Of the thirty-five manuscripts that remain of the 12th-century Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa, not a single one dates from before 1590, but over half of them were produced by 1700. This pattern of survival reflects a wider reality for Armenian literature, where the ravages of war and persecution, especially in the 15th and 16th centuries, gave way to a period of relative peace in the 17th century that provided an opportunity for a conscious "rescue" of the Armenian literary heritage, especially (but not exclusively) centered around the Amrdolu monastery of Bitlis, near Lake Van. In this talk I will present some of the features and puzzles of the manuscript tradition of the Chronicle that speak to this restoration, and at the same time give us glimpses into the history of the developing Armenian diaspora.
Tara L. Andrews is a Research Director at the Austrian Center for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and University Professor of Digital Humanities in the Institute for History at the University of Vienna. Her fields of expertise include the history and historiography of the Christian Near East in the tenth to twelfth centuries, the application of computational and statistical methods for reconstruction of the copying history of ancient and medieval manuscripts (stemmatology), and reflection on the implications of employing digital media and computational methods in humanities contexts.