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THE MONGOLS IN MEDIEVAL ARMENIAN POETRY
 
THEO MAARTEN VAN LINT

 

The Mongol presence in Armenia is reflected in various contemporary works of poetry. Two poems are examined, one by Kostandin Erznkac‘i and one by Frik. Kostandin’s poem is a tour de force, casting the metre of Firdowsi’s Šāh-nāma in an Armenian form, and incorporating other aspects of the Persian poem that was recited also in Erznka (Erzıncan), such as the bazm and ռazm, the feasting and fighting. The motive of transitory majesty versus eternal divine glory is exemplified through the mortality of Il-Khān Ghāzān. Kostandin subjects these all to his overall purpose of providing audience and readers with a vademecum for the Christian life based on transformation towards the wisdom and beauty of perfect love. Frik’s poem is also guided by Christian principles, but describes the injustice of rebellion against divinely established Mongol rule, and the oppression this nevertheless brings, not least in economic destitution – and leading him to pray for deliverance. The Armenian poetic tradition possessed an elaborate system of imagery and interpretative models to assess and come to terms with the Mongol presence in Armenian reality.
 
 
 
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