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E01349: The Epic Histories, traditionally attributed to P'awstos, written in Armenian in the second half of the 5th c., recount the punishment of a certain hayr-mardpet (a royal official) who was jealous of the holy places where the martyria of the *saints (S00060) were located, and scorned them.

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posted on 04.05.2016, 00:00 by naleksidze
The Epic Histories, Book 4, chapter 14

The chapter narrates the story of a certain eunuch, a royal official, who scorned the holy places where the martyria of the saints were located.

Եւ էր մարդպետն Հայր այր չար եւ ժանտ բարոյիւք, անօրէն եւ անիրաւ քան զառաջին Հայր անուն մարդպետսն: Սա կոտորեաց զամենայն ազգս նախարարացն ի ժամանակս թագաւորութեանն Տիրանայ արքայի. եւ սոյնպէս առ թագաւորութեամբն Արշակայ` եւս չար քան զառաջինն գործել չար առ ամենայն մարդ: Արդ ելանէր սա շրջէր ընդ մարդպետութիւնն իւր. ապա եկն էջ Հայր մարդպետ ի գաւառն Տարօնոյ ընդ իւր գեւղսն տեսանել:
Զայնու ժամանակաւ սուրբն Ներսէս շրջէր ընդ իւր ձեռական իշխանութիւնսն. զի հնգետասան գաւառ զայն ձեռական իշխանութեան ունէին իբրեւ սեպհական ի բնմէ, առանձին առոշոգի նոցա էր կարգեալ: Եւ յայն գաւառ գլխաւոր գաւառք այս էին. Այրարատ, Դարանաղէ, Եկեղեաց, Տարօն, Բզնունիք, Ծոփք, եւ որ ընդ մէջ նոցա եւ որ շուրջ զնոքօք: Եկն էջ եւ Հայրն մարդպետ զիւրով իշխանութեամբն շրջել. ապա եկն եւ սուրբ կաթողիկոսն Ներսէս յառաջին տեղին, ուր նախ էր զեկեղեցին շինեալ ի Գրիգորէ, եւ զվկայարանսն սրբոցն զվկայիցն. եւ անդ զյիշատակս սրբոցն կատարէր: Ապա դէպ եղեւ անցանել Հայր մարդպետին առ տեղօքն, ցանկացաւ ելանել ի սուրբ տեղիսն Աշտիշատու կալ յաղօթս, եւ առնուլ ողջոյն ի սրբոյ եպիսկոպոսապետէն Ներսէսէ: Ապա իբրեւ կային յաղօթս, ետուն ողջոյն. հրաման տայր սուրբ հայրապետն Ներսէս, եկելոցն ճաշ պատրաստել: Եւ մինչ դեռ նոքա պատրաստէին ինչ ըստ նմա արժանի աւագօրէն սպաս, նա ելանէր յեպիսկոպոսական կայենէն յապարանիցն մինչեւ ի վկայարանս սրբոցն. ի մեծ եւ ի գեղեցիկ հրապարակին զերթեւեկս առեալ շրջէր` զճեմս առեալ: Ապա տեսանէր զգեղեցկութիւն վայրացն, զնիստ շքեղութեան ի բարձրաւանդակ տեղեացն եւ զնայեացն ի խոնարհ, զի կարի վայելուչ էր տեղին. եւ չարակնեաց:
Ապա եմուտ բազմեցաւ յուտել եւ ըմպել: Իսկ յորժամ արբեցաւ սխաղակեցակ, սկսաւ ներքինին խօսել բանս հպարտս եւ ամբարտաւանս յարբելեաց. դնէր թշնամանս Տրդատայ արքայի, ի մեռեալս եւ կանդանեացն ի կեանս, ազգի եւ տակի եւ տոհմի արշակունեաց թագաւորացն Հայոց: Զիա՞րդ, ասէ, զայսպիսի տեղիս կանանցահանդերձ մարդկան տուեալ է, եւ ոչ արանց: Եւ զսուրբ տեղեօքն քամահեալ արհամարհէր, եւ ասէր` եթէ զայս տեղիս ի բաց քակեմք, զի աստ պարտ է շինել զապարանս արքունի: Եւ թէ ես Հայր մարդպետ կենդանի իցեմ եւ առ թագաւորաւն հասից, ասէ, որ ինչ աստ իցէ, զայն ի բաց փոխեցից. եւ որ աստ իցեն, զնոսա հանից, եւ զտեղիս` արքունի սենեակ կազմեցից:

