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39. Appendix 9: Book One of Moses of Khorene’s History of the Armenians (Extracts) (§§909-1024)

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39. Appendix 9: Book One of Moses of Khorene’s History of the Armenians (Extracts) (§§909-1024)


{My comments and notes in braces {}. Chapter divisions as in ed. trans. V. Langlois, Collection des historiens anciens et modernes de l’Arménie, tome IIe, Paris 1869. The orthography of the nouns in the main body of this work mostly follows Langlois, being more easily comprehended by English readers, but the modern scholarly transcriptions are employed in the translation infra, with occasional references to Langlois’ forms.}



Concordance of the genealogy of the three sons of Abraham until Noy, Ninos and Aram. Ninos is not Bel, and is not the son of Bel.

909. We all know that nothing is more painful and complicated than the computation of time from the beginning up to us, in particular with regard to the descendants of the three sons of Noy {Noah}, and even more difficult if one’s aim is to continue research forward in time from century to century. The job is made more difficult still by the fact that the Scriptures treat only of their own people and ignore other people, in a manner that might be thought to represent them as contemptible and unworthy of being mentioned in their pages. To begin, then, we shall talk of these people, referring to everything that we accept to be true in what we have found in authentic ancient stories, without in any way distorting the reports. So careful reader and scholar, behold now the genealogy of the three races of the sons of Noy until Abraham, Ninos, and Aram, and be amazed!

SEM {Shem}

Shem begat Arpak‛sat {Arphaxad} at the age of one hundred years, according to the Word of God, two years after the Flood.

Arp‛ak‛sat‛at the age of one hundred and thirty-five years old begat Kayinan {Cainan}.

Kayinan at the age of one hundred and twenty years old begat Salay {Salah}.

Salay at the age of one hundred and thirty years became the father of Eber.

Eber at the age of one hundred thirty-four years begat P‛ałek {Peleg}.

P‛ałek at the age of one hundred thirty-three years generated Ṙagaw {Reu}.

Ṙagaw at a hundred and thirty years old begat Serowk‛ {Serug}.

Serowk‛ at the age of a hundred and thirty years old begat Nak‛ovr {Nahor}.

Nak‛ovr at the age of one hundred seventy-nine years generated T‛aray {Terah}.

T‛aray at the age of seventy years old begat Abraham.

K‛AM {Ham}

K‛am generated K‛owš {Cush}

K‛owš generated Mestrayim {Mizraim}.

Mestrayim generated Nebrovt‛ {Nimrod}.

Nebrovt‛ was father of Bab.

Bab generated Anebis.

Anebis generated Arbel.

Arbel generated K‛ayał.

K‛ayał fathered a second Arbel.

Arbel generated Ninos.

Ninos generated Ninowas {Ninuas}.

YABET‛ {Japheth}

Yabet‛ fathered Gamer {Gomer}.

Gamer generated T‛iras {Tiras}.

T‛iras generated T‛orgom {Togarmah}.

T‛orgom generated Hayk.

Hayk generated Aramaneak.

Aramaneak generated Aramayis.

Aramayis became the father of Amaziah.

Amaziah begat Gelam.

Gelam generated Harma.

Harma begat Aram.

Aram begat Aray the handsome.

910. So, all chronologists put Kayinan {Cainan} fourth after Noy {Noah} and third after Sem {Shem}. In our version, T‛iras {Tiras} is fourth after Noy {Noah} and third after Yabet‛ {Japheth}, but he does not appear in the genealogy of the Bible. Mestrayim {Mizraim}, listed fourth after Noy and third after K‛am {Ham}, we find mentioned neither in our translation of the Bible nor in the chronologists. It was attested by an erudite and well-educated Syrian, whose written account seemed trustworthy. Since Mestrayim {Mizraim} is Mecrayim, which means “Egypt,” and many chronologists claim that Nebrovt‛ {Nimrod}, that is, Bel, was Ethiopian, we are convinced of the correctness of this hypothesis, further taking into account the closeness of his country to the land of Egypt.

911. Let us also say the following. Although the life span of the descendants of K‛am up to Ninos are not listed anywhere, or may not have come down to this time, and although there is no certainty similarly in respect of Ninos, and our Yabet‛, still, the previous genealogies are accurate, since all three lineages include eleven generations until Abraham, Ninos, and our Aram, for Aray, who was the twelfth after Ninos, died at a young age. There is no doubt that the genealogies are correct, as this accords with the record of Abiwdenos [gr. Abydēnós {Abydenus}], a trusted historian, which reads: “Ninos [son] of Arbel, son of K‛ayał, son of Arbel, son of Anebis, the son of Bab, the son of Bel.” Even in our race, through Hayk up to Aray the Handsome, killed by lustful Šamiram, the generations are enumerated thus: Aray the Handsome [son] of Aram, of Harma, of Gelam, of Amasia, of Aramayis of Aramanek, of Hayk, who became the opponent and slayer of Bel.

912. These facts are reported by Abiwdenos {Abydenus} in the first section devoted to the genealogy of the lesser peoples, lost nowadays.

913. These genealogies are confirmed by Kep‛ałiovn [gr. Cephalion {Cephalion}], who writes in a chapter: “At the beginning of our work, we started to exhibit precisely the genealogies of all races, according to the royal archives, but then we received the order of the kings to bypass the obscure and insignificant men of days gone by, and to refer only to men who were brave, wise and powerful, and not to waste time on vain things,” and so on.

914. I think that is absolutely wrong, and they are far from the truth who consider that Ninos was the son of Bel, or Bel himself, since neither the pedigree nor the calculation of the years authorize one to do so. Of course someone hungry for fame, will have wanted to render accessible what is out of reach.

915. All of this information we actually found in Greek literature, although the Greeks themselves have translated them in their own language from that of the Chaldeans, and more than one Chaldaean, spontaneously, or by the order of sovereigns, has undertaken a similar work. So did ARIOS, for example, and many others. We, however, for our part, learned these things from the Greeks and attribute everything to them.


How other authors in part agree with Movsis {Moses}, and in part differ from him. Oral traditions of the philosopher Olympiodoros.

916. We exposed the genealogy of the three sons of Noy to Abraham, Ninos and Aram, by selecting the material from multiple sources. I cannot imagine any reasonable man would want to register an objection. But if, upon breaking the seal of truth, some prefer to turn my words of truth into fairy tales, then each must do as he thinks fit.

917. But if you are a man who likes to know the facts, you who have promoted this work, you will thank me for my efforts and my sleepless nights. I will return briefly to the old stories that I have set out at the beginning. I can not say if the first chroniclers who have written on these subjects found their sources in the royal archives, or if each, according to his whim, changed the names, facts, and times, or if things have taken place in some other way. With regard to the oldest facts, [these reporters] sometimes say the truth, sometimes distort it. So it is with [the story] of the first created being: they do not just call this being “man,” but “king,” employing barbaric and senseless names, and admitting an existence enduring thirty-six thousand years. Now concerning the number of the patriarchs and the flood, I agree with Movsis [Moses]. For the facts of the flood, and when they make reference to the three glorious men prior to the construction of the tower, after K‛sisowt‛reaw {Xisuthros, Ziusudra = Noah} navigated his way to Armenia, they speak the truth. But when they change the names and distort other facts, they lie.

918. Now, I am pleased to commence my story with the words of the Berossian Sibyl, for whom I have a great affection, and who is more precise than many reporters. “Before the construction of the tower,” she says, “before the confusion of the human language in a multitude of languages, and after K‛sisowt‛reaw {Xisuthros} navigated his way to Armenia, the lords of the earth were Zrowann {Zervan = Kronos}, Titann {Titan} and Yapetost‛ē {Iapetos}”. I guess they are our Sem {Shem}, K‛am {Ham} and Yabet‛ {Japheth}.

919. “After dividing their dominion over the Earth amongst themselves,” says [the Sibyl], “Zrowann grew stronger and gained power over the other two brothers.” He was considered by the magician Zradaštē king of Bactria, i.e. Media, the prince and the father of the gods. Zradaštē told many other stories about Zrowann, you do not need me to repeat here.

920. “After Zrowann had gained power,” says [the Sibyl], “Titann and Yapetost‛ē did not submit to him but revolted with weapons, since Zrowann had decided that his children inherit his dominion of the whole Earth. During the conflict,” she says, “Titann conquered part of the territory of Zrowann. But here intervened Astłik their sister, who convinced them to put an end to the dispute. The two brothers agreed to let Zrowann reign, but along with their sister swore to kill all the male children of Zrowann, so as to prevent his posterity keeping power. Therefore they commissioned some robust Titans to monitor the women of Zrowann at the time of delivery. After killing two infants to keep the oath, between Astłik and the wives of Zrowann, someone persuaded the Titans to save the other children and send them to the west, to the mountain called Diwc‛ǝnkēc‛, which is now called Ólympos {Olympus}.”

