Armenia is one of the oldest countries in the world. The indigenous inhabitants of the Armenian Highlands are the Armenians (Armenian: հայ, hay). They are one of the most ancient nations of the Near East, and the Armenian language, as studies showed, is one of the oldest languages of the world. It was spoken more than 9,000 years ago in the Armenian plateau and the surrounding regions.
According to new studies, these territories are also the ancestral home of the Indo-Europeans (Aryan tribes), and since the 7th millennium BC, those tribes have been resettling to their current places of residence, the vast territories throughout Europe and the Middle East.
The oldest maps of the world also confirm that Armenians are the oldest inhabitants of the Near East. The oldest known image of Mother Earth and the Cosmos, the Sumerian picture of the world drawn on a clay tablet, dates back at the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. The plate depicts the mountains (Armenian Highlands), the Tigris and Euphrates rivers originating there, and Mesopotamia.
Known to the Sumerians, these ancient territories were inhabited by Armenians even before the appearance of Semitic tribes in the interfluve (Akkadians, later Babylonians, Assyrians; middle of the 3rd millennium BC).
It is known that the original places of settlement of the Sumerians were the southern areas of the Armenian Highlands. Having slightly migrated from there, they appeared in the Southern or Lower Mesopotamia.
The results of archaeological excavations show that Sumerians already lived in the Lower Mesopotamia in the 5th-4th millennium BC.
In such works as the Sumerian heroic epic “Gilgamesh” (“Gilgamesh and the land of the immortals”), legends “Enmercar and the chief priest of Aratta”, “Lugalband and Hurum Mountain”, and others, one can find testimonies to the “country of high mountains”, “the land of the gods”, “country of the immortals”, ” the country of holy laws” and “sacred rites”, simply put, Aratta. Aratta is one of the most ancient names of Armenia.
Note that the movement of the Sumerians to the south is the first known migration from the Armenian Highlands.
Armenia is also represented on the Babylonian star chart (6th century BC), on the map of Hecateia of Miletus (517 BC), on a map compiled on the base of Herodotus’ work “History” (5th century BC), and others.
From the Armenian Uplands and nearby territories, migration to the east, west, and north also occurred. It is known that in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC, tribes entered India from the west. They called themselves ari or arya, as well as (h)ayu.
They had command of horses, battle chariots, and were armed with metal weapons. This is evidenced by the ancient Indian written sources “Rigveda” and “Mahabharata”.
In the scientific world, it is considered that the Iranian tribes (Medes, Persians, Parthians) appeared in Iran in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. Iranian tribes left their ancestral homeland and took with them the cults of their gods, traditions, everyday life, the self-name of the Ari, as well as the consciousness of belonging to the Aryan tribes.
This is evidenced in the holy book “Avesta” written in the 7th century BC (later, in the early Middle Ages, “Zend-Avesta” was written, which was a translation of “Avesta” into Middle Persian).
Having established themselves in new territories, the tribes didn’t forget the gods of their ancestral homeland, their tribesmen, their belonging to the Aryan tribe, and their previous life. With special love and respect, they remembered the relatives who remained in their homeland and tried to preserve memories of both them and the ancestral home.
The preserved written sources give important information about the history of ancient Armenia and the Armenian / Aryan tribes. Note that this is a story not only of the tribes who had left but also the remaining “mother” tribe of Armenians.
Having moved to the east, some of the tribes headed north. Some went through the Caucasus while the others bypassed the Caspian Sea and reached its northwestern regions and the northern regions of the Black Sea. Then, the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans moved westward to Europe, as evidenced by archaeological excavations.
During these movements, some of the tribes migrated to the Balkans. They appeared in the western parts of Asia Minor, from where they also moved to Europe. As we see, the ancestors of the Indo-Europeans came from their ancestral homeland, the Armenian Highlands and its neighboring regions, to Europe from the southwest of Asia Minor and from the east through the Caucasus.
Roman written sources (Tacitus) contain information on the ancient history of European peoples, especially about the Gauls (Celts), the Germanic, British, and other tribes.
