Post-classical history

Gregory the Priest

An Armenian historian active in the mid-twelfth century, who is known for a single work covering the history of his people in Cilician Armenia from 1136 to 1162. Gregory’s history is a continuation and conclusion of the much longer chronicle of Matthew of Edessa. Given its modest length as well as its limited chronological and geographical scope, Gregory must be ranked as one of the lesser historians of the crusading period.

Other than that he was a priest and came from Edessa (mod. Şanlıurfa, Turkey), nothing seems to be known about Gregory or how he came to continue the history of Matthew. He evidently drew all his information from his own experience as an eyewitness. The central theme of his history is the repeated attempts of outsiders (Greeks, Turks, and crusaders) to impose their rule over Cilician Armenia and the increasing inability of the Armenians to resist.

At least twenty manuscripts of the history survive today. The Armenian text was edited twice in the nineteenth century; it was translated into French in 1858, Turkish in 1962, modern Armenian in 1973, and English in 1993.

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