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History of Medieval Armenia

Syllabus for one-year Distance learning course on Armenian Studies 
 
 

HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL ARMENIA
 
 
 
Mikayel Malkhasyan, Instructor
Yerevan State Univeristy, Distance  Learning Laboratory 
PhD student at the Chair of the History of Armenia,
Faculty of History, Yerevan State University


1. Course module description
The course module aims to explore current theories and research advances on the medieval period of the history of the Armenian nation. The course module provides students with different research perspectives, methodologies, and recent development in this area. 
 
Topics covered in this course module include the most important historical processes and events in the History of Medieval Armenia. Upon completion of this course, students are expected to know:
- The main concept of the Middle Ages in the history of the Armenian nation.
- The most crucial historical events of the period.
- The key areas of research and application of the History of Medieval Armenia.
 
The proposed course module will have particular focus in:
- Displaying abilities, skills and enriched knowledge of fundamental issues of the historical process.
- Understanding the importance of geopolitical changes in the Medieval Middle East.
- Exploring the cultural, socio-economical and political development within Armenia.
 
2. Objectives of the course module 
The course module will help the students to develop:
2.1 Critical thinking.
2.2 The ability of making their own point of view.
2.3 Sufficient ability to put out and organize research ideas.
 
The students should understand:
- The main issues of the historical process in the Medieval Armenia.
- The role of the history of Medieval Armenia within the system of the medieval world history.
- The cultural, socio-economical and political changes in Medieval Armenia.
 
3. Assessment
The assessment of the distance-learning course will be based on students’ written work. The students will score their final grades from:
Weekly written essays – 60%
Final essay - 40%
 
4. Course module program 

Class 1. Introduction to the History of Medieval Armenia: scope and features.
The adoption of Christianity and the concept of medieval society in Armenia
- The concept of medieval society in the history of the Armenia nation.
- The adoption of Christianity and the new concept of civilization.
- Christianity, Feudalism, and the periodical scope of the Middle Ages in Armenia. 

Readings:
1. A History of Armenia, edited by Vahan M. Kurkjian, New York, Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1958 (reprinted in 1964). 
2. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, edited by Richard Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
 
Assignment 1. Please, answer the following questions (2-3 pages in sum)
- Do you agree with the chronological division of the History of Medieval Armenia? Substantiate your answer.
- What is the main characteristic of medieval society in the history of the Armenia nation? Substantiate your answer.
- Describe the main achievements that Armenian nation had from adoption of Christianity. 
 
Class 2.  the Kingdom of Greater Armenia in A.D. 330-428 
- The Arsacid Dynasty after the adoption of Christianity.
- The naxarar system and the king.
- Foreign policy of Arsacid Dynasty: the Roman and Sassanid Empires and the partition of the Kingdom of Armenia.
- The reasons of the fall of the kingdom.
 
Readings:
1. Adontz Nicholas, Armenia in the Period of Justinian: the Political Conditions Based on the Naxarar System, Translated with partial revisions, a bibliographical note, and appendices by Nina G. Garsoïan, Lisbon, 1970.
2. A History of Armenia, edited by Vahan M. Kurkjian, New York, Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1958 (reprinted in 1964).
3. Moses Khorenats'i, History of the Armenians, trans. R. Thomson, Harvard UP, 1978. 
4. Sarkissian Gaguik, The "History of Armenia" by Movses Khorenatzi. Trans. by Gourgen A. Gevorkian. Yerevan, Yerevan University Press, 1991.
5. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, edited by R. Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
 
Assignment 2. Please, answer the following questions (2-3 pages in sum)
- Do you agree with Arsac II’s domestic policy? Substantiate your answer.
- What kind of foreign policy should the late Arsacid kings hold? Substantiate your answer.
- What are the main reasons of the fall of the Arsacid dynasty? Can we state that the Arsacid Kingdom of Armenia could maintain independence? Substantiate your answer.
 
Class 3.  the Armenian Naxarar State System (A.D. 428-885)
- The state system of Armenia after the fall of the kingdom: naxarars as the main feature of the post kingdom state system.
- The Marzpanate period.
- National liberation movements against the Sassanid and Byzantine rules (A.D. V-VI centuries).
- The Arab conquest of Armenia.
- The Ostakanate of Arminiya and the nakharars. 

Readings:
1. Adontz Nicholas, Armenia in the Period of Justinian: the Political Conditions Based on the Naxarar System, Translated with partial revisions, a bibliographical note, and appendices by Nina G. Garsoïan, Lisbon, 1970.
2. A History of Armenia, edited by Vahan M. Kurkjian, New York, Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1958 (reprinted in 1964).
3. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, edited by R. Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
 
Assignment 3. Please, answer the following questions (2-3 pages in sum)
- Do you agree with Nicholas Adontz’s concept of Naxarar State System? Substantiate your answer. 
- What was the main achievement of the national liberation movements (A.D. 450-451, 481-484) against the Sassanids? Substantiate your answer.
- What was the main goal of Justinian’s policy? Why did he encourage women rights within the Armenian naxarar system? Substantiate your answer.
- What were the main reasons of the Arab conquest of Armenia? Explain the main features of the Arab rule.
 