921. Although this account is now considered by some fabulous, and true by others, I am convinced you will find a lot of truth. Epiphanios, Bishop of Constance, in Cyprus, in his rebuttal Adversus Haereses, trying to prove the correctness and fairness of God’s judgments, also speaks of the extermination of the seven people by the hands of the children of Israel, and put it this way: “It is Justice, according to which God destroyed and annihilated these people from the face of the children of Israel, because the land was part of the inheritance of the sons of Shem, but K‛am had invaded it with violence and had taken possession. So God, who always keeps His promises, punished the descendants of K‛am, ripping off them the inheritance of the children of Shem.” In the Holy Scriptures also mention is made of Titan and Ṙap‛ayim {Rephaim, translated “Titans” in the LXX}.

922. But we still have to report, albeit briefly, some oral traditions told by the sages of Greece and transmitted to us by men called Gorgi and Banan and, third, from a certain Dawit‛. One of these, a profound philosopher, said thus: “O elders, when I was among the Greeks and cultivated philosophy, it happened once that there arose among these sages and philosophers a discussion which covered the geography of the Earth and the division of the nations. Some in one way, some another, tried to explain the stories from the books. Then, the deepest of all, Olympiodoros, expressed himself as follows.

923. “‘We shall pass over the oral traditions still handed down by the peasants. There was a book about K‛sisowt‛reaw {Xisututhros, viz. Berossus’ name for Noah, the Sumerian Ziusudra} and his sons, now lost. This book exposed the true order of events: After K‛sisowt‛reaw navigated his way to Armenia and landed on the mainland, one of his sons, named Sem {Shem}, set off to explore the lands that lay to the north-west. He found at the foot of a mountain spreading out from its wide base, a plain of no great magnitude, crossed by rivers that flowed in the direction of the Assyrians. He stopped on the banks of one of these rivers for two lunar months, called the mountain by his name, Sim, and then made his way back to the south-east. But one of his younger sons, named Tarban, with his thirty sons, his fifteen daughters and their spouses, having separated from his father, returned to settle on the banks of that river, and called that region Sim Tarawn, according to the name of his son. And the place where he lived, he called C‛rōnk, “dispersion” instead, because it was there that for the first time his children had begun to separate from him. {Cf. Gen. 10. 25.} It is also said that he went to the farthest reaches of Bactria, where he lived for a few days, and that there were more of his children. Therefore, in the countries of the East, Sim is called Zrowann {Zervan}, and that country is still known as Zarowand {Zervand}.’”

924. These legends are more often told by the old men of the tribe of Aram, to the accompaniment of music and dancing. That these traditions are true or false, does not matter. In this document I report everything that falls on the ear, and what is reported in the books, that you may be aware of all the facts, and fully appreciate my devotion to you.


Short demonstration that the man called Bel by pagan authors is the Nebrovt‛ {Nimrod} mentioned in the Holy Scriptures.

925. Of Bel, and our contemporary ancestor Hayk, there are all kinds of stories. But I suppose it is he, Nebrovt‛ {Nimrod}, who bears the names of Kronos and Bel, though others deny it. So the Egyptians agree with Movsis {Moses}, enumerating Hep‛estos {Hephaistos}, Aregakn [{Helios} the Sun], Kronos, i.e. K‛am {Ham}, K‛owš {Cush} and Nebrovt‛ {Nimrod}, neglecting Mestrayim {Mizraim}; they say that the first man and creator of fire was Hep‛estos. But the reason why he is the inventor of fire, and why the story goes that Promet‛ēos {Prometheus} stole fire from the gods and gave it to men — these are allegories that have nothing to do with our work. Meanwhile, the intervening years of the era of King Shepherds {the Hyksos of Manetho}, from Hep‛estos, with the succession of the various Egyptian dynasties, fits perfectly with the chronology established by the Jews of the years that elapsed from the time of Shem, and K‛am and Yabet‛ until the time of Yovsep‛ {Joseph}.

926. What has been said may suffice. For if we began to expose for your enlightenment all the events from the construction of the tower to today … when we manage to get to the facts that are our concern … because the work lying ahead is long … human life is short …. and what is the end of that which is unknown? So, to begin, I shall tell you our story, pointing out where the information was obtained, and the path of events as you follow along.


Who found these narratives and where.

927. They say that Aršak Mec, the “great” king of Persia and Parthia, of Parthian origin himself, shook off the yoke of the Macedonians, and established his dominion over Assyria and all the East. He killed Antiochus king of Nineveh and brought under his authority all parts of the land. He put his brother Vałaršak on the throne of Armenia, believing he would thus make sure his empire.

928. He gave Vałaršak as a capital Mcbin, and included in the territories of his kingdom the western part of Syria, Palestine, Asia [Minor], the various territories throughout the Mediterranean area, and T‛etalia — starting from the Pontic Sea to the Caucasus where it reaches the western sea — and Atrpatakan. “And still other countries,” he told Vałaršak, “as wide as your imagination and your courage will be able to conceive, since the brave set the boundaries with the sword, and the more territories they conquer, the more they will have to reign.”

929. As soon as Vałaršak had strengthened his kingdom, and disposed his power as appropriate, great and honorable as it was, he wanted to know what kings had reigned over the country of the Armenians before him, and if they were valiant men or subject to incapacities. Having found a Syrian, Abas Katin, a wise man, versed in the Chaldean and Greek letters, he sent him to his brother Aršak Mec with precious gifts, begging him to open his royal archives. Then he wrote a letter which read as follows:


930. The letter of Vałaršak, king of Armenia, to Aršak Mec, king of Persia: “For Aršak, crowned sovereign of the land and the sea, whose person and whose image are similar to those of our gods, whose fortunes and destinies exceed those of all the kings, whose thought is as vast as the sky above the earth. Vałaršak, your younger brother and fellow soldier, and by your grace King of Armenia, wishes you health and victory, always!

931. “The teaching that was imparted to me, to combine value with wisdom, I have never forgotten. I followed that principle with care and zeal, to the limits of my strength and abilities. Now that this land is firmly organized under your command, I wish to know exactly who reigned over the land of the Armenians before me, and where the naxarar came from that have settled here. There are prior laws here unknown to me, and there are cults in the temples, one knows nothing about: which has a dominant position, which is the first, and which should be last. There is nothing defined: everything is confused and without order.

932. “Therefore I beseech your Majesty to open the archives to the man who has presented himself before your brave power. That he can find what is required, the brother, the son, and make haste to return the information to me. I am sure the satisfaction of my request will bring joy to you. Be healthy, happy among the immortals!”

933. Receiving this letter from the hands of Mar Abas Katin {Mar Abas Catina} Aršak the Great gave orders promptly to open the royal archives of Nineveh for him, pleased that so noble a thought had come into the mind of his brother, to whom he had given half of his empire. Mar Abas Katin, having examined all the manuscripts, he found one, in Greek, on which, he says, was this title:


934. “This book, by the will of Alexander, has been translated from the language of the Chaldeans into the Greek language and contains the story of the first ancestors.”

935. The book began, he says, with Zrowann, Titann and Yapetost‛ē {Zervan = Kronos, Titan, Iapetos}. And there was recorded every famous character amongst their offspring, each in his proper place, in the course of the years.

936. From that book, Mar Abas Katin extracted the true history of our nation, and brought it to king Vałaršak in Mcbin, written in Greek and Syrian. Vałaršak the handsome, skilled archer, eloquent Prince, subtle and wise, judged it the most valuable of his treasures and ordered him to keep it with great care in the royal palace. But part of it he ordered to be carved on a stone column.

937. Confident of the authenticity of the events by this process of endorsement, we list them here to please your Grace, listing the genealogies of our satraps, from Sardanapałłos up to the Chaldeans, and beyond.

{Extracts from the Book of Mar Abas Katin (Mar Abas Catina)}

938. “Terrible and great were the first gods, producers of the greatest realities in this world, the principles of the universe and the multiplication of men. The race of giants separated off from them, who were possessed of mighty force, invincible, and were of colossal dimensions. In their pride, they conceived the dastardly project of raising the Tower, and immediately began to realize it. But a furious wind, of divine origin, blown by the anger of false gods, pulled down the building. And the gods, giving each man a language none other could understand, scattered them in their confusion and disorder. One of these men was Hayk, of the breed of Yapetost‛ē {Iapetos}, a naxar famous and courageous, the powerful and skilled archer.”

