Are Armenians Urartu or Phrygians

The Armenians - Their History from the 8th c. BC until the 14th c. AD.

Raffi Kantian


This brief account about the history of the Armenians starts with a tentative comparison of the different approaches - older and newer ones - concerning the origin of the Armenians. The period of Kingdom of Urartu is outlined while keeping an eye on the Armenians, both as part of the royal family and beyond it. The emergence of Armenia as a separate political entity after the fall of Urartu is described within the context of the rivalry of the dominant powers. The same approach is used for the later periods. Special emphasis is laid on the changes in the power structure after the event of Christianity and the invasion of the country by the Arabs. The paper ends with an outline of continuing traditions which have prevailed the times.

The Armenians - Its history from the 8th century (BC) to the 14th century (AD).

The geographical limits

Geographically, Armenia is divided in the north by the middle course of the Kura between the confluence of the Chrami and the Ganja River, in the east and partly in the south by the Arax, today's border between Turkey and Iran and the watershed of the Armenian Taurus, in the west bounded by the Karasu tributary of the Euphrates and in the northeast by the Kura.

The origins

According to mythology, the Armenians are descended from Hayk, son of Togarmak (Torkom in Armenian), who is the grandson of Japhet, who in turn is the son of Noah. The English historian Chahin accepts Torgom and Hayk as the two origins of the Armenians. Herodotus speaks of them (self-designation Hay (singular) or Hayk (plural)) apodictically as 'Phrygian colonists', Endoxes (4th century BC) adds that Armenian is similar to Phrygian. Strabo, on the other hand, is of the opinion that this people is named after the Thessalian Armenus, one of the Argonauts and friend of Jason. The following should be noted here: The attempts to find particular similarities in Armenian with Phrygian fell far short of expectations. Furthermore, as Edward Gulbekian writes (Edward Gulbekian: "Why Did Herodotus Think the Armenians Were Phrygian Colonists?", In: Armenian Review, Autumn 1991, Volume 44), there is no Armenos in the list of Argonauts.

If the Phrygian descent of the Armenians is to be retained despite these problems, it must be assumed that the Armenians were around 1200 BC. Came from Thrace to their later homeland.

At the same time, the existence of a successor state of the Hittites with the name Hayasa since 1400 BC is assured. Known on the territory of historical Armenia. According to Rafayel Ischhanian, the suffix -asa in Hittite indicates on the one hand the plural form and on the other hand the affiliation, like the suffix -k in Old Armenian. If you translate Hay + asa into Armenian, the result is Hay + k, i.e. Armenians or the country of the Armenians.

Rafayel Ischchanian is also of the opinion that the Armenians are an autochonous people of this region. The starting point of his thesis is the work of T. Gamkrelize and W. Iwanow who, based on their linguistic investigations, identified eastern Anatolia and the Iranian highlands as the original home of the Indo-Europeans (Armenian belongs to the family of Indo-European languages), as well as loanwords in Armenian from Assyrian and Akkadian.

To his arguments for the much more ancient history of the Armenians, he also draws on an inscription by the Akkadian king Naram-Suen (also Naramsin) (2290 - 2254 BC) or (2260 - 2223 BC): 'The divine Naram-Suen (Naramsin), the mighty king of the four cardinal points, conqueror of Armani and Ebla (also read: Armanum, Armanim and Ebla). ' In the 1970s it was found that Ebla was in Syria. The missing part of the above inscription was later found near Diyarbakir (southeast Turkey), from which one could conclude that Naram-Suen (Naramsin) was there and that his Armani must have been in this area. In his further argument, Ischchanian shows that 'Armani' must mean Armenia. Thus in Akkadian apricot 'armanu', in Aramaic 'hazzura armenaja', in Arabic 'Tuffah al-armani', in Latin 'prunus armeniaca', meaning 'Armenian apple' in all cases. From this and other evidence, Ischchanian now concludes that 'armani' in the inscription of Naram-Suen (Naramsin) means Armenia (in this case the southern part of the country).

