You are on page 1of 196

I

The Chronicle

of
Matthew of Edessa

Translated from the Original Annenian


with a Commentary and Introduction by

Ara Edmond Dostourian


Foreword by
Krikor H. Maksoudian

National Association for Armenian Studies


and Research
ARMENIAN HERITAGE SERIES

University Press of America


Lanham New York . London

Copyright 1993 by the

National Association for


Armenian Studies and Research
University Press of America~ Inc.
4720 Boston Wny
Lanlmm, Murylund 20706
3 Henrietta Street
London WC2E 8LU Englund
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
British Cataloging in Publication Information Available
Copublished by arrangement with the
National Association for Armeninn Studies and Research

Library of Congress Cataloging-In-Publication Dntu

Mntthew. of Edessa, 12th cent.


[Putmowt' iwn. English]
Armenia and the Cl1Isades : tenth to twelfth centuries : the Chronicle
of Matthew of Edessa I translated from the originul Armenian with a
commentm-y and introduction by Am Edmond Dostourian ; foreword
by Krikor H. Maksoudian.
p. cm. - (Armenian heritage series)
By Matthew of Edessu. continued by Grigor Erets'.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Armenia-History-Turkie Mongol domination. 1045-1592.
2. Armenia-History-Bugratuni dynasty. 885-1045. 3. Islamic
Empire-History-750-1258. I. Dostouriun. Aru Edmnnd.
II. Grifor. Erets', 12th cent. III. Title. IV. Series.
DS186.M3713
1993
956.6'2013-dc20
92-39679 eIP
ISBN 0-8191-8953-7 (cloth: alk. puper)

TM

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of


American National Standard for Infonnation Sciences-Permanence
of Paper for Printed Library Materiuls. ANSI Z39.48-1984.

Dedication
To my mother Zepure (nee Panikian) of Bardizag
(Constantinople!Istanbul), who nurtured me in the
culture of my forebears and in the proper use of the
Armenian language;
To my father Levon of Yaraisar-Shghni (SepasdiaJ
Sivas), who inculcated in me a love for and devotion to
the native soil of my ancestral homeland;
To Mary (Mariam) Merjian (nee Ashjian), a loyal
daughter of Edessa (UrhalUrfa), who inspired me in
the writing of this tome.

...
Table of Contents
Foreword by Krikor H. Maksoudian

ix

Preface

xi

Acknowledgments

xv

Introduction

Text, Part I

19

Text, Part II

83

Text, Part III

181

Text, Continuation

241

Notes, Part I

283

Notes, Part II

307

Notes, Part III

335

Notes, Continuation

351

Glossary

361

Maps:
Historic Armenia During the Medieval Period
Cilicia, Syria, and Palestine, 10-12th Centuries

363
364

Select Bibliography

365

Index

367

."

Foreword
The Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa and that of his continuator,
Gregory the Priest, are indispensable sources on the period from the
mid-tenth to the mid-twelfth centuries. The renowned Seljuk
specialist Claude Cahen puts Matthew in the same class with
Michael the Syrian and Anna Comnena, calling him an "illustrious
writer" of Christian faith: The Chronicle serves as a primary source
not only for Armenian, but also for Byzantine, Crusader, Syriac, and
Islamic history, including otherwise unknown facts and documents.
Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, western scholars
have frequently cited Matthew's work, using partial French translations of excerpts by Chahan de Cirbied (1811 and 1812) and particularly by E. Dulaurier (1850). In 1858 Dulaurier published the entire
text, but left out certain sections. The works of both of these authors
appeared before the editio princeps (Jerusalem, 1869), which was
based on two manuscripts, and the complete edition of Vagharshapat
(Etchmiadzin, 1898), based on five manuscripts and the readings of
the Jerusalem text.
After more than thirteen decades, the French translation, long out
of print and out of date, remains the only translation available to the
western reader. The scholarly works that appeared in the past one
hundred and thirty years and the important advances in Byzantine,
Armenian, Crusader, Syriac, and Islamic studies make the notes of
Dulaurier's work obsolete. The accuracy of the translation also leaves
much to be desired.
The need for a new translation of Matthew's Chronicle was felt for
a long time, and Dostourian has come forward to fill that gap. Unlike
Dulaurier, he has used the Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin) text, which
contains much better readings, and has refrained from leaving out
any sections. Moreover, being a native speaker of Armenian and a
former seminarian, he has a much better command of Matthew's
language, which is the classical idiom mixed with words and
Claude Cahen, "Historiography of the Seljuqid Period," Historians of
the Middle East, Bernard Lewis and P. M. Holt, eds. (London, 1962),78.

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

expressions characteristic of the twelfth century spoken Armenian.


Dostourian also had the good fortune of having at his disposal
linguistic works on Middle Armenian, the vernacular in Matthew's
time, and the scholarship of the past century and a half.
The scholar of Armenian, Byzantine, or Middle Eastern history
may expect more copious notes on Matthew's Chronicle than what
Dostourian has provided. He has restricted his comments mostly to
explain the text to the western reader with no background in
Armenian, Byzantine, or Middle Eastern history. An attempt other
than that would have meant a voluminous work, which would have
taken several decades to complete. Thus, the value of the present
volume lies particularly in the translation of the Chronicle.
Very Rev. Dr. Krikor H. Maksoudian

Zohrab Information Center


Diocese of the Armenian Church
New York, New York
September 1991

Preface
The Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa is considered by scholars to
be a primary source of major importance for the history of the Near
East during the period of the early Crusades (tenth to twelfth centuries). The present work is the first translation of the Chronicle
from the original Classical Annenian into English. Three other
translations have been published: French, Turkish, and Modern
Armenian. Only the present work and the Modern Armenian
translation are based on the most complete and accurate text available. Therefore, this English translation of the Chronicle should be
of great benefit to those scholars working in the field of medieval
Near Eastern history who are not familiar with the original language.
The number of extant manuscripts of Matthew's chronicle is not
large. Moreover several of these manuscripts are incomplete. The
oldest surviving manuscripts date from the late sixteenth/early
seventeenth centuries, while the most recent were copied in the
nineteenth century. A number of libraries in the world have manuscripts of the Armenian historian's work, either complete or fragmentary: The Matenadaran (Manuscript Library) located in the Republic
of Armenia the library of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem,
the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris, the library of the Mekhitarist
Fathers of Venice, the library of the Mekhitarist Fathers of Vienna,
the Armenian Hostel in Rome, the Bodleian Library at Oxford, and
the British Museum in London.
The first published text of Matthew's chronicle was the Fr~nch
edition prepared by E. Dulaurier (Matthew of Edessa, Chromque,
Paris, 1858). This edition, based on the three manuscripts found in
the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, contains several gaps (see, for
example, Part I, section 48, note 4; Part II, section 54, not~ 2;
Continuation, section 7, note 3), which were due no doubt to defiCIencies in the available manuscripts. The French historian appended an
introduction and copious notes to the translation.
The first published text of Matthew's chronicle in its original
Armenian language appeared in Jerusalem in 1869 (~atthew of
Edessa, Patmut'iwn [History), Jerusalem, 1869). The edItor (whose

xii

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

name is not given) states in the preface that the two manuscripts on
which he based the text are full of inaccuracies, and therefore he had
to rely on the Dulaurier text in several cases. This edition is inaccurate in some passages and contains many gaps. The only other
published text of the Chronicle in the original Armenian was issued
in Vagharshapat (Etchmiadzin), Armenia, in 1898 (Matthew of
Edessa, Zhamanakagrut'iwn [ChronicleJ, edited by M. Melik-Adamian
and N. Ter-Mik'ayelian). This text is based on six manuscripts found
in the library of the Holy See at Etchmiadzin (since incorporated into
the Matenadaran in Armenia). According to the editors, the best
manuscript was chosen as the basis for the text while variant
readings from the others were incorporated in the 'footnotes. The
Jerusalem text was examined, and its variants and differences were
cited in the footnotes.
At the present time there are two translations of Matthew's
chronicle in addition to Dulaurier's. A Turkish translation by H. D.
Andreasyan (Vekaye Ndmesi [952-1136J ve Papaz Grigor'un Zeyli
[1136-1162J, Ankara, 1962) is based wholly on that of Dulaurier and
inclu~es D~lau~er's notes along with some additional notes by the
TurkIsh hIstorIan M. H. Yinanch. A translation into Modern
Armenian has been prepared by H, Bart'ikyan (Matthew of Edessa
Zham~nakagrut'iwn, Yerevan, 1973) and is based on the Etchmiadzi~
text CIted abo:~. This A~enian scholar has taken great pains to
render the ongmal text mto polished Modern Eastern Armenian.
Moreover he has prepared an extensive introduction together with
notes and co~menta~. Understandably this translation is oriented
to an ArmenIan-speakmg audience,
The ~tchmiadzin text published in 1898 has been used in the
prepa~atlOn of ~he present translation. Armenian terms have been
translIterated
according to the L'b
f Congress
t
Omto
f English
'
1 rary 0
sys e~. . the varIants which have been incorporated into the
Etchmladzm text, only those which appreciably alter the meaning of
a p;ssage have been noted in the footnotes. The introduction notes
an comment~~ have been prepared for the educated layman.' rathe;
~ha~/he spec:;.hst and are designed to elucidate various parts of the
t~X geograp IC place ,na~es, historical personages, etc.), as well as
t~ompare the Chromcle s narrative of events to those provided by

~Oit:~
Ct~~d::!~~l ~:!~~~n:h:~~~:~:;c~~~~ t~~t~e:~:~lltor isa
e er un erstandmg both of the cont

historical context in which it was Written~nts of the text and the

PREFACE

xiii

The present translation has been prepared with two audiences in


mind: those scholars in the field who need to rely on a straightforward and accurate translation of Matthew's chronicle and the general
public interested in the narrative as well as the history of the period,
The translation does not pretend to be based on a definitive critical
text, as no such text exists; however, the text used is the most
accurate and complete available. Great care has been taken to give
a clear and precise rendering into English without losing the flavor
of the Chronicle's original language and style.

Acknowledgements
The present work would not have been possible without the help
and inspiration of a number of people. It was my mentor and
advisor, Professor Peter Charanis of Rutgers University, who
proposed the idea of my translating Matthew of Edessa's chronicle as
a dissertation topic for a doctorate in Byzantine history. From the
inception of the work in the fall of 1962 to my completion of the
degree in 1972, Professor Charanis patiently encouraged and gently
prodded me, for which I am ever grateful. I only regret that he did
not live long enough to see the publication he initiated and so
inspired. Professor Ernest McDonnell, also of Rutgers University,
made some helpful comments and suggestions on the final form of the
dissertation.
I am indebted to Professor Isidore Twersky of Harvard University, through whom I obtained a teaching and research associateship
at Harvard for the year 1968-1969, which enabled me to write the
major portion of my dissertation. Professor Robert Thomson, Mesrob
Mashtots Professor of Annenian Studies at Harvard, gave me
invaluable assistance in my translation work. I am. also indebted to
Professor Thomson for his helpful comments and suggestions on the
introduction, commentary, and notes.
The Board Chairman of the National Association for Annenian
Studies and Research (NAASR) , Manoog S. Young, as well as the
Board of Directors, graciously consented to take on the responsibility
of publishing this work, for which I am very appreciative. I have
special thanks for Dr. Barbara J. Merguerian, NAASR's Director of
Information and Publications, who painstakingly edited, prepared,
and proofread the manuscript and made many helpful suggestions.
I would like to express my gratitute to Professor Hagop Nersoyan
of the University of Dayton and to the Very Reverend Dr. Krikor H.
Maksoudian of the Diocese of the Armenian Church for their very
helpful comments and suggestions. Lastly, my thanks to Janice
Chase of Carrollton, Georgia, for typing the final manuscript.
Ara Edmond Dostourian

.r

.'

'f

Introduction
Very little is known about the life of Matthew of Edessa except for
the meager information contained in his chronicle. The dates of his
birth and death cannot be ascertained, although it is doubtful that
the Armenian chronicler lived beyond the year 1136, when his work
ends. The Armenian historian M. Ch'amich' suggests that Matthew
died in the siege of Edessa by the Turkish ruler Zengi in 1144 but
gives no basis for this assertion. Most probably Matthew spent the
latter days of his life in Kesoun and was in that town when the
Danishmendid ruler Amr-Ghazl laid siege to it in 1136. Matthew's
native city was Edessa. According to his own testimony he was a
monk, l and he probably resided in one of the monasteries in the
vicinity of the city. He was a priest of lower rank and not a vardapet
(doctor). However, as can be discerned by his writing, he was
energetic and dedicated in the task which he undertook, the compilation of his chronicle. 2 Like most of his contemporaries, Matthew
perceived reality through religious eyes-that is, he believed that all
events occur through the foreknowledge and intervention of God.
The Chronicle, by its very nature, lacks homogeneity. The first
part, describing the events of the years 952 to 1051 A.D., is based on
the sources of others; the second, 1051 to 1101, on eyewitnesses living
in Matthew's time; and the third, 1101 to 1136, on Matthew's own
observations along with those of some others. A certain Gregory the
Priest continued the chronicle to the year 1162. According to the
lMatthew might have been the superior of a monastery rather than an
ordinary monk. The Armenian text uses vanakan and vanats' erets', which
could mean "monk," or "monk of a monastery," or "superior of a monastery."
2See Part II, section 1; Part III, sections 1, 2,3.

)
2

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

INTRODUCTION

speculations of the French historian E. Dulaurier, Gregory was a


pupil of Matthew and probably had some influence with the residents
and commander of Kesoun, the town in which he lived.
Matthew wrote his chronicle at the turn of the twelfth century, a
turbulent period in the history of the Near East. The once powerful
'Abbasld empire had pretty much disintegrated. Arab and Turkish
dynasties parceled out and ruled areas which were once part of a
united Muslim empire. The Seljuk Turks were firmly ensconced in
Persia and Iraq and were steadily encroaching upon the Anatolian
possessions of the Byzantine empire. The Latin West was beginning
to take a keen interest in the Near East and had already gained a
foothold in the Levant by bringing under its control a narrow strip of
the territory on the eastern littoral of the Mediterranean. The
Armenians, who very recently had been in the process of establishing
a number of independent states in eastern Anatolia, had been
thwarted by Seljuk invasions and Byzantine intrigue and therefore
had begun to shift their activities to upper Mesopotamia and Cilicia.
Georgia was in the process of gaining a prominent position in
Caucasian affairs through the efforts of a new dynamic dynasty.
Matthew's chronicle deals with the interplay of these various forces'
it opens with the Byzantine empire's resurgence in the mid-tenth
century, goes on to describe the Seljuk advance in the eleventh and
ends with the arrival of the Latin Crusaders in the late eleventh and
early twelfth centuries. In the process the struggle of the Armenians
to maintain their independence is narrated, as well as the interplay
of these Oriental Christians with the Byzantines Arabs Turks
Syrians, Latins, and Georgians.
'"
In dealing with Matthew as a histOrian, one should discuss not
only his handling of sources and approach to historical writing but
also the. Armenian chronicler's language and style, weltanschadung,
and attitude towards other peoples. As a medieval chronicler of
average sophistication, Matthew lacks a distinctive style. Rather,
both as to grammar and vocabulary, he writes in the language of the
people. There is a significant chasm between his style and that of
clas~ica~ ~enia~ a';1thors. Matthew's writing takes on a dynamic
qUalIty In Its descnptlOn of events and people. His prose is weighted
with .the figurative language so common to Near Easterners. The
flouns~ does not, however, diminish its power. Moreover the
Chromcle abounds in vivid descriptions of events which Matthew
con~iders significant and which he wishes to impress upon the minds
of hIS readers; examples are the presentation of the first appearance

of the Turks in Armenia (Part I, section 47), the account of the sack
of the opulent city of Artsn (Part I, section 92), the narration of the
fall of Ani to the Seljuks (Part II, section 22), and the description of
the death of a Georgian warrior at the hands of an Armenian hero
(Part I, section 10). Another element in Matthew's chronicle which
needs to be mentioned here is the folk epic, one of the traditional
genres of classical Armenian literature. Two very good examples of
the Armenian chronicler's use of this genre are the accounts of the
battle of Khach'ik and his sons with the Muslims (Part I, section 82)
and the conflict between T'ornik and Philaretus (Part II, sections 60
and 61).
In analyzing Matthew's basic philosophy, there is a tendency to
oversimplify the Armenian chronicler's viewpoints and attitudes.
Indeed some scholars have characterized Matthew as simple-minded,
intensely nationalistic, deeply suspicious, and hateful of foreigners,
as well as superstitious and credulous. There can be no doubt that
some of these attitudes can be found in his work. However, Matthew
is too complex an individual to be presented in such oversimplified
terms. His motives for writing the Chronicle are simple and clear:
to provide instruction concerning the manner of God's intervention in
history, either to punish humans for their wickedness or to reward
them for their righteousness. To use the author's own words:

It is because of all this that I, Matthew of Edessa, a monk,

spared no efforts and left this work as a record for those who
enjoy studying chronicles so that, when they begin to inquire into
past events, they may be able more easily to learn about the
times and the epochs. These persons shall also learn about the
terrible misfortunes which occurred in those times and, once
again bringing these things to mind, shall remember the divine
wrath which we received from God the righteous judge as a
penalty for our sins. Because of these many calamities-namely
the destruction of the Christians and the reprimands which our
Lord God brought upon us by means of an infidel nation-we did
not wish that such threats and warnings of God be forgotten by
us. Now it is essential to heed the admonition of our God
ceaselessly and at all times. (Part II, section 1).
Writing within the prophetic framework of the Old Testament,
Matthew warns his readers throughout his work that destruction
came upon Israel when her people strayed from the path of righteousness. Numerous examples are given of divine wrath falling upon the
Christians because of their recalcitrance: God punished the Christians because of their sins, using the Turks as an instrument of his

)
4

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

wrath (Part II, section 49); a famine is brought upon the people of
Edessa because they sinfully killed their leader T'oros (Part II,
section 130); God punishes the Greeks because of their treachery
against the Franks (Part III, section 5). Although a theological
motive permeates the work, Matthew strives to present historical
events as accurately as possible.3
Like most medieval chroniclers Matthew is steeped in religious
thinking which is sometimes noncritical. In this respect he is no
different from the contemporary Byzantine, Syrian, or Latin chroniclers. In keeping with the medieval world view, Matthew interprets
all natural phenomena either as omens of impending danger or as
miracles showing the glory and might of God. Examples of this
religious orientation can be seen in the description of the failure of
the lamps in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher to burn due to
heretical thinking on the part of the Byzantine Christians (Part I,
section 43); the miracle of the blocking of a river by the Armenian
catholicos Peter (Part I, section 50); the incident of the preservation
of the Syriac Gospels after having been cast into a fire many times
(Part II, section 2); the "red snow" which brings famine and death in
its wake (Fart II, section 10); the incident in which lightening strikes
the fortress of Vahka, presaging the death of the Armenian prince
Constantine (Part II, section 128); and the appearance of a comet
foretelling that a great ruler will reign over a vast empire (Part III,
section 32).
Matthew has been styled as a super patriot, a passionate
adherent of the Armenian church, and a denouncer of all things
foreign, whether pertaining to an alien religious tradition or an alien
cultural background. This view of Matthew does not bear up under
close scrutiny. In the first place, to call him a super patriot or
chauvinist is to attribute to him a nineteenth century concept of
nationalism which was foreign to the Middle Ages. Instead of
allegiance to a state, peoples' loyalties were based on an attachment
to a local area or to a religious community. It cannot be denied that
Matthew has strong feelings for the cultural and religious heritage
to which he belongs, but the same can be said of most of the writers
and thinkers of the time. Can anyone deny that Bar Hebraeus,
Michael the Syrian, Anna Comnena, Michael Psellus, and William of
Tyre are partisan writers? And while a number of the Byzantine and
Arab historians do not evince as intense a feeling for their religious

3See Part III, section 3.

INTRODUCTION

and cultural tradition as do the aforementioned writers, it must not


be forgotten that these individuals came from t~e more cosm?politan
background of universal states encompassmg many dl~ferent
nationalities and cultural traditions, in contrast to peoples like the
Armenians and Syrians who had to battle against overwhelming odds
in order to keep their respective traditions intact.
Thus Matthew is no more or no less partisan than many of his
contemp~raries. In fact in many instances the Armenian chronicler
puts aside his partisanship and portrays individuals in a fair and
accurate manner, to the point of praising and eulogizing his enemies.
Matthew condemns his own people when, in his opinion, they have
acted in a criminal fashion. He is quick to judge the actions of the
famous people of his time: the Byzantine emperor Tzimisces is
condemned for the means he used to obtain the imperial throne, as
well as for some aspects of his personal life (Part I, sections 8 and
18)' an Armenian nobleman, Sargis, is denounced because of his
perfidiousness towards his own people and because ?e instilled, in the
Byzantine emperor, Constantine Monomachus, the Idea of forcmg, the
king of Ani, Gagik, to give up the Armenian throne (Part I, sectIOns
74 and 84)' the Byzantine general Philaretus is condemned as a
betrayer of his own people and as a superficial Christ.ian ~ecause ?e
took control of Edessa and killed a number of Armemans In the CIty
(Part II, sections 60 and 77); the Armenians of Edessa are severely
criticized for killing their commander T'oros, who was of the Byzantine Orthodox faith rather than a communicant of the Armenian
church (Part II, section 118). It is interesting to note that the
individuals in each of the above illustrations, except for Sargis, have
also been praised by the Armenian chronicler when the occasion has
arisen: Tzimisces is eulogized for his good relations with the
Armenians and for his attempts to capture Jerusalem on behalf of the
Christians (Part I, sections 17 ff.); Philaretus is giv~n credit for
avenging the killing of the Armenian commander of Antioch (Part II,
section 66).
Matthew has been portrayed as a passionate adherent of the
Armenian church who despised the other Christian traditions,
especially the Byzantine. The fact is that he has a clear understanding of Christian unity and brotherhood. Wh~le he vo~ce.s deep c,oncern
for the sufferings and afflictions of Armeman ChnstIans, thIS does
not prevent him from sympathizing with the plight of the other
Eastern Christians (Greeks, Syrians, and Georgians) as well as the

,/

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

INTRODUCTION

Latins, during the onslaughts of the Muslims (Part I, section 30; Part
II, sections 2, 110, 111; Part III, section 8).
Matthew has come under special criticism for his alleged spiteful
attitude towards the Byzantine church. An analysis of his statements
on that subject does not bear this out. It is true that he hurls
invectives at the Byzantine church, but only when that church, in his
opinion, strays from the Orthodox faith (Part I, section 43) or tries to
compel his people to follow the Byzantine tradition (Part II, sections
14, 30, 57). On the other hand, he has a very high regard for his own
church and considers, its faith to be pure and orthodox (Part II,
sections 30 ff). Under these circumstances, can Matthew be labeled
any more of a religious fanatic than his Byzantine coreligionists?
Matthew is generally consistent in his attitude towards the alien
peoples with whom the Armenians were in contact during this period.
He is very critical of those he considers to have worked against the
interests of both his own people and those of the other Christians
inhabiting the area. He eulogizes and praises all individuals,
including Muslims, who act benevolently towards the Christians. In
spite of his deep devotion to the Armenian church, Matthew does not
allow his loyalty to interfere with his allegiance to the universal
church of Christ (including Greeks, Latins, Syrians, and Copts). Of
all the neighboring peoples, he seems to be most concerned about the
Greeks. In essence the relationship between the Greeks and Armenians was more than a neighborly one during this period. The
Byzantine empire's very existence and preservation depended in large
part on the coopera.tion between the two peoples. It is no wonder
that Matthew condemns policies that created disharmonies between
the two Christian peoples but praises efforts to strengthen their
relationship and cooperation. Thus, when the Byzantine rulers
attempt, successfully in the end, to annihilate the Armenian states
in eastern Anatolia, they are condemned in no uncertain terms (Part
I, sections 84, 92; Part II, section 13). Moreover, whoever threatens
the empire and its unity is likewise condemned, whether it be an
individual
rebel or an outside invader (Part I, sections 28 " 81' Part II,
,
sectIOns 57, 90). On the other hand, Matthew appears to contradict
his profession of loyalty to the empire when he severely castigates the
Greeks for their treacherous attitude towards the Latin Crusaders
(Part III, sections 4, 5). Perhaps Matthew here is follOwing the Latin
sources which maintain that the Greeks were treacherous in their
dealings with the Crusaders, rather than the Byzantine sources
which state the opposite view (cf. Part III, section 4, note 4).

The Armenian chronicler's attitude towards the Latins is much


more ambiguous than his attitude towards the Greeks. In dealing
with the Latins, Matthew appears confused about their motivations.
When the Latins first appear, he has nothing but praise for them and
expresses the hope that they will deliver the Christians from the
Muslim yoke (Part II, sections 109, 110,111, 117, 118). However, he
gradually becomes disillusioned and begins to blame them for the
ruin and destruction of all the Christians of the East (Part III,
sections 30, 40, 47). Yet in other instances he has nothing but praise
for the Latins (Part III, sections 55, 58), asserting that unlike the
Greeks these Western Christians stood by the Armenians to the very
end.
Matthew's attitude towards the Muslim Arabs and Turks is
unique. Although he has no love or sympathy for the Islamic religion
(Part II, section 15; Part III, section 86), his views concerning the
Arabs and Turks are open-minded. A tendency to sympathize with
the Arabs rather than Turks may be explained by the fact that the
Turks were the chief ravagers of Armenia. Nevertheless, although he
roundly condemns the Turks for the destruction of his homeland and
singles out their leaders for their wicked and bloodthirsty nature
(Part II, sections 28, 48; Part III, sections 54, 76), the Armenian
chronicler has nothing but praise and gratitude for a number of
Turkish commanders and rulers, chief among them Malik-Shah (Part
II, sections 54, 56, 58, 86, 92, 103; Part III, sections 21, 36). Such
praise is showered upon these Turks by Matthew because of their
benevolent attitude towards his people and the other Christians.
On the other hand, Matthew's view of the Syrians and Georgians
is less sharply delineated. Although the references are scanty, in
most cases he sympathizes with their struggle to maintain their
respective religious and cultural traditions. Moreover, he is especially grateful to the Georgians for protecting the Armenians at a
time when their country was disintegrating due to the onslaughts of
the Turks (Part III, sections 94, 104). In summary one can say that
Matthew's attitude towards the various peoples with whom the
Armenians came into contact during this period does not display a
consistent viewpoint in reference to each group. In fact his assessment fluctuates in accordance with the thoughts and actions of the
peoples in question. However, if there is a consistent aspect in
Matthew's attitude towards the neighboring peoples, it lies in his
unreserved commitment to the welfare of the Byzantine empire, the
Armenians, and the other Eastern Christians.

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

INTRODUCTION

It is not easy to deal with the question of Matthew of Edessa's


sources or the manner in which he utilizes them. There is practically
no information available concerning the sources which he uses, except
the following statement made by the author himself:

the period. Thomas dealt with the history of the Artsruni dynasty
from early times through the appearance of the Seljuk Turks in
Vaspurakan in the early eleventh century. Stephen Asoghik
(eleventh century) wrote a world history which in its third part deals
with the history of Armenia and the neighboring states from the
reign of Ashot I to that of Gagik I (885~1020). Aristakes of Lastivert
(eleventh century) has aptly been called the "Armenian Jeremiah" for
his account of the events in Armenia from 1001 to 1072, in which he
lamented the impending destruction of his native land by the Seljuk
Turks. Aristakes devoted a good portion of his history to the Seljuk
penetration of eastern Anatolia through the battle of Mantskert
(Manzikert, 1071); he is less successful in analyzing facts and events,
tending to attribute them to divine providence.
Four thirteenth~century Armenian historians have produced
useful accounts of some of the events included in Matthew's chronicle.
Stephen Orbelian, a scion of the famous Orbelian family, wrote a
history of Siwnik', one of the provinces of Greater Armenia. This
work includes a history of the Orbelian dynasty which ruled the
region for centuries, as well as a description of the area's topography
and geography. Vardan Vardapet (Areveltsi), in his history of
Annenia and the surrounding regions, provides an especially valuable
account of the period of the tenth to thirteenth centuries, with
emphasis on the relations between the Armenians and the neighboring peoples (Byzantines, Arabs, Seljuk Turks, Crusaders, Mongols,
etc.). 5mbat Sparapet (the Constable), a scion of the Hetumids of
Cilician Armenia, wrote a chronicle of the events in Cilicia and the
neighboring regions in the period 951~1272, which was continued to
1336 by others. The work presents a comprehensive view of the
political and socioeconomic relations of the Cilician state with the
neighboring states and peoples. Kirakos of Gandzak (Ganja) wrote
a history of Armenia in two parts: the first part a short presentation
of events in Armenia from St. Gregory the Enlightener (fourth
century) to the Mongol invasions (thirteenth century) and the second,
more valuable, section on the Mongol invasions of Armenia (1241~
1266) and their political, social, and economic effects on the land, its
people, and the surrounding areas. 5

As for us, with our limited knowledge and intelligence we have


investi~ated these events with as much lucidity as possible,
consultmg a number of histories that were written in various
places and transmitted to us as records by their authors. We
have collated all the material contained in these histories with
the greatest care. Moreover, we have obtained facts from
respectable people, who were knowledgeable in the events and
calamities in question and, being free of error were well versed
in history and chronology. We also have h~d interviews and
interrogations with old people who were well informed of the
events of past years. (Part III, section 3).
Matthew gives no information on either the histories or the people he
consulted. However, by comparing the Chronicle with the contempo~
rary and non-contemporary sources dealing with the area in question,
we can obtain some indication of the way in which he utilized his
material.
Matthew's work covers a period of over two hundred years. There
is no homogeneity to the Chronicle, for the first part (952~1051) is
based on non-contemporary sources, while the last two parts (1051~
1101 and 1101~1136) are based on contemporary sources as well as
the author's conversations with various individuals and his own
4
experiences. There are a good number of contemporary and non~
conte~porary s.our~es dealing with the events covered by the
Arm~man c~romcler s wor~. These include Armenian, Greek, Syriac,
ArabIC, Latm, and GeorgIan sources. A brief treatment of these
historical works and their relative merits hopefully will provide the
context for a discussion and analysis of the manner in which
Matthew dealt with the sources at his disposal.
The Armenian historians dealing with the events covered by
~atthew are numerous. Thomas Artsruni (tenth century) wrote a
hIstory of the Artsruni dynasty which ruled the Armenian state of
Vaspurakan in the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. Many of the
events this writer related are corroborated by the Arab historians of
. :'Th~ continuation of Matthew's chronicle to 1162 by Gregory the Priest
l~ hkewlse based on contemporary sources and the latter's own observatIons.

5It is believed that Matthew died soon after his nanation ends, in 1136;
therefore he could not have utilized these Armenian historians. It has been
suggested that some of his information on the tenth and early eleventh
centuries was based on the lost Chronicle of one John of Sanahin.

10

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

INTRODUCTION

There are a number of Byzantine historians and chroniclers, some


of them contemporaries of Matthew, who shed light on the events
covered in the Chronicle. Theophanes Continuatus, an anonymous
chronicler of the tenth century, wrote a work continuing the history
of the eighth century author Theophanes into the period from 813 to
961. Leo Diaconus (tenth century), who accompanied Basil II on his
Bulgarian campaigns, wrote a history dealing with the events of 959
to 975 (the wars of Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces against
the Arabs, Bulgarians, and Russians). His work is based on his own
observations and those of other eyewitnesses. The history of Michael
Psellus (eleventh century), whose political standing at the imperial
court enabled him to present an intimate picture of the events of the
time, continues Leo's work and covers the years 976 to 1077. Michael
Attaleiates (eleventh century) wrote a history of the events of 10341079, thus paralleling the later years covered in PseUus's work. John
Scylitzes (eleventh century) compiled a chronicle of the period from
811 to 1079 which is of greatest value for the events of the eleventh
century. Nicephorus Bryennius (eleventh-twelfth centuries) wrote a
history dealing with the events covered in the latter part of Psellus's
work (1070-1079). His attempts to immortalize the deeds of his
father-in-law, the emperor Alexius, are none too successful. Anna
Comnena (eleventh-twelfth centuries) wrote a work called the
"Alexiad" which covers the years 1069-1118, in great part the reign
of her father, the emperor Alexius, in which she extols the virtues of
her father and presents his achievements in the best light possible.
. George Cedrenus (eleventh-twelfth centuries) compiled a world
hIstOry based on Theophanes and other chroniclers; for the period
after 811 he uses Scylitzes and brings his narration to the year 1057.
John Cinnamus (twelfth century), who was imperial secretary to the
emperor Manuel I Comnenus, wrote a history of the period 11181176, continuing the "Alexiad" of Anna Comnena. John Zonaras
(twel~th century): who was commander of the imperial bodyguard,
complIed a chromcle from the creation of the world to 1118. Michael
Glyca~ (twelfth. century), a historian, theologian, and poet, wrote a
chromcle covenng the same period as Zonaras. Nicetas Choniates
~twel~th-thirteenth centuries) wrote a chronicle dealing with the
InVaSIOns of the empire during the Third and Fourth Crusades (11891204).6

Three Syrian chroniclers have narrated events recorded by


Matthew in his work. The author of the Anonymous Chronicle deals
with the history of Edessa and its environs during the fIrst half of the
twelfth century; the abundance of intimate detail and the familiarity
of the author with the topography of Edessa indicate that he must
have been contemporary to the events he describes and probably an
eyewitness to some. Michael the Syrian (twelfth century), who wrote
a world history from the creation to 1196, provides the most complete
compilation the Syrians have left; the great abundance of information
in the history compensates for the author's defects in historical
methodology and analysis. The Syrian chronicler's comments on the
Greeks, Turks, and Latins are deeply colored by his profound concern
for the preservation of his people and their Christian faith. Bar
Hebraeus (thirteenth century), a Syrian scholar noted for his encyclopedic learning in science and philosophy, wrote a history of the Near
East from the creation to his time. His work contains important
information on the Armenians and other peoples of the Caucasus. 7
There are numerous Arabic authors who have written about
events covered in Matthew's chronicle. Yahya of Antioch, a Coptic
Christian (eleventh century), wrote a very valuable chronicle dealing
with Byzantine-Muslim relations in upper Mesopotamia in the ninth
century. Ibn-al-Athir (twelfth-thirteenth centuries) wrote a history
of the world from the creation to his time. His work is especially
important for the history of upper Mesopotamia during his lifetime.
Abu-l-Feda (thirteenth century), who was a historian of the Ayyubid
dynasty, wrote a history of the world, basically a compilation of other
authors. Two less noteworthy writers of the twelfth-thirteenth
centuries are Kamal-ad-Din and Ibn-al-Qalanisi, chroniclers of
Aleppo and Damascus, respectively. Their works deal with the
histories of their respective cities, as well as events in northern Syria,
during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.8
To the Eastern sources should be added certain Latin historians.
Fulcher of Chartres (eleventh-twelfth centuries), who accompanied
Baldwin I, is considered to be the most dependable historian of the
First Crusade. An intelligent and keen observer, he was meticulous

6It is doubtful that Matthew knew or used any of these Byzantine


sources.

11

7The works of Michael and Bar Hebraeus were written later and could
not have served as sources for Matthew.
8Matthew could not possibly have utilized the Arabic sources (except
perhaps for Yahya of Antioch), for the Armenian chronicler is believed to
have died soon after his narrative ends, in 1136.

12

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

in his chronology and endowed with an unusual talent for describing


events. Another historian of the First Crusade, Albert of Aix
(eleventh-twelfth centuries), falls far short of his contemporary
Fulcher, besides being quite hostile to the native Christians. Perhaps
the outstanding Latin historian of the Crusades is William of Tyre
(twelfth century), who wrote a history of the Latin Levant from 1099
to 1184. He was a native of the East and knew Greek and Arabic, in
addition to being a fine Latin stylist.9
There are two groups of Georgian historical sources: those outside
the Georgian Annals and those contained in the Georgian Annals.
Some of these Annals deal with events covered by Matthew's
chronicle, especially those incidents pe~aining to Georgian-Armenian
and Georgian-Turkish relations. A portion of the Georgian Annals
has been translated into Armenian and is known under the name of
the Armenian Chronicle.
In comparing Matthews narration with the Armenian Greek
Syrian, :Arab, Latin, and Georgian chroniclers of the same p~riod, w~
can amve at only tentative conclusions about the similarities and
differences between his narrative and the accounts of the other
sourc?s. The~~ con:lusions in no way indicate the specific sources
u.se~ In compIhng hIS work. Matthews narration of events is most
sl~lliar to the ~rincipal S~iac and Armenian sources, especially
MIchael th~ Synan, Asoghik, and Aristakes (Part I, section 8 and
note 3, sectIOn 16 and note 7, section 56 and note 2' Part II section
~ a~d ~ote 3, section 74 and note 7, section 85 a~d note '2), thus
In,dlcatmg th~t the Armenian chronicler was familiar to some extent
Wlt~ the Synan and Armenian writers who dealt with the events
whICh h~ also related. On the other hand, Matthew does not always
agre~ With the Greek sources, especially in the recording of minor
det~lls (Part I, section 91 and note 5; Part II, section 64 and note 3,
~ect~l~n 91'tahntdhnoGte 1). This might indicate that he was not too
lami
. instances,
. lar
h' WI
d " e reek sources, except perh
aps'm certam
as m IS escnptIOn of one of the Pecheneg attacks on Constantinople
n
hisat evtent fatr rfemhoved from him (Part II, section 90 and note 3) or
.
'
rea men 0 t e emperor Basil's Bul'
sections 37 and 46). When it is a qUestio!:~~~e c=:'~~~~e;
9Again, Matthew could not po 'bI h
..
~he Armenian chronicler had com~let~d ye utIhze.d William's history, for
It has been suggested that some of his . ~ n~~tIon by 1136. However,
based on Fulcher of Chartres' Ge8 ta Francorum.
m orma ion on the Crusades was

INTRODUCTION

13

tends to agree with or follow the Latin sources rather than the Greek
or Syriac (Part III, section 4 and note 4; section 18 and note 2, section
105 and note 2). What this indicates is difficult to say, except that
the Armenian chronicler might have relied on some Latin sources for
events pertaining to the Franks, especially outside upper Mesopotamia. 10 There is no evidence that Matthew had any firsthand
information on Caucasian events, specifically those pertaining to
Georgia and its relations with the neighboring Muslims. Perhaps his
narration of these events (Part III, sections 83 and 84, section 98 and
note 2) was based on Armenian sources, although this must remain
a matter of conjecture. A further point to be noted here is that the
Armenian chronicler relates a number of events pertaining to the
decease of various Byzantine, Muslim, and Frankish rulers, giving
details on the manner of their deaths which differ substantially from
those of other sourcesll (Part II, section 132 and note 1; Part III,
section 95 and note 6, section 102 and note 4).
It is evident that Matthew is rather inconsistent in his handling
of sources. In spite of his contention that he thoroughly investigated,
weighed, and analyzed his materials (Part II, section 1), the Armenian chronicler has not always been correct in his chronological and
factual presentation (Part I, section 1 and note 6, section 2 and note
6, section 3 and note 4, section 5 and note 4, section 16 and note 3,
section 23 and note 2, section 35 and note 2, section 36 and note 1,
section 44 and note 3; Part II, section 5 and note 7, section 51 and
note 1, section 68 and note I, section 69 and note 1). Nevertheless,
in other instances he has accurately described the events he relates.
In keeping with the mentality of a medieval chronicler, Matthew
tends to be credulous and exaggerates a great deal (Part I, section 9
and note 3, section 18, section 48; Part II, section 109), but such
shortcomings are offset by a not infrequent judicious presentation of
events and individuals.
Since medieval chronicles are basically simple catalogues of events
in chronological order, very little or no emphasis is placed on
lOOn events pertaining to the Franks in upper Mesopotamia, it is quite
evident that Matthew relied on his own observations, eyewitnesses, and
others of that region. As to the specific Latin sources on which the
Armenian chronicler might have relied, there seems to be no definite
indication.
1IActually all the sources differ on the details concerning the manner
in which these rulers died. It is indeed surprising that there should be so
much disagreement on the details.

14

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

interpretation and analysis; yet many chroniclers, including Matthew,


have in some instances attempted to interpret events and analyze
individual motivations. In the case of the Armenian chronicler, such
interpretations and analyses has been minimal and rather perfunctory. For example, no cause has been given for the first Turkish
invasion of Armenia (Part I, section 48); the Armenian kings promise
to hand over Ani to the emperor Basil (Part I, section 50 and note 2);
the Armenian catholicos Peter's departure from his see (Part I,
section 66, and note 1); the decision of Gagik to wear mourner's
garments (Part II, section 23); or the empress Eudocia's desire to
have Diogenes installed on the imperial throne (Part II, section 51).
Although Matthew shows little evidence of a thorough analysis of
events in his work, he does in some instances reflect a solid grasp of
the materials and sources he is utilizing. He is particularly thorough
in presenting and explaining the critical situation of the Byzantine
empire in 1080 (Part II, section 73). Matthew appears to be the only
source to give a reason for the withdrawal of the Franks from Edessa
in 1110-1111 (Part III, section 47 and note 1). Only Matthew is
specific as to the motivation behind Maudud's assassination in
Damascus (Part Ill, section 63 and note 3). His analysis of Baldwin's
election as King of Jerusalem in 1118 is particularly incisive (Part
III, section 75). Such a treatment of materials as this shows that the
Armenian chronicler was able occasionally to subject his information
to some measure of critical analysis that would not be expected in a
strictly chronological catalogue. On this basis his remark on the
' .
U t I'l'lzatIon 0 f sources 12 occasionally does ring true
.Turning to the question of whether it is possible to discern any
unIque or specific contribution which Matthew of Edessa has made
to the histOriography of the period, two definitive and one guarded
sta~ements can be made. Unquestionably his work contains material
~hlCh ~ther sources lack. Likewise a fresh, personal interpretation
IS prOVIded. However, in reference to his correcting and amplifying
other sources, the verdict is a qualified one.
. In numerous instances Matthew presents material and informabon not con~ai~ed in the other sources: for example, the letter the
emperor TZlmlsces sent to the Armenian king Ashot13 (Part I,
12See Part III, section 3.
13rfhe French historian E Dulauri r r
d
this letter was originally written'
, gOd reasons, maintains that
archives at Ani', later it was trans1lnt
aAnnnwa~
kept in the Bagratid
In 0
enlan.
a edr~et

Gk

INTRODUCTION

15

sections 19 and 20) or the defense of Armenian Christianity made by


the Armenian king Gagik before the emperor Romanus (Part II,
sections ~1-41). ;rhe work is especially valuable for the copious
firsthand informatIon presented on Edessa and the neighboring areas
of upper Mesopotamia. Matthew's information on areas outside his
immediate section of the country is in many cases correct, perhaps
indicating that he had access to reliable non-Armenian sources. 14
Matthew's chronicle is sprinkled with fresh insights and details;
a mere perusal of the commentary will easily confirm this.
Matthew's viewpoint enriches the historiography of the period and
area in question, for his chronicle truly reflects the frustrations and
aspirations of his people. Since the seventh century the Armenians
had played a very important role in the Byzantine empire, especially
in the defense of its territories against outside invaders. If the
Armenians had continued to play this essential role, perhaps the
empire ultimately would not have succumbed to the Turks. Yet this
was not the case, for in the eleventh century the assumption of direct
rule over the Armenian kingdoms by the Byzantine emperors led to
such a deterioration of relations between the Armenians and the
Greeks that the Seljuks found easy entry into Anatolia, the heartland
of the empire. Not surprisingly Matthew considers the Greeks as the
basic cause for the deterioration of relations between the two peoples.
The Annenian chronicler views the Franks initially as the instrument
for the deliverance of his people from the Turkish yoke. He is soon
disappointed in this hope when he discovers that the Franks, far from
helping the Armenians, are intent on pursuing their own interests,
even to the point of causing harm to these eastern Christians.
The contributions Matthew makes in the correction or elaboration
of the contemporary and non-contemporary sources are not as clearcut as in the two aforementioned cases (Greeks and Franks). With
a major emphasis on his native area of upper Mesopotamia, Matthew
relates events occurring in three other areas: eastern Anatolia and
the Balkans, the Caucasus, and southern Syria and Palestine. These
areas are dealt with in great detail by the Armenian chronicler; in
fact the coverage of these areas is no less than that of upper
Mesopotamia. Thus Matthew must have had access to non-Armenian
sources in order to have written about these areas. I5 Perhaps he
consulted eyewitnesses and other individuals.

~
!
I
~

I4What these sources are cannot be ascertained.


150ne can only speculate on the identity of these sources.

,/

16

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

In several instances Matthew mentions details and facts about


events in these areas which either do not agree with the other
sources or are not contained in them (Part II, section 90 and note 3,
section 91 and note 1; Part III, section 18 and note 2, section 20). In
these cases the Annenian chronicler either was misinformed about
this material or had access to sources and individuals which the
others did not. A fairly strong case can be made for the latter view
in those instances in which Matthew provides a rather detailed and
lengthy narration of an event, for how could he go into so much detail
(unless of course he was misinformed or simply contrived the
narrative)? Thus one can conclude that, if the correctness of the
details presented by him concerning the events outside upper
Mesopotamia (details which are at variance with the other sources)
are verifiable, then Matthew can be considered to have made an
important contribution in regard to correcting and amplifying the
non-Armenian sources of the period.
In summarizing Matthew's place in the historiography of the
medieval Near East, it can be said that the Armenian chronicler
holds a unique position among the writers of the period. This is
partly due to the location of Matthew's native city of Edessa, at the
crossroads of a region traversed, conquered, or settled by the large
number of the peoples who have helped to shape the history of the
area. Another explanation is Matthew's Armenian background,
which places him and his people in a special relationship to each of
these peoples: the administration and maintenance of the Byzantine
empire rested on the cooperation of Greek and Armenian; the
Armenian church owed a great debt to Syrian Christianity, which
linked the destinies of the two peoples in the struggle to maintain
their common Orthodox (Monophysite) faith; both positive and
negative relations between Arab and Armenian went back to the
domination of the Umayyad and 'Abbasid empires; the Turk had
recently invaded eastern Anatolia and thus threatened the very
existence of the Armenian people; Latin and Armenian came in close
contact with one another in Cilicia and northern Syria in a relationship marked by both cooperation and conflict; and Georgian and
Armenian had been living in close proximity in the highlands of
eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus for nearly two millennia and had
interpenetrated one another's cultures.
N one of the other contemporary historians or chroniclers has
Matt~ew's ability to view the interaction of the various peoples of the
area III such a comprehensive and integrative manner.

TEXT'

A History written by Matthew the Distinguished Priest of the


Edessenes, concerning the Bagratid Kings and Many Others,
beginning at the date 400 (951 A.D.) and ending in the year
611 (1162 A.D.).l

Part P
1. In those days, in the year 401 of the Armenian era [952-953],3
there was a severe famine in many places. In the southern regions,
in the land of the Muslims,4 there was much suffering, above all in
Mesopotamia. Due to the severity of the famine there was anguish
and turmoil in many places, and especially in the renowned metropolitan see of Edessa/ which the Armenian king Tigran had founded. 6
The famine stayed in that country for seven years, and the slaughter
caused by that famine was very great. In the country of the Muslims
there was much mortality, and many Christians died because of the
dreadfulness of the famine. After two years locusts, numerous as the
sands of the sea, came over that region and devastated the land. The
famine increased greatly. Many went mad, and attacking one
another mercilessly and savagely, devoured each other. The princes
and nobles fed upon seeds and berries, and many animals died.
Many villages and regions became uninhabited, and nothing else has
been built to the present day.
2. In the year 407 of the Annenian era [958-959] the nation of the
Arabs 1 collected troops in Edessa and throughout the region of the
Edessenes, and with a tremendous army crossed over the great
Euphrates River and went against the fortified town2 which is called
Samosata. The RomanS general who was called the paracoemomenus,4 a mighty and brave man, went forth in battle against them.
[The two armies]5 clashed with one another at the gates of the town,
and on that day the Muslims struck down the Roman forces and
caused a great slaughter near the gates of the town. Mter a few days
the town of Samosata, which is near the town of Edessa, was
captured. 6

21

MATTHEW OF EnESSA

PART I

3. In the year 408 of the Armenian era [959-960] the Roman


emperor Romanus 1 collected troops and came against the Muslims.
Crossing the vast Mediterranean2 Sea with ships, he passed over to
the large island called Crete. In a severe battle he captured it from
the forces of Egypt, 3 for the nation of the Arabs had possessed all the
islands and all the coastal regions for four hundred years. 4 In this
same year the Annenian forces slaughtered ~amdan, the Muslim
genera1.5

recognition of the majesty of the Armenian kingdom. Mter this the


Albanian king Philip, his lordship the catholicos John, and the
bishops and troops who had come with the king and the patriarch
were sent back with costly gifts and expressions of friendship to the
country of the Albanians; this country [at one time] was the see of the
holy apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew,5 who also were the first
patriarchs of Greater Armenia.

20

4. In the year 410 of the Armenian era [961-962] the Arabs


captured Anazarba1 and Aleppo from the ruler of Egypt and caused
much slaughter, more of the Christians than of their own nation. 2

5. In this same year the general of the Armenians gathered


together the marzpetakan regiments, l comprising forty-five thousand
brave men, separate from the royal regiments. All the princes of
Armenia gathered before the holy patriarch2 Anania3 so that they
might anoint Gagik, the son of Ashot, to the kingship as his former
ancestors had been anointed; for he had not as yet occupied the royal
throne of Annenia and the crown had not been placed upon his head. 4
6. Prevailing upon his most praiseworthy lordship John, the
catholicos of the country of the Albanians, l they summoned him and
with him forty bishops. With solemn majesty they summoned Philip,
the king of the Albanians, a pious and saintly man, the son of
Goghazgak, the son ofVach'agan, [former] kings of the country of the
Albanians. On that day there was a fonnidable and large assembly
in the city of Ani, which at this time was the capital of the Armenians. In this year Gagik, the son of Ashot, was anointed king as his
ancestors had been anointed and occupied the throne of the former
kings of the Annenian nation. There was great rejoicing throughout
all Armenia, for the people witnessed the reestablishment of the royal
t~one of ~~nia as it had existed among their ancestors. EspeCIally they rejOIced over the bravery of Gagik, because he was valiant
and also a warrior. On this day he conducted a review of his troops
comprising one hundred thousand select men, [all of them] welleqUIpped, renowned in combat, and very valiant; for like lion cubs
and young eagles they could muster up strength for battle. When all
the surro~nding peoples and all the kings of the nations, [i.e.] the
Abkhazes, Greeks, Babylonians,S and Persians,4heard this, they sent
largess and expressions of friendship together with expensive gifts in

7. Mter two months had gone by, the Roman emperor Romanus
died and left two sons, Basil and Constantine, sons of the senior
Romanus. In the year 412 [963-964] Nicephorus 1 became emperor
over the Greek nation. He was a kind, saintly, and pious man, filled
with every virtue and uprightness, victorious and brave in all battles,
compassionate to all the Christian faithful, a visitor to widows and
captives, and a protector of orphans and poor people. He gathered
together a tremendous army of troops and, crossing over the vast
Mediterranean Sea, came against the Muslims2 and was ready for a
heated combat. First he moved against Cilicia and with a great
victory captured the renowned city of Tarsus. Passing on he captured
Adana, Mamistra, and the famous Anazarba, bringing frightful and
heavy slaughter upon the Muslims up to the very gates of the city of
Antioch. Then the emperor Nicephorus turned back very victorious,
and with innumerable captives and much booty he came and entered
the imperial city, Constantinople. He kept the sons of Romanus,
Basil and Constantine, near him in the palace with great honor and
in magnificent splendor.
8. In the year 418 of the Armenian era [969-970] there was a
certain man convicted to die who was on the island used as a prison;
his name was Tzimisces. 1 The wicked and abominable empress2
secretly sent for him, and as if by order of the emperor removed him
from the island and brought him to Constantinople without the
emperor's knowledge. Secretly she made a pact with him to kill the
emperor Nicephorus, and she promised to be his wife and to install
him on the imperial throne. He agreed to do the bidding of the
wicked empress. The saintly emperor Nicephorus was seated on his
throne in the evening and was reading the Holy Scriptures by lighted
candles. The empress came and embraced the emperor and [at the
same time] tightened the strap holding the sword which was near
him. Then, rising up, she went to her accomplice in crime and with
her own hands gave him the deadly sword to be used for the shedding

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

of the blood of the upright emperor. Going forth, Tzimisces secretly


rushed into the emperor's chamber. The emperor, seeing him, said:
"Crazed dog, what do you want here?" Bravely rising up, the
emperor pulled at his sword and saw that it was very strongly held
[by the strap]. At that moment Tzimisces fell upon him and
ruthlessly and savagely butchered the very benevolent emperor,
cutting him into three parts. The slain emperor, covered with his
own blood, gave up his life to Christ through a bitter death. They
saw that the emperor was clothed in a goat's hair shirt next to his
skin, which shirt was hidden by the purple, and that the spilled blood
shone upon the faces of the assassins of this man of God. His body
was buried in a stately tomb near those of the [other] saintly
emperors. 3 Thus the wicked Tzimisces occupied the throne of the
Greek empire, and he reigned over and held Constantinople and
brought under his rule all the confines of the Roman empire. He took
away from the wicked empress the sons of the emperor Romanus [and
sent them] to Vasakawan in the district of Handzit'.4 Basil and
Constantine were brought to Spramik, the mother of the illustrious
Mkhit'ar, so that the empress might not give them poison and thus
kill them. Because of this unjust death [of Nicephorus], the emperor
Tzimisces was in deep grief, plagued by a guilty conscience.

thirty thousand dahekans 6 to the Monastery of the Holy Cross from


the gold of the Arabs, which he had brought from the city of Baghdad
and which had been given to him by the caliph. Moreover, Ashot had
a chest made for the holy relic and had it decorated with precious
stones and pearls. Mter this he himself came to the royal capital,
Ani, accompanied by many troops. When John heard of the coming
of his brother Ashot, he commanded that the battle trumpet be
sounded, but he himself sat on his throne and did not move, for he
was unskilled in battle. The city of Ani having been roused, forty
thousand foot soldiers and twenty thousand horsemen went forth in
battle against Ashot. Then a certain prince from the forces of the
Georgian king came to King John on a mission, for the mother of
John and Ashot, Queen Katramide, was the daughter of the Georgian
king, George. 7 This Georgian prince said to King John: "0 King John,
command that Ashot merely be pointed out to me, and I shall take
him prisoner and bring him before you in chains." For that prince
was a brave man and invincible in battle. King John said to him:
"Behold, Ashot is a mighty man; how will you be able to bring him
before me?" The Georgian prince said: "I shall capture him alive on
his horse." John then said to him: "Do not scorn the lion cub until
you see it." When the two armies came face to face, a prince from the
Abkhazes, crying out in a shrill voice like an eagle, provoked Ashot
and said: "Whoever Ashot may be, let him come forth." When Ashot
heard this he became ferocious like a leopard, and, bothS having
incited one another, they raced towards each other. The Georgian
prince threw a spear at Ashot. In turn Ashot, quick as lightening,
ducked and then struck him on his helmet with a steel sword and
cleaved his mail-clad body down to the feet; the Georgian fell to the
ground with his entrails [exposed]. On that day a severe battle
occurred, and the enemy was turned in flight towards the city until
the fleeing [troops] were unable to enter the city, but instead fell into
the Akhurian River. Thus Ashot turned back very victorious. After
a few days the Bagratids, the Pahlavids,9 and all the other noble
families from the race of Hayk10 serving in the army decided to bring
about peace between John and Ashot. So the holy patriarch Peterll
and all the princes came before Ashot and, taking a solemn oath,
made him king of all Armenia, that is of the country outside [of Ani].
John was made king within the city of Ani, [and it was agreed that]
if John died Ashot would become king of all Armenia. Thus peace
was reestablished in all of Armenia.

22

9. At the beginning of the year 420 of the Armenian era [971-972]


King Gagik died peacefully. Then there developed an antagonism
and great conflict between the two sons of King Gagik, between John
1
and Ashot. John was older than Ashot and wise and very intelligent,
but unsteady and sluggish in body, weak in battle, and uneducated.
On th~ other hand, Ashot was the younger, but courageous, brave
and ml?hty, and invincible and victorious in battle. Nevertheless,
John seIzed the throne of the Armenian kingdom while Ashot roamed
ab~ut with his troops, ravaged many places, and harassed the city of
Am. He went to Senek'erim,2 the king of Vaspurakan and son of
Abusahl, who was the son of Ashot, the son of Derenik the son of
Gagik, Artsruni by lineage, [all of these being] descendants of the
Assyrian king Adrammelech.8
10. Obtaining troops from Senek'erim, Ashot went over to Gurgen
the prince of Andzewats'ik', 1 and moving forth with his troops h~
came and reached the Mountain of Varag2 and entered the Monastery
of the Holy Cross.s He prostrated himself before the cross which bore
God' and the icon of the Holy Theotokos/' and he gave a donation of

23

24

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

11. In this period Abas1resided in Kars2, having royal sovereignty


there- by
order
of his lord, the Armenian king GalTik
3 and also
4,
I
I:I~ ,
G. urgen
ru ed over the country of the Albanians, for they were of the
hneage of Armenian kings and were subject to the house of Shirak..5
As for King Ashot, he was never able to enter the city of Ani until the
day of his death [i.e., his funeral].
12. In this period a certain Apirat, who was an illustrious
Armenian prince and also a son of Hasan, fearing King John because
of the alliance he had previously made with Ashot rebelled and fled
from him and went to the city of Dvin, l to the Persian general Abfi'l~
Uswar,2 and with him twelve thousand horsemen. Abu'l-Dswar
honored him for many days. At that time certain slanderers app~oached the emir and said: "Such a man, invincible, mighty, and
wIth many troops, has come to you and shall bring destruction upon
you and the whole country of the Muslims." Then Abu'l-Dswar,
becoming ven~eful in his heart, unknown to the other troops,
summoned Aplrat on the pretext of having a friendly conversation
with him and secretly did away with this brave man, one mighty and
renowned in all of Armenia.

13. A certain prince, Sari by name, who was the general of the
illustrious prince Apirat, taking Apirat's wife and children and
cavalry forces, went to the city of Ani. King John very strongly
regretted the unjust death of Apirat, the Armenian prince. The
~enian king gave lands and high positions to Apirat's sons,
AplJahap, Vasak, and Sari, and to all their troops.
14. In this period the ruler of the Delumk'l collected troops and
unexpectedly came a~d. reached the Armenian district of Nig, 2 near
the stronghold of BJll1. Vasak, the commander-in-chief of the
Armenians, with his beloved son Gregory and with other illustrious
noblemen, was making merry [in his castlel. Vasak looked at the
stony road, and 10, a man was coming in haste up the road on foot.
Upon seeing him, Vasak said: "This man is a bearer of bad news."
The man arrived at the gates of the fortress of Bjni and, raising an
outcry, said: "The whole district ofNig has been enslaved." At this
the brave general Vasak roared like a lion and, rising up, put on a
coat of mail; seven noblemen did likewise, and as they arrived other
cavalry forces [did so alsol. The noblemen fanned behind Vasak. The
brave and illustrious Philip rushed [to his sidel and with him George

PART I

25

Ch'ortuanel and certain others. These were brave men and invincible
in battle. Vasak was unable to be patient of heart until the troops
gathered together, for there were as many as five thousand men
under him. Boastful of his strength, he went forth like a lion with
five hundred men into the district of Nig and entrusted his home of
Bjni to his son Gregory. When Vasak arrived at a monastery, he and
all his troops took communion and sincerely confessed their sins to
Jesus Christ. On the road, coming up to a village, they saw that the
infidels had completely destroyed it, and that these Muslims had
surrounded the church and were ruthlessly slaughtering the faithful
who were inside. When brave Vasak saw this, he roared like a lion
and fell upon the infidel forces. Three hundred of their men were
slaughtered, and the remaining fugitives took refuge with the main
infidel force.
Then moving forth, the main bulk of the Armenian army came
against the infidel forces; when the Armenians saw the Muslim army
to be very numerous and without measure, anticipating death
together, they began to take courage in battle; like wolves among
goats or like eagles in a flock of young birds they courageously went
into battle, wounding many and felling their bodies to the ground.
Then there arose a champion from the infidel forces, a dark Ethiopian
and a brave man, who was called "Ewt'n Gayl,"3 because whatever
seven wolves were able to accomplish among sheep and among their
flock, this man was able to accomplish that much more among troops
in a battle. Lo the Ethiopian, from whose coat of mail sparks flew,
came forth like a thundering cloud and, crying out, sought after
Vasak by name. Then brave Emran looked and saw him, for he was
advancing like a fuming mountain and, turning to Vasak, he said:
"Here is an invincible and brave man, the like of whom has never
been born on earth." Vasak said: "0 lion~hearted and brave Emran,
why are you frightened at his sight? Lo, I shall go forth against him
and give to him the gift that David gave Goliath, the blasphemer of
God."4 At that moment the ferocious Ethiopian advanced, hurling his
lance at brave Vasak so that he might hang him on the end of that
weapon. But being quick, Vasak ducked and with a steel sword
struck the crest of his [attacker's] helmet and cleaved in two the
brave Ethiopian, whose members lay sprawled on the ground. Thus
the Armenians were given courage in the battle and in the impossible
task. As the combat grew intense and the sword wounds multiplied,
brave Emran disappeared; for the nobility strayed from one another
due to the extensive and difficult battle, and thus were unable to see

26

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

the deaths of their compatriots.


15. Then brave Vasak, being left alone, turned about and going
forth like a ferocious lion, passed through the midst of the izilldels,
for he was exhausted by the hard battle. He ran and went up the
mountain called Serkeweloyl and rested under the protection of its
r~cks, [safe] from the many harassments of the battle; then, some
VIllag?rs2 who had fled saw him. One of them, who was like the killer
of ?a~n, came fort~ and found him sleeping, [exhausted] from his
afflIctIOns. [The VIllager] struck him hard and threw him from a
high rock. In this manner brave Vasak the Pahlavid died.
16. The follOwing event took place in the year 421 of the Armenian

er~ [972-973~. The Roman general, the domesticus 1 called Melias/


gomg ~orth.W1th many troops, came against the Muslims and defeated

them In dlff~rent places with the help of Christ. He came and


reac~e~ t~e CIty of Melitene, and harassing it with much suffering by
de~nvIng It of food and water, compelled the place to submit to him. 3
Gomg forth from t~ere, he came ~nd with great rejoicing descended
upon th~ to.wn ?f Tigranakert, whICh is also named Amida,4 situated
on the Tigns RIver. The Muslim forces rose up in battle against the
Roman troops, ~nd a severe battle was fought near the area outside
the town of AmIda. The Muslim forces turned in flight before the
Roman troops and, many of them having been slaughtered, entered
the town. The Roman
troops encamped by the banks of the river at
5
a pla~e. called A~sal, two bowshots from the town. Mter a few d~ys
the. dlvlne-~ebukIng wrath of God came forth from the heavens, and
a VIol~nt wmd rose up to such an extent that the land shook from the
seventy of the sound; because of the force of the wind, the dust of the
lan~ flew.upwards and spread over the Christian troops. The dust,
haVIng thICkened, covered man and beast and caused all the baggage
to. fall into the river. Covered by the dust, man and beast were
b~l~ded; and. all eyes, having been shut by the dust caused by the
dIVine-rebukIng wrath of God, were cut off from the light. All the
Rom~n tr~ops were surrounded and were unable to find a way out of
the sltuat~on. When the infidel forces saw the execution of God's
w~ath agamst the Christians and knew that the God of battle was
~th them, they struck at the Christian troops and, ruthlessly slaying
WIth the sword, slaughtered them mercilessly. There were as many
as fifty thousand men, but few were able to flee from the edge of the
sword; thus the greater part of the troops were slaughtered. The

PART I

27

Muslims took prisoner the domesticus and other prominent Roman


officers. When the infidel chiefs saw the demise of the Roman troops,
being frightened, they became very alarmed and said: "All this blood
of the Romans which we have shed will not benefit us, for the
Romans will come and destroy the Muslims. Come, let us become
friends and make an alliance with the Roman commander and his
officers and let us obtain an oath from them and let them go in peace
to thei; country." While they were reflecting upon this, news of the
assassination of Nicephorus, the Roman emperor, reached them.
Then the infidel chiefs sent the forty Christian officers to the caliph,6
to the city of Baghdad, and all of them died there. 7 The dom~st~cus
wrote a letter to Constantinople and expressed doleful maledIctIons
to the [new] emperor,s saying the following: "We have not b~en
judged worthy to enter into the blessed ground of the grave .acc0r?mg
to the custom of the Christians, but rather we have become inhentors
of the accursed ground and grave of evildoers. We do not know you
who occupy the throne of the Roman empire. Yet our death and the
blood shed at the gates of the town of Amida-indeed our death on
alien soil-Christ our God will hold you responsible for on the Day of
Judgement if you do not wreak vengeance on the town of Amida."
When this letter reached the emperor Tzimisces in Constantinople
and he learned about all this, he became provoked with great anger
and filled' with an all-encompassing rage. In the same year he
collected troops from the West. 9 Going forth heavily armed, he was
like an ignited fire10 and made war on the Muslims, intending to
penetrate into Armenia.
17. In that period all the Annenians of royal lineage, lnoblemen
and princes, and all the eminen~ personage~ of th~ ~ast gathered
before the Armenian king Ashot the Bagratld: PhIlIp, the ruler of
Kapan;8 Gurgen,4 the king of the Albanians; Abas,5 the lord of Kars;
Senek'erim 6 the lord of Vaspurakan; Gurgen, the lord of Andzewats'ik,7. and ~lso the whole house of Sasan.s This army, comprising as
man; as eighty thousand men, encamped in the region of Hark'.9
Messengers of the Roman emperor came to this gathering and sawall
of Armenia in readiness, gathered in one place, and they went and
related it to the emperor Tzimisces. Of the Armenian princes, Leon
the philosopher and Stat T'omets'i went with the Roman messengers,
and with them other bishops and vardapets;lo these personages
established friendship and peace between the Roman emperor and
the Armenian king Ashot. Then the emperor Tzimisces moved forth

,!

28

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

with a formidable army and reached the Armenian district of Taron 11


descending to Mush before the fortress of Aydzik'.12 On the fir~t
night the Roman troops endured much harassment from the infantry
forces of Sasan. The Armenian princes and vardapets came to the
Roman emperor and presented to him the letter of Vahan, the
Armenian catholicos. 13 The emperor received the letter and those
who brought it with great honor. He confirmed the treaty of
friendship with the Armenians and asked for troops from Ashot to
come to his aid. Ashot gave the emperor armed troops of the
Armenian nation, as many as ten thousand warriors. The emperor
also asked for food and provisions. Ashot gave him everything he
desired. In turn the emperor sent the Armenian vardapet Ghewond
and the bishops and princes [who had come to him] back to Ashot,
laden with splendid gifts.
18. Tzimisces, also called Kyr John/ victoriously and full of rage
made war against the Muslims and filled the whole land2 with
slaughter and blood. He razed to the ground many towns and
impregnable fortresses, three hundred of them, right up to the
confines of the city of Baghdad. But he did not ravage Edessa
because of the monks who lived on a neighboring mountain and
within the confines of its territory; these numbered as many as
twelve. thousand. He went forth and, full of rage, reached the town
of AmIda. The lord of the town was a woman who was a sister of
~amdan, the Muslim emir.3 In former times the emperor had sinfully
fornicated with her and because of that he was unable to capture
Amida, The woman, getting on top of the ramparts of the town, said
to t~e em~eror:. "You come against a woman in battle, don't you
conSIder this an msult to yourselfl" The emperor said: "I have sworn
to destroy the ramparts of this town so that its people might be
freed." The woman of the town said: "Go down and destroy the
bridge which is over the Tigris River, and by that you will have
fulfilled your oath." The emperor did this and, taking much treasure
of gold and silver, left Amida because of its woman and because
Tzimisces was from the region of Khozan,4from the place which today
is called Ch'mshkatsakk', 5 and the woman was from the same area,6
for in that period the Muslims ruled many areas. Then the Greek
emperor moved forth and went through the country of the Muslims
shedding blood right up to the confines of the city of Baghdad' movin~
about the interior. of ~he country, he marched towards th~ city of
Jerusalem. At thIS tIme the emperor Tzimisces wrote a letter to

PART I

29

Ashot the Armenian in the following manner.


19. "Ashot, shahnshah 1 of the illustrious Armenians and my
spiritual son. Listen and understand how many wondrous things God
has done for us and the astonishing victories [he has given us]. It is
impossible to comprehend the graciousness of God and the aweinspiring benevolence which the Lord has created for his inheritance.
In this year under the aegis of our imperial majesty we have chosen
to inform your eminence, 0 Ashot Bagratuni, our son. We are
making known to you these things as one who is a Christian and both
faithful and beloved to our imperial majesty, so that you might rejoice
in and glorify the awe-inspiring greatness of Christ our God and
might know how much God has aided the Christians at all times; for
because of that assistance we made tributary to our imperial majesty
all the eastern lands of the Persians. 2 Also [you will learn] how we
removed the relics of the holy patriarch James3 from Nisibis, a town
controlled by the Muslims, obtained tribute due us from them, took
away captives, and finally departed. Because of the arrogance and
pride of the AmIr al-Mu'minin,4 the ruler of the Mricans5 whom the
Arabs call the Maghrib [Arabs],6 this man came against us with
numerous forces and for a while put our troops in danger. However,
we defeated them with the great strength and assistance of God, and,
humiliated, they turned back like our other enemies. Then we moved
into the interior portions of their country and devastated many
regions with the sword. Mter this we swiftly departed and set up
winter quarters and paid all our cavalry forces.
"In the month of April we directed ourselves towards Phoenicia and
Palestine and advanced into these areas; moreover, we pursued the
abominable Mricans who had come to the region of Syria. Rising up
with all our troops and going forth, we came to Antioch and passed
through all the [former] regions of our empire; taking innumerable
captives and imposing tribute, we brought these areas to submission
and then reached the city of Horns. The inhabitants of the region,
who were tributary to us, came forth and received us with munificence. We reached Baalbek/ which is also called Heliopolis, that is,
the Town of the Sun, eminent, awe-inspiring, heavily fortified, and
opulent. The townspeople came against us in battle, but our
innumerable troops harassed them and slaughtered them with the
edge of the sword. Mter a few days we laid siege to the Town of the
Sun, and our troops took many captives, both children and girls;
moreover, they seized treasures of gold and silver and also many

30

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

animals. Going forth from there, we advanced to the great city of


Damascus and were intent on laying siege to it. However, the
governor of the city was an old and sagacious man, and he sent to our
imperial majesty and with many gifts beseeched us that the inhabitants. of th~ city not be taken into captivity and not be put into
servItude hke those of Baalbek, also asking that we not devastate his
region like theirs. The townspeople brought many costly gifts: many
h~rses, splendid mules, beautiful harnesses of gold and silver, and
trIbute gotten from the Arabs in the amount of forty thousand
dahekans of gold. They obtained officers from us and gave us a
written statement to the effect that they would perpetually be
serv~nts of our imperial majesty from generation to generation. We
apP?mted. as commander of Damascus a certain person called T'urk',
an IllustrIous man of Baghdad who entered our service with five
hundred horsemen and came to believe in Christ. He had formerly
served our imperial majesty. The Damascenes made a sworn pact
that they would ceaselessly give tribute to us and would honor our
imperial majesty and also would fight against our enemies. Because
of all this we did not besiege their city.
"Going forth from there, we went to the Sea of Galilee where our
Lord Jesus Christ had performed a miracle with one h~ndred and
fi~tY-~hree fish. We were intent on laying siege to the town of
Tib~nas also, but the townspeople came in submission to our imperial
majesty and brought us many gifts like the Damascenes had done
and also tribute in the amount of thirty thousand dahekans not
counting many other valuable presents. They requested that o~e of
our commanders be put over them and gave us an affirmation of
loyalty as had the Damascenes, promising to be subject to us
perpetually and to give us tribute ceaselessly. On that basis we left
them free of enslavement and did not plunder them because the
region was the native land of the holy apostles. We felt the same
way about Nazareth where the Theotokos, the Holy Virgin Mary;
heard .the good tidings from the angel. We also went to Mount Tabo;
and chmbed up to that place where Christ our God was transfigured
While we remained in the place, people came to us from Ramla and
Jerusalem to beseech our imperial majesty, looking for compassion
from us. ~hey asked that a commander be appointed over them and
bec~me tnbutary to ~s, swearing to serve us; all of these things
whIch they asked we mdeed did. s We also were intent on delivering
the ~oly sepulcher of Christ our God from the bondage of the
Mushms. We established military commanders in all the areas which

PART I

31

had submitted and become tributary to our imperial majesty; these


were Baisan (called Decapolis),9 Genesareth,10 and Acre (also called
Ptolemais), and by a written statement they undertook to give tribute
ceaselessly from year to year and to serve us. We went up to
Caesarea which is on the coast of the great Mediterranean Sea, and
they also' submitted and came under our rule. If the abominable
Africans had not fled to the coastal fortresses where they had taken
refuge because they feared us, by the assistance of God we would
have stood in prayer at the holy places of God.
"When we heard that the coastal inhabitants had fled, we then
brought to submission the upper part of the country,l1 subj ecting it
to the rule of the Romans and establishing a commander there. We
brought under our control [many towns], besieging and assaulting
those which did not submit; having captured them, we went by the
coastal route which leads directly to the famous, renowned, and
heavily fortified town of Berytus, which today is called Beirut.
Assaulting it, we captured the town after a violent struggle and we
took prisoner one thousand Africans, including Na.~ir, [the general ofJ
the Amir al-Mu'minin, and other very distinguished chiefs. In that
town we placed a commander and from there we intended to pass on
to Sidon. But when the Sidonites heard of this, they sent to us the
elders of their town. They came in great fear and beseeched our
imperial majesty, asking that they be made tributary to us and sen:e
us perpetually. We listened to their supplications and fulfilled theIr
desires taking tribute from them and appointing a commander over

them. ,Going forth from there we went to Jubail, 12 an anCIent


and
impregnable fortress; assaulting it, we captured the place an~ led its
inhabitants into captivity. Laden with much booty and captIves, we
passed through all the coastal towns on a rough and narrow road
over which other cavalry troops had never passed, indeed a slim,
confined, and poor road. Along this route we found attractive to~s,
which were well-populated, and impregnable fortresses over which
the Muslims were guardians. We laid siege to all these and razed
them to the ground, carrying off the inhabitants into captivity.
"Before we reached Tripoli, we sent a cavalry force of the thematic
and garrison troops13 into the defile called K'areres,14 because we
heard that the abominable Africans were ensconced in that place. We
commanded that an ambush be set up and thus we turned the defile
into a death trap for the Africans; [needless to say] our troops did as
we commanded. So two thousand of the enemy came out of hiding
and advanced against our troops, who either killed great numbers of

PART
MATTHEW OF EDESSA

32
them or took them prisoner, bringing them before our imper~al
majesty. In the same manner, whenever our troops met .up ";lth
fugitives, they captured them. We completely destroye~ Its vmeyards, olive groves, and orchards, and we ravaged and rum.ed all of
its districts. The Mricans who were there dared to go forth m battle
against us. We attacked them and slaughtered all of them to the last
manY; After this we captured the great town of Chuel, which is
called Jabala,16 also Valania,17 and Saone/8 and even the renowned
Burzuya19 itself. Thus there remained nothing up to Ramla and
Caesarea, neither sea nor land, which had not submitted to our
imperial majesty through the strength of the Uncreated God; for we
20
subjected to our imperial majesty all the lands right up to Babylon
and made their inhabitants our servants. In this way our imperial
majesty moved about this country for seven years at the head of a
large army. We devastated the towns and districts, and even the
Amir al-Mu'minin21 did not dare go forth against us from Babylon
or send cavalry to the aid of his troops. If there had not been
excessive heat and a route devoid of water to those places which are
near that city-which even your majesty knows [to be a fact]-our
imperial majesty would have advanced right up to Babylon; in any
case we chased the Amir al-Mu'minin22 to Egypt and we were
completely victorious through the grace of God who gave us our
crown. 23
20. "Thus all Phoenicia, Palestine, and Syria have been freed from
the bondage of the Muslims and have acceded to the rule of the
Romans. l Also the great Mount Lebanon has submitted to our rule'
all the Muslims who were found there, [comprising] a very great
number, we have taken captive and handed over to our cavalry
forces. We have governed Syria humanely and benevolently; we have
removed as many as twenty thousand persons from there and
resettled them in J abala. You can clearly see that God gave a victory
s~ch as has never occurred before. In that town of Jabala we
dIscovered the holy sandals of Christ our God, in which he had
roamed ab?ut wh?n he was on earth. We also discovered the picture
: our SavlOr, whlCh had been pierced through in times past by the
e,]s, ;lood and water issuing from it immediately' [one could also
see t e spe~r wound on it. In that town we als~ discovered the
ven:ra~le haIr of ~he head of the precursor, John the Baptist;2 and
iak~g It, brought It for safe keeping to our capital protected by G d
n e month of September, with the blessings of God, we brought ~u~

33

forces~ sustained by divine grace, back to Antioch.

Now we have
informed your majesty concerning all this, so that you might admire
these deeds we commanded and thus glorify the great benevolence of
God. You should also realize how many good things have been
accomplished in these times and how great the number of these has
been. For the rule of the holy cross of Christ has been expanded the
name of God being praised and glorified thl'oughout these place; [we
conquered]. Our empire has prospered because of the greatness and
strength of God, whose praises are on our lips. This empire God
brought to submission and placed under our aegis, for which the Lord
God of Israel be blessed forever.
21. "From the report l of Leon, the protospatharius 2 of Derjan3 and
military commander of Taron," we have learned that the fortress of
Aytseats',5 which you have taken for yourself, you have not given up.
Now we have written to our commander not to take the fortress and
not to seize the grain which you had agreed to deliver, because at
present we have no need of it. However, have the chrysobull 6 which
we sent, given to our commander, so that he may send it back to our
imperial majesty. In turn you shall receive remuneration for your
trouble and your crops in equal proportion to what you sowed all of
good quality. II
'
22. On another occasion the emperor wrote to the Armenian
vardapet, Leon, in this manner: "To our great philosopher Pandaleon,lpleasing and beloved to our holy majesty, greetings. We charge
you that on your return from the Muslims you be found in the holy
citY. or in Slesin, 3 after you have been to the shahnshah Ashot, our
spiritual son, and have moderated his anger against us, and after you
have taken Bagrat to Pap Hancawats'i and done the same to 5mbat4
Tornets'i, the protospathariu8. So make an effort to be in our capital
protected by God, for there we plan to conduct a splendid celebration
in honor of the [newly discovered] sandals of Christ and holy hair of
John the Baptist. Furthermore, we would be very pleased if you
would speak with our sages and philosophers; in this way you would
delight us a great deal. May God be with us and with you, and the
Lord Jesus with his servants." When the Armenian vardapet Leon
heard this, he went forth and came to Constantinople, where a
magnificent celebration in honor of the [newly discovered] sandals of
Christ and hair of the holy precursor was conducted. On that day
there was great rejoicing in Constantinople; and the Armenian

34

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

vardapet, in the presence of the emperor, discoursed with all the


sages of the Romans, showing himself invincible [in debate] with the
Greek doctors, for he answered to everyone's satisfaction all the
questions put to him. He and his mentor were lauded with much
praise, and high and respectable honor was shown him by the
emperor through .splendid .gifts. Thus, rejoicing greatly, Leon
returned to Armema, to the Illustrious house of Shirak.

among all the living; he was merciful towards widows and captives
and rendered justice to the oppressed.

23. After many battles and victories which the emperor Tzimisces
had pu~sued, th.e f~ar of death and the terrible judgement of God fell
u~on hIm. Bnngmg to mind the unjust death of the righteous
NlCephorus and the inn~cent blood [shed by his own hands], he
la~ented a~d wept and sIghed with grief. Then he resolved to lead
a ~lrtuouS hfe, so t~at pe;haps by repenting, the blood which was
~nJus~ly shed by hIm mIght be wiped away. He had held the
Impenal t~rone of the Greeks for only seven years. While he was
rem~mbenn~ all ~his, he thought of a brilliant idea and one which
~as ~n keepmg ":lth the will of God. He sent to Vasakawan, in the
dIstnct of Handzlt, and had brought to him Basil and Constantine
the sons of the emperor Romanus whom he had taken to Spramik out
of f~ar of the wicked empress, because she was very malicious. When
~asII was brought to Constantinople, Tzimisces assembled the
Important magnates of the empire of the Greeks and an imposing
ceremony t?O~ place. in the emperor's palace. 'At that time the
emperor TZImlsces WIth his own hands took the crown from his own
hea~ and ,placed it upon the head of Basil. Then he seated him on
the I;mpenal th~one and prostrated himself before Basil, handing over
to hlm the entIre empire of the Greeks. 1 Mter he gave Basil his
ancestr~l thr~ne, he himself went into solitude, and putting on the
monastIc habIt, went and lived in a monastery, He, who yesterday
was an emperor and today was living with the poor, ended his life in
~oluntary pover,ty, so that he might inherit the blessings of the Holy
. ospels and mIght payoff his debt for what he had done to the
mnocent person of Nicephorus.2

97~tBAt.~?e ~eginning of the year 424 of the Armenian nation [975aSI reIgned as father of all. He was the son of the senior
~omanus, th~ son of Con.stantine, and one of good lineage among the

. reek~. ThIS man BasIl, the brother of Constantine, was a ve


IllustrIOUS [ruler]. He reigned upon the imperial throne of the Gree~
and brought many rebels to submission. He had a good reputation

35

25. In this period a slaughter of Armenian troops took place in the


district of Andzewats'ik', in the camp known by the same name,
because of the treachery of the brave man Ablgharib. 1 For the ruler
of Andzewats'ik', whose name was Derenik,2 removed Ablgharib, a
mighty and brave man, from the generalship of his troops, putting in
his place a certain nobleman Sarkis. Mighty Ablgharib was hurt a
great deal. So he became an intelligence man for the forces.'! of the
infidels and made known to them aU the means by which the
Armenians might be taken by surprise [and defeated], saying the
following: "I shall not go forth in battle against you; now go forth at
night and come against our army; there shall be a signal for you [to
attack] my tent which is of ordan red,4 and my tent will stand pitched
on a hill and my troops will be with me." The infidel forces came
upon the Armenians at an unexpected hour, while the ruler [of
Andzewats'ik'] and his troops were making merry. On that night the
infidel forces fell upon the Armenian troops and caused a great
slaughter, many warriors and illustrious brave men dying. This .was
regrettable, for the battle was not fought at an opportune tIme.
Derenik was taken prisoner. Moreover, no one dared pass under
Ablgharib's tent, for he was near his tent and ready with his troops.
Then Derenik was taken to the town of Her [by the infidel forces].
26. On that day Varag and all the other monasteries invoked
grievous and strong anathemas upon Ablgharib. Hermits and monks,
stirred up against him, excommunicated and expelled him from the
church of God. However Ablgharib, coming to his senses, wept, for
he was a man of faith and a fearer of God and so he greatly regretted
the shedding of the blood of the brave Armenian troops. Then he
began to ask questions concerning Derenik, namely in what fortress
in the town of Her he was imprisoned. He was informed that the
emir Abu'I-Hajji1 had freed Derenik from his chains and always took
him to play ball in the maydan 2 outside the town of Her. When
Ablgharib heard this, he was very happy and, secretly sending to
Derenik said the following to him: "At a certain hour I will be at
that pla~e; with all your strength ready yours~,lf, mount a ch~~ce ~~~
swift horse, and in this way try to reach me. One day Abu I-HBJ.JI
went forth accompanied by many of his noblemen to play ball, and
with him also were a thousand men equipped with weapons.

36

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

Ablgharib, on the other hand, was waiting in ambush with fifty men.
Derenik asked the head groom for his swift horse, and he gave him
his equipment. Then the Armenian ruler pushed forward the group
[in which he found himself], directing it to the place where Ablgharib
was hidden in the wooded gardens of Her; then, vehemently spurring
on his horse, he left the group behind and thus escaped. The emir
Abll'IHajji and his troops, seeing this, very angrily pursued him.
Derenik, trusting in God, bravely went and took refuge with
Ablgharib. However, a certain Ethiopian from the infidel forces, a
brave and mighty man, pursued and came upon Ablgharib. Ablgharib roared like a lion and, falling upon him, savagely struck him and
cut the Ethiopian in two, splitting him from the head to the groin.
When the infidels saw this, they turned in flight. Then Ablgharib
signaled his brave men and, pursuing the emir Abu'IHaiji, caught up
with him. Intent on taking the emir from his horse, he pursued him
up to the gates of the town. The emir, like lightening, entered
through the gates of the town of Her. Then Ablgharib struck the iron
gate~ of the town with a steel axe and broke through the iron,
pushmg the axe clear through to the other side. This axe has
remained unextricated until the present time and has been fixed in
place like a bolt. In this manner brave Ablgharib freed Derenik from
captivity. This event took place in the district of Chuashs in
Armenia, in a village called Bak, bordering Vaspurakan.

the land of the Romans; rather he had hopes of escaping to the


Muslims, and so this wicked man went and entered the city of
Baghdad.s Leaving that place after three years, he came and died in
the land of the Romans, among his own people.

27. At the beginning of the year 425 of the Armenian era [976-977]
God summoned the holy Armenian patriarch, Anania, to himself.1 In
the presence of a great throng the most excellent and blessed Vahan2
was consecrated to the see of the Armenian catholicate. His lordship
Joht;, th: catholicos of the Albanians, presided over the assembly.
So, In thIS year, by order of Anania and the Armenian kings John
and Ashot,S his lordship Vahan occupied the patriarchal see of
Armenia, located in the renowned town of Argina. 4
28. In this period a certain wicked magnate called Scelerusl
rebelled against Basil, the Roman emperor. Gathering forces made
up of a large number of deceitful and wicked men, he gave the
country of the Romans over to the sword. With many troops he came
and entered Armenia, and this man, alienated from God, caused very
great slaughter there. The Armenian forces went against him and by
a .great victory van~uished th:t wicked magnate and, slaughtering
hIS troops, caused hIm to flee. But Scelerus did not dare return to

37

In the year 432 of the Armenian era [983-984] the holy


Armenian patriarch Vahan died, having occupied the see of St.
Gregory for five years. l His lordship Stephen,2 a godly man endowed
with all the good virtues which are in Christ Jesus, was consecrated
to the see of the Armenian catholicate. He was installed as Armenian patriarch by the order and blessing of his lordship Vahan. His
lordship John, catholicos of the Albanians, once again presided over
the assembly [which consecrated Stephen]. This all took place during
the reigns of the Greek emperor Basil, the Armenian kings John and
Ashot and Senek'erim; this Senek'erim was the son of Abusahl, who
in turn was the son of Ashot, son of Derenik, son of Gagik, of the
Artsruni dynasty from the lineage of Sarasar.
29.

30. During these times the wicked and abominable Persian tyrant
Mamlan, the chief emir of the infidels, 1collected troops and, rushing
forth in his ferociousness like a bloodthirsty serpent, came against
the Christian faithful, intending to bring much slaughter upon
Armenia. He came, advancing with a formidable and innumerable
army, and filled the mountains and plains with his troops. Shaking
from fear of this wicked man, the whole land trembled, for he
enslaved many areas by sword and fire. Burning down churches, he
deprived them of the blessings of God and spoke many blasphemous
words to the heavens above, to the Most High. At that time one
witnessed the great and frightful destruction of the Christians by the
terror caused by that wicked beast, for the wrath of his deadly poison
was shed upon the faithful like venomous bile. With a very great
army he came and reached the district of Apahunik', 2in the land of
the curopalatesS David, 4 the Georgian prince. This emir wrote a letter
to the pious and saintly man of God, the curopalates David, threatening him with strong words and saying the following: ItO David, you
who are a man abominable, wicked, and decaying in your old age, let
no one deceive you; for if you do not immediately send me ten years'
tribute, the sons of your noblemen as hostages, and a written
statement promising to serve me, I will come against you, arriving
quickly with my great might, and who will be the one who shall save
you from my hands? For I will bring upon you severe and harsh

38

PART I

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

suffering, 0 abominable and bitter old man.". With many such


threats he fulminated against him. When DavId read the letter of
the wicked chief Mamlan, he rejected it because of its harsh tone;
then he wept before God and beseeched Him, saying: "Arouse your
strength, Lord, and remember what you did to Rabshakeh and to
Sennacherib, the wicked king of the Assyrians. He also spoke such
words of wickedness, my Lord Jesus Christ; do not overlook those
faithful to your holy name. "5
31. Then he commanded his troops to gather together, his
noblemen and all his cavalry forces, including Vach'e, Tewdat, P'eron,
and other Annenian troops; also included were three thousand
infantry with bows and two thousand five hundred horsemen. The
wicked Mamlan was encamped in the district of Apahunik', in a
village called Khosons, with two hundred thousand men. Rising up,
David went against the ferocious beast Mamlan; at the same time he
prescribed prayers, entreaties, and supplications with much beseeching for the whole country, all in order to ask God for aid. Then David
went and encamped at the borders of the district of Apahunik' and he
appointed Kannrakel, a brave man, with eight hundred horsemen as
night guard. He himself passed the entire night praying to God. In
the morning watch a certain man from the infidel forces, who was the
chief of Mamlan's troops, approached with one thousand horsemen.
32. On that night the two sides clashed with one another.. The
light of the moon was intense, and at that time there appeared a
little rain upon the mountains, and they [the troops] all glistened
with lightning like the flames of a fire. When the infidel forces saw
the spectacle, they thought all that was an immense number of
Christian troops and so they turned completely in flight. Kannrakel,
seeing that they turned in flight, fell upon them with the sword and
ruthlessly slaughtered them as one would cut down a cedar grove.
He captured the ,,?fe of Mamlan and his war horse and immediately
sent them to DaVId, at the same time announcing to him the good
new~ that Mamlan had been struck down. The curopalates was still
praYl~g to ?od; and ,;hen he heard all this, he was amazed. Then,
pur~Ulllg WIt~ all theIr troops, the Armenians put the infidel forces
to flIgh~, causmg a severe slaughter. They took a very great number
of c~p.bves and booty of gold and silver. So the wicked Mamlan,
humIlIated, returned to his country and became very arrogant
towards God and did not look to heaven at all, nor did he offer his

39

unworthy prayers to God. 1


33. Mter a few years some noblemen entertained malicious
thoughts concerning the saintly an~ .righteous prince, ~a~id,
intending to assassinate him. These mahcIOus noblemen were SImIlar
to Cain and other murderers. Moreover, they persuaded the
archbishop of Georgia, Hilarion, to join them in their evil plan. This
Hilarion crucified God for the second time, for he mixed poison in the
life-giving body and blood of Christ and thus turned the source of all
life into the source of death. Mter the celebration of his homicidal
divine liturgy, he placed a portion of the sacrament mixed with the
deadly poison in the mouth of the saintly prince, in the presence of
God inside the church. The pious prince David, knowing this, said
nothing but taking an antidote, did away with the pain in his body.
Howeve~ the wicked bishop Hilarion still persisted in his evil design
and ent~red the prince's bedchamber while the pious David was
sleeping in a deep slumber; then, taking his pillow from under his
head, he placed it over David's mouth and, throwing himself ~pon
him with great force, the archbishop cruelly smothered the pIOUS
curopalates. A few years later, the em p~ror Basil seized the .wic~ed
bishop Hilarion, tied a great stone to hIS neck, and threw hIm mto
the sea, as well as the other noblemen who had intrigued with him.
Thus perished these men who indeed were worthy of all sorts of
maledictions, for the curopalates David carried the emperor Basil's
patronymic,l and because of that, Basil killed these noblemen. 2
34. In the year 434 of the Armenian era [985-986] his lordship
Stephen, the Annenian patriarch, diedl ; and his lordship ~he blessed
Khach'ik2 was consecrated as his successor, for Khach Ik was an
illustrious man and one versed in the Divine Scriptures. A let~er
came to him from the Roman metropolitan Theodore, who occupIed
the metropolitan see of Melitene; for Theodore was a knowledgeabl.e
man and erudite in the understanding of sacred books. The Armeman vardapet Samuel wrote a well-reasoned answer and one with wellchosen words to him. Indeed, this letter came to be accepted by all
those hearing it moreover it was held in high esteem by the Roman
metropolitan Theodore and by the Armenian catholicos Khach'ik. 3
35. During the epoch of the Armenian era, in the year 4?5 [98~987] a certain magnate rebelled against the emperor BasIl. ThIS
Rom'an magnate was Bardas Phocas1 and he devastated the greater
portion of the Roman empire; moving about, he went through the

40

...

