Armenia and Germany

Armenia and Germany“The Annals” by the Roman historian Publius (Gaius) Cornelius Tacitus (50-120 A.D.) is an ancient written source about Germany and German tribes. In this work questions referring to the origin of Ger-mans and the geography of Germany are discussed. The historian also touches upon the ancient gods of German tribes, their traditions, life-style33, etc.

In the ancient German anthem the earthborn god Tuiston, whose son Mannus is the ancestor and forefather of the German people is glorified. Mannus had three sons, Ingvaeon, Irminon and Istaevon, and after their names were called the tribes living near the ocean (sea). Other sources reveal that Mannus had other sons, too, therefore more tribe names are mentioned, e.g. Manimi, Suebi, Vandals, Zumi, “these are ancient, original names of tribes”.

Tacitus then writes “…and the name Germany is a new one and it wasn’t used before. Nowadays the Tungri tribe (former Germani) was the first to cross the river Rhine chasing and driving out the Gauls (probably II–I cc. B.C.). Later the name of the winning tribe, Germani, became dominant referring to the people living on that territory”.34

The similarity of the following names should be noted: German (Herman, Erman) and Arman (ar-man), Armen (ar-men). Tacitus writes also about the military collisions between the Roman and German tribes during which the military, political and humanistic praiseworthy character of the Germanic Herusk (her=har=ar) or Cherusci tribe lead-er Armini (Arminius) was revealed.

In the 5th c. A.D., conquering the territory between the Rhine and the Elbe rivers the Romans settled there and formed the Germania Province, but Germanic tribes led by Armini, the leader of the Herusk tribe, rebelled against the Romans. Serving in the Roman cavalry, Armini received Roman citizenship by the orders of Emperor August, but he wanted to liberate Germany from the Romans. Taking advantage of the Roman general Varus’ confidence towards him Armini secretly organized a rebellion. In the 9th c. A.D., during the Battle of Teutoburg Forest the German tribes, led by Armini defeated the Roman army, the commander of which was the above mentioned general Var-us.

Then Armini was betrayed by some of his relatives, including his father-in-law Segestes, who collaborated with the Romans. Even in that situation Armini didn’t stop fighting. Segestes and Armini were enemies because the latter had married the daughter of Segestes while Segestes had promised his daughter to another man. That is why Segestes kidnapped his pregnant daughter, Arminis’ wife, and gave her to the Romans as a captive.35 Arminis’ son was born there and his name was Thumelic according to Strabo36. Armini continued fighting against the Romans for about 12 years.

Sometimes he was defeated but wasn’t conquered. After the Romans had left he tried to unite the Germanic tribes and mount the throne but his close relatives did not approve of that idea and they organized the murder of the 37-year-old Armini (II–I c. A.D). According to Tacitus, Armini is the warrior who liberated Germany and whose “heroism is glorified to the present day”.37

Marble bust of Armini (supposedly) Rome, the Capitoline Museum. Memorial to Armini Rome, in the Teutoburg Forest

Then in German medieval written sources it is also spoken about Armenian-German, particularly Armenian-Bavarian relations. The Crusade was of a new and special interest. During it in Cilician Armenia Germans (Bavarians) met “people who spoke their language”, which was Armenian.38

According to German written sources (XII c.) Armenia was the Homeland (Stammland) of Bavarians. In the 20th chapter of ’’Das Annolied’’ or the “Song of Anno” poem (1105–1126), which is dedicated to Archbishop Anno of Cologne, it is mentioned that Armenia is the original Homeland (Stammland) of Bavarians, their “brave and trustworthy ancestral land” and that they have come from Armenia.

20. When Bavaria dared to rise against him,
he at once besieged the famous Regensburg.
Here he found
helmet and byrnie,
5 and many bold heroes
who were defending their city.
The heathen books tell
what kind of warriors were there:
there we read “Noricus ensis”,
10 which means, “a Bavarian sword”,
for they believed
that no other blade had a better bite,
often slicing through a helmet.
This was always a brave people.
15 Their tribe came long ago
from the magnificent Armenia,
where Noah came out of the ark
when he received the olive twig from the dove.
The remains of the ark
20 are still to be found in the highlands of Ararat.
It is said that in those parts
there are still those who speak German,

