ARMENIA

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ARMENIA ; an Asiatic country, containing 106,000 square miles, formerly divided into Armenia Major and Minor. The first, which is the modern Turcomania, and is still sometimes called Armenia, lies south of mount Caucasus, and comprehends the Turkish pachalics Erzerum, Kars and Van (which extend over 33,770 square miles, and have 950,000 inhabitants), and also the Persian province Iran, or Erivan. Armenia Minor, now called Aladulia or Pegian, belongs to the Turks, and is divided between the pachalics Merashe and Sivas. Armenia is a rough, mountainous country, which has Caucasus for its northern boundary, and, in the centre, is traversed by branches of the Taurus, to which belongs mount Ararat, (q. v.) Here the two great rivers Euphrates and Tigris take their rise; likewise the Kur, and other less considerable streams. The lakes Van and Geuksha are also in this part of the country. The climate is rather cold than warm; the soil, in general, moderately fertile, and better fitted for grazing than for agriculture ; it produces, however, the finest southern fruits. The mountains are rich in iron and copper. The inhabitants consist of genuine Armenians, of Turcomans, who pass a wandering life in the plains, and of a few Turks, Greeks and Jews. Of the ancient history of this country but little is known. It appears to have been subjected, in turn, by the Assyrians, Medes,, Persians and Macedonians. After the death of Alexander, it became part of the kingdom of Syria, and so remained till the overthrow of Antiochus the Great, when it fell into the hands of different rulers, and was divided into Armenia Major and Minor.Armenia Major was exposed to many attacks. The Romans and Parthians fought a long time for the right of giving a successor to the throne, and it was governed at one period by Parthian princes, at another, by those whom the Romans favored, until Trajan made it a Roman province. Armenia afterwards recovered its independence, and was under the rule of its own kings. Sapor, king of Persia, attempted its subjugation in vain, and it remained free until 650, when it was conquered by the Arabians. After this, it several times changed its masters, among whom were GengisKhan and Tamerlane. In 1552, Selim II conquered it from the Persians, and the greater part has since remained under the Turkish dominion. Armenia Minor has also had several rulers, among whom Mithridates was first distinguished. From him Pompey took the kingdom, and gave it to Dejotarus, &c. On the decline of the Roman empire in the East, it was conquered by the Persians, an4, in 950, fell into the hands of the Arabians, since which time it has shared the same fate as Armenia Major, and was made, in 1514, a Turkish province, by Selim I. Of the cities of ancient Armenia, some ruins are yet to be seen, which display a good style in architecture; e. g., the ruins of the old capital Ani, which was destroyed, in 1319, by an earthquake; and those of the an ' cient city Armavir, which, during 1800 years, was the residence of the kings ,o some families still reside here. After Armavir, Artaxarta (Artaschad) on the Araxes, built in the time of the Seleucidae, became the capital, but sunk into decay before the end of the 8th century.The Armenians, a sober and temperate nation, are chiefly occupied in commerce, which, in Turkey, is, almost entirely in their hands; and in all Asia, except China, merchants of tljieir nation are to be found. Their religion has facilitated their entrance into Eastern Europe; accordingly they are numerous in Russia. Jaubert says of the domestic, life of the Christian, Armenians, that, in their native country, tljiey are good agriculturists; that old age is highly honored; and that the wife looks up to her husband, and the son to his father, as in the time of the patriarchs. They prefer permanent habitations, wb ereever the eternal feuds of the pachas and Curds permit them to remain quiet. The Armenians received Christianity as early as the 4th century. During the Monophysitic disputes, being dissatisfied with the decisions of the council of Chalcedon, they separated from the Greek church, in 536. The popes have at different times, when they requested protection against the Mohammedans, attempted to gain them over to the Catholic faith, but have not been able to unite them permanently and generally with the Roman church. Only in Italy, Poland. Gallicia, Persia, under the archbishop of Nachitschevan (a new town on the Don, in the Russian government Ekaterinoslav, of which the inhabitants are mostly Armenians), and in Marseilles, there are United Armenians, who acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of the pope, agree in their doctrines with the Catholics, but retain their peculiar ceremonies and discipline. The case is the same with the United Armenian monasteries upon mount Lebanon in Syria. At the Persian invasion, in the beginning of the 17th century, many of them wei'e obliged to become Mohammedans, but the far greater part are yet Monophysites, and have remained faithful to their old religion and worship. The Porte has constantly protected them against the attempts of the Catholics. Their doctrine differs from the orthodox chiefly in their admitting only one nature in Christ, and believing the Holy Spirit to issue from the Father alone. In their 7 sacraments, which they call mysteries, there are these peculiarities, that, in baptism, they sprinkle thrice, and dip thrice, and this is immediately followed by confirmation ; that, in the Lord's supper, they mix no water with the wine, and use leavened bread, which they distribute dipped in wine ; and that they allow extreme unction only to divines, immediately after their death. They adore saints and their images, but do not believe in purgatory. In fasting, they surpass the Greeks, Their feasts are fewer than those of the Greeks, but they celebrate them more devoutly. They worship, in Turkey, mostly in the night time ; the mass is said in the ancient Armenian, the sermon is preached in the modern. Their hierarchy differs little from that of the Greeks. The catholicos, or head of the church, has his seat at Etschmiazim, a monastery near Erivan, the capital of the Persian Armenia, on mount Ararat. The holy oil, which he prepares and sells to the clergy, and the frequent pilgrimages of the Armenians to Etschmiazim, supply him with means for the support of a magnificent style of worship, and of establishments for education. He maintains, in his residence, a seminary for the education of divines. The patriarchs, bishops and archbishops of the Armenians are invested by him, and every three years confirmed in their offices, or recalled. The remainder of the clergy resemble the priests of the orthodox church in rank and duties. The monks follow the rule of St. Basil. The vertabets, who live like monks, cultivate the sciences, take degrees, which may be compared with our academical honors, and are the vicars of the bishops, form a class of divines peculiar to the Armenian church. The secular priests must be married once, but are not permitted to take a second wife. In superstition, and attachment to old forms, the Armenians resemble the Greeks, but are distinguished by better morals. In general, they surpass all the kindred Monophysitic sects in information ; allow the people to read the JBible ; study the theological, historical and mathematical sciences; possess a respectable national literature, and, at Etschmiazim, have a printing office, which produces splendid copies of the Bible. Besides the religious societies of the Armenians in their own country and in Turkey, where they are very numerous (their patriarch at Constantinople maintains the same relation as the Greek patriarch towards the Porte), there are others in Persia, at Ispahan, Schiras and Nerinkale; in Russia, at Petersburg, Moscow, Astrachan, and in the Caucasian governments; also, small ones at London mid Amsterdam. (See Ker Porter's Travels in Georgia, Persia, Armenia ancient, Babylon, etc., in the years 1817-20 (London, 1821, 4to. with copperplates), and the travels of a Frenchman (Amad. Jaubert) through Armenia and Persia, in 1805,1806.)