Encyclopedia >> Encyclopedia of Armenian Culture >> School in the late Middle Ages in Armenia

 School in Armenia in the late Middle Ages. The tumultuous political events, prolonged war, destructions and deportations of the 15-16th centuries had a strong negative impact on the development of Armenian culture. In the first half of the 15th century some branches of science and art began to decline. It got worse in the second half of the 15th century and continued throughout the 16th century.

Only after the Persian-Turkish war efforts were made to stop the further cultural fall which later gave its positive results. The restoration of the interrupted traditions was followed by a spiritual rebirth in and out of Armenia. The close contact with European science, literature and art has led to changes in the traditional system of the Armenian culture. Thus, the gap in spiritual and cultural life of the Armenian people was not so deep and long so as to distort the national image and customs of the Armenian people.

The changing and complex conditions of that period left their mark primarily in the organization of the school system and its general condition. Tatev University, that led active scientific and socio-cultural and ideological activities in the previous century, lost its role and importance at the beginning of the 15th century. After the death of Grigor of Tatev (1409), it stopped its activities (1410-1412). The activities of Metsop school was not that long too. Numerous fields of science and art were studied and textbooks were compiled during the teaching period of Tovma Metsoptsi. The first Armenian language teaching textbook by Tovma Metsoptsi and the works on the natural sciences by Hakob Ghrimetsi were among those compiled books. 

In the first half of the 15th century the existing schools in and out of Armenia, that were struggling to maintain Gladzor-Tatev traditions gradually fade from the mid of the 15th century until the beginning of 17th century during the period of war and economic decline. The gradual revival and advancement of education began from the first half of the 17th century.  The first was Syunik or Desert Arants school which functioned at Tatev monastery. One of its remarkable teachers was Movses Tatevatsi (1578-1632), who later became Catholicos of All Armenians and founded schools in Yerevan and Hovhannavank. School in Echmiadzin was opened in the 1620s. The schools of Amirdolu monastery in Baghesh, schools of Lim island of Lake Van and Nor Jugha were quite productive in the 15-17th centuries. 

 Margaryan H.

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