Armenia in Names Since the Dawn of Time

Just recently, a month or two ago, American scientists, based on genetic and other research, concluded that “The History of Armenia” by Movses Khorenatsi, written by him in the 5th century, contains not mythological, but factual material about the ancient period of the history of the Armenian people.

Everything that the “father of history” describes – the struggle between Hayk and Bel, the emergence of the Armenian nation, the construction of the Armenian country, – all of this is true, not fiction, and it all is strictly scientific, historiographical material, which can serve as a primary source for the history of the ancient world.

Together with the once highly publicized theory of Gamkrelidze-Ivanov about Indo-European and Armenian linguistic roots, as well as with the conclusions and hypotheses of Heruni and other researchers – both Armenian and foreign, the conclusions of the Americans tell us one thing – world civilization begins in Armenia.

And of course, in the field of geographical names and terms, we find many confirmations of this.

So, where does the establishment of the Armenian people in the region begin, its naming activity, localizing and documenting the presence of the indigenous civilization bearer on its homeland?

And – when does it begin? Historiographically, the emergence of the first Armenian tribal unions and proto-state formations is attributed by scholars to the Bronze Age, to the middle of the 2nd millennium BC – we are talking about the unions of Hayasa, Nairi, Biainili and others.

Recently, theses have been put forward about the existence of the ancient Armenian states of Aratta (Ara(rat), Arats), Arme-Shupria and others around the same time.

However, based on toponymic conclusions, which were discussed in our previous articles, it seems we can talk about a much earlier ethno-state consolidation of the Armenian people, dating its beginning to the 4th millennium BC.

Among other things, thanks to Movses Khorenatsi and other sources, we have two clear historical dates. The first – the struggle between Hayk and Bel took place in 2492 BC. The second – in 1032 BC, the capital of the Aikyan dynasty, Armavir, was founded.

In any case, the emergence and formation of the Armenian nation chronologically is one of the oldest ethno-consolidation processes in the world. It has naturally found many reflections in the Armenian Highlands.

On the first page of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of the 11th century, it is written: “The first inhabitants of the British Isles were the Britons, who came from Armenia and first settled in the south of Britain…”

First of all, according to the same Khorenatsi, this process began in Lesser Armenia, to the west of Malatya and the Euphrates. It was here that the region called Tun Torgom was located – the House of Torgom in Armenian, Togarmah or Tegarama in the Bible, Til-Garimmu in Hittite cuneiform.

The etymology of the toponym traces back to the Proto-Armenian root “tog” – house, dynasty, tribe, plus “arma” – the tribal name of the Armenians. In addition, according to the biblical version, Torgom is the descendant of Noah’s son Japheth, the father of Hayk. Thus, Tegarama is the House of the Armenians, or the House of Torgom – this is the local cradle of the Armenian people, with its center in the city of Kyurin (now – distorted Gyurun), in Lesser Armenia.

This is where the first Armenian royal dynasty begins – the dynasty of the Haykians, from Hayk the Progenitor – Naapet, up to the Kingdom of Van (Urartu).

The name Hayk itself derives from the name of the country hAyik, hAyastan and the name of the people hayk, hayer, and it traces back to one of the oldest Armenian roots, specifically to “ea”, “eytun” – that is, essence, existence, substance.

The name Armenia itself originates from the tribe of the Armenians – one of the participants in the formation of the Armenian nation, whose name means “existing man”, husband, Aryan – the same roots as in the cases of Ararat, Aratta-Arats and so on, as well as the names of Hayk’s descendants Arma, Arame, Aram…

To all this is added the meaning of the creator – ararich, sun – ar(ev), and the same man-Aryan. This is where the beginning of time is – both Armenian Ara, and Egyptian Ra, and scientific “Aryan” – a beginning that has been preserved in the Armenian and Persian ethnos.

And the suffix “stan”, added to toponyms with the meaning of “countries” – is nothing more than the modified Armenian “tun” – house, country, which has passed into many languages, and in Russian has also acquired the meaning of a settlement – stanovishte, stanitsa etc. (in grabar – z-tun, z-tan).

Having defeated Bel, Hayk Naapet begins to arrange his country, and this process is described in detail by Movses Khorenatsi. And one of the first conditions for such arrangement is the naming of mountains and valleys, rivers and springs, settlements and districts – just as the first condition for a person’s existence is to call him by some name.