Source: www.dunphy.de

According to the above mentioned it becomes clear that there were ancient pagan manuscripts, which, unfortunately, have not been preserved, but they have served as important sources for many authors. It’is of special interest to note that in ancient written sources the ‘‘Noricus ensis’’ (Norikyan sword) is presented and explained as the ‘‘Bavarian sword’’, which is not correct because it refers to the name of the Norikyan dynasty, which was well known in Austria. That country was also called Norik (Norikyan) in the past. The territory, situated in the southern part of the Danube River, is called Norik by Tacitus.39

Chronologically, “Das Annolied’’ is followed by “Vita Altmanni episcope Pataviensis’’, another source written in 1125–1141 and bear-ing the name of Bishop Altmanni (1065–1076). In that work it is described how a nobleman named Bawarus came from Armenia with a large number of people, settled there and called that country Bavaria after his name.40 That work testifies about Norikus (Norik), the son of Hercules, and about the country called in his honour, the country of Norikus.

The book “Kaiserchronik’’, written by a group of authors in Re-gensburg in 1147–1170, also testifies about Julius Caesar’s German in-vasions (1st c. B.C.), the heroic struggle of German tribes as well as about Armenia as the ancestral Homeland of Bavarians.41

315. Das Schwert sclug man feste durch den Helm,
Demjenigen war sein Kampfeseirfer sehr groβ Das Geschlecht der Baiern,
Hergekommen von Armenien, Wo Noah aus der Arche ging
320. Und den Ölzweig von der Taube empfing,
Die Spuren der Arche kann man noch sehen Auf den Bergen, die da heißen Ararat.
Den Sieg, den Julius [Casar] uber die Baiern gewann, Den muβte er sehr bluting bezahlen.
315. The sword was intensely striking the armor, Some showed obstinate willpower,
The tribe of the Bavarians Originated from Armenia Where Noah left his lifesaver ark.
320. When the dove returned to him with an olive leaf, You can still see traces of the ark
On the mountain named Ararat
And Ceaser won his victory upon the Bavarians At the cost of blood.

As we see both “Das Annolied” and “Kaiserchronik” attest the same things. These facts allow us to assert that there actually were earlier written sources, which were used by the authors of the above men-tioned poems. In the 300th part of the poem “Das Annolied” some pa-gan rolls (heidnischen Buchern) are recorded, which refer to the above mentioned events and prove that what is said is true.

These ancient written sources show how bravely Armenian noble-men and warriors fought against the Romans on the banks of the River Rhine. Let us not forget that this was during the time when Romans did their best to weaken powerful Armenia in the 1st c. B.C. It was during the rule of Tigran II the Great (95–55 B.C.). We may possibly ascertain that fighting in those areas Armenian noble men and warriors fought actually for Armenia itself.

Tigran II the Great (95–55 B.C.)

In the “Chronica Baioariorum” by priest Veit Arnpek (1492) also we come across lines about Bavarians, their leader Bavarius and their Homeland Armenia. “Chronica Baioariorum” is the most reliable source in Bavarian chronology. Veit Arnpek writes: “Baioarius mit sei-nem fraisamen volk hat seinen ursprung aus dem land Armenia und ist mit in ausgezogen mit grosser macht, und sind kommen in das land und funden darin paurenvolk, di sich nerten mit vischen und jagen der wilden thire, und ließen sich da nider und nennten das land nach irem fürsten und herfürer Bavaria”42 – “Bavarius with his freedom longing people, (Armenians by origin) from Armenia reached this country where they found poor people who earned their daily bread by hunting and fishing. Settling here these people from Armenia called this coun-try Bavaria in honour of their leader”.

According to this source there is another interesting information stat-ing that noble Bavarius and his Armenian wife had 2 children: Bohem or Bohemud and Ingram (Ingramad, Ingramion), who came to Bavaria from Armenia with their mother.43 Furthermore, writing about duke Noriks (Norikus, Norik) Veit Arnpek considers that he is the son of Hercules (that subject will be discussed later). He writes that Norik-Norikus founded the cities of Noriksberg, Nϋrnberg (Nurenberg). After his death Bavarius became the leader of the territories that Norik-Norikus had invaded. Later his sons Bohemud and Ingramad inherited that title. In the “History of Ba-varia” (Chronica Baioariorum) “Armenien und Herzog Naimes” (14th c.) there is much information about duke Naymes and noble Bavarius, who came from Armenia, settled in this country and called it Bavarius. Some other questions are also discussed there.44

