Fresno State Seal
ASP Logo Armenian Studies Program
Home FeedbackScholarships
Campus Home Directories Search
Campus Home Directories Search


Iconography of the Armenian Alexander*

[English version of conference paper presented and published in French]

       Armenian is among the dozens of languages in which the Romance of Alexander has been translated. Because in antiquity Armenians felt at home in both the west and the east, the Greek world of the Mediterranean and the Persian Empire of the Near East, they took a special and early interest in the life and deeds of Alexander the Great. Armenian nobility fought on both sides of the battle of Gaugamela. The Orontid kings of Armenia were descended from the Achaemenid line; the Artaxiad kings also claimed Persian descent, though they were allies from time to time of the Romans, while the most famous of them Tigranes the Great, tried to bring Armenia into the Hellenistic world. The Armenian Arsacide dynasty originated when the brother of the Parthian Great king of Iran came to rule as the king of Armenia. The translation of the Alexander Romance took place after nearly five centuries of Armenian Arsacide rule ended and Armenia, already Christianized for more than a century, accepted political vassalage under the Sasanian rulers of Iran while connected to the great universal religion of the Byzantine and Latin west.

       This historical dimension makes the relationship between Armenia and Alexander ambiguous, for though it is clear that the Latin and Byzantine traditions allied themselves with Alexander as a champion of their culture and the Islamic world of Arabs, Persians and Turks adopted the him as a descendent of the great Achaemenid dynasty, Armenians could claim a legitimate sympathy to both the oriental and the occidental Alexander.

       My task for this conference is not a discussion of the textual tradition of the Armenian version of the Alexander story, for that will be in part the subject of Lucine Barsamian's paper on Saturday, but rather to discuss the visual representation of the work within the context of Armenian illuminated manuscripts. There is a very rich Armenian illustrated tradition of the Alexander story, contrary to Wallis Budge's pronouncement of 1933 that among Near Eastern and Far Eastern peoples only the Persian's have tried to illustrate their versions of the life.1

I. The Armenian Text

A. History of the Armenian translation

       Scholars agree that the Armenian translation of the Pseudo-Callisthenes was made in the fifth century and directly from a Greek version. It was used by nineteenth century scholars to help reconstruct the lost original Greek text of the Romance. 2 The fifth century date would put it in the initial wave of translation after the invention of the Armenian alphabet around 404 A.D. The dating is based on two major arguments: 1) the glosses and direct borrowing from the Alexander Romance by early Armenian sources, especially the supposed fifth century author Movsés Xorenac'i, 2) the language of the translation is hellenizing Armenian, most popular in the fifth and sixth centuries. The Mekhitarist father Yakobus Tashean, in the first major Armenian study of the text, brought together the borrowings from early authors, but especially the passages from Movsés Xorenac'i. 3 Tashean and others before him, regarded the translation of the Pseudo-Callisthenes as the work of Movsés himself, considered one of the pupils of St. Mesrop Mashtoc', the inventor of the alphabet. 4 Since, however, there is still controversy over the date of Movsés, many authorities questioning his claim to be of the fifth centuries and suggesting the seventh or even later centuries, 5 some doubt can be cast on the fifth century date. On the other hand the hellenizing translators flourished from the last quarter of the fifth through the sixth century, which would support well the accepted dating. It is interesting perhaps to point out that in the vast translation program carried out by the pupils of Mesrop, the Romance of Alexander is the first secular work rendered into Armenian, done by a team which concentrated on the translation of the Bible and the church fathers. 6

B. Manuscript tradition

       A large number of Armenian manuscripts of the Alexander Romance have survived, perhaps upward to a hundred, though no definitive list has been established. Fr. R. T'reanc', the compiler of the first, and until very recently, the only Armenian edition worked with some ten manuscripts mostly from the Mekhitarist Fathers Library, Venice; 7 Tashean controlled seventeen manuscripts for his study; 8 Fr. Nersés Akinian knew 32 manuscripts; 9 Wolohojian thought there were about 40 codices extent for a future critical edition; 10 and finally Hasmig Simonyan, in her new edition, lists 66 manuscripts. 11 My own incomplete list includes some 80 manuscripts.