939. But this report must end here, because our goal is not to write a universal history, but to find out about our early ancestors, our ancient and authentic leaders. But, beginning with the narrative according to this book, I will say:

940. Yapetost‛ē, Merod, Sirat‛, T‛aklad, i.e. Yabet‛ {Japheth}, Gomer, and T‛iras {Tiras}, T‛orgom {Togarmah}.

{Note: The genealogy represented in a lineal form here and in a descending series at §909, above, >>, shares peculiar characteristics with the genealogies of Phenech/Samothes (§889.2.3.1ff., above, >>), Tuisco and Italus/Atlas (§886.2.1, above, >>, Notes 2 and 4) and the early post-diluvian Norse kings in Petreius (§898, above, >>), all of which are dependent, to a greater or lesser degree, on the Berossian/Sibylline writings. These characteristics are: 1) Biblical names combined or identified with non-Biblical names; 2) genealogical relationships differing from the Biblical relationships; 3) lineal alternating with descending series; 4) members inserted into genealogies derived from sources foreign to the Biblical account, or duplicates of Biblical names similarly inserted. In this case Tiras, a brother of Gomer in Genesis 10, is inserted, contrary to the Biblical genealogy, as a son of Gomer and father of Togarmah, Togarmah being a son of Gomer in the Bible. The same filial relationships of Togarmah to Tiras and of Tiras to Gomer are found in Villani’s genealogy of Italus/Atlas, §886.2.1, above, >>. In the Norse list of Petreius a Junior Gomer features in the genealogy of the Biblical Gomer in addition to the latter’s son Togarmah. In the genealogy of Tuisco we have not only a non-Biblical name inserted as a post-diluvian son of Noah, but also a strange transformation of what is in other accounts a descending genealogical series of the line of Tuisco into a lineal format, whereby Tuisco’s successive descendants are all represented in the Defloratio Berosi as coeval post-diluvian sons of Noah, and this is explained in Nanni’s commentary as the result of the fact they were adopted by Noah as his sons. It was supposed to emphasize the special status of the line of Tuisco. (§886.2.1, above, >>, Note 4.) In several cases non-Biblical names or characters are identified with Biblical eponymi (§889.2.3.1ff., above, >>), e.g. Phenech with Ashkenaz, Samothes with Meshech or Ashkenaz or Javan, and Tuisco with Gomer and Ashkenaz. In the case of Tuisco, some writers understood this as a simple equation of one with the other. (E.g. Beatus Rhenanus Selastadiensis, Libri Tres Institutionum Rerum Germanicarum, Lib. I, sectiones aliae, p. 28, Andreas Althamer, Commentaria Germaniae Taciti, p. 52f.: Tuisco was Ashkenaz himself. Unidentified German writers apud Carron, Histoire universelle, p. 56, and apud Middendorp, Academiarum Orbis Christiani Libri Duo, 1622, p. 254: Tuisco was Gomer himself or Gomer’s son Ashkenaz.) Other writers understood Tuisco to be a descendant of Ashkenaz and therefore also of Ashkenaz’s father Gomer (Baker and Philips, A Chronicle of the Kings of England, p. 3, Bailey, New Universal Dictionary, s.n. Tuisco). He might receive one of the Biblical eponymi, or both of them, by inheritance from his ancestor in the same way Melchizedek was called Shem, meaning a descendant of Shem (§210, above, >>). The example of Tuisco illustrates how a name foreign to the Biblical account might become attached to a Biblical genealogy, in this case as a post-diluvian son of Noah not attested in the Bible. That is, Tuisco was held to be a descendant of Ashkenaz son of Gomer son of Japheth son of Noah, and to have become a son of Noah by adoption into Noah’s family, appearing in the Defloratio as Tuisco the post-diluvian son of Janus-Noa. Select descendants of Noah from various lines are said to have been associated closely with the Flood-hero and are called in the text of the Defloratio “Ianili,” that is the “people of Janus-Noah,” or more specifically, it is implied, the “sons of Janus” by adoption. (Defloratio Berosi, §888.12, above, >>, §889.7, above, >>.) The identical concept is conveyed by the eponymus Ionites/​Ionicus/​Ioniton/​Yonton (“son of Ion/Janus”) borne by Noah’s post-diluvian fourth son, according to the Revelation of Methodius and its medieval expansions. This Ionites was identified with various Biblical characters, including Melchizedek-Shem (in some texts of the Revelation of Methodius, Scipio Sgambatus, in Archivis Vet. Test., p. 67f., Wirth, Aus orientalisschen Chroniken, p. 244) and Javan, and Sabtah (Sabatius) son of Cush. (Sabatius thought by some to be Ionitus and a son of Noa-Janus, as well as “Japheth” [= son of Japheth, as Javan is a son of Japheth], Carron, Histoire universelle, 1621, p. 64.) Ionites/Ionicus is the prototypical representative of the Ianili, that is, of the family-circle of Janus-Noah, who accompanied the patriarch on his post-diluvian travels to far-away places and across the ocean. Similarly in Carron, Histoire universelle, p. 56f., Oceanus, who is a post-diluvian Titan son of Noa-Janus in the Defloratio (chart at §886.2, above, >>), “is” Mizraim son of Ham, Mizraim being also called Chamasenus (the Defloratio’s Chemesenuus) and Zoroaster after his father Ham. This is an indication that the Oceanus of the Defloratio was thought by some to be an offspring of Mizraim who had been adopted by Noah amongst the “Ianili.” The inheritance by Mizraim of the eponymus Chamesenus from his father Ham, which is analogous to the inheritance by Javan-Ionitus-Sabatius of the eponymus Japheth (supra), is juxtaposed in this passage to the identification of Oceanus and Mizraim, implying a similar process was believed to be at work in the underlying tradition, deriving the name of the descendant (Oceanus) from his ancestor (Mizraim). This Oceanus, the father of Inachus, is said to have been the founding father of the royal line of the Cyclopean city of Argos in southern Greece. The Cyclopes were brothers of the Laestrygones who were sons of Naphtuhim (Neptumnus, Neptune) the son of Mizraim, §626.12, above, >>, and §626.17.5, above, >>, which confirms the connection of Oceanus with Mizraim. For a more precise identification of Oceanus, see §209.2.2, above, >> and §354.3, above, >>. In the case under consideration, in Mar Abas Catina, we have a lineal series of non-Biblical names, each identified with a Biblical eponymus of the line of Japheth. In light of the comparisons drawn supra, it is reasonable to suppose the non-Biblical names in the series are those of descendants of the Biblical eponymi, who each received a Biblical eponymus by inheritance. There is the further possibility that the lineal format represents the fact they were considered brothers of the first named patriarch Japheth, and therefore were adopted sons of Noah, that is, to employ the terminology of the Defloratio Berosi, “Ianili,” sons of Janus-Noa. So, following Japheth (“Yapetost‛ē”), we have Merod (identified with or titled Gomer), Sirat‛ (identified with or titled Tiras), and T‛aklad (identified with or titled Togarmah). The son of T‛aklad-Togarmah is Hayk and so forth. If for the reasons given in §884ff., above, >>, we presume this account of Mar Abas Catina is derived from the same Berossian writings as the Defloratio, it would be reasonable to identify the names in this lineal series of “Titans” or “giants” with those of the “Ianili” or post-diluvian (adopted) “Titan” or “giant” sons of Janus-Noa listed in the Defloratio. The latter are in Latin (transcriptions clearly of Greek names), whilst these in Mar Abas Catina appear to be Semitic, probably Hebrew/Aramaic: Chaldaean (Aramaic) was the original language of the book Mar Abas Catina refers to, which was translated into Greek in the time of Alexander. Amongst the post-diluvian giant or Titanic sons of Janus-Noa in the Defloratio are Japetus (Japheth) Junior, Prometheus, Typhoeus and Cranus. These would be perfect Greek translations of the names here: 1) Yapetost‛ē = Japheth (seemingly meaning Japheth Senior in Mar Abas Catina, as in the descending series, §909, above, >> , though Japheth Junior might have been in view in the original source); 2) Merod (Semitic stem m-r-d, “rebel”), that is, “the Rebel” = Prometheus (prototypical rebel against the gods, with a phonetic echo of the original: merod > romed > [p]rometh[eus]); 3) Sirat‛ (Semitic stem s-y-r, “boil, steam”), that is, “Boiling/Steaming” = Typhoeus (“the Steaming One”); 4) T‛aklad (Semitic stem t-k-l, “terminate,” + ‛-d, “completely”), “Complete Termination” = Cranus (Greek kranos, from kraino, “terminate, come to a complete stop”). Hayk would be the son of T‛aklad-Cranus titled Togarmah (meaning T‛aklad-Cranus was a descendant of Togarmah son of Gomer son of Japheth), T‛aklad having been adopted by Noah as one of his sons (the “Ianili” of the Defloratio), along with Yapetost‛ē-Japheth-Japetus, Merod-Gomer-Prometheus, and Sirat‛-Tiras-Typhoeus. Cranus is stated to have been the last of the children of Janus-Noa, and to have accompanied Gomer to Italy, in the text of the Defloratio Berosi, §889.32, above, >>, which confirms his close association with Gomer and his ultimate position as in the lineal series here. The names in Mar Abas Catina may be taken to represent the original Chaldaean/Aramaic form of the book translated into Greek in the days of Alexander, and the Greek names preserved transliterated into Latin in the Defloratio, the Greek translation itself of that Chaldaean/Aramaic source.}

941. Then the same chronicler continues: Hayk, Aramaneak and others, listed according to their order, as we have already said.


