Author Archives: SimonVratsian

AN INSCRIBED KHACHKAR FROM TETRITSKARO – 2021-2

Ashot G. Manucharyan

Inside the Armenian medieval church in the Georgian town of Tetritskaro (თეთრიწყარო = White Spring) there is a khachkar (cross stone) with a lapidary inscription.

We assume that the khachkar was moved from the Samshvilde fortress, whose ruins are located 5 km southeast of Tetritskaro town. Shamshvilde was the early capital of the Armenian kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget.

The lapidary inscription on the khachkar consists of 13 lines. It was created by master Vard in 1051 in memory of himself and his brother Aghbayrik, who was a priest.

At the end of the inscription, prince of princes Smbat of the Tashir-Dzoraget kingdom (972-1118) is mentioned. He was the brother of King David Anhoghin of Tashir-Dzoraget (989/996-1048/50). Prince of princes Smbat was the commander-inchief of the Tashir-Dzoraget kingdom. He died between 1051-1061

THE MAIN ISSUES OF ANTIQUE AND HELLENISTIC PHILOSOPHY – 2021-2

In the writings of the philosophers of hellenistic judaism

Proto-archimandrite Fr. Shahe Ananyan,

Albeit the advanced studies in the history of Jewish thought, the Hellenistic Judaism is a relatively new phenomenon per se, and in this regard the discussions and theories on that issue continue to be in constant need of revision. The article discusses some basic issues and problems of the Antique and Hellenistic philosophies in the light of their interpretation and reception by the philosophers of Hellenistic Judaism. For this aim, the short introduction of the historical and cultural signification of Hellenistic Judaism is presented, taking into consideration the results of the recent historical, philological and archaeological studies in this field, as well.

The author discusses firstly the place and the importance of the Hellenistic culture both in Palestine and the Jewish Diaspora as a necessary framework and fertile soil for the development of the Jewish-Hellenistic thought in 4-1 cc. B. C. Secondly, in order to precise the limits of the interchanges between the Judaism and the Hellenistic philosophy, some aspects of the terms- and meaning-making processes are clarified on the basis of several examples of the Jewish Bible’s Greek translation (Septuaginta). In this sense the author deemed also important to point out the main ideas and qualifications with which the Antique and Hellenistic Greek authors used to perceive the image of Jews as a nation of philosophers, par excellence. This kind of attitude, regardless of the continuing persecutions of the Jews in the Seleucid and Roman empires, and the anti-Hellenistic dispositions among many Jewish communities and political groups, incited on its turn a new
wave of interconnections between the Jewish monotheism and the Hellenistic religious philosophy. One could even assume the evident influence of some Hellenistic philosophical movements, namely Stoicism on the Jewish biblical books, composed from 4 c. B. C. to 1 c. A. C.

However, within the large context of the Hellenistic oikoumené the Jews presented a remarkable exception. Confronted with Greek ideas, some attempted to combine Greek intellectual values with Hebrew ones; such efforts were especially successful in Egypt and in other parts of Jewish Diaspora, meanwhile being firmly ancred in the tradition of the Jewish monotheistic religion. The figures of great Jewish-Hellenistic thinkers such as Aristoboulos, Pseudo-Aristaeus and Philo of Alexandria were the result of that successful enculturation. Their ideas on the theory and methods of that synthesis which are analyzed in the article, are of primary importance for studying the Jewish-Hellenistic thought.

DIFFICULTIES IN TEACHING LEXICAL EASTERN ARMENIAN – 2021-2

Forms of pronouns

The problem of intralinguistic relations of words and types of semantic relations of pronouns has always been discussed in Armenian linguistics. There are structural disagreements. The accepted view is the multifaceted classification of pronouns (personal, demonstrative …), which, however, we strongly believe does not have sufficient scientific validation. The intra-group classification of pronouns should be done according to the contextual meaning, in relation to other parts of speech. In this combination-comparison, the grammatical description of noun-pronouns is more emphasized and visible, therefore, it is mastered well.