       Only two manuscripts date to before the sixteenth century (Venice, V424; Erevan, M10151), both of them attributed to the thirteenth century, but of different recensions and with different histories. The most famous Armenian Alexander is also the most beautifully illustrated one, a treasure of the Mekhitarist Monastery on the island of San Lazzaro, Venice. T'rean's original edition of 1842 was primarily based on this manuscript which is unfortunately defective. Its primary colophon is missing so we know neither its date or place of copying, but we do know the name of the scribe, a certain Nersés sarkawag. We also lack information about the artist or artists who lavishly illuminated the manuscript. It has been attributed to the late thirteenth or fourteenth century on the basis of the style of the miniatures by Sirarpie Der Nersessian12 and because in a colophon (recopied?) in the manuscript, the poet Xach'atur Kech'arec'i who lived from 1260 to 1330, tells us he reedited the Armenian version of the Alexander Romance. 13 He also added more than 150 additional verses, 14 called in Armenian kafas after the Arabic qafiya, or rhymed verse, as a running commentary on the text and its episodes. 15 Kafas by other poets and copyist were added in the sixteenth century and after, but Xach'atur's are those most often found and sometimes together with those of later authors. 16

       The other thirteenth century manuscript now in the Matenadaran in Erevan (M10151) is considered to be the oldest surviving copy of the original Armenian version of the Pseudo-Callisthenes as it was before Xach'atur edited the text and added kafas to it. 17 As mentioned above it has been published for the first time by Simonyan, 18 but separately rather than as an integral part of her edition of the text with the kafas. The manuscript lacks the original colophon so we know neither date, place, nor copyist. A quire at the beginning and two at the end of the text had been lost much before these sections were restored to the manuscript (with kafas) in 1606 by the priest Anton. 19 According to Simonyan, all subsequent manuscripts are based on this prototype including that of the Xach'atur Kech'arec'i group. 20 There are also a large number of brief summaries or epitomes and a very popular and even oral later recension. 21

II. Illustrated Armenian Manuscripts

       There is a comparatively rich tradition of Armenian manuscripts of the History of Alexander the Great with illuminated cycles. Of the seventy-seven manuscript in my incomplete list, thirteen are illuminated. 22 Concrete information on seven of these allows us to imagine an original cycle of over one hundred illuminations; the other six from which images were not available seem to confirm a very large cycle because they are described as having "many illuminations" or "full of illuminations" or illuminations on nearly every page." Among the thirteen manuscripts there are two epitomes or shorter versions of the Alexander story; these also are fully illustrated.

       The miniatures of the Armenian Alexander have only been seriously considered in any length in connection with a remarkable manuscript of the Romance: no. 424 of the Mekhitarist Fathers' Library in Venice. Fr. Aucher at the beginning of the century devoted a two part article to these miniatures concluding that they were done by an Armenian artist in Cilician Armenia along with, but perhaps somewhat later than, the text of the manuscript itself at the end of the thirteenth or the beginning of the fourteenth century. 23 A decade later, Frédéric Macler provided uniform reproductions of 83 of the surviving miniatures, but referred the reader to Aucher's article for a commentary. Sirarpie Der Nersessian, unfortunately never devoted a special study to either this manuscript or the illustration of the Armenian tradition of Alexander, though she mentioned in passing several of the artists who illustrated manuscripts with the cycle. She thought the miniatures of Venice 424 to be stylistically close to Byzantine painting. 24 Heide and Helmut Buschhausen regarded the art as Paleologan with an oriental influence and opted for a localization in Trebizond, comparing the miniatures to those of the Chrysobolis of Alexis III of 1374. 25

       Most recently the manuscript was the subject of a thesis for the University of Venice by Cecilia Veronese. 26 After reviewing the earlier literature, she develops her own views on the illustration. Rejecting Cilicia as the artistic region, she prefers greater Armenia, finding resemblances with the illustration Erzinjan Bible of 1269 now in Jerusalem. She also sees the art as archaicizing, inspired by late eleventh century Armenian art, itself much inspired by the Byzantine tradition of the period. As for Trebizond as a place of execution, she accepts some stylistic similarities with Paleologan art, but finds no evidence for an Armenian scriptorium in Trebizond. For Veronese, the Venice manuscript's art remains rather unique in Armenian painting, displaying a very artistic quality and combining an earlier Armeno-Byzantine tradition with Islamic influences. 27

