Archive for the ‘idols’ Tag

Gregory the Illuminator and saints-for-idols replacement   Leave a comment

Here are a few lines from today’s reading in the Armenian synaxarion (text and FT in Bayan, Aug 25, PO 5: 433). The title of the reading is:

Տօն է ամենասրբուհւոց Աստուածածնին զոր կարգեաց սուրբն Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչ։

  • ամենասրբուհւ all-holy, very holy
  • Աստուածածնին Mother of God
  • կարգեաց aor 3sg կարգեմ, -եցի to arrange, fix, establish

The Feast of the All-Holy Mother of God, which Saint Gregory the Illuminator Established

This paragraph explains how the famous Armenian saint replaced idol-worship in Caucasia with feast-days for the saints. See similarly Agat’angełos, §§ 48ff., and on Anahit and Aramazd, see Thomson’s remarks in the introduction to his edition and translation of Agat’angełos, pp. xxxviii-xlii. (For an earlier report on Anahit among the Armenians, see Strabo 11.14.16.) Anahit is in other places identified with the Greek Artemis, but here with Aphrodite.

Gregory the Illuminator, of course, was hardly the only idol-basher in the early centuries of Christianity. For Theodosius as one, for example, see Movsēs Xorenac’i, History of the Armenians, § 3.33 (Thomson, ET, p. 286). For a general reflection, see lines 867-884 of Grigor Magistros’ poem recently edited and translated by Abraham Terian: Magnalia Dei: Biblical History in Epic Verse by Grigor Magistros, Hebrew University Armenian Studies 14 (Leuven: Peeters, 2002; ET pp. 61-62, comm. pp. 98-99, Arm. 161-162).

Սուրբ Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչն եւ մեծ հայրապետն ամենայն Հայոց Մեծաց կործանեաց զամենայն պատկերս կռոցն եւ եբարձ զդիւապաշտութիւնն յաշխարհէս Հայոց եւ Վրաց եւ Աղուանից,

  • հայրապետ patriarch
  • կործանեաց aor 3sg կործանեմ, -եցի to overthrow, destroy
  • պատկեր, -աց statue, idol, figure, icon, image, painting (< Parthian, Middle Persian patkar; cf. Aramaic paṯkar)
  • կուռք, կռոց (pl. tantum) idol, image, statue
  • եբարձ aor 3sg բառնամ, բարձի to lift up, raise, take away, destroy (NB the ե- augment, added as usual to aorist forms that would otherwise be monosyllabic)
  • դիւապաշտութիւն idolatry (demon-/devil-worship; cf. դեւ demon, devil [Middle Persian dēw] + պաշտեմ to worship, serve)
  • Վիրք Georgians
  • Աղուանք (Caucasian) Albanians

եւ փոխանակ շինեաց եկեղեցիս յանուն սուրբ աստուածածնին Մարիամու եւ սուրբ Կարապետին Յովհաննու։

  • փոխանակ substitute, alternative, exchange (cf. փոխեմ below)
  • շինեաց aor 3sg շինեմ, -եցի to found, build, construct
  • կարապետ, -ի forerunner, precursor, guide (for կար- here cf. the Iranian root in Middle Persian kārawān “caravan” and kārdāg “traveler”)

Եւ զտօնս պղծութեանն՝ փոխեաց ի տօնս սրբութեան, զի մինչ ի կռապաշտութիւն էր աշխարհս, տօնէին այսօր Անահիտ տիկնոջն եւ կոչէին զնա ծնունդ այրոյն Արամազդայ որ է Ափրոդիտէս ըստ յունականին։

  • պղծութիւն contamination, stain, impurity, pollution
  • փոխեաց aor 3sg փոխեմ, -եցի to change, transform, displace, transfer
  • կռապաշտութիւն idolatry, idol-worship
  • տօնէին impf 3pl տօնեմ, -եցի to feast, celebrate
  • այսօր this day (also today)
  • տիկին queen, empress, princess (decl. like կին; < *տի- + կին, as տէր < *տի- + այր)
  • կոչէին impf 3pl կոչեմ, -եցի to call, name
  • ծնունդ, ծննդեան, -դոց child, offspring (also birth, origin)
  • այրոյն (presumably an aberrant form of the gen.sg of այր, the usual classical form being առն)
  • յունական Greek

