Classical Armenian Online

Lesson 4

Todd B. Krause, John A.C. Greppin, and Jonathan Slocum

Arsacid Reign

During the first century A.D., Armenia was a pendulum swinging between Rome and Parthia. When Vologeses I, an Arsacid, finally took the Parthian throne in 51 A.D., he took advantage of Armenian revolts against Roman rule to occupy Armenia and set his younger brother Trdat (Tiridates) on the throne. The Roman emperor Nero responded by sending Corbulo, his general, to retake Armenia. The venture succeeded, and, when Trdat fled to Persia, Nero installed Tigranes, a descendant of Herod the Great, as ruler of Armenia. Vologeses again attempted to take Armenia in 62 A.D.; he managed to drive back the Romans, but did not secure his hold on Armenia until 64 A.D., when an agreement was struck whereby Dsopk and Greater Armenia were to be ruled by members of the Arsacid line of Parthia, but would receive their crowns from Rome. In 66 B.C. Trdat received his crown in Rome and so began the Parthian Arsacid, or Arshakuni, rule of Armenia.

Under Arsacid rule, Armenia received a constant influx of noble families from the Parthian empire, particularly from Persia. Persian and Parthian became common languages in the upper echelons of society, and many Persian loanwords entered Armenian during this period. A feudal social structure was introduced, where high-ranking noble families were granted hereditary administrative positions and fiefdoms in return for military service. This created a hierarchy within the nobility, out of which a king would be chosen as chief of the nobles.

It was the Roman emperor Trajan who finally broke the treaty with Parthia by invading Armenia in 114 A.D. Trajan pushed farther and eventually took the Parthian capital Ctesiphon in 116 A.D., but with his death in 117 A.D. and the rise of Hadrian to the Roman throne, the compromise with the Parthians was restored and the Parthian Vagharsh I was placed in charge of Armenia. He ruled Armenia until 140 A.D. After a few intervening Roman and Persian rulers, the Parthian prince Vagharsh II assumed the throne of Armenia in 186 A.D. In 191 A.D. he assumed the Persian throne and named his son Khosrov I to the Armenian throne. Khosrov was subsequently captured by the Romans, who installed one of their own to take charge of Armenia. However the Armenians themselves revolted against their Roman overlords, and, in a new Rome-Parthia compromise, Khosrov's son, Trdat II (217 - 252 A.D.), was made king of Armenia.

The political situation in Parthia began to decline and a smallpox outbreak left the economy so weak that in 224 A.D. Ardeshir overthrew the Arsacids and began the new Sasanid dynasty. The Sasanids were determined to restore the old glory of Achaemenid Persia, making Zoroastrianism the state religion and claiming Armenia as part of the empire. To preserve the autonomy of Arshakuni rule in Armenia, Trdat II sought friendly relations with Rome. This was an unfortunate choice, because the Sasanid king Shapur I (240 - 270 A.D.) defeated the Romans and struck a peace with the emperor Philip, whereby Rome acquiesced to paying tribute and relinquishing control of Greater Armenia. In 252 A.D. Shapur invaded Armenia and, forcing Trdat to flee, installed his own son Hurmazd on the Armenian throne. When Shapur died in 270 A.D., Hurmazd took the Persian throne and his brother Narseh ruled Armenia in his stead. Under Diocletian, Rome tried to install Khosrov II as ruler of Armenia, and between 279 and 287 A.D. he was in possession of the western parts of Armenian territory. But the Sasanids stirred some nobles to revolt, killing Khosrov in the process. When Narseh left to take the Persian throne in 293 A.D., Khosrov's murderer was installed on the Armenian throne. Rome nevertheless defeated Narseh in 298 A.D., and Khosrov's son Trdat III regained control of Armenia with the support of Roman soldiers.

The Christian Religion in Armenia

Christianity, as a marginalized religion, seems to have spread to Armenia as early as the first century A.D. Its presence in Armenia continued to grow over the following two centuries. But the Sasanid sanctioning of Zoroastrianism to the exclusion of all other religions threatened this situation. In the Roman provinces, however, the emperor Constantine's Edict of Milan, issued in 313 A.D., made tolerance for the Christian religion into law. Rome being Armenia's strongest ally, this edict and the desire to resist the Sasanid fervor for Zoroastrianism probably impelled Armenia to become the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion. This likely happened around 315 A.D. (though tradition usually places the event around 301 A.D.), roughly sixty-five years before the Roman empire adopted Christianity.

Trdat is said to have been baptized by an ordained Christian named Gregory, whom he chanced upon in Caesarea before he reclaimed the throne of Armenia. When the organization of the Armenian Church was established under a feudal system, it was the family of this Gregory, later called the Illuminator, which inherited the position of catholicos, or supreme patriarch. Other nobles were typically given positions as bishops.

In 325 A.D., the emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicea, at which Gregory's son Aristakes represented Armenia. At the coucil there was debate over the position of Arius, who maintained that Christ was not of the same substance as God and therefore not divine, and of Bishops Alexander and Athanasius of Alexandria, who maintained that the substance of God and Christ was the same. The council rejected Arianism, but Constantine gave credence to the Arian views. The Armenian kings followed the models of the Byzantine rulers in espousing the Arian doctrine, putting them at odds with their own clergy. The issue was only put to rest in 381 A.D. when the emperor Theodosius accepted the ruling of the Council at Constantinople, in which the Athanasian stance was confirmed.

Reading and Textual Analysis

The History of the Life and Death of the Holy Teacher Mesrop, by Koriwn, is a quite brief biography of the spiritual leader and inventor of the Armenian alphabet. Mesrop lived from 361 to 440 A.D. Little is known of Koriwn, the biographer, or the date of the biography, but it surely was written after 440, and before 460, the year of the death of Koriwn. It is perhaps the earliest original writing in Classical Armenian. This reading is taken from Books V and VI.

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  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- And
  • այնպէս -- adverb; <այնպէս> so, thus -- thus
  • տրտմական -- adjective; undeclined form of <տրտամական> painful -- vile
  • հոգովք -- noun; instrumental plural of <հոգի> soul, spirit -- by... spirits
  • պաշարեալ -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <պաշարեմ> I ensnare, catch -- (he was) caught
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • թակարդապատեալ -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <թակարդապատեմ> I trap -- surrounded
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • անկեալ -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <անկանիմ> I fall -- fell
  • ի -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- into
  • ծուփս -- noun; accusative plural of <ծուփ> wave, rush; confustion, torment, angst -- torrents # or locative
  • խորհրդոց -- noun; genitive plural of <խորհուրդ> thought, plan; counsel -- of thoughts
  • եթէ -- conjunction; <եթե> that; if; or -- about
  • որպիսի -- interrogative adjective; undeclined form of <որպիսի> what kind (of); that kind (of), such -- what sort (of) # indirect question
  • արդեօք -- interrogative particle; <արդեաւք> indeed, truly; perhaps -- ...
  • ելս -- noun; accusative plural of <ելք> (pl.) exit, going -- escape
  • իրացն -- noun; ablative plural of <իր> thing, affair + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- from those affairs
  • գտանիցէ -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <գտանեմ> I find, get, obtain -- he might find

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  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- And
  • իբրեւ -- conjunction; <իբրեւ> when -- when
  • աւուրս -- noun; accusative plural of <աւր> day -- days
  • բազումս -- adjective; accusative plural of <բազում> much, many -- many
  • անդէն -- adverb; <անդէն> there -- there
  • ի -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- on
  • նմին -- demonstrative pronoun; locative singular of <նոյն> this, same, this same -- this
  • դեգերէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect mediopassive of <դեգերիմ> I am bothered, scattered, dispersed; I spend -- he had spent
  • յարուցեալ -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <յարնեմ> I rise up -- he rose up
  • այնուհետեւ -- adverb; <այնուհետեւ> thenceforth -- forthwith
  • հասանէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <հասանեմ> I approach, arrive; obtain -- (and)... approached
  • առ -- preposition; <առ> to, toward (a person); beside; in the time of; in addition to -- ...
  • սուրբ -- adjective; undeclined form of <սուրբ> holy, blessed -- the holy
  • կաթողիկոս -- noun; accusative singular of <կաթողիկոս> catholicos -- Catholicos
  • Հայոց -- adjective used as substantive; genitive plural of <Հայ> Armenian -- of... Armenia
  • մեծաց -- adjective; genitive plural of <մեծ> great, big -- greater
  • որոյ -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <որ> who, what, which -- whose
  • անունն -- noun; nominative singular of <անուն> name + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- name
  • ճանաչէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect mediopassive of <ճանաչեմ> I know, understand -- was known
  • Սահակ -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Սահակ> Sahak -- (as) Sahak
  • զոր -- direct object marker; <զ՟> ... + relative pronoun; accusative singular of <որ> who, what, which -- whom
  • պատրաստական -- adjective; accusative singular of <պատրաստական> ready, willing, predisposed -- willing
  • գտանէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <գտանեմ> I find, get, obtain -- he found
  • նմին -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular of <նոյն> this, same, this same -- to this
  • փութոյ -- noun; dative singular of <փոյթ> hurry; eagerness; worry; interest -- concern
  • հաւանեալ -- verb; past participle accusative singular of <հաւանիմ> I agree, concur, accede -- having acceded

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  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- And
  • միանգամայն -- adverb; <միանգամայն> all together; totally; at once -- all together
  • յօժարութեամբ -- noun; instrumental singular of <յօժարութիւն> inclination, predisposition, tendency -- thus inclined
  • գումարեալ -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <գումարեմ> I assemble -- assembled
  • հանդերձ -- preposition; <հանդերձ> with, together with -- with
  • աղօթիւք -- noun; instrumental plural of <աղաւթք> (pl.) prayers -- prayers
  • մեծովք -- adjective; instrumental plural of <մեծ> great, big -- powerful
  • առ -- preposition; <առ> to, toward (a person); beside; in the time of; in addition to -- to
  • Աստուած -- proper noun; accusative singular of <Աստուած> God -- God
  • կանխէին -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <կանխեմ> I rise up; rush, hurry; go first -- they rose up
  • վասն -- preposition; <վասն> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- for
  • ամենայն -- adjective; undeclined form of <ամենայն> all, every -- all the
  • ոգւոց -- noun; genitive plural of <հոգի> soul, spirit -- for... souls
  • քրիստոսաբեր -- adjective; undeclined form of <կրիստոսաբեր> Christ-borne -- Christ-borne
  • փրկութեանն -- noun; genitive singular of <փրկութիւն> salvation + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- salvation
  • հասանելոյ -- verb; infinitive genitive singular of <հասանեմ> I approach, arrive; obtain -- obtaining # genitive after վասն
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • զայն -- direct object marker; <զ՟> ... + demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular of <այն> that, that over there -- this
  • առնէին -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <առնեմ> I do, make -- they continued to do
  • աւուրս -- noun; accusative plural of <աւր> day -- (for)... days
  • բազումս -- adjective; accusative plural of <բազում> much, many -- many

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  • ապա -- conjunction; <ապա> but; then, afterwards, later -- Then
  • ելանէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <ելանեմ> I come, go up -- it occurred
  • նոցա -- pronoun; dative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- to them
  • պարգեւական -- adjective; nominative singular of <պարգեւական> granted, sent -- granted
  • յամենաբարին -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of + adjective; undeclined form of <ամենաբար> bountiful + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- by benevolent
  • Աստուծոյ -- proper noun; ablative singular of <Աստուած> God -- God
  • ժողովել -- verb; infinitive nominative singular of <ժողովեմ> I assemble, gather -- to collect
  • զաշխարհահոգ -- direct object marker; <զ՟> ... + adjective; undeclined form of <աշխարհահոգ> caring for the land, patriotic -- patriotic
  • խորհուրդն -- noun; accusative singular <խորհուրդ> thought, plan; counsel + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- the... counsel
  • երանելի -- adjective; undeclined form of <երանելի> blessed -- blessed
  • միաբանելոցն -- noun; genitive plural of <միաբանեալ> monk + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- of the... monks
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • գիրս -- noun; accusative plural of <գիր> writing, text -- letters
  • նշանագրոյ -- noun; genitive singular of <նշանագիր> alphabet -- of the alphabet
  • Հայաստան -- proper noun; <Հայաստան> Armenia -- Armenian # instead of Հայաստանի?
  • ազգին -- noun; dative singular of <ազգ> nation, people + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- for the... people
  • հասանել -- verb; infinitive nominative singular of <հասանեմ> I approach, arrive; obtain -- to obtain
  • բազում -- adjective; undeclined form of <բազում> much, many -- a great
  • հարց -- noun; accusative singular of <հարց> examination, question, questioning -- examination
  • փորձի -- noun; genitive singular of <փորձ> attempt, test, experiment; experience -- of experiment
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • քննութեան -- noun; genitive singular of <քննութիւն> examination, test; investigation, search; study -- investigation
  • զանձինս -- direct object marker; <զ՟> ... + noun; accusative plural of <անձն> person, soul, self -- themselves
  • պարապեցուցեալ -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <պարապեցուցանեմ> I devote myself to -- having devoted... to # causative of պարապիմ 'occupy oneself with, devote oneself to' + dative object
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- and
  • բազում -- adjective; undeclined form of <բազում> much, many -- great
  • աշխատութեանց -- noun; dative plural of <աշխատութիւն> labor -- labors
  • համբերեալ -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <համբերեմ> I suffer, endure -- having endured # with dative object
  • ազդ -- noun; accusative singular of <ազդ> notice, advice; report, news; communication, announcement -- an announcement
  • առնէին -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <առնեմ> I do, make -- they made
  • ապա -- conjunction; <ապա> but; then, afterwards, later -- then
  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- ...
  • զկանխագոյն -- preposition; <զ՟> during; for; concerning; around, about + adjective used as substantive; accusative singular of <կանխագոյն> before, earlier -- ...
  • խնդրելին -- verbal adjective; undeclined form of <խնդրեմ> I search, seek + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- searching # see Section 18.4 for verbal adjectives
  • իւրեանց -- reflexive pronoun; genitive plural of <իւր> him-, her-, it-self -- their own # lit. 'of themselves searching, of their searching selves'
  • թագաւորին -- noun; dative singular of <թագաւոր> king + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- to the king
  • Հայոց -- adjective used as substantive; genitive plural of <Հայ> Armenian -- of the Armenians
  • որոյ -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <որ> who, what, which -- whose
  • անուն -- noun; nominative singular of <անուն> name -- name
  • կոչէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect mediopassive of <կոչեմ> I call, name -- was called
  • Վռամշապուհ -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Վռամշապուհ> Vramshapuh -- Vramshapuh

