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For scholars of Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman civilisations Armenia lies in a remote East, whereas since the Russian conquests of the Caucasus between 1783 and 1829, it has firmly occupied a place in the south of our mental map, beyond the Caucasus, in ‘Transcaucasia’ (Закавказье). Yet ancient geographers regarded the Taurus chain as a natural frontier between Northern and Southern Asia, reckoning the Armenians amongst the ‘Northern peoples’ also on account of the ‘boreal’ climate of their mountainous homeland. Also a number of Armenian writers placed Armenia in the north. So did Catholicos Xač’ik Aršaruni in his letter to a Byzantine Metropolitan, dispatched c.987, in response to the Metropolitan’s appeal to join the Church of the Empire, even though his correspondent resided farther north than Xač’ik.

This geographical conception predates the classical authors and reflects ancient routes of cultural transmission across the Near East, which informed the culture of the Armenian high plateau for millennia. This memory lingered in the minds of Armenians: Moses of Khoren links the origins of his people to the Biblical Togarmah, a grandson of Japheth, whose country was situated ‘at the extremities of the North’ with respect to the land of Israel. According to Moses, Togarmah’s son Hayk refused to submit to the giant Bel, leaving Babylon with all his household for the land of Ararat, ‘which is in the northern regions’, settling ‘in the cold of the freezing seasons’ of a plateau northwest of Lake Van. In responding to the Byzantine appeal that the Armenians should adhere to the faith of the Empire, Xač’ik was certainly emboldened by the example of Hayk who had preferred independence in a harsh country to subservience to Bel in a mild climate and had sent back Bel’s emissaries empty-handed. A mental map thus could impinge on theological debates.

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In: Journal of Eastern Christian Studies
Volume Editor:
Apocryphal traditions, often shared by Jews and Christians, have played a significant role in the history of both religions. The 26 essays in this volume examine regional and linguistic developments in Ethiopia, Egypt, Syria, Armenia, the Balkans, and Italy. Dissenting groups, such as the Samaritans, followers of John the Baptist, and mediæval dualists are also discussed. Furthermore, the book looks at interactions of Judaism and Christianity with the religions of Iran.
Seldom verified or authorized, and frequently rejected by Churches, apocryphal texts had their own process of development, undergoing significant transformations. The book shows how apocryphal accounts could become a medium of literary and artistic elaboration and mythological creativity. Local adaptations of Biblical stories indicate that copyists, authors and artists conceived of themselves as living not in a post-Biblical era, but in direct continuity with Biblical personages.
In: Apocryphal and Esoteric Sources in the Development of Christianity and Judaism
In: Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies
Karabagh, Nakhichevan and Azerbaijan in Contemporary Geopolitical Conflict
This is the first multidisciplinary volume whose focus is on the barely accessible highlands between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and their invaluable artistic heritage. Numerous ancient and mediaeval monuments of Artsakh/Karabagh and Nakhichevan find themselves in the crucible of a strife involving mutually exclusive national accounts. They are gravely endangered today by the politics of cultural destruction endorsed by the modern State of Azerbaijan.
This volume contains seventeen contributions by renowned scholars from eight nations, rare photographic documentation and a detailed inventory of all the monuments discussed. Part 1 explores the historical geography of these lands and their architecture. Part 2 analyses the development of Azerbaijani nationalism against the background of the centuries-long geopolitical contest between Russia and Turkey. Part 3 documents the loss of monuments and examines their destruction in the light of international law governing the protection of cultural heritage.