POLITICAL VIEWS OF RAFFI – 2021-2

Aschot N. Hayruni

Raffi opened a new era not only in the history of Armenian fiction and literary criticism, but also in the history of Armenian social and political thought. Guided by the principle that fiction should not only be a mirror of life, but should also address and clarify the most important issues of public concern, Raffi presented a path of national liberation struggle that he believed could lead to the desired liberation and to the start of nation-building. According to him, the future, the dreamed Armenia should be built on four main cornerstones, the first of which is the religious life, the second is the educational sphere, the third is the economic development, and the fourth is the national statehood. Raffi’s powerful public discourse grew from these four cornerstones. His ideal of national liberation was closely intertwined with the programs of education, enlightenment, and economic prosperity, completing an ideology of general transformation of life and reality in general.

Not only did Raffi offer a unique program of national liberation, but he also presented a moral concept for the realization of this program, which was based on the national wisdom, so it can never lose its relevance. He was deeply observant, pointing out the wounds and shortcomings rooted in national and social life, the elimination of which was very necessary for the reconstruction of society, consolidation, and the realization of the desired goals. Through his literary works and public speeches, the writer unleashed a broad ideological struggle, educated and nurtured generations. There is not a single area of life that he has not touched. His writing talent was enhanced with great sociological, economic and political knowledge. The article examines Raffi’s political views, which, by penetrating advanced Armenian thought and educating generations, became a reference point for the organization and expansion of Armenian political parties. Raffi’s work best proved the truth of his thesis that a good book can save an entire nation.

ARMENIAN-BYZANTINE CHURCH CONFRONTATION IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE 9TH CENTURY – 2021-2

Vardan A. Aleksanyan

The second half of the 9th century is the beginning of a new stage in the confrontation between the Armenian and Byzantine churches. At the beginning of the 860s, the correspondence of the Patriarch of Constantinople Photius (857-867, 877-886) with Catholicos Zakaria I (855-876) and the Prince of Princes Ashot I (862-887) began. The main subject of the correspondence was the relation to the Chalcedonian Cathedral and the attempts to create the Armenian-Byzantine church unity. It was a challenge not only to the Armenian Church, but to the entire Armenian people, since the hidden goal of the Constantinople throne was to create the ground for the final annexation of Armenia. For the purpose of discussing the proposal and making decisions, Zakaria Dzagetsi 862 convened a council in Shirakavan from numerous bishops and monks in the presence of the sparapet of Armenia Ashot Bagratuni. During the council, a tense struggle was waged between adherents of the Armenian faith and supporters of Chalcedonianism. Bishop Vahan (John) of Nicea spoke at it, trying to persuade the Armenians to accept the Council of Chalcedon. However, the Armenian clergy managed to diplomatically reject the proposals of the Greek Church.

Photius continued his efforts in the second period of his patriarchate (877- 886). He wrote a letter to the Prince of Princes Ashot and in various ways tried to convince the Armenian leadership to accept the Council of Chalcedon. In his answer, which was set forth by Sahak Apikuresh (Mrut), Ashot refutes the accusations against the Armenian Church and, in turn, accuses the Council of Chalcedon for being similar to Nestorianism. The content of Ashot Bagratuni’s answer demonstrates the unity of the Armenian spiritual and secular authorities in protecting the independence and independence of the national church. It is important that the Armenian nobility built their relations with Byzantium taking into account the interests of the Arab Caliphate, since the Arabs played a huge role in the region. By rejecting the proposals of the Greek Church, Armenia satisfied the age-old enemy of Byzantium, the Arab Caliphate. Having defended the independence and autonomy of their church, the Armenians fought for national identity, since religious identity was the basis of the national identity of the Armenians.

ON THE ASSOCIATIONS OF ANCIENT INHABITANTS OF THE EASTERN COAST OF LAKE VAN AND SYUNIK – 2021-2

Armen E. Petrosyan

Šiuini – the name of the third great god of Urartu, should have been borrowed from a Hittite dialect, cf. Hitt. šiu- (šiuni, šiuanni, šiuna-) ‘god’, earlier: ‘sun god’, šiuatt- ‘daytime’ < *dyeu-, from the Indo-European name of the god of daylight sky. The consideration of this theonym as the Urartian parallel of the Hurrian sun god Šimigi is linguistically impossible (I. M. Diakonoff, V. V. Ivanov). The capital of Urartu Tušpa was the worship center of this god. The Armenian name of this city, Van, is derived from the declension form Bia(i)na of cuneiform Biainili, the name of royal domain and central land of the kingdom, where-ni is an Urartian suffix and -li a plural formant). It may be thought that in earliest times this region was inhabited by a Hittite speaking people.

