Classical Armenian Online - Romanized

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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  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- And
  • aynpēs -- adverb; <aynpēs> so, thus -- thus
  • trtmakan -- adjective; undeclined form of <trtamakan> painful -- vile
  • hogovkʿ -- noun; instrumental plural of <hogi> soul, spirit -- by... spirits
  • pašareal -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <pašarem> I ensnare, catch -- (he was) caught
  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- and
  • tʿakardapateal -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <tʿakardapatem> I trap -- surrounded
  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- and
  • ankeal -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <ankanim> I fall -- fell
  • i -- preposition; <i> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- into
  • cupʿs -- noun; accusative plural of <cupʿ> wave, rush; confustion, torment, angst -- torrents # or locative
  • xorhrdocʿ -- noun; genitive plural of <xorhurd> thought, plan; counsel -- of thoughts
  • etʿē -- conjunction; <etʿe> that; if; or -- about
  • orpisi -- interrogative adjective; undeclined form of <orpisi> what kind (of); that kind (of), such -- what sort (of) # indirect question
  • ardeōkʿ -- interrogative particle; <ardeawkʿ> indeed, truly; perhaps -- ...
  • els -- noun; accusative plural of <elkʿ> (pl.) exit, going -- escape
  • iracʿn -- noun; ablative plural of <ir> thing, affair + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- from those affairs
  • gtanicʿē -- verb; 3rd singular present subjunctive of <gtanem> I find, get, obtain -- he might find

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  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- And
  • ibrew -- conjunction; <ibrew> when -- when
  • awurs -- noun; accusative plural of <awr> day -- days
  • bazums -- adjective; accusative plural of <bazum> much, many -- many
  • andēn -- adverb; <andēn> there -- there
  • i -- preposition; <i> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- on
  • nmin -- demonstrative pronoun; locative singular of <noyn> this, same, this same -- this
  • degerēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect mediopassive of <degerim> I am bothered, scattered, dispersed; I spend -- he had spent
  • yarucʿeal -- verb; past participle nominative singular of <yarnem> I rise up -- he rose up
  • aynuhetew -- adverb; <aynuhetew> thenceforth -- forthwith
  • hasanēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <hasanem> I approach, arrive; obtain -- (and)... approached
  • aṙ -- preposition; <aṙ> to, toward (a person); beside; in the time of; in addition to -- ...
  • surb -- adjective; undeclined form of <surb> holy, blessed -- the holy
  • katʿołikos -- noun; accusative singular of <katʿołikos> catholicos -- Catholicos
  • Hayocʿ -- adjective used as substantive; genitive plural of <Hay> Armenian -- of... Armenia
  • mecacʿ -- adjective; genitive plural of <mec> great, big -- greater
  • oroy -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <or> who, what, which -- whose
  • anunn -- noun; nominative singular of <anun> name + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- name
  • čanačʿēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect mediopassive of <čanačʿem> I know, understand -- was known
  • Sahak -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Sahak> Sahak -- (as) Sahak
  • zor -- direct object marker; <z‘> ... + relative pronoun; accusative singular of <or> who, what, which -- whom
  • patrastakan -- adjective; accusative singular of <patrastakan> ready, willing, predisposed -- willing
  • gtanēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <gtanem> I find, get, obtain -- he found
  • nmin -- demonstrative pronoun; dative singular of <noyn> this, same, this same -- to this
  • pʿutʿoy -- noun; dative singular of <pʿoytʿ> hurry; eagerness; worry; interest -- concern
  • hawaneal -- verb; past participle accusative singular of <hawanim> I agree, concur, accede -- having acceded

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  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- And
  • miangamayn -- adverb; <miangamayn> all together; totally; at once -- all together
  • yōžarutʿeamb -- noun; instrumental singular of <yōžarutʿiwn> inclination, predisposition, tendency -- thus inclined
  • gumareal -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <gumarem> I assemble -- assembled
  • handerj -- preposition; <handerj> with, together with -- with
  • ałōtʿiwkʿ -- noun; instrumental plural of <aławtʿkʿ> (pl.) prayers -- prayers
  • mecovkʿ -- adjective; instrumental plural of <mec> great, big -- powerful
  • aṙ -- preposition; <aṙ> to, toward (a person); beside; in the time of; in addition to -- to
  • Astuac -- proper noun; accusative singular of <Astuac> God -- God
  • kanxēin -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <kanxem> I rise up; rush, hurry; go first -- they rose up
  • vasn -- preposition; <vasn> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- for
  • amenayn -- adjective; undeclined form of <amenayn> all, every -- all the
  • ogwocʿ -- noun; genitive plural of <hogi> soul, spirit -- for... souls
  • kʿristosaber -- adjective; undeclined form of <kristosaber> Christ-borne -- Christ-borne
  • pʿrkutʿeann -- noun; genitive singular of <pʿrkutʿiwn> salvation + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- salvation
  • hasaneloy -- verb; infinitive genitive singular of <hasanem> I approach, arrive; obtain -- obtaining # genitive after vasn
  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- and
  • zayn -- direct object marker; <z‘> ... + demonstrative pronoun; accusative singular of <ayn> that, that over there -- this
  • aṙnēin -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <aṙnem> I do, make -- they continued to do
  • awurs -- noun; accusative plural of <awr> day -- (for)... days
  • bazums -- adjective; accusative plural of <bazum> much, many -- many

