If you ask now somebody in present Armenia (from children up to Professors) ”who was Mesrop Mashtots?” everybody will answer: “The creator, the inventor of Armenian Alphabet”, because in all books, textbooks, encyclopedias is said the same. But it is wrong. In reality Mesrop Mashtots performed titanic work to restore and reestablish Armenian written language.
The Christianity adopting in Armenia is a very big historical fact (event) and had, of course, deep political, economical and social roots and reasons. In the beginning of DI century AD Roman Emperor Caracalla decided to vanquish Armenia. In 215 AD he invited Armenian King Khosrov I Arshakouni, disloyally put him to jail (where he died) and sent to Armennia legions headed by Folhokrit, But legions were defeated. Trdat II (215- 252AD), son of Khosrov I became Armenian king.
Another threat came from the East, From Iran, where in 226 AD change of dynasty took place. Iranian Arshakid dynasty consanguineous to Armenian kings Arshakouni was overthrown by Sassanids. Iranian state religion was also changed to Zoroastrianism. In 230 AD King Artashir Sassanid invaded Armenia but was defeated. In 252 AD Shapouh I worsted and put his son Ormouzd as king of Armenia. But in 279 AD Armenia worsted, and Khosrov n the Great, son of Trdat II, became the King of Armenia. He was killed in 298 by Partevs (Parthians) and Trdat III the Great (298330 ·AD), his son, became the King.
There was a constant threat to Armenia from all sides so it was necessary to think about safety. Besides, Armenia was a feudal country and the central lordship was weaker, not so powerful as in other slave-holding countries. So the decision of Trdat III to adopt Christianity at 301 AD was one of the big events which had to border Armenia from threat and ensure safety. Moreover, Armenian nation was ready to adopt Christianity as continuation of their kind Sun-God religion. Trdat ID gave the Church large rights and lands (more than lords had) to be powerful and able to support the central lordship, the King.
But as a result of Christianity adopting in Armenia another big disaster for Armenian old history, culture and written language took place. The famous. Armenian historian of Ill-IV century AD Agatangel, the secretary of the King Trdat III and a witness of Christianity adopting events, wrote [54, indents 777, 778, 786, etc.]: “Then [Grigor] with king, lords and army, received for general pacification the advice of approval (means from the God, P.H.) to destroy, rout, fully annul and obliterate blandishment that nobody would interrupt and interfere the achievement of celestial freedom.
And then king immediately ordered (with general approval) to give to blissful Grigor the duty to bury in oblivion, subvert non-gods called Gods by old ancestors and by him. Then the king himself with all his army moved from Vagharshapat (now Etchmiatzin, P.H.) to Artashat to destroy there the temple of Goddess Anahit”, destroyed and shattered all around, trophied gold and silver. .. .First they came to heathen temple of Tir God and the heathen school of art and interpretation of dreams… and began to destroy, then calcined, shattered unless demolished it…”, etc.
The same was written by Armenian historians of V century AD: Khorenatsi, Koryun, Byousand and others. Armenian old culture was destroyed. On the foundations of destroyed famous Pre-Christian Temples the Christian Churches were built, including the Central. Cathedral in Etchmiatzin. Armenian Alphabet and written language were abolished, after that the Greek and Syrian ones were put in use, including for prayers in churches*.
But after one hundred years the King of Armenia Vramshapouh (389-417 AD) became sure that the State can not function normally without its own written language. And Catholicos Sahak became sure that people did not understand Christianity well because services in churches were conducted in Greek and Syrian languages. So they decided to restore Armenian written language (but to say to everybody that it has been gifted to Armenians by Jesus Christ).
They entrusted Mesrop Mashtots, who was the personal translator of the King, to restore Armenian written language. They of course knew that Alphabet existed from very old time, and I am sure, they had it (plus one more copy, which was brought from Syria, from Bishop Daniel). But they could not use it because didn’t remember phonetical sounds of’many letters. Koryun** wrote that Mashtots at first even tried to write, translate and teach Armenian language, but could not.
It is obvious for me that to recover phonetical pronunciations of the letters it was necessary to find just one Armenian book. But unfortunately all of them were burnt 100 years ago. But as exception one book could be secretly kept by somebody. Mashtots sought for it in different regions of Armenia with big difficulties, for more than two years, but could not find What?
Koryun didn’t say “a book”, because might not, he was not allowed, the possible existence of Armenian books was a big secret. Koryun says: ”Mashtots looked for, looked for, had many difficulties but did not find”, And nobody from present historians thinks and understands what Mashtots sought and could not find in Armenia.
I asked historian Professors in Yerevan:
– Why did Mashtots, to ”invent” Alphabet, go abroad? And why did he travel with the group of his pupils? Let him sit at home and invent! The answer is:
– I shall explain you. He went to big foreign towns with big libraries as Eddessia, etc., studied Greek, Syrian and other Alphabets and, taking from those the best, created Armenian Alphabet. I said:
– That is nonsense.
– Because Mashtots, Sahak and many others in Armenia knew very well these languages and Alphabets. In Armenia there were Greek schools and Mashtots graduated from one of them. Read Koryun! One hundred year four hundred Greek and Syrian bishops read in Armenia their books in their languages. So it was not necessary to go abroad (and with a group of pupils) to study these alphabets.
– ? (silence).
– I know why he went abroad (and with pupils).
– Because he needed to understand the phonetical pronunciations of all Armenian letters and for this he needed to find just one book in Armenian. He could not flnd any Armenian book in Armenia, so having the decision of the king and the Catholicos, he went abroad with pupils to find a book in big libraries, because Armenian books were not burned there as it was done here. And he~. found the book in town Samosat”, I even know which book he found. ‘ .