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  • յայնժամ -- adverb; <յայնժամ> at that time, then -- Then
  • պատմէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <պատմեմ> I report, tell -- told
  • նոցա -- pronoun; dative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- them
  • արքայն -- noun; nominative singular of <արքայ> archon, leader, king + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- the king
  • վասն -- preposition; <վասն> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- about
  • առն -- noun; genitive singular of <այր> man -- a... man
  • ուրումն -- adjective; genitive singular of <ոմն> some, certain -- certain
  • ասորւոյ -- adjective; genitive singular of <ասորի> Assyrian, Syrian -- an Assyrian
  • եպիսկոպոսի -- noun; genitive singular of <եպիսկոպոս> bishop -- bishop
  • ազնուականի -- adjective; genitive singular of <ազնուական> noble, of noble origin -- of noble origin
  • Դանիէլ -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Դանիէլ> Daniel -- Daniel # nominative case used for quoting the name
  • անուն -- noun; accusative singular of <անուն> name -- by name # accusative of անուն commonly used in the sense 'with name' or 'by name'
  • կոչեցելոյ -- verb; past participle genitive singular of <կոչեմ> I call, name -- called
  • որոյ -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <որ> who, what, which -- of whom # genitive subject; supply participial construction գտեալ ե՛ր 'was having found, had found, had devised'
  • յանկարծ -- adverb; <յանկարծ> unexpectedly, suddenly -- ...
  • ուրեմն -- adverb; <ուրեմն> somewhere; then, consequently; about, roughly; certainly -- elsewhere
  • նշանագիրս -- noun; accusative plural of <նշանագիր> alphabet -- letters
  • աղփաբետաց -- noun; genitive plural of <աղփաբետ> alphabet -- of the alphabet
  • հայերէն -- adjective; undeclined form of <հայերէն> Armenian; Armenian (language) -- Armenian
  • լեզուի -- noun; dative singular of <լեզու> language, tongue -- for the... language # or genitive

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  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- And
  • իբրեւ -- conjunction; <իբրեւ> when -- when
  • պատմեցաւ -- verb; 3rd singular aorist mediopassive of <պատմեմ> I report, tell -- it was related
  • նոցա -- pronoun; dative plural of <նա> he, she, it -- to them
  • յարքայէ -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of + noun; ablative singular of <արքայ> archon, leader, king -- by the king
  • վասն -- preposition; <վասն> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- about
  • գրելոյն -- verb; infinitive genitive singular of <գրեմ> I write + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- the writing
  • ի -- preposition; <ի> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- from
  • Դանիէլէ -- proper noun; ablative singular of <Դանիէլ> Daniel -- Daniel
  • յօժարեցին -- verb; 3rd plural aorist of <յաւժարեմ> I stimulate, prompt; persuade -- they prompted
  • զարքայ -- direct object marker; <զ՟> ... + noun; accusative singular of <արքայ> archon, leader, king -- the king
  • փոյթ -- noun; accusative singular of <փոյթ> hurry; eagerness; worry; interest -- care
  • առնել -- verb; infinitive used as complement <առնեմ> I do, make -- to take
  • վասն -- preposition; <վասն> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- according to
  • պիտոյիցն -- noun; genitive plural of <պիտոյ> need + demonstrative suffix; <՟ն> that, that over there, the -- needs
  • այնոցիկ -- emphatic pronoun; genitive plural of <այն> that, that over there -- their

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  • եւ -- conjunction; <եւ> and; even, also, too -- And
  • նա -- pronoun; nominative singular of <նա> he, she, it -- he # the king
  • առաքէր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <առաքեմ> I send -- he sent
  • զոմն -- direct object marker; <զ՟> ... + pronoun; accusative singular of <ոմն> some, certain -- someone
  • Վահրիճ -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Վահրիճ> Vahrich -- Vahrich
  • անուն -- noun; accusative singular of <անուն> name -- by name # accusative of անուն commonly used in the sense 'with name' or 'by name'
  • հրովարտակօք -- noun; instrumental plural of <հրովարտակ> writing; order, decree -- by decree
  • առ -- preposition; <առ> to, toward (a person); beside; in the time of; in addition to -- to
  • այր -- noun; accusative singular of <այր> man -- man
  • մի -- adjective; accusative singular of <մի> one -- an
  • երէց -- adjective; accusative singular of <երէց> elderly -- elderly
  • որոյ -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <որ> who, what, which -- whose
  • անուն -- noun; accusative singular of <անուն> name -- name
  • Հաբէլ -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Հաբել> Habel -- Habel # or accusative; see comment on Դանիէլ above
  • կոչէին -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <կոչեմ> I call, name -- they called
  • որ -- relative pronoun; nominative singular of <որ> who, what, which -- who
  • էր -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <եմ> I am -- was
  • մերձաւոր -- noun; nominative singular of <մերձաւոր> acquaintance -- an acquaintance
  • Դանիէլի -- proper noun; genitive singular of <Դանիէլ> Daniel -- of... Daniel
  • ասորւոյ -- adjective; genitive singular of <ասորի> Assyrian, Syrian -- the Assyrian
  • եպիսկոպոսի -- noun; genitive singular of <եպիսկոպոս> bishop -- bishop

