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History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empir

The caravan usually halts in the neighborhood of Erivan


even the natural effects of

nutrition and digestion. The religion of Armenia could not derive much glory from the learning or the power of its inhabitants. The royalty expired with the origin of their schism; and their Christian kings, who arose and fell in the thirteenth century on the confines of Cilicia, were the clients of the Latins and the vassals of the Turkish sultan of Iconium. The helpless nation has seldom been permitted to enjoy the tranquillity of servitude. From the earliest period to the present hour, Armenia has been the theatre of perpetual war: the lands between Tauris and Erivan were dispeopled by the cruel policy of the Sophis; and myriads of Christian families were transplanted, to perish or to propagate in the distant provinces of Persia. Under the rod of oppression, the zeal of the Armenians is fervent and intrepid; they have often preferred the crown of martyrdom to the white turban of Mahomet; they devoutly hate the error and idolatry of the Greeks; and their transient union with the Latins is not less devoid of truth, than the thousand bishops, whom their patriarch offered at the feet of the Roman pontiff. [142] The catholic, or patriarch, of the Armenians resides in the monastery of Ekmiasin, three leagues from Erivan. Forty-seven archbishops, each of whom may claim the obedience of four or five suffragans, are consecrated by his hand; but the far greater part are only titular prelates, who dignify with their presence and service the simplicity of his court. As soon as they have
performed the liturgy, they cultivate the garden; and our bishops will hear with surprise, that the austerity of their life increases in just proportion to the elevation of their rank.

In the fourscore thousand towns or villages of his spiritual empire, the patriarch receives a small and voluntary tax from each person above the age of fifteen; but the annual amount of six hundred thousand crowns is insufficient to supply the incessant demands of charity and tribute. Since the beginning of the last century, the Armenians have obtained a large and lucrative share of the commerce of the East: in their return from Europe, the caravan usually halts in the neighborhood of Erivan, the altars are enriched with the fruits of their patient industry; and the faith of Eutyches is preached in their recent congregations of Barbary and Poland. [143]

[Footnote 139: The religion of the Armenians is briefly described by La Croze, (Hist. du Christ. de l'Ethiopie et de l'Armenie, p. 269--402.) He refers to the great Armenian History of Galanus, (3 vols. in fol. Rome, 1650--1661,) and commends the state of Armenia in the iiid volume of the Nouveaux Memoires des Missions du Levant. The work of a Jesuit must have sterling merit when it is praised by La Croze.]

[Footnote 1391: See vol. iii. ch. xx. p. 271.--M.]

[Footnote 140: The schism of the Armenians is placed 84 years after the council of Chalcedon, (Pagi, Critica, ad A.D. 535.) It was consummated at the end of seventeen years; and it is from the year of Christ 552 that we date the aera of the Armenians, (L'Art de verifier les Dates, p. xxxv.)]


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