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  • apa -- conjunction; <apa> but; then, afterwards, later -- Then
  • elanēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <elanem> I come, go up -- it occurred
  • nocʿa -- pronoun; dative plural of <na> he, she, it -- to them
  • pargewakan -- adjective; nominative singular of <pargewakan> granted, sent -- granted
  • yamenabarin -- preposition; <i> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of + adjective; undeclined form of <amenabar> bountiful + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- by benevolent
  • Astucoy -- proper noun; ablative singular of <Astuac> God -- God
  • žołovel -- verb; infinitive nominative singular of <žołovem> I assemble, gather -- to collect
  • zašxarhahog -- direct object marker; <z‘> ... + adjective; undeclined form of <ašxarhahog> caring for the land, patriotic -- patriotic
  • xorhurdn -- noun; accusative singular <xorhurd> thought, plan; counsel + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- the... counsel
  • eraneli -- adjective; undeclined form of <eraneli> blessed -- blessed
  • miabanelocʿn -- noun; genitive plural of <miabaneal> monk + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- of the... monks
  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- and
  • girs -- noun; accusative plural of <gir> writing, text -- letters
  • nšanagroy -- noun; genitive singular of <nšanagir> alphabet -- of the alphabet
  • Hayastan -- proper noun; <Hayastan> Armenia -- Armenian # instead of Hayastani?
  • azgin -- noun; dative singular of <azg> nation, people + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- for the... people
  • hasanel -- verb; infinitive nominative singular of <hasanem> I approach, arrive; obtain -- to obtain
  • bazum -- adjective; undeclined form of <bazum> much, many -- a great
  • harcʿ -- noun; accusative singular of <harcʿ> examination, question, questioning -- examination
  • pʿorji -- noun; genitive singular of <pʿorj> attempt, test, experiment; experience -- of experiment
  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- and
  • kʿnnutʿean -- noun; genitive singular of <kʿnnutʿiwn> examination, test; investigation, search; study -- investigation
  • zanjins -- direct object marker; <z‘> ... + noun; accusative plural of <anjn> person, soul, self -- themselves
  • parapecʿucʿeal -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <parapecʿucʿanem> I devote myself to -- having devoted... to # causative of parapim 'occupy oneself with, devote oneself to' + dative object
  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- and
  • bazum -- adjective; undeclined form of <bazum> much, many -- great
  • ašxatutʿeancʿ -- noun; dative plural of <ašxatutʿiwn> labor -- labors
  • hambereal -- verb; past participle undeclined form of <hamberem> I suffer, endure -- having endured # with dative object
  • azd -- noun; accusative singular of <azd> notice, advice; report, news; communication, announcement -- an announcement
  • aṙnēin -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <aṙnem> I do, make -- they made
  • apa -- conjunction; <apa> but; then, afterwards, later -- then
  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- ...
  • zkanxagoyn -- preposition; <z‘> during; for; concerning; around, about + adjective used as substantive; accusative singular of <kanxagoyn> before, earlier -- ...
  • xndrelin -- verbal adjective; undeclined form of <xndrem> I search, seek + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- searching # see Section 18.4 for verbal adjectives
  • iwreancʿ -- reflexive pronoun; genitive plural of <iwr> him-, her-, it-self -- their own # lit. 'of themselves searching, of their searching selves'
  • tʿagaworin -- noun; dative singular of <tʿagawor> king + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- to the king
  • Hayocʿ -- adjective used as substantive; genitive plural of <Hay> Armenian -- of the Armenians
  • oroy -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <or> who, what, which -- whose
  • anun -- noun; nominative singular of <anun> name -- name
  • kočʿēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect mediopassive of <kočʿem> I call, name -- was called
  • Vṙamšapuh -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Vṙamšapuh> Vramshapuh -- Vramshapuh

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  • yaynžam -- adverb; <yaynžam> at that time, then -- Then
  • patmēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <patmem> I report, tell -- told
  • nocʿa -- pronoun; dative plural of <na> he, she, it -- them
  • arkʿayn -- noun; nominative singular of <arkʿay> archon, leader, king + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- the king
  • vasn -- preposition; <vasn> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- about
  • aṙn -- noun; genitive singular of <ayr> man -- a... man
  • urumn -- adjective; genitive singular of <omn> some, certain -- certain
  • asorwoy -- adjective; genitive singular of <asori> Assyrian, Syrian -- an Assyrian
  • episkoposi -- noun; genitive singular of <episkopos> bishop -- bishop
  • aznuakani -- adjective; genitive singular of <aznuakan> noble, of noble origin -- of noble origin
  • Daniēl -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Daniēl> Daniel -- Daniel # nominative case used for quoting the name
  • anun -- noun; accusative singular of <anun> name -- by name # accusative of anun commonly used in the sense 'with name' or 'by name'
  • kočʿecʿeloy -- verb; past participle genitive singular of <kočʿem> I call, name -- called
  • oroy -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <or> who, what, which -- of whom # genitive subject; supply participial construction gteal e′r 'was having found, had found, had devised'
  • yankarc -- adverb; <yankarc> unexpectedly, suddenly -- ...
  • uremn -- adverb; <uremn> somewhere; then, consequently; about, roughly; certainly -- elsewhere
  • nšanagirs -- noun; accusative plural of <nšanagir> alphabet -- letters
  • ałpʿabetacʿ -- noun; genitive plural of <ałpʿabet> alphabet -- of the alphabet
  • hayerēn -- adjective; undeclined form of <hayerēn> Armenian; Armenian (language) -- Armenian
  • lezui -- noun; dative singular of <lezu> language, tongue -- for the... language # or genitive

