Armenia Religion

The Armenian deity of the sun and fire

Painting by Vagan Garibyan

The most ancient and principal national deity of the Armenian people was the deity of the sun and fire. As time progressed, however, this great deity was divided in two, just as it had occurred in the case of his consort, the goddess Inanna-Anahit. His nature of fire and his nature of the sun began to be represented separately and by different names. Thus, in Urartian times, his character of fire was represented by the name Haldi, and that of the sun by them Siwini.
In Armenia, after the fall of the Urartian dynasty, the name Mihr was given to this one great deity that embodied the powers of fire and the sun.
While utilizing the name Mihr for this great god, the Armenians have, nonetheless, pictured him, as in Urartian times, with a duality of nature, distinguishing between his characteristics of fire and the sun. This is why, in the epic of Davit of Sasun, the god of fire called Great Mher, whereas the sun-god is Mher Junior. This shows that among Armenians the fire-god was considered ancestral or had seniority and preeminence over the sun-god, just as Hayk, the fire-god, was ancestral to and greater than Ara, the son-god. Similarly, in Urartian/Araratian times, the fire-god Haldi was considered greater and more important than the sun-god Siwini.
Much before the Achaemenians, in the times of Mitanni, the name Mihr was already known to the people, particularly to those living in the regions of Mitanni or Armani-Subari (and later Arme-Subria) where Sasun is located.
The Great Mher represented Haldi is evidenced by the fact that he was called ‘the lion-like Mher’, reminding us of Haldi’s representations in Urartian/Arartian wall paintings where he is pictured on a lion. Furthermore, Mher’s wife was called Armaghan, a name which appears to be a distortion of Aruban(i), the name of Haldi’s wife.
It is known that the crow was a symbol of the sun and fire; “it’s feathers were black because they were charred by it.” Mher Junior had inherited Great Mher’s position; consequently, he had held, in his turn, the position of the great Urartian/Araratian gods or preserved in him their memory. “According to a tradition, Mher, disillusioned with the injustice in the world. Had cloistered himself in a cave called Agravak’ar (‘Crow’s Stone’) in Van.” On a cliff called Mheri Dur (‘Mher’s Gate’) in Van, there is a large inscription written by Ishpuini and Menua, which lists the names of all the Urartian/Araratian gods. All these show that at a time when it was even forgotten that these inscriptions represented actual writings, the Armenian tradition had preserved in Mher (particularly in the term Agravak’ar) the memory of the great Urartian/Araratian gods.
According to the legend, every year, at the feast of Ascention and the night of Vartavar (a water festival), when heaven and earth kiss each other, Mher comes out (from his cave) with a horse of fire, circles the heaven and the earth, and seeing that ‘the earth cannot yet support his weight’ returns to his seclusion. One day in the future, Mher shall come out from his hiding place to deliver ‘the Armenian world’ from wicked forces and to establish a happy kingdom.
Source:”Armenia,Summer and Subartu” by Prof.,Dr.Martiros Kavukjian

Armenia Religion

The Urartian/Araratian (K)Haldi

The Urartian/Araratian pantheon was headed by Haldi, Teiseba, and Siwini, who formed the most powerful triad in Urartian/Araratian mythology.
Haldi was a deity of fire and volcano; he symbolized the volcanic eruptions that occurred in the Armenian Highland, particularly in the Lake Van region, the times of Urartu/Ararat. In later years, as Urartu/Ararat became more powerful, he also acquired, as a mighty fire-god, the characteristics of the ruler of the heavens.
Haldi’s symbol, as a god of fire and volcano, was the lion in the animal world. In the wall paintings of Erebuni Haldi is personified on a lion. Movses Khorenatsi, quoting from Mar Aba’s ancient book, characterizes Hayk as “the Yapetostean Hayk—having the nature of Yapetos-Hephaestus—an appellation which have been given to Hayk during the Artashessian period of Armenia when it was still remembered that he was the god of fire. This another indication that Haldi, like Hayk, was a god of fire.
Haldi’s consort was called Warubane/Uarubani. The Armenian word parav ( ‘old woman’) is linked with the name Waruba(-ne)and preserves the memory of this goddess.
Haldi had a variant in the form bardi. The Hal component of Hal-di has the synonym bar in Sumerian, which means ‘fire, to burn’, var( var-el) in Armenian. The name Haldi in the word bardi/barti in Armenian which is the name given to the poplar tree (populus pyramidalis) and which was an object of worship among Armenians in ancient times and continued to be venerated as a sacred tree even centuries after Christianity by the followers of an Armenian sect who called themselves “sons of the Sun” (Arevordiner).
The form bardi of the name Haldi is also found in the name of Haldi’s wife, Bag-bartu, as recorded by Sargon II at Musasir. In ancient times women were often called by their husband’s names, implying “the wife of so-and-so,” an example of which is the name of Ara’s wife, Nu-ard, where her husband’s name Ardi (= Ara) is evident.
Another indication for the Haldi=Bardi equation is the presence of a poplar tree in Sargon’s sculpture of the façade of the Haldean temple of Musasir-Ardini.
The susi temples attributed specifically to Haldi provide further evidence. According to information supplied by Khorenatsi, there were sacred plane tree (sosi in Armenian) at Armavir whereby predictions were made or the will of god was revealed by their rustling sounds. The word sosi, which represents another kind of poplar tree, retains the name susi given to Haldi’s sacred temple, and that these susi temples were holy places, where apparently, by the plane trees (sosi) planted around them, the oracles of Haldi revealed his will. The plane trees (sosi) at Armavir-Argishtikhinili represented Haldi and the predictions made by means of these trees were his oracles.
In ancient pagan times it was believed that fire was born of plants, since trees or wood produced fire when burning. In the name Bar-di the component bar means in Sumerian ‘light, burning, fire’ (hence the assumed composition of the Sumerian word (ba(r)bar, ‘sun’) and the suffix -di have meant ‘born of’ or ‘begetter’, so that Bar-di (or Hal-di) means ‘born of fire’ or ‘fire begetter’, a meaning which may help to interpret the term Bardi as ‘he who beget fire’ and Haldi as ‘he who begets fire-volcano’. We see in the Hal component of Haldi the name Hay, that is, the fire-god Hayk.
In Urartian/Araratian inscriptions the name Haldi si very often recorded as Aldi, without the initial intensifying sound h . On the other hand the term Aldi is variant of the name Ardi, evidenced by the fact that Musasir, which was the site of Haldi’s main temple ( ‘the house of Haldi’, according to Sargon), was called Ardi-ni instead of Aldi-ni or Haldi-ni. Ardi is the name as Ara, the god of vegetation ( > of fire) and the sun, by whose name are called the Armen people and their land and with whom are connected the names Ar>Har (or har in Armenian, from which Haruyk, ‘fire’) and Hark’ (> Hayk).
The Bardi variant of the name Haldi, as the tree of life, represents also the deity of fire. …the poplar tree (bardi) has been an object of worship among Armenians for a long period of time. Its cult was so deeply rooted that it persisted in certain regions of Armenia until as late as the 12th century of our era.
In Urartian/Araratian times we find the poplar tree (bardi) depicted on king’s helmets, bronze belts and on sculptures representing devotional scenes.
As the embodiment of the power of fire and symbolizing the volcanic nature of the land, Haldi represents the most powerful and supreme national war-god of the Urartian/Araratian pantheon.
Source:”Armenia,Summer and Subartu” by Prof.,Dr.Martiros Kavukjian
Sumbitted by Eduard Aratta who typed the text out from the book.

Armenia Semitic People

Place and Tribe Names Composed With 'Ar'

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, Hayk 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’.
Source:”Armenia,Summer and Subartu” by Prof.,Dr.Martiros Kavukjian
Sumbitted by Eduard Aratta who typed the text out from the book.
Hayk Nahapet by Vagan Garibyan

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.
Source:”Armenia,Summer and Subartu” by Prof.,Dr.Martiros Kavukjian
Sumbitted by Eduard Aratta who typed the text out from the book.
Painting by Vagan Garibyan

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’.
Source:”Armenia,Summer and Subartu” by Prof.,Dr.Martiros Kavukjian
Sumbitted by Eduard Aratta who typed the text out from the book.
Painting “Araks river and Ararat” by Hovhannes Ayvazyan (Ivan Aivazovsky) 1875.

