Sebeos' History


Translated from Classical Armenian
by Robert Bedrosian

To the memory of my uncle Andranik Torigian

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

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in English:

from The Cambridge Medieval History, vol. IV The Byzantine Empire part I (Cambridge, 1966), facing page 598

Caucasia in the 5-8th Centuries Cyril Toumanoff, cartographer.

The map above, which is not in the public domain, is presented solely for non-commercial educational/research purposes.

in Russian:

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

in Armenian:

Marzpan Armenia and Neighboring Countries (387-628) Eastern Section.
Marzpan Armenia and Neighboring Countries (387-628) Western Section and map legend (B. H. Harut'yunyan, cartographer).

Greater Armenia according to the Ashxarats'oyts' [7th century Armenian geographical work].
Greater Armenia according to the Ashxarats'oyts' Western Section and the map legend (S. T. Eremyan, cartographer).

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



Translator's Preface


Prologue.

Chapter 1.

Vahan's rebellion from Peroz, the seizure of authority and triumph in battle. Peroz' death, the enthronement of Kawad, and the honoring of Vahan with the marzpanate. Kawad's death and the enthronement of Xosrov called Anush Eruan (Anushirvan). The rebellion of Vardan and service to the Byzantines. The war and defeat of Xosrov.
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.
Chapter 3.
Vahram's attack on Xosrov, and the two letters to Mushegh; Mushegh's loyalty to Xosrov; the great battle; the defeat of the rebels; Xosrov's lack of gratitude toward Mushegh which resulted in Mushegh's plans to kill him; the writing of an accusation to the emperor by means of the Byzantine princes; the emperor's dissatisfaction with that and the letter to [the princes] and to Xosrov; the dispatch of Byzantine troops; the summoning of Mushegh to the palace by the emperor.
Chapter 4.
The piety of queen Shirin, who was king Xosrov's Christian wife; Xosrov's hrovartak.
Chapter 5.
Emperor Maurice requests the body of Daniel from king Xosrov.
Chapter 6.
Maurice writes Xosrov a letter of condemnation about the princes and troops of Armenia, suggesting that he send those [princes and troops] in his section to Thrace while [Xosrov] send those in the Iranian section to the East; the flight of princes in the Byzantine section to Iran; Xosrov dispatched the Hazarakar with much treasure to the Byzantine section to attract many [princes] to his side; the princes ravish the treasure; preparation for war; the message; disunity of the princes, some of whom went to the Byzantines, others to the Iranians.
Chapter 7.
The Armenian princes in the Byzantine sector rebel; the war; the deaths of some in battle and the decapitation of two [rebels].
Chapter 8.
The emperor's order to assemble his Eastern forces and those of Armenia to cross the sea and mass in Thrace, against the enemy. The selection of Mushegh as their commander. The victory, vanquishment, seizure, and killing of Mushegh.
Chapter 9.
Emperor Maurice's order to preach the [acceptance of the] Council of Chalcedon in Armenia; the division of the patriarchal throne.
Chapter 10.
Again the emperor's command to assemble the Armenian cavalry. The troops of Sahak Mamikonean and Smbat Bagratuni are taken. Smbat returns to Armenia. The Armenian naxarars' plan. Smbat goes to the emperor with seven men. [Smbat] falls into arena [combat]. Smbat's bravery there. His liberation, and exile to Africa.
Chapter 11.
The summoning by king Xosrov to Asorestan of those naxarars whom the Hamarakar had left. The stationing of their troops at Spahan.
Chapter 12.
Xosrov judges his uncle Vndo. The killing of Vndo. Vstam flees to war with Xosrov, and he rules in the Parthian areas.
Chapter 13.
Death of the Armenian princes; rebellion of their troops at Spahan; the destruction of the country, seizure of the treasure and going to Vstam.
Chapter 14.
Xosrov gives Smbat Bagratuni the marzpanate of Vrkan [Hyrcania] and greatly exalted him. Smbat improves the land of Hyrcania through spiritual and political education.
Chapter 15.
Vstam comes to Asorestan to kill Xosrov and take the kingdom. His death from the treachery of Pariovk, king of the Kushans. The small battle in the land of Hyrcania.
Chapter 16.
Discovery of a fragment of the Cross.
Chapter 17.
Smbat fights with the enemy and triumphs. He is more honored with estimable gifts and honors than all the other marzpans. Smbat's son, named Varaztirots', is appointed to the office of the king's cupbearer. Construction of the church of saint Gregory. Enthronement of the kat'oghikos.
Chapter 18.
Smbat is summoned to the Iranian court and receives the honor of the lordship (tanuterut'iwn) [and of being] called Xosrov Shum. He persecutes the Kushans. The killing of Datoyean. Once more Smbat and the Armenian naxarars go against the Kushans and Hepthalites. A certain wrestling match. Smbat triumphs and goes to the court with great glory.
Chapter 19.
Smbat dies peacefully. The Armenian naxarars rebel from the Iranians and go to serve the king of the north, the Khaqan/Qaqan (Xak'an).
Chapter 20.
The rebellion of the great patrician Atat Xotxorhuni, and his death. The Iranian and Byzantine borderlords.
Chapter 21.
The killing of emperor Maurice and the reign of Phocas. The rebellion of general Erakghes (Heraclius) of Alexandria and general Nerses of Syrian Mesopotamia. Urha (Edessa) is besieged by the Byzantines and the city of Dara [is besieged] by Xosrov. Troops are mustered from [the Iranian sector of] Armenia and prince Juan Veh is made their commander. He comes to Edessa and takes T'eodos. The destruction of Dara. The Byzantines take Edessa; general Nerses is killed.