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

land, killing and enslaving as he went. The Roman forces gathered


against him and drove him into the country of the Muslims, whence
he returned after one year and was killed by the emperor Basi1.2
36. In the year 437 of the Annenian era [988-989] there took place
~ violent ea~thquake throughout the whole world, and Saint Sophia
~n Constantm~ple collapsed. In this year the emperor Basil was
mtent on n:.akmg ~he Bulgars subject to his empire. Therefore, he
sent to Ali Osman, the king of the Bulgars, and to all the princes of
the country to come and prostrate themselves before his imperial
majesty. However, they did not heed the commands of the emperor
Basil.
37. The~ the e~peror Basil gathered together troops from all the
lands of hIS empIre and, full of rage, invaded the country of the
Bulgars, ravaging the land with the sword and enslavement. On the
other ha~d the B~lg~r king, Ali Osman, gathering together an army,
came agrunst Basil WIth many troops, and a violent battle was fought
on bot~ si~es. ~he Bulgar king defeated Basil and turned all of his
troops m flIght nght up to Constantinople. Much booty and captives
were taken from Basil's forces, and the emperor himself entered
Co~stantinople humiliated. Two years after, the emperor Basil once
agam collected t:oops and went against the Bulgar king, seeking
vengeance. Meetmg up with the Bulgar forces, he put them to flight
and drove them before him. Basil harassed the country of the
Bulgars with famine, sword, and enslavement, and then he turned
back and entered Constantinople with great rejoicing. 1
38. !hen the. year 440 of the Armenian era [991-992J began, the
Armeman ca~ohcos, his lordship Khach'ik, who had occupied the see
of th.e ;t\-rmenlan patriarchate for six years, died/ so his lordship
SargIs, who was a man erudite in the knowledge of the divine
precepts, was consecrated as his successor. He was pleasing to God
nd
.to men an~ was imbued with virtuous behavior; moreover, by his
ummous doctnne he enriched the church of God.

39. 1 In this same year the forces of Egypt called the Maghrib

~:bs, en~ered the territory of the city of Antiodh and devastated the

b t~re r~n. The Roman forces gathered together against them in


a e.
en the t.wo forces met one another, the Egyptians put the
Roman troops to flIght and took captive their chief officers, carrying

PART I

41

them off to Egypt. 2 Two years after, the great Roman nation went
forth and with many troops came against Armenia. Bringing the
sword and enslavement, the Romans mercilessly fell upon the
Christian faithful and passed through the land, killing savagely like
a poisonous serpent, in this manner being no different from the
infidel peoples. When the Romans entered Armenia, the forces of the
AI'Illenian noblemen gathered against them. When the two armies
met, they clashed savagely, each side bravely fighting the other; thus
both sides fought without one side being able to vanquish the other.
At that time one witnessed violent slaughter on both sides. However,
when the fierce battle grew intense, the Roman forces were defeated
by the Armenians; and thus the Romans, narrowly escaping and
humiliated, turned in flight towards their country.
40. In this same year the Muslim emir, called "Long-Hand, "1 went
forth and with many troops subjected the territory of Edessa to
devastation and enslavement, and thus very great affliction was
brought upon Edessa. The emir crossed over the great Euphrates
River and subjected that side which is on the confines of Armenia;
then he returned victoriously to the country of the Mricans. 2
41. It happened at the beginning of the year 446 of the Armenian
era [997-998J that a certain comet arose in the heavens and it became
visible with a horrible and dreadful appearance, bright and marvel~
lous.

42. In the year 449 of the Armenian era [1000-1001] a [solemn]


alliance and peace was made between the emperor Basil and the
Armenian king Senek'erim1 In this same year the death of the
marzpan Sahak, lord of Varazhnunik? took place.
43. In the year 455 of the Armenian era [1006-1007J the emperor
Basil gathered troops from all the lands of his empire and, moving
forth, went against the country of the Bulgars. He spent much time
in that country, conducting an extensive war. In those days a great
disturbance took place in the city of Constantinople and in the whole
empire of the Greeks, because on the important feast day of Easter
the Greeks had fallen into error concerning the celebration of the holy
day of the resurrection, [that is to say] of Easter. All the docto.r~ of
the Greek nation wrongly abolished the true precepts of the DIvme
Scriptures and adopted the false and fraudulent calendar of the

42

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

adverse [and opinionated] Irion. l These Greeks would not accept the
authenticated calendar of the eminent Andrew, but rather transferred
the Easter full moon from Sunday to Saturday and celebrated Easter
on the following day, which should have been celebrated after eight
days.2 Thus the whole Greek nation fell into error concerning Holy
Easter, and much affliction fell upon the holy church of Constantinople and especially upon the divinely-established city of Jerusalem,
for, puffed up with arrogance, these Greeks had transferred Easter
to the day of Palm Sunday. So the Greek nation on this matter acted
contrary to all the [Christian] nations and especially to Christ for
this nation of philosophers warred against the Holy Spirit. On that
Easter the lights of the lamps in the holy sepulcher which contained
God, in the city of Jerusalem, would not burn, because the Greeks
adhered to a fals~ opinion and thus celebrated their Easter illegally.
On that day the mfidel peoples who were in the city of Jerusalem
when they witnessed the Easter of the Christians inside the Church
of t.h~ Holy Resurrection, slaughtered with the sword all the
Chnst~ans, as many ~s ten thousand persons; thus the holy sepulcher
~f ChrIst was filled WIth the blood of those praying. To this day their
ones fill the grotto there in the western section of the city of
Jerusalem; these bones are now called "Th R l'
f th v.
People" N th'
'.
e e rcs 0
e .Loung
kW IS was the SItuatIOn the [would-be] intelligent sages
f
th
G
o e ree s brought about.

ki::do~;~~h~ emperor Basil had conquered and taken over the


rejoicing. He~ngU~t~~{ ~~ t~~!urned to Con~tantinople with great

the occasion of the celebration ;~ufhter, whICh had taken place on


~ages of the Greeks and asked t~ 0 y Easter, he ~ummoned all the
m different ways to mislead thee: the caus~. ':"Illfully they began
The emperor recognized their
mperor WIth Irrelevant answers.
they were false and erro
~sked answers and understood that
about the Armenianvardneo~s. ow for a long time Basil had heard
skillful in the knowledge ?ret~)e~a~e~ that they were invincible and
abbot of the Monastery of End 0 ~ ,~oks. He knew of Joseph, the
was Kozern.2 So he wrote the':::: ~, and of John, whose surname
to him in Constantinople s th at
king John to send these men
eaU5e of the controversy ~n~ th rom them he might learn the true
day of] Easter. However t~e~orrec~ [method for calculating the
. t rather by a letter compos:d wit~ v~ apets would not agree to go,
lll-depth analysis, they explained the egant words and containing an
e Whole matter to the emperor.

;ll1an

:St

PART I

43

Nevertheless, the clergy, being opposed to all this, did not agree with
the letter, until once again the emperor Basil sent to Armenia to the
shahnshah JohnS and to his lordship the Annenian catholicos Sargis;
through a firm request he had the Armenian vardapet Samuel, a
clever and invincible man, brought to him and had him seated in the
imperial court to speak to the Greek doctors. The Greek savants
used all the books of their tradition against Samuel, but they were
unable to move him from the truth. Then Samuel began with the
first day of creation and came to the most recent day on which this
event had occurred and before the savants he verified all the correct
reasons for the celebration of Easter, using the writings of the
theologians. Basil agreed with all the words said by Samuel.
However, the Greek savants said to the emperor: "0 sovereign
emperor, command to have brought here the eminent Hebrew doctor
who lives on the island of Cyprus, a skillful man and one erudite in
the calendar and in all the sciences since his childhood,lt So Basil
sent to Cyprus and brought over Moses, the Hebrew doctor. He, an
eloquent and imposing man, stood in the imperial court before the
emperor Basil; he began to discourse on the principles of the
calendar, shaming all the Greek savants and proving them in error,
while praising the words of Samuel, the Annenian vardapet. After
this the emperor was very vexed with the Greek doctors, depriving
them of their privileged positionsj on the other hand, he sent the
Armenian vardapet back to Armenia with splendid gifts.
45. During the reign of Basil, the Greek emperor, and in the year
452 of the Armenian era [1003~1004] a certain star, appearing in the
form of fire, arose in the heavens, an omen of the wrath of God
towards all living creatures and also a sign of the end of the world.
There was a violent earthquake throughout the whole land, to such
an extent that many thought that the day of the end of the world had
arrived. Like the time of the flood all living creatures shook and
trembled, and many fell down and died from fear of the intensity of
this wrath. After this outpouring of God's wrath a plague, called
khouik, l came upon the area and, spreading through many regions,
reached Sebastia. This plague clearly manifested itself on men's
bodies and, because of its harshness, many had no time to make their
confession or take communion. Man and beast diminished from the
land, and those remaining quadrupeds roamed about the countryside
without anyone to take care of them.

44

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

46, In the year 460 of the Armenian era [1011~1012] the emperor
Basil collected troops and went against the country of the Bulgars.
He conquered their kingdom and very fiercely devastated many
regions with the sword, He subjected the whole West 1 to plunder and
enslavement and exterminated the entire kingdom of the BuIgars,
fo~cing Alioskhan,2who was a brave man and king of the Bulgars, to
d~nk, poison, In this manner Basil took the king's life and, taking
hIS Wife and sons, brought them to Constantinople,3
47. When the year 4671 of the Armenian era [1018~1019] began
the ,di"~rine-rebuking wrath of God was awakened against all th~
ChnstIan peoples and against those worshiping the holy cross for a
fatal dragon with deadly fire rose up and struck those faithful
the
Holy Trinity, In this period the very foundations of the apostles and
prophets were shaken, because winged serpents came forth and were
mtent on spreading like fire over all the lands of the Christian
fait~ful. This ,,:as the first appearance of the bloodthirsty beasts,2
Dunng these tImes the savage nation of infidels called Turks
fathered tog~ther their forces, Then they came and entered Armenia
nh t,he, prov~nce of, Vaspurakan and mercilessly slaughtered the
C rtstlan faIthful WIth the edge of the sword.

to

,48, The news of this event reached King Benek'erim Th


David, gathering together forces of the n~~~~~~'
ViO~::~l~ i:g:I~~!d~I: ~~~ish ~a~p, and ~he two armies clashed
never seen 'furk' h
e,
ntIl that tIme the Armenians had
'furks
d ,IS cavalry forces, When they encountered these
found' t~:e st:a~he~l~:~i:nd having flo,"?ng hair like women, they
tomed to resistin garr
g, The Armeman troops were not accusinfidels, fully unsteat~~~ t~~verthe~ss, they bravely attacked the
courageous Armenian ann elf Swor s from the scabbard; thus the
many of the infidels H y bra{e~y rushed into battle and killed
wounded many of th~ ;::,ev~r, t e mfidels, shooting arrows, hit and
ua
to David: "'furn back 0 k: ; troops, Seeing all this, Shapuh1 said
part of our troops ha~e bee;'w~~~:e1~e the enemy, for the, greater
and defend ourselves a ainst h
yarrows, Let us Withdraw
the infidels by prepari!g oth t :se weapons we see in the hands of
r
their arrows," But David be7 yPes?f gannents which will resist
at;0gant with great pride a:J :~s~ous of his high r~nk, became
WIthdraw from the battle. Then Sh
ot .he,ed Bhapuh s advice to
apuh, IrrItated by this, ran after

~~ elde~t so~

45

David and, striking his back with his fist, vehemently forced him to
turn back. For Shapuh was a brave and mighty warrior, besides
which he had raised and educated David and, because of all this, did
not fear him. In this manner Shapuh forced David to withdraw
together with his troops. The Armenian forces went back to the city
of Ostan and related everything to King Senek'erirn, telling him
about the appearance of the infidels. 2 When Senek'erim heard this,
he became greatly distressed. He neither ate nor drank, but rather
became pensive, grief-stricken, and passed the whole night sleepless.
Sitting down, he examined the chronicles and utterances of the
divinely~inspired prophets, the holy vardapets, and found written in
these books the time specified for the coming of the forces and
soldiers of the Turks. He also learned of the impending destruction
and end of the whole world. In these books he found written the
following: "At that time they will flee from the east to the west, from
the north to the south, and they will not find rest upon the earth, for
the plains and the mountains will be covered with blood";3 and this
is what Isaiah said: liThe hoofs of their stallions are unfaltering."4
49, After this Senek'erim resolved to hand over the land of his
ancestors to the Greek emperor Basil and in its stead to obtain
Sebastia; so he immediately wrote to the emperor. When the
emperor Basil heard this, he rejoiced greatly and gave the Armenian
king Sebastia. In turn Senek'erim handed over the land of
Vaspurakan to the emperor, including seventy-two regional fortresses
and four thousand four hundred villages and the monasteries; he did
not give up, but kept, one hundred and fifteen monasteries where
prayers were said for him.l He gave all of this in writing to Basil.
Then the emperor asked the Armenian king to send him David in
royal splendor; so Senek'erim sent his son and with him the sons of
the noblemen; the bishop, his lordship Eghishe; three hundred packmules, laden with treasure and various articles; and also one
thousand Arabian horses. With such a splendid train David entered
Constantinople. The city was stirred up and everyone came to meet
him. The streets and palaces were decorated and the populace
strewed money on him [as he went forth], The emperor Basil rejoiced
greatly when he saw David and, taking him to Saint Sophia, made
him his adopted child, and the populace honored him as the
emperor's son. After this Basil gave David many gifts and sent him
back to his father, and he gave Senek'erim Sebastia with its innumerable surrounding districts, Senek'erim, going forth with his whole

46
MATTHEW OF EDESSA

household and people Z c


.
abandoned by its k' ' adme .to SebastIa;
and thus Annenia was
mgs an pnnces. 3

50. In the year 470 of th Ann .


forth to the East with'
e
eman era [1021-1022] Basil went
from the Armenian k' mnumeraple forces, demanding Ani and Kars
them OVer since he w::;' J oh~I the son of Gagik, resolved to hand
t~ hi.s Country and wrote ct~w~r y p~rson,2 Afte~ this Basil returned
orge
hU:i In submission, which the k:
, .the Georgian king, to come to
?o. So the emperor came a ain~~gh~eI~her accepted nor undertook to
In turn went against h' g
m m battle. The Georgian forces
brothers of Liparit 5 veh 1m; and Rat and Zoyat, brave men and
was killed for hl's'ho embently clashed with Basil's forces until Rat
b
'
rse ecame ca ht
.
rave Georgian perished th
ug In a muddy place and the
ere,. Then the Georgian forces turned in
flight; and Basil's troops
stayed there for three m~~t~rsUl~~i ~laughtered them. The emperor
submission and after this h s u~ 1 e had brought the Georgians to
6
Peter, the Armenian cathol' e wmt~red in Trebizond, His lordship
went to the emperor Ba 'I 1COS" an ~he holy vardapet John Kozern
and the emperor recei:;d ~=ng.~th them many religious objects,
fieast day of the baptism f
L WI great honor. When the great
lordship Peter and the:' our. ord arrived, the emperor honored his
a higher position than th~em~n vardapets; he had them seated in
lordship Peter, ordered the ::te;~~ates and, in the presence of his
pOured the miwron 7 of the h I '1' blessed. When the catholicos
the Holy Cross,8 an intense1; ~~/nt~ ~he water and blessed it with
and the river became block d n Ian Ire appeared upon the water
When the emperor and his t:o up at on~ place and would not flow. 9
Basil, bowing down, poured ~~! ~~: thIS, they became ~errified, and
under the guidance of his 1 d h' ssed water Upon hIS own head
catholicos returned to Arm or. SlIP Peter. After this the Armenian
w~ile Basil in turn secretl;~:ntden wi~h splendid gifts,lO Mter a
o Antioch, accompanied by three
faIthful men. Going up to th
P~g~akdziak, 11 he received Chr~sti ack M~untains to a place called
SPIrItual leader of the place d h an baptIsm from the superior and
father of the Armenian nat. an ~~ceforth became like an adopted
Ion ....

Bi

51. In the year 471 of the Ann .

~argi8, the Armenian catholicos ~~l~n era [1?22-1023] his lordship

Installed in his place as patri~rc~e 'I and hIS lordship Peter1 was
Powerful magnate of the Greek' .n the. same year a certain
natIon, NlCephorus, surnamed

PART I

47

ICrookneck,"2 rose up against Basil and summoned the Georgian king


George and the sons of Gagik3 to ally themselves with him. Out of
fear of this magnate David4 went over to him with the Armenian
forces, and thus Basil was greatly alarmed. The emperor sent
supplications to David so that he might extricate himself from this
dangerous situation, On the other hand, Crookneck had a great
liking for David and promised to install him on the throne of the
Armenian kingdom, but David did not wish to break the pact he had
with Basil. One day David went to Nicephorus's house on the pretext
of inquiring about a disturbance, and Nicephorus, coming forth,
embraced him and begged him to go back. But David signaled his
men, and they immediately killed Crookneck;5 and his forces, having
been scattered, fled. Basil, hearing this, rejoiced greatly and gave
Caesarea,6 Camndaw, and Khawatanek'7 with their surrounding
districts to David as gifts. After this the emperor with many troops
angrily marched against the Georgian king George, and a violent
battle was fought before the fortress of Dziawik',8 Fleeing, George
took refuge in this impregnable fortress and enrolled himself as a
vassal of Basil, giving the emperor his son as hostage. Mter this
Basil went to Persia and encamped before the gates of the town of
Her, and it was summertime. One day a violent snowstorm fell upon
the camp and the troops did not know what to do, So they turned
and fled from this very dangerous situation, and in the meantime the
land became flooded because of the enormous quantity of water.
When the troops came to one place, they were unable to pass because
of the mud and, gathered together here, did not know what to do.
Then the emperor commanded some of the infantry be slaughtered;
thirteen thousand men were slaughtered and were filled into that
place, and the troops passed over them. Going forth from here, Basil
wintered in Melitene. 9
52. In the year 471 of the Armenian era [1022-1023], during the
reign of the Greek emperor Basil, a fearful and horrible omen
appeared in the heavens and the wrath of God fell upon all living
beings. On the third day of the month of October, at the third hour
of the day, the upper firmament of the heavens was torn apart from
east to west; and thus the blue sky was cleft in two. A dazzling light
fell upon the earth from the northern portion of the sky, and the
whole land shook with a tremendous movement. Before the light
abated a horrible roaring and reverberating sound fell upon all living
creatu~es. Then the sun darkened and the stars appeared as in the

48

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

night. The whole land was filled with mourning, and shedding bitter
tears, all the peoples cried out to God. Then, after three days, all the
princes and noblemen gathered together by order of the Annenian
king John and came before the holy vardapet John Kozern, who was
a pious and religious man and indeed filled with the knowledge of the
apostolic and prophetic books. When the Armenian princes came to
question him and to learn about the miraculous appearance and the
omen, th~y sa~ the holy vardapet John prostrate on his face in grief
and weepmg bItterly. When they questioned him he answered them
painfully and with heart~rending groans and said:
"0 children, listen to me. Misfortune and disaster have come to all
mankind, ~or today is the thousandth year of the imprisonment of
Sat~n, .whIch our Lord Jesus Christ had brought about by his
crucIfixIOn and especially by his holy baptism in the Jordan River.
Nov.: Satan has been released from his imprisonment according to the
testlmony of the vision of the evangelist John, who was told by the
an~e1hof God that Satan would be imprisoned for one thousand years
~~s be en would be releas~d from his imprisonment. 1 Lo, today Satan
en released from his thousand- year imprisonment This is the
~:a:d::: ::dt~~Armenian era [~029-1030]; add to it the first five
thirt
y two years, whICh comes out to one thousand and
baPtrs~e~;6~~:~ :u~tract ~hirty years for the period before the
because of the fwfiIIm~n:o~ thiave 1000 years at the present. Now,
came about. Henceforth n~ 0 s p;~thec~ the rending of the heavens
of Christ and in the comma~ WI e a Ie to stand firm in the faith
bishop or priest abe'oh 2
menknts of God, patriarch or vardapet,
' 0 ay or mo
princ
I'
band together with
thieve b' d '
e or peop e. Pnnces will
take bribes and give u s'. ~gan s~ and plunderers, and judges will
wilderness and monasteri;:~n;er~lc~s. ~onks will forsake the
roam about the streets and
' tnflIng WIth worldly pursuits will
mon
and forsake the disci line
? women. They will scorn pr~yers
ways of the world anf pursuinth~~ mo~astic life, delighting in the
~at delight in diabolic son; e pra~ses of men. They will take
fnends and saying 'I know gb' bhecommg arrogant towards their
" reason they w'n
a out
not .' F
or thIS
d t armonyand me Iody and you do
There will be many despisers ~f I es ~oy the rituals of the churches
grumblers and accusers' and e~nmg, slothful and idle chatterers'
men,. for they will be stdbbornn~w ere will ~he truth appear amon~
era, Informers, liars, Prideful,' a~'~~7' despIsers of friends, slandergreedy, drunkards, and lechers ~us, p~esumptuous, conceited,
.
y chIldren, henceforth the

glorification of God by mankind will cease, and truth will not appear
among men. On the contrary, abominable and loathsome princes will
become rash and fall into error. They will forsake their concern for
the construction of buildings and for the successful outcome of their
undertakings;3 instead they will evermore dally in drunkenness
because of their love and desire for that evil and abominable disease.
The patriarchs, bishops, priests, and monks will be more avaricious
than pious. My children, henceforth the will of Satan shall be
executed among the sons of man more than the will of God. By
means of unworthy celebrants, which henceforth shall be the rule,
God shall vent his anger upon all living creatures, especially upon
those who celebrate the divine liturgy, since Christ shall be sacrificed
by the unworthy and distributed to the unworthy. Our Lord Jesus
Christ shall be wounded more by unworthy priests than he was by
his torment and crucifixion at the hands of the Jews, since Satan has
been freed from his thousand~year imprisonment in which Christ had
bound him. My children, I disclose all of these things to you, weeping
and lamenting with an oppressed heart, because many will be pulled
away from the faith, boastfully denying Christ. Thus it is because of
all these iniquities that darkness has taken hold of all creation. The
holy Armenian vardapet spoke in this manner concerning the
execution of the divine wrath. Moreover, he discoursed on many
other misfortunes which would befall the faithful; 10, all of these
things indeed came about, one after another, by the eruption of the
ferocious and savage nation of the Turks, those wicked and abomi~
nable children of Ham. 4

:r

49

1I

53. In this same year of the horrible omen [about which we have
spokenJ, the saintly Roman emperor Basil died, l having occupied the
imperial throne of the Romans for fifty-eight years.2 While he was
still alive, he summoned his brother Constantine and placed the
imperial crown on his head. He then installed Constantine on the
imperial throne and prostrated himself [before his brotherJ. Basil
entrusted his whole empire to Constantine and drew up a will in
reference to Armenia, which directed the new emperor to watch over
that nation with paternal care. Moreover, Basil entrusted to
Constantine the sons of Senek'erim-David, Atom, Abusahl, and
Constantine-and also all the princes of the Armenian nation,
enjoining his brother always to deal benevolently with the Christian
faithful. Basil reigned over the Romans for fifty-eight years. He led
a holy and chaste life and, having sincerely confessed his sins, went

50

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

to sleep in Christ Jesus and was buried next to the other saintly
emperors, leaving behind a good memory [of his life and deedsJ,
54. In this same year the Armenian king Senek'erim also died

~nd he. was ~aken to the cemetery of his ancestors where the form:r

Crme~lan kmgs were b~ried at Varag, at the Monastery of the Holy


ei~ss, there he was ?uned ~ext to his ancestors. The royal Soverng .ty of the Armeman natIOn was transferred to his elde t
aVId, because he was an illustrious and h
bl
s Son
having a fearful reputation throughout the la~;,ra e man and one
55. In this same year the G
' k'
son Bagrat 1 was instal1ed
~orgIan mg George also died, and his
country of the Georcria
as hIS Successor, reigning over the entire
b~ ns,
56. Now in this same year C

t'

r~igned over the whole empire of ~~: an me, the brother of Basil,
kInd and pious man compa' t Romans. Constantine was a
,SSlOna e toward
'd
'

~n d 1,ement towards all those guilt f ' s WI ows and captives,


Impnsoned released from the' h ~ 0 cnmes. For he had all those

the ~ndemned-which Basil ~~~ b~~: and als.o ordered the prison of
up wlth Gr~ek magnates-burned to and whICh he had indeed filled
throne, BasIl had secretly strang1 d the ground, Out of fear for his
of tkhe Gn;ek nation; their bodies :tilIthf :odst illustrious personages
nee s on Iron hooks. Wh
'
,c 0 e, were hanging b their
and ordered that they be ~~~~nstantIUe s~w this, he wept fo; them
~e found fault with his broth and t?e prIson burned to the ground
00& he have to di
er, saYIng: "When one is t d'
.
tranSitory anyway?" eCs o cruelly, since life itself is m to .1e, Why
th R
. onstantine
f
a enaI and
e oman empire and b
peace uny occupied the th
Hha~intgJoccuPied the thr~::v~;~nhtelY gOv~rned all the faithful o~o~~dof
ns esus aft h '
empIre for fi
.
behind a good er aVlng Sincerely confessed h~ur ,years, he died in
Indeed there ~:mory [of his life and deeds] he l~ ~lUs; t~us, leaving
deprived of such S great sorrow in the co~nt JOIned ,hIS ancestors.

~=Vi;~t~:~~::h~;:::~~:~i~~!;!~I?;:;Jt~:

an empIre, and the who1 I dmanus Occupied the


57 I
e an submitted t h'
. n the year 479 f
0
1m.
emperor Ro
0 the Armen'
manus Collected all th Ia~ era [1030-1031] the R
e .lorces of th
oman
e Country of the

51

Greeks. He marched forth with an army and reached the country of


the Muslims, and he came and encamped against the impregnable
fortress called 'Azaz, near the city of Aleppo. The Muslim forces
gathered together with a very great army and came against the
emperor Romanus. The emperor, becoming frightened, did not go
forth in battle against the Muslim forces and thus was cowardly and
vacillated;l for he was a weak and timid person, besides being very
malicious and a notorious blasphemer of the Orthodox faith.2 Because
of all this, his troops were in disagreement with him and so they
resolved to abandon him during the battle in the midst of the Muslim
forces and to flee from the combat so that the wicked emperor would
perish. Then one of the chiefs of the army, who was called Abukab
and who had formerly been the tent-guard of David the curopalates
of the Georgians, warned Romanus of the perfidiousness of his
troops,s When the emperor heard this, he became greatly frightened
and, rising up, fled during the night, accompanied by the nobles of
his court, Hearing of the emperor's flight, the Muslim forces pursued
the Roman army and caused a severe slaughter, as many as twenty
thousand men; thus the Roman forces were scattered over the whole
land,4 After fourteen days a certain peasant from the town of
Cyrrhus5 discovered the emperor Romanus, who had taken refuge
among some trees; he had grown so numb from the cold that he
seemed to be dead. Leaving his work, the peasant took the emperor
to his home, cured him, and brought him back to life; however, he did
not know who Romanus was, After a few days the peasant took the
emperor and sent him off with some men, When Romanus reach~d
the city of Marash, the remnants of his forces gathered around hIm
and took him to Constantinople, After a number of days had gone by,
the emperor summoned that peasant and made him commander of
the district of Cyrrhus and then, thanking him, sent him back to his
home with splendid gifts,
58. At the beginning of the year 480 of the Armenian era [1~311032] the emir of the city of Edessa, whose name was Shabal, dIed,

In this period two emirs resided in Edessa, Shabal and 'Utair, There
were three citadels in the city of Edessa; two citadels and two
quarters of the city belonged to Shabal, while one citadel and one
quarter of the city belonged to 'Utiar. Now each wa~ resolved, to
destroy the other. So one day 'Utiar invited Shabal to dm~er, takmg
him outside the city to a place called the Monastery of ArchlCh, where
there was a stone column right opposite the citadel. Both men had

52

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

placed each of their forces in an ambush, unknown to one another.


When Shabal signaled his forces to kill 'Uj;air, 'Utair's immediately
came forth and killed Shabal. Then 'Utair gathered together his
troops against the chief citadel belonging to Shabal and was intent
on taking it by assault, A certain Salman was the commander of the
up~er citadel, and in a severe assault 'Utair put him in dire straits.
Bemg weak, Salman sent to Nat3ir-ad-Daulah,l the chief Muslim
emir, who resided in Maiyafariqin, and handed over the citadel of
Edessa to him, Na~ir-ad-Daulah in turn sent the prefect2 Bal-al-Ra'is
to the citade~ of Edessa with a thousand horsemen and had Salman
broug~t to, hIm, toge~her with his wife and children, giving Salman
splendId ~fts, Thus Utair was able to do nothing; so he feigned an
accord wIth the Erefect Bal-al-Ra'fS, secretly resolving to kill him.
When Bal-al~Rals h:ard this, while both :men were seated at a
bfanhquet outsI~e the CIty, he killed the emir 'Uj;air and seized control
o t e whole CIty of Edessa,
'lH
when the wife of'Utair saw that her husband had been
kIe,
I dwehverb'
s e ravely rose up aga' t B I I R'd
.,
t d d
ms a -a - a IS an ralsmg a black
!a~~ ar , made an ap~eal to all the Arabs, saying; "The 'furkishs
havIeonk,hllasd comehanbd seIzed the ancestral city of the Arabs 4 and they
1 e my us and the em' 'Ut ' "I
h'
to gather to ethe
'
Ir. aIr. ntIs way she was able
Ra'is Whe! N- ~ many troops and, going forth, came against Bal-alwith 'many tro:pt3~r-~dU-Dt ~~lah eeard this, he came against the Arabs
, , rur s Whe marched
. t N-' d
and in a violent battle turned h' ,
.agams at3lr-a -Daulah
Im
descended upon the prefect Bal_ Ill,_flIght; th:n she came and
assault against the citadel B' al-~ IS, launchmg a formidable
find a way out of the sit 't' el.ng we ,!3al-al-Ra'fs was not able to
informed him of the da ua lOn, so, sendmg to Na~ir-ad-Daulah he
i~ dire straits and withn~:oa~f ~it~~tio~ he ~as in a~d said: "I' am
hImself, Naf)ir-ad-Daulah s t S I _rdlstan, Not bemg too strong
had Bal-al-Ra'is brought b ~nt ~ man to the citadel of Edessa and
less, 'Utair's wife did not~e 0 IS to~n ofMaiyafariqin. Nevertheday. Finally Salman, exhaus~:~ ~at~lng against Salman day after
to the Roman commander M ' y :r assaults, sent to Samosata
wrote to him and sal'd, "If alllaces, also called George Salma-n'
h' h
.
you can obt ' f:
.
~ Ig ~08ition and the cornman
aI? ~om the Roman emperor
Edessa mto your hands" Wh Md o~ a dIstnct for me, I will delive
happy d I
.
en amaces he d thi h
r
an 80 emnly promised th t h
ar
s, e became very
R
;~an emperor all that he as~ed e woul~ ?btain for him from the
C 1 ren hereditary lands and a h' h or! ,f51Vlllg to him and to his
19 POSItIon, So SaImll:summone d
au

Maniaces and handed over the citadel of Edessa to him. The Roman
commander went forth with four hundred men and at night secretly
came to the gates of the citadel. Since Salman knew of his coming,
he took the keys of the citadel and went to Maniaces; then he
prostrated himself before the Roman commander and turned over the
citadel to him. On the same night Salman took his wife and children
and passed over to Samosata.
When the Muslims heard of the coming of Maniaces, they set up
a formidable resistance against the Roman commander; numerous
companies of troops gathered against Edessa, and as the Muslims
attacked the city, many of their number who lived there left. But the
Syrians fortified themselves in the Cathedral of Saint Sophia; for,
because of their women and having much gold and silver, they did
not dare enter into the citadel, being afraid that their possessions
would be seized. Nevertheless, a few days after, many of them
together with all their possessions perished by fire. Those who
remained took refuge in the citadel with Maniaces and were thus
saved. For the Muslims had organized a great assault against the
Cathedral of Saint Sophia, placing a catapult against the northern
wall and vehemently bombarding the church until it was completely
demolished' then throwing fire inside, they had burned many to
death and thus i~numerable possessions and provisions belonging to
the city's inhabitants had been destroyed, After this episode all the
Muslims were roused and came against Maniaces, Yet the Roman
magnate trapped in the citadel of Edessa with four hundred men,
displayed tremendous courage. The most eminent emirs arrived from
their respective territories6 to the city of Edessa, from Egypt and from
the whole country of the Babylonians. Even Shabal of Harran, who
had been wounded by one of Maniaces' servants, a man called Uzar,
came; this man had come in the capacity of a messeng~r and thus
was without suspicion and, when he approached the emIr! attacked
him striking him upon the shoulder with an axe; then thIS servant
of Maniaces rushed to the moat of the town with the rapidity of an
eagle and took refuge in it, but his horse perished ~ecause of a sever~
wound. [Here are the other distinguished Mushms who n:arche
against Edessa]: the emir Salip. came from Aleppo, Mah~u~ from
Damascus, Muhammad from Horns, al-'Azlz from Egypt, ~h,from
M b' ' 'Abouliah from Baghdad, Quraysh from Mosul, N a!,l1~.-ad
n::laf; from Maiyafariqin, 'Ali from Amida, .Ba:hlr fr?m JazlratIbn-'Umar,7 APmad from Khlat', Zura8 from Bahshs ~usam fr~m Hefo
Kutan8 from Sa1mast, Ahi8 from Arzan, Ahvar from Cteslphon,

53

54

MATTHEW OF EDESSA
S

Ahlu from Basra,l1 VreaynB from Kerkeser,12 Shavar from Nisibis,


and forty more emirs. All these emirs gathered together against the
citadel of Edessa and harassed it throughout the summer with many
assaults.
59. After a number of days the Muslims resolved to burn down the
entire city and then withdraw. However, the inhabitants, by means
of many entreaties and bribes, prevented them from doing this. They
said that the Romans, surrounded by Muslim territories, would not
be able to hold Edessa, but in a short time would be forced to
abandon the city and flee, everyone returning to his own country.
These words sounded reasonable to the Muslim emirs. So, after
many harassments and assaults, all the Muslim forces returned to
their respective lands. Maniaces, ensconced in the citadel of Edessa
foug?t on, while the natives of the city and the surrounding regio~
contmued to fight back day and night. At one point Maniaces and his
men were put in dire straits, for the provisions of the citadel were
exhausted; thus they were forced to go into the houses of the city in
order to look for provisions. 1 At this time the emperor sent for
Salmlin and, taking him and his sons, elevated them to high positions
~~d. g~ve them command over many districts, and so they became
:~lans. Every year the emperor sent reinforcements to Edessa
~n e had a fortress built in his name, calling it Romanopolis. ~
evertheless, the Arabs of the adjoining areas harassed the Roman
orces a ?Teat deal along the route from Samosata to Edessa. Every
~~ar ~n mnumerable amount of Christians were slaughtered- words
pil: u~~:e :oh:~at~fhow the bones of th~se that pe.rished a~peared
p stones. Thus Mamaces was m great danger
So the emperor Romanus
r i d t b'
. ,
.
the backs of men D . :~o v~ 0 rmg prOVISIOns into the city on
bearers" came an'd urm~ e mght sixty thousand Roman provision
, passmg over the E h t R'
towards Edessa. Now there wa
u~ ra e,s Iver, advanced
countryside except for Lt 4 ~ot one VIllage m the surrounding
Shipip6 fell upon-them a ~r.
~n the Romans reached Parsur/
slaughtered the sixty th~u~~uJsumg. t~em right up to Desnadzor,7
such dire straits as this un:; prov~sIOn bearers. Edessa was in
finally vanquished the e e l 4~e CIty became strengthened and
the Muslims, and so tran~u~rt ~n t~e emperor made peace with
tion of Christians ceased T~! rel;gne in Edessa and the persecuAshot Ba~atuni8 and dU;in t~~ a t?ok place du~ng the reign of
the Anneman catholicos
rt:~tnar.chate of hIS lordship Peter
.
ve e ess, In the reign of Tughrul, th~

N!

PART I

55

sultan of the Persian empire, 9 the city of Edessa was captured by the
Muslims.10 Finally, after all the afflictions, hardships, and torments
which brave Maniaces had endured, Romanus replaced him and gave
the command of Edessa to Abukab, the tent-guard of David the

curopalates.
60. At the beginning of the year 481 of the era of the Armenian
calendar [1032-1033] there was a severe famine throughout the entire
land. Many people died because of this famine and many sold their
women and children for want of bread. Because of the intensity of
the hardships, whenever one spoke, he yielded up his soul. In this
manner the land was consumed by famine.
61. In the year 484 of our era [1035-1036] the emperor. R?m~nus
died1 because of a perfidious plot by his empress. For thIS ImpIOUS
woman gave the emperor poison to drink, thus killing him. 2 So
MichaelS was installed on the throne of the Greek empire by order of
his empress, 4 who was the daughter of Constantine.
62. In this period king David, the son of the ~enian ki~g
Senek' erim died and passed on his hereditary sovereIgnty t~ hIS
brother Atdm. This Atom was filled with virtue, justi~e, and samtly
conduct in Jesus Christ; moreover, he was imbued WIth ge~tleness
and graciousness, was compassionate towards the afflIcted, a
supporter of the poor, a protector o~ monks, and [last but not least]
a builder of churches and monastenes.
63 In the year 484 of the Armenian era [1035-1036] the Muslims
marched forth with many troops and came against. Edessa. They
passed over to the other side of the great Euphrates River and, : ;.the
sword and enslavement, subjected the whole land to d evas ~ I~:.
Many Christians were led into captivity to the country ~ ~
1
Muslims Moreover, the Muslims ravaged Alar and Sewa~:~ bl and
filled th~ fountai,ns and water-conduits of t~~~;~;:t~\he bf~od
Because of all thIS severe slaughter, the Ian
fi
thered
of the Christians. In this same year the Roman orces 19a the
and
. t the Mus rms
together and came agams
I,
. their genera was
ber of
2
brother of Michael, the Roman emp.eror. :~t~e ~~~~~e ~~~tened
horsemen he reached the town of M~hte~e'b ~tl When the Muslim
and did not go up against the MuslIms III a e.
Th"
what
troops heard this, they returned to their own country.
IS IS

56

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

the Roman troops did; and they did not dare


. .
the Muslims, rather they peacefully withd e~ter t~e temtones of
their own country. On their return th rew m or er to return to
ey plundered the Christians
more than the Muslim army had. 3
64. At the date of our calendar rna k d b
Annenian era [1036~l037] the
d rke y the year 485 of the
. h f I
horrible appearance For as itsun
b ar ened
d k WI.th a f rIg
t u and
.
"
ecame
ar
at
the
cru
.fi'
f
Christ, In the same manner the sun' l' h
.
CI IXlOn 0
clothed it. The luminaries of the h s 19 t was hIdden and darkness
and the whole sky was stretched o~~~~~ turned ~loomy and black,
a vault m darkness. The
sun became blackened at m' dd
as they would in the middl: of an~ ~~ the stars appeared in toto
grew intense, all creatures cried toe mg . The darkness and gloom
hills resounded. The mountains a~~h~r, and all the mountains and
foundations], trembled' the va t I a ~the rocks, shaken [to their
back and forth, billow~d, and !ll arge k' editerranean Sea, moving
happened that, when mankind sa man ~nd. mourned and wept. It
fear as if dead At that t
thw all thIS, It was horror~struck with
father wept ove~ his son r:;:;eS t e .~on w~pt for his father and the
their parents. Mothers aftl t de~tlhed WIth fear fell into the laps of
flIre, wept before their Sons
'
IC Ie WI h a severe c
tIOn
' as
.If by
onsump
horror~struck and were bes'et ~ suc a manner all creatures were
escape. Frightened by the h y .~tr, and they could not find an
stupefied and horror~struck
orri e omen, they were altogether
At that time the Armenia~ t h
John sent eminent men to Jotnat~Iarc ,his lord~hip Peter, and King
Koze;rn, so that they might I
.; holy. Arme~Ian vardapet,l called
extraordinary omen For h earn om hIm the mterpretation of this
austere conduct an' inte
e was a holy man and admired for his
t
God, and filled ~th doct:r::l er of th~ Old and New Testaments of
the Armenian vardapet-Gr;races. nd~ed those who were sent to
eminent Sargis of the
~ory Maglstros, son of Vasak' the
noblemen and priests
race 0 Hayk; and also many Arm~nian
-were sent so that the
. ht I
second . appearance of this fearful om
y mIg earn about the
Armeman vardapet they found h'
en. When they went to the
and. his garment w~s drenched in ::.:rostrate and in deep sorrow,
s'. Because of the profuseness
of hIS weeping and the hea
one dared to ask him anyt~ groa~s whIch arose from his mouth no
mourning and in tremendous m~. or they saw that he was in d~ep
ef
and beating his breast. At thfs ~nd was ceasel~ssly shedding tears
pomt the Armeman princes sat next

PART I

57

to the vardapet John and up to the sixth hour of the day they did not
dare say anything or ask about the fearful omen; all those who had
come to him [merely] wept together.
Then, when the Armenian vardapet saw the lamentation of all
those who had come, opening his mouth, he began to speak, while
groaning and shedding many tears. He wept over all the nations of
the faithful; he wept over the priestly order, over the destruction of
the purity of the holy sacrament; he wept over the church of God and
over the dissolution of the divine precepts which had been kept by the
church. Then he began to speak to the Armenian princes in the
following manner:
ItO my illustrious sons, listen to these words of the distressed and
grieved John. For today the thousand years of the torments of the
crucifixion of Christ have been completed and also the releasing of
Belial, who had been confined by the Savior in the Jordan River, [has
come about]. This is what was shown to us by the first omen forty
years before, as we predicted, and now once again the omen has
repeated itself; for first the heavens were rent and the earth became
obscured. In this year the luminaries became darkened and also all
of creation; for henceforth all the nations who believe in Christ will
walk in darkness. Also henceforth the institutions of the church of
Christ will be obscured by all the nations of believers. They will
slacken from fasting and prayers and will no longer believe in the
future life. Fear for the judgement of God will be scorned, and true
faith will disappear from all the nations. Piety will grow weak;
people will loath the precepts of God and will be hostile to the words
of the Holy Gospel of Christ. Everyone will put themselves in
opposition to the holy precepts of God and will scorn the words of the
holy vardapets and will disregard the commandments of the canons
of the holy patriarchs. Because of this, many will fall from the
heights of faith and will stay away from the doors of the holy church;
because of the negligence of fasting and prayers, they will become
blind to the true religion. Many will come under the yoke of
anathemas, for they will not accede to the divine counsel of the words
of the holy prelates. Sons will be cursed by their parents because
they do not obey them, and parents will be tormented by their
offspring. The compassion of love for friends will fade from fathers
and from their children. Henceforth many schisms will enter the
church of God because of the negligence of the patriarchs; for they
will become feeble and weak and will not inquire into the faith,
rather they will become brainless as fools. For the sake of silver they

58

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

will forsake the faith, and benedictions will diminish from the house
of God. The fear and the horrible dread of God's judgement on that
fearful day, which is to come about, will disappear and be abolished
from all minds.
, "People will forget the recompense of the upright and of the

smn~rs, for they will be sinful and covetous of the evil way, With
longmg they will go to the meeting place of sin, for the land will be
p~lluted by the kings, princes, and prelates, The prelates and princes
WIll becom,e open to bribery, liars, and petjurers and, [falling] into the
hand of bnbers, shall pervert their judgments of the rights due to the
poor. Bec~use of ,this, God will be even more angry at them, since
they e:rercIse theIr. leadership and power with partiality and not
. accordI~g to [the wIll ofJ God. They will rule over the destinies [of
~en] WIth absolute power, rather than directing and teaching them
m the fe~r of God as the holy apostle Paul commanded, The princes
and th~ Judges will become whoremongers rather than godly men.
~ey WIll s~orn holy marriage and cling to the disease of harlotry and
wIl! glory In th~ ruin of people like themselves. They will honor
traItors and thIeves and will unjustly seize the possessions of
laborers; [~nal1y] they will be more strict in their judgments than is
necessary In order to carry out justice,
"My dear children, henceforth the doors of the holy church will be
close? be:au~e of the disputes between the spiritual leaders, and the
holy mstitutlOns, [?f the church] will be abolished from every nation.
Becau~e of ~vanC1ousness, they will ordain many unworthy people
a~~ W1~1 brmg all the defiled ones into the priesthood. Then the
dIvme ht~rgy of Chri~t will be in the hands of unworthy priests; and
many, WIll undeservmgly take communion from them, not for
salvatIOn but for the condemnation and destruction of their souls, In
some places and among different nations there will be found true
celebrants of the holy mystery of Christ, through whom God will have
~ercy on the world. My children, they will hurt the saintly and
VIrtuous; they will turn away the pure from the priesthood because
they do not have money and will not ordain them, As we said forty
yea;s a~o, when the, other omen appeared, many will fall away from
th~lr, faIth an~ rehgion, and the clergy will grow slack in their
rehglOU~ practIce., They shall become lecherous, longing after
perverSIOns, and WIll take great delight in diabolical songs Monks
shall fle,e from the wil~erness and scorn the holy company ofhermits.
They WIll scorn and dIshonor the habits of former religious people.
They shall become confounders of order and piety and shall eschew

PART I

59

the psalm-singing of God. All these things shall take place~ my


children. Because of this, the spiritual leaders of the country WIll be
filled with avariciousness. They will promote all those fallen and
separated from the grace of God the Son and will bring them into the
priestly order. All the rejected ones they will place over the people
of God as chiefs and leaders. They will not know what they do, for
they will be blinded by the intensity of their avariciousness.
"I have even more to say concerning all these things. For henceforth Christ will be pierced with a great wound by unworthy priests
even more horribly than his crucifixion and suffering at the hB;nds of
the Jews' for whatever is lacking in the Jews will be supphed by
these un~orthy priests. The following words will be heard: 'Friend,
why have you come to this marriage banquet?' Then, ~ying his feet
and hands they will throw him into the darkness outslde, and that
which he ~athered will be heaped upon him for his destru.ction. 2 My
dear children all this will take place in the final days, SInce Satan
has been rel~ased from his thousand-year confinement in whi~h
Christ kept him through his crucifixion. Neverthele.ss, there w~ll
appear true believers in Christ who will st~nd agaInst. Satan m
combat. For Satan's goal is to battle agaInst the saInts who,
protected by the precepts of God, p~rs~st i~ the norm~ of the true
confession of Christ our God and eXIst In dIfferent nabons, ~ence.
forth there will take place invasions by the infidels, the abommable .
forces of the Turks, the accursed sons of Ham, against the Christian
nations' and the whole land will be consumed by the sword. All the
nations' of the Christian faithful will suffer through famine and
enslavement. Many regions will become uninhabited. The pow:er of
the saints will be removed from the land and many churches wIll ?e
destroyed to their foundations. The mystery of the cross of Christ
will be annulled' and as wickedness increases, the feast days of the
saints will be sdspended. Sons will be incite~ ag~nst their, fathers
and fathers will hate their sons. Brothers wIll nse up agaInst one
another and will attempt to destroy each other by homicide an~
bloodshed' they will disavow the compassion and love of brotherh~
ness' the blood of their brotherly bond will dry up, and by acts such
as these they shall become as the wicked. The land will be thrown
into confusion by wicked nations; bloody dew will cover the plants of
the fields, and the land will be ravaged by the sword and enslavement for sixty years.
.'
.'
"Then the valiant nation called the Franks wIll nse up, WIth a
great number of troops they will capture the holy city of Jerusalem,

60

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

and the holy sepulcher which c t' d G


ad will be freed from
bondage. 3 Mter all this th I don, ame
e an wIll be tormented with the sword
and enslavement for fi
suffering shall be sev~~kars by tht~forces of the Persians, and this
formerl end d
es more an that which the faithful had
be terri~ed ~e . Thus all the nations of the Christian faithful will
Roman forc~s ~cI~~~~ of ,the tre~endous amount of harassment, the
at the hands of the p!~~~:~d ~ll. su~e~ much death and slaughter
the sword and enslavement . t'l :~r ~ Olce soldiers will be killed by
hope of salvation But aft' un 1 4e oman forces finally give up all
to strengthen the~selv~s a~~ ~~me years, they ~ill begin gradually
will be found everywher~ y; e remnants of t~eIr former regiments
and establish themselve' ea~ by ~ear t~ey Will advance gradually
that time the Roman e s as ru e~s In vanous lands and regions. At
and, like an eagle rap~reror WIll b~ awakened as if from a sleep
great army; as nu~erou y come agamst the Persians with a very
s as the sands of the seashore. He will march
forth like ; burnin
The Persians and ~gre, and all creatur~s will tremble in fear of him.
side of the Pyramus R~he fo~es of the mfidels will flee to the other
rule over the whole ::~~t ~n the Roman emperor will completely
whole land and lay the fi ry or, many years. He will restore the
that way it '11 b
oundatlOns for [future] prosperity' and in
WI
e renewed as it was befo th f1 d 5
'
of men and beasts will m I ' 1
re, e 00 . The offspring
water. The fields will ~:J y, and the sprmgs will gush forth with
famine will come upon t:e c uc~ more than before. From then on
such an extent that people :~ of~he ~eJsians for many years, to
ac an evour one another. Out
of fear of the might of the R
leave their towns and region~~~~ e~f~ror man;y Persian chiefs will
side of the Pyramus River All ,~ out wamng, flee to the other
and silver collected for m~n
theIr acc~mulated treasures of gold
treasure-an amount i
y year that IS the entire mass of their
Romans will take from pmm~asura6le like dust and pebbles-the
infants, little girls, and :~:::n~l~~rry off.to thei: country. All the
country of the Romans Pers' ~l; b edcamed offm bondage to the
by the Roman forces, ~nd th~a WI e evas.tated and made desolate
firmly under the aegis of the :a:~~ soverelgn~~ of the land will be
John spoke these things' thO
emperor. The holy vardapet
Armeman
' princes go, sendin
In
th IS manner
' . Afte r thOIS h e Iet the
back to their Own country. g em away m peace, and so they went

:ft

65. In this period1 the Arm'


,
eman pnnce Gandzi collected troops

PART I

61

and, going forth, captured from the Persians the town of Berkri, 2
located in the East. He slaughtered the whole town in toto and
consumed the forces of the Muslims with the sword. For many days
he battled against the citadel and put its occupants in dire straits,
many perishing in the moat. However, during these assaults the
Armenian troops were negligent and in a heavy state of intoxication.
Khetrik, who was the emir of the town of Berkri, seeing the disorderly state of the Annenian troops, sent a message to his townspeople to
come to his aid. The infidels gathered together and came forth and
found the Armenians totally unprepared [for battle]. In the morning
they attacked the Christian forces and severely slaughtered them.
On that day the distinguished Armenian prince, Gandzi, was killed,
and his son Tachat inherited his lands. In this way Gandzi and all
his forces perished in the town of Berkri. 3
66. At the beginning of the year 486 of the Armenian era [10371038] his lordship Peter, the Armenian catholicos, secretly left his see
and went to Vaspurakan because of some difficulties. For the king,
all the lords, and the military magnates of Annenia would not heed
the divine precepts of God. 1 His lordship Peter was in Vaspurakan
for four years and stayed in the Monastery of Dzor,2 which the holy
patriarch N erses 3 had built. There was incalculable sorrow in
Armenia due to his leaving the patriarchal see. Then King John and
all the Armenian lords wrote a deceitful letter to his lordship Peter,
saying that they were obedient to his precepts and followers of the
enlightened doctrine which he expounded, They wrote this letter,
taking a solemn oath, and they set up as mediators the Roman
commanders, who had come to the country as military governors. His
lordship Peter was deceived by their false oath and returned to his
see. When he was about to enter the city of Ani, his lordship Peter
was put in prison for a year and five 4 months by order of King John.
The king sent to the Monastery of Sanahin5 and had brought back the
distinguished Dioscorus, the superior of that monastery. He came
and was set up as the adversary of his lordship Peter. Dioscorus was
installed as catholicos on the patriarchal see of the Armenians for one
year and two months, but not in accordance with the will of God.
Because of all this, this eminent orator Dioscorus became very greatly
deceived and lost the immeasurable respect which he had [in the
past], and there was no one who would accept ordination from him,
which indeed was the prerogative of the holy see, His name was not
proclaimed in the churches with the other patriarchs, for he was

62

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

regarded as unworthy of that honor. Thus there was great sorrow


throughout Armenia. The bishops, priests, and chief prelates were
not ?resent at his consecration. He in turn, defying everyone,
o~damed unworthy people to the episcopate. Also he called to his
SIde all ~hose ~~o, because of their public sins, had been removed
f~om theIr POSItIons by former patriarchs. On the other hand, the
bIshops an~ vardapets of Armenia excommunicated the king and all
t~e ~eman lords because of the antagonisms which had developed
WIthIn the church. Then the king and the Armenian princes
trembl.ing from fear of these anathemas, became willing to return hi~
l~rdshlp Peter to his see, but for many days he did not take it upon
hImself [to go]. Everyone asked him for forgiveness, but he absolutely refused. Then the king and all the Armenian princes wrote a
letter. to the Albanians and summoned his lordship Joseph, the
?athohcos of the .country of the Albanians, so that he might come and
Int?~cede on theIr behalf and install his lordship Peter in the city of

An

1.

67.

In the year 487 of the Armenian era [1038-1039] a great

as~embly of bishops, chief prelates, monks, vardapets, noblemen, and


pnnces took place in the city of Ani, as many as four thousand
person~. The elderly Joseph, catholic as of the Albanians, presided
over thIS. assembly. The assembly brought much grief upon Dioscorus, for It .vehemently condemned him, refused to honor him, and
d~posed hIm from the patriarchal see. All those ordained by
DlOscorus ~ere. excommunicated and not one of these was allowed to
p~rform ~IS pnestly function. His lordship Peter was installed as
DlOscor~s s s~ccessor on the patriarchal see, and thus peace was
reesta~hsh?d In the holy church of Armenia. Dioscorus went back to
Sanahm, hIS monastery, very much ashamed of What he had done. 1

6~ ..In the year 489 of the Armenian era [1040-1041] a comet with
br~lhant appearance became visible. It appeared in the western
POrtIO~ of the sky at the beginning of the evening and moved along,
followmg a ba~kward path. It touched the Pleiades 1 and the moon
a

and then, turnmg towards the west, disappeared.

69. In the same year the Bulgars rose up against the Romans
The Roman emperor Michael collected troops from the whole empir~
of the Greeks and with a very great army went against the Bulgars.
Full of rage he devastated and enslaved many regions and, sword in

PART I

63

hand, reached the borders of the Bulgar kingdom. The forces of the
Bulgars in turn gathered together against the Greek emperor. On
that day a severe slaughter took place. The Bulgar forces defeated
the Roman troops and caused them to flee, pursuing them with the
sword. On that day all the plains were covered with blood, and the
emperor Michael took refuge in Constantinople. Thus the Bulgars
strengthened themselves at the expense of the Greeks, recaptured
their own country, and were delivered from servitude to the Romans.
70. In this same year the Armenian king Ashot Bagratuni,1 the
son of Gagik and the brother of John, died. He left behind his son,
named Gagik,2 who was fifteen years of age. Ashot was brough~ to
the city of Ani and was buried in the vaults of former Anneman
kings. During his lifetime Ashot did not enter the city of Ani except
on the day of his death because John greatly feared him, for he v:'as
a brave and mighty man. Mter the death of Ashot the Anneman
forces grew slack and scorned the art of war. They became subject
to the Roman yoke, they reveled in drunkenness, and they took
delight in citterns3 and in the songs of singers. They departed from
the unity [they had maintained] with one another and they no lon~er
came to each other's aid. They [merely] shed tears for the land whlch
was being put to the sword, weeping together for its destruction and
at the same time delivering up one another to the sword of the ~reek
nation; they thus despoiled their kin and went over to the SIde of
their enemies.
71. In this period the great emir of the Persians, Abii'l-Uswar,l
collected troops from the nation of the infidels, as many as one
hundred and fifty thousand. Full of rage he came and attacked the
Christians. With venomous wrath he entered the country of the
Albanians into the region held by David Anhoghin2 and brought much
affiiction to the faithful. David, fearing the enormous number of the
infidel forces, did not go forth in battle. On the other hand, the
wicked Abu'l-Uswar captured many districts and four hundred
regional fortresses. Remaining there for .on~ year, he br~ught the
greater part of the country under his subJectIOn and was ~ntent on
marching against David. David, being powerless, sent to King John,
who reigned in Ani, and said to him: "Abu'l. U swar has captured ~n
the regions of Armenia and is coming ~gainst m~. If you do. not aId
me, I will go to him in submission, WIll serve hlm as a gulde, and
thus bring desolation upon your district of Shirak. When John
113

64

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

heard this, he sent four thousand


t D'
.
to the ruler of Kapan 4 and h . ~en 0 aVld. LIkewise David sent
In this manner he threatene~ I~ u~I?- gave him two thousand men.
e
5
king sent four thousand men to his ai~ng,: the A?kh~zes, and that
his troops, as many as ten th
d ' d en DavId hImself collected
Albanians, saying:
ousan ,an sent to the catholicos of the
"This nation of infidels co
.
faith and they are intent on ::~rag~lll~t us b~cause of our Christian
ers of the cross and on exte . OY1~g e ordlll~n~es of the worshipfitting and right for all the fa7:::~~t:ng the Chn.stIan ~aithful. It is
to die for their Christian faith N 0 go forth wIth theIr swords and
an bishops who are in the cou~tr ow gather tog~ther all the Annenicamp so that you might die with ~Z~r the Albamans and come to our
The catholicos did all this ad' .
lordship Joseph went to the ca~ n f ~th t'":o .hundred bishops his
superiors of the monasteries t pot e ChrIstIa~s. He wrote to the
~ c~me together WIth all their monks
and join the Christian fore
deacons of the country of :~. A~ r~ught together all the priests and
all the regions, saying: "If t~ere bamans and proclaimed th;oughout
martyr's death 10 the
t ~ any man or woman deSIrous of a
presented itself to ~s at t~r:~.r UllI~[for s~ch a martyrdom] has
him immediately come to us "ll~e.. oever IS ~evoted to Christ, let
sons and mothers with th: d aVlllg heard thIs, fathers with their
r
faithful. The plain was co.: aughters c~me to the camp of the
like [huge] flocks with their lPletbely filled WIth a very great throng,
. I
am s.
HaVlng
earned of this Abu'l U - s,":ar mocked at all that was taking
place, and advanced and c
Then David commanded th:~~ ~galllst t?e forces of the Christians.
and priests that each one tak . e p~oclalmed to the bishops, monks,
only a cross and the Gospels o~ ~~~~~ ha~ds .as his weapon of battle
the swords of the enemy. S th
h n WIth these march against
W
the Gospels; the forces of th~ wi ek doe camp took up the cross and
of priests stood opposite them. ~a~d arr;roache~, and the multitude
brave men went against the infidels. ' Whturn, WIth twen~y thousand
one another in combat the . t .
~n the t.wo armIes engaged
?o~, weeping. The land rest:~~e~ I~t~n~o~ ra~sed their voices to
fi w
t elr VOIces, and they said:
Arise, Lord, help us and save
The forces of the faithful then r:n or t~e glory of your holy name."
the infidels as one would pI
p . ged mto the midst of the army of
them]. Then the priests i:nge.mto the sea and disappeared [among
and forth and, gOing toward u~son moved the Christian cross back
s e enemy, fell upon them . A burmng
.

PART I

65

zeal took hold of them and they struck at the infidels, and the infidels
in toto turned back in flight. The Armenian forces pursued them
sword in hand and for five days frightfully slaughtered the infidel
troops to such an extent that the plains and mountains were covered
with blood. They seized innumerable treasures of gold and silver and
much booty, while the remaining Persian troops, narrowly escaping
with their lives, naked and barefooted, took refuge in their own
country. The country of the Albanians stank because of their filthy
corpses. In three days David had control of all the districts which the
infidels had formerly captured and with splendid gifts sent away all
the troops who had come to his aid. From the booty [he had taken]
he distributed many articles to the bishops, priests, and to all those
who had come to him, and then sent them away. Thus peace was
reestablished.
72. In this same year a certain wicked and evil prince from the
noblemen of Senek'erim went to the Greek emperor and severely
denounced Atom and Abusahl, the sons of Senek'erim, saying: "They
are intent on rebelling against you and thus causing you annoyance
and trouble." The emperor Michael, having heard this, believed these
falsely spoken words. He sent his acolyth 1 to Sebastia with fifteen
thousand men to bring them to him so that they might not escape,
and the acolyth reached the city of Sebastia with his troops. When
the sons of Senek'erim heard this, they became stupefied and at the
same time frightened. They saw that the prudence of the acolyth was
not equal to theirs and thus were afraid to go with him.
73. Then prince Shapuh said to Atom and Abusahl: "Do you wish
me to scatter the Roman forces throughout the fields?" As he said
this, he put seven coats of mail one on top of the other and struck
them with his sword, breaking off pieces of the iron mail. The sons
of the Armenian king said: "Let it not be this way, rather we will go
with those summoning us." They gave many gifts to the Roman
general and went with him to Constantinople. Upon entering the
city, they went weeping to the tomb of the emperor Basil and threw
the paper containing the oath given to them on it. 1 Then they said:
"You have brought us to the country of the Romans, and they
threaten us with death. 0 our father, vindicate us before our
accusers!" The emperor Michael, hearing such wisdom, marvelled
greatly and ordered the denouncer done away with.

66
MATTHEW OF EDESSA

74. In the year 490 of


.
the Armenian kin J h t?e Armeman calendar and era [1041-1042]
vaults of former
0 ~ dIed and was buried in the city of Ani in the
son of Gagik who . ~eman kings. He was the brother of Ashot the
Ashot the Ir~n of ~~;rtt;td~~s the son of Ashot, 1 son of 5mbat, s~n of
heard of his death th a I meage.. When the nation of the Romans
to Armenia and de~as:a::.p.ero~ MIchael collected troops. He came
John, while he was alive It WIth ~he sword and enslavement. For
?tatement decIarin that ,ha~ glVen to the Romans a written
In return for thl' s g
. afther hIS death Ani would belong to them'
~A
promIse
e rec'
filll-een
years and aI o h'
elVe d gI'1ts from the Romans for'
princes of Armeni: : Igh r~.2 After the death of John one of the
lineage of Hayk ':rrl; perfidIOus man named Azat3 Sargis' of the
Armenia as a gift 1 ~nne~ the Romans that he would give them
kings and carried 'it
:elzed the treasury of the former Armenian
fortress. He brought u dO t~ Abkhazes and ensconced himself in a
intent on reigning ove~ t~re s cont~ol many country towns 5 and was
would not accept him Ii h ArmenIans. But the Bagratid dynasty
, or e was of the lineage of Hayk.6

0';

75. In this same year the


because of David Anhogh' h' ~ wa~ much slaughter in Armenia
Rising up against the ~~ni:! ~fficial of the Armenian king John.
to the Sword and to
I
kmgdom, he subjected many rections
.
ens avement and 'th
o~
passed Into Armenia' for ha' I 'ft h WI many troops came and
had come against Ar~eniV1ng e t e cou.ntry of the Albanians, he
devastated] by his troops w,::' Th~e regions were burned [and
bIe fires there. After this' he 0 ~aused much suffering and innumerato his own home.
re urne to the country of the Albanians
76. In this same year for th

agains~ Armenia, and because e t~::~nd tIme the Romans marched

Arm.eman forces, many places subm 'tt d~as hno commander for the
of this, great destruction was b
1 e
0 t e Romans; now, because
one hundred thousand Roman t rought on Armenia. At that time
of Ani and encamped before its gr~ops ~ ered against the royal city
forces gathered around th a es.
e remnants of the Armenian
1
Pahlawuni and begged him ~ :~7a;t~~m~ander-i~-chief Vahram
army, for the Roman forces h
In attle agamst the Roman
violent blaspheming and manad ~omelt to battle against them with
. forces
b ecame filled with rage' and fu y. msu 'ts. So th.e Armeman
thirty thousand men both root ~~~dS' WI h wrdhath hke ferocious beasts,
,
lers an orsemen, went forth in

Ut

PART

67

total battle array towards the gate called Tsaghik.2 Like lightening
they threw themselves upon the Roman troops and turned in flight
those very arrogant and haughty forces, pitilessly slaughtering them
with the edge of the sword. The Akhurian River, which was located
nearby, was turned into blood. Because of the cries of the ferocious
Annenian troops, the fugitives were unable to flee, but rather stood
stupefied and were delivered to the mercy of the sword. This was a
very frightful day for the Roman forces, for out of twenty thousand
men only one hundred remained. Then the saintly and distinguished
commander-in-chief, Vahram Pahlawuni, interceded and with many
supplications made entreaties to the Armenian forces through a
deputation; he was barely able to get them to agree to allow the
Roman troops to withdraw [unhannedl. In this way the remnants of
the Roman troops were saved. No longer did the Roman forces seek
to capture the city of Ani; rather they turned back humiliated and
went to Constantinople to [the emperor] Michael.
77. At that time a lad eighteen years old, named Gagik, l from the
same scion of the Bagratids, appeared. He was the son of King
Ashot, who was the son of Gagik, son of Ashot, 2son of Abas, son of
5mbat, son of Ashot the Iron. This lad Gagik was very wise, pious,
and religious. All the Armenian lords assembled before the patriarch
his lordship Peter, and Gagik was anointed king over all Armenia by
the grace of the Holy Spirit and at the behest of the distinguished
prince;3 thus at his behest the virtuous and illustrious Peter4 anointed
Gagik. This [distinguished] prince was of the lineage of Hayk and a
Pahlavid by descent. His name was Gregory like his ancestor, and
he was of the lineage of Saint Gregory.5 He shone forth as a second
Samuel, he who anointed David king over all Israel. 6 This prince,
who was very pious, religious, and invincible among learned men,
made Gagik king over Armenia. Using his wisdom, he endeavored to
establish on a firm base the throne of the kingdom of the Armenian
nation and begged God to aid him, as well as the Pahlavid dynasty.
78. At that time Gagik, supported by his troops, seized Sargis and
subjected him to various kinds of tortures, until against his will the
Armenian king obtained control of the fortresses, districts, towns, and
his entire hereditary treasury, all of which Sargis had seized. At this
time, because of the benevolent will of God, the Roman forces became
pacified, and they no longer continued to seek after the city of Ani
and to make war upon the Armenians. By that time, through the

68

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

grace of the Holy Spi:it, two successful years of the reign of Ga .


had gone by. Indeed, m these days King Gagik collected troo
gik
went and marched through the country of his ancest
b' p.s, and
the rebellious to submission and fiercely push' b o~'hi nngmg. all
Going forth with a great number of troo s l~g ac
s en~mles.
province o~ Ayrarat in .order .to wreak venie~ncee u~~:a~e~a~~:~~
the south. Then the IllustrIOUS prince G
th
Pahl'
dc
regory, e son of Vasak
awum, prepare Lor batt~e and, going forth with his troo
encamped near the Hrazdan RIver not far f
th
ps,
Bjni. The infidel forces came against the ~m ~ great fortress of
severe battle took place The Armen' t
rmeman troops and a
forces, causing a great ~laughter on t~~ bro~s ~e[~a~d the Per~ian
and taking prisoner the Turkish h'
an s o. e razdan RlVer
the infidels] fled to Persia.
clefs, after whIch the remnants [of
79. At that time, inspired by evil thou ht h
were stirred up [against the A
.
g s, t e Greeks once again
hypocrisy of the deceitful Chris~:n~~~iJ~~gh ~he treachery and
necessary for us to change hl'S
' d
oghm. It has become
name an call him Daw't'lb
h
t
h
pu t e Christian peoples into the b
f'
. I, ecause e
became afflicted in spirit because
y~s 0 tnbulatIOns. He h~mself
up to eternal torments in the b
hflds calum~y and was dehvered
a yss 0 estructlOn.

:r

80. In this same year the Roman


.
1
from the whole empire of th G k emperor MIchael collected troops
forces who were under R e ree S and also from those Armenian
Vaspurakan With
oman rule, in Sebastia, Taron and all
y Micha;l came to the West and,
enslaving the whol~ :~r:nfreat
those that had rebelled H y 0
~ ~oths, brought to submission
to him and then return~d t e~ompe e the whole country to submit
o
the emperor Michael died. onstantinople. A short while after this

t:

81. His nephew, who alread


place.! He occupied the imperial ~hwas made caesar, reigned in his
for he had a malicious mind and t~onebno longer than four months,
undoing, as it is written' S. us ecame the cause of his own
companion will fall in it hi~~el~~Piu~e: d '~e who digs a pit for his
he was not conscious of his .. n ee e became so arrogant that
of Zoe, the daughter of th actIons; for he even dared to cut the hair
a whore, and then exiled ~ e~peror .Const~ntine, as one would do to
the patriarch of Constanti;r 103 an ~sland I? c~ains. Also he seized
op e an put hIm In a prison in chains,

PART

69

because he wished his family to inherit the imperial throne; indeed


this whole family was corrupt and wicked and very destructive for
the empire. After a few days help came to the patriarch from God;
disguising himself, he escaped from prison and, fleeing, took refuge
in Saint Sophia. The entire city of Constantinople was stirred up
against the caesar, and there were frightful combats within the city.
On that day a severe conflict and slaughter occurred on both sides,
and the entire city was overflowing with blood; even Saint Sophia
was inundated with a great amount of blood. Finally the patriarch
was victorious over the caesar, who was seized and blinded.
Moreover, his whole family was exterminated, and the empress Zoe
was brought back to Constantinople with great pomp:!
82. In the same year the illustrious Armenian prince Khach'ik was
killed together with his young son, named Ishkhan, both in the
province of Vaspurakan. The inhabitants of Her and Salmast1
gathered together and invaded the district of T'onrawan. 2 The news
reached Khach'ik that the infidel forces had entered his territory. He
was a brave man and always victorious in battle and from a highborn
lineage with the militancy of an eagle. However, he now had become
old and left behind the military life; so, sighing heavily, he was
indeed sorry, for his eldest son, the brave Hasan, and [his other son]
Chnchghuk together with their troops were in the West, accompanying the emperor Michael. Yet the Armenian prince Khach'ik was
unable to resist the opportunity and, going forth with seventy men,
came against the infidels; but his son Ishkhan he kept at home, for
he was a boy of fifteen.
When Khach'ik came upon the infidels, he saw that they had many
troops. He cried out to his men and, joining battle, vehemently
attacked the infidels and felled many to the ground. Then he saw
that his young son had gotten away from [the place] where he was
kept and had come to the battle. Now, when Khach'ik saw this, he
became very disturbed, for Ishkhan was only a boy and also very
handsome. Ishkhan rushed forth like a lion cub and vehemently
joined the combat. Catching up with him, Khach'ik took hold of him
and sent him home. However, escaping, the son joined the battle
once again and did so bravely, though quite foolishly. When the
enemy learned that he was the son of the brave man Khach'ik,
surrounding the boy, they seized and killed him. Seeing this,
Khach'ik lost his strength and the sword fell from his hands. When
the infidel forces saw this, they rushed upon Khach'ik and seized and

70

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

killed him. Then the remnants of the Armenian troops turned in


flight towards their homes.
After a few days the sons of Khach'ik returned from the West.
They had learned of the death of their father and young brother, and
they came dressed in black and wept profusely. Then Hasan
summoned a Kurdish chief who inhabited a region bordering on his.
Giving him a thousand dahekans, he said to him: "Go to Her and
Salmast and say that the district ofT'onrawan and the whole country
round about is devoid of inhabitants. Tell them not to stand by idly
while flocks of sheep with their shepherds aimlessly roam about."
!he Kurdish chief went and did what Hasan had asked. So the
mfidels gathered together, as many as fifteen thousand men and
came and entered that district. The Kurdish chief then cam~ and
related this to Hasan and Chnchghuk. Hasan in turn gathered his
tro~ps and five ~housand men and, raging like a wounded beast,
rapIdly came agamst the army of the infidels. With an anguished cry
Hasan calle.d out to the front line of the infidels and said: "Let the
man who kIlled my father Khach'ik come forth." A certain robust
~egr; came forth ~~d, crying out, said: "I am the one who killed the
l?n- earted Khach ik and here I have his war horse and garment and
::dstandard a~d sw~rd." Seeing all this, Khach'ik's son Hasan wept
infidersn~~:a!~~~! ~~ .~,:ordth ra~idlY came into the midst of the
him to the ground' t~ m~ k~ egro, he cut him in two and felled
returned unh
en, a mg the horse and standard, Hasan
arme. Chnchghuk, the brother of Hasan, calling out
l'n the sa
me manner said' IIWh . h
IShkhan? Let h'
'
' . 0 IS t e one who killed by brother
brave Pe'rsian c~:~of:~ut ~n the.open so that I might see him." A
killed Ishkhan and here ~.' CryIng out, said: "I am the one who
and sword" Lik l' ht ~e IS white horse, bright-colored standard

.
e Ig enmg Chnchghuk c
.
h'
'
h1m;
then, taking the horse d t dame agamst 1m and killed
Hasa~. Mter this Hasan c:e~ o~tan ~~d, he returned to the side of
forth mto battle The A
.
to IS troops and bravely rushed
and slaughtered' four tho~::~n/~~o~s turned the enemy in flight
nians, with much rejoicin t
0
elr men. Mter this the Armetheir mourning garment:' urned back and at the same time took off

Edessa, collected troops against Monomachus. He put a crown on his


head, gathered under him all the western regions of the empire, and
obtained support for himself among the inhabitants of all the Roman
lands, Out of dread and fear of him the entire West gathered under
his banner, for he was strong and brave in battle. Then the emperor
Monomachus collected troops, all the Greeks and others from the
forces of Annenia and, rising up, went to the lands of the West
against Maniaces, who through his prowess sought after the imperial
throne. Because of Maniaces, great fear fell upon the Roman forces.
However, before the two side met in battle, the anger of God fell upon
the forces of the western regions, and the ever-victorious Maniaces
died unexpectedly;2 [only then] was this danger removed from the
empire's midst and peace reestablished. All the rebels fled, while
some were subdued, and the emperor returned to Constantinople.s

83. At the beginning of th


1044] Monomachus,l also c:d:~rc~; of t~e Arm~nian era [1043Romans. In this year the R
stantme, reIgned over the
war, for the general Maniacesom~nsfi were forced to endure a severe
,w 0 ormerly had captured the city of

71

84. In this period the wicked Sargis began to hatch his malicious
plots. Suggesting the following to Monomachus, he said: "Summon
Gagikl before you in Constantinople on the pretext of friendship and
then through trickery take the city of Ani from him. When the
emperor Monomachus heard this, he became very happy, and the
seed of malice aimed at the destruction of the Armenian kingdom
began to grow in his heart. He wrote a letter to Gagik, the Annenian
king, including with it a very solemn oath; he was so outrageous that
[with this letter] he sent to the Armenians the Christian Gospels and
a relic of the holy cross of Christ, as a proof and a guarantee [of his
sincerity]. In this manner he summoned the Armenian king on the
pretext of friendship and of meeting with him.
When Gagik heard this, he refused to agree to this duplicity, for he
well knew the perfidiousness of the Romans. However, the perfidious
Sargis and the other noblemen who had advised Monomachus came
to Gagik and encouraged him to go, saying: "0 king, why are you
afraid to go after such an oath, confirmed by the dispatch of the
Gospels and the holy relic of Christ, has been given. Have no fear
concerning us, for we will die for you." They made his lordship Peter
guarantor [of their sincerity] and on that day took a very solemn
oath. The holy sacrament of the body and blood of the Son of God
was brought forth and a pen was dipped in the vivifying blood; then
the patriarch and all the Annenian princes signed the written oath
[with this pen]. Only then did the Armenian king Gagik. go to
Constantinople to the emperor Monomachus. Very excited, the whole
city came to meet the Armenian king with great pomp. He was taken
II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

to the emperor as was fitting for a king, and Monomachus honored


him for several days. Then the apostate and perfidious men, who
before had taken the solemn oath with the blood of God as a
guarantee, sent the forty keys of the city of Ani to the emperor
Monomachus and with these a letter stating that the city of Ani and
the entire East2 was his. The emperor summoned Gagik and, placing
the keys of the city3 and the letter before him, said to the Armenian
king that Ani and the entire East had been delivered into his hands.
Gagik, recognizing the perfidious deed of these men, wept profoundly
and said: "Christ will judge between me and those who were
deceitful to me." Then King Gagik said to Monomachus: "I alone am
lord and king of Armenia; therefore, I will not deliver Armenia into
your hands, for you have deceitfully brought me to Constantinople."
For thirty days Gagik persistently refused to yield, but when he could
not find a way out, only then did he deliver Ani into the hands of the
Romans. Monomachus in return gave the Armenian king KalanPeghat and PiZU;4 moreover, he did not allow Gagik to return to the
city of Ani, but had his ancestral lands placed under the control of
the Romans.
Thus Gagik became an alien among the cruel and malicious nation
of the Greeks. Nevertheless, wherever the Armenian king went, he
caused the nation of the Greeks much distress through his various
deeds which brought disgrace upon them; for, because he was a king,
he was feared by the Romans. Yet Gagik always nurtured profound
grief in his heart for [having lost] his ancestral throne, which the
apostate and perfidious nation of heretics had treacherously seized. 5

Armenian forces very victoriously returned to the city of Ani. On the


other hand, the Roman troops, humiliated, went back to their own
country, while the paracoemonenus wintered in Aght'ik'.2 When the
Armenian forces learned that King Gagik would no longer be coming
to the East and recognized the perfidiousness of the Armenian lords,
all of Armenia wept to the last man. All the inhabitants of the city
of Ani assembled where the tombs of all the former Armenian kings
were located and wept over the abandoned Armenian nation [now
bereft of a ruler]. They wept for their royal throne and, deeply
lamenting, wept for their king Gagik. Moreover, they wept for the
Bagratid dynasty and invoked grievous curses against those who had
betrayed Gagik. However, when the inhabitants of the city and all
the Armenian forces realized that they were powerless, they submitted; then, writing to the Roman commander, the paracoemomenus,
they took an oath to submit to him and summoned him to the city of
Ani. So Ani was delivered into the hands of the Romans, and the
power of the Bagratid dynasty, being dislodged [in this manner],
collapsed.

72

85. Now at the beginning of the year 493 of the Armenian era
[1044-1045] the emperor Monomachus collected troops from the whole
count~ of the Greeks and sent them as a formidable army to the
East In order to take control of the city of Ani. He appointed the
paracoemomenus, l who was a eunuch, as commander. At the head of
many troops, this man came and reached the gates of Ani. The
emper~r :was intent in establishing this eunuch as governor of
Armema In place of the brave Gagik, whom he no longer allowed in
the East.. However, the Armenians who were in Ani refused to give
up the ~lty, but vehemently clamored for their king and blasphemously Insulted the Romans. Then all of Ani in toto rose up in battle
close by the gates of the city. The Armenians turned the Roman
forces in flight and pursued them, slaughtering them [as they went];
moreover, they completely annihilated the Roman camp. Then the

73

86. In the year 494 of the Armenian era [1045-1046] the violent
wrath of God fell upon all creatures. For the Lord God looked upon
his creatures with anger, and a fearful and horrible earthquake took
place. The whole universe trembled in toto according to the words of
the prophet, who said: "Who looks at the earth and causes it to
tremble?"1 At this time all of creation shook in this same manner.
In the district of Ekegheats'2 many churches were shaken and
collapsed to their very foundations. The town called Erznka8 was
completely demolished. The earth was torn open, and men and
women sank into deep abysses; and for many days the sounds of their
screams issued forth from these places. It was summertime, and day
after day during that period the earth4 shook. We are incapable of
describing the wrath and turmoil which God brought upon all of us
living creatures because of our sins. During this same summer there
was darkness and gloom upon the earth to such an extent that the
sun and moon took on the appearance of blood, although, when the
vault of the sky appeared, it was clear. 5

87. In this same year during the days of autumn the Roman forces
moved forth and went against the city of Dvin. As they engaged in
combat, the wrath of God fell upon the Roman troops, and they were
defeated by the infidels and turned back in flight. Much slaughter

74

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

75

of Christians took place, and many of the Roman troops fell by the
sword or were taken captive. Among those Christians who were
killed in this great battle at the city of Dvin was the illustrious
Armenian commander-in-chief Vahram, together with his son
Gregory.

Dvin with a formidable army and innumerable troops and encamped


before its gates. It was the winter season, and because of the severity
of the cold and the whipping force of the copious rains, he was unable
to do anything; so, withdrawing undefeated, he marched and went
back to the country of the Romans.

88. In this same year a great calamity, having its origin in Persia,
befell the Christians. There arose and came forth three men from the
court of the sultan Tughrul1 -Poghi, Puki, Anazughli2 -and with
many forces reached the country of the Muslims. s Taking countless
prisoners, they came and encamped on the banks of the Arean River"
in the territory of Mosul. Then the commander of Mosul, called
Kuraysh, [who also happened to be] the lord of that city, collected
troops and came against them with his Arab forces; a violent battle
was fought on both sides. However, the Turks defeated the Arab
forces and put them in flight, taking their women and children into
captivity. At that point the Muslim emir Kuraysh hoisted a black
standard and with a shrill cry entered into the ranks of the Arabs
collecting a great number of troops and once again coming against th~
Turks. He defeated them in a severe battle and took back those of
his people taken captive [by the enemy] and also their belongings.
!he Turks. fled to ~aghin and caused much slaughter in many places;
III t~e regIOn of T lkhum a heavy massacre of Christians took place.
Takmg very numerous captives, the Turkish forces turned in the
direction of Persia and soon reached the Armenian town of Archesh.
A Roma~ commander, who was the catepan5 Stephen, resided there.
The PerSIan emirs sent much booty to the Roman commander so that
he ~ight allow them to pass through, for they were going back to
theIr own country. However, he became arrogant and went forth in
battle ag~inst the Turks. Then the Turks defeated the Roman troops,
slaughten?g them severely and, taking the catepan Stephen prisoner,
brought hIm to the town of Her. Mter many tortures Stephen died
at the h~nd~ of ~he infidels. They then flayed the skin of his body
and, fillmg It WIt? grass, hung it from the ramparts. When his
people heard of thIS, they came and bought the body and skin for ten
thousand dahekans. 6

90. When the year 496 of the Armenian era [1047-1048] began,
once again the telarches came and descended upon the city of Dvin
with many troops. He caused much suffering and anguish in that
area and, despoiling all the Muslims with the sword and enslavement, peacefully returned to the country of the Greeks. 1

89. In the year 495 of the Armenian era [1046-1047] the Roman

~mperor Monomachus collected troops and appointed an illustrious

oman nobleman, who was called a telarches 1 and was a eunuch as


commander of these forces. The telarches came against the cit~ of

91. In this same year of the Armenian era a certain patricius1


named Tornices,2 who was from the city of Adrianople,3 a brave and
mighty man and also a warrior, rebelled against Monomachus. He
collected troops from all the western regions and from the country of
the Goths. With a formidable army he came against Constantinople
and plunged the city into great anguish and distress. The emperor
did not dare go forth in battle, and the inhabitants of the city became
so exhausted by the rigors of the siege that they blocked up one of the
gates of the city with stone materials. Tornices made such a frightful
assault that he completely demolished the Church of the Holy
Anargyri, which is situated outside this city; also he threw into the
Mediterranean all the riches" of the great Church of the Holy
Martyrs. The emperor Monomachus and the whole aristocracy of the
city of Constantinople, being in dread and fear, could not find a way
out of the situation, nor were they able to stand up to the bravery of
Tornices. So the patriarch, all the aristocracy, and the emperor
conceived of a perfidious plan to defeat Tornices. They signed a
horrible and false oath, and deceitfully swore to Tornices that they
would make him caesar and that after the death of Monomachus he
would become emperor. They wrote in the following manner and
sanctioned their perfidiousness by an oath, saying: "We have found
in the books that after the death of Monomachus you will occupy the
imperial throne." The patriarch, priests, and aristocracy we~t to
Tornices and in his presence reiterated the oath. Then. an ~lhan~e
was made and peace reestablished, and being reconcIled m thIS
manner, they brought him to Constantinople. Howev:r, ~ter a .few
days they denied their oath and disavowed God as theIr WItness, for
it is customary for the Roman nation to do away with all t~e
[dangerous] nobles of the empire through feigning an oath. After thIS

76

PART I

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

they blinded the valiant man Tornices. 5


92. In the year 498 of the Armenian era [1049-1050], during the
reign of the emperor Monomachus, who perfidiously and by a false
oath took away the Armenian kingdom from the Bagratid dynasty,
and in the pontificate of his lordship Peter, the Armenian catholicos,
a calamity-a sign of the wrath of God-came forth from Persia at
the behest of the sultan Tughrul. Two generals, who were called
Ibrahim and Kutulmish, went forth from his court with many troops
and at the head of a formidable army came against Armenia, because
they knew that, being in the hands of the Romans, the entire country
was abandoned and unprotected. For the Romans had detached and
removed the brave and mighty men from the East and in their place
had attempted to maintain eunuch generals, both in Armenia and the
East, In this year the forces of the infidels reached the renowned and
populous Armenian town called Artsn, and found the town unfortified
and filled with a countless multitude of men and women and also an
inn~merable quantity of gold and silver. When the townspeople saw
the mfidel forces, they went forth in battle together and a violent
and horrible combat was fought around the confines of the town, The
two armies hacked away at each other for the greater part of the
day,! and the fields became filled with blood, for there was neither a
place to, flee nor aid [from anywhere]; thus the Armenians could only
?ntertam the hope of death, Because of the great number of the
Infidels, the troops of the town became wearied and turned in flight
The infidels in turn fell upon the town with the sword; then they put
the whole town to the sword, causing severe slaughter, as many as
one hundred and fIfty thousand persons. It is of no avail to say much
about the gold, silver, and silken brocades [which the enemy
plundered], for the quantity of these cannot be put in writing,
However, we have often heard the following related by many in
reference to the chorepiscopus 2 Dawt'uk:3 when Ibrahim seized his
~rea~ury, forty camels departed from his treasury house and eight
Aun ;ed ~xen [yoked together] in sixes went forth from his household
d,t .t atl'~lme there were [in Artsn] eight hundred churches wher~
IVl~e. l,urgy was celebrated, By such a harsh end and cruel
atnnthlhllatIondthe magnificent and well-favored town of Artsn was put
o e swor ,
How will I wh'l
'
death of th 'bIle wdeep~ng, at the same time be able to relate the
e no es an pnests, who remainin
b' d b
.I!
for the beasts' or the 'II t'
I d'
g un une, ecame .lood
, I U S nous a les, who with their sons were led

77

into slavery to Persia [to remain there] in perpetual servitude! This


was the beginning of the misfortune of the Armenians, Listen and
pay attention to this account of the end and decay of the East-by
slow degrees, year by year; for this Artsn was the first town which
was captured from the Armenians and put to the sword and enslaved.4 When the emperor Monomachus heard this disastrous news,
he sent troops to the East and appointed Cecaumenus5 Gregory, son
of Vasak, and Liparit, brother of the brave man Rat, as commanders
of his troops. They arrived in Armenia with many troops in order to
do battle with the Persian forces,
93. In this same year the Greek emperor Monomachus wrote a
letter to his lordship Peter, the Armenian patriarch, to come to him
in Constantinople. His lordship Peter was willing to come on his own
volition. However, he thought to himself and said: "Perhaps the
Romans will never again allow me to go back to the East." So he
named his lordship the most praiseworthy Khach'ik1 as his successor
to the patriarchal see. In the same way he made provision for the
miwron , the blessed oil used for consecration in the Armenian rite;
he stored the miwron in the Akhurian River in iron urns weighing as
much as four hu~dred litras,2 since perhaps otherwise it might fall
into the hands of the Romans. This miwron remains stored in this
manner up to the present time, All of this was done during the
night, near the gates of the city of Ani. Then Peter departed,
accompanied by the noblemen attached to his household-three
hundred illustrious men equipped with arms, one hundred vardapets,
bishops musicians monks, and priests-all riding splendid mules,
and [fi~ally] two h~ndred domestics on foot. In the retinue of his
lordship Peter were found the following [eminent personages]: the
first and most distinguished of all, the vardapet Bulghar; the most
praiseworthy Khach'atur, the chancellor; Thaddeus, who as a writer
was a man without compare; George K'arneghets'i; John K'arne~
ghets'i; Matthew Haghbatats'i; Mkhit'ar Bnayrets'i;. Tiranun
Kapanets'i, the philosopher; Mkhit'arik; Vardan Sanahet~'l; Bar~eg~
Bashkhatats'i' his very venerable and eminent lordshIp Eghlshe;
Barsegh, his brother; George, surnamed ~ulahak'?zag; his ,!ordship
Ep'rem; his lordship Anane; and finally hIS lordshIp Khach,Ik., Now
all these men were doctors and philosophers and were erudIte III t~e
Old and New Testaments of God. His most praiseworthy lordshIp
Peter, accompanied by these men on his journey, arriv~d in Con~tan
tinople. When they heard of his arrival, the whole CIty was stIrred

78

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART I

up and came to meet his lordship Peter. Then, accompanied by very


important personages, he was conducted to Saint Sophia with great
pomp and there was met by the emperor and patriarch, 3 after which
he was taken to a magnificent palace. The emperor ordered an
amount of money be given to his lordship Peter [in order to provide
for his expenses]; so on the first day he was given a kentenarion. 4 On
the second day his lordship Peter went to the imperial palace to visit
Monomachus. 'When the emperor heard of his coming, he went forth
to meet him and ordered his lordship Peter seated on a golden throne
of which, at the time of the patriarch's departure, his lordship
Eghishe himself had taken possession. Indeed the servants of the
emperor were trying to take it from him, but he refused to give it up.
When Monomachus saw this, he asked why he refused to give it up.
Then Eghishe answered and said: "0 emperor, this is a patriarchal
throne and no one is worthy to sit upon it except his lordship Peter. II
When the emperor heard this, he regarded these words which his
lordship Eghishe had spoken reasonable; then the emperor said:
"Leave to him this apostolic throne." Then after this Monomachus
said to his lordship Eghishe: "This throne is worth one thousand
dahekans, keep it for your lord [the catholicos] so that no one else
may sit upon it." With such honorable treatment as this his lordship
Peter remained in Constantinople among the Romans for four years;
from day to day more and more praise and honor were accorded to
him while he was in the midst of the Greeks. Whenever he went to
the palace of the emperor, his crosier was carried before him' moreover, whe~ the emperor saw him, he would prostrate himself before
the cathohcos and would command his nobles to go forth to present
themsel~es to his lordship Peter. Mter four years Monomachus and
the patrlarc~ gave ~any gifts, consisting of treasures of gold and
b:ocade, .t? hIS lordshIp Peter. The emperor also gave insignias and
~lgh ~osltIons ~o the noblemen of Peter's household and elevated his
sIster s, son, hi.s lordship Anane, to the rank of syncellus. 5 The
Armeman patrIarch was given all sorts of precious garments and
then was sent away in peace and with very great largess. However,
he was n~t able to go to the city of Ani, but went and lived in the city
of Sebastla, near the son of Senek'erim, in great splendor.

this, they withdrew, while the Roman troops encamped in Arjovit.


