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Posted 23 February 2008 - 11:49 PM


Cuneiform Sources that Mention The Name Armani

Of the cuneiform inscriptions that mention the name Armani or a homonymous city and country, the following are known to us:

a) Naram-Sin's famous Akkadian inscriptions found on a separate perforated disk where the part that bears the word Ibla is broken ("nar Armanium u…")

b ) The known Hittite inscription called Naram-Sin and His Enemies that lists Naram-Sin's 17 enemy countries and the names of their kings, where the 11th entry reads: " Madakina LUGAL KUR Armani". ("Madakina, the king of the land of the city of Armani")

c) In a Neo-Assyrian copy of an Old Babylonian inscription that consists of a geographical description of Akkadian Sargon's empire, we find the statement "istu Eb-la adi [Bit-Na-ni-ib]? KUR Ar-ma-ni-I" which shows that Eble was in the land of Armani.

d) A certain inscription of the Ur III period contains the name Ar-ma-an. Although during this period and later this city was often called Arman, it was previously known as Alman and Halwan.

e) There is likewise a record from the time of Adad-Nirari I where mention is made of the city of Arman in the land of Ugar Sallim, located somewhere between Azeim and Diyala.

f) The same Arman is mentioned under Tiglath-Pileser I.

g) The city name Halman is mentioned in the inscription of Shalmaneser III.

h) In the inscriptions of Ugarit there is mention of Ha-ar-ma-na/Ha-ar-ma-ni.

i) Adad-Nirari II and other Assyrian kings mention the land of Arime, in the region of the headwaters of the Western Tigris and the Kashiari mountain.

j) Darius the Great mentions the land of Armina in the Behistun inscriptions. The same name is mentioned also in the form of Armni-ia.

Our investigations have revealed that apart from the great city-land of Armani mentioned by Naram-Sin, there have existed two other cities having names of close phonetic similarity. One was located somewhere between Nuzi and Diyala, east of the Tigris, mentioned in different inscriptions in different forms, such as Halmaniwa, Halmanie, Halman, Halwan, and after the Ur III, as Arman, Armani "of Semesi", Arman of Ugar Sallim, etc. There is also mention of another city by the name Halwa(Holwan) in upper Zagros.

In the known Hittite inscription that speaks about Naram-Sin's 17 enemy countries, we read the name Ar-ma-ni, the last syllable ni being represented by the cuneiform sing which is a variant utilized by the Hittites. In other to verify the transliteration of the syllable ni of the Hittite text, we have checked in the same inscription the cuneiform sign of three other names having the ni syllable ([x-i]n-ni-pa-i-la, Zi-pa-ni, Ni-ik-ki[…]) and have noticed that invariably in all instances the same sign is used for the syllable ni. This removes the probability of any error and confirms the accuracy of the transliteration of the last syllable of Armani as ni.

In Naram-Sin's Akkadian inscriptions the name Armani has also been rendered in the following forms: Armanu, Armanum, Armanim or Arman, in which we find, instead of the ending -ni, the Akkadian derivative forms -nu, -num, -nim, or the contracted form -n. All these variants, however, do not in any way negate the fact that the ending of Armani is -ni. In Assyro-Babelonian inscriptions the ending -I of nouns is often deleted when the Akkadian grammatical suffixes -u, -um, or -im are added. Thus, in the case of Armani, the derived ending -ni-u becomes -nu, -ni-um becomes -num, -ni-im becomes -nim, and sometimes -ni becomes –n simply by the deletion of the sound i. We cite the following examples for comparison: Mitanni/Mitannu, Mardamani/Mardaman, Mardabanum/Mardaban, Qattunanim/Qattunan, Halukkani/Halukkan, Harmana/Harmani, Harrani/Harranum/Harranim/Harran(passim).

All these examples support the fact that the correct and exact form of the name under study is Armani, and that it belongs to the SUBARIAN--HURRIAN—NAIRIAN group of names ending in ----ni.

The exact location of Armani mentioned by Naram-Sin is, undoubtedly, very important. In order to locate Armani accurately, it is necessary to find first the exact location of Eble, since the two are mentioned together in Naram-Sin's inscription.


Armani And Ebla

As it it known, Ebla has been discovered by the Italian archaeologist Prof. Paolo Matthiae. During 1974-1976, Matthiae brought to light more than 16,000 tablets of cuneiform inscriptions, the state archives of Ebla. On the basis of this great discovery he published his book, Ebla: An Empire Rediscovered, where he summarizes the results of his excavations up to 1977 and gives his observations and evaluations of the find.

In view of the importance that the location of Ebla and the date furnished by the archives bear upon the question of Armani, we would like to mention here some of the information and the viewpoints given by the author, adding our own remarks and evaluations.

Earlier, having in view the information given in the inscription of Gudea of Lagash regarding the location of Ebla (and that of "the city of Ursu of Mount Ebla" ), we had expressed some doubt about identifying the city discovered at Mardikh with the Ebla mentioned by Naram-Sin and Gudea. Also it was not explained how Ebla was named Mardikh, because it is not an Arabic name. If it were a later appellations of the same city, there would have certainly existed a record by a later chronicler to this effect. Unfortunately no such record is known. This problem could have been solved if a temple were to be found at Mardikh dedicated to the famous god Marduk of Babylon (as is the case of Bagharshapat which is also called Echmiadzin), but no such indication exist in the Mardikh writings. Even if such an important temple did exist after the time of the archives, it would be very difficult to prove it, because no archives nor any important inscriptions concerning a later period have been discovered as yet in Ebla.

In spite of all these, however, the overwhelming weight of the numerous writings, letters and contracts in existence, all written in the name of Ebla and her king, does not leave any doubt that Mardikh was indeed Ebla.

It is essential to resolve this problem correctly before discussing the question of Armani.

For this purpose, we would like first to make some references to certain information regarding Mardikh supplied by Paolo Matthiae. In his book the author divides the life of Mardikh-Ebla into a number of chronological periods with the following approximate dates:

3500-2900 B.C., traces of human presence (prehistoric period).

2900-2400 B.C., period of development into a settlement.

2400-2250 B.C., the first period of Ebla as a great urban and cultural center. The state archives consisting of more than 16,000 clay tablets of cuneiform inscriptions are assumed to belong to this period. They were discovered under the ruins of the citadel's palace which, according to the author, was burned and destroyed by Naram-Sin in 2250 B.C. after 150 years of prominence.

2250-2000 B.C., when the city was reconstructed (except the palace that housed the archives), and was destroyed again.

2000-1600 B.C., when the city reflourished and became a great urban center, and was finally destroyed, presumably, by the Hittites.

According to the information given, the period represented by the archives was Ebla's golden age of economic prosperity and political power. The more than 16,000 clay tablets contain mostly commercial and accounting records. Documents of military, political and historical content are very few and of little significance and in their vagueness do not represent the expected historiographic value.

The nature of the contents of the archives gives us the impression that Ebla was not a powerful military-political empire. All empires of great military strength, like the Assyrian, Hittite, and others, have left inscriptions that speak mostly of their invasions and conquests, the massacres and the destructions they have inflicted and the slaves they have carried away, whereas in the archival documents of Ebla we do not find any striking information about such events, not even about significant construction works. Perhaps the particular period depicted by the archives was too early for autocratic rulers to indulge in military exploits and political expansions, a practice that seems to have started in the Near East. It is true, nonetheless, that Ebla has had some incipient ventures, such as the victorious wars she had fought against Mari.

In her days of prosperity Ebla was a great and well-developed center noted for her textile and agricultural and furniture industry. There are indications that she had established commercial (not military or imperialistic) bases and colonies in countries far and near, from which, presumably, she received tax revenue and employed mercenary soldiers (rather than raising her own permanent army) for the protection of these colonies and possibly for the security of the caravan routes. In a letter given to the royal emissary of Hamazi by the governor of the palace of Ebla there seems to be an instance of demanding mercenaries in exchange of goods. All these indicate that if Ebla has ever been an "empire", it was a commercial empire that had international peaceful relations considered quite extensive for her time.

"A tablet from the Old Akkadian level of Nuzi (then called Gasur) represented a map of the region on which towns are marked with little circles; the only fully extant name reads mas-gan BAD-Eb-la, i.e. , masken (settlement of) Dur-Ebla." If this is really another Ebla, then we think it is quite possible for it to be one of the commercial colonies of the actual Mardikh-Ebla, called by the same name, since it was not unusual in those days to call the colonies by the name of the mother country or city.

We have made these introductory remarks about Ebla because, as we have said earlier, the discovery of its location and the data supplied by the archives are very important for resolving the question explanations in these archives.

In the Ebla inscriptions there is frequent mention of the term Ar-mi. Prof. G. Pettinato, the epigrapher of the Ebla expedition, deepening his research on the reading and interpretation of the inscriptions, had read and translated the word Arm-mi not as a proper noun but as a common noun meaning 'cities'. This it becomes evident that in the archival writings of Ebla, while the names of hundreds of cities, far and near, are mentioned by virtue of her extensive international commercial ties, the name Armani is conscpicuously absent.

