One of the great treasures of the Armenian world is the Museum of Ancient Manuscripts – Matenadaran, where parchment manuscripts created over many centuries are preserved. They are written on sheepskin or calfskin parchment. Those who received the scroll would prepare the animals, i.e. they were preparers. Armenians also regarded writers and historians as inventors. For example, the fifth-century historian Movses Khorenatsi is called Kertogahayr.
Sometimes, foreigners were surprised to see how Armenians received parchment. Once, outside the royal
slaughterhouse in the town of Dvin, a foreign merchant had a conversation with an Armenian intellectual.
“Why do you slit the throats of these five hundred sheep?” he asked.
– For the parchment. The flesh will remain for the people, and the skin will be turned into parchment.
– And how many scrolls will be written with so much parchment?
T- A big book.
“Is it worth writing a book in this bad year?” wonders the merchant, and ponders in his head. “How stupid these Armenians are!”
“Man does not live by bread alone,” says the wise man, “the body dies for want of bread, and the soul dies for want of books.
Hunger for the soul is more destructive than hunger for bread. Parchment books are the spiritual nourishment and wealth of Armenians.