Heidi Trautmann

Apr 2 - Claude Mutafian - Lecture on Medieval Armenia



“The splendour of Medieval Armenia (11th-14th c.)”
on the occasion of the publication of Mutafian’s two-volume book L’Arménie du Levant

Tuesday 2 April 2013
The Shoe Factory, Nicosia / 8.00pm
Entrance is free

The Pharos Arts Foundation and the English Speaking Union Cyprus present a lecture by historian and author Claude Mutafian.

Lecture Abstract: Armenians will be soon commemorating the centenary of the Genocide. Yet, it is comforting to remember that Armenian history is far from being exclusively made of tears and tragedies. It has some particularly glorious pages, as in the late medieval period, when a substantial part of historical Armenia was liberated from Turkic invaders, while in Cilicia a new “Kingdom of Armenia out of Armenia” came into existence. This fascinating period becomes even more exciting with the appearance of the Crusaders in the 12th century, followed by the Mongols in the 13th. Thanks to a masterly diplomacy and convenient local alliances, this “Armenia of the Levant” became in the middle of the 13th century the most powerful Christian State in the East and the hinge of trade between Europe and the Orient. One reason of this success ! lies in the permanent link of Cilician Armenia with the Armenian princely dynasties of Armenia proper. As a result of new publications of inscriptions on monuments in Greater Armenia and of colophons of manuscripts, as well as corrections to previously published sources and new translations from Arabic and Persian, the history of the Armenians from the 11th to the 14th century, particularly the political and matrimonial relationships among themselves and with their neighbours, had to be totally rewritten. This is what has been attempted in Mutafian’s newly published book, L’Arménie du Levant. For every statement, references of the sources and of eventual scholars’ comments have been given in the footnotes, while more than 70 maps and 80 genealogical charts constitute an essential complement of the text. The abundant iconography – about 230 colour pictures – reflects the spectacular artistic achievements of that period: splendid monasteries of Greater Ar! menia, impressive strongholds of Cilicia, superb miniatures, “khatchkars”, metal and wood carvings. Reproductions of inscriptions and manuscripts show the opulence of these sources, while numerous illustrations from the neighbouring cultures give evidence of the cosmopolitan nature of this “Armenia of the Levant” and the Armenian world.

Claude Mutafian was born in 1942 in the suburbs of Paris. His parents were survivors of the 1915 Genocide. His studies led him towards Mathematics, which he taught for more than 40 years in various universities, in France and around the world. However his passion was always History. He published many books about different topics concerning Armenia, such as a Historical Atlas of Armenia (2001) covering thirty centuries. He organized various exhibitions, including The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (Paris, Sorbonne, 1993), Roma-Armenia (Vatican, Great Sixtine Hall, 1999) and Armenia, the Magic of Writing (Marseilles, 2007).! His field of interest is essentially the Medieval period, in particular the relations of Armenians with Crusaders and Mongols. At the age of 60 he received a PhD in History. His thesis was about Cilician Armenia: The Armenian diplomacy in the Levant during the Crusades (Paris-Sorbonne, 2002)


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