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Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts of the Council of Ministers of the Armenian SSR; the world’s largest repository of ancient Armenian manuscripts and a scientific research institute in Yerevan.
The Matenadaran was created around the collection of manuscripts of the Echmiadzin Monastery, which was nationalized in 1920. Its present building was constructed in 1959 (architect, M. Grigorian). As of 1972 the holdings numbered 12,960 Armenian manuscripts and more than 100,000 ancient archival documents, including around 2,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and other languages. The manuscripts in the Matenadaran have great scientific and historical value for they are the most important primary sources for the study of the history and culture of Armenia and the neighboring peoples of the Caucasus and the Near and Middle East. The holdings include manuscripts from the fifth through 18th centuries and a unique collection of first editions and Armenian books from the 16th to 18th centuries. There are also works of ancient and medieval Armenian historians, writers, philosophers, mathematicians, geographers, and physicians, as well as translations of ancient Greek, Syrian, Arab, and Latin scholars, including a number of works that have not survived in the original language.
The musuem of the Matenadaran displays the best examples of ancient Armenian literature and miniatures. Many manuscripts have great artistic value—for example, the Lazarus Gospel of 887, the Echmiadzin Gospel of 989, and the Mugni Gospel of the 11th century. Scientific research is carried on at the Matenadaran: Armenian literary remains are studied and published; problems of Armenian textology, primary sources, paleography, medieval book illustrations, and historiography are studied; and scholarly translations are done into Russian and other languages. Since 1940 the Matenadaran has published a collection entitled Banber Matenadarani (Matenadaran Herald) in Armenian, with abstracts in Russian and French.
REFERENCESAbramian, A. G. Rukopisnye sokrovishcha Matenadarana. Yerevan, 1959.
Abgarian, G. V. Matenadaran. Yerevan, 1962.
Bakshi Kim. Orel i mech. Moscow .
S. S. AREVSHATIAN