“Ideological and Political Struggle in Cilicia in the Second Half of the 13th Century," a book by ASPU Professor Gagik Harutyunyan, has been published two years after the historian’s death.
The presentation of the book was attended by Professor Harutyunyan's relatives, colleagues and students, who, in addition to the professor’s numerous professional achievements and accomplishments, emphasized his high human qualities.
In his welcome speech, ASPU Rector Ruben Mirzakhanyan confessed that it is very difficult to come to terms with the professor’s absence, but one thing is certain:
Rector Ruben Mirzakhanyan admitted in his welcoming speech that it is very difficult to come to terms with the thought of Gagik Harutyunyan's absence, but one thing is certain: a person lives as long as he is remembered and talked about.
"There is something that puts him above his colleagues: he left behind a legacy where he thinks about the problems of statehood, a statehood that has always been the most important goal and guide for our people," the rector said. Speaking about the importance of the book, he stressed that the monograph will allow analyzing the reasons for the loss of Cilicia statehood in the first place.
Edgar Hovhannisyan, Dean of the Faculty of History and Social Sciences at ASPU, thinks that the presentation of each book is an opportunity to talk not only about the book, but also about the author.
"He [Gagik Harutyunyan] was unique in everything - in relationships, at work, in communication. We were surprised to learn that he had left a complete work without saying a word about it,” said the dean. He added that the professor’s work will leave its powerful mark in Armenian historiography and medieval science.
The publication of the atypical monograph was initiated by the ASPU Chair of World History and its Teaching Methods. Professor Gagik Harutyunyan taught in the same chair till his last days. Head of the Chair Khachatur Stepanyan says the professor did not speak about his scientific heritage with surprising modesty; he emphasized good relationships with colleagues and students.
"With this monograph, he shed new light on the history of this phase. Our medieval studies has certain problems at the modern stage, but Gagik Harutyunyan’s contribution and input is great in terms of Cilicia," added Professor Stepanyan.
Speaking about his colleague, Academician Ruben Safrastyan, who co-authored many books with Gagik Harutyunyan, said he considers Mr. Harutyunyan to be the embodiment of a real Armenian intellectual whose modest and restrained essence embraces the history of Armenian people, key periods of the country’s history and the statehood of Cilicia. The academician is convinced that the youth will try to comprehend the significance of the Armenian statehood for the people and will do everything to preserve it. "He had a mission, which he fulfilled posthumously. That was his greatest message to preserve and strengthen the Armenian statehood," Mr. Safrastyan added.
Nelli Minasyan, who assisted in the compilation of the monograph, thanked everyone who supported the publication process and stressed the usefulness and importance of the book which directly reflected the professor's scientific abilities. “He had a mission to instill love in the history of his country, especially in Cilicia. He had an insatiable love for the Cilician civilization,” said Associate Professor at Yerevan State University David Tinoyan, who was one of Gagik Harutyunyan's students, and then his friend.
He says when a book is placed on the table of the wider scientific community, it means that the scientist has not died. This monograph is a vivid evidence of that. “This is one of the most interesting periods in Armenian history, which has undergone in-depth professional examination here. For an attentive reader, the work will give answers to a number of questions of those times,” Mr. Tinoyan said adding that the book is a novelty in terms of analyzing history, it, useful and valuable for scientific circles.
Disciplined, compassionate and conscientious person who always helped his students, young colleagues and encouraged a change of generation in science.… This is how Gagik Harutyunyan’s colleagues describe him, who has always stood by students and young colleagues, encouraging generational change in science.
The book's editor Rita Saghatelyan confesses that the monograph was written in such a flawless Armenian that she thought she had been given an edited version.
“I read it with great interest as if I was reading fiction and I realized that I am dealing with a lasting value, "the editor added.
Gagik Harutyunyan's son Vardan Harutyunyan, a mathematician by profession, considers himself to be a bearer of Armenian historical heritage. “The book has left a great impression on people. I do not know many of those present here, but we all know Gagik Harutyunyan, which is enough to say that we bear his influence.”