English translation:

Saint Gregory, the Illuminator and great Patriarch of all Armenia, overthrew all the statues of the idols and removed demon-worship from the land of the Armenians, Georgians, and Albanians, and as a substitute he founded churches in the name of the holy Mother of God, Mary, and the holy forerunner, John [the Baptist], and he changed the feasts of impurity to feasts of holiness. [The feast is today] because while the land was in idol-worship, on this day [Aug 25] they would celebrate Lady Anahit and they would call her the offspring of her husband Aramazd; she was Aphrodite among the Greeks.

(Thanks to Ed Mathews for discussing այրոյն with me.)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 39 (Mirian & religion in Georgia)   Leave a comment

Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ ႫႤႴႤ ႫႨႰႨႠႬႤ | წ(მიდა)ჲ მეფე მირიანი. King Mirian, from the Samtavisi Cathedral. Source.

Ⴜ(ႫႨႣႠ)Ⴢ ႫႤႴႤ ႫႨႰႨႠႬႤ | წ(მიდა)ჲ მეფე მირიანი. King Mirian, from the Samtavisi Cathedral. Source.

For today’s Georgian reading, here are a few lines from the K’art’lis c’xovreba, with Robert Thomson’s translation (Rewriting Caucasian History).

ed. 65.7-9 (Th. 77)

და იყოს შვილი ჩემი ორსავე სჯულსა ზედა: მამათა ჩუენთა ცეცხლის-მსახურებასა და თქუენთა კერპთასა, რამეთუ პირველვე ამას ზედა მოეცა ფიცი.

“My son [Mirian] will observe both religions, the fire-worship of our fathers and the worship of your idols”, because he had previously given his oath for this.

  • იყოს aor. conj. 3sg ყოფა to be
  • სჯული law, religion
  • ცეცხლის-მსახურებაჲ fire-worship
  • კერპჲ idol
  • მო-ე-ც-ა aor 3sg მოცემა to give
  • ფიცი oath, vow

ed. 65.15-17 (Th. 77)

და აღიზარდა მირიან მსახურებასა მას შინა შჳდთა მათ კერპთასა და ცეცხლისასა.

Mirian grew up in the worship of the seven idols and of fire.

ხოლო შეიყუარნა ქართველნი, და დაივიწყა ენა სპარსული და ისწავა ენა ქართული.

He loved the Georgians, forgot the Persian tongue,  and learned the Georgian language.

  • აღ-ი-ზარდ-ა aor 3sg აღზრდა to be reared, grow up
  • მსახურებაჲ worship (cf. above in ცეცხლის-მსახურებაჲ)
  • შე-ი-ყუარ-ნ-ა aor 3sg N შეყუარება to love
  • და-ი-ვიწყ-ა დავიწყება to forget
  • სპარსული Persian
  • ი-სწავ-ა aor 3sg სწავება to learn

The seven gods are:

  1. Armazi (არმაზი)
  2. Gac’i (გაცი)
  3. Gaim (გაიმ)
  4. Ainina (აინინა)
  5. Danina (დანინა)
  6. Zadeni (ზადენი)
  7. The seventh in view here may be Aphrodite, an idol of whom is mentioned as having been brought to Georgia by Sep’elia, wife of the king Rev, and set up at the entrance to Mc’xet’a (ed. 58.2, Thomson, p. 69).

In the Life of Nino, we also find mention of Armazi, Gac’i, and Gaim (cf. Lang, Lives and Legends of the Georgian Saints, pp. 23-24). Further on early religion in Georgia, for which the textual data are much later, see especially Michael Tseretheli (1935), “The Asianic (Asia Minor) Elements in National Georgian Paganism,” Georgica 1: 28-66; and later, the indices under the names of the gods in Cyril Toumanoff, Studies in Christian Caucasian History and Stephen H. Rapp, Jr., Studies in Medieval Georgian Historiography: Early Texts and Eurasian Contexts (CSCO 601), esp. p. 277-279, where our passage above is also cited.

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