The collection dates back to 405, when Saint Mesrop Mashtots created the Armenian alphabet. In 1920 the collection, held at the headquarters of the Armenian Apostolic Church at Echmiatsin was confiscated by the Bolsheviks, combined with other collections and, in 1939, moved to Yerevan. On March 3, 1959, the Matenadaran Institute was formed to maintain and house the manuscripts, and in 1962 it was named after Saint Mesrop Mashtots.
The works of the Armenian historians are primary sources about the history of Armenia and its surrounding countries. The first work of the Armenian historiography, 'The life of Mashtots' was written in the 40s of the 5th century and is preserved in a 13th-14th century copy. In this book, written by the pupil of Mashtots Koriun, the life and activities of Mashtots, including the creation of the Armenian, Georgian and Albanian alphabets are described. The work is translated into German (1841), French (1869), English (1952), Russian (1962), etc. The history of Agathangelos (5th century), is about the struggle against paganism in Armenia, and about the acknowledgement of Christianity as a state religion in 301. This primary source about the first period of Christianity has several editions in different languages. Some of this editions and the Armenian original have been lately translated into Italian (1843), Swedish (1860), French (1867), English (1976), etc. The history of Pavstos Buzand, a contemporary with Agathangelos, includes the historical period of 330-387 and reflects the social and political life of Armenia. It contains important information about the Armenian - Roman and Armenian - Persian relationships as well as interesting data about the history of the peoples of Transcaucasia. The work has been translated into French (1867), German (1879), Russian (1953), etc. In his 'History of Armeniaо Movses Khorenatsi is the first to give the history of the Armenian people from the mythological times up to the 5th century AD in chronological order. He has been fairly called the Father of the Armenian Historiography by generations. 31 manuscripts of his history and several fragments, the oldest of which dates back to the 9th century, are preserved at the Matenadaran. Writing the history of Armenia, Khorenatsi used works of Greek and Syrian authors, quoting from them. Some of them are world-known only thank to the history of Khorenatsi. Source materials for the 'History of Armenia' are also the Armenian folk - tales, legends and songs of other peoples, lapidary inscriptions, official documents, etc. The history of Khorenatsi is an indispensable source for the study of the historical past of the neighbour countries. Suffice it to say that the oldest registration of the name of Rostam, the famous hero of the Iranian folk - tale is done by Khorenatsi. It is even older, than the Iranian registration. 500 years earlier than Ferdoussi Khorenatsi registered the legend of Biuraspi Azhdahak.
For about 200 years this work of world importance is being studied by foreign historians and philologists. In 1736 it was translated into Latin and together with its Armenian original was published in London. Before that the brief summary of the history was published in Stockholm by the Swedish scholar Henrich Brenner (1669 - 1732). This editions of the 18th century were followed by others in different languages - in Russian (1809, 1858, 1893), in French (1836, 1844, 1869, 1993), in Italian (1841, 1850), in German (1869, 1881), in Hungarian (1892), in Persian (1992), etc. In 'The History of Vardan and the war of the Armenians', the 5th century historian Yeghisheh describes the self - sacrificing struggle of the Armenians against Sassanian Persia in 451 AD and the invincible will of the people to fight for the freedom and independence of the Motherland. The title includes the name of Vardan Mamikonian, the leader of the courageous Armenian regiments. Valuable information on the Zoroastrian religion and the political life of Persia in general is given in this book. The history has been published for about 40 times both in Armenian and foreign languages - in English (1830, 1926, 1952), in Italian (1840), in French (1841, 1868), in Russian (1853, 1884, 1971), etc. Two copies of 'The History of Armenia' of Ghazar P'arpec'i, another historian of the 5th century, are preserved at the Matenadaran. His work refers to the historical events of the period from 387 to 486 AD, it also includes events having occurred in Persia, the Byzantine Empire, Georgia, Albania and other countries. A trustworthy source about the Arabian invasions of Armenia and Asia Minor is the history of the 8th century historian Ghevond. It is the only source containing many facts about the relations between Arabs on one side and Armenians, Georgians, Albanians, Khazars on the other side. It is also an interesting source for studying the history of the struggle against the Arab yoke. Among the literary monuments, 'History of Albania', known as the work of Movses Kaghankatvatsi is of exceptional value. Different authors from the 7th to 10th centuries participated in the creation of the work. It is the only source in the world literature dealing especially with the history of Albania. Other 10th century historians, Hovhannes Draskhanakertsi, Toma Artsruni, Ukhtanes, Stepanos Asoghik, also give important information about the political relations and social struggle of the time.