Then the infidel forces came against the brave man Liparit. He had
appointed his sister's son Ch'ortuanel, a mighty man and a warrior,
to be commander of the night guard. The infidel troops began to
battle in the night, and the sound of the combat reached Liparit, his
men crying out: "Come to us, for the infidel forces have surrounded
us." Then Liparit said: ''It is Saturday and it is not lawful for us
Georgians to go forth in battle on this day." At that moment
Ch'ortuanel, like a lion, was striking against the front line of the
infidels in the night. While he led his men on, an arrow hit his
mouth and went out through the back of his neck; so in this way
Ch'ortuanel, a brave and mighty man, died. When Liparit heard of
the death of Ch'ortuanel, becoming ferocious like a beast, he went
forth in battle and drove all the infidels from the plain, changing it
into a great bloody marsh. 5 When the Roman forces saw the bravery
of Liparit, betraying him, they abandoned the Georgian in the midst
of the infidels and fled, so that he would not gain the reputation of
being valiant. When the infidel forces saw that, they turned back,
united in battle against the Georgian troops, As the battle grew
intense, Liparit shouted like a lion into the midst of the infidels, and
at that moment one of the Georgian troops standing behind him
struck and cut the two tendons of his horse with a sword. 8 When
Liparit learned of this, he turned back very quickly and struck and
killed him. Then, dismounting, Liparit sat on the banks of the river
upon his shield and cried out, saying: "I am Liparit." Then the
Turks slaughtered many of the Georgian troops and put the rest to
flight. They took Liparit captive and brought him to Khurasan7 to
the sultan fughrul, for he had previously heard his name and knew
of all his brave deeds. He remained with the sultan for two years
and performed many valiant deeds in various places. Now there was
an Ethiopian, a mighty and courageous man, and both he and Liparit
were brought before the sultan to fight a combat. Liparit defeated
and killed the infidel Ethiopian. Then the sultan freed him and with
many gifts sent him to the Romans. s So Liparit came to Constantinople. When the emperor Monomachus saw him, he was exceedingly
happy and sent him home to his wife and children with splendid
gifts. This same Liparit was the brother of ltat and Zoyat, a
Georgian by nationality, and descended from a mighty family.9

94. 2Now, when the Greek forces came to the East Cecaumenus 1
Aaron: and Gregory,3 the son of Vasak, summoned t~ their side the
Georgian .prince Liparit and they arrived at the fortress called
Kaputru, In the district of Arjovit,4 When the Turkish forces heard

79

95. In the year 499 of the Armenian era [10501051] the country
of the Greeks was shaken by violent disorders and many provinces

80

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

were devastated by the sword. Many horrible events and fearful


things took place because of the rapacious and wickedly abominable
nation of the Pechenegs, l those perverse and bloodthirsty beasts. For
the nation of Serpents2 went forth and pushed against the Magyars,S
and the Magyars in turn pushed against the U zes 4 and the Pechenegs; then the latter two were provoked against the empire of the
Romans and brought much affiiction upon Constantinople. Even
illustrious aristocrats were led into captivity. I am unable to relate
the sorrowful calamities which the Roman Empire endured in that
year, for the Pechenegs savagely and mercilessly enslaved the nation
of the Greeks. The emperor, being afraid, did not go forth in battle,
for the enemy forces were innumerable and countless. After
remaining for a number of days, the Pechenegs went back to their
own country, and finally peace was reestablished in the Roman
empire.
96. When the year 500 of the Armenian era [1051-1052] ended,
venomous slanders were brought before the emperor Monomachus.
There were perfidious persons who spread slanderous rumors about
the illustrious Armenian princes who resided in the area around
Paghin, sa~ng that they were disobedient to the emperor's commands
and were mtent on rebelling against him. So Monomachus sent to
Pag~in a gener~l with troops, who unjustly poured his poisonous
malIce uP.on the mnoc.ent. This general fiercely began to ravage the
whole re?Ion and depnve all the princes of their privileges for he was
an ab.ommable and malicious man and Satan's commande~; the name
?f thI~ man. was Peros. He was intent on taking prisoner the
IlI~stnous pnnces: who were the sons of Abel: Harpik (a brave and
~lghty man), DaVid, Leon, and Constantine-all four being brothers'
a so he was intent on doing the same to other princes. So the prince~
secretly co.nfe~red together and decided that each would remain
ensconce~ III hIS fortress until the emperor could be informed of the
devastatIOn of the region by this wicked Peros. Together they made
;n agreement that on that Saturday each would occupy and hold his
;.r:es~l ~owever, one of the conferees named T'orosak, the lord of
p g , dlsav?wed the agreement and informed the wicked Peros
that all the pnnce~ had agreed among themselves not to heed his
:~mm~n~ [to submIt]. The sons of Abel did not know of this and as
ey a agreed fo~er~y, on Saturday they occupied the 'eat
fortres.s called Arkm, whICh is near the district of T'lkhum' i~the
meantIme all the other conferees heeded P
eros's summons. ' When

PART I

81

Peros heard what the sons of Abel had done, he collected many troops
against the fortress of Arkni. However, when the general saw the
ruggedness of this fortress, he was greatly amazed and was unable
to assault it, for it was high and seemed impregnable to an enemy
[attack]; thus it was inaccessible to him. Then Peros conceived of a
malicious plan and said: IIIf anyone will bring the head of Harpik to
me, he will receive a great amount of gold and silver and also power
and high rank from the emperor." When Harpik's comrades and old
friends, who were with him in the fortress, heard this, they conceived
of a wicked idea similar to that of the fratricides Judas and Cain.
Not far from the fortress and right opposite it was a spot, and Harpik
had taken some men and gone forth to guard this place. For three
days he dared not sleep at all, and then these perfidious men said to
him: liMy lord, why don't you sleep, for 10, we this day are ready to
die for your person." Believing them, he slept, for he was very
fatigued; now, when he was in a deep sleep, one of his relatives came
up and cut off the head of the mighty and valiant man Harpik, and
in the same night his head was delivered to the catepan Peros.
Nevertheless, the murderers gained nothing [from this betrayal]
except imprecations. Then Peros ordered Harpik's head put on a pole
and brought before the gates of the fortress. His brothers, seeing him
at daybreak, recognized him and immediately opened the gates.
Throwing ashes on their heads and weeping, the three brothers came
forth and fell down before the severed head of Harpik. They
lamented to such an extent that even all the troops in the camp
bemoaned and wept. In this manner Peros took possessio~ of the
impregnable fortress of Arkni and took the brothers of Harplk- the
sons of Abel-to the emperor Monomachus in Constantinople. When
the emperor and all the Greeks saw the brothers, they were amaz~d
by their formidable appearance; for they were redoubtable ~n
appearance and even at the shoulders surpassed the Gree~s III
stature. Because of their magnificent demeanor, the emperor ~Id not
punish them, but commanded that they be transfer;ed to a~ Island.
Such was the fate of David, Leon, and Constantme, valIant and
mighty men and illustrious Armenian princes.

Part II
1. Now up to this point, by laborious investigation, we have
discovered and written down the materials of the past hundred years,
arranged in chronological order; having examined these materials for
a very long time, we have grasped their significance. We have used
materials from very many observers and hearers who were born in
times long past, from those who read the historians of these times
and were eyewitnesses of all these happenings and afflictions which
the Armenians endured because of their sins.1 Lo, many times I have
thought about writing down the violent events of these past times,
namely the horrible punishment which the Annenian nation endured
at the hands of the long-haired and abominable Eghimnats'~',2 the
nation of the Turks, and their brothers, the Romans. Because of all
this, it became necessary for me to investigate this matter [of the
destruction of the Armenian kingdom], always thinking about my
plan in terms of a great work. So I collected documents 3 and,
collating them, wrote down a narration of events up to the point we
have reached here, events concerning the three nations, 4 the patriarchs, and various other nations and kings; all these events which I
narrated before and which I have yet to narrate mark the beginning
of the destruction which took place in the days of our fathers, who
themselves witnessed these very same events many times with their
own eyes. These events were my very special preoccupation, and for
eight years I applied myself to incessant investigation, hoping to
bring all this to light and record it so that its memory would not be
lost to the inexorable harshness of time and thus be forgotten. It is
because of all this that I, Matthew of Edessa, a monk, spared no
efforts and left this work as a record for those who enjoy studying
chronicles so that, when they begin to inquire into past events, they

84

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

may be able more easily to learn about the times and the e
These persons shall also learn about the tern'bl
' fi rt
poc~s,
' th
'
e miS 0 unes whIch
d
occurre In ose tImes and, once again bringi th
th'
mind, shall remember the divine wrath which w ng ,esde f mgs to
. d
e receIve rom God
th 'ht
e n~ , eous JU ge, as a penalty for our sins, Because of these m '
calamItIes-namely the destruction of the Ch ' t'
d
an!
mands which our Lord God brought u on u ns lans an the. repns by mea~s of an mfidel
nation-we did not wish that s h th P

uc
reats and warnmgs of God b
orgotten by us. Now it is essential to heed th d
' .
e
God ceaselessly and at all time
0
,e a mOlllbons of our
inflicted with the same chastise~ent ~~: agaI~ we find o~rselves
which we received for that which we' tl ~ur sms, a chastIsement
of Edessa, the superior of a monast~~S y ese~e. Now I, Matthew
history] to relate to you by dint of my r~~~:~ eIghty years more (of

ho!ib~~ !~:~e:;p~~;e~f:~ ~renian er,a [1053~1054] a fearful and


city of Antioch Th' h
y calamItous event took place in the
.
IS P en omen on which seemed
. ..
marvelous to those observing it'
d"
awe-mspInng and
phenomenon became an awful . ,appeare mSIde the sun. The
the Christian faithful to wh SI~a~dba cause of perturbation for all
fested his fearful jud~ement om 0 y violen~ threats now maniTh
following. In the city of Anti~ch t~ cause of thIS calamity was the
gold and silver, and possessed
e~:hwer~ many Syrians who had
When their children went to th wea
an all types of affluence.
1
boys seated on mules went fort~ c~~rch of their fait~, five hundred
were very envious and harbored 'a d eca~se of all t~IS] the Romans
one of the important persona es of eep ,atred ~gamst them. Now
slaves, and this became the ~rete~h~ Syn~n ~abo~ posses~ed many
the Roman patriarch 2 [Th t ' or bnngmg hIm to tnal before
d' t h
.
rea emng him] with
(f:
ver IC , t e Romans converted h' t h'
an un avorable]
volition rebaptized him Thu ~~ . 0 t elr faith and by his Own
forsaken his faith now
s t IS Important personage, who had
Also at that ti~e the Seca~e an enemy to the great Syrian nation
d'
.
ynans were sub1ected t
because they were beginnin
to
,oJ
0 m~y rfficulties
Romans concerning their f: 't~
get mto3 controversIes with the
insolent that they were n ~I every d~y. The Romans became so
patriarch went so far as toeve~ con~clOus ~f their actions, for the
burned, When they placed t~r ~r t e [Synac] Christian Gospels
came forth from the Gosp I
~ ~spels of God in the fire a voice
They put the Gospels in t~: ~~e t ey esca~ed the flames of the fire.
a second tIme, and once again [the

PART II

85

Gospels] escaped the flames of the fire. Indeed, becoming enraged,


they insolently dropped the Holy Gospels into the fire for the third
time, and once again [the Gospels] came out unharmed, When they
repeated this act for the fourth time, then the Holy Gospels ignited
in the midst of the fire; in this way the Holy Gospels of Christ, our
God, were burned by the Romans in the city of Antioch, Now, when
the Roman patriarch and all his people returned to the church from
the spot where the burning had taken place, they were filled with
great exultation, as if they had been victorious over a wicked enemy.
When they entered the Church of Saint Peter, the whole place
resounded with a crashing noise, and a violent tremor shook the
entire city of Antioch. On another day fire fell upon the Church of
Saint Peter from heaven, and like a lamp the entire church flared up
from its foundations. The stone burned like a woodpile, and the
rising flames reached up to the sky. The ground of the sanctuary was
torn open, and the sacramental table sunk into the hole made there;
the bright gem which the emperor Constantine 4 had placed in Saint
Peter, along with two hundred thousand pieces of gold which had
always remained upon the holy altar to serve as a light during the
night, was swallowed up by the earth and never found again. Four
other [Roman] churches were burned by this fire from heaven along
with Saint Peter, but no church of the Armenians or Syrians was
harmed.
When this happened, the inhabitants of the whole city of Antioch
were horror~struck and stood in fear and trembling. Then everyone
began to pray, all the inhabitants of the city weeping and with heavy
groans beseeching God. The Roman patriarch went forth, accompanied by priests, deacons, other clerics, and a great crowd of men and
women, including old people and children; they processed through the
city, dressed in ecclesiastical garb and carrying magnificent religious
objects. When they reached the parade grounds of the Romans at the
place where a small bridge was built over a mountain torrent, the
whole ground suddenly reverberated, and there occurred an earthquake in the middle of the day at the sixth hour. At that moment the
earth was torn apart and, opening wide, swallowed up the entire
crowd of clergy and people into its depths, more than ten thousand
persons, For fifteen days the sounds of their cries came forth from
the depths of the abysses, Finally they suffocated, for the earth
closed over them, and to this day they remain buried there. Thus,
because of their many sins, the inhabitants of the city of Antioch
suffered these calamities at the hands of God, the righteous judge.

86

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

It is not even worth remembering the wicked deeds which the


ecclesiastics and the Greek faithful of all ranks committed in the city
of Antioch. The smoke of their wicked deeds rose higher than that of
Sodom and Gomorrah,5 and thus their fate proved that they indeed
deserved the punishment they received. For in Sodom and Gomorrah
the fire came down in order to kill the evildoers, while in the sinful
city of Antioch the same evildoers were exterminated and killed by
fire and abysses opening up; yet the inhabitants of this city still
persisted in their impious beliefs. Professing piety, they nevertheless
performed the deeds of unfaithful and wicked men, for they took
delight in impure acts which are odious to hear and very disgusting
to relate. What shall I say of these evildoers when the Savior
considered it a grave sin for us to even look at a woman? Moreover,
what shall I say of the rampant sodomy, a sin for which the Lord
himself made the city of Antioch pay the penalty?6
3. In the year 503 of the Armenian era [1054-1055] a venomous
and deadly windstorm came upon Armenia, for the Persian sultan
Tughrul\ descending from his throne, came with a formidable army
as numerous as the sands of the sea. Moving forth with innumerable
forces, he reached Armenia and, descending upon the town called
Berkri, captured it by assault, devastating it with a frightful
massacre. Rising up like a flaming black cloud, he came forth and
advanced, carrying before him a deadly hailstorm. Surrounding the
town called Archesh, he subjected it to a violent assault for eight
days. Because ~fthe enormous number of troops, the inhabitants of
the t?wu, weaned of the harsh siege and thereafter with loud
supp~ICabons came in submission, bringing as a token of their
ob~dience many gifts of gold and silver and also of horses and mules.
WIth s?lemn entreaties they began the process of concluding peace
and saId: "0 conquering sultan, go and take the town of Mantskert
and then we and all Armenia will submit to you."
'
When the sult~n Tughrul heard this, all these words pleased him
a great deal. Gomg forth with an enormous number of troops he
reached the town of Mantskert and was like a serpent filled ~ith
eve:y wickedness [conceivable]. He encamped before the walls and
encIrcled the town and, stopping at a place called K'arglukh 2 lodged
there [temporarily]. At the break of dawn he ordered the battle
~:n~et sou~ded. 10, one could witness the frightful day and bitter
f ~tlOn whIch came upon the Christians when he invested the town
o antskert. For, when the sounds and noises of the combatants'

PART

II

87

trumpets gave forth, the sounds of the combatant troops caused the
ramparts to shake through and through. What shall I now say
concerning this town full of Christians who courageously fought as
combatants, the whole population of the town fighting together, and
who resisted the unceasing assaults [of the enemy]? The commander
of the town was the Roman general Basil, the son of Abukab,3 a kind
and pious man. He strengthened the entire town [by recruiting]
courageous men and women, and in the name of the emperor
promised all of them honors and high positions; thus day and night
he never ceased encouraging and exhorting the whole town.
Nevertheless, the infidel forces did not cease their assaults for
many days and began to dig under the ramparts so that they might
thus capture the town. When the troops of the town heard this, they
dug in their direction and captured all the sappers and even the
sultan's father-in-law, whose name was Osketsam;4 they then took
them on the ramparts and killed them. When the sultan saw this, he
was deeply offended and so sent to Baghesh and had brought to him
the catapult which the emperor Basil had constructed for [the walls
of] Her, a terrible and awe-inspiring machine weighing fifteen adil.5
When this frightful catapult was set up, all the inhabitants of the
town trembled, and the first ones struck by it were three sentinels
and a sentry of the advanced guard who was thrown into the town.
Then a priest appeared in the town and hastily set up a catapult to
oppose the one the infidels had and with the first rock struck the
enemy machine and smashed its tie beams.
Thus the town was given new strength and courage, for the
inhabitants had been beset by fear. After a few days the infidels
reinforced the catapult and made it inaccessible on all sides and
began to hit the ramparts with very large rocks. All the inhabitants
of the town were terrified and trembled in fear. Then Basil cried out
to them and said: ItWhoever is able to go forth and burn down that
catapult will receive much largess of gold and silver and many horses
and mules from me and honors and a high rank from the emperor.
If he is killed by the infidels and has a relative or son, all that will
go to him.1t Then a Frank6 came forth and said: "I will go forth and
burn down that catapult, and today my blood shall be shed for all the
Christians for I have neither wife nor children to weep over me." He
asked for ~ strong and fearless horse and put on his coat of mail and
placed his helmet on his head. Taking a letter, he attached it to the
end of his spear and, putting three bottles of naphtha in his bosom,
went forth as if he were a courier. With the prayers of all the

88

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Christians and the assistance of God he went in the direction of the


infidel forces. When the infidel troops saw the letter on the end of
his spear, they took him for a courier and said nothing. It was
midday and, since it was extremely hot, everyone was sleeping in
their tent. Coming up to the catapult, the Frank stopped before it.
The infidels thought that he was admiring the hugeness of the
machine; however, at that moment he took hold of one of the bottles
[of naphtha] and threw it against the catapult. Then, [quick] as an
eagle, he circled around the catapult and threw another bottle
against it. He came around once again and hit the machine with the
third bottle. The catapult burst into flames, and the Frank fled.
When all the troops in the infidel camp saw what he had done, they
pursued him, but the Frank reached the town unharmed.
The catapult was burned to the ground; all the Christian faithful
were extremely happy, and the Frank was honored with largess by
all the townspeople. When the emperor Monomachus heard of this
he sent for him and elevated him to a high rank. Even the sulta~
marvelled greatly at what the Frank had done and asked to see this
person who had accomplished such a courageous feat so that he
might give him gifts; however, the Frank refused to g~. Then the
sultan became very angry and once again ordered the digging to
?ommence, so that the walls might be torn down. The townspeople,
In tu~n, took courage against him, paying no heed to his [war]
m.achmes. ~aking hooks of iron, they pulled out the sappers and
w~th .these kIlled them. When the sultan saw this, he stopped the
[~Iggmg] and became very chagrined. Then the townspeople took a
pIg and, placing it in the catapult, hurled it into the sultan's camp
Then all th~ inhabitants ~f the town called out and said: "0 sultan~
take t~at pIg for your Wife, and we will give you Mantskert as a
dowry. When the sultan heard this, he became filled with anger and
had thos~ ~ho had brought him to Mantskert decapitated. Then,
ve7 humIlIated, the sultan returned to the country of the Persians
an. thus through the mercy of God the town of Mantskert wa~
delIvered out of the hands of the abominable nation of the Turks. 7
4. In the year 504 of .the Armenian era [1055-1056] the Roman

~::~:!~:~~c~~:

dled. H~ h~d oc~upied the throne of the


the titl f EI
.y yea~s. ::lIS slster-m-Iaw Theodora, who had
and wa: ~ai ector, reIgned m hIS place. She was the sister of Zoe2
her subject:t~~ c~a:i:' ~~~ v~ry virtluous. She co.mmanded that all
enevo ently, espeCIally widows and
1

PART

II

89

captives. She ordered all those injured to be recompensed and their


rights returned and commanded all those imprisoned to be freed. She
freed from prison the Armenian princes who were the sons of Abel
and the brothers of Harpik. She removed them from the island [on
which they were imprisoned] and, honoring them highly, allowed
them to go back to their ancestral country to the fortress of Arkni,
admonishing them to never again work against the empire. In this
same year the catepan Peros was replaced and Melissenus was
appointed in his stead. He [the latter] was a benevolent and
reputable man, merciful to widows and captives, one who brought
prosperity to the land, and a person endowed with all kinds of noble
qualities. Now Theodora occupied the imperial throne for two years
and three months and then was taken up to Christ, after having
sincerely confessed her sins. Mter this Michael the Elder3occupied
the imperial throne for seven months.
5. In this period a certain Roman magnate, whose name was
Comnenus, l appeared upon the scene. Going forth with a formidable
army, he came against Constantinople; encamping on the Asian side
of the Mediterranean Sea,2 he sought [to take over] the Roman empire
by force. This all took place in the year 505 of the Armenian era
[1056-1057]. At this time the emperor Michael gathered troops from
all the lands of the West and, transporting the entire host across the
Mediterranean to Chrysopolis,3 came against Comnenus. On that day
a great and formidable battle was fought between the Christians, for
each side inflicted a severe slaughter on the other, and the blood of
many of the faithful was poured over the land. Then Comnenus, full
of rage, roared like a lion and, advancing and shattering the forces of
the Roman emperor, completely turned them in flight with the sword.
All the Roman forces were mercilessly slaughtered by the sword and
were trapped to the last man on the coast of the vast Mediterranean
Sea. As locusts paralyzed by the wind, in the same manner the
Roman troops became paralyzed by the severe combat. Some fell into
the Mediterranean and died, while many others perished by the edge
of the inexorable sword. On that day one hundred and fifty thousand
warriors of the Roman army died. Comnenus took prisoner all the
chief officers to the last man and so gained control of the whole
empire.
N ow, when the aristocrats who were in the palace sawall these
disastrous events and the shedding of so much blood, they resolved
to give the imperial throne to Comnenus, for he had brought great

90

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

sorrow upon the Greek nation. Then the patriarch and all the
aristocracy of Constantinople, going forth to meet Comnenus, swore
allegiance to him and installed him on the throne of the Roman
empire. Mter this peace was reestablished in the empire of the
Greeks. However, in this same year there was much devastation and
pillaging in the land, for the people loyal to Comnenus and those
loyal to Michael ravaged one another's regions. In this way much
devastation was caused until the imperial throne was firmly in the
possession of Comnenus.
At that time the new emperor issued an edict throughout the whole
land and thus brought peace to the empire. Comnenus even went so
far as to honor those who unwittingly had taken Michael's side :more
than those who had fought on his side. 4 Now, before Comnenus's
victory, the Roman magnates Pizshonit and Liparit had come to the
aid of Michael. When they reached Gergetha, 5 hearing that
Comnenus was triumphant, they fled in the night and said to one
another: "We discovered our error in Gergetha." 6 However, after a
few days they went to the emperor and he honored them highly.
Comnenus ordered that money be minted in his name and that he be
represented on the coin with a sword strapped to his shoulder, with
the caption: "By the sword I gained control of the imperial throne."
Comnenus was not liked because of these words and also because he
committed various perfidious acts against the Christians.
Mter some time the emperor collected a formidable army of troops
and was intent on making war against the Pechenegs. Marching
forth, he crossed over the great Danube River and advanced forward
in order to ravage the whole West. At whatever place he reached, he
roared like a savage beast, giving vent to his evil nature, and through
whatever place he passed, caused much blood to be shed. There was
great lamenting in the whole West and especially in the country of
the Bulgars. Now it was the summer season and the divine-rebuking
wrath [of God] fell upon the forces of Comnenus, a dreadful calaIIlity
which words do not suffice to recount and which indeed his forces
deserved. For a cloud arose from the West and came over the camp
of Comnenus, and it was such a black cloud and one of horrible
appearance that no one dared look at it. There were crackling sounds
and thunder, and flashing lightening appeared. Then very large
hailstones began to fall and, striking and smiting the camp, heavily
showered upon all the troops. One after another the troops fled, not
being able to find an escape. When the emperor saw this, he was
filled with anger and against his will turned back like a fugitive;

PART II

91

:tJJ.0reover, all his troops were completely scattered throughout the


:tJJ.ountains and plains. At the Roman camp one could witness the
}l.orrible calamity which these troops suffered because of the many
1::Jlows they had received. Countless people lost their way and
disappeared, fathers from their sons, sons from their fathers, brothers
from their brothers; even the emperor lost his way together with
-three of his men, until he reached the Danube River and was found.
~en he reviewed his troops, the greater part of them had perished
due to the wrath of heaven. It is of no avail to speak of the horses
@.nd mules, gold and silver, and other baggage [which were lost], or
even the battle equipment. 7
From then on Comnenus realized that all this divine-rebuking
-wrath [of God] had fallen upon the Christians because of his
iniquities, for by his sins he had angered God. So, comin~ to
Constantinople, he prostrated himself before God and asked forgIveness for his sins, and the Lord heeded his supplications. From then
on he sought to leave the imperial throne and with fasting and
-vveeping take up the life of a penitent.
6. In the year 507 1 of the Armenian era [1058-1059] Comnenus
:made Ducas2 emperor; for, because of those acts of which we spoke
before, Comnenus realized that God was not pleased with his reign,
since he had shed the innocent blood of the Christian faithful. Also
one side of his body had become paralyzed, and when he saw that the
divine-rebuking wrath [of God] had fallen upon him, he resolved to
put on the monastic habit and enter a monastery. So he sent to t~e
territories adjoining the Muslims, to Edessa, and had brought to him
the dux3 of the city, whose name was Ducas, for he was of a very
illustrious family. Taking his own crown, Comnenus placed it on the
head of Ducas and prostrated himself before him; then he installed
Ducas on the imperial throne and he himself went into solitude and
became a monk. Ducas ruled the empire of the Greeks despotically,
compelling all the disloyal4 to submit to him. So there was rejoicing
a.mong all the Greeks because of Ducas's [elevation to the throne].
7. In this same year his most praiseworthy lordship Peter, the
Annenian catholicos, who was the spiritual head of the Armenian
nation and a pillar of the holy church, died. After occupying the
patriarchal see for forty-two years,t he joined his ancestors. His
blessed lordship Khach'ik, who was the son of Peter's sister, was
Consecrated as his successor to the patriarchal see. This man was

92

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

filled with all kinds of pious virtue and had acquired a reputable
name; moreover, he was endowed with apostolic and prophetic graces.
His lordship Peter was buried in the city of Sebastia, in the Monastery of the Holy Cross, with a great crowd in attendance.
8. In this same year of the Armenian era the nation of the infidels
once again attacked the Christian faithful. Lo, a certain great and
mighty emir named Dinar arose and came forth from Persia and,
accompanied by many troops, unexpectedly came with violent force,
perfidiously concealing his evil [intent]. He passed unharmed
through many places and, marching forth, went and reached the
famous and renowned city called Melitene; for this city had been
pointed out to the Persians for a long time as having measureless
wealth of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, and brocades.
Moreover, the city was unfortified. On the march he captured
Hasawand totally massacred [its inhabitants] with the sword. Then
he went and passed on to Melitene. The commander of the infidel
forces was the son of Liparit,2 who had made an alliance with the
Persians.
It was the winter season at the beginning of Lent when the emir
besieged the city of Melitene, all because of its celebrated reputation
b~ which the fame of its splendor had spread throughout all Persia.
LIke a black cloud he completely surrounded the city on all sides.
When the townspeople saw this calamitous situation, men and
women, the aged and children, together turned in flight, but there
was no place to flee. At this moment the concern for friends and the
hope of life became absent from the minds of all- because of the
calamitous situation, fathers forgot their sons, and s;ns, their fathers;
mothers wept over their daughters, and daughters over their
mothers; brothers over their brothers, loved ones over their loved
ones. Then, fleeing over the spacious fields surrounding the city the
townspeople fell into the midst of the enemy. When the infidels'saw
them, they stopped for a moment and marvelled at the immense
population of the city, for they were a countless number like the
sands of the sea. The infidels did not dare attack the city until the
townspeople had left. Finally they assaulted the city with their
weapons bare~, and soon all their swords were totally applied to the
;l~rk of.sheddmg blood; thus after a short while the whole city was
1 ed With blood. Melitene rippled with blood from one end to the
other, and there was no one left to pity the aged or the children. In
that place one could see the bodies of illustrious and distinguished

PART II

93

people who had fallen and were wallowing in [pools of] blood; children
were cut up into pieces while on the laps of their mothers; and blood
and milk, mingling one with the other, coalesced. Who is able to put
down in writing the divine-rebuking wrath [of God] which the city of
Melitene endured on that day, for instead of sweet dew all the plants
of the green field were covered with blood? Mter so much shedding
of blood and taking of captives, the emir had marched before him
distinguished and beautiful ladies and boys and pretty girls-all who
were to be led into captivity; also a countless treasure of gold and
silver [was carried before him]. Rising up, he marched forth rejoicing
and began the journey back to Persia and, crossing over the Euphrates River, wintered in Handzit'. At this time the Roman forces
pursued the Turks but, when they reached them, did not dare give
battle, but peacefully returned to Roman territory,3
9. When the autumn season arrived, the infidel forces entered the
region of Taron and occupied the foot of the Taurus Mountains near
Sasun. When the mighty and brave Armenian prince T'ornik,l the
son of Mushegh, heard this, he collected troops from the whole
district of Sasun and went against the infidel forces. The infidel
troops sounded the battle trumpet and in a body went forth in battle.
It turned out to be an awe-inspiring and fearful day, for the two sides
clashed with one another like a pack of lions. Then brave T'ornik
roared and, calling out to his right flank, overtook the left flank of
the infidels and victoriously shattered it. Turning his eyes to the
Monastery of the Holy Precursor, he vehemently cried out and said:
"0 Monastery of Glak, 0 Holy Precursor, aid me and make this day
an illustrious one for the faithful." Stirring up one another as a body,
the Annenians attacked the infidels and, capturing men and all types
of booty, led them all into captivity. The remnants of the infidels,
having experienced a narrow escape, humiliated, returned to Persia.
Brave T'ornik, in turn, with great rejoicing returned to Sasun,
thanking God for delivering the numerous inhabitants of the city of
Melitene from servitude to the wicked nation of the Persians.2
10. In this same year and in the same winter there appeared a
fearful and astonishing omen, a horrible sign of the great wrath [of
God] against the Christians; for this turned out to be a prediction for
the destruction of the Christian faithful. Just as a putrid smell
betrays a rotting corpse,lin the same way, before the destruction [of
the Christians], there appeared evil omens upon the earth, as for

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

example a south wind. On a certain day, when dawn was breaking


and everyone was going forth from his home, people noticed in the
clear atmosphere that red snow had fallen on the ground and it
covered the four corners of the country, the east, the west, the north,
and the south. The snow began to fall on a Monday and without
interruption came down for sixty days; it fell during the night, and
during the day thickly covered the face of the countryside, but the red
snow fell for only one day. In that year very many quadrupeds-animals, beasts, and birds-perished. Because of the severity
of the heavenly wrath, they were unable to find food for themselves
and, being altogether prevented from [roaming in] fecund areas, were
forced to take refuge with their enemies. Thus everyone ruthlessly
and mercilessly slaughtered them; for there were various bands of
animals and various groups of birds in the streets and they entered
into homes. At this time one witnessed the terrible destruction of
animals and birds all because of the sins of men. On the other hand,
those who were compassionate fed them in their homes throughout
the winter months and then peacefully let them go; each of these
individuals was impelled by compassion for [the sorrowful lot of]
these animals. The great emir NaFlir-ad-Daulah, who resided in the
to~n of Maiyafariqin, commanded that forty k'or 2 of wheat, barley,
mIllet, and all sorts of grain be scattered over the plains and
mountains for the birds, as well as a great amount of hay and straw
for the animals; in this manner many animals and birds were able to
survive because of this abundance [of food].

enslaved by three of these i,mpious beasts who had come forth from
the court of the sultan Tughrul; they were three emirs, Samuk, 'AmrKafllr, and Kijaziz-evil men and more bloodthirsty than ferocious
beasts. With troops dressed in black and standards symbolizing
death, they reached the populous and renowned city of Sebastia.
They bellowed and fulminated, intending to vent their violent anger
upon the Christian faithful. Moreover, they had made up their minds
to capture Atom and Abusahl, the sons of the Armenian king
Senek'erim. When the latter heard about the coming of the infidel
forces, they fled to Gabadonia, l and many other princes went with
them. On the day of the barekendan2 of Vardavar3 the numerous
infidel forces encircled Sebastia, and thus the entire city was
completely besieged on all sides. Wielding the sword, all the enemy
troops entered the city, and countless persons were cut down and
received severe wounds; moreover, streaming blood covered the
ground, a sight which appeared frightful to onlookers. The bodies of
illustrious personages were heaped up on the ground like piles of
forest wood, and the surface of the ground was covered with blood
because of the great number of corpses.
The city of Sebastia was unfortified, but the infidels at first did not
dare enter it, for they saw a great number of domed churches painted
white and thought that they were the tents of the enemy troops.
However, when they learned [that they were mistaken], they then
became the agents of God's wrath against the Christians and mercilessly and ruthlessly slaughtered large numbers of the city's population. Together with countless booty and men and women captives,
they led boys and girls into slavery and seized and carried off from
Sebastia treasures of gold and silver without measure, precious
stones and pearls, and also brocades; for this city was the residence
of the Armenian kings. Thus that day was a calamitous and disastrous one for the inhabitants of Sebastia, because in a short period
the city and the plain [on which it was situated] became filled with
blood. The river which passed through the city, instead of being
clear, had turned a reddish hue. Many persons perished by fire.
Many great and illustrious persons had fallen, mortally wounded, and
were covered with blood and lying in the midst of pure and venerable
corpses; moreover, because of the whiteness of their bodies, they
glistened like the stars. What shall I say about the priests and
deacons and about the six hundred churches which were in the city,
for all were destroyed by the sword? Many maidens, brides, and
distinguished ladies were led into captivity to Persia, and within a

94

11. In this same year a severe famine took place throughout the
whole land and many perished by a cruel and violent death because
of this famine; for, because of the abundance of snow, rain did not fall
on the land, and .thus there was no harvest and many productive
areas became stenle. On the other hand, at the beginning of the next
year there was plenteousness and abundance of all types of foodstuffs, so much that one mod yielded one hundred mod. 1
12. At the beginning of the year 508 of the Armenian era [10591~60] a horrible disaster and fatal calamity befell the Christian
fa~thful, so mU:h so that we are unable to relate that terribly bitter
mIsfortune whICh took place in this year. For all the Persians
became stirred up and, rising up, went forth with a very large army
like th~ san~s of the sea. They marched forth and came against th~
Armeman faithful. Many districts were devastated by the sword and

95

96

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

short time Sebastia became like a burned-out hut. The infidel forces
stayed in Sebastia for eight days, and then, marching forth, went
back to Persia with countless and innumerable captives.
13. Who is able to recount in detail the calamitous misfortunes
and repentant laments of the Armenians, events which they endured
at the hands of the wicked, bloodthirsty, and savage Turkish forces,
all because of their abandonment by their false guardians, the
effeminate and despicable Greek nation? For the Greeks, gradually
disbanding our brave soldiers, removed them from Armenia, taking
them away from their towns and districts. Removing the throne of
the Armenian kingdom, they in effect destroyed it and thus demolished the protective wall which was provided by its troops and
generals. The Romans thus turned the boasting of their bravery into
that of irrevocable flight; in this way they were like the shameful
shepherd who, when he saw the wolf, fled. Also the Romans
endeavored to destroy the traditional fortified defenses of Armenia by
tearing them down and thus brought on the assault of the Persians
with the sword, regarding all of this as a victory for themselves.
Moreover, they shamelessly tried to guard Armenia with eunuch
generals and troops at a time when the Persians came upon an
abandoned East. In that period the infidels were strengthened to
such a great extent that in one year's time they reached up to the
walls of Constantinople. They seized the whole Roman empire, its
coastal towns and its islands, and caused the Greeks to be bottled up
in Constantinople like prisoners. When the Persians seized Armenia
from the Greeks, all malicious acts against the Armenians by the
Romans ceased.
How~ver, ,after this the Romans contrived to war against the
Armemans In another way; they began to criticize their religious
be!iefs .. Thus, ~corning warfare, battles, and combats, they sought to
brlllg dIsorder Into the church of God. They willfully eschewed war
w~th the Persians, while they endeavored to destroy and rout out the
faIth of the t:ue believers in Christ; for, whenever they discovered a
brave and mIghty man, they blinded him or threw him into the sea
and drowned him. Their only care and desire was to remove all the
Armenian princes and brave commanders from the East and, carrying
them off, to force ~hem to settle among the Greeks. They transformed
brave oung ,men Into eunuchs, and instead of the tightly forged coats
of m~ll, whlCh are worn by brave men, they gave them loosely
hangIng garments, which were wide and long; instead of steel

PART

II

97

helmets they put battle headgear on them not made of metal, and
instead of an ironclad covering for the shoulders [and neck] they gave
them a wide neckerchief. These eunuchs spoke meekly and softly just
like women and ceaselessly pondered over the loss of brave young
men. Thus, because of them, all the faithful were subjected to
servitude in Persia.
14. During this period the emperor Ducas conceived of the
malicious idea of removing the patriarchal see of Saint Gregory from
the Armenians and destroying it. So, as we said before, he began to
attack and criticize various aspects of the Armenian faith. Especially
when his lordship Peter died, the Romans attacked the holy see,
intending to abolish it and to compel the Armenians to adhere to the
impious faith as set forth at Chalcedon. 1 At this time the Romans,
seeking the immense treasure of gold and silver belonging to his
lordship Peter, the Armenian catholicos, subjected many people to
torture in Sebastia; they brought to Constantinople the person
consecrated to the patriarchal see, his lordship Khach'ik, together
with his bishops and also his most praiseworthy lordship Eghishe,
keeping them there in exile for three yea;rs. T~us in t~is period
many misfortunes fell upon the Armeman faIth. Fmally the
Armenian kings and princes, Gagik of Ani, Atom and Abusahl-sons
of Senek'erim worked hard and were barely able to get them freed.
Mter all thes~ events the patriarchal see was transferred to T'awblur,2 and his lordship Khach'ik resided there three years, occupying
the patriarchal see for six years altogether.3
15. In the course of the year 511 of our era [1062-1063] an evil
scourge of an odious and bitter mien spread and extended over the
Christian faithful. For, during the autumn season in the month of
Areg 1 a calamity came forth from the Persian court. Three great and
illustrious men, Slar-Khorasan,2 Chmchm, and lsulv,s came forth from
the court of the sultan Tughrul. Shedding much blood, they came
against the Christian peoples. Reaching the territory of Paghin with
many troops, full of rage they shed the blood of many faithful with
the sword and enslaved the whole area. Going forth from there, they
came like deadly serpents and reached the territory of T'lkhum and
Arkni and found the entire region unprepared [for war]. When they
saw the whole land and region unfortified, they were exceedingly
glad. So, like bloodthirsty wolves or crazed dogs, with an inexora~le
sword they attacked the entire region, intending to slaughter Its

98

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

inhabitants to the last person. The whole land was prosperous and
filled with men and animals, and the entire region was heavily
populated. On Saturday the fourth of Areg, at the eighth hour, the
vast plain was filled with blood, captives, and merciless slaughter-something we are not able to relate. There were many and
innumerable people who were burned [to death]. There was no one
in the entire region who was able to escape the edge of the sword,
and on that day many were martyred.
Mter having related this extensive enslavement and countless
slaughter, I shall make mention of the true priest of God, Christopher, and of his sons T'oros and Stephen, who were martyred
together with all the people; for when this priest saw the immense
~umber of the infidel forces, he gathered together the whole village
m the church-men and women with their children-and then began
to celebrate the divine liturgy of Christ and gave' communion to all
the people. The infidel troops surrounded the church and the
faithful, who had communed, came out of the church one' by one to
th,e bloodthirsty beasts; they, in turn, butchered the Christian
~althful. When Christopher and his sons were the only ones remainm~, th~y went down on their knees before God and, giving thanks to
HIm, kIssed one another farewell; then they went forth and received
a .martyr's dea~h, having sincerely confessed their sins in harmony
4
WIth Jesus Christ. When the emir who resided in the town of Amida
the son of Na~ir-ad-Daulah, learned of this horrible and calamitou~
event, he wrote to Slar-Khorasan and made an alliance with him' he
commanded all the captives of the region in which he lived to be s~ld
for he was be~evolent and merciful towards the Christian people:
Moreover, he Issued an edict throughout the whole land which
commanded p~ople to buy captives, and it was carried out. However,
when the captIves were brought to Amida to be sold, many perished
:~amartyrs at th~ gates. of the town [in spite of the emir's edict]. At
t moment a hght WIth a fiery appearance was seen descending
upon them from heaven.

God our creator had turned away His benevolent face from us, All
this happened because of our sins and evil ways, and thus God
delivered us up to the wicked and very savage nation of the Turks,
according to the words of the prophet who said: 110 God, you rejected
us, ruined us, were angry at us, and [did not] have pity on us; you did
not go forth with our forces, you made us turn back from our
enemies, and thus our enemies plundered us; you delivered us like
sheep to the slaughter and scattered us among the heathen. III Mter
such calamitous events as these had taken place, the infidels brought
an immense number of captives to Persia, carrying them off in groups
like flocks of birds. When the infidels [in Persia] saw them, they
were amazed and questioned them, saying: IIWhy did you become
enslaved, [allowing yourselves] to be in such an unprepared state,
and why were you unable to have foresight, either by ear or through
a sign, so that you might have fled from US?II The captives answered:
"We were unable to realize anything." Then the infidel women said:
"Lo, this was the sign of your destruction; when in the evening your
cock crowed and your cattle and sheep squatted to defecate, this was
the sign for the [impending] calamity.1I The captives answered: IIAlI
that had happened to us many times in our country, but we were
never able to realize that it was a sign for us of the [impending]
calamity. II

:'0

beie~i
table ~o rela~e the happenings and ruinous events which
moreover the ~:;sanrth or everything 'Y as covered with blood;
and h'Il ' B
0
e enemy horses wore down the mountains
and a~l s~f eca~se of the great number of corpses, the land stank
whole natio~e~;I~e:S~: ~lled W~h i~numerable captives; thus thi~
of Christian faith
,ecatme run. with blood. All human beings
were m ears and III sorrowful afll'IC t'lOn, b ecause

99

17. Mter all these calamitous events we have spoken about, the
terrible news reached the emperor Ducas, Collecting troops, he
appointed the illustrious magnate called Francopoulosl as general and
sent him with many troops to the territory of T'lkhum. These forces
came and reached T'lkhum with great strength. The dux of Edessa,
whose name was Dawatanos and who was a valiant and mighty man
in battle and renowned throughout the land, also gathered together
forces. Collecting troops from Edessa, Gargar, and ~fi~n-Man~l1r, he
moved forth against the Muslims with these forces [and intended] to
avenge the blood of the Christians which had been shed. Going forth
with many troops, he encamped on the plain of T'lkhum. When all
his troops saw the tremendous amount of slaughter which had taken
place here, they wept profusely, When the forces of t~e Turks
learned of the coming of the Roman troops, they fled to PerSIa. Then
Dawatanos roared like a lion at the Muslims and assaulted the town
of Amida, especially since at that time the townspeople had p~i~oned
and killed the great emir $ai'd-ad-Daulah, the son of NaJ:!Ir-adDaulah.

100

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

When the townspeople heard of the coming of the Roman forces,


they secretly sent ten thousand dahekans to Francopoulos. So
Francopoulos secretly made a pact of friendship with the Muslims.
Dawatanos, hearing of this, heaped abuses upon Francopoulos. When
the Romans reached the gates of the town of Amida, at the place
called "Gate of the Romans, II the infidel forces engaged in combat.
On the other hand, Francopoulos treacherously turned the battle over
to Dawatanos, while he himself together with his troops remained in
the rear, separated from the conflict; moreover, he had sixty thousand
cavalry troops .with him. When the combat began, a certain brave
man from the mfidel forces, whose name was Hechn-Pshara 2 did a
very destructive thing to the Roman troops; quick as an e~gle he
broke through Dawatanos's front line and wreaked havoc within the
Roman ranks. When Dawatanos saw this he cried out for his horse
.
"G'
3 '
,
saYIng:
lve me my Kamam." When Pshara rose up and came
forth, ~awatanos fell upon him like a lion. Directing his spear at
Pshara s heart, Dawatanos tore through his armor, the lance coming
out from the other side of his body; then both men fell from their
horses. The two ?rmies were clashing together, and in the process
Dawatanos was kIlled on the same spot, while Pshara lay dead with
the spear in his body. When the townspeople learned that
Dawatanos had died, they rose up in a body and made a sortie. Then
one of Dawatanos's troops, whose name was Tavar, went to Francopoulos and accused him of being the cause of the dux's death. When
Francopoulos heard this, he attacked the infidels and severely
slaughtered them at the gates of the town, as many as fifteen
thousand men; then he returned to the country of the Romans.'
18. In this same year a certain Hehnuk with five thousand men
went against the Kurds in the region of Amida, near a place called
Chepu-Shahar. Seizing a considerable amount of booty consisting of
sheep, cattle, horses, slaves, and many other things, he came to the
fortress called Sewerak CSewawerak). A man who was the chief of
the Kurds and whose name was Khalid, together with his three sons,
p~rsued and overtook Hehnuk. When Hehnuk and his forces saw
thIS, they turned back in flight. At that moment the divine-rebuking
wrath of God fell upon them, for the forces of Amida arrived and
caused much slaughter, freeing all the men and captives [Hehnuk
and his troops had taken].
19. In this same year Francopoulos went to the city of Erzurum

PART II

101

and there came upon the Turkish forces which had pillaged the
territory of T'lkhum, and both sides engaged in combat with one
another. Francopoulos defeated them and slaughtered all the
Turkish forces killing their emir who was called Yusuf; moreover, he
seized countle;s booty and delivered innumerable captives out of their
hands. When the emperor Ducas heard of the death of Dawatanos,
which was treacherously caused by Francopoulos, he summoned him
to Constantinople and drowned him in the sea by tying a rock to his
neck and throwing him into the Mediterranean.
20. In the year 513 of the Armenian era [1064-1065] the Persian
ruler Alp Arslan, l brother of the sultan Tughrul, who after the death
of his brother occupied the throne of the state, collected troops from
the Persians, the Turks, and from all of Khuzistan2 right up to Sijistan. 3 Going forth full of rage and with a formidable army, he surged
ahead with venomous onslaughts and moved forth like a river
swelling up with tempestuous rage and like a beast crazed by its
bloodthirsty nature. He went forth and reached Armenia; and then
with a very large amount of troops entered the country of the
Albanians, subjecting them to the sword and enslavemen~. He
caused countless deaths of Christians, so much so that no one 1S able
to relate the calamitous events of this disaster to the Christian
faithful; for they bitterly tasted death at the hands of the crazed and
pernicious nation of the Turks. Because of the tremendous number
of Turkish troops, all the plains were covered with their forces, and
thus all ways of escape were closed off. Lo, in this place the words
of the Savior were fulfilled, who said: "Woe to those who are
pregnant and who give suck in those days"'; for many priests, monks,
chief elders and illustrious princes tasted violent death and became
food for the'beasts and birds. After such a great calamity the sultan
sent to the king of the Albanians Kvirike5 and demanded his daughter
in marriage; out of fear the king gave her to the ~ult~n. ~hen the
sultan made a perpetual pact of peace and friendshIp WIth him, after
which he sent the king of the Albanians Kvirike, the son of David
Anhoghin back to his town of Lop with great honor and many gifts.6
Going forth from that place, the sultan entered Georgia with his
formidable anuy and, full of ferocious rage, subjected its inhabitants
to the sword and enslavement. Descending from there, he encamped
in the district called Jawakhk,7 and vehemently besieged the town of
Akhalk'alak. By a violent assault he captured Akhalk'alak and
mercilessly slaughtered all the inhabitants with the sword down to

102

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

the last man and woman, butchering all the priests, monks, and
nobles. The whole town was filled with blood, and the Turks led
innumerable young boys and girls into captivity to Persia; moreover,
they took [with them] treasures of gold, silver, precious stones, and
pearls, amounting to an incalculable sum.
21. In this same year the sultan very victoriously went forth and,
[having the reputation of] being the venomous serpent of the
Persians, came and entered Armenia; he became the instrument of
the divine"rebuking wrath of God upon this eastern people and forced
the entire Armenian nation to imbibe his bitter rancor. He spread
the flaming fire of death to all the Christian faithful and filled all
Armenia with blood, the sword, and enslavement. Going forth, the
sultan came like a threatening black cloud and, descending upon the
royal city of Ani, surrounded it completely on all sides like a vicious
serpent.
22. When the population of the city saw this, they trembled in fear

and prepared to battle against the Persians with [as] much strength
[as they could muster]. The infidel forces on their part, full of rage,
made a savage assault and pushed the RomanI forces back into the
city, forcing them to regroup within its walls; thus by their fonnidable assault the Persians put the city in great danger. At that
moment, from dread of these vicious beasts, all the Christian faithful
trembled and shook, and fathers began to weep over their sons and
sons, over their fathers; mothers wept over their daughters and
daughters, over their mothers; and brothers wept over their brothers'
~nd lovers, over their lovers. Thus the whole population of Ani wa~
III great danger, and the assault grew even more intense so much so
tha~ th: whole city quaked. Because of these prolonged ~ssaults, the
entIre ~lty began to pray and fast, and with tears and groans together
the~ cned out to God to deliver them from these ferocious beasts For
Am was a very populated city, filled with tens of thousands of 'men
women, aged, a~d children; this city evoked the admiration of thos~
~ho gazed upon It; even the innumerable [infidel] forces thought that
't e grlelater part of the population of Armenia was contained within
1 s wa s.

w;~:~~ ~eri~.~ there were in Ani one thousand and one churches
rocks l~~ 1 urgy was celebrated. The city was built on steep
C
' .w R ' rosbe up on all sides, and was surrounded by the
Akh urIan
lver ut ab ut b h
'
a a ows at away there was an accessible

PART II

103

place on one side which the infidels had demolished with a catapult.
After besieging the city for many days, the infidels still were unable
to enter it and soon became discouraged and lifted the siege. On the
other hand, the wicked Roman governors, whom the emperor had
appointed as guardians of Armenia-Bagrat, father of 5mbat, and
Gregory, son of Bakuran, a Georgian-began to intrench themselves
deep inside the upper citadel. On that same day the sultan and all
the Persian forces, including his whole army, were about to pull back
in full force, intending to return to Persia. When the townspeople
saw the entrenchment of these apostate guardians of Armenia [in the
citadel], they broke rank and each man in his own right fled for no
reason at all, the whole city being obscured by a cloud of dust [rising
from the feet of those fleeing]. The important personages of the city,
in tears, went and fell on their knees before the graves of the former
Armenian kings, deeply lamenting with tearful eyes and saying:
IIRise up and see [the condition ofi your ancestral land.
When the infidel forces sawall this confusion [among the Christian
faithfulJ, they went and related it to the sultan, but he would not
believe them. Nevertheless, when the infidel troops saw the
ramparts undefended, they entered the city in toto and, taking a
child from its mother, brought it back to the sultan and said: "Let
this be as evidence for you from the city that we have captured Ani."
When the sultan heard this, he was greatly amazed and said: "Their
God has delivered the impregnable city of Ani into our hands this
day.1I Then he turned around with his army and entered the city of
Ani. All the infidel troops had very sharp knives, one in each hand
and the third between the teeth. Armed in this manner, they began
to mercilessly slaughter the inhabitants of the entire city, cutting
down great numbers of them like green grass and piling up their
bodies, one on top of the other, like heaps of stone. In a short time
the whole city was filled with blood. All the important Armenian
princes and noblemen were brought before the sultan in chains.
Beautiful and respectable ladies of high birth were led into captivity
to Persia. Innumerable and countless boys with bright faces and
pretty girls were carried off together with their mothers. Many
saintly priests were burned to death, while others were flayed alive
from head to toe, enduring painful wounds, all of which was horrible
to those witnessing it.
One of the nefarious infidels climbed to the top of the holy
cathedral and pulled down the very heavy cross which was on the
dome, throwing it to the ground. Then, entering through the door
II

104

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

which gave access to the dome of the cathedral, he hurled down the
crystal lamp onto the floor of the cathedral, causing it to be extinguished; 5mbat the Conqueror had this lamp brought from India
along with an indeterminate quantity of precious objects, and it
weighed twelve litras and was also able to bear a weight of twelve
litras. When the cross was pulled down from the dome, at that
moment violent thundering and heavy rains took place, and all the
torrents of blood caused by the slaughter were washed into the
Akhurian River, thus cleansing the entire city of blood. When the
sultan learned that the crystal lamp, which was without equal in the
whole world, had been shattered in pieces, he became very distressed.
The silver cross, which the infidels had pulled down and which was
the size of a man, was taken and placed on the threshold of the
entrance to the mosque in the city of Nakhichevan; this cross is still
located there today.3
23. In this period Gagik, l the son of the shahnshah 5mbat,2
reigned in Kars; an envoy was sent to him by the sultan, requesting
him to come and do obeisance. Now Gagik was an intelligent and
sagacious man, and so he thought of a way to quietly rid himself of
the sultan. He dressed up in a black garment of mourning and sat
on a cushion of the same color. When the sultan's envoy saw him,
questioning him and desiring to know the reason [for this behaviorJ
he said: "Why are you dressed in black, for after all you are a king?'~
Gagik answered: "Since the day that my friend the sultan Tughrul,
the brother of Alp Arslan, died, I have been wearing this black
garment." Amazed, the envoy went and related it to the sultan, and
the sultan, enthralled by this, went forth with his whole army and
came to Gagik in Kars; there he offered Gagik his friendship and
showed that he was pleased [to see him]' moreover he had the
Armenian king dressed in royal clothes. 'Gagik, in 'turn, gave a
banquet for the sultan. We have heard it said that the Armenian
king spent one thousand dahekans on one roasted lamb and also that
he gave a table worth one hundred thousand dahekans to the sultan
be~ides placing all his troops at the disposal of that ruler. Thus i~
thIS manner Gagik quietly rid himself of Alp Arslan. Sometime after
this Gagik abandoned Kars and went over to the Romans. The
emperor Ducas gave DzamndaWl to Gagik, and the Armenian king
settled there, together with his noblemen, thus abandoning his
ancestral home.
In this manner the Armenian nation was enslaved, and the whole

PART II

105

country was completely filled with blood, which like a sea undulated
from one end to the other. Our ancestral home was destroyed and
despoiled. The foundations of the Armenian homeland were uprooted
and shaken. No hope of deliverance remained, and we became
subjected to servitude under infidel peoples and alien savages. Lo,
the words of the prophet David were fulfilled against us: "You have
sold your people for a trifle and our cries have not ceased. You have
made us an object of scorn among the heathen and of derisive
contempt among those who are about us. Because of all these things,
we cry out and say: Turn to us, 0 God our Savior, and turn your
anger away from us. "4 Such was the destruction of the Armenian
nation.
24. In the year 514 of the Armenian era [1065-1066], during the
reign of the Roman emperor Ducas, a great war broke out in the West
caused by the nation of the Uzes. The emperor Ducas collected troops
from all the Greeks and from the forces of Armenia. He appointed
the illustrious Roman magnate Basil, the son of Abukab, as commander of these forces. Basil, advancing with many troops, came and
descended upon the great river called the Danube. Here on the
banks of the river a violent battle took place between the Romans
and the Uzes, and there was heavy slaughter on both sides. Here one
was able to witness a very violent conflict, where both sides hacked
away at each other for the greater part of the day and struck out at
one another like flocks of sheep. As the battle grew intense, the
Roman troops were defeated and fled, while the forces of the Uzes
pursued with the sword, slaughtering them in great numbers; the
enemy captured Basil, the Roman general, and led him into captivity
to their country. Moreover, these Uzes seized the entire Roman camp
in toto, including a great amount of gold and silver and many other
types ofbootYi they also led all the chief Greek officers into captivity.
For many years Basil remained captive in the country of the Uzes
and was unable to be ransomed, for they wanted too much money [for
his releaseJ. Mter a while one of the infidel troops contemplated
freeing Basil, and the general, in turn, promised to give him many
things, including a position of high rank from the emperor. A few
days later this man, with the help of some of his friends, snatched
Basil and immediately brought him to the emperor Ducas. Thus
there was much rejoicing among all the Greeks, and the emperor
gave many gifts to those who had brought Basil. Mter this Basil
came to his father Abukab in Edessa, and his father and all his

106

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

people were filled with joy.


25. In this same year his most praiseworthy lord Khach'ik, the
Armenian catholicos, died. He had occupied the patriarchal see for six
years, residing in an alien country; also he considered himself a
foreigner under the rule of the Greeks, and the days of his life were
filled with painful! experiences [with these very same Greeksl. He
endured much suffering in Constantinople at the hands of the unjust
and vicious Roman nation, who subjected him to various tribulations
because of his faith. We have heard it related that the Romans
forced him to submit to an ordeal by fire, but he passed though it
unharmed, angering them so much that they claimed he was a
phantom. Because of all this, his lordship Khach'ik was deeply
grieved in his heart. He remembered the destruction of the patriarchal see of the Armenian nation, the seizure of the royal throne from
the Bagratid dynasty and its administration by the perfidious Greek
nation, and finally, the condition of poverty prevailing over the see of
St. Gregory, the enlightener of the Armenians. On the other hand,
when his lordship Peter had occupied the patriarchal see in Armenia,
he possessed the patrimony given to him by the Armenian kings. He
had five hundred renowned and large villages, together with their
very ample revenues. Also he had under his jurisdiction over five
hundred illustrious bishops and chorepiscopi, administering seven
hundred dioceses without interruption. He had with him in the
patriarchal palace twelve bishops, four vardapets, sixty priests, and
five hundred other clergymen and laymen. Thus the patriarchal see
was far from being inferior to the Armenian royal throne. Also the
religious objects, which filled the patriarchal palace, were of immense
number and of wondrous splendor; all of these were donated by
former Armenian kings at the time of the establishment of the first
Armenian patriarchs and were passed on until the time of his
lordship Peter, after which they were melted down and destroyed.
~ 0V: his lordship Khach'ik reflected upon all this and, seeing the
afflIctIOns of the Armenian patriarchal see, became deeply grieved.
When the holy patriarch his lordship Khach'ik passed from this
wor1~, .those of the Annenian kings and princes who were left
remammg sought to frnd a worthy person to install on the patriarchal
see of ~t. ?regory the Enlightener. They found a young man of
Pahlav~d lrn~age named Vahram, the son of the distinguished
Armem.an pnnce. Gregory Magistros. Vahram was endowed with
every VIrtue; haVlng taken a wife according to the ways of the world

PART II

107

and having kept her in a state of purity, he was now separated from
her and had taken on the monastic discipline; moreover, devoting
himself to study and to the attainment of divine grace, he came to
have a deep understanding of the Old and New Testaments of God,
showing much eagerness and great desire [in his pursuit of these
studiesl.
26. During this period his most praiseworthy lordship Gregory, 1
also known as Vahram, the son of Gregory Magistros, son of Vasak
of Bjni of Pahlavid lineage, occupied the see of the Armenian
catholicate. His Lordship Gregory occupied the patriarchal see at the
behest of the shahnshah Gagik, the son of Abas of Kars, because after
the death of his lordship Khach'ik, Vahram was deemed worthy of the
holy see. For his reputation had grown a great deal, and he was
filled with holiness and righteousness and endowed with shining
virtue. Moreover, he had become skillful in the art of rhetoric and
was erudite in all aspects of the Old and New Testaments of God and
thus was able to assist Christ's flock in every way. It was this man
Vahram whom the Holy Spirit revealed as the one who would occupy
the see of St. Gregory the Enlightener, his ancestor; because of this
he was seen as one endowed with humility and every virtue and as
one appearing as the second celebrated Gregory. He renounced the
delights of the world and enthusiastically embraced the path of
eternal life. He enlightened the land of Armenia with his many and
diverse commentaries. [He enriched Armenian culture] by translating the works of many nations 2 and completely filled the church of
God with all types of divinely inspired books. [Finally], Vahram
made the monastic institutions of the Armenian nation shine forth,
and thus the see of St. Gregory the Enlightener regained its [former]
vigor in the land of Armenia; for the new patriarch shone with
holiness and every modesty and devoted himself to fasting and
prayers.
27. In this same year the wicked Persian chief Slar-Khorasan for
the second time collected troops. He came against the fortress of
T'lkhum and with a terrible siege put it in dire straits for many days,
but was unable to capture it. Then, going forth with many troops, he
came to the territory of Edessa and reached the fortress called
Sewawerak. A guard post of Frankish troops, consisting of h~TO
hundred horsemen, was stationed here. The Franks went forth III
battle against the Turks and at first slaughtered them and turned

108

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

them in flight. However, when the infidel forces received reinforcements, the~ put the Franks to flight and killed fifteen of their men.
Then the
mfidel forces invaded the territory of Sewawerak and
1
Nisibis. The whole region was heavily populated with men and
women and flocks of ~hee?, to such an extent that its surface gave
t~e appear~nce of a rIpplmg sea. The infidels ruthlessly attacked
wIth sword m hand and mercilessly slaughtered [everyone] with the
edge o~the s,,:ord, filli~g.the land with blood and leading the women
and chIldren mto captIVIty, together with a tremendous amount of
booty. After a few days they reached the territory of Edessa and
enc~mped. before the ~enowned fortress of T'orich, devastating the
entire reglOn. Then WIth part of their forces they descended upon a
fortress of limited importance called Nshenek2 and after a severe
ass~u!t captured it. A certain brave Armenian soldier called the
v~st~s, who was the dux of Antioch, happened to be in Edessa at that
hme. Organizing his troops, he went forth to attack the Turks.
However, the dux ?fthe c~ty, whose name was Pegonites,4turned over
the troops of the CIty to hIS proximus5 and ordered him to try to bring
about the death of the vestis, so that he might not have the chance to
do any de.eds of.bravery and thus increase his reputation for prowess.
The vestzs arrIved at ~ sh~nek at nightfall; the Turks, feeling
co~pletel~ secure, were lIghtmg their fires and beginning to prepare
theIr evemng meal. Then the perfidious proximus, who [as we have
see~] contemplated the treacherous deed of doing away with the
vestzs, sou~ded th~ battle trumpet from afar and thus warned the
Turks, whII~ he h~mself went in another direction with his troops.
~he ~me~lan chIef realized the treachery of the Romans and,
sIgnalmg hIS noblemen, fell upon the Turks. At the first encounter
he s~augh~ered many, while causing others to flee. Then he tried to
obtam aSSIstance from ~he garrison of the fortress, but when [he saw
that] the ranks Of. the mfidels were increasing around him, he took
refuge unharmed m a fortress which was near Dzulman 6 When he
aske~ where the Frankish troops of Edessa were, he was t~ld that the
pro~lmu~ had gone to Lord Guzman7 with all his troops Then the
vestzs SaId' "0 apost t R
. h'
.
a e omans, IS t IS one of your usual treacherous
t '),,'
ac s.. He returned to Edessa and after a few days went to the city
~;eAntlOch and wrote to the emperor Ducas, informing him of all his
th ac~erb" dT:,e emperor had the proximus taken and flayed alive'
en e a IS ~kin stuffed with grass and sent to Edessa. More~
over, Ducas depnved Pegonites of his high rank.

PART II

109

28. In this same year once again the wicked and bloodthirsty beast
Slar-Khorasan came to the territory of Edessa and descended upon
Gullab. 1 There with the edge of the sword he caused a severe
slaughter, killing most of its inhabitants. Then, laden with many
captives, he descended upon the fortress called Tap, 2 capturing it after
a violent assault and slaughtering its inhabitants to the last man.
Mter this, departing, he went and encamped in a place called K'sOS.3
The Roman troops who were in the city of Edessa, both infantry and
cavalry forces consisting of four thousand men, went against the
Turks and reached T'lak, which is close by K'sos. When SlarKhorasan saw this, he signaled his troops and attacked. However,
before both sides engaged in combat, the Roman troops fled. On the
other hand, two brothers from the Armenian infantry forces held a
bridge and thus stopped the Turks for a short time, until they were
finally killed in a violent assault [by the enemy]. So the Roman
troops fled, and the Turks pursued with the sword. At that moment
a Frank turned around to face the Turks and, roaring like a lion,
wounded and killed many, thus stopping them until the fugitives
could escape. But, his horse having been crippled with many wounds,
the Frank was cut down and bravely perished on the spot. The
infidels continued their pursuit right up to the moat of the city,
severely slaughtering [the Christians] as they advanced. Thus the
entire plain was filled with blood and many high-ranking officers lost
their lives.
29. In this same year once again Slar-Khorasan came against the
territory of Edessa, [this time] to a place called Kupin, l and there he
caused a horrible slaughter of people. He remained in the area for
many days, devastating and enslaving the whole region. The~ he
returned to Persia with a tremendous amount of booty and captIves
and died there.
30. In this same period1 the Roman emperor Ducas, the patriarch,2
all the clergy, and the whole body of eunuchs espoused a perfidious
and abominable idea, conceived by the wicked emperor; moreover, all
the conspicuous Roman personages supported this sinister plan. For
the emperor, in concert with his impious accomplices, had the
intention of destroying the Armenian faith, thus thinking to corrupt
the faith of St. Gregory the Enlightener. So he resolved to substitute
his demonic, confused, and defective doctrine for that faith which had
been established in Armenia since time immemorial; for it was

110

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

founded on diamond-like rocks through the efforts and martyTdoms


of the holy apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew and through the
many-sided and varied tribulations of St. Gregory the Enlightener, a
faith which is and will remain unshaken for eternity.3 This emperor,
enticed by demonic beings, endeavored to be like the enemy who sows
tares among good grain. As it is written in the Holy Gospels (about
those who would subvert the faith], he resolved to make obscure our
luminous doctrine and to cause falsehood to triumph over the truth,
which [subversions of the faith] are quite prevalent among the
Greeks. Possessed by this deep obsession [to destroy the Armenian
faith], he aspired to demolish this lofty tower of doctrine, but was
unable to accomplish this evil design of his.4
Now the emperor Ducas sent to the city of Sebastia and summoned
the sons of the king of Armenia, Atom and Abusahl, to Constantin~ple. They, somewhat recognizing the emperor's evil designs, took
WIth. th~m the vardapet James, surnamed K'arap'nets'i, a man
erudIte m the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and with him went
to Constantinople. At first the emperor welco~ed the sons of the
Ar;m~nian king; however, after a few days he began to disclose his
eVIl mtentions and sai~: "It is the command of our imperial majesty
that you and all the prmces of Armenia receive baptism according to
the Roman fai~h.': ~eing among the Romans, Atom and Abusahl had
all sorts of misgIvmgs [about giving an out-and-out refusal to the
e~peror]; s~ t~ey said to Ducas: "We are unable to do anything
WIt~.out G~fk, son of Ashot, for he is a brave man and our king and
s~n Ill-law, send for and summon him here for if we do anything
wIthout him , he WI'11 burn us t 0 death when we
' return to our lands "
When the empero~ he~rd this, he did not want Gagik to com~,
~ec~u~~lth~ Armeman kmg was brilliant in philosophical debates and
~~v:~ e answering ~uestio~s put to him; for [at a former time]
;a III the PUlPIt of Samt Sophia, in the midst of all the
R
. o:l~ octors. ~ile Atom and Abusahl secretly sought out Gagik
~~tiCi~~-~~~tt'ihe en:per~r.Ducas, taking the initiative, began the
raised
. ~em~n alth. The vardapet James of Sanahin
faith' many obJectIon~ In reference to various points in the Roman
to th~~:~:~'p~~~~~r:Ing the two natures in Christ, he inclined a bit

The emperor, agreeing with all th I '


[to reconcile the two faiths] on th t be s? utlOns presented by James
reunion be drawn up betwe~n the ~Sl~ commanded a document of
Armenian vardapet James unde t ketmadns and ~he Romans; so the
r 00 0 raft this document. The

PART

II

111

emperor was very pleased with this profession of faith and commanded it to be deposited in Saint Sophia, since henceforth the Armenians
and the Romans were reunited to one another. At this time Gagik,
swift as an eagle, sped to Constantinople; and when the emperor
heard of his arrival, he was very happy. When Gagik came before
the emperor, he ordered the document of reunion brought to him.
Taking it, the Armenian king read it and, when he saw that it was
written by the vardapet James, tore it in two in the presence of the
emperor and threw it to the ground. Seeing this, Ducas became very
much ashamed. Then Gagik said the following to the emperor in
reference to the vardapet: "This man is only a monk, besides which
there are many in Armenia who will neither accept nor conform to
such a document as this; moreover, we do not consider him to be one
of our accomplished vardapets." Then in the presence of the emperor
the Armenian king reprimanded James, saying: "How did you dare
write this and get yourself involved in such gibberish, for you are a
religious man." Mter this Gagik said the following to the emperor
Ducas: "I am a king and a son of the kings of Armenia, and all
Armenians obey my commands; I am well versed in the Old and New
Testaments, and all Armenians are witnesses to the truth of my
words, for they regard me as equal to the vardapets; therefore, today
I shall present a discourse to the Romans concerning the faith of the
Armenian nation." So Gagik himself wrote a profession of faith and
presented it to the emperor and patriarch. Here follows a copy of this
document.

31. "We feel it necessary to examine those matters concerning the


Armenian faith, all in accordance with your request, your imperial
majesty. N ow listen and pay attention to whatever I say with an
open mind and understand the true profession of faith of the
Armenian nation, based on one Godhead consisting of the Father,
Son, and Holy Spirit. First one must understand the nature of man
and the reason for his creation; this is the means of knowing God who
created man in the fullness of being. One must admit that anything
more or anything less said about this belief comes from eviP First
and foremost we know that God is without beginning and infinite ....2
32. "Now we shall speak about the creation of man. Why did God
first create the lower forms and prepare man's habitat and after all
this make man as his last act of creation? It is because he did not
think it proper to enjoy his opulence alone. So from his abundant

112

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

excellence he poured out his blessings and passed from the creation
of angels and other beings [to the creation of man], according to the
words of the prophet who said: 'The earth was full of the mercy of
the Lord; the heavens were made firm by the words of the Lord all
their virtues emanating from the breath of his mouth. '1 0 victorious
em?eror, 10, we expound our profession of faith to your imperial
maJesty and once again discourse about these matters. It is our duty
~o s~rve and worship the Lord in the same way and manner as those
mspired by the Holy Spirit. For we proclaim that the Father is God
that the Son is G:0d, that the Holy Spirit is God, forming thre~
perso~s .and o~e w~ll .with one accord and one lordship. There is no
supenonty or mfenonty between them; one is not to be more honored
or more humbled than the others, so that one assents the other
cooperates, while the third provides the inspiration. Mor~over, each
perso~ equally ~an~es.ts the splendor of the Godhead, separated in
Its umty an~ uruted In Its separation, which indeed is beyond human
understandmg.

w33 h"~t this point I will delineate the doctrine of the Holy Spirit

ets a I speak of the Holy Spirit as an enlightening force' as th~


con emp ator of the divi
s
'
it. 'Th t
h
.ne graces, t. John the Evangelist expressed
.. a'l was t e true lIght, which enlightens all men and'which was
~::I: oJ~~:~:I~tO ~~~~mhorte: an~ s~il1 is and will [always] be;
David sa . t' ' I S g IS t e lIght, It IS God and, it is that which
when he :a~~. ~~: ~a:t. T.h~ ~heologian John2 witnesses to all this
as inferior [to' the othe~~~!~nt Isf~~d, ;:m people [wrongly] regard
as God equal with the F th ns 0 e 0 ead] and do not maintain
the Trinity and of the Ho~ er. ~nd th~ Son.' This is the doctrine of
to this world to give birth Y SXlnt, which we profess. Now God came
because of this; so at thi~ ~in;hat ~n excellent offspring came forth
on the birth of the Son fro! th ;e t~ aU expound to your excellency
we do [concerning this doctri:e] a .;' as t? why we hold the belief
Godhead to be equally in th : th h e beheve the essence of the
second person of the Tri 't e a er ood and in the sonship. The
. a very real
sense and not seemingly my
0 . came for oul' SalvatIOn In
r
III a contrived
[.
.
h
were]
persons disguised a
t
way,
as
In
the
sItuation
es
him who was called the f=tr ~ P~rtook of the calf in the tent of
3
second person of the Trinity w~~h~u rlght.eo~sness. We regard the
was proclaimed from Moses t th t begInnIng and uncreated as it
the fulfillment of the promis~s o~ ;~oPhets and :?,OIn the prophets to
e one who IS to come. He will

PART II

113

come among us in order to accomplish the work of redemption, which


event Christ witnessed to in the presence of the holy apostles. We
have received the Gospel in writing, and from the time of the
reception of this Gospel until the second4 manifestation of God, when
the good and the evil will receive theit just recompense, the precepts
of the apostles together with those of the holy fathers are in effect.
34. liN ow hear, 0 emperor, how we anathematize the heretics of
the church, who are corrupted by erroneous doctrines and whose
names have been recorded. We anathematize Valentinus, who
maintains that there are two Sons of God, one through nature and
the other through grace; he also maintains that the Old Testament
is bad and only the New is good, and because of all this we anathematize him, and indeed let him be anathema. Marcion maintains
that the basic elements are uncreated and exist by themselves, that
the world was fonned from numbers, and that the body of our Lord
seemingly exists but in essence is not real; because of all this we
anathematize him also. Montanus, who is considered one of the most
perverse heretics, maintains that his own person is the Holy Spirit
and at the same time fornicates with women; the Holy Spirit
anathematizes him, and indeed let him be anathema. Mani maintains that there are two principles coequal with one another, light
and darkness, the one good and the other evil; him also we anathematize. Novation rejects the doctrine of repentance, maintaining that
once a person sins, he can never again hope for pardon; because of
this we anathematize him with the rest, and indeed let him be
anathema.1
35. "Anus maintains three persons, but makes one inferior to the
other; the catholic church, together with us, anathematizes him.
Photinus maintains that Jesus originated from Mary and not
eternally from the Father; because of this we anathematize him. We
also anathematize Nestorius, Eutyches, and Sargis/ who has an
Armenian name,2 was accompanied by a dog and a donkey, and shall
partake of the fate of these animals on the last day; the holy catholic
apostolic church anathematizes these persons, and let them indeed
be anathema. We also anathematize Paul of Samosata, Peter the
Fuller,S and Dioscorus4j if indeed this last person held heretical views
as the other two; th'en let him be anathema, just in case your
superficial analysis of him be true.

114

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

36. "Now we shall discourse on the crucified Christ, whom we


invoke and worship. Those who believe and maintain that the
Trinity was crucified on the cross or that the Godhead suffered on the
cross are anathematized by the Trinity, by us, and by the church of
God. Understand, your most high imperial majesty, [our doctrine]
concerning the union of the natures of God and man [in Christ]
natures which are esteemed by us. On the other hand the separa~
tion of the divinity and the humanity after the unio~ [of the two
natures] is not found in Holy SCripture;1 this we confess and believe.
F~r .G~egory the Tha~aturge2 says: 'If out of two diverse principles
[divimtyand humaruty] come forth two natures united in one, then
one can profess only one Lord, one Jesus Christ one nature after the
union which makes his earthly body coequal ~ith the GOcThead and
which brings these two together in one force and one divinity.'
However, why and in what way are the two natures related to one
another? These are the questions which the fathers of the church did
not examin~ too deeply. For why did the ThaumaturgesB neglect
understandmg what the Holy Spirit revealed-namely the bringing
forth ~f God from God; why did they neglect the concept of the birth
of Chnst as supremely ~rom God? The blessed Gregory of Nyssa,4 the
brother of the holy patnarch Basil, 5 says the following in his book on
the nature of man, in the third discourse which deals with the union
of the soul and the body: 'It is certainly in accordance with the pure
':'ord God ~hat, .especially because God wished to unite with mankmd, he hved m a body wherein he remained united without
confusion ~d in an ineffable manner, but not with a body like ours;
for our bodIes seem to be formed of many elements and are subject to
the natural passions which are part of their very nature. On the
other hand, th~ Word of God has nothing in common with the body
or the soul, which are changeable; rather, it is not susceptible to their
weak~esses, but ~ssociates them to its divinity and in so doing still
rem~ms on:, as It was before this union was achieved. The new
realIty of.th~s co~bination and union, [Christ], operates in a certain
manner; It I~ mmgled toget~er, yet it remains completely distinct,
unco~sed, Incorrupt, and Immutable; it is not susceptible to the
natura pa~s.ions but yet is capable of action, not open to corruption
~n~ mutabIlIty but yet both its aspects grow together; nevertheless
It IS not prevented by these passions and actions from remainin~
un~lterable ~nd unconfused, because it is incapable of all change of
an Impure kmd.'

I1In support of this doctrine we cite the philosopher Porphyry,6 who

PART II

115

wrote against Christ; for evidence about us recorded by our enem~es


is quite formidable, although they do not accept the fact that ChrIst
is one. This Porphyry, in the second discourse of his miscellany,
writes the following concerning this subject: 'One cannot say that it
is impossible for a substance, by augmenting itself, to complement
another substance and to be a part of it and yet retain its own nature
even after its union with that other substance; this substance, by
being with another, does not change its own greatness, rather it
changes those substances which are united to it by .the action. of
coming together.' This is what Porphyry says concernmg the umon
of the soul and the body. If indeed these words are true in reference
to the soul and its immateriality, how much more would they be
applicable to the Word of God, which is eternally uniq';le and t~ly
incorporeal; this teaching silences those heretics who revile the umon
of the Word God with man, for they are like the pagans who hold
many absurd opinions.
37. I1Therefore, those Christians and other faithful who maintain
the aforementioned doctrine in another sense by professing the
alteration or confusion of the two natures, let these be anathema. If
anyone maintains that the Theotokos Mary, the Holy Virgin, assumes
a position distant from the Godhead, let him be anathema. If anyone
says that Christ passed through the Virgin as if through a tube, or
that he was created in her divinely and humanly at one and the same
time-<iivinely because he was conceived without a man and humanly
because he was born through a natural birth-let him be anathema.
If anyone says that man was first created and then God entered and
dwelled within him, let him be condemned for not maintaining the
birth of God but rather rejecting it. If anyone professes two sons,
one from God the Father and the other from a mother, both not being
one and the same, let him be excluded from the inheritance of the
faithful. There are two natures, for in Christ is God and man, a
spirit and a body; however, there are neither two sons nor two Gods,
but only one; moreover, in him there are not two men, although Paul
of Samosata maintained that there are-one the internal man and
the other the external man.
"If one must speak succinctly, I would say that the Savio~ is
composed of many elements, but he is not at. o~e and t~e same tlIl~e
invisible and visible or outside of time and hmited by tIme; there IS
nothing different about him except one thing: th~re are two in the
same house who are united together, God becomIng man and man

116

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

becoming God; how else can one express this [inscrutable mystery]?
We maintain that the Trinity is composed of different Persons, but we
do not confuse one Person with the other; in the same way the two
natures are made one in Christ and partake of the same divinity. If
anyone maintains that Christ, as a prophet, was born in grace, but
was not begotten through the natural union of two natures, let him
be considered among those who are anathematized by the powers on
high, especially if he persists in his error. If anyone does not worship
Christ crucified, let him be anathematized and condemned with the
deicides. If anyone maintains that he is worthy of being adopted as
a son of God only after his baptism or his resurrection from the dead,
as the pagans affirm in their erroneous books, let him be anathema.
For heretics such as these maintain that the being, who has a
beginning, progresses, and finally becomes perfect, is not God,
although they say this because of the gradual changes which take
place in him. If anyone maintains that Christ has now put aside his
body and has kept only his divinity, having abstracted it from his
body, and thus has divested himself of this garment he used to wear,
so that at present or at his second coming he will not be seen in his
glory, [let him be anathema]. For where is his body now, if not with
the one who is clothed in it?
"We reject the nonsense of the Manicheans, who say that his body
was placed in the sun and thus honor that which is not worthy of
honor;l [we do not believe as they do that] this body became dissipated and dissolved in nature, similar to what happens to air and
lightning in the atmosphere; [we also reject their notion that] the
body is not in any place where it can be touched, or [that] it is not
resurrected and its former wounds cannot be seen since the Godhead
it~elf is invisible. On the contrary, we maintain'that he came with
hIS bod;y, wholly .forme~, as he appeared to his disciples on Mount
Tabor ~n ~ ~an~festa~lOn where his divinity triumphed over his
hu~amty; It IS thIS behef that I wish to make known to your imperial
maJesty. If anyone maintains that Christ's body descended from
heaven,2 let him be anathema, for a heavenly body comes from
heaven and a terrestrial body from the earth; no one ascends to
heaven ,;ho has not descended from there, namely the Son of Man.
If there IS a.nyt~ing more to be said here, one should explain the
heavenl~ umon m .the sense that everything exists through Christ,
and ChrIst dwells m our hearts in order to enlighten our minds.

Christ crucified and the crucifixion by means of the following invocation: '0 you who were crucified for us'; during our worship services
we repeat this invocation when we give thanks to God three times for
his Son crucified for us. If anyone imagines that Christ acts because
of the Father or the Holy Spirit, or maintains that all three equally
suffered in the passion and that all three were crucified, he will be
accused of professing three Godheads. However, if we declare that
only the Son is benevolent, we reject the words contained in the
Gospels which say: 'If anyone is ashamed of me or of my words, the
Son of Man will be ashamed of him.'l This passage refers to those
who, although confessing Christ, conceal the thanks due God for the
crucifixion; as these people are ashamed of the cruci:fi.xion, so also will
Christ be ashamed of them on the last day. When, for example,
Gregory,2 the father of theologians, says: 'God crucified, the sun
darkened,' how can one dare disavow the crucifIXion? However, if
anyone brings the Father and the Holy Spirit together, let him be
anathema.

38. "Now we wish to explain to your very illustrious majesty about

117

39. "Now, passing on to another subject, let us discuss the action


involved in the mystery of the bread and the wine. Why did Christ
take up the unmixed chalice together with the unleavened bread in
order to distribute these to us-on the night in which he was betrayed-when he instructed us to consecrate his body and bl?od in
memory of himself? The blessed1 John Chrysostom, whose testimony
we cite here says the following in his commentary on the Gospels, in
reference to'the writings of the Pharisees: 'The other evil heresies,
Christ rooted out this is why after his resurrection he only took the
[unmixed] chalic~ and the unleavened bread; for he said that there
were those who used water in the holy sacrament, even though the
vine produces only wine and not water.' This is why we adhere to
this usage which was passed down to us. Now, since two types of
liquid flowed from the wound made on Christ's side: many have
mixed water with the wine, because water came out With the blood;
also they have adopted the leavened bread because the divinity was
united with the body, but they have made a false interpretation in
order to justify this usage. In reference to the water and the blood,
the blessed John says that the water signifies perfect mortality and
the blood signifies perfect vitality, since Christ both li~ed ~d .died in
perfection. For his humanity is not separated from hl~ dlVllllty, but
constitutes a unity, as we have already proved. He IS no longer a
man but God and man at the same time, existing before eternity,

118

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

although not associated with a body in that state. In the space of


time he took on humanity for our salvation; he suffered the passion
in his body, but not in his divinity; he is circumscribed in his body,
but boundless in his divinity; he is at one and the same time celestial
and terrestrial, visible and invisible, limited and without limit-aU
in such a way that he is both finite and infinite and yet man and
God. Therefore, we worship and proclaim God alone. We believe in
the indivisible union of the divinity and the humanity, not worshiping
the humanity for fear of introducing a quaternity in place of the
Trinity or [introducing] the opinion that salvation is accomplished
only by the death and shedding of the blood of a man rather than by
God.
40. "Now hear what we have to say concerning the Feast of the
Nativity and fasting. In reference to those feasts, which you
~elebrate at times different from us, you use as your chief argument
m .support of your position the time of the birth of Christ, following
thIS passage of the evangelist and apostle St. Luke: lAnd Christ was
thirty years old'l; this clearly shows that on the same day of his
birthday, Christ was baptized and began his mission when he had
completed his thirtieth year. Now, since the duration of Zechariah's
muteness is reckoned as one hundred and eighty days, which makes
the Feast of the Annunciation fall on the twenty-fIfth of March the
~wo hundred and seventy six days of the pregnancy of the Holy Virgin
IS reckoned from this period, allowing a space of ten months for the
pregnancy of the firstborn-all of which calculations fix the Nativity
on the twenty-fifth of December. Now first let us examine Leviticus
and then the Gospels. Leviticus states: 'This is the feast consecrated
t? me, which shall be holy for you, and you shall celebrate it three
tImes a year. All of your male children shall be presented to me and
you s~all make offering to the Lord. I The text adds: IThe first d~y of
the SIxth month shall be holy for you, and the fifteenth of that same
~O~ih, called the Feast of the Tabernacles, shall be holy for you You
s a not perform any servile work on that day. The seventh day,
cal;;d the sabbat~ rest, shall also be holy for you. You shall not
pe .orm any servIle work on that day.'2 These are the words of
S~np~~re.. N~w Zechariah's muteness dates from the month of
T~hri, whI~h IS t~e seventh month. This is the Day of Atonement,
w len the high pnest entered the holy of holies and this happened
on y once ~ year, acco~ding to the words of St. P~u1. It was unlawful
for Zechanah to have mtercourse with his wife on this day,4because

PART II

119

he was the high priest for that year, besides which the solemn Feast
of the Tabernacles was near, and all of Israel was assembled there.
Because of all this and because the Feast of the Tabernacles had to
be celebrated for seven days, it was not possible for the high priest to
leave the people and go to his home, all the more since his residence
was far away and not in Jerusalem. The evangelist St. Luke attests
to all this when he says: IThe people were waiting for Zechariah and
they wondered why he was delaying in the temple. When the time
of his priestly ministrations were over, he returned to his home. I The
evangelist continues: 'Mter these days his wife Elizabeth became
pregnant.'5 This all clearly shows that Zechariah's having intercourse
with his wife assuredly took place after the celebration of the feast
days, and for a further confirmation of these words the evangelist
repeats once again: 'The time of his priestly ministrations was over';
then he adds: 'Mter these days his wife Elizabeth became pregnant.'
Who is the man having some intelligence who doesn't know that God
commanded the people to purify themselves and worship him, not
only during the feast, but also on the first day of the month in the
evening? How is it that in the interval between two solemn feasts
the high priest is able to leave the people and go to his home in order
to have intercourse with his wife? The evangelist clearly relates that
Mary, having left, went towards the hills to a town of the tribe of
Judah; there she entered the house of Zechariah, and on the same
day of the feast Zechariah had intercourse with his wife. Now
understand that this took place during the feast6 of the month of
Tishri at the time of Zechariah's muteness, which is the twenty-fifth
of September or the twenty-second of the month of Tishri, when the
conception and pregnancy of Elizabeth took place. Now, calculating
six months-that is one hundred and eighty days-from the conception of Elizabeth, we come up with the sixteenth of the month, which
is the sixth of April according to the Roman calendar,7 on which day
the annunciation of the Holy Virgin Mary took place. Then, allowing
a space of ten months for the pregnancy of the firstborn and calculating two hundred and eighty-six days from the annunciation, we come
up with the twenty-first of September, which is the sixth of'January
according to the Roman calendar. Now this is the doctrine which we
profess and in which we stand unshaken and with an unfaltering
faith until the end of time.
41. "Now we shall discourse on the fast of Arajawork',1 because
there has been much antagonism, schism, and conflict between the

120

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Romans and our nation over this issue. Concerning the fast of
Arajawork' there is no basic difference between it and Lent, for the
prelates of old separated this fast from Lent, taking into consideration the weakness of human nature; first they had prescribed that
it should be conducted in holiness and forbade the consumption of all
types of victuals, from the produce of the vine to sesame, not to speak
of wine and oil; then, since the people were unable to hold to this
rigorous prescription, these prelates of old permitted an interval of
repose. The reason we have outlined above for the establishment of
this fast suffices, although another significance is attributed to it for
its institution. It is said that this fast of five days was first imposed
as an expiation for man's transgressions through his five senses in
the earthly paradise; this is supposed to be the basis for all fasts
practiced by Christians and also a step to the highest of abstinences,
Lent. This is why Moses in the desert granted the people a time for
relaxation, following the command of the Lord. In the same way the
inhabitants of Nineveh atoned for their sins by a five-day fast and
thus savedstheir ci,ty from destruction. 2 Likewise Cyril, patriarch of
Jerusalem, prescnbed a five day fast before baptism [for those
ent~ring the faith]. There are still other alleged reasons for this fast,
whIch I feel are superfluous to cite here since it would be tedious for
the mind.. This fast does not do any injustice to the faith; on the
contrary, It serves to fulfill its precepts, and besides, no one is to be
blamed for a five-day abstinence. During this fast you would do well
not to eat any of these foods, except on the holy day when we
~elebrate the feast of the general St. Sargis, the true martyr who was
Immo,lat~d by the descend:nts ofHagar,4the sons of MU}:'lammad, in
t~e ~lstnct of Bagrewand during the reign of the emperor TheodoSlUS. To b~ sure, this man is not the apostate donkey-driver Sargis
:ho worshIped a dog. For us Christians it is St. Sargis, the true
a:tyr, whom we commemorate. Thus in regards to this there is no
schIsm or scandal on our part , Now we h ave sal' d
' concermng
.
all thIS
the fast o~ Arajawork' so that all these words might be understood as
a professlO~ of a true and concise faith; this faith we uphold and
stand firm In, from now unt'l
the end 0 f tIme,
.
. "m.It at
1
perSIstIng
present and In the future. May our Lord Jesus Christ be with his
~~y~n~s;bio hi~ be gi~en glory and adoration by the holy church,
lC IS esse and Will be blessed to the end of time, Amen."