Lesson Text

Եւ այնպէս տրտմական հոգովք պաշարեալ եւ թակարդապատեալ եւ անկեալ ի ծուփս խորհրդոց, եթէ որպիսի արդեօք ելս իրացն գտանիցէ : Եւ իբրեւ աւուրս բազումս անդէն ի նմին դեգերէր, յարուցեալ այնուհետեւ հասանէր առ սուրբ Կաթողիկոս Հայոց մեծաց, որոյ անունն ճանաչէր Սահակ, զոր պատրաստական գտանէր, նմին փութոյ հաւանեալ : Եւ միանգամայն յօժարութեամբ գումարեալ հանդերձ աղօթիւք մեծովք առ Աստուած կանխէին, վասն ամենայն ոգւոց քրիստոսաբեր փրկութեանն հասանելոյ։ եւ զայն առնէին աւուրս բազումս : Ապա ելանէր նոցա պարգեւական յամենաբարին Աստուծոյ ժողովել զաշխարհահոգ խորհուրդն երանելի միաբանելոցն, եւ գիրս նշանագրոյ Հայաստան ազգին հասանել։ բազում հարց փորձի եւ քննութեան զանձինս պարապեցուցեալ, եւ բազում աշխատութեանց համբերեալ, ազդ առնէին ապա եւ զկանխագոյն խնդրելին իւրեանց թագաւորին Հայոց, որոյ անուն կոչէր Վռամշապուհ : Յայնժամ պատմէր նոցա արքայն, վասն առն ուրումն ասորւոյ եպիսկոպոսի ազնուականի՝ Դանիէլ անուն կոչեցելոյ, որոյ յանկարծ ուրեմն նշանագիրս աղփաբետաց հայերէն լեզուի : Եւ իբրեւ պատմեցաւ նոցա յարքայէ վասն գրելոյն ի Դանիէլէ, յօժարեցին զարքայ՝ փոյթ առնել վասն պիտոյիցն այնոցիկ : Եւ նա առաքէր զոմն Վահրիճ անուն հրովարտակօք առ այր մի երէց, որոյ անուն Հաբէլ կոչէին։ որ էր մերձաւոր Դանիէլի ասորւոյ եպիսկոպոսի :


And thus he was caught and surrounded by vile spirits and fell into torrents of thoughts about what sort of escape he might find from those affairs. And when he had spent many days there upon this, he rose up and forthwith approached the holy Catholicos of greater Armenia, whose name was known as Sahak, whom he found willing, having acceded to this concern. And thus inclined, assembled together, they rose up with powerful prayers to God for obtaining Christ-borne salvation for all the souls; and they continued to do this for many days. Then it occurred to them, granted by benevolent God, to collect the patriotic counsel of the blessed monks and to obtain letters of the alphabet for the Armenian people; having devoted themselves to a great examination of experiment and investigation, and having endured great labors, they then made an announcement of their own searching to the king of the Armenians, whose name was called Vramshapuh. Then the king told them about a certain man called Daniel by name, an Assyrian bishop of noble origin, who had elsewhere devised letters of the alphabet for the Armenian language. And when this was related to them by the king about the writing from Daniel, they prompted the king to take care according to their needs. And by decree he sent someone, Vahrich by name, to an elderly man whose name they called Habel, who was an acquaintance of the Assyrian bishop Daniel.


16 Reciprocal, Collective and Distributive Pronouns
16.1 Reciprocal Pronouns

There are two reciprocal pronouns, միմեանս and իրեարս, both meaning 'each other, one another'. միմեանս is the more common pronoun. These are found only in the plural, and only in oblique cases. Their declensions are as follows.

N Pl.   միմեանս   իրեարս
Ac   միմեանս   իրեարս
G   միմեանց   իրերաց
D   միմեանց   իրերաց
L   միմեանս   իրեարս
Ab   միմեանց   իրերաց
I   միմեամբք   իրերաւք

Note the change եա > ե in the accusative, locative, and instrumental forms.

Examples are եւ հրաժարեցաք ի միմեանց 'and we took leave of each other'; զի սիրիցէք զմիմեանս 'that you may love each other'; եին հակառակք իրերաց 'they were opposites to each other'.

16.2 Collective Pronouns

A collective suffix -քեան, chiefly used with the numerals, is also used with the adjectives ամեն 'all' and բոլոր 'the entire' to form collective pronouns. These new pronouns, ամենեքեան 'everyone, all the individuals' and բոլորեքեան 'all together', have only plural forms.

    ամենեքեան   բոլորեքեան
    'everyone, all individuals'   'all together'
N Pl.   ամենեքեան, ամենեքին   բոլորեքեան, բոլորեքին
Ac   ամենեսեան, ամենեսին   բոլորեսեան, բոլորեսին
G   ամենեցուն, ամենեցունց   բոլորեցուն, բոլորեցունց
D   ամենեցուն, ամենեցունց   բոլորեցուն, բոլորեցունց
L   ամենեսեան, ամենեսին   բոլորեսեան, բոլորեսին
Ab   ամենեցուն, ամենեցունց   բոլորեցուն, բոլորեցունց
I   ամենեքումբք   բոլորեքումբք
16.3 Distributive Pronoun

The word իւրաքանչիւր 'each individually' is used in a distributive sense both as an adjective and as a substantive. As a substantive it is usually followed by ոք. Examples are կալան զիւրաքանչիւր իշխանութիւն 'they held each one his own principality'; եւ նա իւրաքանչիւր ումեք ի նոցանէ դնէր ձեռս 'and he placed hands on each one of them'.

17 Numerals
17.1 Cardinal Numbers

The numbers մի 'one', երկու 'two', երեք 'three', and չորք 'four' are adjectives which are declined whether preceding or following the noun they modify. Of course մի occurs only in the singular and is sometimes used as the indefinite adjective 'a, an' when placed after the noun: այր մի 'a man'. The numbers երկու, երեկ, and չորք occur only in the plural. Their declensions are as follows.

    մի   երկու   երեք   չորք
    'one'   'two'   'three'   'four'
N   մի   երկու, երկուք   երեք   չորք
Ac   մի   երկուս   երիս   չորս
G   միոյ, միոջ   երկուց   երից   չորից
D   միում, միոջ   երկուց   երից   չորից
L   միում, միոջ   երկուս   երիս   չորս
Ab   միոյ, միոջէ   երկուց   երից   չորից
I   միով   երկուք   երիւք   չորիւք

The numerals 5 through 10 remain uninflected in the N Ac L, and are usually only declined in the other cases when they follow the noun they qualify. Their declensions are as follows.

