Tall Armenian Tale


The Other Side of the Falsified Genocide


  H. F. D. Lynch's "Armenia" Reviewed, 1901  
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Mahmut Ozan
Edward Tashji
Sam Weems

 The following appeared in The Sun, a newspaper in New York City.

Lynch, whose book is reviewed here, is best known for his population statistics; we are reminded of his findings that Ottoman-Armenians numbered around 1.5 million, and the worldwide population was 3 million. (3 million, we are also told, was the number put forth by the dishonest Patriarch at the Congress of Berlin, for the Ottoman Empire alone.) We are also told of the freedom enjoyed by the Armenians, save for political equality. Reasons for Armenian "agitation" are also touched upon ("They all participated to some extent" in the revolutionary movement). We then get into an interesting discussion of ancient history, examining the origins of the Armenians. This segment is particularly fascinating since the piece was written in the age before Armenians hijacked the stories of where they had come from, and we get the picture here what should already be fairly obvious: the Armenians had migrated to the region, as have so many other tribes, and were not indigenous to Anatolia. The Haiks (or, as spelled here, the "Haiys") "dispossessed" the people who had been there before (one of the methods, interestingly, is explained as "intermarriage"), the Urartians, or as this article also refers to them, the Khaldians. Fortresses, artifacts and other matters Urartian were then, shall we say, borrowed by the Haiks, claiming these as their own, as well as the name of the vast geographical region, "Armenia."

The original was faded in spots and not of the best quality; the uncertain parts have been indicated by question marks, but the reader may need to beware further. Thanks to Gokalp.



The Sun [ New York, N.Y.]

August 25, 1901


Turkish Armenia

The second volume of the work entitled Armenia by H. F. D. Lynch (Longmans), is devoted to that southwestern part of the old Armenian kingdom which is still under Ottoman rule. For a sketch of the geography of this region the author has had to rely almost entirely on his own observations and those made by friends within quite recent years: he has here had no such assistance as was afforded him by the researches of Hermmann Ahiels? in the case of the Russian provinces. Nevertheless, if the chapter on this subject he read? in a connection with a study of the map which accompanies these volumes, it will be possible to distinguish the districts which are accurately known from those which are still terra incognita.


Mr. Lynch reminds us that, when in 1876, after the close of the last war between Russian and Turkey, the representatives of the European Powers met in Congress at Berlin, they were approached by delegates from the Armenian people, one of whom was the present Katholikos, or High Priest of the nation. In answer to inquiries from the plenipotentiaries as to what portions of the Ottoman Empire the Armenians bestowed their historical name upon, the delegates undertook to trace upon a map of the late Prof. Kiepert the approximate limits of the country which they wished to see organized as a distinct Armenian province of the Turkish Empire. All the region between the Russian and Persian frontiers on the east and a line drawn between Tireboli? on the coast of the Black Sea and the confluence of the Kizil Chibuk Chat with the Euphrates on the west, was to be included in the new provincial government. The northern boundary was to be the coast line of the Black Sea; while the southern extended from the Euphrates to the river of Bitlis, and through the wild districts south of Lake Van, back to the Persian frontier. The delegates asked that the province thus delimited should be administered by Armenian officials; and when they were invited to say what proportion its Armenian inhabitants should bear to the Mussulmans, they furnished figures for the villages of Erzurum, Van and Bitlis (excluding Sert?), which placed the numbers of the Mohammedans at 528,000 and the non-Mussulmans at 1,172,000. The Congress of Berlin did not even define Turkish Armenia, much less adopt the project for an organic regulation of it. Recognizing, however, the obvious fact that there must be somewhere in the Turkish dominions districts containing an Armenian population, it simply inserted in the treaty a clause to the effect that the Porte was pledged to carry out reforms in "the provinces inhabited by the Armenians."

How was the phrase in quotation marks to be construed? The Armenians have become scattered over the whole expanse of Asia Minor. This dispersal is the consequence of comparatively remote historical events. For the Powers represented in the Congress of Berlin to require the Porte to introduce reforms in "provinces inhabited by Armenians," and to supervise the carrying out of the new measures, would amount to little less on the part of Europe than to take the whole of Turkey under tutelage. The problem might be simplified, and an easy solution found, if there were certain districts in which the Armenians constituted a majority, and where they might be able to provide the needful machinery of government, enjoying a certain measure of local autonomy while remaining subjects of the Sultan. Neither the Armenians themselves nor the British Consuls seem to have furnished the evidence required for such a solution.

Mr. Lynch testifies from personal observation that the Armenian project submitted to the Berlin Congress (the project to which we have referred above) embraced within the area of the proposed province outlying districts presenting economical and political problems so dissimilar that it would have been an act of political madness to endeavor to weld them together under the rule of a mere Governor-General. The British Consuls in their reports fell into a similar error. For instance, in estimating the population of so-called Armenian provinces they included vast outlying regions, such as the sanjak of Hakkiari belonging to the vilayet of Van, where the Armenian inhabitants are few and far between and where the character of the country and people is so wild and intractable that they could with difficulty be controlled from Armenian centres.

