Astuas(Astvats-arm.) is also one of the most ancient deities of the Armenian people. This name is so old, that even though in later times, due to various circumstances such as the adoption of foreign dieties in Armenia, it ceased to be a proper name, rather than disappearing in oblivian, however, it was preserved in the Armenian language as a common noun, and is the most commonly used name for God in Armenian lexicon.
In the last century a number of scholars, under the influence of the false hypothesis that assumed Europe to be the homeland of the parent Indo-European(Caucasian)language, have tried to connect the Armenians with the Thraco-Phrygians. (In this effort they were swayed by certain cultural similarities that could have existed between the latter and the Armenians living in the neighboring Hyeasa-Tarhigama region in Eastern Asia minor.)
Lead by this "migration" theory and based on interpretations of certain old sources accomodated to it, they have made the Armenian word Astuas derive from the name of the Phrygian deity Savazios.
Not mentioning for the moment a series of evidences that contradict this, the derivation of Astuas, from Savazios becomes immensely difficult even on phonetic grounds:to make the first syllable change from 'sav' to 'astu' is purely arbituary and baseless. We believe that, as mentioned earlier, the divine name Savas(ios), like the Greek Zeus, is linked to the name Sibis(Siwini)-Sabas(In the Ugarit inscriptions we find, as already mentioned, Sapas (or Sabas) instead of the Eblaite or Sibis), whereas the Armenian Astuas, which comes from very remote antiquity, has no relationship at all with Savaz(ios).
The Astuas of the Armenian people was a deity of fire. This divine name (Astu-as) is a Nairian(Armenian) word and it is not unlikely that in the remote past it may have been connected to the Assyro-Babylonian word Isatu which meant 'fire'. Astuas, as the principal national deity of the Armenians (Hayk-Haldi), was the greatest of all gods ans as the father of all was elevated to heaven.
In the Achaemenian period the Armenians adopted Ahura-Mazda,who replaced Astuas in the Armenian pantheon, but by changing the name Ahura to Ara, the name of their national god, they armenianized him and called him Ara-mazd(Aramazd), reserving the name Ormizd to the real Ahuramazda adopted from the Pahlavi forms Hormizd and Ormizd.
During the Hellenistic period, introduced in Armenia by the Artashessian dynasty, Astuas became identified with "Dios-Zeus,the father of gods,the creator of heaven and earth," and when Christianity came, he was identified with Jehovah as the heavenly father and the creator of all things.
It seems natural that in Armenia, after the days of Urartu, when Astuas would cede his place successively to Aramazd, Dios-Zeus, and Jehovah, the name Astuas would cease to be a proper name and would be retained in the language merely as a common noun for God.
The name Astuas (Astu-as), as the name of native deity of fire is connected with the word -astu-(fire) which is commponent of Ur-astu(=Ur-Artu), the name of the country(Urartu/Hurartoon), and Asti-sat, the name of the city that was the greatest religious center of fire(sun)-worshipping Armenia.
This sanem name Astu-as is also encountered in the divine names Unag-astuas and Astupini(Astu-pinu), belonging to Hyeasa and Subarians, respectively. It is clear, therefore, that the attempt to derive the Armenian Astuas from the Phrygian Savazios, as well as the 'migration' hypothesis of the Armens, must be considered as outdated misconceptions.
The component -astu- of the name Astuas (or Astu-as) is a dialectal variant of the component -artu- of the name Ur-artu, with -r>s- transition. It follows, then, that Astuas is just a variant of the name Haldi-Aldi or Ardi(Artu>Astu) and is equivalent and synonymous to it.
The form -artu-(Ur-artu) as a variant of -astu- (Ur-astu)is not an uncommon occurence in Armenian. In some Armenian dialects -s- replaces -r- before dental plosives. For example, in the Hamshen dialect the word -mardik-(people) is pronounced as -masdik-, and -kertan- is pronounced as -geston-; in the Hadjen dialect, -kert'ayi>gasti(both meaning 'to leave'); in the Nakhijevan dialect, -mard>mast- and -morti>mosti(both meaning 'skin'), etc.