The insurrection of Hayk.

942. This Hayk, he says, famous for his handsome appearance, his strength, his thick braided hair, bright-eyed looks, and his strong arm, a mighty and valiant one among the giants, was opposed to every one who sought to impose their rule on all the Titans and noble heroes. He rose up fiercely, taking weapons in his arm, against tyranny, at the time when mankind was scattered all over the earth, in the midst of a mass of angry giants, powerful beyond measure. Each tried to gain power over others, stopping at nothing, at the cost of killing his brother. This was the situation when Bel, as fate had it, lorded it over all the earth.

943. But Hayk, not wanting to submit to him after the birth of his son, Aramaneak, at Babylon, gathered all his children and his children’s children, who comprised around three hundred mighty heroes — and with other men and women who had joined him, put together all his belongings and set off to the land of Ararat, to the north. He stood in a plain at the foot of a mountain, where he met other people who had settled there earlier. They submitted to the authority of Hayk, and he founded a royal palace, and left it as an inheritance to Kadmos, son of Aramaneak. These facts are confirmed by the old oral traditions.

944. As for Hayk, says the chronicler, he went on with the rest of his retinue to the north-west, until he settled on an elevated plain, called Hark‛, “fathers,” and that means: “Here dwelt the father of the race of T‛orgom {Togarmah}.” Here Hayk built a village and called it by its proper name, Haykašēn. Even here the annals mention the small number of men who had already settled in the southern part of the plain, near a mountain, along its breadth, and willingly subordinated themselves to the noble hero. This is also confirmed by the ancient oral traditions.


Combat and death of Bel.

945. Continuing his narrative, [Mar Abas Katin {Mar Abas Catina}] says that BEL, Titan, having once strengthened his empire, sent to the north, to cause one of his sons to appear in the presence of Hayk, accompanied by an escort of his loyal followers, in order to force him to submit to him and live in peace. “You have established yourself,” said he [to Hayk], “in the land of the ice, but now it heats up, so melt the ice of your proud heart, and submit to me! Experience tranquility in the place that suits you best, anywhere within the territory under my control!” But Hayk dismissed the messengers with an answer appropriately expressing the scorn he felt, and they returned to Babylon.

946. Then Titan Bel gathered his strength and went to the north, with a large body of infantry, against Hayk. He came to the land of Ararat, not far from the house of Kadmos. Kadmos fled away, sending swift messengers to Hayk: “Know, O greatest of heroes, that Bel is against you, and has gathered a band of immortal heroes, all of them warriors, of a stature lofty as the heavens, giants one and all. When I learned that they were approaching my house, I ran away. And behold, how swiftly they were there! You must rapidly assess your situation!”

947. Bel, with his army, indomitable and imposing, like a raging torrent that rushes from the steep side of a mountain, proceeded quickly towards the borders of the land of Hayk. Bel relied on the strength and dependability of his soldiers, but [Hayk], the wise giant, with bushy curls and blazing eyes, immediately gathered his children and grandchildren, fearless warriors and skilled archers (though few in number), and other men who were under his command, and reached the shore of a lake of salt water filled with small fishes. There, haranguing his troops, he said: “When you meet the army of Bel, try to get to the point where he will be surrounded by his brave knights. Either we will die, and our people will end up in slavery, or you will give Bel proof of our ability to wage war, dispersing the multitude of his warriors, and win the day.”

948. Sending the soldiers forward, Hayk went down into a plain surrounded by high mountains. Arranging themselves on a hill, to the right of a stream, they looked down and saw the swarming mass of warriors of Bel, as they made their relentless march through the territory. They also saw BEL, quiet and calm, on the left side of the stream. Surrounded by his mighty escort, he was placed under observation from a hill. Hayk saw that the escort that surrounded Bel consisted of a few elite soldiers, well armed, but a great distance separated him from the rest of the army. BEL wore a helmet of iron with a floating plume, bronze armor that guaranteed the protection of his back and chest, and guards on his ankles and arms. On the left, secured with a strap, he carried a sword sharpened on both edges. Wielding a spear in his right hand, he gripped an incredibly long and strong shield in his left. On both sides were the soldiers of the escort. Since the Titan was well armed, and flanked on both sides by his men, Hayk ordered Aramaneak and his two brothers to stand to his right, Kadmos and his two sons to his left, because they had the ability to shoot the bow and use the sword. He himself broke new ground, and positioned himself in front of the army. Forming thus a sort of triangle, he made his troops advance slowly forward.

949. In close array, the giants advanced impetuously, causing the ground to echo with a frightening crash, and with furious attacks they spread fear and panic. Felled by the sword, mighty giants fell to the ground in large numbers on both sides, but the outcome of the battle remained undecided. Frightened at the sight of a resistance so unexpected and perilous, the king went up the hill from which the descent had been made. He needed to remain safe in the midst of his men until his troops reached him, and he could resume the attack all along the line. In this situation, Hayk, armed with his bow, lunged forward, and approached the king. He bent his bow and shot an arrow with three fins from its immense curve, hitting Bel in the chest. The arrow passed clean through [his body], and stuck in the ground. Thus laid low, the proud Titan fell to the ground and died. Witnessing the terrible scene, his troops fled without a glance to the rear. No need to say more.

950. Hayk of Dastakert built on the battlefield a monument in honor of the victory. He gave it the name Hayk‛. For this reason, the area is still called Hayoc‛ Jor, the “valley of the Armenians.” The hill where Bel fell with his brave warriors was called Hayk Gerezmans, and it still says today Gerezmanakk‛. The corpse of Bel, on the order of Hayk, was taken to Hark‛, and was buried under a hill, in sight of his wives and his children. In honor of our forefather Hayk, our country took the name of Hayk‛.


The lineage of Hayk, deeds of his descendants and the works of some of them.

951. After these events, the book has a lot of other information, but we will keep to what is of relevance to our account.

952. After this expedition, says the chronicler, Hayk returned to his home and offered his grandson Kadmos a large part of the spoils of war, as well as offering it to other brave heroes of his race. He ordered [Kadmos] to settle in the same house. Hayk, however, came to the plain of Hark‛. He begot his son Aramaneak in Babylon, as we have already said. He lived thereafter for many years, and at his death he left to Aramaneak the government of all his people.

953. As for Manawaz, he had all his retinue and his property, as well as Baz, the son of Manawaz: he received Hark‛ as an inheritance, and his son Baz had the north-west shore of the salt lake, and gave his name to the lake and the surrounding area. They say that the tribes descended from them are the Manawazeank‛, the Bznownik‛ and Ordownink‛, which, after San Trdat, ended up exterminating each other. XOR populated lands to the north, where he founded its villages. From these descended the great lineage of Xoṙxoṙownik‛, men of valor and fame, as their present-day descendants still are today.

954. Aramaneak, however, took with him his men and headed north-east, where he found a deep valley surrounded by high mountains and crossed by fast flowing rivers from the west. This valley stretched a vast distance, heading east, away under the rays of the rising sun. At the foot of the mountains flowed many clear springs that gathered in rivers on the border between the mountains and the plains, and tripped along their paths like young maidens. The mountain to the south attracted onto its peak snow which was dazzling white in the sun — it could not have been climbed in less than three days by a traveler making a rapid ascent — and its summit was capped with a crisp layer of snow. It was really an ancient mountain surrounded by younger outcrops. After settling in this deep plain, Aramaneak covered the northern region with buildings at the foot of the great mountain, upon which he bestowed a name similar to his: Aragac. He called his domains OTN Aragacoy “feet of the Aragac.”

