HYEK


The god Hyek(Hayk), the mighty archer, has been closely interwoven with the life of the Armenian people since times immemorial, as ancient perhaps as the hunting stage of the primeval communal society.

He was the principal indigenous deity of the most prominent (central)group of the Nairian tribes that have formed the Armenian people.We know that Hyek(Hayk) is none other than Haldi,and that Hyek-Haldi was a deity of fire who had taken origin from the volcanic nature of the Armenian Highland.

As mentioned earlier, Movses Khorenantsi,drawing his information from Mar Aba's book, uses a distinctive expression for Hyek:"the Yapetostean Hayk",i.e. having the nature of Yapetos-Hephaestus.Remembering that Hephaestus was a god of fire, such a characterization of Hyek appears to have taken place during the Hellenistic(Artashessian)period of Armenia when Hyek's fiery nature was still remembered.

Personified as the eponymic ancestor of the Armenian people, Hyek is also described as having "very curly hair and sparkling eyes",a description that was inspired by his fiery nature and paralleled with that given to Vahagn who, too "had hair of fire...and his eyes were two suns."

In the old genealogical list preserved by Khorenatsi, Hyek is considered the son of Torgom. The origin of this name is linked with that of the city-land of Tarkuma/Tarhigama(some scholars locate this city in Hyeasa, but others who place it in the south-western regions of the Armenian Highland((see Tarkuma)), in Arme-Subaria, north of Syria(see Tarhigamani), seem to be more correct. In this connection, it might be right to point out the village of Derik, below Angel Tun-the birthplace of Angls or English, in the region of the sources of the Khabur, 40km west of Mardin.As we have seen before, Adad-Nirari-2 called this region Hark'((Harki)) which was in Armani as mentioned by Naram-Sin)mentioned in Hittite and Urartian inscriptions.

It must be recalled that Hyek is a deity, hence, he should have been considered the son of the god Tarku, the god Tork' of Armenians, whose name is radical component of the city name of Tarkuma/Tarhigama.Tork's main temple was in Aghtznik(Arme-Subaria), at the Armenian sacred city-fortress Angel-Tun(Ingalava?), now called Egil.

Among Armenians Tork 'was also called Tork'Angel; Khorenatsi refers to him as Tork'of Angel, i.e.Tork' of Angelian descent.In the Old Armenian translation of the Bible, the god of the Underworld, Nergal of the Semitic text, is translated as Angel(who probably corresponds also to the Sumerian Engur, the god of the Abyss).

Thus it becomes easier to understand why Hyek, the god of volcano(later attributed to Vahagn) is called "son of Torgom", i.e. the son of Angelian Tork,'the god of the Underworld, because both the volcano and the god of volcano originate from the underworld forces.

The epic of Hyek's fight against Bel(babylonian god) provides a substantial proof that Hyek and his people were already in existance in the land called Hark', at the center of the Armenian-Nairian Highland, at the time when Bel was carrying out his raids, that is, when the mighty Assyro-Babylonian empire was seeking to expand; a proof which, unfortunately, has been overlooked by those who (wrongly)support the theory of migration of Armenian people from the Balkans.

These were the people of Haldi-Hyek, who, as the natives of their own highland, have fought long and bloody battles to protect their homeland against foreign invasions;Because o fthe fact that the Armenian Highland is situated at the crossroads of continents where different civilizations have met, foreign deities have penetrated into the land in later periods, and Hyek, the indigenous god of the land was raised to heaven as a star and identified with the constelation Orion.


AR-ARA


It has been shown by some Orientalist- Armenologists in a number of quotations of mythological and historical datat that the native people of the Armenian Highland and the neighboring regions of Asia Minor had, in the earlier periods of paganism, a deity whom they called AR or ARA.

In the primitive hunting stage of the life of these natives, the god ARA possesed animal-vegetal charactheristics. Later, with the beginning of agriculture, he acquired a vegetal-solar nature and with the development of irrigation in agriculture and the consolidation of statehood, he became a great war-god and was identified with the sun.

This process of change from primitive to complex characteristics, as manifested in the nature of AR(or ARA), is by no means unique in the mythological history of mankind. It has had its close parallels.

