[From the book (pp. 124-125):] "There has been much controversy over the
authorship of this work. Its first modern commentator tried to identify it with
the History of Heraclius referred to by five medieval historians and
attributed to a bishop Sebeos, presumably the 'lord Sebeos, bishop of the House
of Bagratunis,' who attended the Council of Dwin in 645 and witnessed its canons.
This was for a long time generally accepted until the researches of Abgarian,
who pointed out that the three surviving excerpts from Sebeos' composition are
not found in, or even contradict, our anonymous chronicle. So the two must be
considered distinct documents, the one by Sebeos having been lost bar the excerpts.
. . . Unlike the question of authorship, studies on dating and reliability have
not been forthcoming, and a few comments are therefore necessary. There are
indications that Sebeos [the anonymous chronicler] lived through many of the
events that he relates: he maintains that the account of the Arab conquests
derives from fugitives 'who had been eyewitnesses thereof' and, speaking of
happenings in 652, declares that the Armenian faith has prevailed 'until now.'
Gero considers that Sebeos' notice on the launching of a fleet by Mu'awiya to
attack Constantinople must refer to 'the great siege in 674-78.' But the text
describes a single assault rather than a long siege, and the event is clearly
to be identified with that reported by a mid-eighth-century Syriac source. Both
emphasise that a great force of ships was readied and that the expedition took
place in the thirteenth year of Constans (654). Sebeos concludes with Mu'awiya's
ascendancy in the first Arab civil war (656-61), and the above points would
suggest that the author was writing very soon after this date."
I shall discuss the [line of the] son of Abraham: not the one [born] of a
free [woman], but the one born of a serving maid, about whom the quotation
from Scripture was fully and truthfully fulfilled, "His hands will be at everyone,
and everyone will have their hands at him" [Genesis 16. 11,12]. Twelve peoples
[representing] all the tribes of the Jews assembled at the city of Edessa.
When they saw that the Iranian troops had departed leaving the city in peace,
they  closed the gates and fortified themselves. They refused entry to
troops of the Roman lordship. Thus Heraclius, emperor of the Byzantines, gave
the order to besiege it. When [the Jews] realized that they could not militarily
resist him, they promised to make peace. Opening the city gates, they went
before him, and [Heraclius] ordered that they should go and stay in their
own place. So they departed, taking the road through the desert to Tachkastan
to the sons of Ishmael. [The Jews] called [the Arabs] to their aid and familiarized
them with the relationship they had through the books of the [Old] Testament.
Although [the Arabs] were convinced of their close relationship, they were
unable to get a consensus from their multitude, for they were divided from
each other by religion. In that period a certain one of them, a man of the
sons of Ishmael named Muhammad, became prominent [t'ankangar]. A sermon about
the Way of Truth, supposedly at God's command, was revealed to them, and [Muhammad]
taught them to recognize the God of Abraham, especially since he was informed
and knowledgeable about Mosaic history. Because the command had [g104] come
from on High, he ordered them all to assemble together and to unite in faith.
Abandonning the reverence of vain things, they turned toward the living God,
who had appeared to their father--Abraham. Muhammad legislated that they were
not to  eat carrion, not to drink wine, not to speak falsehoods, and
not to commit adultery. He said: "God promised that country to Abraham and
to his son after him, for eternity. And what had been promised was fulfilled
during that time when [God] loved Israel. Now, however, you are the sons of
Abraham, and God shall fulfill the promise made to Abraham and his son on
you. Only love the God of Abraham, and go and take the country which God gave
to your father Abraham. No one can successfully resist you in war, since God
is with you."
Then all of them assembled together, from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite
Egypt [The text is corrupt here. The citation is from Genesis 25.18],and they
set out from the P'arhan desert [being] twelve tribes [moving] in the order
[of precedence] of the Houses of the patriarchs of their tribe. They were
divided into 12,000 men, of which the sons of Israel were in their own tribes,
1,000 to a tribe, to lead them to the country of Israel. They travelled army
by army in the order [of precedence] of each patriarchy: Nebaioth, Kedar,
Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah
[Genesis 25. 13-16]. These are the peoples of Ishmael. They reached Moabite
Rabbath, at the borders of  Ruben's [land]. The Byzantine army was encamped
in Arabia. [The Arabs] fell upon them suddenly, struck them with the sword
and put to flight emperor Heraclius' brother, T'eodos. Then they turned and
encamped in Arabia.
