ABRAHAM OF EREVAN, the author of a history of the wars in Armenian at the time of Nāder Shah Afšār. Little is known about Abraham of Erevan. He was probably born and died in the 18th century. His name survives mainly due to his book, Patmutʾiwn tʾagahori Parsits (History of the Persian king), which survives in a single manuscript kept in the Armenian Catholic Monastery on the island of San Lazzaro in Venice. The manuscript was later edited by an Armenian monk, who called it Patmutʾiwn paterazmatsʾn, 1721-1736 (The History of the Wars 1721-1736). A copy of this version was brought to Soviet Armenia in 1928 and was published in Erevan in 1938.
Abraham, the son of Hovhannēs, lived in Erevan, the center of the Persian defenses in eastern Armenia (Persian Armenia). His awkward writing style and use of the vernacular local dialect indicate that he was not a member of the clergy or the gentry. His knowledge of European terminology, the frequent use of military terms, and detailed description of the numerous wars suggest that he may have been either a soldier or a layman proficient in a trade that was utilized by the army.
Unlike other contemporary sources, which concentrate on the political and socioeconomic conditions of the region during the second quarter of the 18th century, Abraham’s narrative is an uninterrupted account of the wars between the Persians and the Afghans, the Ottomans and the Afghans, and the Persians and the Ottomans. The narrative begins with the fall of the Safavid dynasty and ends with the conquest of Qandahār (1738) by Nāder Shah and the restoration of Persian suzerainty over the territories which constituted the former Safavid Empire.
The work’s greatest value is the account of the Ottoman invasion of the Khanate of Erevan. Abraham’s history is the sole source on the events that occured in the khanate from March through September of 1724. The resistance of the Armenian population of Erevan to the Ottoman attack is of particular interest.
Abraham Erewantsʾi Patmutʾiwn paterazmatsʾn, 1721-1736 tʾowi, Venice, 1977; tr. with commentary George Bournoutian as Abraham of Erevan: History of the Wars 1721-1738, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1999.
(George A. Bournoutian)
Originally Published: July 20, 2002
Last Updated: July 20, 2002