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  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- And
  • ibrew -- conjunction; <ibrew> when -- when
  • patmecʿaw -- verb; 3rd singular aorist mediopassive of <patmem> I report, tell -- it was related
  • nocʿa -- pronoun; dative plural of <na> he, she, it -- to them
  • yarkʿayē -- preposition; <i> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of + noun; ablative singular of <arkʿay> archon, leader, king -- by the king
  • vasn -- preposition; <vasn> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- about
  • greloyn -- verb; infinitive genitive singular of <grem> I write + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- the writing
  • i -- preposition; <i> to, in(to), upon; at, under; from, out of, away from; from among; by, through the agency of -- from
  • Daniēlē -- proper noun; ablative singular of <Daniēl> Daniel -- Daniel
  • yōžarecʿin -- verb; 3rd plural aorist of <yawžarem> I stimulate, prompt; persuade -- they prompted
  • zarkʿay -- direct object marker; <z‘> ... + noun; accusative singular of <arkʿay> archon, leader, king -- the king
  • pʿoytʿ -- noun; accusative singular of <pʿoytʿ> hurry; eagerness; worry; interest -- care
  • aṙnel -- verb; infinitive used as complement <aṙnem> I do, make -- to take
  • vasn -- preposition; <vasn> because of, on account of, for the sake of -- according to
  • pitoyicʿn -- noun; genitive plural of <pitoy> need + demonstrative suffix; <‘n> that, that over there, the -- needs
  • aynocʿik -- emphatic pronoun; genitive plural of <ayn> that, that over there -- their

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  • ew -- conjunction; <ew> and; even, also, too -- And
  • na -- pronoun; nominative singular of <na> he, she, it -- he # the king
  • aṙakʿēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <aṙakʿem> I send -- he sent
  • zomn -- direct object marker; <z‘> ... + pronoun; accusative singular of <omn> some, certain -- someone
  • Vahrič -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Vahrič> Vahrich -- Vahrich
  • anun -- noun; accusative singular of <anun> name -- by name # accusative of anun commonly used in the sense 'with name' or 'by name'
  • hrovartakōkʿ -- noun; instrumental plural of <hrovartak> writing; order, decree -- by decree
  • aṙ -- preposition; <aṙ> to, toward (a person); beside; in the time of; in addition to -- to
  • ayr -- noun; accusative singular of <ayr> man -- man
  • mi -- adjective; accusative singular of <mi> one -- an
  • erēcʿ -- adjective; accusative singular of <erēcʿ> elderly -- elderly
  • oroy -- relative pronoun; genitive singular of <or> who, what, which -- whose
  • anun -- noun; accusative singular of <anun> name -- name
  • Habēl -- proper noun; nominative singular of <Habel> Habel -- Habel # or accusative; see comment on Daniēl above
  • kočʿēin -- verb; 3rd plural imperfect of <kočʿem> I call, name -- they called
  • or -- relative pronoun; nominative singular of <or> who, what, which -- who
  • ēr -- verb; 3rd singular imperfect of <em> I am -- was
  • merjawor -- noun; nominative singular of <merjawor> acquaintance -- an acquaintance
  • Daniēli -- proper noun; genitive singular of <Daniēl> Daniel -- of... Daniel
  • asorwoy -- adjective; genitive singular of <asori> Assyrian, Syrian -- the Assyrian
  • episkoposi -- noun; genitive singular of <episkopos> bishop -- bishop

Lesson Text

Ew aynpēs trtmakan hogovkʿ pašareal ew tʿakardapateal ew ankeal i cupʿs xorhrdocʿ, etʿē orpisi ardeōkʿ els iracʿn gtanicʿē : Ew ibrew awurs bazums andēn i nmin degerēr, yarucʿeal aynuhetew hasanēr aṙ surb Katʿołikos Hayocʿ mecacʿ, oroy anunn čanačʿēr Sahak, zor patrastakan gtanēr, nmin pʿutʿoy hawaneal : Ew miangamayn yōžarutʿeamb gumareal handerj ałōtʿiwkʿ mecovkʿ aṙ Astuac kanxēin, vasn amenayn ogwocʿ kʿristosaber pʿrkutʿeann hasaneloy: ew zayn aṙnēin awurs bazums : Apa elanēr nocʿa pargewakan yamenabarin Astucoy žołovel zašxarhahog xorhurdn eraneli miabanelocʿn, ew girs nšanagroy Hayastan azgin hasanel: bazum harcʿ pʿorji ew kʿnnutʿean zanjins parapecʿucʿeal, ew bazum ašxatutʿeancʿ hambereal, azd aṙnēin apa ew zkanxagoyn xndrelin iwreancʿ tʿagaworin Hayocʿ, oroy anun kočʿēr Vṙamšapuh : Yaynžam patmēr nocʿa arkʿayn, vasn aṙn urumn asorwoy episkoposi aznuakani` Daniēl anun kočʿecʿeloy, oroy yankarc uremn nšanagirs ałpʿabetacʿ hayerēn lezui : Ew ibrew patmecʿaw nocʿa yarkʿayē vasn greloyn i Daniēlē, yōžarecʿin zarkʿay` pʿoytʿ aṙnel vasn pitoyicʿn aynocʿik : Ew na aṙakʿēr zomn Vahrič anun hrovartakōkʿ aṙ ayr mi erēcʿ, oroy anun Habēl kočʿēin: or ēr merjawor Daniēli asorwoy episkoposi :