    հինգ   վեց   եւթն   ութ   ինն   տասն
    5   6   7   8   9   10
N Pl.   հինգ   վեց   եւթն   ութ   ինն   տասն
Ac   հինգ   վեց   եւթն   ութ   ինն   տասն
G   հնգից, հնգաց   վեցից   եւթանց   ութից   ըննից, ինունց   տասանց, տասին
D   հնգից, հնգաց   վեցից   եւթանց   ութից   ըննից, ինունց   տասանց, տասին
L   հինգ   վեց   եւթն   ութ   ինն   տասն
Ab   հնգից, հնգաց   վեցից   եւթանց   ութից   ըննից, ինունց   տասանց, տասին
I   հնգիւք, կնգաւք   վեցիւք   եւթամբք   ութիւք   ըննիւք, ինամբք, իննամբք   տասամբք, տասամբ

All remaining numbers are typically not declined unless used as substantives, and if inflected, only in the G D Ab I. When declined, the numbers 11 through 16 follow the declension of հինգ, and 17 through 19 follow տասն -- that is, only տասն is inflected. The numbers 11 through 19 are listed below.

  • 11. մետասան, մետասանից
  • 12. երկոտասան, -ից
  • 13. երեքտասան, -ից
  • 14. չորեքտասան, -ից
  • 15. հնգետասան, -ից
  • 16. վեշտասան, -ից
  • 17. եւթն եւ տասն, եւթն եւ տասանց
  • 18. ութ եւ տասն, ... տասանց
  • 19. ինն եւ տասն, ... տասանց

The tens, when declined, have have G D Ab Sg. -ի, Pl. -ից and I Sg. -իւ, Pl. -իւք. After 20, the tens are formed by means of the suffix -սուն. The tens are listed below.

  • 20. քսան
  • 30. երեսուն
  • 40. քառասուն
  • 50. յիսուն
  • 60. վաթսուն
  • 70. եւթանասուն
  • 80. ութսուն
  • 90. իննսուն

The word հարիւր 'one hundred' is the basis for the ensuing multiples of 100; 200, 300, ..., 900 are composites built from հարիւր. When declined, these numbers have G D Ab Sg. -ոյ, Pl. -ոց and I Sg. -ով, Pl. -ովք. The word հազար 'one thousand' follows the ա-declension of invariable stem nouns, e.g. ամ, with G Sg. հազարի and Pl. հազարաց. բեւր 'ten thousand', also written բիւր, follows the ու-declension of invariable stem nouns, cf. ծով. Thus it has G Sg. բիւրոյ, Pl. բիւրոց. The hundreds and above are listed below,

  • 100. հարիւր
  • 200. երկերիւր
  • 300. երեքհարիւր
  • 400. չորեքհարիւր
  • 500. հինգհարիւր
  • 600. վեցհարիւր
  • 700. եւթնհարիւր
  • 800. ութհարիւր
  • 900. իննհարիւր
  • 1,000. հազար, G Sg. հազարի, Pl. հազարաց
  • 2,000. երկու հազար
  • ...
  • 10,000. բեւր or բիւր, G Sg. բիւրոյ, Pl. բիւրոց

When compound numbers are formed, the larger numbers are placed first and the last number joined after the conjunction եւ, much as in English. For example,

  • 99. իննսուն եւ ինն;
  • 1,335. հազար երեք հարիւր երեսուն եւ հինգ;
  • 41,500. քառասուն եւ մի հազար եւ հինգ հարիւր.

When the cardinal number is inflected, the substantive which it modifies is inflected: զ-երիս աւուրս 'for three days'; ի չորց հողմոց 'from the four winds'. When the cardinal number is uninflected, the substantive is often in the singular after the number: ի վերայ տասն քաղաքի 'over ten cities'; but եւթն կրեշտակագ'ն 'to the seven angels'. When the cardinal number follows the substantive, the substantive is declined, the numeral may be or may not: առաքելոցն երկոտասանց 'of the twelve apostles' (both declined); լուցս հինգ 'five yokes' (only substantive declined); ոգիս եւթանասուն եւ հինգ 'seventy-five souls' (only substantive declined).

Note several numerals may slightly change form when in compounds. For example, երկու 'two' gives երկոտասան 'twelve' and երկեամ (< երկի + ամ) 'two-year period', երկսայրի 'double-edged'; երեք 'three' gives եռապատիկ 'triple'; չորք 'four' gives չորեքտասան 'fourteen', չորեքհարիւր 'four hundred', չորեքկին 'quadruple'. Note also the element քառ 'four' used in compounds, e.g. քառասուն 'forty', քարանիւթ 'composed of the four elements'.

17.2 Ordinal Numbers

The ordinal առաջիմ 'first' is declined in the same manner as իմ 'my, mine':

N Sg.   առաջիմ
Ac   առաջիմ
G   առաջնոյ
D   առաջնոյ
L   առաջնում
Ab   առաջնմէ
I   առաջնով

The remaining ordinals are formed by means of the suffix -րորդ, for 2 through 4, or -երորդ, from 5 onward. This inflects as ամ, according to the ա-declension of invariable stems. The first few ordinals are as follows.

  • 2nd երկրորդ
  • 3rd երրորդ
  • 4th չորրորդ
  • 5th հինգերորդ, without reduction of -ի-
  • 6th վեցերորդ
  • ...

The form առաջնորդ occurs as a substantive meaning 'leader'.

In forming ordinals from numbers containing եւ, typically only the last numeral takes the ordinal suffix. This however is not a hard and fast rule, different authors even using different conventions for the same number:

  • 24th քսան եւ չորրորդ;
  • 66th վաթսուներորդ վեցերորդ.

Ordinals, when modifying nouns, obey the usual rules for adjectives discussed in the first lesson. Note however that at times a cardinal number is found where an ordinal might be expected.

17.3 Collective, Multiplicative, Iterative, Distributive, and Fractional Forms

Classical Armenian makes use of several suffixes to further shade the meaning of numerals.


The suffixes -քեան and -քին denote a collective use of numerals:

  • երկոքեան 'both';
  • երեքեան 'all three';
  • չորեքեան 'all four';
  • հինգեքեան 'all five', without reduction of -ի-;
  • ... .

Sample declensions are as follows.

    երկոքեան   երեքեան   երկոքին
    'both'   'all three'   'both'
N   երկոքեան   երեքեան   երկոքին
Ac   երկոքեան   երեքեան   երկոսին
G   երկոցունց, երկոցուն   երեցունց   երկոցունց
D   երկոցունց, երկոցուն   երեցունց   երկոցունց
L   երկոքեան   երեքեան   երկոսին
Ab   երկոցունց, երկոցուն   երեցունց   երկոցունց
I   երկոքումբք   երեքումբք   երկոքումբք

Abstract Collectives

The suffix -եակ, with genitive -եակաց, is used to form abstract collectives, e.g. երրեակ 'trinity', տասնեակ 'decade', հարիւրեակ 'the (entire) hundred'.