At present we see two possible explanation for this puzzling situation.

The first is that the destruction of Ebla in the period of the archival inscriptions did not occur in the days of Naram-Sin ( WHO MENTIONS ARMANI AND EBLA TOGETHER), but much earlier. According to Matthiae, the period represented by the archival writings spans 150 years (70 years according to Pettinato), during which time five kings have occupied the throne of Ebla. The last king was Ibbi-Sipis in whose days the city was burned and destroyed together with the citadel's main palace, under the ruins of which the tablets have been discovered. If Ebla were destroyed by Naram-Sin, then, in his inscriptions, along with King Ris-Tesub (Red-Adad) of Armani, the name of King Ibbi-Sipis too should have been mentioned (or at least the name of one of the kings recorded in the archives). The fact that the name of the king of Ebla is absent from the inscription leads us to think that in the days of Naram-Sin as well Ebla was under the rule of the king of Armani. Therefore, the absence of Armani in the archives of Ebla and the omission of the name of the king of Ebla in Naram-Sin's inscription suggest that the destruction of Ebla did not take place in the time of Naram-Sin, but much earlier. Thus, Prof. Pettinato's conclusion of placing the date of the archives of Ebla at 2500 B.C. seems to us to be more accurate.

According to certain existing data, in the time of Akkadian Sargon, Ebla was in Armani's sphere of influence. It could be that in these earlier years of the archives period Armani was perhaps not powerful and large enough and not yet organized to constitute an important political and governmental center, much the same as Akkad, which, too, is absent from the archival records of Ebla.

Secondly, if we suppose that in those days Armani did exist as strong political center having Ebla in her sphere of influence, then the relationships between Armani and Ebla could not have had that particular nature under the circumstances of which many foreign cities, far and near, have been included in the archival records. In fact, no city situated beyond the Kanes-Harran-Assur-Hamazi line in the Armenian Highland has entered into the circle of business transactions of Ebla.

When Ebla was subject to Armani, her rulers could have had some sort of family relations with Armani's royal houses. It will be shown below that Armani was Subarian.

The name Sennam of the first king of the city of Ursu that had close ties with Ebla was a genuine Hurrian(or Subarian) name.

The torso of a statue has been unearthed in Ebla, which is dated by Prof. Matthiae 2000-1900 B.C. According to the Akkadian inscription on this torso, the father of Ibbit-Lim, king od Ebla, was called Irgis-Hepa, which, as seen clearly, consists of combination of two ethnically different, Amorite and Hurrian (or Subarian) names.

G. Pettinato, drawing our attention to this particular point, writes: "This would indicate that Ebla stood at the crossroad of two etnic components - Amorite and Hurrian - living peaceably in Ebla."

The inscriptions of Alalakh IV mention a certain man, by the name Ehli-Tesup, who came from Ebla. It is not difficult to see that the name Tesup is Subarian. Already in Ebla, in the time of the archives, there were in office a governor called Subur and a production boss or master called by the Subarian name Guzuzi (The name Guzuzi is found as Kuzuzu in Gelb's list of 29 Subarian names). Thre are also names Ar-Ennum and Irkab-Ar, about which we shall speak in the 4th section of this Chapter. Here we may also ask if it could not be possible that the following words in a letter written by Ibubu, the governor of the palace of Ebla, to the emissary of the king of Hamazi, would indicate the kinship between the rulers of Ebla and Hamazi: "You (are my) brother and I (am your) brother; (to you) man-brother … Irkab-Damu, king of Ebla (is) brother of Zizi, king of Hamazi; Zizi, king of Hamazi (is) brother of Irkab-Damu, king of Ebla."

It is known that in later periods foreign kings have sometimes called each other "brother" alluding to their divine origin, but any proof or example showing the existence of this practice in a period as early as this is unknown to us. The kings of Ebla were elected or appointed, hence their kingship was neither hereditary nor of divine origin. Furthermore, there it is the governor of the palace that calls Hamazi's emissary "man-brother". In my case, this particular point is worth our attention.

,,,The fact that Armani is not mentioned in the archives of Ebla can also be explained by the fact that the Armenian Highland did not need the products of Ebla. Being itself rich in precious metals and with forests that provided the necessary materials for the production of furniture and other items, the Armenian Highland had, even before Ebla, developed an industry and commercial ties with Southern Mesopotamia. We shall speak about this in connection with Medzamor in the Chapter Aratta and Erech. There was no room, therefore, in the Armenian Highland for Ebla's commercial expansions.

…Examination show that the Ebla mentioned in the inscription of Akkadian Sargon, Gudea, and Alalakh is none other than Mardikh-Ebla. Here I quote from Sargon's inscription the portion that is directly related to our problem under study: "…King Sargon worshiped Dagan at Tatuli, in the upper land… He have Mari, Yarmuti, and Ebla, up to the Cedar Forest and the Silver Mountains, to Sargon…"

It is obvious that in order to get to these countries, Sargon must have moved (from Akkad) upward along the Euphrates. Of the upper lands, he has reached first Mari, and then Yarmuti(he also been at Tattul, at the temple of Dagan). Then he has moved toward Ebla and from there to the Cedar Forest and the Silver Mountains in the region of Cilicia. As it is already seen, Mardikh is on the routh from Mari to Cilicia. Therefore, the Ebla mentioned by Sargon cannot be other than Mardikh.

It becomes important now to determine whether the Ebla mentioned by Naram-Sin is also that at Mardikh or is it the other Ebla, supposedly placed in the east of Tigris. Here is a copy of the three columns, and important portion of the fourth, of Naram-Sin's famous Akkadian inscription, with its translation, which has

Column I. Never since the creation of mankind has any king among kings taken Arman(um) and Ebla. Nergal opened the road for Naram-Sin, the strong, and gave him Armanum and Ebla: he bestowed on him also Amanus, the Mountains of Cedars, and the Upper Sea. Thanks to the might of Dagan, who exalts his majesty.

Column II. Naram-Sin the strong conquered Arman(um) and Ebla and, from the bank of the Euphrates to Ulisum, struck down the peoples whom Dagan delivered into his hands and they bore the basket of (became liable to do service to) Aba, his god, and he had in his power the Amanus, the Cedar Mountain. When Dagan judged the judgment in favour of Naram-Sin the mighty.

Column III delivered Rid-Adad (Ris-Tesub), the king of Arman(um), into his hands; and he had bound him… he made his statue of diorite, and dedicated it to Sin, (saying) thus "Naram-Sin the mighty, king of the four regions, when Dagan gave Arman(um) and Ebla into my hands, and I bound Ris-Tesub, the king of Arman(um), at that time I made my likeness.

Column IV. And he ( ! ) dedicated it to Sin. Whosoever damages my name, having smashed my statue before Sin, and whoever …

Here, too, it is clearly seen that for his invasion Naram-Sin has moved up (from Akkad) along the Euphrates and has reached the Mediterranean and Amanus. It is obvious, therefore, that it was Mardikh-Ebla that was on his invasion route and certainly not the one "located in the east of the Tigris."

We see a second clear and direct indication in Naram-Sin's words, particularly where he says: "From the banks of the Euphrates to Ulisum, struck down the peoples whom Dagan delivered into his hands." In Gadd and Legrain's work (p. 80) Ulisu(m) is placed at the shores of the Mediterranean. This means that Naram-Sin's main invasion route was from the banks of the Euphrates (near Mari and Tattul where was the famous temple of Dagan, seeing that he was coming from Akkad) to Ulisu (at the shores of the Mediterranean) and Amanus. The conclusion is that the city of Ebla mentioned by Naram-Sin could not have been located in the east of the Tigris. It could only correspond to Mardikh-Ebla.


The Location Of Armani

We must now address the question: Where was the Armani mentioned by Naram-Sin?

First of all it is clear that the city of Halwan/Halman>Arman, located in the region of Diyala, east of the Tigris, was very far from and out of Naram-Sin's route from the Euphrates to Ulisu (at the Mediteranean shore), Amanus, and Cilicia. It follows tha the Armani mentioned by Naram-Sin could not be the Halman which is placed in the east of the Tigris. Where, or, on which side of the Euphrates was, then, Armani?

Our studies have shown that the central regions of the land of the city-land of Armani was located upwards of Tuttul and not on the west, but on the immediate east of the Euphrates.