All the remnants of the sons of Israel then assembled [g105] and united,
becoming a large force. After this they dispatched a message to the Byzantine
emperor, saying: "God gave that country as the inherited property [i kaluats
zharhangut'ean] of Abraham and of his sons after him. We are the sons of Abraham.
It is too much that you hold our country. Leave in peace, and we shall demand
from you what you have seized, plus interest [tokosiwk' pahanjests'uk' i ken
zkalealn]". The emperor rejected this. He did not provide a fitting response
to the message but rather said: "The country is mine. Your inheritance is
the desert [k'oy vichak zharhangut'ean anapatn]. So go in peace to your country".
And [Heraclius] started organizing brigades, as many as 70,000 [troops] giving
them as a general, a certain one of his faithful eunuchs. He ordered that
they were to go to Arabia, stipulating that they were not to engage them 
in war, but rather to keep on the alert until he could assemble his other
troops and send them to help. Now [the Byzantines] reached the Jordan and
crossed into Arabia. Leaving their campsite on the riverbank, [the Byzantines]
went on foot to attack [the Arabs'] camp. [The Arabs], however, had placed
part of their army in ambuscades here and there, lodging the multitude in
dwellings around the camp. Then they drove in herds of camels which they penned
around the camp and the tents, tying them at the foot with rope. Such was
the fortification of their camp. The beasts were fatigued from the journey,
and so [the Byzantines] were able to cut through the camp fortification, and
started to kill [the Arabs]. But suddenly the men in the ambuscades sprung
from their places and fell upon them. Awe of the Lord came over the Byzantine
troops, and they turned in flight before them. But they were unable to flee
because of the quicksand which buried them to the legs. There was great anxiety
caused by the heat of the sun and the enemy's sword was upon them. All the
generals fell and perished. More than 2,000 men were slain. A few survivors
fled to the place of refuge.
[The Arabs] crossed the Jordan and encamped at Jericho. Then dread of them
came over the inhabitants of the country, and all of them submitted [g106].
That night the Jerusalemites took  the Cross of the Lord and all the
vessels of the churches of God, and fled with them by boat to the palace at
Constantinople. [The Jerusalemites] requested an oath [from the Arabs] and
The emperor of the Byzantines was no longer able to assemble his troops against
them. [The Arabs] divided their army into three parts. One part went to Egypt,
taking [territory] as far as Alexandria. The second part went north [to war]
against the Byzantine empire. In the twinkling of an eye they had seized [territory
stretching] from the Farthest Sea to the shores of the great Euphrates river,
as well as Edessa and all the cities of Mesopotamia, on the other side of
the [Euphrates] river. The third part [of the Arab army] was sent to the east,
against the kingdom of Iran.
In that period the kingdom of Iran grew weaker, and their army was divided
into three parts. Then the Ishmaelite troops who were gathered in the east,
went and besieged Ctesiphon, since the king of Iran resided there. Troops
from the land of Media [zawr ashxarhin Marats'], some 80,000 armed men under
their general Rostom assembled and went against [the Arabs] in battle. Then
[the Arabs] left the city and crossed to the other side of  the Tigris
river. [The Iranians] also crossed the river, pursuing them. And they did
not stop until they reached their borders, at the village called Hert'ichan.
[The Iranians]continued to pursue them, [eventually] going and encamping in
the plain. Present were Mushegh Mamikonean, son of Dawit', the general of
Armenia with 3,000 armed men, and also prince Grigor, lord of Siwnik', with
1,000 men. [The Iranian and Arab armies] attacked each other, and the Iranian
forces fled before them. But [the Arabs] pursued them, putting them to the
sword. All the principal naxarars died, as did general Rostom. They killed
Mushegh and two of his sister's sons, as well as Grigor, the lord of Siwnik',
along with one son. Some [of the Iranian troops] escaped and fled back to
their own land. The remnants of the Iranian forces assembled in Atrpatakan
at one spot and made Xorhoxazat their general. Then they hurried to Ctesiphon
and took the treasury of the [g107] kingdom, the inhabitants of the cities,
and their king, and then hurried to get back to Atrpatakan. But as soon as
they had departed and gone some distance, the Ishmaelite army unexpectedly
came upon them. Horrified, [the Iranians] abandoned the treasury and the inhabitants
of the city, and fled. Their king also fled, winding up with the southern
troops. Now [the Arabs] took the entire treasury and returned to Ctesiphon,
taking the inhabitants of the cities along too.  And they pillaged the
The venerable Heraclius ended his life in good old age. He reigned for 30
years [610-40/41]. [Heraclius] made his son Constantine swear to have clemency
upon all those transgressors whom he had ordered exiled. He made him vow to
send each back to his place, and to bring back the aspet, his wife and son,
and to establish him in his former rank [i kargn arhajin; perhaps, "in the
foremost rank"]. "Should he want to go to his land, as I have sworn--may my
oath not be false--release him, and let him go in peace".
