The son of an Armenian goes to Europe in the 19th century, gets an education at a university, and comes to visit his parents.
- So, what’s new, son?
- Oh, all over Europe they are only talking, father, about Charles Darwin’s discovery. He has conducted many studies and found out that man evolved from a monkey.
- Really? The poor guy is unlucky. And you and I come from people – and what kind of people they were!
The joke is quite old. As is the teller, an elderly repatriate from Greece named Pargev, who rented a room to us, my husband and me, during our cohabitation period.
Pargev had no doubt about the etymology of his name, because he knew the prehistory of his own birth: for twelve years, his infertile mother went to the churches of the Virgin Mary, where she prayed and gave alms; his father, with his brothers under the leadership of his grandfather, built a school for orphans with their own hands. And then he was born.
Causal relationships were not yet violated in the minds of simple people, and everyone accepted the birth of the infant as Pargev, a Reward for humanitarian efforts and inexhaustible faith.
Remember how many wonderful names were recently around us. Where have they gone, replaced by the heroes of TV shows and cartoons?
What’s in a name for you? The result of what efforts or the guarantee of what achievements does it signify? And what is a proper name for a person? What does it tell?
Everyone who experienced the joy of fatherhood and motherhood remembered the amazement, happiness, and instantly starting dreams that a person experiences at the first sight of their baby.
Of course, all the relatives according to the Armenian national custom begin the blessing with the words “may he grow up in the presence of living parents, achieve the fulfillment of cherished desires”.
In principle, considering the Armenian fondness for children, this is quite a comprehensive formulation of guaranteed happiness. However, in each specific case, parents described this happiness program even more succinctly – one could say, they derived its individual algorithm.
And this was the name given to the child. All the hopes of God’s anointed to strengthen their throne and bring prosperity to the country, the plans of peasants, warriors and townspeople to give a decent life to their child, to pass on the secrets of the craft and the house, to defend the homeland from the invasions of nomads, were embodied in the names with which the ancient Armenians rewarded their babies.
A name is not a facilitation of communication with the environment or a count of the population, but a program for life, against which a person measures his actions and plans. That’s why it was given thoughtfully, focusing not only on personal parental ambitions but also on the knowledge and experience of ancestors, the system of moral and spiritual values of the people.
Often, the name indicated a blessing for the best purely masculine or strictly feminine qualities and abilities, as well as the derivative of them in society. Martyk, Razmik, Kadjik, Ktrich, Vrezh, Paykar, Azat, Akhtanak – these are warriors, folk avengers, brave men, liberators, and winners by the very fact of their naming, and try to be weak with such a name!
And do try to match the ideal of an Armenian woman, bearing the names Nazeli, Makrui, Srbui, Amalia, Amest, Anush: after all, these are synonyms for grace, elegance, purity, perfection, modesty, tenderness.
There were pairs of names with an equally significant connotation of beauty, divine genesis, wisdom, and excellent fighting talents for both sexes: Gegam – Gegecik; Aik – Aikui; Armen – Armenoui (the same as Arman – Armine); Tigran – Tigranoui, etc.
Sasun, Musheg, Basenci, Nazaret, Karen, Karine, Loris, Vanik (Ivan has nothing to do with it), Sisak, Masis, Araks, Sevan, Ani – this is a relay of hope to return to the small homeland – or return it to the bosom of the homeland, the program of national memory in the names of descendants.
This was a full-fledged subsystem of names-blessings, names-destinies, names-tests for national identity within the comprehensive system of Armenian thinking and language. It gave the right to semantic creativity, which was sometimes expressed in the creation of new personal names derived from the name of the happy father and grandfather in the patriarchal family: Aikaram, Saakanush; Aikanush, etc.
So, at least, it was before the politlinguists began to make people’s names meaningless, to primitivize them as much as possible, erasing the ancient layer of spirituality from the biography of names and likening a person’s proper name to the names of animals and plants.
The period of Darwinism in names was approaching. But long before that, the incoming commissars took advantage of the adoption of Christianity, which was organic for our people. It always happens during any revolutions.