We have seen before that Sargon, prior to invading Ebla, "worshiped the god Dagan in the city of Tuttul" located on the bank of the Euphrates, about 70 km below Raqqah. There is evidence that Dagan of Tuttul (his temple at Tuttul) was so famous and venerated that even Ebla, though counting Dagan among her own main deities, still used to send valuable gifts to the Dagan of Tuttul. (Matthiae quotes "Nine minas and thirty-six shekels of silver for a chariot with two wheels for Dagan of Tuttul", or "an unspecified quantity of gold for the decoration of a table and for a gold vase, gifts of Ibrium, for Dagan of Tuttul.") Naram-Sin also writes that "thanks to Dagan" or "when Dagan judged the judgment in favour of Naram-Sin", he conquered Armani and the others were delivered into his hands. Because of their great importance for determining the location of Armani, I would like to quote once again Naram-Sins's words to focus our attention:

Thanks to the might of Dagan…Naram-Sin the strong conquered Arman(um) and Ebla and, from the bank of the Euphrates to Ulisum, struck down the peoples whom Dagan delivered into his hands… and he had in his power the Amanus, the Cedar Mountain. When Dagan judged the judgment in favour of Naram-Sin the mighty, delivered Rid-Adad (Ris-Tesub), the king of Arman(um), into his hands;…

This statement clearly shows that Naram-Sin was able to conquer Armani thanks to "Dagan judging the judgment in his favour." What we understand from these words is that Naram-Sin, like his grandfather Sargon, was at the city of Tuttul worshiping at the famous temple of Dagan: in other words, he asked Dagan for assistance before invading the mighty Armani, and Dagan, through his oracle pronounced by the priests, judged the judgment in his favour. Thereupon, he invaded Armani that was nearby, before moving on to the lands extending from the Euphrates of Ulisu(m) up to the Mediterranean, shore, i.e. Eble, Amanus, and the Cedar Mountain.

It becomes clear now, that Armani must have been located upwards of Tuttul (past Tuttul traveling upstream where the river bends west) and to the east of the Euphrates.

We have already seen that when Sargon began his invasion upward the Euphrates proceeding through the Mari-Yarmuti-Ebla-Amanus route, obviously he did not come across Armani, since he makes no mention of it. If Armani were located in the west of the Euphrates, on Sargon's route from Mari and Amanus, he certainly would not have missed it and would not have failed to mention it, particularly that it was a well-known city-land at that time, such as that " never since the creation of mankind had any king among kings taken [it] before Naram-Sin." But Armani could not have been too far either, because, as it was pointed out, according to one inscription, we know that in the time of Sargon Ebla was within the sphere of Armani.

It is clear, therefore, that the city-center of Armani was located east of the Euphrates. It was here that Naram-Sin defeated the king of Armani, after which he proceeded to acquire the territories between the Euphrates and the Mediterranean, that is, Ebla, Amanus, and the Cedar Mountain.

We find that only after defeating the mighty king of Armani immediately to the east of the Euphrates and north of Tuttul did Naram-Sin feel himself secure enough to invade west of the Euphrates, to Ebla and Amanus. There are indications that in those days as well Ebla was under the rule of the king of Armani, ( This same opinion is expressed in the work of Gadd and Legrain (URI, 78), where it says: "Note that the wording of the present text, especially of 11.23-28, suggests that Rid-Adad[Ris-Tesub] was not only king of Armani but also ruled Ebla.") , because, while on the one hand Naram-Sin proudly and repeatedly states that he has defeated King Ris-Tesub of Armani, on the other hand he does not make any references to the king of Ebla, as if implying that by defeating the king od Armani, Ebla (and Amanus as well) has easily fallen into his hands. This confirms that Armani was not far from the Euphrates. We think, therefore, that Armani was located in the area of the sources of the Khabur river, in the region of Armenian Mesopotamia and Aghtznik. N.Adontz had already asserted in his time that the Armani mentioned by Naram-Sin is other than Halman, placed east of the Tigris, in the region of Diyala, north of Khanakin. He had pointed out that the location of Armani must be in the north of Syria. It is interesting to note here that the region of the sources of the Khabur river was called Hark'(Harki) by Adad-Nirari II.

The question arises now as to why is it that Sargon also did not find it necessary to invade Armani before invading Ebla, since we have date indicated that in his time as well Ebla was within the country or the sphere of influence of Armani. There could be different reasons for this: It is possible that in those days Armani was in a difficult situation: or, perhaps Sargon was maintaining friendly relations with Armani and that the main purpose of his Ebla-Amanus invasion was not so much to conquer Ebla as to obtain lumber for his construction projects from the forests of cedar trees of Amanus.

The reason for having friendly or traditional ties with Armani could be attributed to the fact that the city of Azubirani, Sargon's home and birthplace, was probably in the land of Armani-Subari.

We find that Armani was, if not the capital, at least one of the royal cities of Subartu, a large country of the epoch, whose boundaries at the time must have extended to the approaches of Tuttul in the south, to Nuzi-Lullubi in the east, and to the Ebla-Ugarit-Alalakh region in the west. The Armani-Subari equivalence will be shown further in the third section of Chapter Two, wher we shall speak about the names Armarili and Surili.

In a later Ur copy of one of his inscriptions, Naram-Sin calls himself the ruler "of all Elam up to Barahsum and of Subartum up to the Cedar Forest." (Mat Elamtin ga-li-sa-ma a-ti-ma Ba-ra-ah-sim u mat SUBUR(su-bar-timK) a-ti-ma kisti erinim.) I. Gelb, in writing about this Subartu, states that it extended from Barabsum (east of Diyala) to the Cedar Forest of Amanus. (This shows that Ebla was also included in Subartu). These borders fo Subartu coincided later with the borders of Mitanni. It is known in fact that in the times of Saussatar-Sutarna, Mitanni comprised Nuzi in the east and Alalakh in the west.

In the known Hittite inscription that speaks about Naram-Sin's 17 enemies, the location of Armani coincides exactly with the location of this Subartu. In the text the land of Parasi( =Barahsum) is found in the 9th place of the listing of the 17 enemies. The name of the country and her king occupying the 10th place of the listing are on a damaged portion of the inscription and cannot be read (indicated by dots in brackets in the transliteration). Armani is in the 11th place and the land of the Cedar Forest the 12th. This particular order shows that geographically Armani was located between the land of Parasi(Marhasi) and the land of the Cedar Forest (Amanus-Cilicia), but close to the latter, since there was another country between Parsi and Armani. This evidence also puts Armani in the region of Subari, in the area of the basin of the sources of the Khabur and the Western Tigris, in Armenian Mesopotamia and around Aghtznik. The victory monument of Naram-Sin has been in this particular area (Aghtznik) of the Armenian Highland and has fought against its forces.

A specific indication to the supremacy of Armani over Ebla may also be found in the boastful words of Naram-Sin that "never since the creation of mankind has any king among kings taken Armani and Ebla." In fact, we know (and Naram-Sin should nave known too) that Sargon had "TAKEN" Ebla. It seems, therefore, that Naram-Sin's main emphasis here is essentially on mighty Armani and not so much on Ebla.

This interpretation makes it clearer now why Naram-Sin mentions twice and with considerable pride his victory over the king of Armani, but does not mention the king of Ebla, and why in the Hittite text Armani and her king are mentioned and Ebla is totally absent.

Reference was made above to statement found in a Neo-Assyrian copy of an inscription that speaks abbou the regions of the empire of Sargon of Akkad. The statement reads as follows: "istu Eb-la adi Bi-Na-ni-ib KUR Ar-ma-ni-I" ("From Ebla to Bitnanib [in] the land of Armani.) If we understand these words, as all authors do, meaning that the area from Ebla to Bitnanib was within the land of Armani, then we can consider it as another concrete proof for the extensiveness of Armani and her supremacy over Ebla in the times of Sargon.

…In Sargon's inscription (The Sargonian inscription shows that at the time Ebla was within the land of Armani. According to the information given by Matthiae, in the writings of Mardikh-Ebla, the ruler of Ebla is not called Lugal(king), but en (lord). In the time of the archives of Ebla there still existed a Community(Elders') Council that elected the Lugal or the en, positons that have not always been hereditary.) the name is written clearly as Armani and not as Halman or Halwan, which only in a much later period began to be called Alman>Arman.

Accepting that both the Armani in the Armani and Ebla pair of Naram-Sin's inscription and the Armani in the Armani and Ebla pair of Sargon's inscription represent the same great Armani, we do not think it improbable that the Eblas may have been different, one being Mardikh-Ebla and the other maskan Dur-Ebla, because as it was noted, Armani included also the Eastern Khabur in central Subartu. Nevertheless, in view of all the above considerations regarding the probability of Mardikh-Ebla being subservient to the mighty Armani, it seems more likely to us that the Armani and Ebla pair mentioned by Sargon corresponds to the one mentioned by Naram-Sin.

The Arma mentioned in the inscriptions of Alalakh IV must be the same as the nearby city-land of Arma-ni referred to by Naram-Sin, or the name of one of it's regions or cities, without the toponymic suffix -ni, similar to the form Arme. Just as we have, as an eponym, the personal or ethnic name Armen derived from the place (or ethnic) name Armani, and the personal name Armaneak (<Armani + ak, Armeneak<Armani + ak) derived from Armani, similarly we have the personal name Harma, (as preserved by Khorenatsi) derived from the form Arma, where the initial h sound is added for intensification (cf. aganil>hangil, ect.).