Aram & Arameans:

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.

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:

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.

Armenia Religion

Nane – the Armenian pagan mother goddess

Painting of Goddess Nane by Rubik Kocharian

Nane (Armenian: Nanė; Georgian: Nana; Bulgarian: Nanė; Russian: Nanė) was an Armenian pagan mother goddess. She was the goddess of war, wisdom, and motherhood, and the daughter of the supreme god Aramazd.
Aramazd displaced Vanatur at the top of the pantheon after interaction with the Persians led to the Armenians’ identifying the Zoroastrians’ Ahura Mazda as their prime deity.
Aramazd was considered the father of all gods and goddesses, the creator of heaven and earth. The first two letters in his name – AR – are the Indo-European root for sun, light, and life. He was the source of earth’s fertility, making it fruitful and bountiful. The celebration in his honor was called Amanor, or New Year, which was celebrated on March 21 in the old Armenian calendar (also the Spring equinox).

Aramazd was a syncretic deity, a combination of the autochthonous Armenian legendary figure Ara and the Iranian Ahura Mazda. In the Hellinistic period Aramazd in Armenia was compared with Greek Zeus. The principal temple of Aramazd was in Ani (Kamakh in modern Turkey), a cultural and administrative center of ancient Armenia.

Nane looked like a young beautiful woman in the clothing of a warrior, with spear and shield in hand, like the Greek Athena, with whom she identified in the Hellenic period. Her cult was closely associated with the cult of the goddess Anahit. The temple of the goddess Nane was in the town of Thil. Her temple was destroyed during the Christianization of Armenia:
“Then they crossed the Lycus River and demolished the temple of Nane, Aramazd’s daughter, in the town of Thil.” “Gregory then asked the king for permission to overthrow and destroy the pagan shrines and temples. Drtad readily issued an edict entrusting Gregory with this task, and himself set out from the city to destroy shrines along the highways.”

In Armenia and other countries, the name Nane and its variations continue to be used as a personal name. Now Armenians usually call their grandmother “Nane” (Nan) which means that Nane was an influential goddess in Ancient Armenians spiritual life.

In Armenia the King would take a decision regarding war only after meeting with the eldest woman of the royal dynasty. In the Armenian family the eldest woman was considered the epitome of Nane, and therefore enjoyed great influence.
It is interesting to note similarities in other languages: the Greek “nanna” (aunt), “nonna” in medieval Latin, “nyanya” in Russian. In many parts of Pakistan and India maternal grandparents are called Nana and Nani. In English Nan, Nana, Nanan, Nannan, Nanna are used for grandmother.

Nanaya (Sumerian, NA.NA.A; also transcibed as Nanâ, Nanãy or Nanãya; in Greek: Nαναια or Νανα; Aramaic: ננױננאױ) is the canonical name for a goddess worshipped by the Sumerians and Akkadians, a deity who personified “voluptuousness and sensuality”. Her cult was large and was spread as far as Syria and Iran. She later became syncretised with the Babylonian Tashmetum, the consort of the god Nabu.
Nabu (in Biblical Hebrew Nebo) is the Assyrian and Babylonian god of wisdom and writing, worshipped by Babylonians as the son of Marduk and his consort, Sarpanitum, and as the grandson of Ea. Nabu’s consort was Tashmetum.

Inanna (Sumerian, INANNA; Akkadian: Ištar) is the Sumerian goddess of sexual love, fertility, and warfare.
Inanna’s name derives from Queen of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-anna). The Cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin) and sky (Sumerian: an). These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a goddess possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah, accepted only latterly into the Sumerian pantheon, an idea supported by her youthfulness, and that, unlike the other Sumerian divinities, at first she had no sphere of responsibilities.

Hannahannah (from Hurrian hannah “mother”) is a Hurrian Mother Goddess related to the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. Hannahannah was also identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, one title of Hannahannah. Hebat, also transcribed Kheba or Khepat, was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. She is also a Queen of the gods.
In the Hurrian area Hebat may be identified with Kubaba. Shrines in honour of Kubaba spread throughout Mesopotamia. Kubaba became the tutelary goddess who protected the ancient city of Carchemish on the upper Euphrates, in the late Hurrian – Early Hittite period. Abdi-Heba was the palace mayor, ruling Jerusalem at the time of the Amarna letters (1350 BC).
According to Mark Munn (Munn 2004), her cult later spread and her name was adapted for the main goddess of the Hittite successor-kingdoms in Anatolia, which later developed into the Phrygian matar (mother) or matar kubileya whose image with inscriptions appear in rock-cut sculptures.

Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”; Lydian Kuvava; Greek: Kybele, Kybebe, Kybelis) was an originally Anatolian mother goddess. Little is known of her oldest Anatolian cults, other than her association with mountains, hawks and lions. She may have been Phrygia’s state deity; her Phrygian cult was adopted and adapted by Greek colonists of Asia Minor and spread from there to mainland Greece and its more distant western colonies from around the 6th century BC.
Cybele may have evolved from an Anatolian Mother Goddess of a type found at Çatalhöyük, dated to the 6th millennium BCE. This corpulent, fertile Mother Goddess appears to be giving birth on her throne, which has two feline-headed hand rests. In Phrygian art of the 8th century BCE, the cult attributes of the Phrygian mother-goddess include attendant lions, a bird of prey, and a small vase for her libations or other offerings.

