Armenian Pontus
The Trebizond-Black Sea Communities

(ISBN: 978-1568591551)
2009 Costa Mesa
453 pages
Size: 6" x 9"
Language(s): English

From early antiquity, the Armenian people developed a rich and distinctive culture on the great highland plateau extending from eastern Asia Minor to the Caucasus. On that crossroad, they interacted on many levels with civilizations of the Orient and Occident. The golden plains, river valleys, and mountain ribs of the Armenian Plateau are separated from the lush, semitropical Black Sea littoral by the imposing Pontic mountain range. Nevertheless, associations between Armenia and Pontus date back to the era of the Persian Achaemenian Empire beginning in the sixth century B.C.Later in 401-400 B.C., the Greek general Xenophon traversed the Armenian Plateau as an escape route from the Persian heartlands to Trapezus (Trebizond) on the Black Sea, his account of that adventurous journey affording one of the earliest written descriptions of ancient Armenia. Economic and cultural interaction between Armenia and Pontus increased during the centuries of Roman dominion in Asia Minor and especially during the time of the medieval Greco/Byzantine Empire of Trebizond. Thriving, enlightened Armenian communities developed all along the extensive narrow corridor from Batum in the east to Samsun and Sinope in the west, while the curious Armenian enclave of Hamshen in the eastern Pontic hinterland retained much of its Armenian character long after its population was forcibly Islamized in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The UCLA conference series, “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces,” is organized by the Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History with the purpose of exploring and illuminating the historical, political, cultural, religious, social, and economic legacy of a people rooted for millennia on the Armenian highland. Armenian Pontus is the eighth of the conference proceedings to be published. Scholars from various disciplines offer the story of the Armenian communities in the Pontus-Black Sea region across the centuries until their violent elimination in the first decades of the twentieth century.

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