Moreover, in “Bayrische Chronik” chronology (1517–1526) by Jo-hannes Turmair (J. Aventinus) information is given about the name Bohemund. It is mentioned in antique books that Bohemia (now Czech Republic) was also called Herminia, which equates with Armenia. Like Bavaria-Bavarius, Herminia-Armenia was renamed Bohemia after the name of the nobleman Bohem. According to another version the name Bohemia has come from the Celtic tribe name Boiev.45 It should also be mentioned that in written sources the name of the Bavarian leader is sometimes transformed into Baioarius, Bavarius, also Bayr, Bavarus, Baurus, Boius, and Pavarus46, while Norix into Norikus, Norika and Norikum.47

Early medieval written sources continue touching upon Armenia and the relations between Armenians and Bavarians. Quoting Bobiens, an un-known historian, Vincenz Pol (from Folhauzen) writes in 1776: “During the Crusade, Emperor Frederick I met Bavarian speaking people in Arme-nia (Cilician Armenia)”. “Kaiser Friedrich Lobesam sei bei seinem Kreuz-zug in Armenien auf Volker getroffen, die bairisch sprachen”48.

According to this fact it can be stated that in the XII–XIII cc. Ba-varians still spoke their native language, Armenian, and they commu-nicated with Cilician Armenians in that language. That was during the third Crusade (1189–1192) led by the German Emperor Frederick I, Philip II of France and Richard I of England (Richard the Lionheart). At that time the head of Cilician Armenia was Levon II, who was promised by Frederick to be recognized king of Cilician Armenia in case the Armenians helped him. Unfortunately, Frederick was drowned in 1190 in Selevka, one of the rivers of Cilician Armenia.

Cilician Armenia,XII-XIV cc.

In 1198 Frederick’s son, Henry VI, the new Emperor of the Ger-mans, recognized Levon II as king of Cilician Armenia (1150–1219), and sent him a crown.49 By the way, Naymes was the ancestor of Fred-erick50 and it is obvious that the following names have the same root: Norik-Noriks-Naymes.

The king of Cilician Armenia Levon II (1150–1219)

Armenia and Armenian origin of Bavarius, Norik-Noriks-Naymes and the origin of other Bavarian noblemen as well as Bavaria and other questions were discussed in “Chronik Von Den Fürsten Aus Bayern” by Hans Ebran von Wildenberg, (2nd half of the 15th c.), Ulrich Füetrer, “Bayerische Chronik” and by other authors. It’s interesting to note that in the 18th c. on the patrimonial flag of the representatives of Ger-man noble family Aretin (Harutyun) (Armenian by origin) was depict-ed Mount Ararat and Noah’s Ark.51 On the flag the letters P.D.P.A. were written, which are deciphered as Propter Deum, Propter Arme-nia-meaning in the name of God, in the name of Armenia. This state-ment expresses Armenian national ideology which calls for the great love the Arretins cherished towards Armenia.

In Armenian written sources we also find facts about Armenians’ settling in Germany. Thus, in one of the medieval Armenian folk songs (15thc.) we read:

Trdat and Saint Grigor
Came and were hosted in Rome,
Four hundred people died there,
And they were called Alamans (Germans).

It is known that Alemanni were German tribes (l-r, al-man=ar-man) and they played an important role in the formation of Germans. In another source it is written: ‘‘Emperor Constantine asks Armenian King Trdat and Saint Grigor tօ give him 300 handsome men in order to settle them in Lower Germany. Thus an opinion has been formulated that Germans are the descendents of Armenians’’: “Kaiser Konstantin bittet Trdat und den hl. Krikor um dreihundert schötarfere Männer, um sie im “unteren Germanien” anzusiedeln”53:

So according to ancient and medieval German written sources the ancestral Homeland of one of the main German tribes, the Bavarians, is ‘‘brave’’ and ‘‘loyal or trustworthy’’ Armenia. A number of publications (some excerpts) of German medieval written sources (published in different years) give information about Bayr-Bavarus, Naymes-Noriks (Norik), Bohemund, Ingremand as well as about their Homeland Armenia and new Motherland Bavaria.

