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CO RP US

SC RI P T O R U ~t CHRI STI A"'i ORU\1 O RI E ,TA LI U ~

U:SJVERlilTAnS CATJIOLICAI -\\1ERICAE


I1T U~IVERSITATIS CATIIOIICAr LOV-\NIF"'SIS

Vol. ()(I I

SUBSIDIA
TOMUS 113

STUDIES IN MEDlEYAL GEORGIAN


HISTORIOGRAPHY: EARLY TEXTS AND
EURASIAN CONTEXTS

BY

STEPHE:-; H. RAPP Jr.

LOVANII
L'\ AEDIBUS PEETERS
2003
TilE PRE-CHRISTIAN SllCI'ION 269

part 1). It is true that the early sections of Mok'. k'art'. are plagued by
corruptions, and this may constitute one of them. However, in the
absence of other MSS, this creative interpretation must remain only a
possibility. See also T'aqarshvili, .. lstochniki," pp. 6-7, fn. 2. For the
lranic names of the early K'art 'velian monarchs, see infra, #2/RL/. On
canals and irrigation, see Gegesbidz.e, " lrrigatsiia."

1-8/PBK'

Azoy. The identification of Azoy, the Azon of LKings, is one of the


most complex and contentious riddles of early Georgian history. PHK'
depicts him as the son of an unnamed (native) king of Aryan K'art'li,
i.e., Iranian K'art'li. For this term, see also Ch. I above. A number of
Georgian scholars, most recently K'avt'aria (Azoni, p. 70) and Kav-
taradze ("Interrelationship.'' p. 357), has placed Aryan K' art'li in the
Georgian southwesl. Toumanoff, Studies, pp. 89-90, fn. 124, equates
that region with the Arane of Ptolemy (V.6.18) and the Harrana of the
Hitlites. We must also wonder about the possibiliry that the Geo.
"Arian[i]" corresponds to the Pers. ariyana that designated the Alans of
northern Caucasia; for the term, see Golden,lmroduction, p. 50. Should
this association be correct, and it is uncertain that it is, the migration of
the K'art'velians was remembered to have come not from the south but
from the north, and by consequence the K'art'velians' original homeland
might have been located in the steppes of what is now southern Russia
or even loner Asia. In any event, Alexander reportedly charged Azoy
with the administration of K' art'li in his absence. PHK' itself does not
bestow a formal title upon Azoy, though the first sentence of the suc-
ceeding RLI specifically designates him as the first king to rule from the
city of Me' xet'a.
LKings' Azon differs substantially and his description is more exten-
sive (Qauxch'ishvili ed .. pp. 18-23). Its Azon is a member of Alexan-
der's Macedonian clan; his very name terminates in the Greek suffix
-ov (cf. Platon; ironically, K'art'los' name ends in the Gk. -ot;, i.e.,
d~~">a>t:::> + oc;). Alexander " spared I he tribes descended from K'art'los"
though "he slaughtered all the mingled tribes living in K'art' li"
(Qauxch'ishvili ed., p. 18, Thomson trans., p. 25). Thereafter, the Mace-
danian Azon, son of Taredos (unatlested in PHK': again note Gk. -oc;},
was appointed to rule over the K'an'velians. He was granted the dis-
tinctly non-K 'art'velian honor of patrician and the Georgian post of
270 S.H. RAPP

