Working with Classical Armenian

Book 1 of the Chronicle of Eusebius of Caesarea is only extant in an ancient Armenian translation, published by P. Aucher in Venice at the press of the Mechitarist monks in 1818. I have been looking into tools that would allow me to look at this, if only to a limited extent.

The basic grammar seems to be Robert Thomson, An Introduction to Classical Armenian. This is supposedly available through Amazon, and I ordered one two months ago. Today I heard that delivery is delayed ‘for a further two months’. It sounds as if this isn’t actually in print. Only 4 copies were available second-hand, at prices that would make most of us hesitate.

As far as I can tell, there is no modern dictionary of Classical Armenian-English. The only available texts are in German, which is not my favourite modern language. But it seems that P. Aucher (his Armenian name was Avkerian), in addition to publishing the Eusebius, also published a grammar and a dictionary of Armenian-French. Still more remarkably, he arranged for them to be translated into English! They were published as A grammar Armenian and English and A Dictionary of English and Armenian. What a man! Sadly these now also command ferocious prices.

At the Linguistics Research Centre at the University of Texas, Todd B. Krause maintains an online tutorial in Classical Armenian, which also automatically transliterates the text between Armenian and Roman characters.

So it’s not easy for the amateur to even acquire the reference materials to study the language. It would be nice if someone would reprint Aucher at a reasonable price, or at least put it online.


5 thoughts on “Working with Classical Armenian

  1. Hi Roger.

    I am one of the lucky ones who obtained a copy copy Thomson while in print, apparently. In it he (p 10) recommends the following Armenian-English dictionary:

    Mathias Bedrossian, New Dictionary Armenian-English (Venice: S. Lazarus Armenian Academy, 1875-79; rpt. Beirut: Libraire du Liban, 1973).

    Dunno if that’s quite ‘modern’, but it seems to be the closest available. I thought I had a line on it once at a reasonable price, but lo, I was too late. I haven’t poked around for it for a long time.

    I’d recommend Thomson if you can find it at a decent price; it does not transliterate and is set up like a standard language introduction. Haven’t really worked through it yet myself, though. I bought it a few years back on a early-version kick.

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  3. Thank you Rick for your suggestion! Bedrossian is also available second-hand at fantastic sums, it seems.

    I’ve never looked at print-on-demand, but perhaps we have some candidates for this here.

  4. Roger,

    I have many of those works available in electronic format and am willing to share.

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