From early antiquity, the Armenian people developed a rich and distinctive culture on the great highland plateau extending from eastern Asia Minor to the Caucasus. On that crossroad, they interacted on many levels with civilizations of the Orient and Occident. The continuity of Armenian life in most of this historic homeland was brought to an abrupt end as the result of war and genocide in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The UCLA conference series, “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces,” is organized by the Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History, with the purpose of exploring and illuminating the historical, political, cultural, religious, social, and economic legacy of a people rooted for millennia on the Armenian Plateau.
Lesser Armenia (Pokr Hayk), with its center at Sebastia (now Sivas), constituted the westernmost region of historic Armenia. Traversed by the Halys River, it was inhabited by Armenians since antiquity but was geographically and historically distinct from Greater Armenia (Mets Hayk). Because of its particular location, Lesser Armenia served as a major cultural, religious, and ethnic contact zone and was rarely, if ever, incorporated into the Armenian kingdoms to the east. Its cities, including Marsovan, Amasia, Evdokia (Tokat), Sebastia, Gurun, Divrig, and Shabin-Karahisar, were noted for their progressive roles in the educational, cultural, and commercial endeavors of the Armenian people, while its numerous villages preserved the cycles and traditions of ages-old agrarian life.
Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia is the fifth of the conference proceedings to be published. Other regions featured in this series are Van/Vaspurkan; Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush; Tsopk/ Kharpert; Karin/Erzerum, Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa; Cilicia; Constantinople; Kars and Ani; Pontus and the Black Sea Coast; Smyrna/ Izmir; Caesarea/Kesaria; Nor Jugha/New Julfa; Iranian-Armenian Communities; and Jerusalem.