The 11th century historian Aristakes Lastivertsi tells about the Turkish and Byzantine invasions. It is in this period, that the mass migration of the Armenians to foreign countries began. Lastivertsi has mentioned inner conflicts, including dishonesty of the merchants, fraud, bribery, self - interest, dissensions between princes, which was one of the reasons of hard conditions in the country. In the 12th - 13th centuries there was a considerable animation in the political life of the country. Armenia became a crossing of trade roads. The Armenian State of Cilicia, which lasted for about 3 centuries (up to 1375) was established. This period (12th -13th centuries) was one of the most richest periods of the Armenian historiography. It gave more than ten historians and chronologists - Samuel Anetsi, Mekhitar Anetsi, Matheos Urhayetsi, Mekhitar Ayrivanetsi, Vardan Areveltsi, Kirakos Gandzaketsi, Grigor Aknertsi, Vahram Rabuni, Sembat Sparapet, Hetum Patmich, Stepanos Orbelian, etc. 14th - 16th centuries are the most fruitless centuries in the Armenian historiography. It produced only one famous historian - Toma Metsopetsi (1376/9 - 1446), who gave the history of the invasions of Thamerlane and his descendents to Armenia. Among the minor chroniclers of this period are the stories in verse of Grigor Khlatetsi (Tserents) (1350 - 1425), Movses Artsketsi, Arakel Baghishetsi, Abraham Ankiuratsi, Simon Aparantsi and the 'Chronicles' of Andreas Evdokatsi, Barsegh Artshishetsi, Hovhannes Tsaretsi, etc, who give important information about the political and social life of the time. The 17th - 18th centuries vastly differ from the proceeding period. They are rich in both minor and significant historiographical works. The 'History of Armenia' of the well - known 17th century historian Arakel Davrizhetsi deals with the events of 1601 - 1662 in Armenia, Albania, Georgia, Turkey, Iran and in the Armenian communities of Istanbul, Ispahan, Lvov, etc. It gives the detailed history of deportation of the Armenians to Persia by the Persian Shah Abbas. The works of other well - known historians, chroniclers, travellers, including the works of Zachariah Sarkavag (1620), Eremiah Chelepi (1637 - 1695), Kostand Dzhughayetsi (17th century), Essai Hasan - Dzhalalian (1728), as well as the works of Hakob Shamakhetsi (1763), the Supreme Patriarch Simeon Yerevantsi (1780), etc. Of a particular historiographical value are the Armenian translations of foreign authors, such as Josephus Flavius, Eusebius of Caesarea, Socrates Scholasticus, Michael the Syrian, Martin of Poland, George Francesca and others.
If the first Armenian historians give rich information about the history of the neighbouring countries, the later Armenian authors wrote extant works about near and far - away countries, their populations, political and social lives. A number of works of the medieval Armenian geographers are preserved at the Matenadaran. The oldest of these works is the Geography of the famous 7th century scholar Anania Shirakatsi, where a number of geographical sources of the ancient world are used. There is general information about the earth, its surface, climatic belts, seas and so on.
The three continents known then - Europe, Asia and Africa are introduced, paying the main attention to the description of Armenia, Georgia, Albania, Iran, Messopotamia, etc. There are valuable geographical information in another work of Shirakatsi, Itinerary. Seven manuscripts, preserved at the Matenadaran, contain the original of A List of Cities of India and Persia, compiled in the 12th century. The author, having been to India, mentions the main roads and the distances between towns, gives an information about the social life of the country, the trade relations, the life and the customs of the Indian people and so on. The manuscripts contain information about the Arctics as well. The 13th century author Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi describes the farthest 'uninhabited and coldest' part of the earth, where 'in autumn and in spring the day lasts for six months', the reason of which, according to Yerzenkatsi, is the passage of the sun from one hemisphere to the other. Many manuscripts contain The Geography of the 13th century geographer Vardan. It contains many facts about various countries and peoples.
