The Behistun Inscription

Behistun Inscription – Wikipedia is not the earliest known reference to Armenia. Armenia is mentioned in all 3 names earlier as Aratta (Ararat) in Sumerian inscriptions, as Armani in Akkadian inscriptions, and with its self-designation name Hayasa in Hittite inscriptions.

“Armenia and Urartu are synonymous. In the trilingual Behistun inscription of Darius the Great (c.520 BC), the Babylonian toponym “Urashtu” appears in Old Persian as “Armina,” and in Elamite as “Harminuia,” corresponding to modern “Armenia.”

In Hebrew (as recorded in the Bible) this land was called Ararat. The toponym “Urartu” emerged as a regional description rather than ethnic. Historian Boris Piotrovsky argued that “the Assyrian name of Uruatri [which gave birth to the Urartu toponym] had no ethnic significance but was most probably a descriptive term (perhaps meaning “the mountainous country”).”

In the Babylonian chancelleries, the name of Urartu (under its Babylonian form, Urashtu) continued to be used, while simultaneously in old Persian it was called Armenia.

As the Assyrian language gradually disappeared from historic records (after the decline of Assyria and the rise of Media) so did the toponym Urartu ceased to be used. Instead, only the name Armenia survived henceforward in the annals of history”

“Armenia is a nation with ancient roots. However, despite the heroic efforts of Movses Khorenatsi to preserve the beginnings of Armenian history, the narrative is anything but clear.

Though names such as Subartum (Sumerian), Hayasa (Hittite), Biainili (Urartian), and Urartu/Ararat (Akkadian) appear in texts from the mid-second millennium to describe the Armenian Highland (or parts of it), the first time the name Armenia is used in in the Behistun Inscription.

This text, composed in at least four languages (Old Persian, Elamite, Babylonian, and Aramaic), was composed around the turn of the 6th century BC at the behest of the Persian king, Darius I (522-486). The Old Persian and Elamite versions of the text use the term “Armenia” for the first time in recorded history” People of Ar

Hasmik Isaghulyan


1. The Ancient Civilization of Urartu, translated from Russian by James Hogarth (N.Y., 1969). 2. John Boardman, I. E. S. Edwards, N. G. L. Hammond , E. Sollberger (1982),The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. 3, Part 1: The Prehistory of the Balkans, and the Middle East.
2. The Behistun Inscription and the Origins of Armenia
3. Archaeology and Art

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