955. The chronicler also mentions that before Hayk, the ancestor of our nation, came to reside in this country, people already inhabited it, scattered here and there in many different areas.

956. Aramaneak begot his son Aramayis, lived many years more, and then died. Aramayis built his own house on a hill near the river and called it Armavir after his own name, and the river Erasx {Araxes} was named after his nephew Erast {Arasd}. His son Shar, who had many children and was famous for his greed, was sent with all his people to a neighboring plain, which was very fertile, and rich in springs, north of the mountain called Aragac. It is said that the name bestowed on that place was Shar Sirak. Probably this is where the proverb of the peasants comes from: “If you have the hunger of Shar, we do not have the granaries of Sirak.” Aramayis begot his son Amaziah, lived many years more, and then died. After a few years he became the father of the child Gelam, and after him, also the valiant P‛aṙox and C‛olak. After the birth of his children, he crossed the river and went south, towards the mountain, and there in the valley built two homes: one in the east, near the mouth of the spring that flows from the mountain; and the other to the west, the first being a good half day’s journey away. He gave these two houses as an inheritance to his sons, the brave and the lively P‛aṙox and C‛olak. Settling down, they named their estates after themselves: P‛aṙaxot from P‛aṙox and C‛olakert from C‛olak. The mountain, however, was named Masis, from the same Amaziah. Back in Armavir, [Amaziah] lived a few more years, then he died.

957. Gelam fathered his son Harma at Armavir and then, leaving him with his other children in Armavir, he went to the north-east, towards the high mountains at the edge of the lake. He settled on the shore and built villages. He named it after the mountain Gel, and the villages Gełark‛owni; also he gave the same name to the lake. Here he became the father of the child Sisak, a man distinguished for his noble pride, being strong, handsome, eloquent, and a skillful archer. Gelam gave him the majority of his belongings and a large number of slaves. He also gave him as an inheritance all the territory that went up from the lake to the east, as far as the great plain where the river Erasx {Araxes}, after opening its bed and splitting the wall of the mountain, ran through the woods and narrow gorges, and poured across the plain in a great rushing torrent. Settling in this place, Sisak built villages throughout the country, and called it Siwnik‛. The Persians call it Sisakan. Later, Vałaršak, the first ruler of Armenia as such, found valiant men and made them governors of the country: this is the lineage of Sisakan. What did Vałaršak do while not knowing the story behind it? We will tell all at the appropriate time.

958. Gelam then returned to the plains at the foot of the same mountain [Gel], and in that narrow and inaccessible gorge, founded a village, which he called by his name Gełami and that, as it turned out, was called Garni, from the name of his nephew Garnik. Among his descendants, at the time of Artašis son of Vałaršak, was a boy named Varaz, skilled in hunting roe, fallow deer and wild boar, and able to throw the javelin with an unerring aim. Artašis appointed him royal huntsman, and assigned him the villages on the edge of the river Hrazdan. It is said that the race of Varažnowni is descended from him. Gelam, meanwhile, after the birth of Harma and other children, died, commanding Harma to settle at Armavir.

959. This is the story of Hayk, son of T‛orgom, son of T‛iras, the son of Gomer, son of Japheth, the ancestor of the Armenians, and these were his bloodlines, his descendants and the country where he lived. Their posterity, says [the original author], began to multiply and to replenish the country.

960. Harma, after living many years, begot Aram. They say Aram performed many brilliant exploits in battle, which expanded the boundaries of Armenia in every direction. All the nations call our country by his name {Armenia}. For example, the Greeks, Armen, the Persians and Syrians, Armēnikk‛. But as regards the fuller history of its affairs, we can tell it in another work, if you wish, or omit it altogether; otherwise, we will set it down it here.


The war and the victory over the peoples of the East and the death of Niwk‛ar Mades.

961. We have willingly agreed to undertake this work, in response to your request, with greater pleasure than others experience over lavish banquets of food and wine. We agree to tell in brief the history of the wars conducted by Aram of the lineage of Hayk. They appear here as the chronicler reported them, for your perusal, O diligent one, O lover of his country, to the point that he would rather die for it, than see it occupied by a foreign race, and would not hesitate to ask the same thing of his compatriots and brothers.

962. A few years before the rise of Ninos to the throne of Assyria in Nineveh, Aram, feeling neighboring nations closing in on him, gathered a large number of brave compatriots — skilled archers and hoplites, experts in throwing the javelin, young, noble, agile in the fray, bold in heart and ready to do battle — and formed a host who, for courage and action, was worth fifty times a thousand men. On the border of Armenia, he met some young people from Media, under the guidance of a certain Niwk‛ar, also called Mades, an arrogant and proud warrior, as pointed out by that same original author. He followed the cursed example of the Cushites {Kushan, Cossaeans}, trampling the land of Armenia with the hoofs of his horses, and had been looting it now for two long years. Now Aram attacked him suddenly at sunrise, and exterminated his whole army. As for the aforesaid Niwk‛ar Mades, Aram took him prisoner and brought him to Armavir. He ordered him to be nailed to a wall, on top of a tower, piercing through his forehead with a long iron nail. Niwk‛ar was hanging on the wall, by order of Aram, so that everyone could come and see him. All of his country, to the mountain called Zarasp, was put under a tax, until the reign of Ninos in Assyria, at Nineveh.

963. Ninos, who now became king of Nineveh, retained the memory of hatred that had filled the soul of his ancestor Bel, being well versed in the traditions of the past. For years he thought of revenge, waiting for the right time to exterminate the whole nation of the descendants of the valiant Hayk. But he also had concerns that the project would end up turning against him, bringing ruin to his kingdom. Thus hiding his wicked intentions, Aram allowed him to retain the kingship without fear, to continue to wear the crown studded with pearls, and himself to be treated as second to him. But it is enough, because our work does not allow us to dwell more on this topic.


Aram’s war with the Assyrians, and his victory. Payapis K‛aałea in Caesarea. The First and the other Armenia.

964. Let us now review briefly the main events in the life of Aram, his glorious deeds in the land of the west, according to the book, and the war against the Assyrians, explaining the causes and the effects of those events, summarizing in a few words the long digressions of the original author.

965. Having ended the war in the East, Aram marched with his troops towards the border of Assyria. There he came across an individual who looted his country with forty thousand infantry and five thousand horsemen. He was of the race of giants, and was called Barsam. With this army, Barsam turned all the neighboring countries into a desert, holding them fast in an iron fist. Aram defeated him in battle, killing many of his men, and drove him to the back side of the mountain Kordowac‛, in the Assyrian plains. Barsam died, having been targeted by the warriors of Aram. The Assyrians, however, considered this Barsam a martyr, and worshiped him for a long time, on account of his many heroic deeds. A large part of the Assyrian plains became, on the other hand, for many years, tributary to Aram.

966. But we still have to tell the heroic undertakings Aram performed in the West, in his struggle against the Titans. He then moved to the west, adding to the army forty thousand infantry and two thousand cavalry, and arrived in Cappadocia, in the place called Caesarea today. [Aram] had entrusted the countries he had conquered in the east and south to two families, namely, the eastern countries to the lineage of Sisakan, and the aforesaid Assyrians to the descendants of Kadmos. As a result he no longer had any fear of unrest. For this reason, Aram was able to stay for a protracted period in the West. There he was attacked by Titan Payapis K‛aałea who occupied all the country situated between the sea called Pontus and the Ocean. Aram threw himself upon him, defeated him and won the day, forcing him to flee to an island in the sea of Asia. Leaving [in the new territories] one of his relatives, named Mšak {Meshech}, with ten thousand warriors, [Aram] returned to Armenia.

967. First [Aram] ordered the inhabitants of the conquered country to learn the Armenian language. For this reason the Greeks still call this country Proto-Armenia, which means in translation “Prior Armenia.”

968. The governor appointed by Aram, Mšak, founded a village, surrounded by meager walls, and gave it his name. But the villagers could not pronounce it and called it Mazak’ {Mazaca}, until over time, having grown and developed, the village began to be called Caesarea. Aram, returning from these places to his empire, liberated many lands and allowed people to settle down. They were called the Second, Third and Fourth Armenia. Here is the original and real reason why there exist, to the west of our country, a first, a second, a third and a fourth Armenia.

969. The name of Aram has become so famous on account of his power, that all the peoples who surround us, until today, as you know, call our country after his name. He performed many other heroic deeds, but we have already said enough on this subject.