Later (9th-15th centuries, even 18th century) written sources of European peoples (English, Germanic: “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”, “Das Annolied”, “Kaiserkronik”, “Das Rolandslied des Pfaffen Konrad”, “Chronica Baioariorum”) expound the history of their people, repeatedly testifying that their ancestors (Britons-Welsh, Bavarians, and also Basques, Slavs) came from Armenia.
In these written sources, there is a constant mention of “the brave and proud Armenia”, the “holy mountain Ararat and the Noah’s Ark”, the “Araks River”, etc. The names “Armenia” and “Ararat” are mentioned with love and pride. The same is noted by medieval tourists, geographers, and cartographers.
Armenian Natural Environment
On all maps, both ancient and medieval, the authors referred to the information of Greek, Roman, European (as well as Arabic and other) historians and geographers and constantly depicted Armenia, the Terrestrial Paradise located there, Mount Ararat with Noah’s Ark, etc. However, by the second half of the 19th century, the situation dramatically changed.
Armenia in the Ancient and Middle Ages
After the fall of the dynasty of Bagratunis (1045) and Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia (1375), the struggle for the restoration of an independent Armenian state did not succeed for many centuries.
While in the medieval written sources of European people the “freedom-loving”, “devoted”, “proud”, and “country of brave wars” Armenia was mentioned as an ancestral homeland, since the second half of the 19th century, there was a different attitude towards Armenia in the ruling circles of a number of European countries, which was conditioned by the new geopolitical situation in the Near East, in particular, the desire to prevent the dismemberment of the “sick” Ottoman Empire in order to use the country against Russia and prevent the creation of an Armenian state on the territory of Armenia.
On maps and in books, even the toponyms “Armenia”, “Western Armenia”, “Hayastan”, and “Armenian Highlands” were replaced by the fictitious names Anatolia and Kurdistan.
Since the end of 19th century, with the connivance of the ruling circles of Britain and Germany as well as the tacit consent of Russia, which showed evasiveness and indifference to the fate of Armenia, the Armenian history has gone through its most difficult, tragic times.
In Western Armenia, Cilicia, and other territories that were a part of the Ottoman Empire, massacres of Armenians have been periodically carried out. At the end, the plan of the notorious Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923 was implemented.
Referring to the information from ancient written sources, many European scholars (Arnold Toynbee, Earl August von Gagsthausen, Henry Hübschman, Johannes Lepsius), wrote works and articles about the ancient history of Armenia and the great role of the Armenian people in the development of modern civilization.
However, there are other researchers who are trying to deny the evidence of ancient sources about Armenia and the Armenians, ignoring the historical facts testifying to the reality of the Armenian ancestral home.
In the 20th and at the beginning of the 21st century, the scientists again addressed Armenians. Based on the results of new anthropological, linguistic, and archeological studies, scientists came to the conclusion that the Armenian Highlands is the cradle of civilization (“Armenia: Cradle of Civilization”, David Marshall Lang, London, 1970), Armenians with their language are one of the oldest nations in the world, and the Armenian Highlands and nearby territories are the ancestral home of the Indo-Europeans. Particular importance was attached to linguistic studies that confirmed the antiquity of the Armenian language, spoken more than 9,000 years ago.
However, let’s note that some authors, falsifying the facts of historical and geographical science, continue to politicize history, calling Armenia and the Armenian Highlands “Eastern Turkey”, “Eastern Anatolia”, “the territory of modern Turkey”, etc.
Numerous archaeological, linguistic, anthropological, and other data make it possible to assert that Armenia is the ancestral home of Armenians and their descendants, the Aryan tribes. Armenia is also the cradle of modern civilization.
Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, we have to accept the fact that the greater part of the ancestral homeland of the Aryan tribes, the Armenian Highlands and its surrounding territories, is in foreign hands.
This is a great pain for the Armenians and a great shame for the Indo-Europeans, the descendants of the Aryan tribesmen. On them, especially on today’s Englishmen and Germans, lies a considerable part of the blame, because, acting in the interests of others, they forgot their ancestral home and their tribesmen remaining there.