Šiuini (to read: Siwini) is comparable to the name of the Armenian province of Siwnik‘ (< Siwini-yā, with Arm. plural formant k‘), where the largest concentration of toponyms derived from Arm. arew/areg ‘sun’ and traces of ancient cult of the sun god have survived. The local districts Vayoc‘ jor and Vaykunik‘ (Vay-ik-uni-k‘) are probably associated with the ethnonym of the ancient inhabitants of the East of the Lake Van, the Biai people (to read: Vyāy/Vǣy, which in Armenian reflected as Vay). This people of the Van region probably moved to Siwnik‘ in the beginning of the first millennium BC, under pressure of the Urartians.

PERSPECTIVES OF THE HISTORIFICATION OF WAR – 2021-2

And ways to overcome the victim complex

Davit R. Mosinyan

The wars turn from local to more comprehensive regional, gaining a broad geopolitical character. The wars on the border do not only concern the neighboring countries, but also necessarily involve certain political units, or, on the contrary, some interests of the political superpowers give rise to private wars. Therefore, taking care of one’s own war presupposes references to civilized dimensions. The appropriation of war, that is to say, the maintenance of sovereignty in geopolitical relations, among other factors, requires the historification of war. The historification of war means to get rid of the myths that compel certain behaviors related to it and to think of that in the course of time, bringing together the personal, military, cultural, geopolitical levels in the perspective of the future. The post-war period is in danger of remaining like that, of not turning into peace, as long as there is no initiative to make it an internal phenomenon.

THE LETTERS OF SOGHOMON TEHLIRYAN – 2021-1

On the occasion of the first publication of his memoirs

Yervand G. Pampukian (Beirut)

The letters of the Armenian avenger Soghomon Tehliryan, published in this article, were written on the occasion of the first publication of his memoirs. Soghomon Tehlirian’s autobiography is also kept in the same folder, unfortunately in an unfinished state.

The letters were written between 1951 and 1953, when S. Tehlirian moved from Serbia to the Moroccan city of Casablanca, where he worked at a European commercial establishment. His letters are addressed to Cairo, as in those years the editorial board of “Husaber” daily undertook the publication of S. Tehlirian’s memoirs. The memoirs of S. Tehlirian – the author of intimidation of the main organizer of the Armenocide and the Ottoman Turkish Prime Minister Talaat Pasha, were written by Vahan Minakhorian in 1942-1943, when both Tehlirian and Minakhorian were in Serbia. V. Minakhorian was already dead (1944), but Tehlirian had, in addition to the original, copies made by him, one of which was sent to S. Vratsyan for editing and preparation for publication.

There was a need to re-edit the memoirs for more than one reason, and S. Vratsyan had done so in good faith, diligently maintaining the originality of the original version.

First of all, it was the case of Shahan Natalie – one of the main organizers of the intimidation against Talaat, who was expelled from the ranks of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun and took a hostile stance towards the party. Then the Special Case – other figures involved in “Nemesis” operation who were still alive and some of whom were in important public positions could be endangered or prosecuted. S. Vratsyan had found the solution to these complicated issues: the historical reality
should be respected. Shahan Natalie’s name and role in the Special Case would be kept unchanged. And the other important actors were “baptized” under pseudonyms. Thus, Hrach Papazian became Hrap, Vahan Zakarian became Vaza, Hagop Zorian became Yazor, Hayk Ter Ohanian became Hayko.

There were other survivors among the participants of the operation of intimidation against Talaat, or their family members still living in Turkey, who could also be in danger. It was decided to erase such names completely or to mark them only with initials.

There were other survivors among the participants of the operation of intimidation against Talaat, or their family members still living in Turkey, who could also be in danger. It was decided to erase such names completely or to mark them only with initials.

Tehlirian returned the editions by making corrections or additions. He also often suggested corrections in his reply letters or attachments. To what extent these corrections have been applied or not to the printed copy, we have included this case and, by means of footnotes, have indicated each of them. The unfulfilled corrections are generally the result of the fact that sometimes the editions sent to Casablanca were already printed. Nevertheless, on some printed samples, there are observed erasures with thick black ink. Therefore, in connection with the future republishing of S. Tehlirian’s memoirs, it is necessary to take into account the remarks made by us.

The purpose of publishing the present letters is to pay tribute to the immortal memory of Soghomon Tehlirian, the just and vengeful Armenian who shot down Talaat Pasha on March 15, 1921 in Berlin.

