P'awstos Buzandac'i's

History of the Armenians

Book Five

Chapter 5. (Continued from Previous Page)

The multitude of the troops of the legions, that is of the [221] Byzantine shield-bearers, as well as the Armenian shield-bearerers were protecting the side of the Armenian troops. They themselves were surrounded with shields, resembling a secure city. When the Iranian troops were able to disperse the Byzantine troops or the brigade of Armenian spearmen somewhat, [the dispersed soldiers] would enter the legion of shield-bearing Byzantines or the shield-bearing Armenians as though entering a fortress, and rest there. As soon as they had rested a little, they would emerge thence and attack, felling and beheading countless Iranians before them, and always making the same encouraging remarks as they killed, regarding their king Arshak. Again, when the Iranian troops appeared to be getting the upper hand, [the Armenians and Byzantine troops] would go to the legions of shield-bearing troops, as to a secure fortress, the shields would part, let them in, and then close again. On that day, the Iranian troops were defeated by the Byzantine troops and Terent their stratelate, and by the Armenian brigades and their sparapet Mushegh. King Shapuh of Iran fled from that battle, with a few [retainers]. [The Armenians] set up border-guards, then they themselves returned to their king Pap, with great renown, good booty and glorious pomp.

When king Shapuh had returned to his land, he was amazed at the [222] bravery of the fighting brigade which he had encountered, and he said: "I am astonished at what I saw. From my childhood onward [g206], I have always been fighting. In the many years since I became king I have not spent a single year without fighting. But this [recent] war was a fiery one. For when the Armenian spearmen were out in front, they attacked like a tall mountain, or like a thick, mighty and immovable tower. As soon as we routed them a bit, they took refuge in the Byzantine legion, which opened its shield-barrier as though receiving them into the walls of a secure city. There [the Armenians] would rest a little, and once again emerge to fight, until they had wiped out the Aryan troops. Furthermore I am amazed at the [enduring] intimate love for their lord, shown by the Hayastan brigade. For, despite the many years which have passcd since their lord Arshak was taken from them and ruined, when [the Armenians] are fighting, they gave [each other] encouragement in his [name]. Throwing champions to the ground, they would say: 'Take him, Arshak'; despite the fact that [Arshak] was not even with them. Out of love for their lord, for their natural lord, they would dedicate all the champions whom they killed to him. [I was also astounded] by that frenzied brigade, the Mushegheans, for it seemed to me that flame and fire issued from that brigade, and the emblems were such in the brigade that it sesmed as though fire was devouring the reeds. So much time has passed since they lost their lord Arshak (for he is in the Xuzhastan country at Andmesh fortress), but in their love they regard him as their [223] king, with them in the brigade, at the head of the battle, and they were serving him. How fortunate is the lord of the Armenian brigade, of such united, loyal troops which love their lord" [g207].


Regarding the mardpet Dghak who was appointed border-guard, how he became an adviser to the Iranian king, and how he promised to betray the Armenian king; and how he was slain by King Pap.

Now Terent, general of the Byzantine troops, and Mushegh, general of the Armenian troops, left Dghak the mardpet (who because of his work was called "father" of the king) as border-guard at Ganjak, which is the border between the Iranians and the Armenians. With him were 30,000 very choice, well-armed, fully-armored spearmen. Terent and Mushegh with all the troops with them went back to king Pap. Now the mardpet Dghak sent messengers to king Shapuh of Iran, and promised to betray into his hands Pap, the king of Armenia, Terent the general of the Byzantines, and Mushegh, the general of the Armenians. And he received [from Shapuh] an extremely large amount of treasure as gifts. However other grandee naxarars who were there with him, [such as] Gnel, lord of the Anjewac'ik' district and others, secretly informed king Pap about this.

