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most remarkable of which was led by Vartan Mamigonian. Bishops and priests were massacred at once, or carried away to give up their lives in Persia. The fate of the women is not recorded, but may be imagined. Christian schools and churches were razed to the ground.
In the recesses of the mountains the Christian Armenians still had their way until 485 A. D., when another conflict with the Persians under Prince Vahan occurred. In these religious battles the slaughter of the Persians was so great that a compromise granting the Christians religious liberty was effected. From this time to 632 our unhappy lot, owing to many petty strifes, was less intolerant than general war could have made it.
Early in the seventh century Mohammedanism began to be a power in the east, and destined to overwhelm the Armenians as a nation and bring about the dispersion which continues to this day. From this time the history of the country is the story of alien sovereigns, while the passing of the sceptre from the hands of native princes is almost imperceptible in the pages of history. Yet we exist as a people, and, amid the revolutions of the eastern world, we firmly retain our national characteristics and are ever true to Christianity. The pomp, glory and wealth of ages gone, the sceptre passed to the conqueror's grasp, there is left but the cherished cross of martyrdom, the emblem of national unity and hope of eternal reward.
The first invasion of the Mohammedans occurred in 638, in the province of Daron. The Armenians could ill afford, in their weakened condition, to make a stand against these fierce warriors. So they made a compromise with the Saracens, by the terms of which they were to enjoy the Christian religion unmolested. The Greek co-religionists of the Armenians took up arms against them and threatened extermination as the penalty for their affiliation with the Mohammedans on any terms. War was only averted by the most solemn pledges of fidelity to the Greeks. A common religion removed the prejudices and jealousies of centuries first engendered by the Armenians co-operating with Xerxes in his invasion of Greece (859 A.D.), and Ashod of the Pagratid dynasty became king by consent of Caliph and the Emperor of Constantinople, and his decendents ruled until 1070 A. D., when control of the territory passed to Constantinople.
A small kingdom remained in the Taurus mountains until 1375, when Leon VI., last of the Armenian kings, was captured and banished. After six years in Egypt, he traveled through Europe until the time of his death in Paris, 1393.* He had co-operated with the Crusaders and with the king of Cyprus, and was the last bulwark of armed Christianity in the east. His kingdom was known
* The author, when in Paris, visited his tomb. What thoughts fill the mind, what feelings move the heart of an Armenian youth as he stands in a strange land by the grave of the last of the noble kings of his countrymen, who had dared to draw his sword in defence of his people and their religion. It is said that his body, clad in robes of white, with a golden sceptre placed within his hand and an opal crown upon his head, carried to the tomb in regal pomp. Thus sadly doth the unseemly show of death's procession mock at life's stern realities.
as Lesser Armenia. Since it fell the Armenians have been a people without a country, but everywhere upholding the cross with singular fidelity.
About 2,500,000 of our people are still in the Ottoman Empire. Anequal number may be found in other parts of the world-India, Persia, Russia and European countries.
Social purity of a high order obtains with us. We have no illegitimate births, no divorce court, customs and ancient law being against it. Such matters are in the jurisdiction of the Church and are regulated in the interests of the family. Jealousy may be said to be a national curse, but a universal religion binds the nation in a common tie.
The frequent reference by Amenian and Greek writers to their respective people as a nation, is not understood by most Americans without some account of the Mohammedan system of administering the internal affairs of the Sultan's realm.
By the policy of the Porte, the Armenians, Greeks, Roman Catholics, Protestants and Jews are merely subject nations, paying tribute to the ruling Moslem element.
Armenians are responsible to their religious leaders, who are represented by the patriarch at the sublime Porte. Only the "faithful" or Moslems are allowed in the army,
, Armenians gaining exemptment by the paying of a tax. The result of this plan is altogether favorable to the Armenians, and they have doubled in number during the past fifty years; while the Mohammedan population has remained stationary owing to the large sacrifice of young men engaged in military service. The sanitary arrangement of camps is usually bad, disease claiming more victims than battlefields. There is thus always a surplus of females. Moreover, while Mohammedan women are kind and affectionate mothers, their lack of education results in a heavy death rate among children.
The mutual jealousies of Christians of various creeds led to great abuse of the powers vested in their representatives, who had influence enough to cause the arrest and banishment of apostates who were siding with Protestant missionaries.
Some Americans, unintentionally perhaps, confuse the Armenians with the Turks, just as some of our people presume the Americans to be the civilized sons of once uncivilized North Armerican Indians. Nothing is more offensive to an Armenian than to be called a Turk. It is no more right to call an Armenian a Turk than to call him an Italian. Though they may live in the same country, yet there is an essential difference between the Armenians and the Turks in race, nationality, religion, language, manners and customs, in truth almost in every respect.
Ethnologists treat of Aryans and Turanians among the primative human families, as to either their complexion or intelligence. Armenians, known as the “Anglo-Saxons of the East,” with the progressive nations of the western civilization, belong to the Aryan, while the Turks, with a mighty host of Asiatics, belong to the Turanian race. There is no social intercourse, nor is there any intermarriage between these two nationalities.
As a nation, we have been separate and distinct from the Turanian element throughout all ages. Our lost nationality is not dead.
The Turks originated from numerous nomadic tribes of Central Asia, but from the fact that they have no authentic history, we can not precisely determine from what tribes they have descended. In religion the Armenians are Christian, and have been Christians ever since there was Christianity, while the Turks are Mohammedan, and there are not to-day in the entire country a dozen Turkish Christians, nor are there one-half dozen Armenian Mohammedans. In language, Armenian is as much differentiated from Turkish as English from Chinese. So let us clearly bear in mind that they are two distinct nationalities, separate in race, religion, language, aspect, manners and character.
Armenians are the only brilliant star twinkling in the dark horizon of the Orient. No matter under what skies or flags I wander, I am ever proud of my nationality. We, the Armenians, from the remotest antiquity have been the most religious and liberty-loving people on the face of the earth. The characteristics of our people are considered far superior to those of the nations about us. In this, almost all modern and ancient historians, travellers and missionaries are unanimous. Let me quote but two