The Wheel of Eternity is possibly the most iconic Armenian symbol. Armenians have depicted it in several ways, including inside a pointed star. Unfortunately, the six-pointed symbol isn’t known so well in relation to Armenians.
Today, people mostly associate the six-pointed star (hexagram) with the Jewish Star of David, the modern symbol of Jewish identity and Judaism. It even has been imaged on the official flag of Israel since 1948.
So, according to Wikipedia: “Its use as a symbol of the Jewish community dates to the 17th century”. Not much has been written regarding the Armenian usage of the symbol, although it has been quite extensively used in science, art, architecture, and even religious rituals.
Armenians historically are skilled mathematicians, architects, and craftsmen. Geometry, in particular, has always been very special to Armenians.
Ancient Armenian astronomers possessed developed knowledge of astronomy and were even able to predict astral events. Moreover, oldest known observatories are located in Armenia.
Dated all the way back at 4200 BC, Karahunj, as well as the ca. 2800 BC Metsamor observatory allowed ancient Armenians to refine geometry to such point that they could measure distance, longitude, and latitude, envision a spherical world, as well as predict solar and lunar eclipses 1,000 years earlier than Egyptians.
Armenian architecture often features solidity and mathematical precision with its traditional, well-elaborated straight lines connecting the columns.
The wide use of geometry in architecture allowed Armenian structures to withstand time and the harsh surroundings of the region dominated by wars, natural disasters, and poverty.
The geometrical awareness of ancient Armenian architects is perfectly demonstrated by millennia-old discovered fortress cities and temples using complex systems of squares, rectangles, circles, and polygons with intersecting patterns.
Because proper use of geometry was considered magical thanks to its possibilities, Armenians highly valued geometrical shapes, one of which is the aforementioned six-pointed star.
Early Armenians believed that the symbol held magical powers and thus incorporated it in architecture, astronomy, and sacred art.
This is clearly demonstrated by their churches with six-pointed shape, as well as their use of hexagrams to support the dome. Lastly, the symbol could be simply used as sacred decoration.
The first and most significant Armenian Cathedral of Etchmiadzin (303 AD) is one of the structures decorated with many types of ornamented hexagrams.
Another example is the tomb of an Armenian prince of Hasan-Jalalyan dynasty of Khachen (1214 AD) in the Gandzasar Church, Artsakh.
The most famous example of usage of the symbol could be the 12th-century Armenian Church, the Cathedral of St. James in Jerusalem, where hexagram-shaped arches support the dome. Similar dome arches can be found throughout Armenia, like the domes of the Khorakert Monastery or the 13th-century Khoranashat Monastery.
The acquaintance of Armenians with the six-pointed symbol is clearly evidenced by the oldest known depiction of the symbol unearthed in the Ashtarak burial mound called “Nerkin Naver”.
A series of radiocarbon analyses conducted in laboratories in Germany and the US confirmed this. The six-pointed star was engraved on the handle of a dagger discovered in a burial mound safeguarding over 500 graves.
The hexagram isn’t the only symbol widely used in Armenian architectonics, although it may have been the most significant one.
Geometry has always been favored by Armenians who loved to build and create, making it an inseparable part of the Armenian culture.
To wrap up the topic, let us present you with some examples of hexagram usage in Armenia.
The Armenian Wheel Of Eternity PeopleOfAr