For example, the god Assur,in the earliest periods of the founding of the city of Assur, had a vegetal (peaceful) nature, but later on, when Assyria became a mighty empire by bloody expeditions, it turned into a fearsome deity and was identified also with sun. Research has revealed that inthe remote past AR (or ARA)was the principal national deity of the Armen people. H.Matikian, N.Adonts, M.Abeghian, G.Ghapantsian, and ohter Armenologists accept that ARA was the native deity of the Armenians.

The known Orientalist A.H.Sayce states that AR was the sun-god of the Armenians. In his words:"...it is better to suppose that ER,or ARA,was an Armenian name for the Sun-god, which in later times was confounded with Arios (Nergal)of Ktesias."

In this connection H.Matikian writes:"To study ARA the Beautifu means to make inroads into the obscure centuries of the origin of the Armenian people and to examine them."

The word Ar-ma-ni is a compound noun, where the first component Ar is none other than the name of the natioanal sun-god of the Armens,-AR- and the second component -ma-(me a varient) ssignifies 'build, make, beget, offspring, son'. Ma, with this meaning, was known to many peoples of the Ner East in antiquity. The goddess of birth and fertility, so well known in Asia Minor, was called by this very same name-Ma.(Ma also occurs in its reduplicated from -Mama or Mami in Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions). This root-word (and also its variant -me) is found also in Sumerian language with the same meaning. It results that Ar-ma (and its variant Ar-me) means 'built by Ar, born of Ar', or 'Ar's offspring', 'Ar's/Ara's son' ('the son of the sun', Arevvordi). The ending -ni (the plural-forming or toponymic suffix-ni is found in Subarian-Hurrian-Nairian place and tribal na We find the plural form ni also in Armenian.

It is not unlikely that those of the third millenium B.C. could have Sumerian origin derived from the plural form -e-ne reserved for persons) of Arma-ni (or Arme-ni), as has been mentioned earlier, is plural and toponymic suffix (cf. Mitanni, Supani, Alzini 'Alzinini', Daiaeni, Nihani, etc.).

Hence Armani (or Armeni) means 'sons of Ar', that is, 'sons of the sun' or 'the land of the sons of Ar', which is literally 'the land of the sons of the sun'. A similar case is seen in the Armenian words Hayk' and Virk which by virtue of the plural- forming suffix k' mean, respectively, 'Armenians' and 'Georgians' and also 'the land of Armenians (Armenia)' and 'the land of Georgians (Georgia)'.

Just as the name Arma-ni appears simply as Arma, without the suffix -ni, in the Alalakh inscriptions, so does it in the form Arme in the Assyrian and Urartian writtings.

Since, as it was mentioned above, Ar-ma or Ar-me meant 'built by Ar' (the city or country of Ar), or 'the offspring (or the son) of Ar', and since Ar was also called Ara, it follows that the name Arme could have been pronounced also as Arame, which is, as we already know, the name of the founder of Urartian kingdom, meaning 'the son of the sun', and is preserved by Khorenantsi in the form Aram, as the name of one of the Armenian patriarchs.

It must be accepted, therefore, that the name Arma or Arme (Arame>Aram) was the basic component of the name Arma-ni or Arme-ni, and hence, itrepresented the name by which Armenians are commonly called by foreigners. This proves that Khorenantsi transmits some ancient and slmost accurate information when, writting about Aram, he states that all the nations of the world call the Armenians -Armen- and their country -Armenia- after the name Aram.

In order to illustrate the meaning of the component -ma- in the name Ar-ma, signifying 'built, begottern, offspring' or 'the son', we cite below, for comparison, a few examples among many drawn from ancient inscriptions: Astatama-The name of one of the kings of Mitanni.

Dukkama-The name of one of the cities of ancient Armenia.

Tarkuma-This place-name is mentioned by the Hittite king Mursil.

Tarku-ma means "that which is built by the god Tarku (Tork-one of the sons of Hayk Nahabed). "Torkashen" in Armenian.

Automa-The daughter of Tigran the Great, who was married to Mithradates 2 of Pontus.

