While the hexagram, or six-pointed star, is commonly linked with the Star of David and Jewish culture, especially since its incorporation into Israel’s flag in 1948, its presence in Armenian history is less commonly discussed but equally fascinating. This unique geometric shape often frames the Wheel of Eternity, a quintessential Armenian symbol, infusing it with additional layers of meaning.
The intersection of the hexagram with Armenian culture is not merely symbolic; it has pragmatic applications across various disciplines including science, art, and most notably, architecture. These applications are a testament to the advanced mathematical and astronomical understanding of ancient Armenians.
Armenia boasts some of the world’s oldest observatories, like Karahunj, which dates back to 4200 BC. An even more telling example is the Metsamor observatory from around 2800 BC. This ancient marvel demonstrates that Armenians had an intricate understanding of geometry and astronomy, capable of predicting celestial events and calculating distances long before these sciences were established in other civilizations like Egypt.
Armenian architectural prowess, steeped in geometric precision, has stood the test of time. Buildings designed with meticulous mathematical accuracy still stand as a defiance to the region’s history of war, impoverishment, and natural calamities. Excavated cities and sacred fortresses in Armenia showcase this; some structures are as old as 7000 years, demonstrating the historical use of complex geometric designs that encompass squares, rectangles, and intersecting patterns.
So, while the hexagram may be globally recognized as a symbol of Judaism, its role in Armenian history is noteworthy and speaks to the depth and complexity of the nation’s cultural heritage. This multipurpose symbol serves not just as a spiritual or artistic emblem but as a cornerstone in disciplines as diverse as architecture, science, and mathematics. Its versatility makes the hexagram an intriguing focal point through which to explore Armenia’s rich and multifaceted past.
Emerging from an understanding of natural laws, geometry serves as the cornerstone for creating structures, designing machines, and forecasting celestial events. In ancient societies, the mystical qualities of geometric shapes were highly revered.
The grasp of geometry was not only essential for construction but also perceived as the gateway to decoding the universe’s mysteries. Such insights prompted early Armenians to embed geometric symbols like the hexagram into the fabric of their culture, notably in architecture, astronomy, and religious art.
Various Armenian churches bear testament to this affinity for geometry, showcasing foundations laid out in hexagram patterns. This six-pointed star shape was employed not just as a foundation but also as an architectural element supporting domes or as a sacred embellishment for spiritual protection.
Etchmiadzin Cathedral, Armenia’s seminal Christian structure erected in AD 303, is lavishly ornamented with intricately designed hexagrams. Another instance of this geometric fascination is the tomb of an Armenian prince from the Hasan-Jalalyan dynasty, dated to 1214 AD, located in the Gandzasar Church of Artsakh.
The 12th-century Church of St. James in Jerusalem offers perhaps the most globally recognized application of the hexagram in Armenian architecture.
In a 3rd Millennium BC burial site at Ashtarak, a dagger handle exhibits hexagram-shaped arches supporting its design. Similar dome-supporting hexagram patterns are also prevalent in ancient Armenian architecture.
Among these are the exceptional dome designs of the 13th-century Khorakert Monastery and the Khoranashat Monastery, further affirming the geometric artistry deeply rooted in Armenian culture.
Armenia’s deep-rooted connection to the hexagram was reaffirmed when the most ancient depiction of this six-pointed star was discovered at a burial mound in Nerkin Naver, Armenia. The artifact, which dates back to the third millennium BCE, has been authenticated via radiocarbon testing in both German and U.S. labs.
In the realms of art, spirituality, and science, geometric shapes have long held a crucial role in Armenian culture. While the hexagram stands as a key example, a myriad of other geometric forms and icons also play a significant role.
Geometry’s enduring influence on Armenian culture extends to modern times, exemplified by the eight-pointed Armenian star. This particular symbol has been explored in various publications, including articles on the Vne Strok website. (Refer to the linked article: “The Lineage of the Eight-Pointed Cross and Star—A Journey from Armenia to Europe.”)