Compiled by Jirair Tutunjian
Posted by Nayiri Abrahamian
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Jamie Frederic Metzl's "Genesis Code”

The hero of Jamie Frederic Metzl’s 2014 “Genesis Code” thriller is journalist Dikran “Rich” Azadian. The novel explores the consequences of advances in human genetics in international politics. While researching his book, Metzl learned a great deal about Armenians and their history. A partner at a New York investment firm and a Senior Fellow for Technology and National Security at the Brent Scowcroft Center of the Atlantic Council Society, Metzl is planning a sequel to the novel, with Azadian again as the main character. 

Armenia's Ranking in the 2014 Survey of Global Militarization

A January 2014 survey of Global Militarization Index (GMI) by the Bonn International Center for Conversion said Armenia occupied third place in the global level of militarization. In studying 152 states, the survey rankings are based on comparisons between a state’s defense spending as a ratio of their military force to the size of the population.  The $427 million defense spending of Armenia represents 4% of its GDP. Azerbaijan spends 4.7% of its GDP on defense.

Famous British Spy Kim Philby

Famous British spy Kim Philby, who lived in Beirut in the late ‘50s and the early ‘60s, met his KGB contact (Petukhov of the Soviet Trade Mission) at Vrej Restaurant in the Armenian quarter of the city. When he learned that he was about to be arrested for spying, it was at the same restaurant that Philby met his Soviet contact to arrange his escape. The Soviets smuggled him on board freighter “Dolmatov”. The ship was in such a rush to leave that it left some of its cargo on the quay. “Dolmatov” took Philby to Odessa.

John Fusco's " Dog Beach"

John Fusco, a rising star among American thriller writers, has an Armenian villain in his latest novel “Dog Beach”. Hollywood’s Avi Ghazaryan is an incompetent film producer with sketchy investment sources. His daughter is a no-talent brat who wants to become a film star. On the book jacket Christ Bohjalian said: “…I’m a big fan of John Fusco. ‘Dog Beach’ is a gem, a Hollywood novel by a guy who knows Hollywood. …Fast and funny and filled with surprises.” 

Giacomo Luigi Ciamician

Giacomo Luigi Ciamician (1857-1922) is the founder of “green chemistry”. Ciamician was very proud of his Armenian origin and heritage. The family claimed descent from Michele Ciamician, the great eighteenth-century historian of the Armenian people. In 1850 the family moved from Istanbul to Trieste, where there was a thriving Armenian community. The great chemist was born there. Ciamician studied chemistry in Germany before returning to Italy where he became a professor. Through their research, he and Paolo Silber raised the stature of Italian chemistry to world renown. Ciamician’s contributions to chemistry are as outstanding as they are varied. He made discoveries in physical and theoretical chemistry (plant chemistry, organic chemistry, natural products, organic photochemistry). He was also a prophet of solar energy. In addition to receiving numerous national awards, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize nine times. He became a senator in 1910.

Sourp Parsegh

The well-known “European” Saint Blaise, St. Blasé, San Biagio, San Blas is the Armenian Sourp Parsegh. He was a physician and bishop of Sebastia (now Svas) who was beheaded. Marco Polo said that Sourp Parsegh healed animals.  The Armenian saint was killed (316) when the governor of Cappadocia and Lesser Armenia Agricolus began persecuting Christians by the order of Emperor Licinius. The Cornwall (UK) valley St. Blazey derives from his name. Many English churches are named Saint Blaise. In Croatia he is known as Sveti Vlaho or Sveti Blaz, patron saint of Dubrovnik. Some of Sourp Parsegh’s relics are buried there. There’s a speculation that Blouse (Jersey Islands) is named after him. Thus the blouse (Fr.) could have derived from the Armenian saint’s name.

The Paulician Movement

The great British historian Edward Gibbons in his monumental work, “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”, noted that the Paulician movement “shook the East and enlightened the West.” The Paulicians or the Tondraketsi movement is one of the most interesting chapters in Armenian history and global history. Some scholars regard the Paulician movement as a proto-protestant movement—a forerunner of the European Reformation. Little is known about the movement because most of the sources about them were written (Armenian and Greek) by their adversaries. Founded in Greater Armenia, it spread to Mesopotamia, the Balkans (the Bogomil movement) and eventually influenced heretical movements of Western Europe (Catharism, Albigensianism, Waldensiansim, Anabaptism and other early protests movements).  

Hungarian Armenian Connection

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-1849 (also known as War of Independence from Austria), three famous generals were among the leaders of the uprising—Erno Kiss, Vilmos Lazar and Janos Czets. All three were of Armenian descent. Kiss and Lazar were executed. Czets went to exile in Argentine where he founded that country’s military geographical institute. During the rest of the century Armenians participated in large number in the political and cultural life of Hungary. An Armenian museum was founded in 1905. The museum was nationalized in the ‘50s but in 2013 received back its collection from the government. Historians Kristof Lukacsy and Kristof Szongott have done extensive research in Armenian and Hungarian linguistic relationship. Other Hungarian scholars who have published books about the Armenians are Miklos Gazdovits, Gazda Dezso, Sandor Oze, Balint Kovacs.

The Many Names of Armenia

The original Armenian name for Armenia was Hayq, later Hayastern, translated as the land of Haik, and consisting of the name Hail and the Persian suffix –stan (land). According to legend, Haik was a great-great-grandson of Noah (son of Togarmah, who was the son of Gomer, a son of Noah’s son Yafet/Hapet), and the forefather of all Armenians. Hayastan was given the name Armenia by surrounding states, as it was the name of the strongest tribe living in the historic Armenian lands, who called themselves Armens. It is derived from Armenak/Aram (great-grandson of Haik’s great-grandson. Some Christian and Jewish scholars believe the name “Armenia” derives from Har-Minni (Mountains of Minni or Mannai. Pre-Christian accounts suggest that Nairi, meaning land of rivers, was an ancient name for the country’s mountainous region, first used by Greek historians around 800 BC; while the first recorded inscription bearing the name Armenia, namely the Behistun Inscription in Iran, dates from 521.

The Stalin Purges

Among the 7,000 Armenians slain during the Stalin purges are Catholicos Khoren I (killed in 1938), Aghasi Khanjian (1936), Vahan Totovents (1938), Hovhannes Haghvertain (1951), and Zabel Yesayan (1943). Most of the prominent Armenians (Haig Pjshgiants), Aksel Pagounts, Movses Siligian, Nersig Stepanian, Trasdamad Der Simonian, Mikael Yenkiparian, Sarkis Lugashin, Bishop Ardag Smpariants , and Yeghishe Charents) were killed in 1937. 

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