Religion The Fertile Crescent

History of the Bull in Mythology

The Sun, Resurrection – The Violence & Fertility of Nature

The Brighter Stars of Taurus

Taurus Mythology

Thor and Tyr: Revealing the Indo-European Sky God

Aurochs are depicted in many Paleolithic European cave paintings such as those found at Lascaux and Livernon in France. Their life force may have been thought to have magical qualities, for early carvings of the aurochs have also been found.
There is a distinct association of ancient J2 civilisations with bull worship. The oldest evidence of a cult of the bull can be traced back to Neolithic central Anatolia, notably at the sites of Çatal Höyük and Alaca Höyük situated in Alaca, Çorum Province, northeast of Boğazkale (formerly and more familiarly Boğazköy), where the ancient capital city Hattusa of the Hittite Empire was situated.
Minoan Crete, Hittite Anatolia, the Levant, Bactria and the Indus Valley also shared a tradition of bull leaping, the ritual of dodging the charge of a bull. It survives today in the traditional bullfighting of Andalusia in Spain and Provence in France, two regions with a high percentage of J2 lineages.
Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilisations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. This is the case of the Hattians, the Hurrians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians (and their Carthaginian offshoot), the Israelites, and to a lower extent also the Romans, the Assyrians and the Persians. All the great seafaring civilisations from the middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age were dominated by J2 men.
The impressive and dangerous aurochs survived into the Iron Age in Anatolia and the Near East and was worshipped throughout that area as a sacred animal; the earliest survivals of a bull cult are in an 8th millennium BCE sanctuary at neolithic Çatalhöyük in eastern Anatolia.
The sacred bull of the Hattians, whose elaborate standards were found at Alaca Höyük alongside those of the sacred stag, survived in the Hurrian and Hittite mythologies as Seri and Hurri (Day and Night) – the bulls who carried the weather god Teshub on their backs or in his chariot, and grazed on the ruins of cities.
The bull, whether lunar as in Mesopotamia or solar as in India, is the subject of various other cultural and religious incarnations, as well as modern mentions in new age cultures. Marduk is the “bull of Utu”.
Nandi the Bull appears in the Hindu mythology as the primary vehicle and the principal gana (follower) of Shiva. Bulls also appear on the Indus Valley seals from Pakistan as well, but most scholars agree that the horned bull on these seals is not identical to Nandi.
The sacred bull survives in the constellation Taurus. The bull was seen in the constellation Taurus by the Chalcolithic and had marked the new year at springtide by the Bronze Age, for 4000–1700 BCE.
In Mesopotamian mythology, Gugalanna (lit. “The Great Bull of Heaven” < Sumerian gu “bull”, gal “great”, an “heaven”, -a “of”) was a Sumerian deity as well as a constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.
The Bull of Heaven appears in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Gugalanna was the first husband of the Goddess Ereshkigal, the Goddess of the Realm of the Dead, a gloomy place devoid of light, who was dispatched by Inanna to punish Gilgamesh for his sins. Gugalanna was sent by the gods to take retribution upon Gilgamesh for rejecting the sexual advances of the goddess Inanna.
After Gilgamesh upsets the goddess Ishtar, she convinces her father Anu to send the Bull of Heaven to earth to destroy the crops and kill people. However, Gilgamesh and Enkidu kill the Bull of Heaven.
Gugalanna, whose feet made the earth shake, was slain and dismembered by Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Inanna, from the heights of the city walls looked down, and Enkidu took the haunches of the bull shaking them at the goddess, threatening he would do the same to her if he could catch her too.
The gods are angry that the Bull of Heaven has been killed. As punishment for killing the bull Enkidu falls ill and dies.
It was to share the sorrow with her sister that Inanna later descends to the Underworld.
Taurus was the constellation of the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox from about 3,200 BCE. It marked the start of the agricultural year with the New Year Akitu festival (from á-ki-ti-še-gur-ku, = sowing of the barley), an important date in Mespotamian religion.
The “death” of Gugalanna, represents the obscuring disappearance of this constellation as a result of the light of the sun, with whom Gilgamesh was identified.
In the time in which this myth was composed, the New Year Festival, or Akitu, at the Spring Equinox, due to the Precession of the Equinoxes did not occur in Aries, but in Taurus. At this time of the year, Taurus would have disappeared as it was obscured by the sun.
The worship of the Sacred Bull throughout the ancient world is most familiar to the Western world in the Biblical episode of the idol of the Golden Calf.
The Golden Calf after being made by the Hebrew people in the wilderness of Sinai, were rejected and destroyed by Moses and the Hebrew people after Moses’ time upon Mount Sinai (Book of Exodus).
The bull is one of the animals associated with the late Hellenistic and Roman syncretic cult of Mithras, in which the killing of the astral bull, the tauroctony, was as central in the cult as the Crucifixion was to contemporary Christians. The tauroctony was represented in every Mithraeum (compare the very similar Enkidu tauroctony seal).
An often-disputed suggestion connects remnants of Mithraic ritual to the survival or rise of bullfighting in Iberia and southern France, where the legend of Saint Saturninus (or Sernin) of Toulouse and his protégé in Pamplona, Saint Fermin, at least, are inseparably linked to bull-sacrifices by the vivid manner of their martryrdoms, set by Christian hagiography in the 3rd century CE, which was also the century in which Mithraism was most widely practiced.
In some Christian traditions, Nativity scenes are carved or assembled at Christmas time. Many show a bull or an ox near the baby Jesus, lying in a manger. Traditional songs of Christmas often tell of the bull and the donkey warming the infant with their breath. This refers (or, at least, is referred) to the beginning of the book of the prophet Isaiah, where he says: “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib.” (Isaiah 1:3)