Artasama-The name of the daughter of King Artashes of Armenia who was married, according to Khorenantsi, to "a certain Mithradates, the great prefect of the Georgians."

Artas-a-ma means 'born of Artas (or Artashes). There are many more place-and personal names of antiquity in the Near East (including the Armenian Highland) and Asia Minor that carry the suffix -ma, but the examples given above should be sufficient to show that -ma indeed meant 'built, begotten, offspring, son', just as the endings -azn, -zun, and -sen in the Armenian language convey the same meanings in such compound nouns as Ark'ayazn (king's son), Haykazun (Hayk's offspring), and Haykashen (built by Hayk).

We shall still have opportunity to quote a series of place-names in the Armenian Highland that bear the component Ar or Ara. Suffice it here to mention just one direct testimony from a cuneiform inscription showing that the region of the land Arme was actually called the land of Ar. The monument of King Menua of Urartu, found near Mush, is covered with inscriptions on all its four sides. In one of them the King has written that he had invaded the land of Urme (=Arme) and that there, in the Ar-hi ('Ar-ian' or 'Ara-ian')land, he had left an inscription.

Here is the translation of that portion of the inscription that interests us: " City of Ataune, I came forth (to invade) against the land of Urme, I conquered the land of Urme, I erected this inscription in the Ar-hi land..."

This Arhi ('Arian' or 'Araian') region was in the southeast of Mush and lay in the land of Arme belonged to Ar (or Ara) and that it meant 'born of Ar', or 'built by Ara'.

In ancient cuneiform writings sometimes we find statements where a certain king or a famous personality is considered to be the son of his main national god or the son of his nation.Josephus Flavius has preserved a direct and living historical testimony according to which King Adrazar of Dzopk' was called the son of Ara, instead of being identified by his national name Armen.

H. Matikian, refering to J.Flavius' same testimony writes the following: "...the Jewish chronicler, after relating how David was expanding the boundaries of his kingdom with various invasions, adds the following words which are of great importance for us: 'And while he levied yearly taxes on them, he immediately moved against King Adrazar if Dzopk', the Son of Ara, and warred with him beside the Euphrates...'' 'Dzopk' (Assyrian Isua, Hittite Isua, Urartian Supani, Latin Sophanenae) was situated in the northwestern region of Arme-Subria.

It is evident that it was an Armenian kingdom and her king Adrazar (Zariadr-es) was Armenian.We see that David, instead of specifying this king by his family name Armen, calls him "the Son of Ara", revealing thus his national identity.This is another concrete evidence supporting the fact that the name Armani (Armeni) means 'sons of Ara', or 'the land of the sons of Ara'.

Even after the adoption of Christianity there were still many places in Armenia where secterians called "sons of the Sun" ('Arevordi,) continued to exist, and were strongly opposed by the Catholicos Nerses Shnorhali.

The term "Arevordi" persisted in Armenia until 12th centuary of our era. Since in the remote past Ar (or Ara) was the main deity of the native people of the Armenian Highland and since these native people were generally called by the name of this god, it would naturally be expected that certain place names would have been composed with the name of this deity or with the name of the people bearing this name.

In fact, in antiquity, the entire Armenian Higland was replete with names that contained the component Ar or Ara. It is true that in later centuries the Armenian Highland, as a highway between continents, has been subjected to many foreign military, political,and cultural influences and has adopted other deities, even yielding to oblivion the identity of Ara; but still there are many place-names in the country that preserve the memory of Ar or Ara.


ASTUAS


Astuas(Astvats-arm.) is also one of the most ancient deities of the Armenian people. This name is so old, that even though in later times, due to various circumstances such as the adoption of foreign dieties in Armenia, it ceased to be a proper name, rather than disappearing in oblivian, however, it was preserved in the Armenian language as a common noun, and is the most commonly used name for God in Armenian lexicon.

In the last century a number of scholars, under the influence of the false hypothesis that assumed Europe to be the homeland of the parent Indo-European(Caucasian)language, have tried to connect the Armenians with the Thraco-Phrygians. (In this effort they were swayed by certain cultural similarities that could have existed between the latter and the Armenians living in the neighboring Hyeasa-Tarhigama region in Eastern Asia minor.)