Lusine, Lucia and … Lucifer
No matter how expert grant-receiving circles position the ancient Armenians as sun worshipers or even worse – fire worshipers, in fact, this nation worships and continues to worship the Light.
Everything else is vulgar materialism and planimetry for young ethnic groups that lack abstract thinking.
As for light in its global and philosophical senses, let’s note that only when it is present in national consciousness will the wish “Good morning” be “Bari luys” (Good light), the answer to “Good night” (Bari gisher) will be unexpected “Luys bari” (Good light), congratulations on family joy – Achkalusank (Eyes – light), the universally respected deceased – “Lusahogi” (Light soul [person]), illuminated – lusapsak ([head] in a luminous halo), window – “lusamut” (literally: “light guide”).
Moreover, “interpretation; explanation” in Armenian – “lusabanum” (lighting), fields in a book or notebook – “lusanck” (passage for light), to be born – luis ashxar gal (literally: to come into a bright world) etc. – there are many and many dozens of them!
But the most interesting thing is that the moon in Armenian is “lusin”, and literally translates as “from light”. It turns out that in this language the concept of the moon’s reflected sunlight has been established long before Ptolemy, Hipparchus (both – 2nd century BC), Eratosthenes (3rd century BC), Anania Shirakatsi (7th century), Al-Biruni (10th century) and certainly – Galileo (17th century) and subsequent European astronomers.
According to the majority of contemporary researchers working at the interface of genetics and linguistics, including the talented Italian scientists Maurizio Serva and Filippo Petroni, who in 2007 arranged the modern languages of the Indo-European family according to the system of Levenshtein distances, we get the following.
When dividing Indo-European languages, “the first branching concerns Armenian [language], which forms a separate branch close to the root, while the other branch contains all other Indo-European languages.
Then, the second branching concerns Greek, and only after that does the division between the European branch and the Indo-Iranian group occur”. And we’re talking about a nearly five thousand year old divergence of the Armenian language.
Not that much, considering some, to put it mildly, contrived nature of the very naming of our language, or proto-language, “Indo-European”.
Moreover: all these amusing and costly research, conferences, round-the-clock reports, dissertations on the topics of the “Nostratic language”, i.e., the proto-language of all language families, are just a joke for the Armenian peasant, who without any grants and symposiums has preserved it and uses it in any political and climatic weather.
But about such a breakthrough in linguistics with its Marxism, used even by liberals, we could not even dream about thirty years ago!
Scholars and prophets Varpetyan and Ayvazyan then gained the fame of almost sectarians and city madmen, and academician Geruni – “shame” of Soviet science, and the destruction of their concepts in Armenology were dedicated to the pages of solid newspapers.
And now let’s move from linguistics to the accounting of nations, or demography. So, let’s suppose that in ancient times Armenian women and women of other nations first gave birth at twenty. Well, let’s suppose. Although it happened, of course, at a younger age.
In this case, it turns out that the reproduction of the Armenian, and other ethnoses, occurred at least five times per century – and for five thousand years in our case. This means that we are speaking a language that was native also for our distant ancestors about 25,000 generations ago.
But this also means that our ancestors of any degree of literacy and qualification, looking at the night sky and calling the night luminary “lusin” (moon), perfectly realized, unlike the medieval Europeans, that the earth is inside a heliocentric system, where the night luminary reflects the light of the day!
That is, in those distant times, there was no need to “graduate from universities” or to go “for knowledge” to any famous foreign hole, it was enough to know the native language – and to be absolutely literate! You mastered the native language – and everything secret became obvious. And yet the Armenian language has not lost this divine beginning, it is still capable of revealing secrets.
Now we can return to the beautiful female name Lusiné, which means Illuminated by Light, and not “moon,” as it is sometimes interpreted. The late Catholicos of All Armenians Vazgen I, seeing this divine light, named the vocal girl from the province, whom we have known and remembered as Lusiné Zakaryan.
True, she was named Svetlana before. But if we look more closely at the vocabulary of the Russian people, there is a lot of light – as in the same “light memory” mentioned above. But in European ones, which lined up in the Middle Ages in a line of heirs of Rome and Athens, – hardly any.
Here, for example, is ancient Latin, which is at least two thousand years younger than the Armenian language, as the appearance of early, unwritten Latin specialists attribute to the II millennium BC. In it, of course, there are derivatives from the word “luis”: luceo; lucesco; lucerna (to be light; to lighten; lamp).
In the same language, luse; lusi – “day”, i.e. “in daylight”. “Well, what’s the difference?” – you will ask. Absolutely right: in the exclusively physical, or vulgar, perception of light, excluding the spiritual component.
So when the French say “lu” instead of written lus, and mean “reading,” they hardly guess that before the revolution replaced their vocabulary, and thus muddled their brains, it was about joining enlightenment.
However, the great French kings named Louis, including King Sun Louis XIV, signed Louis, and no other way. In Spain, this name is written without the slightest deviations from Armenian orthography: Luis.
The Indonesians have lus – “the basis of the basics”. At the same time, lusin means the number 12. Where did they get this bundle of twelve astronomical moons in a year with the Armenian designation of the celestial luminary?
And of the Divine light – as the “basis of the basics” given that Indonesian belongs to the Austronesian language family? Here is another picture from the Nostratic exhibition, which should be studied.
When the brilliant Pushkin invented the name Lyudmila for his poem, he might not have even thought that the long-established name in Russia, Lusya (or Luisa?), would later be associated with the new and beautiful, but etymologically unrelated, name Lyudmila.
However, the name Lusinn is still popular in Iceland. And the grandson of the Scotsman Izetta, Gaetano Donizetti, to adapt the opera to Italian society, changed the name of the heroine of Walter Scott’s novel from Lucy to Lucia in the libretto. Despite the replacement of Lucy with Lucia, and Edgar with Edgardo, an opera of incredible beauty was born.
At least one aria from it everyone probably remembered thanks to the film “The Fifth Element” – the one that is performed by the frightful arthropod singer of blue color with four stone-elements in the stomach, but with such a divine voice!
And if you remember, each of the magical stones, symbolizing the basic elements, when urgently installed in their places by the decisive Bruce Willis, lit up! But most of all – the fifth element, Love.
Do you think this trick was chosen by the brilliant Luc Besson by accident? Oh no. Remember that the god of the morning star, Venus, which had the status of the goddess of Love, was called Lucifer, or Lusiber in Armenian, that is, the Giver of light.
What did the scholastics turn Lucifer into later? Into its opposite – into… Satan. For the first time, the Morning Star is mentioned with a negative connotation in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, written in ancient Hebrew, but here he is still “haylel”, a cherub, who wished to become equal to god and was punished by being cast down from heaven.
However, already at the end of the 4th century, Jerome of Stridon, translating the Book of Isaiah from Hebrew into Latin, created the identity of the light-bearing cherub and Satan, and it is not excluded that the text of the Apostle Paul was subjected to a similar revision.
The final blow to the light-bearing image was delivered by the printing execution of Dante’s “Divine Comedy” and the Bible of King James that appeared from nowhere (both at the beginning of the 17th century), where Lucifer was recorded with a capital letter and definitively equated to Satan.
From now on, the humanitarian category of light-bearing was turned into its opposite and an analogy to the Enemy of the human race. Just as centuries later – with the help of Walt Disney – the evil underground dwarfs of all European tales were turned into their positive opposite – nice good-natured gnomes. Say now that gnomes are evil, and everyone who has ever watched “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” will be offended.
Did you think that thimble-riggers operate only at fairs and stations? No, they tirelessly work in the roles of editors and translators, publishers and film producers, titled scientists and public figures.
I gave all the details related to Light and the name Lusine to show how easy it is to manipulate the consciousness of mankind even in the questions of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, which have been established over centuries, and which are diligently blurred and confused before our eyes. But in addition, we must realize how balanced our view of everything should be – even names.
Translated by Vigen Avetisyan