An Armenophile (Armenian: հայասեր, hayaser, lit. "Armenian-lover") is a non-Armenian person who expresses a strong interest in or appreciation for Armenian culture, Armenian history or the Armenian people. It may apply to both those who display an enthusiasm in Armenian culture and to those who support political or social causes associated with the Armenian people. During and after the First World War and simultaneous Armenian Genocide, the term was applied to people like Henry Morgenthau who actively drew attention to the victims of massacre and deportation, and who raised aid for refugees. President Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt have also been called Armenophiles, due in part to their support for the creation of Wilsonian Armenia.
In modern usage, the term is sometimes used (particularly in Turkey and Azerbaijan) as an allegation of bias, especially when applied to those who actively support recognition of the Armenian Genocide or those who support the Armenian position in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the recognition of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
According to the 12th century Armenian historian Matthew of Edessa the Georgian King David the Builder (r. 1089–1125) "received and loved the Armenian people." Armenian lords found warm welcome in his kingdom.
- 19th-20th centuries
English Romantic poet Lord Byron (1788–1824) showed appreciation of the Armenian people, and has been described as being an "early enthusiast who spoke for the Armenians." Byron lived in San Lazzaro degli Armeni, a small island in Venice home to an important Armenian Catholic monastery, from late 1816 to early 1817. He acquired enough Armenian to translate passages from Classical Armenian into English. He co-authored English Grammar and Armenian (published in 1817) and Armenian Grammar and English (published in 1819), where he included quotations from classical and modern Armenian. Byron is considered the most prominent of all visitors of the island. The room where Byron studied now bears his name and is cherished by the monks.
British academic, jurist, historian and Liberal politician James Bryce (1838–1922) visited Armenian lands twice (in 1876 and 1880). In 1876 he climbed Mount Ararat, Armenia's national symbol. During the Hamidian massacres and the Armenian Genocide he was the leading Armenophile in Britain. His October 6, 1915 speech at the parliament about the genocide was included in Arnold J. Toynbee's book Armenian Atrocities: the Murder of a Nation. Toynbee's edited Bryce's documents (mostly testimonies of eyewitnesses) about the genocide, titled The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915–1916. He wrote an article titled "The Future of Armenia" in The Contemporary Review in 1918.
Protestant missionary Johannes Lepsius (1858–1926) is described as the "German who knew the most about the Armenians for he had been supporting their cause vehemently since the massacres of the Armenians by Sultan Abdul Hamid at the end of the 19th century."
In the 21st century several politicians in the West have been described as pro-Armenian, mostly for their activism for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. They include Baroness Caroline Cox (born 1937), a member of the British House of Lords, Adam Schiff (born 1960), U.S. Congressman from California and a Democrat, Valérie Boyer (born 1962), member of the National Assembly of France from the center-right Republicans.
- Petrosian, Irina; Underwood, David (2006). Armenian Food: Fact, Fiction & Folklore. Bloomington, Indiana: Yerkir Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1411698659.
- Bedrosian, Robert G. (1979). The Turco-Mongol Invasions and the Lords of Armenia in the 13-14th Centuries. Columbia University. p. 252.
Others found a very warm reception in Georgia. During the reign of David the Restorer (1089-1125), Georgia became a haven for Armenian lords and lordless azats . Matthew of Edessa says that David "received and loved the Armenian people. The remnants of the Armenian forces assembled by him"
- Cardwell, Richard A., ed. (2004). The Reception of Byron in Europe. A&C Black. p. 390. ISBN 9780826468444.
Byron's warm attitude towards the Armenians...
- "Byron and the Monks". Commonweal. 34: 441. 1941.
Armenian was one of the poet's little-known avocations. ... he gives his impressions of the Mekhitarist monks and goes on to an appreciation of the Armenian people at large...
- Walker, Christopher J., ed. (1997). Visions of Ararat: Writings on Armenia. I.B. Tauris. p. 35. ISBN 9781860641114.
Byron cannot really be credited with making any section of the British people aware of the Armenians and their history, language and culture. His personal enthusiasm for them is evident from his letters...
- George, Joan (2002). "'It was in Armenia that Paradise was Placed.' Byron". Merchants in Exile: The Armenians in Manchester, England, 1835-1935. Gomidas Institute. p. 13. ISBN 9781903656082.
An early enthusiast who spoke for the Armenians...
- Mesrobian, Arpena (1973). "Lord Byron at the Armenian Monastery on San Lazzaro". The Courier. Syracuse University. 11 (1): 31.
