The Archaeological and Ethnographic Description of Greater Armenia by the Mkhitarist Fathers of Venice Between Hellenophile and Armenophilia
This study is a preliminary attempt to reassess and redefine the aims that inspired the philological work of the Mekhitarist Fathers of Venice, particularly their volumes devoted to archaeology and historiographic geography, in the light of the so-called Orien- talist and Post-colonial studies. The Author aims to show the ‘ideological’ relation between the historiographic works of some renowned Mekhitarist fathers, namely Ghukas Inchichian, Ghewond Alishan and Sukʿias Efrikian, and the Father of the Armenian historiography, Movsēs Khorenatsʿi, particularly concerning the methodological approach to the historiographic description and discourse. The concept of ethnic ‘nation’ elaborated by Movsēs Khorenatsʿi, as well as the theory of dialectical relation between centre and periphery, is one of the most entrenched and productive values of the Armenian identity. In this light, the author tries to reconsider also the intellectual and spiritual motivations behind the monumental work of the three Mekhitarist figures that should not be encompassed by a (post-) Foucaldian lecture of the ‘nationalistic’ philological movements, as recently proposed by some scholars.
Keywords: Mekhitarist Fathers • Philarmenism • Philhellenism • Azg and nation • Armenian cartography and historiographical geograp • Orientalism