The suffixes -կին, -կրկին, and -պատիկ are used to form multiples of numerals: երեքկին 'threefold', հինգկրկին 'five-fold', հարիւրապատիկ 'hundred-fold'. Note երեքկին has G Sg. երեքնի or երեքնոյ, Pl. երեկնաց. Such multiplicative forms may be found in verbs: երեքկնեմ 'I repeat three times'.


The suffixes -իցս and -(ե)կին may be used as iteratives: երկիցս 'twice', եւթանասնեկին 'seventy times'.


Distributive meaning is often conveyed through doubling of the numeral: մի մի 'one each'. The same effect, however, may also be gained by use of the collective forms: երկոքեան 'two each'.


Fractions are for the most part denoted by the ordinal, e.g. երրորդ '(a) third'.

17.4 Numeral Interrogative and Iterative Adverb

The question of quantity is specified through the use of the word քան՞ի 'how much?, how many?': քան՞ի նկանակ ունիք 'how many loaves have you?' The same word, քանի, may be used in an exclamatory role: քանի վարձկանք իցեն ի տան հաւր իմոյ հացալիցք 'how many hired servants there are in my father's house sated with bread!'

There is a similar distinction made with the iterative adverb քանիցս. In an interrogative role it has the sense of 'how often?, how many times?': քան՞իցս անգամ եթե մեղիցէ ինձ եղբայր իմ, եւ թողից նմա 'how many times, if my brother sins against me, shall I forgive him?' When not used interrogatively, it may have the sense 'as often as': քանիցս անգամ եթե ուտիցէք զհացս զայս եւ զբաժակս ըմպիցէք 'as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup'.

18 Participle, Infinitive, and Verbal Adjectives
18.1 Participle Formation

Classical Armenian has one true participle. This is a past participle formed from the aorist stem by addition of the ending -եալ. This is then declined according to the ո-declension, e.g. N Ac Sg. ասացեալ, G D Ab Sg. ասացելոյ (from *-եալ-ոյ), etc. For verbs whose presents are formed with simple -եմ or -իմ, the stem may lack the -եց suffix of the aorist. When simple present stems are paired with root aorists, the participle is formed from the simple verbal root as expected. Examples are given below.

    Present   Aorist   Participle
    գրեմ 'I write'   գրեցի   գրեալ
    բազմիմ 'I sit'   բազմեցայ   բազմեալ
    հայիմ 'I look'   հայեցայ   հայեցեալ
    կոչեմ 'I call'   կոչեցի   կոչեցեալ, կոչեալ
    հանեմ 'I draw'   հանի   հանեալ
    նստիմ 'I sit down'   նստայ   նստեալ
    թողում 'I let'   թողի   թողեալ

Root aorists in -եայ, built from original ի-stems as in փախեայ 'I fled' < *փախի-այ and սարտեայ 'I startled' < *սարտի-այ, do not form participles from this stem. The participle is instead formed from the corresponding causative base: փախ-ուց-եալ 'having fled', from փախուցանեմ 'I put to flight, chase', supplies the participle for փախչիմ 'I flee'. Aorist stems in -ու- are not defective in this manner, simply adding -եալ to the stem: տու-եալ 'given' from ետու, aorist of տամ 'I give'; երդու-եալ 'having sworn' from երդուայ, aorist of երդնում 'I swear'.

18.2 Participle Usage

The Classical Armenian participle is a past participle and makes no distinction between active or passive voice. For example ասացեալ 'having spoken' or 'having been said'; մեռեալ 'dead'; բերեալ 'having carried' or 'having been carried'. The participle may be inflected to function as an attributive or predicate adjective, e.g. զտուեալ հրամանս կատարէր 'he fulfilled the commands that had been given'. It may also be used as a substantive: ասացեալք մարգարէին 'the sayings of the prophet, the prophet's words'; ընկալայ զգրեալս քո 'I received your letter'.

The participle may also be used in periphrastic verbal constructions to denote completed actions. The tense of such constructions follows that of the auxiliary verb, present tense of the auxiliary yielding a perfect construction, imperfect auxiliary yielding a pluperfect. A future perfect is found with the subjunctive of եմ 'I am'. Some statements may omit the auxiliary altogether. In these constructions, the form of the participle remains unaltered, even in the plural. Examples are հրամայեալ է յԱստուածոյ զի... 'it is commanded by God that...'; թո'\եալ լիցին մեղք քո 'may your sins be forgiven'; ժամանակ իմ չեւ է հասեալ 'my time has not yet come'; ... ուր դպիրքն եւ ծերք ժողովեալ եին '... where the scribes and elders had gathered'.

There is a noteworthy construction involving what is termed the genitive subject. The participle may be used in an impersonal construction, whereby the -եալ from remains in the singular with a singular copula, and takes an accusative object. The subject, however, is placed in the genitive. For example, եկեղեցին զոր շինեալ էր մեծին Գրիգորի 'the church which Gregory the great had built'; եւ զայս ո՞չ է ընթերցեալ ձեր 'and have you not read this?'; արկեալ էր նոցա ուռկանս ի ծով 'they had thrown (their) nets into the lake'. Such expression seems to have arisen as a sort of possessive construct, with a phrase like նորա (Gen.) է գործեալ 'his is (the thing) done' > 'he has done' in parallel to նորա (Gen.) է հանդերձ 'his is clothing' > 'he has clothing'.

The -եալ participle may be used in conjunction with another finite verb where English might have two separate finite verbs, e.g. մատուցեալ բորոտ մի երկիր պագանէր մնա 'a leper approached and worshipped him'. The genitive subject is sometimes found in these constructions, even though it expresses the subject of both the participle and finite verb: թողեալ Յիսուսի զժողովուրդսն եկն ի տուն 'Jesus left the crowds and went to the house'; եւ նոցա առեալ զարծաթն արարին որպէս ուսանն 'and they took the money and did as they had been told'. The -եալ participle may also be used alone as a main verb in historical narrative: զայսու ժամանակաւ միաբանեալ Ալանք... մեծաւ ամբոխիւ տարածեալ ընդ աշխարհս մեր 'about this time the Alans united... and in a great host spread over our land'.

18.3 Infinitive

There is only one infinitive in Classical Armenian, formed from the present stem by addition of the suffix -լ. The infinitive functions as a substantive and declines according to the ո-declension. It does not distinguish active and passive. The -լ ending is preceded by the characteristic vowel of a verb's conjugation, except that both ե- and ի-conjugation verbs form the infinitive with ե. For example:

Class   Present   Infinitive
ե   սիրեմ   սիրել, G սիրելոյ
ի   սիրիմ   սիրել, G սիրելոյ
ա   լամ   լալ, G լալոյ
ու   հեղում   հեղուլ, G հեղլոյ < *հեղու-լոյ
ո   (գոմ)   (գոլ, G գոլոյ)

In post-classical times a mediopassive form in -իլ developed to distinguish verbs of the ի-conjugation.