Class 4.  Bagratid Kingdom of Armenia (A.D. 885-1045)
- The Bagratid Dynasty and the re-establishment of the Armenian kingdom.
- The socio-economical and political development of the kingdom.
- Foreign policy: the relations with the Byzantine Empire.
- The fall of the kingdom: the main issues.
 
Readings:
1. A History of Armenia, edited by Vahan M. Kurkjian, New York, Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1958 (reprinted in 1964).
2. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, edited by R. Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
 
Assignment 4. Please, answer the following questions (2-3 pages in sum)
- How can you prove the theory that the re-establishment of the Armenian Kingdom by the Bagratid Dynasty was not by chance? Substantiate your answer.
- Describe the evolution of the relations between the Armenian Kingdom of Bagratids and the Byzantine Empire. What was the policy of the Arab Khalifate toward the Armenian Kingdom?
- What were the main reasons of the fall of the Bagratid Dynasty?
 
Class 5.  Armenia in the XI-XVII centuries: foreign invaders and national liberation movement
- The Byzantine policy in Armenia.
- The Seljuk conquest of Armenia and national liberation movement by the Zakarid noble family (Georgia as the main ally).
- The Mongol conquest of Armenia and socio-economical crisis.
- The Turkmen rule in Armenia. 
- The formation of the Armenian communities aboard.  
- The formation and rise of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, and the conquest of Armenia.
- The demographic changes, and the national liberation movement.
- The partition of Armenia between the Ottoman and Safavid Empires (A.D. 1639).

Readings:
1. A History of Armenia, edited by Vahan M. Kurkjian, New York, Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1958 (reprinted in 1964).
2. Bedrosian R., The Turco-Mongol Invasions and the Lords of Armenia in the 13-14th Centuries, Columbia University, 1979.
3. Haldon J., Byzantium at War, 2003. 
4. Minorsky Vl., Studies in Caucasian History, New York, Taylor’s Foreign Press, 1953. 
5. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, edited by R. Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
6. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume II, Foreign Domination to Statehood: The Fifteenth Century to the Twentieth Century, edited by R. Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
 
Assignment 5. Please, answer the following questions (2-3 pages in sum)
- How can you prove that the Byzantine policy in Armenia made Armenia defenseless against Seljuks? Substantiate your answer.
- Describe the evolution of the Armenian-Georgian alliance.
- What were the main issues of the formation of the Armenian communities aboard?
- What were the main results of the partition of Armenia between the Ottoman and Safavid Empires?
 
Class 6. the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (A.D. 1080/1198-1375)
- Early Armenian migrations to Cilicia.
- The Rubenid Dynasty: from principality (A.D. 1080-1198) to kingdom (A.D. 1198-1375).
- Foreign policy and the Crusades.
- The Het’umid Dynasty: Armeno-Mongol alliance and the Egyptian Mamluks.
- Religion, and the policy of Latinizing the Armenian Church in Cilicia.
- The Lusinian Dynasty and the fall of the kingdom. 
- Cilician Armenian society: economy, cities, and culture.
 
Readings:
1. A History of Armenia, edited by Vahan M. Kurkjian, New York, Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1958 (reprinted in 1964).
2. Boase T. S. R., The Cilician Kingdom of Armenia, Edinburgh, Scottish Academic Press, 1978. 
3. Minorsky Vl., Studies in Caucasian History, New York, Taylor’s Foreign Press, 1953. 
4. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, edited by R. Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
5. The later Crusades, 1189-1311, edited by Wolff R. L., Hazard H. W., The Kingdom of Cilician Armenia, 1969, XVIII, pp. 630-659.
 
Assignment 6. Please, answer the following questions (2-3 pages in sum)
- How can you prove that the Kingdom of Cilicia was of the Armenian origin? Substantiate your answer.
- Describe the evolution of the Armenian state in Cilicia (from principality to kingdom).
- What was the main role of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in the history of Armenian civilization? Substantiate your answer.
- How do you evaluate the Armeno-Mongol alliance? Was it a diplomatic failure or an achievement? Substantiate your answer.
- Can we consider Cilicia’s pro-western foreign policy as not proven? Substantiate your answer. 
- What were the main reasons of the fall of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia? 
 
Class 7. the Armenian culture in the Middle Ages
- The invention of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots, and the Golden Age of the Armenian culture.
- The development of the Armenian culture in the Bagratid Armenia and the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.
- The Armenian culture in the late Middle Ages. 
 
Readings:
1. Adontz Nicholas, Armenia in the Period of Justinian: the Political Conditions Based on the Naxarar System, Translated by Nina G. Garsoïan, Lisbon, 1970.
2. A History of Armenia, edited by Vahan M. Kurkjian, New York, Armenian General Benevolent Union of America, 1958 (reprinted in 1964).
3. The Armenian People from Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I, The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, edited by R. Hovannisian, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1997.
 
Assignment 7. Please, answer the following questions (2-3 pages in sum)
- What was the political benefit of the invention of the Armenian alphabet? Substantiate your answer.
- Do you agree with the concept of the Golden Age of the Armenian culture? Substantiate your answer.
- Describe the evolution of the Armenian culture from the early to the late middle ages.
 
Class 8. Closing exam 
Based on your interest, please choose any topic discussed within this course module and elaborate research paper (10-12 pages).
Դուք այստեղ եք: Ուսումնական ծրագրեր Հայագիտություն History of Medieval Armenia