Heraclius died and his son Constantine ruled. But no one was chosen as general
of the land of Armenia [och' ok' entrets'aw zawravar yashxarhin Hayots'],
since the princes were disunited and quit each other's presence.
The corruptive army [of the Arabs] arose from Asorestan and came through
the valley route to the land of Taron. They took [Taron], Bznunik' and Aghiovit
and then, going to the Berkri valley via Ordspu and Gogovit, poured into Ayrarat.
None of the Armenian troops was able to carry the bad news to the awan of
Dwin. There were, however, three of the princes who went and gathered the
dispersed troops: T'eodoros Vahewuni,  Xach'ean Arhaweghean, and Shapuh
Amatuni. They fled to Dwin, reached the Metsamor bridge, crossed it, destroyed
it, and then they went to take the bad news to the awan. All the people of
the land had assembled in the fortress, and they had come in harvest time
for the vineyards.
T'eodoros went to the city of Naxchawan. The enemy Busha reached Metsamawr
bridge but was unable to cross over. [g108] However, [the Arabs] had as a
guide Vardik, prince of Mokk', who was called Aknik ["Little Eyes"]. Crossing
the Metsamawr bridge, they raided the entire country. They accumulated a very
great amount of loot and captives, then came and encamped by the edge of the
On the fifth day [of the Arabs' sojourn], on a Friday, the 30th of the month
of Tre [=the fourth month in the Armenian calendar, November], they came against
the city [of Dwin] and it was betrayed into their hands. For they set fires
here and there, and drove away the guards on the wall by smoke and by shooting
arrows. They then erected ladders, scaled the wall and, once inside, opened
the city gates. The army of the enemy poured inside and put most of the city
to the sword. Then, taking the loot and booty of the city, they departed and
encamped at their same campsite. After passing some days there, they arose
and departed by the same route they had come. They had a multitude of captives
with them, some  35,000 souls. Now the prince of Armenia, the lord of
Rshtunik', who had been concealed in an ambuscade in the district of Gogovit,
went against [the Arabs] with few troops. But he was unable to resist, and
so fled before them. [The Arabs] pursued [Rshtunik's troops] killing many
of them. Then they went to Asorestan. This occurred in the days of kat'oghikos
As a result of that battle, an order came from the emperor [granting] the
military command [zawravarut'eann] and the dignity of patrician to T'eodoros,
lord of Rshtunik'.
All this took place as a result of kat'oghikos Nerses who succeeded Ezr on
the kat'oghikosal throne.
When the sons of Ishmael had arisen and issued from the desert of Sinai,
their king Amrh did not accompany them. But when[the Arabs] had militarily
routed both kingdoms, seizing from Egypt to the great Taurus mountain, from
the Western Sea [the Atlantic Ocean] to Media and Xuzhastan, they then emerged
with the royal army [and went] to the [g109] natural borders of the holdings
of Ishmael. Then the [Arab]  king gave an order to assemble boats and
many sailors and to navigate southwardly, going east to Pars, to Sagastan,
to Sind, to Srman, to the land of Turan and to Makuran as far as the borders
of India. The troops swiftly prepared and implemented the command. They burned
every country, taking loot and booty. They then turned and made expeditions
on the waves of the sea, and reached their own places.
We heard this [account] from men [who had returned] from captivity in Xuzhastan
Tachkastan, who themselves had been eye-witnesses to the events described
and narrated them to us.
Further chapters speak of more conquests of the Ishmaelites (Arabs) and the
first Arab civil war (in chapter 38).