So king Pap sent emissariss to Dghak the mardpet saying: "Assemble the troops entrusted to you and give them to Gnel Anjewac'ik'. And [224] come here at once. I must send you to king Shapuh of Iran, so that I can enter his service." When Dghak the mardpet heard this, he was extremely pleased inside, reasoning: "Now it will be simple for me to carry out my plan, as I promised king Shapuh of Iran. Now I have found a way to put Pap at rest with words, so that he will be unconcerned and at ease. Meanwhile, suddenly and unexpectedly I will put the Iranian king over his head." Thus, delightedly, he became the liason between the two kings. He quickly sent an emissary by horse to the district of Ayrayrat, to the king of Armenia [g208] Pap, to the great village on royal holdings, called Ardeank'. [He himself] came into the king's presence and was greatly exalted by him. At dinnertime, king Pap ordered that Dghak be taken and dressed in a robe [of honor]. So they dressed him in shirt and breeches. But the clothing was so absurdly big that fold over fold it stretched down, to the point that he was unable to dress himself, for he was enveloped in enormous clothing. Then they put on a huge robe, and a belt around his waist from which a knife hanged down. A sword was also placed on him, but the garments folded down such that the knife and the sword were both covered. When the breeches and boots were on, they attachsd the cutlass to his thigh, but folds from the breeches descended down over the cutlass, to his legs. But [225] Dghak in no way realized that the bigness of the clothing was related to his own wickedness. At the ninth hour of the day, they summoned Dghak and said: "They are calling you to go to dinner inside the court." Then they led him along the route of tuns to where the king was. That street was long having many sky-lights. They led him through it, where there were shield-bearing men with axes; and all the openings for light were covered over. When he entered [that area] the shield-bearers pushed him around. [Dghak] reached for his weapons, but was unable to lay hands on them because the folds of his garments had buried them.

Dghak was a large, personable man with big bones. Despite this, the shield-bearers surrounded him and picked him up, taking him to the door of the court tachar. But when the king saw that they were bringing him there, he called out: "Not here, not here, take him to the tun of robes." So the shield-bearing troops took him, with his hands bound, into the tun of robes, that is, where the court crown was put [on the head of the king]. It was there that Dghak started to speak, saying: "Tell the king, say to him, that I am [226] worthy of death, but it befits him to slay me in the concourse, not in the tun t'agac', which would pollute your crown with blood." He [g209] was able to say only this much. Immediately they killed him in the chamber of the robes, beheaded him, put the head on a spear, and erected it in the court concourse.


Regarding the death of Arshak, king of the Armenians, how he died by his own hand at Anyush fortress in the country of Xuzhastan, and how Drastamat became the cause of his death.

In that period, king Arshak of Armenia was still somewhat alive in the country under the authority of the kingdom of Iran, in the Xuzhastan areas, at Andmeshn fortress, which was called the Fortress of Oblivion, Anyushn berd. In this period the Iranians stopped warring with the Armenians, since the Arsacid king of the K'ushans, who resided in the city of Baghx [Balkh] was warring against the Sasanian king Shapuh of Iran. King Shapuh assembled all of the Iranian troops, and took them to fight against him, and took, at the same time, all the captive cavalry from the country of Armenia. They even took with them the eunuch of king Arshak of Armenia, to fight.

There was a eunuch of Arshak, king of Armenia, who was a loyal ostikan, a eunuch beloved and [possessing] a great principality and great honor, who was named Drastamat. Now when the war commenced [227], the Iranian troops were wickedly scattered by the K'ushan troops. Many of [the Iraniansj were arrested, while the rest fled, chased out. It happened that the eunuch Drastamat [was involved in the war]. He had, during the years of Tiran, king of Armenia, and Arshak, his son, been prince of the tun of the district and loyal to the treasures of Angegh fortress, and all the royal fortresses in those parts [g210], similarly the treasures at Bnabegh fortress in the Cop'k' country were under him. His barj [cushion] was higher than [those of] all the [other] naxarars. Since this office and the mardpetut'iwn [whose occupant] was called hayr (father) had been [entrusted] to eunuchs from the beginning period of the Arsacid kingdom, this eunuch, Drastamat, the prince of Angegh tun had been taken captive to the country of Iran at the time that king Arshak of Armenia had been seized.