In conclusion, we can say that ll known data show that the southern part of the great country of Armani which included the city of Armani mentioned by Naram-Sin, was located around the regions of the sources of the Khabur and the Western Tigris and that it constituted the important part of Subartu including the Armenian Mesopotamia and Aghtznik. Some 12-13 centuries after Naran-Sin, at the end of the second and at the beginning of the first millennium B.C. the kings of Assyria have recorded the name of this region of Armani in the form of Arime.


Arime (Armani) And Subartu

In a lengthy inscription that speaks about some of his invasions, Adad-Nirari II (911-891 B.C.) gives direct and concrete explanations about the geographical locations of a number of cities in the land of Armani making it possible for us to form an accurate picture about the geographical regions that were part of that great country. Here is his exact testimony (I quote only those sections that interest us):

…in that year, and in the month Kislimu,… from above the river Habur, the land Harki(?), as far as the city of Carchemish, which is in Hatte, he raided … . …in that year and in the month Airu, during an expedition against the land Arime, (in) the city of Pausa, which lies at the foot of Mount Kasiari (?), he fought (a battle). In that year, and in the same month, during an expedition against the land Arime, at the entrance (lit., head) of the city of Nabula …, he fought (a battle) … . In the same year, and in the same month, during an expedition against the land of Arime, in the city … Tibua (?), which is on the Tigris, he fought a battle… . In that year, and in the month Ululu, during an expedition against the land Arime, in the city of Murarir (?), which is in th eland of Supre, he fought a battle.

As we see clearly, Adad-Nirari explicitly states that one of the regions of the land of Arime which he invaded was at the foot of the Kashiari mountain, another was on the Tigris and still another was in the land of Supre(Subre). In other words, the land of Arime included a portion of the Tigris (certainly the region of its headwaters), the Kashiari mountain, and Subre. This direct testimony by Adad-Nirari links the land of Arime unquestionably with that of Subartu-Subre.

It would be appropriate here to clear a misunderstanding in connection with the name Arma and Arime that causes some confusion in historiography. In the early stages of critical historiography in 19th century, the idea was advanced that the terms Arma or Aram, and Arime or Arme are Semitic and pertain to the Semites. I. Diakonoff, makes the supposition tha the name Armina ( Armini-Armeni) is given to Armenian and the Armenians because of their neighborhood to the Aramaeans in the southern region of Hayk.

The idea of seeing a Semitic origin in the names Arma, Aram, Arim, Arime, Arme, Armani, Armina, Armeni, and the like, had become such an obsession with some authors that it prevents them from seeing the essence of the interrelationships between the Armenian Highland and Northern Mesopotamia, and creates added difficulties for the clarification of certain obscure problems related to them.

The fact is that the very name Aram has no connection of origin with those Semites who were later called Aramaeans. A careful study of the cuneiform documents of the Near East shows that the Semitic nomadic tribes that were later called Aramaeans, were previously known by the names Sutu and Ahlame. They had come to Northern Mesopotamia and settled in the territories of Mitanni ( Naharina) which was either destroyed or about to be destroyed at that time, and they were called Aramaeans after the ancient name Arma or Aram of the land on which they settled. A similar example is the case of the Egyptians; the name Egypt did not belong to the Arabs, but they have come and settled in the land of Egypt, and by this ancient name of the land they were (and still are) called Egyptians.

J. Myers had written earlier that the Aramaeans* seem to have started to come out of Northeastern Arabia around 1350 B.C. when nomadic marauders whom the Babylonian kings called “SUTI AND ACHLAME” were spreading, looting and devastating along the entire Euphratian border.

R. O’Callaghan has the following to say about the appearance of these Semitic tribes: “The Sutu and the Akhlamu are first mentioned in Assyrian sources as appearing in the time of Arik-den-ili (1316-1305) of Assyria. The former name is connected with the Egyptian Sttyw, meaning “Asiatics”. Thus as a matter of fact they do service as Egyptian mercenaries…”

We see an indication to the recent appearance of these tribes in Northern Mesopotamia in the following statement of Adad-Nirari I (cir. 1310-1280 B.C.): “…conqueror of the lands of Turuki and Nigimhi in their totality, together with all their kings, mountains, and highlands, the territory of widespreading Kuti (v. adds, conqueror of Kutmuhi and all of its allies), the hordes of the Ahlami and Suti, the Iauri and their lands, who enlarged boundary and frontier…”

As we see, according to Adad_Nirari’s assertion, at the beginning of the 13th century these Semitic tribes were still in the process of enlarging their borders by moving forth and occupying new territories that did not belong to them. And the kings of Assyria still calls them by their original names. Suti and Ahlame; in other words, they were not yet called Arims or Arams. This period must correspond to the days of Mitanni’s downfall, because, obviously, these tribes could not have occupied these Mitannian lands in the Kashiari-Kutmukhi regions in her days of power (there must have been though some Assyro-Babylonian elements in the land, but their numbers and role must have been no decisive significance). Alfred Haldar assesses correctly the situation of those days when he writes: “It is a fact that there was a general decline of civilization in the Near East about 1200 B.C. and the following centuries.”

In the time of Shalmaneser I (1266-1243 B.C.) these Semitic tribes, as the allies of the Hittites, had already penetrated into the lands of Hanigalbat, bu they were still called by their original name, Ahlamu, and were not considered Aramaeans. Here is what Shalmaneser says:

…When with the behest of the great gods, I advanced against the land of Hanigalbar with the mighty hosts of my lord Assur, I forced my way over difficult roads and narrow passes. Shattuara, king of Hani (v. has, Hanigalbat), the army of Hittites and Ahlami with him, I surrendered … and I fought a battle and I accomplished their defeat … The army of Hittites and Ahlami, his allies, I slaughtered …

As we can see, these nomadic newcomers called Ahlami have already become Hittites’ allies, but still they are called by their original name, Ahlami, that is, they are not yet called Aramaeans.

Bit-Zamani( Diyarbekir region) represents the farthest penetration to the north of these Semites.

About one century and a half after Shalmeneser I, in the time of Tiglath-Pileser I (1115-1077 B.C.), many of the Ahlami incomers have already become the inhabitants of Arma, that is, men of Arma, Tiglath-Pileser writes: “… a-na libbi ah-la-mi-I Ar-ma-a-ia nakrut A-sur beli-ia al-lik is-tu tar-si Su-hi a-di Kar-ga mis as Ha-at-te i-na isten u-me ah-bu-ut…”

(“…[into] the midst of the Ahlami, the men of Arma, who were enemies of Ashur my lord, I marched. From Sukhi to the city of Carchemist, in the land of Hatte, in one day I raided…”)

Here it is clearly seen that Arma, with its determinative Kur, is a land-name, and not an ethnic designation; Ahlami is the name of the tribe that became the inhabitants of Arma.

We see the same picture in the time of Adad-Nirari II (911-891 B.C.) when these Semitic tribes, having already settled in the land, have now added the term Aramaean to their tribal name Ahlami. Furthermore, the term Ahlami Aramaeans shows that at that time there were also non-Ahlami Aramaeans.

As we have seen above, the information we obtain from the inscription of Adad-Nirari II speaking about a few of his invasions to the land of Arime shows that in his time the name Arime was a geographical term designating large expanses of land. Under this name were grouped the mountainous regions of the North as well as the plains of the South, all belonging to the land of Subari and the state of Mitanni. The main central regions of the state of Mitanni were in the mountain belt in the North, and this region was known earlier by the name Arma ( Arma-ni ) . The names Arma and Aram are derived from the same root with which are connected the later forms: Arim, Arime, Arme, Urme, and others.

R.O’Callaghan, as a conclusion to his investigation of the topic, writes: “Semantically, why any people should be called Aramaeans we are not in a position to say. It is most reasonable to think that the word was first a place name, possibly a mountain city Arma, mentioned by Shalmanesar I”

This city must have existed even in the time of Naram-Sin in the region of Armani. In one of Naram-Sion’s inscription s it is written: “Naram-Sin, king of the four regions, when he warred against Harshamadki, lord of A-ra-am and Am: in Ti-ha-ar, the mountain, he overcome him” It seems that the city Ar-am (or Ara-am) was one of the cities in the region of Armani possibly in the region of the Armenian Taurus mountains. The mountain name Tihar is reminiscent of the name Taur(us) and the city name Am is reminiscent of the name of the city Amedu or Amida (Diyarbekir), where the -du or –da endings must be considered toponymic suffixes (cf. Ayadu (land), Arsidu (mountain), Tayad and Irida (fortresses), also Kuda, Baruata [=Bit-Barua], etc). We already know that Naram-Sin’s victory monument was founded near Amida.