THE LETTERS OF 1921 OF THE ARF CENTRAL COMMITTEE OF GEORGIA – 2021-1

ARF Foreign Responsible Body

Khachatur R. Stepanyan

The presented documents reflect the 1921 activities of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun in Soviet Georgia. In some cases, there is information about the general organizational and political situation of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun in Soviet Armenia and Soviet Azerbaijan. The persecution policy led by the Soviet authorities forced the ARF leadership, like other non-Bolshevik parties, to operate mainly underground in Transcaucasia.

The decision to continue operating under prohibited conditions was due to fears that in the event of an imminent overthrow of the Bolshevik regime, the ARF’s organizational and political presence could be used to meet potential challenges.

The letters sent by the ARF Central Committee of Georgia to the Foreign Responsible Body contain interesting information about the Transcaucasus, the political events around it, the Kemalist Pan-Turkic plans, Soviet Georgia, the agreed discriminatory policy pursued by the Soviet authorities against Soviet Armenia, the difficult economic situation in the region, etc. In particular, they present the restraints imposed by the Soviet authorities in Georgia, the intolerable situation of the peasantry. Episodes of the epidemic, implemented severe tax and monetary policy are described.

The letters also contain important information on the process of formation of the Transcaucasian Soviet Federation. There are reports of coercion from Moscow and Georgia’s attitude towards it. The Georgians were opposed to Armenia’s “alliance with Georgia” and believed that Soviet Georgia should either be independent or form a direct union with Soviet Russia.

The information about the Pan-Turkic programs implemented by the Kemalists in the Muslim-populated areas of Georgia is also unique. In Adjara, in the province of Akhaltsikhe, the Turks set up a special agent network to facilitate their further steps.

All the letters indiscriminately present the organizational situation of the ARF in Georgia, the arrests of the ARF members, the necessity to take care of the detainees and the persecuted, the need for material resources.

Some random but interesting news are also reported about the presence of Enver – one of the organizers of the Armenian Genocide, in Georgia.

Although the author of the letters is the ARF Central Committee of Georgia, the main information concerns Georgia, but the reports about Armenia are no less important. The economic and political processes conducted by the Soviet authorities in Armenia were, in fact, mainly similar to those of Georgia. Here there is special information about the activities implemented by the Soviet Armenian authorities with the Diaspora. Attempts were made to present the Soviet power in the Diaspora in positive colours.

A HIGH-VALUE STUDY – 2021-1

On the Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson

Suren T. Sargsyan

At the end of 2020, a collective work for readers interested in the Armenian Question and the Armenian Cause – “The Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson: A critical look from a 100-year distance” authored by historians representing various scientific and educational institutions of the republic was published.

The authors, both by means of examining their prehistory and history and by elucidating the efforts made to implement these documents over the past centenary,
have comprehensively observed and analyzed the Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson, which are landmarks for Armenia and the Armenians from a distance of 100 years. Moreover, guided by the best traditions of investigative historiography, they have taken a fresh look at 100-year-old events to reveal the deep connection and reciprocity between the past and the present.

Referring to the political content of the Treaty of Sèvres and noting that it concluded a long series of reciprocal treaties between the countries that won and lost in World War I, the authors emphasize that Articles 89-93 of the Treaty restored the timeless right of the Armenian people to Western Armenia. It is emphasized that the de jure recognition of the Republic of Armenia was no less important not only by the allies who won World War I, but also by the defeated Ottoman Empire. It legally stated that the Republic of Armenia was the United Armenia, which united the two parts of Armenia.

The authors substantiately deny the falsity of the alleged replacement of the Treaty of Sèvres by the Treaty of Lausanne and present in detail the real content of the Sèvres-Lausanne passing. It is emphasized that from the point of view of international law, the Armenian rights were not only annulled by the Treaty of Lausanne, but in fact they were reaffirmed by Article 16 of the Treaty. At the same time, the Treaty of Lausanne did not recognize Turkish sovereignty over the territories allotted to Armenia by W. Wilson’s Arbitral Award. The legitimacy of W. Wilson’s Arbitral Award and the fact that it is legally timeless and inalienable are substantiated by an examination of declassified US archival documents.

“The Treaty of Sèvres and the Arbitral Award of US President W. Wilson: A critical look from a 100-year distance” collective work, despite the large number of its authors, has a rather solid structure, fresh and rich speech about “old” general issues, and quite realistic conclusions.