~2, Such was the discourse which the Armenian kin Ga'k
dehvered before the emperor Ducas and in the midst of all t:e Gr!:k

PART II

121

rhetoricians and doctors in the city of Constantinople. The emperor


Ducas and all the savants who held seats in the Academy were very
pleased and marvelled at the soundness of Gagik's reasoning and at
the profuseness of his various talents and skills. So the Romans
reestablished peaceful and friendly relations with the Armenian
princes. Forced to renounce their gibberish, all these detractors of
the Armenians were humiliated; for all the Roman doctors were
unable to find even the slightest suspicion of heresy in the profession
of our faith which the Armenian king presented to them. Also Gagik
composed many other discourses based on invincible logic, by means
of which he attacked and refuted the Greeks. The emperor looked at
these and was very pleased with them, for they contained only
orthodox statements and a true profession of faith which is in Christ
Jesus. So the emperor Ducas came to have a very friendly and
receptive attitude towards our princes, bestowing many gifts on
Gagik, Atom, and Abusahl, as well as on the noblemen of Armenia.
Mter all this the name of Gagik was glorified by all the eminent
Armenian vardapets of the time. Here is a list of these illustrious
vardapets: Tiran Kapanets'i; Saylahan Lasdiverts'i; Atom
Andzawats'i; Anane and Gregory Narekats'i; Sargis Swanets'i; Joseph
Entsayets'i; George U dzets'i; Dioscorus Sanahnets'i; Anane Haghbatats'i; James, son of K'arahat; Anthony and Timothy; John, surnamed
Kozern; Paul; Joseph; the vardapet George, surnamed T'amrets'i;
Parkchak; and other brilliant savants such as these, who were filled
with divine graces and flourished in this period. Indeed King Gagik
was equal to these men in the profuseness of the divine graces which
he had received.
43. Mter all this Gagik left the presence of the emperor and
returned to his country in great triumph, accompanied by his retinue.
N ow the Armenian shaknskah went forth and arrived at the city of
Caesarea of Cappadocia. Already quite irritated at the Greeks, he
very angrily struck out at the metropolitan1 of Caesarea, whose name
was Mark; for this man was an evil-minded schismatic and abominable heretic. Moreover, this wicked Mark was so insolent that he
even had the audacity to name his dog "Armen." The Armenian king
had been informed of this insult a long time back and so harbored a
deep hatred for the Greek metropolitan; however, because the king
lived among the Romans, he was not able to do anything about it.
N ow this metropolitan had a very high and formidable reputation
among the Greeks; nevertheless, he incessantly blasphemed the

122

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Armenians, calling all dogs "Armen." Also he brought much affliction


upon the Armenians when he heard that the emperor had the
intention of forcibly baptizing the princes of Armenia in the Roman
faith. So, whenever Gagik stopped at a lodging place, he commanded
the Armenian troops to violate the distinguished Roman ladies found
there, wishing to outrage the Greeks by such behavior. For Gagik
had no intention of ever again returning to Constantinople, rather he
was resolved to go to the Persian sultan Alp Arslan and try to regain
control of the royal throne of Armenia; in fact this sultan had
summoned Gagik many times, but the Armenian king had always
refused his invitation, because he was not of the Christian faith.
Now, when Gagik was near the residence of the Greek metropoli.
tan, he expressed the desire to lodge with him. So envoys went and
said to the heretic Mark: "Gagik the Armenian king wishes to lodge
with you this day." Hearing this, his lordship Mark was overjoyed
and ordered his house decorated for the occasion; then willy-nilly he
went forth, accompanied by priests, to meet Gagik and, conducting
the Armenian king to his house with pomp, gave a magnificent
banquet in his honor. However, Gagik had been angry with the
metropolitan for a very long time and, when his lordship Mark began
to get a bit intoxicated, said to him: "I hear that you have a very
powerful dog; I would like to see him." Mark knew that these words
were said to provoke him and so ignored them. When the Armenian
king repeated his request, the dog was called; however, he did not
come because no one dared to call him by his real name, Armen.
Then Gagik said: "Call him by his name so that he will come."
At that point Mark, completely intoxicated, called the dog, saying:
"Armen, Armen." Immediately the dog, quick as a lion, came
bounding into their midst. Seeing him, Gagik said: "ls this dog
named Armen?' , Mark, greatly embarrassed answered: "He is
soldier-like; that is why we call him Armen." Then Gagik said: "We
shall now see who is soldier-like, Armen or the Roman." A large sack
was ready at hand, and when Gagik gave the signal, his retainers
surrounded .the dog and after a great deal of exertion put him into
the sack. HIS lordship Mark, seeing this thought that they intended
to take the dog with them and so he beg~n to get angry and arrogant
at. the ~enian ki~g's retainers. At that moment Gagik made a sign
WIth. hIS hands to hIS servants; they surrounded the wicked Mark on
al~ sIdes.and, forcibly seizing him, put him into the sack with Armen.
WIth this the Armenian king said: liNow we shall see who is the
more powerful and soldier-like, the Roman metropolitan or the dog

PART II

123

named Armen by him." Gagik ordered the dog severely beaten;


enraged, the dog in turn attacked Mark and ferociously bit him with
his teeth. The servants of the Armenian king continued to beat the
dog for most of the day, while the dog angrily drew the blood of the
abominable heretic Mark. Screams and cries issued forth from the
mouth of Mark. Thus inside the sack a vicious struggle with a great
deal of gnashing of teeth took place. Moreover, piteous groans came
forth from inside the sack. In this manner this vile and abominable
blasphemer cruelly died, becoming food for the dogs. Mter this Gagik
ordered the house of the metropolitan plundered completely, for he
had been a very wealthy and high-ranking individual. An innumerable amount of gold and silver was taken, as well as six thousand
sheep belonging to him, forty pairs of buffalo, and twenty pairs of
oxen; having plundered all of this, the Armenian king returned to his
own home, taking with him a tremendous number of horses and
mules. Now Gagik accomplished all these things right before the
very eyes of the Romans, something which no one has ever dared or
will ever dare to do. So the Armenian king never returned to
Constantinople and consistently refused to heed the summons of the
Romans.
44. In this period King Gagik, the son of Abas ofKars, shone forth
as a brilliant savant and as one imbued with all types of philosophical wisdom and rhetorical skills; for he was always on a par with the
Roman doctors and, whenever he came to Constantinople, sat in the
pulpit of Saint Sophia; moreover, he was thoroughly familiar with the
Old and New Testaments and was an excellent orator. [His contemporary] Gregory Pahlawuni, the son of Vasak, was also an invincible
logician, endowed with all sorts of talents, and was very skillful in
giving cogent answers to whatever the Romans put forth; moreover,
he was extremely well educated and had a thorough grasp of the Old
and New Testaments. This brilliant man had the privilege of sitting
in the pulpit of Saint Sophia with the other savants, and he thus
could discourse with the Roman doctors; moreover, he was considered
to be among the most distinguished of the Armenian vardapets.
45. There was an Armenian prince called Atrnerseh, from the
district of Bagrewand. This man was erudite and very brilliant, a
rhetorician and philosopher, and had studied in celebrated Argina;l
moreover, he was accomplished in the understanding of the two
divine testaments and was capable of standing up to all the Roman

,i'
i',

124

PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

savants because of his profound knowledge and astonishing oratorical


skill; in this way he was very much like Gagik and the other
Armenian savants we have mentioned.
46. During the reign of shahnshah Gagik, son of the Armenian
king Ashot, there took place a fearful and wondrous sign from God in
regard to the holy sacrament in the Monastery of PiZU, l which this
s~~e G~gik had built. Now on the day of Pentecost, while the holy
dlVlne lIturgy was being celebrated in the church of God the
celebrant allowed a piece of the host to fall in front of the holy ~ltar
The? on the third day two venerable hennits had a vision,
commg ~o the church before the arrival of the other monks, one of
them sal.d to the other: "I had a vision during the night that the
l~d WhICh hung from the cupola fell down in front of the holy altar
~aid~~ and yet the l~g?t in it was not extinguished." The other one
th h I also ~ad a VISIOn; I saw a star of amazing grandeur fall from.
e e ~~v~ns m front of the holy altar of God, and its light became
~~n ng ter [than before its fall]." All the monks marvelled at these
~~;on~, t~d th~~ t,?e superior of t~e. monastery, enlightened by the
hosr h:s ~!iI:~I~~ t~:ho~: [t:~se vislOn~ signify that] a piece of the
and with censers in h~d n. I;nmediately the monks lit candles
swept the church on
went. mto the church, for they had not
they entered the sanc~he days [smce the falling of the host]. When
holy altar of God and u~rk~ th~y found a piece of the host before the
Christ. In thl'S s ,PIC mg It up, gave thanks to our Lord Jesus
arne manner rna
Orthodox faith and from th t d
ny we~e strengthened in the
was divine and from heav a . on re~ogll1zed that this sacrament
of God.
en, In eed bemg the true body of the Son

and

aI

47. At the beginning of the


10671 a comet appeared out 0 l~ar 515 of the Armenian era [1066t~aveled in a westerly directio he eastern portion of the sky and
dlJappeared. A number of:' It appeared for one month and then
month and then disappearedays ;fter this it reappeared for one
~eap~ared in the western port"
f ~umber of days after this it
It ~d that it was the same co~on 0 ~ e sky at night; many who saw
portIOn before. DUring these /t whICh ~ad appeared in the eastern
ravaged all of Armenia cons I;nes the mfidels marched forth and
emlavement.
,ummg all the faithful by the sword and

125

48. In this period the Persian emir Afshin 1 collected troops and
desolated many regions, bloodily massacring the Christian faithful.
Much sorrow and gloom fell upon the land because of these wicked
infidels. The emir marched forth with a very great number of troops
and wintered at the foot of the Black Mountains. 2 There was a
tremendous amount of bloodshed and slaughter in the whole region,
and many of the holy monks were subjected to the edge of the sword
and to being burned; moreover, their corpses became food for the
beasts and birds, and since no one was able to inter them, they
remained perpetually unburied. Many monasteries and villages were
burned to the ground, and their traces are still evident today. Thus
the Black Mountains and the entire region from one end to the other
was covered with the blood of monks, priests, men and women, aged
and young, all of this happening according to the prophet who said:
"Their young men were devoured by fire and no one grieved for their
virgins; their priests fell under the sword and no one wept over their
widows; their blood flowed like water all around Jerusalem and there
was no one to bury them."s This is the sort of calamitous destruction
which the wicked and vicious beast Afshin brought upon the faithful;
moreover, it is veritably impossible for anyone to relate his [savage]
deeds.
49. In this same year a very illustrious and mighty emir, who was
called Gumushtigin and who was Alp Arslan's /1,ajib,lcame forth from
the sultan's court; rising up, he went against the Christians with
formidable and valorous forces, causing rivers of their blood to flow.
Like a wounded and enraged beast he devastated the disbict of
T'lkhum and mercilessly slaughtered all those who had escaped the
previous invasions. By a great assault he captured the fortress called
T'let'ut' and inexorably slaughtered everyone there with the sword.
Then with an innumerable amount of captives he reached the
territory of Edessa. Descending upon the fortress called Nisibis, he
besieged it for a number of days, but was unable to capture it. Mter
this he forded the Euphrates River and fell upon the district of :Ui@nManf!lur with the sword; being an instrument of the divine wrath [of
God], he consumed this very magnificent land with the edge of the
sword and spread his bitter and venomous hatred throughout the
whole area; for, like a hailstone accompanied by flashing lightning,
he struck down all the inhabitants of the land with a frightful
slaughter. The Turks burned everything in sight. Wielding the
sword and inflicting deadly wounds, they caused the slaughter of all

126

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

the distinguished men of the district of :{Ii~n-Man~ur and they led


into captivity noble ladies together with their attractive sons and
daughters. Thus in this place one witnessed the divine wrath [of
God] falling upon the Christian faithful, for the rich and the poor
without exception experienced the same venomous wrath at the
hands of the pitiless, savage, and perfidious nation of the Turks. So
in this way that magnificent district was consumed by the sword in
toto, and the slaughter of Christians continued unabated for three
days.
To add to this calamitous and bitter misfortune, a certain chief
who occupied the fortress of Nisibis, also known as the town of Sibar,
immediately sent to the city of Edessa and warned the dux Aruandanos, saying: "The emir of the Persians is here encamped by the
banks of the Euphrates River with one hundred men; come, surprise
him, and take him prisoner." However, Aruandanos delayed and
fmally reluctantly marched against the emir Giimiishtigin with many
troops. When the emir learned of this, he immediately sent to ~Ii~n
Man~ur to have his forces brought up. Aruandanos arrived at the
fortress called Oshen, accompanied by his troops consisting of one
thousand five hundred horsemen and twenty thousand infantry.
When the two armies engaged in combat, like a lion the dux attacked
and struck at the Turks, for he was a brave man and a warrior. The
place of ~ombat was narrow and steep. Soon the Turks began to
~ncrease In numbers, and at that point Aruandanos said to his troops:
Pull back a little so that the Turks can pursue us; then we can turn
around and attack them, so that they will not be able to escape."
Howe.ver, when the dux's troops pulled back a little, Aruandanos
perceIved that the Roman forces had really turned in flight and thus
had left him in the midst of the infidels.
So thi~ turned out to be a very frightful day and one of tremendous
d~structlon for the Christians; for the whole plain became covered
WIth blo?d .and captives, and the dux together with all the officers of
the Chnstlan army was led into captivity. The remnants of the
Romans fled and took refuge in the fortress of Oshen and in this way
escaped. On that day as many as eleven thousand men were
s~aughtered. The ~m~r fettere~ Araundanos by an oxen yoke and in
~dat man~er le~ hIm Int~ captIvity. Bringing the dux to the gates of
essa, t e emIr sold hIm for forty thousand dahekans and as a
guarante::or the sum of twenty thousand dahekans Ar~andanos's
s~~ wa~ en as hostage, who to this day still remain~ in Persia' the
o er 0 lcers were ransomed one by one with gold and Silver.' So

PART II

127

Giimiishtigin victoriously marched forth and went back to Persia


laden with many captives and countless booty. He presented the
sultan with as many as two thousand attractive young slaves, both
boys and girls.2
50. In the year 516 of the Armenian era [1067-1068] the emperor
Ducas died, leaving behind his only son Michael. The imperial
throne remained unoccupied for one year, the empress Eudocia being
regent.
51. At the beginning of the year 518 of the Armenian era [10691070]1 Eudocia secretly summoned a certain magnate Romanus,
surnamed Diogenes,2 and, bringing this man into her chambers,
married him. She kept Romanus in her chambers until she had
summoned the caesar, the brother of Ducas, and, trying to discover
his true feelings, said: "What shall we do, for the imperial throne
remains unoccupied and Michael is still a child?" By these insidious
words the empress intended to create a pretext for doing away with
him. The caesar said to the empress: "What difference does that
make to me, for I and my children are your servants; give the
imperial throne to whomever you wish." Eudocia was both astonished and pleased at these words and thus no longer felt it necessary
to kill the caesar. Then the empress said to him: "Come, enter these
chambers and prostrate yourself before the emperor. 11 The caesar was
astonished and amazed and thanked God that he had not said the
wrong thing. So he entered and prostrated himself before the
emperor. Then Diogenes was immediately taken to Saint Sophia, and
the entire city of Constantinople unanimously cried out to him:
IIPraise [be to the emperorr; following this, a crown was placed on his
head. s

52. In this period the holy Armenian patriarch his lordship


Vabram, also called Gregory, son of Gregory Magistros, who was the
son of Vasak Pahlawuni, came to have a very strong desire to take on
the life of solitude and devote himself solely to praying to God.
Gregory was very much like Elias1 and John the Baptist.2 Having
adopted the lifestyle of St. Anthony,3 deep down he desired to live on
top of a mountain. So he resolved to leave the great and glorious
patriarchal see; the vardapet George, who was his secretary, joined
him in this endeavor, and both men took a vow to walk together on
the road of the solitary life. This decision soon became known, and

