The Birth of The Armenian Nation
Brief Survey and Chronological Information
It is very difficult, almost impossible to give accurate and generally accepted comprehensive history of the formation of the Armenian People and of the Armenian Nation. Fortunately since 1920's, Armenia has had highly scientific and internationally acknowledged historians, who have been trying to re-establish the truth about the Armenian Origins.
All evidence of historical information came from Greek Historians. One of those famous scholars names Xenophone, gave the first information about Armenia and of Armenian People then others followed: Herotodus, Belos and Houtinos.
In his famous historical and documented book: The March of Country in approximately. 400-401 B.C. Xenophone speaks in detail about the Armenian Villages, giving emphasis on shape and style of their houses, which he says were under ground. He even mentioned the drinking of the first Armenian home made beer. From the beginning of civilization the Armenian lands have been the stage of various wars and battles. Eastern powers wanted always to occupy these lands and open the way to western capitalism. The opposite Western Empires: Tome & Byzantine did every thing to capture Armenia to reach he Persian Empire. These conflicts marked the unrest for the Armenian people and Armenia as a Nation.
The Armenians did not have an alphabet or even an Armenian language during the Prehistorical Age, there after AD, until the 5th century. At this time all traces of pagan monuments or non-Christian heritage had been destroyed by Krikor Loussavorich and King Dertad. Therefore there was no historical evidence recorded of an Armenian Past. It was only after the year 1850 that scholars in Paris and Germany started to study the origins and the immigration of the Indo-European people, and thus the contex the Armenians.
The following paragraphs will give us three theories of Armenian Origin.
The first theory was from Herotodos, the Greek historian who lived and wrote his history in 300-270 B.C. and speaks about Armens during the war between Persia & Greece. He has been in the army and personally collected all the information and dates of history. According to him, Phrygians were form of Indo-European tribes. They came from Balkan Peninsula to Macedonia and Thracia. This immigration is dated 1200-1300 B.C. They stayed in this geographical area, but by the time they moved towards Capadocia (1) and Araradian Ashkhar (2), the Armens became one of the Phrygian Tribe. Hovhanness Catholicos who was an eminent Armenian Historian agrees to this itinerary, but both historians do not give any source of their information.
Another Greek Historian Blenus gives some more information and details. For him these Phrygians have been immigrated from central Asia, from the Russian plateau to the Danubian shores, then to the Balkans, Greece, then to Armenia. He gives another name to this Phrygian tribe, he calls them Askanas. Other scholars accept this especially because the Bible states that the Askanas were Phrygians and Armenians.
Armens came to Armenia when the Hittitian Kingdom was destroyed; at the time Greeks were establishing cities in Asia Minor. At the same time period a barbarian tribe called Scythians came from the north and destroyed the Urartu Kingdom. Urartu was the famous Kingdom and Civilization in the Araradian Territories. Urartu's leaders were wise and had powerful Kings who ruled from 885-535 B.C. and created a very rich heritage. Scythians attacked the Armens in 617-609 B.C., but the Armens gained their friendship and survived. They got the privilege over other tribes, even forced their nationa and moral characteristics over the local people, including Urartus and Nayiries.
These two local tribes or states had their own fame and culture. We are talking about Nayiry whose frontiers were from Alice River to Urmia Lake (Persia), from Lake Van to Aserbeydjian. Even until recent times Lake Van was called Nayirian Lake, and Urartus was one of the states of Nayirian Plateau-Empire. Urartu has also been a very rich, highly cultured country. Its civilization is proud evidence of the unforgettable heritage. In 1970, Armenia celebrated the 2750-th Anniversary of the foundation of Urartu's Capital City Yerepouny, whose name is now Yerevan the Capital city of Armenia. It's ruines, its palaces and great architectural-sculptural masterpieces still witness the glory of our past heritage. In Urartu there was also a well-known tribe by the name of Hayassa with an organized state. It is very possible that we started to call ourselves Hay, after this local tribe Hayassa.
The sixth century was politically very much troubled, with the advancing Greek forces and Persia growing to an emerging power. At 559 Perian Acchamenian Dynasty took over the crown. They attacked Urartus and divided Armenia into two states, High Armenia or Great Armenia, and Minor Armenia. But this domination did not stop Armens to assimilate local tribes among themselves. They forced their language, cultural and religious heritage. The Georgians were the only tribe who did not tolerate this domination and moved away.
The second theory is from the famous Greek geographer Stropoh, who wrote his history in the 2nd Century B.C. He speaks about a history book, written by two generals from Alexander the Great's Army, Girlos of Pharsala and Medios of Lareso. They gave the name of a certain country called Thessalia, were there was a city called Armenia, and the King's name was Armenos. Armenos with another King Jasos came to Armenia and won a very big war. They conquered the country and by his name the people became Armens. But this view is rejected, because Alexander the Great has never been in Armenia. His generals could not have known this to give eyewitness information; besides it is not clear if Stropon had seen nor read the book.
The third theory is legendary and belongs to the great Armenian poet and historian Movses Khorenatzi. According to Khorenatzi there was a famous Assyrian scientist Mar Appar Gadina, who was assigned by the Armenian King Vagharshak to go to Persia and to find out Armenian History. Gadina went to Persia, where in the Kings library he discovered the " History of the First Ancestors". That study, according to Khorenatzi was in Greek and Mar Appas Gadina translated into Assyrian. But we do not have neither Greek nor Assyrian versions of that book. In this "Book" Khorenatzi sees and develops Haig's legend and states that our country is called Hayastan and because of Haig, Armenians are called Hays. The Bible says Haig was the grandson of Japhet, son of Noah (3).
After giving all these points of view, it is possible to conclude by saying that Armens came from Europe with Phrygians and settled in Armenia by 800 B.C. We call ourselves Hye or Hay, because the Hayassa tribe were more advanced by culture and were the oldest tribe in that area, from the14th century. According to Atontz the Greeks first called us Armens, found our name in the history of Greek Historian Hegedios in 7th century B.C. Armen or Armenia is mentioned for the first time in history by the Persian King of Kings Darius in the 6th century B.C., when on the occasion of his glorious victory he erected a very huge monument Bissoutun. On that monument are the names of the people he attacked and the details of his battles.
After the decline of the Seleucid Empire, New Semi-Independent States had been founded in 250 B.C., Capadocia, Pontus, Atrepatokan and Armenia. For the first time in history Armenia is being mentioned. It is certain now that Phrygians were the Armens and we are an Indo-European people from the Aryan family. We have more than 4,000 years past.
In the following issue I will present the Armenian unity and some factual historical information on Armenia, the Fist Christian Nation.
  1. Capadocia - a geographical region between Armenia and Cilicia.
  2. Araradian Ashkhar - the old biblical name given to Armenia, it means the country of Ararad.
  3. The real legend is; Haig was the chief of one of Noah's tribe, living in Mesopotamia after the flood. There was a King named Belos who was very cruel. Haig could not tolerate him so he took his people, moved up towards Ararad Mountain. Belos was angry with this, he sent messengers asking Haig to come back. Haig refused. Belos came with his huge army and attacked Haig, who personally killed Belos and his people ran away.
    As you can see, this is more an epic, which inspires national pride than explanation or evidence of origin.

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