In the absence of trustworthy statistics Mr. Lynch refrains from an attempt to trace in detail the distribution of the Armenians over the whole extent of the Ottoman Empire. He dismisses, however, as certainly too high the figure given by the Armenian delegates to the Berlin of Congress, that is to say 3,000,000 souls. An Armenian clerical writer, unlikely to err on the side of understatement, has computed the entire Gregorian population or, in other words, the great majority of his countrymen in Turkey, at 1,263,000 souls. On the whole, our author deems it reasonable to suppose that he Armenian subjects of the Sultan number upward of one and a half million, of whom some half million may be taken to inhabit the statistical area which is dealt with in the book before us under the name of Turkish Armenia, and which includes the five vilayets of Van, Bitlis, Kharput, Diarbekir and Erzerum. The remainder are spread over the Empire, forming fairly compact communities in the more populous towns. Previous to the massacres of 1895, the Armenians of Constantinople were estimated at 180,000 souls, of whom some 80,000? might be reckoned as temporary immigrants from such Armenian centres as Van and Arabkir, while the remainder were permanent settlers. Other considerable aggregates are encountered in northern Syria and Cilicia, where, besides the [towns?], the mountainous districts of Zeitun are inhabited by a vigorous Armenian peasantry. The towns on the highlands of Asia Minor from the Euphrates to Brusa and Smyrna, number large bodies of Armenians among their citizens.


The same may be said of the towns on the lowlands from the Persian Gulf to Diarbekir. Trebizond contains a large and flourishing Armenian settlement, as do most of the rising towns along the coast of the Black Sea. Indeed, the Armenian is ubiquitous in the nearer Asia from the southern province of Persia to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Mr. Lynch, however, does not believe that all the Armenians in existence, including subjects of the Czar and of the Shah, as well as those of the Sultan, number more than 3,000,000 souls. In the five vilayets, which, for our author's purpose, compose Turkish Armenia, the Armenians are distributed as follows: Compared with the number of the Mussulman inhabitants, they are stronger in the vilayet of Van than in any other vilayet here, if the district of Hakkiari be excluded, the Armenians exceed by about one-third the Mohammedan element of the population. In the town of Van itself the proportion of Armenians to Mussulmans is about two to one. In the vilayet of Bitlis they are in a majority, in the neighborhood of Mush and in the fertile district of Bulanik, northwest of Lake Van. On the other hand, they are outnumbered by the Mohammedans in nearly the proportion of two to one in the vilayet of Kharput and in the Palu subdivision of the vilayet of Diarbekir. In the vilayet of Erzerum there is scarcely a district in which they are not less numerous than their Mussulman neighbors, and in the aggregate they are outnumbered more than four to one. We are warned, however, that in computing the relative strength of the Armenian element we should not lay too much stress on its numerical inferiority. In the first place, the most fertile portion of the country is occupied by Armenian peasants, who are not only as sturdy as the Mussulman settlers but far more industrious and progressive. Again, with regard to the Turks on one hand and the Kurds on the other, the Armenians compose a mass of varying compactness, which stretches across the tableland from east to west, and divides as with a wedge the two sections of the Mohammedan inhabitants. Again, the solidarity of the Armenian element, both from a political and a social point of view, should not be overlooked. We must keep in view, lastly the high rank which the Armenians already hold in the local economical order, and the fact that the Armenian population in the Turkish provinces is capable of very rapid expansion under kinder circumstances. Only a change of policy is needed to transform a country which is rapidly becoming a desert into a prosperous and progressive region. Behind the Armenian population of the tableland stand their kinsmen who inhabit less distracted districts of Asia Minor; at the first approach of a better era many of the latter would seek with eagerness the ancient home of their race. As it is, the stream of emigration from Turkish Armenia is gathering fresh volume every year.



It may be remembered that the places where the massacres occurred in 1894-5 lay outside the limits of Turkish Armenia as these are traced in the book before us. This is true even of Sasun, which lies to the south of Mush; while Sivas and Trebizond, Diarbekir, Marash and Aintab are situated at great distances from the Armenian centre. Mr. Lynch finds two sets of causes responsible for the recent outbreaks of Armenian sentiment in regions where this people form an insignificant minority, far removed from the historical seats of their race. There is, in the first place, the political and social inequality between the Christians and the Mohammedans. It is, indeed, not true that religious freedom is withheld from the Armenians, as some of their partisans recklessly assert. Our author testifies that, on the contrary, the tolerance of the reigning Sultan is active throughout his empire. The traveller marvels at the liberty, almost amounting to license, which is allowed to the votaries of the several creeds. In Constantinople itself, for instance, the noisy carnivals of the Greeks are permitted, although they are repugnant to Mussulman austerity, and the Moslem wayfarer is hustled from the street by some funeral procession with its bevy of Christian priests. What is denied to the Christians is political equality. They are tolerated, but they are taxed. In the case of Armenians they are rigorously prohibited from possessing firearms, and they do not serve in the army. They are excluded from the highest administrative posts. Their share in the provincial government is almost nil. While the Armenians are thus the victims of political disabilities, the voice of the West is heard by them louder and nearer and the rebellious spirits among them appeal to the example of Eastern Europe freed forever from a Mussulman yoke.

So much for one set of causes of the recent Armenian agitation. But why, it may be asked, did the movement fasten upon scattered and outlying communities, which, as it would seem, had been abandoned as hostages to the Mussulman power? Mr. Lynch says that the movement began there because it could not begin anywhere else, owing to the severity with which the outbreaks in Armenia proper had been quelled in 1890 and the preceding year. It was evident to the revolutionary party that the spirit of their countrymen had been cowed in the land where they were natives. However real their wrongs, and Mr. Lynch testifies to their reality, the Armenians in Armenia proper had learned by recent experience to endure them in silence without attempting to obtain redress. So it came to pass that the movement, suppressed in its place of origin, broke out on new ground.