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, mimeans and irears, both meaning 'each other, one another'. mimeans is the more common pronoun. These are found only in the plural, and only in oblique cases. Their declensions are as follows.

N Pl.   mimeans   irears
Ac   mimeans   irears
G   mimeancʿ   ireracʿ
D   mimeancʿ   ireracʿ
L   mimeans   irears
Ab   mimeancʿ   ireracʿ
I   mimeambkʿ   irerawkʿ

Note the change ea > e in the accusative, locative, and instrumental forms.

Examples are ew hražarecʿakʿ i mimeancʿ 'and we took leave of each other'; zi siricʿēkʿ zmimeans 'that you may love each other'; ein hakaṙakkʿ ireracʿ 'they were opposites to each other'.

16.2 Collective Pronouns

A collective suffix -kʿean, chiefly used with the numerals, is also used with the adjectives amen 'all' and bolor 'the entire' to form collective pronouns. These new pronouns, amenekʿean 'everyone, all the individuals' and bolorekʿean 'all together', have only plural forms.

    amenekʿean   bolorekʿean
    'everyone, all individuals'   'all together'
N Pl.   amenekʿean, amenekʿin   bolorekʿean, bolorekʿin
Ac   amenesean, amenesin   boloresean, boloresin
G   amenecʿun, amenecʿuncʿ   bolorecʿun, bolorecʿuncʿ
D   amenecʿun, amenecʿuncʿ   bolorecʿun, bolorecʿuncʿ
L   amenesean, amenesin   boloresean, boloresin
Ab   amenecʿun, amenecʿuncʿ   bolorecʿun, bolorecʿuncʿ
I   amenekʿumbkʿ   bolorekʿumbkʿ
16.3 Distributive Pronoun

The word iwrakʿančʿiwr 'each individually' is used in a distributive sense both as an adjective and as a substantive. As a substantive it is usually followed by okʿ. Examples are kalan ziwrakʿančʿiwr išxanutʿiwn 'they held each one his own principality'; ew na iwrakʿančʿiwr umekʿ i nocʿanē dnēr jeṙs 'and he placed hands on each one of them'.

17 Numerals
17.1 Cardinal Numbers

The numbers mi 'one', erku 'two', erekʿ 'three', and čʿorkʿ 'four' are adjectives which are declined whether preceding or following the noun they modify. Of course mi occurs only in the singular and is sometimes used as the indefinite adjective 'a, an' when placed after the noun: ayr mi 'a man'. The numbers erku, erek, and čʿorkʿ occur only in the plural. Their declensions are as follows.

    mi   erku   erekʿ   čʿorkʿ
    'one'   'two'   'three'   'four'
N   mi   erku, erkukʿ   erekʿ   čʿorkʿ
Ac   mi   erkus   eris   čʿors
G   mioy, mioǰ   erkucʿ   ericʿ   čʿoricʿ
D   mium, mioǰ   erkucʿ   ericʿ   čʿoricʿ
L   mium, mioǰ   erkus   eris   čʿors
Ab   mioy, mioǰē   erkucʿ   ericʿ   čʿoricʿ
I   miov   erkukʿ   eriwkʿ   čʿoriwkʿ

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.

    hing   vecʿ   ewtʿn   utʿ   inn   tasn
    5   6   7   8   9   10
N Pl.   hing   vecʿ   ewtʿn   utʿ   inn   tasn
Ac   hing   vecʿ   ewtʿn   utʿ   inn   tasn
G   hngicʿ, hngacʿ   vecʿicʿ   ewtʿancʿ   utʿicʿ   ənnicʿ, inuncʿ   tasancʿ, tasin
D   hngicʿ, hngacʿ   vecʿicʿ   ewtʿancʿ   utʿicʿ   ənnicʿ, inuncʿ   tasancʿ, tasin
L   hing   vecʿ   ewtʿn   utʿ   inn   tasn
Ab   hngicʿ, hngacʿ   vecʿicʿ   ewtʿancʿ   utʿicʿ   ənnicʿ, inuncʿ   tasancʿ, tasin
I   hngiwkʿ, kngawkʿ   vecʿiwkʿ   ewtʿambkʿ   utʿiwkʿ   ənniwkʿ, inambkʿ, innambkʿ   tasambkʿ, tasamb

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 hing, and 17 through 19 follow tasn -- that is, only tasn is inflected. The numbers 11 through 19 are listed below.