erist'avi (al'lol!cnvso),literally denoting "head [t'avtl of the army/people


[eri]." LKings does not style Azon as king. But as a status-enhancing
measure, Azon took command of I00.000 soldiers from Roman terri-
tory. In addition, Alexander commanded Azon to worship seven celestial
bodies (the Sun, the Moon, and five "stars," i.e., planets) and to serve
the " invisible God, the creator of the universe." In contrast to the cus-
tomary reports about the building activities of the kings of K' art ' li, Azon
reput.edly leveled the walls of Mc'xet'a. LKings then describes the rela-
tionship of Azon and P'amavaz (see ## 1-2/RL/).
Azon's sphere of authority is more elaborately stated than that of
PHK"s Azoy. Azoy held the borders of Heret' i, the Egris-cqali River
(lit., "the water of Egrisi"), Somxit'i (the Armeno-K'art'velian march-
lands, though this term was sometimes used in the generic sense of
"Armenia"), and Mt. C'roli, while LKings' Azon " occupied all the bor-
ders of K'art'li, from Heret'i and the river of Berduj[i] as far as the sea
of Sper[i] [i.e., the Black Sea]. And he occupied Egrisi in addition to
K'an'li, and subjected the Ovsis to tribute, as well as the Leks and
Khazars [i.e., the various tribes of northern Caucasia]" (Qauxch'ishvili
ed., p. 19, Thomson trans., p. 26). The Khazars (Xazami, bv'tivt'l6o),
though obviously anachronous for the period described, were present in
Caucasia during the lifetime of the author (ca. 800).
Azoy and Azon unquestionably represent the same figure. Both
sources credit his position to Alexander, but whereas PHK' makes him
the scion of a preellisting dynasty in Aryan K'an'li. LKings brands him
a Macedonian outsider. Neither text explicitly names Azoy/Azon as
king. However, the compiler of RLI - the text immediately following
PHK' in the corpus Mok'. k'art'. - relates that Azoy was the first king
t.o sit in Mc'xet'a, thus depicting him the first local monarch in K'art'li
proper. LKings and its corpus K' C' enshrine no such tradit.ion.
Modem attempts to equat.e Azoy/Azon with the Jason of Argonautic
fame arc misguided: see. e.g., Melik' ishvili, K istorii, pp. 38 and 277.
and now Sanadze, K'C' da sak'. ist., pp. 39-40 and 180 (to her credit,
Sanadze often emphasizes the confusion of early Georgian historical
sources, including this supposed recollection of Jason). Pre-modem
Georgian historiography is devoid of any explicit reference to Jason and
the Argonauts, and it alludes to no susbtantial historical connection
between Colchis (i.e., Egrisi, later western Georgia) and K'an ' li. Classi-
cal writers like Arrian suggest that the myth of the Argonauts was
remembered and celebrated in Colchis (Braund, Georgia in Amiquity,
272 S.H. RAPP

Melik'ishvili (K istorii, pp. 276-280), like Javaxishvili before him,


took this passage to signify the migration of the K'art' velian community
from Aryan K'art'li (south of the Mtkuari River?) to K'art'li proper
(i.e., the land centered around Mc'xet'a). Melik' ishvili cites the
eleventh-/twelfth-century metaphrase of the vita of Nino by the monk
Arsen lqalt'oeli: " ... and Azove [i.e., Azoy] brought from Aryan
K'an ' li ... one thousand houses of commoners [mdabioy] .. . and ten
mt'avari [i.e., noble] houses ... (lqalt' oeli, Nino, Abuladze ed. , p. 47H;
see p. 478 10 for Iqalt'oeli 's contention that "And this Azove was the first
king of the K' art'velians ... "). This is clearly not the information pre-
served in PHK', and in any case lqalt'oeli 's account is not an indepen-
dent historical work. By his own admission, the brief narrative of the
early K'art'velian monarchy incorporated into his retelling of Nino's
vita is based upon Mok'. k' art'. (ibid., p. 51). lqalt'oeli himself seems to
have been confounded by the passage. Should we regard LKings as an
elabomtion of Mok' . k' art' .. the initial population movement would
seem to have been conveniently forgotten so that K' art ' los could estab-
lish his people in K'art ' li proper.
Old Mc'xeJ'a (dzuel mc'xet'a, do\'Jc::- 8ot>o01~). Old Mc'xet' a was one
of the quarters of Great[er] Mc'xet'a (didi mc'xet'a, (!>O(!>O 8obo01.)):
Ap'ak'idze. Mc'xer'a and Goroda.
Establishment of K'art 'velian jdolau:y. PHK' and LKings are in agree-
ment about Azoy/Azon's introduction of idolatry to the K'art 'vel.ians.
LKings (Qauxch'ishvili ed., p. 20, Thomson trdnS., p. 28) relates that:
"Now Azon abandoned the religion given by Alexander, and he began
to worship idols. He made two ido ls of silver. Gac'i and Gaim.'' The
ninth-/tenth-century LNino describes the two anthropomorphic statues:
"to the right [of Armazi, the chief idol - sec infra] was a man of gold
whose name was Gac'i; and to his left a man of silver whose name was
Gaim. These the people of K 'art ' li regarded as gods" (Qauxch'ishvili
ed., pp. 89-90, Thomson trans., p. 98). This description is probably a
later contrivance, but we cannot summarily dismiss the prospect that the
author of LNino incorpomted an old tradition which had either been
written but subsequently lost or which had not hitherto been consigned
to parchment. Regardless, LKings accuses Alexander' s Macedonian gov-
e rnor of having introduced idolatry. Azon's foreign extraction is impor-
tant, for subsequent K'art'vel.ian rulers could be seen as merely perpetu-
ating Azon's error. For his part, the author - writing in the Christian
period and perhaps himself a cleric - passes no judgment on t11e
" pagan" K'art'velian kings and their idolatry.
THE PRE-CHRISTIAN SEcnON 273

