Sebeos' History



Now the emperor of the Byzantines made an oath with the Armenians, confirming the same oath which had existed between those two venerable kings, Trdat and Constantine, and he gave them imperial troops in aid. Taking the troops, [8] [the Armenian rebels] turned upon the city of Dwin, besieged and destroyed it and pursued the Iranian force which was there.

But suddenly great agitation came upon them, for it was learned that the Iranians had set fire to and burned down the church of saint Gregory which had been built near the city, and which the Iranians had turned into a granary.

Then Mihrewandak the Mihran came against them with 20,000 troops and numerous elephants. There was a big battle in the Xaghamaxik' plain. [The Armenians] struck unbelievable blows at the Iranian forces, dulling their swords, and they captured all the elephants. The Mihran escaped with a few men, and they went to their country.

This is that very Vardan against whom the Iranian king himself, called Xosrov Anushirvan, came with a multitude [9] of armed men and many elephants. Travelling through the [g26] district of Artaz, [Xosrov] went through Bagrewand, passing the city of Karin, took the road to a certain spot and encamped opposite [Vardan].

Early next morning, with great haste they ranged themselves brigade opposite brigade, front opposite front, and then clashed in battle. And the war was fought with increasing intensity and they fought very hard. And the Lord visited defeat upon the king of the Iranians and all his troops. They were crushed before the swords of their enemies and fled from them in frantic panic. Not knowing their path of flight, [the lranians] went and took refuge in the great river called Euphrates. But the water rose and swept away that multitude of fugitives as though they were a host of locusts; and many were unable to save themselves on that day. The king, however, was able to escape by a hairsbreadth, together with a few men thanks to the elephants and horses. He fled through Aghdznik' and on to his abode.

[10] [The Armenians] took the entire camp, together with the royal treasures. They captured the Bambish ("queen") and the camp and they seized the Mashaperchan, the entire palankeen of very heavy gold which was worked with precious stones and pearls, which they called the palankeen of glory [despak p'arats']. They also took the Fire which the king always used to take around with him to bring him aid, and which was regarded as greater than all the fires and which they called [the] At'ash [fire]. A multitude of the senior grandees had drowned in the river, as had the Movpetan Movpet. Blessed is God, always [g27].


Chapter 2


Anushirvan's belief in Christ and his baptism by the bishop, and his death; the enthronement of Ormizd; Vahram's striking the troops of the T'etalats'ik', the war with the king of the Mazkut's and his death there; the rebellion and flight of the Vahramakan troops from Xosrov; the coming of Vahram; how Xosrov sought aid from the emperor Maurice.


Prior to the rebellion [c.572], this Xosrov, who was called Anushirvan, during his reign [531-79] had made the country strong, for he was a peace-lover and a builder of the land. But when the rebellion occurred [Xosrov] thereafter [11] was roused to anger, regarding himself innocent [and saying]: "I was the father, not the lord, of the land and I nourished all like sons and dear ones. And now," he said, "may God seek this blood from them." This Xosrov during his reign closed the Gate of Chor and of Aghbania/Aghuania. He seized and handcuffed the Egerats'ik' king. Through warfare he took Pisidian Antioch and he settled the captives by the royal abode.

He built a city and named it Veh Anjatok' Xosrov, which is called Shahastanin Oknoy. And he took Dara and Callinicos through raiding, enslaving the Cilician parts.

[Xosrov] ruled the kingdom for 48 years. Now as he was dying, the radiant light of the divine Word was born in him, for he believed in Christ, saying: "I believe in one God Who made Heaven and Earth Whom Christians worship, confessing Father and Son and Holy Spirit, for He alone is God; and there is no other than He Whom the Christians revere."

He ordered his attendants to send the mogpet far from [12] court to a place of work, that others be ejected from the [g28] royal abodes, and he summoned the head bishop (Episkoposapet), who is called the Eran kat'oghikos. [Xosrov] was baptised by the latter and commanded that divine services be held in the chamber. He read the message in the Lord's Gospel, and he communed in the envivifying Body and Blood of the Lord. Bidding farewell to the kat'oghikos and the Lord's Gospel, [Xosrov] sent him to his place.

After a few days he departed this life in good old age. Christians took his body and placed it in the tomb of kings [i shirims t'agaworats'n]. Ormizd, [Xosrov's son], ruled after him [Hormizd IV, c. 579-590].

Now here is [a list of the] generals of the Iranian king who came one after the other to the country of Armenia from [the time of] the rebellion of Vardan, lord of the Mamikoneans, the son of Vasak, up to the present. Some of them died in battle, some battled, some triumphed and then departed. When [13] they killed Suren the marzpan, that same year a certain Vardan Vshnasp came, accomplished nothing, remained for a year and then departed. After him came Goghon Mihran with 20,000 armed troops and many elephants, and many to help him from among the countless peoples who inhabit the Caucasus mountains, the Hun people. [He also had] an order from the king to eliminate [all] men in the land of Armenia, to seize, dig up, to raze to the ground, to mercilessly destroy the country.

Thus did [Mihran] come. Some people were able to save themselves by going into impregnable fortresses; others fled to a more distant land. Nonetheless, many were unable to save themselves because whomever they chanced upon they put to the sword. [Mihran] battled once in Iberia/Georgia, but was defeated. He came to Armenia and took Ankgh by a false oath.

P'ilippos, lord of Siwnik', fought a battle between the city and Xaghamaxik', as well as a battle at Ut'mus village in Vanand, but was defeated in both. He remained seven years, and then departed [g29].

Then came Ormazd, son of Anushirvan Xosrov, the king himself. He had bound Vndo and left him in Gruangakan, [14] though Vstam had escaped and gone as a fugitive and not a few were the wars he stirred up in those days.

In this period there lived a certain Vahram Merhewandak, prince of the eastern parts of the land of Iran, who in his bravery had beaten the troops of the T'etalats'ik' and held through force Bahl and the entire country of the Kushans from the far side of the great river called Vehrot as far as the place called Kazbion. [Indeed], on the far side [of the river] he had left behind the spear of the brave Spandiat about whom the barbarians say "Having reached this far in battle, he cast his spear into the river."

It was then that this Vahram made war on the king of the Mazk'ut' who was in those parts on the far side of the great river. [Vahram] struck at the multitude of his troops, killed the king in battle, and ravished all of the treasures of that kingdom.

Then [Vahram] sent to the Iranian king by means of his messengers documents announcing the glad tidings [but] only an insignificant part of the loot from the very great treasures—the insignia of the [fallen] kingdom among the honored goods—[while] he dispensed all the [rest of the] [15] treasure among his troops according to each one's merit.

Now when king Ormazd saw the envoys who had come with the good news, when he read the letter of greeting from the troops and received from the worthy royal treasures the gifts of war-portion while outwardly he humored the men, inwardly he was blazing with wrath and saying: "I recognize the insignia of honor, [and that] the meal was more than great, but from the treasures amassed it is not proper that such [a small amount] should be forwarded to the court."

So, in return for the message of good news, he ordered [g30] written a hrovartak filled with rage, and he sent [troops] from the brigade of hamazars and royal p'ushtipans to go to [Vahram's] troops and take all the loot from them. The troops went and began demanding [the loot].

At that point the entire force became excited and killed the king's men. They left the king's service, seated [16] Vahram as their king, swore an oath according to their custom, united and left the East. They headed for Asorestan, to kill their king, Ormazd, do away with the House of Sasan, and establish Vahram on the throne of the kingdom.

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