  • 11. metasan, metasanicʿ
  • 12. erkotasan, -icʿ
  • 13. erekʿtasan, -icʿ
  • 14. čʿorekʿtasan, -icʿ
  • 15. hngetasan, -icʿ
  • 16. veštasan, -icʿ
  • 17. ewtʿn ew tasn, ewtʿn ew tasancʿ
  • 18. utʿ ew tasn, ... tasancʿ
  • 19. inn ew tasn, ... tasancʿ

The tens, when declined, have have G D Ab Sg. -i, Pl. -icʿ and I Sg. -iw, Pl. -iwkʿ. After 20, the tens are formed by means of the suffix -sun. The tens are listed below.

  • 20. kʿsan
  • 30. eresun
  • 40. kʿaṙasun
  • 50. yisun
  • 60. vatʿsun
  • 70. ewtʿanasun
  • 80. utʿsun
  • 90. innsun

The word hariwr 'one hundred' is the basis for the ensuing multiples of 100; 200, 300, ..., 900 are composites built from hariwr. When declined, these numbers have G D Ab Sg. -oy, Pl. -ocʿ and I Sg. -ov, Pl. -ovkʿ. The word hazar 'one thousand' follows the a-declension of invariable stem nouns, e.g. am, with G Sg. hazari and Pl. hazaracʿ. bewr 'ten thousand', also written biwr, follows the u-declension of invariable stem nouns, cf. cov. Thus it has G Sg. biwroy, Pl. biwrocʿ. The hundreds and above are listed below,

  • 100. hariwr
  • 200. erkeriwr
  • 300. erekʿhariwr
  • 400. čʿorekʿhariwr
  • 500. hinghariwr
  • 600. vecʿhariwr
  • 700. ewtʿnhariwr
  • 800. utʿhariwr
  • 900. innhariwr
  • 1,000. hazar, G Sg. hazari, Pl. hazaracʿ
  • 2,000. erku hazar
  • ...
  • 10,000. bewr or biwr, G Sg. biwroy, Pl. biwrocʿ

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

  • 99. innsun ew inn;
  • 1,335. hazar erekʿ hariwr eresun ew hing;
  • 41,500. kʿaṙasun ew mi hazar ew hing hariwr.

When the cardinal number is inflected, the substantive which it modifies is inflected: z-eris awurs 'for three days'; i čʿorcʿ hołmocʿ 'from the four winds'. When the cardinal number is uninflected, the substantive is often in the singular after the number: i veray tasn kʿałakʿi 'over ten cities'; but ewtʿn kreštakag'n 'to the seven angels'. When the cardinal number follows the substantive, the substantive is declined, the numeral may be or may not: aṙakʿelocʿn erkotasancʿ 'of the twelve apostles' (both declined); lucʿs hing 'five yokes' (only substantive declined); ogis ewtʿanasun ew hing 'seventy-five souls' (only substantive declined).

Note several numerals may slightly change form when in compounds. For example, erku 'two' gives erkotasan 'twelve' and erkeam (< erki + am) 'two-year period', erksayri 'double-edged'; erekʿ 'three' gives eṙapatik 'triple'; čʿorkʿ 'four' gives čʿorekʿtasan 'fourteen', čʿorekʿhariwr 'four hundred', čʿorekʿkin 'quadruple'. Note also the element kʿaṙ 'four' used in compounds, e.g. kʿaṙasun 'forty', kʿaraniwtʿ 'composed of the four elements'.

17.2 Ordinal Numbers

The ordinal aṙaǰim 'first' is declined in the same manner as im 'my, mine':

N Sg.   aṙaǰim
Ac   aṙaǰim
G   aṙaǰnoy
D   aṙaǰnoy
L   aṙaǰnum
Ab   aṙaǰnmē
I   aṙaǰnov

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

  • 2nd erkrord
  • 3rd errord
  • 4th čʿorrord
  • 5th hingerord, without reduction of -i-
  • 6th vecʿerord
  • ...

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

In forming ordinals from numbers containing ew, 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 kʿsan ew čʿorrord;
  • 66th vatʿsunerord vecʿerord.

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 -kʿean and -kʿin denote a collective use of numerals:

  • erkokʿean 'both';
  • erekʿean 'all three';
  • čʿorekʿean 'all four';
  • hingekʿean 'all five', without reduction of -i-;
  • ... .

Sample declensions are as follows.

    erkokʿean   erekʿean   erkokʿin
    'both'   'all three'   'both'
N   erkokʿean   erekʿean   erkokʿin
Ac   erkokʿean   erekʿean   erkosin
G   erkocʿuncʿ, erkocʿun   erecʿuncʿ   erkocʿuncʿ
D   erkocʿuncʿ, erkocʿun   erecʿuncʿ   erkocʿuncʿ
L   erkokʿean   erekʿean   erkosin
Ab   erkocʿuncʿ, erkocʿun   erecʿuncʿ   erkocʿuncʿ
I   erkokʿumbkʿ   erekʿumbkʿ   erkokʿumbkʿ

Abstract Collectives

The suffix -eak, with genitive -eakacʿ, is used to form abstract collectives, e.g. erreak 'trinity', tasneak 'decade', hariwreak 'the (entire) hundred'.


