ARMENIA, HOMELAND OF THE GERMANS?
Posted on March 9, 2016 by cogniarchae
According to Online etymology dictionary "Germany" means:
"of the same parents or grandparents," c. 1300, from Old French germain
"own, full; born of the same mother and father; closely related"
(12c.), from Latingermanus "full, own (of brothers and sisters); one's
own brother; genuine, real, actual, true," related to germen (genitive
germinis) "sprout, bud," of uncertain origin; perhaps dissimilated
from PIE *gen(e)-men-, from root *gene- "to give birth, beget"
But what if this guess (because that's what it is) is not really a
good one? First of all, the term "German" is much older than medieval
French - we know that it has been in use at least since Julius Caesar.
In the year of 98 AD Tacitus wrote:
"For the rest, they affirm Germania to be a recent word, lately
bestowed. For those who first passed the Rhine and expulsed the Gauls,
and are now named Tungrians, were then called Germani. And thus
by degrees the name of a tribe prevailed, not that of the nation;
so that by an appellation at first occasioned by fear and conquest,
they afterwards chose to be distinguished, and assuming a name lately
invented were universally called Germani"
Wikipedia article on Germania, adds that this term may be Galic in
origin. This would mean that the pronunciation of the first sound
"G" is debatable - it may have also been "J", like in modern French,
and even "Y" or "H" in other local languages. In this case we get a
word sounding very close to "Yermenia", which is a Slavic name for
The first famous chieftain of the Germans, who had lived between
18/17 BC and 21 AD, was "Arminius" (Hermann in German). One would
expect that his name means simply "German" and has the same etymology.
However, we read that it means something completely different:
"The Latinized form Arminius probably reflects the Germanic element
*ermin-, found in the tribal name of the Irminones, probably with an
original meaning of "strong, whole"."
Hermann Monument, Germany
Ok, but then what about the etymology of Armenia? Surely it can't
be German? Unfortunately here etymology dictionary can't help us. It
"Place name traced to 521 C.E., but which is of uncertain origin. "
Wikipedia article on Armenia gives us more information:
"The exonym Armenia is attested in the Old Persian Behistun Inscription
(515 BC) as Armina ( ). The ancient Greek terms a¼~HÏ~AÎ¼ÎµÎ½Î¯Î±
(ArmenÃa) anda¼~HÏ~AÎ¼ÎÎ½Î¹Î¿Î¹ (ArmÃ©nioi, "Armenians") are first
mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus (c. 550 BC - c. 476 BC)"
So it looks like this "Armenia" is at least 500 years older than the
European one. But what does this word mean? What if it simply means
"Arya men"? We do know that the Armenian name of the mount Ararat,
and ancient kingdom of Urartu was "Ayrarat". This word can be traced
all the way to 13th century BC Assyrian records, right in the time of
supposed Aryan migrations. Also, it seems that the etymology of this
word could be traced to word "white", relating to it's snow-covered
Do we have other evidence for this supposed migration, apart from
the similar sounding words? Maybe we do. A genetic one. This is the
current distribution of proto-Germanic R1b in Caucasus region, which
according to eupedia.com peaks in Armenia:
Moreover, Caucasus region is considered to be a cradle of R1b
haplogroup, which had apparently later migrated, only to conquer the
whole of the Western Europe (click to enlarge):
I know, many people will say that relating haplogroups to nations and
culture is a wrong approach, however we can get a pretty good idea
that certain migrations did really happen . So who were these tribes?
Maybe a part of the answer lies again in the word "Armenia". Because of
linguistic change called Rhotacism in some languages like Naepolitan,
Romanesce, Romanian, Basque, Spanish and Portuguese, it is typical
that "L" becomes "R". For example "albero" becomes "arvero", "alto"
becomes "arto" and "Alban" becomes "Arban".
So if we work our way backwards, we may get the word "Almen" from
"Armen". This is very interesting because that is another name for
Germany, in for example, French, Kurdish and some Slavic languages. It
is also related to confederation of Germanic tribes known as "Alemanni"
Current etymology of this word is "all men" (?) We further read that
Alemanni could be "mysteriously" connected to the tribe of Hermunduri,
for whom Pliny the elder, in his Historia Naturalis, lists as one of
the nations of the Hermiones. Could there in fact be some etymological
connection between all these words?
