body of writings in the Armenian language. There is evidence that a pagan oral literature existed in Armenia before the invention of the Armenian alphabet in the 5th century AD, but, owing to the zeal of the early Christian priests, little of this was preserved. For about a century after their conversion to Christianity (c. 300), the Armenians had to rely on Greek and Syriac versions of the Bible and other religious books. These languages were unintelligible to the common people, and to remedy this Mesrop Mashtots invented, with the help of others, the Armenian alphabet in 405, according to tradition. The catholicos Isaac (Sahak) the Great and Mesrop formed a school of translators who were reputedly sent to Edessa and to Constantinople to procure and translate Syriac and Greek copies of important works into Armenian
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