The Armenian travellers write about many near and far away countries - India, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt, several European countries, etc. Martiros Yerzenkatsi (15th-16th centuries) describes his journey to Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Flanders, France, Spain. Having reached the coast of the Atlantic ocean, he gives information about the European towns, the number of their population, several architectural monuments, customs, traditions, etc. The 15th century author Hovhannes Akhtamartsi has travelled through Ethiopia and put down his impressions. Karapet Baghishetsi (1550) created Geography in poems. Eremiah Chelepi Keomurchian (1637 - 1695) wrote The History of Istanbul, Hovhannes Toutoungi (1703) wrote The History of Ethiopia, Shahmurad Baghishetsi (17th-18th centuries) wrote The Description of the Town of Versailles, Khachatur Tokhatetsi wrote a poem in 280 lines about Venice. In his text - book of trade Kostandin Dzhughayetsi describes the goods that were on sale in the Indian, Persian, Turkish towns, their prices, the currency systems of different countries, the units of measure, etc.
The first grammatical works were written in Armenia in the 5th century. They were mainly translations intended for school usage. The Armenian grammatical thought has been led by the grammatical principles of Dionysius Thrax since the ancient times (170-90 BC). For about one thousand years the Armenian grammarians have studied and interpretated his Art of Grammar. The Armenian interpretators of this work were David, Movses Kertogh (5th-6th centuries), Stepanos Sunetsi (735), Grigor Magistros (990-1059), Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi (1293), etc.
The Amenian grammarians interpretated Dionysius, but used his principles to study the Armenian language, creating the unique Armenian grammar. Giving the definition of the grammar, David withdrew from Thrax, working out his own theory of etymology. Movses Kertogh gives important information on phonetics, speaks about the kinds of voices, particularly differing the sound and the letter. Stepanos Sunetsi is known especially for his interesting remarks on pronunciation, etymology and systematization of the dialects. He has worked out principles for the exact articulation of separate sounds and syllables and has made the first classification of vowels and diphthongs. Grigor Magistros Pahlavuni in his Definition of Grammar tried to put the art of grammar on an appropriate level. He approves the antique and the old Armenian grammars, appreciating the grammar of the Arabs as well. Magistros gives much attention to the linguistic study of the languages relative to Armenian. He rejects the method of free etymology and works out principles of borrowings.
One of the most valuable grammatical collections is the manuscript Number 7117 (its original dates back to the 10th-11th centuries), in which together with the Greek, Syriac, Latin, Georgian, Coptic and Arabic alphabets, the Albanian alphabet is also copied. The Albanian is one of the perished Caucasian languages and according to Koriun (5th century), Mesrop Mashtots has created this alphabet. In this manuscript there are prayers in Greek, Syriac, Georgian, Persian, Arabic, Kurdish, Turkmen. Note-worthy is the alphabet, compiled by Toma Metsopetsi, preserved in this manuscript.
The grammatical thought was developed in the Cilician Armenian State as well. A new branch of grammar, 'the art of writing' was developed. The first orthographic reform was carried out, an interest towards the Armenian and Hellenic traditions raised. The Art of Writing of the famous grammarian Aristakes Grich (12th century) includes scientific remarks concerning the spelling of the difficult and doubtful words. He worked out orthographic principles that served as a basis for all late orthographics, including the first decades of the 20th century. The principles of Aristakes were supplemented by Gevorg Skevratsi (1301). Among the great number of his works preserved at the Matenadaran, there are three grammars, concerning the principles of syllabication, pronunciation and orthography. Skevratsi was the first to work out the principles of syllabication.
