Mkhitar Gosh

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Statue of Mkhitar Gosh in Armenia, holding his famous book Datastanagirk (Book of Law), which is the first Armenian legal text[1] to cover secular as well as ecclesiastical matters, begun in 1184. Gosh's code formed the basis for all later Armenian lawcodes, both that of Smbat in Cilican Armenia and those adaptations used in the diaspora farther afield.

Mkhitar Gosh (Armenian: Մխիթար Գոշ) (1130–1213) was an Armenian scholar,[2] writer, public figure, thinker, and priest. According Encyclopedia Americana one of the representatives of the Armenian Renaissance.[3]

Biography[edit]

He was born in the city of Gandzak.[4] He got his early education from public institutions. When he reached his adolescence he decided to dedicate his life to the church. In order to learn theology more thoroughly, Gosh traveled to Cilicia, to the Black Mountains (Սև լեռներ)[where?] and studied orthodox theology under the local priests[who?]. Upon his return, he, with Zackareh and Ivaneh Zakarian princes' financial help, builds the Ghetik (Գետիկ) church.

He wrote a code of laws including civil and Canon law that was used in both Greater Armenia and Cilicia. It was also used in Poland, by order of king Sigismund the Old, as the law under which the Armenians of Lviv and Kamianets-Podilskyi lived from 1519 until the region fell under Austrian rule in 1772. He also wrote a number of popular fables. He founded the monastery of Nor-Getik which he was later buried. Ever since his death it has become better known as Goshavank. The works of Mkhitar Gosh were later adapted into a Datastanagirk' codex in Middle Armenian, which was prepared by Sempad the Constable, an Armenian noble, military commander, and judge in the 13th century.[5]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Robert W. Thomson. The Lawcode (Datastanagirk') of Mxit'ar Goš. — Rodopi, 2000. — p. 20:"In any event, his motivation stemmed from the fact that the Armenians of his time did not have a written legal code, and therefore those who wished to settle any legal question had to have recourse to outsiders."
  2. ^ Robert W. Thomson. The Lawcode (Datastanagirk') of Mxit'ar Goš. — Rodopi, 2000
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Americana. — Americana Corporation, 1965. — vol. 2. — p. 270:"The Armenian Renaissance reached its height in this period, with the works of the Vardapet Hovhannes (John) Sarkawag (d. 1129), ... Hetum, author of Narratives of the Tatars and Chronological Tables; Hovhan Erzenkatsi (John of Erzincan), moralist, theologian, poet, and grammarian ; Nerses Lambro- natsi (Nerses of Lambron, 1153-1198), theologian, moralist, and orator ; Mekhitar Gosh (d. 1213), who compiled the Armenian Code"
  4. ^ Grave of Mkhitar Gosh
  5. ^ "Smbat Sparapet." Dictionary of the Middle Ages
  6. ^ Robert W. Thomson. The Lawcode (Datastanagirk') of Mxit'ar Goš. — Rodopi, 2000. — p. 105.

External links[edit]