Cummings Foundation Grant Recipient

“Medieval Knowledge” in Medieval Times in the Mediterranean: An Example of the Kingdom of Cilician Armenia ~ Thursday, May 23, 2024 ~ In-Person (UCLA) and On Zoom

Ararat-Eskijian Museum AUA General Education Center for European and Russian Studies Center for Near Eastern Studies NAASR The Promise Armenian Institute UCLA Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History Zohrab Gevorgyan

Thursday, May 23, 2024 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Pacific Time

In-person at Bunche Hall, Room 10383 (10th floor)
315 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 

Please click this link to RSVP for the Zoom presentation. 


Zohrab Gevorgyan is a historian, medievalist, education specialist, history teaching expert with more than 15 years of pedagogical work experience. He has taught at “Ayb” school, Mkhitaryan's School, Yerevan State University of Economics, Yerevan State University. He worked as a teacher support specialist at the educational foundation “Teach for Armenia”. He is an adjunct lecturer at the American University of Armenia. For many years he has been working as a senior researcher at the Institute of History of NAS RA. Author of the monograph “The Armenian State of Cilicia in the Mediterranean Trade System (13-14th centuries), Yerevan 2015” and co-author of the book “The Book of teaching history: Why? How? Yerevan 2020”, as well as the author of more than thirty scientific works, which concern the history of Cilician Armenia, medieval commercial relations, Mediterranean trade, woman history, history of everyday life etc. Currently, Dr. Gevorgyan is a Fulbright visiting scholar at the Promise Armenian Institute at UCLA.

When at the end of the 12th century, King Levon I of Cilician Armenia (as Prince Levon II - 1187-1198, as King: 1198-1219) united a huge part of the northeastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Cilician Armenia became involved in the Mediterranean trade relations. The establishment of Venetian, Genoese, Pisan, Florentine, Catalan, and other communities in Cilician Armenia took place according to the same formula as in other places in the Mediterranean: Cyprus, Crete, Rhodes, Byzantine Empire, Black Sea, etc. During the 13th and 14th centuries, especially Venice and Genoa signed many treaties with the kings of Cilician Armenia, according to which their merchants received preferential conditions for trading and establishing communities in Cilician cities. They were given districts for the purposes of building churches, consulates, shops, baths, markets, residential houses, and other buildings necessary for life. Venice and Genoa were later joined by Pisa, Florence, southern French cities, Catalonia, etc. From the 13th century, commercial activities operating in the Mediterranean were introduced in Cilician Armenia. The merchant going on a trade trip from Ayas to Barcelona could take only a receipt paper with credentials and receive cash from another merchant in the city of arrival. Thousands of notarial acts compiled in the cities of Cilicia, especially in Ayas (Laiazzo, Laias, etc.), were once moved and are still kept in the archives of Italian, French, and Spanish cities. Multifaceted information is accumulated in these notarial documents, which make it possible to study both Cilician Armenia and the Mediterranean world from everyday life history, microhistory, environmental history and many other perspectives. In the Genoese notarial documents of only three years (1274,1277, 1279), dozens of people of different professions are mentioned who arrived in Cilicia from various Italian cities: teachers, notaries, barbers, blacksmiths, shoemakers, etc. It was they who became the main distributors of various technologies and knowledge between the East and the West. In the notarial acts, there is also extensive information about various types of products, their size, and weight units, which were also widely circulated between distant settlements of the Mediterranean.

Who carried the medieval "knowledge" and "technologies"? The Venetian and Genoese trading colonies scattered throughout the Mediterranean and Black Sea basins are usually referred to as merchant communities, but the population in their small societies had different social strata including many professions who also participated in trade transactions. Naturally, while living in other countries, these people transferred or took various knowledge, skills and technologies. The goal of this research is to classify the information available in the notarial and other sources, which will make it possible to present the general picture of the circulation of knowledge and technologies in the Mediterranean Sea from different perspectives. 


The Promise Armenian Institute

Center for Near Eastern Studies

Center for European and Russian Studies

UCLA Richard Hovannisian Endowed Chair in Modern Armenian History

UCLA Narekatsi Chair in Armenian Studies

National Association for Armenian Studies and Research

Ararat-Eskijian Museum

AUA General Education

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