VIDEO: [History Time] How the Turks massacred every citizen of the ‘City of a Thousand Churches’ in 1042. [Dec 16, 2017]
Ironically, most people, including most Armenians, are unaware that the first genocide of Christian Armenians at the hands of Muslim Turks did not occur in the twentieth century; it began in 1019—exactly one-thousand years ago this year—when Turks first began to pour into and transform a then much larger Armenia into what it is today, the eastern portion of modern day Turkey.
Thus, in 1019, “the first appearance of the bloodthirsty beasts … the savage nation of infidels called Turks entered Armenia … and mercilessly slaughtered the Christian faithful with the sword,” writes Matthew of Edessa (d.1144), a chief source for this period. Three decades later the raids were virtually nonstop. In 1049, the founder of the Turkic Seljuk Empire himself, Sultan Tughril Bey (r. 1037–1063), reached the unwalled city of Arzden, west of Lake Van, and “put the whole town to the sword, causing severe slaughter, as many as one hundred and fifty thousand persons.”
After thoroughly plundering the city—which reportedly contained eight hundred churches—he ordered it set ablaze and turned into a desert. Arzden was “filled with bodies” and none “could count the number of those who perished in the flames.” The invaders “burned priests whom they seized in the churches and massacred those whom they found outside. They put great chunks of pork in the hands of the undead to insult us”—Muslims deem the pig unclean—“and made them objects of mockery to all who saw them.”
Eight hundred oxen and forty camels were required to cart out the vast plunder, mostly taken from Arzden’s churches. “How to relate here, with a voice stifled by tears, the death of nobles and clergy whose bodies, left without graves, became the prey of carrion beasts, the exodus of women … led with their children into Persian slavery and condemned to an eternal servitude! That was the beginning of the misfortunes of Armenia,” laments Matthew, “So, lend an ear to this melancholy recital.”
This article continues at [FrontPageMag] Remembering the First and Forgotten Armenian Genocide of 1019