       The importance of the Venice manuscript to the study of the iconographical development of the Armenian Alexander cannot be over stressed. Not only is it the oldest Armenian version, but furthermore, it is separated by nearly 200 years from the next series of illuminated Alexander manuscripts from the second quarter of the sixteenth century. Of these, the one dated 1544, copied and painted by Bishop Zak'aria Gnuni in Constantinople, now in the John Rylands Library, Manchester, 28 has the closest iconographic resemblance to the Venice manuscript according to Der Nersessian. 29 Two examples will suffice to establish the point. The ambassadors of Darius with the king and Ismenias playing the flute for Alexander.

       Yet, another manuscript copied and illustrated by Zak'aria and his student Yakob Jughayec'i in Rome in the same period, now in Erevan, shows little resemblance to either the Manchester or the Venice manuscript. 30 One more contemporary example illustrated by the Catholicos Grigoris of Aght'amar in 1536, now in the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, according to Der Nersessian follows a completely separate iconographic tradition. Compare for instance the birth of Alexander from the Jerusalem manuscript with that of Venice, or the death of Nicholaus, missing in Venice 424, but existing in the John Rylands version and in that of Erevan 5274. But even a second manuscript illustrated ten years earlier by Grigoris in 1526 now divided between the Mekhitarists in Venice and Princeton University collection, the latter fragment of which was published by Macler, 31 also shows little similarity with Grigoris' later work now in Jerusalem or with the Venice manuscript.

       These real or seeming disparities raise a number of iconographic and textual questions which until now have remained unstudied or only partially so. Recent interest in the Armenian History of Alexander the Great has been predominantly textual and even in this domain focused more on the poetry of the later kafas than on the text of the translation from the Greek. 32 The poetic commentary of the text begun by Xach'atur Kech'arec'i in the late thirteenth century and continued by bishop Zak'aria Gnuni, Catholicos Grigoris and others into the nineteenth century has provided one of the largest single elements in the corpus of medieval Armenian poetry. The same energy needs to be devoted to establishing the Armenian artistic cycle or cycles used to illustrate the text.

       In this research we seem unable to go back earlier than the time of Xach'atur and the Venice manuscript, that is around 1300. Simonyan's edition suggests that the single version (she called it the prototype) of the History which predates, and that only slightly, the reedited one of Xach'atur was not illustrated. As mentioned above seven other manuscripts from among the 68 she studied33 belong to what she calls the pre-Xach'atur recension. None of these are illustrated. This would suggest that illustrative miniatures were added to the Armenian version at the same time as the kafas, that is at the end of the thirteenth or the early fourteenth century and possibly by Xach'atur himself. Xach'atur was known as scribe, poet, and painter. When Nersés Sarkawag copied the Venice manuscript the colophons of Xach'atur saying he had reedited and corrected the text as well as a preface and an allegoric postscriptum were already in his exemplar. The hypothesis that Nersés model was an earlier manuscript copied and illustrated by Xach'atur has proposed by a number of scholars, most recently Veronese. 34 This earlier copy was also illustrated because Nersés left spaces for miniatures which were painted in later; the kafas in red ink and the legends in black were also added within these frames by a different scribe. Was this in fact Xach'atur who was alive until 1330? Since the principal colophon and the artist's colophon are lacking, we do not know where and when and by whom this was done. Some have conjectured that Xach'atur was the artist, suggesting that he was better at painting than poetry, since his kafas are considered rather weak. But if it is true that Xach'atur illustrated the Venice copy, it might be itself the first Armenian version, since it is perfectly possible that the original autograph manuscript of Xach'atur, now lost which Nersés copied was not illustrated and only during Xach'atur's collaboration with the latter did he make clear to the scribe where to leave space for miniatures.