Lead by this "migration" theory and based on interpretations of certain old sources accomodated to it, they have made the Armenian word Astuas derive from the name of the Phrygian deity Savazios.

Not mentioning for the moment a series of evidences that contradict this, the derivation of Astuas, from Savazios becomes immensely difficult even on phonetic grounds:to make the first syllable change from 'sav' to 'astu' is purely arbituary and baseless. We believe that, as mentioned earlier, the divine name Savas(ios), like the Greek Zeus, is linked to the name Sibis(Siwini)-Sabas(In the Ugarit inscriptions we find, as already mentioned, Sapas (or Sabas) instead of the Eblaite or Sibis), whereas the Armenian Astuas, which comes from very remote antiquity, has no relationship at all with Savaz(ios).

The Astuas of the Armenian people was a deity of fire. This divine name (Astu-as) is a Nairian(Armenian) word and it is not unlikely that in the remote past it may have been connected to the Assyro-Babylonian word Isatu which meant 'fire'. Astuas, as the principal national deity of the Armenians (Hayk-Haldi), was the greatest of all gods ans as the father of all was elevated to heaven.

In the Achaemenian period the Armenians adopted Ahura-Mazda,who replaced Astuas in the Armenian pantheon, but by changing the name Ahura to Ara, the name of their national god, they armenianized him and called him Ara-mazd(Aramazd), reserving the name Ormizd to the real Ahuramazda adopted from the Pahlavi forms Hormizd and Ormizd.

During the Hellenistic period, introduced in Armenia by the Artashessian dynasty, Astuas became identified with "Dios-Zeus,the father of gods,the creator of heaven and earth," and when Christianity came, he was identified with Jehovah as the heavenly father and the creator of all things.

It seems natural that in Armenia, after the days of Urartu, when Astuas would cede his place successively to Aramazd, Dios-Zeus, and Jehovah, the name Astuas would cease to be a proper name and would be retained in the language merely as a common noun for God.

The name Astuas (Astu-as), as the name of native deity of fire is connected with the word -astu-(fire) which is commponent of Ur-astu(=Ur-Artu), the name of the country(Urartu/Hurartoon), and Asti-sat, the name of the city that was the greatest religious center of fire(sun)-worshipping Armenia.

This sanem name Astu-as is also encountered in the divine names Unag-astuas and Astupini(Astu-pinu), belonging to Hyeasa and Subarians, respectively. It is clear, therefore, that the attempt to derive the Armenian Astuas from the Phrygian Savazios, as well as the 'migration' hypothesis of the Armens, must be considered as outdated misconceptions.

The component -astu- of the name Astuas (or Astu-as) is a dialectal variant of the component -artu- of the name Ur-artu, with -r>s- transition. It follows, then, that Astuas is just a variant of the name Haldi-Aldi or Ardi(Artu>Astu) and is equivalent and synonymous to it.

The form -artu-(Ur-artu) as a variant of -astu- (Ur-astu)is not an uncommon occurence in Armenian. In some Armenian dialects -s- replaces -r- before dental plosives. For example, in the Hamshen dialect the word -mardik-(people) is pronounced as -masdik-, and -kertan- is pronounced as -geston-; in the Hadjen dialect, -kert'ayi>gasti(both meaning 'to leave'); in the Nakhijevan dialect, -mard>mast- and -morti>mosti(both meaning 'skin'), etc.

Evidently,in the Behistun inscriptions,writing Ur-astu, instead of Ur-artu, was not a scribal error; it existed in the speech of the people. A futher evidence is supplied by the name Tstuni(erstu-ni)which preserves the memory of Urastu(=Urartu). All these confirm that the name Ur-astu contains the divine name Astu(as).

It was already shown above, on different occasions, that the name Ardi ('sun') had a variant in the form of Arti (or Artu)which, with -rt The Armenian language has a number of words formed with -atr-,such as -atrasek-('atr-a-sek'=red as fire) and -atrasikanal-('atr-a-sikanal'=to turn red as fire) that have their parallel forms as -artasek-(art-a-sek) and -atrasikanal-(art-a-sikanal).

