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Word Count: 440
Before the introduction of Christianity into Armenia in the 3rd century AD Armenian literature was Assyrian or Medo-Persian in character After that date however the language literature and finally the alphabet of Greece appeared in Armenian writing although eastern Armenia retained the Syriac alphabet The translation of the Bible into Classical Armenian traditionally ascribed to the monk and scholar St Mesrob and his systematization of the Armenian alphabet in 410 opened a period of literary activity in the 5th century known as the Golden Age of Armenian literature The principal Armenian writers of this age were translators Other authors were the philosopher Eznik Koghbatsi who wrote Refutation of the Sects especially valuable for its account of the Zoroastrian and Manichaean religions Movses Khorenats reputed author of a geography and of a history of Armenia and the preacher Eliseus author of History of Vardan and of the Battles of the Armenians Arab rule over Armenia lasting through most of the 6th to the 10th century caused a decline in the production of literature in Armenian In the 10th century Thomas of Ardsruni an important historian appeared as did the poet and bishop Grigor Narekatsi In the 12th century the patriarch Nerses the Gracious poet theologian and historian wrote prayers and hymns still in use New literary forms began to appear in the 13th century but for the next four centuries Classical Armenian literature was confined to the monasteries A body of literature in the contemporary or vernacular language however was produced by such poet-minstrels as Sayat-Novain the 18th century During the 18th century Armenian congregations were established in many cities in Europe as well as in Asia A special impetus toward the preservation of Armenian literature was given by the establishment in 1717 of a college and convent on the island of San Lazzaro near Venice by the Armenian prelate Mechitar de Petro In Venice and at another congregation established later in Vienna Mechitarist monks are
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