And the country of Hayk – Hayk-Ayastan, Armenia, begins to acquire the national appearance of the country of hays-Armenians. At the site of his battle with Bel, Hayk builds a fortress and a settlement of Haykashen, which have survived to this day – southeast of Van, in the Armenian Gorge of Ayots Dzor lies the village of Hayk (distorted – Hek), and near it, on the Tomb Hill (Gerezman or Gerezmanits Blur) Hayk Naapet is buried.

Another Haykashen our patriarch founded on the opposite side of Lake Van, near Lake Hach, in the area called Hairk-Hark, that is, the patrimony of the fathers. Here, in the small lake Kor (Curved), he buried his famous bow. Just like Junior Mher, hiding in the rock of Van, the bow of Hayk Naapet is waiting for its time to free its captive country…

The huge tribe of Hayk, numbering about 300 descendants, remained forever in the Armenian Highlands, as did many others who gave their names to the toponyms of Armenia. South of Lake Van, in the region of Mokk, Hayk’s son Aramanyak settled with his son Aramais. Here and now there is a village of Aramais, and in the south of France, in the country of his descendants – the Basques, Gascony, lies the region of Armagnac with its famous cognac…

Having been crowned on the Armenian throne, Aramais in 1032 BC founded his capital in the Araks Valley and named it after himself – Armavir, the fortress of Arme. In its honor in the 19th century Armenian settlers in Kuban named their city Armavir, which is in the Krasnodar region of Russia.

Aramais’s son Amasia founded several cities in Armenia, including Amasia in the Shirak region of RA and Amasia in Lesser Armenia, where the outstanding ancient geographer Strabo was born. By the way, it is he who left us many testimonies of the creative activity of the Armenians, in particular, that the Armenians were the first in the world to learn how to smelt ore from iron…

The younger son of Aramanyak, Kadmos, was given possession of the region in the south of Greater Armenia, namely Tun Kadmosi – the House of Kadmos, the right bank of the Tigris to the Masiun or Masius mountains. The name of these mountains, as well as the name of the Armenian symbol Masis, is also associated with the name of Amasia.

The son of Amasia was Gegham, who inherited the area around Lake Sevan and whose name was given to the mountains west of the lake. In the Gegham ridge rise the peaks of Azhdahak, Aknalich, Vishapasar and others, on which the ancient cult images of vishaps – water keepers, as well as rock petroglyphs from the 8th-6th millennia BC with maps of the starry sky and outlines of future Armenian scripts have been preserved in abundance.

Gegham’s descendants – Arma, Arame and Ara, settled in different parts of Armenia. Arma became the eponym of the country itself – Armenia, as well as many villages, giving his name to several types of trees (the root “armav”).

Arame founded the village we mentioned in the previous article, – Aramik or Aremik. Ara, nicknamed the Beautiful, captivated with his beauty the queen Shamiram – Semiramis, himself he owned one of the great Armenian mountains, named after him, Aragats – Ara’s Throne, Ara’s Possession.

With his name, popular etymology associates the oldest names that go back to the root “ar” – man, Aryan and Creator, – Ararat Valley, the region of A(r)arat, etc. Armenia as a country is present in the oldest known to science documentary non-Armenian written sources – the Babylonian clay map of the world and the Persian Behistun (from bag – ancient Armenian and ancient Persian “god” plus “tun” – “house”) rock inscription near modern Kermanshah in Iran – both sources date back to the 5th century BC. So far, no others have been found…

Within the framework of a separate article, it is impossible to develop a sufficiently substantial and branched theory about the Armenian roots of the names of all known ancient countries around the Armenian Highlands.

In brief, this includes Commagene (from the ancient Armenian gom – temple of the gods, ditsatun, sanctuary, – the same root, for example, in the toponym Kumayri – Gyumri), and Arme-Shupria (from the Armenian “tsob” or “tsov” – holy, that is, Holy Arme(nia)), and, of course, the proto-Armenian Nairi (Country of Water, Rivers, later in Semitic languages – Nekhr, Nakhr), Hayasa – the oldest version of the possessive hAyots – Armenian, etc.

In the future, we will talk specifically about some toponyms of pre-Christian ancient Armenia, as well as early Christian names that have determined the strategy of our toponymy, and have survived to this day in one form or another.

Autor: Grigor Beglaryan

Translated by Vigen Avetisyan

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