To write -art- instead of -atr- is not a scribal error either, since we know that, in reality, the name -Ura-atri- had also a variant in the form of -Ur-arti (or Ur-artu). The -astu-(fire) form of the word -artu- or -atr- should be compared not the Pahlavi -atur-(Avestan atars)but, as already stated, with the Accadian word -isatu-(fire).

In the times of Assyria and Urartu, Armenia was a land of active volcanoes with a number of peaks in the Lake Van region, such as the -Uruatri- mountain (Mt.Djuti), the Nemrut, the Varag and the Tondurak, erupting periodically.

Mount Nemrut's famous crater was active until the 1440s and Tondurak, still smoking, is not completely extinct. The entire are that surrounded it was called by the Assyrian kings -Uruatri-(later Urartu), which literally means 'place of fire'.

The -astu-isatu- connection becomes more intelligible if we keep in mind that the series of names we considered, -Uruatri-Urardi-Urartu and Urastu, are merely different forms of the same name given to Armenia by the Semitic Assyro-Babylonian kings of the south, because for them, that land of active volcanoes was just a 'land of fire'.

This is why the form -Ur-astu- in the Accadian text of the Behistun(arm.means 'home of Behis')inscription was more intelligible than the form -Ur-artu: the actual name of the country in question was derived from the name Ar(Ara) and was called Armani or Armeni, which meant, as was shown earlier, 'sons of Ar' or 'the land of the sons of Ar'; hence, the name -Ur-astu utilized in the Akkadian version of Behistun inscription is the direct translation of the name Armina(Armenia) of the Persian original.

The only difference in the meanings of the names Armeni and Urartu was that while the former designated it as the land of the sons of the local god ('the sons of Ar'), the second meant merely the land of the local god('land of fire')

In the light of what has been said above about the Armenian divine name Astuas, it becomes obvious now that it could not have originated from the Phrygian Savazios, a name (Savaz-ios) which appears rather to be connected to Zeus The name Astuas is already encountered within the name Ur-astu(Ur-artu)and in the divine names Unag-astuas of Hyeasa and Astu-pinu of the Subarians. And since the Semitic world has preserved a synonymous and homophonous word, -isatu-, meaning 'fire', then the source of all these must be looked for in the land of Subartu, whose god Astupinu has already been referred to above.

In conclusion, refering to the divine names Hyek(Hayk=Haldi), Ara (=Ardi) and Astuas (=Astu-as), we can say that Hyek(Hayk), the national deity of the Armenians, having in the beginning powers over animal (hunting)and vegetal(agriculture)domains, has developed a fiery nature and evolved into a sun-god and war-god.

His powers as a god of vegetation and, later, as sun-god, were represented by Ara, whereas his powers on the animal world and on fire were symbolized by Astuas. These two, Ara and Astuas, have been combined in Haldi, who, because of the presense of Siwini, has preserved only his fiery (volcano) and vegetal (poplar tree) natures.

The following statements and equations summarize it all:
1)If the temple of Ardi-ni(of Musasir)is Haldi's temple, then, Haldi(Aldi)=Ardi
2)If the goddess Nu-ard(the Nu of Ard) is Ara's wife, then Ard(Ardi)=Ara
3)And if Ur-ardi=Ur-aru=Ur-astu, then Ara=Ardi(Artu)=Astu(Astu-as)

As we speak about the interrelationships between the names Armani(Armeni), Hyek/Hyeasatan and Urartu,we must have in view the following "divine" formula:
Haldi={Ardi-Ara(vegetation,sun)/Astuas(fire)}=Hyek


ASTLIK


Astlik was a goddess of love, beauty, fertility and waters. She was Vahagn’s wife or mistress. He name is quite interesting. Some believe that it is derived from the Semitic Istar and others from the Greek-sounding Astarte, but the name Aslik suggests some other origin.