The suffixes -kin, -krkin, and -patik are used to form multiples of numerals: erekʿkin 'threefold', hingkrkin 'five-fold', hariwrapatik 'hundred-fold'. Note erekʿkin has G Sg. erekʿni or erekʿnoy, Pl. ereknacʿ. Such multiplicative forms may be found in verbs: erekʿknem 'I repeat three times'.


The suffixes -icʿs and -(e)kin may be used as iteratives: erkicʿs 'twice', ewtʿanasnekin 'seventy times'.


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


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

17.4 Numeral Interrogative and Iterative Adverb

The question of quantity is specified through the use of the word kʿan⁰i 'how much?, how many?': kʿan⁰i nkanak unikʿ 'how many loaves have you?' The same word, kʿani, may be used in an exclamatory role: kʿani varjkankʿ icʿen i tan hawr imoy hacʿalicʿkʿ 'how many hired servants there are in my father's house sated with bread!'

There is a similar distinction made with the iterative adverb kʿanicʿs. In an interrogative role it has the sense of 'how often?, how many times?': kʿan⁰icʿs angam etʿe mełicʿē inj ełbayr im, ew tʿołicʿ nma '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': kʿanicʿs angam etʿe uticʿēkʿ zhacʿs zays ew zbažaks əmpicʿēkʿ '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 -eal. This is then declined according to the o-declension, e.g. N Ac Sg. asacʿeal, G D Ab Sg. asacʿeloy (from *-eal-oy), etc. For verbs whose presents are formed with simple -em or -im, the stem may lack the -ecʿ 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
    grem 'I write'   grecʿi   greal
    bazmim 'I sit'   bazmecʿay   bazmeal
    hayim 'I look'   hayecʿay   hayecʿeal
    kočʿem 'I call'   kočʿecʿi   kočʿecʿeal, kočʿeal
    hanem 'I draw'   hani   haneal
    nstim 'I sit down'   nstay   nsteal
    tʿołum 'I let'   tʿołi   tʿołeal

Root aorists in -eay, built from original i-stems as in pʿaxeay 'I fled' < *pʿaxi-ay and sarteay 'I startled' < *sarti-ay, do not form participles from this stem. The participle is instead formed from the corresponding causative base: pʿax-ucʿ-eal 'having fled', from pʿaxucʿanem 'I put to flight, chase', supplies the participle for pʿaxčʿim 'I flee'. Aorist stems in -u- are not defective in this manner, simply adding -eal to the stem: tu-eal 'given' from etu, aorist of tam 'I give'; erdu-eal 'having sworn' from erduay, aorist of erdnum '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 asacʿeal 'having spoken' or 'having been said'; meṙeal 'dead'; bereal 'having carried' or 'having been carried'. The participle may be inflected to function as an attributive or predicate adjective, e.g. ztueal hramans katarēr 'he fulfilled the commands that had been given'. It may also be used as a substantive: asacʿealkʿ margarēin 'the sayings of the prophet, the prophet's words'; ənkalay zgreals kʿo '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 em '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 hramayeal ē yAstuacoy zi... 'it is commanded by God that...'; tʿo'\eal licʿin mełkʿ kʿo 'may your sins be forgiven'; žamanak im čʿew ē haseal 'my time has not yet come'; ... ur dpirkʿn ew cerkʿ žołoveal ein '... 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 -eal from remains in the singular with a singular copula, and takes an accusative object. The subject, however, is placed in the genitive. For example, ekełecʿin zor šineal ēr mecin Grigori 'the church which Gregory the great had built'; ew zays o⁰čʿ ē əntʿercʿeal jer 'and have you not read this?'; arkeal ēr nocʿa uṙkans i cov 'they had thrown (their) nets into the lake'. Such expression seems to have arisen as a sort of possessive construct, with a phrase like nora (Gen.) ē gorceal 'his is (the thing) done' > 'he has done' in parallel to nora (Gen.) ē handerj 'his is clothing' > 'he has clothing'.

The -eal participle may be used in conjunction with another finite verb where English might have two separate finite verbs, e.g. matucʿeal borot mi erkir paganēr mna '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: tʿołeal Yisusi zžołovurdsn ekn i tun 'Jesus left the crowds and went to the house'; ew nocʿa aṙeal zarcatʿn ararin orpēs usann 'and they took the money and did as they had been told'. The -eal participle may also be used alone as a main verb in historical narrative: zaysu žamanakaw miabaneal Alankʿ... mecaw amboxiw taraceal ənd ašxarhs mer '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 -l. The infinitive functions as a substantive and declines according to the o-declension. It does not distinguish active and passive. The -l ending is preceded by the characteristic vowel of a verb's conjugation, except that both e- and i-conjugation verbs form the infinitive with e. For example:

Class   Present   Infinitive
e   sirem   sirel, G sireloy
i   sirim   sirel, G sireloy
a   lam   lal, G laloy
u   hełum   hełul, G hełloy < *hełu-loy
o   (gom)   (gol, G goloy)