As for Alemanni, we do know that their territory had stretched around
present day Alsace and Northern Switzerland.
Area settled by the Alemanni, and sites of Roman-Alemannic battles,
3rd to 6th centuries
This is very interesting for two reasons:
Firstly, this is the area between Hallstatt and La Tene, the birth
place of Celtic culture and a "melting pot" of it's time, although
it seems that Alemanni expansion in this region was quite a late one.
Secondly, this very region where Alemanni had settled, has since then
been known as "Jervaine" - a word sounding pretty close to Yerevan,
the capital of Armenia.
"The High Kingdom of Jervaine is a small proud nation in the heart of
Europe, known for its wealth, diplomacy, hearty cuisine and fine wine.
It comprises the three provinces Ausaedsa (Alsace), Siovadra (Black
Forest) and Moseola (Moselle). Originally split off the crumbling
Roman Empire, the kingdom has enduredseveral Germanic mass migrations
and has been passed to and from between French and German empires."
As we see, kingdom of Jerwaena is in the exact region around Alsace,
where Alemanni tribes had settled, and it is known under this name
since the time of their settlement. A coincidence?
It would be interesting to look for further linguistic evidence of
connections between this region and Armenia. However, German will not
be of much help because according to most of the authors proto-German
started to develop only around 500BC, with earliest inscriptions
dating to 6th century AD in Allemanic.
This is where we get to the crossroad where genetics, linguistic
and culture separate as the origins of nations get lost in forgotten
tribal migrations and genetic and cultural mixture. However, most of
historians, inspired by Roman authors, trace the origins of Germans
to the North of Europe, and I wanted to illustrate here that this
might not necessarily be the case.
If migration really happened from the south, our last clue may lie in
another word, word by which Germans call their land - Deutschland -
land of the "Deutsch". Etymological dictionary gives us the following
"late 14c., used first of Germans generally, after c. 1600 of
Hollanders, from Middle Dutch duutsch, from Old High German duit-isc,
corresponding to Old English Ã¾eodisc "belonging to the people,"
used especially of the common language of Germanic people, from Ã¾eod
"people, race, nation," from Proto-Germanic *theudo "popular, national"
(see Teutonic), from PIE root *teuta-"people"
Actually, word "Dutch", sounds exactly like the name of ancient people
known asDacians. Dacians were considered to be a Thracian tribe,
original inhabitants of Balkan. But on Wikipedia we read the following:
"The Dacians spoke the Dacian language, believed to have been closely
related to Thracian, but were somewhat culturally influenced by
the neighboring Scythians and by the Celtic invaders of the 4th
"Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC"? Interesting, because before
this period, in 5th century BC the term "Dacian" is completely
unknown to Herodotus. He does mention the Thracian tribe of Getae,
a word that is considered to be a synonym for Dacians. But what if
this was simply a native name before the Germanic invasion, that came
from south and not north like the current mainstream theory states?
I am saying this also because Herodotus actually knew a tribe called
"Germani", even though he mentions them only in one single sentence,
and not where one would expect them to be:
"The other Persian tribes are the Panthialaei, the Derusiaei, and
the Germanii, all tillers of the soil, and the Dai, the Mardi, the
Dropici, the Sagartii, all wandering herdsmen." Hdt. 1.125.4
In conclusion, it seems that for thousands of years, since at least
4th millennium BC, there were massive migrations to Europe from
south and east. It may be so, that one of the last migrations, from
around 5th century BC brought the ancestors of modern German nation
to Europe. However, they would have only followed the routes that
their own ancestors had already established a few millennia earlier.
Perhaps there is some truth after all, in the 11th century German
song "Annolied", which describes origins of Bavarians, people whose
territory is closely connected with Kingdom of Jervaine, with the
"This was always a brave people.
Their tribe came long ago from the magnificent Armenia, where Noah
came out of the ark when he received the olive twig from the dove.
The remains of the ark are still to be found in the highlands of
It is said that in those parts there are still those who speak German,
far towards India.
The Bavarians always loved to go to war.
Caesar had to pay in blood for his victory over them. "