The Maxims and Wisdom of Khikar (“The Story of Ahiqar”) is a masterpiece of ancient Assyrian literature. The story follows Khikar — the vizier of King Sennacherib of Assyria — who was famous for his wisdom in morality and politics. But he had a problem, in that he did not have a son to whom to pass down his wealth and wisdom. Taking his sister’s son, Nathan, he raised him as his own and introduced him to Sennacherib as his own successor. The adult Nathan then turns on his uncle, framing him as a traitor, and Sennacherib sentences Khikar to death. But when Khikar’s executioner turns out to be a man whose life Khikar once saved, they devise a plot to keep him alive…
The Maxims and Wisdom of Khikar is one of the first works ever translated into Classical Armenian, and has had a resounding influence on Armenian literature from the 5th to the 19th centuries, including upon Eznik of Kołb, Ghazar P’arpec’i, Yeghishe, Aristakes Lastivertc’i, and the famed 19th century authors, Raffi and Hagop Baronian.
This edition presents the Classical Armenian text side-by-side with a modern English translation, making for a most accessible edition of this ancient work and an excellent learning tool for the student of Classical Armenian.
The books in the Golden Age of Armenian literature set address important episodes in Armenian history, including complete accounts of the Battle of Avarayr and other events from the military, socio-cultural and political life of fourth and fifth century Armenia. The books also contain a welter of information about the Sasanian state, and are invaluable learning tools for students of Classical Armenian (Grabar).