Neolithic The Fertile Crescent

Samarra culture, Tell Halaf and Tell Ubaid

The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.
As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.
It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses, also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.
During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.
In the period 6500–5500 B.C., a farming society emerged in northern Mesopotamia and Syria which shared a common culture and produced pottery that is among the finest ever made in the Near East. This culture is known as Halaf, after the site of Tell Halaf in northeastern Syria where it was first identified.
The Halaf culture is a prehistoric period which lasted between about 6100 and 5500 BC. The period is a continuous development out of the earlier Pottery Neolithic and is located primarily in the Euphrates valley in south-eastern Turkey, the Balikh valley and the Khabur in Syria, and the Upper Tigris area in Iraq, although Halaf-influenced material is found throughout Greater Mesopotamia.
The term «Proto-Halaf period» refers to the gradual emergence of the Halaf culture. It reformulates the «Halafcultural package» as this has been traditionally understood, and it shows that the Halaf emerged rapidly, but gradually, at the end of 7000 BC.
The term refers to a distinct ceramic assemblage characterised by the introduction of painted Fine Ware within the later Pre-Halafceramic assemblage. Although these new wares represent changes in ceramic technology and production, other cultural aspects continue without abrupt change.
The recent discoveries at various Late Neolithic sites in Syrian and elsewhere that have been reviews here are really changing the old, traditional schemes, which often presupposed abrupt transitions from one culture-historical entity to another. At present, there is growing evidence for considerable continuity during 7000-6000 BC.
At the northern Syrian sites, where theProto-Halaf stage was first defined,there is no perceptible break and at several sites (Tell Sabi Abyad, Tell Halula) the Proto-Halaf ceramic assemblage appears tobe closely linked to the preceding late Pre-Halaf.
The key evidence for the Proto-Halaf period is the appearance of new ceramic categories that did not existed before, manufactured according to high technological standards and complexly decorated.
The similarities of these new painted wares from one Proto-Halafsiteto another points to strong relationships between different communities. On the other hand, the evidence oflocal variety in ceramic production would indicate acertain level of independence of local groups.
Although this new stage deservesto be studied much more, it appears to be the case that apart from the ceramicsmost other aspects of the material culture show a gradual, not abrupt evolution from the precedent stage, such as the production of lithic tools, property markers such as stamp seals, the architecture and burial practices.
The discovery of Proto-Halaf layers at Tell Halula, Tell Sabi Abyad and Tell Chagar Bazar has added much insight into the origins of the Halaf and its initial development, and shows that the Halaf resulted from a gradual, continuous process of cultural change. It also seems to be clear that the origins of the Halaf  were regionally heterogeneous.
The Halaf culture as it is traditionally understood appears to have evolved over a very large area, which comprises the Euphrates valley (until recently considered to be a peripheral area), the Balikh valley and the Khabur in Syria but also northern Iraq, southern Turkey and the Upper Tigris area.
The Halaf potters used different sources of clay from their neighbors and achieved outstanding elaboration and elegance of design with their superior quality ware. Some of the most beautifully painted polychrome ceramics were produced toward the end of the Halaf period. This distinctive pottery has been found from southeastern Turkey to Iran, but may have its origins in the region of the River Khabur (modern Syria).
How and why it spread so widely is a matter of continuing debate, although analysis of the clay indicates the existence of production centers and regional copying. It is possible that such high-quality pottery was exchanged as a prestige item between local elites.
The Halaf culture also produced a great variety of amulets and stamp seals of geometric design, as well as a range of largely female terracotta figurines that often emphasize the sexual features.
Among the best-known Halaf sites are Arpachiyah, Sabi Abyad, and Yarim Tepe, small agricultural villages with distinctive buildings known as tholoi. These rounded domed structures, with or without antechambers, were made of different materials depending on what was available locally: limestone boulders or mud and straw.
The most important site for the Halaf tradition was the site of Tell Arpachiyah located about 4 miles from Nineveh, now located in the suburbs of Mosul, Iraq. The site was occupied in the Halaf and Ubaid periods. It appears to have been heavily involved in the manufacture of pottery. The pottery recovered there formed the basis of the internal chronology of the Halaf period. The Halaf culture was eventually absorbed into the so-called Ubaid culture, with changes in pottery and building styles.
Early in the chalcolithic period the potters of Arpachiyah in the Khabur Valley carried on the Tell Halaf tradition with a technical ability and with a sense of artistry far superior to that attained by the earlier masters; their polychrome designs, executed in rous paint, show a richness of invention and a painstaking skill in draughtsmanship which is unrivaled in the ancient world.
The best known, most characteristic pottery of Tell Halaf, called Halaf ware, produced by specialist potters, has been found in other parts of northern Mesopotamia, such as at Nineveh and Tepe Gawra, Chagar Bazar and at many sites in Anatolia (Turkey) suggesting that it was widely used in the region.
Arpachiyah and Tepe Gawra have produced typical Eastern Halaf ware while a rather different Western Halaf version is known from such Syrian sites as Carchemish and Halaf itself.
Hassuna or Tell Hassuna is an ancient Mesopotamian site situated in what was to become ancient Assyria, and is now in the Ninawa Governorate of Iraq west of the Tigris river, south of Mosul and about 35 km southwest of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.
By around 6000 BC people had moved into the foothills (piedmont) of northernmost Mesopotamia where there was enough rainfall to allow for “dry” agriculture in some places. These were the first farmers in northernmost Mesopotamia. They made Hassuna style pottery (cream slip with reddish paint in linear designs). Hassuna people lived in small villages or hamlets ranging from 2 to 8 acres (32,000 m2).
At Tell Hassuna, adobe dwellings built around open central courts with fine painted pottery replace earlier levels with crude pottery. Hand axes, sickles, grinding stones, bins, baking ovens and numerous bones of domesticated animals reflect settled agricultural life. Female figurines have been related to worship and jar burials within which food was placed related to belief in afterlife. The relationship of Hassuna pottery to that of Jericho suggests that village culture was becoming widespread.
Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands. The culture is dated to mid-6th or early-5th millennia BC and is thought to be one of the earliest known Neolithic cultures.
The Shulaveri-Shomu culture begins after the 8.2 kiloyear event which was a sudden decrease in global temperatures starting ca. 6200 BC and which lasted for about two to four centuries.
Shulaveri culture predates the Kura-Araxes culture and surrounding areas, which is assigned to the period of ca. 4000 – 2200 BC, and had close relation with the middle Bronze Age culture called Trialeti culture (ca. 3000 – 1500 BC). Sioni culture of Eastern Georgia possibly represents a transition from the Shulaveri to the Kura-Arax cultural complex.
Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus started to use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes around 6000–4200 BC.
Many of the characteristic traits of the Shulaverian material culture (circular mudbrick architecture, pottery decorated by plastic design, anthropomorphic female figurines, obsidian industry with an emphasis on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic cultures, like Tell Halaf and Tell Hassuna.
The Halaf period was succeeded by the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (~5500 – 5200 cal. BCE) and then by the Ubaid period (~5200 – 4000 cal. BCE). The Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (ca. 5500/5400 to 5200/5000 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. It lies chronologically between the Halaf period and the Ubaid period. It is a very poorly understood period and was created to explain the gradual change from Halaf style pottery to Ubaid style pottery in North Mesopotamia.
ArchaeologyArchaeologically the period is defined more by absence then data as the Halaf appears to have ended before 5500/5400 cal. BC and the Ubaid begins after 5200 cal. BC. There are only two sites that run from the Halaf until the Ubaid. The first of these, Tepe Gawra, was excavated in the 1930s when stratigraphic controls were lacking and it is difficult to re-create the sequence. The second, Tell Aqab remains largely unpublished.
This makes definitive statements about the period difficult and with the present state of archaeological knowledge nothing certain can be claimed about the Halaf-Ubaid transitional except that it is a couple of hundred years long and pottery styles changed over the period.
The Ubaid period (ca. 6500 to 3800 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. The name derives from the tell (mound) of al-`Ubaid west of nearby Ur in southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar Governorate where the earliest large excavation of Ubaid period material was conducted initially by Henry Hall and later by Leonard Woolley.
In South Mesopotamia the period is the earliest known period on the alluvium although it is likely earlier periods exist obscured under the alluvium. In the south it has a very long duration between about 6500 and 3800 BC when it is replaced by the Uruk period.
In North Mesopotamia the period runs only between about 5300 and 4300 BC. It is preceded by the Halaf period and the Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period and succeeded by the Late Chalcolithic period.
The Ubaid period is marked by a distinctive style of fine quality painted pottery which spread throughoutMesopotamia and the Persian Gulf. During this time, the first settlement in southern Mesopotamia was established at Eridu (Cuneiform: NUN.KI), ca. 5300 BC, by farmers who brought with them the Hadji Muhammed culture, which first pioneered irrigation agriculture. It appears this culture was derived from the Samarran culture from northern Mesopotamia.
Hadji Muhammed was a small village in Southern Iraq which gives its name to a style of painted pottery and the early phase of what is the Ubaid culture. The pottery is painted in dark brown, black or purple in an attractive geometric style. Sandwiched between the earliest settlement of Eridu and the later “classical” Ubaid style, the culture is found as far north as Ras Al-Amiya. The Hadji Muhammed period saw the development of extensive canal networks from major settlements.
Irrigation agriculture, which seem to have developed first at Choga Mami (4700–4600 BC), a Samarra ware archaeological site of Southern Iraq in the Mandali region which shows the first canal irrigation in operation at about 6000 BCE, and rapidly spread elsewhere, from the first required collective effort and centralised coordination of labour. Buildings were of wattle and daub or mud brick.