From the 12th-13th centuries the usage of the spoken language in the literary works began. The first attempts to describe the system of declension and to work out the syntax were made. Vardan Areveltsi (1269) has written two of his grammatical works in modern Armenian (ashkharabar). His Parts of Speech is the first attempt to give the principles of the Armenian syntax. According to Areveltsi, the languages will perish in the future and the mankind will use one general language. There is interesting information about the dialects in his works. The valuable text-book of Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi A collection of definition of Grammar is also preserved at the Matenadaran. Yerzenkatsi considers the languages human and not divine. He thinks that the grammar eliminates the obstacles between the human thought and speech.
Among the grammarians of the 14th-15th centuries Essai Nchetsi, Hovhannes Tsortsoretsi, Hovhannes Kurnetsi, Grigor Tatevatsi, Hakob Ghrimetsi, Arakel Sunetsi are to be mentioned. Tatevatsi has written the definitions of the works of Aristakes and Gevorg Skevratsi making supplements in orthography and the cases. About the stress and the interrogative mark is one of the well-known works of Hakob Ghrimetsi. Essai Nchetsi has written 'The definition of Grammar'. In his work A brief study of Grammar Arakel Siunetsi for the first time pays an attention to the biological basis of the speech. He classifies the sounds according to the places of their articulation and studies the organs of speech.
One of the note-worthy grammatical works of the 16th century is Lusik Sarkavag's The Grammar of Kipchak'. The kipchaks are a people of Turkish origin and inhabited the western regions of the Golden Horde - the Crimea, Bessarabia, Lvov. Their language is perished, too.
There is a number of books and text-books on grammar in the Arabic fund of the manuscripts. The majority of them are the text-books called Sarfemir. The manuscript number 301, copied in 1272 is on theoretical grammar. The manuscript number 91 is the grammatical work, called Javaizul-Sarab. The manuscript number 52 copied in 1642 contains materials about the morphology and syntax of the Arabic. The manuscript Number 637 contains Talkhisa-al miftakha written by Mahmed ibn-Abdul Rakhman al-Kazvin.
Rhetorics and lexicology are tightly related to grammar. In the 5th century Treatise on the art of Rhetorics of Theon of Alexandria was translated from Greek. The Armenian authors edited The book of Chraea which is a collection of rhetorical principles and exercises. The words of Poetry, written in the 13th century, is on lexicology. It contains difficult words met in poetry and in grammatical works, as well as the definition of many dialectal words.
Philosophical thought has reached a high degree of development in ancient and medieval Armenia. The manuscripts of the Matenadaran include the works of more than 30 Armenian philosophers, such as Eznik Koghbatsi, Movses Kertogh (5th century), David Anhaght (5th-6thth century), Stepanos Sunetsi (8th century), Hovhannes Sarkavag (1045/50-1129), Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi, Vahram Rabuni (13th century), Hovhan Vorotnetsi (1315-1386), Grigor Tatevatsi (1346-1409), Arakel Sunetsi (1425), Stepanos Lehatsi (1699), etc. The Refutation of the Sects of the 5th century famous Armenian philosopher Eznik Koghbatsi is the first original philosophical work written in Armenian after the creation of the Alphabet. Having the extension of Christianity as a purpose, he thoroughly criticises both the Armenian and the Greek paganism, the Persian zoroastrianism, the sects, etc.
The Definition of Philosophy written by David Anhaght (5th-6th centuries) is the most important monument of the mundane philosophical thought in Armenia. It is one of the rare works that continues the antique philosophical traditions, widely using the theories of Platon, Aristotle, Pythagoras. At the same time many progressive theories on philosophy and logics are worked out. centuries), David Harkatsi (7
Many important theories were brought forward by the medieval Armenian philosophers. They regarded the primacy of sensually perceptible things and the role of the senses, the contradictions of natural phenomena, space and time, the origin and destruction of matter, etc. There are numerous interests about natural phenomena and their cognition in the works of Armenian philosophers. The 12th century scholar Hovhannes Sarkavag notes the role of experiment in the cognition of the world and advises to check the knowledge by the experiments.
Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi (13th century) wrote, that 'everything under the sun is movable and changeable. Elements originate regularly and are destroyed regularly. Changes depend 'on time and matter'. Yerzenkatsi regards the destruction not as a destruction of materia but as its alternation.
