Arpena Mesrobian

Document Type



Fall 1973


George Gordon, Lord Byron, Syracuse University Library, Mayfield Collection, manuscripts, rare books, Armenian language, Venice




European Languages and Societies | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


George Gordon, Lord Byron, arrived in Venice on November 11, 1816, a bitter and unhappy man at age 28. He had left England on April 24 in a cloud of controversy and scandal attending the breakup of his short-lived and unsatisfactory marriage.

Immediately after installing himself and his attendants in an apartment in Venice, the young poet sought solace and diversion, finding both in congenial social life and in what became an over-lapping series of ardent love affairs, all well known to the more tolerant Venetians. Eager, too, for mental exercise to distract him from his painful memories, Byron, with characteristic vigor, plunged into the study of the Armenian language.

Byron's brief Armenian episode and his association with the Armenian monks of the Mekhitarist Order on the island of San Lazzaro near Venice may be traced in an unusually large collection of books on Byron, constituting an important segment of John S. Mayfield's library of more than 50,000 rare books and manuscripts, housed in the Syracuse University Library. The Mayfield collection includes several rare volumes relating specifically to this experience.


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