The literature of ancient Armenia that is still extant is meagre in quantity and to a large extent ecclesiastical in tone. To realize its oriental color one must resort entirely to that portion which deals with the home life of the people, with their fasts and festivals, their emotions, manners, and traditions. The ecclesiastical character of much of the early Armenian literature is accounted for by the fact that Christianity was preached there in the first century after Christ, by the apostles Thaddeus and Bartholomew, and that the Armenian Church is the oldest national Christian Church in the world. It is no doubt owing to the conversion of the entire Armenian nation under the passionate preaching of Gregory the Illuminator that most of the literary products, of primitive Armenia—the mythological legends and chants of heroic deeds sung by bards—are lost. The Church would have none of them. Gregory not only destroyed the pagan temples, but he sought to stamp out the pagan literature—the poetry and recorded traditions that celebrated the deeds of gods and goddesses and of national heroes. He would have succeeded, too, had not the romantic spirit of the race clung fondly to their ballads and folk-lore. Ecclesiastical historiographers in referring to those times say quaintly enough, meaning to censure the people, that in spite of their great religious advantages the Armenians persisted in singing some of their heathen ballads as late as the twelfth century. Curiously enough, we owe the fragments we possess of early Armenian poetry to these same ecclesiastical critics. These fragments suggest a popular poesy, stirring and full of powerful imagery, employed mostly in celebrating royal marriages, religious feasts, and containing dirges for the dead, and ballads of customs—not a wide field, but one invaluable to the philologist and to ethnological students.
Ratings and Reviews
Be the first to rate and review this book!
You've already shared your review for this item. Thanks!
We are currently reviewing your submission. Thanks!
Share your thoughts
Tell readers what you thought by rating and reviewing this book.
Rate it *
Please make sure to choose a rating
Add a review* Required
How to write a great review
- Say what you liked best and least
- Describe the author's style
- Explain the rating you gave
- Use rude and profane language
- Include any personal information
- Mention spoilers or the book's price
- Recap the plot
(0) 50 characters minimum
The review must be at least 50 characters long.
The title should be at least 4 characters long.
Display Name *
Your display name should be at least 2 characters long.
Report a review
Would you like us to take another look at this review?
You've successfully reported this review. We appreciate your feedback.
Thanks for Sharing!
by on October 24, 2016
- Library of Alexandria, March 2015
- Download options:
- EPUB 2 (Adobe DRM)
You can read this item using any of the following Kobo apps and devices: