The Vishap According To The Mythology Of Ancient Armenia

According to ancient Armenian mythology, Vishap (“dragon” in Armenian) is a combination of several animals. In addition, Vishap had a human mind and was associated with the worship of water.

Vishap had wings of a stork, the head of a bull, and the body of a snake. Sometimes, Vishap spewed out fire, like fire from a mountain volcano.

On the Armenian Vishapakar stones, we can see precisely these animals. The two storks symbolize the loyalty of the couple until the end of days. The adult storks communicate through the clank of their beaks, thus bringing joyful news of the arrival of spring and reporting the onset of breeding time.

The “margats” month symbolizes precisely this. (Margats was the 11th month of the Armenian calendar. It lasted 30 days from June 7 to July 6). Storks build their nests near rivers since they feed on fish.

Our natural world is also characterized by buffaloes and yaks that were domesticated already in the 1st millennium BC, so I will give an example of wild yaks living in the mountains of Tibet, especially in spring.

Yaks live at an altitude of 4300-4600 meters near water sources. Females and males graze separately and pair only in September-October. Their pregnancy lasts 9 months and ends by May-June. A pregnant female yak usually settles near water.

Then, as we know, snakes sleep under stones in winter and wake up in spring. The first thing they do is crawl to the springs – then, they spend their days on land, in water, in the sea, on trees, and underground.

In Armenia, 2978 species of snakes from 26 families are known, of which 23 species are from 4 families (blind snakes, vishaps, snakes, and vipers).

The ancient man tried to give meaning to the behavior of the mentioned animals, found their community, and depicted it in a single monument. Based on this, the Vishap stones that are known to us now would be soon created.

Sukias Torosyan

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