Armen Chakmakjian

Shrouded in the mysteries of time musings…The Han dynasty in Armenia

In Armenia, history, Random, Religion on February 12, 2012 at 5:03 am

So as we approach Feb 16th this year I was preparing my yearly sunday school lecture on Vartan Mamigonian. Vartan is the legendary leader of the rebel Armenian princes who fought for their right to practice christianity and not convert to Zoroastrianism in the 4th century. The Armenians as a people converted about 100 years before and clung to their religion immediately. The Persian empire or Parthian in some books was fighting its typical (and still to this day in the form of modern Iran) war with the west. At that time it was Rome/Byzantium and the Armenians were a buffer region between the two empires with allegiances and alliances going back and forth.

Anyway, so I’m preparing for my lecture, and I started looking up the story of the Battle of Avirayr, where the Armenian Princes and their forces fought against the Empire-Aligned Armenian Princes under the leadership of Vassag Suni (a traitorous Armenian of course…Benedict Arnold quality) and the Persian Army that was sent to suppress them and convert them. Now before you start dragging the events of 100 years ago into this, this was WAY WAY WAY before the Seljuk and Ottoman empires were anywhere in the area. This is even before Mohammed rose and brought Islam to the region.

Ok so then I looked up Mamigonian and came up with this entry in Wikipedia about the Mamigonian family.  Of course this entry says that this era is shrouded in mystery but get this:

“The origin of the Mamikonians is shrouded in the mists of antiquity. Moses of Chorene in his History of Armenia (5th century) claims that three centuries earlier two Chinese noblemen, Mamik and Konak, rose against their half-brother, Chenbakur, the Emperor of Chenk, or China. They were defeated and fled to the king of Parthia who, braving the Emperor’s demands to extradite the culprits, sent them to live in Armenia, where Mamik became the progenitor of the Mamikonians.”


“Another 5th-century Armenian historian, Faustus of Byzantium, seconded the story. In his History of Armenia, he twice mentions that the Mamikonians descended from the Han Dynasty of China and as such were not inferior to the Arshakid rulers of Armenia. This genealogical legend may have been part of the Mamikonians’ political agenda, as it served to add prestige to their name”

and further

“The Princes Mamikonian (the Mamikonids) claimed descent from the Emperors of China and bore the gentilitial title of Chenbakur”

Now I was really cracking up.  Of course everything about my race is shrouded in mystery as if we arose from the rocks in the area and thus why we built our fortresses and churches into the sides of mountains.   The չարաճիճի in me started going through all kinds of thoughts…rice with noodles in it? we cut up our meat in small pieces and put them on sticks? China and Armenia sign a military cooperation agreement in 2012.  In that article Chinese officials refer to Armenia as a “Trustworthy and Reliable friend”…what goes around comes around?

I add this to the “Shrouded in Mystery” things like our illuminator St. Krikor was actually Persian noble, St. Patrick was actually an Armenian (Badrig is an ancient Armenian name, and the Celtic Cross is eerily similar to the Armenian Stone Cross…several centuries and 1000s of miles apart), Princess Diana’s Grandmother was Armenian and I’m potentially related to (although I have never ever claimed such) the composer Alan Hohvaness (originally named Alan Vaness Chakmakjian…who’s father was a professor at Tufts who wrote the first Armenian-English Dictionary in the US and whose ancestors were from Adana, where my family was from before post genocide 1918 purge of the Armenians of Cilicia)…And Alan Hohvaness was born in Arlington and I moved to Arlington in 1990 just before he died…hmmmm….

This is about equivalent to us finding the ancient Israelites and Canaanites and Philistines and all their kings of course.  Random shrouded in mystery musings on a Saturday night…

  1. That’s possibly one of the funniest tidbits I’ve come across! You just inspired tomorrow’s Armenian Fact of the Day 😀

  2. It gets better. Watch this video of a Chinese Restaurant in Yerevan

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: