This Lawcode is the first Armenian legal text to cover secular as well as ecclesiastical matters. Although the Armenians had been concerned with canon law since the fifth century, secular law was not codified until Greater Armenia was under Muslim domination. Mxit'ar Gosh began his work in 1184 in an attempt to provide Armenians with a comprehensive code based on traditional practice. He did not use the Greek and Syrian lawcodes that were being translated into Armenian during his lifetime. Mxit'ar's code formed the basis for all later Armenian lawcodes, both that of Smbat in Cilican Armenia and those adaptations used in the diaspora farther afield. This lawcode has never before been translated into any western language. The commentary identifies Mxit'ar's sources, and the introduction places his work in its historical and literary contexts. This book will be of particular interest to historians of the Near East in medieval times, to scholars of Armenian literature, and all those interested in Eastern Christian culture.
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