A city called Arramu (ar-ra-mu) is mentioned together with the city of Muraru (mu-ra-ru) in the Ebla inscriptions. Arramu (or Aramu) is the city of Aram (a-ra-am) mentioned with Muraru by Naram-Sin. Muraru was in Arme-Subria or in its vicinity, because, according to the inscription of Adad-Nirari II mentioned above, Murarir was in the land of Subre.

In our earlier works, talking about the etymology of the national names Ar-ma-ni/Ar-me-ni of Armenians, we have shown that it originates from the name of their national sun-god Ar (or Ara ) and means sons of Ar (the component ma or me meaning ‘to beget, offspring, or son’, hence Ar-me-ni literally meaning ‘ar-son-s’) and that they have called themselves simply Ar. (See – The Land and People of Ar.)

We have already mentioned above that the name Aram does not belong to the Semites; on the contrary, it belongs to the people of the Armenian Highland who were called Ar or Armani/Armen. The name Ar-am, like Ar-ma, is constructed on the root ar. The ending –am is substitution for –ma, or they are variants. Gelb, in speaking about the names Hupitam, Pusam and Sehlam, which he has included in his list of Hurrian personal names, pays particular attention to this suffix –am and writes the following: “Interesting is the suffix –am (later –a) found in the Old Akkadian name Hapiram, in the UR III names Hupitam, Sehlam, and Pusam, and in several later Chagar Bazar names: Apsam, Hupitam, Seham, Sennam and Zipsam” Compare also with the names: Bagam, from the house of Vahuni; Arsam, king od Dzopk’ – Kommagene; Argam, etc. These examples prove beyond doubt that in the name Ar-am –am is a suffix and that the root Ar belongs to that series of place and tribal names original to the Armenian Highland, all of which contain the component Ar (Ara) as their initial element.

Gelb quotes alos the following personal names (which are related to Ar/Ara): “Published tablets from this [Humarabi] period mention persons with such names as A-ri-a and A-ra-am-mu-su.ni, known to be Hirrian from parallels at Nuzi.” Gelb sees in these words the roots ar and mus, and, with reason, he does not consider them Semitic. Though he calls them Hurrian, we are inclined to call them Subarian. In the compound name A-ra-am-mu-su-ni, it is possible to see two different structures or modes of compounding: one is Aram-musu-ni, where the second component is mus or mush, as accepted by Gelb, and the other is Aramu-su-ni, where the second component is su( = supari: we shall talk about this in the next section). Compare this with Da-su-uk and Ha-su-uk, the names of Subarian man and a man of Nuzi, respectively. In our opinion, regardless of which of the mush or su of the Subarian region of the Armenian Highland, with which, as it is obvious, is directly related the first component Aram of this name.

The southern (particularly the southwestern) regions of the Armenian Highland, being in direct contact with Sumero-Akkadians, have also been called Ar-me (= Ara-me) with the Sumerian suffix me ( ‘to beget, offspring, son, work’ ) meaning ‘the offspring or the work of Ar’. We also think it is probable that these Ar people might have been called Ar-im (the Ars’) with -im, the Semitic suffix for plural, and their country Ar-im-e (the land of Ars’), thus causing a confusion with the form Arma and Arme/Arame that carry the Sumero-Armenian suffixes ma and me (“to beget, offspring, con, work’), because of the incidental phonetic similarity of the endings. Cf. Heb. Eloah (‘God’) Eloh-im (‘Gods’), similarly Khor-im (‘Khors’ or ‘Horites’) as mentioned in the Bible, Gen. XIV, 6; XXXVI, 20-29.

In historiography the idea has taken root that only the southwestern region of the Armenian Highland was called Arme (or by a name of similar form). The reason for this view is that the Assyro-Babylonian world has come into contact with the Armenian Highland mainly through this neighboring region. The fact is, however, that there were many other regions in the Armenian Highland, including the central regions, that had names formed with the component Ar or Ara , such as Aramali/Arma[ri[li (= Armani, because li = ni for plural), Arberani, Arhi, Eriahi, Aragadz, etc. These will be discussed in detail in the next chapter.

It is also necessary to relate to these names all the proper nouns occurring in the inscriptions of the third and second milleniums B.C. that are formed by the components Ar and Ara or by their variants Ari and Aru. Such names are: Ari-a, Ari-kumme, Ari-sen, Ari-dupuk, Ari-huha, Ara-ha, etc., and such place-names are Ari-nu, Aru-ra, Aru-be, Aru-ni, Ara-zu, Ar-na, Ar-bu, etc.

Certain remarks were made above to the effect that in the times of Sargon and Narm-Sin, Ebla was either in the land of Armani or within her sphere of influence, and some date were mentioned indicating the presence of Subarians ( Hurrians ) in Ebla who lived worked with the Amorites. Reference was made also to a family tie between Armani’s royal house and Ebla’s rulers and attention was drawn to the name Igris-Hepa, the father of one of Ebla’s kings, Subur, a governor in Ebla, Ehli-Tesup, a man of Ebla, and Guzuzi, a production master in Ebla. We had also quoted the words of a letter given to Hamazi’s emissary in Ebla, saying: “…king od Ebla (is) brother of Zizi, king od Hamazi…” Here in connection with our observations about Ar and the Ars, the name Ar-Ennum of one of the kings of Ebla, who, like Subur, was one time a governor, becomes so much more interesting and comprehensible.

The first component of the royal name Ar-Ennum is none other than the known divine name Ar. It seems that the same divine name is also found in Irkab-Ar, the name of one of the governors of Ebla. Compare it with the Eblaite royal name Irkab-Damu where the second component Damu is, likewise, a divine name.

It is interesting to note that in the time of the archives of Ebla there exists a city called Ara, one of whose inhabitants, by the name Ippihir, had received supplies from Ebla.

Long before the arrival fo the Semites (who were later called Aramaeans), the Ars of the Armenian Highland were spread out in the neighboring south, in the plains of Northern Syria and Northern Mesopotamia, certain parts of which were known as “Armenian Mesopotamia”. This is how, as we have seen, in the time of Adad-Nirari II, Arime become to include, other than the southwestern regions of the Armenian Highland, these flatlands as well, which, in ancient times, were part of the southern regions of the Indo-European (Aryan) homeland. It was during the decline and downfall of Mitanni that the Semitic nomadic tribes, Suti and Ahlami, came and settled in certain areas of this region and were called Aramaeans after the name Aram (Arma) of the country. It must be accepted, therefore, that the Armens did not receive their name from the Aramaeans; on the contrary, these nomadic tribes who came to inhabit the land of Arma or Aram (derived from the name Ar or Ara of the Armens) were called Aramaeans after the name of the land in which they settled.

These southern regions of the Armenian Highland and the northern regions of Syria and Mesopotamia were better known to Sumero-Akkadians by the name Subir/Subartu. It was much later and only long after the fall of the powerful state of Mitanni that the large country of Subari began to shrink and maintained her existence confined just to the Aghtznik’-Sasun region under the name of Subria, which continued to be called also by the names Arme and Urme (Urmeuhi) in the inscriptions of the Assyrian kings.

In addition to the cuneiform inscriptions mentioned above, the ancient Armenian literature also contains a number of references pointing out that Arme-Subria (certain regions of which have been called Supani>Dzopk’ and others Alzinini>Aghznik’) has been one of the oldest and most important centers of the homeland of the Armen people.

One may ask, was it coincidental that Argisti(Argishti) I settled the 6600 warriors brought from Hate and Supani in Erebuni? We know that the natives of Aghtznik’ (Alzi) and Dzopk’ (Supani) have often entered into the so-called Hittite alliance and were also called the Hate warriors. It follows that the relocation of these 6600 warriors by Argisti in his newly constructed Erebuni fortress was incidental.

Argisti built a strong fortress of Erebuni (“for the glory of the land of Biaina and to the horror of his enemies”) for the purpose of defending the eastern regions of his country against the intrusions of enemies and also to use it as a military base for his future expansions. It would have been logical for him, therefore, to station there, as his garrison, troops who would be more faithful and reliable. Thus, we see him moving there men from “Hate” and Dzopk’, whom he calls warriors, and not slaves, because they were co-tribal Nairian Armens.

In a similar vein, we think that the choice of Aghtznik’ by Tigran the Great as the location to build his new capital Tigranakert was not incidental. A certain motive and, very likely, national traditions must have guided him in making this choice. It is true that he abandoned the old capital Artashat mainly because the westward expansion of his empire left the capital almost at the eastern extremity of the country; also in order to facilitate the administrative links with the various regions of the empire it was necessary to move the capital to a more central location and particularly close to the contemporary centers of Hellenistic civilization. He could have certainly chosen a more suitable site of stronger strategic position. There is no doubt that his choice of Aghtznik’ was dictated by nationalistic feelings and national traditions, assuring him that as part of the sacred Armenian fatherland, it provided a more genuine and reliable environment.

