In this installment of our interview series, we get the chance to speak with Armenian history enthusiast, Hovik Torkomyan.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Hovik Torkomyan. I’m an Armenian (shocker, right?) and I’ve been living in The Netherlands for the most part of my life. In my daily profession, I’m a marketing manager. I’ve always had a fascination with world history in general.
When I decided that it was time for me to know more about my own history, that’s when I, spontaneously created @historyofarmenia. I didn’t really put much thought in it when I started and I haven’t stopped ever since. At this point I’m working on creating an academic community of contributors for this project. I’m working on and I’m happy to say that it’s all coming together very well.
How would you define history?
That question seems to be an easy one, but it really isn’t. If we would take a formal approach to it then I guess history would be defined as a branch of knowledge dealing with past events of people, countries etc. But to me history is also the unknown.
So, there is a mystery to it! And with more scientific methods that are being developed such as genetics and DNA, we are able to discover new things, validate or disproof claims. If I would define history it would then also include tackling the greatest questions and mysteries.
How would learning history improve our fitness?
I guess it depends on the individual. Sports have been an important part of human history. Wars have been fought, won and lost by individuals who were not only skilled in strategy but they also had to have great physical fitness to be able to outperform their adversary.
So, if you are interested in getting fit and be great at whatever sport you are practicing, it’s important to know and learn from those who came before you. You can find a great source of inspiration in facts and legends that will allow you to empower yourself and take pride in the fact that you are continuing a tradition with a rich history behind it.
It’s awesome that you’re bringing academic writings into the fold. It really shows in the quality of content on the blog. Another question, for you: A big part of Chronicles of Fitness is to bring across the idea that learning history builds the transferable skills of empathy. In your opinion, how would you describe that relationship?
Thank you very much, that’s very kind of you.
I think empathy is something not everybody is capable of, no matter how much they learn or chose to accept. Luckily most people are very well capable to show and feel empathy and I believe that knowing history teaches us that we as a people are more similar and related/connected in ways we could not have imagined.
I personally find that amazing. Learning about my own history has taught that, for example Armenians, even though politically not the most powerful nation and often a nation that is overlooked on today, historically had a huge cultural impact on the rest of the world and the world in return had a great influence on Armenia and Armenians.
Yeah, I just read your post on Hannibal and this impact really sunk in. How do you find the present view of Armenian’s of their history?
Of course I can’t speak for all Armenians, however from what I see is that most Armenians are very interested in knowing about their history and they are open to learning about it from objective sources. So, I think there is a basic and growing amount of knowledge among those Armenians.
I think Armenians are aware of the rich and ancient history of their people. However, I think that the details are often missing. From the general knowledge (they can correct me if I’m wrong) 🙂
That’s good to hear. Also, what are your future pans with History of Armenia?
My plan at this point is to further professionalize the social media platform and the website. Growing the academic contributors list and partner with institutions (archives, museums, and libraries) who have a great collection of content regarding Armenian history.
And lastly, is there anything you could leave our audience with. Any advice when approaching history or just anything in general?
I’d say don’t get mad about things that happened thousands of years ago. Just learn from it.
You can follow Hovik on his website, History of Armenia as well as on Instagram and Facebook by the same handles.