Joan Oates has suggested on the basis of continuity in configurations of certain vessels, despite differences in thickness of others that it is just a difference in style, rather than a new cultural tradition.
It is not known whether or not these were the actual Sumerians who are identified with the later Uruk culture. Eridu remained an important religious center when it was gradually surpassed in size by the nearby city of Uruk. The story of the passing of the me (gifts of civilisation) to Inanna, goddess of Uruk and of love and war, by Enki, god of wisdom and chief god of Eridu, may reflect this shift in hegemony.
It appears that this early culture was an amalgam of three distinct cultural influences: peasant farmers, living in wattle and daub or clay brick houses and practicing irrigation agriculture; hunter-fishermen living in woven reed houses and living on floating islands in the marshes (Proto-Sumerians); and Proto-Akkadian nomadic pastoralists, living in black tents.
Sumer (from Akkadian Šumeru; Sumerian ki-en-ĝir, approximately “land of the civilized kings” or “native land”) was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age.
Although the earliest historical records in the region do not go back much further than ca. 2900 BC, modern historians have asserted that Sumer was first settled between ca. 4500 and 4000 BC by a non-Semitic people who may or may not have spoken the Sumerian language (pointing to the names of cities, rivers, basic occupations, etc. as evidence).
These conjectured, prehistoric people are now called Ubaidians, and are theorized to have evolved from the Chalcolithic Samarra culture (ca 5500–4800 BC) of northern Mesopotamia (Assyria) identified at the rich site of Tell Sawwan, where evidence of irrigation—including flax—establishes the presence of a prosperous settled culture with a highly organized social structure.
The Ubaidians were the first civilizing force in Sumer, draining the marshes for agriculture, developing trade, and establishing industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery. Sumerian civilization took form in the Uruk period (4th millennium BC), continuing into the Jemdat Nasr and Early Dynastic periods.
The Samarran Culture is primarily known for its finely-made pottery decorated against dark-fired backgrounds with stylized figures of animals and birds and geometric designs. This widely-exported type of pottery, one of the first widespread, relatively uniform pottery styles in the Ancient Near East, was first recognized at Samarra. The Samarran Culture was the precursor to the Mesopotamian culture of the Ubaid period.
The ancient Halaf culture which existed just before and during the Ubaid period at around the same time had Swastikas on their pottery and other items. These people eventually gave rise to the ancient Sumerians, who also used the Swastika symbol. The ancient Vinca culture (5500 BC) was the first appearance of the swastika in history, not what you’re reading above. The Tartaria culture of Romainia (4000 BC) had similar symbols.
Then later the Merhgarh Culture, which later became the Harappan culture of the Great Indus Valley Civilization (which is where “The Vedas” came from) also exhibited the Swastika symbolism. Then even later the legendary Xia Dynasty held the swastika symbol in high regard. Even ancient Native American Indians knew this symbol. If you’ve noticed all these cultures were exactly 1000 years apart, bringing the Swastika symbol west to east from the Balkans to China and even beyond. Look it up, do the research.
Ghassulian refers to a culture and an archaeological stage dating to the Middle Chalcolithic Period in the Southern Levant. The Ghassulians were a Chalcolithic culture as they also smelted copper.
Considered to correspond to the Halafian culture, Tell Hassuna and Tell Ubaid of North Syria and Mesopotamia, its type-site, Tulaylat al-Ghassul, is located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea in modern Jordan and was excavated in the 1930s.
The dates for Ghassulian are dependent upon 14C (radiocarbon) determinations, which suggest that the typical later Ghassulian began sometime around the mid-5th millennium and ended ca. 3800 BC. The transition from Late Ghassulian to EB I seems to have been 3800-3500 BC.
Funerary customs show evidence that they buried their dead in stone dolmens, a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of three or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC).
The Ghassulian culture, that has been identified at numerous other places in what is today southern Israel, especially in the region of Beersheba, correlates closely with the Amratian (Naqada I) and Gerzeh (Naqada II) cultures, which brought a number of technological improvements, of Egypt and may have had trading affinities (e.g., the distinctive churns, or “bird vases”) with early Minoan culture in Crete.
The Amratian Culture was a cultural period in the history of predynastic Upper Egypt, which lasted approximately from 4000 to 3500 BC. It is named after the site of El-Amra, about 120 km (75 mi) south of Badari, Upper Egypt.
El-Amra was the first site where this culture group was found without being mingled with the later Gerzean culture group. However, this period is better attested at the Naqada site, thus it also is referred to as the Naqada I culture.
The Naqada culture manufactured a diverse selection of material goods, reflective of the increasing power and wealth of the elite, as well as societal personal-use items, which included combs, small statuary, painted pottery, high quality decorative stone vases, cosmeti palettes, and jewelry made of gold, lapis, and ivory.
They also developed a ceramic glaze known as faience, which was used well into the Roman Period to decorate cups, amulets, and figurines. During the last predynastic phase, the Naqada culture began using written symbols that eventually were developed into a full system of hieroglyphs for writing the ancient Egyptian language.
In Naqada II times, early evidence exists of contact with the Near East, particularly Canaan and the Byblos coast. Over a period of about 1,000 years, the Naqada culture developed from a few small farming communities into a powerful civilization whose leaders were in complete control of the people and resources of the Nile valley.
Gerzeh, also Girza or Jirzah, is the second of three phases of the Naqada Culture, and so is called Naqada II. It is preceded by the Amratian (Naqada I) and followed by the Protodynastic or Semainian (Naqada III). The end of the Gerzean period is generally regarded as coinciding with the unification of Egypt.
It was a predynastic Egyptian cemetery located along the west bank of the Nile and today named after al-Girza, the nearby present day town in Egypt. Gerzeh is situated only several miles due east of the lake of the Al Fayyum.
Establishing a power center at Hierakonpolis, and later at Abydos, Naqada III leaders expanded their control of Egypt northwards along the Nile. There is also strong archaeological evidence of Egyptian settlements in southern Canaan during the Protodynastic Period, which are regarded as colonies or trading entrepôts.
By about 3600 BC, neolithic Egyptian societies along the Nile River had based their culture on the raising of crops and the domestication of animals. The Mesopotamian process of sun-dried bricks, and architectural building principles—including the use of the arch and recessed walls for decorative effect—became popular during this time.
Shortly after 3600 BC Egyptian society began to grow and advance rapidly toward refined civilization. A new and distinctive pottery, which was related to the pottery of the Southern Levant, appeared during this time. Extensive use of copper became common during this time.
The Gerzean culture, from about 3500 to 3200 BC, is named after the site of Gerzeh. It was the next stage in Egyptian cultural development, and it was during this time that the foundation of Dynastic Egypt was laid.
Gerzean culture is largely an unbroken development out of Amratian Culture, starting in the delta and moving south through upper Egypt, but failing to dislodge Amratian culture in Nubia.
Gerzean pottery is distinctly different from Amratian white cross-lined wares or black-topped ware. Gerzean pottery was painted mostly in dark red with pictures of animals, people, and ships, as well as geometric symbols that appear derived from animals. Also, “wavy” handles, rare before this period became more common and more elaborate until they were almost completely ornamental.
Although the Gerzean Culture is now clearly identified as being the continuation of the Amratian period, significant amounts of Mesopotamian influences worked their way into Egypt during the Gerzean which were interpreted in previous years as evidence of a Mesopotamian ruling class, the so-called Dynastic Race, coming to power over Upper Egypt. This idea no longer attracts academic support.
Distinctly foreign objects and art forms entered Egypt during this period, indicating contacts with several parts of Asia. Objects such as the Gebel el-Arak knife handle, which has patently Mesopotamian relief carvings on it, have been found inEgypt, and the silver which appears in this period can only have been obtained from Asia Minor.
In addition, Egyptian objects are created which clearly mimic Mesopotamian forms, although not slavishly. Cylinder seals appear in Egypt, as well as recessed paneling architecture, the Egyptian reliefs on cosmetic palettes are clearly made in the same style as the contemporary Mesopotamian Uruk culture, and the ceremonial mace heads which turn up from the late Gerzean and early Semainean are crafted in the Mesopotamian “pear-shaped” style, instead of the Egyptian native style.
The route of this trade is difficult to determine, but contact with Canaan does not predate the early dynastic, so it is usually assumed to have been by water. During the time when the Dynastic Race Theory was still popular, it was theorized that Uruk sailors circumnavigated Arabia, but a Mediterranean route, probably by middlemen through Byblos is more likely, as evidenced by the presence of Byblian objects in Egypt.
The fact that so many Gerzean sites are at the mouths of wadis which lead to the Red Sea may indicate some amount of trade via the Red Sea (though Byblian trade potentially could have crossed the Sinai and then taken to the Red Sea).
Also, it is considered unlikely that something as complicated as recessed panel architecture could have worked its way into Egypt by proxy, and at least a small contingent of migrants is often suspected.
Concurrent with these cultural advances, a process of unification of the societies and towns of the upper Nile River, or Upper Egypt, occurred. At the same time the societies of the Nile Delta, or Lower Egypt also underwent a unification process. Warfare between Upper and Lower Egypt occurred often.
The PPNB culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BC, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.
In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture.
Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period. Juris Zarins has proposed that pastoral nomadism, or a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex, began as a cultural lifestyle in the wake of the climatic crisis of 6200 BC, and spreading Proto-Semitic languages.
This partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon domesticated animals, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in the Southern Levant, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing pastoral nomadism spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into southern Iraq.
The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”
Figuring out Identity: The Body and Identity in the ‘Ubaid
Halaf culture
Ubaid Period

