Front Page Titles (by Subject) 13.: SOURCES AND CHRONOLOGY OF ARMENIAN HISTORY UNDER TRDAT AND HIS SUCCESSORS — ( C. XIX .) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 3
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13.: SOURCES AND CHRONOLOGY OF ARMENIAN HISTORY UNDER TRDAT AND HIS SUCCESSORS — ( C. XIX .) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 3 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 3.
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SOURCES AND CHRONOLOGY OF ARMENIAN HISTORY UNDER TRDAT AND HIS SUCCESSORS — (C. XIX.)
Some works bearing on Armenia have been mentioned in connection with general oriental history in vol. i. Appendix 13. In addition to these must now be mentioned (besides St. Martin’s Mémoires sur l’Arménie and the notes to his edition of Lebeau’s Bas-Empire): Ter Mikelian, Die armenische Kirche in ihren Beziehungen zur byzantinischen (saec. 4-13), 1892; Chalatianz, Zenob of Glak (in modern Armenian; known to me through Stackelberg’s summary in Byz. Zeitschrift, 4, 368-370), 1893; and above all Gelzer’s highly important essay, Die Anfange der armenischen Kirche (in the Ber. der kön. sächs. Gesellschaft der Wiss.), 1895.
1. Sources. (a) Faustus. For Armenian history in the fourth century after death of Trdat (Tiridates), 317, our only trustworthy source is Faustus, who wrote his History of Armenia in Greek (before the Armenian alphabet was introduced; the Greek original is quoted by Procopius, Pers. i. 5), probably in first years of King Vram Šapuh, who reigned from 395 to 416 (Gelzer, p. 116). The work is marked by enthusiasm for the clergy, and a certain prejudice against the policy of those who were loyal to the kings; also by chronological errors. “Faustus is completely a national Armenian; therein lies his strength and his weakness” (ib. 117). He consulted official documents in the royal archives (ib.) and made use of old songs. It is announced that H. Gelzer and L. Babajan will issue a translation of Faustus, and Gelzer’s name is a guarantee that it will be trustworthy. (b) Agathangelos, who lived about half a century later, contains a work which is our only good source for the reign of Trdat. His work (preserved both in Armenian and in a Greek translation, which mutually check each other) has been dissected by A. von Gutschmid (Kleine Schriften, 3, 395, sqq.). It contains an earlier Life of St. Gregory (perhaps originally composed in Syriac, Gelzer, p. 114) and an Apocalypse of Gregory written between 452 and 456 by a priest of Valarsapat. The latter is valuable as throwing indirect light on the church history of the fifth century, but worthless for the history of Trdat. (c) The conclusion of Carrière (mentioned in vol. i. App. 13) that the date of Moses of Chorene is very late (beginning of eighth century) is accepted by Chalatianz and Gelzer, and seems to be established. (d) The worthlessness of the History of Taron by Zenob of Glak has been shown by the investigation of Chalatianz (op. cit.). Hitherto supposed to have been written in Syriac in the fourth century and translated into Armenian in the seventh, it is now shown to be an apocryphal work of an impostor of the eighth or ninth century. There is a French translation by Langlois, F.H.G. vol. v.
2. Chronology. The student who consults the translation of Langlois (Agathangelos and Faustus; op. cit.) must be warned that the chronological indications in the notes are set down at random and contradict one another. And, if he has read the note in Smith’s edition of the Decline and Fall, vol. ii. p. 369, which is taken from St. Martin’s edition of Lebeau, and compares it with the chronological list of kings in the same scholar’s Mémoires, he will find that the two accounts diverge. (In the Mémoires, p. 412-413, the dates are: death of Trdat, 314; interregnum; accession of Chosroes II., 316; Tiran II., 325; Arsaces, 341; Pap, 370. According to the old view, which appears, though not consistently, in Langlois’ collection, and seems to be assumed in Ter Mikelian’s op. cit., Trdat reigned from 286 to 342.) The following reconstruction seems most probable: —
There are not sufficient data for determining the dates of the Catholici; the statements of Moses will not bear criticism, see Gelzer, p. 121 sqq. The only certainties we have are that Aristakēs, son and successor of Gregory, attended the Council of Nicæa, 325; and that Nersēs was poisoned by King Pap before 374.