Stormy debate surrounds the issue of pre-Christian K'art' velian reli-


gion and these narratives of idolatry. Some scholars have envisaged the
requisite narratives as later fabrications intended to impan the Christians
with a well-organized and menacing antagonist It is true that the names
of the idols have ancient Anatolian and Near Eastern roots and that
ancient Near Eastern deities were generally anthropomorphic in form,
but these facts do not necessarily certify the e"istence of K'art' velian
idols let alone the ancient provenance of the local tradition. Others have
postulated that idolatry was actually practiced in K' art'li and that these
stories preserve its memory to varying degrees of accuracy. We do not,
however, possess any independent evidence conftnning the e"istence of
these K ' art' velian idols. For a review of the modem perspectives, see:
van Esbroeck. " Religion pre-chretienne" ; and Rapp, /IIC, ch. 3, section
Ill. See also: Charachidz~. Systeme religieu.x; and Excursus A below for
a table of the idols attested in K'C' and Mok' . k'art'.

ROYAL U ST I (RLI)

llRLJ
Azoy (r. 330-272 BC according to Gorgadze, though these dates lack
precision). RLI is the only early Georgian text to style Azoy mep'e.
Azoy is identified by PHK' - the te)(t just preceding RLJ , for which see
above- as the son of an unnamed king of Aryan K'art'li, implying that
some sort of K' an'velian kingship bad preceded P'amavaz. But this ear-
lier monarchy bad not been headquartered at Mc'xet'a. Cf. Iqalt'oeli,
quoted supra, who reformulated the phrase to make his "Azove" the
first king of the K'art'velians.
Assuming that be was not a mythical figure, did Azoy actually assume
the throne? A definitive solution to this fundamental question cannot be
attained with materia.ls currently at our disposal. Yet we may observe
that PHK' is silent about the possible royal status of Azoy. He is
depict.ed as the son of a king, and kingship in contemporary western
Asiu customarily descended :along hereditary lines according to primo
geniture. PHK" s silence does not necessarily indicat.e that its author did
not regard him as a monarch. PHK' was conceivably written by the same
author responsible for RLI , and this might explain PHK"s silence; if
tme, PHK' and RLI comprise a single organic tel!:t Wld an.y divisions
between them are artificial. But this is not at all certain, and in any case
the style and structure of PliK ' and RLI are greatly divergent. For its
274 S.H. RAPP

part, U<ings maintains that Azon was neither a king nor even a
K' an' velian. He could make no legitimate claim to the rhrone and
Alexander did not appoint him as monarch.
We may only speculate whether there is a common source lurking
behind PHK'IRLJ and U<ings, and should one have existed what it said
about Azoy/Azon. Another possibility is that PHK'IRLJ and U<ings are
somehow dependent. Should PHK'/RLJ have been the direct source for
LKings, the latter would constitute a refutation that (I) Azoy was the
fll'St king in Mc'xct'a, and that (2) a dynasty preceded even Alexander in
Ayran K'art'li. Why LKings' Azon was vilified is uncenain. In any case,
there can be no question that the memory of P'arnavaz - Azon's
K'an'velian opponent - has been idealized in LKings (see# 2/RLJ).
Should LKings have served as the source for PHK'IRLJ, the latter might
represent a conscious denial of the P'amavaz legend. Despite their dif-
ferences, the two tr.tditions concur that kingship was established in
Mc'xet'a in the early HeUenistic period and this is verified in non-Geor-
gtan sources.