       A good case can be made for the suggestion that illustrations of the Armenian version of the Alexander Romance began with Xach'atur's revision since none of the eight surviving manuscripts, which are copies of the translation before Xach'atur changed it, are illustrated. This is not a conclusive argument, since only a fourth of the surviving manuscripts with the Xach'atur additions are illustrated, there might have been some illustrated Armenian copies made from the fifth to the twelfth century which simply did not survive into the thirteenth century and beyond. Perhaps it is the moment to point out that prior to the thirteenth century we have no secular Armenian manuscripts decorated with a miniature cycle. The History of Alexander seems to be the first, at least the oldest surviving, example. By the time it is illustrated in the thirteenth or early fourteenth century it already has attached to it moralizing poems which begin to make Alexander a paradigm of Christian virtues, thus an acceptable text for illustration in a monastic scriptorium. 35

       Some scholars, J. Ross the most representative, believe that the Alexander Romance was already illustrated from the earliest times in the fourth century. It is, therefore, not inconceivable that the Greek texts available to the Armenian translators of the fifth century were already illustrated. That a large Alexander cycle existed is evidenced by the later Byzantine and medieval French manuscripts. In the east, illustrated epics of the kings such as Firdusi's Shahnameh completed in the early eleventh century or Nizami's Khamsa of the late twelfth century contained sections on Alexander which were illuminated. The Histoire Universelle, written in the first half of the thirteenth century, has a concluding section on Alexander the great and was already a popularly illustrated text among the Crusaders in the later thirteenth century. 36 But these eastern examples do not have sufficiently large cycles of the Alexander story to have been the inspiration behind the 120 or so miniatures in the Armenian cycle.

       On the other hand, the illustrated manuscript of the Pseudo-Callisthenes in the Hellenic Institute for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice has a cycle of some 250 richly painted miniatures spread throughout the text. 37 The art shows Paleologan influences. It has been dated to the fourteenth century by Xyngopoulos38 and ascribed to either Crete or Cyprus; 39 Buschhausen, however, believes it to be from Trebizond. 40

       Theoretically all of these traditions could have influenced the Armenian artist of Venice 424. The detailed study of Veronese offers a final conclusion which suggests that Armenian art of the period, including this manuscript, was highly eclectic and took from both east and west. The western tradition entered Armenia through the close contacts and intermarriage of the Armenian nobility of Cilicia with the Crusader nobility from France and later Jerusalem and Cyprus. Byzantine art was a constant source of inspiration for Armenian painting from the sixth century on. The orientalisms in various miniatures of the Venice manuscript, for instance Near Eastern clothing, especially the turbans reserved for Persians, are present in the Byzantine Alexander in the Hellenic Institute and in Crusader miniature as well as contemporary Islamic works. But such apparel was already part of Armenian art and life in the tenth century as witnessed by sculptural reliefs from the tenth century churches of Aght'amar, Haghbat, and Ani.

       Stylistically relating these works to Byzantine art, particularly to the Paleologan period, with perhaps a substrata going back to Armenian borrowings from the tenth and eleventh century, though probably correct, does not advance the search for more direct antecedents. Unlike most Armenian manuscripts, we do not know, I repeat, the date, the place of execution, or the artist of this earliest decorated Alexander. To propose, for instance, Trebizond requires more than a stylistic similarity, for as Veronese has well observed, we must explain how an Armenian scribe copied the manuscript there. It would be easier to posit the existence of a Byzantine manuscript in the Armenian scriptorium responsible for the production of Venice 424.

       In this respect the ancillary disciplines of paleography and codicology may help. The manuscript was restored in Padua in 1972-1974 and valuable codicological data may have been lost. 41 I have examined the paleography of the principal text in black ink and tried to compare it with that of other late thirteenth and early fourteenth century manuscripts studied during research for the Album of Armenian Paleography being prepared by Michael Stone, Henning Lehmann, and myself. 42 Nersés the scribe's minuscule (bolorgir) resembles very much that used at the very beginning of the fourteenth century in the Armenian monastery of Glajor. It was a famous center of learning in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It had an excellent scriptorium and produced well illustrated manuscripts, including the recently published Glajor Gospel of the first quarter of the fourteenth century by a team of artists the most famous of which was T'oros of Tarôn. 43 Certain representations, especially portraits of the kings in the geneology of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Matthew, offer an echo of the way king Alexander was sometimes treated in the Venice manuscript. Should this attribution to Glajor prove to be correct it would place the production of the manuscript in Greater Armenia, outside the immediate sphere of the Cilician kingdom, the great center of painting in the late thirteenth century, and still rather distant from Trebizond. It would have affinities with Armenian monasteries in the northwest, such as Erzinjan, where miniature painting in the second half of the thirteenth century, at least in the famous Bible of 1269 now in Jerusalem, has a general feeling vaguely akin to the Venice manuscript. The Venice 424 also shows some kinship with Armenian illumination from the Crimea in the early fourteenth century when a previous established community was being reinforced by further immigration from Greater Armenia. 44