3. Trdat and Constantine (Gelzer, 165 sqq.). Officially the Armenian kings adopted the style “Arsaces” (just as the Severian Emperors adopted Antoninus), and he appears in Cod. Theod. xi. i. 1 (Constantine and Licinius 315) as Arsacis regis Armeniæ. In the previous year, he and Gregory visited Constantine in Illyricum (“the land of the Dalmatians” in the Armenian Agathangelos) in “the royal city of the Romans,” probably Serdica. There the alliance mentioned by Faustus (iii. 21; Langlois, p. 232) was concluded, which endured till 363. The authenticity of the account of Agathangelos (doubted by Gutschmid) has been successfully vindicated by Gelzer.
On Trdat’s death the Romans intervened to put Chosrov on the throne, and Tiran likewise owed his elevation to Constantine. In 337 he was betrayed to the Persians by his chamberlain, seized by the governor of Atropatene, and blinded. The armed intervention of Constantine and Constantius led to the elevation of Arsak, the son of Tiran, who declined to resume the sovereignty. Aršak first married Olympias, a Greek lady connected with the Constantinian house; and afterwards a daughter of the Persian king. His policy was to hold the balance between Rome and Persia throughout the wars of Constantius and Julian.
4. In Eusebius, H. E. vi. 46, 2, we find this notice: καὶ τοɩ̂ς κατὰ Ἀρμενίαν ὡσαύτως περὶ μετανοίας ἐπιστέλλει ὠν ἐπεσκόπευε Μερουζάνης. Gelzer (p. 171 sqq.) points out that this bishopric of Meruzanes cannot have been in the Roman provinces called Armenia, and therefore was in Great Armenia; and he seeks to show that it may have been in the south-eastern corner, the district of Vaspurakan. The words in Eusebius are from a letter of Dionysios of Alexdria (248-265), and the inference seems to be that Christianity was introduced into an outlying district of Armenia in the fifties of the third century.1 But the formal conversion of Armenia began about 280 under the auspices of King Trdat, through the labours of Gregory the Illuminator. The destruction of the temples of the gods, in spite of strong opposition from the priests, was one of the first parts of the change, and preceded Gregory’s journey to Cæsarea (between 285 and 290 according to Gelzer) to be consecrated by Leontius. The Armenian Church was dependent on the see of Cæsarea, and under Greek influence for nearly a century. After the death of the Patriarch Nersēs, it was severed and made autocephalous by King Pap (circa 373-4. Cp. Ter Mikelian, p. 31). During the fourth century the seat of the Catholicus and the spiritual centre of Armenia was Aštišat in the southern district of Taron, as has been well brought out by Gelzer. It was afterwards removed to Valaršapat, when no longer dependent on Cæsarea, and then the priests of Valaršapat invented stories to prove the antiquity of their seat and the original independence of the Armenian Church. In the fourth century, the chief feature of the domestic history of Armenia is the struggle between the monarch and the Catholicus, between the spirit of nationality and the subjection to foreign influences. It culminated in the reign of Pap, who solved the question by poison.
In regard to the conversion of Armenia, its progress was partly determined by the feudal condition of the country (Gelzer, 132). The nobles were easily won over by the personal influence of the king; the priests were naturally the most obstinate opponents. The new faith seems to have been slow in taking root among the people, and it is noteworthy that women, even in high rank, clung tenaciously to the old religion (like the wife of Chosrov, Faustus, iii. 3, and the mother of Pap, ib. 44).
I have read with interest the remarkable study of N. Marr, O nachalnoi istorii Armenii Anonima, in Viz. Vremennik, i. 263 sqq. (1894). He discusses the character of the brief History of Armenia, which is prefixed to Sebeos’ History of the Emperor Heraclius (Russ. tr. by Patkanian, 1862); and its relation to Moses of Chorene. This document (which appears in the collection of Langlois under the title Pseudo-Agathange) he regards as the earliest extant Armenian history of early Armenia; it was worked up by a later (also anonymous) writer, of whose composition a large extract has been preserved in Moses of Chorene, bk. i. c. 8 (in Langlois, under the title, Mar Apas Catina). Moses also used the original work. Marr points out a number of resemblances between Faustus and the first Anonymous, and hazards the conjecture (295 sqq.) that this history of Armenia may be part of the first two books of Faustus, whose work, as we have it, begins with book iii.
[1 ]My friend Mr. F. C. Conybeare is inclined to believe that Gregory the Illuminator used an Armenian version of New Testament Scriptures made from a pre-Peshito Syriac text, long before the time of Mesrop. This version may have been due to the Church in Vaspurakan. Apparently the non-existence of Mesrop’s alphabet did not prevent literary composition in Armenian.