'And the hayr-mardpet was an evil and malignant man, more unjust and unrighteous than the previous mardpets named hayr ["father'l It was he who had destroyed all the naxarar clans during the reign of King Tiran, and likewise in the reign of Arsak he did even more harm to all men than before. Now he set out on a tour of his mardpet's jurisdiction and so, the hayr-mardpet came down into the district of Taron to look at his own villages. At about that time, St. Nerses was touring his own principalities, for he held as a principality fifteen districts, the original hereditary appanage, that had been destined [for his house] as their own particular [holding]. And the major ones among these districts were the following: Ayrarat, Daranalē, Ekeleac', Taron, Bznunik' Cop'k', those in between, and those around them. And so, the hayr-mardpet was touring his own principality and the holy katholikos Nerses also came to the first place where a church had been built earlier by Grigor and the martyria-of-the-holy-martyrs, and he performed there the commemorations of the saints. Now it so happened that the hayr-mardpet was passing through these places and wished to go up to the holy places of Astisat to offer prayers and receive the greeting of the holy chief-bishop Nersēs. When they had prayed and exchanged greetings, the holy patriarch Nersēs ordered a meal prepared for those who had arrived. And while they were preparing a sufficiently noble repast for him, [the mardpet] went out from the episcopal palace toward the martyria-of-the-saints, and he took a walk and wandered around the large and beautiful open square. When he saw the beauty of these places, the splendid, high setting of the sites, and the views downward, he grew envious, for the place was most fair. He then went in and reclined to eat and drink, and when he had drunk and become inebriated, the eunuch began to speak drunkenly arrogant and presumptuous words. He reviled King Trdat, and both the living and the dead of the race, origin, and house of the Adakuni kings of Armenia. "How," said he: "have such places been given to men in women's clothing and not to real men?" He contemptuously scorned the holy places, and said: "We will tear down these places, for it is proper to build a royal palace here. And if I, the hayr-mardpet, remain alive and come to the king," he said: "I shall transform everything altogether, remove those who are here and build a royal residence [seneak] in this place."'

The bishop who heard this, told him that whoever covets what has been dedicated to God, will be severely punished. Some time later, the hayr-mardpet went to the woods on the bank of River Euphrates, where he encountered a certain man called Šawasp who came up to him and told him that he had encountered a wondrous white bear in the woods. Hayr-mardpet was lured into the woods, where the man, who was a little in the rear, shot an arrow from behind killing the eunuch. And thus the words of the bishop were fulfilled.

Text: Garsoïan 1984, 96-98; Translation: Garsoïan 1989, 139-140.

History

Evidence ID

E01349

Saint Name

Martyrs, unnamed or name lost : S00060

Type of Evidence

Literary - Other narrative texts (including Histories)

Language

Armenian

Evidence not before

460

Evidence not after

470

Place of Evidence - Region

Armenia

Place of evidence - City name in other Language(s)

Hadamakert Հադամակերտ Hadamakert Başkale

Major author/Major anonymous work

Epic Histories (Buzandaran Patmut'iwnk')

