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The History of Tamerlane and His Successors


We are excited to announce our forthcoming publication of The History of Tamerlane and His Successors. This release continues our Dual Language Series, which places the original Armenian text on the left-hand side and the corresponding English translation on the right-hand side, and will be published on July 13, 2021.

The History of Tamerlane begins with the devastations wreaked on the district of Syunik by the northern Tatars in 1386, and goes on to describe events taking place in the Armenian highlands and in Georgia during the Turco-Mongol invasions of Tamerlane. These invasions were made upon a society which already had been gravely weakened by the preceding decades of warfare and persecution from Turkmen, Kurdish, and Ottoman groups now resident in the area, and from Mongols of the Golden Horde in the north Caucasus. Tamerlane's invasions are described with the blood-curdling immediacy of a terrified eye-witness. The account is more detailed for the first three decades of the 15th century, describing the impact on Armenian economic, intellectual and religious life of this dismal period.

This release coincides with Volume 2 of Matthew of Edessa’s Chronicle, a valuable source for this history of the Near East in the 10th-12th centuries. Western scholars have used the Chronicle primarily for its unique information on the Crusades. It contains, additionally, invaluable information on Byzantium, the Arabs, Seljuks, Persians, and especially the Armenians, both secular and clerical, both lords and louts. Along with this, Matthew describes such diverse phenomena as urban mobs, siege warfare, and confessional disputes, and he presents a welter of remarkable material of interest to many disciplines, including folklore and anthropology. Volume 2 was written over fifteen years (1110 to 1125), and covers the period from 1053 to 1102.

These gems of Armenian literature were translated by Robert Bedrosian, one of the world's foremost Armenian scholars. Robert received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1979, specializing in ancient and medieval Armenian history, followed by a decades-long successful career in computer programming. Since 2009, he has uploaded over 2,000 documents online about ancient and medieval Armenian culture. A list of these documents can be found here, and are accompanied by 23 resource guides (clickable syllabuses).