One of the prominent late medieval philosophers is the founder of the Tatev University Hovhan Vorotnetsi. In 'The Interpretation of the Categories of Aristotle's he interpretated Aristotleнs categories, expressing progressive for the Middle Ages viewpoint of Nominalism.
Beginning from the 5th century, Armenian philosophers parallel with original work, began to translate the works of foreign philosophers. There are many manuscripts at the Matenadaran, containing the works of Aristotle (389-322 BC), Zeno, Theon of Alexandria (1st century AD), Secudius (2nd century AD), Porphyrius (232 - 303), Proclus Diadochus (412-485), Olympiodorus the Junior (6th century), etc. Besides of the works of the ancient philosophers, the works of the medieval authors Joannes Damascenus (8th century), Gilbert de La Porree (transl. of the 14th century), Peter of Aragon (14thth century) are preserved at the Matenadaran, too. century), Clemente Galano (17
Of exceptional value for the world science are those translations, originals of which have been lost and they are known only through their Armenian translations. Among them are Zenoнs On Nature, Timothy Qelurus' Objections, Hermes Trismegistus' Interpretations, four chapters of Progymnasmata by Theon of Alexandria, etc.
A considerable number of these works has been translated from other languages, accommodated them to the conditions of Armenia and merged with the works on law written in Armenia. The originals of the medieval Armenian manuscripts on law are preserved at the Matenadaran and some other depositories of the world (St. Lazar in Venice, Mekhitarian in Wien, St. Jacob in Jerusalem, the monastery of Zmmar, the library of Vatican, the national library of Paris, British museum, Berlin Imperial library). Some originals of these works are published, while the others are waiting for their specialists.
One of the oldest monuments of the Armenian church law is the Book of Canons by Hovhannes Odznetsi (728), containing the canons of the ecumenical councils, the ecclestical councils and the councils of the Armenian church. These canons regulate social relations within the church and out of it between individuals and ecclesiastic organizations. They concern marriage and moral, robbery and bribe, human vice and drunkenness, different problems, that regulate the social life. Unique editions of the Book of Canons were issued in the 11th century, as well as in the 13th century by Gevorg Yerzenkatsi and in the 17th century by Azaria Sasnetsi. There are also particular groups of manuscripts that are of special importance for studying the Book of Canons.
The first attempt of compiling a book of civic law on the basis of the Book of Canons was the Canonic Legislation of David Alavkavordi Gandzaketsi (1st half of the 12th century). Of particular importance to study of the Armenian canonical and civic law are The Universal Paper (1165) of Nerses Shnorhali and Exhortation for the Christians (13th century) of Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi, etc.
In the beginning of the 13th century, in Northern Armenia , under the patronage of the Zakarian dynasty, The Armenian Code of Law of Mekhitar Gosh, the first collection of the Armenian civic law was compiled. Of particular importance is the Introduction, where the author analyzes questions concerning the theory and the practical use of the law. Three editions of this work are known, each of which had its sphere of usage, time and territory. Under the direct influence of this work the famous 13th century military commander of the Cilician Armenian State Sembat Sparapet compiled his Code of Law. These monuments of civic law reflect the social life and the interrelations of home policy in Armenia and in the Cilician State.
Parallel to the creation of The Code of Law of Gosh, at the end of the 12th century thanks to the efforts of Tarson's archbishop Nerses Lambronatsi, several monuments of Roman and Byzantine civic law were translated from Greek, Syriac and Latin - the brief variety of Eckloga, the Syriac - Roman Codes of Law, the Military Constitution, the Canons of the Benedictine religious order, etc. This enrichment of Armenian bibliography with the foreign monuments of law was continued by Sembat Sparapet. In the 1260s he translated from old French the Antioch assizes, one of the monuments of the civic law of the Crusade east. The French original of this work is lost. The Armenian translations of the above mentioned works often give an opportunity to restore the primary meanings of the originals. These translations are of great interest, because the Armenian translators adapted them to the needs of the Armenian environment. Then, being edited during the centuries, they became clearer to the readers.