128

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

when the Annenian king and princes heard of it, they did all in their
power to prevent Gregory's resignation. However, the patriarch was
even more insistent in carrying out his plan, saying to them: "I plan
to go to Rome and then travel through the Egyptian desert."
Nevertheless, the king and princes had no intention of letting him go.
Then, motivated by the zeal to carry out his cherished desire, Gregory
said to the Armenian king: "Appoint anyone you wish as catholicos,
but do not hinder me from the road of righteousness." When the king
and princes realized the single-mindedness of his purpose, unbeknown to him, they persuaded [the catholicos's secretaryJ George to
take the Annenian patriarchal see. His lordship Gregory had no idea
of all this; now George was brought forth to be consecrated as
catholicos, and when his lordship Gregory saw this, he was astonished and willy-nilly consecrated him catholicos of the Armenian
patriarchal see;4 however, he began to hold a grudge against George,
regarding him as his opponent, for he forgot the vow he had taken to
be George's companion in the spiritual life. Thus from that day on a
deep hosti!ity existed between the two patriarchs, Gregory and
George. HIS lordship Gregory finally went through with his decision
to undertake the spiritual life and live in the mountains5 with those
solitary hermits who had dedicated their lives to Christ so he
adopted their ascetic life and austere eating habits.6
'
53. In this same year the emperor Diogenes 1 collected a great
number of troops from the whole empire of the Greeks, right up to
the ~orders of Rome and from all parts of the East. With these
fonll1dab~e forces he marched forth and went against the country of
the Mushms Arriv' g [. th' t . .
.
III III
elr erntones], he encamped before the
r~nowned town called Manbij, not far from the very famous Muslim
~ty ~r. Aleppo. .A violent assault was launched, and the town of
a~ I? wadS put III great danger by the emperor's barbarian mercenanes an countless troo
Mt
ps.
er many harassments Diogenes
~~~~~n~h~ c;:~~Ul~ rand oth~r machines of the same type set up
ramparts N
, 0 ManblJ was surrounded by impregnable
rocks [ofthes ow, wh.en the ramparts were struck by the very large
to collapse. A~ ~:~hl~7~i' ~he. conc~ssion caused sections of the town
with fright and 'th' t e.mhabltants of the whole town trembled
direction of the' g~es ~mi~ovlsed crosses in their hands, went in the
of the town fell at D~o e e~peror. ~ll the important personages
becoming tributary to th genes feet WIth very splendid gifts and,
e emperor, were thus delivered from the fate

PART II

129

of death. So the emperor took pity on the town and accepted its
submission. s Mter this a letter came to the emperor Diogenes from
the empress, asking him to hasten back to Constantinople. Having
read this, the emperor began the journey back in haste.
54. In this same year a certain young emir called Ktrich'/ who

was of the family of Alp Arslan, intended on secretly rebelling against


this sultan and then going to Constantinople to the Greek emperor. 2
This man reached Sebastia at the head of many troops, while the
curopaZatesS went forth from Constantinople and came against him in
battle. The two armies engaged in combat near Sebastia, and the
Greeks were defeated and put to flight. On the following day the
Turks returned to battle against the Greeks and once again pushed
them back and put them to flight, this time taking the curopalates
prisoner. On the other hand, the Greek troops, blinded by dust and
being in flight, came to a steep and rocky place called Makriti;
plunging headlong from there, they all perished. After a few days the
Armenian king and princes, including all the Armenian lords, made
peace and formed an alliance with the young emir. Then Ktrich' took
the curopalates and the other prisoners-as many as three thousand
men-and secretly went to Constantinople to the Greek emperor.
The emperor received him with great honor and pomp, for the emir
was a very benevolent person. 4
55. In the year 519 of the Armenian era [1070-1071] a comet

appeared in the sky; when it was seen, many said that it was the
same omen which had appeared before and after which much
bloodshed had occurred. Once again it appeared one night, as if all
the stars had fallen to earth. All nations and peoples were frightened
and shook and trembled because of this dreadful and horrible omen, l
for an omen like this had never been seen or heard of before. It was
believed that this all had to do with what the Savior meant when he
said: uIn the final days there will be signs of confusion and dread in
the sun, moon, and stars l12 ; this is written in the Holy Gospels. So
this was the beginning of the second devastation and final destruction
of our country by the wicked Turkish forces, because our sins had
increased and spread; for "all have sinned and have diminished from
the glory of God"s and "no one is righteous, no not one. "4 We all
became accustomed to walking in wickedness and preferred the ways
of sin rather than those of righteousness; we never changed from the
path of evil to the path of good, for which we brought the wrath of the

130

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

non-irascible God upon us; moreover, because of our twisted behavior


we provoked God, whose nature is always mild, against us. Many
times he admonished us and dealt with us sharply as a heedless
nation; yet we still did not turn from our perverse ways, for man's
nature was destined to foster evil [rather than good]. Because of all
this, calamity and destruction have fallen upon us like a whirlwind,
and the tempestuous winds of the evil Ishmaelites 5 of old have
haunted us, giving us neither respite nor rest. Nevertheless, the
Lord himself shall look kindly on his creation, Amen.
l

56. In this same year Alp Arslan, the brother of Sultan Tughrul,
rose up and went forth like a torrential stream; with a tremendous
number of troops he marched forth and arrived in Armenia like a
c~oud filled with murky darkness, bringing with him much destructIon ~d bloodshe~. Descending upon Mantskert, he captured the
town ~n one day smce there was no garrison there, for its Roman
guardIans had fled. Alp Arslan slaughtered all the inhabitants of the
town because o~ the i~sult directed at his brother, the sultan Tughrul,
by these same mhabItants at a previous time; for this insult had not
as yet been avenged at the time of Tughrul's death. Going forth from
here, the cruel sultan Alp Arslan reached the town of Amida but he
merely e~ca~ped. before the gates of the town, feeling bene~olently
towdahrds Its mha~ltants; for in his camp his wife gave birth to a son
an e named hIm Tutush
He~~~~g ~orth from here, the sultan came to the district of T'lkhum.
and ass:~~r:dt~t th\~rtress of this name, harassing it incessantly,
aft
1 WI
every means at his disposal' however even
eAlr
seAr
vera
I
I
dabys
he
was
unable to capture the fort~ess of T'lkhum
8o p s an egan to talk
f ak'
.
inhabitants pay him trib t 0 Am ~ng pe~ce, o~ condition that the
relaxed and neglige t I U? ht thIS the mhabitants became more
'nfi
n, eavmg
t e ramparts unguard ed, When th e
I Idel forces saw the'
t t
the sultan's order thIr.s a eholf unpreparedness, without waiting for
' assault.
elr Woe army rushed agams
' t the fiortress.
Launching a violent
slaughtering many and takin agam~t the p~ace, they captured it,
heard of this, he was su rise~ count ess captIves. When Alp Arslan
the inhabitants, for he h~d take~nd deeply regretted the slaughter of
forth from this place the s lt
oath [not to harm them]. Going
and reached the terrlto ~f ~n a vanced with a, trem~ndous army
parts of the territory ri;t
tdet~a, He made mcurSIOns into all
encamped before the ~nown~~ 0 rt e gates of the city of Edessa. He
o ress of T'lt'oraw, near Sewawerak,

a:

PART II

131

and captured this stronghold and also that of Ariwtsat'il, causing a


severe slaughter and filling the whole land with blood.
Then, laden with much booty and captives, the sultan went and
marched forth against the city of Edessa, surrounding it on all sides
and pitching his camp all around its walls. It was winter, the tenth
of the month of Mareri, 2 and the dux of the city was Basil, the son of
the Bulgar king Alusianus. 3 Now, when the townspeople saw the
countless army of infidel troops, this whole throng of Christian
faithful living in the city of Edessa became horror-struck and
trembled with fear; for the mass of the sultan's forces covered the
plains and the hilltops. Thus the entire city trembled because of this
venomous serpent and ferocious beast, for indeed he was a bloodthirsty man. Alp Arslan waited around for eight days without
beginning the assault, while the inhabitants of the city were so
depressed that they were unable to prepare themselves for any
enemy attack. Then one of the sultan's troops, seeing their mindless
attitude, secretly warned them, saying: "Have you lost your senses?
Fortify the ramparts and saddle your horses. 11 After hearing this, the
townspeople finally began to place soldiers all around the ramparts
and organized every means of defense at their disposal; in this
manner every man was encouraged to resist any [enemy] assault.
Moreover, Basil, the dux of the city, who was a brave man and a
warrior, began to fortify the entire city. When the sultan saw this,
he became enraged and, ordering the battle trumpet sounded,
savagely assaulted the city. Thus all the infidel forces were stirred
up, and the entire city of Edessa was surrounded by them on all
sides.
80 this turned out to be a grievous day and one filled with very
violent combat and the whole city was permeated with showers of
arrows; moreo~er, all the Christian faithful, weeping and lamenting,
prayed to God to save them from this vicious beast, For the greater
part of the day all the Persian forces battled against the city of
Edessa, but were unable to capture it, for the Lord vanquished and
humiliated them, Mter all this the sultan ordered catapults and war
machines set up against the ramparts; moreover, he had the gardens
and vineyards [around Edessa] destroyed and their wood used to fill
up the moat of the city. He also had a wooden tower built upon ten
wagons, so that he might finally capture the city of Edessa. However,
when the Turks tried to move the ten wagons close to the ramparts,
the wooden tower collapsed; soon after the besieged, tunneling under
the moat, came out on the eastern side and carried most of the wood

132

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

~:~~gt~:::nc~~~~:t~ningnderwhatever re~ained.

Then the infidels began


the Imoat l~ order to undermine the city's
sapPders,
ofdthe enegtmy
ene the CIty agamst th . fld
or stren hmently besieged Edessa ~ l~~ els. For fifty days the sultan veheArslan, frustrated pro~i~d : w~s not able to capture it. Then Alp
anyone who could ~emov
0 glVe money and a high position to
take this rock back witheh~ rO~k ~om. the ramparts, for he wished to
Abu'I-Uswar the emir of ~rn. 0 ~~sla as a souvenir. At this point
altar of a ch~rch whi
VIIl, sal to the sultan: "Near us is the
h
Turks tried to remov: n~ one has thought of assaulting." So the
which was east of the ci~ ~ ~ne f rom the altar of St. Sargis Church,
when the sultan saw ~, owever, they were not able to do so, and
Kuraysh, the chief em;;:; t~e : sbvery ~umiliated. Mter all this
and the whole army of P . e a s, takmg the sultan Alp Arslan
Aleppo. Consequently 0 e~slan troops, marched against the city of
the city of Edessa for th n t hat day there was great rejoicing within
vicious beast.4'
e ownspeople had been delivered from this
walls. In turn the

c~pturin~ a~;~:11i~: t~:S~gi~~J~~. d~~~t~nL

57. When the Greek emper D'


orA lOge~eS heard the news of this
recent calamity (brought
commanded all his num
u~on rmema] , roaring like a lion he
and heralds sent forth t~;: ~rc~s ~~ collected; so edicts were issued
very great and formidabl g au a the lands of the West. Thus a
from the entire country o~ t~u~et~ of roops was gathered together
the distant islands 1 from C e dO. s, rom all the Bulgars, from all
and Antioch, fro~ Trebizo~Ja o~a(~nd ~ll of Bithynia,2 from Cilicia
nia-whose remnants f
,an ast ut not least] from Armemoreover, Diogenes had me:~ry c?urageous s?ldiers still existed;
brought, and thus the em
ena~~s from the lIlfidels of Khuzistan
as numerous as the sand~~rfotrhga ered together a formidable anny,
. h
e sea.
S o 1Il
t e year 520 of the A
.
marched forth and fulmi t' ~eman era (1071-1072] Diogenes
city of Sebastia. Atom an~aA~ng ~t ~ hail-filled cloud, reached the
came to meet him with great ':m ' e s~ns .of the Armenian king,
slanderous remarks against t~ .
~~ thIS tIme the Romans made
all of the Armenians in general e ~n a I ~nts of Sebastia and against
and saying: "If at any time' th:noun:mg t~en; before the emperor
Armenians surely will sla ht emIr KtrlCh strikes at us, the
Turks." The emperor Dioge:! b e~, us d more vehemently than the
e leve all these false accusations of

PART II

133

the Romans and, swearing violently, in a threatening manner said:


IIWhen I finish battling against the Persians, I shall do away with the
Armenian faith"; at the same time he ordered the city of Sebastia
pillaged by all the Roman troops. During this pillaging many were
killed, all because of the unjustly and falsely reached judgments of
the impious emperor Diogenes. Besides all this, he snubbed Atom
and Abusahl, the sons of the Armenian king, and thus brought much
sorrow upon Sebastia. At that time the illustrious Roman magnates,
[as well as] the shahnshah Gagik (son of Ashot) and the emir Ktrich'
(who had taken prisoner the curopalates), said to the emperor
Diogenes: "Do not listen to the deceitful words spoken by those
belonging to your nation, because all their words are false; for all
those Armenians who have survived the combats with the Turks are
your auxiliaries." When the emperor heard this, he became more
yielding, but he still threatened to do away with the Armenian faith
on his return [from Persia]. Having heard these menacing words, the
Armenian monks invoked grievous curses on the journey the emperor
was about to embark upon, praying that he not return from it and
that the Lord destroy Diogenes as he did the impious Juliana, who
was cursed by St. Basil.
Going forth with a tremendous number of troops, Diogenes went to
the East, to Armenia, and, descending upon the town of Mantskert,
captured it. The forces of the sultan who were in the town fled, and
when the emperor captured them, he slaughtered them. The news of
all this reached Alp Arslan, who was before th,e city of Aleppo; and so
he started back for the East, since he was told that the Roman
emperor was marching in the direction of Persia at the head of a very
formidable army. The sultan had been besieging Aleppo during the
winter, but had not been able to capture it because of the great
number of the city's forces. He had broken through the walls at a
number of places, yet he could not take over the city. So during the
spring, when Alp Arslan learned of the coming of the emperor Diogenes, he left Aleppo and in haste arrived at Edessa. The dux, who
resided in the city, provided him with horses, mules, and victuals.
Taking these, the sultan passed through the confines of Edessa,
unharmed, and went in an easterly direction towards the mountain
called Lesun. A countless number of horses and camels perished
because a forced march had been maintained by the sultan; for he
drove his troops as if they were in flight, wishing to reach Persia as
soon as possible. As he was returning, a letter written by perfidious
Romans from Diogenes' army reached Alp Arslan, and it read as

134

PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

follows: lIDo not flee, for the greater part of our forces is with you.
Hearing this, the sultan immediately stopped. Then he wrote a very
amicable letter to the emperor Diogenes concerning the establishment
of peace and harmony between both sides; each side was to remain
in peace with the other, neither one ever harming the other;
moreover, the Christians would be looked upon as friends, and thus
there would be a perpetual peace and alliance between the Persians
and the Romans.
When Diogenes heard these things, not only did he become
arrogant and refuse to accept the sultan's offer, but he became even
more bellicose than ever. Then the aforementioned malicious and
perfidious men approached Diogenes and said: 110 emperor, no one
is able to stand against your innumerable forces. Your troops are
going forth from the camp to procure victuals; send them away
regiment by regiment [to forage for themselves], so that they might
not go hungry before the day of battle. II So the emperor had the emir
Ktrich' return to Constantinople and had Tarkhaniat4 go against
Khlat' with thirty thousand men; moreover, he sent twelve thousand
men to the Abkhazes, and thus because of the emperor all the Roman
forces became scattered. Now Alp Arslan was informed of all these
treacherous machinations. So, when the sultan saw Diogenes'
inflexible and stubborn attitude, he went into battle against the
Roman forces, leading on the whole army of Khurasan with the fervor
of a lion cub. When Diogenes learned of the advance of the Persian
army against him, he ordered the battle trumpet sounded and had all
the Roman forces drawn up in orderly fashion. He appointed as
commanders of his troops Khatap and Vasilak, Armenian nobles who
were brave and were regarded as great warriors. A very violent
battle took place the greater part of the day, and the Roman forces
were defeated. Khatap and Vasilak were killed, and all the Roman
troops were put to flight, being forced to fall back on the imperial
camp. When Diogenes saw this, he ordered all his forces to regroup,
but there was no one to heed his summons, for Tarkhaniat and the
other Roman magnates had returned to Constantinople with their
troo~s. When the emperor learned of this, he realized the treachery
of hIS. own Romans. So the battle continued the next day. In the
mormng hours the battle trumpet was sounded and heralds went
forth. and proclai~ed th~. wishes ~f ~he em~eror Diogenes; he
p:o~Ised honors, hIgh pOSItions, and Junsdiction over the towns and
dlStr:cts to all those who would courageously fight against the
PerSIan forces. Soon the sultan, very well organized, advanced into
II

135

battle against the Roman troops. At that point the emperor Diogenes
went forth and reached a place of battle near Mantskert, called
Toghotap'.5 There he placed the Uz and Pecheneg mercenaries on his
right and left flanks and the other troops on his van and rear. When
the battle grew intense, the Uzes and Pechenegs went over to the
side of the sultan.
At that point all the Roman troops were defeated and turned in
complete flight. Countless Roman troops were slaughtered and many
captives were taken. 6 The emperor Diogenes himself was taken
prisoner and brought into the presence of the sultan in chains,
together with countless and innumerable captives. Mter a short
while the sultan made an alliance of peace and friendship with the
Roman emperor. Then the sultan adopted Diogenes as his blood
brother and took an oath to God as a guarantee of his sincerity;
moreover, with a solemn oath he pledged that there would be
perpetual friendship and harmony between the Persians and the
Romans. Mter all this with great pomp Alp Arslan sent the emperor
back to Constantinople, to his imperial throne.
When Diogenes reached Sebastia, news came to him that Michael, 7
the son of Ducas, occupied the imperial throne. At this all the
emperor's troops abandoned him and fled, and so he was forced to
take refuge in the city of Adana. The emperor Michael's forces
gathered against him. Diogenes, in turn, because of the danger in
which he found himself, put on the garments of an abeghay and,
going to the Roman general who was the brotherS of Ducas, 9 said:
lIyou no longer need to worry about me, for henceforth I intend to live
in a monastery; let Michael be emperor and may God be with him.
Notwithstanding all this, on that same day the Roman nation once
again crucified God as had the Jews, for they tore out the eyes of
Diogenes, their very own sovereign, who then died from the intense
pain [caused by the blinding], When Alp Arslan heard this, he wept
bitterly and regretted the death of Diogenes. Then the sultan said:
lIThe Roman nation has no God, so this day the oath of peace and
friendship taken by both the Persians and Romans is nullified;
henceforth I shall consume with the sword all those people who
venerate the cross, and all the lands of the Christians shall be
enslaved. II Whenever the sultan brought Diogenes to mind, he sighed
heavily and lamented exceedingly, likewise all the Persians.
Speaking to the Khurasanians, the sultan said: IIHenceforth all of
you be like lion cubs and eagle young, racing through the countryside
day and night, slaying the Christians and not sparing any mercy on
II

136

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

the Roman nation." Mter this speech Alp Arslan victoriously


returned to the country of the Persians. 10
58. In this period the sultan Alp Arslan gathered together all the
Persian forces and, crossing over the great Oxus 1 River (also called
Gehon), he entered the territory of Samarkand2 at the head of a
tre~endous arm~ of troops. He intended on gaining control of this
terntory, and wIth a formidable detachment of troops the sultan
came and encamped against the impregnable and renowned fortress
of Hamay. The commander of this fortress was a very brave man,
burstlahnadhaa veryd ctruel atnd mal.ichious nature. For many days Alp
A
rasse h e or ress WIt a violent assault, summoning its
commander to submit and at the same time guaranteeing him
perpetual ownership of his lands. Mter being harassed a great deal,
the commander of the fortress decided to go and prostrate himself
befo~~ the sultan. At the same time he thought of a very horrible and
m~hclOus ~l~n. On that day he made merry with his wife and
c~Ild~en, dmmg and drinking with them and amusing himself,
hsten~ng to songsters, drumbeats, and artistic melodies. Then during
the mght he savagely slew his wife and three children with his own
h~nds, so that they might not fall into the hands of the sultan and be
hIS slaves.
. The next day this commander went to Alp Arslan, concealing on

~s pe:son the same two very sharp knives which he had used to slay
hIS chIldren. When he arrived, the sultan saw him and ordered him
b:ought into his presence. So the commander went to prostrate
hImself before :UP Arslan; however, when he approached, he rushed
the sultan, takmg out the two knives concealed in his shoes. Those
who were escorting him fled, and at that point he savagely fell upon
the sU,ltan and p.lunged the two knives into his body. Then Alp
Ar~lan s servants Immediately killed the commander. The sultan was
s~rlOusly wounded in three places. He was in danger of dying, and
hIS ~ounds were very painful. He ordered his forces to evacuate the
terntory [of Samarkand] so that the people of his country would not
know what ~ad happened to him. After five days, being in great pain
beca~se of ~IS wounds, Alp Arslan commanded that all the illustrious
PerSlan chIefs and the !U'ijib of his troops be summoned before him.
Then he presented to them his son Malik-Shah, saying: "Today I die
because of my wounds, and so my son shall be your ruler' it is he who
shall occupy my royal throne." Saying this, Alp Arsla~ took off his
royal robes and put them on his son Malik-Shah; then he prostrated

I
.:

137

himself before his son and weeping, entrusted him to God and to all
the Persian emirs. So on this day the sultan Alp Arslan died, killed
by an obscure man of Kurdish origin. Thus Malik-Shah3 reigned over
the Persians and, being a kind and merciful man, was very benevolent towards the Christian faithful. After the death of Alp Arslan, he
returned to occupy the throne he had inherited, taking his fathe~'s
body with him and burying it in the tomb of his ancestors, located III
the town of Marand. The reign of Malik-Shah was favored by God;
his rule extended to all lands and he brought peace to Armenia.
59. In the year 521 of the Armenian era [1072-1073] a conflict
arose between his lordship Gregory and his lordship George. Gregory
was able to have George removed from the patriarchal see, taking the
veil1 from his head. George, deeply hurt, went to the city of Tarsus,
where he died. On the other hand, his lordship Gregory went and
lived in Mutarasun2 with Gagik, the son of Gurgen.
60. In this period the impious and most wicked chiefPhilaretus,l
who was of the very offspring of Satan, began his tyrannical rule; for,
when Diogenes fell, this perfidious man, who indeed was a p~ecursor
of the abominable Antichrist and possessed by a demomcal and
extremely monstrous character, tyrannically ruled over the land .
This Philaretus began to war against the Christian faithful, for he
was a superficial Christian and was disavowed by both the Arm~
nians and Romans; he professed the Roman faith and followed t~eIr
customs but he was Armenian through his father and mother, haVIng
grown ~p with his uncle in the Monastery of Zorvi-Kozern i?- the
district of Hitm-Man~ur. So Philaretus came forth from the Wllderness and b~ought with him abominable desolation. He ca~e to ;ule
over many areas and towns, causing the deaths of man! Illustnous
nobles' finally he fixed his residence at Mshar. 2 Mter thIS he sent to
T'ornik the lord of Sasun and summoned this man to come to him
in ~ub~ission. When T'o~nik, the son of Mushegh, heard this, he
ridiculed Philaretus's absurd command, saying: "I have not even set
eyes upon this man."s Then Philaretus's messengers sai~ to T'ornik:
"Our ruler is coming against you with many troops and will devastate
and ruin all those districts belonging to you." "How many troops does
Philaretus have?" asked the lord of Sasun. "As many as twenty
thousand," answered the messengers. Then T'ornik said: "I have one
thousand horsemen who daily partake of the body and blood of the
Son of God; on the other hand, I know for a fact that Philaretus and

138

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

all his forces are bereft and devoid of any belief in Christ besides
which they are filled with all sorts of grievous iniquitie~.11 The
messengers went and related all this to Philaretus.
,The~ ~hilaretus s'7mmoned his lordship Gregory and said to him:
T ormk IS your son-m-Iaw; go and summon him to submit to me."
However, Gregory, knowing Philaretus's malicious character went to
T'.ornik against his own will and never again set eyes ~pon the
WICked ruler. Gregory explained the reason for his coming to T'or nik,
an~ the lord of Sasun was amazed and said: "How is it that
Phrlaretus did not blush, after so insolently sending you to me as an
envoy ,supported by ~uch deceitful subterfuge?" When he realized
that T ormk had no mtention of heeding his summons Philaretus
c~llecting his troops, went against the lord of Sasun. At'first T'ornik
d~d not know of Philaretus's coming, but when he found out, alerting
hIS forces, he brought them together from all parts of Sasun-fifty
thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry. Then T'ornik came to
Ch'~paghjur4 and, since he still was not sure that Philaretus was
commg, disbanded his infantry forces and with a thousand horsemen
w;ent ~o the Armenian town of Ashmushat. 5 On the plain of Aleluay
T ormk finally met up with the forces of Philaretus who had with
hi~ the !ra~ish count ~mbaghat6 with eight hundr~d men. At this
pomt T ormk regretted having disbanded his infantry forces;
nevertheless, he deployed his troops for battle battalion by battalion,
o~ each flank and on the front line. On the front line he placed his
aIde ~pos, ~ very brave man, with three hundred troops; but of all
of Phllaretus s forces, the lord of Sasun was most apprehensive of the
Franks and said: "See that my battalion engages the Franks." At
tha~ mon;ent. ,J.i.mbag~at and his troops advanced and, striking
~gaI~st T ormk s battahon, broke through its ranks and penetrated
ll~.tO Its center. Then the lord of Sasun signaled his troops, and both
hIS flanks close~ in around the Franks, [trapping them]; the Armenians took all theIr o~cers prisoner and even captured their count. On
the. other hand, Phllaretus and all his troops were put to flight and
theIr officers taken prisoner-as many as one thousand five hundred
men. So on that day many Franks and other Christians were
slaughtered. Mter this T'o;rnik and all the Armenian troops turned
back and went to Sasun, laden with much booty. Philaretus in tum
fled a~d in gr~at ~umiliation took refuge in Kharberd. Thi~ all took
place m the dIStrIct of Handzit', on the plain of Aleluay.
II

61. In this period T'ornik went with a few men and entered his

PART II

139

fortress in the town of Ashmushat on the Aratsani [River]. Suddenly


a certain emir, whose name was Amr-Pak'r/ appeared with .many
troops. This emir had been informed t~at ~he lord of Sa~un dId not
have too many troops with him. So, InstIgated by PhIlaretus, he
came to T'ornik and began to make arrangements for a treaty ~f
peace with him, acting deceitfully and tak!ng a ~alse oath; the emIr
went so far as to win over the lord of Sasun s retamers through m~y
gifts and presents and, circumventing T'ornik in this manner, In
collusion with three other men was able to get the Armenian leader
to go along with this deceitful alliance. Afte~ thi~, ~hile t.hey we~e
at a banquet, the emir savagely rushed upon T ormk, mtendmg to kIll
him. T'o;rnik had no weapon with him except a small da~ger; he
struck the emir with it, slitting his stomach wide ?pen; takmg hold
of the heads of the other emirs, he cracked one agamst the other and
thus killed these infidels. Then, unharmed, the lord of Sasun we~t
up to his fortress which was nearby, and all the Turks. fled at hIS
approach. As T'o;rnik approached the fortress, one of the mfide~s w~o
lay in ambush slyly struck him in the heart with a spear, and m thIS
way the brave Armenian leader died. His head was br~u~ht to
Philaretus and this impious man, taking the skull, made It mto a
cup which he used for drinking wine. The rest of T'ofnik's head was
sent to the emir of Maiyafariqin, while his body was burned. After
this the remains of the burned bones of this courageous and pious
man were collected and taken to be buried near the doors of the
Monastery of the Holy Precursor. 2 The.lo~d of ~asu~ left behind two
sons, Ch'ortunanel and Vasak, both stIll m theIr chIldhood.
62. In this period the impious Philaretus summoned his lordship
Gregory to come and occupy his patriarchal see. However, Gregory
did not heed his summons, for he was deathly afraid. of this ve~lOm~~s
beast. Once again Philaretus wrote to the holy patnar~h, ~ayr~g: ~t
is not right that the patriarchal see remain unoccupIed. StIll. hIS
lordship Gregory dared not come, and he wrote to PhIlaret~s, sayrn?,:
"I authorize you to put his lordship Sargis, the nephew of ~IS lordsh~p
Peter,lon the patriarchal see." Then Gregory ~ent Sargis the ve~l,
crosier and cross belonging to Peter. When PhIlaretus sawall thIS,
he realized that Gregory would never return to his patriarchal see.
So he commanded an assembly of bishops, abbots, and monks to come
together. His lordship Sargis was cons~crated ~o t~e see of th;
Armenian catholicate2 in Honi, a town m the dlstnct of J ahan:
Sargis was a holy man of venerable mien and renowned for hIS

140

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

virtuous conduct, besides being endowed in every way with piety and
true orthodoxy which is in Christ Jesus; moreover, he was a faithful
shepherd of Christ's flock. At that time his lordship Gregory went to
the capital of the Armenians called Ani and there consecrated as
bishop his nephew Barsegh, the son of Vasak, son of Apirat, son of
Hasan; after a number of years Barsegh4 came to occupy the patriarchal see of the Armenians.
63. It was in the year 523 of the Armenian era [1074-1075] that
his lordship Gregory went to Constantinople and from there to Rome.
Then, going to Egypt, he visited the desert, which the former holy
fathers had inhabited, and thus fulfilled his most cherished desire.
He established his patriarchal residence there and, by so doing,
reinvigorated the institutions of the holy church in that country. His
lordship Gregory was treated with great honor and dignity by the
ruler of Egypt,l even to a greater extent than by the Roman emperor.
Many Armenian troops joined him in Egypt-as many as thirty
thousand. After some time his lordship Gregory consecrated Gregory,
his nephew, as catholicos;2 then he rose up and went back to
Armenia, for his mother was still living.
64. These events took place at the time of Michael, the son of
Ducas, who occupied the imperial throne for four years.1 This man
was benevolent and pious and endowed with all sorts of virtues and
radiant holiness; moreover, in all respects he resembled the saintly
emperors of old, shining forth in the Orthodox faith which is in
Christ; finally he was a father to orphans and a defender of widows.
By this emperor's order a tremendous quantity of dahekans were
minted, an amount as numerous as the dust of the land and the
sands of the sea; this money maintained its value and benefitted the
empire a great deal, for it was minted in the name of God. So the
grace of God continually descended upon Michael and the whole
empire became filled with the wealth he had created. This emperor
began to fast and pray and led a very pious and saintly life.
However, his empress came to resent him a great deal because of his
ascetic life, for he would not have sexual intercourse with her as is
~atural in x,narriage; a~ a consequence of this, she became sexually
~nvolved WIth a certam Roman magnate and through this vile
mvolvement prodded this man to go against Michael thus violently
seeking to take the imperial throne from her husb~nd. When the
emperor Michael saw that this magnate, whose name was Botaneia-

PART II

141

tes, had incited the entire city of Constantinople against him, he did
nothing to oppose him; on the contrary, publicly shaming the
loathsome empress, Michael left the imperial throne and went into a
monastery to become a monk. 2 He put on a hair shirt and assumed
the monastic life, something which he had desired to do for a very
long time; in this way he put aside his worldly throne and crown. 3
65. In the year 525 of the Armenian era [1076-1077]1 Botaneiates2
reigned over the Romans, taking as his wife the former spouse of
Michael, who was the daughter3 of the Georgian king George. 4 Thus
this marriage came to be based upon the vile and adulterous relationship between this man and woman.
66. In this period the Armenian prince Vasak, the son of Gregory
Magistros and the brother of his lordship Gregory, died. This man
was the dux of Antioch, and he was on the main market street of this
city when he was assassinated by the perfidious Romans. Now, while
Vasak was passing through the streets, two spearmen1 came up to
him to pay homage, holding up what was supposed to be a letter;
when the dux bent down to take the letter from them, they suddenly
struck him between the eyes with a hatchet. In this manner the
illustrious Vasak was killed by such worthless and abominable men
as these. Mter this incident Vasak's troops gathered together in the
citadel of Antioch, and his officer summoned Philaretus, delivering
the city into his hands. After a number of days Philaretus gathered
together all the perfidious and apostate Romans 2-as many as seven
hundred men-on the pretext of initiating a campaign. Then he led
them to a village called Ap'shun and put them all to the sword,
slaughtering them to the last man. In this way Philaretus took
possession of Antioch and at the same time avenged the blood of the
illustrious Vasak Pahlawuni.
67. In this period the Armenian prince, the epeiktes, l was killed.
He was a brave man and a mighty warrior and came from the district
of Shirak. Now, because of his bravery, the Greek emperor compelled
him to receive the baptism and faith of the Romans; nevertheless,
this prince secretly still adhered to his ancestral faith based on St.
Gregory. One day the epeiktes took sick in his fortress called
Andriun. 2 The emperor had given him a Roman monk to guide him
in the erroneous faith of the Greeks, and this Armenian prince had
made the monk his father confessor. One day this wicked and

142

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

abominable Greek entered the epeiktes' chamber and, seeing that the
prince was soundly sleeping, savagely fell upon him; taking a pillow,
he placed it on the epeiktes' mouth and pressed down on it as hard as
he could. In this manner this nefarious Roman monk cruelly killed
a very mighty and courageous man. When the epeiktes' troops
learned of the treacherous death of their brave leader, they subjected
the wicked heretical monk to all sorts of tortures. Mter torturing
this abominable monk, they threw him down from one of the high
cliffs upon which the fortress was built, and so this evil man perished
by a violent death.
68. The emperor Botaneiates occupied the imperial throne for one
year, l but he had no intention of keeping it any longer; for he was
regarded as having obtained the imperial throne through violence
and fornication rather than by the will of God, because he had
adulterously taken the wife of Michael against the commandments of
God and thus had ruled illegitimately. Botaneiates' conscience
bothered him a great deal, and he said to himself: "He who was the
legitimate emperor and possessor of this throne left it and became a
monk; why should I, because of my maliciousness, rebel against [this
legitimate emperor], for whatever happens, death is the final outcome
for all." So, giving up the imperial throne because he had treacherously and criminally rebelled against the saintly emperor Michael
Botaneiates became a monk.
'

69. In this period Melissenus was installed on the imperial throne


as Botaneiates' successor. This all took place in the year 526 of the
Armenian era [1077-1078].1

70 ..In this. s~me year of ~he Armenian era his most praiseworthy
lordsh~p SargIS, the Armeman patriarch, who was the nephew of his
lordshIp Peter, the Armenian catholicos died. In accordance with
Sargis's wishes his lordship Theodore, su;named Alakh6sik who was
the Armenian catholicos's coadjutor and also a talented musician, was
elevated to the see of the Armenian catholic ate in the town of Honi
situated in the district of Jahan.
'
71. In this ,Period Basil, the son of Abukab and formerly the tent
keeper of DavId the curopalates, at the behest ofPhilaretus collected
a calvary force and went against the city of Edessa. For six months
he harassed the city with many assaults. In this same year Basil

PART II

143

repaired the ramparts of the fortress-town of Romanopolis which the


Roman emperor Romanus had built. Mter this he once again
harassed the city of Edessa. Then the townspeople became stirred up
against their dux, who was called Leon and who was the brother of
Dawatanos, and so this Leon fled and took refuge in the upper
citadel. In the meantime the dux's proximus took refuge in the
Church of the Holy Theotokos, entering the sanctuary and tightly
holding on to the edges of the altar. However, the townspeople
entered the church and savagely killed the proximus right in front of
the altar of God. So on that very day Edessa was delivered into the
hands of Basil, the son of Abukab; he was a benevolent and pious
man, compassionate towards orphans and widows, and a benefactor
and conciliator of people. Basil's father Abukab had formerly resided
in Edessa and during his time had built up and organized the city
and its surrounding territory.
72. In this period Melissenus reigned in Constantinople as
emperor for four months. Then all the inhabitants of the city rose up
against this emperor, battling against him and seizing the crown and
the imperial throne from him. Mer this the people of Constantinople
placed the imperial crown on the head of a certain magnate called
Alexius/ who was the nephew of the emperor Comnenus and who was
a benevolent and pious man and also courageous in battle. Finally
peace was reestablished in the Greek empire.
73. At the beginning of the year 528 of the Armenian era [10791080] a severe famine occurred throughout all the lands of the
venerators of the cross, lands which are located on this side of the
Mediterranean Sea; for the bloodthirsty and ferocious Turkish nation
spread over the whole country to such an extent that not one area
remained untouched, rather all the Christians were subjected to the
sword and enslavement. The cultivation of the land was interrupted,
there was a shortage of food, the cultivators and laborers decreased
due to the sword and enslavement, and so famine spread throughout
the whole land. Many areas became depopulated, the Oriental
peoples1 began to decline, and the country of the Romans became
desolate; neither food nor security for the individual was to be found
anywhere except in Edessa and its confines. Security of life did not
exist in Antioch, in the whole country of Cilicia up to Tarsus, in the
country around Marash, in Duluk, and in all their surrounding areas.
For all the peoples rose up en masse and came to these regions in

144

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

countless droves, tens of thousands deluging the various areas.


Because of the tremendous number of these peoples, the whole land
was covered as if by hordes of locusts; I can add that these peoples
were seven times more numerous than those Moses took across the
Red Sea2 and even more numerous than the quails in the Sinai
Desert. 3 Thus the country was filled with a tremendous number of
people, and very important and illustrious personages-nobles,
princes, and stately ladies-roamed about begging [for food]; indeed
our eyes witnessed all this. Because of the famine and vagabond life
[people were forced to lead], there was a great amount of mortality
throughout the whole land. Since it was virtually impossible to bury
all those who had died, the land was filled with their corpses, and to
such an extent that the animals and birds soon grew tired of feeding
on them. An innumerable amount of corpses remained unburied, and
the land stank from their putrid-smelling bodies. Eminent priests
and monks died in a strange country far from their native land and
became food for animals and birds, All this was the beginning of the
d~struction of the Oriental and Greek peoples; for, because of our
sms, we were punished by God, the righteous judge, according to the
words o~ t~e Savior, who said: "Every tree which does not produce
good fruIt IS cut down and thrown into the fire. ,,4

74. !n this same year the shahnshah Gagik, the son of Ashot, son
of GagIk, son of, 5mbat, son of [Ashot] the IronI-all of the Bagratid
dynasty-was kIlled, At this time the Armenian king Gagik leading
a deta~hmen~ of his troops, went down to the city of Tars~s to the
Anne~~an prmce Ablgharib, 2 who was the son of Hasan, the son of
Khach Ik Khuln, and who was a brave man from the region of
Vaspurakan.
The Annenian
king went to Ablghan'b t 0 pay h'1m a
f' dl " Ii
.
~ ]vlks~t, h~r thIS prince had invited Gagik on a matter relating
tne[tnh
o elr ms Ip , Howe ver, because 0 f one reason or another thIS
.
matter was not solved a . bl
d G .
'
l'k
I'
fi
mICa y, an so agIk turned back roaring
I e a lOn, or he was a formidable mi ht
d l'
' '
g y, an va !ant man.
Capturing all th h' : f h
them before him ei~ c~ ~ 0 t e regIo.n, the Armenian king marched
the l' f
ams. Then WIth a thousand men he came to
Pd,am a Arzhakhas,3 to the fortress called Kighistday 4 whose
guar Ians were three b th
R
'
Mandale 5 Ga 'k
,ro ers- oman magnates and sons of
three m~n we~t ~~ft hIS tt~~ops on the other side of the road and with
magnates had prep::~ th ese Romans. On the other hand, these
in ambush for the A
~mseklves beforehand by placing fifty men
nneman ing ' When Gagl'k approached the

PART II

145

fortress, the three brothers came to him, prostrating themselves


before him. When the Armenian king saw them, he asked them to
embrace him. Then, coming close to the king, the three brothers in
unison threw their arms around his neck and knocked him down
from his horse. At that moment the men who were with Gagik fled,
and the Romans who were waiting in ambush came out and captured
the Armenian king. When Gagik's troops heard of his capture, they
dispersed, while the Romans brought the king into their fortress, On
the eighth day all the Armenians, including Gagik (the son of Abas),
Atom and Abusahl (the sons of Senek'erim), and all the other
Armenian princes, gathered together against this fortress. They
battled against the fortress for a number of days, but were unable to
take it because it was very well fortified. On the other hand, those
who had taken Gagik prisoner would not dare let him go, since they
were deathly afraid of the Armenian king. Then the wicked Philaretus sent to them and said: "Why are you afraid of doing anything
violent to a king? You will gain nothing by letting him go or by
keeping him," So these deicide Romans strangled the Armenian king
with a cord and then hung him from the ramparts for a whole day.
After this the Romans interred the body outside the fortress. At the
end of six months a man named Babik came from Gagik's town and,
removing the king's body from the grave during the night, brought it
to his town and people. The whole Armenian nation lamented
Gagik's death, The Armenian king was buried in his Monastery of
Pizu, and his oldest son John survived him. This is how the
Armenian kingdom, as represented by the Bagratid dynasty, came to
an end. In this manner the prophecy of St, Nerses, the Armenian
catholicos,6 was fulfilled, who said: "The Armenian kingdom will be
completely obliterated."7
75. In the year 530 of the Armenian era [1081-1082] Barsegh, the
archbishop of Shirak, who resided in the city of Ani, rose up and went
to that part of Armenia included in the territory of the Albanians, to
the city of Lori; he came to the Armenian king Kvirike,l who was the
son of David Anhoghin and who reigned in this city, and asked to be
consecrated catholicos of the Armenians, King Kvirike assembled the
bishops of the country of the Albanians and brought his lordship
Stephen, the catholicos of the Albanians, to the Monastery of Haghbat';2 so his lordship Barsegh was consecrated to the see of St.
Gregory as catholicos3 of all Annenia at the behest of King Kvirike
and his lordship Stephen, who himself occupied the holy see of St.

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

Thaddeus. 4 Thus at this time the see of St. Gregory was reestablished in the city of Ani, after having been abolished for a very long
time by the envy-filled treachery of the evil and vicious Roman
nation. The Armenian catholicos Barsegh rose up and came to the
royal capital of Ani/ and all the inhabitants of Shirak went forth to
meet him. Vasak, the father of Barsegh, and the catholicos's brothers
Hasan, Gregory, and Abljahab came, accompanied by the bishops,
and his lordship Barsegh was installed as successor to his lordship
Peter. That day became a day of great rejoicing for all the Armenians, for they witnessed the reestablishment of the patriarchal see
in the city of Ani.

both the rich and the poor. So Basil departed from this world,
leaving behind a good memory [of his life and deeds], and thus went
to join Christ. After this all the inhabitants of the city assembled in
the Cathedral of Saint Sophia and delivered their city into the hands
of 5mbat, a brave man and a courageous fighter against the Persians.
5mbat held the position of dux of Edessa for six months. However,
one of the important personages of the city tried to take away the
position of dux from the Armenians; the name of this man was
Ishkhan, and he was from the family of AIjk't'onk,.2 He rose up
against 5mbat and went over to the side of Philaretus, for he had
many adherents among the important families and citizens of Edessa.
So Ishkhan won over Philaretus and brought him to Edessa, handing
over the city to him. However, after a few days Philaretus made
prisoners of Ishkhan and all his followers, as well as of 5mbat, and
demolished their homes; moreover, he took vengeance on all the
Armenian nobles residing in the city of Edessa, killing Arjuk, one of
their number, by torture and taking the others to the city of Marash.
Philaretus had brave 5mbat, Ishkhan, and his brother Theodoric
blinded, while he kept the other nobles in chains in the city of
Marash; for he was a man of very vile character.3

146

76. In this period a certain emir by the name of Khusraw came


with many troops from Persia and reached the territory of Edessa,
devastating many places [as he advanced]. At this time a battle was
fought near the Euphrates River, at a place called Mknik, which is
close to the fortress of Ltar; for all the garrisons of the neighboring
fortresses had gathered together to give battle to this emir. However,
on that day the Turks were victorious and slaughtered many of the
Christians. After a number of days the emir Khusraw went forth and
invaded the Muslim lands from Harran to Muteper. 1 For two days
the Turks were in their saddles and finally, laden with much booty,
came before the gates of the town of Harran. This town was under
the command of the Arab emir Shureh-Hechm/ the son of Kuraysh
an~ surnamed ~har:rr-ad-Daulah.3 At this time Shureh happened to
be In Harran WIth hIS Arab troups and so at the head of two thousand
horsemen he went forth to battle against the Persian forces. The
Turks had ten thousand men; yet, when the two armies met, the
Arabs put these Turk~ to flight and pursued them, slaughtering them
as they went and takIng them all captive. So the whole territory of
Edessa ,:as filled ~ith Turkish captives; under every shrub and in
every rum were dIscovered dead Turkish soldiers who had taken
refuge there.
77. In the year 532 of the Armenian era [1083-1084] Basil the son
of Abukab and lord of Edessa, died and was buried in the Church of
St. George Gotewor.l He was a benevolent and pious man king to
everyone, co~~assionate towards orphans and widows, and ; benefactor and con~lhator of p~oples. There was great sorrow in all of
Et~s~ a~dbits surroundmg areas, since they were deprived of such
a In an enevolent chief; for he was like a father and a parent to

147

78. In the year 533 of the Armenian era [1084-1085] the city of
Antioch was captured from the Christians. A certain emir, Sulaimanl, son of Kutulmish, who resided in the town of Nicaea in
Bithynia - a region situated along the coast of the Mediterranean
Sea-secretly went by a remote route and came to the city of Antioch
without being discovered. Finding Antioch unguarded, during the
night the emir took it by surprise from that side of the city facing
Aleppo. While all this was taking place, Philaretus was in the city
of Edessa, and so his cavalry forces were not in Antioch at the time.
So Sulaiman entered the city of Antioch with three hundred men.
When the townspeople saw the infidels the next day, they became
horror-struck because they did not have any fighting men and were
weak and un~killed in battle like women. So all the inhabitants of
the city gathered together in the citadel, while d~y by d.ay the
Turkish forces increased in number. The Turks occupIed the CIty, but
did not harm anyone; however, they blockaded the citadel for many
days, preventing food and water from getting thr.ough. ~inally th.e
besieged asked the emir for a promise guaran~eemg theIr safety [If
they would surrender]; Sulaiman granted theIr request, and peace
was reestablished, everyone returning to his place unharmed. When

148

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PhiIaretus learned of all this, he was unable to do anything except


sigh heavily and deeply regret [what had happenedJ. Thus Sulaiman
gained control of Antioch and the entire country of Cilicia. In this
way the populous city of Antioch was captured, thanks to the
perfidious, effeminate, and abominable nation called the Pelitikk',2
who consider themselves Romans in faith, but in essence should be
regarded as Muslims because of the language they use and because
of their deeds; furthermore, they should be looked upon as blasphemers of the Orthodox faith, despisers of the saintly life, persecutors of
the Armenian faith, and as resembling sick and feeble women who sit
on the streets and babble with their tongues. 3
79. N0;V I shall relate to you an extraordinary thing, which
happened m Antioch twenty years before this time and which was
reported by the townspeople themselves. The Antiochenes were so
malicious and hateful towards the Armenians that, whenever they
seized a foreigner, they shaved off his beard and expelled him from
the city. Now one day a certain very distinguished resident of Ani
was seized and his beard shaved off, after which the Antiochenes took
whatever he owned and threw him out of the city. Profoundly hurt,
this man went and got hold of a force of five hundred Turks. Then
he came and ravaged the entire territory of Antioch and burned down
twelve villages, which were the property of the dux of the city.
Bringing many captives before the gates of the city, he slaughtered
them on the spot and threw their corpses into the [OrontesJ River.
Th;.n, shouting out to the inhabitants, he said: "I am George Shirakatsl, the one whose beard you shaved off, is my beard worth anything
or not?" Saying this, he went off laden ~th innumerable booty. On
y
the ?a of Bareke~danl of ~he same year a caravan, carrying tarex
fish, ,came to the CIty of AntIOch from the East, The people belonging
to t~IS caravan had set themselves up in the market place and were
makl,ng me~, ~en the townspeople heard the sounds of their
dancmg and smgmg, all the men of the city pounced upon them and
b,eat them to a pulp, after which they began to throw them out of the
CIty, Now the men of this caravan were eighty in number and they
h~d truncheons and were resolute in purpose, So, when their leaders
cned out to them, in their drunken condition they fell upon the
townspeople; pursuing them from the Gate of Sewotoy to the Church
o~ ~. Peter, they put all the townspeople to flight and broke the
sus and bones of many. Finally the Antiochenes swore by the cross
and the Gospels that they would never again bother them. So, after

PART II

149

peace was reestablished, the caravan returned to its place of origin.


80. In the year 534 of the Armenian era [1085-1086] the ~?nian
vardapet James K'arap'nets'i, who was surnamed Sanahnets I and
who was a brilliant and erudite man, passed away. He. wa~ we.ll
versed in the Old and New Testaments and very erudlt~ m hIS
comprehension of rhetoric, besides which he possess~d an ~n-depth
knowledge of all philosophical systems. He was a ~upII of DlOS.COruS,
the abbot of Sanahin.1 It was this James who m Constantmople
reasoned against the Roman savant~ during the time of, E~peror
Ducas's reign, when he went there With the sons of Senek enm. At
that time he discoursed on the Armenian faith, and all the Greeks
applauded his words. When James died, he was residing in the city
of Edessa and had lived to a very ripe old age. [It seems that] he
died through some plot or treachery, for he w~s f~und dead on .his bed
without any sign of pain or suffering. All hiS frIends and neIghbo~s
wept over him, and the entire city of Ede~sa assembled to honor hIS
memory. So with great pomp he was buned by the doors o~ the holy
church he frequented, which was located on the northern Side of the
city, about a bowshot from the ramparts.
81 In this same year the Arab ruler Sharaf-ad-Daulah, the son of
a kind man and one benevolent towards the Christian
faithful (the pen cannot describe his beneficent deeds ~n beh.alf of the
worshipers of the cross or the many chastisements, tnbulatlOn~, ~nd
deaths he imposed on his own people in order to protect the ChnstIan
faithful), collected an army of one hundred thousand Arabs. He ~ent
forth and captured Aleppo and married the daughter ~f the chI.ef of
that city. Mter this he furiously made war upo,n the ~lty o~ AntIoch.
Sulaiman, the emir of Antioch, marched ag~mst hIm WIth ma.ny
troops meeting him at a place called Pzah, where both armIes
engag~d in violent combat. Then the Arab forces betrayed their ruler
and in toto turned in flight. As they fled, the Arab ruler was killed
by his own troops. In this manner the benevolent ruler Sharaf-adDaulah, the son of Kuraysh, died, and after three days was fou~d
dead on the road and so was buried there on the spot. Mter all thIS
Sulaiman victoriously returned to Antioch, and at that same time his
son, whom he named Kilij Arslan, was born. 2

Kura~sh,

82, In this same year a certain emir named Polc~tachi~ seized t~e
district of Jahan from Philaretus, and the cathohcos, his lordshIp

150

PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Theodore, passed under his jurisdiction. Philaretus invited the


catholic os to come to him in the city of Marash and reside there, but
Theodore was unable to come because the Turks were his masters.
So Philaretus became very angry at his lordship Theodore and,
motivated by his own iniquitous and malicious behavior, resolved to
set up another catholicos in the prelate's place. So, lavishing all sorts
of honors upon him, Philaretus summoned his lordship John,
archbishop of the Monastery of the Holy Icon of the Virgin, but he,
being a formidable, distinguished, and very virtuous man, refused to
come. Then Philaretus summoned his lordship Paul, the superior of
the Monastery of the Holy Cross of Varag; an assembly of bishops
and abbots was called, and Paul was consecrated catholicos in the
city of Marash at the behest of Philaretus but against the will of God.
All this was unacceptable in the eyes of God and of the Christian
faithful. When Paul realized this opposition, after a few days he left
the patriarchal see, for he was a holy and virtuous man and knew
that he was on the side of the enemies of truth rather than that of
the orthodox.
83. In this period there was much trouble and dissension in regard
to the see of St. Gregory; for at this time the holy see was not
governed according to the will of God or individual merit or even free
election,l.but a~cordin~ to the principles of violence, power politics,
and man~pulatlOn of hIgh offices. All this was not brought about by
the workmg of the Holy Spirit, but by worldly circumstances and
goals, ~nd by mon~tary and profit-making considerations. During
these tImes the samtly and the virtuous shamefully withdrew and
those who had fallen from the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ th~ son
o~ ~Od, came forward. Now commenced the fulfillment of the vision
o. t. S~ak ~art'ew,2 which contained the following words: "The
hnes .wntt~n m gold will be replaced by those written in black ink."
~n ~h~. penod the s~e of St. Gregory was divided into four parts: his
10~dsh~P ;ahram ~n Egypt, his lordship Theodore in Hom, his
l~rd:ht p ar1e~h In th: Armenian royal capital of Ani, and his
consecr~teda~is~n the C1t~ o~ Marash. Each of these catholicoi
in t
d' ops. and dIstnbuted the blessed holy oil; the bishops,
err,urn, dr tahmed p~ests who celebrated divine liturgy, baptized, and
P onne
e mamage ceremony

on~~~~!~~~~f~ion
broug~t. much sorrow on the church of God, for
s

became guardian: f ~;;. ~!v~ed into ~our pastorates, and wolves


o ns sock. Dunng these times the ordinarily

151

rational sheep became imbued with the nature of dogs and the
instincts of beasts, daring to bark at pastors and patriarchs. Fathers
despised their offspring, and children blasphemed and mistreated
their parents. All of these things are harbingers of the Antichrist
and the beginning of the destruction of the world, because people did
away with piety and faith and fulfilled the prophecies contained in
the holy books, which were declared by St. Nerses and by his son St.
Isaac and which in our time are spoken by the holy vardapet John of
Kozern. This John spoke many words which were taken as prophecies concerning our time and which made reference to the elimination
of religion from the hearts of all and the withering away of faith; all
this had been said formerly in holy books of a similar vein. Now all
these dissensions and calamities did not touch the country of the
Albanians, which is also known as Interior Armenia and which is the
see of the holy apostle Thaddeus. The holy see of this country was
not divided, rather it has retained the stability of the patriarchate
and its administration up to the present. Its patriarch occupied the
apostolic see in the Armenian city of Partaw, which is also called
P'aytakaran and which is located near the vast [Caspian] Sea. When
the Persians became powerful, the patriarchal see was transferred to
Gandzak. The catholicoi of the Albanians who are mentioned in this
book are his lordship John, his lordship George, his lordship Joseph,
his lordship Mark, and his lordship Stephen. The following kings of
the Albanians are also mentioned: Gagik, David, and Kvirike; these
resided in the Armenian city of Lori and still do at present. Also
other Armenian kings resided in the country of Darband3 or Kapank',
bordering on the territories of the Ossetes4 and the Albanians. These
kings were virtuous and saintly and were remembered in the divine
liturgy along with other pious and holy rulers. Their names are the
following: Vajakan; Goshaktak, his son; Philip, the son of Goshaktak;
Sewada, the son of Philip; Senek' erim, the son of Sewada; and
Gregory, the son of Senek'erim; the last named was still alive at the
writing of this book. As we have already mentioned, in this period
the Armenian nation had six catholicoi-two in Egypt and four in
Armenia. And so, his lordship Paul resided in Marash at the behest
of Philaretus but not according to the will of God.
Now we will return to the chronological order of our narration,
which we left in order to relate the troubles Armenia was experiencmg.

84. In the year 534 of the Armenian era [1085-1086] Tutush,lthe

152

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

sultan of Damascus, came with many troops and made war on


Sulaiman, the emir of Antioch. At this time a violent battle was
fought on both sides, each side battling vehemently against the other
at a place between Aleppo and Antioch. Both combatant armies were
made up of Turks, and yet both sides slaughtered one another
ruthlessly. As the battle grew intense, the sultan's forces defeated
those of Sulaiman, putting them to flight. Sulaiman, the emir of
Antioch, was killed by Sultan Tutush's troops and was buried near
the grave of Sharaf-ad-Daulah, the son of Kuraysh. 2 So in this year
Antioch and its surrounding territory was captured by Tutush and
came under his control. This Tutush was the son of Sultan Alp
Arslan and the brother of Sultan Malik-Shah. Six years before
Tutush had come with many troops and captured the city of Damascus, killing the great emir Atsiz, the Persian ruler who controlled
Damascus and the whole coastal region. This Atsiz was a Turk and
also a very valiant warrior. In the past he had triumphed over Egypt
and, defeating its ruler Aziz, 3 had driven him from the territory which
he now possessed. In the end he had captured from Egypt the holy
city of Jerusalem, Damascus, and all the cities along the seacoast.
The emir Atsiz struck terror into the Egyptians until a slave of Aziz,
the ruler of Egypt, went against him' this slave was of Armenian
origin and was given the name Amir ~1-Juyiish.4 This man armed a
re~~ent of Armenian soldiers to fight Atsiz and went against the
emIr m battle. Mter this peace was reestablished in Egypt.
85. At the beginning of the year 535 of the Armenian era [1086108?] the_wicked Philaretus rose up and went in homage to sultan
MalIk-Shah the conqueror, in order to solicit his benevolence and
pea~e on behalf of all the Christian faithful. Philaretus left behind
m hIS place the illustrious Roman official, who was the paracoemomenus, a ~enevolent and pious eunuch, and he gave this man command
of the CIty of Edessa. Taking a great amount of gold and silver select
horses and mules, and beautiful resplendent garments Phiiaretus
;~~t to t~e sultan, who resided in Persia. At this time one of
1 aret~s s officers, named Parsama, with evil intent made common
cause ~Ith ~he ~eicides, Cain and Judas. Accompanied by his
a,ctco:rhceds m crIme, Parsama one Sunday went up to the chief
~ a e adn cbame to where the paracoemomenus was staying It
appene to e the time when th
h"
.
was ra' .
e eunuc saId hIS prayers, and so
locat~d ~~~~:tthe chu~c~ where the reliquary of St. Theodore1 is
momen arsama and his accomplices savagely fell
.

PART II

153

upon the paracoemomenus and cruelly killed this benevolent and


merciful man while he was praying in the church. Mter this the
townspeople gave the office of dux to the paracoemomenus's killer
Parsama. Now, when the sultan Malik-Shah learned of all this in
Persia, he removed Philaretus from his presence and treated him
with contempt. So Philaretus, in complete despair, at that moment
abjured his Christian religion, renouncing the faith of Christ which
he had not held in pure manner to begin with; for, by so doing, he
thought he would be honored by the Persians [and treated with
consideration by them], but this was not the case. The actions of this
apostate of Christ availed him nothing, and he came to be cursed and
despised bY,both God and man. 2
86. In this same year the Persian sultan of Ashkenaz origin,
Malik-Shah the conqueror, marched forth at the head of a formidable
army composed of innumerable warriors. He came and entered the
Roman empire in the West in order to take over that region. This
sultan's heart was filled with benevolence, gentleness, and compassion for the Christians; he showed fatherly affection for all the
inhabitants of the lands [he traversed] and so gained control of many
towns and regions without resistance. Thus in this year the sultan
gained control of all Armenia and the Roman empire. Mter this
Malik-Shah marched forth and reached the great city of Antioch and
took control of the whole region, including Aleppo. Thus the sultan's
empire extended from the Caspian to the Mediterranean Seas.
Malik-Shah subdued all the states on this side of the Mediterranean
[littoral], and there was no land which did not submit to his rule.
Twelve nations together with their rulers became tributary and
submitted to him. After he had gained control of Antioch, MalikShah descended to the Mediterranean seacoast at a place called Saint
Simeon.1 When the sultan saw this vast sea, he thanked and blessed
God that the Lord had expanded his empire beyond the limits of that
of his father Alp Arslan. Then, riding his horse, he stepped into the
waters of the Mediterranean and, drawing his sword, plunged it into
the sea three times, saying: "Lo, God has allowed me to rule over the
lands from the Persian Sea2 to this sea." Then, having removed his
gaIVlents and laid them on the ground, Malik-Shah prayed to t~e
Lord God and blessed his beneficent mercy. Then he ordered hIS
servants to gather some sand from the seashore and, taking it to
Persia, scattered it over the grave of his father, Alp Arslan, saying:
"0 my father, Alp Arslan, I bring you good news, for your young son,

154

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

whom you left [at your death], has come to rule over all lands, even
up to the ends of the earth." After all this the sultan appointed an !
emir over Antioch, whose name was Yaghi-Siyan and who was a .
vicious, vile, invidious, and savage-minded man. On the other hand,
he appointed Aksungur over the city of Aleppo, who was benevolent
and pacific, kind to everyone, and a benefactor of peoples.
I

87. In this same year a certain emir named Buzan, at the behest
of Sultan Malik-Shah the conqueror, came against the city of Edessa
with many troops. Descending upon Edessa, he encamped before the
gates of the city and besieged it for three months. One day the
s~lt~n himself came with a smaller number of troops and, after I
CIrclIng around the city, went away leaving it intact. Now, although
Malik-Shah had descended upon the plain of Harran with a very ;
large army, he left [without causing any harm] and peacefully
returned to Persia.
.
I

88: In th,e meantime Buzan was vehemently besieging Edess8,


c~usmg the mhabitants of the city to fall prey to famine because of
hIS ~easel~ss harassments. No aid was forthcoming which could save .
the mhabltants, caught in the throes of such a horrible situation and
S? they all fell in complete despair. Then all the inhabitants of the .
CIty grumbled against their dux Parsama, and a very large group of
townspeople rose up against him. He in desperation tried to flee to
Buzan but h'I'
, fr om the ramparts broke his spine' he was
,w 1 eJumpmg
t~en to Buzan and delivered the city int~ his hands. 1 This took
p
ce on
the first
2 at th
. , 0 f the year 536
of the
Arm
. day of Nawasard,
e b egmmng
era [1087-1088]. Thus peace was reestablished in
Ed essa an e~1an
Its surround' t 't
with great " .
mg em ory, and the whole city was filled
lukh 4
reJOlcmg. Buzan appointed a certain slar a called Khu' a,s governor and guardian of the city of Edess~ After this
calum
mous men who we f th S"
.
slandered the chief A re .0 ~ , ynan natIon, came to Buzan and
person named A k' rmenian cIt,lzens who resided in the city. A
nounced these
ar, and certam other Syrians maliciously dethem killed by th emans and thus were instrumental in having
e Sword' these Arm'
't'
.
.
eminent, and distinguished ~ _
em an . C1 lzens-Illustnous,
Buzan regretted the k'll'
f en were twelve III number. However,
to them [that he 1 ~~g 0 these men, for he had previously sworn
malicious slanders w;.~, n~: harm them]; yet, because of some
returned to Persia 'th hl~ e ect did kill them. After this Buzan
IS t roops.

.km

WI'

155

89, In this same year Buzanl with a tremendous number of troops


encamped before the city of Gandzak in Armenia. He vehemently
besieged the city, having gathered together all the Persians against
it. During a severe assault the Persians undermined one of the city's
towers, thus demolishing it; by assaults such as this they captured
Gandzak, but slaughtered only a small portion of its inhabitants,
because Buzan ordered the swords sheathed and peace restored. At
that time his lordship Stephen, the catholicos of the Albanians, was
in the city, but through the help of God he was able to get away, for
he was protected by the Armenian troops who were in Buzan's army_
90. During the reign of the Greek emperor Alexius 1 disturbances
broke out in the West on the other side of the great Danube River.
For a violent war broke out between the Pechenegs and the Roman
emperor Alexius, The Pecheneg ruler defeated the Roman forces and,
vehemently pursuing them, ruthlessly slaughtered them. The
emperor Alexius with a small number of men took refuge in Constantinople. Mtir a few days Alexius opened up his treasury and issued
an edict throughout the empire; in this manner he collected a
formidable army, more numerous than before. The Pecheneg ruler
marched against Constantinople together with his whole nation, in
order to gain the Greek empire for himself. He came against the city
with six hundred thousand armed troops, together with his people
and his sons. When Alexius learned of this, he and all the [Christian] faithful prayed for eight days, It was in the year 538 of the
Armenian era [1089~1090] when the emperor Alexius attacked the
Pecheneg forces with his army, comprising three hundred thousand
Roman, Latin, 2 Armenian, and Bulgar troops, When the two armies
met on that day, both sides fought a tremendous and violent battle.
All the Pecheneg troops were archers and, mounted on their chariots,
fought with tremendous and extraordinary valor. Then, at a signal
from the emperor Alexius, the Romans set fire to the chariots and
burned them, In this manner the emperor Alexius vanquished the
Pecheneg army, By the sword and severe slaughter all the Pecheneg
forces were put to flight. The Pecheneg ruler was killed, and Alexius
annihilated all his troops and slaughtered his sons and their wives
with the sword. Then with much booty and captives the emperor
returned to Constantinople. 3

91. In this period a certain vile and abominable heretic, who was
a monk of the Roman nation, appeared in Constantinople. This man

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

worshiped Satan as his God and had a dog, to whom he offered his
prayers, accompany him. With such a false doctrine he corrupted
many men and women, leading astray a small portion of the pious
faithful of Constantinople, chief of whom being the mother of the
emperor Alexius. The mother of the emperor became so audacious in
her perverse aberration as to take a piece of the holy cross of Christ
an~ hid? it in the sole of the emperor's shoe, so that he would walk
on It. Fmally God exposed this abominable heretic monk through his
adherents, and thus the emperor was made cognizant of his perverse
deeds. For, when the pious emperor Alexius heard of all this he
burned the leader of this heretical sect and had many of its members
drowned in the Mediterranean-as many as ten thousand persons'
moreover, ~e deprived his mother of her high position and expelled
her from hIS court, and so peace was reestablished. 1

ate in his person and after this went to the city of Edessa. Now a
patriarch should not be reproached for going to an infidel ruler in
order to reestablish peace in the holy church. For this very same
reason St. Basil went to the wicked emperor Julian, St. Nerses to the
apostate Greek emperor Valens,l St. Marut'a2 to the Persian king
Yazdgard,3the doctor Nanan4 to the Chaldean king,5 and Christ to the
Jewish nation. When Barsegh came to Edessa, it was the beginning
of the year 540 of the Armenian era [1091-1092]. Going forth from
this city, the catholicos went as far as the great Caesarea of Cappodocia and then returned to Antioch, and all the people who saw him
were extremely happy. Mter this Barsegh once again came to
Edessa.

156

92. In the year 539 of the Armenian era [1090-1091] his lordship
the .Arm~nian patriarch Barsegh rose up and went to the sultan
M~lik-Shah the conqueror, for he saw that the Christian faithful were
b~mghharassed in many places, tribute was being imposed on the
c urc e~ of God ~nd all their clergy, and monasteries and bishops
were ~emg han:ed by heavy exactions. When his lordship the
~e~l~~ c~thohcos Barsegh sawall these harassments he resolved
f~if~f1 ~ . e ednevol~nt and ~ind ruler of the Persians a~d Christian
u, m or er to mform hIm of all this. Taking Wl'th h'
I
amount of g ld '1
1m a arge
. 0 ,SI ver, and brocades as presents for this sultan and
accompamed
by. noblemen, b'IS hops, prIests,
.
Arm
.
and vardapets the
eman
;::t.
ch~thlohcos
~ent
to
Persia
to
the
pious
sultan.
When MalikShWl saw IS ordsh1p Bars h h
'd
eg, e pal the catholicos great honor
and granted h'
h t
he
the wishes of ~~ ~r~s~:erB requested. ~e suI tan carried out all
monasteries, together wifh t~~eg~, exemptmg all the churches and
gave [Barsegh] a written elr c ergy, fro~ all dues;. moreover, he
dismissed the Armenian t~arantee?f thIS ~xemptIon and then
edicts and presented himPa'[harch, h~vmg prOVIded him with official
decree, his lordship Barse;~ d ma7 d on.ors. So, going forth by royal
nied by eminent persona
epa: e WIth great rejoicing, accompacatholicos came to the !e~ ~~slgned to him by the sultan. The
opposition to his lordship ~~ rI~ of Jahan and set himself up in
resided in Roni as catholico e~ ore ~ho, at the behest of Philaretus,
and took from him th s"l arseg deposed Theodore from his see
lordship Peter. So Bars:g~el, c;obsli?r, and cross belonging to his
rees a lshed the unity of the patriarch-

157

93. In this same year during the month of September an earthquake occurred throughout the whole land, and all living creatures
under heaven trembled and shook. Much destruction occurred in the
city of Antioch, and many towers collapsed to their foundation.
Moreover, the greater part of the walls of Antioch collapsed, and
many men and women perished in the ruins of their homes.
94. In the year 541 of the Armenian era [1092-1093] a tremendous
amount of mortality struck many places, and because of the great
number of deaths, there were not enough priests to bury the corpses.
The sounds of wailing and lamentation issued forth from all the
homes. Death took the lives of so many people that those alive feared
death more than those who succumbed to it. Thus the whole land
was in the throes of incalculable ruin and destruction because of
these deaths.
95. In this same year the Holy Cross of Varag and the Icon of the
Holy Virgin Mary were brought to the city of Edessa, and so there
was great rejoicing among the nation of Abgar.1 Deeply moved, all
the inhabitants of Edessa collectively went forth to receive these holy
objects and then brought them into the city with great pomp. On this
occasion the ruler of the territory of Edessa arranged a procession in
which everyone followed the saintly bishop his lordship Paul and
other prelates. The holy cross was placed in the cathedral with great
pomp. However, after a few years these relics were sacrilegiously
stolen and taken away from the inhabitants of Edessa.

96. In this same year Buzan collected troops from all the Persians

158

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

and, taking with him eminent emirs and the lords of Antioch and
Aleppo-Yaghi-Siyan and Aksungur-marched against the Roman
empire with innumerable soldiers. He descended upon the renowned
town called Nicaea and, being possessed by some madness, became
infatuated with the idea of going on and capturing the city of
Constantinople; it was guarded by the protection of heaven, and yet
Buzan in his twisted mind thought he could capture this impregnable
city. So, remaining before Nicaea for a number of days, he finally
realized that he could not achieve his goa!,1
97. In this same year died the great sultan Malik-Shah the
conqueror, who was father and parent to all [his subjects] and a
benevolent, merciful, and kind man towards all [peoples]. This sultan
perished in the city of Baghdad through a treacherous plot carried
out by his wife, who was a daughter of the sultan of Samarkand. She
gave a poisoned drink to the benevolent Malik-Shah and thus
deprived this v~ry great ruler of his life. 1 So there was deep and
gnevous mournmg throughout the whole world. N ow, when Buzan
lea:ned of t?e .death of the sultan, he returned to the city of Edessa,
whIle :aghi-Slyan went to Antioch and Aksungur to Aleppo. His
l~rdship ~arsegh, who was in Edessa at this time, took refuge in the
CIty of Am and occupied his see there.
. 98. Lo: in these times there was severe slaughter and bloodshed
m ~ema,. for the Turkish forces invaded the land and killed many
of Its mhabltants. [Since] the sultan had died, the Turks felt free to
~nslave .many. On the other hand, Malik-Shah was taken and buried
l~d~e ~~ty of Marand, near the grave of his father, Alp Arslan. He
th d e md two sons, the elder called Berkyaruk 1 who was born from
ca~l ;ulht~r ~f Argun (Akut'),2 a relative of Alp Arslan, and the other
e ap ar, who was born from the daughter of the sultan of
Samalrdkand and who resided in the city of U zgand4 and in Ghazni 5
The e er son Berkyaruk sue ddt th
.
Shah
d h
.
cee e 0 e throne of his father, Maliked
mate~n:~ u~c~:
::::li ~~ sultan of all the Persians. His
regent over all Persia fo h sma
Son of Argun, was made [his]
and a benefactor of ' ~ e w~s a :~evolent and very merciful man
sovereign' it was h~eot e' ThIS IsmaIl ruled over all Armenia as its
began
again and to protect
th
to ma~e all Armenia prosper once
Persians.
e monastenes from harassment by the

7::

1\

:It

PART II

159

99. In the year 542 of the Armenian era [1093-1094] his lordship
Paul, l the man whom Philaretus had installed on the see of the
Armenian catholicate in the city of Marash, died. Paul had accompanied the holy cross [to Edessa] and died in this city during the same
year; he was buried in splendid pomp near the door of the holy
church close to the tomb of the vardapet. 2
100. In this same year the Armenian vardapet George, surnamed
Urchets'i, died. He was the enlightener of the Armenian nation, the
source of the inexhaustible spring [of orthodox doctrine], and had a
fiery tongue. In his knowledge, erudition, and possession of divine
grace he was equal to the former divinely-inspired Greek doctors; I
mean to say Gregory the Theologian, 1 John Chrysostom, Basil, and
others like these. This vardapet led a life of sanctified behavior right
up to the age of one hundred, and was buried in the great Monastery
of Karmnjadzor,2 near the tomb of the vardapet Samuel and Khach'ik,
who was a musician accomplished in the art of chanting. So all Godfearing people deeply mourned George, because they had been
deprived of this brilliant vardapet.
101. In this same year the sultan of Damascus, called Tutush, the
son of Alp Arslan and the brother of Malik-Shah, collected troops. At
the head of many forces he was intent on going forth to Persia and
taking over the royal throne of his brother, MalikMShah. So Tutush
came to Antioch, and the emirl of that city came to pay the sultan
homage. From there he passed on to Aleppo, and the emir Aksungur
came to pay him homage. After this with innumerable troops Tutush
marched forth and went to Persia. 2
102. In this same year a tremendous gathering of Arab troops
occurred-as many as four hundred thousand men; and all of
Babylon1 advanced against the territory of Mosul. The chief of the
Arab forces was Ibrahim, 2 the son of Kuraysh and the brother of
Sharaf-ad-Daulah. Meanwhile the sultan Tutush reached the town
of Nisibis and, capturing it with a great assault, pillaged the entire
town. [On this occasion] the Armenian troops, who were with the
sultan, slaughtered about ten thousand Muslims. At this time the
Arab army advanced and reached the confines of Nisibis, descending
to a place called Hermez. [Seeing this], Tutush sent to Edessa and
through a solemn oath had the emir Buzan come to him with many
troops and then, rising up, went to battle against the Muslim chief.

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

The two leaders met on the plain of Nisibis, both sides causing a
great amount of slaughter. After a very violent battle the sultan
turned back the Arab forces and put them to flight. Pursuing them,
Tutush took the Arab chief Ibrahim prisoner; his head had been
pierced by an arrow, which had torn through his steel helmet and
penetrated deep inside, thus causing his [ultimate] death. The
sultan's troops plundered the women and children of the Arabs, and
also their flocks and a great quantity of their horses. s After all this
the sultan Tutush victoriously went and marched forth to Persia.
[On route] his army grew so large that it covered the plains and hills
of the East. When the Persian sultan Berkyaruk, the nephew of
Tutush, learned of this advance, going forth with many troops, he
came in battle against his uncle at the head of a tremendously large
army. When Tutush, in turn, learned of Berkyaruk's coming, he
prepared to go against the Persian sultan. At that [critical] moment
Buzan and Aksungur, together with their troops, rebelled against
Tutush during the night and went over to the side of Berkyaruk.
When Tutush heard of their treachery, he dared not go forth in
battle, but turning back, went to his country and entered his city of
Damascus.' After this he went to Tripoli and subdued it and all the
other coastal towns; moreover, he remained in this area for six
months.

a distance from his troops, on the pretext of conversing with him.


They fell upon lsma']:! and threw him down from his horse and, tying
a cord around his neck, strangled the benevolent emir. After this the
two plotters fled from the sultan Berkyaruk, each going to his
respective city-Buzan to Edessa and Aksungur to Aleppo. When the
sultan learned of the death of the great lsma'il, he deeply regretted
the incident.'

160

103. In the year 543 of the Armenian era [1094-1095] the power

of Berkyaruk was at its zenith. [At this time] the sultan appointed
as commander-in-chief of his forces the illustrious royal emir Isma'il
son of Ar~n and brother of his mother, for this man ruled over all
of mema well. lsma'il in all respects was kind, merciful, good,
SOhCItouS, benevolent, pacific, and a benefactor of all the Armenians'
moreover, ~e was ~n embellisher of monasteries and a supporter of
monks, beSIdes whIch he protected the [Christian] 'thfi I
. t
aI
U agams
harassment fr th P .
o.m e erSIans. Under his administration each person
: s xrotec~ed In ~he P?ssession of what was rightfully his, and so all
lsma,""~en~ns hved In happiness [and security].l Berkyaruk put
royal It~~~e~r~ of th~ whole. country, while he securely sat on the
traversed throug~;~r~iaon~t~lme the great emir lsma'il came ~nd
by Buzan and Aks
WI many troops, and he was accompamed
located in Persia ua~~~ H\ca~e to a place called Jaghts'adzor,2
ere
intrigue against th'e gre t
. ot Buzan and Aksungur began to
l
. fiorth f rom
the camp accompanied ba themIr sma'il
3' One day, gomg
y ree men, the two plotters took the emir

:A:

161

104. In this same year the sultan Tutush marched forth with
many troops and at the head of a tremendous army came against
Aleppo. Aksungur and Buzan collected troops and went against the
sultan in battle. Tutush defeated the forces of Aksungur and Buzan
and put them to flight. On this day Aksungur and Buzan were
killed, Aleppo was captured, and the head of th e great emir Buzan
was brought to Edessa and stuck on a pole. 1 Edessa was also
captured, and Tutush gained control of the city and its surrounding
territory. When the sultan arrived in Edessa, he appointed the
Roman official T'oros,2 the son of Het'um, as the city's commander.
Then the sultan himself went to Persia to war against Berkyaruk.
Mter this the commander of Tutush's forces, the lord of Antioch
Yaghi-Siyan, at the head of many troops descended upon t~e
renowned fortress called Zarinak,3 in Armenia. He captured thIS
fortress by a great assault and slaughtered an innumerable amount
of Christians.
At about the same time Tutush received a letter from the wife of
his brother, inviting him to come in haste and become her husband.
When the sultan heard this, he arrived in Persia and descended upon
the plain of Isfahan. Then Berkyaruk sent entreaties to Tutush,
saying: "Allow me to keep only the city of Isfahan and let. the rest ?f
my subjects and lands be yours." But Tutush would not lIsten to hIS
entreaties. So both leaders at the head of countless and innumerable
forces engaged in battle with one another. Now, when the standard
of Malik-Shah was unfurled and the Persian troops saw this, the
majority of them went over to the side of Berkyaruk, ~ter which ~
severe slaughter occurred. On the other hand, the WIcked ~aghlSiyan, who was concealed in ambush with many troop~, fled Wltho"?"t
even giving battle. When all of Tutush's forces saw thIS, t~ey fled In
toto. This turned out to be a calamitous day for the PerSIan forces,
because tens of thousands were dispersed in flight throughout ~he
whole land. At this time the enemy surrounded Tutus~, woun~mg
his horse and felling him to the ground; so there he was III the mIdst

163

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

of the [enemy] troops. No one dared to go near him, for he had royal
rank and was the brother of Malik-Shah. Then one of the emirs from
Berkyaruk's army came and cut off Tutush's head with his sword.
The dead sultan was taken and buried near the tomb of his father.
After this Ridvan (the son of Tutush) , Yaghi-Siyan, and all the other
fugitives escaped to the city of Edessa. The curopalates T'oros, who
resided in the city and who was a very eloquent and able man,
received them [warmly]. T'oros intended on taking them prisoner, so
that through them he might capture the citadel of the city of Edessa.
However, the other noblemen of the city did not consider this a good
strategy, and so the fugitives peacefully returned to their respective
cities. After this T'oros with every means possible tried to gain
control of the city and deliver the [Christian] faithful from the
infidels. He began to restore those ramparts opposite the citadel and
to fortify one part of the city with a wall; for the citadel was in the
hands of the Persians,4 and contained a Turkish garrison and a corps
of Armenian troops who were placed there by Tutush. When the
[infidel] commander who occupied the Citadel of Maniaces5 saw that
the curopalates had fortified Edessa and had isolated the citadel from
the city, he wrote a letter to all the neighboring emirs, informing
them of what T'oros had done. [In this letter the infidel commander]
said that the curopalates had fortified the city from the Sea Gate to
the Church of St. Theodore, had erected twenty-five towers and had
captured the inner citadel, thus gaining control of Edessa. '

lion, exhorted all the inhabitants of Edessa and donated a very large
amount of money for the [pressing] needs of the city. For many days
the sultan's forces vehemently assaulted the city, but with God aiding
the Christians they were unable to do anything, for all the townspeople had the courage of lions and resisted the infidels. Exhausted
by the severe fighting, the infidel forces withdrew, humiliated. After
this one of the sultan's officers, whose name was Mkhit'ar and who
was a Christian, took counsel with his men to deliver the citadel into
the hands of the curopalates T'oros. So the patricius Mkhit'ar with
thirty of his men took the proper measures during the night and
delivered the chief Citadel of Maniaces into the hands of the curopalates T'oros. In this way peace was reestablished in the city of
Edessa. After all this T'oros sent troops to capture a fortress, called
Trsich, in the city's environs and to subdue its surrounding territory.
A battle was fought near the fortress of T'rsich, and the forces of
Edessa were put to flight. The infidels reached a village called
Andranos and there slaughtered one hundred and fifty men, taking
the rest prisoner.

162

105. In the year 544 of the Armenian era [1095-1096] Sokman,l


the son of Artuk, and Balduk, the emir of Samosata and son of Amir~hazr, collected calvary troops and came against Edessa at harvest
bme. The curopala~es T'oros, the lord of Edessa, being a prudent
man, began to fortIfy the city on all sides. The Turks set up
catapults and .other war machines and ruthlessly battered against the
~alls of the Clty. They spent many days ceaselessly assaulting the
CIty, but were unable to do anything against it. After sixty-five days
the Turks finally succeeded in breaking through the walls at two
places and thu~ penetrating into the city; fighting in the streets
ensued, b~t the mfidels still were unable to capture Edessa. At that
~oment Rldvan, the sultan of Aleppo and son of Tutush, and YaghiSlyan, the lord of Antioch, came and descended upon Edessa with
forty thousand men. Then Sokman and Balduk fled from the sultan.
W?en the townspeople saw the sultan's forces, they became very
fnghtened. However, the curopalates T'oros, with the bravery of a

106. In this same year the sultan al-Faraj, who was descended
from Kutulmish, was brought to Edessa at the invitation of T'oros,
and the curopalates delivered the city into his hands in order to take
vengeance on his enemies. However, al-Faraj was resolved to kill
T'oros and pillage the whole city. When the curopalates learned of
this treachery, he gave the sultan a poisonous drink a~d sent him to
the public baths, where he soon died. When the sultan s t~oops heard
about all this, they fled. So once again the curopalates grun~d control
of Edessa. The rule of al-Faraj over this city lasted for thIrty-three
days.l
107. In this same year the Armenian catholicos his lordship
Theodore, a great musician and a pillar of the holy church, died and
was buried in Honi, near his lordship Sargis.
108. In the year 545 of the Armenian era [1096-1097] the sultan
of the West1 called Kilij Arslan,2 the son of Sulaiman, son of Kutulmish, came against the city of Melitene at the head of a tre~end0.u~
number of troops. The sultan's army covered the whole plaIn: KihJ
Arslan launched a severe assault against Melitene and, settI~g up
catapults, put the city in dire straits. Th~ commander of Mehtene
Gabriel,a who was the father-in-law of T oros, the curopalates of

164

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Edessa, courageously resisted the sultan and fortified the city on all
sides. Remaining there for many days, the sultan was unable to do
anything and so turned back humiliated and went to his own
country.4
109. In this period the prophecy of the Armenian catholicos St.
Nerses, who spoke to the Armenian nobles and princes concerning the
coming of the Westerners, 1 was fulfilled. That which this catholicos
spoke about in former times, we saw with our very eyes in this
period, witnessing those events which the holy and prodigious man
of God, Nerses the Great, had prophesied at the time of his death.
This was the [same] vision which appeared to the saintly Daniel
when in Babylon he saw the form of a monstrous beast; moreover, h~
clearly saw. and revealed this, speaking about the eating, chewing,
and tramplmg of the remainder.2

110. At this time the upsurge of the Westernersloccurred and the


portals of the Latin nation were opened, for through them the Lord
mtended to b~ttle with the Persians. Once again the Lord [turned
away] ~romllhls anger, according to the words of the prophet David,
who saId: Awake, why do you sleep, 0 Lord, rise up and do not
a~andon us forever!"2 Also: liThe Lord awoke from his sleep like a
mlgh~y man who puts aside his drunkenness; he threw back his
enemIes and made them accursed forever." 3 Thus in this year all the
peoples of Italy and Spain, right up to the confines of Mrica and
even t~e distant Frankish nation, began to move and surged fo~th in
a f~rmidable and immense throng; they were very much like locusts
~hICh. ca~not be co~nted or the sands of the seas which are beyond
e ml~~ s calculatIOn. With imposing grandeur and high-ranking
d
fie~;rsEIp
the noblemen of the Frankish nation rose up and came
o .' ach of them came with his troops to aid the Christians to
~e~IVer t~e holy city of Jerusalem from the infidels and to free the
t~ y sepu c~er, W~ich contained God, from the hand~ of the Muslims;
fa~h '::~ ~llust~~us ~enhof royal blood, endowed with piety and
nam~s of th rou~
In t e practice of good works. Here are the
lineage ofth:s~o ran s. There :,as Godfrey,4 a mighty man from the
Godfrey who ha~~i::h~:rsh and his brother Baldwin;6 it was this
Vespasian 7 who dest
d t e Sword and crown of the emperor
called BOhemondB roy~ Jerusalem. There was the eminent count
GilleslO_a formid a~d hIS dne.phew .Tancred,9 the count called Saint
a e an IllustrIOUS man, Robert the count of

Ut

PART

II

165

Normandy, and also the other Baldwin.ll Mter this came the count
called Joscelin,12 a mighty and courageous man. Such mighty men
and warriors as these marched forth at the head of formidable
armies, numerous as the stars of the heavens. With them went many
bishops, priests, and deacons. Journeying with tremendous hardship
via the distant lands of the Westerners,IS the Franks passed through
the country of the Hungarians and through the inaccessible defiles of
their mountains with great difficulty. From there they reached the
Bulgar lands, which were controlled by the Greek emperor Alexius.
So by such a journey the Franks arrived at the great city of Constantinople.
111. When the emperor Alexius learned of their coming, he sent
troops to battle against them. There was a tremendous amount of
slaughter on both sides, and the Franks put the Greek forces to
flight. So, much bloodshed occurred on this day. In this same
manner whatever areas the Franks passed through, the inhabitants
of thos~ places attacked them and harassed them with many
hardships. Now, when the emperor Alexius heard of all these
troubles [the Franks were having], he put away the sword and no
longer fought with them. Then the whole Frankish army.descended
to the gates of Constantinople and asked to cross the ~edIter~anean
Sea. 1 The emperor Alexius made peace and an alhance WIth ~he
Frankish leaders and, taking them to Saint Sophia, gave them gIfts
of much gold and silver. In turn the Franks took an oath that they
would hand over to the emperor Alexius all those regions they
captured from the Persians which previously had belonged to the
Romans, while all the conquests made of Persian and Arab territory
would belong to the Franks. This pact was sealed by an oath, sworn
on the cross and the Gospels, and thus never to be bro~en. Obtaining
troops and officers from the emperor, the Franks Sailed across the
vast Mediterranean and with a formidable army reached the town
called Nicaea,2 located near this sea.3
112. All the Persian forces gathered together against the Frankish
forces who were encamped in that area, and attacked them.
Howe~er, the Franks defeated the Persian forces and put them. to
flight and, pursuing them with the sword, filled the whole land WIth
bloodshed. Assaulting Nicaea, they captured the town by the ~word
and slaughtered all the infidels [within its walls]. Mter thIS the
Muslims, heavy with grief, went to the sultan Kilij Arslan, who at

167

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

that time was besieging the city of Melitene, and informed him of all
this. The sultan assembled an innumerable army and went against
the Frankish forces in the territory of Nicaea. Both sides engaged in
a furious battle, ruthlessly and valiantly attacking one another and
savagely striking against each other's front lines. Incited by the
sparks flying from the helmets, the clatter of the coats of mail, and
the cracking noise of the bows, all the infidel forces regrouped
themselves, [fired with new ardor and courageJ. The whole land
shook from the din of battle, and the horses trembled because of the
clatter of arrows. The courageous and the heroic engaged each other
in combat, ruthlessly hacking away at one another like young lions.
The first day of battle turned out to be a great and formidable one J
for the sultan went into battle against the Franks with six hundred
thousand men [under his commandJ. In spite of the tremendous
number of Persian troops, the Frankish forces defeated them and put
them to flight, causing such a frightful and severe slaughter that the
plain was covered with their dead corpses. Moreover, the Franks
took tens of thousands of captives, and the gold and silver they seized
from the Persians could not be counted. After three days the sultan
once again collected troops and came against the Frankish forces at
the head of a formidable army. An even more frightful and severe
battle was fought than before. The Frankish forces fought against
the Persians with the same fury [as before] and drove them from the
land, slaughtering and taking captives. l Mter this the Franks
handed over the town of Nicaea to the Roman emperor Alexius. 2

as Anazarba, and finally reached the city of Antioch. The formidable


Frankish army encamped against Antioch, filling up the vast plain
on which the city was situated. The Persian commander YaghiSiyan, together with his troops, was bottled up in Antioch, and the
city was heavily besieged for ten months. When the neighboring
Persian chiefs learned of this, they came with a considerable number
of troops to battle against the Frankish forces, but the Franks
repulsed these enemies and thus humiliated them. Mter this the
infidels gathered together once again; the Damascenes, the Africans
together with those of the [Mediterranean] littoral and Jerusalem, all
those on the confines of Egypt, the Aleppines, those of Homs,
everyone right up to the great Euphrates River moved forth in a
countless and innumerable throng against the Frankish forces. When
the Franks learned of the coming of the infidels, they stirred up their
troops and went forth to meet them. Bohemond, who was a brave
man and a warrior, together with Saint Gilles, both leading ten
thousand men, like lions attacked one hundred thousand [infidels] in
the confines of Antioch. They victoriously turned the Persian forces
in flight, severely slaughtering them.

166

. 113. In the ye~ 546 ofthe Armenian era [1097-1098J, during the
tIme .ofthe ~eman patriarchs their lordships Vahram and Barsegh
and m the reIgn of the Roman emperor Alexius, the army of the
Westerners moved forth with a formidable number of about five
hundr~d tho~sand men. ~'orols, the ruler of Edessa, and the great
A~ema~ prmce Constantme, the son of Ruben, were informed [of
~helr coml~g] by letter. Constantine occupied the Taurus Mountains
~n the terntory of KopitaJ.',2 situated in the district of Marapa,3 and
ad become master of a number of regions' moreover he was
formerly
. GagI'k's army. Now the
'
, forces,
Frankish
. . an officer m
consIstmg o~ a tremendous army,4journeyed through Bithynia and in
c~se formatIon traversed the confines of Cappadocia, finally reaching
t e steep slopes of the Taurus Mountains. The army advanced en
masse and passed through the narrow defiles of these mountains
soon coming to Cilicia; then it passed through Trovarda, also kno~

114. However, the emir Sokman, who was the son of Artuk and a
brave warrior J and the lord of Damascus1-both eminent and illustrious emirs-gathered together the Turkish forces from Mosul and
from all of Babylonia-as many as thirty thousand men-and went
against the Frankish army. The illustrious Duke Godfrey, in turn,
at the head of seven thousand men, went against the infidels in the
territory of Aleppo and caused a violent battle. The emir of Damascus called Tughtigin2 threw himself against the brave Godfrey and
felled him from his horse, but was unable to pierce his coat of mail,
and so the duke escaped unharmed. At that moment the Frankish
forces turned the infidels in flight and, pursuing them, cut them to
pieces; then they victoriously returned to their camp. Bec~use?f the
great number of the Franks, the danger of famine became Immment,
and the troops began to suffer from the scarcity of food. At this time
the princes who resided in the Taurus Mountains-Constantine, the
son of Ruben; Bazuni, the second prince; and Oshin,3 the third
one-sent whatever provisions were needed to the commander of the
Franks. Likewise the monks of the Black Mountains assisted them
by sending provisions, and [in general] all the [Christian] faithful
acted benevolently towards the Franks. Nevertheless, because of the
scarcity of food, mortality and affliction fell upon the Frankish army

168

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

to such an extent that one out of five perished and all the rest felt
themselves abandoned far from their homeland. However, the
merciful God did not abandon them, but sustained them with
paternal care and love as he had done to the multitude of the
children of Israel in the desert.
115. In this same year a comet appeared in the western portion of
the sky during the month of Areg without leaving a bright trail
behind it. This comet was seen for fifteen days, but then disappeared
from sight.
116. In this same year a frightful and strange omen appeared in
the northern portion of the sky; such a marvelous omen had never
been seen by anyone. In the month of Mareri the sky flared up and
became deep red in the midst of a clear and calm atmosphere. The
red sky contracted into clusters, emitting all sorts of nuances of color.
These clusters flowed along in an easterly direction and, after having
accumulated here and there, covered the greater portion of the
heavens; moreover, they were an amazing color of very deep red and
reached up to the heavenly vault. The savants and the sages recognized [the significance of] all this and said that it was an omen of
bloodshed. The fulfillment of this omen of evil destruction and
disaster we will relate shortly in our book.
117. In the year 547 of the Armenian era [1098-1099J a certain
count named Baldwin went forth with one hundred horsemen and
captured the fortress-town of Tell Bashir. When the Roman commander T'oros, who resided in the city of Edessa learned of this he
beca~e exceedingly happy and sent to the Fra~kish count in Tell
Bashlr, summoning Baldwin to his aid against his enemies' for he
was co~tinually being harassed by the neighboring emirs. S~ Count
Baldwm came ~o Edess~ with sixty horsemen, and the townspeople
~me to meet hIm and WIth great rejoicing brought him into the city
f ':h~r~senc~ of Baldwin brought much happiness to the [Christian]
tl u, an the europalates T'oros acted in a friendly manner
h~wa;~h~::mt., givi~g him presents and forming an alliance with
1m.
e
eman chief Constantine2 came from Gargar and after
::~~t~a:!i~h~~r~:alates sent him and B.aldwin to at~ack' Samosata
of the whole t 't' The troops. of the CIty and the mfantry forces
The Chri t' ern or~ accompallled the Franks [and Constantine].
s lans marc ed to Samosata with a considerable number of

PART II

169

troops and pillaged the houses outside its walls, but the Turks dared
not go forth in battle [against themJ. Then all the Christian troops
in a body began to pillage [everything in sight]. Now, when the
Turkish forces saw this, three hundred of their horsemen made a
sortie and defeated all the Christian troops, putting to flight the
Franks together with the native infantry accompanying them. From
Samosata right up to Tell Hamdun a severe slaughter of as many as
one thousand men occurred. Mter this Constantine and the count
returned to the curopalates T'oros in the city of Edessa. Now all of
this happened during the second week of Lent. When Count Baldwin
had returned to Edessa, perfidious and evil-minded men came upon
the scene, who plotted in concert with the count to assassinate the
europalates T'oros. Indeed the meritorious service of the europalates
did not justify such action; for, because of his ingenious sagacity,
skillful inventiveness, and vigorous strength, he was able to deliver
Edessa from tribute and service to the vicious and cruel Muslims.
118. At this time forty men plotted together to accomplish this
Judas-like act and during the night went to Count Baldwin, the one
who was the brother of Count Godfrey. They persuaded him to
accede to their evil designs and promised to deliver Edessa into his
hands; Baldwin approved of their vicious plot. They also implicated
the Armenian chief Constantine. So during the fifth week of Lent
these men incited all the inhabitants of the city against the europalates T'oros. On Sunday they pillaged all the homes of T'oros's
officers and seized the upper citadel. On Monday they gathered
against the inner citadel where the curopalates was and violently
assaulted it. Hard pressed, T'oros asked them to vow not to harm
him on condition that he hand over the citadel and the city to them
and together with his wife go to Melitene. 1 So the Holy Cross of
Varag and that of Mak'enik,2 was brought forth, and the count swore
by them in the Church of the Holy Apostles not to harm the europalates in any way. Moreover, Baldwin vouched for his own sincerity
in the presence of the angels, archangels, prophets, patriarc~s, holy
apostles, holy pontiffs, and all the host of martyrs-all of whl~h was
written down by the count in a letter to T'oros. Mter BaldwIn had
sworn by all the saints [not to harm the europalates], T'oros delivered
the citadel into his hands, and so the count and the chief men of the
city occupied this fortified place. Then on Tuesday, the day of the
celebration of the Holy K'arasunk',3 the townspeople gathered against
T'oros and, armed with swords and clubs, threw him down from the

170

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

top of the ramparts into the midst of a tumultuous crowd. The crowd
rushed en masse upon T'oros and, cruelly inflicting him with
countless sword wounds, killed the curopalates. Thus the townspeople committed a very great crime in the presence of God.
Moreover, they tied the dead curopalates' feet with a rope and
ignominiously dragged his body through the city. So on this day the
inhabitants of Edessa disavowed their oath and shortly thereafter
delivered the city into the hands of Count Baldwin. 4
119. In this same year the general of the Persian sultan Berkyaruk, who was called Kerbogha, l marched forth at the head of a
formidable army to war against the Frankish forces, and came and
encamped before the gates of Edessa. He remained there with all his
forces right up to harvest time, laying waste all the surrounding
arable lands and making assaults against the city.2 At this time
Kerbogha had with him an innumerable amount of troops. Now after
forty days the son of the emir of Antioch, Yaghi-Siyan, came to
Kerbogha and, falling at his feet, begged him to come and aid the
Antiochenes. He told Kerbogha about the Frankish army and how it
was small in number and famine-ridden.
120. In this same year all of Khurasan rose up in arms. [This
movement extended] from the East to the West, Media to Babylon,
including the country of the Greeks and the Orient, Damascus and all
the lands of the Mediterranean littoral, and also Jerusalem, right up
to the desert. Eight hundred thousand cavalry and three hundred
thousand infantry assembled together. This [formidable] army
menacingly marched forth, its ranks spread over the plains and hills,
and with fear-inspiring arrogance reached the Frankish forces
stationed before the gates of Antioch. Now God did not will the
destructio~ of the small Christian army, so he watched over and
pro~ected ~t as he had done to the children of Israel in the past.
WhIle the mfidel forces were still some distance away at night one
of the officers of the city sent a man to Bohemond ~nd the other
Fr~ish chiefs and invited them to [occupy] his native city. Having
obt~med an o~th from them, the officer secretly during the night
delIvered the.CIty of Antioch into Bohemond's hands. He opened the
gates of the CItadel, which gave access [to the city] through the walls
and the w~lOle Frankish army entered Antioch. 1 In the morning ali
the Fra~sh troops sounded their horned trumpets in unison. When
all the mfidels heard this, they assembled, but out of fear were

PART II

171

unable to flee. Then the Frankish troops fell upon them with their
swords and severely slaughtered them. The emir Yaghi-Siyan fled
from the city and was killed by some peasants who cut off his head
with a scythe.
In this manner the city of Antioch was captured, which previously
had been seized by the Armenians. On the other hand, the remaining infidels gathered in the citadel and gave battle to the Frankish
forces. After three days the army of Persian troops arrived. Being
seven times larger than the Frankish force, their army violently
besieged and harassed it. Then the Franks became threatened with
a famine, because the provisions in the city had long become
exhausted. More and more hard-pressed, they resolved to obtain
from Kerbogha a promise of amnesty on condition that they deliver
the city into his hands and return to their own country. However,
God, seeing the great danger the Franks were in, took pity on them
and became compassionate towards them. A miraculous vision
manifested itself to them, for 10, during the night the holy apostle
Peter appeared to a pious Frank and said: "On the left-hand side of
this church you will find buried the lance with which the atheistic
Jewish nation pierced Christ's undefiled side; it is located right in
front of the altar. Take it and go forth in battle with it and you will
triumph over your enemies as Christ did over Satan." This vision
appeared a second and a third time and was related to Godfrey,
Bohemond, and all the [Christian] chiefs. So they all began to pray
and, having dug in the spot specified [in the vision], they found the
lance of Christ in the church called St. Peter.

121. At this same time envoys arrived from the infidel camp
demanding war; the Frankish forces were overjoyed at this.
Bohemond and the other leaders answered Kerbogha and said that
they would go forth in battle against him the next day. Now the
Frankish forces had become diminished [since the beginning of the
expedition]. Bohemond formed their ranks for battle, fifteen
thousand cavalry and one hundred and fifty thousa~d infantry. With
these he went into battle, the Franks carrying the lance of Christ
before them and holding it up high. The infidel forces, in turn,
covered the vast plain of Antioch in a dense body five ranks deep.
Saint Gilles came forth and set up the lance of Christ right opposite
Kerbogha's standards. Kerbogha opposed the Franks with an
innumerable amount of troops, amassed like a mountain. [On the
Christian side] the lion-like Tancred commanded the left wing of the

172

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Frankish force, Robert (count of Normandy) the right wing, while


Godfrey and Bohemond faced the center of the innumerable Turkish
army. Then, invoking the assistance of God in a loud voice, like a fIre
falling from heaven and burning the tops of the mountains, the
Christian forces rushed en masse against the infidels and completely
put their whole army to flight. Full of rage the Franks pursued the
infidels for the greater part of the day, slaughtering them as they
went, and their swords tasted the blood of the infidels whose corpses
covered the whole plain. Moreover, the Franks subjected the infantry
forces of the infidels to a God-like vengeance by burning three
hundred thousand of them, causing the whole land to stink [with
their corpsesJ. After all this, laden with much booty and captives, the
Frankish forces returned to the city of Antioch with great rejoicing.
Thus this day turned out to be one of great happiness for the
Christian faithful.
122. In this same year a second omen appeared in the northern
portion of the sky. At the fourth hour of the night the sky flared up
more than it had before and turned a deep red color. This phenomenon began in the evening and lasted through the fourth hour of the
night. No one had ever seen as frightful an omen as this. Branching
upwards like a tree, it enveloped the northern portion of the sky right
up to the very top with its vein-like form, and all the stars took on
the color of fire. This omen was a sign of calamity and destruction.
123. In the year 548 of the Armenian era [1099-1100J an eclipse
of the moon took place as a natural occurrence. It took on the deep
color of blood from the first watch until the fourth hour. Mter this
it took on a black coloring, still keeping its bloody appearance.
Because of the intensity of the gloom, all of creation was plunged into
darkness. Now the savants predicted [from this eclipse] that much
bloodshed would be caused by the Persian nation; they predicted this
by the way the moon appeared to them and by examining their own
books.
124. In ~his same year the Frankish army marched forth against
the ho.ly Clty .of Jerusalem, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the
A:meman patnarch Nerses, who said: "The deliverance of Jerusalem
wIll. co~e from. the Franks, but because of their sins the city once
agam wlll fall mto the hands of the infidels." While the Christians
were on the march, the infidel forces came against them in battle in

PART II

173

the same way the Amalekites came before the children of Israel. l
N ow, when the Christians reached the town called 'Arqah,2 a severe
battle was fought there with the infidels, and the Frankish forces
triumphed over them with a great victory. Mter this the Frankish
anny continued its advance without meeting up with any resistance.
Arriving before the gates of Jerusalem, they began to assault the city
ceaselessly. At that time his lordship Vahram, the Armenian
patriarch, was in Jerusalem. The infidels were intent on killing him,
but the Lord delivered him out of their hands. Now after many
assaults the Franks set up wooden towers and brought them near the
ramparts of the city. By sheer force, the wielding of the sword, and
tremendous courage, the Christians captured the holy city of
Jerusalem. Then, taking the sword of the emperor Vespasian,
Godfrey fell upon the infidels with all his might and slaughtered
sixty-five thousand men in the temple,3 not counting the other
inhabitants who perished in the city. In this way the holy city of
Jerusalem was captured and the sepulcher of Christ our God
delivered from subjection to the Muslims. 4
Now this was the third time since the crucifixion of the Lord that
the sword of Vespasian had been used against Jerusalem.
125. In this same year there took place a tremendous gathering of
l
as many as three hundred thousand troops-from Egypt to Scythia
and Nubia and even as far as the confines of India-and all these
forces came against Jerusalem heavily armed. 2 When the Frankish
forces learned of this, they trembled and shook with fear. Not dari~g
to wait for the enemy in the city, they marched forth to meet them m
battle, with the idea that if they were unable to resist them successfully, they would return to their own country. The two armie~ met not
far from the Mediterranean Sea. 3 When the ruler of Egypt saw the
Frankish forces approaching, he signaled his troops to attack. ~e
Frankish forces, in turn, rushed into battle en masse and stood theIr
ground at the front lines. Then they attacked the Egyptian forces
and turned them in complete flight. Actually it was not the Franks
who were fighting, but God who was battling against the E~tians
in their stead as he had done when he supported the chIldren of
Israel against' Pharaoh at the Red Sea. As the battle .intensifi~d,
about one hundred thousand men fell into the sea and penshed, while
the Franks slaughtered the rest as they were fleeing. Mter this the
Frankish forces victoriously returned to the city of Jerusalem laden
with much booty.

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

126. In this same year Gregory, the curopalates of the East and
the brother of his lordship the Armenian catholicos Barsegh, collected
troops and went against the Turkish army stationed in the district of
Arsharunik'/ for he was a valiant man and a mighty warrior.
Arriving at a village called Kaghezuan at the head of his troops,
Gregory met up with the Turks. He attacked them, harassing them
and killing many with the sword, and then began the march back to
the city of Ani. On route one of the Turkish troops, who was hiding
in ambush in a tree, surreptitiously hit the curopalates in the mouth
with an arrow. Because of this severe wound, Gregory fell to the
ground and gave up his life. So there was deep mourning in Shirak
and in all Armenia. In this manner died the brave soldier and
faithful Christian Gregory, the son of Vasak, son of Apirat, son of
Hasan; he was from the lineage of valiant men and militant soldiers
and also descended from the Pahlavids.

was a sign of the impending bloodshed of the Christians, a prediction


which indeed came true. Now, since the day the Frankish nation
went forth, not one good or favorable omen appeared; on the contrary,
all the omens pointed to the calamity, destruction, ruin, and
disruption of the land through death, slaughter, famine, and other
catastrophes.

174

127. In this same year the count Saint Gilles returned to the
country of the Franks, taking with him the lance of Christ which was
found in Antioch. Mter giving it as a present to the Roman emperor
Alexius, he continued his journey back to the country of the Franks.
128. In this same year the great Armenian prince Constantine, the
son of ~uben, died and left behind his two sons, T'oros and Leon.
Constantine had ruled over many cities and regions and had
controlled the greater part of the Taurus Mountains, which he had
taken from the Persian forces through his own bravery. This prince
had been an officer in the army of Gagik Bagratuni, the son of Ashot.
Constantine died in this period, and a certain omen in his house
announced his death. One day, while the Armenian prince was still
alive, flashes of lightning crackled in the sky. The lightning hit the
fortress called Vahka1 and, passing through the servants' living
quarters, struck some silver plates and in one .place penetrated
~hr?ug~ to the fifth one. The sages said that all this was an
mdlcat~on of ~he las~ year of Constantine. So in that same year the
Armeman prmce
dIed and was buried in the monastery called
Kastalghon. 2
129. In this ~ame year a third fire-like omen of a very deep red
color appeared In the sky. It remained until the sixth hour of the
night, while moving from the northern portion of the sky to the
eastern, and then took on a black color. It was said that this omen

175

130. In this same year a severe famine occurred throughout all of


Mesopotamia. There was much suffering in the city of Edessa,
because during the year not one drop of rain fell on the arable land,
and dew was prevented from falling from the sky; the land dried up
from lack of water, orchards and vineyards became desiccated,
springs went dry, and thus many died in the city of Edessa because
of the famine. What we heard happened in Samaria during the time
of the prophet Isaiahl also occurred in the city of Edessa at this time.
A Christian woman of the Roman faith cooked and ate her son. In
the same wayan infidel Muslim, pressured by the rigors of the
famine, ate his wife. It was as if God had taken away the potency of
bread to dispel hunger; so people ate and yet were not satiated.
Many said that this was a judgement from God because of the
iniquitous death of the curopalates T'oros. The inhabitants had
sworn on the cross and the Gospels not to take T'oros's life and yet
had disavowed their oath by cruelly killing him and thrusting his
head on the end of a pole, while heaping all sorts of insults upon him;
finally they had thrown his body in front of the Church of the Holy
Savior, built by the holy apostle Thaddeus. Because of all this, the
lord God brought this affliction upon the people of Abgar. Moreover,
year after year the wrath of God upon the city of Edessa did not
abate.
131. At the beginning of the year 549 [1100-1101] all areas came
to have an abundance of food once again. There was such an abundance of wheat and barley in Edessa that the recent famine was
forgotten; for one mod produced a hundred mod, trees were filled
with fruit, springs gushed forth with water, and both man and beast
thus became satiated. Also in this same year Constantine, the son of
~uben, died.
132. In this same year Godfrey, the duke of the Franks, marched
with his troops to the town called Caesarea, which is located on the
coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Muslim chiefs came to him on

176

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART II

the pretext of making peace and brought food and set it before him.
The duke unwittingly ate the food, not knowing that it was poisoned.
Thus after a few days the duke Godfrey, together with forty of his
men, died and was buried in the city of Jerusalem opposite Holy
Golgotha, for he died while in this city. Mter this his brother
Baldwin, who was ruling in the city of Edessa, was searched out and
given sovereignty over the holy city of Jerusalem. Then Tancred rose
up and went to the city of Antioch to the Frankish count Bohemond,
for Bohemond was his uncle. 1

servants to carry for them. Moreover, these warriors devoid of


weapons gave the appearance of being captives. [Under such
circumstances] the forces of Danishmend suddenly fell upon the
Franks. A violent battle was fought on that day and all the Frankish
and Armenian troops were slaughtered, while Bohemond and Richard
were taken captive. 3 In this battle perished two Armenian bishops-Cyprian, the bishop of Antioch, and Gregory, the bishop of
Marash; these men had accompanied Bohemond, for he had a very
high regard for them.
Hearing the news of this defeat, all the Christian peoples shook
and trembled with fear, while the whole Persian nation rejoiced and
was happy; for the infidels had regarded Bohemond as the veritable
king of the Franks, and all the people of Khurasan had trembled at
his name. When the count of Edessa, Baldwin, and all the Franks
who were in Antioch learned of this, they pursued Danishmend.
Danishmend, in turn, took Bohemond and Richard and brought them
to Neocaesarea in iron chains. When Baldwin heard this, he
returned to Edessa and handed over the city to another Baldwin, who
was surnamed Le Bourg and who had formerly been a vassal of
Bohemond. Mter subjecting the inhabitants of this city to all sorts
of exactions and taking a goodly amount of gold and silver from them,
the former count of Edessa then went to Jerusalem and, occupying