We do not see any reason why this word ‘astlik’ could not be linked directly with the Armenian word ‘astl’-astgx-, ‘star’. We know that ‘astl’ is a genuine Armenian word of Inido-European origin. According to Adjarian, the Indo-European root for this word is ‘ster’ from which are derived the Sanscrit and Avestan star, Pahlavi star, Persian ‘sitara’, Afgan ‘storai’, Latin and Italian ‘stella’, French ‘astre’, Spanish ‘astro’, German ‘stern’, English ‘star’, etc. The ‘l’ sound in ‘astl’ (and in Astlik) corresponds to ‘l’ rather than to ‘r’, hence, the Armenian word ‘astl’ seems to be linked with the Latin ‘stella’ group rather that with the Semitic ‘Istar’. Therefore, Astlik is connected more closely with the native Indo-European circle rather than with the Semitic.

It is not improbable, of course, that the Semitic divine names, like the Assyro-Babylonian Istar, the Eblaite Ester, the Hebrew Esther, the Phoenician Astoreth, etc., and the Indo-European root ‘ster’ and its derivatives could all have been originated from a common source; but it must be noted that the Semitic names are all proper nouns, whereas the Indo-European ‘ster’ and its derivatives in the various languages designate a common noun, against which the Semites (Assyro-Babylonians) have the word ‘kakkabu’ (-kawkabun- in Arabic). It must be accepted, therefore, that the Indo-European root (which had lost its mythological value, it if had any at all) is much older than the Semitic divine names. Furthermore, the Indo-European word must have been in the proto-language prior to the third millennium B.C., long before anything is known about Istar’s existence.

It is also probable that the Armenian native word ‘astl’, in its derivative form Astl-ik, has regained its mythological value under the influence of the Assyro-Babilonian, or more likely, the Subarian-Mitannian- Istar, around the middle of the second millennium B.C. (In fact, as we know from the Mitannian-Egyptian correspondence, Mitannians honored Istar and had sent her to Egypt on a couple of occasions to have her heal the pharaoh, son-in-law).

I think that the traits of motherhood and love, originally personified by Innana-Nane, were later divided in two; Anahit retained the function of motherhood, goodness, benevolence and protection of the country, whereas the characteristics of love, beauty and fertility were passed on to Astlik. (webmaster: It is possible that Anahit/d=Diana, and Astlik=Aphrodite).


MIHR or MHER


As already pointed out, the most ancient and principal national deity of the Armenian people was the deity of the sun and fire. As time progressed, however, this great deity was divided in two, just as it had occurred in the case of his consort, the goddess Inanna-Anahit. His nature of fire and his nature of the sun began to be represented separately and by different names. Thus, in Urartian times, his character of fire was represented by the name Haldi, and that of the sun by the name Siwini.

In Armenia, after the fall of the Urartian dynasty, the name Mihr was given to this one great deity that embodied the powers of fire and the sun. Says Academician B. Arakelian: “The cult of Mihr spread out west from the Iranian circles and encompassed the borders of the Roman Empire. In Armenia he was considered…the god of fire and the Sun.”

While utilizing the name Mihr for this great god, the Armenians have, nonetheless, pictured him, as in Urartian times, with a duality of nature, distinguishing between his characteristics of fire and the sun. This is why, in the epic of David of Sasun, the god of fire is called Great Mher, whereas the sun-god is Mher Junior. This shows that among Armenians the fire-god was considered ancestral or had seniority and preeminence over the sun-god, just as Hyek, the fire-god, was ancestral to and greater than Ara, the sun-god. Similarly, in Urartian times, the fire-god Haldi was considered greater and more important than the sun-god Siwini.

We think that much before the Achaemenians, in the times of Mitani, the name Mihr was already known to the people, particularly to those living in the regions of Mitani or Armani-Subari (and later Arme-Subria) where Sasun is located, in the form of Mitra (or perhaps even as Mher). Otherwise, it would not have been so readily accepted by the people during the Achaemenian period or later.

That Great Mher represented Haldi is evidenced by the fact that he was called ‘the lion-like Mher’, reminding us of Haldi’s representations in Urartian wall paintings where he is pictured on a lion. Furthermore, Mher’s wife was called Armahan, a name which appears to be a distortion of Aruban(i), the name of Haldi’s wife.