We would like here to draw our readers’ attention to an important point which has been generally overlooked by those who specialize in the ancient history of the Armenian people. A careful study of the map will show that the vast expanses of land in the south which Tigran the Great annexed to his kingdom are almost the same as those territories that formally comprised the countries of Subartu and Mitanni. The same can be said for his western expansions: they, too, coincide with those regions which were inhabited by Armenians and which in the second and first milleniums B.C. were called Hayasa, Pahhuwa, Suhmu, Tegarama, Isuwa, Anzitene, Alzi, Dzopk’, Kommagene etc.; in other words, Bartzr Hayk’ (Higher Hayk’), Pokr Hayk’ (Lesser Hayk’), Third Hayk’, and Fourth Hayk’. The conclusion is, therefore, that Tigran the Great was not an aggressor occupying foreign lands, but a great national hero who reunited the traditional Subarian-Mitannian-Armenian lands into his kingdom.

In this connection we wold like to present here, for comparison, some of the characteristic features of the seal of Saussatar, king of Mitanni (1450 B.C.), and those of Tigran the Creat’s crown.

On the seal of the king of Mitanni we see the winged solar disk with an eagle and a lion on each side, which symbolize in mythology the deity of the sun and fire. The same features appear on Tigran’s crown, with the same solar disk and the two eagles, one on each side, and the crown itself shaped at the top lie spikes representing the rays of the sun. The similarities are too obvious to be explained away by mere coincidence.

It is known that the city of Urfa (Edessa; Orrhoe for Greek, Urhoi for Syrians), located in the south of Arme-Subria and short distance north of Harran, was, at a certain time in history, an important Hurrian center, maybe even a capital, and that the name Orrhoe (called Urba by Khorentatsi) has originated from the name Hurri.

Furthermore, Faustus Buzand has preserved the following valuable record about the city of Arha of the Hurrians: “King Pap [of Armenians]… has sent messengers to the king of the Greek saying: ‘Caesarea and the other ten cities have belonged to us; Give them back. The city of Urha also was built by our ancesters, therefore, if you do not desire that troubles arise, give it back, otherwise we shall fight a great war.” This shows that in the time of Faustus Buzand it was still remembered that the city of Urha was built by the ancestors of the Armens.

We already know that Urha was in that part of Subart which coincided in the past with the southwestern regions of the land of Armani.

These main regions of Subartu included the basins of the headstreams of the Tigris and the two Khaburs that descend from the Armenian Highland. It must be noted that in Sumero-Akkadian writings (especially in the syllabaries) the names Subari and Khubur are given as synonymous terms.

Since the past the Khabur river and its name have been closely connected with the lives of the Armen people in the region of Armani, it would be expected that this name should have been preserved in their language in one form or another. In fact, the word AGHBIUR (‘source, fountain’) in Armenian retains the memory of the Kahbur river and its sources.

H. Adjarian in his Armatakan Bararan (Armenian Etymological Dictionary), following Hubschmann, supposes that the word aghbiur comes from the Indo-European(Aryan) brevr, and makes the following comparison:

Gr, (‘well, cistern’): Homeric Gr. – derived from the Gr. – protoform and supposed IE Bhrevr, bhrevntos in genitive. Our word comes from this IE form bhrevr(nom.) and bhrevros(gen.) which has changed in our language first to brevr then to bghever by dissimilation, to ghbevr, by transposition, to aghbevr by the addition of –a. The intermediate form bghevr is akin to the Cappadocian Gr. (‘fountain’) which, according to Karolides, is borrowed from the Armenian.

Then Adjarian adds: “From the weak grad of Indo-European(Aryan) protoforms have originated the Gothic brunna, the Old High German brunno, the Anglo-Saxon burna, the German Brunnen (‘fountain’). All these are derived from the simple Indo-European(Aryan) root-word bhreu (‘to boil, to bubble, to ferment’)” Following this Adjarian cites all the European “heirs” of this Indo-European(Aryan) roots.

As we see it clearly, they had to invent first an Indo-European(Aryan) protoform (supposedly bhrever), they had to go through a tortuous and labyrinthine way of “dissimilation, transposition, and addition” in order to arrive, from the artificial form bhrevr at the Armenian word aghbhevr-aghbiur.

…The tribes speaking the Proto-Armenian language (at the time of the formation of the word aghbur-aghbiur in their language) have spread also to the south of the Armenian Highland, to the regions of the sources of the Khabur river. It was through these regions that they have come in contact with the Sumero-Akkadians. And as we have noted, these very regions were called Hark’ (Harki) by Adad-Nirari II, as was the region above Lake Van. Furthermore, those European peoples who have in their language the form brunna, brunno, brunnen (=Buranum) and (= Furat-Euphrates) meaning ‘spring’ or ‘fountain’, must have lived in the neighborhood of the Armenian Highland in Asia Minor (toward west from the Euphrates).

In the days of Naram-Sin, Armani have spread out to the main indicated regions of Subari and established there a city-center by the name Armani. In late times, the southern region of this land of Armani have been called Arime, “land of Ars”, by Adad Nirari II. The name Armani is the earliest known form and record of the Armen people and their land, called variously Arime, Arme, Urme ( Urmeukhi ), Armina, Armeni or Armen.

In the course of our recent investigations we have come across a number of concrete and important data which tend to establish the link between Subari and Armani. Before presenting these, however, we think it is essential to give our etymology of the name Subari.

Edited by Aratta-Kingdom, 29 February 2008 - 03:18 PM.

#2 Aratta-Kingdom



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Posted 29 February 2008 - 03:50 PM

The God Ar ( or Ara)

It has been shown by some Orientalists-Armenologists (and alos in our previous works) in a number of quotations of mythological and historical date that the native people of the Armenian Highland and the neighboring regions of Asia Minor had, in the earlier periods of paganism, a deity whom they called Ar or Ara.

In the primitive hunting stage of the life of these natives, the god Ara possessed animal –vegetal characteristics. Later, with the beginning of agriculture, he acquired vegetal-solar nature and with the development of irrigation in agriculture and the consolidation of statehood, he became a great war-god and was identified with the sun.

This process of change from primitive to complex characteristics, as manifested in the nature of Ar (or Ara), is by no means unique in the mythological history of mankind. It has had its close parallels. For example, the god Assur, in the earlier periods of the founding of the city of Assur, had a vegetal (peaceful) nature, but later on, when Assyria become a mighty empire by bloody expeditions, it turned into a fearsome deity and was identified with the sun.

Research has revealed that in the remote past Ar (or Ara) was the principal national deity of the Armen people.

…The known Orientalist A.H. Sayce states that Ar was the sun-god of the Armenians. In his words: “…it is better to suppose that Er, or Ara, was an Armenian name for the Sun-god, which in later times was confounded with Arios (Nergal) or Ktesias.”

In this connection H.Matikain writes: “To study Ara the Beautiful means to make inroads into the obscure centuries of the origin of the Armenian people and to examine them.”

We do not think it is necessary here to delve further into the nature of Ara, because we have already treated this topic at great length in our previous works and have shown with numerous evidence that Ara was the native and national deity of the Armenians. However, because of the importance it bears upon the subject under study, we think it will be helpful to mention here some facts related to the formation and the meaning of the national name Armani and Armenians which is closely linked to Ara.

It is known in historiography and archaeology that the name of many ancient peoples have been related to the names of their principal deities.

In the remote past. each tribe, even each household, had its own totem, its object of worship, or its god. With the increasing of the household or the tribe in size and in strength, its god has correspondingly acquired greater significance and power. We learn from cuneiform inscriptions that battles waged between tribes and states have been fought mostly for and in the name of the gods of the fighting sides. In many cases tribes and states were distinguished from each other by the names of the gods. In the same way have originated also the name of many habitations and countries.

Because of intertribal wars, a given tribe was forced to fortify a central area on its territory where it kept its sacred totem in safety or established the throne (or the temple) of its god, from whom that particular place derived, subsequently, its name. Later on, as the tribe has grown and spread out, that fortified habitation has become an administrative and economic center, and still later the capital.

Very often we read in cuneiform writings that a certain king has defeated the king of the land of certain city. We have seen statements of this kind in the well-known Hittite inscription about Naram-Sin, where among his 17 enemies there is one mentioned as “Madatina, the king of the land of the city of Armani.” This shows clearly that the country of a tribe or a state could have derived its name from the name of its central or royal city, which, in many cases, bore the name of the principal god of that particular tribe or people.

This is how have originated, for example, the names of the great Assyrian and Roman empires, which were originally the name of the central cities, Assur and Rome, of the given tribes, and where each tribe had established own object of worship, Assur and Romulus, respectively. The same is true also about the Greeks who call themselves Hellenes and their country Hellada(Hellas) after the name of their god Hellenos.

Dr. H. Martkian writes: “The history of each nation has begun with a mythological worldview… An Armenian history should never lose sight of this point; herein lies the Gordian knot of our history.” And Dr. G. Conteneau has this to say: “In remote antiquity no difference was made between a country and its gods.”