Mr. Lynch has been unable to learn that the condition of the scattered Armenian communities, which suffered from the massacres of 1894-5, presented any special ground for disaffection, and he does not believe that the revolutionary movement, in which they all participated to some extent, was either spontaneous in its nature or indigenous in its growth. Few, if any, of those particular communities were engaged in a struggle for life or death with hordes of Kurds let loose on territory which is not Kurdish, and which is far from being ?cited to that race of lawless shepherds. Whatever grievances the Armenians could complain of were such as all the Christian subjects of the Sultan suffer from in a greater or a less degree. The Armenian cause, as a cause possessing a justifiable and reasonable aim, is not founded on any such grievances. For all practical purposes it is simply a question of the proper government of certain provinces of Turkish Armenia which are inhabited by Mussulmans as well as Armenians, but which are raided and drained of their resources by tribal Kurds. Mr. Lynch has been convinced that the massacres of 1895 were not the outcome of a spontaneous rising of the Mussulmans against the Christians. All, or nearly all, were organized from without.


Considering the Armenian problem in its larger bearings, Mr. Lynch inquires whether it offers any scope for a practical and special solution which need not embrace the reform and rejuvenascence of the whole Ottoman Empire. This question is answered in the affirmative, provided those who should undertake to solve the problem were possessed of an adequate knowledge and appreciation of the geographical conditions. No solution of the Armenian problem in Turkey would be calculated to contain the elements of permanence unless it should be concerned in the first instance with delimitation and with redistribution of the existing governmental areas. The principles upon which much redistribution should proceed are set forth in the volume now under review. They would point to the formation of three? great provisional governments or vilayets. One would be constituted by the mountainous districts between the tableland of Armenia and the Black Sea, and might be called the Black Sea Government. It would coincide to some extent with the existing area of the vilayet of Trebizond. But? our author would deem it advisable to include certain districts at present belonging to the vilayet of Erzerum. The [?] government would embrace the tableland itself [?] [?] should be conducted as far as possible in ?nance with the national frontiers such as have been indicated in the present work. The third government would be that of Kurdistan. This would comprehend a considerable area, from Kirkuk and ?manish on the southeast of Diarbekir and the confines of Kharput on the northwest. Mosul, Jezireh and Diarbekir would be the bases? of the administration, these lowland cities being situated conveniently to serve as centres from which to control the necessary winter migrations of the Kurdish tribes from their mountains to the agricultural regions bordering on the left or eastern bank of the Tigris. Strong military posts might be established within the mountainous area in the principal towns of Kurdistan. Of these three governments, that of the Armenian tableland should, in Mr. Lynch's opinion, be administered from a suitable centre, which would be neither Erzurum nor Van. Our author regards Akhlet, Meazkert, or Khinis, as naturally designated to fulfill the requirements of the case. None of these towns is very far removed from the Kurdish towns, on which side alone would the new Government be exposed to the incursions of the lawless Kurdish elements. All of them are favorably placed for intercommunication with the principal Armenian subjects. The passing of the tribes from Kurdistan proper into the area of the new governments should be rigorously interdicted, and Mr. Lynch says it could be prevented by no more formidable measure than the enrollment of a corps of gendarmerie, which would also suffice to police the districts of the tableland at present inhabited by tribal Kurds. Our author has no doubt that reforms of this nature are well within the capacity of the central government at Constantinople. He believes that they would not prejudice the general military administration of the Turkish empire, and might even prove accordant with purely military interests. No doubt the Sultan's advisers would be told that what Mr. Lynch proposes is a thinly-veiled revival of the project of an independent Armenia. Our author has pointed out in his first volume that were such a consummation possible, it would be to the Ottoman rulers a blessing in disguise, for the sympathies of an independent Armenia would be exhibited on the side, not of its formidable Russian neighbor, but of the weak Ottoman Empire. The talk, however, about a revival of the medieval Armenian kingdom is pronounced frivolous in the extreme. The Armenians to-day have neither leaders nor a class from which leaders could be drawn. In the ninth century, when they broke loose from the expiring body of the Caliphate, they had princes and nobles of greater and lesser degree. These families have disappeared without leaving a trace.

There seems to be no doubt that Mr. Lynch's suggestion as to the proper way of dealing with Turkish Armenia is practicable. Evidently the creation of a single new province on the Armenian tableland would not be tantamount to the assertion of European control over the administration of Asiatic Turkey. On the contrary, it is a measure which can be reasonably demanded and readily executed. The opinion is expressed, however, that, should Europe again take up the question, it would be well not to recognize any limitations but one in respect of the qualifications of the new Governor General. He should, of course, not be an Armenian, but he might very well be a Mussulman and a subject of the Sultan. Or a European might be appointed to the post. In a financial and administrative sense the province would be severed from the central government, but in the present state of the country a loan to the provincial treasury would be needed to supply the funds for the organization of the gendarmerie. The new Governor would rule over a somewhat heterogeneous Mussulman majority and a compact Armenian minority very much inferior in numbers. But his efforts would be assisted by the homogeneous nature of the area under his authority, and his jurisdiction would embrace not a tract of difficult mountain country, but some of the finest agricultural lands in the world.

As to the needs of the Armenians living in Constantinople and in the towns of Asiatic Turkey, Mr. Lynch says that these could be met by a revival of the so-called constitution granted to their nation by Sultan Abd-ul-Aziz in 1863? A translation of the document will be found in an appendix to this volume. Its main purpose if the development among the Armenians of a systematic management of the affairs of their communities. These communities have always enjoyed the privilege of administering their own institutions, such as monasteries, churches, hospitals and schools. The charter of 1862? provides improved and democratized machinery for the organization and control of each establishments. It averts any interference on the part of the government in purely internal affairs of the Armenians, except in the last resort. Our author cannot conceive of a better training for the Armenian people than that which they would receive by the application of their great intelligence to such practical purposes. The pitfall which they should avoid, were the charter revived, is the attempt to convert it into a political weapon.



In a chapter on Erzurum we are told that under modern conditions this provincial capital is by far the most important strategical position throughout the length and breadth of the territory described in the book under review. On the north, south and east it could be made impregnable. If only Turkey were a naval power able to cope with her adversaries by sea, it would be a long time before this bulwark of Asiatic empire could be broken down by a Russian attack. Herein lies the value to Turkey of help from a first-rate maritime State; on the other hand, her position would be hopeless should such help not be forthcoming. With his fleet in undisputed possession of the Black Sea, the Czar might laugh at the irresistible defenses of Erzurum. It would only be necessary to hold the attention of the garrison by an advance on the side of Pasin?, the real attack should come from the west, the vulnerable side, and be delivered by a column which should have been landed at the port of Trebizond. There would be nothing to prevent the column from marching to Erzurum along the [?]. In a word Sebastopol and Odessa, rather that Kars and Erivan, are the storm centres from which will be let loose the forces that will sweep the Ottoman Empire out of Asia. While touching on this topic, Mr. Lynch does not [?] mention the route which a Russian army might be expected to pursue in its progress westward after the fall of Erzurum. As far as Er? the course of the Euphrates would in general be followed, then the northern border heights would be crossed and the entry in Asia Minor would be effected by way of Karahisar. There are no obstacles to traffic along this avenue. It is worth remembering that on these occasions, all during the course of the present century, Erzurum had been at the mercy of the Russian armies. In 1829? it was actually taken by Marshal Paschevich?, whose troops penetrated so far north of [?] and to within eighteen miles of Trebizond. Recovered by Turkey at the ensuing peace, Erzurum was threatened by a similar fate after the fall of Kars in November, 186?. At that time it was only saved by the Russian reverses in other quarters and by the early termination of the Crimean War. In 1877 the Russians forced a barrier, which in those days was unprovided with proper defences, but they met with a serious repulse in an attempt to storm the forts on the eastern flanks of the enceinte?. The investment of Erzerum was not completed until the month of January, 1878, and, although the place was kept infested by the Russians as a material guarantee during the negotiations for peace, it was retained by the Sultan under the terms of the treaties of San Stefano and Berlin. Since then, the advantages of the position have been turned to proper account, and if, in the future, the system of forte should be found provided with the most modern ordinance, and held by a sufficient garrison, Erzerum may owe her preservation to the sword rather than to the pen.

Not only is this fortress the strategic key to Turkish Armenia; it also defends the most important of her trade routes. The principal avenue of the commerce between Europe and northern Persia passage? through Erzerum. This traffic, which is conducted by numerous strings of camels. Mr. Lynch was informed that some 30,000 to 40,000 head yearly passed through the city was originally established by the Genoese. Its flourishing condition long after the disappearance of those great merchants is attested by Jesuit missionaries in the latter half of the seventeenth century. As early as the year 1690? a British commercial agent resided in the city. In those days a portion of the trade with India found its way through Erzerum. After the initiation of a service of steamers on the Black Sea in the year 1836?, the land routes between the provincial capital and Constantinople or the Mediterranean ports gradually fell into disuse. On the other hand, the trade with Persia received a great impulse, and has continued to increase year by year. Where, formerly, the merchant was confronted by almost endless stages of land carriage through Asia Minor, European steamers now discharge their goods at the port of Trebizond, hence the commodities are conveyed on the backs of camels through Erzerum and along a series of plains to the Persian city of Tabriz. In the year 1842 it was ascertained that the number of packages which were disembarked at Trebizond in transit for Persia was about $2,000. In 1898 this trade had increased to over 5,000 tons, and in a normal year, the value of the importe into Persia by the Erzerum route is about £600,000. About two-thirds of this trade belong to Great Britain. Our author expresses the hope that the trunk railway, which already exists in Asia Minor, will be extended to Erzerum, where it should be joined by a branch line from Rizeh or Trebizond. From Erzerum it could proceed without encountering any natural obstacle through Bayazid to Tabriz, and thence through Teheran and Ispahan until it effected a junction with the Indian railways.


The population of Erzerum, especially the Armenian element, has undergone a remarkable oscillation during the nineteenth century. In 1827 the city seems to have contained as many as 130,000 souls, though another estimate gives a total at that period of from [6][8]0,000 to 100,000. Of the last named aggregate from 10,000 to 24,000 were Armenians of the national, that is to say, Gregorian, religion. The Russian occupation of Erzerum in 1829 was followed by a general emigration of the Armenian inhabitants, who followed the Russian armies on the evacuation of the city. What with the exodus of Armenians, both from the towns and from the surrounding plains, and the various calamities of the war, the population of Erzerum had declined to a total of not more than 15,000 souls in 1835. Only 120 Armenian families are said to have remained behind. At the time of Mr. Lynch's first visit the inhabitants numbered about 60,000, exclusive of the garrison. The official figures assigned some 10,500 to the Armenians, 26,500 to the Mussulmans, and about 2,?00 to Persians, Greeks and foreigners. Subsequently, some five hundred of the Armenians succumbed to the great massacre of 189?. It is evident, however, that the town is fast recovering its former prosperity, and our author has no doubt that with the most moderate installment of tolerable government, the older figures would be soon surpassed.

The chapter on Erzurum included an historical sketch of the town which may claim an antiquity that, if not remote, is at least respectable. Founded during the reign of the second Theodosius (A. D. 408-450), at the instance of one of the greatest of the early Armenian patriarchs, and upon the site of a village which dated from ancient times, the new city received the name of Theodosiopolis, and was designed to constitute an outer bulwark to the Roman Empire of the East. Seized in the year 502 by the Sassanid King of Persia at the inception of this war with Rome, this distant stronghold was soon afterward recovered by the Emperor Anastasius, and restored to its former faith. The fortifications were enlarged and increased by Justinian, but at the close of the sixth century, it again fell into Persian hands. It must have been recovered, for about A. D. 629 Heraclius is said to have assembled there a council of Armenian Bishops. In the year 647? Theodosiopolis became the prize of the Arabs, and more than a century elapsed before it was regained by the Byzantines under Constantine V. That monarch razed the walls, reduced the inhabitants to slavery, and transported a great number of Armenians to Constantinople and to Thrace. Shortly after this event the town seems to have been rebuilt by the Mohammedans, and it played an important part during the wars of Leo (886-911?) and his son, Constantine Porphyrogenitus (911-950?), with the Arabs in the neighboring province of Pa?in. The waves of Mussulman conquest were now closing in on the eastern empire. About the close of the thirteenth century, we find the place is the possession of a prince who bears the Turkish name of Toghrul? Rea? Killijarslan?. From his hands it passed into the dominion of the Sultan of Iconiute??. The Seljuk Sultan was known as the Lord of Erzerum, just as his Ottoman successors bore the title of the Lords of Kars. The rule of the Seljuks was followed by that of their Tartar conquerors. In the first half of the fifteenth century, Erzerum was in the keeping of the Turkomans, from whom it was wrested by the Ottomans under Mohammed II.

The name Erzurum dates from Mussulman times, but its exact derivation is obscure. It may either signify the land the land (Ard? in Arabic, Ars? in Turkish) of Rum or of the Roman Empire, or it may be compounded of this last name and of the name of an unfortified town in the vicinity which was known as Artun?, or Artan?. Mr. Lynch deems it probable that this town was at an early date called Artan? of Rum, to distinguish it from another Artan? in the south of Armenia which lay within the Persian sphere. Local tradition places the city? of the [?]of these? Artuns? close to the p? city of Erzurum[?] on or near the backs of the Kars [?], or Euphrates. We know that this place was sacked by the Turks in the middle of the eleventh century, and, according to St. Martin, the survivors took refuge within the walls of Theodosiopolis, to which they transferred the name of their own populous town. However this may be, the ancient Armenian name of Karin is still applied to the present city. The monuments of the Eastern Roman Empire have been seen in Erzurum, by modern travellers, and the chain of history has not been broken in a manner to disparage the identity of the Roman fortress with this key to the Asiatic dominions of the Ottoman Turks.



In a chapter n Van will be found an account of the ?form inscriptions which long puzzled archaeologists, but which are now known to be the memorials of the ancient Vannic Empire, which preceded the arrival of the Armenians on the tableland which now bears their name. Thanks to Prof. Sayov?, Prof. Lehmann, Dr. Black? and other scholars, the Vannic records have been deciphered, and we have been thereby introduced to a splendid monarchy, which for at least two centuries rivalled the claims of Assyria to the dominion of the nearer Asia. The native designation of the Imperial people was that of Khaldians or children of Khaldis?. It will be remembered that the name of the Assyrians similarly reflects that of their god Assur?. The constitution of the Khaldian State was that of a theocracy, wherein the god Khaldis occupied the supreme pia?. Other deities were spoken of as his ministers, and the whole land seems to have borne his name. It was the wrath of Khaldis that was invoked against whomsoever should destroy the inscriptions and with him were coupled in a kind of trinity the god of the air and the sun god. The seat of the Khaldis was the city of Dhuspas?, the modern Van; and all conquests were made in the deity's name. Dhuspas was the capital of the territory of Viaina, from which the Kind derived his title. The corruption of the word Vianian into the existing form of Van can be readily traced through literature. In the course of time the name of the territory had come to be applied to the city, while, on the other hand, the name of the city was transferred to the province in which it was placed, and became the Dosp or Tosp of Armenian writers. The contemporaries and rivals of the Viannic monarchs, the rulers of Assyria, styled the northern kingdom Urardhu or Urarthu. This is the same name that appears in the Bible in the familiar form of Ararat.

The Khaldiana take their place in this new chapter of history at least as early as the latter half of the ninth century before Christ. Their language was neither Semitic nor Indo-European, and it is therefore impossible to connect them either with the Assyrians, who were Semites, or with the Armenians, who were of the Indo-European family. They ruled over the tableland which is now Armenia before the Armenians had appeared upon the scene, and it was the movement of races, with which was connected the Armenian immigration, that seems ultimately to have occasioned their dispersal and the overthrow of their power. Their dominion appears to have occasioned their dispersal and the overthrow of their power. Their dominion appears to have been due in no small degree to the happy choice of Van as their capital. This city was founded by Sarduris I., the contemporary and antagonist of the Assyrian sovereign, Shalmaneser II., about 833? B. C. No better position for a stronghold against a power operating from the lowlands in the south could have been discovered by the builders of an empire on the Armenian plains. In the later phases of Armenian history the movements of peoples have generally proceeded from east to west, or vice versa. Against such currents the city of Van presents but a minor obstacle, which may be avoided by pursuing a more northerly course. The true military value of the place is only made apparent when the starting point of the hostile forces lies in Mesopotamia. In that direction Van is screened by perhaps the most impenetrable section of the outer or Iranian arc of the peripheral mountains which support the tableland. The Assyrian assailants had to make an immense detour through a hostile country, and there can be no doubt that all the advantages lay on the side of their northern adversaries, to whom was offered a reasonable chance of annihilating their hosts, or in the event of defeat the alternative of shutting themselves up in their capital and there safely awaiting the passing of the storm. It is certain that Tiglath-Pilener III. and Sagon found Van irresistible.