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

The infinitive is regularly used as a complement after certain verbs, such as kamim 'I wish to', unim 'I have to', tam 'I have (someone) do (something)', sksim 'I begin to', erknčʿim 'I am afraid to', tʿołum 'I allow to'. Certain expressions are also common with the infinitive, e.g. law ē 'it is good to', aržan ē 'it is right to'. The infinitive may be used with verbs of motion to indicate purpose: gayr yaytnel zawetisn 'he came (in order) to reveal the news'. Result may be indicated by use of minčʿew with the infinitive: minčʿew zarmanal amenecʿun 'so that everyone was amazed'. Used as a substantive, the infinitive may be found in any case: mis utel (N) očʿ en mełkʿ 'eating meat is not a sin'; yaṙaǰ kʿan zlineln (A) ašxarhi 'before the world came into being'; vasn imoy tanǰeloy (G) i kʿēn 'because I am being tortured by you'; akn unein ǰrocʿn yuzeloy (D) 'they were waiting for the movement of the waters'; i baṙnal (L) tērutʿeann jArtawanay, i spananel (L) zna Artašri 'when rule was taken from Artavan and when Artashir killed him'; gtakʿ zsa zi argeloyr i taloy (Ab) harks kayser 'we found him preventing the giving of tribute to Caesar'; zayd bans aselov (I) ew zmez tʿšnamanes '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: awrinadrē tʿagaworn zinkʿn ew ztun iwr, skizbn aṙnelov (I) i glxoyn iwrmē ew i tʿagē '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: ekn Nersēs i meǰ nocʿa ew arar xałałutʿiwn, lselov nma tʿagaworin ew naxararacʿn '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 -locʿ and -li. 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 -locʿ is generally used as a predicate and does not occur in oblique cases. Often termed the future participle or participium necessitatis, the -locʿ form often connotes futurity or necessity: sirelocʿ e 'he should love, he should be loved'; or galocʿn e 'that which is to come, that which shall come'. The verbal adjective in -li, termed the participle of possibility, is used as a true adjective and may be found in any case. Its declension follows that of tełi. Examples are sireli 'lovable, beloved', zarmanali 'admirable' from zarmanam 'I marvel', əntʿeṙnli 'readable' < *-nu-li from əntʿeṙnum 'I read'.

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

19 Comparison

There is one intensive suffix, -a-goyn, which may be added to adjectives to produce forms with comparative or superlative sense: imastnagoyn 'very wise' from imastun 'wise'; vołagoyn 'sooner, very soon' from voł 'soon'; baregoyn (< *bari-a-goyn) 'very good' from beri '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 aweli 'more', aṙawel 'more', ews 'yet, still, even'. For example, ew ews čʿar pataṙumn lini 'and the split became even worse'; or sirē zhayr kam zmayr aṙawel kʿan zis 'whoever loves his father or mother more than me'. The last example illustrates the use of kʿan in the role 'than'. If the object of comparison is expressed through a noun, pronoun, or adjective, z- is prefixed to this elements as in the preceding example. The adverbs aweli or aṙawel need not be present for kʿan to fulfill this comparative role: cʿankali ē na kʿan zoski 'it is more desirable than gold'. Note that the adjective need not take any special form: pʿokʿr ē zamenayn sermanis 'it is smaller than all seeds'. kʿan may stand alone, without the prefix z-, as in the following: law ē koyr ačʿawkʿ kʿan koyr mtawkʿ 'it is better to be blind with the eyes than blind with the mind'. kʿan may mark the comparative of adverbs as well as adjectives: kʿan amenays urekʿ aṙawel yEpʿesos paštein zArtemis 'they (i.e. people) worshipped Artemis more in Ephesus than anywhere else'.

19.2 Superlative

The superlative degree is often denoted through constructions involving amenayn 'all, every' or amenekʿean 'all individuals' (cf. the section on Collective Pronouns above). An example was given in the preceding paragraph which straddles the comparative and superlative: pʿokʿr ē zamenayn sermanis 'it is smaller than all seeds', giving the sense 'it is the smallest of all seeds'. Another example is or pʿokʿrikn ē jamenesean i jez 'whoever is the smallest among you all'. The notion of 'all', however, need not be expressed explicitly: gełecʿikd i kanays 'O you most beautiful among women!'

There are also special adjectival formations which elicit the sense of the superlative. The form amen-a- may be prefixed to an adjective: amenabari 'very good'; amenasurb 'most holy'. Reduplication, or iteration, is another common means of intensifying the force of an adjective. A linking vowel -a- often intercedes: barjrabarj or barjraberj 'very high' from barjr 'high'; mec mec or mecamec 'greatest' from mec 'big'. Some such collocations may be used as substantives: mecameckʿ 'magnates, most important nobles'. Iteration may also intenstify adverbs: arag arag '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 orpēs (zi)... aynpēs 'just as... , so...', though the latter conjunction is often omitted. Examples are: orpēs pʿapʿagi ełǰeru yałbers ǰurcʿ, aynpēs pʿapʿagi anjn im aṙ kʿez 'just as the deer yearns for the waters' springs, so my soul yearns for you'; orpēs zi očʿ əntrecʿin zAstuac unel i gitutʿean, natneacʿ znosa Astuac i mits anargutʿean 'as I did not care to hold God in esteem, so he betrayed them to a careless mind'; arar tər, orpēs asacʿn Movsēe '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, kʿan tʿe fills the role of the English 'than that...'. Examples are law ēr nma, tʿe vēm erkanakʿar kaxēr zparanocʿē nora..., kʿan tʿe gaytʿagłecʿucʿanē zmi okʿ... 'it would be better if a millstone were placed round his neck than that he should offend someone'; mez law licʿi meṙanel kʿan tʿe əst awrēns ancʿanicʿem 'it would be better for us to die than that we transgress the laws.' When the 'that that...' clause is placed first, kʿan may be found without tʿe. In this situation, kʿan has the sense of 'rather than that...': kʿan znosa arkanēr i gehen, zna... əndē⁰r očʿ arkanēr... '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 orčʿapʿ... aynčʿapʿ or orčʿapʿ... ews. For example, orčʿapʿ na patuirēr nocʿa, nokʿa ews aṙawel kʿarozein 'the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed.'