Armenia Eastern Mediterrean The Fertile Crescent

Hurrians, Hebrews and Armenians

According to classical rabbinical literature, the Jebusites derived their name from the city of Jebus, the ancient Jerusalem, which they inhabited.
These rabbinical sources also argued that as part of the price of Abraham’s purchase of the Cave of Machpelah, which lay in the territory of the Jebusites, the Jebusites made Abraham grant them a covenant that his descendants would not take control of Jebus against the will of the Jebusites, and then the Jebusites engraved the covenant into bronze; the sources state that the presence of the bronze statues are why the Israelites were not able to conquer the city during Joshua’s campaign.
The classical era rabbis go on to state that King David was prevented from entering the city of Jebus for the same reason, and so he promised the reward of captaincy to anyone who destroyed the bronzes – Joab performing the task and so gaining the prize. The covenant is dismissed by the rabbis as having been invalidated due to the war the Jebusites fought against Joshua, but nevertheless David (according to the rabbis) paid the Jebusites the full value of the city, collecting the money from among all the Israelite tribes, so that the city became their common property.
In reference to a passage in the Books of Samuel which refers to a saying about the blind and the lame, Rashi quotes a midrash which argues that the Jebusites had two statues in their city, with their mouths containing the words of the covenant between Abraham and the Jebusites; one figure, depicting a blind person, represented Isaac, and the other, depicting a lame person, representing Jacob.
Yasir Arafat and Faisal Husseini have stated Palestinians may have a Jebusite background. The claim is used as an attempt to prove a connection between Palestinians and Jerusalem that predates the Muslim conquest. There is, however, no archaeological evidence linking the Arab-Palestinians of today with the Jebusites of the Canaanite period.
In the Amarna letters, mention is made of the contemporaneous king of Jerusalem was named Abdi-Heba, which is a theophoric name invoking a Hurrian goddess named Hebat; unless a different ethnic group occupied Jerusalem in this period, this implies that the Jebusites were Hurrians themselves, were heavily influenced by Hurrian culture, or were dominated by a Hurrian maryannu class.
Hebat, also transcribed Kheba or Khepat, was the mother goddess of the Hurrians, known as “the mother of all living”. She is also a Queen of the gods.
The name can be transliterated in different versions – Khebat with the feminine ending -t is primarily the Syrian and Ugaritic version. In the Hurrian language Hepa is the most likely pronunciation of the name of the goddess. The sound /h/ in cuneiform is in the modern literature sometimes transliterated as kh. In Aramaean times she appears to have become identified with the Goddess Hawwah. Eve (Hebrew: Ḥawwāh, Modern Israeli Hebrew: Khavah) was, according to Abrahamic religions, the first woman created by God.
In the Bible, Eve (Hawwa’; Ge’ez: Hiywan, “living one” or “source of life”, related to ḥāyâ, “to live”; Greek: Εὕα or heúā, ultimately from the Semitic root ḥyw;) is Adam’s wife. Her name occurs only four times; the first being Genesis 3:20: “And Adam called his wife’s name Ḥawwāh; because she was the mother of all living.” In Vulgate she appears as “Hava” in the Old Testament, but “Eva” in the New Testament.
The name may actually be derived from that of the Hurrian Goddess Kheba, who was shown in the Amarna Letters to be worshipped in Jerusalem during the Late Bronze Age.
The mother goddess is likely to have had a later counterpart in the Phrygian goddess Cybele. Cybele (Phrygian: Matar Kubileya/Kubeleya “Kubeleyan Mother”, perhaps “Mountain Mother”) was an originally Anatolian mother goddess. Cybele may have evolved from an Anatolian Mother Goddess of a type found at Çatalhöyük, dated to the 6th millennium BCE. This corpulent, fertile Mother Goddess appears to be giving birth on her throne, which has two feline-headed hand rests.
A hundred years ago, many Bible critics claimed that stories of the patriarchs were nothing more than religious fiction. The “silence of history” concerning the patriarchs, upon which these critics based their claims, was shattered with the discovery of ancient tablets at Mari (in southeast Syria) and Nuzi (in modern-day Iraq).
These tablets, although not directly mentioning the patriarchs, still constituted such valuable testimony about their life-styles that the late Professor William F. Albright (the then-acknowledged “dean” of Palestinian archaeologists) concluded that “the narratives of Genesis dealing with Abram may now be integrated into the life and history of the time [the second millennium B.C.] in such surprisingly consistent ways that there can be little doubt about their substantial historicity” (Biblical Archaeologist, July 1973, p. 10).
Overall, the patriarchs’ way of life conforms so closely to the cultural world described by these tablets that there is no reason to doubt that they were real people.
Though the beginning of Israel’s history as a nation is usually placed at the time of her departure from Egypt, an account of her history must start with Abraham and the patriarchs. Only after Israel had moved across Egypt’s border did she have size and identity with which other nations would have to reckon with, but she already had a history that stretched back through the years to her fathers, Jacob and Abraham. To Jacob the twelve heads of the respective tribes had been born, and to Abraham God had given His promise of a nation.
Archaeological discoveries in the Middle East support and illuminate Scripture. Discoveries continue to fill in the picture of the ancient civilization in which the patriarchs lived. It may be that archaeology will never prove that Abraham really existed, but what we can prove is that his life and times, as reflected in the stories about him, fit perfectly within the early second millennium. Critics of the biblical account of the patriarchs are forced to accept the historicity of these accounts on the basis of finds at such places as Mari and Nuzi.
The Hyksos (Egyptian heqa khaseshet, “foreign rulers”) were a mixed people from West Asia who took over the eastern Nile Delta, ending the thirteenth dynasty, and initiating the Second Intermediate Period of Ancient Egypt.
The Hyksos first appeared in Egypt c.1800 BC, during the eleventh dynasty, and began their climb to power in the thirteenth dynasty, coming out of the second intermediate period in control of Avaris and the Delta. By the fifteenth dynasty, they ruled Lower Egypt, and at the end of the seventeenth dynasty, they were expelled (c.1560 BC).
Contemporary with the Hyksos there was a widespread Indo-Aryan expansion in central and south Asia. The Hyksos used the same horsedrawn chariot as the Indo-Aryans and Egyptian sources mentions a rapid conquest.
The Hyksos practiced horse burials, and their chief deity, their native storm god, became associated with the Egyptian storm and desert god, Seth.[4] Although most Hyksos names seem Semitic, the Hyksos also included Hurrians, who, while speaking an isolated language, were under the rule and influence of Indo-Europeans.
The Hyksos brought several technical improvements to Egypt, as well as cultural impulses such as new musical instruments and foreign loan words. The changes introduced include new techniques of bronze working and pottery, new breeds of animals, and new crops. In warfare, they introduced the horse and chariot, the composite bow, improved battle axes, and advanced fortification techniques.
In his Against Apion, the 1st-century AD historian Josephus Flavius debates the synchronism between the Biblical account of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and two Exodus-like events that the Egyptian historian Manetho apparently mentions. It is difficult to distinguish between what Manetho himself recounted, and how Josephus or Apion interpret him. Josephus identifies the Israelite Exodus with the first exodus mentioned by Manetho, when some 480,000 Hyksos “shepherd kings” (also referred to as just ‘shepherds’, as ‘kings’ and as ‘captive shepherds’ in his discussion of Manetho) left Egypt for Jerusalem. The mention of “Hyksos” identifies this first exodus with the Hyksos period (16th century BC).
Josephus records the earliest account of the false but understandable etymology that the Greek phrase Hyksos stood for the Egyptian phrase Hekw Shasu meaning the Bedouin-like Shepherd Kings, which scholars have only recently shown means “rulers of foreign lands.”
Proto-Sinaitic is a Middle Bronze Age script attested in a very small collection of inscriptions at Serabit el-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula. Due to the extreme scarcity of Proto-Sinaitic signs, very little is known with certainty about the nature of the script. Because the script co-existed with Egyptian hieroglyphs, it is likely that it represented true writing, but this is by no means certain. It has been argued that Proto-Sinaitic was an alphabet and the ancestor of the Phoenician alphabet, from which nearly all modern alphabets descend.
The Canaanite languages are a subfamily of the Semitic languages, which were spoken by the ancient peoples of the Canaan region, including Canaanites, Israelites, Phoenicians, Amorites, Edomites and Moabites. All of them seem to have become extinct as native languages by the early 1st millennium CE (although it is uncertain how long Punic survived), although Hebrew remained in continuous literary and religious use among Jews, and was revived as an everyday spoken language in the 19th and 20th centuries in an effort spearheaded by Eliezer Ben Yehuda.
