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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

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(HAITHON, HETHUM), king of Little Armenia or Cilicia from 1224 to 1269, traveller in western and central Asia, Mongolia, &c., was the son of Constantine Rupen, and became heir to the throne of Lesser Armenia by his marriage with Isabella, daughter and only child of Leo II. After a reign of forty-five years he abdicated (1269) in favour of his son Leo III., became a monk and died in 1271. Before his accession he had been "constable," or head of the Armenian army, and "bailiff" of the realm. Throughout his reign he followed the policy of friendship and alliance with the overwhelming power of the Mongols. In about 1248 he sent his brother Sempad, who was now constable in his place, on a mission to Kuyuk Khan, the supreme Mongol emperor. Sempad was well received and returned home in 1250, bringing letters from Kuyuk. After Mangu's accession in 1251, Batu (the most powerful of the Mongol princes and generals, and the conqueror - in name at least - of eastern Europe, now commanding on the line of the Volga) summoned Hayton to the court of the new grand khan. Carefully disguised, so as to pass safely through the Turkish states in the interior of eastern Asia Minor (where he was hated as an ally of the Mongols against Islam), Hayton made his way to Kars, the central Mongol camp in Great Armenia, where the famous general Bachu, or Baiju, commanded. Here he reported himself, and was permitted to remain some time in the Ararat region, at the foot of Mt Alagoz, near the metropolitan church of Echmiadzin. Being joined by his suite, especially the clerical diplomatists Basil the Priest, and James the Abbot, Hayton next passed through eastern Caucasia, threading the pass of the Iron Gates of Derbent, and so reached the camp of Batu on the Volga, where he was cordially welcomed. Thence he set out (May 13th, 1254) on the "very long road beyond the Caspian Sea" to the residence of Mangu at or near Karakorum, south of Lake Baikal. After passing the Ural river, we only hear of his arrival at Or, probably the present Ili province, east of Balkhash, and of his reaching the Irtish, entering the Naiman country, and passing through "Karakhitai" (apparently the capital of the ruined Karakhitai empire is intended, a place perhaps situated on the Chu, mentioned out of its proper place in Hayton's record). On the 13th of September the travellers entered Mongolia, and on the 14th (?) of September were received by Mangu. Here the king remained till the 1st of November, when he left with diplomas, seals and letters of enfranchisement which promised great things for the Armenian state, church and people. His return journey was by very unusual and interesting routes - through the Urumtsi region, the basin of "the sea of milk," Lake Sairam, the valley of the Ili, the neighbourhood of; Kulja, and so over mountains, which probably answer to certain outliers of the Alexander range, to Talas near the present Aulie Ata, midway between the Syr Dania and the Chu. Here he met and conferred with Hulagu Khan, Mangu's brother, the future conqueror of Bagdad: probably Hayton was expected to aid in the coming forward movement of the Mongol armies against the Moslem world. From Talas Hayton made a detour to the north-west to meet another Mongol prince, Sartach the son of Batu; after which he ascended the valley of the Syr Dania, crossed into Trans-Oxiana, visited Samarkand and Bokhara, and passed the Oxus apparently near Charjui. By way of Mer y and Sarakhs he then entered Khorasan and traversed north Persia, passing through Rai near Tehran, Kazvin and Tabriz, and so returning to the camp of Bachu in Armenia, now at Sisian near Lake Gokcha (July 1255) Thanks to his powerful friends, Hayton's journey was unusually rapid. Eight months after quitting Mange's horde, he was back in Great Armenia. The narrative of this journey, which was written by a member of the king's suite, one Kirakos of Gandsak (the modern Elizavetpol), concludes with some interesting references to Buddhist tenets, to Chinese habits, to various monstrous races and to certain "women endowed with reason" dwelling "beyond Cathay." It also gives some notes, compounded of truth and legend, on the wild tribes and animals of the Gobi and adjoining regions.

The record drawn up by Kirakos Gandsaketsi was in Armenian. A MS. of his, dated 1616, was found in the Sanahin monastery in Georgia, and translated into Russian by Prince Argutinsky in the Sibirsky Vyestnik for 1822, pp. 69, &c. This Russian version was again translated into French by Klaproth in the Nouveau Journal asiatique for 1833 (vol. xii. pp. 273, &c.). Another French translation was made direct from the Armenian by M. Brosset in the Memoires de l'Academie des Sciences de St Petersbourg for 1870; a fresh Russian version of the original, by Professor Patkanov, appeared in 1874. See also E. Bretschneider, Medieval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources, i. 164-172 (London, 1888, "Triibner's Oriental" Series); C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, ii. 381-391 (1901). (C. R. B.)

Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Hayton'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica.​encyclopedias/​eng/​bri/​h/hayton.html. 1910.