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Yeghishe is an Armenian historian of the 5th century AD. According to tradition, he was a student of Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian alphabet.

Later Yeghishe studied in Alexandria. Upon his return he worked with general Vardan Mamikonian as his scribe and soldier.

After the Battle of Avarayr against Persians in 451, of which he was a participant, Yeghishe became a hermit. Yeghishe’s writing, known as “About Vardan and the Armenian War” or “The Story of Vardanants”, supposed to be written following 463 AD, is dedicated to the Armenian revolt against Persian imperial authority in defence of freedom and independence of their country and the Christian faith.

The Persian King Hazgherd aimed at eliminating Christianity from the Empire. He demanded that all peoples and nations living within his authority, among them Armenians, should cease their worship and come to kneel before the Sun God and carry out all the required religious obligations.

In confronting such an opponent the Armenian Church"s response was immediate, decisive and comprehensive. With its nationwide organizational apparatus it began organizing a nationwide uprising. Though the day long battle of Avarayr ended with the victory of Persians but it became the symbol of patriotism and heroism, nobility and wisdom.

Praising patriotism, embodied in the person of Vardan Mamikonian, the commander of the Armenian forces, and his companions, the author condemns the apostasy of faith and country embodied in the person of the Armenian governor Vassak Syouni who acted as a spy against his nation.

“The Story of Vardanants” is an authentic historical source written by someone who had witnessed all events included. Yeghishe drives his message home in an amalgam of science and art, fact and fiction, history and myth, politics and philosophy, poetry and prose producing an epic-lyrical drama of defiance and rebellion against illegitimate rule.

The author divides the book into three parts. The first part is an account of the motives leading to the Vardanants War and events preceding the battle. The second part describes the war itself, and the third part shows its consequences.

Opening his account Yeghishe underlines the decisive importance of knowledge. The fight of Armenians against the mighty enemy and their martyrdom is expressed in the aphorism that ‘death that is not understood is truly death, that which is understood is immortality’, adding that the ‘evil and misfortune befalls us as a result of ill education’. Therefore it ‘is better to be blind of sight than blind of mind’.

Yeghishe claimed that the written work must offer `consolation for loved ones, hope for the hopeful and encouragement for the brave”.
Writer: Hasmik Muradyan
Editor: Eugenia Melkonyan
 Date Added: Thursday August 31, 2006 08:57:54 

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