Hebrew is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Hebrews/Israelites and their ancestors. The earliest examples of written Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE.
Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages. In turn the Canaanite languages are a branch of the Northwest Semitic family of languages. In the Bible, the Hebrew language is called Yәhudit because Judah (Yәhuda) was the surviving kingdom at the time of the quotation, late 8th century BCE (Is 36, 2 Kings 18). In Isaiah 19:18, it is also called the “Language of Canaan”.
Habiru or Apiru or ˁpr.w (Egyptian) was the name given by various Sumerian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Hittite, Mitanni, and Ugaritic sources (dated, roughly, between 1800 BC and 1100 BC) to a group of people living as nomadic invaders in areas of the Fertile Crescent from Northeastern Mesopotamia and Iran to the borders of Egypt in Canaan. Their names are predominantly Hurrian; seven are perhaps Semitic. They come from a variety of settlements scattered around the region.
Depending on the source and epoch, these Habiru are variously described as nomadic or semi-nomadic, rebels, outlaws, raiders, mercenaries, and bowmen, servants, slaves, migrant laborers, etc.
Since the discovery of the 2nd millennium inscriptions mentioning the Habiru, there have been many theories linking these to the Hebrews. Some scholars argue that the name “Hebrew” is related to the name of the seminomadic Habiru people, who are recorded in Egyptian inscriptions of the 13th and 12th centuries BCE as having settled in Egypt.
An inscription on a statue found at Alalakh in southeastern Anatolia, the Mitanni prince Idrimi of Aleppo (who lived from about 1500 BC to 1450 BC), tells that, after his family had been forced to flee to Emar, he left them and joined the “Hapiru people” in “Ammija in the land of Canaan”. The Hapiru recognized him as the “son of their overlord” and “gathered around him;” they are said to include “natives of Halab, of the country of Mushki, of the country Nihi and also warriors from the country Amae.” After living among them for seven years, he led his Habiru warriors in a successful attack by sea on the city-state of Alalakh, where he became king.
The Mushki were an Iron Age people of Anatolia, known from Assyrian sources. They do not appear in Hittite records. Two different groups are called Muški in the Assyrian sources (Diakonoff 1984:115), one from the 12th to 9th centuries, located near the confluence of the Arsanias and the Euphrates (“Eastern Mushki”), and the other in the 8th to 7th centuries, located in Cappadocia and Cilicia (“Western Mushki”). Assyrian sources identify the Western Mushki with the Phrygians, while Greek sources clearly distinguish between Phrygians and Moschoi.
Identification of the Eastern with the Western Mushki is uncertain, but it is of course possible to assume a migration of at least part of the Eastern Mushki to Cilicia in the course of the 10th to 8th centuries.
The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture notes that “the Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians and the Proto-Armenian Mushki (or Armeno-Phrygians) who carried their IE language eastwards across Anatolia.”
Armeno-Phrygian is a term for a minority supported claim of hypothetical people who are thought to have lived in the Armenian Highland as a group and then have separated to form the Phrygians and the Mushki of Cappadocia. It is also used for the language they are assumed to have spoken. It can also be used for a language branch including these languages, a branch of the Indo-European family or a sub-branch of the proposed Graeco-Armeno-Aryan or Armeno-Aryan branch.
Classification is difficult because little is known of Phrygian and virtually nothing of Mushki, while Proto-Armenian forms a subgroup with Hurro-Urartian, Greek, and Indo-Iranian. These subgroups are all Indo-European, with the exception of Hurro-Urartian.
The name Armenia enters English via Latin, from Ancient Greek Ἀρμενία. The Armenian endonym for the Armenian people and country is hayer and hayk’, respectively. The exact etymology of the name is unknown, and there are various speculative attempts to connect it to older toponyms or ethnonyms.
It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. The earliest is from an inscription which mentions Armânum together with Ibla (Ebla) as territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in ca. 2250 BC.
Another mention by pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”. The name is connected to the Indo-European root Ar- meaning “assemble/create” which is vastly used in names of or regarding the Sun, light, or fire, found in Ararat, Aryan, Arta etc.
I. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser believed Semitic Subarians had been the linguistic and ethnic substratum of northern Mesopotamia since earliest times, while Hurrians were merely late arrivals.
The land of Subartu (Akkadian Šubartum/Subartum/ina Šú-ba-ri, Assyrian mât Šubarri) or Subar (Sumerian Su-bir4/Subar/Šubur) is mentioned in Bronze Age literature.
The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki, and the Martu land. Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer.
Subartu may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians. There are various alternate theories associating the ancient Subartu with one or more modern cultures found in the region, including Armenian or Kurdish tribes.
Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Hurrian-speaking kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. The capital was called Ubbumu. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.
Weidner interpreted textual evidence to indicate that after the Hurrian king Shattuara of Mitanni was defeated by Adad-nirari I of Assyria in the early 13th century BC, he then became ruler of a reduced vassal state known as Shubria or Subartu. The name Subartu (Sumerian: Shubur) for the region is attested much earlier, from the time of the earliest Mesopotamian records (mid 3rd millennium BC).
Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians.
The earliest testimony of the Armenian language dates to the 5th century AD (the Bible translation of Mesrob Mashtots). The earlier history of the language is unclear and the subject of much speculation. It is clear that Armenian is an Indo-European language, but its development is opaque. In any case, Armenian has many layers of loanwords and shows traces of long language contact with Hurro-Urartian, Greek and Indo-Iranian.
In his paper, “Hurro-Urartian Borrowings in Old Armenian”, Soviet linguist Igor Mikhailovich Diakonov notes the presence in Old Armenian of what he calls a Caucasian substratum, identified by earlier scholars, consisting of loans from the Kartvelian and Northeast Caucasian languages such as Udi.
Noting that the Hurro-Urartian peoples inhabited the Armenian homeland in the second millennium BC, Diakonov identifies in Armenian a Hurro-Urartian substratum of social, cultural, and zoological and biological terms such as ałaxin (‘slavegirl’) and xnjor (‘apple(tree)’). Some of the terms he gives admittedly have an Akkadian or Sumerian provenance, but he suggests they were borrowed through Hurrian or Urartu.
Given that these borrowings do not undergo sound changes characteristic of the development of Armenian from Proto-Indo-European, he dates their borrowing to a time before the written record but after the Proto-Armenian language stage.
Armenia, situated between the Black and Caspian Seas, lies at the junction of Turkey, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan and former Mesopotamia. This geographic position made it a potential contact zone between Eastern and Western civilizations.
There are a striking prominence of haplogroups previously implicated with the Agricultural Revolution in the Near East, including the J2a-M410-, R1b1b1*-L23-, G2a-P15- and J1-M267-derived lineages. Given that the Last Glacial Maximum event in the Armenian plateau occured a few millennia before the Neolithic era, we envision a scenario in which its repopulation was achieved mainly by the arrival of farmers from the Fertile Crescent temporally coincident with the initial inception of farming in Greece.
However, there are very restricted genetic affinities with Europe that suggest any later cultural diffusions from Armenia to Europe were not associated with substantial amounts of paternal gene flow, despite the presence of closely related Indo-European languages in both Armenia and Southeast Europe.
Within a few centuries of the fall of Washshukanni to Assyria, Mitanni became fully Assyrianized and linguistically Aramaized, and use of the Hurrian language began to be discouraged throughout the Neo-Assyrian Empire. However, Urartean, a dialect closely related to Hurrian seems to have survived in the new state of Urartu, in the mountainous areas to the north. In the 10th to 9th century BC inscriptions of Adad-nirari II and Shalmaneser III, Hanigalbat is still used as a geographical term.
In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521/0 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.Shubria was part of the Urartu confederation. Later, there is reference to a district in the area called Arme or Urme, which some scholars have linked to the name Armenia.

