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Armenian History Attributed to Sebeos (Liverpool University by Robert Thomson

By Robert Thomson

The historical past attributed to Sebeos is without doubt one of the significant works of early Armenian historiography. even if nameless, it was once written in the course of the 7th century, a time while similar chronicles in Greek and Syriac are sparse. Sebeos lines the fortunes of Armenia within the 6th and 7th centuries in the broader framework of the Byzantine–Sasanian clash. This e-book should be of curiosity to all these serious about the learn of Armenia, the Caucasus, the jap Roman Empire and the center East in past due antiquity. it will likely be of specific price to Islamicists, considering the fact that Sebeos not just units the scene for the arrival of Islam, yet offers the one colossal non-Muslim account of the preliminary interval of growth.

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Extra info for Armenian History Attributed to Sebeos (Liverpool University Press - Translated Texts for Historians)

Sample text

In gratitude —azar dedicated his work to Vahan, whose career is described in the third part of the History and whose appointment as marzpan of Armenia forms the climax of the whole book. 45 E•ishe· dedicates his History to a certain David Mamikon, priest, who is otherwise unknown. Since the hero of the work is Vardan Mamikonean (uncle of the Vahan just mentioned), a dedication to a member of that family is natural. The dedicatee of the History by Movse· s Khorenats‘i is equally obscure. Movses says that he was requested to undertake this work by a certain Sahak Bagratuni.

58 See 164; cf. Is. 15, 18. 59 See 123; cf. Ps. 8. l THE ARMENIAN TEXT in the second part dealing with events closer to his own time. His narrative concerning shah Khosrov and the Armenians of that era is more reminiscent of the ‘gestes’ of the Mamikoneans as portrayed in the Buzandaran. 60 On occasion the narrative is embellished with biblical material where the reader might unwittingly take the passage as straightforward narrative. Thus, when describing the Muslim attack on Constantinople for which Muawiya had prepared a vast armada, Sebeos lists the various siege engines which had been stowed on board the ships.

The majority of them are merely rhetorical allusions to the subject in hand ^ phrases such as ‘Now I shall recount . , whom I mentioned above . , what more shall I say? . , I shall now speak about . , as I said above’. In a spirit of Christian humility the author refers to ‘my insigni¢cant tale’. Although he does not speci¢cally refer to Armenia as ‘our’ land (in the ¢rst person), he places himself ¢rmly in the tradition of Armenian historians. At the beginning, with regard to events of the reign of Yazkert II, he states: ‘All that has been written by others’.

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