2/RLI
P'amavaz (r. 299-234 BC). Beginning with P'amavaz. l have adopted
the regnal dates of Toumanoff, "Chronology/lbcria," pp. 1-33, pp. 8-9
for P'amavaz. Toumanoff's calculations are the most reasonable, but
for the period of late antiquity all such dates remain speculative. Cf.
the period 284 to 219 BC proposed by lngoroqva, "D-.tvel-k'an ' uli
matiane," pp. 3 14-317; and Sak'art'velos mep'eebi, p. 15. Melik'ish-
vili's work on the early kings of K'an'li has been especially influential,
particularly: "K'art'lis samep'os k' ronologiis"; "K'art'lis mep'et'a";
and "Saistorio tradic'ia." See also this chapter's Excursus B for a table
of early K'art'velian kings, their reigns (as computed by Toumanoff),
and the forms of their names in K'C and Mok'. k'art'.
According to U<ings (Qauxch'ishvili ed., pp. 20-26), P'arnavaz was
the first king of the K 'an'velians and the founder of the P'amavaziani
(~~t'l6~a~'l>o~6o, "of/from/named for P'amavaz") dynasty. The dynastic
tag P'amavaziani is encountered in LKings but never in PHK'IRLJ . The
existence of a real King P'arnavaz, at least as described in LKings, is
highly suspect. P'arnavaz is not aucsted directly in non-Georgian source,
though a "P'amawazean" (<Ptunfnuumll"uu) - i.e., P' arnavazid, LKings'
P' arnavaziani - dynasty is known in early Armenian histories, i.e., The
276 S.H. RAPP

based upon the Pers. word famalz, the di vinely-endowed glory or mdi-
ance believed by the Iranians 10 mark a legi1ima1e ruler. Jl should be
emphasized that lranic influence stemmed nol only from Iran itself but
also from the tribes of northern Caucasia. Thus, P'amavaz's successor
Saurmag bears a name based on a root from the O[v)si-Sarmatian-
Aianic, i.e., " Northern lranic," languages: Androni kashvili. Narkvevebi,
vol. I , pp. 130- 13 1 and 492-493; for Northern Jranic elements incorpo-
raled into Old Geo., see idem, " Skvit ' ur-sarmaluli da alanur-osuri e le-
mentebi k'art ' ulshi ." pp. 40-130, and "Skvil 'ur-alaour-osuri carmo-
mavlobis sakut 'ari saxelebi," pp. 130- 14 1. L Kings also stales that
P'amavaz married a woman from northern Caucas ia; she was one of the
Durdzuks who lived north of the Daria! Pass (Qauxch' ishvili ed., p. 25).
ln his trans. of Shirakac ' i (p. 117, n. 79}, Hewsen identifies the Dur-
dzuks, Arm. Durckk ', as the ancestors of the lngushcs. Sec also Kurt-
s ikidze/Chikovani, " Pankisi,'' pp. 10- 12, for the Durdzuks as Vaioaxs
(Vainakhs), i.e., the ancestors of the Chechcns and lngushes.
LKings' P'arnavaz possessed fa m all : while living in exile, the future
monarch discovered a hidden cave in which was stored a mass of trea-
sure; he had a dream in which he anoinled himself wilh the essence of
lhe Sun ; and he ful fi lled his desliny by vanquishing the tymnnical Azon.
LKings also maintains that P'amavaz had a d istinguished genealogy. On
his falhcr's side he was descended directly from Mc'xet'os, son of lhe
mythical K'an 'velian eponym K' an ' los, and his father's family had held
the position of mamasaxlisi (a~a~lJ~b<::>olJo, "father o f the house," the
leaders of Mc'xet'a prior to lhe establis.h menl of royal authority; cf.
Arm . uuwter, wwfmwtr > P'am avaz's mother was an lranian from lhe
region of Isfahan. RLI does no1 disclose any information about lhe
ancestry of P' amavaz and like PHK' it is complet.e ly ignorant about
K'an ' los.
The P'amavaz of LKings is alleged to have :
I. established an alliance with K'uji, later the lord of Egrisi (the Colchis of
Classical writers - K'uji is unattested elsewhere):
2. embr~ced 1000 Roman defectors from Azon's camp (these soldiers
were later named a:nauris, >'bw'C)t'i6o. which, in the medieval period
designated the high nobility: LKings' etymology linking them to Azon
is patent!y false);
3. submitted to the Seleucids, the Hellenistic successors of Alexander in
Syria and Mesopotamia (LKings affords their ruler the generic name of
Antiochos, for which see Toumanoff, Studies. pp. 80-8 1 and Melik' ish-
vili. K i.florii, pp. 298-301);
278 S.H. RAPP

