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University of Gladzor

A miniature depicting Esayi of Nich, abbot of Gladzor, while teaching

University of Gladzor (Armenian: Գլաձորի համալսարան, romanizedGladzori hamalsaran) was a medieval Armenian university, one of the two "great centres of learning" along with the University of Tatev (c. 1340–1425) that were "essentially of a single tradition."[1][2] It was established around 1280 by Nerses of Mush,[2] a student of Vardan Areveltsi, and operated until 1340 and "left behind a rich intellectual heritage".[3]

The university grew out of the monastic center of learning of the Aghberts or Gladzor Monastery in the region of Vayots Dzor.[4] It flourished under the patronage of the Orbelian and Proshian noble families.[4][5] Gladzor had at least nine professors and around fifteen lecturers.[5] The university's longtime head was Esayi of Nich (Nchetsi), who led the university until 1331.[4] He was succeeded by the head teacher Tiratur.[4] The noted miniature painters Toros Taronatsi, Avag and Momik taught and painted at Gladzor.[4]

Gladzor had its own bylaws and granted academic degrees. Its three main courses were as follows: 1. Armenian and foreign texts, 2. the art of manuscript writing, and 3. Armenian musical notation (khaz) and music.[4] Among the subjects taught at the university were theology, mythology, philosophy, bibliology, grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, astronomy, chronology, and geometry.[4] Around 350 students graduated from Gladzor University.[4] The length of matriculation was seven to eight years, not counting the three years of religious education required to be admitted to the university.[4] Graduates received the rank of vardapet.[4] Although it was referred to as a university and sometimes analogized to contemporary European universities, scholar S. Peter Cowe suggests that Gladzor and other medieval Armenian academies were more comparable to monastic schools.[6]



  1. ^ Lang, David Marshall (1980). Armenia, cradle of civilization. London: Allen & Unwin. p. 276. ISBN 9780049560093.
  2. ^ a b Arnavoudian, Eddie (22 November 2010). "Science versus Religion: the case of the Medieval Armenian University". Armenian News Network / Groong, University of Southern California. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  3. ^ Nersessian, Vrej (2001). The Bible in the Armenian Tradition. London: British Library. p. 43. ISBN 9780892366408.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Khacheryan 1997.
  5. ^ a b Hovannisian 1997, p. 264.
  6. ^ Hovannisian 1997, p. 307.

39°46′42″N 45°20′52″E / 39.7783°N 45.3478°E / 39.7783; 45.3478

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University of Gladzor
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