The Armeniad — Visible Pages of History

Boris Baratov is a screenwriter and the author of dozens of films. Four of his films, "The Dance,"Stones,"The Round Table" and "Holy Etchmiadzin" are dedicated to Armenia. Boris Baratov has also written books about artists and scholars– Two of his books — "Bogdan Saltanov" [1986] and "Leonardo da Vinci" [1987] were published by in Yerevan by "Sovetakan Grokh." His book "A train ride to the past, the present and the future" was published in Moscow by Planeta publishers in 1989. In 1992 and 1999 Linguist Publishers in Moscow published two works by Boris Baratov, where he featured not only as author, but also as photographer. These were "The Angel of Artsakh" and "Journey to Karabakh. Paradise Laid Waste," both of which were dedicated to the liberation struggle in Nagorno-Karakakh. Both were destined to become chronicles of the Armenian culture in Artsakh, as well as spiritual and moral achievemen’s for their author. In these volumes, Boris Baratov depicts the historical and architectural monumen’s of Artsakh and of the most ancient Christian country in the world, together with its history and culture. "The Angel of Artsakh" and "Journey to Karabakh: Paradise Laid Waste" were translated into English and attracted the attention of a wide circle of readers. Many figures in the cultural and academic world expressed their thanks and gratitude to the author. Professor of History, Dr. Vardan Hakobyan, wrote: "The author has fulfilled his mission with great honor — the mission of bringing to the world the truth of the struggle of a people for freedom and independence–he has emphasized the significance of the creative genius of the Armenia’s, which enabled this people to overcome their enemy.. I should like to express my sincere gratitude to him." Boris Baratov was awarded the Armenian "Historian Yegishe" prize for this work and later received the "Vachagan the Pious" medal from the government of the Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. Boris Baratov’s next book was "Jerusalem and its holy sites," a guidebook for all those wishing to become more intimately acquainted with the 2000-year history of Armenian Jerusalem. Boris Baratov maintains his authorial line in this work, guiding his reader with interest and great affection around the holy sites. He reveals the monasteries and churches built by Armenia’s in the past (there were as many as 74 at one time) and the ones still active today. He clearly admires them himself and gives his reader the opportunity of sharing in his admiration. This book was published in Jerusalem in English, Armenian and Russian under the patronage of Torkom Manoogian, the Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem and has become a guiding thread for many Armenian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. In 2001, Boris Baratov published "The Armenian Apostolic Church–1700." This is a sumptuous coffee-table book, which sheds new light on one of the oldest Christian Churches in the world — the Armenian Apostolic Church. At the request of the Armenian Diaspora in Great Britain, the book was translated and published in English, under the patronage of Archbishop Nathan Hovhannisian, the head of the Armenian Diocese in Britain. It is with great pleasure that Linguist Publishers are now presenting Boris Baratov’s latest coffee-table book "The Armeniad — visible pages of history." This book is the result of many years’ work. Below we feature excerpts of an interview with the author by Anna Petrosova, which took place during the book’s launch in Moscow. ANNA PETROSOVA: A huge range of ancient historians and archaeologists, linguists, architects and historians from the 19th and 20th Centuries are set out in the bibliography of your book. The chapter headings of "The Armeniad" are indicative of a huge historical panorama. This seems to be a coffee-table book with pretensions of being a monumental work of history: just who is it aimed at? Might the ordinary reader not be overwhelmed by the wealth of historical facts that you bring forward in this book? BORIS BARATOV: "The Armeniad — visible pages of history" is dedicated to ancient history, which I am sure most people would think of as one of the most boring and driest of subjects. I would suggest that every prospective reader who agrees with my last statement should start reading at page 274, with the chapter entitled "Armenia — 1915." After that, I hope that even the most distrustful of readers will start to look at the central theme of this book with more sympathy and on turning back to the earlier pages will be prepared to start reading from the beginning. Then they can join with us in travelling over the hills and vales of Armenian history, in order to obtain a more intimate understanding of these most important events. Armenia is one of the most ancient civilizations in Asia Minor. Its history has been reflected in the mirror of the greatest cultures of the past: the Sumer, Babylon, Assyria, the Hittite Kingdom, Persia, Greece, Rome, and Byzantium Each of these great cultures left numerous traces of ancient Armenia, which, because of its geographic situation, was in the centre of the ancient world. If you just look at a map you will find the Hittite Kingdom to the West of Armenia, Persia to the East, the Sumers, Assyria and Babylon to the South and Greece to the South-East. I did not set out with the aim of writing a scientific treatise. What I am trying to do here is present the history of Armenia to the reader, so that the work of historians, archaeologists and philologists from various countries, who uncovered the "visible pages of history" to the world, will be visible to everyone as a dramatic whole and that the modern-day reader will have the opportunity of learning about the history of Armenia "first hand." At the same time, it is impossible to turn one’s back on authors’ deviations, confrontations and opinions. A.P.: Just how accurate is the information in your book? B.B.: Despite the fact that this is far from being a strictly academic work, my book is based on facts in the strictest sense of the word. I would like to emphasize that everything written in this book is based on factual evidence compiled by historians from many different countries; I have added no authorial flourishes, which were not based on documen’s relating to the era in question. However, it is perfectly possible that individual errors have found their way into the text: I fear that this is inevitable. There has never yet been a great historian or geographer — and I can cite Heroditus, Strabo or Movses Khorenatsi — who has left us a work that is entirely without errors. One way or another, all historians make mistakes and if someone attempts to compress at least two centuries’ worth of learning in four separate fields into one volume, it is quite impossible to avoid making at least one error. I will honestly be grateful to anyone who can let me know where I have been in error. A.P.: Where did you work on this book? B.B.: In the Matenadaran and the Museum of the Genocide of the Armenia’s in Yerevan, in the British Museum and the British Library, in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and in the Russian State Library. I went to Turkey to take pictures of those examples of Armenian culture that have survived in Western Armenia and Cilicia after the fatal blow that was delivered to Armenia in 1915-1923 by the Ottoman Empire and then the Turkey of Kemal Ataturk. Almost all the materials witnessing to the events and the monumen’s to Armenian civilization were barbarically destroyed and the few that survived on the historic territory of Armenia were plundered by enterprising Europeans. Some of these items have ended up in museums throughout the world. For this reason, we undertook a special photo-shoot for "The Armeniad" in a number of famous European museums, from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin to the British Museum. It would take me many hours to tell you about our shoots in the museums of Baghdad, Mosul, Ankara, Istanbul or Tehran. Incidentally, in what is known as Persian Armenia (the part of historical Armenia which was ceded to Persia) there is still a significant Armenian population and I managed to photograph a number of wonderful Armenian monasteries — including those of St. Thaddeus and St. Stephen. The book includes some wonderful artifacts of Armenian culture which we were able to view in the storehouses of the Monastery of SS. James in Jerusalem and in the treasure house of Holy Etchmiadzin. All these tiny fragmen’s of evidence and artifacts of Armenian culture have been brought together in one book for the first time and in this sense, the illustrations of "The Armeniad" are truly unique. The reader will see the ruins of the ancient Armenian capital of Tigranakert, the maritime fortresses and the mountain castles of Cilician Armenia, the panorama of the city of Van in 1916, compared with how it looks today and much, much more. The Armeniad tells the history of the formation of the Armenian nation and the Armenian civilization from the 4th Millennium B.C. onwards in the basin of the mountainous Lake Van and in the Mush and Ararat Valleys. The exclusive photographs for this book were taken on specially arranged photo-shoots in Western Armenia, Cilicia, Iran, Iraq and the museums of Western Europe. The six hundred beautiful illustrations and the textual materials make The Armeniad a unique gift for every Armenian family. The Armeniad is available at Linguist Publishers: e-mail: Tel: (215) 900-5201, Fax: (215) 639-3013, and at the following retailers in Glendale: Abril Bookstore: (818) 243 4112, Berj Bookstore: (818) 244 2830, Sardarabad Bookstore: (818) 500 0790; in New York: St. Vartan Bookstore (212 686 0710).


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