970. Now why were these facts not committed to the royal archives and the historical chronicles? On this point no one has any doubts or suspicions! First, Aram preceded the reign of Ninos, and at that time nobody took care of things like that. Secondly, the people did not feel the usefulness and necessity of dealing with foreign nations and distant countries, nor had an interest in collecting traditions and reports of the first ages in the royal archives and historical chronicles, especially as what was valued and accomplished by foreign peoples were of no worth to them for the purpose of promoting national pride. But though not delivered to books, these facts, as Mar Abas Katin informs us, were handed down in ballads and folk epics, composed by obscure singers, and only later were recorded in the royal archives.

971. But he cites another reason: “As I was well aware, Ninos, being a proud and selfish person, and wanting to prove his own prowess alone, and that he was the architect of all notable achievements, of all that was worthwhile and perfect, burned a huge quantity of texts relating the events that occurred in the first ages of the world, which had been kept until then in various places, and which narrated the exploits of heroes who had preceded him. He also destroyed the records relating to his own time, so that he alone could tell that story.” It is unnecessary to repeat everything in the account.

972. Aram begat the son Aray, and after living many years, he died.


Aray, and his death in a war unleashed by Šamiram.

973. A few years before the death of Ninos, Aray obtained the government of his country. The same Ninos deemed him worthy of that office, as he had earlier honored his father Aram. But the lusty and lewd Šamiram, having heard for a long time of the handsomeness of Aray, burned with desire for him, and longed to satisfy her passion, but she did not dare to act openly. After the death of Ninos — or rather, as I believe, after his flight to Crete — Šamiram openly revealed her desire for him, and sent messengers to Aray the Handsome, bearing rich gifts, and accompanied by fervent prayers and irresistible promises, inducing him to visit her at Nineveh, marry her, and rule over the empire that had belonged to Ninos, or simply satisfy her ardent passion, and then to return to his country, in peace and with rich rewards.

974. The embassies were sent without delay, but Aray stood firm in his refusal. At that juncture, furious at the failure of her embassies, Šamiram left hurriedly in the company of her mighty army, set off in the direction of the borders of Armenia, and attacked Aray. But her attitude was well understood: her intention was not so much to kill or destroy Aray. If she was in so great haste, it was rather because she wanted to seduce him and to have him, in order to satisfy her passion. She was luxurious in nature and had simply been overwhelmed by the many stories she had been told about the handsomeness of Aray, which, they claimed, was enough to ensure her face glowed with love. Quickly, she reached the plain of Aray, from whom, indeed, it had received its name Ayrarat.

975. Before the battle, [Šamiram] ordered her generals to preserve the life of Aray at all costs. But in the course of the battle, it happened that the troops of Aray were defeated and he himself fell before Šamiram’s forces. After the victory, the queen sent her men on the battlefield, to search among the corpses for the object of her love. Aray was found dead along with his brave comrades in arms. Šamiram [took him to Nineveh and] laid him out on the terrace of her palace.

976. When the Armenian armies met again, ready to march against Queen Šamiram, to avenge the death of Aray, she said, “I ordered my gods to lick the wounds of Aray, and he shall live again.”

977. She hoped to resurrect Aray by virtue of her spells, so much had desire clouded her reason.

978. But when the corpse began to decompose, she ordered someone to throw it into a deep well and cover it with earth, to conceal it from public view. Then, having secretly disguised one of her lovers, she began to assert: “The gods have licked the wounds of Aray and brought him back to life and so fulfilled my greatest wish. This is why they are deserving of even greater adoration, as transformers of my will into reality and the fulfillment of my desires.” [Šamiram] raised a new statue to the gods and offered them sacrifices, as if their power had really brought Aray to life. In this way, spreading the rumor that up in Armenia [Aray] was still alive, [Šamiram] was able to end the war.

979. This brief history suffices with regard to Aray. Having passed a few years, he produced a son Kardos.


How after the death of Aray, Šamiram founded a city, excavated the bed of a river, and raised her palace.

980. After achieving these successes, Šamiram lingered for a few days in the plain, which from the name of Aray, was called Ayrarat, and went up on the southern slopes of the mountain, eager to cool off in the valleys and meadows there, now in bloom, since she arrived in the summer. Admiring the beauty of the country, the clearness of the air, the fresh springs that gushed out everywhere and the murmur of the rivers in their majestic course, [she said]: “In a country with a temperate climate and such lovely waters, I have to build a city, a royal residence, that I may reside in Armenia, among many delights, for a quarter of the year. The other three seasons, the colder ones, on the other hand, I will spend at Nineveh.”

981. After viewing many resorts, Šamiram arrived on the east side [of the mountain], on the shores of the salt lake. And she saw an elongated eminence on the coast, exposed to the sun rise and oblique to the north, but at noon a steep rock came into view, facing directly toward the sky. A short distance to the south of the eminence, stretched a wide flat valley, on the eastern side of the mountain that jutted out into the lake, spreading out in an inviting panorama. The waters from the mountain tumbled down in the ravines and gorges, and, meeting the wide base of the eminence, they became real rivers. To the right and left of these waterways, stood several villages, scattered to the east of the eminence that she liked so much.

982. Here the shameless Šamiram made her choice, her decision, this woman with the heart of a male and amorous habits like those of men. After careful consideration of the whole matter, she brought from Assyria and from other regions of her empire twelve thousand, and another six thousand, workers and craftsmen of wood and stone, copper and iron, chosen from among those that were skilled to perfection in their art. The orders of the queen were carried out to the letter. The workers and the craftsmen worked hard. Šamiram first caused a dam to be built on the river, of an astonishing width and height, putting together blocks of rock and huge stones, fused together with sand and lime. They say that this dam still exists today. In its crevices, we assert, thieves and vagabonds of the country find safe refuge, seeking relief from prison and slavery, as if they had repaired to the desolate peaks of a mountain range. And if anyone attempts to take away from this building even a small stone like a sling-shot, all his strength is not sufficient. The cement of this dam is extremely tenacious, as if it was made by casting in a mold of wax. [Šamiram] built the dam in the site that was selected for the construction of the city.

983. [Šamiram] divided the crowd of workers in many groups, and in each of them she put top craftsmen. In this way, forcing them to work heavy shifts, in a few years she was able to complete this marvelous work: a city surrounded by walls and sturdy bronze doors. Within the city she raised many beautiful palaces, decorated with colorful stones, two or three stories high, all facing toward the sun, as was the custom. Distinguished with beautiful colors, the districts of the city divided it into sections. Many splendid and luxurious spas were built, as she required. Some of the water of the river she caused to be directed into the city, wherever the need arose, and also used it to irrigate the gardens and the surrounding lands. All the districts of the city, east, north and south, were adorned with splendid buildings, and trees, and she also planted in the fertile soil a number of fruit trees, luxurious ones, with many different fruits and leaves, and vines. In this way, she created a wonderful and glorious city, surrounded by walls, and invited an immense population to live there.

984. Regarding the acropolis of the city and the wonderful building that was there, many tried to visit it to view and admire it, but no one came back to make a report. Surrounded by high walls, with an almost inaccessible entrance and difficult exits, she raised a terrible, mysterious palace. The design and plan of such a construction, has never been published by any of the authorities, so we should not talk about it in our history. Let us say that of all the work undertaken by the queen, this is considered the grandest and most amazing.

985. On the eastern side of the rock wall facing the sun, where currently one cannot draw a sign even by striking it with iron, so hard is the stone, Šamiram managed to dig rooms and halls, small treasuries to guard her precious items, and long tunnels, and no one knows how she accomplished this wonderful work. Smoothing the rock wall, then, she carved, as though in wax, numerous writings: a miracle which one is simply startled to behold. And not just here, but throughout Armenia, she gave orders to be engraved in stone the memory of some event. Thus in many places she carved stelae with inscriptions preserving her memory.

986. But here, we have said enough of the works of Šamiram in Armenia.


Why Šamiram killed her children, took refuge in Armenia to escape the magus Zradašt, and was killed by her son Ninowas.

987. The Queen [Šamiram], wanting to spend the summer in the north, in the city founded by her in Armenia, left as governor of Nineveh and Assyria, Zradašt {Zoroaster}, the magus and high priest of the Medes. Having made these arrangements, Šamiram handed power for a long time over to Zradašt.

988. Wanting constant relief from her children because of her licentious and disorderly conduct, the queen caused them all to be slain, except for the youngest, Ninowas. Abandoning the passion she felt for her favorites, her lovers, she deserted them for her own sovereign power and her treasures, and did not take any care of her children. Ninos her husband did not die, and neither was buried, as they claim, in the palace of Nineveh; in fact, witnessing the corruption of his treacherous wife, he abandoned the empire and took refuge in Crete. Her children, having grown up, scolded their mother’s conduct, trying to shame her for her vices, her evil deeds, and win the power and the treasures for themselves. But the queen raged on and caused them all to be slain. Only Ninowas was spared, as we have already said.

