The Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) recently announced its publication of the bilingual (Armenian and English) Atlas of Historical Armenia, edited by Dr. Vartan Matiossian, the executive director of the ANEC. The Atlas was published under the auspices of His Eminence Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, on the 500th anniversary of Armenian printing. The cost was underwritten through the generous donation of the Hagopian family of Providence, R.I., in memory of their parents, Ervant and Serpouhi Hagopian, the Armenian Weekly reports.
While the book’s primary target audience are students and teachers, the Atlas is equally valuable for the general public. The basic premise is to offer readers an essential core that may serve as a starting point to widen their knowledge. To this end, the new edition has been rewritten and updated, with the addition of four new chapters. It contains 32 chapters, 30 maps, and 174 photographs (148 in full color). The maps are also provided on a CD attached to the book.
The Atlas combines three books in one: a book of historical geography (maps), a book of history (text), and a book of illustrated history (photographs). It is an educational tool that may be used as a standard textbook of Armenian history—in Armenian and English—that supersedes other textbooks currently in use.
The book is structured in four sections. It opens with an overview of Armenian historical geography, followed by a second section on Armenian cultural heritage. The main section of the book is the third, which introduces compact chapters on Armenian history from its origins to 1991. The final section, entitled “Armenians Today,” presents chapters on the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh), and the Armenian Diaspora. An extensive chapter on the Armenian Church is followed by an “Afterword” that succinctly explains the current status of Armenians and Armenia.
As part of its series of publications in Armenian studies, the ANEC released the first edition of theAtlas, written by Dr. Garbis Armen and edited by Vrej-Armen Artinian, in 1987. It remains the only bilingual atlas of Armenian history ever published. (Whereas other atlases were published before and after, all of them were monolingual). Incidentally, the Atlas was the first such publication in English until Dr. Robert Hewsen’s Armenia: A Historical Atlas (2001), an erudite work for a different audience.
The unprecedented historical transformations that followed the initial publication of the Atlas, including the independence of the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh in 1991, demanded a revision. After a long hiatus, work on the new edition resumed in 2010 and 25 years after the first edition, the ANEC can offer a new atlas for a new generation.