– Which book?
– It was, perhaps, Agatangel, “History of Armenia”, because it is an important and famous book telling about Christianity adopting in Armenia. This is also the reason why Armenian Church kept it during 1700 years rewriting it almost once per century and why this book now is translated into many European languages.
– But there is even an opinion that Agatangellived in V century AD.
– That is wrong opinion. Agatangellived in ID-IV centuries and was, as he wrote, eyewitness of Christianity adopting in 301 AD. That is the false opinion of the false “scientists” who tell that Armenian Alphabet and written language were absent before Mashtots.
Because the book by Agatangel is an excellent confirmation that Alphabet and written language were present in Armenia for about one hundred years before Mashtots. Koryun tells that in Sammosat Mashtots saw in his dream Armenian letters carved on rocks**(Mashtots and Koryun knew that the letters are carved on rocks in Armenia from the old time). Then he gave letters to one calligrapher in Samosat to amend a little their configurations.
When Mashtots came back to Armenia he was triumphally met by the King, the Catholicos and people. It was in 406 AD. The Armenian written language schools were opened, translation of many books, including Bible, was done. Then in IV and V centuries in ”unlettered” Armenia (with “not” any scientists before Mashtots) many famous scientists (historians, philosophers, mathematicians, etc) suddenly appeared.
Everything in the result was all right, besides the ”nuisance” that from that time until now people think that written language and Alphabet in Armenia were absent before Mashtots, who “created” letters. There are many other historical facts which confirm that Armenian Alphabet and written language existed before Mashtots and before Christianity adopting. Here are some of them;
1. Agatangel [54, §189] tells that at the time of King Trdat (means Trdatm the Great, 298-330AD or Trdat Il, 215-252 AD, P.R.) the art of written language was propagated in Armennia.
2. Koryun, Khorenatsi and others confined that before Mashtots there was Armenian Alphabet, even in Syria, at Bishop Daniel. This Alphabet is not kept, so different authors give different figures of quantity of letters in Daniel’s Alphabet: 17,19,22,24, and 29.
3. Historian Vartan (page 50) wrote that Armenians had Alphabet consisting of 22 letters at the very old time.
4. Philostrat (175-249 AD), historian of emperor Carracalla, in his book ”Dianna of Apollo”, tells that in Armenian Tauros mountains was caught a big panther with golden collar, on which it was written in Armenian: ”From the Armenian King Arshak (127-114 BC, P.H.) to the God Dionysus”.
5. Armenian historian Engikkian wrote that in 1788ADhe saw the collection of Inzle, English ambassador in Istanbul (at sultan Hamid I), including about 100 thousand old coins collected in Asia Minor, and found there 12 types of coins of Roubennians (Armenian Kilikia dynasty) with legible Armenian letters կ, ճ, պ, տ, etc.
Engikkian also wrote that in the same famous collection ofInzle he had seen hundreds of coins of Armenian King Partev Arshakouni (113-114 AD, P.H.). On the one side of coins there was an altar with fire, on the other side – the portrait of king, and over edges there were Armenian words with letters հ, տ , պ, կ, ճ and others.
6. Annenian linguist, historian and musicologist Minnas Bjshkian (17771851) found in one of Armenian churches placed in South part of Odessa town (founded on seaboard of Black Sea by Armenians came from Edessa Armenian Kingdom) the book with Annenian letters ofVll century BC .
7. It is known that Hyksoses (who were Armenians) had the Alphabet (with letters almost similar to Armenian ones) in XVII century BC.
8. The king of Armenian Mesopotamia Abgar V Yervanndouni (12 50 AD) sent a letter to Jesus Christ, Palestine (Israel), inviting him to go and live in his capital Edessa, and received His answer. There is the opinion that these letters were in so-called Aramean language. But it is wrong. The letters were in Armenian, using Annenian Alphabet, because (see next position): .
9. I show in Item 2.15, that so called Aramean (or Aramaean) language and Alphabet in reality were Armenian ones, and Armenian King Artashes I the Kind (189-160 BC) on his boundary stones in Armenia wrote inscriptions in Armenian language with Armenian letters about 600 years before Mashtots (but not in so-called Aramean, as the wrong opinion dictates).
Thus, so-called Aramean (semitic) language and Alphabet never existed and all “Aramean” inscriptions (there are many of them) are in Armenian with Armenian letters. Parthian-Armennian Arshakids-Arshakouni Dynasty in Armennia (62-428 AD) brought Armennia not only to loss of her Old History but also to loss of her independence in 428 AD when the Great Armennia was divided between Iran and Byzantium (just 22 years after “Alphabet creation” by Mashtots).
The independence of the Great Armenia was reestablished in 885 AD by the King Ashot I Bagratouni (885-890 AD).
An extract from the book “Armenians and Ancient Armenia” by Paris Heoruni.
• The head of this statue is kept in the British Museum.
• After Christianity adopting Grigor invited to Armenia four hundred Greek ana Syrian monks, gave them titles of bishops and put them over all Armenian churches. Koryun was the pupil of Mashtots.
• • Koryun was the pupil of Mashtots.
* “Edessa and Sammosat were old Armenian towns in Armenian Mesopotamia Kingdom and Komagena.
•• I think Mashtots had with him Armnnian Alphabet taken from Armenia (with Daniel’s letters copy) and also a copy of Armenian letters carved on rocks in Armenia at about III millenium BC and presented here in next Item 2.4. (Table 9).