the throne of his brother Godfrey, ruled over that city. Now all these
things happened to the Frankish forces because of their s~nful deeds,
for they left the straight path of God and began to walk m the path
of sin, something which God had forbidden them to do. Because of
their iniquitous and debauched ways, they forgot the commandments
of the Lord and that which God did not will they desired. Thus God
took away' the assistance and victory he had previously given to
them as he had done to the children of Israel in times past. Now
alwa;s keep this in mind and never tire of recollecting it.

133. In this period the Roman general, the Prince of Princes, 1

resided in the city of Marash, which was under the control of the
Greek emperor Alexius; during the previous year this city was
h~nded over to Alexius by the Frankish chiefs, but they were soon to
dIsavow what they had originally promised. The great Frankish
count Bohemond and Richard, his sister's son, rising up, collected
troops and went against the city of Marash to give battle to the
Prince of Princes whose name was T'at'ul. They demanded that
T'at'ul hand over the city to them, and at the same time launched a
number of assaults against it. However, the Prince of Princes, who
w~s a ~al~ant m~n and a warrior and who also had many noblemen
WIth hIm m the CI~y, had nothing but scorn for Bohemond's attempted
assaults. Mter Bohemond had set up his camp on the plain of
Marash, he brought to subjection the entire surrounding territory.

13~. In this same year the Persian emir, who was called Danishmend and who was the lord of Sebastia and the whole Roman
country, marched forth with many troops. Going forth with a
tre~endous n~mber of cavalry forces, he came against the city of
Mehtene and VIolently assaulted it. The commander of the city who
,,:as calle~ ~abriel, sent to Bohemond and begged him to come to its
aId, promlsmg to ?and over Melitene to the Frankish count. So
Bo~emon~ ~nd RIchard went forth with their troops and came
ag~nst Damshmend. When Danishmend heard of this, he sent troops
agamst the Frankish forces encamped on the plain of Melitene He
~~so set up ambushes in many places and, taking many troops 'with
1m, person~lly marched against the Franks. On their part Bohemond a~d RIchard went forth [to meet the Muslims] without taking
r~e~autIons and being quite unprepared. 2 Their troops had put aside
elr w~apons and came dressed like women accompanying a funeral
processIon, for they had given their miliary equipment to their

177

135. In this same year the emir of the Persians Sokman, who was
the son of Artuk and a brave and bloodthirsty man, collected tro?ps.
At the head of these troops, which were numerous, he came agal~st
the town called SaIiij and made incursions into the surroundmg
territory. When the count Baldwin of Le Bourg and the coun~ of
Sanlj, whose name was Fulcher, heard of this, they marched ~gamst
the Turks. However, because of their carelessness and n~ghgence,
they were defeated. In a violent battle the Turks vanqU1~hed the
Franks, slaughtering their forces and those of the Armemans who

178

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

had accompanied them. Fulcher, the count of SarO.j, who was a brave
and mighty man and a person of saintly and pure conduct, was killed.
The count Baldwin, on the other hand, took refuge in the citadel of
Edessa together with three men and remained there reduced to a
pitiable state. Mter this the chief men of Edessa came and brought
him down to the city, seating him on his throne. Mter three days
Baldwin rose up and went to Antioch looking for reinforcements.
Now the infidel army assaulted the citadel of Sariij, in which place
all t~e Christians residing in the town had gathered, together with
the bIshopl of Edessa. At this point the inhabitants of Sariij came to
an agreement with the Turks. Mter twenty-five days Baldwin came,
together with six hundred horsemen and seven hundred infantry, and
they harassed the wicked Persian army' however the inhabitants of
S~~ would not submit to Baldwin. Th~n the Fr~nks turned against
SaruJ and slaughtered the entire population of the town with the
sword. They pillaged the whole town and carried off a countless
nu~ber of young boys, girls, and women to the city of Edessa. Thus
AntIOch and all the lands under Frankish control were filled with
captives, while the entire town of Sariij flowed with blood. 2
136. In this same year for the fourth time the northern portion of
the ~ky reddened, appearing more frightful and wondrous than the
preVIOUS phenomenon; at first it appeared red but then it took on a
black
'
. color. Th'IS ourth omen was accompanied
by a continuous
echpse ~ft~e moon. The omen was a sign of the wrath [of God] upon
the Chn.stIans, according to the prophet Jeremiah, who said: "His
wd.rathblwlll flare up from the northern portion."l Indeed this unprelcta e wrath finally did come.

~37. In the year 550 of the Armenian era [1101-1102] a frightful

~n won~rous omen appeared in the holy city of Jerusalem. The

Gg~t, whICh usually burned over the holy sepulcher of Christ our
wa 'ldwenttbout and .would not burn on Holy Saturday. The lamps
ou no urn untll Sunday be
. l' ht d
h
,commg Ig e at t e ninth hour of
that day All th Ch . t'
e ns lans were amazed by this phenomenon. Now
all th"
path ~~ ~~~u~~dhb~ca~se ~he Frankish nation had strayed into the
.
f th
a a an oned the true and righteous way partak
~rn~ter:d c: t~~ s~nl Wh~h is filled with bitter dregs. Those tha~
tiated M
. 0 y c urch wallowed in the mire [of sin] unsashrink f: oreover, .m. the midst of all this evil behavior they did not
rom commIttmg any sin. Worse still, they appointed women

PART II

179

to serve at the holy sepulcher of God and in all the monasteries


located in Jerusalem. All these were very great sins in the eyes of
God. These Franks went so far as to expel the Armenians, Romans,
Syrians, and Georgians from all the monasteries. Now, when the
Franks saw this frightful omen which was a sign of [God's] reproach
to their nation, they removed the women serving in the monasteries
of Jerusalem and restored all the nations to their respective monasteries. Mter this the five nations of Christian faithful 1 began to pray,
and God heard their prayers. So on the Sunday of Easter the lamp
over the holy sepulcher of God lighted up. No one had ever seen this
happen before, for the light of the holy sepulcher had always begun
to burn on Saturday, at the eleventh hour of the day.

Part III
After having collected and written down the events of one
hundred and fifty years, up to the year 550 [1101~1102], we have
ceased our productive investigations, leaving to others the care of
these reasoned discussions and intellectual controversies. After
having withdrawn from the arena [of historical writing], we have
given way to more intelligent and sagacious creative inquirers,
according to the words of the holy apostle Paul, who says: IIWhoever
rises up in public, let him be the first to remain silent. II I We are at
present in the period of the pontificate of the catholicoi, their
lordships Gregory and Barsegh, the time when my [original] history
was first begun. Moreover, we are now in the pontificates of
Nicholas, patriarch of Constantinople;2 John, patriarch of Antioch;3
Symeon, patriarch of Jerusalem;' John, patriarch of Alexandria;5 and
Athanasius, patriarch of the Syrians.6 Now, there are six thousand
six hundred and ten years from Adam to the present,7but we have
not considered these ten years in our chronological calculations.
Moreover, we have neglected the cultivation of a good style of writing.
Notwithstanding all this, when we reflected upon the fact that the
wrath of God was continually falling upon the Christians and that
year by year the strength of the forces of the believers was diminish~
ing and collapsing, we perceived that no one had thought of inquiring
into these matters and putting them down in writing-all so that
these calamitous and disastrous events might be preserved for the
bright future to come, when the Lord God will fulfill his promise of
old to the faithful by establishing for them a time of happiness and
bliss. Therefore, as if God had commanded us, we have undertaken
with great pleasure to put all these events down in writing and leave
them as a record for future generations. Although our work is not
1.

182

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

embellished with a very sublime erudition, or a fine style, or even an


exalted purpose, nevertheless it does contain an enumeration of the
punishments which the Lord inflicted upon us; for, because of our
many grievous sins, we brought the wrath of the Lord God down
upon us and received these punishments from him who scourges us
with his staff.
2. Now it is necessary and proper for those of us living during

these times not to forget all this, but rather to write and record it for
future generations, emphasizing that the' set punishments are the
fruits of the sin, the seeds of which our forefathers sowed and which
now are being reaped sevenfold. Motivated by these considerations,
I Ma~thew, who am unworthy of God's mercy, spent many years in
labonous research and, with untiring energy of mind, assembled and
wrote dow~ in Edessa the material contained in my book, bringing
the narratIOn up to the present time. There still remains to be
written the history of thirtyl years. However, that is the work of
yardapets .an.d skilled scholars and should not be left to our incapabil~ty .and lImIted knowledge. Yet God is accustomed to require
mdispensable a~d useful work from weak and imperfect people. We
can compa~e thIS t~ a cluster of bees at whose organization we
mar;el, seemg how m spite of their fragile bodies they are able to
prOVide sweet honey for all mankind, including taking care of the
need~ of holy people and offering products which are highly regarded
by.kmgs. [Let us make another comparison]: the dead worm2 who
relIves and, through its labors, embellishes kings and princes with
[ga:ments of] different colors and enriches all the churches with
vanous .[colorful] ornaments. In this same way our feebleness has
t~ed m~o strength and courage, and so we have expressed our
~ oughts m the presence of rhetoricians brilliant savants profound
. our book
'
mtellects
.
' and .well-tr'
amed research
ers,'commendmg
to the
cruCIble of theIr close scrutiny.
. M~:ov~r, we feel no antagonism towards learned men for there
IS no If ng m ~ur book which is contrary to their thinking. [People as
myse are] like that f '1 b' d h
favorably with that of rat Ir w 0, ~lthoug~ its voice compares
speaking of the swallomany ~th~rs, yet Its body IS very weak"":"we are
't
t
w. ThIS bIrd resembles us in the amazing way
11 cons ;'Itets Its ~est; for it builds its nest out of worthless debris and
p aces I on a high spot 'th t
ou any foundation , ca'rMling
mud and
b1'tsofs t
rawmIts beak: WII thO
~~,,~
its shelter and
n I~ manner the swallow solidly builds
passes I on to ItS young, Now such a feat as this

't

PART

III

183

cannot be accomplished by enormous birds-we are speaking here of


the eagle and others like it. Indeed these birds, because of their
ability to fly well, can accomplish feats exhibiting great courage and
strength; however, the work done by the frail swallow cannot be
duplicated by them, Now in this same manner the intellectuals and
the scholars are capable of profoundly examining the Old and New
Testaments of God, expounding its contents with a formidable and
brilliant analysis; nevertheless, we positively and unequivocally
maintain that this work was written after much( thought and
reflection, and that it is impossible for anyone else to find or to
assemble together the history of nations, kings, patriarchs, and
princes, and to write down all the events in chronological order [as
we have done herel. Since the writers of old, who were eyewitnesses
to the events of past centuries, only reached up to our own period, no
one has been able to do what we have done, For we have devoted
fifteen years of incessant examination to the writing of this book,
presenting what we found written in other historical works, together
with their proper chronological order. Moreover, we have also
consulted old people, scrutinizing and collating what they have said
with care, and then adding this information to our book.
3, Now I, Matthew, because of these various considerations, have
felt the desire to return by the same road which I first followed, very
much like the man who wanders over the great and expansive
Mediterranean Sea for many years and, after being exhausted by
many harassments including tempests, returns safe and sound to his
home' then once again bringing to mind the desire for economic gain,
he fo;gets his past troubles and, regarding as nothing all the wealth
lost at sea is very eager once again to begin his maritime voyages.
In the sa~e manner we now return to the place we left off in our
book and pick up the narration which we ended at the year 550. Now
we have already begun to recount the events within a period of
twenty-five 1 years; after this another period of thirt~ years2 will
complete our chronicle, because the years of the Armema~ ~ra have
been accumulating in the midst of more and more cal~mIbes. W~,
therefore, eagerly return to the period of the pontIficate, of hIS
lordship Gregory and the reign of the Greek emperor ~eX1us and
begin to relate the events and evil tribulations of these times ..
Once again we have written this work, not because of vamgloriousness, as some might think, but because we wish to leave a record
and an admonition to posterity. We have put aside thoughts about

184

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

the inadequacy of our intelIi


"
research, Indeed those accompfi:~c~ ,an! o~r meptItude in erudite
New Testaments of God th
h t: ,In e nowledge of the Old and
asp of grammatical rules are
certainly capable of correc~~~g
g r eI~
expose our incorrect usage for
~r t~ an~ are able, moreover, to
divine graces, As for us "th
ey ave been endowed with
we have investigated th'eWI outr lIl~Ited knowledge and intelligence
'bl
se even s With as much I 'd't
consulting a number of histOries th
' UC,I 1 Y ~s POSS1 e,
and transmitted to us
at were wntten m vanous places
all the material contai~~~ei~~~:by ~t:eir ~uth~rs, We have collated
Moreover, we have obtained f: se Istones wIth the greatest care,
knowledgeable in the events ~~~ from r~~pec~able people, who were
free of error, were well versed' ~~lamitIes m question and, being
have had interviews and' t m IStOry and chronology, We also
well-informed of the eve t m ;rrogations with old people who were
ing to the words of th n s ~ past year~, dealing with them accordold and they will a e prop et, who saId: "Question the fathers of
recite to you "3 Thns,:er Yh?U; question the old people and they will
,
us In t IS manner w h
I b d
putting aside all other cares ad'
,e ave a ore relentlessly,
have continUously occup' d n Ignonng all our other needs, and
begun the continuation o~eou~ur, minds ,,:ith tt:is work. We have
blessed doctor Gregory f N history b~ Invokmg the words of the
man in my career," W h yssa, w~o saId: liAs for me, I am an old
leaving to others its i~ve~~~ :~~amed steadfast in this our career,
refuse to undertake th
't,g fn. Yet we have seen everybody
W
e wn mg 0 this his to
ry.,
e also have become awar f '
Showing us change deca
e o. time passmg by very quickly,
revealing to us the i~stab,rt a~d dIsappearance of what exists and
from the present life to It~YtO ~~kind on earth and the transition
centuries are transitory a a l~
e future; for the years and the
same way as those thin'gS s w~ ,a~ what produces them, while in the
also is what causes th per ;~mng to the future life are eternal, so
happiness and blessed
e~sehd are they who have achieved
God!
ey w 0 ave partaken of the kingdom of

:;:er, f

a::th

4, In this same year 550 f h


.
count Saint Gilles returned t 0 t~ e Armeman era [1101-1102] the
0
e country of the Franks, for when
the holy city of Jerusale
lance of Christ and dep: "J"s captured from the Turks, he took the
the lance of Christ with hi~ 't:ow, whe~ people heard that he had
he returned, Saint Gilles int' d ey all excItedly followed him. When
en ed to attack the city of Tripoli, for he

PART III

185

had under his command one hundred thousand warriors. When he


reached Constantinople, the emperor Alexius gave him many presents
and then transported him and his men across the Mediterranean.
However, the emperor committed the crime of Judas against the
Franks, for he commanded all the territories through which their
forces were to pass devastated by fire and also had them guided
through desolate regions. In this way he deprived them of food and
thus caused them to suffer from famine to such an extent that, being
in dire straits, they were forced to eat their horses. Moreover, the
emperor incited the Turkish forces against the Franks, causing the
Turks to collect a formidable army against them. So the sultan Kilij
Arslan went forth and violently attacked the Franks in the vicinity
of the town of Nicaea, slaughtering countless numbers of them
amounting to as many as one hundred thousand men. Saint Gilles
fled with three hundred of his men and took refuge in the city of
Antioch. All the other Frankish troops were put to the sword, while
their women and children were taken to Persia as captives, This
defeat occurred because of the sins of the Franks, for they all
preferred the way of wickedness and had abandoned the precepts of
God, Now the count of Antioch Tancred1 [took advantage of the
situation and], seizing Saint Gilles and his men, imprisoned them
with iron chains in the town called Saruandawi. 2 After a number of
days the Frankish patriarch residing in Antioch and other members
of the clergy interceded for him before Tancred, who then released
Saint Gilles. Then Saint Gilles went and assembled an army against
Tripoli~ organizing a formidable siege against the city and constructing a fortress 3 against it:'
5, In this period the great Frankish count of Poitou1 went forth
with a fonnidable army and, marching through the lands of the
Romans and the Greeks at the head of three hundred thousand
cavalry, he reached Constantinople supported by this tremendous
might. From this position of great strength the count of Poitou spoke
arrogantly with the Greek emperor, referring to him by the title of
tleparchlt2rather than that of"emperor," even though he himself was
a young man of about twenty years. s The emperor Alexius and all the
Greeks greatly feared him. At this point the emperor, together with
all the Greek aristocrats, went to the count's camp and with great
insistence brought him to Constantinople, There the emperor gave
the count a magnificent reception, presented him with immeasurable
amounts of money, and arranged sumptuous spectacles 4 in his honor.

186

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Mer this Alexius at great expense transported the count and his
army across the Mediterranean to Cappadocia and at the same time
supplied Greek troops to accompany him. From this moment the
treachery of the Greek emperor began to be made manifest, for he
ordered his officers [accompanying the Franks] to guide their forces
through desolate regions. For fifteen days these officers led the
Franks through arid areas where there was nothing except a dry
desert and narrow, rocky places. The water in these places was
white like limewater and very salty. The emperor Alexius went so
far as to have lime mixed in the bread and then had it given to the
Franks as food; in the eyes of God this was a monstrous crime. Thus
the Franks were in a famished and exhausted state for many days,
and disease spread among their ranks. All this was caused by the
Greek emperor, for he harbored a grudge against the Franks because
of the oath which they formerly had made to him, but had not carried
out. Nevertheless, God held the Greeks responsible for having mercilessly victimized, injured, and ruined the Frankish Christians.
Because of this, God permitted the infidels to march against the
Greeks and punish them for their sins.
6. At this time, when the sultan of the West Kilij Arslan learned
of the coming of the Frankish forces, he wrote to the emir Danishme~d in Neocaesarea and also to other emirs. Then he marched
agal;nst the Franks a~ the ~eadl of a formidable army. The two
armIes met on the plam of Olosi and violently battled against one
another for the greater part of the day, covering the whole plain with
blood. The Frankish forces, exhausted and lost in a strange country,
we:e unable .to find an escape and so wandered about in groups like
anII~a~s. ThIS turned out to be a disastrous and horrible day for the
ghnstIans. In the midst of all this, the general commanding the
.reek troops fled. When the count of Poitou saw the destruction of
hthiS troops, he climbed up a mountain, while the infidels surrounded
e oot
.
. of the mountain . Here one witnessed
the spectacle of bows
hoofs
b
t'
d
h
. reverberating
crackhng
horses'
.h
'
ea mg, an t e mountam
[Wit
.
. troops
b . g the clash of arms] . Wh en the count of POltou
saw hIS
emb slalu~htered [right before his very eyes] he wept bitterly As
the att e mtensified and th F k
'.
.
th
e ran s were weakemng everywhere
h~~~~~tt~ed Wi~ four hundred of his horsemen. His army of thre~
Franki
ousan m~n was completely destroyed by the Turks. The
refuge :t~;~n~f ~OltO~ f~nallY reached t~e city of Antioch, taking
re ,an rom there passmg on to the holy city of

PART

III

187

Jerusalem. Mter a number of days the count returned to the country


of the Franks whence he had come. He solemnly swore to return and
wreak vengeance upon the Persians and also upon the Greek
emperor, for all of Persia was filled with captives taken from the
count of Poitou's army.2
7. In this same year all of Egypt marched forth, after having
gathered together an enormous army, and came against the holy city
of Jerusalem. The king of Jerusalem, Baldwin, went against them in
battle with a small number of troops, and they [the Egyptians] put
the Frankish forces to flight. So Baldwin fled and took refuge in
Jerusalem. On that day the count of Duluk, William Sancawel/was
killed. Actually King Baldwin first took refuge in the town of
Baalbek2 before he went to Jerusalem. Thus the infidels victoriously
returned to their town of Ascalon.
8. In the year 551 of the Armenian era [1102-1103] a great
confusion and frightful disturbance regarding the faith took place, for
ten Christian nations fell into error concerning the celebration of
Holy Easter. Only the Armenians and Syrians maintained the true
tradition, while the Romans and the Franks adhered to the evilly
sown seeds of the abominable heretic Irion. For this man fixed
Eastertide on the 5th of April, thus making the full moon coincide
with the Feast of Lazarus and Saturday, while the Armenians,
Syrians, and Hebrews fixed it on the 6th of April, which coincides
with Palm Sunday. This philosopher Irion, who was a Roman, had
falsified the correct computation of Eastertide; for, when, the
calculation was established on the basis of nineteen cycles, the other
savants did not consult him. Because of this, Irion harbored a deep
grudge against the savants and, secretly getting hold of their books,
changed the six to five 1 and put the last numbers first, a calculation
which threw off Easter every ninety-five years. Now it was because
of these reasons that the Greeks and Latins fell into error every
ninety-five years. All these erroneous calculations were caused by
that man of Roman origin, Irion, and so a great conflict developed
between the Greeks and the Armenians. Yet the Franks had no
desire to dispute with the Armenians; it was only the Greeks who
had a quarrel and a conflict with the Armenians over Holy Easter.
The inhabitants of Antioch, Cilicia, and Edessa had violent disputes
with the Greeks over this matter, for the Greeks endeavored to force
the Armenians to adopt their un authoritative calendar. Notwith-

188

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

standing the effort and trouble the Greeks expended on the Armenians, they were unable to move them [from their position]. However,
the Syrians in Edessa, becoming frightened, adopted the Greek
position and thus renounced the agreement they had made with the
Armenians.
9. Now previously the Greeks had fallen into a similar error
concerning the celebration of Roly Easter, and the lamps of Jerusalem had not lighted. At that time the infidels had massacred those
praying [in the holy places]. This had all taken place during the
reign of [the emperor] Basil and in the year 455. Therefore, this was
the second time in this book that the Greeks had fallen into error,
At this time [of the second error of the Greeks] the clergy in the city
of Edessa by means of a letter informed the Armenian catholicos his
lordship Gregory, who lived in the Black Mountains in the celebrated
Monastery of Areg, [concerning this conflict with the Greeks]; he, in
turn, exhorted them to remain steadfast in the Orthodox faith. The
following is a copy of this letter, written by the catholicos to the
inhabitants of Edessa.
10. "T~ those who truly love Christ and profess the Holy Trinity, 1
~~ th,e pnests, lea~ers, and all the faithful, greetings. May the
eSSIng, accompamed by a meritorious affection, come upon you all
fr~~ the see of our holy enlightener.
, Now we have read your letter fIlled with the love of God and have
hstened to .your desires; we completely understand all the thoughts
e~ressed In the letter, giving special thanks to God for the words
whlCh ~he apostle Paul said to his disciples, namely: 'When I hear of
yo~r p~;ty and faith in the Lord, I rejoice and thank God for all
;hings. F~r ~his is the Word God himself, who issued from the
d
ather and InVIted mankind to glorify the radian fhi di " t
sublimit he h
.
ce 0 s VIm y an
y, w 0 receIved us weak creatures by his mercy and gave
~s .t~e power of his grace without which we could not resist the
I~:sIble [~rces ?f temptation. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who will
gI e y~Ud e aSSIstance and strength in all things and also will grant
you WIS om when you stand befiore t h e savants and mtellects
.
and
answer them ace d'
t h'
following. 'Do n t or mg 0 IS truthful precept, which bids the
it for wh~teve ? ,:orry as to what you will say or how you will say
O~niscient on~ ~i!::e~~ ~o you at t~at time, that you will say.,a The
prevailing might kn ' alf~gh hIS Own mercy and through his all~
,ows
ngs. In spite of all this, we sin against

PART

III

189

him who created us out of nothing, acted benevolently towards us,


and exalted us, as he did in past times to Israel; moreover, we
continually sin against him throughout our lifetime, we as a nation
and as a people, by thought and by word, knowingly and unknowingly.
liNow it is my belief that we do not sin against either kings or
princes, armies or generals, spiritual leaders or their flocks; rather
we are obedient to all and put ourselves at their disposal, following
the apostolic precept of rendering to each what is his due: tax to
whom tax is due, fear to whom fear is due, honor to whom honor is
due, Caesar's what is due to Caesar, and [last but not least] God's
what is due to God; moreover, we do all this without being in debt to
anyone and without rendering evil for evil. Now, if in spite of this
righteousness of ours we are judged unjustly by somebody to be
lacking and defective, on the basis of true religion, we are worthy of
punishment instead of reward. N ow do not fear and do not be
frightened, for 10, the time of salvation is at hand and the coming of
the Lord is nigh. We have many words of consolation said by the
prophets concerning the future life, our Lord God, and his saints; all
of these things must be brought to pass because they are manifestly
true, Indeed, I exhort and encourage you to be prudently patient; I
do this not as a timid pastor who remains aloof from the sufferings
of his flock, rather I voluntarily make myself your companion in
death, in all the situations,and in the various afflictions you find
yourselves, not alienating or removing myself from them. Even
though it is a difficult task for me to address you, examine the
situation, and answer your questions, I am ready and able to do all
these things, as long as the time is fitting and proper; also I am
willing to do this in spite of any torment and violence I might suffer,
So we should thank God continually that up to now we had been
frightened and condemned only by the ungodly infidels; for now we
experience the same from the Christians.
liNevertheless, do not be discouraged, for God is able to deal with
our afflictions and give us the strength to be patient through them.
However, as much as it is in our power, we should fight as brave
soldiers of Christ to defend Jesus' martyrdom for the truth. The Lord
God, in whose presence I am continually, is my witness so that I
maintain no error, distort no part of the faith, and have no arrogant
sentiments; anything contrary to this belongs to the thinking of the
insensitive and ignorant. So, enlightened by the grace of God and the
doctrines of the holy enlighteners, our predecessors, we follow the

190

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

kingly and true path which is in Christ Jesus, neither deviating right
or left, nor separating ourselves from the precepts of God; moreover,
we do not rise up at dawn to devote ourselves to the aberration of
alcoholic drinking or to exhibit an arrogant and prideful haughtiness,
as do the Romans and others whose names are not even worth
mentioning. Now, if we deceptively maintain a corrupted faith, why
are we tormented as ones deserving punishment and why are we not
given rest instead of wandering over land and sea, enduring all types
of tribulations? St. Paul relates a similar experience which happened
~o him~ when he says: 'Why are we ceaselessly tormented, thrown
mto pnson and put in chains? I have cODlbated ferocious beasts and
I have suffered in the depths of abysses. 4 Now, if by any chance my
h?pe in Christ is a vain one, I would say that all these wanderings,
fh?hts, torments, and pains were useless, since I had endured these
thm~s for the sake of a condemnable belief. I have occupied the
patnarchal office for forty years and left my ancestral home at a time
of peace to come ~ere: Thus I have deceived no one but myself;
nev.ertheless, I mamtam my hope in God and my trust in the Holy
Scnptures, because I have an orthodox and perfect faith. Now all
t~o~e of you who are associated with my ministry and faith, do not
~lmldly or fawningly back down or be frightened and thus reject God
~~etum for a vain lease on life; for 10, this is the time to receive and
h e up the crown of Christ. I assure you in the presence of Christ
t .at he who does not demolish the faith of the saints will be crowned
wlth
at
th them'
. ' however, h e wh 0 preers the glory of men to that of God,
th e hme of the judgment of the son of God, will be placed with
lsedaPdofstates who did not confess Christ as God and thus will be
exc u e rom our fath d bl .
,
believe i th :f: 'th 1 an ess~ngs. On the other hand, those who
n deal we confess Will be blessed by the inhabitants of
heaven an
earth and b G d d
glorified in etern't
Amen.'
y" 0 an us, especially by God who is
1 y.
we;;' m:e~~~s lette\reached Edessa, the inhabitants of the city
Easter came the :~r b~ rengthened in the true faith. Now, when
a
the holy sep~lcher] d It~ts of Jerusalem illuminated the lamps [of
people to fall into err~~:l ull an~ fraudulently, thus causing their
or
fire. However on th 'A t ~y ht the divine lamps with an alien
g~nuine mann~r, and t:ema,n ~aste;r the lamps were lit in a
CIty of Jerusalem we
't ChnstIan fmthful who were in the holy
were put to shame ~e WI ness to this. At that time all the Greeks
, ecause t h ey celebrated Easter on the day of

:ll

PART

III

191

Palm Sunday.
12. In this same year the rulers of Egypt and Damascus1 collected
troops and came against the holy city of Jerusalem with an innumerable army. The king of Jerusalem, Baldwin, rose up and went
against them in battle. In a violent combat the Egyptians put the
Franks to flight. At that moment a goodly number of Frankish
troops, having arrived by sea, disembarked and defeated the
Egyptian forces, pursuing them and slaughtering them severely.
After this the king of Jerusalem, Baldwin, was on his way to his royal
city,2 A certain Ethiopian Muslim was waiting in ambush concealed
in some bushes and hit the king of Jerusalem in the ribs with a
spear. The Ethiopian was immediately killed; however, the wound
in the body of the king remained incurable until the day of his death.
At that time Jerusalem was filled with sorrow and grief over its
king's death. 3 This misfortune happened because of the impious
celebration of Holy Easter by the Greeks. These Greeks had
arrogantly fallen into the same error during the time of the emperor
Basil, when the lamps would not burn and when the infidels
slaughtered all those praying in the Church of the Holy Resurrection,
right at the entrance of the sepulcher of Christ our God.
13. At the beginning of the year 552 of the Armenian era [11031104J the violent wrath of God fell upon Edessa in the form of a
severe rainstorm which struck the city on the day of Little Thursday.l
The flood caused by this rain reminded one of the former great
deluge. The tremendously agitated air condensed in the atmosphere,
and the heavens were shaken by lightning crackling in the clouds.
These phenomena were such that many thought the day for the
destruction of the city had arrived. During the morning a tremendous amount of rain mixed with hail fell from the sky. When the sun
appeared, a mass of water from the west approached Edessa, building
up as it came; striking the walls of the city, it broke through them
and flooded the whole place, ruining a portion of the town. Many
houses collapsed and many animals died, but not one person was
trapped, for the catastrophe occurred during the day and thus people
were able to flee from the danger.

14. In this same y~ar the Frankish count Bohemond was ransomed from Danishmend for one hundred thousand dahekans; this
was accomplished through the mediation and assistance of the great

192

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART III

Armenian prince Kogh Vasi1. 1 This ruler donated ten thousand


dah~kans towards Bohemond's ransom money, while the count of
A~tlOch, ~anc~ed, gave nothing. Vasil collected the ransom money,
domg all m hIs power to have it procured from every part of his
territories. Finally he handed over the sum of one hundred thousand
dahekans and had Bohemond brought to him. Vasil went forth to
meet the Frankish prince and with great honor received him in his
palace. Then the Armenian prince gave presents to Bohemond and
to those who had b;ought him, all of which was valued at twenty
thousand dahekans. Mter a number of days Bohemond went to his
city of .Antio~h and by a solemn oath became an adopted son of the
Anneman pnnce Kogh Vasil. As for Richard Bohemond's sister's son
Danishmend gave him as a present to the e~peror Alexius in retu~
for a great sum of money.

Edessa (Baldwin) and Joscelin collected troops and went against the
town of Harran. They sent to Antioch and summoned the great
Frankish count Bohemond and also Tancred; moreover, they brought
in all the Armenian troops and thus got together a formidable army.
They then descended upon Harran and vehemently besieged it,
putting the town in danger of famine. Then one of the Franks
performed an act not pleasing to God; breaking open a loaf of bread,
he defecated in it and took and placed it before the gates of the town.
When the townspeople saw this, one of their number, taking a risk,
rushed forth to eat the bread; seeing the feces it contained, he became
nauseated and brought and showed it to the townspeople. When the
sensible men among them saw this, they said: "This is a sinful deed
which God will not allow to go unpunished; he will not give the
Franks the victory, for they have contaminated this bread, a
profanation without compare on the earth." After this the Persian
forces marched against the Franks with a formidable army led by
Chokiirmish/ the emir of Mosul, and Sokman, the son of Artuk.
When the Frankish chiefs heard this, greatly rejoicing they went
against the Persian forces. The Franks were a two day's march from
the town, at a place called shut. Now the count of Edessa and
J oscelin became puffed up with pride and placed Bohemond and
Tancred at a distance from their troops, saying: "We will engage in
combat first and thus take the laurels of victory." When Baldwin and
J oscelin clashed with the Turkish forces, a frightful and violent battle
took place here in this strange and alien Muslim land. The Persian
forces vanquished the Franks, bringing the divine-rebuking wrath of
God upon the Christians; for the whole land was covered with blood
and corpses of more than thirty thousand Christian faithful, and so
the region became depopulated. The count of Edessa (Baldwin) and
Joscelin were taken prisoner and led into captivity, while the two
other Frankish chiefs, including all their forces, suffered no harm.
So these latter took their most valiant men and took refuge in the
city of Edessa as fugitives. 2

15. In this sam~ year the count of Edessa, Baldwin, collected


troops and went agamst the Turks in the area of Mardin which was
in ~usliI? territory. He slaughtered the Turks and to~k prisoner
th~lr em:r called Ulugh-Salar;l moreover, he led their wives and
?hlldren mto captivity. Baldwin brought back with him to Edessa
mnumerable flocks of sheep and thousands of horses cattle and
camels, and with all this booty entered the city.
'
,

In this same year his lordship the Armenian patriarch


Barsegh went forth f~om the city of Ani accompanied by all his
serva~ts, noblemen, bIshops, and priests and came to Edessa. The
Frank~sh count Baldwin received him with great honor, as is befitting
a patnarch. Moreover, the count gave him villages and various other
presents and had a very high regard for the Armenian patriarch.
16.

7
AI; .. In thi~ same year his lordship Stephen the catholicos of the
amans, .d1ed. His lordship the Armenian c~tholicos Barsegh sent
.
.
an Armeman bishop [aS h'IS representatIve]
and orgamzed
an
assembly of Albanian bishops. The brother of his lordship Stephen
wLats conshecrated to the see of the Albanians in the city of Gandzak
h
.
..
a er, w en this man was d
I d h'
oun unwort y of the patnarchal see his
or s Ip t~e ~rmenian catholicos Barsegh deposed him thrdugh
excommumcatIon depriving h'
f h'
d
All thi
d'
1m 0 IS see an patriarchal dignity.
s was one because of his perverse conduct.
18. In the year 553 of the Armenian era [1104-1105] the count of

193

19. The Christians of the city of Edessa endured many hardships,


because the inhabitants of Harran had cut off the retreat of the
remnants of the Frankish troops, encircling the mountain and the
plain and slaughtering ten thousand fugitives. These Muslims of
Harran brought more destruction upon the Christian faithful than
the Turks had ever done. So there was much painful weeping and
grievous affliction in Edessa. On that day tearful groans issued forth

194

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

from the city, and all the Christian lands were in despair. After this
Count Baldwin was taken to the Muslim city of Mosul, while Joscelin
was taken to ~i~n Kaifa, to Sokman, the son of Artuk; now it was
Choktirmish who took Baldwin.
20. Bohemond resolved to return to the country of the Franks in
order to obtain reinforcements and so left Edessa and Antioch in the
hands of his sister's son Tancred. Now, when Bohemond arrived in
the country of the Franks, he met a very rich woman who had been
the wife of the Frankish count Stephen of Blois, l [a man] of noble
lineage and the last of his line. 2 This woman made Bohemond stay
with her, saying: "Take me for your wife, for my husband is dead
and my lands and cavalry forces 3 have no lord over them." However,
Bohemond rejected her proposal, saying: "I have come here with a
solemn oath to obtain reinforcements and then quickly return to aid
the remaining Christian forces who are surrounded by the infidel
Persians." Nevertheless, the woman kept on insisting vehemently,
but he still would not listen to her. Finally she put Bohemond in
chains and threw him in prison. After staying in prison for a number
of days, the count finally gave in and agreed to marry the woman;
from him she had two children. Now after five years the great
Frankish count Bohemond died in his own land, without being able
to return to the East;'
21. In this same year Danishmend, the great emir of the country
of the Romans,l died. He was of the Armenian nation-a kind man,
a ?enefactor of the people, and compassionate towards the Christian
faIthful. Thus there was great sorrow among the Christian faithful
who were under his rule. He left behind twelve sons, and his eldest
son, called Ghiizi, 2 succeeded him, after secretly putting his other
brothers to death.
22. In this same year Sokman, the son of Artuk, who formerly

p?~sessed the holy city of Jerusalem, died. This Artuk left some

,:sIble traces of his passing through the Church of the Holy ResurrectIon; for one can see the three arrows he shot at the ceiling of this
church, ~rro~s which remain fixed there to this day. He died and
;as buned ,In Jerusalem on the street leading to the Temple of
T~'o~~ HIS son Sokman was an evil man and a bloodthirsty beast.
. IS 0 man gathered together the Persian forces and came to the
aId of the city of Tripoli, marching against the Franks. While on

PART

III

195

route he died, and his forces disbanded and returned to their country.
23. In this same year the Persian ruler Berkyaruk, the son of
Malik-Shah, son of Alp Arslan, died. His brother Tap'arl succeeded
to the Persian royal throne; he was born of the Kipchak2 woman who
had poisoned and killed Malik-Shah the Conqueror in the city of
Baghdad.
24. In this same year the city of Marash was taken from the
Greeks; for the Prince of Princes1left this city and gave it to Joscelin.
For a large sum of gold he sold an icon of the Theotokos to the great
Armenian prince T' oros, the son of Constantine, son of ~uben; then
he went to Constantinople.
25. In the year 554 of the Armenian era [1105-1106] the holy
patriarch his lordship Gregory, also known as Vahram, the son of
Gregory, son of Vasak, of Pahlavid lineage, ended his pontificate.
Thus in this year the pillar of the Armenian faith and the rampart
of the holy church of this eastern nation fell. He was a man who
performed miracles among the peoples of Armenia and, being of
virtuous character, devoted himself to the ascetic life; moreover, he
was able to resist temptations through fasting and prayer, and
ceaselessly praised God through the singing of psalms. [Besides his
individual piety] he did much to revitalize the Armenian faith. He
tirelessly devoted himself to translation work; all those things that
were missing in our observance of the commandments of God, he
systematically restored to us through the works he translated from
Greek and Syriac; moreover, with great solicitude he ceaselessly filled
the Armenian church with the inspiration and sublime concepts of
the Holy Scriptures. Now this man Gregory was mild mann~red and
humble of heart added to these qualities, he was deeply pIOUS and
assiduously adh~red to the divine precepts. In every way possible he
had the capability to assist the flock of Christ, for he was skillfully
erudite in those books inspired by divine grace. Gregory resembled
the ancient Armenian savants-namely Moses and David,lfor he had
the head of an Athenian and was imbued with a fiery tongue; thus he
was easily able to lift the veil from the Old ~D;d .New Tes~ame~ts of
God, open the springs which issue from the dl~mlty, and dissemmate
the knowledge of the Holy Spirit among the faIthful peopl~ who came
to hear it. In this way he became an example to all rehgIOus people,
surpassing all in the practice of a virtuous life. Now Gregory had

196

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

occupied the patriarchal see for forty years. At the time of his death

h~ was with the great Armenian prince Kogh Vasil, who was a

mIghty man and a warrior; for this ruler had gathered together the
remnants of the Armenian forces [under his banner].
o

26. At this time there appeared a certain young man called


Grego~y,lwho was the son of the sister of his lordship Vahram. His
lordshIp ?regory in ~n assembly designated this young man to
succeed hIm as cathohcos of Armenia after the death of his lordship
Barsegh; moreove~, he appointed the Armenian prince Vasil, the lord
o~ Ke~oun and all Its surrounding territories, as guardian to see that
hIS WIll was carried out. Barsegh heeded all of Gregory's commands,
and f:om that day on kept Gregory, the catholicos-designate and son
of Aplrat, near him. Now in the month of Tre2 during the first week
the su~mer Lent, on Saturday, the holy patriarch his lordship
regory died and was solemnly buried in Karmir-Vank' 3 located near
Kesou~i His lordship Stephen, the superior of thi~ monastery
~ssem ed mo~s and priests around Gregory's tomb and with th~
onor due a patnarch sent him to join the saints. Vasil and the other
:~mbe~s of. the A~enian nobility deeply lamented Gregory's death
, d~ elddm? bItter tears, wept over him' for they were left
Ian ess III an are
'
hguar
I n Iand
, sInce
t h ey had' left their ancestral
orne,

27. In this same ye th


.
died Th'
ar e emment thaumaturge Mark the hermit
, IS man passed sixty fi
f h"
' ,
'
for, while leading the life of IV~ ye~s 0 IS hfe eatmg only herbage;
that resembled b d
a ermlt, he ate no bread or anything
and many person~~~stifi~~ fos~essed t~e i~tuition of the prophets,
day. He lived in the
,hIS experlencmg the Holy Spirit every
Kingrnak; and he wa~r~v~c~ of Mokk on ,an ari~ mountain called
territories of the city of M yr;-n of Kharsmakk, a place near the
water to issue out of tw ~~' Through prayer this hermit caused
when the Franks caPture~ the e~ent ~laces in this area. Moreover,
that the Persians would st gt~IY c~y of Jerusalem, he prophesied
sword in hand penetrate tor;~ Men,t emselves once again and with
which we saw fulfilled H e I edIterranean seacoast, a prediction
P?ople, propheSying that the; ;o~ds~~e about the priests and the
pIety would disappear from the e
awa;y f~om the faith and that
and the doors of the churches
:t~. Behef In God would decline
e closed. People would become
blind to good works and wo ld~ou
u orget the precepts of the Holy Gospel

PART

III

197

of Christ. Sin and evil would inundate the earth, and the sons of
man would wallow in it as one immersed in the sea, Finally all the
nations of the faithful would forget the practice of righteous behavior.
[It was things such as these that Mark prophesied.] This holy hermit
passed away during this year and was buried in the Monastery of
Kastaghon, located near the impregnable fortress called Vahka in the
Taurus Mountains.
28. In this same year Chokiirmish, the emir of Mosul and Nisibis,

went forth with many troops and encamped before the gates of the
city of Edessa at harvest time. The commander of the Frankish
forces was a man named Richard, l to whom Tancred had entrusted
the defense of the city. Richard took the garrison of the city and
unwisely made a sortie with his infantry against the brave and
militant Persian forces. When the Persians saw this careless move
on the part of the Frankish troops, they fell upon them and pushed
them all into the moat surrounding the city. Then all the infidels,
crossing over the moat, entered through the gates of the city and
slaughtered as many as four hundred men. After having flayed all
their corpses, they took their heads back to Persia. Thus on that day
great sorrow fell upon Edessa, for cries and weeping issued forth from
every household, and blood flowed in all areas around the city. So
ChOkiirmish victoriously turned back and went to his own country.
29. In this same year the Frankish count Saint Gilles died while
besieging the city of Tripoli. He left the outer city, which he had
built, and his troops to his sister's son, Bertram/ a brave man and a
warrior. This Saint Gilles who died was the one who had brought
back the lance of Christ to the emperor Alexius in Constantinople. 2
30. In this same year the town of Aplast'an, located in the district
of Jahan, endured many harassments, tribulations, and misfortunes
at the hands of the Frankish forces. The inhabitants of this town
were so mistreated that they resolved to wreak their vengeance on
the Franks. So they went over to the side of the infidels. They
secretly sent a messenger and summoned the infidel calvary of the
district to occupy the town. Then the Armenians of the town, allying
themselves with the infidels, went to the citadel and said the
following to the Frankish commander: "Get out and go back to your
own people and may God be with you." When the commander heard
this, he flew into a rage like a ferocious beast and attacked the

198

MATTHEW OF EnESSA

PART III

townspeople. However, they defeated him and slaughtered his troops


in toto so that not one of them remained alive. The Lord considered
this a vindication of what happened to the townspeople. On that day
about three hundred persons perished, all because of the tribulations
which the Franks brought upon the faithful; for they had devastated
and depopulated the country and made it desolate. Thus, because of
the Franks, the land became barren. The vineyards and orchards
wi~hered, the fields became covered with thistles, and the springs
drIed up. Friendship and happiness between friends was destroyed;
treachery and hatred was disseminated throughout the land.
Because of their bitter afflictions, the inhabitants ceased going to
church, ~nd s.o the doors of the house of God were closed. The lamps
were extmgulshed, and the blessings of God were suspended in the
house of the Lord. The priests were subjected to vile servility and
thrown into prison. The altars and the baptismal fonts of the holy
~hurch w~re knocked ~own and destroyed. The mysteries of the cross
eca~e hIdden from Vlew, and the fragrance of incense was forgotten.
I~ t~lS way the glorification of God ceased throughout the whole
dl~tnct of Aplast'an. 1 In other places chapels were demolished
prIests were scorned, and scrutiny of the holy faith ceased' moreover'
. h teousness was rejected, "piety was
the truth
was subve rted, ng
.
p~oscnbed, and in every quarter the dreadful judgement of Christ's
trIbunal was forgotte~. All. these things were caused by the raving
iranks, b.ecause the IllustrIOUS princes and chiefs of this nation no
onger eXIsted, and control had fallen into the hands of unworthy
p.eople. Because of this, the Franks, primarily motivated by avari~~~~;~~~s, brought harassment and suffering upon the Christian

amazing phenomenon as this. The savants and men with experience


said that this was a royal star and that during this year a ruler
would be born who would reign over all living creatures; moreover,
his empire would extend from sea to sea, very much like the one
established by Alexander the Great of Macedon.

31. In this same year [th C th dl


.
located in th 't f Ed e a e ra of] Samt Sophia, which was
destruction oc~uC;; o. thessa, collapsed, a goodly portion of the
ng III e western part of the church.
32. In this same year aver
appeared one which' t'll d Y. awesome yet marvelous comet
the whol~ southweste~ns l~. ear In those observing it. It occupied
O
the greater part of th:
Ion of the .sky, and its tail extended over
February, during the n' h~~vens. ThIS all occurred on the 13th of
manifestation of this c~g t efor~ the Feast of the Purification. 1 The
ance caused wondermen7~0 C~fi,l~ued for fifty days; and its appearits tail resembled a mea d ~ lvmg creatures, for the movement of
n erIng river. No one had ever seen such an

199

33. In this same year a tremendous number of Arabs went forth


from their country, intent on gaining control of Aleppo and all the
Muslim lands. These Arab forces were thirty thousand in number.
At this time the count of Antioch Tancred, the brave champion of
God, rose up and went against the Arabs. Having put them to flight,
he returned to the city of Antioch laden with countless booty.l
34. In the year 555 of the Annenian era [1106-1107] Chokurmish,
the emir of Mosul, died at the hands of the Persian emir Chavli;lfor
both fought a severe battle against one another, and Chavli defeated
Chokurmish's forces. Chokurmish was struck by an arrow, which
inflicted a deadly wound upon him, and after a few days this savage
beast died. 2 Chokftrmish gave all of his lands to the sultan Kilij
Arslan; moreover, the emir delivered Baldwin, the count of Edessa,
into the same sultan's hands, for the Frank was his captive. Then
the sultan Kilij Arsian collected troops from the East and marched
forth to take control of Mosul, Jazirat-Ihn-'Umar, and all the
territories belonging to Chokiirmish.
35. In this same year, but before these events occurred, Kilij
Arslan marched against Edessa at the head of many troops and
besieged the city for a number of days without being able to capture
it. So he went and captured the town of Harran and, after bringing
its surrounding districts under his control, returned to his own
country.
36. In the year 556 of the Armenian era [1107-1108] a violent
battle took place in the country of the Muslims, in the region of
Mosul. Kilij Arslan and the emir Chavli fought each other, and there
was much bloodshed on both sides, Chavli defeated Kilij Arslan's
forces, and the remnants of the sultan's troops fled to the city of
Melitene. In this great battle the sultan Kilij Arslan was killed; his
death brought great sorrow to the Christians, for he was a kindly
man and benevolent towards the faithful in every possible way. His
1
four sons succeeded him, each ruling a portion of his father's lands.

200

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

37. In this same year the Persians collected twelve thousand


troops and, crossing over the Taurus Mountains into the district of
Anazarba, devastated all the lands ofT'oros,lthe son of :R,uben,2 an d
then passed through the plain of Marash. Mter this the Persians
with a countless number of troops arrived in the lands of Kogh Vasil
at a place called Berdus3 located in a consecrated area. When th~
Annenian prince Vasil learned of this, he brought together a
regiment of Armenian troops; and brave as lions or lion cubs, these
soldiers rushed against the infidels. A violent and frightful battle
was fought, and the Armenians turned the Turks in flight. Sword in
hand they pursued the infidels and slaughtered countless numbers of
them, capturing many of them and carrying off a tremendous amount
o~ booty and captives. After this the Armenian prince Vasil, together
wIth all the Armenian nobility, victoriously turned back and with
great rejoicing came to his town of Kesoun. There he gave thanks to
God who had humiliated the enemies of the cross of Christ.
38. At the beginning of the year 557 of the Armenian era [11081109] once again the Persians collected troops-this time about six

thousand select soldiers-and, commanded by their sultan marched


against the territories of the Armenian prince Vasil. Th~ Persians
sou~ht vengeance for the previous slaughter inflicted upon them by
VasIl at ~erdus. So, full of rage, they reached the confines of the
town of ~113n-M~13iir at harvest time. They slaughtered some of the
field hands, whIle they took others captive, and then turned around
a~d descended upon the fortress of Hart'an. 1 When the Armenian
pnr:ce Kogh V~sil l?arned of the coming of the infidels, he went
agamst them Wlt~ hIS troops amounting to five hundred men. This
handful of Armemans fought an intrepid battle. The nobles exhorted
~ne another and performed feats of courage against the Turkish
;r~es. t~ne ofhth_~..2nobles, Aplasat', vehemently attacked the infidels'
e er, de nep ew- of Kogh Vasil, together with his nobles exhibited
t remen ous courage' Vasil s
dT h 3 f
.
th"d
'
,urname gay, 0 noble lmeage on his
mo . er s SI e, at the head of his troops shattered the flanks of the
P
erSIan army' Tiran 4 a br
d
noble fam'I' ' f ~ . ave man an a member of one of the most
l' 1:~s 0
ema, followed Vasil's example. In this manner
thi
. : v~ Ian and o~ Armenians fought a hard battle and finally was
~~e~TIt~~S ;ve~ the lllfididel forces. The Armenians severely slaugherSIans an took their suIt
d
f h
prisoner, leading them all .
. ~n an many 0 t eir officers
Vasil victOriously t
d I~tO captIVIty. So the Annenian prince
re urne , aden with much booty, and came to his

PART

III

201

town of Kesoun. He freed all the prisoners which the infidels had
captured and thus caused great rejoicing among the Christian
faithful.
39. In this same year Joscelin ransomed Baldwin, the count of
Edessa, from Chavli for thirty thousand dahekans. Then he and
Baldwin came to the Armenian prince Vasil, who received them with
great honor and gave them many gifts. After this Baldwin went and
collected cavalry troops in Raban, one of the towns belonging to Vasil,
for he intended on warring against the pious man Tancred. Then
Baldwin, in collusion with Joscelin, did a wicked thing, something
which was not pleasing in the eyes of God. The two men sent to the
Persian emir Chavli and persuaded him to come to their aid with five
thousand horsemen. Then they made war on Tancred, the count of
Antioch, because of their lands which he had taken over while they
were in captivity and now would not return to them; for Tancred
wished them to be his vassals, something which they would not agree
to. Vasil sent Baldwin and Joscelin eight hundred of his own men
and Pecheneg troops from the Roman emperor's army who were
stationed in Mamistra, all of which made up a goodly force. The
soldier of Christ Tancred, in turn, marched forth at the head of one
thousand horsemen together with a number of infantry forces. A
violent battle took place between Baldwin and Tancred within the
confines of Tell Bashir, both sides fighting vehemently and heroically.
The Persian troops severely slaughtered the Frankish infantry forces
of Tancred's army. However, as the battle intensified, Tancred
defeated Baldwin's forces and put them to flight. Then with great
fury the count of Antioch turned upon Chavli and, sword in hand,
drove back his troops, inflicting a severe slaughter upon them.
Nevertheless, on that day about two thousand Christians perished.
Tancred victoriously turned back and went to his city of Antioch. On
the other hand, Baldwin fled and took refuge in a fortress called
Ravendan, while J oscelin saved himself by taking shelter in his
fortress called Tell Bashir.l
40. When the inhabitants of the city of Edessa learned of all this,
they all became sad and gloomy because of Baldwin, for they thought
that he was dead. So they assembled in the Church of St. John in
the presence of the Frankish papios1 in order to consult with each
other [as to what was to be done]; for they feared that the city would
once again fall to Tancred and he would hand it over to Richard who,

202

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

when he had previously occupied Edessa, had caused the ruin of


many persons. When all the townspeople of Edessa came together,
they had a conference with the papios and said: "Let your men and
ours guard the citadel until we learn who is to be the lord [of the
city]." A day later Joscelin and Baldwin came and entered the city
of Edessa. They inquired as to what had been proposed at the
assembly and regarded it as quite dangerous, interpreting it to be an
~ct ?f disloyalty. So they proceeded to wantonly pillage everything
m SIght and to put out the eyes of many innocent people. On this
occasion they inflicted severe punishments on the Christians for the
Franks easily lent an ear to all the vicious accusations m~de and
were very willing to shed the blood of innocent and righteous men.
T?ey we~t so far as to make an attempt to blind the Armenian
bIshop, hIS lordship Stephen. However, when the townspeople
learned that the bishop was beyond reproach, they ransomed him for
a sum of one thousand dahekans.
.41. In this same year there occurred a very bitter and hard
wmter. Bec~use of the intense cold, animals perished in many
places, and bIrds died throughout the whole land. Moreover black
snow fell, upon Persia, which was a frightful omen directed ~gainst
the PerSIans, but something which their savants were unable to
understand,

PART

III

203

nobleman from the forces of Vasil, who was a son of Tachat, lord of
Taron; his name was Aplasat', and he was a brave man and an
excellent warrior. Having left Vasil because of some misunderstanding, he had come to Edessa. Now, when the Christians reached the
gates of the town of Harran, the Edessenes began to devastate the
surrounding countryside. Suddenly the Turkish forces came against
them with one thousand five hundred horsemen and killed one
hundred and fifty of. the Edessenes. At this point the Frankish
troops, being few in number, were intent on fleeing to Edessa. Then
Aplasat' cried out like a lion and, signaling his troops, shattered the
front line of the infidel forces. So they began their retreat to Edessa,
hotly pursued by the Turks; in spite of this they entered the city of
Edessa unharmed. Aplasat' was not pleased with the conduct of the
Franks [in this battle] and so he returned to the service of Vasil.
This brave Armenian was wounded in the arm [during the battle],
but did not die because his armor stopped the blow [inflicted by the
enemy weapon] .

I
,In this ~ame year a violent conflict broke out in the Arab
an s, m [the Clty ofl Basra/ which is the native land of Job. The
~absl and Turks engaged in a frightful battle there. The Arab forces
t~a:e y and ferociously fought against the Persians and shattered
' ehlrtarmAfiY in a. great victory, slaughtering them and putting them to
flIg. ter thIs the Turk' h
. collected troops
IS cornmander once agam
.
and went agamst the Arab fi
Th'"
.
orces,
IS tIme In a valIantly fought
battle th T k
A b fi e ur s put the Arabs to flight. Then fifty thousand of the
pI:~e ~~~:s~~:: to t~eer te~itory of t~e city of Aleppo, intending to
Antioch. Howeveru:r t e p:o~ectlOn of Tancred, the count of
returned to the' ' ter remammg here a number of days, they
Ir Own country.

44. In this same year the coastal city of Tripoli was captured by
the Christians. Mter an eleven-year siege,! the inhabitants were
exhausted by violent assaults and had sustained a drawn-out
blockade; for Baldwin, the king of Jerusalem, and Bertram, a relative
of the great count Saint Gilles,2had put them in dire straits. So the
inhabitants of Tripoli summoned the count of Antioch, Tancred, and
delivered their city into his hands. Then the king of Jerusalem and
Bertram made war on Tancred, since they were the ones who had
laid siege to Tripoli. At this point their patriarch and bishops
intervened and established peace between the two sides, Tancred
then returning to Antioch. However, the king of Jerusalem equipped
a fleet against Tripoli and, besieging the city by sea and by land,
launched a formidable assault against it. Tripoli was set on fire and
the inhabitants of the whole city were put to the sword, causing the
streets to be inundated with blood. The Frankish forces seized an
innumerable amount of gold and silver and carried off a countless
number of captives to their own country.

43. In the year 558 of the Arm '


count of Edessa and J
reman era [1109-1110] Baldwin, the
troops and went' again ~~~e 1~, the count of Tell Bashir, collected
surrounding territory s Ae Own of.Harran in order to ravage its
.
ccompanymg them was an Armenian

45. At the beginning of the year 559 of the &:nenian era [11101111] the count of Edessa was intent on startmg a second war
against Tancred. At this time Baldwin and Joscelin, motivated by
their arrogant character, conceived of a plan unworthy o~ a~y
Christian. They sent to the city of Mosul and summoned to theIr aId

4:.

204

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART

III

205

the Persian general called Maudiid, a ferocious and mighty warrior,


When Maudiid heard this, he willingly acquiesced to their request
and, gathering together all his Turks, the Persian general marched
forth with a formidable army and reached the confines of the town of
Harran. He sent for and summoned the count of Edessa to come to
him, but Baldwin, being afraid, did not dare to come to the infidel
chief. Then Maudud realized that he had been deceived by the count
and so advanced to battle against Edessa. Now, when Baldwin saw
this, he dispatched Joscelin to get reinforcements, while he sent to
the king of Jerusalem, asking him to come to the aid of the city of
Edessa. The king at this time with all the Frankish forces was
besieging the town of Beirut, located on the Mediterranean Sea. In
the meantime the emir Maudud arrived at the head of a countless
number of troops which were spread over the vast plain of Edessa.
His army surrounded the city on every side, being dispersed over
every mountain and hill in the area. The whole East gathered under
Maudud's banner, while the inhabitants of the entire surrounding
countryside fled, thus depopulating the region. The emir struck
terror into the hearts of the townspeople by his violent assaults
against the city. For one hundred days Edessa was put in dire
straits; and everyone, exhausted by the incessant assaults, endured
much suffering. Soon the townspeople began to suffer from famine,
because entering or leaving the city was prevented by the formidable
enemy forces who surrounded Edessa and killed anyone falling into
their hands. The countryside surrounding the city was filled with the
corpses of those massacred [by the infidels]. The entire region was
burned by fire to such an extent that not one building remained
standing,2 All this was done at the behest of Sulaiman the emir of
the East. Moreover, the orchards outside the city wer~ completely
destroyed, and all the monasteries found on the mountains were
razed t~ their ve;y foundations. Such a destructive siege as this put
Edessa m very dire straits. Some time after this Beirut was captured
~~om th~ Muslims through the help of God. The Frankish forces put
e entIre town to the sword and seized a tremendous amount of
boo~y: Joscelin assisted in the taking of the town of Beirut and
exhIbIted great courage on that occasion.
46: After all these events Joscelin marched his forces to the aid of

th~ CI~y of Edessa. The king of Jerusalem and Bertram the count of
;tnpoh, ,also came to the city's aid. These three men c~e to Tancred

In

the Clty of Antioch a dId'


.
.
n ,p ea mg WIth the count, persuaded him to

join them in going to the assistance of Edessa. Then all the Frankish
forces continued their march and came to the Armenian prince Vasil,
who equipped his troops and went to Samosata. The Armenian
prince Ablgharib, who possessed the town of Bira, also joined the
Franks with his troops. So with a tremendous army of troops the
Christians passed into the confines of the city of Edessa. When the
Turkish general Maudiid learned of their coming, he lifted the siege
of Edessa and went to the town of Harran, The Frankish forces, in
turn reached the gates of the city of Edessa and encamped there. On
the following day the Franks prepared for battle. Bringing forth the
holy cross of Varag, they fastened it to the end of a lance and carried
it before their troops. In the meantime the Turks retreated from
Harran, hoping by this stratagem to defeat the Franks, for the
Franks were in territory unknown to them; to this end they set up an
ambush of many troops in the town. However, the Frankish
commander learned of the treacherous designs of the Turks and so
turned around and encamped against the impregnable fortress of
Shenaw, l located in Muslim territory; the Christians vehemently
attacked this stronghold. At this point Tancred learned of a plot
hatched against him by the other leaders and so, taking his troops,
reached Samosata and descended to the banks of the Euphrates.
Soon all the Frankish forces followed him. Now, when the inhabitants of Edessa and those of the surrounding countryside who had
taken refuge in the city heard of this withdrawal, they. a111eft, even
the women and children, and followed after the FrankIsh forces.
47. On this occasion two Franks did a very wicked thing. They
went to Maudud and, repudiating the Christian faith, said to the
emir that the entire Frankish army had withdrawn and fled. When
Maudud heard this, he pursued the Frankish forces;. he filled the land
from the gates of Edessa to the Euphrates River WIth ?lood, slau?htering the inhabitants of both the city and the countrysIde. Reachmg
the banks of the Euphrates, Maudlld slaughtered a co~n~less number
of the inhabitants of the area and carried off the remammg, together
with their possessions. The Franks had already crossed over to the
other side of the river. So the Turks massacred the Christian faithful
who were huddled together like flocks of sheep on this side of the
river. The wrath of God, manifested through Maudud, fe~l upon the
faithful with such force that the Euphrates was turned mto blood.
Many drowned in the river. Those who tried to swim across were
unable to reach the other side. Many tried to cross over on boats, but

206

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

five or six of the boats sank full of people, because too many persons
got in them. So on this day the entire territory of Edessa was
devastated and depopulated. It was in reference to this calamity that
the savants of old wrote: "Woe to the people of Abgar." The Frankish
forces, who were on the other side of the Euphrates River, witnessed
all these horrible things which were happening to all the Christians,
but were unable to assist them in any way and so wept bitterly.
Mter all this Maudud victoriously turned back and went to Hanan;
from there he returned to his country, laden with captives and
countless booty.l
48. On the other hand, the great emir of the East Sulaiman
1
taking the emir Balik prisoner, put him in chains and threw him int~
the dungeon of the fortress of Aytseats' in Taran. So the Frankish
forces, h~m~liated~ returned to their territories; for, instead of saving
the ChrIstIan faIthful, they had brought disaster upon them.
However, the brave soldier of Christ Tancred collecting troops
entered the territory of Aleppo and descended up~n the fortress to~
called al-Atharib. He encamped against it for a number of days and
fmally captured it by a violent assault, without harming the garrison.
49. In t~is same yea.r the Turkish forces gathered together and
penet~ated mto the temtory of Anazarba, ravaging the entire area,
mcludmg Marpa. When the great Armenian prince T'oros the son of
Constantine, who in turn was the son of ~uben, fully r~alized the
tremendous n~mber of Persian troops, he did not dare go forth in
battle. So the Turkish forces turned back and went to their own
country, laden with innumerable captives and booty.

[v:to.:rem!hustheinTurks
this year much devastation occurred in this region
had penetrated]. In this same year during the

WIn ~r an awesome and frightful omen appeared in Armenia, in the


ProvmcefofifVabspurakan. On a certain day, in the dark of the night
fl ames 0 Ire urst forth fro th
. '
d wn
'.
m e upper vauIt of the sky and, commg
Oh from thIS h~Ight, fell upon and struck the Sea ofVaspurakan.1
T e sea surged VIOlently dri'
't
d I .
shore h'l b th'
,vmg 1 s un u atmg waves against the
sea t~~ ~: t~ It nd the land shook with a frightful tremor. The

vastness of the :kco or of blood, t~e flames of fire enveloping the


fish
.y. The next mormng a tremendous number of dead
area~~::~e~~~~~:: ~r t~~ the shore like heaps of wood. The whole
IS mass [of dead fish]. Moreover, many

PART

III

207

places in the surrounding countryside had developed frightfully deep


crevices, something which caused much amazement to those who
heard about it.
51. In the year 560 of the Armenian era [1111-1112] Maudud
marched forth at the head of a tremendous number of Turkish troops
and came against the impregnable fortress called T'lkuran. 1 Maudud
assaulted the fortress; and its garrison, having been put in dire
straits, surrendered to him. Now there were forty Franks in the
fortress, and Maudud put them all to the sword. He also captured
CMtet'il,2 after which he went to Shenaw, to the Arab emir called Mni.
Going forth from here, Maudlld went in the direction of the territory
ofEdessa, to the fortress called Julman,3 gathering under his banner
a goodly number of troops. At this time the great emir Ahmad-IV
who was a very eminent emir, joined Maudud with many troops;
Sulaiman, the emir of the East, and Bursuk ibn-Bursuk5 likewise
joined him, all of them marching together against Edessa. Having remained here for a few days, they went to the town of Saru.j. After
this they crossed the Euphrates River and in unison came against the
impregnable fortress of Tell Bashir. At this time the Frankish count
Joscelin, who was a brave man and a mighty warrior, was in the
fortress. The Turkish forces, who were very numerous, assaulted the
stronghold with many regiments of troops,6 but were unable to do
anything. Then the Persian emir A}:lmad-Il, who previously had
heard of Joscelin's bravery, made peace with him, and both men
became brothers. After this Maudlld marched forth with all the
Persian forces and came against Antioch, descending upon a place
called Shaizar. Tancred, in turn, gathered together all the Franks.
The king of Jerusalem (Baldwin), the count of Tripoli (Bertram), and
the count of Edessa (Baldwin) joined him. The two armies met each
other, but did not fight; for Maudlld surreptitiously returned to ?is
own country, while the Frankish forces peacefully returned to theIrs.
52. In this period Sulaiman, the emir of the East, suddenly died
while on an expedition. He well merited this sudden death brought
about by the Lord, because of all the devastation and slaughter he
had caused in the territory of Edessa.
53. In this same year the shedding of the innocent blood of the

shahnshah Gagik, the son of Ashot Bagratuni, was avenged by God


working through the mighty and great Armenian prince T'aros, the

208

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

son of Constantine, son of ~uben. During T'oros's time the murderers of the Armenian king Gagik were in a fortress called Kndroskawis, a heavily fortified stronghold impregnable on all four' sides.
These murderers were the sons of Mandale, who were three brothers
and still alive. One of them was allied to T'oros and because of this
relationship, the three brothers had agreed to hand over the aforementioned fortress to the Armenian prince; for it was situated on the
borde~s ofT'oros's. territory, close by the area called Dzknajur where
there IS a ~ounta~n overlooking Cappadocia. Now in this same year
the Armeman pnnce went forth and with a small detachment of
troops came to the three brothers for a friendly visit. Reaching the
con~nes of their territory, he sent to them, informing them of his
commg. Then one of the murderers took gifts and went to T'oros
w~o received. him with due honor. The Greek presented a costl;
kmfe and a nch garment to T' oros, and then the two men sat down
to eat and dri?-k, At this point the Armenian prince said to him: "In
accordance WIth your promise to me concerning the fortress hand it
over ~ow"and in its stead chose yourself any place in my te'rritories
yo~ WIsh. The Greek, deceitfully going back on his previous promise
~ald to the, Armenian prince: "We cannot give up the fortress, for it
~:~~r pat~mony and ancestral home." When he realized that he had
~e~e1Ved by the three brothers, Toros, returning the gifts
b
t roug t y one of their number, angrily said to him' "Arise and go
o our hom~" and after this each one of you be prep~red for me,"
, 0 th.e deICl?e got up and returned to his home while the Arme::~d~~nce ~elgned going in the direction of hiS.' Now, when the
troops a~~ ~:~pet~ed. out of ~ight, T'oros turned back with his
f'n: g e mght, amved at the fortress. There he set up
an amb
off to t~: ~o~ntnt1 tr~ops a~d then, taking his horsemen, hurried
. th
~Sl e, mtendmg to devastate the area. In the
mornmg e gamson ca th f
found thems I
f:
me or rom the gates [of the fortress] and
T'oros Neves ace to face with the men placed in ambush by
T'oros;s i;a:trwh:~sthe garrison, tro?ps saw this, they fled, while
stronghold was~ftuat~d ~m, c~mbmg. up the height on which the
gates of the fortress eT; , en t e garnson saw this, they shut the
t' oros s troops barricaded themselves outside
the gates and be
h Ii
gan 0 assault the rt
a~d causing it to burn ra idl
ress, ~r g fire at the roofing
thIS, they opened the gat~ lo:a:ted en those m~lde the fortress saw
and began to flee through it. Fina on ~not~er SIde of the stronghold
and captured the fugiti
Th Uy T oros s troops took the fortress
ves.
en they went to relate all this to

w::.

r:

PART III

209

T'oros, and he, greatly amazed, came to the fortress of Kondroskawis


with great rejoicing. When the Armenian prince entered the
stronghold, he first began to turn his attention to the treasury of the
three brothers, for all the gold and silver of the region was collected
and kept there. T'oros said to the sons of Mandale: "Bring me the
sword and gannents of the Armenian king Gagik." The brothers did
so, and when the Armenian prince saw these, he and all his troops
wept bitterly. Then T'oros ordered them to show him where the
treasure was and, when they obstinately refused, had them tortured.
At that point one of the brothers begged T'oros's soldiers to take him
to the escarpment in order that he might drink some water. When
they took him there, he hurled himself from a rocky height and
plunged to a horrible death.
Now, when one of the other brothers began to be tortured by
T'oros, he spoke insolently to the Armenian prince, saying: "You are
an Armenian, while we are Roman noblemen; what answer will you
give to the emperor for having mistreated a Roman?" At this T'oros
flew into a rage and his face changed color. Taking hold of a stick
used for clubbing, he ferociously fell upon the Greek, saying: "Who
are you three to have killed the heroic and divinely-anointed
Armenian king; what answer will you give to the Armenian nation?"
Sobbing, the Armenian prince began to violently beat him until he
died an excruciatingly painful death. Mter this T'oros gave thanks
to God for his justice in avenging the blood of the Armenian king
Gagik; for his grandfather ~uben had been an officer in Gagik's army.
The Armenian prince carried off all the wealth that the sons of
Mandale possessed: countless treasures, brocades, huge silver
crosses, and statues cast of gold and silver; all this he brought to
Vahka. Moreover, he took the only surviving brother with him,
leaving some of his troops as a garrison for the fortress he had just
captured.
54. In the yeilr 561 of the Armenian era [1112-1113] the vicious
bloodthirsty beast Maudiid once again collected troops and m~rched
against the city of Edessa, at a time when the townspeople dId not
expect his attack. The emir suddenly arrived before the city the day
after Easter, on the day of the Feast of the Dead, the be~nning of
the month of Sahmi. 1 Maudiid first came to Kupm and, gomg forth
from there with a tremendous number of troops, stopped at the gates
of the city of Edessa. Mter remaining there for eight days, the emir
shifted his position to the summit of the Mountain of Sasun and from

!r;

210

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

there descended upon [the Monastery of] the Holy Martyrs, situated
near the ramparts of the city.
55. At this time the invincible soldier of Christ Count Joscelin
taking one hundred horsemen and one hundred infantry, came and
entered the town of San1j. Then a Turkish force, consisting of five
hundred horsemen, [left the main army in Edessa and] made a
diversion into the territory of Sariij on the Saturday of Elias,l
Joscelin went forth and attacked the Turks, killing one hundred and
fIfty of their men. The count took fIve of their officers prisoner and
seized all their baggage, while the rest fled to Maudud in the city of
Edessa. When Maudud heard of all this, he went against Joscelin in
the town of Saruj. However, at the same time Joscelin secretly came
and entered the city of Edessa. Mter remaining in Sariij for seven
days, Maudud turned back against Edessa once again. Now certain
perfidious men came to him while he was on the march, saying:
"Have compassion on us, and on this day we will deliver Edessa into
your h~nds. The emir in great joy consented to their proposition,
~ow, smc.e these men suffered from the effects of the famine, being
m such dIre straits, they were not really aware of what they were
doing, ~o during the night they conducted Maudud, together with
fIve of hIS men, to Edessa and delivered this populous city into the
hands of the Turks. They handed over to the Turks a tower located
in the eastern portion of the city, which dominated all of Edessa; one
hund~ed men took possession of this tower. Moreover, the Turks
occup~ed two other towers, placing a large number of troops in them.
NotwIthstanding all this, God, who never wills the destruction of the
Christian faithful, had previously brought the Frankish count
Josc~lin to the aid of the blessed city of Edessa. So, when the brave
soldIer of God Joscelin learned of this Turkish takeover, he took the
count of Edessa and the other Frankish troops and rushed to the
r.amparts to battle against the Turks. Joscelin assaulted the tower
[m which the Turks were ensconced] with such bravery that he
hurled down all their men from the walls; in this way the traitors
wh~ had handed over the tower and the infidels who had occupied it
penshed at the same time. So on that day Edessa was saved from
the clutches of the Turks, because of the bravery of Joscelin and all
the tro.ops ,of the city. Then Count Joscelin, because of the deep
:ng~r m ~IS heart and because of the calumnious slanders made
gamst hIm by some, caused much innocent bloodshed among the
townspeople, ordering them to be massacred, burned, and tortured;

PART

III

211

now all this was not pleasing in the eyes of God. Mter this Maudud
raised the siege and went and captured T'lmoz;2 from there he went
back to Khurasan, humiliated and discredited.
56. In this same year Tancred, the count of Antioch, collected
troops and came against the Armenian prince Vasil. He attacked
Raban and, after a vigorous siege, captured the town from Vasil.
Then with his troops he marched against Kesoun and encamped at
the head of the plain, below a spring, at T'il. At this time Vasil
gathered together a force of five thousand men. Both sides waited
around for a number of days without engaging in combat, after which
they made peace with one another. Tancred returned Raban to Vasil,
while the Armenian prince handed over to him the district of ij:i~n
Man!:'ur, and also T'oresh and Uremn; for Vasil had captured this
district of ij:i~n-Man~ur, together with the fortified1 P'ersin, Raghtip,
Hart'an, T'oresh, and Uremn, and now returned them to the Franks.
So Tancred peacefully went back to his city of Antioch.

II

57. In this same year, on the 24th of the month of Areg, the great
Armenian prince called Kogh Vasil died, and there was profound
sorrow throughout all Armenia. Around this prince were united
remnants of the Armenian army, members of the Bagratid and
Pahlavid families, sons of the kings of Armenia, and fInally all those
of Pahlavid lineage, together with the military aristocracy of
Armenia' all these remained with Vasil and were highly respected
and hon~red by him. Moreover, the Armenian patriarchal see was
transferred to Vasil's territory/for this Armenian prince had gained
control of many areas through his bravery and strength. Thus all the
monks, bishops, abbots, and vardapets gathered around hi~ and were
very well treated by him. So the Armenian prince Vasil dIed and was
buried in Karmir-Vank' . His spiritual advisor and father confessor
was his lordship Barsegh, the Armenian catholicos. The monast~7
received one thousand dahekans for putting aside a place for VaSIl s
tomb. Approximately one hundred and fIfty thousand dahekar;s w~re
given for the celebrating of divine liturgies. Moreover, an Infimte
number of meals for the poor was donated. Tancred received as a gift
many precious objects which were carried to him from Vasil's house:
huge amounts of mon~y, brocades, horses, and mules: Vasil's w~e's
diadem was sent to Tancred,s wife. The other chiefs of vanous
territories also received many gifts. Even the poor received a part of
the Armenian prince's estate. Vasil's sovereignty was passed on to

212

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

his son, who was of the Karnsarakan 2 family on his mother's side and
was raised and educated in Vasil's household "like a son in the bosom
ofhls father"; this [adopted] son was handsome with a lion-like mien,
capable, intelligent, a brave man and a warrior, besides which he was
twenty-five years old. He was installed on the throne of the great
prince Vasil, and the whole army gave him allegiance; for he was a
very generous and munificent person and thus was liked and
respected by all the troops. His lordship Barsegh called an assembly
and handed over the reins of government to Vasil's son, and so there
was rejoicing throughout the whole Armenian nation.
58. In this same year, on the 18th of the month of Mareri, the
most pious believer in God Tancred, the count of Antioch, died. 1 He
was a saintly and pious man and had a kind and compassionate
nature, manifesting concern for all the Christian faithful' moreover
he exhibited a tremendous amount of humility in his de~lings with
people and showed justice in executing the verdicts and laws of God.
So Tancred died in Antioch and was buried in Saint Peter the great
cathedral of the. city, founded by the holy apostles Peter 'and Paul.
In accordanc~ WIth Ta.ncred's wishes his sister's son Roger,2 a brave
man and vahant warrIOr, succeeded to his throne. So the patriarch
and all the Frankish chiefs installed Roger on the throne which
Tan~red had formerly occupied and turned Antioch over to him. Now
earher that same year two eminent officers of Vasil's army Tigran
and Aplasat', were killed by Turkish troops in the territory ~f Leon 3
the son of ~uben.
'
thi:;t In ~he year 562. of the Armenian era [1113-1114] the bloodt
y:n savage emIr Maudud once again marched forth with a
remen ous numb~r of troops and, arriving at the Muslim town of
HoraErrdan, came a~atnst the Franks. At this time Baldwin the count
essa, was m the town f T II B h'
.
.
'
certain perfidious an
. .0. e
as Ir WIth hIS troops. Now
Franks carried rumors , based on
..
d
d eVII-thmkmg
VICIOUS an treacherous m t'
t'
plotting together to h ~ Iva Ions, to. the count, saying: "Many are
Baldwin believed th a; I ov~r the c;ty ?f Edessa to the Turks."
evil mouths and b ese a s; ~ ~nders Issumg from their wicked and
immediately sen't ;~;~~: ~h t IS, conceive~?f a very harsh plan; he
him to remove all th t' e count of SaruJ, to Edessa and ordered
person would remain ~it~~n~1eoPl~1 from the city so that not one
hideous Franks thought m 1 ~hwa s. However, on that day these
among emselves and decided instead to put

PART

III

213

all the inhabitants of the city to the sword. They were eager to shed
the blood of blameless and innocent people who had done nothing
wrong voluntarily; for, because of the perverseness of their character,
these Franks regarded all other peoples as basically malicious and
evil.
60. So on one Sunday during the month of Sahmi, at dinnertime,
a horrible and disastrous calamity fell upon Edessa. The calamity
was so serious that fathers disavowed their sons and sons, their
fathers. All the inhabitants of the city wept, lamented, and cried out
in anguish. Every household was filled with tears, grief, and sorrow;
for the Franks forcibly evicted all the inhabitants from their homes
and ordered anyone found in his or her house burned. Noone
remained except for eighty men who that evening had taken refuge
in the Church of St. Theodore and who were afterwards placed under
guard in the citadel. Thus this was a day of great sorrow for the
inhabitants of Edessa, all due to [the viciousness of] the Franks; for
everyone lamented the deplorable condition they found themselves in.
Moreover, there was not one atrocity which the Franks did not
commit against the inhabitants of the city of Edessa. Thus here were
fulfilled the words of the seers of old who said: "Woe to the people of
Abgar. All those banished from their homes went t~ the town of
Samosata. So the illustrious metropolis of Edessa remamed deserted
like a widowed woman, who once was a mother to all people and had
gathered around herself the populations dispersed from other lands,
including those holding the cross [of Christ], who ran to the Franks
at a time when these very same Franks came to them begging for
assistance. Now in return for all the beneficence which the inhabitants of Edessa showed the Franks, these [Westerners] recompensed
the faithful Christians of this city with evil and malice.
1t

61. In this period the Turkish forces, who were st.ation~d in


Harran crossed over the Euphrates River and, advancmg WIth a
tremendous number of troops, marched against the holy city ?f
Jerusalem and against all the Frankish people. When Baldwm
learned that Maudud had marched forth and entered the territory of
Jerusalem, he became ashamed of the deceitful crime [he had
committed against the inhabitants of Edessa]. So the count sent a
letter ordering the townspeople brought back to the city, and thus
after three days everyone returned to their homes.

214

,;

"

, .c'

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART

III

215

62. In this period the infidel forces came and encamped against
the town of Tiberias, located near the Sea of Galilee. The king of
Jerusalem, in turn, sent to Antioch and summoned Count Roger, all
the Frankish forces, and also the count of Tripoli-the son of Saint
Gilles;l all of them, uniting together, came to the aid of the king.
However, the troops of Jerusalem, puffed up with pride, hastened to
march into battle against the Turkish forces first, lest the Antioch.
enes gain the reputation of bravery rather than they. Now God was
not pleased with their prideful attitude and so made them pay for
their arrogance; for, when both sides engaged in combat with one
another, the Turkish forces defeated those of the Franks and turned
them in flight. Many Franks of high rank were killed and all their
infantry forces were slaughtered. A certain brave ~an from the
Turkish forces came at the king of Jerusalem and struck him on the
s~oulders with an iron mace. However, the Lord came to the king's
aId and saved him, for at that moment the troops of Antioch and
~ripoli ~ved. ~en Roger saw the situation of the Franks, roaring
lIke a hon and Immediately rushing to the scene he turned the
Turkish forces in flight and thereby saved the king ~d all the troops
of Jerusalem. Mter this the infidel army encamped on one side of the
mountain situated between Tiberias and Jericho, while the Frankish
~rmy encamped on the other side. The two sides no longer engaged
m com~at WIth one another. So, after waiting around for a few days,
Maudud returned to Damascus, while the Frankish forces went back
to their respective cities. 2

lordship the Armenian patriarch Barsegh died, his death occurring


through a mishap caused by an evil force. For on a certain day he
was on the terrace of his home in the village of Vardaheri-an
obscure place located near the confines of Behesni, praying with his
disciples, priests, and bishops, when suddenly the house collapsed.
No one was harmed except his lordship Barsegh, who hit his spine
against a wall of the house and broke it. He lived for three days.l In
the meantime Barsegh had himself taken to his monastery called
Shughri2 and, while still alive, handed over the patriarchal see
together with the patriarchal veil to his lordship Gregory, the son of
Apirat, who was the son of his lordship Vahram's sister. So his
lordship Barsegh died and was solemnly buried in Shughri, having
been placed in his tomb with the honor due a patriarch.

63. Now, when the emir Maudud entered Damascus he resolved


to do. away with the emir of the city, Tughtigin, l and to t~e the place
for hIDlself.. However, Tughtigin was informed of this perfidious plan.
So the emIr ~f Damascus brought out of imprisonment a certain
man-a PerSIan condemned to die; Tughtigin promised this man
freedo~ an~ ~onor~ble treatment if he would kill Maudud, at the
same tIme gIvmg hIm five hundred dahekans. Now when Maudiid
Ieft the mosque where h
.
'.
. the
.
e was praYIng
and was standmg
m
portICO nea; the Red Column,2 the Persian approached him and
s':ldl.dentlhY WI~hkout warning plunged a knife into the emir's left side
ki mg e WIC ed d '1 b
- The assassin, in turn, was'
.
an eVl east Maudud.
s
~ercllessly slaughtered on the spot. Mter all this, Maudud's forces
dIsbanded and returned to their country.

66. In the year 563 of the Armenian era [1114-1115] the Persian
sultan Tap'ar the son of Malik-Shah, collected troops and appointed
as command~r over them the great emir al-Bursuki,l Taking with
him the sultan's son2, who was a mere boy, this emir marched forth
with a countless number of troops and came against the city of
Edessa. On Friday the 24th of the month of Sahmi, al-Bursukl
arrived at the gates of the city. Mter he had subjected Edessa to a
heavy siege for thirty days, the emir then departed and reached the
Euphrates River, ravaging all the districts along its banks. Then he
came against the town of Bira, located on the banks of the Euphr~tes
River. All the Frankish troops on the other side of the river umted
together but did not dare cross over and engage in combat [with the
infidels]. So al-Bursuki returned to Edessa and from there went.to4
the Muslim town of Nisibis. Mter this the emirs Il-Ghazfl and Bahk
united their troops and in a fonnidable battle defeated al-Bursuki,

64. In this same year, on the fifth day of the month of Tre, his

65. In this same year his lordship Gregory/ the son of Apirat, who
was of the lineage of Gregory Magistros, the son of Vasak Pahlawuni,
occupied the Armenian patriarchal see. For after the death of his
lordship Barsegh an assembly of bishops and abbots took place in
Karmir-Vank', situated in the territory of Kesoun, and through the
will of the Holy Spirit his lordship Gregory was consecrated as bishop
over the whole Armenian nation. At the same time he was made
catholicos and installed on the see of Saint Gregory. Gregory
occupied the patriarchal see while he was still very young, for his
beard had not as yet begun to grow; moreover, he was of tall stature,
handsome looking, and of very humble nature.

216

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

putting him to flight and taking prisoner the sultan's son,5 whom they
later freed,6
67, In this same year the divine-rebuking wrath of God fell upon
all living creatures, The Lord in all his omnipotence and wrathfulness looked down upon those whom he had created, for the sons of
man had all strayed from the path of righteousness, according to the
words of the prophet who said: "In these times there will be no
prince, prophet, or leader who will practice goodness, no not even
one,"l In like manner everyone delighted in the wicked path of sin
and ,scorned all the precepts and laws of God; for none of the princes,
soldIers, men of the people, leaders, priests, and monks stood fast in
truly carrying out God's work, but rather sought after the fulfillment
of fleshly and worldly desires, God considered all this the highest
degree ?f sil~ulness, Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet,
who saId: Lo, he looked at the earth and caused it to tremble,tll!
Now, since God wrathfully looked askance at his creation, all living
creatures gave up hope and succumbed to the terror of the Lord's
might" In accordance with this, on Sunday the 12th of the month of
Maren, the day of the Feast of the Discovery of the Cross, a frightful
phenomenon occurred on the earth; moreover, we have never heard
of such a wra~hful event having happened in the past or in the
present, or havmg been mentioned in Scripture, Now, while we were
m a deep sleep, a horrible, crackling, and reverberating sound was
heard, ~nd all of creation resounded from the noise, A severe
cO,ncusslOn w~s felt, and the plains and mountains shook with a
fnghtful, echomg sound, while tremendous rocks were cleft and hills
were spht open,

Bec~use of the intensity of this frightful calamity, the mountains


and. hIlls re~ounded, just like live animals who, when they are
ternfidled, shnlly cry out; this resounding noise hit the ears like the
soun of. a, large throng'm a camp. IntIs
h' way, hke
, a churned-up
s~~h a~ hv~ng creatures quaked and trembled from fear of the might
0
e, or God; for all the plains and mountains resounded like the
c1angmg of bronze shako
d'
.
h wm
' dThe
' cri mg an
by a hIg
d movmg to and .fro hke trees. struck
. t'
.
es an groans of people Issued forth like the
pI am
Ive moans of pe
.k
throu h fi
r~ons SIC or a very long time, forcing them
land g ear to seek theIr own destruction. Like a fugitive the whole
conde:;e~e~~c;i~ to :espair and ,tr~mbled with fear and, like one
], g ve forth plamtIve and tearful cries' moreover
'
these nOIses
were heard
~.c
"
even ruter the trembling ended, for about an

PART

III

217

hour during the night. Now, out of fear of the noises concomitant
with this calamity, everyone despaired of their lives, saying: liThe
final day, the day of judgment, has arrived." Indeed the day of this
calamity was a true mirror of that last day of judgment; for it
happened to be Sunday and the day on which the heavy and somber
tone of the Armenian chant was used,S besides which the moon was
in its last phase. Thus all the signs pointing to the last day were in
evidence at this time.
In consequence of all this, those who already were plunged into the
depths of despair now became horror-struck and frozen with fear as
if they had just died. Now during this night many towns and
districts were destroyed. However, all the areas destroyed were those
of the Franks, while no harm or destruction came to other regions or
peoples. 4 So on this night Samosata, ~Ii13n-Man~l1r, Kesoun, and
Raban were destroyed. On the other hand, Marash was destroyed in
such a frightful manner that as many as forty thousand persons died;
it was a populous city and yet not one person survived. The same
thing happened to the town of Mamistra,5 where a countl~ss number
of men and women perished. Moreover, many other VIllages and
monasteries were destroyed, and thousands upon thousands of men,
women, and children perished. An incident occurred in the Basilian
Monastertlocated in the renowned Black Mountains, where th~ holy
monks and Armenian vardapets had gathered for the consecration of
a new church building; in the midst of the divine service the c~urch
collapsed on them, and thirty monks and two vardapets pe:Ished
beneath the ruins, their bodies remaining in the rubble to thIS day.
A similar mishap occurred near Marash in the great Monastery of the
Jesuits, 7 where the monastery was destroyed and all the monks
perished. Now, when the tremors had ceased, snow began to fall and
cover the entire land. The Armenian vardapet Gregory, surnamed
Mashkewor perished in the same place. Thus in this way many
mishaps and frightful calamities befell the Christian faithful. All of
these things happened because of their sins, for each. of ~hem
abandoned the true path of the precepts of God and enthUSIastically
embraced the erroneous way; so they separated themsel,ves from ~he
precepts of the holy books and became involved in foolIsh pursUlt~.
As in the days of Noah they ate and drank. until the time ~f t~eI~
destruction, an end which they well deserved becau~e of theIr. sms,
these persons continued giving themselves to memme~t .u~tI~ ~he
wrath of the Lord God fell upon them and obliterated theIr ImqUlhes,
for they had committed outrageous crimes.

218

''

,j df '
:'

219

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART III

68. In this same year the holy Armenian vardapet George,


surnamed Meghrik, who was an eminent man and an admirable
monk, died. He devoted most of his life-namely fifty years-to the
monastic discipline and passed away at the age of seventy. In his
abstemious and austere conduct and in his use of dry foods,l his
discipline and piety were very much like that of the saints of old.
Moreover, every Sunday during his lifetime was spent in prayer.
This vardapet was from Armenia, from a large village called Analiwr,
which is located in the province of Vaspurakan. Having dedicated
himself to the monastic life since childhood, he gained wide renown
[for his piety] and achieved a high state of perfection, becoming an
example for many Christians and a father confessor to all the
Armenians; moreover, he recalled people to the enlightened path and
presented all of them-regenerated through the act of repentance-for adoption by the heavenly Father. So, having sincerely
confessed his sins, this vardapet passed away in harmony with Jesus
Christ and was buried in the territory of Anazarba, in the great
Monastery of Drazark,2 which had been restored by the illustrious
Armenian prince T'oros.

joining one another in the territory of Shaizar. At the same time the
great Persian emir ll-Ghazl, who was the son of Artuk., arrived in the
Frankish camp; he came to Roger with many troops because he was
a rabid enemy of al-Bursuki. The emir of Damascus, Tughtigin, also
came and joined the Franks. Il-Ghazi and Tughtigin made peace
and formed an alliance with one another, taking a very solemn oath
[as guarantee of their sincerity]. In the same manner the emir of
Alepp02 joined the Franks. Now the infidel army and the Frankish
army confronted one another for four months, without the Turkish
forces daring to give battle. Mter this al-Bursuki feigned a retreat
from the Frankish forces. When the Franks learned that al-Bursuki
had withdrawn, the king of Jerusalem, the count of Tripoli, Il-Ghazl,
Tughtigin, and the emir of Aleppo turned around and went back to
their respective territories. When al-Bursuki learned of the
departure of the Frankish army, he turned back against Antioch,
intent on ravaging the territories of this city. When the count of
Edessa heard this in Antioch, he returned to Edessa and, taking with
him Roger and seven hundred horsemen, caught up with al~Bursukl
in the territory of Aleppo. Finding the emir unprepared for combat,
the count attacked him. The Franks victoriously defeated the Turks
and put them to flight. Moreover, the Franks took prisoner eminent
officers, seized many men and much booty, and even pillaged the
enemy camp. Those remnants of the Turkish army which had escaped
departed in humiliation.

69. In the year 564 of the Armenian era [1115-1116] a frightful


and marvelous phenomenon occurred in the Muslim town of Amida.
Now, because there was an increase of evil wickedness and abomi.
na~le c~mesl among their people, fire from heaven suddenly fell upon
theIr chIef mosque during the night. This fire was of such intensity
and flared up with such dynamism that it voraciously consumed the
st?ne walls as if they were made of wood. All the men of the town
tned to put it out, but were unable to handle this unextinguishable
fire; on the contrary, the flames of the fire heightened and reached
the sky, t?us. burning and completely destroying this house of
pra~er-thIS vIle place of worship. All this occurred in the town of
Amlda, which the Armenian king Tigran had built.
70. I~ this same year the Persian general, the emir al-Bursuki,l
once agam collected troops and, marching forth arrived at the gates
of Ehdessa. ~ter staying there for a few days' he crossed over the
E up rates RlVer and w t t t h '
'
. on from
Passmg
there h
en 0 e CIty of Aleppo.
. t
e captured the Muslim fortress-town of Shaizar and was
: ~~atO; atta~~~g en Bashir and the entire territory of Antioch.
The kin;m:;
e ranks gathered in Antioch around Count Roger.
o erusalem and the count of Edessa Baldwin also came,

71. In this same year the count of Edessa Baldwin made war on
the Armenian prince [the younger] Vasil, the one who was the
successor to Kogh Vasil.

72. In this period Baldwin went against the impregnable fortresstown of Raban with his troops. He besieged Raban for a number of
days, but was unable to accomplish anything, even though he had set
up a very tight blockade around the place.
73. At this time [the younger] Vasil went to the great Armenian
prince Leon, who was the son of Constantine, the son ?f ~~ben, and
the brother of T'oros and took Leon's daughter as hIS WIfe. Then
Leon's brother T'oros ~ummoned the younger Vasil and, treacherously
seizing him, took him to the count of Edessa B~ldwin. Baldwin, in
turn, subjected this brave man and mighty warnor t? severe tortu~es
and forcibly seized all his territories, thus effectIvely destroymg

220

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Armenian sovereignty in those areas. Mter this Vasil went to his


father-in-law Leon and from there to Constantinople, where he and
his troops were received by the Roman emperor with great honor.
74. In the year 566 of the Armenian era [1117-1118] Baldwin, the
count of Edessa, and Galeran, the count of Saruj, collected troops and
marched against the Armenian prince whose name was Ablgharib1
and who was the brother of Likos and the son of Vasak. These two
brothers were valiant men and warriors who had taken prisoner the
bishop2-the former lord of Tell Bashir-and who through their
bravery had captured many places from the Persians. By sheer force
of arms they seized the town of Bira and made it their residence; they
were courageous and renowned warriors and had one thousand
soldiers under their command. Now, whe~ Count Baldwin saw the
territory which they controlled, he became very envious and was
unable to conceal his malicious jealousy. So he collected troops and
marched .against Bira, harboring more hatred against the Christians
than ag~m.st the Turks .. For one year he held the Armenian prince
Ablghanb m a state of SIege and subjected him to all types of severe
harass~ents. Mter a while Ablgharib became hard-pressed because
of the tIght and dangerous situation in which he found himself and
s~ handed over Bira and the whole territory to Baldwin, while he
hImself went to the Armenian prince T'oros the son of Ruben in
Ana.zarba. The count, in turn, turned ove~ Bira and the whole
terntory to the Frankish chief Galeran. In the same way he
~adually and successively overthrew the Armenian princes dealing
wIth them more harshly than with the Persians. More~ver, he
hdar~sse~ those Armenian princes who were still free from the
ommatlOn of the er'
'
OClOUS Turk s, andWith
unheard of cruelty
compelled all of them t
. t'l
.
. ,
'"
0 go In 0 eXI e. BaldwIn destroyed Kogh
ia~~
pnncIpa~lty and forced all the nobles attached to his service
o
e.
refug~ III Constantinople. He caused the ruin of another
Armeman
prIce named B
t
b
agra -a rave man who resided in
Ravenda
t f: f
killed theni: f ~ rom gyrrhus~-by pillaging his territories. He
a horrible ~ea~ . ~~ar . onstantIne who, imprisoned in chains, died
quake h' b dIlle cItadel of Samosata. During a night earthhaving ;:ent:r was Jound on the banks of the Euphrates River,
been fixed to a ~:::m Own f r~m ab?ve; moreover, in prison he had
and
FollOwing the same oli
~th t~lS was cast down and so died.4
Prince of Princes ~ cyas aldWIn, Bohemond had driven out the
w 0 governed the city of Marash for the Romans.

PART

III

221

This prince and a number of other eminent leaders died in prison,


either in chains or by torture. Many had their eyes taken out, their
hands severed, their noses cut, their testicles sliced off, or died tied
to a cross; even innocent children were treated harshly out of hatred
for their parents. These innumerable and unspeakable tortures had
only one aim and purpose--to seize the treasures [the Armenians possessed]; it was for this reason that the Franks devastated and ruined
the land through such iniquitous cruelties. They were continually
occupied with such pursuits as these and did nothing but think up
malicious and spiteful things; moreover, they had a love for perfidious
and evil ways, having no regard for good and kindly actions. We
would like to write [further] about their many malicious deeds, but
dare not, since we are under their authority [and power].
75. In the year 567 [1118-1119] Baldwin ofLe Bourg, the count of
Edessa, went on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem. Now
during the Lenten season Baldwin, the king of Jerusalem and the
brother of Godfrey, collected troops and marched in the direction of
Egypt, intending to bring its barbarian population to submission.
Finding that all of its inhabitants had fled, he turned back towards
the holy city of Jerusalem. While on route he fell sick and died. 1
While he was still alive, he gave the following command, saying:
"Send to Edessa and get Count Baldwin and set him up as regent of
Jerusalem until my brothe~ arrives from the Franks, in which case
make him your king." After this the king was brought to Jerusalem
in a casket, and this benevolent, pious, and humble man was buried
at Golgotha. Now, when the dead king's men found Baldwin in
Jerusalem, they were very surprised and also quite happy, believing
that he was called there by God. So, in accordance with the dead
king's wishes, they conferred the regency of Jerusalem upon Baldwin .
However, he refused, for he sought after the royal throne itself. He
promised to wait a year but stipulated that, if the dead king's brother
failed to come within that time, the crown would be his. All the
Franks agreed to his conditions. So on Palm Sunday the count of
Edessa was taken to the Temple of Solomon and installed on the
throne of the Kingdom of J erusalem;3 moreover, at the end of the year
the crown was placed on his head. 4 This Baldwin was one of the more
illustrious members of the Frankish nobility: a valiant man and a
warrior, exemplary in conduct, an enemy of sin, and by natu~e
humble and modest; however, these good qualities were offset by hIS
ingenious avariciousness in seizing and accumulating the wealth of

222

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART III

others, his insatiable love for money, and his deep lack of generosity;
as for the rest, he was very orthodox in his faith, and his ethical
conduct and basic character were quite solid. 5 So here we have two
kings who came from Edessa and who both were named Baldwin.

gave the order to his troops, who were in the camp, to regroup around
him; the Armenian troops obeyed, coming to the side of this brave
soldier of Christ, while he, in turn, exhorted them one by one. The
next day the infidel forces attacked the Franks, and the Armenian
prince led his troops into battle against the Muslims; having given
them the signal to attack, his men fell upon the infidels. At this
point Leon vehemently roared like a lion and shattered the enemy
with his troops, turning them in flight; sword in hand he pursued
them to the gates of the town, slaughtering them and taking [many
prisoners]. Mter this the infidels did not dare to make a sortie out
of the town. So the Armenian prince acquired a reputation for
bravery on that day, and [his name] was highly praised among the
Franks. Moreover, from that day on Roger took a liking to the
Armenian troops. Thus by such a siege as this Roger harassed the
fortress-town of 'Azaz and finally forced it to submit without
bloodshed. He showed clemency to all and allowed the inhabitants
to depart in peace. Now at this time a deep conflict developed
between the emir Il-Ghazl and Roger; the two had formerly been
very intimate friends, but now were enemies, because both Aleppo
and 'Aziiz belonged to the Turkish emir Il-Ghazi, the son of Artuk.
So Il-Ghiizl fulminated with rage [over this matter].

76. In this same year the Persian sultan Tap'ar, who was the son
of Malik-Shah and a vicious-minded person, died. 1 Now at the time
of his death he did a very horrible and unheard-of thing. When he
was about to die, thinking of his sons, he sent for and summoned his
wife Gohar Khat'un,2the daughter of the emir Isma'll; unbeknown to
his troops he had her killed in his presence, so that she would not
remarry and force his sons from the throne and take away their
3
inheritance. The sultan was descended from an illustrious family
and had a great number of troops under his command. Moreover.
from all the nations he had gathered together four hundred beautiful
mai~ens, who sat at his feet adorned with the most splendid finery:
preCIOUS stones. and pearls set in Arabian gold, diadems on their
head~, a~d theIr tresses decorated with gold; so they were quite
dazzlIng In all their splendid and colorful finery in the presence of the
sultan. Now Tap'ar had his chief queen killed before his eyes, so that
~he would. not marry his brother\ who reigned as sultan over the
mner terntories of Persia, in the towns of U zgand and Ghazni-a
three months' march5 from Isfahan. 6 Mter this Tap'ar placed his
7
eldest son Mahmiid on the royal throne and handed over to him all
of Per~ia. .His younger son MalikB he installed as sultan of the
Armeman CIty of Gandzak, giving him the whole East. Tap'ar had
two other sons, but not by Gohar Khat'un.

f~' ~n this same year the Persian caliph,lwho occupied the throne

u. ammad in the city of Baghdad, died.

78. In this same year th


tF
.
the city of Ant' h
e grea ranklsh count Roger, the lord of
rt
IOC ,collected troops and marched against the Muslim
~ restsh-town of 'Azaz, located near Aleppo. The Armenian prince
eon, e son of Constant
h
count with hiS t
me, w 0 :was ~he son of Ruben, joined the
dels Ro
b ~oops and marched m thIS expedition against the infi.
.
ger eSleged 'Az- tho
from bringing re'
az or. Irty days, preventing the garrison
over the siege toI~hor=ent.s. After this the Frankish count turned
to him' "T
e
eman forces, summoning Leon and saying
the .kmen~morrtow you shall march into combat and put the valor of
h
Ian roops to the test" Th
.
en t e great Armenian prince

223

79. At the beginning of the year 568 of the Armenian era [11191120] the emir Il-Ghazl, the son of Artuk, collected a tremendous
army, for, since he was regarded as the supreme commander. of the
Turkish forces 1 because of his nationality, the Turks heeded hIS call.
So in this year Il-Ghazl marched against Roger, the count of Antio?h,
at the head of a formidable army, coming against the Franks WIth
eighty thousand men. With this army the emir arrived ~t the ga~es
of the city of Edessa. He remained there for four days WIthout bemg
able to do any harm to the city. Then he crossed over the Euphrates
River and marching forth like a galloping horse out of breath,
ravaged rr:any places because all the areas occupied by. the ~ranks
were left unfortified. The emir seized fortresses, farmmg VIllages,
and monasteries and also slaughtered everyone, including old people
and children. Mter this he came to Buzii'ab2 and encamped there.
Now, since the count of Antioch Roger was an arrogant and prideful
man, having full confidence in his stren~h? he neg~ected to take any
precautions [for defense]. Moreover, bnngmg t? mmd the gre~tness
of his people, he was contemptuous of the TurkIsh fo~ces; so Wlt~out
taking any precautionary measures, without gathenng a suffiCIent

224

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

number of troops around him, or without even summoning other


Franks to his aid, the count of Antioch carelessly went into battle
against the Turks with [only] six hundred Frankish horsemen. Roger
also had under him five hundred Armenian horsemen, four hundred
infantry, and a rabble of about ten thousand [hastily recruitedJ men.
In contrast to this, the Turkish forces prepared themselves in every
possible way and even set up ambushes in a number of places. All
this took place within the confines of the fortress-town of al-Atharib,
where both sides fought a frightful and violent battle. At this time,
because of the innumerable amount of Persian forces, all the Christian troops were enveloped by them and were unable to find a means
of escape. So all the Christian faithful were massacred by the edge
of the sword. Moreover, the great Frankish count Roger was killed,
together with his troops, and very few escaped [the carnageJ. Then
the Turks ravaged all the country from the Euphrates River to the
Mediterranean Sea, bringing bloodshed and enslavement to all the
districts [which they had invaded], while the whole Frankish army
was practically
annihilated. All this occurred on the sixth month of
3
K'aghots', on the Saturday of the barekendan of Vardavar. Mter this
the king of Jerusalem Baldwin arrived in the city of Antioch on the
Sunday of Vardavar. He collected the remnants of the Frankish
forces and marched against the Turks; this occurred on the 25th of
the mon~h of Arats',4 that is the 16th of August. The two armies
enga~ed m battle at the same place as before, and a great number of
T~rkIsh fo: ces were slaughtered, after which both sides turned in
flIght: NeIther side was defeated or was victorious, for both had
sustamed heavy losses. On this day the infidels lost five thousand
~en, not only by the sword but also through suffocation from the
mtense heat. Mter this Il-Ghazl returned to his country having
been shattered by the king of the Franks. All the Frankish forces, in
t?-rn, returned to their country, and King Baldwin went back to his
CIty of Jerusalem.
80
. In this same year the Roman emperor Alexius died 1 He was
b
a enevolent and wis
'h'
.
towards the Ch . t' ef:~~mIg ty m war, and very compassionate
' ns ~an alt I; however, he had a profound hatred for
the Armeman
, whIch
. was

d nahon ' Now th'IS emperor d'Id somethmg


no t m accor ance with th 'II f G d
to be perfor ed
e WI 0 o. He ordered second baptisms
Nicaea conc: . and t~us disparaged the canons of the Council of
'
hrmngl baptIsm, while adhering to the faith of Chalcedon
So AleXlUS
s arne essly had all th Arm '
.
e
emans rebaptized, having no

PART

III

225

fear of the Holy Spirit who had [originally] established the sacrament
of holy baptism; nor did he bring to mind the precept of the holy
apostle Paul, who said: "Those of you who are once baptized in
Christ are part of Christ" and "He who baptizes one who is already
baptized repeats the crucifixion of the Son of God and by that
commits a mortal sin."2 So Alexius died in this year, and his son
JohnS Porphyrogenitus4 occupied the imperial throne. John was a
valiant man and a warrior and had a humble and kind nature. He
was sympathetic to the Armenians and so abolished the rigorou.s
ruling on invalid rebaptism; for by this ruling his father had substItuted the [true] spiritual baptism with something imperfect. 5
81. In this same year the king of Jerusalem Baldwin gave Edessa
and Tell Bashir to Count Joscelin and sent him back to the former
city. For at the time of Tancred's death the kingl had drive~ him
from his home and lands, seizing and occupying them unjustly.
Moreover he had imprisoned this brave and mighty man, reducing
him to a' state of hunger in prison. Then the king had forcibly
expelled J oscelin, as if he were a criminal, and compelled him to go
and serve in alien lands. After this the former king of Jerusalem had
called him back and received him with great honor, giving Joscelin
the town of Tiberias and making him lord of that territory. Th~re
Joscelin had victoriously resisted the enemies of the cross of,Chnst.
Now when Baldwin died and Baldwin ofLe Bourg became kmg, the
latte~ sent Joscelin back to Edessa and set him up as a barrier
against the Persian attacks; for Joscelin was a valiant ~an an~ a
mighty warrior and renowned among all the Franks, beSIdes whI.ch
all the Persians trembled with fear because of his courage. Joscehn,
abandoning his former cruel nature, now adopted a very humane and
compassionate attitude towards the inhabitants of Edess,a: ,As for
Baldwin, he ruled over Antioch, the whole country of CIllcla, and
Jerusalem and its territories extending to the borders of Egypt.
82. At the beginning of the year 569 of the Armenian era ~l1~O1121] once again the emir Il-Ghazl collected troops and, eqUlp~mg
an anny of one hundred and thirty-three thousand men, went agamst
the Franks. Quickly he arrived before the gates of the ~ity ~f Edessa,
and the surrounding plain was completely covered With hIS troops.
Remaining for four days, the emir ravaged the whole count!~slde
with his troops and then departed and went to the town of SaruJ. He
secretly transported the gteater part of his army over the Euphrates

226

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART III

River and led into captivity all the men and women from Tell Bashir
right up to Kesoun. Moreover, he inexorably massacred everyone and
even had a tremendous number of children roasted over fires. When
n-Ghaz~ recrossed the Euphrates with his army, the populations of
ma~y vIllages were put to the sword, and both priests and monks
penshed by fire and the sword. At this time Count Joscelin was in
the confines of the fortress-town of Raban. Rushing to Kesoun and
Behesni, he collected troops there and at the break of day pursued
the Turks. [Ove:taking them], he fell upon them and slaughtered one
thousand of theIr men. Then the emir I1-Ghazi withdrew with his
f~rces and encamped in the neighborhood of 'Azaz. At this point the
~ng of Jerus:uem together with all the Frankish forces reached 'Azz
l~ order to gIve battle to the Turks. Joscelin came to Antioch with
hIS tro.ops and then went and joined the king. Now the Turkish and
Frllllk.lsh ~orces stood opposite one another for many days without
engagmg m combat. Finally TI-Ghazi turned back with his troops
and w.ent ~o that district in the territory of Melitene called Karmian.
T?e ~mg, m turn, returned to Jerusalem, and Joscelin went back to
hIS city of Edessa.

vainglorious man, Il-Ghazi ordered an immense army formed from


all the Turks, from the country of the Greeks up to the East and
including all Karmian. The number of his forces came to one
hundred and fifty thousand. [Beside these men] he sent to the south,
to the Arab3 lands, calling to his side the Arab ruler Sadaqah, the
son of Dubais;4 Sadaqah came to him at the head of ten thousand
troops. This Arab ruler was a brave man and a warrior and had
sacked the city of Baghdad; moreover, he had successfully fought
three combats with the Persian sultan Tap'ar. Sadaqah was a heretic5 by origin and thus a blasphemer of Mupammad and his religion.6
Previously he had pitched his tents in Ethiopia and in India, but at
this time had come to marry the daughter of the Persian emir IlGhazi. So in this year ll-Ghazi marched forth at the head of a
tremendous number of troops and reached the territory of Gandzak
in order to invade Georgia.

83. The follOwing event occurred in the year 5701 of the Armenian
era [1121-1122]. There was a certain emir named Ghazi from the
country of G d ak h
'
,
vile th' f H~n z ,'w 0 was a bloodthirsty man and a shameless,
f' ~. dis terntory touched the borders of Georgia, and he was
~h~:~ an, vassal of the Georgian king David. 2 Now in this year
T k' ~o~ce1Ved of a very malicious plan. Taking thirty thousand
P:i~~ o/~~P~h:~,~nt~red T~eorgia and led away into captivity a
own territo
I an s.
~n h7 returned and encamped in his
his t
ryh' When the Georgian kmg David learned of this he sent
roops, w 0 secretly ov t k th T k
'
The Georgians sl ht er 00
e ur s and fell upon their forces.
captive all of th ~ug ered thirty thousand of their men and took
Carrying them o:~ w~men" children, and countless flocks of sheep,
booty, Mter this t~os:o~ft~ to~eth~r with an immense quantity of
severe slaughter tore th' e urklsh forces who had escaped the
Dressed in black and wit~rt~a~ents and threw dirt on their heads.
~heir sultan in the city of Ga::.~: eads ba:e they went lamenting to
m tears bewailed th'
' ak-to MalIk, the son of Tap'ar-and
elr mlS ortune' h'
hand, others went to the A b t . m IS presence, On the other
GhZI, son of Artuk. and ra erntory of Karmian, to the emir 11which had befallen them' p~of,us ely weeping, related the misfortune
. emg a powerful and at the same time a

?,

227

84. At the same time Malik, the sultan of Gandzak, came [and
joined ll-GhazI] with four hundred thousand brave horsemen, and
[both armies] marched forth with a formidable number of troops and
entered Georgia from the area in which Tiflis is located, by way of the
mountain of Dekor.1 When the Georgian king David, the son of
