Movses Khorenatsi about the funeral of Artashes I

Movses Khorenatsi, an acclaimed Armenian historian, offers a vivid account of the remarkable funeral held in honor of King Artashes I of Armenia.

In Khorenatsi’s account, he underlines the uniqueness of the funeral procession, emphasizing its contrast to barbarian traditions. Instead, he describes a ceremony that aligns with the sophisticated practices of cultivated societies. His depiction underscores the wealth and dignity that characterized the event.

He notes that the king’s coffin was fashioned from gold, reflecting the deep respect and admiration Artashes I commanded. The King’s throne and resting place were draped in sumptuous linen and his body was dressed in fine clothes woven with gold threads. A crown on his head and a golden sword at his side signified his noble status and military strength.

King Artashes I’s sons and various relatives were present near the throne, a powerful reminder of the event’s dynastic importance. The presence of warriors and ancestors standing behind them showcased the enduring bloodline and martial traditions of the Armenians. The procession was further dignified by the inclusion of prominent nakharars, who were noble figures within the Armenian societal and political structure. Units of armored soldiers, ready for combat, heightened the solemnity and scale of the event.

The procession was marked by the powerful sound of trumpets, imparting a sense of solemn magnificence and sorrow. Following the procession were mourning maidens dressed in black and other grieving attendees. The general public also joined the procession, underlining the broad influence and significance of King Artashes I’s reign and his passing.

Khorenatsi reports that people willingly sacrificed their lives at King Artashes I’s tomb, testifying to the deep respect and loyalty the people felt for their departed king.

Khorenatsi’s narrative offers an insightful peek into the historical and cultural backdrop of King Artashes I’s funeral. It underscores the reverence shown to the King by the Armenian people and the significance of his rule. This account serves as an enduring tribute to Artashes I and his lasting imprint on the Armenian historical narrative and national identity.

Vigen Avetisyan

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