Although the Vannic Empire was repeatedly at war with the Assyrian, its civilization was unquestionably derived from the Mesopotamian plain. The Kings of Van did not embody the spirit of resistance often evinced by rude mountaineers to the approach of culture moving up from its immemorial seats. Rather do they represent the northward spread of arts and letters over the Armenian plains. The earliest inscriptions found at Van are in the Assyrian language and character, while those of the successors of Sarduris I., although composed in the Vannic tongue, show but slight deviations from the cuneiform? writing practised in Nineveh. There is architectural evidence to show that, long after the disappearance of the Khaldian Empire, Assyrian influences lingered on in the land. By what people and at what date the descendants of the founders of Van were stricken to the ground it is not yet possible to say. It is the defect of a history, derived from inscriptions alone, that catastrophes as well as origins must remain obscure. The name of a Vannic prince is mentioned in the Assyrian annals to having sent an ?basey to Nineveh about 644 B.C., and in Mr. Lynch's opinion we should be justified in protracting the span covered by the Vannic dynasty at least as late as the death of Ashur-banipal, the Sardanapelus of the Greeks (about ??? B.C.). This date brings us down to the dawn of Oriental history, as we find it in the works of Greek writers. In the pages of Herodatus? the Armenian tableland, as well as Assyria, form positions? of the Empire of Darius and Xerxes, which had succeeded the loose role of the Scythians. The Acha?nenid era has left behind it one of the most impressive of the monuments upon the rock of Van. On the southern face of the rock, in full view of the walled town at its base, was inscribed by the order of Xerxes, a ?lingual record of the Persian conquest. More than a century before this pro[?] was engraved in imperishable arrow bends? the Empire of Assyria had come to an end. Nineveh was laid waste to ? It is by her Babylonian subjects [?] in Prof. Savre's opinion, by the hordes of the Scythan King, which were confounded by the classical writers with the Me?. Within a very brief period of the history of the region between the Caspian and the Aegean? ethnic changes on a vast (circle?) had taken place. New nations had appeared upon the stage. The Cimmerian? nomads, followed closely by the wild tribes of Scythia, had penetrated southward from the countries on the north of the [?] and had swarming over the settled lands. Ancient kingdoms had tottered and fallen into the human surge. It is just at this period that we begin to hear of the Armenians. All the evidence thus far obtained points to the conclusion that they entered their historical seats from the west, as a branch of a considerable immigration of Indo-European peoples which crossed the straits from Europe into Asia Minor, and, perhaps, originally come from homes in the steppes north of the Black Sea. Just as their kinsmen of an earlier generation, invading central Europe, had driven before them the old races, such as the Etruscans, the Ligurians? and the Basques, so the Armenians seem to have filled the void which may have been created on what we now call the Armenian tableland by the ravages of the Scythians, and to have supplanted there the subjects of the old Khaklian dynasty.

That this revolution was not accomplished until at least as late as the fifth century before Christ may be gathered from the pages of Herodotus. The Armenians are known to this father of historians as inhabiting the mountainous country about the sources of the Haiys and those of the Tigris, extending round the Mediterranean in the neighborhood of Cilicia, their boundary on this side being the Eurphrates. On the other hand, the Khaldians, or Urardhians, had not already disappeared although they obviously declined to a subordinate position. Eventually, the Armenians expelled from the unsettled country the ancient inhabitants who took refuge in the mountains. That this was the case is proved by the long survival of the name "Chaldia" among the inhospitable heights which border Armenia on the north. In the southern zone of mountains, also, the presence of a remnant of the ancient Urardhian people is attested by the homeward march of Xenophon with the remnant of the Ten Thousand. We may gather from Xenophon that, after a period of mutual distrust, the Armenians intermarried with the Khaldians whom they had dispossessed. To this extent the former may inherit the blood of that primitive folk which gave to Armenia a degree of civilization that in many respects it has not been privileged since to enjoy. Undoubtedly the Armenians, like all conquering and capable races, borrowed much from the culture of the older inhabitants. Their most ancient cities, Van, Armavir, and, perhaps, Melazkert and Arjiah were foundations of the Vannic kings. The city of Hayk was disclosed to the archaeologist the familiar features of a Khaldian settlement. Persian influences, however, left a more visible impression upon the Armenians, whose supreme god during the pre-Christian era was not the Khaldis of the Vannic texts but the Ormard proclaimed in the inscription of Xerxes.



The modern city of Van is seldom visited by Europeans; nevertheless two or three political Consuls are generally in residence, and there is an American mission. Such acquaintance with the outside world as is possessed by the citizens is derived from the immemorial custom among the male Armenian inhabitants of migrating for a number of years to Constantinople, and returning home when they have amassed a competence. Married men leave their families behind. Mr. Lynch received abundant testimony to the morality of Armenian women, even under circumstances which might be regarded as unpropitious. Although husbands, as we have said, leave their brides behind when they migrate to Constantinople, infidelity is uncommon. Were it otherwise, the fact could scarcely escape the observation of a lady practitioner like Dr. Grace Kimbell, whom our author found established at Van. It often happens, we are told, that a widow, about to marry again, will bring her young child to the feet of the missionaries, beseeching them to bring it up and educate it in their place, as their monument so she puts its before God. Never have illegitimate children been thus offered. For this reason, if not for no other, the missionaries are disinclined to believe the aspersions which are usually passed by the Ottoman authorities upon the character of Armenian women abducted by the Kurds.