Cult activities - Places

Cult building - unspecified

Cult activities - Rejection, Condemnation, Scepticism

Destruction/desecration of saint's shrine

Cult Activities - Miracles

Punishing miracle

Cult Activities - Protagonists in Cult and Narratives

Zoroastrians Foreigners (including Barbarians) Ecclesiastics - bishops

Source

The History, traditionally attributed to a certain P‘awstos Buzandac'i (usually translated as 'Faustos of Byzantium') covers Armenian history from the later Arsacid dynasty (c. AD 330) to the partition of the Armenian kingdom between Byzantium and Iran (AD 387). The History is the earliest source covering this specific period of history, which was later treated by Movsēs Xorenac'i. As N. Garsoïan points out, despite the evident importance of the material contained in the History for the study of 4th century Armenia, it was never included into the received Armenian tradition, and medieval historians preferred to refer to Movsēs Xorenac‘i, the most authoritative source for later authors, as the sole authority for 4th century events. Łazar P'arpeci, for example, considered the information provided by P‘awstos as false and absurd, and so apparently did the rest of medieval scholarship. Date and language The authorship of the text has long been debated. The author claims to have been an eyewitness of the events he describes, but if this was indeed the case he could not have written in Armenian, as the Armenian script was only created in the 5th century. Thus, he was often considered a Greek historian, a supposition 'supported' by a misunderstanding of the word Buzand (in his name) as 'Byzantium' (see below). Other external evidence has also been cited to favour the idea that the work was originally written in Greek, and only later translated into Armenian. There has also been a theory in favour of a Syriac original, mostly advanced by Peeters and based on multiple Syriacisms in the text. The most convincing theory, however, favours an Armenian original, and is mostly based on internal linguist evidence, such as the use of scriptural quotations that derive from the Armenian version of the Bible, various colloquialisms, and the spelling of proper names. As to the date of the composition, the author’s own claim cannot be accepted as trustworthy as he is far too ignorant of 4th century events to be considered a contemporary; he presents 4th century historical events as filtered through folk memory, often projecting events of the 5th century into the previous century. Based on the Epic Histories' quotations from Koriwn (who wrote in the first half of the 5th century), and a reference to the Histories by Łazar P‘arpeci (writing at the very end of the 5th century), who places 'P‘awstos' immediately after Agathangelos, Garsoïan suggests convincingly that the date of composition was around 470, arguing that 'it is difficult to imagine a time more suitable for a work glorifying the role of the Mamikonean family in Armenian history than the generation immediately following the sparapet Vardan Mamikonean's heroic defense of Armenian Christianity in 451' (Garsoïan, Epic Histories, 11). The author The claim by some late antique and medieval sources that P‘awstos was Greek rests on a misunderstanding of the word Buzand, which was considered to mean 'Byzantium'. Medieval reception 'corrected' the form Buzand to Buzandac‘i ('from Byzantium') to support the Greek origin of the author. The actual title appended to the text is Buzandaran Patmut‘iwnk‘. A. Perikhanian has found a definitive solution to the problem, showing that the word buzand derived not from the toponym ('Byzantium') but from the Parthian bozand , 'a reciter of epic poems, a bard' , with the suffix –aran as an adjectival qualifier. The title can thus be translated as Bardic or Epic Histories. So, as N. Garsoïan has shown, the work generally titled History of Armenia and attributed to Faustos of Byzantium is in fact a compilation of tales assembled by an anonymous historian in the 5th century. In our database the text will be consistently referred to as the Epic Histories. The author’s agenda From the perspective of the author’s representation of cultic practices, Garsoïan’s conclusion (as follows) is noteworthy: 'The author may have been a native of the southwestern district of Taron because of his unreserved devotion to the Mamikonean lords of the district and to its holy site Aštišat, which he invariable presents as the original centre of Armenian Christianity, as against the focus of the contemporary 'Agathangelos Cycle' on the northern city of Vałaršapat'/Dwin, and the nearby holy site of T'ordan' (Garsoïan, Epic Histories, 16). The author is a rigourous defender of Nicene orthodoxy and is thus strongly antagonistic toward the Armenian crown, which 'sought to conform with the Arianizing policy of the successors of Constantine through much of the fourth century' (Garsoïan, Epic Histories, 15).

Bibliography

Edition: Buzandaran Patmut'iwn (The Epic Histories) also known as Patmut'iwn Hayoc' (History of Armenia) Attributed to P'awstos Buzandac'i, a facsimile reproduction of the 1883 St. Petersburg edition with an introduction by Nina G. Garsoïan (New York: Caravan Books, 1984). Translation: Garsoïan, N.G., The Epic Histories Attributed to P'awstos Buzand (Buzandaran Patmut'iwnk') (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1989).

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Evidence -  The Cult of Saints in Late Antiquity

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