Armenia and Britain

Armenia and BritainThe ancient name of the British Isles is Albion. This name is considered to have Celtic origin that was used by ancient Greeks.

Ptolemy (90-168) has also written about Albion in his works. There is also another viewpoint that the name Albion has derived from the white cliff s found in the south-eastern part of the island and means “white country”.

‘‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’’, written by the order of Alfred the Great, king of England, in the IX c. is an ancient national document about the people living there. It records:

‘‘And here are in the island fi ve peoples: English, Brito-Welsh, Scottish, Pictish and Book-Latin. The fi rst ones to inhabit this land were the Britons: they came from Armenia, and fi rst settled in the southward of Britain’’.59

In one of the 15th century manuscripts (Jehan de Wavrin, Anciennes et nouvelles chroniques d’Angleterre (1470–1480), the meeting of the king of England Richard II (1337–1399) with the last king of Cilician Armenia Levon VI (1374–1375) in the Royal Court of England in Westminster is depicted.

The last several kings of Cilician Armenia led a policy in favour of Europe for which they became enemies of neighbouring Muslim countries. In 1375, with a large number of his army the Sultan of Egypt attacked and conquered the capital of Cilicia, Sis and the Cilician Kingdom of Armenia came to an end.

The dethroned king Levon VI visited a number of European countries, including England, to discuss the situation and to ask for assistance. The monarchs of all the countries he visited met him with royal honors, but did not make any encouraging promises.60

It was during the period of the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), with some intervals, between England and France. Levon VI also visited those countries with the intention of preventing the escalation of the war between France and England. He thought that both countries could not help Cilicia if the war continued.

The meeting of Richard II and Levon VI in the Royal Court of England, miniature a, History of Armenia Armenian cavalier (horseman), XIII–XIV cc. Cilician Armenia (Gh. Alishan,1885, p. 487)

At the end of the XVIII c. after studying ‘‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’’ in detail, Richard Powell, an English researcher, considered it true that the Brits were Armenians by origin and in his conclusion he
used the expression Armenian Brits. 61

Furthermore, having studied the history of Armenia and the Armenian language, the English poet Lord George Gordon Byron (1788-1824), stated that “Paradise was placed in Armenia.”.62 In the Middle Ages Englishmen continued to consider Armenia as the salvation country for the survivors of the Flood.

Among the Bible illustrations, published in London in 1599, we can see Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat after the Flood with Armenia at the bottom, where a new society is reborn and spread towards the European, Asian and African continents.

“Noah’s Ark”, Bible illustration, published in 1599 in London

But in the 2nd half of the 19th c. the powerful countries began to ignore the interests of Armenia because of the new political situation in international relations. This is refl ected in historiography as well. In the 1st half of the 19th c. the English scholar James Ingram translated ‘‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’’ into modern English without changing the original text. However, the translation was later published with distorted explanations by another researcher, Dr. Jaylis.

Feeling skeptical about the idea that the ‘‘Brits have come from Armenia’’, the latter expressed the opinion that the IX century authors wrote ‘‘Armenia’’ instead of ‘‘Armorika’’ by mistake. Based on this idea later publishers of “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’’ changed intentionally the original text, and wrote that the ‘‘Brits came from Armorika’’.

Much importance was not given to the fact that this new ‘‘explanation’’ was made in the 19th c. In 1861, the English historian B. Thorpe published the fi rst volume of the 4 volumes of ‘‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’’. (Benjamin Thorpe, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Vol. I, Original Texts, London, 1861).

Writing about the people living in England Thorpe reiterated what was written in ‘‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’’, but in the footnote of the publication he added that the Brits have not come from Armenia. Rather, they have come from Breton, which used to be called Armorika (Armor, north-western part of France).

In 1953 ‘‘The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle’’ was republished, where the footnote ‘‘correction’’ was already typed in the text (these “corrections” will be discussed later). In both cases the facts were distorted and Armenia was turned into Armorika (by the way in the word Armorika the stem Ar should be underlined).

Thus, while according to the original text (9thc.) “The fi rst inhabitants of the island were Brits who came from Armenia”, a 1000 years later, in the 2nd half of the XIX c., a scholar named Dr. Jaylis expressed the opinion, without suffi cient facts, that instead of Armenia we should read Armorika. In such a case we cannot but refer to the Bible again, published in England in 1599, where Armenia is represented as the country of Salvation and Renaissance.

Let us touch upon another supposition referring to the name ‘‘England’’. The similarities found in the names England and Arzanene region of Greater Armenia (Angel Tun) allow us to draw some interesting conclusions. The center of Angel Tun is Anggh (Angl) the town-fortress. Angegh (griff on-anggh) was an Armenian ancient birdlike angel god63 that connected earthly and heavenly lives, and its worshiping center was the province of Anghegh Tun (Angel tun).