Drastamat happened to be in the battle in which the K'ushans defeated king Shapuh of Iran. Drastamat displayed incredible bravery and even saved king Shapuh from death. He killed many of the K'ushans and brought the heads of many champions before [the king]. He saved king Shapuh of Iran when [the latter] was surrounded by enemies during the fighting. Now when king Shapuh of Iran returned to the [228] Asorestan country, he greatly thanked the eunuch Drastamat for his labors, and king Shapuh of Iran said to him: "Ask for whatever you want, and I will grant it, without delay." Drastamat said to the king: "I want nothing from you but that you order that I go to see my natural lord, king Arshak of Armenia. For the one day that I am with him, order that he be released from his bonds, and I shall wash his head, annoint, and dress him in a robe. I shall place him on a couch and put delicacies before him, give him wine, and make him happy with musicians. Just for one day." King Shapuh replied: "What you ask for is difficult. For from the time that the Iranian kingdom was established, and that fortress was named Anyush, no one has dared to remind the kings about people whom they have put there [g211]. No one has recalled a prisoner there, to say nothing of [this prisoner] who is a king, my comrade, but now my bound adversary. You have taken your life into your hands by mentioning Anyush. Such a thing has not happened from the beginning of the Aryan kingdom. However, because the labors you performed for me were great, what you have requested will be given to you. Go, but you should have asked for something to benefit yourself, [such as] lands, districts, or treasures. What you requested is outside the laws of the Aryan kingdom. But go, what you requested will be given to you in exchange for your [help]."

[229] So [Shapuh] gave him a reliable p'ustipan, and a hrovartak with the court seal to allow him to go the Andmesh fortress and do as he requested for the bound Arshak who had formerly been the king of Armenia. Drastamat went with the p'ustipan and the court hrovartak to Anyush fortress and saw his native lord. He released Arshak from the iron shackles on his hands and feet and the chains of his neck collar. He washed his head and body, dressed him in a noble robe, sat him on a couch and made him recline. Before him he placed food befitting kings, and wine, after the custom of kings. He revived and consoled him and made him happy with gusans (minstrels).

At dessert time he put before him fruit, apples, cucumbers and dainties to eat, and he gave him his knife to peel and eat what he wanted. Drastamat greatly enlivened him. He stood up and consoled him. But when [Arshak] had drunk the wine and become intoxicated, he grew arrogant and said: "Vay, woe is me, woe is Arshak. Look what I have fallen to, and what has happened to me." Saying this, he took the knife which he was holding in his hand to cut the fruit or delicacy, and plunged it into his own heart. He died then and there [g212], on the couch. Now when Drastamat saw this, he seized the same knife and thrust it into his side. And he died too, at the very same hour. [230]


How the war ended on the Iranian side, and how sparapet Mushegh began fighting against those who had rebelled against the king of the Armenians, waging great warfare against various regions; and how he started at the House of the Armenian king in Atrpayakan.

After the warfare ceased in the Iranian areas, and [the people] were secured from battle on that side, the sparapet of Armenia, Mushegh, began to strike at those who had rebelled from the Arsacid kingdom. First he struck at the tun of the king of Armenia which was in Atrpayakan. He laid waste all the districts of the Atrpatchan country, taking many people into captivity, placing the remainder under taxation, and taking many hostages from them.


Regarding Noshirakan.

Musgegh struck at the rebellious Noshirakan land, which had rebelled from the king of Armenia. He destroyed and took captives, and took hostages from the survivors. He placed the inhabitants of the country under taxation [g213].


Regarding Korduk', Kordik', and Tmorik'.

Sparapet Mushegh struck at the districts of Korduk', Kordik' and Tmorik', which had rebelled from the king of Armenia. He took captives and ruined [the land], put the remainder under taxation, and took hostages.


Concerning the Mark'.

He greatly struck at the Mark' areas, since they had rebelled from the king of Armenia. He took many of them captive, placed the remainder under taxation, and took hostages.


About Artsakh.

He struck the Artsakh country with great warfare. He took many of them captive, took the remainder hostage, and placed the others under taxation.


Concerning Aghuania.