Evidently,in the Behistun inscriptions,writing Ur-astu, instead of Ur-artu, was not a scribal error; it existed in the speech of the people. A futher evidence is supplied by the name Tstuni(erstu-ni)which preserves the memory of Urastu(=Urartu). All these confirm that the name Ur-astu contains the divine name Astu(as).
It was already shown above, on different occasions, that the name Ardi ('sun') had a variant in the form of Arti (or Artu)which, with -rt The Armenian language has a number of words formed with -atr-,such as -atrasek-('atr-a-sek'=red as fire) and -atrasikanal-('atr-a-sikanal'=to turn red as fire) that have their parallel forms as -artasek-(art-a-sek) and -atrasikanal-(art-a-sikanal).
To write -art- instead of -atr- is not a scribal error either, since we know that, in reality, the name -Ura-atri- had also a variant in the form of -Ur-arti (or Ur-artu). The -astu-(fire) form of the word -artu- or -atr- should be compared not the Pahlavi -atur-(Avestan atars)but, as already stated, with the Accadian word -isatu-(fire).
In the times of Assyria and Urartu, Armenia was a land of active volcanoes with a number of peaks in the Lake Van region, such as the -Uruatri- mountain (Mt.Djuti), the Nemrut, the Varag and the Tondurak, erupting periodically.
Mount Nemrut's famous crater was active until the 1440s and Tondurak, still smoking, is not completely extinct. The entire are that surrounded it was called by the Assyrian kings -Uruatri-(later Urartu), which literally means 'place of fire'.
The -astu-isatu- connection becomes more intelligible if we keep in mind that the series of names we considered, -Uruatri-Urardi-Urartu and Urastu, are merely different forms of the same name given to Armenia by the Semitic Assyro-Babylonian kings of the south, because for them, that land of active volcanoes was just a 'land of fire'.
This is why the form -Ur-astu- in the Accadian text of the Behistun(arm.means 'home of Behis')inscription was more intelligible than the form -Ur-artu: the actual name of the country in question was derived from the name Ar(Ara) and was called Armani or Armeni, which meant, as was shown earlier, 'sons of Ar' or 'the land of the sons of Ar'; hence, the name -Ur-astu utilized in the Akkadian version of Behistun inscription is the direct translation of the name Armina(Armenia) of the Persian original.
The only difference in the meanings of the names Armeni and Urartu was that while the former designated it as the land of the sons of the local god ('the sons of Ar'), the second meant merely the land of the local god('land of fire')
In the light of what has been said above about the Armenian divine name Astuas, it becomes obvious now that it could not have originated from the Phrygian Savazios, a name (Savaz-ios) which appears rather to be connected to Zeus The name Astuas is already encountered within the name Ur-astu(Ur-artu)and in the divine names Unag-astuas of Hyeasa and Astu-pinu of the Subarians. And since the Semitic world has preserved a synonymous and homophonous word, -isatu-, meaning 'fire', then the source of all these must be looked for in the land of Subartu, whose god Astupinu has already been referred to above.
In conclusion, refering to the divine names Hyek(Hayk=Haldi), Ara (=Ardi) and Astuas (=Astu-as), we can say that Hyek(Hayk), the national deity of the Armenians, having in the beginning powers over animal (hunting)and vegetal(agriculture)domains, has developed a fiery nature and evolved into a sun-god and war-god.
His powers as a god of vegetation and, later, as sun-god, were represented by Ara, whereas his powers on the animal world and on fire were symbolized by Astuas. These two, Ara and Astuas, have been combined in Haldi, who, because of the presense of Siwini, has preserved only his fiery (volcano) and vegetal (poplar tree) natures.
The following statements and equations summarize it all:
1)If the temple of Ardi-ni(of Musasir)is Haldi's temple, then, Haldi(Aldi)=Ardi
2)If the goddess Nu-ard(the Nu of Ard) is Ara's wife, then Ard(Ardi)=Ara
3)And if Ur-ardi=Ur-aru=Ur-astu, then Ara=Ardi(Artu)=Astu(Astu-as)
As we speak about the interrelationships between the names Armani(Armeni), Hyek/Hyeasatan and Urartu,we must have in view the following "divine" formula:
Source:"Armenia,Summer and Subartu" by Prof.,Dr.Martiros Kavukjian
Edited by Ashot, 28 February 2008 - 11:55 PM.