Bagrat, who was the son of George, learned of this, he advanced to
battle against the Turkish forces with forty thousand hardy and
brave men skilled in arms. Moreover, David also had under him
ftfteen thousand select brave men from the ruler of the Kipchaks, five
hundred from the Albanians, and one hundred Franks. Now on the
13th of August, the Thursday of the week of fasting before the Feast
of the Assumption, a violent battle was fought between two mountains a battle so severe that the mountains resounded from the
frightful clashing of troops. At this point God came to the aid of the
Georgians, and after regrouping their forces, ~hey turned all the
Turks in flight. On that day a horrible and fnghtful s.laughter of
Turkish troops took place, and the rivers were filled ~th corpses,
while the mountain valleys and heights were covered WIth the same.
The amount of Turks slaughtered came to four hundred thousand.
Thirty thousand men were taken prisoner, and the dead horses ~nd
weapons of those fallen in battle covered the su:,ace of the plams.
Moreover, for eight days the Kipchak and Georgta~ troops purs~ed
the Turks right up to the confines of the city of Am. So the PerSIan
sultan Malik and ll-Ghazi returned humiliated to their country,
barely escaping with their lives and with only one hundred men

228

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

remaining out of every thousand. 2


Ii

85. In this same year the Georgian king David captured Tiflis
from the Persians, slaughtering a goodly number of the city's
inhabitants. Moreover, he impaled five hundred men, who subsequently died from this horrible torture.
86. In this same year, during the month of August, fire fell from
heaven and burned the principal mosque in Baghdad. This mosque
had been erected by the Persian sultan Tughrul, the brother of Alp
Ar~lan, who built it on a grand and magnificent scale. Now, when he
gamed control of Persia, he warred against the Persians for twenty
years, finally bringing them to submission and ruling over their
whole land. Mter this he came to the city of Baghdad and ordered a
hous~ of prayer erected there for the Turks, so that they would avoid
entermg the house of prayer of the Arabs. So in this year fire
descended upon and burned the Turkish mosque-their abominable
house of worship.
87. In the year 571 of the Armenian era [1122-1123] the Persian
general Il~Ghazi collected troops and marched against the Frankish
forces. FIrst he descended upon Aleppo and from there went and
encamped in the Muslim town of Shaizar. Baldwin the king of
Jerusalem, came and was joined by the count of Edessa Joscelin then
both marched forth and encamped opposite the Turkish forces.
Ho.w~ver, t~o~ghout the summer neither side engaged in battle, but
qUIet y mamt.amed their respective positions. In the month of Septembe: both sId~s wi~~drew without engaging in combat and returned
t~ theI~ resp~ctIve CItIes. The emir Il-Ghazl entered Aleppo, while
t. e emIr Bah~, who was Il-Ghazi's sister's sonl and a brave and
~oro~s wa:nor, secretly went back to his territory of Handzit'.
2
one e~ oscehn and Galeran heard of this, they pursued Balik with
Edess~nt~e: ~orsemen and caught up with him in the territory of
hundr h V111ag~ called Tap't'il. Balik was encamped with eight
was s:rro~~~:~~n m a spot through which a river flowed and which
y mars~y gr0'7 nd and thus was in a very fortified
position The
Turks but werFerankbs , btemg mmdless and foolhardy, attacked the
Th B .
,
una le 0 cross the m h
en ahk took
the offensive against the Fr k . a.rs y area.
horses with arrows and
a~ s WIth hIS troops, wounding all their
two Frankish counts J pur;.umg dthem. The Turks took prisoner the
, osee m an Galeran, and slaughtered all the

PART

III

229

other Franks. Joscelin and Galeran were taken to Kharberd in


chains and there thrown in prison, while twenty-five of their
comrades were taken to Balu. 3 Thus great sorrow fell upon all the
Christian faithful, and they were all horror-struck and in a state of
fear and trembling. Now all this occurred on the 13th of September.
88. In this period the great emir Il-Ghazi, the son of Artuk, died,
handing over all his territories to his sister's son, the emir Balik;
moreover, he entrusted his household and his sons, Sulaiman and
Timurtash, to Balik's care. Il-Ghazi's body was carried on a litter
from Aleppo to Harran and from there was taken and buried in his
town of Maiyafariqin. Thus the emir Balik came to rule over a large
number of territories.
89. In the year 572 of the Armenian era [1123-1124] the king of
Jerusalem Baldwin collected troops in order to make war on the emir
Balik and avenge the two Frankish chiefs, Joscelin and Galeran, who
had been thrown in prison [by him]. The king reached the fortresstown of Raban with all his forces, while Balik was already in the
confines of its territory, pillaging and taking captives. Neither army
was aware of the presence of the other. The king came with a small
detachment of troops to the bridge of Shnje and crossed the river over
this bridge, intending to encamp in a place called Shenchrig.l At that
time Balik, together with all his troops, was concealed in ambush
nearby. Now, when the king's tent was pitched, he wished to go
hunting with a falcon. At that moment Balik unexpectedly attacked
the king and all his forces, slaughtering many mighty men and
taking Baldwin prisoner together with his sister's son. All this
occurred in the month of Hori} four days after Holy Easter. Balik
brought the king to the gates of Gargar, and Baldwin handed over
the town to the emir.. Then the king and his sister's son were taken
to Kharberd, where they were put in chains and thrown into a deep
3
dungeon in which Joscelin and Galeran were imprisoned.
90. In this same year, five months later, an amazing event
occurred which later turned out to be a disastrous misfortune.
Fifteen ~en got together and went forth from the impre?nab~e
fortress of Behesni, having planned a very courageous feat; 10 t~IS
way they were to accomplish a deed to be remembered forever: Gomg
to the district of Handzit', these men closely observed the Impregnable fortress of Kharberd, where the Frankish king Joscelin and

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART III

Galeran were imprisoned. Seeing that the fortress guards were few
and negligent, they approached its gates, looking wretched and
feigning the appearance of quarreling plaintiffs. They were able to
get someone inside the fortress to work with them and so, after a
short while, succeeded in penetrating the stronghold. They courageously made their way to .the prison, killed those guarding the gates,
and shut them. Then wIth loud cries they reached the dungeon 1
where the king, Joscelin, Galeran, and the other [Frankish] chiefs
were imprisoned, and very joyfully freed them. They also set free
many soldiers and a number of men and women. Moreover some of
the inhabitants of the area entered the prison in order to ~id in the
escape of the king, Joscelin, and the other prisoners. So the king and
all ~h~ pris~ners we~t out, seized the fortress, and gained control of
BalIk s entire domam. Now, when the infidel forces who were
statioz:ed in the territory learned of this, they fled to another region.
O~e mght. on an early Wednesday morning Joscelin secretly departed
WIt~ an. mfantry escort and went to Kesoun and from there to
AntIOch,. m order to col~ect troops and come to the aid of the king and
other pnsoners. At thIS time the commander of the Frankish forces
was. G?offrey,2. who was a brave and mighty man and a most fervent
ChrIstian. !hIS m~ wi~h insuperable energy and effort protected all
the FrankIsh terrItorIes-comprising Jerusalem, Antioch, and
Edessa-fro~ t~e Turks, courageously defending them with all the
;ea:shat h~s dIS~OSa1. Now, while all this was happening, the
le~r IS emIr Balik was in the city of Aleppo.3 When the emir
. rned that.~arberd had been taken by stratagem, rushing forth
:~~h ~he rapIdity. of ~n eagle, he reached the fortress in fIfteen days
. .V1gorousl~ laId SIege to it. By setting up a catapult and ordering
~mm~ 0faera~or::' Balik was able to demolish the tower of the great
:~~ngoi~t ~ t us strike .terror into the hearts of the defenders. At
p
. ount Galeran m great fear went to Bal'k d d I'
d
., h
1 an
e Ivere
Kharberd mto th
'
e
emIr
sands.
On
this
day
Balik
slaughtered
all
the pnsoners who numbe d b t .
beautiful wo~ .
re a ou sIxty-five persons, plus eighty
en,
~hey
were
down from the summit of the
ortress. 0 nce agaIn the . allfi hurled
11 f
the king's nephew' ~~Ir, u 0 rage, put the king, Galeran, and
m
meantime JoscelI'n w c a~ns and threw them in prison. In the
when both he and G asffrcommg to th'
elr aJ.'d WI'th his troops. However,
deeply dismayed an~~ ey!earned of the new situation, they became
their respective territ~r: !~~lk full o~ sorrow. So they return~d to
nephew remained I'n . '4 e the kmg, Galeran, and the kmg's
pnson.

91. In this same year fighting broke out among birds in the region
of Melitene. Storks, cranes, and bustards gathered together and
fought one another. [In the end] the cranes vanquished the storks
and exterminated them, and so it was the former [only] that
remained.

230

231

92. In this same year the great Armenian philosopher, the


vardapet Paul, died. He was a brilliant man and one knowledgeable
in the Old and New Testaments, besides which he had attained the
perfection of the doctors of old. He shone forth as the second enlightener of the Armenian nation, being a diamond-like rock against the
heretics and a champion of the orthodox; moreover, throughout his
life he resolutely resisted those who would corrupt the faith. This
vardapet, a native of the district of Taron, died in this year and was
buried in the Monastery of St. Lazarus, not far from Sasun.
93. In this same year David, the Georgian king, slaughtered sixty
thousand Persians. Now the sultan of Gandzak came with a great
number of troops and, building a pontoon bridge over the Kura River,
transported his sixty thousand soldiers over it and started in the
direction of the country of the Abkhazes. When the Georgian king
learned of this, he sent an army which demolished the bridge and
slaughtered all the infidel forces. Mter this the sultan fled to Persia
and went to his uncle in the town ofUzgand.

94. This king David displayed very great courage in his wars
against the Persians. Many times he vanquished the infidel forces
and shattered their strength, seizing many opulent areas from the
Persians by his sword and his might. He captured the cities of Tillis,
Dmanis, l Shirvan,2 Shak'e,3 Shamk'or,4 and a number of other places.
David was a saintly and virtuous king and endowed with all types of
pious and righteous behavior; moreover, he shone forth as a sympathizer and friend of the Armenian nation. He gathered around him
the remnants of the Armenian troops. Also he founded an Armenian
city in Georgia and called it GOra,5 building many churches and
monasteries there. Thus he treated the Armenian nation with great
deference and consideration. King David had a legitimate son named
Demetrius,s who was born of an Armenian woman, and a brother
named T'otorme. 7
95.

In the year 573 of the Armenian era [1124-1125] the emir

232

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Balik collected troops and marched against the Franks. He arrived


in Aleppo and after a few days went against the Muslim town of
Manbij. Setting up a catapult against the citadel, he put the
besieged in very dire straits through his continual assaults. At this
point the emirl who was defending the citadel sent to the Frankish
counts Joscelin and Geoffrey for help, asking them to come to his aid
and promising to hand over the town to Joscelin. The two counts
ca~e to the .emir's aid with the remnants of the Frankish troops
w~ICh Joscehn had gathered together. Mahuis, the count of Duluk,
Aintab, and Raban, also came to the emir's aid. When Balik learned
of t~is, he attacked the Christians not far from the town of Manbij.
A vIOlent battle ensued, for the infidels were as numerous as the
Franks were few. Nevertheless, the Frankish troops defeated the
Turks, putting one wing of their army to flight while Joscelin
annihilated the other. However, one corps of Turk; surrounded the
count . o~ Marash 2and many other brave men including some of
Joscel~n s cavalry, causing them all to die a martyr's death. When
Joscelm heard of this, he turned in flight and spent the night at the
same place wh~re t~e battle had been fought; then on the next day
he too~ refuge m hIS town of Tell Bashir. Thus on that day many
Fra~klsh noblemen perished, and so it became a disastrous and
homble day for the Christian faithful. All this occurred on the 10th
of t~e ~ont~ of Sahmi, that is the fourth day of May. After this
Bahk ..vICton~usly tu~ned back and descended upon the town of
ManblJ, ordenng all hIS troops to begin the attack. Oveljoyed [by his
recent successes], he took off his coat of mail. At that very moment
ahSun-:V0rshippef3 in the citadel shot an arrow into his back,4 causing
the emIr to be mortally wounded. Then Balik summoned Timurtash 5
t e son of Il-GhazI to h' 'd
d
" , '
did
'.
18 SI e an gave over to hIm hIS sovereIgnty
an an s, ~er which the emir instantly died. Now, when his troops
~~ar;ed ::{ thIS, they disbanded. Balik's death brought great joy to all
e ~~ s; however, deep sorrow and a general feeling of loss fell
~:th ::eAnnPle ~abiting his lands, for he had dealt compassionatee
emans under his rule. 6
96. At this time the ki G I
the city of Ale 0
ng, a eran, ~nd the king's nephew were in
with T' rt PhP . Now Count Joscelm and the queen made a pact
Imu as to ransom the k'
Th
hostages the king' d gh
mg.
ey agreed to hand over as
other persons n:e ;u ter ,and Joscelin's son, together with fifteen
dahekans So'in the ans~: ~t~elf was set at one hundred thousand
mon 0 eptember King Baldwin was delivered
.

PART

III

233

from captivity at the hands of the Turks. He arrived in Antioch, and


on that day there was much rejoicing among the Christian faithful.
On the other hand, Count Galeran and the king's nephew remained
in Timurtash's clutches and were ultimately put to death. Thus this
was the second time that Baldwin was freed from captivity through
Joscelin's efforts.
97. In this same year Gargar was captured from the Turks
through the aid of God. Michael, the lord of the town and also the
son of Constantine, gathered together fifty men and vigorously
besieged the place, putting the Turks in the fortress in dire straits,
Deprived of any help and hard-pressed, the Turks submitted and
handed over Gargar to Michael. In this same way and through the
same efforts the fortress of Bibol1 was captured from the Turks, and
so there was much rejoicing among the Christian faithful.
98. In this same year the Georgian king David once again severely
slaughtered the Persians, this time about twenty thousand men.
Moreover, he captured the royal Armenian capital of Ani, removing
the sons of Manuch'e 1 from the city and taking them to THlis, So the
royal capital of Ani was freed from the yoke under which it had been
for sixty years. The magnificent, huge, and holy Cathedral of Ani,
which the infidels had turned into a mosque, now was thronged with
the bishops, priests, and monks of Armenia, who reconsecrated it in
solemn pomp. Thus there was rejoicing throughout all Armenia, for
everyone was witness to the deliverance of the holy cathedral [from
the clutches of the infidelsV
99. 'In this same year a duke1 came from the country of the Franks
with many troops and encamped against the city of Tyre, situated on
the coast of the Mediterranean. He besieged the city for many days
and through violent assaults put it in dire straits. He blockaded the
city from the sea with a fleet, while he held tight control of the ~and
with his numerous troops; thus the place was blockaded on all SIdes,
Also the duke erected wooden towers against the city and set up catapults and other war machines to batter its walls. I.n this m~nner ,he
put Tyre in great danger for many days, harassmg the CIty WIth
famine and continual assaults. Finally the townspeople became so
hard-pressed that they submitted. Obtaining an oath from the
Frankish commander [that their lives would be spared], the townspeople handed over the city to the duke and then departed and went

234

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

to Damascus. Mter a few days the Franks gave [the revenues of] the
city of Tyre to the sepulcher of Christ, and the duke returned to the
country of the Franks with his troops.
100. In this same year Baldwin, the king of Jerusalem, and
Joscelin gathered together all the Frankish forces and marched
against the city of Aleppo. At this time the Arab chieftain ~adaqah,
the son of Dubais and son-in-law of Il-Ghazi, joined Joscelin. This
chieftain made an alliance of peace and friendship with J oscelin and
so came to the aid of the count with his troops. The grandson of the
sultan Tutush and the sultan of Melitene, who was the son of Kilij
Arslan, also joined Joscelin. Thus an imposing force was brought
together against Aleppo, and the city was put in dire straits for many
days through famine and continual assaults. At this point the
tow?spe~ple sent to the city of Mosul, to the general al-BursukI,
askmg hIm to come to their aid. So this general collected a large
number of troops and after six months 1 arrived before Aleppo. He
drove ~way the Franks, and thus the city was saved. The Frankish
forces, m turn, returned to their respective territories unharmed. On
the othe.r hand, the Arab chieftain ~adaqah, as he withdrew, ravaged
~he terntory of Mosul and all of al-Bursukl's lands. After remaining
I~/..leppo ~or a few days, al-Bursuki went to Damascus and made an
a lance WIth Tughtigin, the emir of that city.
101. In this same year Gh- -1 th
. f8
.
of Dan' h
d
aZI , e emIr 0 ebastIa and the son
Melite IS men .' m~rc~ed ~gainst Melitene. He vehemently besieged
month~~ ~~t~ng lthm dIre straits, and blockaded the city for six
intensifie~ 1 1 was.
ard-pressed by a severe famine. As the famine
y
the tow ' maln dIed, and because of the lack of food [in the city]
nspeop e were forced to g
t t th
'
hard-pressed the i h b'
oou 0 e enemy camp. 80, being
Ghazi. After' this t~e ~~ea:i~[' .the city handed Melitene over to
city, departed and went to Msha;~ 2Arslan, who was the ruler of the
102. In the year 574 of the Arm .
general al-Bursuki and T hf' eman era [1125-1126] the Persian
army consisting of fort ~~ 19In marched forth with a tremendous
Persian forces. Comini 't~~~~nd troops-the very best of all the
upon the impregnable Fr~' h; great army, al-Bursuki descended
siege to it. Relying on h' IS ortress of 'Azaz and vehemently laid
easily capture the fortresIS :eat hstre~gth, he boasted that he could
s, us s Owmg nothing but disdain for the

PART III

235

capabilities of the Franks. Twelve catapults were set up against


'Azaz, and two of its walls were demolished through sapping opera. tions, thus putting the fortress in great danger. So the garrison
within despaired [of being saved]. Now, when the king of Jerusalem
learned that al-Bursuki had returned to Aleppo, he immediately left
and came to Antioch. Having alerted the Frankish forces, he was
speedily joined by Count Joscelin as well as the count of Tripoli (the
son of Saint Gilles) and Mahuis (the count of Duluk). The Christian
forces consisted of one thousand three hundred Frankish horsemen,
five hundred Armenian horsemen, and four thousand infantry. The
king of Jerusalem marched forth and came to Cyrrhus. 1 When the
Persian general learned of this, he took a detachment of troops ~d
encamped in the vicinity of Aleppo. At this point, leaving all theIr
baggage in Cyrrhus, the Frankish forces went to 'Azaz prepared for
battle and saw the fortress razed to its foundations, ruined, and
about to fall to the infidels. Immediately the Persian forces turned
upon the Franks and hemmed them in for three days. The Franks
were hard-pressed and put in a perilous situat.ion, fo~ they we.re
unable to obtain victuals' so in these extremely dIre straIts, despaIring of living, they hoped for [a speedy] death. The Turkish ~orces, in
turn challenged them with defiant and boastful shoutmg and
surr~unded them on all sides. Then, with shrill cries and like an
eagle swooping down upon a flock of doves, the infidels rushed
against the Frankish forces. The Christians, ha~d-pressed on a~l
sides and seized with terror, waited for death, havmg r~ached t~e1r
last breath. Now, while they were in this perilous situation, the kmg
thought of an excellent idea. He said the following to_t~e officers of
his troops: "Come, let us turn back directly to al-Athanb and m~e
the Turks believe we have fled, so that those of them who are m
ambush will come out after us; then we can attack them, and thus
will see what Christ can do for us." Then he commanded the
following to those who were garrisoning 'Azaz: "When y?U see the
Turks grouping together to pursue us, .give us .a s~oke SIgnal f~o~
the fortress." After this the king went m the dIrection of al-Athanb
with all his forces. Thinking that the king had fled, the ge~eral alBursuki signaled all his troops to assemble [and go agamst the
Christians]. The Turks pursued the Franks like wolves .af~er sheep,
rushing after them with shrill cries and driving the ChrIs~lan forces
before them by their frightful appearance and loud shoutmg. A!ter
a pursuit of two miles the infidel forces began to close ranks agam~t
the Christians. At that moment the garrison of 'Azaz gave t e

236

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

[prearranged] smoke signal. Seeing this, the king of Jerusalem and


all his officers beseeched God for assistance; directing their tearful
and anguish-ridden grief to heaven, they entreated God to come to
the aid of his feeble flock. Then the king ordered the battle trumpet
sounded, and the Christian forces rushed against the infidels en
masse, invoking the help of God and manifesting a very courageous
effort. God heard their prayers and so angrily turned the Turks in
flight. The Christian troops wielded the sword, and dispersed and
scattered the infidels over the plain. Count J oscelin, full of rage and
like a ferocious roaring lion who goes after oxen, pursued the infidel
forces and gorged himself with their heathen blood. In the same
manner the king and the whole army of Christ pursued the infidels
and ruthlessly slaughtered them right up to the city of Aleppo. The
number of Turks slaughtered came to seven thousand. The Persian
general and Tughtigin went away humiliated for fifteen emirs had
perished in the battle. On the other hand,' the Christian forces
turned back rejoicing greatly and laden with countless booty. So this
da! came to be a joyful one for all the Christian faithful. Now all
thls occurred on Thursday, the 24th of the month of Tre. Mter a
number of days al-Bursuki took the king's daughter and Joscelin's
son and placed them in Qal'at Ja'bar;2 then he himself went to Mosul.
Mter one_~~~ he was assassinated by a group of people of his nation
c~lled . {faJJI. ,These men entered his house as pilgrims and killed
hIm WIth a kmfe. Then al-Bursuki's servants killed them and others
,:hom they found in the city dressed in the same manner-all in all
elghty men. 4

:o~. In this same year the Persian general and emir of the East,
Ibrallll;n, who was the son of Sulaiman together with the emir of
Handzlt', D~'iid, 1 who was the son of Sokman, the son of Artuk,
cO,llected a~ Immense army. A number of other emirs joined them
WIt~ a conslde,rable number of troops, and all of them then marched
Georgia. ,When the Georgian king met up with the infidels
hagaIllst
e turned them In flight 'th
'
them
WI
a severe slaughter; he slaughtered
da m~re se~erely than the previous time, pursuing them for five
ckov~nng the plains and mountains with blood. So the whole
I anYdS atn
s an WIth dead corpses.
104. In this same year t h '
d'
.
. was'
e pIOUS
David
dI'ed. H'IS Son Demetnus
t nand saIlltly
h kmg of Georaia
I::>~
he was a brave ad'
IllS a e on t e throne as his successor;
n plOUS man and by his good deeds resembled his

PART

III

237

father David. It was he who brought the sons of Manuch'e back to


Ani and, after having them swear to be his vassals and subject to him
for the rest of their lives, gave them the city. For Ani had been very
hard-pressed by the Persian forces since the death of David.
Moreover, this Georgian king Demetrius, who was born of an
Armenian mother, was burdened with other military and administrative cares. Now the sons of Manuch'e solemnly swore that the
holy Cathedral of Ani would always be in the possession of the
Armenians and that no Muslim would ever be allowed to enter it.
105. In the year 575 of the Armenian era [1126-1127] the son of

Bohemond, son of Robert, who himself had the name of his father
Bohemond came from the country of the Franks. In this same year
he went t~ the city of Antioch with his troops and married the
daughter of the king of Jerusalem. The king promised to give the
royal throne to Bohemond after his death, but for the present handed
over to him Antioch and all Cilicia. After this Bohemond, the son of
Bohemond because of his forceful character and great power, was
able to make all the Franks submit and subject themselves to him,
including the count of Edessa (Joscelin) and the son of Saint Gilles,
He himself was a beardless youth of twenty years, but a valiant and
mighty warrior, tall with a lion-like face and blond hair. [Hi~
reputation was so great that] many young and noble men from Rome
followed him.2
106

In the year 576 of the Armenian era [1127-1128] the holy

Arme~ian vardapet named Cyrus, who was very much like the saints

of old died. He had thoroughly studied the Scriptures and was


accom'plished in the method of deep [biblical] analysis. Moreover, he
possessed a thorough grasp of the Old and New Testaments of G~~.
Also he was a companion of the vardapet George, surnamed ~eghri .
Cyrus died and was buried in the Monastery of Drazark, whlch was
called the "Cemetery of the Holy Vardapets," the place where th~ holy
Armenian vardapet Meghrik was also buried. A congregatIOn of
Christian hermits was gathered here and had set up the rules and
discipline of the holy monks of old.
107 In the year 577 of the Armenian era [1128-1129] the Persi~n

.
the emIr
ZengI'1,wh 0 was the son 0 f Aksungur [al-Bursukl]
.
.'
general,
the former lord of Aleppo, marched forth. He advanced ~lth ~:s
troops into the confines of Edessa and made a treaty of fnends p

238

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

PART

with the Frankish count Joscelin, after which he passed on to the city
of Aleppo unharmed. Seeking to make a treaty of peace and
friendship with the great Frankish count Bohemond, the lord of
Antioch, he chose Joscelin to mediate in the negotiations. Mter
staying in Aleppo for a few days, Zengi went to Damascus with all his
forces; for the emir of the city, Tughtigin, had died and had been
succeeded by his son. 2
108. In this same year the Persian sultan Mahmlld, who was the
son of Tap'ar, died and was succeeded by his brother Malik. He was
the man who had formerly resided in Gandzak, whom the Georgian
king defeated and forced to flee to Persia.
109. At the beginning of the year 585 of the Armenian era [11361137] the sultan Mupammad, who was the son of 'Amr-Ghazi, son of
Danishmend, marched forth. He advanced into the territory of
Marash with a tremendous number of troops and, encamping near
the town of Kesoun, burned the villages and monasteries [of the district]. Now it was grape-harvest time. The sultan remained
encamped before the town for six days, but did not erect bulwarks, or
set up ~ar m~chines, or even shoot arrows; rather he remained quiet,
occupym.g hImself only with cutting off water from the river,
devastatmg the orchards, and making incursions into this or that
area in order to accumulate booty and plunder. On the other hand,
those who were in the town were anticipating calamity bloodshed
and the ultimat~ capture of the place to come any da;; moreover:
the~ bec~me so dIscouraged that one night they abandoned the outer
fortIficatIOns. However, after their leaders and priests encouraged
them through exhortation, the inhabitants addressed supplications
~o God, resolving to die rather than to fall into the hands of the
Infidels and thus become objects of shame and ridicule to the
heathe~. So, acting a~ individuals or whole families, they loudly sang
the praIses of God mght and day, with crosses in their hands and
arms. ex~ended ~n prayer. Now God, who is compassionate and
merciful m all things, in spite of our sins did not will that we fall into
the hands of the enemy; rather he took pity on us who were
ran~omed ~y the blood of his dear Son, Our Lord Jesus' Christ, and
so dId. not gIve the command for the infidels to attack the town. Thus
on
. ,s paSSIOn,
.
the town of Kesoun was
d 1"Fnday the day of Our SaVIOr
. e 1Ve~ed [from the infidels]. The enemy burned down Karmir-Vank'
Includmg the chapel and monks' cells, smashed all the stone

and

III

239

wooden crosses, and carried oft' the ones made of iron and bronze;
moreover, they pulled down the altars where the holy bread was
consecrated and smashed them to pieces; finally, they removed the
beautifully decorated doors and also various other objects and carried
them off to their own country, in order to show them to their concubines and common folk, as the Babylonian [king]l had done in the
past. All this was a fulfillment of the following words: "I have
abandoned the daughter of Zion as a tent in the midst of vineyards,
or as a booth of those who guard fruit trees, or as a grieving
turtledove left alone by its companion, or finally as a detestablelooking crow sitting on some monument." 2 So, as we mentioned
before, Mupammad hastily departed on Friday, for he heard that the
Roman emperor3 was on his way to aid the beleaguered town of
Kesoun and our prince Baldwin,4 who had begged him on his knees
to come. At this time the Greek emperor was in the vicinity of
Antioch, devastating Muslim territory. Mter he had removed our
prince Leon5 from power and had seized him, his towns, and fortresses, the emperor took the Armenian prince to the country of the
Greeks, to the other side of the sea on the borders of Asia.

Continuation by Gregory the Priest1


1. At the beginning of the year 586 of the Armenian era [11371138] the emperor Porphyrogenitus,2 the son of Alexius, marched
against the fortress-town of Anazarba in order to attack it. Now this
was during the summer season, in the month of July. He besieged
the town for thirty-five days and battered its walls with his catapults.
Having been placed in a very dangerous position, the inhabitants
handed over the town to the emperor Porphyrogenitus. The emperor
seized everything, including the Armenian prince Leon, together with
his son and wife and the holy icon of the Theotokos, taking all these
back to Constantinople with him. There the great Armenian prince
s
Leon, who was the son of Constantine, the son of ~uben, died. After
this the emperor Porphyrogenitus came against the fortress of
Buza'ah and took it by a violent assault. Deceiving him, the Franks
persuaded the emperor to go to the fortress-town of Shaizar, and from4
there he came to Antioch. On the other hand, Malik-Mupammad
marched against the fortress of Shuplsa; however, in spite of the
many assaults he launched and the countless number of arrows he
discharged, he was unable to do anything against the fortress. So,
going through the Kula Mountains/ he returned to his country. We
thank God for having delivered us from the fire of this siege and for
having saved us from the enemy. Winter was coming to an end when
the emperor was besieging the Muslim fortress ofBuza'ah. Now after
Easter Baldwin, the lord of the town of Kesoun, went to the emperor
with his infantry and cavalry and also with the inhabitants of the
town. So the town was emptied of men. [The remaining] people,
frightened, left the town with their families, some going to Behesni,
others to Raban, and still others to Hromkla.6 Thus Kesoun remained
depopulated; only a few important townspeople remained with some

242

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

infantry troops to guard the place, and included among them was the
7
commander of the town called Vahram. I, the humble priest
Gregory, exhorted them to take courage in the defense of the place,
so that no one would come and set fire to our town, something which
indeed did happen [in the long run]. For, while the Greek emperor
was on his way back [to Constantinople], the son of Da'iid, whose
name was Kara Arslan, S returning from the Muslim lands with many
troops and feigning flight from the emperor, came to the town of
Raban~ ;rhose who were in the town of Kesoun, terrified, thought it
was Mahk-Muhammad and so abandoned the place towards evening.
On the next day a small detachment of Turks, while scouting around
the mountains, took prisoner one of the men of the town and learned
from him that no one was in the place. So these men-thirty in numb~r--::ame, entered the town of Kesoun, and set fire to it together
Wlth Its gates: Mter. marveling at the magnificent palace built by the
gr~at. Armeman pnnce Kogh Vasil and also the other splendid
bUlldmgs [of the town], they departed in haste and rejoined their
other comrades. On the other hand, on the next day the inhabitants
of the town returned to their homes.
2.. In the year 589 of the Armenian era [1140-1141] a certain
soldier fro~ the family of Sire Mahuis, l named Simon, harbored a
~dge agams~ the count of Edessa2 and so treacherously seized
ntab fro~ hIm. Mter holding this place for one year, he finally
rfetAnurnt.edh~ntab to the count, through the intervention of the prince

10C

3. In the year 591 of the Armenian era [1142-1143] the Greek


::per?r Porphyroge~itus came and attempted to buy Antioch from
e pntncfe of that CIty. The prince gave him the city for a large
amoun 0 money and pr'
eclOUS broca des, and so the emperor made a
th
ra er easy entrance into Antioch.
4. In pthe Yhear 592 of the Armenian era [1143-1144] the Greek
emperor orp yrogenit th
.
"
f April us,
at
the begmnmg
0
aft ehson. of Alexlus, .died around Easter
1 on the
.lmpena
. I throne In thi' ~er avmgh'
placed
hIS
Son
Manuel
.
Now the deaths 'ofth stsa~ear t e kmg of Jerusalem2 also died.
o
emperor, occurred ine~e v: exe;s, th~ Frankish king and the Greek
emperor was killed wh'l ry ~ aordmary manner. For the Greek
during the same year t~: ;n ~.uhntk' .wounded by a wild boar,S while
ra IS mg was also on a hunt when he

CONTINUATION

243

was killed under similar circumstances. 4 [Before his death] this king
placed his son Baldwin5 on his throne in the holy city of Jerusalem.
In this same year Malik-Muhammad, the son of 'Amr-Ghazl, also
died. In this year on Holy Thursday an omen appeared in the
northern portion of the sky; it took on the form of a column of light
and was visible in that form for eight days. It was after the appearance of this phenomenon that the three rulers died. On Tuesday the
23rd of December, on the Feast of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen,6
Edessa was taken by assault by Zengi, the son of Aksungur. Many
[of its inhabitants] were ruthlessly slaughtered for their Christian
faith, people whom Christ will crown with his saints, Amen.
5. It was the beginning of the year 593 of the Armenian era [11441145]. Antioch was ruled by the count of Poitou's son, who, though
young, was a man of tremendous power and ~ight; however, he was
not as skillful in the art of ruling as Baldwm, who was the lord of
Kesoun and Marash and the territories dependant on these two
towns, comprising an area from the borders of Mel~tene to ~he gates
of Antioch. This Baldwin was young in age but old m expenence and
agreeable in the eyes of God by all his deeds of prowess. Moreover,
this was also the time when the young count Joscelin, the son of the
great warrior, the elder Joscelin, ruled, and I~lso the ~ime of] the
pontificate of his lordship Gregory, the Armeman patnarch of the
nation of T'orgom.1 In this period mentioned above-namely at the
time of the Feast of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen-the city of
Edessa, deprived of the benevolent will of the C~eato~, was v~olent~y
captured by the children of Hagar, [led] by theIr chle~ ZengJ.. ThIS
man ruthlessly shed a tremendous amount of blood, neIther resp~ct
ing the age of elderly people, nor taking pity on innocent, lamb-hke
children. Terrified by the edge of the sword, the townspeople fled to
the shelter of the Citadel of Maniaces. Brothers ~id not take c~re of
their brothers, nor fathers, their sons; mothers dId not take PIty on
their daughters; friends had no regard for tho~~ dear to them.
Because of this harsh and bitter situation,2 the fUgItlVes were unable
to enter the citadel; [packed together], as many ~s two ~hous~nd
persons died of suffocation before the gates of the CItadel, mcludmg
the bishop of the Franks, who was asphyxiated in the crowd.
When the tyrant sawall this, he became deeply s.orry and commanded his soldiers, who were ruthlessly an? merCIlessly slaug~
tering people in the streets as if they were ammals, to sheat~ then
swords. However, he ordered the Franks who were taken pnsoner

244

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

slain in his presence and their women and children led into captivity.
Those Christians who had escaped the butchery and had tried to
enter the citadel were unable to hold out for more than a few days,
for they lacked water. Finally they gave themselves up on condition
that their lives would be spared. The arrogant conqueror wished to
pacify the city and so he commanded it be decreed that no one was
to do any harm to the Christians; for all his troops had already
become satiated with blood and booty.3 Zengi boasted that over the
years none of the very great and eminent warriors had been able to
forcibly get control of this city blessed by the Lord. 4 It was Christ
who during his sojourn on earth said the follOwing infallible words in
a letter he wrote to King Abgar: "Famine and sword will never enter
your city as long as its inhabitants observe my commandments. "5
However, after a while these inhabitants forgot the injunction of the
Creator. They followed the example of the Israelites who, after
having received all sorts of blessings from God, promptly forgot these
heaven-sent gifts which cost no effort on their part, but yet with
heavy sighs remembered the onion and garlic, 6 and the harsh oppression of the Egyptians; finally these Israelites provoked the anger of
God, whose patience is unfailing, and so he did not allow them to see
the promised land. In this same way the inhabitants of Edessa
having forgotten their promise to God committed all sorts of evii
deeds against the will of the merciful Christ and thus received the
recompense of their senseless behavior.
6. Mter this [~apture of Edessa] the bloodthirsty Zengi, collecting
troops, came ag8.lnst Qal'at Ja'bar and put its garrison in dire straits.
However, o?e year ~terl [the taking of Edessa] he was killed by his
eunuch du~ng the .n~g~t and thus was not allowed to enjoy his glory
?f [pOSS~SSlUg] the mlmltable city of Edessa, whose capture took place
l~ the hme of the younger Joscelin. As long as this man followed the
w1l1 ~f God, he was mighty and victorious over the enemies of Christ,
as hIS father had been, who during his reign was glorified by God but
not by men and who never had a hole dug for any Christian. 2
7. ?nce again after two years had passed, Joscelin, who was the
collected troops and, joined by the great
Baldwm, who was the lord of the two towns of Marash and
d e~oun, ca~e against Edessa and slyly took the city by surprise
~ng llIght.. Although the undertaking was successful, it did not
en ure, or the mfidels regrouped themselves after five days and

Fr~nkIsh
COU?t of Edessa,
nnce

:k

if;

CONTINUATION

245

recaptured the city by assault. After exhibiting a great amount of


courage, the illustrious and undefeated soldier of Christ, Baldwin, fell
in battle. His death caused a great deal of sorrow in the territories
over which he ruled, for he had more of a liking for the Armenians
than for the Franks. 2 Now3 in this same period the Armenian
catholicate came to be divided into four sees: their lordships Vahram
and Gregory in Egypt, his lordship Barsegh at Ani, his lordship
Peter-the superior of Varag-at Marash, and his lordship T'oros at
Honi. Thus the see of St. Gregory at Ani was divided into four
branches. Now Baldwin had as his father-confessor the holy and
blessed vardapet Barsegh, a man endowed with divine grace and
profound erudition and one. who. was i~bued wit~ the fear of ~od;
moreover, he was upright m hIS prachce of fastmg and praYIng,
knowledgeable in the understanding of the Old and New Testaments
of God and finally an advocate and protector of those oppressed.
Barsegh wrote a funeral oration on the occasion of Baldwin's death
as an admonition to those reading it and as a record for future
generations. 4
8. "I Barsegh, the humble servant [of God], write the.se .word~ with
great lamenting and sorrowful weeping to all the ~hnshan faIthful
and especially to those near us in Kesoun, Behesm, Raban, Mara~h,
and to the people who live in the village~, tow~s, a~d monasterIes
located in their territories, whatever theIr natIOnalIty or language
might be' [I write to these Christian faithful] about the senseless and
accursed'death of Prince Baldwin. God, the almighty creator of the
whole universe brought him into existence as an example and an
admonition to the unrepentant, arrogant, and wicked leaders ~he
Latin1 forces. He thus showed to all that the elem~nts and all hvmg
creatures stand ready to do his will, the will of theI~ Creator. So the
whole universe is puzzled, for it does not possess hIS. bO,dy. The sea
cries out that he isn't there. The earth says that he Isn t covered by
the ground in its bosom. The elements of air, water, and fire confes~
that they in pain of severe punishment, do not dare expose or revea
what God has hidden. Death and the tombs complain that they do not
hold his body and that they have not seen it jo.ining t~e. ranks of
those already dead. Yet he does not seem to be W1t~ the l~vmg. Nbow
.
. ulllortuna
-~
t e youn g man
mhi com
at ,
concernmg
thIS
. ' audacIOUS
.
might
victorious and courageous in battles agaInst the Infidells-t sB ld . Y
' 0f Chr'ISt , my be ovedd tha h wm
champion and well-known soldler
d
-what hand struck down his solid strength and shortene
e an

0:

246

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

CONTINUATION

of this powerful man?2 What feeble arm bent the invincible arm of
this very brave man? What man of the circumcised soldiers had the
stren~h to .cut to pieces and fell to the ground this robust, heavyset,
and gIant-like man? What person with a savage-like or enraged
heart would not be fond of him at the sight of his handsome appearance, who would not be ashamed in his presence, who would not have
pity on the joys which he experienced in his youth? Who is it that
would ask Baldwin who he was and where he came from without
feeling his ferocious nature mollified by his modest, sensible, and
prudent answer? Expressing himself fluently in Armenian, he was
known .by everyone to possess sagacity, willpower, maturity, outward
attractIveness, and all those characteristics of this life which show
the magna~imity and excellence of princes. Now I think it superfluo~s. t? contmue th~s~ words [of praise] any longer, so as not to be
cn~IClzed by Baldwm s enemies, who continually slander him.
Alas, I must now speak of his unfortunate end and of the destructive path which we on many occasions advised him not to walk in a
path v-:hich he sti.ll obstinately followed, refusing to listen to o~r
rea~omn~ or to hIS own experience. We devoted all our time to
telI~ng hIm nothin? except that which would benefit his soul, that is
savmg and protectmg unfortunate Christians [like himself]- however
he re~ected our advice. It was only this year that we' on man;
occaSIOns fo:ewarned him of his impending destruction. Although it
was very pamful and difficult for us to tell him what others dared not
S~y, nev~rth~less we hoped that, becoming frightened, he would
~. ange hl~ evil ways and adopt humility, charity, and a non-malicious
f~~d~b a;t~~ud~ [towards people]. Indeed, he was not ignorant of the
o
e mexo~able sentence of the righteous judge God must
w ~nd m the future life all those whose hearts have
vertd
ed
no
h ar ene. NeIther
arrog t
h
oppose God's will fi h . aln men nor eavenly angels are able to
' or e IS ord over both angels and men. The other
weak nesses of the flesh fo d'
b
,un m men ecause of their nature, are
those h' h
d
eo le:u~~ con emn them and bring them under judgement. It is
Po
p.
as thdese who very often obtain mercy from the Lord who
I ves
smners an who
d
f
'
image, the stray shee c:: t~wn ~om heaven, to seek after the lost
However arrogant?d
us bnng these Slllners to repentance.
lack of c~mpassion':~l ~hextr:me stubb?rnness, hardness of heart,
ter]-lead to sin Th
eseth~gether With other defects [of characdown here and ~ho p~~o:.rde y m~n whom the demons dominate
demons on the terrible da ofth ~omcal.works ~re counted with the
Y
e ImpartIal and Just judgment of God.

The righteous judge God does not forgive such hardened hearts as
these, except those who are susceptible to correction: persons who on
an occasion or on some pretext for a short while, with pangs of
conscience, allow themselves to be led into the satanic and evil ways,
but then become disgusted, confess with deep shame, and look for a
means to escape from these demonic sins at an opportune time.
"However, those who do not hasten [to repent] and do not quickly
free themselves [from these sins], but on the contrary increase their
sins day by day and remain unrepentant hour by hour, year by year,
thinking that they can deceive God who cannot be deceived-persons
such as these the Creator does not forgive. Yet first he warns them
by chastisement-once, twice, and sometimes even more often-but
when they harden their hearts against his admonitions, he does away
with them and removes them from this life, so that evil will not grow
and increase to his detriment and to the detriment of many others,
All these words I have spoken are confirmed by Holy Scripture-the
Old and New Testaments-for those who wish to look into them. The
examples of repentant and condemned men are many, so we have
considered it unsuitable and superfluous to put them in writing. Now
in regard to this incorrigible and abandoned deceased leader, this
irredeemable captive, this person who has disappeared from sight, a
handsome young man, a brave and mighty warrior, an ingenious,
wise, and prudent prince whose life was so short, this gallant and
charming man carrying the name Sire3 Baldwin: it would be a sha~e
not to relate his ruin and not to publicly and frankly declare his
errors not in order to slander him, but in order that he might obtain
from God complete remission for his sins. For we well realize that
the more people conceal and hide their sins and ignominious secre~s
because they feel ashamed in the presence of man, the more they WIll
be disgraced publicly [in the hereafter] before angels and men, both
just and unjust. These people have existed from Adam until our day
and stand horror~struck with fear on their faces, crazed and trembling before the awful and redoubtable tribunal of Go~. In this. public
assembly in the presence of the Father of the umverse, hIS only
begotten 'Son the Word, and the Holy Spirit:-the re~ovat.or of
creation-there is no word, deed, or thought which remams hIdden
from the all~seeing knowledge of our Creator. This scene becomes
very pitiful heartrending and one of irrevocable shame, to such an
extent that 'when the frightful and awful senten~e is pronounc,ed, the
souls of the sinners filled with shame, remain III a state of dIsgrace
and opprobrium th;oughout eternity without limit, end, or measure.

a:

247

248

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

CONTINUATION

Now all this is in accordance with the words of the great archangel
[Michael] who, when speaking to the prophet Daniel, revealed the
following: 'Some will be resurrected for [eternal] life, while others
[will be relegated] to eternal opprobrium.'4

Moreover, there are other precepts which forbid treacherous behavior


and the coveting of the properties and possessions of our neighbor-his villages, arable lands, and territories; which command
voluntary submission to princes higher than us, as we would submit
to God and not to just a simple man; which forbid the injuring of
anyone and the robbing of orphans, widows, and travelers; which
forbid aggrandizement through violence, exactions, and rapine, or
through the building of sumptuous edifices or city ramparts at the
expense of the sweat of strangers, orphans, widows, and unfort.unate
peasants burdened with taxes; which condemn the slandenng of
friends and calumny inspired by an arrogant certainty of one's power,
greatness, and wisdom; which prohibit the judging of the faults ?f
others, as the Gospels talk of [looking at] .the p~ece of st~~w ~m
another's eye] and neglecting to see the beam m ones own eye, which
enjoin basic respect, free of disobedience for the Creator's law and for
the saints and leaders of the church established as our judges by God;
finally which condemn concupiscence and wallowing in C?rrupt sin.
I am obliged to ceaselessly bring these precepts to mmd at the
moment of my death and to make an effort to grapple with t~em
before leaving this world, precepts I have sworn to God many hmes
to follow.
.
" INow I heard the words written in Holy Scripture condemmng all
these sins so often from preachers that I learned them by ?eart.
These same precepts were taught by the vardapet [Barsegh] III ~wo
languages and were ceaselessly pronounced in an unfaltermg,
changeless, and suitable manner. I say all, th~se thi~gs to the best
of my knowledge, solemnly making a confesslOn III God s presence ~d
yours, so that you might know that God has justl.y vented hIS
unforgiving anger upon me. I know that he has merCIlessly caused
d
. Wit
. h out remISSIOn
... 0 f'sms when a war has ende
:D t
certain people to dIe
and peace has been restored; moreover, he has imposed upon the e~
and hands [of many] a desire to die. Those who deal treach~~~s Y
with their friends or their troops and who speak. with pe If I~~S
tongues or do wicked deeds will fall under the sen~n~~ d 'l~
Creator, who says: "Whoever sheds the blood of a ~an, s ~o 11 ':ot
be shed in return'" also, "Bloodthirsty and perfidIOUS men.s a
' l' '
also "The Lord reckons the bloodthIrsty an~
comp1et e thelr Ives,
,
h "M over It
perfidious with the abominable and so destroys t e~. d or~ do ~ot
is written: "Do not covet the possessions of your frienddan I
' k edness, lest you Sll enlY'fieave
nt
aggrandize yourself through WIC
.
"I aIso know that those magm Ice
what you have evilly acqUIred.

9. "Now as long as we publicly and frankly declare our sinfulness


without false shame, without dissimulation, or without the pretext of
removing our sense of shame-in other words a true and perfect
confession and one worthy of the holy baptismal font-our sins will
be remitted. If we are truly repentant, then all our sins will disappear, will be annihilated, will be washed away, and will no longer be
found anywhere. For God, who is nonvengeful and compassionate,
overlooks, forgives, and pardons those who in this manner wisely and
willingly confess their sins in this world.
10. "Now, taking into consideration all these things and knowing
the weaknesses of the beloved prince, I publicly declare and record in
writing his errors, as if I attributed them to myself. For those who
have so little affection for their friends that after death they forget or
conceal either their faults or their good points are merely brute
anim~s and f?ends of the flesh. On the other hand, we through our
affectIOn for him are concerned with the spiritual care of his soul and
if he had listened to us even a little, he would still be alive in 'both
soul and body. However, because he hardened his heart he forever
p~rished in b~th existences. Thus I cry out in a lame~ting voice:
L~sten, 0 nat1o~s and peoples of all tongues, especially you kings,
~nnces, all you Judges of the earth, and you who are in charge of
Important affairs and who have control over the management of
temporal matters; listen and understand the errors of our beloved
and illust~Ol~S prince .. Now I come on his behalf and speak from his
mouth as If It were mme, falling down on my knees in tears first
be~ore God who knows my sins and then before all of you. [Listen] 0
pnnces, you m?, comrades in power; and my brothers, you soldiers-cavalry and mfantry-:-against whom I have done many injustices,
a~l you peoples who forCIbly fell into my undeserved power twisted by
sm. Beca~se of the i~numerable, endless, and merciless injuries and
blasphemIes I commItted, I have ruined my life-an end which is
both lame~table and tearful. For I never brought to mind the divine
wo~ds w~ICh ceaselessly cried out to my ears muffled by sin words
whIch saId' liN
.
,
.
ever gIVe anyone the OPportunity in your life to curse
you, for God who created him will hear the groans of his heart."

II.

249

250

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

CONTINUATION

palaces, sumptuous edifices, and cities built at the expense of


exactions, rapine, sweat, and tears no longer hold their occupants.
I know what St. Paul said about those who do not subject themselves
to their superiors and who oppose their wills: they oppose not a
man's commands but God's, because of which they shall merit the
judgement of the unforgiving Lord, both here and in the life to come.
I know that it is forbidden to accuse, judge, or slander anyone and to
be boastful of one's greatness or wisdom, according to the words of
the Lord: "Do not judge" or "Hypocrite, first take the beam out of
your own eye, etc."

their deaths. The children of my own flesh, my associates-comrades


and soldiers-all have dealt with me ruthlessly. My neighbors, my
friends, my childhood companions, and my children have rejected me,
becoming alienated from my love and completely forgetting about me.
Everyone has come to detest me as if I were a stranger and has
shunned me; moreover, they have abandoned me to die unremembered as an unransomed captive in the midst of the infidels. Thus I
have been forgotten in the hearts of all as one who is dead, having
been swallowed up, shattered, and destroyed like an earthenware jar.
Now where is my hope, or what will the recompense be for the
intolerable afflictions [I have been subjected to] in this life? There is
no one who will have pity on my miserable soul in order to call me
back to the living or remember my name among the dead. No, not
one person will do these things for me. Thus everyone has come to
despise me deeply. For, although I have publicly, frankly, and
spontaneously revealed the wounds of my soul to all my brothers and
to the whole universe, yet I have been neither relieved nor delivered.
So I direct my supplications to my Lord and Creator, the unvengeful
father of all, to God', and like a prodigal and debauched son prostrate
.
before him who is both merciful and benevolent, I cry out saYing:
Heavenly Father, I have sinned against heaven and be~ore you. I am
not worthy of your ring, sandals, and ineffable tumc; yet do not
separate me, do not remove me from all ~o~r ea~hly creat~res,
[leaving me] to die alone. If I am indeed a hvmg bemg, reveal It to
me and save me from destruction, for the depths of the abysses are
not secrets for you and you are able to resurrect a person from the
dead. 0 Lord, I go to do penance right up to the last moment of my
sinful life. For now I have truly recognized and learned [~h~ effects
of1 your insufferable wrath, 0 my Creator, and how fearful It IS to fall
in the hands of the living God. If I have died in sin and been
deprived of mortal life, then it is proper, 0 merciful God, t~a~ my
sinful soul has remained for so long in torments and. affhctIOns,
forgotten in the prayers [of the living] and in the sacnfice [of t~e
divine liturgy]. Show me mercy, and perhaps my miserable soul Will
be remembered and pitied. Do not bring upon me new and unheard
of torments in the midst of the living and the dead, for you ~re the
master over life and death and so both life and death awaIt your
command either to bring m~ forth or to conceal me. I know, O.Lo~t,
that I have angered you by my innumerable and Un~OrgIVa e
sins-by sins I have committed against you and ag~mst ma~,
voluntarily and involuntarily, by thought, word, and deed, m my sou,

11. "'~Ow wh~ should I enumerate one by one all the precepts
condemnmg my sms, precepts written down in Holy Scripture which
I am aware of and so realize my sinfulness before God? Because of
such an awareness, I fall on my knees before God and confess all my
sins,. especially those of arrogance, hardness of heart, and inhumamty, together .with my acts of rapine. Immaturity, hunger for
power, and the vrun seductions of this life deceived me. Nevertheless
even while c0n;tmitting all sorts of sins, I did not lose hope, nor did
my he~ ~em81n unrepentant; rather I desired to completely abandon
the vamtIes and seductions of this life. However, I did not drive
myself to take to heart the admonitions of the Lord until the moment
o~my death. For previously I did not realize that his gentle admonibons ~er~ meant as a cure for me; now I have condemned myself and
hav~ Justified the Creator, because in small ways-through bodily
pU~lshment, .the premature death of my wife and children, my
;an~us aSSOCIates, strangers, etc.-he admonished me, thus transormmg my u~pardonable evil acts into something good. Nevertheless, ~er havmg been admonished in this way, I still persisted [in
~y eVl .ways] and refused to correct myself, insolently and arrogantly
I a~d~l~g my heart and being completely unaware that the benevod~n b~' was mercifully calling me to repentance in spite of my
ISO e ~e.nce. I neither remembered nor brought to mind these
~:~m~~~~~:~], until I changed the benevolent mercy of the Creator
am that I s~al~:er againbst my person. Now I know, miserable as I
,
. e remem ered as a person that has died and not as
~ person tdhat IS to return to life, since the Lord of both death and l!~e
IS angere at me E
th
I
III
from me, thus takinven e a~ge s ?f heaven have turned their faces
from me All men: awa: t aSSIstance and mercy of the Creator
mother ~nd father h ave ~ve doped a deep hatred for me, while my
ave a an oned me through their deaths. The

251

252

CONTINUATION

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

breath, body, mi~d, and all my senses; moreover, I have been kept in
the fetters of sm all my life, Because of all this, once again I
prostrate myselfb~fore you, 0 compassionate, merciful, and benevolent God, Have PIty on me~ abandoned and dead, and preserve me
whom you have created With your own hands; moreover, do not
entru~t your forsaken servant to the mercy of men. For love of me
~as dlsa~peared from all hearts, pity for me has been extinguished
m all mmds, my name has been taken away from mankind m
memory has bee~ effaced from the land of the living. You, 0 LorI
:::a:::ered .agaInst me; no one will take pity on me, for all livin~
f
e~ walt upon you, the truly compassionate and forgiving lover
~ man, n ~hom can I put my trust? My father and mother left me
fo ydbroth~r, for whom I had a genuine brotherly affection 2 forgot hi~
ea~hlneys~:~ mefi' IHIe ~as absorbed in the cares of the w~rld and in
'
d ent. and erroneous
e,lmpru
th' ttUalrs, .0 OWing my same WI' d
~:ul ' :~~i~~:~~~d~ever occurred to him to think about or care for his
and 'hopeless I
mg my example of being an irredeemable captive
oss.
12. "INow do not reject me
I tId
leave me in this d t t'
comp e e y, 0 not forsake me, do not
your face from meeSd~o~ve st~te, 0 my God, My God, do not turn
reprimand me bec~use of P~~s.h ~e be?ause of your anger, do not
demned servant and fi
d IndignatlOn, do not judge your conunseen torment~ in 0 d n t y 0 not allow me to be afflicted with
I swear, heaven and :a~h 0 s~rve aS an example to all of creation.
that I will never again walka: t~ngeI s and ~en being my witness,
n e path leadmg to debauchery and
destruction and WI'11
never agaIn trans
swear to do all this, ho in th
,gress your commandments; I
and forgive the many P, g f at you Will have mercy on me this time
am allowed to return ~~n:ho ~~ second period of dissoluteness, if I
have indeed been condemne: t~v~ng a~ another time. However, if I
then you must take PI't
Oe [Without any hope of redemption]
' hell no one can yknon me
t '
fior In
l ' benevoI
en and ever-merciful
God'
ac ow edge yo
d
'
you, Show me to the n'ght
u an none of the dead can bless
eous
and
reve
I
wo rthy servants, so that throu h h' a my unworthy soul to your
For I know that at prese t
g t elr prayers I may obtain mercy
been completely forgotte: . no one at all thinks about me who ha~
being grieved at me and tu~rer~r? to your benevolence.' 0 Lord,
and ~arth and angels and m!n elr faces from me in anger, heaven
creatIon looks at me askance and are p~ovoked against me. All of
menacmgly, for death has fled from

Ji

253

me and life has departed from me. The earth, trembling at your
frightful commands. did not receive me in its bosom and did not give
me a place for my tomb, so that my name could be read over some
plot of ground. Now, if the inanimate and irrational elements have
detested and rejected me to this extent and have excluded me from
the midst of creation, who is it among men who will have mercy on
me? So turn away, 0 Lord, from your anger and incline your face to
my sins; look at me favorably and benevolently. Yea Lord, yea Lord,
Holy Father, yea Savior of the world, yea compassionate and
benevolent Holy Spirit, have mercy on a pitiable person such as me,
o Holy Trinity, by the intercession of the Holy Theotokos, by the
prayers of the apostles, prophets, and all the saints who since the
beginning of the world have been pleasing in your eyes, take pity on
me who is lost and reveal me dead or alive, 0 God of the living and
the dead, glory to you forever and ever, Amen.
1

13. IINow we have drafted and written up this pleading confession


and prayerful words on behalf of the abandoned captive and forgotten
dead person, our beloved prince, Sirel Baldwin. We do not cease to
plead with the same voice, calling out to God and to his saints until
they take pity and mercifully soothe our tormented mind, which has
been subjected to all sorts of punishments because of his sins and
ours. 0 you who hear this discourse against arrogance-a discourse
we have written on behalf of him and concerning him in the form of
a public, frank, and solemn confession (which is the proper thing for
true penitents to do according to the precepts of the Creatorstrengthen yourselves against sin through confession before him .who
knows the thoughts and actions of all men, so that, mollified, he
might forgive you completely.
14. lIyou leaders and those of you who live under their authority
and also you soldiers, do not disavow God and remain indifferent [to
the fact] that the un sleeping eye of God, who is righteous in his
judgement and who sees the punishment of this man, can spare you.
Bring to mind the divine threat which states: IThe cypress laments
because the cedar has fallen. I Listen to similar words as these
spoken by the Lord to the incorrigible and disobedient Israelites: IDo
you think that those Galileans were worse sinners than all the other
Galileans because Pilate had mingled their blood with their sacrifices,
or do you think that those eighteen who were killed by the tower
were worse offenders than all the people living in Jerusalem? I tell

254

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

you, no, for unless you repent, you will all perish in the same
manner.tl
.15. "Now, knowing all this, watch over yourselves, 0 despots, 0
pnnces! For a very violent and impartial judgement awaits those
who are despots, l both here and in the afterlife. You do not wish to
listen to what Scripture says, and you do not openly declare your sins
through a confession similar [to the one you came to hear]. Nevertheless, my words have been written down in order to glorify and
assuage Baldwin and to serve as an admonition and reprimand to
people [such as you]. Now all of Baldwin's sins have been forgiven,
and he has been made whole through his ceaseless confession and
afterwards through the shedding of his blood in the great battle. On
that day he was cured of arrogance and deceit to such an extent and
with such humility that he humbled himself before all, before his
cav~ry troops as well as his foot soldiers, speaking to them in gentle,
amIable, and compassionate terms. Moreover, he referred to all as
sons of God and as his true brothers. He called the leaders, lords,
and nobles by name. He trained his troops, exhorted them, emboldened t~em, and encouraged them as a victorious athlete and intrepid
champlOn would. He made the rounds, visiting his troops, and
strengthened them with his vigorous and awe-inspiring voice. He
address?d everyone by name, [exhorting them] in the name of bravery
and ctylng out: 'Long live our warriors, my brave soldiers! Long live
the good fortune and days of grace given to us-a little more effort
and ~e will gain the victory; do not shun, on the day of battle, from
seekmg a bles~e~ de~th for the sake of Christ and dying in the
defense. of C~stIans. In this manner he strengthened and reass~red hiS soldIers placed outside the camp. Then entering into the
mIdst of their ranks, he first brought to task tho~e who were ready
to desert out of fear and those who were about to flee and hide' then
he showered
' upon th ose who were brave. Moreover, he' took
praIse
a~ay the weapons of the cowardly men and of those with stunted and
:~thered hand.s; he seized and snatched these weapons from them
d put them mto the hands of valiant men. He gave to some and
took from others. Mter all this, like a defiant lion he ran off to
another place. All night and all day his frightful roar; and loud cries
fihilled the camp fro~ one end to the other, so that no ear was able to
ear as brave a VOIce as S'Ire 2 Baldwm
. ,s anyWhere else' moreover no
ey~ was able ~o see as rapid a moving about as his. 'However,' his
VOIce finally dIed out as well as his natural strength, when he was on

CONTINUATION

255

his horse and his visor over his face became rusty-colored with the
redness of the vapors of his heart-as was reported by some people.
In this manner his hardness of heart and his arrogance were
eliminated and effaced.
16. "The merciless nature of his heart was redeemed on that day,
because by his compassion and commiseration he agonizingly suffered
for those he saw perish miserably. It was because he wished to be
with these that he also perished. The injustices to which he
mercilessly subjected others he himself experienced from all his allies
on that day of combat; for the leaders and all the troops who had
come to his aid abandoned him at the most critical time of the battle
and withdrew, no one taking pity on him or turning back to find out
what had become of their supreme chief and illustrious soldier. It is
quite obvious then that none of his troops perished or were captured
with him and no one saw him. We cannot say that his death was due
to the maliciousness or willfulness of his troops, but rather was
caused by the necessity to expiate the faults and injustices which he
had accumulated over a very long period of time; as we mentioned
before, he found the opportunity for such an expiation on this day by
becoming a victim of these very same faults and injustices.
17. "The blood which had so profusely flowed at the time when the
vile and perfidious Vasil1 came to this land was redeemed by t~e .sole
effusion of Baldwin's blood, which he willingly shed for the ChristIans
who left the scene of action and were saved. All those who escaped
openly declared that they were saved, ~rst by ~he grace of ?od and
secondly by the actions of the man Sire B~ld~m. Now, .see~ng that
he died in that battle, he has obtained remISSIon of all hIS sms from
the Lord and on the frightful day of judgement, when all the
righteous' will receive their recompense, he will be crowned by God
together with the pious princes and brave martyrs; for we know and
believe that this is the fate of those among the C~st~a:ns who f:lll i.n
battle by the sword of the infidels. If he was stIll hvmg and If hIS
reputation for bravery was known, his ~ame would s~read throughout
the whole universe day after day, untIl the end of bme.
18. liNow we have written this long disclosure concerning Bald~n
so that none of his malevolent enemies and spiteful det:actors WIll
criticize or slander us for writing a foolish and s!COp~an~lc ~ork. Of
all the discourses we have spoken or written dunng his lifetIme, none

256

t 1

have been on his abandonment in death and irretrievable loss, As


long as he was alive, he never heard any gentle or eulogizing words
from us; on the contrary, we admonished and threatened him, so that
he might continually feel remorse in his heart. Even if it happened1
that he was brought back to life or was still alive, he still would not
grasp what we have written. Now we have recounted the day of the
combat and his destruction, having obtained these details not merely
from ten or twenty persons but from all, and especially from his
~nemies and from the Latin2 troops. The real reason for our prolixity
IS that we had a spiritual love for him, which is natural for those who
serve God and which was reciprocated by him. After his death we
felt obliged, in return for his unbounded love towards us to show our
love for this man who was snatched away from life. This celebrated
and, illustrious prince, whose domains extended from the city of
AntIOch to the confines of Melitene and who was lord over so many
troops and regions, did not even have a tomb [in which to rest his
soul]. At present he is not remembered among the dead nor does he
appear among the living. No one rings the bells for him: his name is
not ::emembered in any church; divine liturgy is not said for his soul,
nO.r IS there even a simple commemoration of mercy on his behalf in
thIS land. Necessities are not distributed to the poor-neither kids
nor money. ~o o~e ~em~mbers him, no one takes pity on him.
~oreover, d~rmg his lifetIme he never had any tranquility or any
Jo~ul expenences; on the contrary, from the very beginning of his
chlldh~od day~ he experienced all sorts of torments, hallucinations,
and pams, w~lch continued through his youth. He became a victim
of demons, hIS enemies, men with unbridled worldly power and
tr~acherous .fellow-princes. Now he has perished through death
WIt~out leavmg a memory behind; moreover, his name and the love
wh~cfh he had has been effaced and removed from the whole world
an rom the hearts of both strangers and friends .
19 "Wh I
'r b en see thIS" bItter and cruel fate which has overtaken
~~' 1 ec~me choked with tears and do not know what to do or how
ing e eemg
a~ stretch out my hand to this beloved friend who is drownno.one sympathetic to my grief I have turned to God as
. fu
my re ge to hIm who a l '
if I
'
desire th: d th' f th o.ne IS merc u and benevolent, who does not
anyone N ea h e sm~er and does not rejoice over the loss of
. ow, we ave wntten this
fi'
d h
tions on behalf of B ld'
d
can eSSIOn an t ese supplicathis
a wm an also on our own behalf Moreover in
same manner and in all pI
d
.
,
aces we 0 not cease continually crying
h'

! .

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

257

CONTINUATION

out in the presence of the merciful and almighty God, who was angry
at him and at us until he became reconciled through his mercy and
revealed himself to this dead or living prince. Now I beseech all of
you people who listen to this funeral oration, do not disdain, reject,
or be indifferent to our pleas on his behalf. Do not hold any rancor
for this man who is no more, but pray to the supreme judge and
creator God that he might have mercy on him and forgive the sins
which he committed against both God and man. In this way the
almighty creator God, through the h~.terces~ion of the Holy Th~otokos
and the supplications of the holy samts, wIll have mercy on hIm and
forgive all his sins both great and small; finally the Lord will bless
you in body and s~ul and will make you worthy of the kingdom of
heaven together with all the saints in Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom
be gI ory orever, Am en. II

20. At the beginning of the year 598 [1149-1150] the ~rince of


Antioch, the abandoned brother of Baldwin, was killed. HIS ?eath
was caused by the arrogance of his own people, who conceItedly
resolved to war against the enemy without being .certain of the
concurrence of the other Christian forces who were [m the East] at
that time. Thus, not only were they crushed and t~eir ~eaders
annihilated, but a goodly number of Christians [were kIlled].
1

21. On this same day the son of Zengi, called Nfir-ad-Dln b! ?is
own people a name which according to their infamous relIgIOn
signifies "th~ light of the faith," put some to the sword and led others
into captivity together with the important personages of the bloodbuilt city of Aleppo who were accustomed to a life of ease. In the
same year when the Christians had no other illustrious persona~e
over them'than Count Joscelin, during this prince's ::ule once agam
the dread of infidel violence against the holy church mcreas~d. ~~
ruler of the Ishmaelites, called Mas'ud,2 came forth on the ea~ ?
the Holy Cross. Laying siege to the city of Marash, .he capt~:~~~~~~
a very short time, for the citadel did not have a gamson. H .
the territory of T'il Aweteats', which today is calle~ Te~l B~shl~' ~~d
as he passed through, put the inhabitants of all Its d~st?cts ,0 the
sword. Many Muslims deceitfully swore to the Chnst!ans m ~
name of the great God [that they would not harm ~hem III ~nr ;.:~
and so got them to leave their stronghold, aft~r whlCh the~heMas'lid
all into captivity. The lord of the land, Joscehn, met,uP Wlainst him
near the town of Tell Bashir, but could not do anythmg ag
.

258
MATTHEW OF EDESSA
CONTINUATION

So Mas'lid
3 returned to his country, taking with him the captives he
had seized. Once again the count made no preparations to counter
the enemy, neglecting to summon his cavalry forces and forgetting
that he had ever been defeated. So he sent the remainder of his
troops with the benevolent and pious prince Vasil, brother of the
catholicos and lord of Gargar, for the purpose of carrying provisions
with his men and bringing them under cover. Now, when the
Ishmaelites learned in advance [of this expedition], they marched
forth under the command of their chief Kara Arslan, who was the
lord of the territory of Handzit' and many other districts. The
Muslims fell Upon the Christian forces and made them all prisoners
-about four hundred persons. They also took prisoner Vasil, the
catholicos's brother, and brought him to the great fortress of Gargar,
for his wife and children were there. The inhabitants of Gargar
obtained a sincere oath from the emir concerning the captive
Christian troops who were taken prisoner; he swore that they would
be allowed to peacefully return to their country without their being
subjected to any treachery. This despot, lured by the desire to
possess this important place, did not hesitate to keep his oath and so
had all [the former prisoners] conducted as far as Samosata under
the diligent care of his troops. As for prince Vasil, the emir took him
to his Own country, treating the Armenian with great honor and
giving him lands as if he were his own beloved brother. Mter this
the Christian troops, weakened and in disorder, passed from
Samosata to Kesoun.
In the meantime the rumor spread everywhere that Joscelin (who
at that time was regarded as the leader of the Christians), on route
to Antioch in order to obtain aid for a campaign he was planning,
alone of all his troops fell into the hands of the enemy through divine
vengeance, In the same way in the days of old the son of David,
fleeing from his father because of his evil intentions [against him],
was punished at the behest of God [through his being trapped] by his
own ~air, David, who was pleasing in the eyes of God, was avenged,
for his rebellious Son was suspended from the branches of a tree until
one of the enemy pursuing him came and cut off his head with a
sword:' The same punishment befell Joscelin since he also worked
in opposition to the will of God, He was t~en prisoner by the
hideous and ferocious detester of Christ and brought to the city of
Aleppo; all the Muslims far and wide were in ecstatic joy [over his
C,apture], Gravely imperiled by this capture, the Christian territories
[In the East] were ruined, for they no longer had a leader on whom

259

the remnants of their forces could lean for support,5


.
' t h e 30th of January on Monday
22, In the year preVlo;s to t:~~ :ning fell from the sky, and the
morning, frightful thun er an Ig d' pted The cross which bore
normal functioning, of ,na~ure ~as ~s~uof christ, the sebastus1 Vasil,
God and which the Invmcible c ~p~
f the Church of the Holy
during his reign had 'pla:i?~ t e dO:': ~ [bright] flame, This was
Resurrection at ~lr-V
';~~hiSl glorious cross, and it was n?t
the fIfth miracle which happene 0
one resaging the rum
regarded by the sages as ~ g?od omen, ~~~ualit~ which did indeed
and destruction of the ChnstIans-an ev
take place.
.
n the day of Pentecost, when everyone
23. In thIS sam~ year 0 HIS irit the aforementioned sultan
anticipated the commg ofth~
y P 'dable army. Through the
Mas'ud arrived at the h~a 0 a orml nd the clashing of myriads
ringing of bells, the flashmg of swordsi:okers who were in the town
of lances, the sultan caused ~ of;s o~fied the inhabitants immediof Kesoun to tremble and qu e Kem 1 'after having obtained a
ately surrendered the town 0 f e~o:, on Mter eight days the
guarant~e of saf~ty from Mas'lidh::ni [~~;:'e~dered], and the fourth
inacceSSIble and Impregnabl~ ~e b
After this the sultan went to
day after this, the celebr~te h' a ~~. had ruined and devastated the
the territory of Tell Bashlr, w lCh
b of days but was unable
,
in t h e t own
year before. H e remal'ned here for anum ernt's son was
to be victorious over the place, for the cou
the inhabitants of the
defending it with his f~ther'~ troops; :~reov:~tly encouraged [by the
place were united behmd hIm and, b d ,g ~eir will [to resist], Even
whole situation], became strengthe~: a:~heir disposal, including the
though the infidels used ~very m:a
unable to defeat them], So
employment of war machines, [t ey ~::e, g taken the town, Mas'ud
once again, beaten and grieved ;~ no t ~~ries which he had taken
returned to his country, Now ;se e t h's'son whom he had
from the Christians, he turne ~ver 0 1was Kilij Arslan. 1
designated as his successor and w ose name

, e,ra the
[1151-1152],
the 23rd
24. In the year 600 of the Armeman
district ofon
Jahan.
On
of the month of Nawasard, red snow fell ~'te snow mixed with ashes
this same day when red snow ~el~ here, wh~d happened the previous
fell on the country of the ChnstIans, as
year.

260

CONTINUATION

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

25. After this year the troops and townspeople who lived in Tell
Bashir, after a year of patiently enduring all sorts of hardships,
[found themselves in dire straitsJ. When the son of Zengi, who was
the lord of Aleppo, learned of this, he marched against them with his
troops. Now, because they had no hope of assistance from anywhere,
the townspeople, obtaining an oath of amnesty, voluntarily surrendered the fortress-town of Tell Bashir. They also stipulated that the
Christians who were in the town-whether Franks or Annenians-if
they so wished, would be allowed to go to Antioch or to some other
place and would be taken there unharmed under the specific orders
of Nur-ad-Din. Nur-ad-Din faithfully carried out this agreement, as
had Sultan Mas'ud and his son Malik; for in this matter these men
were motivated by the desire to possess the land which they so easily
took from the Christians, rather than by any sympathy for their faith
or any love for them.
, 26. 1 During the time of the younger Joscelin, a young man called
T oros app~a;ed, a person who had no other help except the strength
of the SOlICItous Creator, who mercifully provides for mankind
century after century in accordance with his own will, following the
words of the apostle which state: "I have mercy on whomever I wish
and harden my heart 2 to whomever I wish.tlg As he did in regard to
the blessed Paul, whom he called from on high to serve him in mind
and deed, God did the same to this man. The generous will of God,
~ho nev~r refused to give the bounties of his mercy to anyone, took
mto conSIderation the hopes and efforts of T'oros and so after a short
while this Armenian prince gained control ofhi~ paternal lands. He
was the s?n of the sebastus Leon, the illustrious and sagacious son of
C~nstantme, son of ~uben. Being mighty and valiant in battle,
T oros not only took possession of his paternal lands but also gained
control of more fortresses and towns than his p~edecessors had
possessed. Seeing this [successJ, a certain Roman named Andronicus4
came t? ha~e ~ deep jealousy for T'oros, going so far as to refuse to
recogmze hIS tItle of Armenian prince. This man had been sent by
Manue15 as governor of the great CIty

the Greek emperor


of Tarsus

d 0 f MamIstra Since the h


an
d
d
..
in the Ar
..
n e never cease esplsmg and harassT,g fi memans, who through God's foresight gathered around
orost or..~pport. Andronicus then made war on them and caused
them 0 sWier a great deal Th Ann'
.
affection for and fi
f .h e
emans, III turn, because of their
a i'
ear 0 t e Greek emperor, did not dare battle
ga nst hIm, but rather ceaselessly pleaded with him to be allowed

261

to maintain their allegiance to him [and to the empire). Nevertheless Andronicus refused to listen to the Armenians and arrogantly
ca~e and descended upon the town of Mamistra. Now T'oros
beseeched him with many entreaties, saying: "I am a vassal of the
emperor and of you; do not be angry [at us)." On the other hand, the
inhabitants inside the town cried out: "We have with us the chains
we used to imprison your father; we can fetter you with those very
same chains.tle When this valiant man [T'oros] was no longer able to
tolerate Andronicus's arrogant and haughty attitude, relying on the
strength of Christ who had raised him from insignificance to a
position of some importance, he breached ~he walls of the .town of
Mamistra during the night. In the mornmg he went agamst the
Greek forces in battle and, striking them, defeated them and ~ut
them to flight-about twenty thousand men. He consumed them WIth
the sword and at the twinkle of an eye felled them ~ll to the ~ound.
At the height of the battle the Armenians took pnsoner Oshm, the
lord of Lambron, and Vasil, the lord of Bardzraberd and brother of
Tigran 7 as well as many other officers [of the Greek army); they
desPoiied them all, but alas let the cowardly Rom~ns go. A gre.at
deal of blood was shed during this battl:. So T o~os ~ery eaSl~y
gained control of the town of Mamistra, forCIbly captunng It from ~hls
effeminate man; in this way he avenged his father, whom And~omc~s
had deprived of his hereditary lands and exiled to~ether WIth hIS
family to the West. Now this treacherous Andr?mcus, unable to
accept the outrageous treatment he had been subjected to and also
the loss of both his officers and troops, fled to the Greek emper~r and
complained of what the Armenian forces had done to ~l1m-a
predicament which was no one's fault but his. In the meantIme the
and other captives he had tadken
gr eat T'oros , conducting the officers
h' t i d with a tremen ous
prisoner, peacefully entered IS own, a en
.
.
amount of gold and silver, various chattels, battle eqUIpment WhIC~
he had seized from the Greek troops, and numerous horses an
mules.8
27. Mter this great victory and prosperous situation [achieve~ b~
T'oros] calumnious Satan began to incite the powers tha~be agams
the A~enian forces. The Greeks, who nev~r ceased see in;:::
to avenge [the affront to] the person of- thel~~a::sri::::raOf all the
dous amount of money to Sultan Mas ud, w
ft f the Greeks
Muslims. This sultan, bribed by the nUfim~rous ~ ~~ough his o~
marched forth with a tremendous armY, rs passmg

262

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

territories and striking fear into the hearts of the Armenians [living
there]. However, through the grace of God the Armenian forces took
cou~ag~ and advanced to~ards the mountains separating their
terntones from those of the mfidels, feeling secure and not worrying
about the tremendous number of the infidel forces. When the infidels
~aw the boldness of the Christians, surprised and amazed, they said:
~at sort of m?n are the~~ who expose themselves to death, coming
agamst us to gIve battle? Now, as these infidels were reflecting
upon this situation, suddenly by an act of heaven the Turkish sultan
sent envoys to the Armenian general T'oros, l saying: "We have not
come to ravage your country; merely declare your obedience to us and
return the territory which you forcibly seized to the Greek emperor
and we. will consider you our beloved son." Hearing these words, th~
A.I:nemans were filled with great joy and glorified the Lord of the
umverse, who had mollified the unbridled and imperious nature of
the sultan to such an extent that now, treating them as his close
~mra~es, [Mas'udl sought an alliance of friendship with the
rmeman troops. Mter having detained the sultan's messengers for
a number of days the A '
h'
.
"We
.'
rmemans sent 1m theIr envoy, who said:
voluntarily ~dertake to submit to you as we would to a king for
you are not enVlQUS of our P
d
'
nor 0 you ravage our country'
b ut t 0 hand Over our land to rogress
th R
[
1
h ..
.'
ble" Wh th
e oman emperor, t at IS ImpoSSl't
en e sultan heard this, he was not disturbed' on the
con rary draWing u
t t f
'
a
th 'h h
P a rea y 0 peace and friendship confirmed by
m~s~~n~er: t~d it s~~t to the Armenian troops through one of his
Mas'-d t' uds sco. mg at the Greek emperor and his money. So
u re urne to hIS own co t
'th
h
all this occurr d .
un ry WI out anning anyone. Now
e m the year 602 of the Armenian era [1153-1154].
28. Three years afte thO th
gold and silver to th ~tanlS e emperor sent various other gifts of
"Go, appease the a: s
-:-m?re than the previous time-and said:
demolish theI'r rt ger raging m my heart against the Armenians'
o resses set fi t th' h
'
their whole country be c '. :e 0 elr c urches, and command
in my heart may subSi~n~I~ ~o the f1~mes-all so that the anger
sultan once more march:d fo;~mg receIved these many gifts, the
army than before arri .
t and came at the head of a larger
Anazarba. Not b~ing a~~:~ a Mami~tra and from there going to
came to Tell :{iamdun and or acco~phsh what he had intended, he
without being able to ca
emamed there for a number of days
sultan sent one of his s~~e~ri- ~est~ction. In the meantime the
ik s chIef officers, whose name was

CONTINUATION

263

Ya'qllb-a wicked and malicious man-to make an incursion into the


territory of Antioch with a detachment of three thousand men. When
Ya'qub's troops passed through a place called Durn/ suddenly as if
, sent from heaven some of the Christ-like Templars2 together with
Stephen, the brother of general T' oros, fell upon the infidels and
annihilated all of them to the last man. Their chiefYa'qllb, having
received a lance through his liver, gave up his life after wailing cries
and much suffering. When the [infidel] army learned of this, they
trembled with fear; moreover, their horses were strick~n with a
disease from heaven, one which they themselves call tapax, and from
which many more horses died than remained [alive]. Now, when the
Turkish officers saw this, they all turned in flight, comrades not
waiting for their fellows, and brothers for their brothers. Many of
them cut the tendons of their horses and mules. Moreover, they
threw away their arms while in flight and, cutting their way and
passing through marshy areas and difficult places, took the wrong
routes. Eminent /l-iijibs 4 and a large number of chief officers fled on
foot through fear of God on high, for they had .no fea.: of ~en. !n the
meantime the Armenian troops had made mcurSIons mto mfidel
territory and so returned to their country laden with much bo~ty. On
their return the Armenians realized the unexpect~d serv~ce the
fearfulness of the mighty God had rendered them, puttmg the mfidels
to flight and forcing them to retrace their steps, humiliated, ~efeated,
and shamed-like the feeble fox escaping from the royal hon. So,
trembling and quaking, the infidels ran, thinking t~at a great
number of cavalry forces were after them in hot purSUIt a~d w~re
shedding a tremendous amount of blood; this is how the SItuatIOn
5
seemed to these fugitives.
.
h
Now a similar situation had occurred at the town of NlSlbIS, w en
Kavadh,6 the grandson of the Persian king Yazdgard, forg~t t~e treaty
of friendship which his forebears had made with the Chn~tIans and,
full of rage came with his Persian troops to ravage thiS country.
Spending n:.any days7 and employing a tremendous amount ?f effort,
he demolished the fortifications of Nisibis. However, when. ~s trfo~~:
wished to penetrate the town, 10, they suddenly cau:t ~lg k~ 0 like
holy patriarch James,s who was walking on the ramp s, 00 mg and
a king dressed in purple, surrounded by the heavenknly hos~s, t
carrying on his head a pIank 0 f Noah' s ark . This pIa was given
.
d0
him by an angel to compensate for the fatigue he expenence 1
climbing the mountain in order to see the ark. i!ct~~~] ~~ya~~
did not allow him [to reach his goal], but turne ac
IS
I

264

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

of God to his own co~tty, giving him the plank as a sign of affection,
Now, when the PersIan forces saw this spectacle, becoming horrorstruck, they ~ere unable to approach the ramparts of the town, [the
ramparts] which they had demolished. At the same time punishment
[from heaven~ came upon them. Swarms of bull-flies, wasps, and flies
attacked theIr horses, causing them to lunge forward impetuously
~nd break their reins; moreover, because of the density [of the
Insec~s], no one was able to control his horse. Thus an insignificant
chastlsem~nt ,from h?aven brought upon them a sudden calamity
such as thIS, Just as In former times the mighty right hand of God
had ~~ru~k the Egyptians on behalf of the Israelites. So, after this
humilIatmg ~efeat caused by the grace of Christ and the prayers of
the holy patna:ch James, the Persian king turned back; for the Lord
f~fil1s the deSIres of those who fear him. N ow this incident is no
dlfferen~ from the ~vent which has occurred at present and which we
have ~ltnessed WIth our own eyes, [Returning to our original
~arratIVe], all the Turks moved against T'oros and his troops twice
ut .were unable to do anything, in spite of the bribes they had
receIved fr~m the Greek emperor to turn to ashes the cross and the
~hurch whl~h were objects of outrage and contempt to them. If help
c!d not amve~ from the [mighty] arm which was displayed on the
ss', Our enemI?S would have been able to canoy out the orders of the
~ere:IC~
destrOYIng the holy church and devastating our country from
OP
d ~ do~tom: Now w,e have remained in peace, while they have
ePlay. e In flIght and In great humiliation, as we recounted previOus
29. After all this whe th'

t f

't'

1"

h
'
n elr ma ICIOUS prOjects were not brought
:h~~~~n, It e~ bega~ to adopt a more peaceful policy. Kilij Arslan,
great sult;nac~ on ~ e throne of the sultanate 1 by his father the
[I~medIately
devoted himself to executing this poiicy]
So the Arm,elllans
lived '
,
,
glOrifying the most Hal In, s:cu~ty an? ha?pine~s for a while,
chaste bishops hoI
' Y Tnnlty In conjunctIon WIth ascetic and
nes t
always extend~d [/
s, ~nd groups of monks whose arms were
Christ began to e:etreaven In pr~ye~]. Now, when the enemies of
Tell Hamdun ~h' h ate the temtones ofT'oros in order to attack
viole~t-sounding fo~' ~c~~rre~ on the 16th of the month of Tre-a
by the roots, and hai~ :ell eo:md arose, Man~ t~ees we~e pulled up
any areas, hittIng gramfields and
vineyards. On the twenty-fifth
i
serious and severe calam't
ay of the same month ofTre another
I Y came upon the whole land, lasting for

:r

265

CONTINUATION

three [consecutive] nights and very much like what had happened at
Nineveh. This fearful phenomenon began at the first hour of the
night and lasted until dawn. Contrary to the usual functioning. of
nature in this season, a gloomy darkness appeared, very muc~ hke
the obscure darkness which fell upon Egypt, The clouds colhded,
giving forth bursts of thunder just like s~1id ~nd diamond-like
, mountains striking one another. Flashes of lIghtmng enveloped the
vault of the sky, and there was no portion of the heavens that did not
have lightning accompanied by strong winds. ~o would h,ave been
able to calmly witness with his own eyes these fnghtful
mce~sant
convulsions of nature? In this manner, for three [consecutIve] mghts,
people were seized with fear at this spectacle. Everyo~e-m~n,
women, aged, and children-rushed into the houses of God, .mvok~ng
the intercession of the Mother of our Lord and all the Smnts WIth
fear, bitter tears, and deep sighs. Finally merciful God took pity, on
his creatures and stopped this threat of [impending] destructIOn
directed against the unrepentant and the befuddled unfaithful. Now
this calamity occurred in the year 603 of the Armenian era [11541155]. Up to this point we have recounted what we have heard and
seen with our own eyes.

an?

30. After this, when the Turkish sultan [Mas'ud] returned,


humiliated, to his own country, he lived for only ten months, for the
pleas of the innocent slain and hopeless captives reached ,the ears. ~~
the Lord of hosts. Falling sick, the sultan summoned hIS son KihJ
Arslan and, descending from his throne, prostrated himself before his
son in the presence of the important personages
his cou~t. ~e
placed his crown on Kilij Arslan's head and then explred, leavmg hIS
son all his vast territories. This occurred in the year 604 of the
Annenian era [1155-1156]. The [deceased] sultan also had two other
sons, one of whom was generous to all and had a more comely face
than his brother, the sultan. The sultan began to think that perhaps
this brother did not agree with him, and so he feared him; moreover,
his brother's body had a stronger build than his. Encouraged by
certain people, one night during a time of feasting and merriment,
the sultan strangled and killed his brother. His youngest brother for
a time submitted to him like a beloved son but [later], out of fear of
him, fled to his own fortified towns of Gangra1 and Ankara and never
again saw his brother. Not only did Kilij Arslan kill his brother, but
also many of the important personages of his court., as well, as so~~
emirs, his father's chief minister2 Paghtain,3 and hIS father s khat"t,

0:

266

1.

';

1~

-', '

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Now, when the great emir Yaghi-Basan,5 who was the son of the emir
ll-Ghazi and lord of Sebastia and Cappadocia, saw what was going
on, he was not pleased with the sultan's actions. So, gathering
together a goodly number of cavalry forces, he entered the district of
6
Lycandus and transported the Christians of the area to his territories by their own free will; moreover, he seized the fortified town of
Larissa. Yag~i-Basan did all these things on behalf of his nephew,
who had enmIty towards Kilij Arslan.
When all this became known to Kilij Arslan he gathered together
his father's f~rces, as ~ell as a large number ~f cavalry troops, and
marched agamst YaghI-Basan. When the two armies came face to
face, their misguided imams mediated between them over an
exte~ded period of time and thus prevented the two sides from
battlIng one anothe~. So for a time both sides made a feigned peace
and returned to theIr respective territories. This situation lasted for
two months, during which neither a treaty of peace was established
nor a solution through combat sought. Now after all this YaghiB~an marched fo~h and secretly came to the district of Jahan, to its
ch~ef town Aplast a. As the character of man becomes rooted in its
eVIl wa~s from childhood, in like manner the sultan forgot the
compasslO~.~hat dominated his father's reign. So, hearing ofYaghi's
march, KillJ Arslan eagerly and boastfully went forth to wreak
ven~eance ~n the land which had nurtured him. When Yaghi learned
ff hIS commg, he gathered together the whole population of the
an~-~bout sev.enty thousand persons-and took them to his
te;ntones .h! th~Ir own free will. The sultan was unable to catch up
::~lag~I m t~IS land, for the latter had taken a circuitous route in
t . rawmg WIth the Christians. Then the sultan entered the
fOfhLycandus. The inhabitants of the area disheartened
bemtory
'
ecause 0 is frightf I d t h b '
It u ban. ?ug ehavlOr, voluntarily went over to
the side of th
I d e su an, 0 tammg an oath from him that he would not
ea away an!one who had Come to his support.
pe:~: !~~hI-B;sa:, dafter having provided for the security of the
encamped a~ns~ th: s transported to. his territories, came and
anothe [0
. ultan, the front hnes of each army facing one
wam'ngr'a ~cet agam] their religious leaders prevented them from
th I
gams one anothe N
r. ev.er e ess, after a number of days
the sultan full f
again the ;eligio~s ~ag:, c~~~ aga.mst Yaghi in full force, but once
"Do not exterminate ~h:r~~ ~t h~s fe.et, ~eseeching him and saying:
sultan drew up a tr t f shms. YIeldmg to their entreaties, the
ea y 0 peace [which was discussed] article by

CONTINUATION

267

article, but which did not stipulate the return of the expatriated
Christians. Now the sultan agreed to this for the following reason.
A certain man named Stephen, who was the brother of the sebastus
T'oros, came on the scene; this man, motivated by human stupidity
and treachery rather than by divine inspiration, was eager to
recapture the Christian territories from the infidels. However, his
brother would not give him any assistance, because his men had
slaughtered many Christians and had plundered and deprived their
compatriots of their property and possessions. These people did not
in the least resemble Christians, who must look after one another, as
they are taught in Scripture. It was because of all this that the
sultan felt constrained to come to the territory of Kesoun, over which
his father had gained control. The Christians, deprived of any
assistance and having learned of his coming, fled to those places
which were sparsely inhabited. The sultan, in turn, came and
subjugated the area without resistance, thus bringing it under his
domination. Moreover, he made peace with the king of Jerusalem,
the lord of Antioch, 7 and the victorious T'oros and then peacefully
returned to his realm. Now all this occurred in the year 606 of the
Armenian era [1157-1158], at the beginning ofthe month of August.
After this Kilij Arslan came to Berdus,s which Stephen had taken by
force and thus .acted treacherously towards his brother T'oros, and
which as a gesture of friendship [T'oros] had handed over to the
sultan without his brother's consent. The sultan freed all the cavalry
and infantry troops stationed in the fortress, in recognition of T'oros's
obedience and in recognition of his handing over the stronghold.
31. Previous to this, in the year 605 [1156-1157] on the 26th of
November an earthquake was felt throughout the whole land. Many
Muslim t~wns on the confines of Arabia, near Aleppo, col1a~se~ to
their very foundations. However, the Lord has saved the Chn~tIans
from any harm right up to the present. The tre~ors contmue.d
without interruption until the beginning of~he followmg year, and It
was impossible to reckon their number dunng the fourteen months
[of the earthquake period].
32 In the year 606 of the Armenian era [1157-1158] on the second
.
. '
. d brain
of November
a vlOlent
wmd ,accompame
y. '1 arose. In the
ere
various places it hit, vineyards and grapes, laId out to dry'tW d
heavily damaged. Now I will say a few words about the great atn
h
,
Impregnable
fortress-town 0f Beh esm.. When Stephen came 0 e

268

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

territory of Kesoun with ineffective troops and against his brother's


will, certain men called Qarmatians2 joined up with him. Now the
sebastus T'oros was advised not to reach the point of having to
capture this fortress. We are not sure whether this advice had its
origin in the solicitude of God or in the jealousy of his brother. The
merciless and imperious despot, who was the lord of the fortress and
whose name I won't even consider writing down, went against the
orders of the sultan his sovereign, who had commanded him to treat
the Christians with benevolence. On the contrary, he inflicted all
sorts of afflictions and punishments, first on venerable priests and
deacons and then on responsible heads of households as well as on
all ~he other Christian folk whom he tormented equaiIy. Moreover,
he Imposed very heavy taxes on the inhabitants of the renowned
Behesni. Thus no o~e co~l~ blame them when, in order to bring
about the death of this mahcIOus and despotic person, these inhabitants summoned Stephen, hoping perhaps to effect a plot against the
hatef~ tyrant. Howe~er, this excellent plan came to naught, for a
cert~m p~rson, betraymg the Christians, disavowed the oath which
the I~habitants had taken among themselves and went and warned
t~e WIcked despot not to go to the public baths, where death awaited
hIm. Never leaving his house, the tyrant heeded the man's advice
w~o thus ~aved his miserable life. After this, roaring like a ferociou~
alllmal thIrsty for the blood of the innocent this despot ordered all
those he could get his hands on to be tied by their feet and hands and
thrown down from a steep cliff. The Christians witnessing the
perrormance of this criminal act and remembering the great calamity
whICh befell the city of Edessa, rushed to the side of the chief3 who
had come t~ their aid. He stood opposite the fortress with his troops
ci:templatmg the deaths which he was powerless to prevent. The~
t . s co~mander took all the men and women-aged and childrenWIth hI~. These people voluntarily abandoned their property and
f~ssesslO~S, as well as their ancestral home in which from time
b memonal they had been born and raised and in which they had
~;~ prot~ted by pious rulers who treated them as their beloved
c ~ ren. 0 Stephen took these people, accustomed to a life of ease
~~d cO;i~~i a~d. se~tled them in a disagreeable and inhospitable
fortr~ss of B;hes:~n!~g t~O min~ ~he ruin of the divinely-protected
in keeping with hi .
e affhctIOns of the Christians, the sultan,
replace the oppre s wisefntahturfie, used every means at his disposal to
e ortress
A Cot
suIt0
.
-.town. n.J.
er thi s, d ue to t h e
benevolence of thessor
an, the mhabitants of the place gradually

CONTINUATION

269

returned, and this formerly depopulated and plundered town now


became inhabited once again.
33. What shall I say about the town of Kesoun, a word signifying
lIelegant?"l For the lord of the town, who was appointed as its
guardian and governor by the emperor, was unable to go forth from
the place and repulse any enemy coming against it. He and all those
under him, concocting a malicious plan, expelled from the town its
venerable priests, illustrious personages, and responsible heads of
households-including all the men [of the place], leaving behind only
the women and children. The only kind act of this chief was that he
had the families of these emigrants protected with care and without
any suspicion. On the other hand, the exiles, instead of living in
their high mansions or in their own homes, had to stay in villages
and monasteries. Those who were able to go off somewhere roamed
about and sat under the shade of trees or walls, waiting silently and
inertly for death and enslavement. Such fear as this cause~ them to
forget their exile and uneasy life. These extreme hardshIps lasted
from the month of Mareri to July, right up to the arrival of the great
sultan at Berdus at which time the country recovered its tranquility,
,
T
and people returned to their homes. At the behest ~f the .great , o~os,
Berdus was handed over to the sultan, the Armeruan prmce wIshmg
to gain his friendship; this was done against the will of Stephen,
whose valor had won the place from a certain Turk, who was a
wicked man and a despiser of Christians and who was killed by Stephen.
34 Mter all this the sultan returned to his realm and deliberated
with 'the high officials of his court about strengthe~i~g the peace he
had made with the Franks and Armenians. Obtammg their assent
in this matter, the sultan once again sent his trusted envoy.s to
Jerusalem Antioch and to T'oros in order to conclude an unqualified
peace treaty conse~ted to by both sides. All this was not a res~lt ?f
the natural inclinations of the sultan's heart, for wha~ has .Chnst m
common with Belial? Now the reason [for the sultan s actIOns] was
[to gain support against] the son of Zengi, who was the lord of Aleppo
and the husband of his sister. After Sultan Mas'ud's death, the s~
of Zengi scorning the son whom the late sultan had ele~a~ed to t ;
throne ~f his realm seized the territories of the ChnstIans an ,
, .
capture
establ'ish edby Mas'-d
u , was able to
1t
th
crossing over the frontIers
the impregnable fortress-towns of Aintab and P'arzman, oge er

270

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

~ith all their [surrounding] villages. 2 The sultan Kilij Arslan wrote
hIm many times, saying: "Cease acting unjustly and return the
territory which belongs to me and which my father established to
serve as the border between me and you," However, the son of Zengi
chose not to listen [to these complaints] and was more arrogant and
insulting to this valiant nation than to the ruler of Persia, While this
debate went on, the king of Jerusalem and the lord of Antioch
Reginald, found themselves in an extremely perplexing situation:
However, he whose power and strength is higher than the heavens,
who ne,ver lets anything out of his sight, and who never neglects the
:od which he uses against sinners at the time when the righteous are
m a state ofho~elessness, it was he (from whose pure and just divine
laws suddenly Issued forth the order for punishment) who inflicted
the ~o~ of Zengi with a severe and harsh malady, Experienced
physIcIans ,;ere summoned from all nations, but were unable to find
a cu~e for hIS ~alady, while day by day the wrath of God fell more
h~avily upon hIm, [In times past] the son of Zengi had been allied
w~th Count Joscelin through a solemnly sworn treaty made in good
fa,Ith, Nevertheless, he acted in a very pitiless and inhuman way
WIth the count, behavior which was unheard of among all peoples and
t:oug~out all time; he made his friend prisoner, not by his own
e orts, I~ batt~e, but by plotting with others, and then, putting
;~sc~l~n In chams for a nine-month period, blinded the eyes of this
~:! nous ,ma~, who was invincible in many battles and lord over
judgmy te~~oGneds'b So blessing, thanks, and praise to the all-holy
en 0 0 e on the lips of every Christian,

35, Now we return to thos


t
d"
the year 602 f
e even s we passe over In sIlence In
, J
I 0 the Armenian era [1153-1154] the kingl who reign'ed
m erusa em was eightee
ld d
Anjou the F nk' h I n years, 0 an was the son of the count of
under' his
IS ru e~, AlmIghty God, taking this [young] king
hands th ' gs, gave hIm a. great victory by delivering into his
The va1ia~tl';;=~ble, inacc~ssible, and infidel town of Ascalon.
patiently endured ~ll ~~~:~~:th t~eir benevole~t and saintly king,
many of them includ' th TardshiPs for an entIre year; moreover,
crown. So, after all t~ng e e~plars, c~me to merit the martyr's
the Christians-the M~:~ehardshIPs, the mtercessor and hope of all
Christ to bring forth a 't r o~ Our Lord-beseeched our Lord Jesus
town was delivered int:I~~~aordtho~e end~ring patiently. Thus the
the feast day or the Assum t' n ~ 0 the kmg and the Templars on
pion 0 the Holy Theotokos and through

wf:

CONTINUATION

271

her intercession.
36. Mter this, having discovered treachery on the part of the
infidel Turkish nation/ the benevolent king put a considerable
number of them to the sword and thus made them pay for the blood
of the Christians which they had shed; he expelled the remaining
from the city, compelling them to settle outside the walls. So, instead
of godless voices, the voice of the life-giving Gospels was heard in all
places. Moreover, the redemptive cross was mounted on the tops of
all the tall buildings as a sign of shame and destruction for the
degenerate, dismal, and nefarious2 nations, but as a sign of pride and
joy for us Christian faithful. Now, after this magnificent triumph,
the Franks gave themselves a brief respite and then began to devote
their attention to the city of Damascus. For at the beginning of the
year 603 [1154-1155] the son of Zengi, who was the lord of Aleppo,
arrived intending to gain control of Damascus by stratagem; however,
the townspeople resisted out of concern for their children3 whom they
had sent as hostages to Jerusalem, conforming to the orders of the
king. Nevertheless, the son of Zengi entered and gained control of
the city of Damascus by stratagem.
37. At the beginning of the year 604 [1155-1156] the son of Zengi,
bribing the king of Jerusalem and the lord of ~ti~ch w~th large
amounts of money, induced them to accede to hIS evIl deSIgns a~d
made an alliance with them. The two rulers consented to hIS
invading those Christian territories which formerly had belonged to
the Franks So the son of Zengi arrived before the renowned and
great city of Aintab with a large number of troops and laid siege ~o
it without delay. After undermining and demolishing t~e walls, his
troops entered the city and slaughtered a great many I~dels and
also took captive or killed many Christians. Mter thIS he sent
messages to the governor of the territories o,f R~ban and Kesou~,
asking for the peaceful cession of these temtones, However, ~ s
request was refused out of fear of the sultan. Then news reached him
that the king of Jerusalem and the lord of Antioch ha? bro~en the
treaty of peace they had concluded with him and were lllvadmg and
ravaging his territories. So the son of Zengi quickly wen~ to Aleppo
and Damascus. However he delayed a major confrontatIon for the
reason that he was not st;ong enough to meet the Franks face to face
in battle; on the other hand, the Franks were powerless to reduce the
city of Damascus.

272

"I,:!'-

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

CONTINUATION

,38, At this point the king of Jerusalem resolved to ally himself


w~t~ the Greek emperor Manuel through marriage, The emperor
wIllmgly acceded to this idea and sent the daughterl of his father's
brother to ~he city of Jerusalem with an escort of one of his loyal
cavalry regIments and a large amount of gold and silver, Moreover,
the Roman emperor promised the king to personally come to the
assistance of,the city of Jerusalem and all the Christians, He did not
delay [carrymg out this promise], for immediately in the same
year-the year 608 of the Armenian era [1159~1160]-the Greek
em~eror came into the territories belonging to T'oros territories
whIch the Armenian prince had formerly taken from' the Greek
governo~ in Mamistra, Manuel had five hundred thousand troops
und~r his command, ~ow, w~en T'oros first learned of the emperor's
com~ng, he fled to hIS terntory, taking with him his wife, his
co~sIderable wealth, and his nobles, together with their wives
chIldren, an,d possessions, He came and took refuge in a rocky plac~
ca~led ,Tach~k, a place which since times past no one remembered
b~I~g
mhabited or providing secure shelter, T'oros had forgotten the
a
f the sage who said: "Do not contend with anyone who is
vhIce
,
hIg er than
you"
H d'd
' hImself
,
I
,e
I no t statIOn
with his cavalry in one
fh:c~ rather he wandere~ about in wild and bushy places, hoping for
k'
~ry of the one on hIgh and counting on the intercessions of the
t~~f ;f th:70~~:~!~ore the Greek emperor on bO,th his be~alf and
,boch, whom Manuel had appOInted as hIS vicar.
Actuall
asham~ ~:fo~~1~~ cause for their fe~ring the Greeks and feeling
provoked by T'
e~ :~s that preVIOusly the prince of Antioch,
'l
th
A_
or~s,
a mvaded the island of Cyprus with a fleet
whlee .nrmeman p
ri'
,
Landing and finding the ~c~ ~~compall1ed him with his own troops.
defense], they treated th: a Itant~ nonchalant and unprepared [for
towns and villages d ' ~ as ~he Infidels would, devastating their
and maltreating m~n;~~~~tt e~ of their homes and possessions,
they cut Off.2 When th
ree cle,r~en, whose noses and ears
they were deeply cha; e7~ror and hIS hIgh officials learned of this,
were unable to do anytr;:, y w;at was done, but for the time being
Mamistra and Occupied t~ng. h lOW, when the emperor arrived in
beginning of November_he ~'do e country-which happened at the
the land. However the k' e ; not harm any of the inhabitants of
consulting with th '
mg 0 Jerusalem held back from coming and
, ,
e emperor on a suit bl I fi
.
Chnsban nations and lib t'
a e p an or defeatmg the nonredeem those taken capti era[blllgthth~ church, for he had no mind to
ve y e mfidels].

39, Finally the king of Jerusalem came, together with the soldiers
of Christ-the Templars-and the lord of Antioch, who previously had
come before the emperor, to apologize for the expedition against
Cyprus, Then, in light of what has been said before, a large group of
Christians gathered before the Greek emperor, entreating him with
strong pleas to mollify his anger towards T'oros. Now, since the
Greeks harbored a deep hatred against the Armenians, who nevertheless were beyond reproach, the Armenian prince feigned accepting the
king of Jerusalem and the Templars as mediators and guarantors of
his good faith. When T'oros came before the Greek emperor, he was
at first excluded from Manuel's table, However, because of God's
solicitude for the Armenian prince, the Greek emperor regarded him
as having a charming and pleasing demeanor and so strongly
reproached those who had slandered him, Mter remaining with
Manuel for a few days, T'oros wished to go back to his home, The
emperor gave him permission, on condition th.at he q~ckly ret~rn to
the [imperial] camp. The Armenian prince, WIsely takmg cog~za~ce
of the needs of the [imperial] troops, on his return brought WIth hIm
a large number of sheep, cattle, buffalo, and Arabian horses, He
came before the emperor and presented him with these gifts at ~
suitable moment. Greatly amazed at the profuse amount of P~OVI
sions [T'oros had brought], Manuel praised his farsighted saga~lOus
ness in the presence of the chief Roman officers and the enemIes of
the Armenian prince. The emperor, in turn, gave T'oros a large
amount of gold and silver garments befit~ing a, king; moreover, ,he
truly pardoned the Armenian prince's dlsobe~Ience and re~elhon
against his imperial directives, T'oros, on hls part, promIsed to
unreservedly remain obedient and subject t~ the emperor's commands, a promise which he scrupulously carned out,

273

40. After this the two rulers,lthe invincible forces of the Templars,
the lord of Antioch and T'oros conceived of an excellent plan, one
which all the Christian peoples piously and ferventl~ ado,ptedi [the~
all] resolved to either die or to free the hopeless ~a?tIves,lmpn~~ned
for a very long time in Aleppo and Damascus, CIties bUIlt ?y h 00
Beginning the march, the Christian army came t~ An~IOC ~:t
entered the city as if it owned the place, However, smce I~w~ k
certain whether the townspeople would quickly ~ubmit to ~ e ree
, ch'Ief CI't'Izens to bcnve up theIr
emperor Manuel asked theIr
d d sons as
11
hostage~. Making their submission, they vol~ntarilY ha: ~re~~e~:m
that the emperor had requested, lest the captives never e

274
MATTHEW OF EDESSA
CONTINUATION

servitude and they violate the oath taken at the tomb of the Redeemer and the promise given to the king of Jerusalem when he
became allied to Manuel through marriage. Going forth with an
immense number of troops, the Christians advanced, fulminating
with rage like lions and trying to outdistance one another like eagles
sWOoping down on a bevy of partridges. In this manner these
Courageous men rushed forth to invade and ravage the country of the
Turks. The army reached a place called Balana,2 which is near the
confines of Aleppo and a day's march from that city. All the
Christians far and near were in ecstatic joy when they learned of the
alliance of the faithful, formed for the purpose of annihilating the
infidels and delivering the Church of Christ-which was redeemed by
his
holy and precious blood-from the vile and onerous yoke of
servitude.
When the infidels heard the news of this and of the approach of the
Christians to the borders of the Muslim territories, they became
horror-struck. Completely seized by fear because of the [two] rulers,
Niir-ad-Drn, who was the lord of Aleppo and Damascus, sent envoys
to the emperor, promising to hand over some ten thousand slaves
taken from Christian captives whom he had treated mercilessly. He
planned to free the slaves and wash away the spots and blemishes
caused by their being mistreated; then, by sending them to the [two]
rulers, he intended to ask to become SUbject to them as one of these
slaves. However, the [two] rulers refused these conditions, telling the
envoys that Nur-ad-Drn would have to leave the country and go
where they wished him to go, or else they would simply exterminate
the Whole population, including nurslings. It was quite obvious that
the forces of the Christian faithful were proud and joyful, as if at a
wedding.
Now, While the Christians were involved in these matters bad
new.s in the form of a letter suddenly arrived from the imperia{ city,
statmg that there Was a disturbance over the [imperial] throne and
also containing information of other bewitched events the causes of
which we have been unable to ascertain as it was the work of the
devil. In any case this was the real reason Why the emperor came to
an understanding with the prince [of Antioch] and why he gave back
to
the land he had taken from the Armenian prince, regarding
all thIS as a sufficient victory for himself. 3 Indeed, we know from
lookmg at past events and reading the chroniclers that the Greek
emperors never worked for the deliverance of the Christians but
rather occupied themselves with ruining and seizing their
and

T'oro~

or

citie~

275

the Armenians
left
g that
they came and
lands. It was because of these emperor: that
their country, that the infidels be~~:s;~~Ptured Artsn and then
gained control of every area, th~ t Y f Ani' in this way the wicked
Melitene, Sebastia, and ~he roy ~~~ c~nfin~s of the city of ConstanTurks controlled everythmg up to
Franks came forth for the
tinople. On the other hand, ~he. coura~~o:re ruined and defeated by
third time to deliver the ChristIans, b d
rfidy of the Greek emthe Turks through the treachery a~ ~t~ our own eyes. If the
peror-an event which we witn~seCh~ t' ans he did not have to
emperor had come on behalf of t ~ ~s; His father acted in the
tarry in Mamistra for
4 a seven-mont pe~~h' other Annenian chiefs.
same way [when] he carrie~ off Leon an to t~ose who are intelligent
These [examples] are suffiClent to Sh~~h deep hatred they have for
the actions of the Rom~ empe~o~s anhav: spoken about [previously].
the Annenians-somethmg WhlC e Romans who thought among
. "Do not listen to the
Finally it was the feeble and effen~mate
themselves and then said to thekIr emper~~~one and you can return
Franks or Armenians; hasten bac t 0 your
again when you wish."

.t

v:

.
1 rned of this, their hopes of
41. When the ort?odo.x [falthf~ie ea'efbecause of the departure
success were turned mto lll.consoia feaded with the emperor, but
of the Greeks. Countless. tImes t~ey ~
They even begged him to
he refused their just
were unable to prevent hIm from eav~ng.
stay three more days before Aleppo. tw~~:r'lord of Aleppo-who
entreaties and instead sent env0i:.s?t
s in a state of abject
together with the inhabitants of t e CI y wa d friendship When
fearl-in order to conclude a treaty of pteta.ce B;nth great J" oy a~d were
d hi th became ecs a IC W1
the infidels hear t s, ey
h'nk' g that the envoys had come
unable to give a suitable answer, thl .In b en given assurances by
for the purpose of spyi~g. Mter a~~gth: bidding of the emperor.
these envoys, they promls:d to c.arry f their agreement, the infidels
So in keeping with the stIpulatlOns 0 t.
they heldJ-men whom
frl'ty eminent Franks [from the cap ,;esthe purpose of appeasethe wicked emperor had r:quested ongh~~t had delivered into their
ment. Thus countless captlves, w~om rfectl and who slander and
hands-they who worship. [God].lmpe
~alicious hearts-were
and
judge us because of theIr envlOUS d eived us [like this, even]
abandoned. Indeed, the Muslims ~ver e~sting of an innumerable
when they killed us. So the Gree s'rcon~ t like a feeble fox. Like
army, turned back, not like a mighty lon, U

se~t

276

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

fugitives they reached the territories of the sultan Kilij Arslan. Now
this sultan was not an instrument of Christ's vengeance upon the Romans, but merely was charged with making them expiate for the
maledictions and blasphemies they heaped upon the orthodox
[faithful] when they refused to bring aid to the church and to the
captives. So the vile and obscure race of the Turkomans went after
them as if after fugitives and slaughtered twelve thousand of the
Romans, besides killing the emperor's father-in-law and seizing
twenty thousand horses and mules. Because of this, deep antagonism
developed between the Greek emperor and the sultan Kilij Arslan.
Now it seems to my weak and feeble mind that nothing else imaginable explains the undermining of our hope for deliverance, except the
hatred for us [on the part of the Greeks] and the prophecy of the holy
man of God, the great Nerses our enlightener, who, through spiritual
i~sight and the inspiration of the one on high, wrote in his true
hIstOry about the Greek emperors who after a short while no longer
paid attention to those things pertaining to war, but merely occupied
themselves with levying taxes and having theological discussions. 2

"

42. Now under these circumstances the emperor shamefully


returned [to Constantinople], while the pansebastus T'oros remained
o~ his ~ereditary lands and, [protected] by the authority and the
friendshIp of the emperor, 1 lived in peace and security. However, the
lord of A~eppo, a torchbearer of his people, freed from the fear of a
war and mfluenced by his evil brother and the Greeks who were in
a?Teement with him, sent to the king of Jerusalem, requesting from
hIm a fo~~-month treaty of peace. Having bribed the king, [who was]
an avanclOUS man, with a large amount of money and having
2
outwitted him in every way, the lord of Aleppo went towards Harran
w~ich he previously had turned over to his brother Miran. At thi~
P?mt there were certain slanderers who said that, when he was sick,
hIS brother had wanted to kill him. The lord of Aleppo believing
these treacherous individuals, went against Harran with a formidable
army. Mter remai?ing there for two months, he captured it by
assault: together WIth the neighboring territories of Raqqa3 and
~dessa, moreover, he brought under his control all the places which
a~ formerl?, shaken off his yoke. He came to the territory of Raban,
;~lch:t thIS time belonged to the sultan, and captured it by assault.
th en ~ went to Marash and captured this place also. Now when
e emIr who .was the lord of Kesoun learned of the victorious
Successes of thIS despot, fearing that the lord of Aleppo might take

CONTINUATION

277

his town also, he abandoned the sultan. Recognizing the suzerainty


of the lord of Aleppo, the emir came to him while he was at ~aban,
and the two marched together against Marash and Behesm. The
inhabitants of these towns were seized with terror, for they. had no
hope of assistance. These places were captured and theIr walls
demolished. Thus the reason for the ruin of these territories was th~t
the lord of Aleppo had made peace with the king of Jerusalem and [m
this way] tricked him as one would a child. N~w, while the lord of
Aleppo was at Behesni, bad news reached hIm from Damascus,
saying that, at the expiration of the treaty of peace, Franks fro~ the
