Tsovinar – Legends of Ancient Armenia

Tsovinar – Legends of Ancient Armenia

In Armenian myths, Tsovinar or Tsovyan (“marine”) was the spirit of thunderstorm and the personification of lightning. Tsovinar was a wrathful woman galloping on a fiery horse in the clouds during thunderstorms. She sent people life-giving rain or deleterious hail.

In the Armenian epos “Sasna Tsrer” (“Daredevils of Sasun”), Tsovinar was the mother of twins Sanasar and Baghdasar. According to the legend, the beautiful Tsovinar, the daughter of an Armenian king, to save her people from a foreign yoke agreed to become the wife of a person of another faith, the ruler of an enemy country, the Baghdad caliph (in an old variant of the epos, it was the Assyrian king Senekerim). However, she put forth a condition – her husband was not allowed to touch her.

During one of her walks, Tsovinar drank two handfuls of water from a marine source that gushed out from under a rock and became pregnant. Eventually, she would give birth to Sanasar and Baghdasar.

The spouse of Tsovinar made several attempts on the sons’ life, but Tsovinar managed to save them every time. When the sons grew up, they fled from the husband of Tsovinar (in an old variant, they killed him in the temple) and returned with their mother to Armenian lands.

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