Urartu - The Kingdom on Mount Ararat

The Assyrian term Urartu became 'rrt in the Hebrew form, written only in consonants. Since in the Jewish treatment of proper names one usually put an A in the place of unknown vowels, 'rrt became Ararat. The decipherment of the Assyrian cuneiform texts confirms this equation of Urartu and Ararat.

The oldest message about Urartu in Assyrian texts comes from the time of Shalmaneser I (1273-1244), who made a campaign to Uruatri. Competing views see Uruatri merely as a landscape designation or an own state, which is to be designated separately from the Nairi countries. The kings Tukulti-Ninurtas I (1243 - 1207 BC) and Tiglatpilesars I (1114 - 1076 BC) speak of the latter. These are supposed to represent a tribal federation in the mountain region on Lake Van and Urmia. Later, in the 9th century BC BC, the Nairi countries are equated with Urartu, in the 8th century BC. Considered a buffer state between Urartu and Assyria.

The raids to the north in the Nairi countries or Urartu are attractive for the Assyrians because of the rich ore deposits. The local population united in the 9th century BC. Under King Aramu (Armenian: Aram) (858 - 844 BC). In the Assyrian sources, Urartu can only be understood as an ethnic group from that time, as some researchers believe. For this purpose, the bronze fittings are brought up to the ruins of Balawat, the old city of Ingur-Enlil, southeast of Nineveh. It depicts the Phoenicians and Urartians as tribute-bringers, as well as episodes from the campaigns of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser II (858 - 824 BC).

As the actual founder of the royal dynasty of the Urartians, i.e. the kingdom on the Ararat, Sarduri I (844 - 828 BC), who also founded the capital Tuschpa (today: Van) on the east bank of Lake Van. Due to the weakening of the Assyrians after the death of Shalmaneser II, the leadership in the area clearly passed to the Urartians, whereby their king Menua I the Conqueror (810 - 785 BC) ensured the expansion of his zone of influence. Urartu reached its greatest extent under Sarduri II (753 - 735 BC) with 800 kilometers in an east-west direction and 500 kilometers in a north-south direction and thus encompassed the entire Armenian highlands. The advance into the southern Transcaucasus falls during this time, as does the advance to the Black Sea as far as the land of Qulcha (to be equated with the land of Colchis in the Argonauts legend).

The Assyrian resistance continues with the king Tiglath Pilesar III. (744 - 727 BC) and reached its climax at the time of Sargon II (721 - 705 BC). Urartu was weakened by the incursion of the Cimmerians into the Armenian highlands via the Caucasus. Sargon II took advantage of this opportunity and set 713 BC. To a large-scale offensive against Urartu. Even though the battle of Uausch ended in defeat for the Uarteans, the incursion of Sargon II brought mainly material losses, in particular through the sacking of the main cult site Musasir (located south-east outside the Urartian territory, which some researchers have come to believe that the Urartians tried to found a state in that area earlier). Assyrian sources speak of more than 334,000 items, including a large number of items made of gold, silver and ivory, that were looted.

Nevertheless, there was no continued acts of war between the two powers in the succession, as they were busy withstanding the pressure of the Cimmerians, Scythians and Medes. The campaign of 713 BC BC does not seem to have meant the end of Urartus either, since it withstood further incursions from Kimmerian afterwards. More serious were the Scythian invasions in the middle of the 7th century, to which some fortresses fell victim. For example Teischebai URU (Karmir Blur) near Yerevan, the capital of the Republic of Armenia, which has been particularly well investigated through excavations. Erebuni, who was ruled by Argishti I (785-753 BC) in 782 BC. The Urartian fortress, which was founded in the 5th century BC and a cuneiform tablet testifies to its foundation (the city of Yerevan with its more than 2,770 year history goes back to it), was, as excavations clearly show, not affected by nomadic invasions.