It is known that the crow was a symbol of the sun and fire; “its feathers were black because they were charred by it”. Mher Junior had inherited Great Mher’s position; consequently, he had held, in his turn, the position of the great Urartian gods or preserved in him their memory. “According to a tradition, Mher, disillusioned with all the injustice in the world, had cloistered himself in a cave called Agravak’ar (Crow’s Stone) in Van.”

We already know that on a cliff called Mheri Dur (Mher’s Gate’) in Van, there is a large inscription written by Ishpuini and Menua, which lists the names of all the Urartian gods. All these show that at a time when it was even forgotten that these inscriptions represented actual writings, the Armenian tradition has preserved in Mher (particularly in the term Agriavak’ar) the memory of the great Urartian gods.

According to a legend, every year, at the feast of Ascention and the night of Vartavar (a water festival), when heaven and earth kiss each other, Mher comes out (from his cave) with a horse of fire, circles the heaven and the earth, and seeing that ‘the earth cannot yet support his weight’ returns to his seclusion. One day in the future, Mher shall come out from his hiding place to deliver ‘Armenian world’ from wicked forces and to establish a happy kingdom.

In the epic of David of Sasun, after the death of the king of Mser, his young and beautiful widow Ismil Khatun sends word to Great Mher in Sasun, bidding him to come and marry her and posses the land of Mser, even though Mher already has his own wife Armaghan.

This legend reminds us of a similar episode in the epic of Ara and Shamiram, where Shamiram, likewise, after the death of her husband Ninos, sends a herald to Ara in Armenia, inviting him to become her husband and to rule over Ninevah and the entire kingdom, even though Ara, too, has his own wife Nuard.

Thus, we see striking similarities not only between the two stories where Ismil Khatun and Shamiram, each in her turn, feel a passion for and make propositions to Mher and Ara, respectively, but also between the very names Ismil and Shamir(am) and also between the mane of Mher’s wife Armaghan and that of Haldi’s wife Aruban(i). In the section on Astuas, w had arrived at the Ara=Ardi=Aldi (Haldi) equation; now we can add another one to it: the Mher=Haldi mythological connection.


Nuard-Anahit


We know from the Aratta-Erech epic tales that Inanna was the goddess of Aratta, as well as that of the city of Erech (Uruk) in Summer. This deity was known in Babylon by the name Istar. Dumuzi (Tammuz)was Inanna's consort in Sumer (Istar's in Babylon), whom Armenologists, based on similarities in traits of character, identify with Ara. Since, as mentioned earlier, Nuard was Ara's wife, it becomes clear that goddess Inanna is perpetuated in Armenia in the name Nuard.

The name Nu-ard is composed of the components 'nu' and 'ard', each having, in its compact form, a specific meaning. 'Nu' represents the name of the goddess Inanna-Anhit (and/or Nane), and the component 'ard', representing the sun-god Ardi, is none other than Ar (or Ara) in its derived form Ar-di.

The word 'nu' still exists in the Armenian language meaning 'bride', therefore, Nu-ard would literally mean 'the nu or ard', that is, 'Ardi's or Ara's bride or wife'. This concurs with Khorenatsi's statement that Nuard was Ara's wife.

The structure of the word Nu-ard can be compared with that of the name of the Urartian goddess Selardi or Sielardi (Siel-ardi), about which N. Adontz writes: "To derive this word by compounding 'siela' (wife or sister) and 'ardi' (sun) is tempting. In the East, from ancient times to the present, the moon has always been considered to be the sun's sister," or in certain regions, his wife.

'Sel' (or Siel) reminds us of the known moon-goddess Selene or the Urartian goddess Silia. The structural parallel between the names Nu-ard and Siel-ardi is obvious; Nu corresponds to Siel and Ard to Ardi who is none othen than the sun-god.

We know that Haldi was a god of fire and, as Aldi-Ardi, he was identified with the sun. It seems that in the times of Urartu, with Siwini's presense in the Urartian pantheon as sun-god, he had preserved only his fire and volcano nature, but the form Ardi of his name was retained in the name Ardi-ni of Musasir and also by one of the Urartian tribes as a luminous star, similar to Hyek wo was subsequently identified with Orion.