Unreal Comparison: These are introduced by the conjunctions orpēs zi, ibrew zi tʿe, orpēs tʿe, ibrew tʿe 'as if'; ibr očʿ etʿe, ibrew očʿ etʿe 'not as if'. The verbal mood in such clauses is variable, though the subjunctive is typical following orpēs zi, orpēs tʿe, ibrew zi and the indicative is typical following the negative ibr očʿ etʿe. The indicative is also found in clauses which are not negated, e.g. orpēs tʿe ēg okʿ inčʿ ēr hiwłn 'as if the matter were something female.' Other examples are orpēs zi ayr mi arkanicʿē sermanis jerkir 'as if a man casts seed upon the earth'; ararin iwreancʿ jeṙagorc ibrew zi tʿe anerewoytʿn Astuac stutʿeanb inčʿ pašticʿi 'they did their work as if the invisible God would be honored by falsehoods'; ibr očʿ etʿe anawrēn inčʿ ei Astucoy, ayl... '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:

  • žam, G žamu 'hour'
  • awr, G awur 'day'
  • amis, G amsoy, L amsean 'month'
  • am, G amacʿ 'year'
  • amaṙn, G amaraynoy 'summer'
  • jmeṙn, G jmeraynoy 'winter'
  • garun, G garnaynoy 'spring'
  • ašun, G ašnaynoy '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 -- i + Locative, e.g. i hingerord žanu 'at the fifth hour'; i tasnerordum awur amsoyn 'on the tenth day of the month'. The date is expressed by a cardinal number when awr is omitted: i kʿsan ew čʿors amsoyn 'on the twenty-fourth of the month'. Seasons are often found without the preposition i, thus amarayni or yamarayni 'in summer'.
  • from which -- i + Ablative, e.g. skseal i čʿorrord amēn minčʿew i metasan amn iwroy tērutʿeann 'beginning from the fourth year up to the eleventh year of his reign'.
  • during which -- Accusative, with or without z-; aṙ or z- + Instrumental; əst + Ablative. Examples of the accusative construction are zawurs eris 'for three days'; žam mi 'for one hour'. Examples of the instrumental construction are aṙ hnawkʿn tʿgaworawkʿn 'in the time of the ancient kings'; zaysu žamanakaw 'about this time'. An example of the ablative construction is awr əst awrē 'day by day'.
  • up to which -- minčʿew + cʿ/i + Accusative, e.g. et nocʿa datawors minčʿew i Samuēl margarē 'he gave them judges up to the prophet Samuel'; mincʿew cʿaysawr 'up to today'.
20.2 Temporal Clauses

Contemporaneous Action: Clauses denoting action simultaneous with the main clause are set off by the conjunction minčʿ. This may be reinforced by deṙ, written minčʿ deṙ or minčʿdeṙ, or by ew, written as minčʿew. Thus one finds minčʿder ancʿanēr, etes ayr mi 'while he was passing he saw a man'. The particle deṙ may stand alone: ibrew bazmecʿan ew deṙ utein 'when they had sat down and while they were still eating'.

The particles minčʿ and minčʿew may be used to express 'until': minčʿew gam es, mit dir əntʿercʿuacocʿ 'until I come, attend to the readings'. For the use of minčʿew to express result, see the section above on the infinitive.

Constructions with kʿan are often used, such as cʿ-or-kʿan 'as long as'. For example, cʿorkʿan unicʿin zpʿesayn 'as long as they have the groom'.

Antecedent Action: Expression of actions preceding that of the main clause may employ minčʿ čʿew, also written together as minčʿčʿew. Examples are minčʿ čʿew bnaw ēr inčʿ 'before anything at all existed'; minčʿčʿew hawu xawseal icʿē, ericʿs urascʿes zis 'before the cock crows you will deny me thrice'.

The conjunction yaṙaǰ kʿan may express 'before'. The infinitive is often employed instead of a finite verb. For example, yaṙaǰ kʿan zlineln Abrahamu em es 'before Abraham came into being, I am'.

The conjunction ibrew may be used with the aorist indicative to express 'when' or 'after': ibrew tesin zna, erkir pagin nma 'when they saw him, they worshipped him'.

Future Action: The conjunctions ibrew and y-or-žam express 'when' or 'as' in a future sense: ibrew mtanicʿēkʿ i kʿałakʿn, patahescʿē jez ayr mi 'when you enter the city, a man will meet you'; minčʿew cʿawrn cʿayn joržam arbicʿ zna nor 'until that day when I shall drink it afresh'.

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