The existence of Urartus is definitely documented for the year 640 BC. By the embassy of King Sarduri II or IV at the court of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal. And indirectly one can show that Urartu was still in 594 BC. Must have existed. Because in the fourth year of the reign of King Zidkiah of Judah (598-587 BC) the prophet Jeremiah calls out on the occasion of the threatening incursion of the Babylonians: "Consecrate peoples against it for war, offer the kingdoms of Ararat (= Urartu), Minni and Ashkenaz against it, appoints a draftsman against Babel... " (Jeremiah 51:27)

In Wartke's view, Urartu was not an ethnic unit; in addition to its own tribal associations, which were very closely related to one another, peoples from northern Syria and the late Hittite-Aramaic principalities, Caucasian and Trans-Caucasian tribes and even Iranian steppe peoples were represented in the population. This diversity was consciously promoted even by the rulers through the forced resettlement of subject peoples, for example 6600 prisoners of war from northern Syria were used in the construction of the Erebuni fortress (today Yerevan).

That there must have been Armenians in the Urartian Empire is conceivable even if one does not tend to the broader views of Ishchanian. Whether they may have played a dynastically relevant role, Chahin would like to know, given the presence of a king or prince Erimena (635-629 BC), the son of King Argishti II (714-680 BC) and father of Rusa III. (629 - 590 BC), do not exclude from the outset. He even speaks cautiously of an Armenian dynasty that may have usurped power since Sargon II's invasion of Urartu, which caused a certain degree of internal destabilization. The name Erimenu is very similar to the foreign name used by the Armenians, e.g. B. with 'ermeni' in Turkish.

Ischchanian draws interesting conclusions from the rock inscriptions of Bisutun (Behistun). The inscriptions initiated by the Achamean King Darius (Darius) I (521 - 486 BC) are in three languages: Persian, Elamite and Akkadian. In the Persian part there is a. reports: "King Darius speaks, a Persian named Vaumisa, I sent my servant to Armenia." In the old Persian version it reads as follows. "Tatij Darajauausch kschajatija. Uaumisa nama parsa mana badaka auam praisajam Arminam", in the Elamite version we read: "Aak Dariamauisch sunkuk, naanri Mauimischa hische parsir kiir u libaruri u tiibe Harminujaip." And finally in Akkadian: "Darijamusch sharru kiajaam. Iggabi Umiissi schuumschu gallaja parsaja ana Urashhtu." Elsewhere in the text, 'arminija (Old Persian)', 'harminujara (Elamish)' and 'urashhtaja (Akkadian)' are used for 'Armenians'. From this, also common in our time, different designation for one and the same people, z. B. for the Germans, Ischchanian concludes that Urartu and Armenia, or Armenians and Urartians (in the sense of the state people) are to be equated. However, it is also conceivable that at the time the Bisutun inscription was made, Urartu no longer existed, and that Armenia, which took its place in the old Akkadian language, was still handed down in the old form, namely as Urartu (Urashto).

The transition from Urartu to Armenia / The first time

The appearance of Armenia on the world political stage is commonly associated with the rock inscription of Bisutun (Behistun); the questions outlined above, which the trilingual text raises, are generally left out of consideration. Regardless of whether Urartu is to be equated with Armenia or not, it is clear even for the extremely cautious arguments Ralf-Bernhard Wartke: "Only the Armenians were able to build on the cultural and historical importance of Urartu and were ultimately able to inherit its cultural heritage." If one also considers that the settlement area of ​​the Armenians was largely identical to that of the Urartians, one cannot avoid asking oneself whether the continuation of the cultural heritage of Urartus by the Armenians might not have more profound, if not as far-reaching reasons as in the case of Ischchanian had.

We know relatively little about the first form of political and state organization in Armenia. Only the Armenian historian Moses von Chorene (Movses Chorenazi in the Armenian or Moses Khorenatsi in the English version) gives lists of kings from this early period in his 'History of the Armenians' from the 5th century AD; We find a critical appraisal of this in the English translation of his work published by Harvard University Press. M. Chahin has made an attempt to give these 'legendary kings' of early Armenia a historical basis (M. Chahin: 'Some Legendary Kings of Armenia, Can They be Linked to Authentic History?', In: Society for Armenian Studies, Occasional Papers No. 5, Glassboro State College).