After the fall of the last Armenian kingdom (1375) many Armenian communities were founded out of Armenia. They used the Armenian Codes of Law to regulate the internal relations. Being integrated in those countries (especially in Georgia, Crimea, Ukraine, Poland, Russia), the Armenian population wanted to have their codes translated into the languages of those countries. Several monuments of the Armenian law were translated into the Kiptchak (a Tatar language in the beginning of the 18th cen.) in the 14th-15th centuries in the Crimea. In 1518 the collection of the Armenian law, having The Code of Law of Gosh as a basis, was translated into Latin in Poland by order of Polish king Sigizmund I. Another collection of the Armenian law was included into the Code of Law of Georgian prince Vakhtang and was included through it into the Tsarist Russia's Collection of Law in the 19th century.
Under the influence of bourgeois revolutions Shahamir Shahamirian, an Armenian public, figure living in India wrote his Trap for the Fame, which is a unique state constitution. It envisages the restoration of the Armenian state in Armenia after the liberation from the Turkish and Persian yoke. Here the norms of the traditional Armenian law are merged with the elements of the new bourgeois ideology. The points of the constitution concern the state construction, civil and criminal law, regulating the questions of liberty and equal rights. Interesting monuments of the Armenian constitutional right are the programs of the Armenian autonomy, discussed in Turkey after the Crimean war (1856).
Medicine has especially flourished in Armenia in the 11th-15th centuries, when the famous physicians Mekhitar Heratsi (12th century) , Abusaid (12th century), Grigoris (12th-13th centuries), Faradj (13th century), Amirdovlat Amassiatsi (15th century) lived. These physicians had extensive knowledge and generalizing their experience, at the same time making use of the achievements of Greek and Arab medicine, they created their own special works, which were copied and used in practical medicine for centuries afterwards.
Beginning from the 12th century autopsy was permitted in Armenia for educational purposes. In Europe it was permitted only in the 16th century. In many regions of Armenia many medical instruments have been preserved and found, that testify in favour of instrumental operations. In the 12th-14th centuries Caesarian section, ablation of inner tumours, operative treatment of various female diseases were practiced in Armenia. During the operations Dipsacus was used for general and local anaesthesia. Zedoar, Melilotus officinalis and other narcotic drugs were used to anaesthetize births. Silk threads were used to sew the wounds after the operations.
The medieval Armenian medicine, dealing with theoretical and practical problems has been in the progressive positions of the world medicine of the time. Mekhitar Heratsi (12th century ) in his work Consolation of Fevers introduces the theory of mould as a factor of infections and allergic diseases. In his opinion it is the mould in the blood and other body liquids which brings about fevers. According to him, the reasons of diseases are not always in the organisms of the patients, but they can penetrate into the organism from the outer world. Heratsi has written works about anatomy, biology, general pathology, pharmacology, ophthalmology and curative properties of stones.
Of a unique value in the history of the Armenian medicine is manuscript number 415, written by Grigoris and copied in 1465-1473. The work consists of two main parts - pharmacology and general medical study. Besides pathology he has studied many problems connected with pathologic physiology, anatomy, prophylaxis and hospital treatment. Of great importance are the ideas of the author about the role of brain. 'Brain is the king of the organism', he writes. The nervous system and the brain are the ruling organs of the body. Brain is the 'sense of the senses'. The state of the nervous system is the reason of disability of the upper and lower extremities. Disability originates in liquids gathered in the ventricles of the brain and other places. Amirdovlat Amassiatsi (1496) is the pride of the Armenian medicine of the 15th century. Knowing Greek, Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Latin, he has studied Greek, Roman, Persian and Arabic medicines. In his work The usefulness of Medicine he presents the structure of a human being and more than two hundred different diseases, mentioning the means of their treatment. In his Useless for Ignorants he has summarized the experience of the medieval Armenian and foreign physicians, especially in the field of pharmacology. Akhrapatin, written by the author in 1459, is a pharmacopoeia, based on a work of the famous Jewish philosopher, theologian and physician Maimonides (Moisseus Ben Maimon, 1135-1204), which has not been preserved. The number of the prescriptions given by Maimon is increased by 2600 to 3700 by Amirdovlat.