He made war against the Aghuanian country, striking them with unbelievable blows. He took many districts from them, which they had taken from [the Armenians]: Uti, Shakashen, Gardmanajor, Koght' [g214], and the districts surrounding them. And he established the Kura river as the boundary between the country of Aghuania and themselves, as it had been previously. He killed many of the principal [people], placing the remainder under taxation, and taking hostages from them.


Concerning Kasp.

Then sparapet Mushegh sought great vengeance from the country of Iran and the city of P'aytakaran, since they had revolted and betrayed [232] the king of Armenia. After arriving there, the sparapet general Mushegh beheaded many of them as punishment, took many captive, put the rest under taxation, took hostages from them, and left overseeing ostikans.


Concerning Iberia/Georgia.

Then sparapet Mushegh went against the king of Iberia [Georgia] greatly harassing him. He struck the country and defeated the entire land of Iberia. He put to the sword all the azats and naxarar azgs he could find. Sparapet Mushegh ordered that the P'arawazeans be crucified in the land of Iberia. He seized and beheaded the bdeashx of Gugark' who previously had served the king of Armenia but had rebelled. He destroyed the males of [that] azg and took the women and daughters into captivity. Similarly he beheaded all the naxarars in those parts who had rebelled from the king of Armenia. He took the entire district, taking hostages and putting the remainder [g215] under taxation. He conquered as far as the old boundary which existed between the country of Armenia and the country of Iberia, namely the great Kura river, and then he turned back. [233]


Regarding the district of Aghjnik'.

Then general Mushegh turned to the Aghjnik' country, striking the country with great blows, for they too had rebelled from the king of Armenia. He arrested the bdeashx of Aghjnik', destroyed his women in his presence, took their sons into captivity, put the survivors under taxation, left overseers and ostikans, and then departed the country of Aghjnik'.


About Greater Cop'k'.

After that they invaded Greater Cop'k', since they had rebelled. Mushegh subjected the district of Greater Cop'k' to pillage. He put its azgs to the sword, took hostages and put the people under taxation.


Regarding Angegh tun.

He also struck many people in Angegh tun and put them to the sword. However, since that land was court ostan from very early times, the inhabitants of the district themselves [already] were in [234] tax service [g216].


Concerning the district of Anjit.

Then Mushegh invaded the district of Anjit, striking the areas of districts surrounding it. For they too had rebelled from the Arsacid kingdom. He put the lords of the district to the sword, took hostages and subdued them. He put all of them into tax service to Pap, king of Armenia. [235]


About Mushegh, sparapet of Armenia.

But the brave general sparapet of Armenia was full of vengeance, and all the days of his life he was very zealous and with just labor tried always loyally to work for the kingdom of the land of Armenia. He worked day and night. He strived and labored in warfare, and did not permit even a grain to be taken from the borders of the country of Armenia. He lived for the land, and would die for the reputation of bravery, and for the native lords, the inhabitants of the land, the Christian faith, the baptized folk who believe in God and Christ, for the churches, for their consecrated ornaments, for the martyria of Christ, for the covenant of God, for the sisters and brothers, for the relatives of [his] tohm , and close friends. General Mushegh was always in heroic war, and [was willing to] give his life for the land. He did not spare his life, but all the days of his life he labored for his native lords, the Arsacids [g217].


About Nerses, chief-bishop of Armenia, the kind of man he was and about the great marvels he performed.

The archbishop of Armenia, Nerses, was [re]building all the ruined places in the country of Armenia. He took the initiative, [236] consoled, provisioned and was a supervisor of all the poor, and gave repose to the lepers and the poor. He built churches everywhere, and he restored all the destroyed ones. All of the overturned orders, he corrected and renewed. He confirmed, advised, reproached, and he wrought many signs of very great powers, and much healing, miraculously. He greatly strengthened the laws, whomever he blessed was blessed; whomever he cursed, was cursed. He increased the orders of clerics in all places in the boundaries of the sway of Armenia. He set up supervisory bishops in all the districts. As long as he lived he constantly paid attention to his superintendency and authority.


Regarding King Pap, and how he was filled with demons and was unrighteous.