In view of all these considerations, one would expect that the name Armani or Armeni that represents one of the most ancient peoples and the tribal unions of Western Asia should have been derived from the name of the principal deity of that tribe or people. And indeed, as we have seen, the name of that principal national deity was Ar or Ara.

The Meaning Of The Name Armani

We find that the word Ar-man-ni is a compound noun, where the first component Ar is none other than the name of the national sun-god of the Armens, and the second component MA ( me a variant) signifies, ‘build, make, beget, offspring, son’. Ma, with this meaning, was known to many peoples of the Near East in antiquity. The goddess of birth and fertility, so well known in Asia Minor, was called by this very same name MA. (Ma also occurs in its reduplicated form Mama (or Mami) in Assyro-Babylonian inscriptions). This root-word (and also its variant me) is found also in the Sumerian language with the same meaning. It results that Ar-ma (and its variant Ar-me) means ‘built by Ar born of Ar’ or ‘ Ar’s/ Ara’s son ‘ (‘the son of the sun, AREVORDI). The ending -NI of Arma-NI (or Arme-NI) as has been mentioned earlier, is a plural and toponymic suffix (cf. Mitanni, Supani, Alzini (Alzinini), Daiaeni, Nihani, etc.). Hence Armani (or Armeni) means ‘son of Ar’, that is, ‘sons of the sun’ or ‘the land of the sons of Ar’, which is literally ‘the land of the sons of the sun’. A similar case is seen in the Armenian words Hayk’ and Virk’ (Hayq, Virq) which, by virtue of the plural-forming suffix k’ ( f ) mean, respectively, “Armenians” and ‘Georgians’ and also ‘the land of Armeians (Armenia)’ and ‘the land of Georgians (Georgia)’.

Just as the name Arma-ni appears simply as Arma, without the suffix -ni, in the Alalakh inscriptions, so does it in the form Arme in the Assyrian writings. Since, as it was mentioned above, Ar-ma or Ar-me meant ‘built by Ar’ (the city or country of Ar), or ‘the offspring (or the son) of Ar’, and since Ar was also called Ara, it follows that the name Arme could have been pronounced also as Arame, which is, as we already know, the name of the founder of the Urartian(Van/Ararat) kingdom, meaning ‘the son of the sun’, and is preserved by Khorenatsi in the form Aram, as the name of one of the Armenian patriarchs.

It must be accepted, therefore, that the name Arma or Arme (Arame>Aram) was the basic component of the name Arman-ni or Armen-ni, and hence, it represented the name by which Armenians are commonly called by foreigners. This proves that Khorenatsi transmits some ancient and accurate information when, writing about Aram, he states that all the nations of the world call the Armenians Armen and their country Armenia after the name of Aram.

In order to illustrate the meaning of the component MA in the name Ar-ma, signifying ‘built, begotten, offspring’ or ‘ the son’ we cite below, for comparison, a few examples among many drawn from ancient inscriptions:

Astatama - The name of one of the kings of Mitanni

Dukkama - The name of one of the cities of Armenia.

Tarkuma - This place-name is mentioned by the Hittite king Mursil. Tarku-ma means “that which is built by the god Tarku (TORK, TORQ)”. Torkashen (Torqashen) in Armenian.

Automa - The daughter of Tigran the Great, who was married to Mithradates II of Pontus.

Artasama - The name of the daughter of King Artashes of Armenia who was married, according to Khorenatsi, to “ a certain Mithradates, the great prefect of the Georgians.” Artas-a-ma means ‘born of Artas (or Artashes)’.

There are many more place- and personal names of antiquity in the Near East (including the Armenian Highland) and Asia Minor that carry the suffix -MA, bu the examples given above should be sufficient to show that -MA indeed meant, ‘built, begotten, offspring, son’, just as the ending -AZN, -ZUN, and –SEN in the Armenian language convey the same meaning in such compound nouns as Ark’ayazn (arqayazn, ‘king’s son). Haykazun( Haykazun, ‘Hayk’s offspring’) and Haykasen (Haykashen, ‘built by Hayk’).

We shall still have opportunity to quote a series of place-names in the Armenian Highland that bear the component Ar or Ara. Suffice it here to mention just one direct testimony from a cuneiform inscription showing that the region of the land of Arme was actually called the land of Ar.

…IN ancient cuneiform writings sometimes we find statements where a certain king or a famous personality is considered to be the son of his main national god or the son of his nation. Josephus Flavius has preserved a direct and living historical testimony according to which King Adrazar of Dzopk’ was called the son of Ara, instead of being identified by his national name Armen. H. Matikian, referring to J. Flavius’ same testimony, writes that following: “…the Jewish chronicler, after relating how David was expanding the boundaries of his kingdom with various invasions, adds the following words which are of great importance for us: ‘And while he levied yearly taxes on them, he immediately moved against King Adrazar of Dzopk’, the Son of Ara, and warred with him beside the Euphrates…’ “

Dzopk’ (Assyrain Isua, Hittite Isua, Latin Sophanenae) was situated in the northwestern region of Arme-Subria. It is evident that it was an Armenian Kingdom and her king Adrazar (Zariadr-es) was Armenian. We see that David, instead of specifying this king by his family name Armen, called him “the Son of Ara”, revealing thus his national identity. This is another concrete evidence supporting the fact that the name Armani(Armeni) means ‘sons of Ara’ or ‘the land of the sons of Ara’.

Even after the adoption of Christianity where were still many places in Armenia where sectarians called “sons of the Sun” (“Arevordi”) continued to exist, and were strongly opposed by the Catholicos Nerses Shnorhali. The term “Arevordi” persisted in Armenia unti the 12th century of our era.

Since in the remote past Ar (or Ara) was the main deity of the native peoples of the Armenian Highland and since these native peoples were generally called by the name of this god, it would naturally be expected that certain place-names would have been composed with the name of this deity or with the name of the people bearing this name. In fact, in antiquity, the entire Armenian Highland was replete with names that contained the component Ar or Ara.

It is true that in later centuries the Armenian Highland, as a highway between continents, has been subjected to many foreign military, political, and cultural influences and has adopted other deities, resulting in many changes and in compounding of new place-names, even yielding to abliviion the identity of Ara: but still there are many place-names in the country that preserve the memory of Ar or Ara.

Place and Tribe Names Composed With Ar

We know that the Syrian chronicler Mar-Aba has copied an important portion of his book from the Greek translation of an ancient Chaldaean source. Khorenatsi, in his turn, drawing from Mar-Aba, transmits to us a very old remembrance-information according to which the central region of Armenia was earlier called Hark’(Harq). Writing about Hayk, the ancestor of the Armenian people, Khorentatsi says that he “lived in a high plateau and he called this table-land Hark’,” and he adds the following in the next chapter: “But he[Mar-Abas] says, after embalming the body of Bel with ointments, Haky ordered it to be taken to Hark’ and buried in a high place in view of his wives and sons.”

As we see, the first quotation tells us that Hayk, the god (ancestor) of Armenians, called that particular tableland Hark by his own name, or that it was named after him; and the second quotation testifies that the sons of Hayk, that is, the Armenians, “the sons of Ar” (the Armens), were living there.

The initial ‘h’ of the name Hark’ seems to be an added intensifying sound as it is used in the Armenian language. Compare: Rome>Hrom, Arma>Harma, Aramayis>Haramayis, aganel>hagnel, etc. Hark’ is basically ark’ (arq), which means ‘the Ars’ (with the plural suffix k’) or ‘the Armens’ and also ‘the land of the Ars’. The equivalence of Hark’ and Ark’ is also proved by cuneiform testimony, like the inscription of king Menua, found near Mush, in which, as mentioned earlier, that particular region is called the Ar-hi(‘Ar-ian/Aryan’) land, implying that that region of Mush bordering of Hark’ was, in fact, the continuation of Hark’ as Ar-ian/Ar-yan land. (The event recorded by Khorantsi is transmitted by G. Srvantztiants in this way: “The king of the Armenians killed Bel with the hand of God and took the body to the summit of NEMRUT, where he built a fireplace, hanged the body in it and burned it.” As we can see, where Srvantztiants has “NEMRUT”, Khorenatsi has “a high plateau in Hark’ “, leading us to the conclusion that Hark’ extended even to Nemrut, thus including the Mush valley and its regions. It becomes clear, therefore, that Hark’ was Ark’ or Ar-ian/Ar-yan (Ar-hi) land).

The river that passes above Lake Van and through the entire central region of Armenia is called Arasani (pronounced Arsania by the Assyrians). Academician Ghapantsian, in his book The Cult of Ara the Beatiful, shows conclusively that Arasani means ‘the river of Ara’.

It is known that the southwestern region of Armenia (the region of Nairian land called Subria) was also called Arme (or Urme) by the Assyrian kings, meaning ‘the land of the offspring of Ar’. Because of it unique geographical position, this region has maintained its identity by not joining, or not being able to join, the Urartian union formed by the other Nairian co-tribes and has preserves its autonomy in spite of the active efforts exerted by the Urartian kings forcing it to unite with Biaina in the face of Assyrian obstructions.