forces of the Templars had come to ravage the land. So, gomg to
Aleppo and Damascus, he gat~ered tog~ther a very large number of
troops, intent on warring agamst the kmg of Jerusalem.
43. At the beginning of the year 609 [1160-1161]. all the Turks
gathered around the son of Zengi in Dama~cus, whIle .the Franks
united around the king of Jerusalem, both Sl~es p~epan~g to mak[~
war on one another. The two sides remamed. m thIS sta~e ?
preparedness] until the beginning of winter, but Wlthout engagmg m
combat. Finally they concluded a two-year treaty of peace am~n.g
themselves and then both sides dispersed an~ returned dto t elr
,
' k ' Kil" Ar Ian and Yaghi-Basan rna e peace
respective places. Ll eWlse
IJ s
h t
f
with one another The sultan handed over to the latter t e ow~ ~
Aplast'a and its ~urrounding territory, w~ich fo~merlY. belo~~~ on~
him and to his father [before him]; for .dunng theIr CO~l~~:e son of
another Yaghi claimed the area. Dunng the sameJeno 1
Count [Joscelin] was made prisoner and taken to eppo.

44. In this same period, during t~e mont~ of octobe:k;=rt:~~


emir named Miran, l the son of the ~ml~ lbr,iihlm, .son~~at' Archesh,
was the lord of many towns and dlSt~I~~S ~n~~~~:law At;atin3 with
2
Mush, Taghap'a, and ~antskert, ~en ot~~r ahand, the forces of ~he
many troops to Georgla.
On ,t e
t s were intent on gomg
4
Georgian king George and .their s~pp?r erThe two armies met one
forth and. invadin~ th~ TurkIsh t~~to~~s~ violent battle occurred
another In the dlstnct of Okht IS, a
.ctorious and put the
between both sides. ~e G~orgians we~~ VI risoner three hundred
Turks to flight, slaughtenng many a~d ~ g p nded the commander
of their officers. However., the T~r :d ~t:o:n arroW, and he disof the Georgian cavalry m the a fi th y had put poison in the
mounted from his horse and sat down, or e

278

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

CONTINUATION

wound, Now, at the rear of the Turkish army were M I'


were Georgian by nation; these had joined the Turks fo~s lI~S ~~o
renegade Georgian Vasak, and had served them as ' , owmg e
t gudIdes, These
[Muslim Georgians] came and surprised the d'
d tak' h'
,
Ismoun e cavalry com:~-~~i:! ~: ~r:~~~~,and bringing him to the emir called
was called Ka~ 7 than to tak Ihn,g mo~e to this Georgian officer, who
e 1m prIsoner,

"prince" and whose name was Sire Reginald, went forth during the
autumn season and descended upon the territory of Duluk, l while the
Inhabitants were in seeming security. He extended his incursions up
to the catholicos's fortress called Tsov,2 ravaging the surrounding
areas and making prisoner the Turkomans he met within its confines.
The prince had with him one thousand men-horsemen servants 3
mule drivers,4 and infantry, On the other hand, Majd-ad-Din, Nu~
ad-DIn's second-in-command, who had previously gathered together
ten thousand men, placed his vanguard in an ambush and surprised
Reginald's men. All the Christians were either taken captive or
killed, while the prince of Antioch together with thirty horsemen was
taken prisoner. On this day four hundred men were killed. So Majdad-Din turned back and with great rejoicing and festivity entered
Aleppo, conducting his prisoners before him; moreover, he brought
the prince into the city, heaping [all sorts of] insults and profanities
upon him.5 At the same time he sent the news of his success to Nurad-Din, who at that time was in Damascus collecting a large number
of cavalry troops [in order to battle] against the king of Jerusalem.
When Nur-ad-Din heard this news, he returned and ravaged the
whole country up to Tripoli and also took captives whom he brought
to Aleppo, Then he went against {Hiri:i:n,6 but was unable to besiege
the town successfully because of the abundant rains [which fell at
that time] and also because of his fear of the king of Jerusalem; for
at that time the king had come from Antioch together with T'oros, the
son of ltuben, and some Roman troops. However, when the king
returned to Jerusalem and the others to their respective places, Nurad-Din went and captured the impregnable fortress of Arzghan.7
Notwithstanding the oath [which he made to the inhabitants], he
demolished and ruined the fortress and, taking captive the Christians
remaining [in the place], brought them to Aleppo,

,}4'

,45, In the year 610 of the Armenian era [1161-1162] th G


'
k mg George, the son of Demetrius
f'
e eorgIan
great royal city of Ani d ' th
' son 0 DavId, came against the
urmg e summer season 0
M d
Aft
encamping before the cit fi
' n a on ay,
er
following day killing on; t~r a da;, he took It by assault on the
?usan persons, both Christians and
infidels, Mte~ placing a
city, he turned back victo ~a~son of two thousand elite men in the
the lord of Khlat' calle~~;ab ~~w:nt to his kingdom. However,
thousand men and'came a d 1 ,ciI- , mm, gathered together eighty
the Georgian king learne~ ~l s,elge to the city of Ani. Now, when
slaughtered them and
t ththls , he went against the infidels,
thousand of their ~en we~~ k'll
l ~m to, flight, On this day seven
captives were taken-includin e , whIle two thousand five hundred
,g
hundred and fIfty of their officers
and [many] high-ranki
countless horses, mule~gc::~~' t oreove~, the Georgian king seized
too numerous to count a d I' ents, CUIrasses, and other weapons
filled with so much w~al~h ~ so many shee~, T~e city of Ani was
Georgians, they gained twofol~at what t.he mhabltants lost to the
danks,l Mter a number of da ,even.selhn~ a choice cuirass for two
place where the battl
ys the mhabltants of Ani went to the
.
e
was
ought
and' fim d'mg a large number of
CUIrasses in the gr
.
ass, carned the
f' Th
m O.t.
e [Georgian] king
performed an act of bene I
captured the place, he g;?e ~~;~ t~:ards the city of~; for, when he
t' Y ousand dahekans In order to buy
back from his cavalry th
infid~l. Now all this occ:~?a ~~:itaken at Ani-both Christian and
falls In the middle of the sum
ng ~he Fast of St. Gregory, which
that the city of Ani was c t me; fastmg season; it was at this time
ure . Moreover, it was in the month of
August that the emir
slaughtered [together with1~~~, who was the Shah-i-Armin, was
darkened and took on the I t:~oPS]. Three days later the moon
now the moon was in the ~o ~ 0 lood from evening until midnight
ou eenth day of its course.
'

0:

;t

46. In this same year the I

ord of Antioch, who had the title of

279

47. In this same year the sultan Kilij Arslan went to the Gre~k
emperor Manuel, accompanied by the emir Miran, the brother of Nurad-DIn. After having received many gifts from the emperor a~d
having concluded a treaty with him whereby he promised to remam
subject to Manuel until his own death, the sultan turned back and
went to his own city, carrying with him the great amount of gold and
silver [he had received],l
48. At the beginning of the year 611 of our era [1162-116.31 the
most praiseworthy vardapet Barsegh died and was buried In the

280

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Monastery of Drazark, where the tombs of holy vardapets like him


are located. Here is where our narration ends and a [new] period
begins.
49. In this same year Stephen, the brother of the great sebastus
T'oros and the son of Leon, was killed through the treachery and
plotting of the wicked dux,t who strangled this brave and illustrious
champion of the Christians. His brother, in turn, took blood revenge
a thousand-fold from the Greeks on his behalf, for whose death that
murderous dux was held responsible before God.
50. In this same year the renowned city of Dvin was captured by
the Georgian king George. Through an assault he penetrated the
city, pursuing the fleeing infidel forces who had made a sortie against
him. The king turned them in flight and slaughtered them. When
the remnants of the infidels in Dvin resisted the Georgians, [the
latter] entered en masse through the gates of the city and ruthlessly
slaughtered everyone [in their way], taking captives and burning
homes. Mter this they returned to their country, laden with booty
and captives.

NOTES AND COMMENTARY

NOTES AND COMMENTARY

Part I
Section 1
1. The year 400 of the Armenian era corresponds to 951 A.D. and the year
611 to 1162 A.D. See n. 3 below.
2. In order to facilitate the annotation, the various parts and sections of
the Chronicle, i.e. Part I section 1, section 2, section 3, etc., have been
numbered. Thus the book and paragraph numbers are not original to
the text, although the book and paragraph divisions are.
a. The Armenian era is usually calculated from the year 552 of the
modern Christian era. However, since the Armenian calendar is not a
flXed one, the beginning of each year does not exactly correspond to
that of the Christian era. For example, the year 401 of the Armenian
era begins on April 2, 952, of the Christian era and ends on April 1,
953, ofthat era.
4. Matthew uses the word "Tachik" in making reference to the Muslims.
In the context of the Chronicle, Muslim could mean Arab, Turk, or
Persian. One may also render the term as "Saracen," though this word
is not too commonly used today by scholars.
5. In the early years of Christianity Edessa was an important center of
Syrian Christianity, hence the importance attached to it by Matthew,
who calls it a "metropolitan see." In th~ Eastern church the bishop of
an important Christian center is called a "metropolitan," the title
"patriarch" being reserved for the bishops of the chief Christian centers.
6. Tigran, one of the most famous kings of Armenia, ruled in the first
century B.C. Under him Armenia achieved its greatest territorial expansion; however, it is doubtful that this king built Edessa, for this
famous Syrian city is much older than the first century B.C.
Section 2.
1. When Matthew uses the word "Arab," he invariably means those
Muslims who are not of Turkish or Iranian origin.
2. In Armenian both "city" and "town" are usually expressed by the same
word, k'aghak'. I have used either term depending on the size or
importance of the k'aghak' in question.
S. Whenever Matthew uses the word "Roman" or "Romans," he is
referring to the Byzantines. This would, of course, be natural, since
the Byzantines considered their empire a continuation of the Roman
empire and called themselves Romaioi. However, occasionally Matthew
does use the term "Greeks" in making reference to the Byzantines.

284

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

NOTES-PART I

4. The title of a high-ranking Byzantine official. The paracoemomenus


(literally, "he who sleeps near the emperor") was in effect the Grand
Chamberlain, usually a eunuch, and one who' came to' be greatly
trusted by the emperor and had much influence at the imperial court,
The person referred to here by Matthew is the paracoemomenus Basil
who with,the ~eat general, John Tzimisces, captured Samosata fro~
the Mushms m 958. Basil was the son of Romanus Lecapenus
emperor from 920 to 944.
I
5, Words and p~r~ses added to the text to elucidate it, but which are not
part of the ongmal Armenian, are enclosed in brackets.
6, Matthew is not correct when he says that the Byzantines held
Samosata .and were defeated by the Muslims. On the contrary, as can
be ~scertamedfrom other contemporary historians, such as Michael the
Synan:, Bar Hebraeus, Y~hya of Antioch, and Theophanes Continuateus, It was the Byzantmes under John Tzimisces and the paracoemomenus Basil who defeated the Muslims and captured Samosata,

Armenia under the rule of this Iranian state. The designation


remained through the medieval period and appears to refer to those
troops who were on a permanent and regular basis, in contrast to the
troops of the Armenian kings and princes who were called forth only in
times of crisis and danger, i.e., lithe royal regiments. II
2. In most cases, when Matthew uses the word "patriarch" in referring to
the Armenian clergy, he means "catholicos," the title given to the
supreme head of the Armenian church; this title is used also to
designate the heads of the Georgian, Caucasian Albanian, and
N estorian churches.
3. The catholicos Anania 1 (946-968).
4. Here Matthew has confused Gagik I (989-1020) with Ashot III (952977), his father. Ashot, not Gagik, was crowned on this occasion.
Ashot had become king of Ani in 952, but was not crowned until this
time.

Section 3.
1, Romanus II, son of Constantine Porphyrogenitus occupied the imperial
throne during the years 959-963.
'
2. Matthew invariably uses the term Okianos (Gr. okeanos-"ocean") to
refer to the Mediterranean Sea.
3. At this time (959-960) Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of Turkish origin
the Ikhshidids (935-959), who had wrested control of the country fro~
the 'Abbasids.
4. Matthew is. correct in stating that the Muslims had possessed the
coast~l reglons for 400 years; however, in the case of Crete, the
Musl~m~ frrst occupied the island in approximately 828 and therefore
at thIS time had possessed it for only 120 years.
5. He was the emir of Aleppo.

Section 4.
1. Most of the t0WD;s and cities mentioned by Matthew can be easily
located by consult~g the maps at the end of this book. However, there
are so~e geographIcal names and places in Matthew's work not easily
located,.t~ese Wlll be noted and explained as the need arises.
2. These CltI~s were not captured by the Muslims, but by the Byzantine
general NIcephorus Phocas. However, the Byzantines were forced to
a~andon them, ~lthough later on they recaptured Anazarba. Matthew
mIght be refernng to the capture of both Aleppo and Anazarba by the
I:!amdru:id Saif-ad-Daulah from the Ikhshidids of Egypt, albeit in 944
(about elghteen years before this event).

Section 5.
1. The.se would s~em to be the troops directly under the marzpan, who
dunng the penod of Sassanid rule was the governor of those parts of

285

Section 6
1. The Albanians (Arm. Aghuank,), sometimes referred to as the "Caucasian Albanians" and their country as "Albania," were a Christian people
living in the Caucasus region, east and northeast of Armenia. They
were christianized by the Armenians and dominated by the culture of
that people. In time they disappeared from the pages of history.
2. A Caucasian people inhabiting the northwest corner of Georgia, along
the Black Sea. In ancient times they were Christians, but later
adopted Islam, to which religion some still adhere.
3. Whenever Matthew refers to the "Babylonians," he means those
Muslims inhabiting and ruling lower Mesopotamia, that is, present-day
Iraq. In this period the Buwayhids (945-1055), a dynasty of Iranian
origin, ruled this area in the name ofthe almost defunct 'Abbasids.
4. Whenever Matthew refers to the "Persians," he means those Muslims
inhabiting and ruling the Iranian plateau, that is present day Iran.
Therefore the term "Persian" can refer to both Turks and Iranians
here. In'this period the Samanids (874-999), a dynasty of Iranian
origin, ruled this area and Transoxiana (present day Soviet Central
Asia) quite independently from the 'Abbasids.
. . . .
5. The two apostles who, according to legend, began the chrlstlanlzatIon
of Armenia and Caucasia in the first century A.D.

Section 7

1. Nicephorus II Phocas, one of the greatest gener~ls of, the Byzantin.e


empire, became emperor in 963 and occupied the Impenal throne untIl
969.
..
h' h
2. Matthew is referring to the !;Iamdanids, a dynasty of Arab 0:r:gIn w lC
controlled parts of northern Mesopotamia and northern Syna between
929 and 1003.

286

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Section 8
1. John Tzimisces, a man of Armenian extraction (Arm. Hohannes
Ch'mshkik) and one of the greatest Byzantine generals, later to become
Byzantine emperor as John I Tzimisces (969-976).
2. Theophano, the widow of Romanus II, married Nicephorus Phocas after
he was proclaimed emperor.
3. All the chroniclers who relate this event, except Michael the Syrian,
say that Tzimisces did not kill Nicephorus with his own hands, rather
that he had the help of a few accomplices, one of whom killed the
emperor. The Byzantine chroniclers state that the patriarch Polyeuctes
refused to crown Tzimisces unless he sent away Theophano and
punished Nicephorus's murderers. On the other hand, the Coptic Arab
chronicler Yahya of Antioch says that Tzimisces exiled Theophano
because he was afraid that she might intrigue against him, while the
Syrian chronicler Bar Hebraeus, who has no love for Nicephorus,
exonerates the empress, maintaining that she was a pious woman.
4. Handzit' is located in the southern part of the region of Fourth
Armenia, known in ancient times as Sophene (Arm. Ch'orrord Hayk',
Tsop'kJ. Vasakawan is a small town in this district. In Armenian, the
suffix awan refers to an unwalled town, while k'aghak' is used to refer
to a walled or fortified town or city.
Section 9
1.. Matthew has his dates confused here. Gagik I, who reigned from 989
to 1020, certainly does not belong to this period, nor do his two sons
who later became kings: John 5mbat III (1020-1040) and Ashot IV
(1021-1039). Actually sections 9 through 15 describe events which took
place later, in the early eleventh century.
2. Senek'erim-John (1003-1021).
3. The Artsrunis, together with the Bagratids, were the two most
important dynasties of medieval Armenia. In linking the origins of
this dynasty with the kings of ancient Assyria, Matthew is adhering
to a very old Armenian tradition, a tradition which has no basis in
reality. Armenians of the period tended to give their ruling dynasties
ancient origins, perhaps hoping thereby to add to their prestige.
Section 10
1. A district located in the southern part of the province of Vaspurakan.
2. A ~ountain located in the province of Vaspurakan, west of Lake Van.
3. ThIS monastery, situated on Mount Varag, was one of the most revered
of medieval Armenia. Tradition has it that the cross on which Christ
was crucified appeared on the mountain. Hence, the name given to the
monastery, "Holy Cross," and the beliefthat this monastery contained
the true cross on which Christ was crucified. The Armenian name of
this monastery, literally rendered, is "The Holy Sign of Christ" (Surb
Nshan K'ristosi).

NOTES-PART I

287

4, "God" here refers to Christ, who in the Ohristian context is considered


as "God incarnate."
5. This is the Greek term for the Virgin Mary (in Greek, literally "the
Bearer of God"-Arm. Astuatsatsin).
6, The dahekan is a unit of money, either of gold or silver, weighing about
4.5 grams.
7. George I (1014-1027).
8. Ashot and the Georgian prince.
g, One of the chief families of medieval Armenia.
10. The legendary founder of the Armenian nation.
11. The catholicos Peter I (1019-1058).

Section 11
1. Abas I (984-1029).
2, Kars in this period was the capital of one of the Armenian kingdoms.
3. Gagik I (989-1020).
4. Gurgen I (982-989). Here again Matthew is confused, for Gurgen's
reign comes a number of years before the death of Gagik and the
conflict between his two sons, John and Ashot. The king of the
Albanians at this time was David Lackland (989-1046/8). Cf, sec. 9, n.1.
5, This name refers to the Bagratid dynasty centered at Ani in the district
of Shirak, which in turn is located in the province of Ayrarat. The
Bagratids were a very powerful family in the medieval period. They
had succeeded in establishing four kingdoms, each ruled by one of the
members of their family: Ani, Kars, Lori, and Georgia. The kingdom
of Ani was considered the most prestigious of the four, since it was the
home of the dynasty and the most powerful.
Section 12
.
1. Dvin became important in the period when the Sassanid dynasty of
Iran dominated the eastern portion of Armenia (third to sixth centuries
A.D.). The city was made the residence of the Sassanid-appointed
governors of Persian Armenia, who were called marzpans. After the
Arab occupation of Armenia, Dvin became their administrative center.
When the 'Abbiisids declined, the city came under the control of
independent Muslim emirs.
2. An emir of Kurdish origin who ruled over the cities of Dvm and
Gandzak (mod. Kirovabad).
Section 14
.
' .
1. These are the Daylamites of Azerbaijan, a dynast~ of I.:t1;man o~gm
which came into existence after the breakup of the AbbasId empIre.
2, Due west of Lake Sevan, in the province of Ayrarat.
3, Translated literally, "the seven wolves man."
4, Cf. I Samuel 17.

288

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

NOTES-PART I

Section 15
1. This mountain cannot be exactly located; it is most probably situated
in the district of Nig, close to the fortress of Bjni.
2. Cf. Genesis 4:8-16.

4. Matthew here is incorrect; the event described in this section occurred


in 973, while Gurgen I ruled from 982 to 989.
5. Abas I (984-1029). Matthew's chronology is incorrect here.
6. Another mistake on Matthew's part. The ruler ofVaspurakan at this
time was Ashot-Isaac (972-983).
7. A district in the province ofVaspurakan, south of Lake Van.
8. Matthew may be referring here to that region east of Armenia which
originally was part of the Sassanid empire. If this be the case, then
the region would be Persian-Armenia (the region around Lake Urmia)
and Azerbaijan (the region due east of Lake Sevan). These areas were
under the control of Muslim emirs during this period.
9. A district in the north-central part of the province of Turuberan.
10. Vardapet is the title given to a celibate priest in the Armenian church
who has attained a high degree of education. The title would correspond to the term "doctor," used to designate those in the Latin and
Greek churches who were considered sound expounders of Christian
doctrine.
11. Located in the province of Turuberan, due west of Lake Van.
12. A fortress in the district of Taron, near Mush.
13. Vahan I, 968-969.

Section 16
1. Originally this title referred to a high official of the emperor's household. Beginning in the tenth century, the domesticus took over the
supreme command of the army when the emperor himself was not
present in the field. Basil II (976-1025) established two domestics, one
commanding the Byzantine army in the West (the Balkans) and the
other commanding the Byzantine army in the East (Anatolia).
2. This general was a former officer in Nicephorus's army. He was made
Domesticus of the East by the emperor Tzimisces and probably was of
Armenian origin, as is attested by his name (Arm. Mleh).
3. Matthew is incorrect here, for Melitene had been captured earlier by
the Byzantine general John Cureuas, in the first half of the tenth
century.
4. Tigranakert, known to the ancients as Tigranacerta, was the royal
capital of the Armenian king Tigran II (94-54 B.C.); however, it is not
the same city as Amida, for its ruins are located west of Amida, on a
tributary of the Tigris.
5. The exact location ofthis place is unknown.
6. The 'Abbasid al-Muti' (946-974).
7. In this period the Hamdanid emir of Mosul, Abu Taghlib, controlled
Amida. It was this emir's army that defeated the Byzantines. The
Armenian historian Stephen Asoghik, Yahya of Antioch, and Bar
Hebraeus relate this attack on Amida; however, the Byzantine
historians, including Leo Diaconus, make no mention of it, though Leo
does speak of Tzimisces' second Syrian expedition (this one being his
first). Bar Hebraeus gives some interesting details about this campaign, stating among other things that the Byzantine commander was
sent to MOBUI and was kindly treated there by Abu Taghlib, for this
emir did not wish to needlessly antagonize the Byzantines.
8. Tzimisces.
9. The western regions of the Byzantine empire, i.e. the Balkans, Greece,
Sicily, etc.
10. An attempt has been made here to preserve Matthew's vivid imagery,
which is so common to Near Easterners; hence, the literal translation
of the phrase, which could be better rendered and understood as "full
of rage."
Section 17
1. The regions east of the Byzantine empire, i.e., eastern Anatolia.
2. Ashot III (952-977).
3. A district in the southern part of the province of Siwnik.

289

Section 18
1. Literally translated, "Lord John" (Arm. Kiwrzhan).
2. Upper Mesopotamia.
3. Probably the :aamdanid emir of Mosul, Abu Taghlib. Cf. sec. 16, n. 7.
4. A town in the province of Fourth Armenia, located on a tributary of the
eastern Euphrates.
5. A town due west of Khozan, located on one of the tributaries of the
eastern Euphrates.
. '
6. Matthew says that Tzimisces spared Amlda because of Its wom~n
commander who was from the same area as he. Leo Diaconus, w 0
states that Amida was spared because of the money and gold given .the
emperor by the inhabitants of that town, provides a more plausIble
explanation.
Section 19
.
.
1. This title was used by the Bagratid kings of Armema a~d. was gIVen to
them by the 'Abba sid caliphs. The word is of Persian ongm and means
"king of kings."
.
2. The "eastern lands" referred to here are not those of eastern P:I{ ~?t
rather the newly acquired Byzantine territories of eastern. a 0 lR,
which once were part of the "Persian" (Parthian and SassanId) lands.
Cf. sec. 6, n. 4.
th
t
He is
3. A famous bishop of Nisibis, living in the foSur cen
n
considered one of the greatest saints of the yrian an
mema
churches.

fYk .

290

NOTES-PART I

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

4. The term literally means "the commander of the believers" and waS
frequently used by the caliphs. The person referred to here is the
Fatimid caliph (al-Mu'izz, 953-975).
5. Whenever Matthew speaks of the "Africans," he is referring to the
Fatimids of Egypt. The Fatimids originated in Tunisia and in 969
succeeded in taking over Egypt and setting up a rival Shi'ite caliphate
in opposition to the Sunnite 'Abbi3.sids. The dynasty ruled from 969 to
1171. At this time the Fatimids were attempting to gain control of the
eastern Mediterranean littoral and Syria.
6. Those Muslim areas of North Africa west of Egypt (i.e. Tunisia, Algeria..
Morocco) are referred to as al-Magrib, literally "the West." Since the
Fatimids originated in Tunisia, they were called "Maghrib Arabs."
7. A town between Homs and Damascus.
8. Leo Diaconus, Yahya of Antioch, and Bar Hebraeus make no mention.
of that part of Tzimisces' campaign conducted in Palestine, although
they corroborate Matthew's account of the emperor's exploits in Syria
(both in the interior and on the seacoast). Some historians believe that
Matthew's account ofTzimisces' Palestine exploits is exaggerated, while
others maintain its authenticity.
9. Baisan is a town south of Lake Tiberias and a little west of the Jordan.
River. It was the most important of the group of towns in that area
collectively called "the Decapolis," literally "the five towns."
10. A town on the southern shore of Lake Tiberias.
11. The coastal region north of Caesarea.
12. A town on the coast north of Beirut, known in classical times as Byblos.
13. The thematic troops (thematikoi) were drawn from soldiers in the
various themes or militarized regions of the Byzantine empire. On the
other hand, the garrison troops (taxatoi) were stationed in the cities
and fortresses of the empire.
14. Armenian for "stone-faced" (Gr. lithoprosopon).
15. Actually neither side was victorious at Tripoli. Tzimisces was unable
to capture the city, although he was strong enough to ravage the surrounding area. Tripoli was the only Fatimid stronghold which
successfully resisted the Byzantines.
16. A port south of Latakia.
17. A port south of Jabala (Ar. Balunyas).
18. A fortress due south of Antioch (Ar. Sahyan).
19. Located in the mountains east of Latakia.
20. Matthew is referring here to Baghdad.
21. Probably referring to the 'Abbasid caliph in Baghdad. Cf. n. 4 above.
22. Mor~ exactly, the Fatimid caliph's general in Syria.
23. Agam Matthew exagg?rates the situation. Tzimisces' goal (capturing
Jerusalem and occupymg all of Syria and Palestine) was not achieved;
however, because of this campaign and its limited success, a tremendous amount of prestige was gained for the Byzantine empire.

291

Section 20
1. Actually only parts of the eastern Mediterranean we:e in the hand~ of

the Byzantines, while the entire hinterland. of .Syna and Palestme,


except for parts of northern Syria, was still m the hands of the
Muslims.
2. Leo Diaconus states that the sandals of Christ and the hair of Johdn the
Baptist were obtained from Manbij (a town s~uthwes~ of E essa,
located on the other side of the Euphrates), whIle the pIcture of the
Savior was discovered in Beirut.
Section 21
1. The Armenian has anap'ort, a corruption of the Greek, anaphora

(report).
. ' "
2. An honorary title of the Byzantine court, hterally meamng thde flrst
sword-bearer [of the emperor]." Originally this title was grante t? an
individual in the imperial court, but later was bestowed on vanous
officials of the empire.
3. A district in the province of Upper Armenia (Arm. Bardzr H~~k')h h
4. After "Taron" the text reads "greetings and joy in our Lor , w ic
makes no sense in this context.
5. Located in the district of Taran.
6. The Armenian reads k'arasun hazar sovolon (forty thousand ~dbols),
which makes no sense here. The Armenian historian N.
ontz
considers it a textual corruption and translates it as "chrysobull" (a
decree of the emperor bearing the imperial gold seal).
Section 22
1. Literally, "All-encompassing Leon," an honorific title.

2. Constantinople.
3. The location of this place is unknown.
4. The text reads "you and I Sat," which makes no sense. The Jen:salem
text has "likewise also 5mbat." I have followed the latter readmg.
Section 23
1. In theory Basil II (976-1025) and Constantine VII (1025-1028) ruled

jointly, but in actuality Basil was the sole ruler. Matthew'.s account of
the coronation of Basil by Tzimisces is not corroborated m the other
sources.
2. This account of the last days of the emperor Tzimisces seem~ to .bhe a
figment of Matthew's imagination, for it is not c?":oborated m .elt er
the Greek or Arabic sources, which state that TZlmlsces was pOlsoned
by the paracoemomenus Basil.
Section 24

1. Basil II (976-1025).

292

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

NOTES-PART I

Section 25
1. A name of Arabic origin meaning "father of the foreigner" (Ar. Aba-lGhareb). Due to Arab influence during the Bagratid period, many
Armenian noblemen adopted Arabic names.
2. Derenik-Ashot (93617-953), the king ofVaspurakan. It is quite evident
that Matthew's chronology is incorrect.
3. The text reads "the mighty." The Jerusalem text has "the forces,"
which makes more sense here.
4. A type of red dye made from a small insect.

3. An honorary title of the Byzantine court, meaning literally "the


guardian of the palace." Originally this title was granted to an
individual in the imperial court, but later was bestowed on various
high officials of the empire.
4. David of Tayk' ruled a territory extending north and south from the
Black Sea to Lake Van, and west and east from the Byzantine empire
to Bagratid Armenia. He was considered one of the most powerful
rulers of Christian Caucasia, although the Byzantines annexed his
lands to the empire in 1000.
6, Cf. Isaiah 36 and 37.

Section 26
1. The Muslim emir of Her.
2. An Arabic word meaning "open place" or "public square."
3. Located in the extreme eastern portion of the province ofVaspurakan,
north-northeast of Lake Urmia.
Section 27
1. Matthew has the incorrect date here, for Anania I was catholicos from
946 to 968.
2. Vahan I (968-969). Again Matthew's chronology is incorrect.
3. These two kings reigned in the early part of the twelfth century, not
during this period.
4. Located northeast of Ani, near the Akhurian River.
Section 28
1. Bardas Scelerus.
2. Matthew seems to harbor a deep disapproval of Scelerus, going so far
as to say that he was defeated by the Armenians. Actually this is not
true, for other sources indicate that a good deal of Scelerus's support
came from both Armenians and Muslims.
3. When Scelerus was defeated, he naturally took refuge with the
Muslims who sympathized with him. The Byzantine historian Michael
Psellus says that Scelerus fled to the Muslims who, being afraid of his
numerous forces, put the rebel in prison. All the sources corroborate
Matthew's account, except for his statement concerning the role of the
Armenians in the revolt. Yahya of Antioch gives a particularly full and
detailed account of the connections between Scelerus and the area
around Antioch and north Syria.
Section 29
1. This number is incorrect, for Vahan was catholicos for only one year.
2. Stephen III (969-972). Matthew's chronology is incorrect.
Section 30
1. Mamlan was the Muslim emir of Azerbaijan.
2. Located in the province of Turuberan, north of Lake Van.

293

Section 32
1. The Armenian historian Stephen Asoghik's account of Marolan's
invasion of Armenia differs from Matthew's. According to Asoghik,
there was no confrontation between Mamlan and David's forces; the
emir merely ravaged the country and then returned to Azerbaijan.
Section 33
1. Matthew here indicates that the two men had a common descent from
the Arsacids one of the early Armenian dynasties.
2. It is interesting that Asoghik does not mention Da~d's ~ea~, a1tArh~utgh
he has much praise for the man, while the Armeman hlstonan IS akes of Lastivert says that the assassination was carried out .by the
Georgian prince's soldiers, who mixed the poison in the chahce and
finally smothered their chief.
Section 34
1. Stephen died in 972.
.
2 The catholicos Khach'ik I (973-992).
Actually the letter sent by Theodore to Khach'ik invite,d the AI:nemans
to join the Byzantine church. The Armenian cathohcos dec~med ~he
invitation and gave the reasons why. Matthew is not correct m sa~g
that the Armenian reply was well received by the Greek metropohtan,
for after all it was an out-and-out refusal to unite the two churchehs;
. pOSSIbly
.
. d a begrudgm'g acceptance
however It
could h ave game
d 11 on'ttt e
part of the Greeks, on the basis that it was a learned an we Wl'1 en
reply.

3:

Section 35
11
VI d ("Black
1. Matthew refers to Bardas Phocas as Moravard or lYJ.awroy ar

Rose").
k'U db B '1 After his
2. Matthew is confused here; Phoca~ was not 1 e ri~US ::c~mstances.
defeat by the emperor in 989, ~e dIed undher tm~:r Phocas's defeat, his
Both Psellus and Yahya of AntIoch state t a,
head was cut off and brought to Basil.

294

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Section 36
1. Matthew is referring here to Alusianus, the son of John Vladislav and
king of the Bulgars (1015-1018). However, it is obvious that the person
meant here is the great Bulgarian ruler Samuel (976-1014). Matthew's
chronology is incorrect, for this event occurred in 986.

Section 37
1. Basil's defeat occurred in 986, while his second campaign which
brought him victory over the Bulgars, began in 990. It is int~resting
to note that none of the Greek sources mention this defeat while the
Arabic source Yahya of Antioch does.
'

Section 38
1. Not six, but nineteen years.
2. Sargis I (992-1019).

Section 39
1. The Fatimids. Cf. Sec. 19, n. 6.
2. Actually the Fatimids launched two campaigns against the Byzantines
and their Aleppine allies at Antioch, one in 992 and the other in 994.
Both turned out to be resounding defeats for the Byzantines. Matthew
apparently is referring here to the first campaign.

Section 40
1. Probably an emir in the service of the Fatimids.
2. Egypt.

Section 42
1. The king of Vaspurakan, Senek'erim-John (1003-1021). Matthew's
chronology is incorrect.
2. A district in the province of Ayrarat, located near the Hrazdan River.

Section 43
1. Irion was a priest attached to the emperor Justinian's court (sixth
century), who tried to introduce a minor correction into the calendar of
Andrew of Byzantium. Actually this was the calendar developed by the
church of Alexandria.
2. According to preScribed usage, Easter is to be celebrated on the first
Sunday after the full moon. Following their own calculations, the
Greeks reckoned the full moon to be on Saturday and so celebrated
Easter. on the following day (Sunday). On the other hand, the
Armemans reckoned the full moon to fall on Sunday and so celebrated
~haster on ~e follOwing Sunday (seven days later). In the sixth century
, e Armemans and Greeks adopted two different methods for computmg Easter. The only real difference between the two calendars was
that four times every five hundred and thirty two years there was a

295

NOTES-PART I

difference of one week in the celebration of Easter, the two dates


coinciding on the other years. This happened to be one of those
differing years. It is interesting to note that the Armenians abandoned
their method of calculating Easter in 1824, adopting that of the Greeks.
Yahya of Antioch describes in detail this Easter controversy of 10061007, concluding that both methods of determining the date of Easter
were equally defensible.

Section 44

1. Located in the district of Karin in the province of Upper Arme~la. ThIS


monastery was founded in the tenth century by monks fleemg from
persecution by the Greeks, who wished them to adopt the ways of the
Byzantine church.
2. One of the most erudite Armenian savants of the time. He wrote a
treatise on the calendar, only fragments of which have survived.
S, Matthew's chronology is incorrect here, for Gagik I (989-1020) was the
Armenian king in Ani at this time and not John.

Section 45
1. More correctly, khoylik, a disease characterized by bulbous sores on the
body, with or without pus.

Section 46
1. The Balkans.
2. Again, the reference is to King Samuel. Cf. sec. 36, n. 1.
3. Matthew's assertion that Basil poisoned Samuel is not supported by the
other sources.

Section 47
1. The text reads "465" which would make it the year 1016-1017. Four
variants and the Jerusalem text have "467;' the correct date, since the
Seljuks first began to penetrate the confines of Armenia in 1018.
2, The Seljuk Turks.

Section 48
1. One of Senek'erim's generals.
.
2. One of the contemporary Armenian historians, Thomas Artsrum, states
that, when the Turks first appeared, they were defeated, although the
Armenians in the long run were forced to give way.
3. The source of this quote is unknown. The allusion h.ere is to the m,any
Armenians who in the eleventh and twelfth centurles fled south mto
northern Syria and southwest into Cilicia, in order to escape the Seljuk
invasions of their country.
4. Cf. Isaiah 5:28. The Jerusalem text (and Dulaurier's translation) break
off here and omit sections 49, 50, 51, and the first part of 52. Cf. sec.
52, n. 3.

296

2H7

N OTES-P ART I

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

and the installation of Peter. Cf. sec. 38, n. 2, and sec'

~~' n.

H. "or'!'

Section 49
1. The text seems ~o be con;upt here. Perhaps Senek'erim gave up some
o~ the. monastenes, keepmg the rest for his own use. The Armenian
hIstOrian Thomas Artsruni says that the Armenian king built the
Monastery of yarag, endow~ng it with ~ll types of wealth. Perhaps it
was monastenes such as thIS that the kmg wished to keep for his own
use.
2. Accor~in~ to Artsruni, only fourteen thousand people departed with
Senek enm. Thus most of the Armenian population of Vaspurakan
stayed behind.
3. It is more likely. that Basil pressured the Armenian king to give up his
lands to ByzantlUm. This was not a difficult thing to do in light of the
recent Turkish incursions. Artsruni mentions nothing of Byzantine
pressure upon the Armenians to give up their country, but rather
states that Senek'erim appealed to Basil to come and take over his
kingdom, which the emperor did, implying that Basil was doing the
Armenian king a favor.

~. Nicephorus was one of Basil's gene~als. ~other one 0 f t e ell1pCl

Section 50
1. John-Smbat III (1020-1040).
2. The Byzantine historian George Cedrenus states that at this time John
handed over the keys of the city of Ani to Basil.
3. George I (1014-1027).
4. Actually George had broken the peace made with Basil by invading the
region of Tayk', considered to be part of the empire.
5. ~at, Zoyat, and Liparit belonged to a famous medieval Georgian
dynasty, the Liparitids.
6. Peter I (1019-1058).
7. Holy oil made of many different types offlowers. Only the head of the
Armenian church, the catholicos, can consecrate this oil. The oil is
used during ceremonies dealing with blessings and consecrations.
8. A specially blessed cross the catholicos and other high-ranking clergy
used in church ceremonies.
9. This is why the catholicos was surnamed Getadardz literally translated "River-Turner."
'
10. Actually Peter was sent to Basil by the Armenian king John in order
to conclude a peace with the emperor and present him with a document
promising the cession of the kings lands to the empire. The Armenian
historian Aristakes of Lastivert states that this document marked the
end of the Armenian kingdom.
11. Probably a monastery in the Amanus Mountains; there were many
monks living in these mountains. Cf. Pt. II, sec. 48, n. 2.
12. A small part of the text seems to be missing after this point.

Section 52

Section 51
1. Matthew is mistaken; the correct date is 1019 for the death of Sargis

generals, Xiphias, also rebelled agamst hIm.


~. John-Smbat III and Ashot IV. .
4, The son of Senek'erhn, former kmg ofdvashPu~a~~n'phorus Cedrenut-i
5 There are two other accounts of the eat 0 lCe
.'.
1 rt
. says that he was killed throu~h the treachery o~ ~iP~a~~~~~'i~: \~n(i
while Aristakes states that hIS head was cut 0
Y e
taken to Basil.
.
a This is Caesarea Mazaca in Anatolia (mod. Kaysert).
. G )k
7 Both are small towns in Cappadocia near Caesarea. Thmr rec
, names are Tzamandos and Gabadonia respectively.
,
8 Located in the district of Samtzkhe in the province of Gugark. , 1
9: Aristakes, in a very detailed account of this. expedition, interestI~g /
attributes Basil's failure to the emperor's mIstreatment. of t~e A;~~~1;1
nians, referring to the promise exacted from the Armeman kmg t
(Cf, sec. 74).

1. Cf, Revelation 20:1 ff.


ldl l'f'
2, Strictly speaking, an abeghay is one who has ~or~aken the wo: Y 1 t'..
Generally he is a monastic celibate priest of Jumo~ o~ lower la~k.
3. The Jerusalem text resumes here, as does Dulauner s translatlOn.
4. One of the sons of Noah, traditionally regarded as the ancestor of tht;
African peoples. In this case the name is also used to refer to tht.
Turks.

Section 53
1. Matthew's chronology is incorrect here. Basil died in 1025; the yenr
referred to here is 1029-1030.
,
2. Matthew is confused. Actually Basil reigned for forty-nine years (976
1025),

Section 54
1. Matthew's chronology is incorrect here, for Senek,erim died in 1027.
Section 55
1. Bagrat IV (1027-1072). The chronology is incorrect.
Section 56
1. Constantine VIII (1025-1028). The chronology is incorrect.
2, The Greek sources say that Constantine neglected the affairs of the
empire, preferring to devote most of his time and energy to amusements such as horse racing, the theater, gambling, partie.s, etc. On t~e
other hand I the Armenian and Syriac sources have nothmg but prmse
for this emperor, referring to him as a pleasant and magnammous man

who brought peace to the empire.


3. Romanus III Argyrus (1028-1034).

Section 57
1. Psellus contrasts Romanus to the fighting emperors of the past, stating

2.

3.

4.

5.

that the Byzantines were defeated at Aleppo notwithstanding their


former greatness. He finds it hard to believe that the Byzantines could
have left the field to the Muslims, something which (he says) the
emperor also could not accept.
Bar Hebraeus and Aristakes both corroborate this statement of
Matthew's concerning Romanus's religious attitude. The Syrian
condemns him for persecuting the Syrians, while the Armenian in a
very detailed account, relates that the emperor not only perse~uted
both Syrians and Armenians, but also disdained them. Psellus
interestingly enough, states that Romanus was a very pious and
religious man, but got too involved in insoluble religious questions and
matters.
Bar Hebraeus says that Romanus's advance guard was defeated by one
hundred Muslims and then withdrew and told the emperor that a very
large Muslim force was advancing against his army. Frightened by
this, Romanus fled.
The text reads "plain." Five variants have "land", which makes more
sense here. One variant also adds the following: "to such an extent
that even the emperor himself was separated from his troops, and no
one really knew what had happened to him."
Located northwest of Aleppo, beyond the fortress of 'Azaz.

Section 58
1.
2.
3.
4.

5.
6.

7.
8.
9,

10.

NOTES-PART I

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

298

Na~ir

was of the Kurdish Marwanid dynasty (983-1096), which


controlled some of the cities of upper Mesopotamia in this period.
Matthew uses the word rayis (Ar. ra'fs-prefect, chief commander).
The Jerusalem text has "Kurdish."
Matthew is referring here to the time when Edessa was an independent
city under an Arab dynasty during the first century A.D,
Commander of the Byzantine frontier theme of Teluch, located north
of Antioch.
The text reads "cities." The Jerusalem text has "territories," which
makes more sense here.
A town located on the Tigris, northwest of Mosul.
The original Arabic of "Zura" cannot be ascertained and so has been
left in the Armenian form found in the text. Likewise, the Arabic form
of "Kuta n"
- " cannot b e 1'dentifiIe d .
u, an d "Vreayn
, "Ah'1, " "Abvar, ""Ahl"
Modern Bitlis.
A town located on the Tigris, south of Baghdad. At one time it was a
major city, serving as the capital of both the Parthian and Sassanid
empires.

299

11. A port located near the head of the Persian Gulf.


12. The exact location of this town is uncertain. Dulaurier says that it is
somewhere in Iraq.

Section 59
1. One variant adds: "When the emperor Romanus heard all these things
which Maniaces had done, he rejoiced greatly; likewise, all the
Christian faithful were filled with joy."
2. Located near Edessa.
3. The original Armenian reads kondoratsk'. The Armenian lexicographer
S. Malkhaseants' gives "provision bearers," yet says the word's meaning
is not certain.
4. Located near the Euphrates, further up from Samosata.
5. Probably a village in the general area of Edessa and Ltar.
6. Probably a Muslim commander from the area.
7. A valley near Edessa.
8. Ashot IV (1021-1039)
9. Matthew is referring here to the Seljuk state established by Tughr:ul
(1038-1063) after he captured Baghdad in 1055. This state had Its
center in what is today Iran.
10. Edessa was taken by the Muslims in the year 1086.1087. Hence
Matthew is incorrect in saying that the city fell during the reign of
Tughrul. Actually this event occurred during the time of the Seljuk
sultan Malik-Shah (1072-1092).

Section 61

1. Matthew's chronology is incorrect here, for Romanus died in 1034.


2. Matthew's account of the death of Romanus differs from that given by
other sources. The Greek sources, together with Aristakes, say that
the emperor was drowned by his servants in collusion with his wife Zoe
and the future emperor Michael. Psellus hints that Zoe migh~ have
first poisoned him, although he is not altogether clear about thIS. On
the other hand, the Syrian chroniclers merely state that Romanus
suddenly died.
3. Michael IV (1034-1041)
4. Romanus's wife Zoe.

Section 63
1. A town near Sewawerak.
2. This brother of Michael was Constantine who, according to Cedrenus,
was sent from Antioch with reinforcements to prevent the Muslims
from capturing Edessa. He succeeded and was later appointed
"Domesticus of the East."
3. Matthew's account of the Muslim attack on Edessa is not altogether
convincing. It is difficult to understand why the Muslims would return
to their country after having heard that the Byzantine army sent

300

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

301

NOTES-PART I

against them dared not attack. Hence, Cedrenus's account makes


much more sense. Bar Hebraeus basically corroborates Cedrenus's
account when he says that, when Edessa was attacked by the Muslims,
the Greeks gave up the city and fortified themselves in the citadel. The
Muslims, unable to capture the citadel, departed after looting the city
and taking many captives. However, the Syrian chronicler makes no
mention of the Byzantine reinforcements from Antioch that ultimately
saved the situation.

Vaspurakan.
3. The catholicos Nerses III (641-661).
4. One variant has "seven".
5. A famous Armenian monastery located in the district of Tashir, in the
province of Gugark'.
6. Five variants and the Jerusalem text add the following: "When his
lordship Joseph heard this, he took the bis~ops of t~e cou~try of tI:~
Albanians and came to reestablish his lordshIp Peter m the Clty of Am.

Section 64
1. The text reads "patriarch." Four variants have "vardapet," which is the
correct form.
2. Cf. Matthew 22:11-14.
3. The reference here is to the First Crusade of 1098.
4. Five variants have "fIfty."
5. Matthew most probably is referring here to the attempted revival of the
Byzantine empire under Alexius I (1081-1118).
6. If one accepts the rather sure premise that Matthew is talking about
the ephemeral revival of the empire under the Comneni (1081-1185),
then it is quite obvious that the Armenian chronicler is grossly
exaggerating this revival. For during this period the empire was
unable to do much more than secure the coastal regions of Asia Minor
from the Turks.

Section 67
1. The Armenian historian Kirakos of Gandzak gives an account of this
conflict between Peter and the Armenian nobles, although in much less
detail than Matthew. His hatred for the anti-patriarch Deokoros
(Dioscorus) is equal to Matthew's, ifnot greater.

Section 65
1. One variant has "in this same year."
2. Located near the northeastern corner of Lake Van.
3. Both Aristakes and Cedrenus relate this event, though differing from
Matthew's account in some details. However, both mention that the
town was finally captured by the Byzantine troops, something which
Matthew is silent about.

Section 71
1. The Kurdish emir of Dvin.
2. The king of Lori (989-1046/8), located in the district"of Tashi~, in the
province of Gugark'. His last name literally means landless, hence
the anglicized appellation, David Lackland. David was a scion of the
Bagratids of Ani.
3. The district around Ani, in the province of Ayrarat.
.
4. Matthew is probably referring here to 5mbat III (1019-?), the klllg of
Siwnik', a region south of Lake Sevan. This area wa~ ruled by a
dynasty (the Siwni dynasty), independent of the Bagratlds. ~pan,
located not too far from the Araks River, was one of the more Important towns of the region.
.
5. Bagrat IV (1027-1072). Actually Bagrat was the king of both Ibe~Ia
and Abasgia, making up what is known .as the Kingdom of ~eorgIa.
Abkhazia was one of the regions of AbasgIa and had been an mdependent state before this period. Abasgia is the weste.rn region Georgia,
while Abkhazia is the western portion of that regIon, bordermg on the
Black Sea.

Section 66
1. The reason given by Matthew for the departure of the catholicos from
his see is a superficial one. Actually Peter had been instrumental in
arranging for the future takeover of the Bagratid kingdom of Ani by
the Byzantines. This action naturally brought him many enemies in
Armenia, and thus he dared not return to his see. So he went to
Sebastia and there established himself near Senek'erim the former
king of Vaspurakan. After 1026 the catholicos tried to r~turn to Ani
but was rebuffed. It is at this point that he decided to go to Vaspura~
kan. Matthew's chronology is incorrect here, for Peter went to
Vaspurakan in 1030, not in 1038-1039 as the Armenian chronicler
maintains.
2. The full name of this monastery is Dzoravank' and it is located in the
district of Tosp (the area around the city of Van), in the province of

Section 68
1. A conspicuous loose cluster of stars in the constellation Taurus,
consisting of six stars visible to the average eye.
Section 70
1. Ashot IV (1021-1039).
2. Gagik II (1042-1045).
3. A guitar with a pear shaped, flat-backed body.

0:

Section 72
.
1. A title used to designate the captain or commander of the ByzantIne
emperor's Varangian bodyguard (Gr. akoluthos).

303

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

N OTES-P ART I

Section 73
1. Matthew is referring here to the promise Basil made to Senek'erim and
his sons to respect their rights and treat them well, at the time when
the emperor was given Vaspurakan. Cf. secs. 49 and 53.

Section 79
.
1. Matthew is making a play on the word Dawit(h) (the ArmeU1~ form
for "David"), da meaning ''he'' and vih meaning "abyss"-he (DaVld), the
abyss.

Section 74
1. Matthew is confused here. Ashot was the son of Abas, who was the
brother of Ashot the Iron, who in turn was the son of 5mbat.
2. Aristakes maintains that this written statement, given to Basil by
John, was kept by that emperor and his successor Constantine VIII.
On his deathbed Constantine had misgivings about keeping this
document and so he summoned an Armenian priest and gave it to him,
asking him to return it to John. However, this priest kept the
document and later sold it to the emperor Michael IV.
3. Azat literally means "nobleman." Here it is used as part of Sargis's
name.
4. He was of the Siwni family, at this time an opponent of the Bagratid
dynasty. Sargis exploited the dangerous situation the Bagratids were
in by supporting the Byzantine claim to the kingdom of Ani.
5. The Armenian reads awan, which is the designation for an unwalled
town.
6. The Siwni dynasty, of which Sargis was a member, claimed descent
from Hayk, the legendary founder of the Armenian people; on the other
hand, the Bagratids claimed descent from a noble Jewish family.

Section 80
1. Michael IV (1034-1041).
.
2. Bulgaria - the area of the Balkans inhabited by the BulgarIans.

Section 76
1. The Pahlavids were one of the more important medieval Armenian
families; at this time they were staunch supporters of the Bagratids in
the struggle of that dynasty against Byzantine encroachments upon
their lands.
2. Literally translated, "Flower" (Gate).

Section 82
"
"
1. The text reads "Samosata," but it should b~ Salmast.
2. Located northeast of Lake Van, in the proVlnce ofVaspurakan.

302

::i

Section 77
1. Gagik II (1042-1045).
2. For the correct lineage, see sec. 74, n. 1.
3. Gregory Magistros, the nephew of Vahram Pahlawuni. Gregory was
regarded as one of the most learned and erudite men of his time.
4. The text confusedly reads Marc'en, which perhaps is another name for
the catholicos Peter.
5. Matthew is referring here to St. Gregory the Enlightener, through
whose efforts Christianity was established in Armenia during the early
part of the fourth century.
6. Cf. I Samuel 16.
Section 78
1. Matthew is referring here to the Seljuk Turks.

Section 81
h
f
1. This emperor was Michael V (1041-1042). He was the n~p ew 0
Michael IV who before his death made his nephew caesar; thIS was an
honorary title of the Byzantine court, which in the case of the emperor's son (or some other close relative) implied that he would succeed to
the royal purple.
2. Cf. Proverbs 26:27 and 28:10.
3. Alexis Studite (1025-1043).
.
s
4. The Greek sources, perhaps reflecting public s.entiment, are unammo~
in criticizing Michael and his family for theIr attempts to secure ~ e
imperial throne by resorting to every means pos~ible. Psell:us says t at
the emperor was hypocritical and had an erratlc personahty, prone to
he was unable to control
.
1 .
extremes ofkmdness and crue ty, moreover,
,
r
his temper. Psellus concludes by saying that the emperor s characte
had nothing redeeming about it.

Section 83
1 Constantine IX Monomachus (1042-1055).
1
Matthew is incorrect in saying that Maniaces died before t~e ba:t e w~s
engaged, for after the battle, in which the rebel was VlctOrIOUS, e
accidentally was killed by a. stray ~rrow.
t f the revolt (Attaleiates
3. Some of the Greek sources gIve a bnef accoun 0
d
and Glycas), while others go into more detail (~edre~us,. Zonaras, an
Psellus). The latter three state that, after Mamaces accI?e~tal deat~,
his head was cut off and brought to the emperor. Interestmg Y ~not:h~
Bar Hebraeus gives a rather full, although incorre.ct, ahccoun 0
t
.
ch named ChrIStOP er was sen
rt
revolt; he says that a ce am eunu
d fi ted and killed the
against Maniaces with forty ~housand.me~;nd. ~a ery detailed and
rebel. Of particular interest IS the Synan c romc e s; t d Another
bizarre description of how the captur~d rebel~ were rtea e. t f the
non-Greek source, Aristakes, in a detaIled but Inaccura e acco~ es b
revolt states that Monomachus's armies were def~aied thrfiee ti:-deal
Mani~ces; however, during the last battle the re e was oun
,

2:

304

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

without even the mark of a weapon on his body. The Armenian


historian attributes the strange death of Maniaces to his arrogance in
wishing to rule by force and violence, rather than by the power and
grace of God.

Section 84
1. Gagik II (1042-1045), Bagratid king of Ani.
2. All the Armenian lands.
3. The text reads "place." Three variants have "city," which makes more
sense in this context.
4. These two towns are located in Cappadocia, a region in central Asia
Minor whose chief city is Caesarea Mazaca (mod. Kayseri). However,
their exact location is not known. Cedrenus gives the names of the
themes turned over to Gagik by the emperor as Charsianon and
Lycandron (Lycandus).
5. Aristakes gives a slightly different version of Monomachus's treacher.
ous coercion of Gagik. He states that the emperor persuaded Gagik to
come to him, swearing that he would confirm the Armenian king on his
throne. Gagik's confidant and strongest supporter, Vahran Pahlawuni,
tried to dissuade him, but the king, listening to Sargis, went anyway,
In the end Monomachus broke his oath to Gagik.
Section 85
1. This man's name was Nicholas.
2. Four variants have AwghtJik. The exact location of this place is
unknown. It is probably a town in the province of Tayk'. The
Armenian Byzantinist, H. Bart'ikyan, maintains that it is the modern
city of Dlti, located due west of Kars in eastern Turkey.
Section 86
1. Cf. Psalms 114:7.
2. Located in the western part of the province of Upper Armenia.
3. Modern Erzinjan. It was the chief town of the district of Ekegheats',
4. The text reads ''heaven.'' Four variants have "earth," which makes
more sense here.
5. Cf. Joel 2:1-3.
Section 88
1. The Seljuk sultan, Tughrul 1(1038-1063).
2. The original Turkish of these three names cannot be ascertainedj they
have been left in the Armenian forms found in the text.
3. The areas in Mesopotamia inhabited by the Arabs.
4. Probably one of the tributaries of the upper Tigris.
5. The title of a Byzantine commander of a district or region.
6. Cedrenus says that the catepan Stephen was captured and sold as a
slave in Tabriz, a city in northern Iran.

N OTES-P ART I

305

Section 89
1. A commander of a regiment or corps of troops.
Section 90
1. The Greek sources and Aristakes make no mention of these last two
expeditions against Dvin, but only of the first one.
Section 91
1. Originally an honorary title of the Byzantine court. Later this title was
granted to many high officials of the empire.
2. Leo Tornices, a magnate of Armenian origin.
3. The chief city of Thrace, now called Edirne.
4. The text reads "rocks." The Jerusalem text has "riches," which makes
more sense here.
5. Matthew's account of Tornices' revolt is in substantial agreement with
the Greek sources except that the Armenian chronicler makes no
mention of John Vatatzes, who also was involved in the rebellion and
shared the leadership with Tornices.
Section 92
1. The text reads "at the sixth hour of the day." Five variants have "for
the greater part of the day," which makes more sense ~ere.. .
2. A bishop who is appointed by a diocesan bisho~ to. aSSIst h1m 1n the
exercise of his episcopal jurisdiction in a rural dIstrict.
3. The Armenian diminutive for "David."
4. The Greek sources give a rather full account of the sack of the ktowf. of
Artsn by the Seljuks and, in agreement with Matthew, spe~ . 0 Its
tremendous wealth and opulence. Aristakes gives a very VlVld ~nd
graphic account of the destruction of the town by the Turks, emploYlI~g
a style which is intended to elicit from the reader sympathy for h1s
5.

;~~:r:!n~:lu\~' name

was "Catacalon Cecaumenus" and he was a


famous Byzantine general of the period.

Section 93
1. Khach'ik II (1058-1065).
2. A Greek weight. One litra equals one pound.
3. Michael I Cerularius (1043-1.058)f ld" A kentenarion is equivalent
4. One variant has "a kentenarwn 0 go .
to one hundred pounds.
tri rchate He was
5. A high cleric who often s~cceheded tt~ t~~s ~~e:ment a'nd fulfilled
appointed by the emperor Wlth tepa nar
the function of a liaison between the two.
Section 94
An'
d Iberia (Georgia).
1. The Byzantine governor of 1 an

306
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

i,'

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

The Byzantine governor ofVaspurakan.


Gregory Magistros.
Located somewhere in the province of Ayrarat.
The text reads "a great flood of blood." Five variants have "a great
bloody marsh," which makes more sense here.
The Armenian historian, Stephen Orbelian, agrees with Matthew that
Liparit was betrayed by his own Georgians, while Aristakes says that
it was the Turks who cut the tendons of the Georgian prince's horse.
What today is northeastern Iran.
Aristakes agrees here with Matthew, while both Cedrenus and Zonaras
say that Liparit's release was negotiated by the emperor.
There are substantial differences in the accounts of Liparit's engage
ment with the Turks and its outcome in Orbelian, Aristakes, Cedrenus,
and Zonaras, except for the two Greek sources which agree with each
other. Both Matthew and Aristakes place the blame for Liparit's defeat
on the Byzantines. Aristakes blames Aaron for retreating from the
battle and thus abandoning the Georgian prince to the Turks. In
contrast to this, both Greek sources state that the Byzantine command
ers, Aaron and Cecaumenus, threw back the Turks and then waited for
Liparit to join them; however, when they learned that he was captured,
they departed. Orbelian, interestingly enough, has nothing but praise
for Liparit and gives a very detailed description of the Georgian
prince's brave deeds against the Turks. He says that Liparit soundly
defeated the Turks, but some of the Georgian nobles plotted against
him and killed him. When the Turks heard this, they turned back and
slaughtered the Georgians. The Armenian historian adds that, because
of this defeat, the Armenians and Georgians fell under the Turkish
yoke.

Section 95
1. A nomadic Turkic people, originally settled in southern Russia, the
Pechenegs posed a great danger to the Byzantine empire in the
eleventh century.
2. A general reference to the Turkie peoples of central Asia.
3. The text reads "Dark-Blond People" (Arm. Kharteshk~. These probably
were the Magyars, an Ural-Altaic people who inhabited a portion of
southern Russia in this period.
4. A Turkic people distantly related to the Pechenegs.

Section 96
1. Probably a fortress in the same area in which Paghin is located.

NOTES AND COMMENTARY

Part II
Section 1

"
. "hieh makes no sense. Four
1. The text here inserts ahawor- ~on;b~e, e':ted at the beginning of the
variants have "Lo" (,Aha or), wh1ch 1S ms
following sentence.
Elamites (Eghimnats'ik'),
2. The Seljuk Turks here are compared to the
ery sinful and unruly
who in the Old Testament were known as a ~g medieval historians.
people. This comparison was very ?om~on ~fo~Ulnents," which makes
3. The text reads "troops." One vanant as
more sense in this context.
. Turks
4. The Byzantines, Armenians, and SelJuk
.
Section 2
S . Orthodox (Jacobite) church as
1. Matthew is referring here to the ynan h
opposed to the Byzantine Orthodox chure .. h
2. The Byzantine Orthodox ~atriarck ~~~td~~e~ences between the two
3. There were various doctrinal an
churches. Cf. sec. 30, n. 3.
h
Christianity became a legalized
4. Constantine 1 (324-337), under w om
religion in the Roman empire.
5. Cf. Genesis 1 9 . .
arda et corroborates Matth~w's
6. The Armenian histonan Vard~n : alth~ugh differing in a few IlllUOr
account of the earthquake of AntIoc, t Vardan states that, because
details and giving a m.uch shorter accoun d' d including the Greek
l
of the earthquake, ten thousand peop e t~e ";ere made to burn the
patriarch. He also says that four atte~~g and co:rnpares the whole
Syriac Gospels the fifth attempt succee
,
incident to christ's crucifixion by the Jews.

Section 3

t te was centered in present-day Iran. Cf.


1. The Se1juk sultan whose s a d sec 88 n.1.
"
Pt. I, sec. 6, n. 4; sec. 59, n~ arrame iite;ally translated, means Top
2. Probably near Mantskert.
en,
of a Rock."
d fD 'd ofTayk'.
.
fh'
3. Abukab was the tent guar 0 baN: the Armenian translabon 0 1S
4. Literally"Golden-Haired," pro a y
d
d CAr
Turkish name.
.
0 about five hundre poun s
.
5. A weight of Arabic o~dl'.' ehqu~v~:~~!d carried by a beast of burden.
'idZ). Actually, one 1S a

308

MATTHEW OF EDESSA
NOTES-PART II

6. Matthew uses the term "Frank" (Arm. P'rang) in referring to a


European (one from the Latin West). This term is still used in the
Near East in its Arabic form (Franji or Firanji) in referring to a
European. In this period there were many Western (European)
mercenaries, especially Normans, in the Byzantine army.
7. The siege of Mantskert is related in both the Oriental and Greek
sources. Of the Greek sources, Attaleiates gives a short account of the
siege, while Cedrenus gives a very full and detailed account which
basically agrees with Matthew. The two Oriental sources dealing with
the siege, Aristakes and Bar Hebraeus, give short accounts with
slightly differing details. The Armenian historian says that Tughrul
bypassed both Berkri and Archesh and directly went against Manta.
kert, while the Syrian chronicler states that the sultan, unable to take
the town, seized the surrounding countryside.

Section 4
1. Matthew, interestingly enough, says very little here by way of
criticizing Monomachus for his role in the takeover of the Armenian
states by the empire-a role Matthew had earlier condemned (Pt. I,
sees. 84 and 92). Yet the Armenian historian is far from systematically
and unequivocally condemning Monomachus, something which his
countryman Aristakes spares no pains in doing. Aristakes very
graphically describes what he considers to be the emperor's true
character. He calls Monomachus a glutton and a drunkard. Further
more, he says that the emperor squandered all the money, which Basil
II had previously accumulated for the defense of the empire, on whores
adding that when the whores of Constantinople no longer satisfied him;
he began to import them from other areas. The Armenian historian
concludes his diatribe against Monomachus by maintaining that this
emperor, through his neglectful attitude, left the empire open to enemy
attack and thus was ultimately the chief cause of its demise. In sharp
contrast to Aristak~s' condemnation of Mono machus, the Greek sources
have nothing but admiration for this emperor. Psellus praises him as
a great general whose tried experience hindered the advance of the
Turks and paved the way for ridding the empire of these infidels,
Psellus goes on to eulogize the emperor's handsome appearance and
concludes by saying that he had a very distinguished and gloriouB
reign, The other Greek sources also praise Monomachus, although in
not as effulgent a manner as Psellus, Cedrenus, interestingly enough,
praises the emperor for his support of monasteries.
2. Both Zoe and Theodora were daughters of the emperor Constantine
VIII (1025-1028).
3. Michael VI (1056-1057), who was thepatriciu8 Michael StratioticuB,an
elderly and undistinguished soldier.

309

Section 5
1. Later the emperor Isaac I Comnenus (1057-1059).
2. Actually the body of water between the Mediterranean and Black Seas
i.e, the Bosphorus, the Sea of Marmora, and the Dardanelles.
'
3. A town across the Bosphorus from Constantinople (mod. Oskadar),
4. All the Greek sources give accounts ofComnenus's revolt and takeover
of the empire, some in more detail than others. Even the Armenian
historian Aristakes relates the event, placing special emphasis on the
tremendous amount of slaughter on both sides and saying that such
extensive killing had never been seen before.
5. A town in the region of the ancient city of Troy.
6. Literally, "The error returns from Gergetha."
7. Actually the Pechenegs were defeated by Comnenus. The Greek
sources say nothing of the incident described here by Matthew,

Section 6
1. The text reads "505 [1056-1057]." The Jerusalem textha.s "507," which
is the correct date.
2. Constantine X Ducas (1059-1067),
3. The commander of a theme. From the seventh century on the
Byzantine empire was organized into themes, or milita.? regi?ns. "
4. The text reads "the unfaithful." Four variants have the dIsloyal,
which makes more sense in this context,

Section 7
1. Actually it was thirty-nine years (1019-1058).
Section 8
1. The exact location of this town is unknown..
'an
2. Liparit IV, High Constable of Ge?rgia d~ring the reIr of~~~~~~:ed
king Bagrat IV (1027-1072). ThIS man 1S the same ;par
92 and
on a number of previous occasions by ~atth~w (See ~e 't::' Liparit
f
94). One of the most powerful G.eorg1an,~:uce:;tid_Orbeli family, a
was a member of the famous and mfluent! , p.
t
branch of the distinguished Armenian Mal~llkomd dn~aosfYth' e Turkish
' h' t . ns O1ve accou lAO
3. Both the Armenian and Synan .IS ona
r ghtlyt>-.III some det a1'16, The two
sack of Melitene, although varymg ~ I
d Bar Hebraeu6. pres-ent a
Syrian chroniclers, Michael the Syr~ili ax: habitants and the lAck of
very vivid picture of the massacre 0
em hIe to capture Melitene
the city. They state that th,e Turks ~e:o~shed when the emperor
easily because its walls, ~avmg been etl had never been restored.
Tzimisces captured the CIty, subseque~h Y inhabitants' wealth was
Both writers go on ,to reve~l .w~er~vide description of the horrible
concealed and then g1ve a striking y ersons was lubjected. On ~he
tortures to which one of thes~ we~lthx: tak~s deals very briefly WIth
other hand, the Armenian h1stonan 18

310

NOTES-PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

the Turkish attack on Melitene. He states that the city was defended
by a garrison of Byzantine cavalry, which during the siege made a
sortie against the Turks and was defeated. The Byzantines then fled,
followed by a number of the inhabitants. Those remaining behind were
slaughtered, and the Turks stayed for twelve days, pillaging the city
and laying waste the surrounding countryside. Aristakes concludes ,
interestingly enough, by saying that the inhabitants of Melitene
deserved the fate that they received.
Section 9
1. T'ornik was a member of the Mamikonid family.
2. Bar Hebraeus seems to give the only other account of this Armenian
victory over the Turks, albeit a short one. He says that the victory was
greatly aided by the severe winter in progress at the time.
Section 10
1. Two variants add "in like manner this omen was meant for Armenia,"
2. A measure of Hebrew origin. One k'or is equal to about thirty or forty
bushels,
Section 11
1. A measure of Roman origin (Lat. modius). Four mod are equal to one
peck.
Section 12
1. A town south of Caesarea Mazaca, the modem Develi.
2. Literally, "good living [day]." In the Armenian church barekendan is
the day before a period of fasting.
3. The Feast of the Transfiguration, one of the more important feasts in
the Eastern Orthodox calendar.
Section 14
1. The city where the Fourth Ecumenical Council was held in 451 A.D,
The Armenian church rejected the decisions of this Council as heretical.
Cf. sec. 30 and nn.
2. Aristakes gives the place as Tar~ntay. The location of this place is
uncertain. Perhaps it is the town of Taranta, located on a tributary of
the Euphrates, west of Melitene.
3. Both Aristakes and the Armenian chronicler 5mbat Sparapet relate the
emperor's attempt to do away with the Armenian catholicate the
former giving a rather animated and detailed account of the cath~1icos
Khach'ik's successful resistance to Ducas's demands. Aristakes further
a~ds that the Greeks demanded that the Armenian church pay them
tnbute regularly, something which the catholicos absolutely refused to
do.

311

Section 15
1. The eighth month of the pagan Armenian calendar. This,calendar, ~ike
the Julian was divided into twelve months; however, unhke the Juhan,
it was not 'a fixed calendar-that is the months would fall on different
times of the year depending on th~ year in question. In this year the
month of Areg fell in March. In the medieval period this pagan
Armenian calendar was used side by side with the one adopted from
Rome at the time of the christianization of Armenia. Around the year
1116 an Armenian cleric John the Deacon, revised the calendar on a
fixed basis. Matthew d~es not adhere to this revised version of the
calendar.
" (P
2, Actually a man's title meaning "the general of Khurasan
ers.
salar-"general").
3. The original Turkish of the names cannot be ascertained and so has
been left in the Armenian form found in the text.
.
.
4. ~a'id-ad-Daulah of the Marwanids, a Kurdish dynasty whIch ruled In
Amida at this time. Cf. Pt. I, sec. 58, n. 1.
Section 16
1. Cf. Psalms 44:9-11.
Section 17
.
1. This is the Greek surname of the Norman mercenary HervevlOs. (Fr.
Herve) who at this time was in the service of the B~zantmes.
Previo~sly he had distinguished himself in the Sicilian campaIgn under
the great Byzantine general Maniaces.
2. The original Arabic of this name cannot be ascertained and so has been
left. in the Armenian form found in the text.
3. The Arm.enian lexicographer S. Malkhasean:s' s~ys t?is ihS aTtYPke.ohf
horse. On the other hand, Dulaurier identIfies It WIth t e ur IS
word kama-Itdagger."
.
4. Bar Hebraeus gives a very brief account of the Byzha:r:tmethatt~ck on
Amida, merely mentioning that after a good deal of fig ting, e yzantines gave up the siege of the town and departed.
.
Section 20
1. Seljuk sultan (1063-1072).
.
2. A region of southwest Persia, near the PersI:m Gulf.
3. A region of eastern Persia, bordering on IndIa.
4. Cf. Luke 21:23.
Alb . (1046/8 108119)
5. Gurgen lI-Kvirike, Bagratid king of LOti and
anla
-.'
6. The Georgian Chronicle gives a very detailed accou:r:t of the relatlO~s
between Alp Arslan and Kvirike, as well as some detaIls ?n the sultan s
marriage to the Christian princess. However~ the Chromcle states that
the princess was KVirike's niece and not hIS daughter, as Matthew

maintains.

312

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

i Section 27

7. Located in the province of Gugark', near the source of the Kura River.

Section 22
1. The Jerusalem text has "Armenian."
2. 5mbat II, Bagratid king of Ani (977-989).
3. A number of sources-Armenian, Syriac, and Greek-give accounts of
the fall of Ani to the Seljuks. Aristakes' account basically agrees with
that of Matthew, although the former does not seem to be as condem
natory of the Byzantines as the latter. AristaMs says that at first the
Turks were unaware of the confusion and disunity within Ani but
when they realized what was going on, redoubled their attack; and
finally captured the city, massacring all its inhabitants. The Armenian
histo~ian concludes by lamenting the capture of Ani and saying that
SUC? IS ~he fate of cities which are built with the blood of aliens and
whIch dIsregard the poor. The Syrian chronicler Bar Hebraeus in his
account of the fall of Ani gives a description of the strength of the city
and says that it contained seven hundred thousand houses and one
thousand churches. He goes on to relate that when the Turks
despaired of capturing the city, through divine int~rvention one of its
towers collapsed, after which they were able to enter and occupy Ani.
The Byzantine historian John Scylitzes gives a different reason for the
capture of Ani; he states that the Turks did not capture Ani until its
commander, an Armenian named Pagratios (Arm. Bagrat) attacked
them, after which their sultan was angered and so took the' city.
Section 23
1. Gagik-Ab~s II, Bagratid king of Kars (1029-1064).
2. Matthew IS confused here. Gagik was the son of Abas I, king of Kars
(984-1029), who was a first cousin of 5mbat II, king of Ani (977989).
3. T~e G~eek name of this town is Zamanti (Tzamandos). The Armenian
hlstoTl~ Vardan Vardapet says that three other towns were also given
~o GagIk by the Byzantines: Larissa, Amasia, and Comana. Amasia
IS l.ocated northwest of Sebastia, Larissa in the vicinity of Sebastia,
whIle Comana and Zamanti are southeast of Caesarea Mazaca.
4. Cf. Psalms 44:12 ff.

Section 25
1. The text reads "good." Six variants have "painful" which makes more
sense here.
'
Section 26
1. Gregory II (1066-1105).
2. Gregory was known for his translations from Greek and Syriac. Thus
he was surnamed Vkayaser-"a friend of martyrs"-for he translated
or h~d translated, a goodly portion of the Greek and Syrian martyr~
ologIes.

313

NOTES-PART II

1 1. Not the town southeast of AUllda, but the town


j the Euphrates, west of Sewawerak.

f N' -b-

1\31 In

ar~Rum

on

j 2. Located in the vicinity of Edessa.


. ' 'I f
I 3. AByzantine honorary title, originally equivalent to vest~tor, the tl;e:t~s
the official in charge of the imperial wardrobe. The name of the
referred to here is not known for certain.
4. His full name was Nicetas Pegonites..
.
.
to a
5. A title of Latin origin, used in the Byzantine army ill refernng
lieutenant or one second in command.
6. Probably in the vicinity of Edessa.
.
.
7. Probably one of the Catalan mercenaries in the sel'Vlce of the emplre.

Section 28
h
t f
1. A town on one of the tributaries of the Euphrates, north-nort eas 0
Edessa.
2. Located north-northeast of Edessa.
3. A village between Edessa and Harran.

Section 29
1. A village in the vicinity of Edessa.

; Section 30
1. The text reads "year." Six variants have "period," which makes more

sense here.
2. The patriarch of Constantinople, John VIII Xiphilin (1064-1075~.
3. Christianity first entered Armenia in the first century A.D.! but lt was
not until the early fourth century that it began to take root In the land.
In this period the Armenian church began to maintain close contact
with the other churches of the Roman empire, adhering to the church
councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), and Ep~esus (431).
However, in the middle of the filth century the ArmenIan church,
together with the Syrian and Egyptian churches, developed some
disagreements with the Roman (Western) and Byzantine church:es.
The special focal point ofthese disagreements was the nature ofChnst.
The council of Chalcedon (451) had maintained that Christ had two
natures, divine and human. The Roman and Byzantine churches
adhered to this formula. However, the Oriental churches (Armenian,
Syrian, and Egyptian) rejected the formula, maintaining that Christ
had one nature both divine and human, united and yet unconfused.
Thus they refu~ed to accept the decisions of Chalcedon. From this
period on attempts were made by the Byzantines to gain the adherence
of these Oriental Christians to Chalcedon and to the Byzantine church.
It turned out that, in their opposition to Chalcedon, the Oriental
churches were just as strongly motivated by cultural reasons as they
were by religious reasons. They tenaciously held to their ethnic

312

313

NOTES-PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

7. Located in the province of Gugark', near the source of the Kura River.

Section 22
1. The Jerusalem text has "Armenian."
2. 5mbat II, Bagratid king of Ani (977-989).
3. A number of ~ourees-A;menian~ Syria~, and Greek-give accounts of
the fall of AnI to the SelJuks. Aristakes account basically agrees with
that of Matthew, although the former does not seem to be as condemnatory of the Byzantines as the latter. Aristakes says that at first the
Turks were unaware of the confusion and disunity within Ani but
when they realized what was going on, redoubled their attack; and
fi~all~ captured the city, massacring all its inhabitants. The Armenian
hlsto~Ian concludes
lame~ting the capture of Ani and saying that
SUC? IS ~he fate of cIties whIch are built with the blood of aliens and
whIch dIsregard the poor. The Syrian chronicler Bar Hebraeus in his
account of the fall of Ani gives a description of the strength of the city
and says that it contained seven hundred thousand houses and one
thousand churches. He goes on to relate that when the Turks
despaired of capturing the city, through divine int~rvention one of its
towers coll~psed! aft~r which they.were able to enter and occupy Ani.
The Byzantme hIstorIan John Scyhtzes gives a different reason for the
capture of Ani; he states that the Turks did not capture Ani until its
commander, an Armenian named Pagratios (Arm. Bagrat) attacked
them, after which their sultan was angered and so took the' city.

?!

Section 23
1. Gagik-Ab~s II, Bagratid king of Kars (1029-1064).
2. Matthew IS confused here. Gagik was the son of Abas I king of Kars
(984-1029), who was a first cousin of 5mbat II, king of
(977-989).
3. T~e G;reek name of this town is Zamanti (Tzamandos). The Armenian
hlstorl~ Vardan Vardapet says that three other towns were also given
~o GagIk by the Byzantines: Larissa, Amasia, and Comana. Amasia
IS l.ocated northwest of Sebastia, Larissa in the vicinity of Sebastia,
whIle Comana and Zamanti are southeast of Caesarea Mazaca.
4. Cf. Psalms 44:12 ff.

Ani

Section 25
1. The text reads "good." Six variants have "painful," which makes more
sense here.
Section 26
1. Gregory II (1066-1105).
2. Gregory was known for his translations from Greek and Syriac. Thus
he was surnamed Vkayaser-"a friend of martyrs"-for he translated
or h~d translated, a goodly portion of the Greek and Syrian martyr~
ologles.

. Section 27

1. Not the town southeast of Aroida, but the town of Nifjibin ar-Rum on
the Euphrates, west of Sewawerak.
2. Located in the vicinity of Edessa.
3. A Byzantine honorary title, originally equivalent to vestitor, the title ~f
the official in charge of the imperial wardrobe. The name of the vestLs
referred to here is not known for certain.
4. His full name was Nicetas Pegonites.
5, A title of Latin origin, used in the Byzantine army in referring to a
lieutenant or one second in command.
6. Probably in the vicinity of Edessa.
.
7, Probably one of the Catalan mercenaries in the service of the empIre.

Section 28
1. A town on one of the tributaries of the Euphrates, north-northeast of
Edessa.
2. Located north-northeast of Edessa.
3, A village between Edessa and Harran.

Section 29
1. A village in the vicinity of Edessa.

Section 30

1. The text reads "year." Six variants have "period," which makes more
sense here.
2. The patriarch of Constantinople, John VIII Xiphilin (1064-1075~.
3. Christianity first entered Armenia in the first century A.D,! but It wa;
not until the early fourth century that it began to take root In the Ian .
In this period the Armenian church began to maintain close contact
with the other churches of the Roman empire, adhering to the ch;:~f
councils of Nicaea (325), Constantinople (381), and Ep~esus ~ h'
However in the middle of the fifth century the Armeman c ure ,
together' with the Syrian and Egyptian churches, de~eloped some
disagreements with the Roman (Western) and Byzantme chfuCrhe~e:.
Th'
.
fth
d'
ents was the nature 0
nS ,
e speCIal focal pomt 0
ese Isagreen: . d h t Christ had two
The council of Chalcedon (451) had mamtame d ~ a t' e churches
natures, divine and human. The Roman an
yz~ m(Armenian
adhered to this formula. However, the Oriental.c~c, e; that Christ
Syrian, and Egyptian) rejected the formula, .maman:~t unconfused.
had one nature, both divine and human, ulllted 1 Ion From this
h
Thus they refused to accept the decisions ?f C t:
the adherence
period on attempts were made by the Byzantmes th B zantine church.
of these Oriental Christians to Chalc~~on ~ndci~alc:d:n, the Oriental
It turned out that, in their oppo~ltlOn 0
ltural reasons as they
churches were just as strongly motIVated ,by ~u held to their ethnic
were by religious reasons. They tenaclOUS y

;:m

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

314

4.

5.
6.
7.

cultures and religious differences, some of which were quite insignifi.


cant. On the other hand, the Byzantines, motivated by the desire to
bring religious and cultural unity to the empire, continuously worked
to bring the Oriental churches under the control of the Byzantine
church, a goal which they never succeeded in accomplishing.
Michael the Syrian gives a rather lengthy account of Ducas's attempts
at pressuring both the Armenians and the Syrians to adhere to
Chalcedon and, with it, the Byzantine church. The Syrian chronicler
relates how his countrymen were ordered to adopt the ''heresy'' of the
"Greek" church and then persecuted when they refused. He compares
this persecution to that of the early Christians by the pagan Romans
and goes on to say that in the past the Turks pillaged these Syrian
Christians, but now the Syrians were being persecuted by the "Chalce
donians," something which in his eyes was both incomprehensible and
unjustified. The chronicler tells how the Syrian metropolitan of
Melitene, Mar Ignatius, was forcibly taken to Constantinople and
compelled to defend the faith of his church, a feat which he very ably
performed. However, when he refused to yield to the Byzantine
demands, he was exiled to Macedonia.
Gagik II, former king of Ani (1042-1045).
Gagik was married to the daughter of David, the eldest brother of
Atom and Abusahl.
A village in Cappadocia (Gr. Kalon Pezat). Cf. Pt. I sec. 84 and n. 4.

Section 31
1. Cf. Matthew 5:37.
2. At this point the text has become so corrupt that it is impossible to
draw any meaning from it. Here follows that section of the original
text which is untranslatable: areal i vets' t'ewits'n ew t'ewots'n
bats'anen zoch' skzbmamb ew zoch' kataradz ts'uts'anen ch'oriwk'n
dzadzkut'eann ew hays emk' hastateal ew bawakanats'eal. Bart'ikyan,
in his translation into Modern Armenian, has freely translated this
fragment as "... surrounded by six-winged [seraphim], who without
beginning or end fly round about [God with two] wings, while covering
their faces [and feet] with four [wings]. Behold, this is what we believe
and accept."
Section 32
1. Cf. Psalms 33:6.
Section 33
1. Cf. John 1:19.
2. St. John Chrysostom, one of the important theologians of the Eastern
church (c. 347-407).
3. Cf. Genesis 18:1-9, where three angels appear to Abraham under the
guise of three men.

N OTES-P ART II

315

4. The text reads "third." The Jerusalem text has "second," which is
correct.

Section 34
1. Five variants and the Jerusalem text add the following: "The evil
Sabellius said that the three persons are one and are differentiated
only in name; because of this we anathematize him with the rest, and
indeed let him be anathema."
Section 35
1. Perhaps the patriarch of Constantinople, Sergius I (610-638), the great
exponent of Monothelitism.
2. The text reads "who has the name of his father." Five variants have
"who has an Armenian name," which makes more sense in this context.
3. Patriarch of Antioch (470-485/489).
4. Patriarch of Alexandria (441-451).
Section 36
1. The text reads ".... concerning the union of God with man, separate
from one another, which is not found in Holy Scripture." The translation given here is based on five variants and the Jerusalem text, which
make more sense here.
2. A Greek Church Father (c. 213-c. 270).
3. Referring to the Church Fathers, (Gr. Thaumaturgos-Wonder
Worker).
4. One of the Cappadocian Fathers (c. 330-c. 395).
5. St. Basil the Great, one of the Cappadocian Fathers (c.330379).
6. One of the great N eoplatonist philosophers of the third century.
Section 37
1. The text reads "that which is ahistorical." One variant has "that which
is not worthy of honor," which makes more sense here.
2. The text reads "from the earth." Two variants and the Jerusalem text
have "from heaven," which makes more sense here.
Section 38
1. Cf. Luke 9:26.
2. Gregory Nazianzus (329-389), one of the Cappadocian Fathers.
Section 39
1. The text leaves this word out; six variants include it.
Section 40
1. Cf. Luke 3:23.
2. Cf. Leviticus 23:34-36.
.
1
th
3. A month of the Jewish calendar, corresponding apprOXImate y to e

316

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

time between the months of September and October.


4. The text reads "month." Five variants have "day," which makes more
sense here.
5. Cf. Luke 1:21-24.
6. The Jerusalem text' has "on the 10th."
7. That is, the Julian calendar.

Section 41

1. This is the fast of five days preceding Lent (Arm. Arajawork'-"those


[fast days] which precede [Lent]"). It is also known as "Fast of the

Catechumens" .
2. Cf. Jonah 3:5.
3. Cyril I (350/1-386).
4. The concubine of Abraham from whom he had a son called Ishmael,
considered to be the ancestor of the Arabs. Cf. Genesis 16.
6. Located in the southwestern portion of the province of Ayrarat.
6. Probably the emperor Theodosius II (408-450).

Section 43

1. The title used in the Eastern Orthodox church for the bishop of an
important see.

Section 45

1. Also known as Arkni or Arghana.

Section 46
1. Located in Cappadocia.

Section 48
1. Probably an emir in the service of the sultan Alp Arslan.
.
2. The Amanus Mountains, located due north of Antioch. Many Synan,
Greek,and Armenian monasteries were located on the slopes of these
mountains.
3. Cf. Psalms 78:63 ff.

Section 49

1. The sultan's chamberlain. This office originated at the time of the


'Abbasid caliphate. Originally the IJ,tijib's duty consisted ofintroduc~ng
accredited envoys and dignitaries into the caliphal prese~ce, a fu.nct~on

which naturally brought with it a tremendous amount ofmfluence WIth


the caliph, or in this case, with the sultan.
2. Bar Hebraeus gives a short account of Giimiishtigin's ~ttack on E?eSbsa ,
saying that the dux of the city went out to battle agamst the emU', Ut
was defeated and taken prisoner and later ransomed for twenty
thousand dinars.

NOTES-PART II

317

Section 51
1. Matthew's chronology is incorrect here, for the following events
occurred in late 1067 and early 1068.
2. Romanus was a member of the military aristocracy of Cappado cia.
3. Psellus, Scylitzes, Zonaras, and Glycas all give accounts of the
empress's plan to make Romanus emperor. Psellus gives a very
detailed description of Eudocia's plans and also of her consultations
with him; he respects her judgement, although he has very little liking
for Romanus. Scylitzes emphasizes the point that Romanus became
emperor only after Eudocia realized the dangerous position the empire
was in due to the ravages of the Turks; it was because of this that she
became aware of the need for a strong military man as emperor.
Section 52
1. The prophet Elijah. Cf. I Kings 17-19.
2. Cf. Matthew 3.
3. One of the early founders of eremitical monasticism, who lived in Egypt
(c. 251-356 AD.).
4. Actually George became Gregory's coadjutor (1067). He was removed
from this position in 1072.
5, The Amanus Mountains.
6. Two Armenian historians, Vardan Vardapet and Kirakos ofGandzak,
relate the events connected with Gregory's temporary retirement from
the patriarchal see, although differing with Matthew and with one
another on a few details. Vardan says that the catholicos went to
Constantinople to do translation work. After this, while on route to
Jerusalem, he was diverted from his goal and instead went to Egypt,
where he was greatly honored by its ruler and established an Armenian
monastery there. Kirakos gives a rather full account of Gregory's
peregrinations, stating that he traveled as far as Rome in order to
venerate the bones of Peter and Paul. He says that, while the catholicos was returning to Constantinople, the ship he was on was blown
off course and finally landed in Egypt. Here Gregory performed a
miracle, and the ruler of Egypt was so impressed by this that he
installed the catholicos on the See of St. Mark in Alexandria, making
him patriarch of all the Christians in Egypt.
Section 53
1. Romanus IV Diogenes (1068.1071).
2. Probably Normans. Cf. sec. 3, n. 5.
3. Both the Syriac and Greek sources deal with the capture of Manjib by
the emperor, giving slightly varying accounts of the event. The Syriac
sources markedly differ from Matthew in that they maintain that the
Muslim town was taken after a violent assault and the inhabitants
were slaughtered. On the other hand, the Greek sources more closely
concur with Matthew's account. Scylitzes says that soon after Manjib

318

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

was besieged, it capitulated and a Syrian named Petros Libellisios was


appointed under Byzantine aegis as commander of the town, while the
Muslim garrison was allowed to leave unharmed. Attaleiates gives a
rather lengthy account of the taking of Man;iib by the emperor, as well
as a very vivid description of the siege of the town. The Byzantine
historian maintains that the inhabitants finally capitulated and put
their wives, children, and possessions at the mercy of the emperor, who
magnanimously granted them their lives.

NOTES-PART II

319

agreed to their terms, and was then asked to first burn his war
machines as guarantee that he would not go back on his word. Alp
Arslan agreed to this also but, when he burned his war machines, the
townspeople refused to give him the stipulated money, and so he was
forced to depart. The Syrian chronicler makes a point of saying that
after this incident the inhabitants ofEdessa had nothing but contempt
for the sultan.

Section 57
Section 54
1. The original Turkish of this name cannot be ascertained and so has
been left in the Armenian form found in the text. The Byzantine
historian Nicephorus Bryennius calls Ktrich' Chrysoskoulos. The
French historian C. Cahen maintains that Ktrich' is calledArisiaghi or
Arisighi in the Arabic sources.
2. The Jerusalem text breaks off at this point, as does Dulaurier's
translation.
3. This curopalates was Manuel Comnenus, the nephew of the former
emperor, Isaac Comnenus (1057-1059).
4. Bryennius basically corroborates Matthew's account of Ktrich's dealings
with the Byzantines, although he does fill in some gaps in the
Armenian historian's narration by stating that, when Manuel was
defeated and taken prisoner by Ktrich', the curopaZates promised to get
aid from the emperor for the Turk's rebellion against Alp Arslan.
Section 55
1. The following six lines, beginning with "for an omen ... " and ending
with "... the wicked Turkish forces," comprise the only portion of this
section appearing in the Jerusalem text and Dulaurier's translation.
2. Cf. Luke 21:25.
3. Cf. Romans 3:23.
4. Cf. Romans 3:10.
5. The Muslims, more properly the Arabs, were regarded as descendants
of the Ishmaelites. Cf. sec. 41, n. 4.
Section 56
1. The Jerusalem text resumes here, as does Dularier's translation.
2. The tenth month of the pagan Armenian calendar, beginning on the
eighth day of May.
3. Matthew appears to be referring to the Bulgar king who ruled from
1015 to 1018. Cf. Pt. I, sec. 36, n. 1.
4. The Syrian chronicler Bar Hebraeus gives a rather interesting account
of Alp Arslan's siege of Edessa. He says that the Turks besieged the
city for many days and, being unable to take it, cut down its surrounding groves of trees and laid waste its gardens. Finally the townspeople
offered the sultan a sum offrlty thousand dinars if he would leave. He

1. Probably the Aegean islands, Crete, and Cyprus.


2, A region of northwestern Asia Minor.
3. The Roman emperor, Julian the Apostate (361-363), who renounced his
Christian faith and eventually was killed in a battle against the
Sassanid Iranians.
4. The Greek sources refer to him as Trachoniotes or Tarchanimes.
5. The Arabic name of the place is az-Zahra.
6, The text reads "and also countless others." The Jerusalem text has
"and many captives were taken," which seems to make more sense in
this context.
7, Michael VII Ducas (1071-1078).
8, His name was Andronicus.
9, Andronicus was the son of Constantine X Ducas and the brother of
MichaeL
10. Caesar John Ducas, brother ofthe emperor Constantine X Ducas.
11. The various Armenian, Syriac, and Greek sources give rather lengthy
and detailed accounts of the battle of Mantskert and its aftermath.
There is a remarkable degree of concurrence among these sources, even
when the non-contemporary Arabic sources of the" battle are included.
Among the Armenian sources Aristakes and 5mbat are the most
important, although 5mbat's account is an almost word by word
repetition of what Matthew says. Aristakes praises Romanus, stating
that the emperor's motives for undertaking the campaign were twofold:
first! to check the Turks who he realized were a great danger to the
empire (a fact which many of his contemporaries were not fully aware
of) and second, to maintain his reputation as a military man. However!
the Armenian historian does reserve some criticism for the emperor
when he says that Romanus became puffed up once he assembled his
tremendous army (it was for this reason that he rejected Alp Arslan's
overtures of peace); Aristakes further adds that Romanus made the
fatal mistake of dividing up his army. Continuing his narrative, he
makes a point of saying that the emperor and the Armenian contingents of his army fought well, in spite ofthe fact that God was not with
the Byzantines. After giving some details on the aftermath of
Mantskert, the Armenian historian concludes by saying that the battle
marked the beginning of the decline of the empire. Turning to the
Syriac sources, we fmd a different emphasis. Both Michael the Syrian

320

i'

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

and Bar Hebraeus give a very detailed account of Romanus's capture


by the Turks, albeit differing with one other a great deal. Michael says
that the emperor was captured by a nephew of Alp Arslan, while Bar
Hebraeus maintains that he was captured by a slave of one of the
sultan's eunuchs. One or two more interesting points about these
Syrian chroniclers. Michael makes a special point of emphasizing the
heretical position of the Greeks, implying that the Armenian contingent
fled from the battle, thus giving the victory to the Turks, because the
Greeks continually pressured them to adopt their heresy. Bar
Hebraeus, interestingly enough, evinces a good deal of sympathy for
Alp Arslan, above and beyond the words of praise expressed on behalf
of the sultan by the other Oriental historians and chroniclers. The
Greek sources on the battle are quite numerous and full, Bryennius
being the most informative and Attaleiates the most detailed.
Bryennius, who was one of Romanus's generals at Mantskert, gives a
great deal of detail on the plots against the emperor and the incidents
leading up to his capture by the Turks. Attaleiates, in referring to
Romanus's defeat, states that Michael Ducas (eldest son of the empress
Eudocia and later the emperor Michael VII) spread the rumor that the
emperor was dead, and thus blames him for the Byzantine debacle at
Mantskert. Both Scylitzes and Glycas give a lengthy account of the
meeting between Romanus and Alp Arslan after the capture of the
former, including a rather interesting dialogue between the two; the
sultan asks the emperor what he would have done if he had captured
him (the sultan), and when Romanus replies that he would have kil1ed
him, Alp Arslan retorts that his intention was and still is to spare the
emperor. Interestingly enough, both Michael the Syrian and Bar
Hebraeus give similar accounts oftMs dialogue. The one Greek source
which is extremely critical of Romanus is PseUus. He gives the
emperor no credit whatsoever for his military exploits, stating that
Romanus was merely content on undertaking campaigns against the
Muslims without really achieving any constructive results for the
benefit of the empire. He goes on to say that the emperor was aware
of his (PseUus's) extensive knowledge of military matters and hence
jealousy hindered him from advancing his career. Moreover, PseUus
goes so far as to say that Romanus's ignorance of strategy and tactics
at Mantskert caused him to lose the battle. The Byzantine man of
letters concludes by maintaining that the emperor was incompetent
and hence not fit to rule, while at the same time praising Michael
Ducas (who succeeded Romanus on the imperial throne).

Section 58
1. Located in what is now Soviet Central Asia, flowing into the Aral Sea.
The river's modern name is Amu Darya.
2. A city in Soviet Central Asia, southeast of the Aral Sea.
3. Seljuk sultan (1072-1092).

NOTES-PART II

321

Section 59
1. A cowl-like piece of cloth fitting over the head. It is the sign of a
celibate clergyman-bishop or priest.
2. A village near Kesoun.
Section 60
1. A former general of the emperor Romanus Diogenes. In this period
Philaretus had succeeded in gaining control of Cilicia, as well as the
territories surrounding the cities of Antioch, Edessa, and Melitene.
Ostensibly he ruled these areas in the name of the emperor, but in
effect was quite independent of the empire.
2. Located southeast of Melitene.
3. One variant has: "I do not wish to see the face of him who summons
me to submit to him."
4. A district in the eastern part of the province of Fourth Armenia.
5. Located north-northwest of Amida, on the Euphrates.
6, The original French of this name cannot be ascertained and so has
been left in the Armenian form found in the text. Perhaps the original
French is Raimbaud or Rimbaud. Dulaurier uses Raimbaud in his
translation. Bart'ikyan suggests that the name might refer to Roussel
de Bailleul, the Norman mercenary in the pay of the Byzantines.
Section 61
1. The original Arabic of this name cannot be ascertained and so has been
left. in the Armenian form found in the text. Perhaps the original
Arabic is JAmr Bakr.
2. The monastery of St. John the Baptist in Taron.
Section 62
1. The catholicos Peter I (1019-1058).
2. Actually Gregory did not give up the catholicate. Sargis occupied the
see as co-catholicos in Honi for two years (1076-1077), after which he
died.
3. Probably located around the upper reaches of the Pyramus River CAr.
Jailuln), near Marash.
4. Barsegh I (1105-1113).
Section 63
1. The Fatimid caliph al-Mustan~ir (1036-1094).
2. Gregory III (1113-1166). Actually Gregory II willed that his nephew
Gregory succeed Barsegh as catholicos.
Section 64
1. Actually it was seven years (1071-1078).
2. Six variants have "went into a monastery to become a monk." The text

322

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

reads "and went into a monastery."


3. The majority of the sources dealing with Michael's reign are unanimous
in their criticism of this emperor's administrative abilities. Glycas
Scylitzes, and Attaleiates all maintain that he was a poor and feebl~
administrator. Michael the Syrian gives as a reason for this shortcoming the emperor's tendency to remain isolated in his palace and listen
to "lax" and "effeminate" advisors, while Bar Hebraeus says that the
emperor's administrative laxity was due to a kidney disease. Psellus
stands alone in showering praise upon Michael, lauding both his
character and his administrative abilities. Psellus maintains that the
emperor managed the finances of the empire assiduously, that he was
a studious and scholarly person, and that he led a rather simple,
ascetic life (which Matthew also maintains). Psellus concludes by
saying that the empire was in very bad shape, but Michael was equal
to the task of reviving it, a task which others were afraid to undertake.

Section 65
1. In fact, Botaneiates began his reign in 1078.
2. Nicephorus III Botaneiates (1078-1081).
3. Actually she was the sister of the Georgian king. She was known as
Mary of Alania. Alania (Ossetia) is a region in the north Caucasus and
should not be confused with Albania (northwestern Azerbaijan).
4. George II (1072-1089).

Section 66
1. The text reads "blacksmiths." Two variants have "spearmen."
2. The text reads "all the perfidious Romans together with the blacksmiths." One variant has "all the perfidious and apostate Romans/
which makes more sense here.

Section 67
1. A Greek title meaning" overseer". The name of the epeiktes referred to
here is not known.
2. Located south of Aleppo.

Section 68
1. In fact Botaneiates occupied the imperial throne for three years,
Section 69
1. Melissenus was not in fact installed as emperor. Actually he was
merely a usurper. In reality Alexius succeeded Botaneiates on the
imperial throne in 1081.

Section 70
1. In this period there were a number of co-catholicoi and anti-patriarchs,
two of which were Sargis and Theodore.

NOTES-PART II

323

Section 72
1. Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118).
Section 73
1. The Oriental Christians, in particular the Armenians and Syrians.
2. Cf. Exodus 14:21-31.
3. Cf. Exodus 16:13.
4. Cf. Matthew 3:10,7:19 and Luke 3:9.
Section 74
1. Matthew's genealogy of Gagik is not wholly correct. See Pt, I, sec. 74,
n.1.
2. The Byzantine governor of Tarsus.
3. Four variants and the Jerusalem text have Arzhias.
4. Three variants and the Jerusalem text have Kizistra. Kizistra is
located southwest of Caesarea Mazaca.
5. This is the Armenian form of the Greek Pantaleon.
6. St. Nerses 1(353-373).
7. Both Vardan and Kirakos give accounts of Gagik's death, although
differing in details from one another and fr?~ Ma~thew. Va:dan says
that Ablgharib put the youngest son of Gaglk m pnson. Gagik went to
free him, but on route was choked by some Greeks. After this incid~nt
Ablgharib poisoned Gagik's son. According to Kirakos, the Armen:an
. king had gone on a hunt and was resting with only a boy attendmg
him. He fell asleep, and soon some Greeks found him and took him to
their fortress. When Gagik awoke, surprised, he aske~ where he was.
The Greeks in turn asked him where the metropohtan Mark was.
After this they took the Armenian king and threw him down from the
ramparts of the fortress.
Section 75
1. Gurgen II-Kvirike (1046/8-108119).
2. Located due east of the city of Lori.
.,
fi 11
3. Actually Barsegh was made coadjutor at thIS tIme ~d became u
the
catholic os only in 1105, when Gregory II (1066.11.0?) dIed. b
4. One of the twelve apostles; according to tad:of he eg~
christianization of Armenian and Albania in t e s ce~t uryh d' t
5. Two variants add: "where, since past times, a cathohcos a no
occupied the see of St. Gregory."
Section 76
1. The exact location of this place is unknown..
h been
2. The original Arabic ofthis name c~nnot be ascertamed and so as
left in the Armenian form found m the text.
d
dynasty , an Arab dynasty centere at
. ermr
. was 0 f the 'Uqal'l'd
3. ThIS
1
Mosul (990-1096).

324

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

Section 77
1. Literally, "the belted-one."
2. One variant has Arjk' t'uynk' (literally, "poisonous bears").
3. Bar Hebraeus very briefly mentions the taking ofEdessa by Philaretus
but states that the city was captured from the Turks.
'
Section 78
1. Seljuk sultan of Rum (1077-1086), considered the founder of the state.
2. A word of uncertain origin. Dulaurier believes it refers to the Antiochenes.
3. Bar Hebraeus, the Arabic historian Ibn-al-Athir, and the Byzantine
lad~ of letters Anna ~om~en~ give accounts of Sulaiman's capture of
AntIOch! althou~h dIff~nng. III their details. Bar Hebraeus puts
emphaSIS on PhIlaretus s unJust treatment of the Antiochenes as an
imp?rtant fact?r i~ Sulaiman's takeover of the city, while Ibn-alAthir
attnbutes AntlOch s fall to the departure of its Greek commander to
Asia Minor, which in turn prompted the inhabitants to call in Sulai
man. On the other hand, Anna says that Philaretus decided to go over
to the Turks and become a Muslim in order to maintain his hold on
Antioch; his son, after a futile attempt to dissuade his father from such
a course, went to Sulaiman and invited him to take the city.
.I
oj,.

Section 79
1. In the Eastern church, the Sunday immediately preceding the
beginning of Great Lent (Monday). Cf. sec. 12, n. 2.
2. A type of small fish (from Gr. tarixos-meat or fish preserved by
salting, pickling, or smoking).
3. Literally "of the blackfoot."
Section 80
1. A monastery due east of the city of Lori.
Section 81
1. According to Dulaurier, this town is located northeast of Aleppo.
2. Bar Hebraeus very briefly mentions Sharaf-ad-Daulah's defeat and
death at the hands of Sulaiman, while Ibn-al-Athir gives a rather
detailed account of the whole episode. The Arab historian says that
Sharaf asked Sulaiman to give him tribute for the city of Antioch, as
the Greeks before him had done. Sulaiman refused on the basis that
his sovereign was the Seljuk sultan Malik-Shah and that he was not
an infidel. Then, when this emir of Antioch invaded and pillaged
Sharafs territories, the latter marched against him. In the ensuing
b~ttle Sharaf was deserted by his troops and killed while trying to save
hImself. Ibn-al-Athir ends by praising Sharaf as a just and benevolent
ruler.

N OTES-P ART II

325

Section 82
1. Four variants and the Jerusalem text have poltachi. The original
Turkish of this name cannot be ascertained and so has been left in the
Armenian form found in the text.
Section 83
1. The text reads "according to the will of God or individual merit." Four
variants and the Jerusalem text have "according to the will of God or
individual merit or even free elections."
2. Sahak I, Armenian catholicos (378-439).
3. Mod. Derbent, a city in the Dagestan Autonomous Soviet Socialist
Republic, located in the eastern Caucasus region, on the Caspian Sea.
4. A people of Iranian origin, today inhabiting the central Caucasus
region on either side of the Caucasus Mountains.
Section 84
1. Brother of the Seljuk sultan Malik-Shah.
2. Bar Hebraeus, Ibn-al-Athir, and Anna Comnena give accounts of the
defeat and death of Sulaiman at the hands of Tutush. Bar Hebraeus
refers to Tutush as 'Artak BfLg (Artuk Beg). Ibn-al-Athir s~ys that
when Sulaiman was besieging Aleppo, the townspeople told hlm they
would give him the city when he settled h~s accoun~ with Tutush .
However in the end Tutush defeated and killed Sulalmiin and then
took Ale~po for himself. Anna Comnena gives a different version of
this episode. She says that, when Tutush saw Sulaiman's ~rroga~ce
and that emir's takeover of Antioch, he marched agamst hlm.
Sulaiman's troops were defeated and the emir fled. When.Tutush's
troops caught up with him, they asked that he return Wlth them.
Sulaiman refused and then killed himself.
."
. e
3. The Fatimid caliph al-Mustan~ir (1036-1094).
4. The term literally means "Commander of the Anmes, the tt1ttlh ~o~.th:
chief minister of the Fatimid caliphs. The chief minister a IS 1m
was Badr al-Jamali (1074-1094).
Section 85
b
rtained
1. Which Theodore ~atthew is ref?rrin~~ t:~::X:~lca~l;s~:rroborate
2. Bar Hebraeus, MIchael the S~an, d' tl
. directly bemoaning
Matthew's account, all three eIther ll'eC Y or m
oes so far as
Philaretus's action in becoming a Muslim. Bar Heb~a:r~~ristian
to say that Philaretus was never more than a nOIDln
.
Section 86
h
th Orontes River flows into the
1. The port of Antioch, located w . ere e
Mediterranean (AI. as-Suwaid~yah).
2. Caspian Sea.

326

u
:1 .
.A
,,' I .

.,

NOTES-PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

327

rebellious Satan and the


that God is the father of two sons, the
obedient Jesus.

Section 88
1. Vardan, like Matthew, maintains that Buzan captured Edessa, while
Ibn-al-Athir says that Malik-Shah took the city and then gave it as a
fief to Buzan. Bar Hebraeus also maintains that it was MalikShah
rather than Buzan who took Edessa, although the sultan later gave the
city to his lieutenant.
2. The first month of the pagan Armenian calendar.
3. Pers. salar-"general."
4. Four variants and the Jerusalem text have Khsulukh. The original
Turkish of this name cannot be ascertained and so has been left in the
Armenian form found in the text.

Section 92
1. Co-emperor of the Roman empire (364-378).
.
2. A former bishop of Maiyafariqin (anc. Martyropolzs).
3. Yazdgard II, Sassanid ruler (438-457).
4. One variant has Hokan.
.
i:fi d
Bart'ikyan
5 Nanan and the Chaldean king cannot be Ident Ie . .
h'
translates "Chaldean" as "Jewish." Perha~s there(f~r~~a~ i~~~na s
mission to the people of Nineveh and theIr ruler c.

Section 89
1. The text reads "the sultan," but most probably Buzan is the person
referred to here. See below.

Section 95
rt d to have been
1 That is the inhabitants ofEdessa. Abgar was purpo e
. the rul~r of Edessa at the time of Christ.

Section 90
1. Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118).
2. Matthew uses the term Hromayets'ik' (literally, "Romans") here to refer
to the Latins of the West, also referred to as "the Westerners."
3. Both Vardan and Anna Comnena give accounts of the Pecheneg
invasion of the empire. Vardan, in his account, gives the exact same
details as Matthew, although in a more condensed form. Also this
Armenian historian, like his Edessene counterpart, talks of only one
Pecheneg attack. On the other hand, Anna gives a very detailed
account of the Pecheneg campaigns against the empire between the
years 1087 and 1091, although making no mention of the specific
attack against Constantinople of six hundred thousand Pecheneg troops
together with their chariots, which both Matthew and Vardan recount,

Section 96
tak N' caea from another
1. Anna Comnena speaks of Buzan's attem~t to f h~s decision to capture
Seljuk commander, but makes no mentIon 0
Constantinople.

Section 91
1. Vardan fully corroborates Matthew's account of the beliefs and actions
of this heretical Byzantine monk. Anna Comnena also speaks of a
heretic that was in Constantinople at this time, although differing in
details from both Matthew and Vardan. In fact the differences in
detail are so great that we cannot be sure that the Byzantine writer is
speaking of the same heretic which the two Armenian historians
mention. Anna relates that a certain Nilos came to Constantinople.
This man rejected Hellenic culture and reason and was able to win over
a goodly number of eminent and distinguished people in the imperial
city, including many Armenians. He maintained that the humanity of
Christ was ultimately deified-in other words, that Christ in the end
became full God rather than remaining the God-man. Nilos was finally
condemned at a synod together with one of his supporters, a man called
Blachemites. From the descriptions given by Matthew, Vardan, and
Anna Comnena, it is probable that this heresy is Bogomilism, a belief

Section 97
w'
t of Malik1. Both Vardan and Kirakos corrobo.:at~ Matthe. sd~~~~:t account of
Shah's death. However, Ibn-al-Athlr gIves a q~lte a hunt Malik-Shah
the Seljuk sultan's demise. He saysdt~t ~'rngd then developing a
,
gorged himself with an animal he ha un e an
high fever, died.

Section 98

.
1
(1092-1105).
1. He succeeded his father as Seljuk su tanther of Malik-Shah.

2. Arslan-Argun, son of ~p ~slanh andTbhro text should read Tap'ar. In


8. There seems to be a illlsprmt ere.
e
the Arab sources he is known as Mdul,lamm::e- upper reaches of the
4. Located northeast of Samarkan , near
J axartes River (mod. Syr Darya). h
'tal f modern Afghanistan.
5. A city south-southwest of Kabul, t e capl 0
Section 99
.
b
1. Anti-patriarch (1086-1087). See sectl0K'n 83,: o;~:"
2. One variant has "the vardapet James ara ne S 1.

Section 100
1. Gregory Nazianzus (329-389). . . t f Arsharunik' (located in the
2. A famous monastery in the dlstnc 0
western part of the province of Ayrarat).

328

Section 101
1. Yaghi-Siyan, Seljuk governor of Antioch (1087-1098).
2. Ibn-al-Athir states that Tutush was able to get Yaghi-Siyan, Aksungur, and Buzan to submit to him as the new Seljuk sultan and to
support him in his conflict with Berkyaruk over the throne.
Section 102
1. Matthew is probably referring here to Mesopotamia.
2. Na~Ir-ad-Daulah IbrahIm, 'Uqailid ruler of Mosul.
3. Ibn-al-Athir says that after Tutush had captured and pillaged Nisibis,
he wrote a letter to Ibrahim to allow him to pass on to Baghdad and
to put his name in the khutbah (address delivered by the religious
leader, in which intercessory prayer is offered on behalf of the ruling
head of the state). When this request was not granted, Tutush
marched against Ibrahim and defeated and killed him.
4. Ibn-al-Athir gives the following reason why Aksungur and Buzan went
over to the side of Berkyaruk. When the two armies met, Aksungur
told Buzan that up to now they had fought on Tutush's side in order to
bring about peace, but peace was not forthcoming. So the two emirs
decided to join Berkyaruk, hoping by that to end the conflict over the
succession of Malik-Shah.
'\:,

Section 103
1. Vardan, like Matthew, praises Isma'il for his benevolent stance
towards the Armenians.
2. The exact location of this place is unknown.
3. The text reads "the three men going forth from the camp." The
Jeru~,ale~ text has "going forth from the camp accompanied by three
men, whIch seems to make more sense in this context.
4. I~n-al~Athlr gives a different account of Isma'il's death. The Arab
hIstOrIan says that one day Isma'il was with Aksungur and Buzan and
told them that he intended to kill Berkyaruk and take over the state.
~en ~sungur and Buzan heard this, they fell upon Isma'il and
kIlled hIm, thus saving Berkyaruk.
Section 104
1. Ibn-al-Athrr gives a more detailed account of Tutush's encounter with
Aksungur. and Bu.zan. The Arab historian says that Aksungur and
Buzan umted theIr troops against Tutush and were joined by Kerbogha, the future emir of Mosul. When they met Tutush's army, part
of Aksun~s troops deserted and the rest followed suit. Aksungur
~as made prIsoner. When Tutush asked him what he would have done
Ifhe h~d take~ him (Tutush) prisoner, Aksungur replied that he would
have kl~led hIm. Hearing this, Tutush told Aksungur that he now
would klll him and did just that. After this Tutush marched to Aleppo
and defeated Buzan and Kerbogha, taking them prisoner. Then he

329

N OTES-PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

2.
3.
4.
5.

attacked Harran and Edessa, and when the inhabitants of these two
cities refused to surrender, he cut off Buzan's head and sent it to them;
they then surrendered. The Arab historian concludes by saying that
Aksungur was a great man and a benefactor of his people (the
Aleppines), a man who died defending his family and his sovereign
(Berkyaruk). One of Ibn-al-Athir's compatriots, the historian Abu-lFeda, recounts the same episode, although in a shorter and more
condensed form.
T'oros, a former official of the empire, was of the Byzantine Orthodox
faith.
.
Two variants and the Jerusalem text have Zorinak. The exact locatIOn
of this place is unknown.
. ' "
The text reads "for the citadel was situated outSIde the. Clty hFoudr
variants and the Jerusalem text have "for the citadel was m th e an s
.
of the Persians," which makes more sense here.
This citadel was named after the great Byzantine general Manlaces,
who captured Edessa in 1032 from the Muslims.

Section 105
1. Sokman, Artukid ruler in Diyar-Bakr (Amida) (1101-1104).
Section 106
.
d t '1
1. This incident is also related by Vardan with basicall~ the s~m~ . e a~~.
On the other hand, Michael the Syrian states that It w~s a ne?l e
Armenian commander of Melitene, who poisoned ~l-FarB;l' AI-F:~~ h~d
come to Melitene; and Gabriel, first having outWltted hIm, too 1m 0
Edessa and there poisoned him.
Section 108
h S lj k f the East
1. The Seljuks of Anatolia (Rum) in contrast to t e e u s 0
(Iran).
7)
2. Kilij Arslan I, Seljuk sultan of ~u~ (~092i~!~
3. An Armenian of the Byzantine :: ~ tC: ~I .' n give accounts of the
4. Vardan, Bar Hebraeus, and MiC ae .e lr:grees with Matthew in
Seljuk attack on Melitene. Vardan ba~ICa y
eir own versions.
the details, while
telling this
Bar Hebraeus sar,s t a k .1J 'th) that if he surrendered he (Kilij)
"accursed Greek (Gre~ m al 'se he would be destroyed. At that
would have mercy on hIm, .0thetWl b t ld the envoys that the city was
point a religious man st~~d~g ~~r Yth~ departure of the envoys, for
strong and God ~as Wit It.
and killed the religious man. In the
some reason GabrIel becam~~ 1 of the Franks he departed. On
end, when Kilij leaz:ned of e ~~:~ makes no m~ntion of Gabriel's
the other hand, MIchael the ITh killing of the religious man, but
encounter with the envoys'l~7 t e d of the coming of the Franks, he
simply states that when Ki IJ earne

t~~ t;~~~~::::~c~~~o~:~~ ~abriel,

NOTES-PART II

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

330

abandoned the siege of the city and departed. However, the Syrian
chronicler does add that Gabriel mistreated the poor to a greater extent
than did the Turks. It is quite evident that both Bar Hebraeus and
Michael had very little liking for Gabriel, perhaps because he was of
the Byzantine Orthodox faith rather than the Oriental Orthodox faith,
Interestingly enough, Matthew seems not to have had this bias against
Gabriel.
Section 109
1. The text reads Hromayets'ik'. See sec. 90, n. 2.
2. Cf. Daniel 7:7.
Section 110
1. The text reads Hromayets'ik'. See sec. 90, n. 2.
2. Cf. Psalms 44:23.
3. Cf. Isaiah 42:13.
4. Godfrey of Bouillon.
5. It was believed that Godfrey was descended from Charlemagne,
6. Baldwin (of Boulogne) I, later count of Edessa (1098-1100) and king of
Jerusalem (1100-1118).
7. Roman emperor (69-79 A.D.),
8. Bohemond (of Taranto) I, later prince of Antioch (1099-1111).
9. Later regent of Antioch (1104-1112).
10. Raymond of Saint Gilles, count of Toulouse.
11. Baldwin (of Le Bourg) II, relative of Baldwin I; later count of Edessa
(1100-1118) and king of Jerusalem (1118-1131).
12. Joscelin (of Courtnay) I, first cousin of Baldwin II; later count of
Edessa (1118-1131).
13. The text reads Hromayets'wots' - "of the Latins (Westerners)." Cf. sec,

331

William of Tyre also gives a very full and detailed account of the
relations between the emperor and the Franks, However, he sees
things from the Latin point of view. He has no trust for the "wretched"
Greeks and their "weak" empire, stating that the situation deteriorated
when Greek emperors replaced the Latin rulers of the empire.
Section 112
1. This second major encounter with Kilij Arslan was the famous battle
of Dorylaeum.
2. Ibn-al-Athir, Anna Comnena, and William of Tyre relate the capture
of Nicaea and the encounter with Kilij Arslan. Interestingly enough,
Anna states that Alexius decided not to accompany the Franks on their
march through Anatolia for a variety of reasons: the Franks could not
compare to his "Roman" troops, they were fickle, and they would sell
their own families for their personal gain.
Section 113
1, Constantine I (1095-1099), Rubenid prince of Cilician Armenia.
2. According to Dulaurier, a fortress in the Taurus Mountains in northern
Cilicia.
3. According to Dulaurier, the southern portion ofthe district of Jahan.
4. The margin of the text has "the Frankish forces consisted of one
hundred thousand infantry and one hundred thousand horsemen."
Section 114
1. Dukak, son of Tutush, was Seljuk ruler of Damascus (1095-1104).
2. Actually Tughtigin was Dukak's regent,.
'
3. Both Bazuni and Oshin were brothers belongmg to the HetumIds, a
rival family of the Rubenids.

90, n, 2,

Section 111
1. Actually the Bosphorus.
2. At this time Nicaea was in the hands of the Turks and was the capital
of the Seljuk sultan Kilij Arslan.
3. Vardan, Kirakos, Ibn-al-Athir, Anna Comnena, and the Latin
historian, William of Tyre, tell of the coming of the Fr~s, that is of
the First Crusade. Vardan and Ibn-al-Athir give very short accounts
of the event, while the other writers go into some detail. Kirakos is
very critical of Alexius and the Greeks, saying that the Franks were
harassed by them and even tricked by them. The Armenian historian
goes so far as to state that the Greek emperor actually helped the
Muslims and so was not a Christian, and concludes that many Franks
died because of }lim. Anna gives a very detailed account of the arrival
of the Franks in Constantinople and their relations with Alexius, and
shows very little sympathy for these interlopers from the West.

Section 117
1. Michael the Syrian and the Latin historians, William ofT:yre, Fulcher
of Chartres, and Albert of Aix, relate the coming of ~aldwl~ to Edessa
and his warm reception by the inhabitan~s of th~ CIty. MIch~el says
that Toros sent to Godfrey and promised hIm the CIty; Godfrey, m tu;rn,
sent his brother Baldwin, who then took over the rule of the Clty,
William states that the governor of Edessa was weak and ol~, and so
the people of the city with his concurrence sent for Baldwm. Both
Fulcher and Albert corroborate William on this.
2. Not the Rubenid Constantine.
Section 118
. ,
1 Where Gabriel ruled. T'oros's wife was Gabnels daughter,
A monastery in the district ofGelark'unik' (~ocB:t~d on the southwestern
corner of Lake Sevan, in the province of Slwnik ).
3. The Tuesday of the sixth week of Lent,

2:

332

MATTHEW OF EDESSA

4. Michael the Syrian, William of Tyre, Fulcher of Chartres, and Albert

of Aix give accounts of the killing ofT'oros and the takeover ofEdessa
by Baldwin. Michael's account is the shortest, where the Syrian
chronicler simply says that T'oros was killed by the inhabitants of
Edessa, and the Franks came and ruled the city. On the other hand,
the three Latin historians, in particular William, go into a good deal of
detail in describing how Baldwin gained control of Edessa. According
to William, T'oros summoned Baldwin to sh