989. Zradašt aimed to cause his own authority to prevail everywhere, and his sins against the queen were so great that she came into conflict with him. Šamiram attacked him in arms, but in the middle of the fight, she fled from Zradašt and sought refuge in Armenia. It was an opportune time to take revenge: Ninowas killed his mother and reigned over Assyria and Nineveh. These were the cause and circumstances of the death of Šamiram.


War of Šamiram against the Indians, and her death in Armenia.

990. I consulted Cephalion, in order not to be a subject of ridicule. There were stories, according to other authors, about the birth of Šamiram and then about her war against India. But the facts that are drawn from the study of the account of Mar Abas Katin from the books of the Chaldeans seem to be more reliable, with regard to these details, as he speaks with competence, and exposes the causes of the war. We should add that the legends of our country support the Assyrian scholar, as they recount how here [in Armenia] occurred the death of Šamiram, and tell of her escape on foot, her burning thirst, her desperate search for a sip of water, her desire to cool off, and the arrival of soldiers armed with swords, and the throwing of her talisman in the sea, from which came the saying: “Šamiram pearls in the sea.” You want legends? Listen to this: “Šamiram was turned to stone before Niobe.”

991. We have said enough on this subject. Let us turn to subsequent events.


Events that occurred after the death of Šamiram.

992. I would like, in this work, to set before you all the events in their order, listing the ancestors of our nation’s most celebrated heroes, all the traditions concerning them, their affairs and deeds, one by one, omitting all in our narrative that is imaginary or improper, and reporting what is narrated in the books, and in particular in the speeches of the learned, from whom I have tried to collect and compile the documents of our ancient history. And I will say that in this report my aim has been to achieve justice and truth, inspiration for the conviction that it was so. It is in this frame of mind that my compilation has been written, God knows! Praiseworthy or regrettable however that may be in the eyes of men, and with whatever small care they judge them. But the consistency of my report, the regularity of the succession of the characters, are sufficient guarantee of the accuracy with which I conducted my research. Thereby ensuring certainty, or near certainty, that this is the truth, I will start, herewith, to present the facts in chronological order.

993. So then, after the death of Šamiram, who was killed by her son Zamesis, i.e. Ninowas {Ninuas}, born after the murder of Aray, we know with certainty the order in which the events took place. After his perverse mother was destroyed, Ninowas reigned and lived in peace. Under his reign, Abraham ended his days.

Concordance of the genealogy of our nation with those of the Jews and the Chaldeans, to Sardanapalus, called T‛ōnos Konkołeros. {The order and the forms of the Chaldaean and Armenian names follow Langlois with modern transcriptions of the Armenian forms in braces.}









Ara {Aray}



Ara {Aray}

994. The son of our Aray was called Aray in turn by Šamiram, who gave him the government of our country.



Anouschavan {Anowšawan}



Bared {Paret }



Arpag {Arbak}



Zavan {Zawan}



Parnas {P‛aṙnak }

995. After [Joshua], the order is no longer of parentage, but of pre-eminence, as all are descended from Abraham. Defeated, the Canaanites fled before their exterminator [Joshua], passed into Africa, and over the waves to T‛arsis, an event recorded on an inscription engraved on a stela in Africa, which is preserved to this day. Here is the inscription in the exact words it uses: “Fleeing the robber Joshua, we, the Heads of the Canaanites, came to live here.” One of these leaders was the famous K‛ananidas of Armenia. Having studied the question thoroughly, I can prove that the race of Gnt‛ownik‛, without doubt, derives from him. The character of these people shows clearly they are of Canaanite stock.



Sour {Sowr}



Havanag {Hawanak}



Vaschdag {Vaštak}



Haigag {Haykak}






996. [Haykak], who lived under Belochus, died in an absurd way, in a riot raised by himself.



Ambag {Ampak}



Arnag {Arnak}



Schavarsch {Šawarš}



Norair {Norayr}



Vsdasgar {Vstamkar}



Korag {Gorak}



Hrand {Hrant}



Entzak {Enjak‛}


Keghag {Głak}


Horo {Hōroy}


Zarmair {Zarmayr }


997. [Zarmayr], was sent to the aid of Priam by Teutamus with an array of Ethiopia, and died at the hands of the brave Hellenes.


Berdj {Perc}


Arpun {Arbown}


Pazug {Bazowk}


Ho {Hoy}


Husag {Yowsak}


Gaibag {Kaypak}


Sgaiorti {Skayordi} (son of the giant)





Aray son of Aray. His son Anowšawan, called Sōsanowēr.

998. Šamiram, In memory of her love for Aray the Handsome, gave the name Aray in turn to his son which he had had from his beloved bride Noward. He was twelve years old at the death of Aray. Šamiram, full of confidence for this young prince, invested him with the government of our country. Aray died in what is called the war against Šamiram.

999. And here is an account of the subsequent events: Aray, son of Aray died in the war against Šamiram, but he left a son, named Anowšawan, powerful and wise in council matters. He was called Sōsanowēr [Silver Poplar], because he devoted himself to the priestly functions in the forests of poplars Aramanek, at Armawir. The rustling of the leaves of the poplars, by a light breath of wind, it was claimed, was the object of a science of divining in Armenia, which persisted for a long time.

1000. Anowšawan, who for years suffered the scorn of Zamesis, languished in court. But aided by his partisans, he managed to wrest out of his control the government of a part of the country, and then, by means of taxes, of the whole country. But it would be too much to present here all that would be worthy of remembrance, the words, deeds, and affairs.


Paroyr Skayordi the son of the first king crowned in Armenia. Help given by Varbakēs the Mede to take over the kingdom of Sardanapallaw.

1001. Dispensing with the details, we will concentrate on the most important facts. The latest among those who lived under the Assyrian empire at the time of Šamiram and Ninos, was — I say — our Paroyr, a contemporary of Sardanapallaw{Sardanapallos}. With the valued help of the Mede Varbakēs {Arbaces}, he took possession of the kingdom of Sardanapallaw.

1002. I feel satisfaction and joy, having reached, in the course of this narrative, the true ancestor of our nation, whose descendants were raised to the rank of king. So we have a very extensive work to be done, many topics to be discussed. We believed our duty was to read the proofs of these facts in four books composed by a wise and eloquent man, the wisest among the wise.

1003. Varbakēs, coming from a distant region of Media — the extreme tip of the province’s most fortified region — a man of great cunning, of great renown among the warriors (as opposed to the weak and cowardly T‛ōnos Konkołeros, known for his perversions and his effeminacy), earned thanks for his righteousness and generosity, and a large number of followers among the valuable and powerful characters who at that time supported, in dignity and firmness, the Assyrian empire. He won the friendship of our brave satrap Paroyr, and promised him the crown, and the splendor of royalty. He joined him with a large number of more brave warriors skilled with the spear, bow and sword. Varbakēs in this way obtained all the kingdom of Sardanapallaw. But once he had taken control of Assyria and Nineveh, he merely set up governors there, and moved the capital of the Assyrian Empire to Media.

1004. Do not be surprised if these facts, in other historians, are presented in a different way. As in earlier chapters, we reproached our ancestors for ignoring the true scientific understanding, we must do the same here. The circumstances surrounding the history of the father of Nebuchadnezzar were delivered to the annals and records kept by his official chroniclers, but because our rulers did not think to do the same, no-one transcribed the affairs and events of anything but recent times. If one should ask: where did you find the names, circumstances and affairs of our ancestors? The answer is, in the old archives of the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Persians, whose writings mention the real names and deeds of our ancestors as the managers of the country’s affairs, appointed by the king of the General Government.


Succession of our rulers: their names from father to son.

1005. We now enumerate our great men, especially our kings, until the time of the Parthian empire. I cherish these descendants of our crowned king, as they are my compatriots, my relatives and my brothers. How I wish that the Savior [P‛rkč‛in] had then come to redeem us, born into the world under such rulers, to rejoice in the good fortune of beholding them on the throne, and avoiding the dangers of the present day! But this happy fate, this good fortune, has eluded us. These kings of our nation lived under the government of the Medes, and we will remember their names here.

1006. At that time, the royal institution was truly established in our nation. The prophet Jeremiah attests the fact, when he called to arms against Babylon: “Call together the kingdom of Ararat and the troops of Ashkenaz,” he said. It is therefore evident that our Empire existed even then.