great feast of dedication [satp'arebay] for the idol which had been
erected." Much later, in the ninth/tenth century, LNino describes the
statue of Annazi as "a man of bronze standing; allached to his body was
a golden suit of chain-armour, on his head a strong helmet; for eyes he
had emeralds and beryls, in his hands he held a sabre glittering like
lightning, and it turned in his hands" (Qauxch' ishvili ed., p. 89, Thom-
son trans., p. 98). The eighth-century Armenian historian Xorenac'i
(MX, U.86) also claims that an idol named Aramazd (Geo. Annazi) was
worshipped by the K' an'velians (see also # l/RLI).
Beeause we lack contemporary records, it is not cenain that the early
K'an'velians ever worshipped an idol/deity named Armazi. However,
the word "Armazi" itself suggests a linkage to the Iranian and/or
Anatolian worlds. At ftTSt glance. Armazi might se-e m to be connected
to the Zoroastrian supreme god Ahura Mazda (NB: Annazi is said to
be the supreme K'an 'velian deity). ln his Zoroastrianism in Armenia,
James Russell has shown the deep penetration of Zoroastrian ism in
neighboring Armenia. Although Russell has not thoroughly explored
the possibility, medieval Georgian texts and contemporary archaeolo-
gical evidence hint that the same holds true for K'an'li. And we
should not forget that localized forms of Iranian culture were embraced
by the tribes of nonhem Caucasia. the Kuban, and the Bosphorus :
Charachidz~. "Survivances." But the name Armazi may (also?) be con-
nected to the Anatolian world. Melik'ishvili (K istorii, pp. 111- 112 et
sqq) equates Armazi with the Hittite Anna, the god of the moon. More-
over, he posits that the K'an'velian idol Zadeni (see RLl #5) is actually
a reflection of the Anatolian Santash/Sandon. Annazi's identi ficat ion as
the local variant of the Hittite moon-god is attractive in the light of
Javaxishvili 's compelling theory that the early K'an'velians venerated
the moon as their chief deity. According to Javaxishvili, the attributes of
this moon god subsequently were fused with the Christian St. George (in
Eng. see his "St. George"). So the Georgian Annazi might actually be a
syncretic deity representing a combination of local K'an 'velian, Iranian,
and Anatolian elements. On the Hittite connection, see also Giorgadze,
At'asi ghvt'aebis k'veqana and esp. his "Triadebi." I wish to thank
Giorgi Cheishvili for wisely cautioning me against the cenain equation
of Armazi and Ahura Mazda.
Mamulia, Klasobrivi, with Eng. sum., pp. 184- 19 1, argues that
P'amavaz's mising of an idol adjacent to that of Azon symboli7..es the
"social synthesis" of their two houses. This elegant hypothesis is weak-
TilE PRE-CHRISTIAN SECTION 279

ened, however, by the authors collapsing of LNino and LKings into a


single narrative and by his assumption that the former preserves ancient
data (which may or may not be the case). Nevertheless, Mamulia is to be
commended for an original analysis of the sources, and especially, for
the recognition that Mok'. k' arr'. and K'C' represent sometimes contra-
dictory historical strands.
According to LKings, P'amavaz was worshipped after his death:
" P'amavaz died, and they buried him in front of the idol Armazi"
(Qauxch'ishvili ed., p. 26, Thomson trans .. p. 38), while the later king
Mirean!Mirian (see #27/RLJ below), prior to his conversion to Chris-
tianity ca. 337, is said to have grown up " in the worship of the seven
idols and of ftre. He loved the K'art'velians, forgot the Persian tongue,
and learned the Georgian language. He augmented the embellishment of
the idols and altars, and treated the priests well; more than all the kings
of K'art'li he carried out the worship of the idols, and he embellished the
tomb of P'amavaz" (emphasis added, Qauxch' ishvili ed., p. 65, Thom-
son trans., p. 77). This is in harmony with the royal deification practiced
throughout western Asia, especially in Hellenistic times, and here we
should consider a connection with the Seleucids. For the royal cult in
neighboring Armenia, see Sarkissian, "Cull of the Royal Dynasty."
We should also take note of a curious account in the narrative of
Alexander's conquests written by the Roman historian Arrian: "There
came to Alexander... Pharasmanes the King of the Cborasmians
[<Jiapacrf!UVT)c; o Xropacrf!irov ~acrtl..&uc;] with fifteen hundred horse-
men. Pharasmanes said that he lived on the borders of the Colchians and
of the Amazon women; and should Alexander desire to invade Colchis
and the territory of the Amazons and subdue all the races in this d.irec-
tion which dwell near the Euxine [i.e., Black] Sea, he promised to act as
a guide and to provide all necessities for the expeditionary force"
(Anabasis Alexandri, IV.xv.4, Robson trans., pp. 386-387). First,
ChorJ.smia was situated in Inner Asia (V.v.2), and it is strange that Pha-
rasmanes would remark that the Colchians - i.e., the inhabitant~ of
Egrisi (Colchis) of the western "Georgian" domains- were his neigh-
bors. Second, and perhaps more significant, is the similiarity in the
names Pharasmanes and P'amavaz. Now the Greek form of P'arnavaz is
not Pharsamanes but Phamabazos, but both names are based upon the
same root (i.e., the Iranian farnalr). To be sure, Arrian says nothing
about this Pharasmanes becoming the king of Colchis' neighbor K' art' li
(Gk. Iberia), but it is conceivable - although I think improbable- that
280 S.H. RAPP