The same situation continued even after the fall of the Urartian kingdom, when the kings of the Artashessian dynasty also tried hard to unite the Armenian kingdom of this same region (later called Dzork’) to the Greater Hayk’, this time against the Roman interventions.

Tiglath-Pileser I calls the region south of Lake Van Haria, in the neighborhood of Kutmuhi, where he has fought against 25 cities located at the outskirts of its eight mountains. This implies that Haria was vast land. Har-ia means ‘land of Har’, in other words, Hark’. The conclusion is that this too was a ‘land of Ars’.

The Armenian feudal province (nakhararutyun) in the east of Lake Van was called Arsruni. This name is derived from Arsruniuni, mentioned in Urartian inscriptions, which was the name of the city near the southern tip of Lake Arcak and that of a Nairian tribe that lived in the area. In the language of Urartian inscriptions, sue(suini) means ‘lake’. The Armenian word sov(dzov) is related to it.

Ar-suni-uni meant, therefore, ‘the people of Lake Ar” (Ar-ljeci-ner’) or ‘the land of a Lake Ar’(Ar-lji-yerkir’). One could think that this was name after Lake Arcak. It is possible in this case to assume tha the term Arcak is formed by adding the suffix -ak to Ar-sue (that is, Ar-sue-ak>Arsak>Arcak).

The northeastern region of Lake Van was known in antiquity by the name Arberani. As it was pointed out earlier in connection with the meaning of the word ber(a variant of bir, signifying “race’ or ‘house’). Academician Ghapantsian has shown with great accuracy that Ar-ber-ani meant the ‘Ar-tribes’. Therfore this region also belonged to the Ar people.

The region north of Lake Van was called Aramali by Shalmaneser III. As mentioned above, this name was also pronounced (by Sargon II) as Armarili (Arma-ri-li) where the infix -ri is inserted between the root-word Arma and the plural-forming siffix -li, as Su-ri-li, mentioned in the inscription of Argisti II near Arces. The -li ending the word Ar-ma-ni or Ar-me-ni, hence the anem Ar-ma-li coincides with the name Ar-ma-ni (or Ar-me-ni).

It is to be noted that the three components of the name Ara-ma-li is also correspond in meaning to those of Ar-ber-ani, the name of the same or a neighboring region, in the following way: Ara=Ar (the divine name), ma (‘offspring’) = ber (‘tribe, race’), and li=ani (as plural-forming and toponymic suffixes). This is further proof that the ma component of Ar-ma-ni means ‘offspring, son’ and tha the full name Ar-ma-ni (or Ar-me-ni) signifies ‘born of Ara’ sons of Ar’, or ‘the land of the sons of Ar’.

These considerations clearly show that the name Armani (= Armeni) and Aramali(=Arberani)… (The Ar-ber-ani region has also been called Aya-du, instead of Ara-du, where –du is a toponymic suffix. Therefore, the Ar tribe has also been called Ay or Hay (with the initial intensifier h, as in Ark-Hark, Arma-Harma, Rom-Hrom, etc); hence Hark’ could have similarly been pronounced as Hayk)… designate the same people that was in existence in this central region of Armenia even in the times of Shelmanesar III (859-824 B.C.) and Urartu. This must also be accepted as proof that the name Armani was linked with the name Armeni( THAT IS NOT SEMITIC) and that it belonged to the people called Armens (the sons of Ar).

In the times of Urartu the region of Shirak was called Eriahi(Eri-ian). Let us mention here, by way of parenthesis, that in ancient Armenian, certain words beginning with ar- had also heir parallels beginning with er- . It is accepted in linguistics that replacing ar- by er- is merely a dialectal difference. We already know from the works of Plato that in Pamphylia Ara was called Er(the son of Armenios).

It is also known tha the personal name Arameneak or Aramenak, derived from the ethnic or place-name Armani(Armeni), is rendered Erimena in its Urartian form. It seems certain, therefore, that Eri component of the name Eri-ahi was a dialectal variant of the name Ara. Hence the conclusion, that the tribal or place-name Eriahi(Eri-ian), the land-name Ar-hi(Ar-ian/Ar-yan) mentioned by Menua, and the Armin (Armenian) personal name Araha (Ara-ian) mentioned by Darius are all homonymous and identical terms, all linked to the name of the god Ar(Ara) or to that of his people, likewise called Ar(Armen or Armin).

There must also be a connection between the name Eriahi (‘Ara-ian’) and the name of the river Erash, pronounced Araks as well.

As we see, the names of the Arasani and the Araks rivers are linked with the name Ara of the national god of Armenians and/or with the name Ar(Armen, ‘sons of Ar’) of his people. These two rivers that together from a line extending from the west to the east (from the Euphrates to the Caspian Sea), underline and embrace wholly the land called Armenia and they have, for millenniums, constituted the national sacred rivers of the Armenian people that have begotten and nourished them. They are to the Armenian people just what the Indus and the Ganges are to the Indians, the Nile to the Egyptians, and the Euphrates and the Tigris to the ancient people of Mesopotamia.

East of Eriahi there is Mount Aragadz. Academician Ghapantsian has also shown correctly that Ara-gadz means ‘Ara’s throne.”

In the northeast of Lake Urmia there was the Arhu(‘Ar-ian’ or ‘belonging or the Ars’) land. The direct name Arevik’ (‘the Sun people’) mentioned in ancient Armenian literature possibly preserves the memory of this tribe Arhu and its land.

All these illustrations show that it was not only Hark’, the central region of Armenia, that was called by the name of Ar(or the Ars), but Lake Van, the hart of Urartu/Ararat/Ayrarat, was entirely surrounded by the Arasani river, the lands of Arhi, Arme, and Haria, the Arcak lake, the habitation of the tribe Arsuniuni, and the lands of Arberani and Aramali; all linked with the name of Ar(Ara) or that of his people Ars.

As we have seen, other than in in the surroundings of Lake Van, there were also many other regions in the north and the northeast of the lake where the sons of Ara(the Ar people) have been living and have left their traces, such as, the Eriahi land, the Erash(Araks) river, Mount Aragadz, the land of Aria(Ar-ia) and the district of Arhu(or Arevik).

And these are not all. Scattered throughout the entire expanse of Armenia there are numerous places- and tribal names that are derived from the root-word Ar or Ara (and their variants Er or Eri), many of which must have been related to the name of the god Ar(or Ara). Among these are mountains, such as, Er(in Vanand), Eritia( in the Dzaghkants range, mentioned by Shalmaneser III), the Mountain of Ara(to the east of Aragadz). Arazin (in Daralageaz), Aruni and Arua (in the land of Tumme and in Hari, respectively, both mentioned by Ashurnasirpal II); place names such as Arura and Arube (cities in the land of Tumme), the Village of Ara (at the foot of the Mountain of Ara), Arahez (in Tayk’), Arahudz (in Sunik), Argec(mentioned in the inscriptions of the Marmashen Church dated 1029 A.D.) Arazu, Armuria (fortresses in the Ulhu-Hoy region), Arna and Arbu (cities in Aramali), Erinu (district in the south of Lake Van) Eriza (Erizinjan), Eridia[ni] (a city mentioned on the Gate of Mher), etc.

We should point out that among the above we have omitted to mention those place-names formed with Ar that lie in the regions extending from the Euphrates to Mount Argaeus (Erciyas), which, too, have been dwelling sites of Armenians in the past.

In the light of all these, the term Armi, mentioned in the Eble inscriptions becomes more understandable. We have seen that Armani was in Subartu and that Arma-rili was also called Su-rili, which means that the Arma(=Arma[-ni]) people were also known by the name Su(=Subari), just as the land of Arme was also called Subre. The Eble inscriptions revealed that Subarians lived both in Eble and in the surrounding regions, evidenced by the facts that there were a governor and a master in Eble bearing the Subarian names Subur and Guzuzi, respectively, and that there were a king called Ar-Ennum, a governor called Irkab-Ar (cf. Irkab-Dumu) and an inspector called Dada-Ar, all names carrying the component Ar. In Eble were also worshiped the Subarian (considered Hurrian) gods Adamma, Habat, Ishara, and Astabi(the Astupinu of the Subarians). These and a series of other data suggest that the term Armi mentioned in the Eble inscriptions probably represnts those Subarinas who were called Arma(or Ar). There is already a reference there to a city by the name Ara.

…Considering that in the same Ebla inscriptions are mentioned both forms Armi and uru, and also the plural of the latter, uru uru, it follows that the term Armi must have a meaning other than that of uru. Armi, as a common noun, meant ‘place of Ars’ , that is, ‘the dwelling place of the Ar people’ and ‘ the term Armi meant ‘the dwelling place of the Ars’ or ‘the cities of the Ar people’.

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