Chapter 22.
The Iranians and Byzantines battle in the plain of Shirak, and the Byzantines are defeated. Another battle takes place in Tsaghkotn. The Byzantines are defeated, T'eodos Xorxorhuni surrenders, giving the fortress to the Iranians. [T'eodos Xorxorhuni's] death.
Chapter 23.
Xosrov sends a large force to Asorestan under the command of Erhazman Xorheam, and [another army] to Armenia under Ashtat Yeztayar accompanied by the emperor Theodosius. Erhazman Xorheam subdues all of Mesopotamia. Ashtat wars with the Byzantines and subjugates the district of Karin. Shahen battles with the Byzantines and is victorious. The inhabitants of Karin are deported to Ahmatan Shahastan. Death(s) of the Kat'oghikoi. Shahen takes Caesarea, and Vasak Artsruni is killed.
Chapter 24.
Heraclius goes to Asorestan to fight against the Iranians. The great battle near the city of Antioch in which the Byzantines were defeated. The country of Palestine submits to the Iranians. An Iranian ostikan takes up residence in Jerusalem. His murder. The great destruction of Jerusalem by the Iranians by sword and fire. The holy Cross is captured.
Chapter 25.
The Construction of the Church of Hrhip'sime.
Chapter 26.
Xorheam comes to Chalcedon with a large army to take Constantinople. The emperor's exhortation and gift. [The Iranians] consent to turn back. The Iranians again return to Byzantium (i Biwzandia). The great naval battle and the Iranian defeat. Xosrov's hrovartak to Heraclius. Heraclius goes against the Iranians. The battle near Tigranakert and Heraclius' arrival at Cappadocian Caesarea in triumph and with booty. He goes against Xosrov again and battles in the plain of Nineveh where the Iranians are defeated.
Chapter 27.
The flight of Xosrov. Heraclius takes and burns Ctesiphon and returns to Atrpatakan. The killing of Xosrov and his forty sons. Kawad rules and makes peace with Byzantium and leaves the [Byzantine] borders.
Chapter 28.
Smbat's son Varaztirots' becomes a marzpan. The selection and deposition of kat'oghikos K'ristap'or and his succession by Ezr. The death of Kawad and the enthronement of his son Artashir. Heraclius writes to Xorheam requesting the holy Cross from him. The killing of Artashir and the reign of Xorheam. The killing of Xorheam, and the reign of Bbor, Xosrov's daughter. She was succeeded by a certain Xosrov, who was followed by Xosrov's daughter, Azarmiduxt. She was followed by Ormizd. Finally, the reign of Yazkert.
Chapter 29.
The return of the Cross to holy Jerusalem. The determination of the boundary between the two kings. Forced by Mzhezh Gnuni, Ezr accepts the Council of Chalcedon. The plot of Mezhezh with Rhatovm against aspet Varaztirots' and the latter's flight. The king swears to him and he goes to the palace and is exalted. The evil plot of At'alarikos with the princes against his father. The exposure of the plot and the plotters' deaths. The exile of Varaztirots'. The bravery of Dawit' Saharhuni, who becomes Curopalate. The deeds of T'eodoros, lord of Rshtunik'.
Chapter 30.
The elimination of the Sasanian [dynasty] which held sway for 542 years. The birth of Muhammad and the entrance of the sons of Ishmael into the land of Armenia. The death of Heraclius and the reign of Constantine.
Chapter 31.
Regarding the Jews and their wicked plans.
Chapter 32.
Constantine dies as a result of his mother's plot, and Heraclius (son of Heraclius by his second wife) is enthroned. General Vaghentin (Valentinian) comes to Constantinople and enthrones Constantine's son, Kostas. The Iranians war with the Ishmaelites and are defeated. Aspet Varaztirots' returns from court, and dies. The Ishmaelites come to Atrpatakan, and divide into three wings They take Artsap'u fortress, campaigning against the sep'hakan gund.
Chapter 33.
The Lord frees the captives and destroys the Ishmaelites. Those [Arabs] who had spread out raiding at Ayrarat strike Tayk', Iberia, and Aghbania/Aghuania. The naval battle between the Ishmaelites and the Byzantines. Procopius [Prhokop] goes to Mu'awiya [Muawiya], prince of the Ishmaelites, [143] and the peace between [the Arabs] and Byzantines. The deeds of kat'oghikos Nerses. The dispute over faith with the Armenians. The Armenians' reply to emperor Constans.
Chapter 34.
The attack of the Hagarenes, and events in Rome.
Chapter 35.
The Ishmaelites war with the Iranians and destroy their lordship. The death of Yazkert. The Medes and the Armenians enter the service of the Hagarenes. Constans comes to Armenia. The Ishmaelites prepare [to fight] with the Byzantines. Regarding Nerses, kat'oghikos of Armenia.
Chapter 36.
The letter of the Ishmaelite king to the Byzantine emperor Constans. The Ishmaelite prince Mu'awiya comes to Chalcedon and is vanquished by the Lord.
Chapter 37.
The Medes rebell from the Ishmaelites.
Chapter 38.
Mushegh rebells from the Byzantines and enters the Ishmaelites' service. The battle of the Ishmaelites with the Byzantines at Naxchawan, the destruction of the Byzantines and the destruction of Armenia. Once more the Armenians quit Ishmaelite service and submit to the Byzantines. Hamazasp, lord of the Mamikonean, becomes Curopalate, as a result of which the Ishmaelites kill the hostages. Discord breaks out among the Ishmaelite army and they separate from each other. Their prince Mu'awiya conquers all of them, becomes king, and makes peace among them.


Note: because of its large size, the translation has been divided into multiple files (of about 30K each) for fast display. Use the Continue link at the end of each section to advance.

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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