National Geographic : 1915 Oct
Photo by Stephen Van R. Trowbridge HAJI AGHA, A KINDLY NEIGHBOR AND A MOST LOYAL FRIEND TO THE AMERICAN HOSPITAL IN AINTAB In the massacre of 1895 he posted himself at the hospital entrance and prevented the mob from entering. He represents the better type of Moslem, who are not responsible for the Armenian massacres. coast cities, where they won respect and envy. They have always been loyal citi zens of Turkey, but they have not be come converts to Islam, nor have they voluntarily intermarried with the Turks. One curious instance of their separate ness from their political masters is in their use of the Turkish tongue. Al though the Armenians have lived centu ries among the Turks, and many have been brought up in the Turkish rather than the Armenian language, they sel dom speak Turkish without a very strong accent, amounting to a mispronunciation. It is one of the ways in which they have preserved their national individuality. There is little, if any, racial antagonism between Armenians and Turks. Had re ligion and politics never come to antago nize them, they could live together in essential harmony. ARMENIA'S GOLDEN AGE The Armenians boast a Golden Age in literature, when for a brief cycle of fifty years their writers burst into poetry and song, leaving a precious heritage of liter ature to their descendants. This period was ushered in by Saint Mesrob, himself a scholar in Greek, Syrian, and Persian, who took the limited Armenian alphabet and perfected it to express the Armenian language. It had thirty-six letters, but two have since been added.