That Armenia since the 6th century BC Chr. Existed as a Persian province is historically guaranteed. Orontes (401 - 344 BC) (Yervand I in Armenian), who were appointed satraps (governors) of Eastern Armenia, and Tiribazos, who were appointed satraps of Western Armenia, are known by King Artaxerxes II. Both took 368 BC. In the war of Artaxerxes II against Athens. The office of satrap was hereditary; if not the father, his son identified himself with the people he ruled. Yervand I. received from Artaxerxes II and later from his son Artaxerxes III. (358 - 338 BC) western Anatolian cities, including Pergamon, where he also had his own gold coins minted. In contrast to Tiribazos, Yervand I behaved as king, even if he did not bear this title; Western Armenia was later transferred to him. His son Yervand II (344-325 BC) had the title of king, and he is also listed on Nemrud Dag as a basileus. It is interesting to know that Antiochus I (64 - 51 BC), the builder of Nemrud Dag, descended from the Yervantunis (Yervantids) on his father's side and the Seleucids on his mother's side. Yervand II took 331 at the side of the Achamänidischen king Darius III. participated in the battle of Gaugamela against Alexander the great. After the defeat of the Persians, he returned to his capital Armavir in the Arax plain and proclaimed himself king of Armenia. He and his successors remained on the throne as independent kings until the time of the Seleucid king Antiochus the Great (223-187 BC). The last king of the house of the Yervantids, Yervand IV (212-200 BC) moved his capital from Armavir to Yervandaschat (Orontosata), a new religious center, Bagaran, was established. It was at this time that Hellenism spread in Armenia.

A palace revolution possibly instigated by Antiochus the Great of the princes Artasches (Artaxiades) and Sareh, sons of King Yervand IV, nominally put an end to the house of the Yervantids. Antiochus created tributary states, the larger of which was ruled by Artasches, while Sareh ruled over the province of Sophene. Antiochus let himself be won over to a war against the Romans by Hannibal, who was on the run from the Romans. However, it was found in both Thermopylae and Magnesia in 190 BC. BC decisively beaten. After the peace of Apamea in 188 BC, which was very unfavorable for Antiochus. Artasches declared himself king of Greater Armenia, Sareh king of Sophene. Both ruled over larger territories than before, including those that had previously belonged to the Seleucids. Artasches went down in history as the founder of the House of Artaschids. According to Plutarch and Strabo, Hannibal is said to have been around 185 BC. Came to Armenia and was accepted there at court. He is also said to have participated in the planning and construction of the Armenian capital Artashat. And during this time, according to the English historian Toynbee, the population in Armenia was largely homogenized and Armenian became the common language of the entire population. Parallel to the establishment of the Artaschid dynasty, after the defeat of the Seleucids by the Romans, the Parthians were established in Persia by Mithridates I (177-138 BC).

In 95 BC The most important king of the Artaschid dynasty, Tigran (Tigranes) the Great (95 - 55 BC), ascended the throne of Greater Armenia after spending several years as a hostage at the Parthian court. He significantly expanded the borders of Armenia by conquering Palestine and Syria, defeated in 88 BC. Together with his father-in-law Mithradates, the king of Pontus, the Romans.He had the new capital Tikranakert (Tikranokerta) built, probably east of modern Diyarbakir. There are two other foundations of cities, also called Tikranakert, from his reign, one of which is in today's Nagorno-Karabakh (Arzach). During his time, the Romans invaded Armenia under Pompey in 65 BC. BC, which was however easily averted with tribute payments.

In the following period, especially after the march of Mark Antony (36 BC), the land between Rome and the Parthians was fought over, the cities of Artaschat and Tigranakert fell victim to these battles. In the Peace of Rhandia (63 AD) the Parthians and Rome agreed that the Parthian prince Trdat (Tiridates) should become king of Armenia under Roman tutelage. For this purpose Tradt I (63 - 100) traveled to Rome, accompanied by 3,000 Armenian nobles, where he received the crown of Armenia from Emperor Nero with great pomp. In return, Nero gave him financial support for the reconstruction of the destroyed Armenian capital Artashat. He is also said to have taken over the financing of the ancient temple in Garni (Republic of Armenia), which has been rebuilt today.

