The representation of the Armenian Highlands as the region feeding Western Asia strengthened in early Chalcolithic when the trade relations between the Near Eastern states became more intense.
The piece of territory that supplied Mesopotamia with not only water but also metals, woods, dyes, and building materials has become increasingly considered legendary. This belief was reflected in the first tales about the “live water”, as well as in the epics telling about the heroes’ search for the source of immortality beyond “the seven silver mounts.”
The increasing desire of the Mesopotamian rulers to conquer the Armenian Highlands paralleled with the emergence of the legends. The military campaigns of Sargon and Naram-Sin of Akkad in the 3rd millennium BC were reflected in the Armenian mythology, in particular, in the legends relating to the progenitor of Armenians Hayk and the Babylonian tyrant Bel.
The late echo of those clashes is the legend of Ara the Beautiful and the Assyrian queen Semiramis. The Assyrian queen fell in love with the Armenian monarch, but Ara rejected her. The insulted queen waged a war against Ara’s kingdom. Ara the Beautiful got killed in a battle but was shortly resurrected in a nearby cave.
The battlefield of the legendary Armenian-Assyrian clash is located 30 kilometers north of Yerevan at the foothills of Mount Ara. One of the slopes of the mount houses a cave, which is believed to be the place where Ara rose from the dead. The locals still believe in the magical properties of the cave’s water, calling it “live”. Here over millennia, infertile women have worshipped Ara as a great deity of the dying and resurrecting nature.
Ara ler – 4k