The name of the province comes from the Angegh (Angel) god’s name. In the 4thc. the province was also known under the name of Angelene (Roman pronunciation).64 Are the names Angegh/Angel connected with the tribe name of Angl and the name England? Let us not forget that Armenians used to write and pronounce England as Angghia.

There are no accidental similarities, so it is completely probable that the tribe name Angl and the name England are connected with the name of Armenian Anggh/Angel tun province. Let us now refer to the French Bretons that are seperated from the English Brits by the La Manche Channel. The settlement Armorika (Ar-morika) is located in the French Breton. There exists a historical lighthouse there named Armen and a city named Van. Studying the Breton-Armenian vocabulary, one can assert that numerous words in Breton and Armenian have the same meaning and pronunciation:

Unfortunately, the French Bretons do not have preserved written sources which could verify their Armenian origin, but the similarity of names that are still used, other similarities in the Armenian and the Breton languages as well as the mention of the fact that the ancient inhabitants of the British Isles, the Brits, had come from Armenia, allow us to assert that French Bretons have also come from Armenia.

59 The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, (Part 1: AD 1 – 748).

60 1. It is known that in 1383 John I of Castile gave Madrid, Ciudad Real and Adukhari cities with their surrounding territories for life to the Armenian king Levon VI. The incomes of those cities would provide a regal life for King Levon VI. John I of Castile helped the Armenian king to return to his Kingdom, giving him six military and six ordinary ships with their crews.

The French king Carlos VI, too, met Levon VI in Paris with royal honors. The Armenian king was respected in the French royal palace. He even tried to reconcile England with France, convincing them not to fi ght against each other. To that end he visited England, where as afore mentioned, he was met by Richard II. The last king of Cilician Armenia, Levon VI, died in 1393 and was buried in Saint Denis Temple in Paris.

61 See Danielyan E. L.,“Progressive British Figures’ Appreciation ofArmenia’s civilizational Signifi cance”, Versus the Falsifi ed “Ancient Turkey” Exhibit In The British Museum, Yerevan, 2013, pp. 36–46, 109.

62 Armenians, the Armenian language and Armenian culture play a special role in the literary heritage of English poet George Gordon Byron (1788–1824). In 1816, visiting “Saint Lazarus of the Armenians” (a small island in Venice) and seeing their devotion to their nation, the poet decided to study the Armenian language and history. With the help of one of the Mechitarist Congregation members H.

Avgeryan Byron learned Armenian. The poet wrote in his letters: “…it’s a rich language… that is worth studying in detail, during which… the learning hardships are completely compensated”. (Тհ. Мооге. The Life, Letters and Journals of Lord Bayron, London, John Murrey, 1908, p. 329).

Byron and Avgeryan together wrote and published an English-Armenian and an Armenian-English dictionary. In the preface of the Armenian-English grammatical manual Byron’s warm attitude towards Armenians and their culture is expressed. In the preface Byron wrote: ‘‘In 1816 arriving in Venice like other travellers I was also interested in the Congregation in Saint Lazarus friary’’.

These people (the Mechitarists) are clergymen of an oppressed but noble nation, expelled and enslaved like the Jews and the Greeks. However, they did not isolate themselves like the Jews and did not have servility like the Greeks. These people became rich without oppressing others… It must be diffi cult to fi nd a nation who has witnessed so many evil deeds like the Armenians… But in spite of their unfortunate destiny their country will forever be one of the interesting countries in the world… and their language needs a more detailed study…

If we trust the Bible, Heaven or Paradise was located in Armenia. It was there that the dry land was seen after the Flood and Noah’s dove flew back. But hardly had Heaven disappeared when misfortunes began. Being a powerful kingdom for a long time, later that independent country, where God had created man in his image, was turned into a desert by Persian satrapis and Turkish pashas. ‘‘(Тհ. Мооге. The Life, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, London, John Murrey, 1908, p. 336, 337); ‘‘Beauties of English Poets’’, «Ի թղթոց Լորտ Պավրընի», (Armenian and English, Venice, Saint Lazarus, 1852, p. IV–IX. A. Bekaryan “Byron and the Mechitarists”, 1988, http://hpj.asj-oa.am/4955/1/1988-2(34).pdf. As we see Byron speaks about Armenians’ noble character, spiritual culture, language and history with special warmth.

An excerpt from Angela Teryan’s book “Ancient written sources of European peoples about their ancestral homeland – Armenia and Armenians”

63 Sebeos, History, Y., 2005, p. –15, 55, History of the Armenian People, Y., 1971, v. 1, p. 484

64 Armenian Soviet Encyclopydia, v. 1, Y., 1974, p. 379 (article by S. Yeremyan).

65 Read about French Breton in the web page of Komitas archimandrite Hovnanyan. Pocket dictionary of Armenian, Venice, 1865, p. 159


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