About The Armenian In Boccaccio’s “The Decameron”

In one of the most significant literary monuments of the Renaissance, “The Decameron” of Giovanni Boccaccio (1352-1354), not only is Cilician Armenia mentioned, but the protagonist of one of the short stories is a young Armenian who was kidnapped by pirates from the coast of Ayas in childhood and sold into slavery.

The boy along with other captives (of Turkish descent) was bought by a wealthy nobleman from Sicily. Eventually, the Armenian man would be freed, given a Christian name, and appointed the manager in his vast estates.

Interestingly, the nobleman bought not only the Armenian boy but also other captives, Turks by descent. However, he thought the Armenian was a Turk because he knew that all the people sold by the pirates had been kidnapped from Turkish territory.

But as time went on, the nobleman developed sympathy specifically for the Armenian because of his appearance and mental abilities that made him different from the captured Turks. Eventually, the nobleman decided to free the Armenian from slavery.

Grigor Narinyan

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