The infinitive is regularly used as a complement after certain verbs, such as կամիմ 'I wish to', ունիմ 'I have to', տամ 'I have (someone) do (something)', սկսիմ 'I begin to', երկնչիմ 'I am afraid to', թողում 'I allow to'. Certain expressions are also common with the infinitive, e.g. լաւ է 'it is good to', արժան է 'it is right to'. The infinitive may be used with verbs of motion to indicate purpose: գայր յայտնել զաւետիսն 'he came (in order) to reveal the news'. Result may be indicated by use of մինչեւ with the infinitive: մինչեւ զարմանալ ամենեցուն 'so that everyone was amazed'. Used as a substantive, the infinitive may be found in any case: միս ուտել (N) ոչ են մեղք 'eating meat is not a sin'; յառաջ քան զլինելն (A) աշխարհի 'before the world came into being'; վասն իմոյ տանջելոյ (G) ի քէն 'because I am being tortured by you'; ակն ունեին ջրոցն յուզելոյ (D) 'they were waiting for the movement of the waters'; ի բառնալ (L) տէրութեանն ձԱրտաւանայ, ի սպանանել (L) զնա Արտաշրի 'when rule was taken from Artavan and when Artashir killed him'; գտաք զսա զի արգելոյր ի տալոյ (Ab) հարկս կայսեր 'we found him preventing the giving of tribute to Caesar'; զայդ բանս ասելով (I) եւ զմեզ թշնամանես 'by saying these words you also insult us'.

The instrumental case of the infinitive is widely used, sometimes occuring where a participle might otherwise occur: աւրինադրէ թագաւորն զինքն եւ զտուն իւր, սկիզբն առնելով (I) ի գլխոյն իւրմէ եւ ի թագէ 'the king set in order his own person and his house, beginning with himself and the crown'. The infinitive may be used in the instrumenal in an absolute sense; the logical subject in these contructions is expressed by a genitive: եկն Ներսէս ի մեջ նոցա եւ արար խաղաղութիւն, լսելով նմա թագաւորին եւ նախարարացն 'Nerses came into their midst and made peace, the king and nobles obeying him'.

18.4 Verbal Adjectives

There are two verbal adjectives often termed 'participles' by grammarians. These are derived by means of the suffixes -լոց and -լի. These are added to the same present stem from which the infinitive is derived, that is, to the present tense stem without the personal endings. Neither form makes a distinction between active and passive. The verbal adjective in -լոց is generally used as a predicate and does not occur in oblique cases. Often termed the future participle or participium necessitatis, the -լոց form often connotes futurity or necessity: սիրելոց ե 'he should love, he should be loved'; որ գալոցն ե 'that which is to come, that which shall come'. The verbal adjective in -լի, termed the participle of possibility, is used as a true adjective and may be found in any case. Its declension follows that of տեղի. Examples are սիրելի 'lovable, beloved', զարմանալի 'admirable' from զարմանամ 'I marvel', ընթեռնլի 'readable' < *-նու-լի from ընթեռնում 'I read'.

Consult also the section on Word Formation in Lesson 5 for other nominalized verbal derivatives.

19 Comparison

There is one intensive suffix, -ա-գոյն, which may be added to adjectives to produce forms with comparative or superlative sense: իմաստնագոյն 'very wise' from իմաստուն 'wise'; վողագոյն 'sooner, very soon' from վող 'soon'; բարեգոյն (< *բարի-ա-գոյն) 'very good' from բերի 'good'. Otherwise, there are no separate suffixes which serve to derive comparative or superlative forms from adjectives. There are, however, some common collocations used to indicate direct or indirect comparison.

19.1 Comparative

The comparative degree may be indicated by constructions involving the adverbs աւելի 'more', առաւել 'more', եւս 'yet, still, even'. For example, եւ եւս չար պատառումն լինի 'and the split became even worse'; որ սիրէ զհայր կամ զմայր առաւել քան զիս 'whoever loves his father or mother more than me'. The last example illustrates the use of քան in the role 'than'. If the object of comparison is expressed through a noun, pronoun, or adjective, զ- is prefixed to this elements as in the preceding example. The adverbs աւելի or առաւել need not be present for քան to fulfill this comparative role: ցանկալի է նա քան զոսկի 'it is more desirable than gold'. Note that the adjective need not take any special form: փոքր է զամենայն սերմանիս 'it is smaller than all seeds'. քան may stand alone, without the prefix զ-, as in the following: լաւ է կոյր աչաւք քան կոյր մտաւք 'it is better to be blind with the eyes than blind with the mind'. քան may mark the comparative of adverbs as well as adjectives: քան ամենայս ուրեք առաւել յԵփեսոս պաշտեին զԱրտեմիս 'they (i.e. people) worshipped Artemis more in Ephesus than anywhere else'.

19.2 Superlative

The superlative degree is often denoted through constructions involving ամենայն 'all, every' or ամենեքեան 'all individuals' (cf. the section on Collective Pronouns above). An example was given in the preceding paragraph which straddles the comparative and superlative: փոքր է զամենայն սերմանիս 'it is smaller than all seeds', giving the sense 'it is the smallest of all seeds'. Another example is որ փոքրիկն է ձամենեսեան ի ձեզ 'whoever is the smallest among you all'. The notion of 'all', however, need not be expressed explicitly: գեղեցիկդ ի կանայս 'O you most beautiful among women!'

There are also special adjectival formations which elicit the sense of the superlative. The form ամեն-ա- may be prefixed to an adjective: ամենաբարի 'very good'; ամենասուրբ 'most holy'. Reduplication, or iteration, is another common means of intensifying the force of an adjective. A linking vowel -ա- often intercedes: բարձրաբարձ or բարձրաբերձ 'very high' from բարձր 'high'; մեծ մեծ or մեծամեծ 'greatest' from մեծ 'big'. Some such collocations may be used as substantives: մեծամեծք 'magnates, most important nobles'. Iteration may also intenstify adverbs: արագ արագ 'very fast'. See also the section on Word Formation in Lesson 5 for further details on iteration.

19.3 Comparative Clauses

Comparison may also be made though employment of constuctions spanning entire clauses. Some of the more common among such constructions are listed below for reference.