Trdat I was the founder of the house of the arshakunis (arshakids), who were to shape the fate of Armenia for 400 years. During this period, 115 to 117, Armenia was included in the Roman imperial borders by Emperor Trajan (98-117); but his successor, Emperor Hadrian (117-138), refrained from doing so. The city of Vagharschapat, today Etchmiadzin and seat of the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, is an Arshakite foundation from 185 (then called Kainopolis).

Adoption of Christianity - Armenia in the Early Middle Ages

In 225 the Sasanids took power in Persia. Their King Ardashir wanted to get hold of the members of the Parthian royal family who had sought refuge in Armenia. The victory was only achieved through an assassination attempt on the Armenian King Trdat II (better known as Chosrov I) after twenty years of unsuccessful war carried out by a hired murderer, Anan Pahlavi. Then the Roman Emperor Valerian traveled to Armenia to protect his provinces on the west bank of the Euphrates.

He was beaten near Edessa in 260 and was taken prisoner.

Trade III. (287 - 330), the son of Chosrov I, was educated in Rome and installed as King of Armenia by Emperor Diocletian. Diocletian also equipped him with an army with whose help he liberated his homeland after 26 years of Persian occupation.

Grigor (Gregor), the son of the hired murderer Anan Pahlavi, fled after the assassination attempt to Caesaria, today the Turkish city of Kayseri, where he was introduced to the Christian faith. According to the Armenian tradition, the apostles Bartholomäus and Thaddäus were significantly involved in the Christianization of Armenia (hence the name Armenian Apostolic Church), and therefore Christian communities have existed in Armenia since the 1st century. Trdat III. based on the persecution of Christians by Emperor Diocletian in his country also persecuted the Christians. So Grigor spent thirteen years of his life in a dungeon called the choir virab. The conversion Trdat III. According to legend, Christianity is traced back to a disfiguring disease from which Grigor healed him. What is more likely, however, is an epidemic that raged in Armenia at the time and that helped push Grigor back. The king converted in this way led his country to Christianity in 301, according to other sources in 313/314, before Rome. And so the oldest people's church in the world came into being in Armenia, a decision that was to have a lasting impact on the fate of Armenia up to the present day. The idea of ​​escaping a little from Persian influence through the new religion may have played an important role in the acceptance of Christianity. Interesting in terms of contemporary history that Trdat III. together with Grigor (henceforth Grigor Lusavoritsch (the illuminator)) Emperor Constantine the Great is said to have paid a visit to Illyria or Rome.

From then on, Armenia was a bone of contention between Byzantium and Sasanian Persia, the treaty of 387 between the two countries - signed on the Byzantine side by Emperor Theodosius, the builder of the land walls of Constantinople (now Istanbul) - brought about the division of Armenia, with Persia getting the greater part . In the period that followed, it was not absolutely possible to speak of an all-powerful king, power was mainly shared by powerful families - including the Mamikonians, Rschtunis, Ardsrunis and Bagratunis.

Armenia around the 4th quarter of the IV century (from Ishkol-Kerovpian, K.).

It was also the Mamikonians who waged the religious wars against the Persians in the middle to the end of the 5th century. The Persian goal was to dissuade the Armenians from Christianity, which they did not succeed. Previously, the Armenian national consciousness had received a lasting boost from the invention of the Armenian script 403 by the monk Mesrob Maschtoz. It was also the key to the creation of an originally Christian-Armenian culture that characterizes this people to this day.

Byzantium played a not insignificant role in the weakening of the Armenian structures, so inheritance law was permanently changed in the parts it ruled. So now the firstborn could not inherit their fathers, rather the lands were divided among all heirs and thus fragmented. Furthermore, the Armenian nobles were offered lands in the west of the Byzantine Empire in exchange.

The rise of Islam brought a decisive turning point for Armenia as well. In 640 the Arabs invaded Armenia, in the 8th century all of Armenia had been conquered by the Arabs and remained in this state until the end of the 9th century.

