|This redefining of a
key narrative of the history of Armenia, written during the seventh century, is
a detective story that is as remarkable as it is controversial. Using an array
of historical and linguistic techniques, the author defines and solves a string
of puzzles in the text that previous studies have erroneously identified and or
even altered. What was hitherto declared an imperfect text not only based
on unreliable sources but also the product of more than one hand is now
revealed to be the inspired work of a single author. Any quirks are easily identifiable
as due to the writer's personality or a desire to please his patron.|
Sebeos was a bishop of the Armenian royal house of the Bagratunis. The larger
part of the work chapters 6 to 50 covers the period from the second
half of the fifth century up to AD 661. It is an important source since it describes
events in the Middle East spanning a crucial period of two centuries, dealing
with events in Armenia and the plight of the Armenians, caught as they were between
the warring empires of Persia and Byzantium.
Viewed as problematic,
however, are the first five chapters, which were written at the behest of Sebeos'
unnamed patron to create a complete history of the Armenian nation up to his own
times. Soultanian's masterful analysis is a rediscovery of the true voice of History
of Bishop Sebeos, and a much needed correction of Armenia's historical record.
120 pages with 8 b&w illustrations
by Bennett & Bloom, 2007