mesrop_mashtotsArmenian literature started to develop from 400 AD with the invention of the Armenian alphabet by Mesrop Mashtots. This period put a start to the creation of Armenian marvelous literature. The early thematic field was devoted to Christian and the main aim of creation of alphabet was to translate the Bible into Armenian. So, the translated Armenian version of Bible was so good that it was even called the queen of translations and put a start to the foundation of schools around Armenia.

Armenian literature can be devided into oral and written. Parts of the early oral literature were recorded by M. Khorenatsi, a fourth-century historian. During the nineteenth century, under the influence of a European interest in folklore and oral literature, a new movement started that led to the collection of oral epic poems, songs, myths, and stories.

The written literature has been divided into five main epochs: the fifth century golden age, or voskedar following the adoption of the alphabet; the Middle Ages; the Armenian Renaissance (in the nineteenth century); modern literature of Armenia and Constantinople (Istanbul) at the turn of the twentieth century; and contemporary literature of Armenia and the Diaspora. The fifth century has been recognized internationally as a highly productive epoch. It was also known for its translations of various works, including the Bible. In fact, the clergy have been the main producers of Armenian literary works. One of the most well-known early works is Gregory Narekatsi’s Lamentations. During medieval times, a tradition of popular literature and poetry gradually emerged. By the nineteenth century, the vernacular of eastern (Russian and Iranian) Armenia became the literary language of the east, and the vernacular of Istanbul and western (Ottoman Turkish) Armenia became the basis of the literary rebirth for Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire.armenian alphabets

Unfortunately, the 1915 genocide led to the death of the great majority of the Armenian writers of the time. The period immediately after the genocide was marked by a silence. Eventually there emerged a Diaspora literature with centers in Paris, Aleppo, and Beirut.

What about Soviet period, here the literary tradition followed the trends in Russia with a recognizable Armenian voice. Literature received the support of the Soviet state. A writers union was established and is still working.

To collect and restore the oldest fragments of literature, Matenadaran museum-institute was established. Thousands of literature treasures are being kept and exhibited to the visitors and tourist. They are living history, the great part of Armenian culture covering the whole Armenian history.