P'arnavaz and the Chorasmian Pharasmanes represent one and the same
figure. If this is indeed the case, then we would be compelled to rethink
the identity of P'arnavaz and also the meaning of Mok'. k'art' .'s myste-
rious Aryan K'art'li. Namely. Aryan K'art'li might actually be Pharas-
manes' homeland in Inner Asia- but this seems rather doubtful; cf.
##7-8/PHK' above. Cf. Kavtaradze, "Interrelationship," pp. 356-358,
who makes an interesting case for Anian 's Pharasmanes being the ruler
of the province of "Chorzene" which "apparently included the old
Georgian provinces Tao-Kiarjet'i and Kola-Artaani.''
Finally, an old quarter of the royal city of Mc'xet'a bore the name
Armazi. Already in the second century AD, Ptolemy referred to
*'ApllclKTtKa, clearly a Gk. form of Geo. Arrnazis-c'ixe ("Fortress of
Arrnazi," cf. Strabo's Harrnozike), and also to Ms<nA.ftta (Mc'xet'a,
cf. Msaxt9a of the sixth-century Byzantine historian Agathias).
Archaeological excavations have unearthed public baths and buildings,
some of which incorporated Roman features, as well as rich burial sites.
But no vestiges of the idol worship described in local narrative sources
have been uncovered. See: Mtsklreta; and Lang, "Armazi." Another
major contemporary site, that of Dzalisa (Ptolemy's ZaA.taaa) just to
the north of Mc'xet'a, has also attracted the attention of archaeologists
and historians: 0. Lon'k'ip'anidze. "Recent Discoveries." pp. 158-
165.

3/RLI

Sauuna1: (r. 234- 159 BC). See Toumanoff, "Cbronology/lberia," p. 9


and Sak'art'velos mep'eebi, p. 16; for his Northern lranic name, see
#2/RLJ. RLJ relates only that Saurrnag became king and highlights
his building agenda. The considerably longer narrative of LKings
(Qauxch'ishvili ed., pp. 26-27) identifies Saurrnag as the son of P'ama-
vaz and boldly establ.ishes a patt.e m of dynastic succession based upon
primogeniture. The dynasty founded by P' amavaz is termed P'amava-
ziani, but note that this dynastic tag (and others like it) are entirely miss-
ing in Mok'. k'art'.
Having quashed a revolt of a band of recalcitrant erist'avis, LKings'
Saurrnag " pardoned [some] , but he humbled the descendants of
K'art' los and made the aznauris preeminent [SR - alternate reading:
he made them 'nobles')'' (Thomson trans., p. 39). Saurrnag thus created
a new class of men directly dependent upon the Crown. LKings associ-
TilE tfiE.CIIRISTIAN SECTION 2R l

ates Saunnag with two idols, Ainina and Danana (possibly a confusion
of one and the same idol), " and [he) set them up on the road of
Mc'xet'a." Moreover, Saurmag, like his father, was "subject to the
king of Asurnstan [i.e., the Seleucids]" and he married the daughter of
the iranian governor of Ba.rdavi. Having two daughters and no son, he
adopted Mirvan, a descendant of Nimrod and member of the "Nebro-
t'iani" iranian royal dynasty. Mirvan married one of Saunnag's daugh-
ters, while the other daughter was supposedly wed to the son of the
ruler of Egrisi.