1007. By setting out in order the sequence of our sovereigns, we will compare it with that of the kings of the Medes.









Astyages [Aždahak]


Paroyr, son of Skayordi


1010. Hrač‛eay was so named because of his characteristic, bright, shining eyes. He was, they say, a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he reduced the Jews to captivity. It is said that Hrač‛eay asked Nebuchadnezzar for one of the most distinguished Jewish prisoners, called Sambat‛. He took him to his own country and covered him with honors. From Sambat‛, says the chronicler, without any doubt the race of Bagratownik‛ traces its descent.

1011. What our king did to convert [the descendants of Sambat‛] to the worship of his gods, and who, and how many, were the Bagratownik‛ who preferred to die in the bosom of God’s religion, I will tell you in detail later. Some people, who are not worthy of credit, on a whim, and not according to truth, say that the race of t‛agadir Bagratownik‛ was descended from Hayk. So I say to them: Do not believe such stories, because they do not have any semblance of truth, and no benefit of the doubt. From what I was told, there is not a hint that the events took place in this way. The story is absurd, devoid of meaning and value, and goes against all we know of Hayk and his peers. Do realize on the contrary that the name of Smbatd, which Bagratownik‛ often give to their children, corresponds precisely in their original language, that is, Hebrew, to the name Sambat‛ {Sabbath}.





Another Haykak

Erowand who lived just


1012. From the name of the latter two another received his name later, in recent times, the king Tigran Erowand, no doubt because of the hopes aroused by the celebrity of the originals. The moment is not far off when we shall celebrate his praise.


The children of Senek‛erim. The Arcrownik‛, the Gnownik‛, and the prince of Ałjneac‛, and their lines of descent. In the same chapter is laid out the story of Angel descended from the lineage of Pask‛am.

1013. Of the above, the story of the great Tigran, the ninth of our crowned ancestors, brave ruler, famous, prince ever victorious, we can only tell the most important facts. We missed out, actually, all that concerns Sennacherib. About eighty years before the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, lived Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who laid siege to Jerusalem under Ezekiayi {Hezekiah}, chief of the Jews. Having killed Sennacherib, his sons, Adramelec and Sharezer took refuge with us.

1014. The first of the two, Sharezer was placed by our brave ancestor Skayordi to the southwest of the country, near the borders of Assyria. The descendants of Sanassar inhabited the mountain of Sim. The greatest and most famous among them, who showed devotion towards our king, were counted worthy of governing these regions. Ardamozann settled in the south-east of the country. From him, says the chronicler, descend the Arcrownik‛and Gnownik‛. That is the reason why we made mention of Sennacherib.

1015. The house of Angel, says the same historian, is derived from one Pask‛am, the grandson of Haykak.

……………… {Omitted, the story of Tigran king of Armenia in the days of Astyages and Cyrus}


Trojan War under Teútamus. Our king Zarmayr in command of a feeble troop of Ethiopians. His death.

1016. Your ardent scholar demands two conditions of us that oblige us to attempt something of great difficulty: the production of a report short and concise, yet eloquent and sublime, in Platonic style, free from falsehood and true in every respect. An unbroken history, in short, from the first man to you. It is impossible to satisfy these conditions. The Creator of all things, though He had been able to create the whole universe with the mere blink of an eye, did not do it, but assigned to different days the various elements of creation: some were created on the first day, others on the third, and so on. Here the same course of action is urged upon us by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Your wish, we understand it well, is not to bend these rules at all; we should tell you everything precisely, immediately and without omission. But surely, there will be delays where the story unfolds, as you would prefer, or rushed, and then you will not be satisfied at all. For this reason, and also, in part, because of your urgent insistence, we have not given a proper account, at the right time to do so, either of the Macedonian, or of the Trojan War. So here we will make mention of these events. We can not say whether it would have been better or worse to treat then or now, of these matters, though they are certainly important and worthy of featuring in the account.

1017. Which must then be the first of these facts, if not relatively, as Homer says, the Trojan War, under Teútamus king of Assyria, when our king Zarmayr, a vassal of Assyria, went at the head of a feeble detachment of Ethiopians to the aid of PRIAMOS {Priam king of Troy}? There [Zarmayr] died, killed by brave Hellenes. And I wish I had been at the hands of the same Achilles, not by any other hero.


On Biwraspi Aždahak.

1018. Why, then, this love for the coarse and senseless fairy tales concerning Biwraspi Aždahak? Why should there be any desire to know the stories of the Persians that are incomplete, ridiculous and absurd? These tales of his initial malign benevolence, the assistance the daevas gave him, the power by which error and falsehood triumphed, the kiss on his shoulders, which produced the birth of snakes, and the subsequent resurgence of his cruelty, which led many men to be sacrificed to the appetites of his belly? Thereafter, how Hrowden {Feridun} clapped him in chains of bronze, and hauled him up on Mount Damavand, how Hrowden fell asleep on the way and Biwraspi dragged him up the hill. But then how Hrowden woke up, pulled Biwraspi aside into a mountain cave, loaded with chains, and stood before him as a barrier. Overwhelmed at last, Biwraspi was fettered in bonds of iron, and no longer had the power to wreak havoc on earth.

1019. What need do you have of these idle tales, of this assemlage of tall stories and foolish myths? Perhaps these Greek fables are so noble, so sensible, and reasonable, under the allegory that conceals the truth? But you want us to provide reason to such nonsense, to this senseless trifling devoid of ornament. Then you receive from us this answer: What need do you have of it? Why do you want to know things that are of no use to know, and increase the sum of our work? We agree, however, by way of consideration of your youth, because this request is a whim of your age, of one not come yet to full maturity. For that reason alone, we will satisfy your desire.

Report on everything that seems certain about Biwraspi.

1020. I would take in its wider sense the Platonic axiom: “Is a friend someone other than himself to his friend?” Certainly not! So, having done the possible and the impossible, I shall do the same again, because I hate these stories and these reports, I am weary of the mere hearing by the ear, and lo, today I write them with my hand, trying to make sense of accounts that do not have any. I record here ancient stories, incomprehensible even to the Persians, so long as it is your pleasure or to your advantage. Do not forget, though, our aversion to these aberrations: we have not deemed it necessary to make mention of them in this first book, not even in the later chapters. This appendix is an unique exercise. Now I will begin, so …

1021. The ancestor of the Persians, called by them Biwraspi Aždahak, lived in the time of Nimrod. When the languages scattered all over the earth, there was no confusion, nor did he feel the lack of commanders and leaders, but, by a sign of divine providence, the nobles were appointed to the principle positions over the various races, and were organized in order to regulate the affairs of government and power.

1022. I well understand this name of Biwraspi: it is Pyretos the centaur, as I found in a book of the Chaldeans. Biwraspi, not because of his courage, but on account of his power and ability, held the government of his kingdom under the authority of Nimrod. He taught that everything had to be possessed in common, and no one had to own anything personally, claiming that all words and actions must be well known and familiar to everyone. He did not have secret thoughts, but talked openly, and revealed publicly all the secrets of his heart. He authorized his friends to come to him and to leave when they wanted, night or day. This course of action is what I have called his initial perfidious benevolence.

1023. An accomplished astrologer, he also wanted to learn the art of evil, but could not succeed in doing so, because, as I said, he was used to doing everything in the full light of day. However, since it was not possible to learn the discipline of magic publicly, he feigned, in order to devote himself to such abominable studies, bodily aches, and pretended to experience sufferings, which might be cured only by the power of certain words, or by the evocation of some horrible name that no one could certainly understand. An evil spirit, who practiced the infamous science, taught him at home, and also in public places. Resting his head on the shoulders of Biwraspi, without hurting him, he spoke in his ear, teaching him the art of evil. What the Persians, in their fairy tales, called the son of Satan, served Biwraspi to accomplish all his desires. Finally he asked for a gift, and the spirit kissed his shoulders. Regarding the birth of the snakes {on his shoulders}, or even that Biwraspi became a snake himself, this is the story as it is told.

1024. Biwraspi then began to make human sacrifices constantly to the Daevas, until, tired of him, the people expelled him. He then fled into the mountainous regions of which I have spoken, and because he was under relentless pursuit, his army deserted him. But those who still followed him, believing that they had nothing to fear, rested a few days in those places. After collecting the scattered [soldiers], Biwraspi suddenly threw himself on the enemy and killed many. These, however, proved more numerous, and came to seize him, but Biwraspi fled again. When he got to the mountain, he was killed and thrown into a pit full of sulfur.