- Elze, Karl (1872). Lord Byron, a biography, with a critical essay on his place in literature. London: J. Murray. pp. 217–218.
- Saryan, Levon A. (July–August 2011). "A Visit to San Lazzaro: An Armenian Island in the Heart of Europe Part I, Part II, Part III". Armenian Weekly.
- Garrett, Martin (2001). Venice: A Cultural and Literary Companion. New York: Interlink Books. p. 166.
- Fromkin, David (2010). A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. Macmillan. p. 214.
The Liberal statesman, historian, and jurist, James Bryce, a pro-Armenian
- "James Bryce-175". genocide-museum.am. Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. 2013.
- Bryce, James (1878). "On Armenia and Mount Ararat". Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London. London: Royal Geographical Society. 22 (3): 169–186. JSTOR 1799899.
- Grabill, Joseph L. (1971). Protestant Diplomacy and the Near East: Missionary Influence on American Policy, 1810-1927. University of Minnesota Press. p. 112. ISBN 1452911312.
He led the Armenophile lobby in Britain partly because of his Christian idealism.
- Smith, Walter George (1971). "Journal of a Journey to the Near East". The Armenian Review. 24: 74.
Lord Bryce was the oldest and most influential of British Armenophiles.
- Bryce, Lord James (1918). "The Future of Armenia". The Contemporary Review (114): 604–611.
- Danielyan, Eduard (2009). "Civlization's Theory in Geopolitical Conceptions" (PDF). 21st Century. Noravank Foundation. 1 (5): 62.
- Anderson, Margaret Lavinia (March 2007). ""Down in Turkey, far away": Human Rights, the Armenian Massacres, and Orientalism in Wilhelmine Germany". The Journal of Modern History. 79 (1): 84. JSTOR 10.1086/517545.
The Liberal warhorse William Ewart Gladstone proclaimed that “to serve Armenia is to serve civilization,” a line quoted in New York on the masthead of Armenia, a monthly.
- Payaslian, Simon (2010). "Imagining Armenia". In Gal, Allon; Leoussi, Athena S.; Smith, Anthony David. The Call of the Homeland: Diaspora Nationalisms, Past and Present. BRILL. p. 117. ISBN 9789004182103.
...a quote from William E. Gladstone: “To serve Armenia is to serve civilization."
- Palakʻean, Grigoris (2010). Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918. New York: Vintage Books. p. 20. ISBN 978-1400096770.
...a well-known Armenophile, Dr. Johannes Lepsius...
- Gust, Wolfgang. "Magical Square: Johannes Lepsius, Germany and Armenia". armenocide.de.
Vicar Johannes Lepsius was without doubt the German who knew the most about the Armenians for he had been supporting their cause vehemently since the massacres of the Armenians by Sultan Abdul Hamid at the end of the 19th century.
- Peterson, Merrill D. (2004). "Starving Armenians": America and the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1930 and After. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. p. 78. ISBN 978-0813922676.
The idea captured the imagination of Theodore Roosevelt, an ardent, even hawkish Armenophile....
- "A monument dedicated to Fridtjof Nansen was erected in the capital - See more at: http://www.genocide-museum.am/eng/10.11.2011.php#sthash.AEAM1amL.dpuf". genocide-museum.am. Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. 10 November 2011. External link in
- "Fridtjof Nansen - Biographical". nobelprize.org.
- Zeeman, Peter (1988). The later poetry of Osip Mandelstam: text and context. Amsterdam: Rodopi. p. 28. ISBN 9789051830286.
- "Hovik Abrahamyan Welcomes Baroness Caroline Cox". gov.am. Government of the Republic of Armenia. 17 September 2014.
The Prime Minister praised the pro-Armenian activities of Caroline Cox....
- Danielyan, Emil (23 January 2007). "U.S. unable to name new Armenia envoy amid genocide row". Jamestown Foundation.
...Adam Schiff (D-CA), another pro-Armenian congressman, said on December 25.
- "Knights, Daughters of Vartan to Honor 'Man and Woman of Year' at National Convocation". Armenian Weekly. 19 June 2014.
Schiff is one of the most influential and Armenian-friendly U.S. Congressmen in Washington.
- "French Lawmakers Visit Karabakh". RFE/RL Armenian Service. 27 May 2013.
A pro-Armenian member of that group, Valerie Boyer....
- "French Parliament to establish a friendship group with Artsakh. Who's next?". Public Radio of Armenia. 20 March 2013.
...pro-Armenian MP Valerie Boyer.