians.
Chapter 5.
Letter from Eghia, kat'oghikos of the Armenians to Caliph 'Abd al-Malik, about the same matter.

Chapter 6.
Caliph 'Abd al-Malik's answering letter to Eghia, Armenia's kat'oghikos.
Chapter 7.
The arrival of Armenia's kat'oghikos Eghia at Partaw; the punishment of Nerse's; and the enthronement in his stead of the head of the deacons, Sime'on, by the will of the Aghuanian synod.
Chapters 8-9.
8. The signature which Eghia, kat'oghikos of the Armenians, extracted from the Aghuanian synod for the sake of unity and a firm alliance between the Armenians and the Aghuans.

9. An account of the agreement by the Lord Eghia, kat'oghikos of the Armenians, addressed to the Aghuans.

Chapter 10.
Document containing the names of the Aghuanian lords in order of their precedence which Caliph 'Abd al-Malik's eunuch took and deposited in the royal diwan.

Chapter 11.
The canons of Lord Sime'on, kat'oghikos of the Aghuans, after the downfall of Nerse's.
Chapter 12.
The demands for taxes made on Varaz Trdat, prince of the Aghuans; his travel to the Byzantines where he left his sons as hostages; his return to his own land; and the seating of Mik'ayel on the [patriarchal] throne of the Aghuans after Sime'on.
Chapter 13.
Concerning the meeting convened by Mik'aye'l, kat'oghikos of the Aghuans to prevent marriages between near relatives.
Chapter 14.
An inquiry by the same Mik'ayel, patriarch of Aghuania, into the dumbness of Zacharias and the Nativity and Epiphany of the Saviour, against the Diophysite sect.
Chapter 15.
What transpired during the days of Heraclius' son and grandson.

Chapter 16.
The coming of Muhammad the Second to Armenia to subdue them; his quick traversal of Aghuania and passage through the Choray Gates whereupon he learned about a rebellion of the Armenians; his return and arrival at the island in Lake Sewan, which he took; his defeat of the Armenian and Byzantine troops; how he took some of the princes with him to Naxijevan where he burned them alive; his departure to Syria where he died an evil death; and other important narrations.
Chapter 17.
The coming of the Arab prince Abdl Aziz to the Aghuanian city of Partaw; and concerning the death of two brothers, Manik and Mirzada.
Chapter 18.
Concerning Step'annos, bishop of Siwnik', his travel to Byzantium and bringing back of books which previously had not been found in the East; his death; and the punishment God sent.
Chapter 19.
Among the books of bishop Step'annos of Siwnik' is this narration about the destruction of the city of Ilion (Troy) and the building of Rome.
Chapter 20.
Events which occurred in Aghuania in the third century of the Armenian Era.

Chapter 21.
The trip of Mamun, prince of the Arabs, to Rome where he perished; a brief account of these matters.
Chapter 22.
The siege of Partaw by the son of Shex and the armies of the Armenians and the Aghuans; Samue'l usurps the dignity [of kat'oghikos] and goes to Dwin.
Chapter 23.
A brief summary of genealogies.
Chapter 24.
The names, years, and deeds of the Aghuanian patriarchs.

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

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

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