The composition of the name Nu-ard and Sel-ardi has its parallel also in the name Sinuiardi (Sinui-ardi) which appears to be a goddess of the Nairian tribe Sinibiri.

As it was mentioned earlier, in antiquity, Ara's name and fame spread out from the Armenian Highland (probably with migrating Armens in certain cases) also to the West. There is no doubt that Ares is the same as Ara. N.Adontz gives the following most important information that confirms the composition of the name Nu-ard:

In Homer, Ares' consort was called Enio...Ares's relation with Enio is an old memory and important. It seems that this female personage, Enio, is none other than Aphrodite's predecessor. The Pelasgian Aphrodite occupied the position of the Thracian Enio with regard to Ares...The intimacy between Enio and Ares was still remembered in the 4th century and the custom of sacrificing slaves to Ares and Enio still prevailed in Thrace...We believe that Enio's name as Enn or Enua, is none other than a different form of the name Nana or Nina.

To this we can add the following quotation:
Ptolemy Philadelphus deified himself and his wife Arsinoe in his lifetime...The cult of Aphrodite-Arsinoe was established, in other words, Arsinoe's worship was associated withtht of the goddess Aphrodite.

Here, too, we find that the name Ars-inoe has exactly the same structure as that of Nu-ard, Ars-inoe meaning 'Ares's Enio' where Ares corresponds to Ard(Ara) and Enio to Nu in our name Nu-ard. We see clearly, that the name Nu-ard has the same composition as the name Sel-ardi, Sinui-ardi and Ars-inoe, and means 'the nu of ard', that is 'the bride (or wife) of Ard (or Ara).

As we have seen, Ara's wife Nu-ard incorporates Dumuzi's wife Inanna, who was known in Armenia by the name Anunit-Anahit.

Anahit was the best loved and respected national goddess of the Armenian people. In better known times she occupied the foremost position among all deities in Armenia. The protection and the care of the land were entrusted to her. She was the mother of all sobriety, virtuous and benevolent. Among all the Armenian deities she only had a statue of pure gold. In the later periods of paganism she was associated with the moon.

In the Artashessian period one of Anahit's most famous temples was at the city of Erez (Erzinjan). There were many temples dedicated to her throughout the country, but one of the most important was at the city of Ashtishat, in the Mush region, which for some time served as the principal religious center of the Armenian people. She also had a temple as the city of Artashat, in the Ararat valley, and another one of her oldest temples must have existed on the Medzamor river.

Some believe that the name Anahit has come to Armenia from Iran, but it is difficult to concur with such an opinion. Iran has never tolerated the rule of women: generally no goddesses strike us in the Iranian pantheon and Anahit's presence there seems to be merely incidental; she never had there the amount of respect and honour that she enjoyed in Armenia.

Solomon Reinach, the expert on world mythology, says that Anahit was a foreign presence in Iran. He writes: "The goddess Anahita (the Lydian Anahitis) was of foreign origin (in Iran). The Iranian pantheon is, as a rule, deficient in goddessess, woman was always suspect, and the religious law aggravated the miseries of their sex..." It is very difficult, therefore, to accept that the Armenians could have borrowed their most beloved and notable goddess Anahit from Iran, where she was a foreigner herself.

In conclusion, we can say that the goddess Anahit comes from antiquity and is indigenous to the Armenian Highland; she is identical with Inanna-Anunit, the very famous goddess of Aratta, who had acquired preeminence as early as the beginning of the third millenium B.C. She was the goddess who was worshiped in Medzamor, probably as the star Sirius, in 2800B.C., at a time, when the Persians did not even exist in Iran.

We must accept, therefore, that Anahit was a native goddess in the Armenian Highland. As for her presence among the Iranians (if it is of old), it can be explained by the fact that they must have taken her with them as they moved away from the Armenian Highland.

will continue

Source:"Armenia,Summer and Subartu" by Prof.,Dr.Martiros Kavukjian

Translated from Armenian by N.Ouzounian

Edited by webmaster


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