Afbeelding uit de Latijnse Vita Annonis, Siegburg ca. 1183.
Darmstadt, Hessische Landes-und Hochschulbibliothek, Hs. 945, fol. iv. Anno met de vijf hem gestichte kloosters

The Song of Roland, an Epic Poem

The European famous epic poem “The Song of Roland” was written in the IX–XI cc. on the basis of earlier historical events (VIII– IX cc.) during the reign of Charlemagne (Charles the Great, 768–814). In the epic poem we read about how the last regiment of king Charles’ army, led by the king’s relative, count Roland (he had just returned to France from Spain after 7 years of triumphant invasion) was attacked by Saracens (Arabian tribes, Moors) in the Roncesvalles Gorge of the Pyrenees Mountains.

Roland, together with his foster brother Oliver as well as with other peers and famous noblemen, fought bravely, but was defeated and killed. Roland’s stepfather Ganelon has to share some of the blame for their defeat as feeling envious of Roland, he had collaborated with Moor Marsile, the king of Saragossa. Charles took revenge for Roland’s and others’ death by defeating the innumerable army of the Muslims (Moors) and by killing Ganelon too.

The Prototype of Roland was Hruodland, the prefect of the French Breton, who was killed during the Basques attack in 778.54 Later, in some other versions of the epic poem, referring to the Crusade, the Christian Basques were replaced by Muslim Moors. It’s interesting to note that in the legends of Basques the stories connected with Roland have been preserved. They tell that Charlemagne with his troop came to conquer Navarre and Roland was the commander of his infantry regiment.

The inhabitants of one of Navarre villages gathered together in the church hoping to be protected as they had known about Franks’ invasion. But Charlemagne ordered to pull down the church and kill the people. Roland, being a strong and tall warrior, tried to show his power by ruining the church with one stroke of a stone.

He tore off a huge rock from the mountain, but while trying to throw it on the church, he stumbled and rolling down with the stone reached the village gates and died there. The stone can still be seen at the gate of Uros village. The peasants still keep this stone to show their power to the enemies and conquerors of Basques.55

“The Song of Roland” epic poem was spread in Europe even in the Middle Ages. It was translated and redrafted in many European languages: English, German, Italian, Spain, Celtic and Scandinavian languages. The German version, ascribed to Konrad der Pfaffe (Conrad the Priest) and written in the XII c. (1170) is the best known one. That version of the epic poem testifies about brave Naymes, Charlemagne’s fellow-traveller, an Armenian nobleman and duke of Bavaria, who was killed in the Battle of Roncevaux (Ronseval). Appreciating the bravery and loyalty of Naymes, Charlemagne considered Naymes a ‘‘godsent prize (or reward)’’ for him.

7787. Naimes ist im Kampf gewandt,
Hohe Zier von Baierlant.
Es ward von Gott mir teure Gabe,
daß ihn zum Kämpfen habe.
Aus dem getreuen Armenien geboren
die Baigere hab ich selbst erkoren
zu dem auserwählten Streiten
zwanzigtausend soll er leiten .
Mit ihren scharfen Schwertern
Sollen sie den Sieg erhärten.
Sie kaufen ihn viel sehr
kühners Volk war nimmermehr.56
Das Rolandslied des Pffafen Konrad
7787. Naymes began to struggle
In Bavarian outfit.
His action was an award by God.
He was from Armenia.
He leaded twenty thousand soldiers
With his outfit
In decisive battles.
They won
With their sharp swords
Because of that
Those brave people /the enemy/ don’t exist any longer.
In another version we read:
7790. Naimes, der Recke,
Ist eine Zierde Baierns.
Gott hat mich nicht vergessen,
Er hat ihn mir als Kämpfer gesandt,
der von den treuen Armeniern abstammt57.
7790. The brave Naymes /began to struggle/ In Bavarian outfit.
The God didn’t forget me
Sending him as a soldier for me
Who was from loyal Armenia.

According to the above mentioned Bavarian ancient written sources Naymes (also Noriks, Norikus and Norik) was the son of Hercules or he was a descendant of the latter’s generation, which explains why Bavarians were called Norikyan and their country as well as their capital were called Nora, Norikum58.