Now when king Pap was still a boy, a newborn baby, his impious mother, P'arhanjem, dedicated him to the dews. Consequently, he was full of dews from his boyhood. For he was always doing what the dews [237] wanted, and did not even want to be healed. He behaved in accordance with the dews and through sorcery the dews appeared upon him. Everyone could see the dews with their own eyes [g218]. Every day when people went to bid him good morning, they saw the forms of snakes arising from king Pap's breasts, snakes which curled around his shoulders. Everyone saw them and were afraid to come close. But he would respond to the people, saying: "Don't be afraid, they are mine." And everyone constantly saw these forms about him.

Many dews had put their nest in him, and they always appeared to the people who came to see the king. However, when the patriarch Nerses or the blessed bishop Xad came into his presence, the dews disappeared. King Pap was also sunk in abomination. Sometimes he himself [took the role] of the woman and gave himself over to profanation; other times, he got other men to be the woman, and commited abomination with them. Sometimes he copulated with animals. And thus, all the days of his life he was controlled by dews, which dwelled inside of him.


Concerning the rebukes of saint Nerses who was ever an enemy of king Pap because of his sins.

But the blessed archbishop of Armenia, Nerses, was constantly reproaching, reprimanding and chiding king Pap greatly, and because [238] of his wickedness, [Nerses] did not permit him to cross the threshold of the church, or to go inside. He was always reprimanding, reproaching and advising that [the king] find himself [and save himself] from the ruination of his deeds. He always spoke with him to make him think of atonement. He put before him testimonies from Scripture, terrifying him about the punishment of eternal judgements, so that he come to his senses, become good, and pursue the orders of justice and pure deeds [g219].

Now king Pap in no way heeded what [Nerses] said, but rather, he resisted him with great emnity and awaited his death. Indeed, he wanted to kill him openly, but because of the Byzantine emperor, he did not dare even to dishonor him openly, or to speak severely, to say nothing about killing him. Furthermore the people of his own land and all the troops were totally against doing anything of this sort to a man whom all the people of the land of Armenia were indebted for his just deeds, clean behavior and peaceful leadership. And because of [Nerses'] obvious miraculous deeds, everyone looked upon him as a heavenly angel. But the king was resentful of him and wanted to kill him, but did not even dare to speak of this lest his own troops kill him. For everyone so loved him and took refuge in his prayers, the grandees and the lowly, the venerable and the dishonored, the azats and the shinakans. [239]


Regarding the death of the great chief archbishop Nerses [caused by] king Pap, how and why he was killed by him.

King Pap was always at odds with the great chief priest because this man of God, Nerses, was constantly reprimanding him on account of the wicked sins he was committing. [Pap] did not want to come to his senses or correct himself, but was also unable to bear the perpetual insulting reproaches. He planned to kill the great chief priest of God, Nerses. But since he was unable to do this openly, he falsely pretended that he had come to the correct way and beseeched the chief priest of God to administer pennance to him. He called him to his mansion at Xax awan in [g220] the Ekegheac' district. He made a dinner for him and beseeched the man of God to sit on the royal couch, as though by this he would be cleansed from his wickedness and thereafter would enter into atonement.

Now when [Pap] had seated [Nerses] [in the] foremost [place], the king himself stood bare-headed, moved to the middle of the floor, and offered Nerses, the man of God, some pure wine for that meal. But he had mixed poison into the drinking-vessel which he offered him. When [Nerses] drank from that cup, he immediately sensed what had [240] happened, and began to say: "Blessed is our Lord God Who made me worthy of drinking this cup and achieving the death which I had wanted from my childhood, for the Lord. I accept this cup of salvation and will call out the name of the Lord so that I too will be able to attain a part of the legacy of the saints, in the light. But as for you, oh king, it befits you as a king to openly order me killed. Who is stopping you, who stays your hand from doing what you want to do? But Lord, forgive them this deed which they have done to me; accept the soul of Your servant, You Who give rest to the weary and Who fulfills all goodness."

Continued on Next Page


Table of Contents Page for P'awstos

Return to Historical Sources Menu
Return to History Workshop Menu

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