       A localization of the copying and painting of the Venice History of Alexander in one of the northern monasteries of Armenia seems a very reasonable supposition, and a date in the early fourteenth century also most likely. This does not, however, help us much with the prototype of the manuscript or the origin of the cycle. Furthermore, later Armenian manuscripts with an extensive cycle, such as the Vienna 319 of 1694 with its 100 miniatures, or the Bibliothèque nationale de France no. 291 of 1708 with its 118 miniatures seem to either follow a cycle different than the Venice manuscript or else have been dramatically infiltrated by later non-Armenian iconography. A few examples comparing the various manuscripts will suffice to prove this point. A number of other manuscripts, especially a description of the art they contain, wait to be published. For the moment it appears that there is not a singular tradition in the miniature cycle. But until all thirteen illustrated manuscripts are properly published or someone takes on the task of studying and comparing each of them, I am not sure we will be able to reach any firm conclusions on the history of the cycles of the Armenian Alexander or the origins of their iconography. The subject is wide open to basic research. Hopefully, a young art historian will take up the challenge.

*This study was in part prepared under a grant from the Bertha and John Garabedian Charitable Foundation of Fresno, California, and a second grant from California State University, Fresno.

1E. A. Wallis Budge, The Alexander Book in Ethiopia, London, 1933, p. 8; cf. Albert M. Wolohojian, The Romance of Alexander the Great by Pseudo-Callisthenes, translated from the Armenian version with an introduction, New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1969, p. 16.

2Especially for the lacunae in the A or Alpha Group based on Bibliothèque nationale de France, Grec 1711; for a discussion with pertinent literature, see Wolohojian, The Romance, pp. 2-7. For a more recent review of the Armenian tradition see Giusto Traina, "Lo Pseudo-Callistene armeno. Nota introduttiva," Ars Narrandi, Scritti di narrative antica in memoria di Luigi Pepe, Perugia, 1996, pp. 133-150.

3Yacob Tashean (J. Dashian], Usumnasirut'iwnk' Stoyn Kalist'eneneay Varuc' Aghek'sandri [Studies on Pseudo-Callisthenes' Life of Alexander], Vienna, 1892, pp. 24-34, in part restated in Wolohojian, The Romance, pp. 9-14. References are also found in the following authors, mostly historians: John Catholicos (ninth century), Tovma Arcruni (tenth century), Grigor Magistros (eleventh century), Mxit'ar Gosh (twelfth century).

4Wolohojian, The Romance, pp. 9-13, presents late nineteenth and early twentieth century opinion.

5For a recent discussion see Robert W. Thomson, Moses Khorenatsi, History of the Armenians, Cambridge, MA, 1978, the introduction.

6Robert W. Thomson, A Bibliography of Classical Armenian Literature to 1500 AD, Corpus Christianorum, Brepols-Turnhout, 1995, especially the first section entitled "Translations into Armenian," pp. 29-88; see also C. Zuckermann and M. Stone,

7Raphael T'reanc', ed. Pat.mut'iwn Aghek' Makedonacwoy [The History of Alexander of Macedon], Venice 1842.

8Tashean, Studies, cf. Wolohojian, The Romances, p. 14, note. 50.

9Nerses Akinian, "Die handschriftliche Überlieferung der armenischen Übersetzung des Alexanderromans von Pseudo-Kallistenes, Byzantion, XIII (1938), pp. 201-206.

10Wolohojian, The Romances, p. 21.