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33 Tacitus C., The Annals, Nursery Stories,v. 1, L., 1969: The origin of German people and their position in the world, p. 353–373

34 Tacitus C., The Annals v. 1, L., p. 354

35 Tacitus C., The Annals, v. 1, I, 55, 60, 58

36 Strabo, VII, 1

37 Tacitus C., The Annals, v. 1, 88

38 Quitzmann E. A., Die alteste Geschichte der baiern bis zum Jahre 911, Braunschweig, 1873, S. 76; Topakyan G., Die Bayerisch-Armenische stammessage, Hantess-Journal, 1987, p. 926

39 Tacitus C., The Annals, v. 1, 98

40 Wilhelm Wattenbach, Vita Altmanni episcope Pataviensis, 1856, S, 237; Topakyan G., Die Bayerisch-Armenische…, p. 927.

41 Hans Ferd. Massman, Der Keiser und kunige buoch oder die sogenannte Kaiserchron-ik, Quedinburgund Leipzig, 1849, s. 25–28: Hans F. Nöhbauer, “Die Bajuwaren’’, Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg, 1990, s. 15

42 Veit. Arnpeck, Sämtliche Chroniken, 1969, 10: Hans F. Nöhbauer, ‘‘Die Bajuwaren’’, Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg, 1990, s.

43 Veit Arnpeck, ‘‘Chronica Baioariorum’’ /‘‘History of Bavarian Territory’’, 34, 1971, p. 200

44 Von Georg R. Spohn, “Armenien und Herzog Naimes”; Zeitschrift für Bayerische

Landesgeschichte (ZBLG History of Bavarian Territory), seite 185-210, ZBLG 34 /1971

45 Wikipedia, Celts

46 Veit Arnpeck, Sämtliche Chroniken, 1969, 10, notes

47 Veit Arnpeck, in the same place

48 Hans F. Nöhbauer, “Die Bajuwaren”, Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg, 1990, s. 19

49 Cilicia is the continuation of the Armenian Highlands in the west. It is in the north-eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea. It was always situated in the Armenian cultural territory. Research-ers (J. Parch, E. Markvart, H. Manandyan) consider Cilicia (Kitsvatna) an ancient Arian territory (H. Manandyan “An Examining Theory of the History of Armenians”, Y., 1977, v. 1, p. 25). The volcanic country Arimayis mentioned in the “Iliad” by Homer is said to be situated in the surround-ings of Mount Argaeus in Cilicia, and Arims, people who lived there, are identified as Armens (Ar-menians). It is worth remembering that one of the heroes in the works of Plato Er Armenios was also from Cilicia (Pomphylia) (Plato “The Republic”, M., 1929, p. 614).

The archaeological material, uncovered in Cilicia, dates back to the VI–V millennia B.C. (Mersin, Tarsus). They are similiar with the material uncovered in Neolithic Island Hill, Mashtots Hill and other monuments of Ararat Valley. The ancient written sources (Hititian, Hurian) testify that Cilicia (Kitsvatna) was populated with Hurians (hur-har-ar=Armenians) in the III–II millennia B.C. After the collapse of Huri-Mitani (middle of the 13th c.) Cilicia was under the rule of Hatti, then Ararat-Urartu, then the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Romans con-quered Cilicia in the beginning of the 1st c. B.C. In the middle of the 1st c. B.C. during the rule of Tigranes the Great Cilicia once again formed a part of Armenia. Later Cilicia became a part of the Roman and then of the Byzantine Empires. In the middle of the 11th c. Armenian noble-men lead by Ruben formed the Cilician Armenian Kingdom in the western part of the Euphra-tes River. The first kings of Cilician Armenia belonged to the Rubenyan (Rubinyan) family. Cilician Armenia existed until 1375 (about 300 years).

50 Topakyan G., Die Bayerisch-Armenische…, p. 933

51 Erwin v. Aretin, Promemoria, Göttingen, 1912. Topakyan G., Die Bayerisch-Arme-nische…, p. 926

52 Mnatsakanyan A., Armenian Medieval Folk Songs, Y., 1956, p. 275

53 Yean Dardeli, Armenian Chronology, Saint Petersburg, 1891, p. 5,; Topakyan G., Die Bayerisch-Armenische…, p. 937

54 The Song of Roland’’, Y., 1991, footnote 104, translated by H. Bakhchinyan

55 Basques legends, Y., 1996, p. 118–120, translated by V. Sargsyan

56 Richard Ed. Ottmann, Pffafe Konrad, Rolandslied, Reclam, 1891, Topakyan G., Die Bayerisch-Armenische

57 Das Rolandslied des Pffafen Konrad, Mittelhochdeutsch Neuhochdeutsch, Reclam

58 Topakyan G., Die Bayerisch-Armenische…, p. 927, 930–932


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