Mr. Lynch has a good deal to tell us about the American Mission at Van, which is only one of the many establishments that have been spread over the face of Asiatic Turkey by the Protestant inhabitants of the New World. There is, it seems, a species of etiquette which forbids the various missionary societies of the same faith, whether they do or not do belong to the same nation, to interfere with one another. From an early date in the present century citizens of the United States made the vilayet of Van a field of their own, having worked their way, first into Asia Minor, and thence into Mesopotamia. The mission The mission at the city of Van is supported by the Congregational Church, and was founded as lately as 1871. Its labors are practically confined to the Armenian population professing the Gregorian religion. Mr. Lynch understands that the making of proselytes is no special or paramount object of its teaching. Touching this point he says: "If, perchance, these lia?s should reach an American public, I would venture to entreat the supporters of the mission at Van to emphasize rather than to check this wholesome spirit of abnegation among the devoted men and women who serve their interests so well. The Gregorian Church is at the present day the only stable institution which the Armenian people possess. No Armenian of education whether priest or layman doubts that it is in need of reform. Reform will come from within as the result of the growing enlightenment which the Gregorian Church herself is engaged in propagating under extraordinary difficulties among her scattered communities. To wean her children from her while she is still in the stress of a noble purpose, would be to promote that cruel spirit which lurks in all religions when they are assailed in their instincts of maternity from without. Such an endeavor would be at once in a high degree impolitic, and alien to the highest principles of Christianity: mutual tolerance, humility and love.


After pointing out that the Armenians are scarcely less Protestant than the American missionaries themselves in their attitude toward the Church of Rome, out author expresses the belief that the thoughtful men who control the mission are themselves convinced that their primary aim should be to diffuse civilization rather than to make converts. The fact is noted that throughout the extensive field, which is worked from Van as a centre, only seventy-five adults have been received into the Protestant Church. On the other hand, the standard of wholesome living has been incalculably raised?, both in the material and in the moral sphere. The sick receive skilled treatment, schools are opened in the most needy villages, the aims of Europe as well as of America are distributed among the poor. The effect of a massacre is somewhat softened in the institution of numerous orphanages. Such are some of the results of about thirty years of labor upon which the mission at Van may look back with pride. In our author's eyes they are likely to outvalue the long roll of converts, which some of the home-keeping supporters of the mission might desire to see acquired.

Mr. Lynch made a study of the educational facilities afforded at Van, visiting not only the American but the Gregorian schools. The Armenians possess no less than eleven institutions , each of which dispenses both primary and secondary education; collectively they have 2,180 pupils, of whom about 800 are girls. Mr. Greene, the head of the American mission, told our author that the sons of parents who themselves possess some education are not inferior in natural abilities to the average American boy. Text books, translated or compiled from European sources, are supplied by the printing presses of the Mekhitarist order in Venice and Vienna. Mr. Lynch inquired why the Bible had not been based in modern Armenian by the organizers of the schools. The reply was that the difference between the ancient and modern tongues was not so great as that which exists between Latin and Italian, and that it was deemed desirable that Armenians should become familiar with the literature written in their classical language. The curriculum, it seems, comprises besides the Armenian language, religion and literature, a fairly thorough study of the Turkish tongue, both written and spoken French is also taught. The natural science course includes astronomy and physical geography, while mathematics, anatomy, geography and general history figure in the routine of one or other of the grades. Leaving out of account the primary course we note that most of the schools have a higher as well as an intermediary grade. In each grade a pupil remains from three to four years.

In every school at Van our author observed that the air was pervaded by an unpleasant odor, although the windows were all open. It was evident that not even the American missionaries had as yet succeeded in inculcating personal cleanliness. The majority of the pupils had irregular features, but their eyes were all very dark and very bright, shining like big beads. They looked extremely intelligent. The little girls did not impress our author as being very attractive, though among the older maidens some beautiful Biblical types might be seen. These betrayed Semitic blood. We are reminded that a colony of Jews was settled in Van by one of the Arsarid? Kings of Armenia, but is said to have been removed subsequently to Persia.



Mr. Lynch's point of departure for his first visit to Armenia was Trebizond, which, of course, belongs to Turkey. He gives an interesting description of this ancient Greek city, and appends a concise account of the medieval "Empire of Trebizond," about which very little is known, even by those who are tolerably familiar with Byzantine history. In the same year and the same month in which the Latins took Constantinople and the nobles of the Imperial capital fled to the cities of Asia Minor (April, 1204?), two youthful scions of the illustrious house of Comnenus appeared at the head of a body of Georgian mercenaries before the gates of Trebizond. The young Princes were the grandsons of the Emperor Andronicus Comnenus (1182-1185), who did much to purify the corrupt provincial administration of the Byzantine monarchy, and who perished in a domestic revolution. Their names were Alexius and David. They were assisted in their enterprise by their paternal aunt, Thamar, the daughter of their grandfather by a Georgian lady. The political conditions of Trebizond during the interval between the murder of Andronicus and the Latin conquest of the Byzantine capital is not definitely known; but probably the Greek city was feeling the pressure of the neighboring kingdom of Georgia at the time of the advent of the two Byzantine Empires.

