The Rescue of Armenian Historiography and the Chronicle of Matthew of Edessa

Tara L. Andrews, University of Vienna

December 17, 2021 - 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm @ Zoom
Page from a manuscript copy of Matthew of Edessa's Chronicle combined with page of computer code.

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. 

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