4/RLJ

Mjryan (r. 159-109 BC). See: Toumanoff, ''Chronology/Iberia." p. 10


- according to Toumanoff, Mirvan's reign initiated the Nebrot ' iani
(Nimrodid) or Second P' amavaziani dynasty (see #3/RLJ); and
Sak'art'velos mep'eebi. p. 16. As is typical throughout RLI, the rela-
tionship of the local kings to one another is not divulged. Although RLI
attributes the raising of the idol Danina to Mirvan, we have seen that
LKings (Qauxch'ishvi li ed., p. 27, " Danana") attributes it to Saunnag.
LKint:s' Mirvan suppressed an insurrection of some northern Caucasian
tribes who seemed to have posed a constant threat to the sedentary pop-
ulation Living along the Mtkuari River. In addition, like his predecessors,
he was a Seleucid vassal. LKings recalls the seizure of Mesopotamia by
the Arsacids/Parthians in 14 1 BC: "In his time the reign of Antiochos
[i.e., the generic name given to the Seleucid king] came to an end in
Babylon." Mirvan is also reported to have married his daughter to the
son of Arshak , the Armenian king.

5/RLl

P'amajob (r. 109-90 BC). See Toumanoff, 'Chronol.ogy/lberia."


p. 10 and Sak'art've/os mep'eebi, p. 17. LKings (Qauxch' ishvili ed.,
pp. 29-30) rende.rs his nan1e P'amajom (the linguistic transposition of b
and m is not uncommon). Both RLJ and LKings credit him with raising
the idol Zadcni and a fortress by the same name. P' amajom is supposed
to have become a " fire-worshipper" and consequently to have installed
Zoroastrian priests in the royal city of Mc' xet'a at a place called
Mogut 'a, literally, "of the magi." Alam1ed that their traditio nal religion
had been uprooted. a group of K ' art' velian erist'avis plolted to over-
supreme God devolved upon an entity called Ar~maz.d, in
THE R ELIGION AND MYTHS Of ARMENIA which can be recognized the Armenian contraction of Ahun
MauiJ. Aramaz.d had a temple at Ani, the gre~t dtadrl of
classical Armenia. Uke his Iranian prototype, Alamaz.d was
The paganism of the ancient Armenians is almost entirely "the greatest and best of the gods, creator of heaven and
in.~ccessible to us. Wr know of It only through the historians earth." Unlike Ahura Maull, however, he was said to be
and chronldrrs of the late Middle Ages, In .a form inlluenced " father of all the gods."
by the Irani.arul; it Is a sort of local version o f Zoroastrianism .. All of this serves to confirm Strabo's conclusi-on In the first
At the olher historical extn:me, folklorists present a strongly rentury ~.e.: "The Armenian$ worshl!) whM the Pc!rsians
Christianized p icture of Armenian paganism, in whkh it is worship." However, the Armenian version of :Z.:.roast.ria.nism
difficult, even more difficult than in Georgia, to find the retains Its originality, first because of the syn ci'C'Iism to which
andent beliefs benealh their Christian trappings. Despite the it was subjected, and second because it ap~ars that the
early conversion of the Armenians to Ch.ristianlty (fou rth Iranian inOuence was not strictly Aves tan in origin but also
century), it is mostly Zoroastrian beliefs that can still be contained foreign religious elements, probably .m o.r e popu.lar
surmised. Religious thought appe~r to have been domi elements.
nated by the pairs of op posing conpts Important to the
doctrine of Zoroaster: good UR}It confronting evU Darkness, 1. The Gods
served , respectively, by Ang;!Ts and Demons, in relation to
Lifr, the Day, and Happiness for Ught, and Death, Night, A~tahit
and Sickness for O..rkness. The figure of the Ch.ristian God Anahil was part of the gTeat mad that dominated the
remains without subs tan~. hidden behind the activity of the Armenian panlheon: Ararnazd, Anahit, and Vahagn (Ag
multiple entities doser to man and calling to mind both the athange, chap. 12). She is partly Identified with the lrania.n
Ya7ata of Zoroastrian Inn and the Hat'i of Georgian pagan- godde5s An.\hitA , whose name means " without stain, the
ism: angels, archangels, saints, Christ (qulte distinct from imrnarulate," mistress of the waters a.nd of fertility.
God, as in Geotgi<o), the Virgin. Anneniarul describe Anahit as a young girl ol &""t beauty
Before the conversion to Christianity, the place of the and pleasing plumpness, weighed down with golden neck-

265