How Armenia has been called in different languages of the world since ancient times

  • In the Eblaite language (2300-2100 BC) – Armanum.
  • In the Sumerian language (2200-2000 BC) – Aratta.
  • In the Hattic language (1800-1500 BC) – Armatana.
  • In the Hittite language (1500-1200 BC) – Hayasa.
  • In the Assyrian language (1200-900 BC) – Nairi.
  • In the Akkadian-Babylonian language (900-400 BC) – Urartu.
  • In the Old Persian language (600-200 BC) – Armina.
  • In the Elamite language (encountered from the 6th century BC) – Arminuya.
  • In the Greek language (encountered from the 5th century BC) – Armenia.
  • In the Latin language (encountered from the 2nd century BC) – Armenia.
  • In the Aramaic language (encountered from the 2nd century BC) – Armenia.
  • In the Old Hebrew (8th-5th centuries BC) – Ararat.
  • In the Georgian language (encountered from the 5th century) – Somkheti.
  • In the Kurdish language (encountered in spoken language) – Fle.
  • In the Chinese language (encountered from the 7th century) – Yamani.
  • In the Ancient Egyptian language (1400-1300 BC) – Ermenen.
  • In the Turkish language (encountered from the 12th-13th centuries) – Ermenistan.
  • In the Syriac-Arabic language – Armani (derivative of Eblaite Armanum, encountered in 2300-2100 BC).
  • In the Arabic language (encountered from the 7th century) – Arminia.
  • In the Old Armenian language (encountered in the 8th-7th centuries BC) – Bi-hayani-li.
  • In the Classical Armenian language (encountered from the 5th century) – Hayk (Hayk).
  • In the Middle and Modern Armenian languages (encountered from the 12th century) – Hayastan (Hayastan).

Thus, Armenia was called differently in various languages of the world. However, all these names can be conditionally divided into 3 groups:

1st group: names derived from the root “Arm”: Armenia, Arminia, Armanum, Armatana, Armina, Arminuya, Armani, Ermenen, Ermenistan, Armanistan, and so on.

2nd group: names derived from the root “hay” (hай): Hayasa, Hayastan, Hayk, Bi-hayani-li. Such name variants were used by only two peoples: the Armenians themselves and their western neighbors, the Hittites.

3rd group of names: unique names that cannot be grouped together. These include the Georgian Somkheti, Chinese Yamani, Kurdish Fle, and others.

The reason and logic behind the different names of Armenia in various languages is a topic for a separate, detailed study.

In short, I can say that the first group of names with the root “Arm” is first mentioned in writing to designate Armenia in 2300-2100 BC in the texts of kings who ruled in northern Syria, not in the texts of King Darius on the Behistun Rock (6th century BC) as we were taught in Soviet textbooks. That is, by the time of Darius, the group of names with the root “Arm” for Armenia had existed in the world for at least 1700 years!

The group of names with the root “hay” (hай) for Armenia is first mentioned in writing in the texts of the Hittite kings starting from 1500 BC, and this name is most likely associated with the cult of the god Haya (hая), which is known in writing from the texts of the 2000s BC.

Perhaps (and most likely it is so) in Armenian folk mythology, in a later Christian era of Armenia (i.e., starting from 301 AD), the image of the ancient cult of the god Haya, known in writing from the 2000s BC, transformed into the image of the giant sent by God, who laid the foundation for Armenia – the ancestor Hayk.

As a result, Armenians, like any ancient people on Earth, have both an endonym and exonyms.

Endonym – hay (hай)

There are many exonyms – Armenians, Ermeni, Somekhi, Fle, Urartu, Yamani, and so on. A similar situation is found in almost all ancient peoples of the world.

For example:

  1. Exonym – Albanians. Endonym – Shqiptar
  2. Exonym – Basques Endonym – Euskaldunak
  3. Exonym – Hungarians Endonym – Magyarok
  4. Exonym – Greeks Endonym – Ellines
  5. Exonym – Georgians Endonym – Kartveli
  6. Exonym – Chinese Endonym – Han
  7. Exonym – Koreans Endonym – Saram
  8. Exonym – Assyrians Endonym – Aturaya
  9. Exonym – Germans Endonym – Deutsch
  10. Exonym – Ossetians Endonym – Iron
  11. Exonym – Chukchi Endonym – Luoravetlan
  12. Exonym – Yakuts Endonym – Sakha
  13. Exonym – Japanese Endonym – Nipponjin And so on. I have not provided an exhaustive list of peoples. In fact, each of these peoples has several exonyms. But I provided only one example for each people.

If you pay attention, it turns out that there are actually not many peoples who have an endonym. However, all these peoples are undoubtedly ancient.

All other peoples of the world lack endonyms and use only exonyms.

That is, they use the names given to them by others.

This article will be very useful for Azerbaijanis, who never had their own endonym in history.

The modern name “Azerbaijanis” is an exonym (a foreign designation) that was introduced only by the personal decree of Joseph Stalin in 1936.

Unlike Armenians, who have had both an endonym and exonyms since ancient times, Azerbaijanis not only never had their own endonym and still do not have one, but moreover, there was not even any common designation.

They called themselves only by the names of the nomadic tribes to which they belonged – Oguz, Bayat, Padares, Qashqai, Afshar, Karapapak, Shahsevan, and others.

The term “Caucasian Tatars”, which was used to refer to Azerbaijanis in the Russian Empire, had a rather conditional character, did not apply to Azerbaijanis living in Iran (Azerbaijanis living in Iran were called “Persian Tatars” or “Aderbaijan Tatars”) and was not mandatory.

The first attempt to unite different nomadic tribes under a single name was made only in the 20th century by the authorities of the USSR when, in 1936, by the decree of Joseph Stalin, all Bayats, Afshars, Karapapakhs, Kengerlis, Shahsevans, Terekemes, and other nomadic tribes of Transcaucasia were united under the single name “Azerbaijanis” by an order from Moscow.

And this name was determined personally by Stalin himself. Moreover, Stalin issued a decree prohibiting the new people from leading a nomadic way of life under the threat of criminal liability.

Nomads were equated with vagrants and homeless people and were put in prison or sent to labor correctional camps in Siberia. To prevent them from roaming, villages (collective farms), urban-type settlements were built for them, or they were given technical education and sent to work at enterprises in cities.

By the time the exonym “Azerbaijanis” appeared in 1936, the exonym “Armenians” and the endonym “Hay” had existed in WRITTEN form in this region for more than 4400 years.

Source: TK Tigran Avakyan

Translation of the article by Vigen Avetisyan

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