Ancient Armenian Deities

Ancient Armenian DeitiesMythology of Armenian tribes and later the Armenian nation itself represents pantheons belonging to different periods of history of Armenia. Originally Urartian in nature, the pantheon was similar to religions of Near East’s states.

There are signs which indicate that the ancient Armenians were initially nature worshipers and that this faith in time was transformed to the worship of national gods, many of which were influenced by neighboring religions.

Over time, the Armenian pantheon was updated, and new deities of Armenian and not Aryan origins appeared. Furthermore, the supreme god of the Armenian pantheon, Vanatur, was later replaced by Aramazd. Aramazd was the Parthian form of Ahura Mazda.

The latter, though, has appeared under the influence of Zoroastrianism, but with partially preserved traditional Armenian features. Similarly, the traditional Armenian goddess of fertility, Nar, was replaced by Anahit.

After the formal adoption of Christianity in Armenia in 301 AD, new mythological images and stories were born as ancient myths and beliefs transformed.

Biblical characters took over the functions of the archaic gods and spirits. For example, John the Baptist inherited certain features of Vahagn and Tyre, and the archangel Gabriel that of Vahagn.

In eyes of Armenian people humans created by God are equal. In Armenia there have never been such things as slavery, serfdom or social classes.

Armenians believed that all humans are complete and equal as the Maker has created them in his own image. Ancestors of Indo-Europeans in Armenian Upland lived by laws dictated by God which were the root of liberty, harmony and high moral in people.

• Left: tomb – sanctuary of Mount Nemrut built in 1st century BC, Western Armenia. Right: Statues of Armenian gods Vahagn, Anahit, Aramazd, Mihr, Tir on Mount Nemrut (reconstruction).
• Left: figure of Aramazd, creator and chief god in pre-Christian Armenian mythology. Middle: figure of Anahit, the goddess of fertility and healing, wisdom and water. Right: bronze sculpture of the goddess Anahit which is now held in the British Museum.
• From left to right: figure of Vahagn, the god of war and victory; image of Mihr, the god of light of heaven and Truth; image of Tir, the god of written language, schooling, rhetoric, wisdom and arts; image of Aldi, one of the three chief deities of the pantheon of Urartu.

Sources: “Ancient sources of Europeans about their ancestral home Armenia and Armenians” (in Russian), Anzhela Teryan;  Armenian mythology on en.wikipedia.org


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