The Universal History of Step'anos Tarōnec'i
Introduction, Translation, and Commentary
- Presents the first ever English translation of this work, correlated with both the 1885 and 2012 Armenian critical editions for ease of reference
- Contains extensive and detailed annotation, discussing key aspects of the text and guiding readers to up-to-date scholarship as well as incorporating previously untranslated epigraphic evidence
- Offers new insights into Step'anos' historical and intellectual contexts as well as a study of the transmission and reception of the text in a substantial introduction
The Universal History (Patmut),iwn tiezerakan) of Step),anos Tarōnec),i is a history of the world in three books, composed by the Armenian scholar at the end of the tenth century and extending from the era of Abraham to the turn of the first millennium. It was completed in 1004/5 CE, at a time when the Byzantine Empire was expanding eastwards across the districts of historic Armenia and challenging key aspects of Armenian identity. Step),anos responded to these changing circumstances by looking to the past and fusing Armenian tradition with Persian, Roman, and Islamic history, thereby asserting that Armenia had a prominent and independent place in world history. The Universal History was intended to affirm and reinforce Armenian cultural memory. As well as assembling and revising extracts from existing Armenian texts, Step),anos also visited monastic communities where he learned about prominent Armenian scholars and ascetics who feature in his construction of the Armenian past. During his travels he gathered stories about local Armenian, Georgian, Persian, and Kurdish lords, which were then repeated in his composition. The Universal Historytherefore preserves a valuable narrative of events in Byzantium, Armenia, and the wider Middle East in the second half of the tenth century.