by Karekin Zarbanalian

Although our chronicles do not provide definitive information about the span of Ghewond’s life, it is clear that he lived as an eyewitness to events taking place in the late 8th century.

            His History, which has made it down to us, describes the Muslim conquest of Armenia of the 7th-8th centuries. There is no mention therein pertaining to Mohammed’s birth, for Ghewond begins his History after the death of Mohammed with the holy war fought by the caliphs Abu-Bakr, Omar and Osman against those who did not follow their faith.

            Ghewond goes on to summarily recall events that took place in Armenia at the time of their Caliphate. His History proper commences in the year 661, in the reign of Mu’awiya I, the progenitor of the Umayyad Caliphate, who transferred his throne from Arabia to Assyria and in whose reign Armenia was subjected to the Arab yoke. In 662, Grigor Mamikonean was made the first vassal of Armenia to the Arab Caliphate. Ghewond continues his History until the year 788, when Step’anos acceded to the Catholicosal throne of Armenia, thus concluding his 146-year History, upon which the scribal colophon reads: “The teaching of Ghewond regarding the chronologies of the House of Togarmah has concluded.”

            The style of Ghewond’s composition is smooth and simple, and it would seem, that it does not differ much from contemporary colloquial style. Although no trace of 5th century style Classical Armenian is not to be found in Ghewond’s book, his literary and historical style make his work a worthy object of scholarship. It is remarkable what genius and heart he expresses in his calamitous times, with a history that is at once quite accurate and succinct.