The prospect of relief on the one hand from this pressure, and on the other, from dependence upon the rotten court of Constantinople, under the hopeful rule of an illustrious family must have operated on the townspeople as a powerful inducement to welcome the new regime. Alexius Comnenus was accepted as master of the city, and his rising fortunes attracted to his victorious standard some of the noblest of the refugees from Constantinople. Others ranged themselves around the person of Theodore Laskaris in Bithynia; and two rival Greek or Romen dominions were established upon Asiatic soil, that of Nic?s, or Nice, the capital of Bithynia, and the Empire of Trebizond. The successors of Laskaria fought their way back to Constantinople which was recovered from the Latin barons in 1261?. A much less splendid fate was reserved for the family of Alexius Comnenus; yet the little empire on the Black Sea survived by eight years the restored Byzantine Empire, and a space of seventy-one years separated the fall of the last of the Greek cities of the interior Philadelphia was conquered by the Sultan Bayazid in 1?90 from the overthrow of the rule of the Comneni at Trebizond. During a period of over two hundred and fifty years, these petty Greek Princes had contrived to elude the storms of Mussulman conquest behind the wall of mountains interposed between the interior and the coast. Sometimes as vassals of Oriental dynasties, at other times in a state of independence, they reigned over the beautiful city and a narrow strip of seaboard of varying extent. Their possessions even included a part of the Crimea, the tribute of which was conveyed across the expanse of water in the imperial galleys. Their territory afforded an entrepot to international commerce; and when the land routes through Asia Minor fell into disuse owing to the increase of anarchy, Trebizond became an emporium of the trade with farther Asia, diverted to the more secure avenue of the Armenian plains. This trade was conducted with great spirit by the Genoese. The rulers of Trebizond, proud of their pompous titles of Grand Comneni and Emperors of the Romans, or lords of all Anatolia, Georgia and the Transmarine, supplied their deficiencies in real power by elaborate ceremonials, and substituted the gorgeous cult of their patron saint Eugenius for the devotional exercises of the Christian religion. They might be consigned with indifference to the limbo of history were it not for the cause of civilizations, whereof they were the late and degenerate representatives, but which, nevertheless they contributed to sustain.

M. W. N.





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...Is to expose the mythological “Armenian genocide,” from the years 1915-16. A wartime tragedy involving the losses of so many has been turned into a politicized story of “exclusive victimhood,” and because of the prevailing prejudice against Turks, along with Turkish indifference, those in the world, particularly in the West, have been quick to accept these terribly defamatory claims involving the worst crime against humanity. Few stop to investigate below the surface that those regarded as the innocent victims, the Armenians, while seeking to establish an independent state, have been the ones to commit systematic ethnic cleansing against those who did not fit into their racial/religious ideal: Muslims, Jews, and even fellow Armenians who had converted to Islam. Criminals as Dro, Antranik, Keri, Armen Garo and Soghoman Tehlirian (the assassin of Talat Pasha, one of the three Young Turk leaders, along with Enver and Jemal) contributed toward the deaths (via massacres, atrocities, and forced deportation) of countless innocents, numbering over half a million. What determines genocide is not the number of casualties or the cruelty of the persecutions, but the intent to destroy a group, the members of which  are guilty of nothing beyond being members of that group. The Armenians suffered their fate of resettlement not for their ethnicity, having co-existed and prospered in the Ottoman Empire for centuries, but because they rebelled against their dying Ottoman nation during WWI (World War I); a rebellion that even their leaders of the period, such as Boghos Nubar and Hovhannes Katchaznouni, have admitted. Yet the hypocritical world rarely bothers to look beneath the surface, not only because of anti-Turkish prejudice, but because of Armenian wealth and intimidation tactics. As a result, these libelous lies, sometimes belonging in the category of “genocide studies,” have become part of the school curricula of many regions. Armenian scholars such as Vahakn Dadrian, Peter Balakian, Richard Hovannisian, Dennis Papazian and Levon Marashlian have been known to dishonestly present only one side of their story, as long as their genocide becomes affirmed. They have enlisted the help of "genocide scholars," such as Roger Smith, Robert Melson, Samantha Power, and Israel Charny… and particularly  those of Turkish extraction, such as Taner Akcam and Fatma Muge Gocek, who justify their alliance with those who actively work to harm the interests of their native country, with the claim that such efforts will help make Turkey more" democratic." On the other side of this coin are genuine scholars who consider all the relevant data, as true scholars have a duty to do, such as Justin McCarthy, Bernard Lewis, Heath Lowry, Erich Feigl and Guenter Lewy. The unscrupulous genocide industry, not having the facts on its side, makes a practice of attacking the messenger instead of the message, vilifying these professors as “deniers” and "agents of the Turkish government." The truth means so little to the pro-genocide believers, some even resort to the forgeries of the Naim-Andonian telegrams or sources  based on false evidence, as Franz Werfel’s The Forty Days of Musa Dagh. Naturally, there is no end to the hearsay "evidence" of the prejudiced pro-Christian people from the period, including missionaries and Near East Relief representatives, Arnold Toynbee, Lord Bryce, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, and so many others. When the rare Westerner opted to look at the issues objectively, such as Admirals Mark Bristol and Colby Chester, they were quick to be branded as “Turcophiles” by the propagandists. The sad thing is, even those who don’t consider themselves as bigots are quick to accept the deceptive claims of Armenian propaganda, because deep down people feel the Turks are natural killers and during times when Turks were victims, they do not rate as equal and deserving human beings. This is the main reason why the myth of this genocide has become the common wisdom.