Tim Greenwood’s new publication, The Universal History of Step‘anos Tarōnec‘i, has been released by Oxford University Press.
It is a history of the world in three books, completed in 1005/6 CE, at a time when the Byzantine Empire was expanding eastwards across the districts of historic Armenia and challenging key aspects of Armenian identity. Stepʻanos responded to these changing circumstances by looking to the past and fusing Armenian tradition with Persian, Roman, and Islamic history, asserting that Armenia had a prominent, independent and ongoing place in world history.
As well as assembling and revising extracts from existing Armenian texts, Stepʻanos also visited monastic communities where he learned about prominent Armenian scholars and ascetics from the past and then integrated them into his work, creating an Armenia defined in terms of its scholars more than its princes or territories. During his travels, he also gathered stories about local Armenian, Georgian, Persian, and Kurdish lords and these also feature.
This volume presents the first ever English translation and the first study and translation of the Universal History to be published outside Armenia for a century.