Already the caliph Harun al-Raschid (786 - 809) supported the plans of the Bagratunis (Bagradites) to found a state out of concerns about a Byzantine eastward expansion. This came about in 885 through Ashot I Bagratuni, who was appointed king, six powerful noble families pledged their allegiance to him. But power was not in the hands of the king alone. Since the end of the Arshakunis (Arshakids) dynasty, the Catholicos, head of the Armenian Church, had taken on quasi-state tasks. The Catholicos retained this prominent position even during the Bagratunis, for example, in the event of the king's absence, he supervised the keys of the capital; he was also an intermediary between the king and rebellious nobles. Since the times of Grigor (Gregory) the Illuminator, the office of Catholicos was hereditary within his family. She had large estates in the country. Descendants from this farnily married into the royal family and were given honors that were actually intended for the royal family. If the Catholicos chair was vacant, the successor was not chosen by the clergy, but by the king, the nobles and the army.

The following development shows that the power relations were by no means stable among the Bagratunis: King Smbat Bagratuni (890-914) gave a town that belonged to Prince Ardsruni, the Prince of Sjunik. Then Prince Gagik Ardsruni called the Arab emir of Atropatene for help. The Caliph of Baghdad hastened to appoint Gagig Ardsruni king of Vaspurakan, the area around Lake Van, and other princes followed Ardsrunn's example. But many aristocrats recognized the danger that threatened the empire and supported Smbat's successor Ashot II (915-928). With Byzantine help, he drove the Arabs out, and the rebellious princes vowed allegiance to him.

The end of the House of Bagratuni came with the conquest of their capital Ani (on today's Armenian-Turkish border, still on Turkish territory) initially by Byzantine troops in 1045 and 1064 by the Turkic people of the Selchuks. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the royal family of the Sakarianz succeeded in pushing the Seljuks out of the Armenian heartland with Georgian support. But the Mongol invasion of northern Armenia in 1239 brought this development to an end. The trade routes lost importance due to the political uncertainty, the northern Armenian cities fell into disrepair. In the middle of the 14th century, Temur Lenk and his troops devastated the country, which led to increased emigration from Armenia.

The Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia

The Armenian capital Ani was conquered by the Byzantines in 1045. How short-sighted this policy of Byzantium was, became apparent after a few years when it was defeated in Mantzikert by the Turkic tribe of the Seljuks, who were pushing into Anatolia, which resulted in the beginning of the permanent settlement of Anatolia by the Turkic tribes. A militarily intact Armenia would presumably have taken over the role of the bulwark, as so often in the past.

After the Seljuks invaded Anatolia, but also after the fall of Ani, Armenian princes and their followers moved to Cilicia, which was then Byzantine territory. Prince Ruben from the house of the Bagratunis (1080-1095) founded the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, other so-called Nacharare had also founded their semi-independent principalities. Rubens' greatest opponent was Oschin from the house of the Hetumids.

With the beginning of the crusades, crusaders increasingly appeared on their way to the Holy Land in Armenian Cilicia, they were supported by the Armenians, so that Pope Gregory XIII. said: "No other nation came to the aid of the crusaders as generously as the Armenians." A close cooperation developed with them, for example with the Prince of Edessa and of Antioch.

In 1198 Levon II (1185-1219) was crowned King of Armenian Cilicia. He received the royal crown from Henry VI, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The papal legate, Konrad Wittelsbach, Archbishop of Mainz, was present at the ceremony. Levon II had previously promised Emperor Friedrich Barbarossa his help in the Third Crusade (11891192). And in 1191 he had helped Richard the Lionheart to conquer Cyprus. During his reign there were first contacts with the Pope, various bishops, especially from Cilicia, were ready to recognize the Pope as their head, resistance came mainly from the population.

After the death of Levon II, the Rubenids from the house of the aforementioned Prince Ruben and the Hetumids finally came to an agreement. Levon II's daughter, Sabel, married a Hetumid. Hetum I (1226-1269) recognized that it was wiser to voluntarily submit to the Mongols, who at that time devastated large parts of central Armenia. In 1253 he drove to the Mongolian capital Karakurum for this purpose, where many powers, including western ones, were represented. As a result, the two parties began to work together, with the Armenians taking part in the conquest of Baghdad by Mongolian forces under Hulagu's leadership in 1260, as were Georgians.

