Smbat Sparapet’s Chronicle (Volume 1) is one of the five gems of medieval Armenian literature that marks the start of Sophene’s Dual Language Series. In this series, we aim to make the most important works of ancient Armenian literature accessible to the broadest possible audience by placing the original Armenian text on the left-hand side and the corresponding English translation on the right-hand side.
Smbat Sparapet’s Chronicle is a major source for the history of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia. Roughly three-quarters of the work consists of a summary of Matthew of Edessa’s Chronicle which describes the period from 951 to 1136 and its continuation by Gregory the Priest, covering the period from 1136-1162. Given that Matthew’s work has survived, by far the most important part of Smbat Sparapet’s Chronicle is its original contribution, devoted to the period from 1163 to 1272.
Volume 1 covers the period from 1136 to 1150. As a statesman and general, Smbat Sparapet (“the Constable”) was a major participant in Cilician civil, military, and diplomatic affairs of the second half of the 13th century. An educated and literate individual, Smbat translated the Assizes of Antioch from French into Armenian, and probably also had some familiarity with Greek, Arabic, Turkish and Persian. He visited the Mongol court in Karakorum in 1248 and recorded some of his observations in a short letter in French to his brother-in-law Henry I of Cyprus. Such an individual certainly was uniquely well-informed to write a chronicle of his times.
Length: 352 pages
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
The books in the medieval Armenian literature set address important episodes in Armenian and Near East history, including the Mongol and Seljuk invasions, the fall of Ani, the Battle of Manzikert, the Crusades, etc. The books also contain a welter of information about Armenian anthropology and folklore, and are invaluable learning tools for students of Classical Armenian (Grabar).
The five editions of this set are translated by the renowned Armenologist Robert Bedrosian, who received his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1979, specializing in ancient and medieval Armenian history, and went on to have a decades-long successful career in computer programming. These books respect Armenia’s great literary and cultural legacy, as well as Robert’s lifetime contributions to Armenian history, literature and culture.