Philip Ekozyants: "None of the myths about 'history' of Armenians and Armenia was created by Armenians until 18th century"
Vestnik Kavkaza continues a series of interviews with famous expert on history of the Caucasus and the Middle East, Philip Ekoziants, dedicated to debunking historical myths about this macro-region. The theme of our fourth conversation is myths about Armenian history.
- When and in what territory did “Great Armenia” exist? Some people today are calling for its restoration
- Great or Greater Armenia is an inscription on the map that was put there for the first time by Latin cartographers, presumably at the end of the 15th century. We don't know what this inscription meant for cartographers themselves, because they didn't write anything about it.
Since names of other places either meant physical-geographical regions or regions subordinate to one ruler, it can be assumed with a high degree of certainty that in the case of Armenia, which wasn't a state or province at that time, we can assume that it was only a matter of physical-geographic region. And in this particular case, there's no reason to demand "restoration" of Great Armenia, because there's no way to restore physical-geographical region.
- Can ancient states or states of the early Middle Ages, presented as ancestors of Armenia or ancient Armenia, be classified as states with a single ethnic group?
- Of course not, since the concept of “ethnos” was completely defined only at the beginning of the 19th century and first appeared no earlier than the 17th century. "Ethnos" has semantic boundaries in the cultural, spiritual, domestic and physiological dimensions, and even today it ' extremely difficult to define al of them them. During the 19th century AD, no “borders” like that existed; they can exist only in the form of opinions of those historians who need the concept of “ethnos” to promote their version of history, make it more “viable”
- What was the ethnic composition of first states where ancestors of Armenians lived?
- Since, I repeat, there were no "ethnic" borders, we can only talk about close ties between families and linguistic community. In this regard, Armenians were close relatives of those with whom they lived in the same territory. Meaning that ancestors of those who today are called Turks, Azerbaijanis, Georgians and Armenians could be really close relatives.
- When did Armenians stared to resettle to the Caucasus?
- There were ancestors of Armenians who lived in the Caucasus until the 19th-20th centuries. A large number of Armenians, who already called themselves Armenians, moved to the Caucasus in the 19th-20th centuries from Eastern Anatolia (or Greater Armenia). After that, in connection with introduction of the policy of "ethnic" borders, carried out throughout Eurasia with the aim of separating lower layers of society and subordinating them to the higher one, these two parts of Armenians merged into one nation with one language and one ideology, and the basis of ideology became centuries-old "persecution" and "lost history."
- What can be said about modern Armenian scientific and popular science literature on history, dedicated to history and the Middle Ages? Which of famous ideas about the history of Armenians are myths, created not by Armenians?
- This topic is too broad for one interview, but I can say that none of the myths on which the "history" of Armenians and Armenia is based until the beginning of the 18th century was created by Armenians.
- Then what is true and what is false when it comes to information about the early history of Armenians?
- Texts that are called Armenian history today may be true, but we don't know where they came from, who wrote them, where and when, in what language. Perhaps these texts reflect real events that have occurred on our planet - but their truth is not directly related to those who call themselves Armenians today. Only in the sense that Armenians are also inhabitants of the planet Earth.