Starting in 1266, the Mameluks, slaves of Kptchak descent, who had usurped power in Egypt around 1250, attacked Armenian Cilicia. These attacks increased in strength until the fall of the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia in 1375, the defensive struggles of the Armenians only achieved temporary success, especially since the alliance with the Mongols no longer existed. Despite the close ties to Rome, no help came from the West. Pope John XIII and Philip of Valois ignored the Armenians' calls for help.

In addition, Armenian Cilicia was weakened internally by the tensions that the union with Rome brought with it. After the decline in 1375, only the Korykos fortress was able to hold out until 1448, when it was conquered by the Turks.

After the fall of Armenian Cilicia, the last Armenian state stepped down from the world political stage, until the establishment of the first, extremely short-lived republic from 1918 to 1920, the Armenians had to wait over 500 years for their own state.

Traditions that stand the test of time

During the transition from Urartian to Armenian rule, at least the headgear did not change that much. The Urartian ambassadors at the court of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal from the year 640 BC were wearing them. Pointed caps from which tassels hang down. This form of headgear will later be characteristic of the depiction of Armenians on the Achaemendic reliefs of Persepolis.

The ancient Armenians knew mythical dogs called Aralez, which by licking could heal wounds and bring the dead to life. The Aralez are associated with the dog heads with bared teeth and winged geniuses found in the main cult site Musasir, which stand on such dogs. Even during the religious wars against Sasanian Persia in the 5th century AD, Faustus of Byzantium reported an attempt to bring an Armenian officer who had fallen in battle (his head was cut off) to life by having his head cut off sewed on, laid the body on the roof of a tower in the hope that Aralez would descend and by her licking would bring the dead to life. The image of Aralez is still present in literature, at least in this century. The important Armenian author Schahan Schahnur named one of his prose volumes 'The betrayal of Aralez'; the book was published in Paris in the 1930s.

The representations of the Xenophon (401 - 400 BC) about life in the country in Armenia allow conclusions to be drawn about rural life from the Urartian period. As J. J. Mourier noted in 'Reisen durch Persien in the years 1808 - 1816', Berlin 1985, these conditions prevailed unchanged at the beginning of the 19th century at Lake Sevan.

With the Urartians, rocks and caves served as sanctuaries, sacrifices were made in front of them, sacrificial regulations were carved into the rock. The Armenians continued this tradition, including mountains. Mountains were venerated, and in the old Armenian calendar, days of the month were remarkably often accompanied by mountain names in addition to known deity names. A door was carved into the rock, from which the deity then had to exit. The most famous 'door' of this type is in Van (formerly Tushba), which has also found its way into Armenian mythology. This 'gate of the mower' should open on the seventh day after Easter or on Midsummer Day.

The Urartians also knew a tower-like temple architecture, so that the Assyrians used their word for "tower" for this in their language, but their ritual activities in the open must have been particularly prevalent in Armenian times. In Armenia, worship of gods in temples did not take place until the Hellenistic, i.e. post-Alexandrian times.

The tree of life was venerated as a sacred tree by the Urartians and before that by the Hurrites, it stood for the eternity of kingship and the constant renewal of life. At the same time, Moses von Chorene reports in the 5th century how sacred trees were consulted by priests. The movements of the poplar tree in the wind were interpreted as divine oracles. The cross among the Armenians who have been Christianized since 301 AD is also often depicted as a tree of life.

Two- and three-aisled halls as well as decorative individual forms (rosettes, concentric circles, step battlements) of the early Armenian architecture are of Urartean origin. The pillared halls of Persepolis are further developments of the two- or three-aisled halls of the Urartians. Apart from this, the Christian Armenians used Christian symbols, especially in their sacred buildings. The early translation of the 'Physiologus' into Armenian, which was written in the second half of the second post-historical century, is clear evidence of this.

Astghik (poor. 'Little star') is one of the goddesses of the ancient Armenian pantheon, who probably goes back very far into the past. It is still popular in our days, especially in the country. Their sacred flower was the rose and their festival was called Vardavar, which means as good as shimmer of the colorful and diverse roses. This festival was so popular that it was kept even after the Christianization. On that day, on the seventh Sunday after Pentecost, Christ's transfiguration is celebrated, but the festival is still called Vardavar. On this day you sprinkle yourself with rose water or simply with water.


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