11Hasmik Simonyan, Patmut'iwn Aghek'sanri Makedonac'woy, (History of Alexander of Macedon), ed. Erevan, 1989, pp. 34-65, for complete list with descriptions; Simonyan does not claim completeness. This very large book does not offer a critical edition, but a diplomatic edition, her A recension, of the medieval translation with the addition of rhymed poems (kafas), pp. 67-364, for which see below, as well as the text of the earliest manuscript dated to the thirteenth century (Erevan, M10150).

12Sirarpie Der Nersessian, Armenian Art, London, 1978, p. 233, the fourteenth century.

13Simonyan, History of Alexander of Macedon, p. 51, considers the manuscript to be of the fourteenth century. It is the oldest example of the new or revised recension.

14Simonyan, History of Alexander of Macedon, p. 52; she earlier reported 127 kafas: "Aghek'sandr Makedonac'u Patmut'yan hayeren t'argmanut'yune' ev nra xmbagrut'yunnere'" (The Armenian Translation of the History of Alexander of Macedon and Its Recensions)," Pastma-Banasirakan Handes, (1971), no. 1, p. 123. Simonyan considers the manuscript to be of the fourteenth century. It is the oldest example of the new or revised recension,

15M. Avdalbegyan, Xach'atur Kech'arec'i, XIII-XIV dareri (Xach'atur Kech'arec'i, 13th-14th Centuries) Erevan, 1958; for older literature see Thomson, Bibliography, p. 214. For a discussion of his "reediting" see, Wolohojian, The Romance, pp. 14-16.

16Most famous of these are the scribe and bishop Zak'aria Gnuni and catholicos Grigoris of Aght'amar; brief discussion in Wolohojian, The Romance, pp. 14-16. On Grigoris, see Thomson, Bibliography, 137-8.

17H. Simonyan, "Aghek'sandr Makedonac'u Patmut'yan hayeren t'argmanut'yune' ev nra xmbagrut'yunnere'" (The Armenian Translation of the History of Alexander of Macedon and Its Recensions)," Pastma-Banasirakan Handes, (1971), no. 1, pp. 113-128. Beside the oldest manuscript, M10151, she lists six other examples in the Erevan collection and one in Leningrad; all date from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.

18Akinian has spoken of the existence of an earlier text which he planned to edit, "Die handschriuftliche," p. 206. Though Simonyan was the first to publish the text, her B recension, History of Alexander, pp. 364-446; it had been discussed earlier in an unpublished doctoral dissertation, J. Skinner, The Alexander Romance in the Armenian Historians, Harvard University, 1940.

19A description of the manuscript M10151 can be found in Simonyan, History, pp. 26, 49-50.

20A nuanced suggested that the B group may not be what Simonyan believed it to be is offered by Peter Cowe, "Aspects of the Translation and Redaction Process of the Alexander Romance in Armenian," Acts of the Vth International Conference on Armenian Lingustics, D. Sakayan, ed., Delmar, N.Y.: Caravan Books, 1996, pp. 245-261.

21Simonyan, History of Alexander, published an edition of these as her C group, pp. 446-492, based on a late seventeenth and a nineteenth century manuscript, both in Erevan. See her earlier comments on the folk versions in "The Armenian Translation," pp. 126-7.

22Simonyan's list of 66 manuscripts contains ten which are illustrated.

23Jean Aucher, "An Example of National Miniature Painting and Paleography," (in Arm.) Bazmavép (1914), nos. 5-6, pp. 193-208, 241-251. The article was illustrated with a sampling of a dozen miniatures.

24Sirarpie Der Nersessian, Armenian Art, London, 1978, p.

25H. and H. Buschhausen, Die illuminierten armenischen Handschriften der Mechitarharisten-Congregation in Vienna, Vienna, 1976, p. 103, and in a recent personal communication of October 1997.

26Cecilia Veronese, "Tra Bisanzio e l'Armena: le miniature del codice 424 della Biblioteca dei Padri Mechitaristi a Venezia, " unpublished thesis University of Venice, 1992. I would like to than Madame Veronese for making a copy of her work available for this communication.

27Conclusions in Veronese, "Tra Bisanzio,", pp. 147-161.

