History of Armenia (book)
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The History of Armenia (Armenian: Պատմություն Հայոց, Patmut'yun Hayots) attributed to Movses Khorenatsi is an early account of Armenia, covering the legendary origins of the Armenian people as well as Armenia's interaction with Sassanid, Byzantine and Arsacid empires down to the 5th century.
It contains unique material on ancient Armenian legends, and such information on pagan (pre-Christian) Armenian as has survived. It also contains plentiful data on the history and culture of contiguous countries. The book had an enormous impact on Armenian historiography. In the text, the author self-identifies as a disciple of Saint Mesrop, and states that he composed his work at the request of Isaac (Sahak), the Bagratuni prince who fell in battle in 482.
Until the 19th century most scholars accepted Movses's History as an authentic script. For example, Gibbon in his History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (ch. 32) still accepted the 5th century date of Movses, on grounds that "his local information, his passions and his prejudices, are strongly expressive of a native and contemporary."
Alfred von Gutschmid (1876) showed the secondary nature of much of Moses' material, and current scholarship is divided on the issue of Moses' authorship of the work. According to Robert Thomson, "there are indications that the book itself was written after the 5th century. Not only does Movses use sources not available in Armenia at that time, he refers to persons and places attested only in the sixth or seventh centuries."It is now thought that the current version we have could not have been written in the 5th century 
The book is divided into three parts:
- "Genealogy of Armenia Major", encompassing the history of Armenia from the beginning down to Alexander the Great;
- "History of the middle period of our ancestors", extending from Alexander to the death of Gregory the Illuminator and the reign of King Terdat (330);
- the third part brings the history down to the overthrow of the Arshakuni Dynasty (428); and
- the fourth part brings the history down to the time of the Emperor Zeno (474-491), during this time there were three wars: a. the Armenian Independence War headed by Vasak Syuni (450), b. the civilian war between Vardan Mamikonyan and Vasak Syuni (autumn of 450 - May 451), inspired by Romans, Persians and Armenian clergy, c. the 2nd independence war headed by Sahak Bagratuni (who ordered Movses Khorenatsi to write the "history of Armenia") and then by Vahan Mamikonyan (after the death of Sahak Bagratuni in 482).
This first book contains 32 chapters, from Adam to Alexander the Great. List of the Armenian patriarchs according to Moses:
- Hayk, Haig (grandson of Tiras), Armenak (or Aram), Aramais, Amassia, Gegham, Harma, Aram
- Ara Geghetsik, Ara Kardos, Anushavan, Paret, Arbag, Zaven, Varnas, Sour, Havanag
- Vashtak, Haikak, Ampak, Arnak, Shavarsh, Norir, Vestam, Kar, Gorak, Hrant, Endzak, Geghak
- Horo, Zarmair, Perch, Arboun, Hoy, Houssak, Kipak, Skaiordi
- Parouyr, Hratchia, Pharnouas, Pachouych, Kornak, Phavos, Haikak II, Erouand I, Tigran I, Vahagn, Aravan, Nerseh, Zareh, Armog, Bagam, Van, Vahé.
These gradually enter historicity with Tigran I (6th century BC), who is also mentioned in the Cyropaedia of Xenophon (Tigranes Orontid, traditionally 560-535 BC; Vahagn 530-515 BC), but Aravan to Vahé are again otherwise unknown.
- chapter 1: letter to Sahak
- chapter 5: from Noah to Abraham and Belus
- chapters 10-12: about Hayk
- chapter 13: war against the Medes
- chapter 14: war against Assyria, 714 BC
- chapters 15-16: Ara and Semiramis
- chapters 17-19: Semiramis flees from Zoroaster to Armenia and is killed by her son.
- chapter 20: Ara Kardos and Anushavan
- chapter 21: Paruyr, first king of Armenia at the time of Ashurbanipal
- chapter 22: kings from Pharnouas to Tigran
- chapter 23: Sennacherib and his sons
- chapters 24-30: about Tigran I
- chapter 31: descendants of Tigran down to Vahé, who is killed in resistance against Alexander
- chapter 32: Hellenic wars
Middle Period (332 BC - AD 330)Edit
Arsacid period 330-428Edit
68 chapters, from the death of Tiridates III to Gregory the Illuminator.
Editions and translationsEdit
|1||1695||Amsterdam||Tovmas Vanandetsi||The first publishing; "editio princeps|
|2||1736||London||William and George Whiston||with a Latin translation; "Historiae Armeniacae"|
|3||1752||Venice||Anton Bortoli||"History of the Armenians"|
|4||1827||Venice||The Armenian Mechitarist Fathers of Venice|
|5||1841||Venice||L. de Florivar||Italian and French translations|
|6||1843||Venice||The Armenian Mechitarist Fathers of Venice|
|7||1845||Paris||The Armenian Mechitarist Fathers of Venice|
|11||1913||Tiflis||facsimile ed., intro. by R. W. Thomson, 1981 Caravan Books, ISBN 978-0-88206-032-3|
Under Soviet rule the book was published many times.
- Robert K. Thomson, "Armenian Literary Culture through the Eleventh Century", in R.G. Hovahanissian (ed.), Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times (Volume 1, 2004)
- Robert K. Thomson, "Armenian Literary Culture through the Eleventh Century", in R.G. Hovahanissian (ed.), Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times(Volume 1, 2004)
- Hakob Meghapart project - 1725 - 1750
- Hakob Meghapart project - 1750 - 1775
- Robert H. Hewson, "The Primary History of Armenia": An Examination of the Validity of an Immemorially Transmitted Historical Tradition, History in Africa (1975).
- Movses of Chorene, "The History of Armenia" (in Armenian)
- Armenology Research National Center (in Armenia)
- Movses of Chorene, "The History of Armenia" (in Russian)
- Movsēs Xorenac'i, "Storia della Grande Armenia" (in Italian)
- History of the Armenians, Moses Khorenats'i. Commentary on the Literary Sources by R. Thomson