Correlative Comparison: The separate clauses are generally correlated by որպէս (զի)... այնպէս 'just as... , so...', though the latter conjunction is often omitted. Examples are: որպէս փափագի եղջերու յաղբերս ջուրց, այնպէս փափագի անձն իմ առ քեզ 'just as the deer yearns for the waters' springs, so my soul yearns for you'; որպէս զի ոչ ընտրեցին զԱստուած ունել ի գիտութեան, նատնեաց զնոսա Աստուած ի միտս անարգութեան 'as I did not care to hold God in esteem, so he betrayed them to a careless mind'; արար տըր, որպէս ասացն Մովսէե 'the master did as Moses had said'.

Increasing Comparison: This heading here denotes statements of the form 'better that A should B, than that C should D', where the A-B clause as a whole is compared to the C-D clause. In such statements, քան թե fills the role of the English 'than that...'. Examples are լաւ էր նմա, թե վէմ երկանաքար կախէր զպարանոցէ նորա..., քան թե գայթագղեցուցանէ զմի ոք... 'it would be better if a millstone were placed round his neck than that he should offend someone'; մեզ լաւ լիցի մեռանել քան թե ըստ աւրէնս անցանիցեմ 'it would be better for us to die than that we transgress the laws.' When the 'that that...' clause is placed first, քան may be found without թե. In this situation, քան has the sense of 'rather than that...': քան զնոսա արկանէր ի գեհեն, զնա... ընդէ՞ր ոչ արկանէր... 'rather than that he throw them into Hell... why did he not throw...?'

Correlative Increasing Comparison: Under this heading fall constructions like the English 'the more... the merrier'. Such constructions in Classical Armenian are signalled by որչափ... այնչափ or որչափ... եւս. For example, որչափ նա պատուիրէր նոցա, նոքա եւս առաւել քարոզեին 'the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed.'

Unreal Comparison: These are introduced by the conjunctions որպէս զի, իբրեւ զի թե, որպէս թե, իբրեւ թե 'as if'; իբր ոչ եթե, իբրեւ ոչ եթե 'not as if'. The verbal mood in such clauses is variable, though the subjunctive is typical following որպէս զի, որպէս թե, իբրեւ զի and the indicative is typical following the negative իբր ոչ եթե. The indicative is also found in clauses which are not negated, e.g. որպէս թե էգ ոք ինչ էր հիւղն 'as if the matter were something female.' Other examples are որպէս զի այր մի արկանիցէ սերմանիս ձերկիր 'as if a man casts seed upon the earth'; արարին իւրեանց ձեռագործ իբրեւ զի թե աներեւոյթն Աստուած ստութեանբ ինչ պաշտիցի 'they did their work as if the invisible God would be honored by falsehoods'; իբր ոչ եթե անաւրէն ինչ եի Աստուծոյ, այլ... 'not as if I was lawless before God, rather...'.

20 Time and Temporal Clauses
20.1 Time

Common words related to the expression of time are listed below:

  • ժամ, G ժամու 'hour'
  • աւր, G աւուր 'day'
  • ամիս, G ամսոյ, L ամսեան 'month'
  • ամ, G ամաց 'year'
  • ամառն, G ամարայնոյ 'summer'
  • ձմեռն, G ձմերայնոյ 'winter'
  • գարուն, G գարնայնոյ 'spring'
  • աշուն, G աշնայնոյ 'autumn'

Temporal expressions may be broken down into statements about the time at which (point) an event occurs, the time from which (origin), the time during which (expanse), and the time up to which (terminus). Each such expression is typically handled through a preposition with a corresponding nominal case. The most common are listed below.

  • at which -- ի + Locative, e.g. ի հինգերորդ ժանու 'at the fifth hour'; ի տասներորդում աւուր ամսոյն 'on the tenth day of the month'. The date is expressed by a cardinal number when աւր is omitted: ի քսան եւ չորս ամսոյն 'on the twenty-fourth of the month'. Seasons are often found without the preposition ի, thus ամարայնի or յամարայնի 'in summer'.
  • from which -- ի + Ablative, e.g. սկսեալ ի չորրորդ ամէն մինչեւ ի մետասան ամն իւրոյ տէրութեանն 'beginning from the fourth year up to the eleventh year of his reign'.
  • during which -- Accusative, with or without զ-; առ or զ- + Instrumental; ըստ + Ablative. Examples of the accusative construction are զաւուրս երիս 'for three days'; ժամ մի 'for one hour'. Examples of the instrumental construction are առ հնաւքն թգաւորաւքն 'in the time of the ancient kings'; զայսու ժամանակաւ 'about this time'. An example of the ablative construction is աւր ըստ աւրէ 'day by day'.
  • up to which -- մինչեւ + ց/ի + Accusative, e.g. ետ նոցա դատաւորս մինչեւ ի Սամուէլ մարգարէ 'he gave them judges up to the prophet Samuel'; մինցեւ ցայսաւր 'up to today'.
20.2 Temporal Clauses

Contemporaneous Action: Clauses denoting action simultaneous with the main clause are set off by the conjunction մինչ. This may be reinforced by դեռ, written մինչ դեռ or մինչդեռ, or by եւ, written as մինչեւ. Thus one finds մինչդեր անցանէր, ետես այր մի 'while he was passing he saw a man'. The particle դեռ may stand alone: իբրեւ բազմեցան եւ դեռ ուտեին 'when they had sat down and while they were still eating'.

The particles մինչ and մինչեւ may be used to express 'until': մինչեւ գամ ես, միտ դիր ընթերցուածոց 'until I come, attend to the readings'. For the use of մինչեւ to express result, see the section above on the infinitive.

Constructions with քան are often used, such as ց-որ-քան 'as long as'. For example, ցորքան ունիցին զփեսայն 'as long as they have the groom'.

Antecedent Action: Expression of actions preceding that of the main clause may employ մինչ չեւ, also written together as մինչչեւ. Examples are մինչ չեւ բնաւ էր ինչ 'before anything at all existed'; մինչչեւ հաւու խաւսեալ իցէ, երիցս ուրասցես զիս 'before the cock crows you will deny me thrice'.

The conjunction յառաջ քան may express 'before'. The infinitive is often employed instead of a finite verb. For example, յառաջ քան զլինելն Աբրահամու եմ ես 'before Abraham came into being, I am'.

The conjunction իբրեւ may be used with the aorist indicative to express 'when' or 'after': իբրեւ տեսին զնա, երկիր պագին նմա 'when they saw him, they worshipped him'.

Future Action: The conjunctions իբրեւ and յ-որ-ժամ express 'when' or 'as' in a future sense: իբրեւ մտանիցէք ի քաղաքն, պատահեսցէ ձեզ այր մի 'when you enter the city, a man will meet you'; մինչեւ ցաւրն ցայն ձորժամ արբից զնա նոր 'until that day when I shall drink it afresh'.

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