28Arm. ms. no. 3, description (but without list of miniatures of which there are 121, in H. Kurdian, "C'uc'ak hayerén jer'agrac' Manch'ésdri C'an R'ayle'nts Matenadranin (Catalogue of Armenian Manuscripts in the John Rylands Library in Manchester)," Sion 49 (1975), pp. 199-201. Three illustrations in G. Yovsép'ean, Xaghbakeank' kam pr'osheank' hayoc' patmut'ean méj', Antelias, 1969, pp. 128-132, reedition of Vagharshapat, 1928 plus additional articles 1913-1948. One illustration in Arshag Tchobanian, La Roseraie d'Arménie, vol. II, Paris, 1923, opposite p. 124.

29Der Nersessian, Armenian Art, p. 233.

30A few poor illustrations can be found in Simonyan, History of Alexander, pp. 71, 80, 289, 481. I have not been able to consult this manuscript directly.

31Venice, Mekhitarist Library, H. Kurdian collection, no. 280; Princeton University, Garrett Collection, no. 23. For details, Avedis Sanjian, A Catalogue of Medieval Armenian Manuscripts in the United States, Los Angeles, 1976, pp. 406-8, # 94; Macler, L'Enluminure arménienne profane, Paris, 1928, figs. 84-88.

32Cowe's article "Aspects," cited above in note 19, is an exception

33See note 17 supra. These are Erevan, Matenadaran 1783 (18th century), 3182 (17th century), 5627 (18th century), 5632 (19th century), 6485 (17th century), 9631 (18th century), and St. Petersburg Oriental Institute, no. A-9 (18th century).

34Veronese, 'Le Miniature del codici 424," pp. 10.

35There are no book artist that we know of who were not clerics in this period. In fact, it is not yet clear when lay artists executed paintings which have survived. I would suspect the seventeenth century. Secular subjects, donor portraits for examples, appear early in Gospel manuscripts as they do as sculptural reliefs on churches.

36For details on the composition and especially the illustrations of the Crusader manuscripts, see Hugo Buchthal, Miniature Painting in the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem, Oxford, 1957, pp. 68-87.

37For a brief description, several illustrations, and the most recent bibliography, see Alessandro Magno, Storia e Mito, Fondazione Memmi, and exhibition catalogue of 1994, no. 126, pp. 330-333. I would like to thank Guisto Traina for sending me photocopies of these pages. See also Traina's discussion of the Venice manuscript, part of the exhibit, with recent bibliography, no. 125, pp. 327-330.

38A. Xyngopoulos, Les miniatures du Roman d'Alexandre le Grand dans le manuscrit de l'Institut Hellénique de Venise, Athens-Venice, 1966, pp. 141-143; cf. Veronese, "Le miniatura del codice 424," pp. 37, 46, and Alessandro Magno, p. 330. A facsimile edition of the manuscript was in preparation at the Hellenic Institute, but according to a recent letter from Helmut Muschhausen, the untimely death of the diretor has stopped the project.

39Alessandro Magno, p. 330.

40Personal communication, letter of 16 November 1997.

41To the best of my knowledge the manuscript had never been thoroughly described before its restoration and had not (and I believe still has not) been included in the volumes of the Mekhitarists Library which have thus far been published. Veronese, "Le miniatura del codice 424," pp. 10-15, offers the most complete physical description, but see also Simonyan, History of Alexander, pp. 51-2,

42Dickran Kouymjian, "The Album of Armenian Paleography: A Progress Report," Revue des Etudes Arméniennes, vol. 25 (1995), pp. 301-311.

43Thomas F. Mathews and Avedis K. Sanjian, Armenian Gospel Iconography. The Tradition of the Glajor Gospel, Dumbarton Oaks Studies, vol. 29, Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks; 1991 for a detailed review see D. Kouymjian, "Armenian Iconography: A New Approach," Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies, vol. 6 (1992, 1993, issued 1995), pp. 201-222.

44Heide and Helmut Buschhausen have been attracted by this notion believing strongly and with some evidence that Byzantine Trebizond would have a gateway city to the Crimea. Personal communicaton as in note 38 above.

Home | Feedback | Search | Contact

Program | Upcoming Events | Faculty Courses | Books for Sale | Scholarships | Links
Armenian Students Organization | Hye Sharzhoom

The Armenian Studies Program web page is sponsored by a grant from
The Bertha and John Garabedian Charitable Foundation, Fresno.

Disclaimer Statement