continued up to 1176 by Gregory the priest. Mechithar (Mekhitar) Kosh (d. 1207) wrote an elegant *Book of Fables, and compiled a *corpus of civil and canon law (partly from Byzantine codes).
In the 13th century the following works or authors are to be noticed:—*history of Kiriakos of Ganzak, which contains much about the Mongols, Georgians and Albanians; *Malakia the monk’s history of the Tatars up to 1272; *Chronicle of Mechithar of Ani (fragmentary); *Vahram’s rhymed chronicle of the kings of Lesser Armenia; *history of the world, by Vartan, up to 1269. In this century mostly falls the redaction of a large fable literature, recently edited in three volumes by Professor Marr of St Petersburg.
14th century: *history of Siunik, by Stephen Orbelian, archbishop of that province 1287-1304; *Sempat’s chronicle of Lesser Armenia (952-1274), carried on by a continuator to 1331; *Mechithar of Airivanq, a chronography; *Hethoum’s account of the Tatars, and chronography of the years 1076-1307. John of Orotn (d. 1388) compiled commentaries on John’s gospel and the Paulines, and wrote homilies and monophysite works; his disciple Gregory of Dathev (b. 1340) compiled a *Summa theologiae called the Book of Questions, in the style of the Summa of Aquinas, which had been translated into Armenian c. 1330, as were a little later the *Summa of Albertus and works of other schoolmen.
15th century: *History of Tamerlane, by Thomas of Medsoph, carried up to 1447.
17th century, Araqel of Tabriz wrote a *history of the Persian invasions of Armenia in the years 1602-1661.
In the above list are not included a number of medical, astrological, calendarial and philological or lexicographic works, mostly written during or since the Cilician or crusading epoch. The hymns used in Armenian worship rarely go back to the 5th century; and they were still few in number and brief in length when Nerses the Graceful and his contemporaries more than doubled their number and bulk in the 12th century. Most Armenian poems embody acrostics, and their poets began to rhyme in the 8th century or thereabouts. Since the 15th century a certain number of profane poets have arisen, whose work is less jejune on the whole than that of the hymn and canticle writers of an earlier age. Gregory Magistros (d. 1058) abridged the whole of the Old and New Testaments in a *rhyming poem, and set a fashion to later writers. Such works as *Barlaam and Josaphat. the *History of the Seven Sages, the *Wisdom of Ahikar, the *Tale of the City of Bronze, were freely turned into verse in the 13th and following centuries.
It will be realized from the above enumeration of works written in each century that Armenian literature was purely monkish. There was no epic or romance literature; although this was not lacking in the contiguous country of Georgia, where there seem to have always been knights and ladies willing to read and keep alive a literature of poetry and narrative, not altogether suitable for monks, and more akin to Persian literature.
Other forms of faith than the orthodox had a hold in Armenia, particularly the Nestorian and the Manichean. Sundry works of Mani were translated in the year 588, but are lost. Perhaps certain works of Diodore of Tarsus survive, but the orthodox monks were so vigilant that there is little chance of finding any other monuments than those of the stereotyped orthodoxy.
The 16th century saw the first books printed in Armenian. A press was set up at Venice in 1565, and the psalms and breviary were printed. In 1584 the Roman propaganda began its issue of Armenian books with a Gregorian calendar. In the 17th century presses were working at Lembourg, Milan, Paris, Isfahan (where in 1640 a large folio of the Lives of the Fathers of the Desert appeared), in Leghorn, Amsterdam (where in 1664 the first edition of the Hymn-book, in 1666 the first Bible, and in 1667 the first Ritual were printed), Marseilles, Constantinople, Leipzig and Padua.
The press which has done most in printing Armenian authors is that of the Mechitharists of Venice. Here in 1836 was issued a magnificent thesaurus of the Armenian language, with the Latin and Greek equivalents of each word. At that time there was no dictionary of any language and literature to be compared with this for exhaustiveness and accuracy. There are now Armenian presses all over the world, reprinting old books or issuing new works, often translations of modern writers, English, French, Russian and German.
The chief collections of old Armenian MSS. are: at the convent of *Echmiadzin at Valarshapat; at Stambul in the library of the fathers of St Anthony; at Venice in the Mechitharist convent of San Lazaro; at the *Mechitharist convent in Vienna; in the *Royal library at Vienna; in the *Paris Bibliothèque Nationale; in the Vatican library; in the British Museum; in the *Bodleian; in the Rylands library; in the *Berlin and *Munich libraries; *in Tübingen; in St Petersburg, and in the *Lazarev institute at Moscow; at New Joulfa, the Armenian suburb of Isfahan. Private collections have been made by Mr Rendel Harris in Birmingham (presented to the university of Leiden); at Parham and elsewhere. A printed catalogue exists of those marked with an asterisk.
(F. C. C.)