One of the well - known successors of Amirdovlat is Asar Sebastatsi (17th century). His Of the art of Medicine consists of two parts - pathology and pharmacology.
Poghos is also a physician of the 17th century. He deals with the theory of medicine, anatomy, pathology and pharmacology. There are also many anonymous books on medicine, pharmacopoeia, medical dictionaries, etc., in the collection of the Matenadaran.
Arithmetics of Anania Shirakatsi, a well - known scholar of the 7th century, stands out among the works on exact sciences.
It contains tables of the four arithmetical operations and is the oldest preserved complete manuscript on arithmetics. Such works of Shirakatsi, as Cosmography, On the signs of the Zodiac, On the clouds and atmospheric signs, On the movemenr of the Sun, On the meteorological phenomena, On the Milky Way, etc., are also preserved.
Shirakatsi mentions the principles of chronology of the Egyptians, Jews, Assyrians, Greeks, Romans and Ethiopians, he speaks of the planetary motion and periodicity of lunar and solar eclipses. Accepting the roundness of the Earth, Shirakatsi expresses the opinion, that the Sun illuminates both spheres of the Earth at different times and when it is night on one half, it is day on the other. He considers the Milky Way 'a mass of densely distributed and faintly luminous stars'. Shirakatsi agrees with those scientists, who believed that 'the moon has no natural light and reflects the light of the Sun'. He explains the solar eclipse as the result of the Moon's position between the Sun and the Earth. Shirakatsi gives interesting explanation to the rain, snow, hail, thunder, wind, earthquake and other natural phenomena.
Shirakatsi has also written a number of works on the calendar, measurement, geography, history. In his book 'Weights and measures' together with the Armenian system of weights and measures the corresponding Greek, Jewish, Assyrian and Persian systems are given. It gives an opportunity to elucidate the sizes of the Eratosthenes' stadium, an issue in the world science.
Among the mathematical works of the 11th century author Hovhannes Sarkavag Polygonal Numbers is of exceptional interest. Its oldest copy is preserved at the Matenadaran (manuscript number 4150). It shows, that the theory of numbers was taught at the Armenian schools. Hovhannes Sarkavag has also introduced the reform of the Armenian calendar.
The problems of cosmography and calendar were also discussed by the 12th century author Nerses Shnorhali in his work About the Sky and its decoration, by the 13th century author Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi Pluz in his work About the heavenly movement, by the 14th century scholar Hakob Ghrimetsi, by another author of the 14th century, the pupil of Hovhan Vorotnetsi, Mekhitar in his work Khrakhtshanakanner, by the 15th century scholar Sargis the Philosopher and others.
The Armenian mathematicians have translated the best works of the world mathematical sciences. In the manuscript number 4166, copied in the 12th century, several chapters of The Elements of Geometry by the famous Greek mathematician Euclid (3rd century BC) have been preserved in the Armenian translation.
Some originals of foreign mathematicians' works are also preserved at the Matenadaran. Among the Arabic manuscripts, for example, is the Kitab al - Najat (The Book of Salvation), written by famous Avicenna (Abu Ali ibn - Sina).
Hovhannes Yerzenkatsi gives interesting information about salts, mines, acids, about new substances that appear during the gas combinations and separations. According to him the substance in the basis of the nature is eternal. It can change its quality, turning into other substances, but it never disappears.
The manuscripts of the Matenadaran, with sparkling fresh paints, the ink, the leather of the bindings, the parchment, worked out in several stages and many other things come to witness about the corresponding knowledge in chemistry, about instruments and means that make it possible to produce the mentioned substances. Scribes and painters sometimes write about the methods and prescriptions of getting paints and ink. Their study can help to get colours of high quality.
HILL MUSEUM & MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY SIGNS AGREEMENT IN YEREVAN TO UNDERTAKE LARGEST MANUSCRIPT DIGITIZATION PROJECT IN HISTORY
Apr 18, 2007; The College of Saint Benedict / Saint John's University issued the following news release: The Rev. Columba Stewart, OSB,...