Africa Armenia Semitic People

From the Canaries to Armenia

Genetic evidence shows that northern African peoples (possibly descendants of the Capsian culture) made a significant contribution to the aboriginal population of the Canaries following desertification of the Sahara at some point after 6000 BCE. Linguistic evidence suggests ties between the Guanche language and the Berber languages of North Africa, particularly when comparing numeral systems. Research into the genetics of the Guanche population have led to the conclusion that they share an ancestry with Berber peoples.

A more typical proposal is that Semitic is an offshoot of a northern family of Afroasiatic languages, including Berber, and possibly Egyptian. It then entered the Levant and was possibly spread by what Juris Zarins calls the Syro-Arabian nomadic pastoralism complex, spreading south along the shores of the Red Sea and northeast around the edge of the “Fertile Crescent”. It is thought that Semitic speakers then crossed from South Arabia back into Eritrea.
In contrast, Bender proposed on linguistic grounds that Cushitic (found in the Horn of Africa) shares important innovations with Semitic and Berber, and that these three split off early from the others, while still near an original homeland of all Afroasiatic.
In the past it was asserted that pastoral nomads left no presence archaeologically but this has now been challenged. Pastoral nomadic sites are identified based on their location outside the zone of agriculture, the absence of grains or grain-processing equipment, limited and characteristic architecture, a predominance of sheep and goat bones, and by ethnographic analogy to modern pastoral nomadic peoples.
Juris Zahrins has proposed that pastoral nomadism began as a cultural lifestyle in the wake of the 6200 BC climatic crisis when Harifian hunter-gatherers fused with Pre-Pottery Neolithic B agriculturalists to produce a nomadic lifestyle based on animal domestication, developing a circum-Arabian nomadic pastoral complex, and spreading Proto-Semitic languages.
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB) is a division of the Neolithic developed by Kathleen Kenyon during her archaeological excavations at Jericho in the southern Levant region. The period is dated to between ca. 10,700 and ca. 8,000 BP or 7000 – 6000 BCE.
Cultural tendencies of this period differ from that of the earlier Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) period in that people living during this period began to depend more heavily upon domesticated animals to supplement their earlier mixed agrarian and hunter-gatherer diet. In addition the flint tool kit of the period is new and quite disparate from that of the earlier period. One of its major elements is the naviform core.
This is the first period in which architectural styles of the southern Levant became primarily rectilinear; earlier typical dwellings were circular, elliptical and occasionally even octagonal.
Pyrotechnology was highly developed in this period. During this period, one of the main features of houses is evidenced by a thick layer of white clay plaster floors highly polished and made of lime produced from limestone. It is believed that the use of clay plaster for floor and wall coverings during PPNB led to the discovery of pottery.
The earliest proto-pottery was White Ware vessels, made from lime and gray ash, built up around baskets before firing, for several centuries around 7000 BC at sites such as Tell Neba’a Faour (Beqaa Valley). Sites from this period found in the Levant utilizing rectangular floor plans and plastered floor techniques were found at Ain Ghazal, Yiftahel (western Galilee), and Abu Hureyra (Upper Euphrates).
Whether it created its own culture or imported traditions from the North East or Southern Levant has been considered an important question for a site that poses a problem for the scientific community.
Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Earlier Natufian but shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia. The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries.
In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of Ghassulian culture.
Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period which existed between 8,200 and 7,900 BP.
Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in Southern Palestine, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into southern Iraq.
The Hurrians were an ancient people, who spoke a Hurro-Urartian language of the Ancient Near East, living in Anatolia and Northern Mesopotamia during the Bronze Age.
The largest and most influential partly Hurrian nation was the kingdom of Mitanni, though the Mitanni were an Indo-European speaking people who formed a ruling class over the Hurrians.
The population of the Indo-European speaking Hittite Empire in Anatolia to a large part consisted of Hurrians and Hattians, and there is significant Hurrian influence in Hittite mythology.
By the Early Iron Age, the Hurrians had been assimilated with other peoples, except perhaps in the kingdom of Urartu.
According to a hypothesis by I.M. Diakonoff and S. Starostin, the Hurrian, Hattic, and Urartian languages are related to the Northeast Caucasian languages.
Hurrian names occur sporadically in north western Mesopotamia and the area of Kirkuk in modern Iraq by the Middle Bronze Age. Their presence was attested at Nuzi, Urkesh and other sites. They eventually infiltrated and occupied a broad arc of fertile farmland stretching from the Khabur River valley to the foothills of the Zagros Mountains.
I. J. Gelb and E. A. Speiser believed Semitic Subarians had been the linguistic and ethnic substratum of northern Mesopotamia since earliest times, while Hurrians were merely late arrivals.
That idea is at odds with a long-held belief among scholars that the Hurrians arrived much later from the Caucasus or some other distant region to the northeast, drawn to the fringes of civilization after the rise of the great southern Sumerian centers of Ur, Uruk, and Nippur. Scholars long assumed that the Hurrians arrived in the middle of the third millennium B.C., and eventually settled down and adopted cuneiform as a script and built their own cities. That theory is based on linguistic associations with Caucasus’ languages and the fact that Hurrian names are absent from the historical record until Akkadian times.
But Piotr Michaelowski, an Assyriologist at the University of Michigan, notes that Hurrian, like Sumerian, is a language unrelated to Semitic or Indo-European tongues that dominated the region during and after the third millennium B.C. Perhaps, he suggests, the Hurrians were earlier inhabitants of the region, who, like the Sumerians, had to make room for the Semitic-speaking people who created the world’s first empire based at Akkad in central Mesopotamia around 2350 B.C.
The discovery of a sophisticated city with monumental architecture, plumbing, stonework, and a large population contradicts the idea that Hurrians were a roving mountain people in a strange land. Far from being yet another rough nomadic tribe, such as the Amorites or Kassites who were latecomers to the Mesopotamian party, the Hurrians and their unique language, music, deities, and rituals may have played a key role in shaping the first cities, empires, and states. The language has died, the music faded, and the rituals are forgotten. But thanks to the sculptors, stone masons, and seal carvers at Urkesh, Hurrian creativity can shine once again.
Roy King and Peter Underhill had previously published on the Congruent distribution of Neolithic painted pottery and ceramic figurines with Y-chromosome lineages, in which they found that only the Eu9 [Dienekes: J2-M172] haplogroup successfully predicted the distribution of both Neolithic figurines (88% accuracy) and painted pottery (80% accuracy).
Examining the beginnings of agriculture in the ‘Fertile Crescent’, this research team has compared the distribution of rainfall with the distribution of Y-chromosome haplogroups. The extended families signalled by J1 and J2 haplogroups seem to have had different destinies in the era of agro-pastoralist experiment: J2 were the agricultural innovators who followed the rainfall, while J1 remained largely with their flocks.
In human genetics, Haplogroup J-M172 is a Y-chromosome haplogroup which is a subclade (branch) of haplogroup J-P209. J-M172 can be classified as Mediterranean/Aegean (Di Giacomo, 2004), Greco-Anatolian, Mesopotamian and/or Caucasian and is linked to the earliest indigenous populations of Anatolia and the Aegean. It was carried by Bronze Age immigrants to Europe.
The precise region of origin for haplogroup J-M172 remains a topic of discussion. However, at least within a European context, Anatolia and the Aegean seem to be source regions, with Hg J2 having perhaps arisen in the Levant (Di Giacomo 2004) / Middle East (Semino 2004) with the development of agriculture.
The highest reported frequency of J-M172 ever was 87.4%, among Ingush in Malgobek (Balanovsky 2011). J-M172 – Associated with Mediterranean, South Caucasian and Fertile Crescent populations, with its peaks at 87.4% in Ingushetia and 72% in Georgia’s Kazbegi region (near Mount Kazbek). In the North Caucasus, the largest frequencies are those of Nakh peoples (Chechens (56.7%) and Ingush (88.8%). Other notable values were found among North Caucasian Turkic peoples (Kumyks (25%) and Balkars (24%).
It is notable that according to both Nasidze’s study in 2004 and then a later study on Dagestani peoples by Yunusbaev in 2006, J-M172 suddenly collapses as one enters the territory of non-Nakh Northeast Caucasian peoples, dropping to very low values among Dagestani peoples. The overwhelming bulk of Chechen J-M172 is of the subclade J-M67), of which the highest frequencies by far are found among Nakh peoples- Chechens were 55.2% according to the Balanovsky study, while Ingush were 87.4%.
Y DNA haplogroup J-M267, also commonly known as Haplogroup J1 is found today in significant frequencies in many areas in order near the Middle East, and parts of the Caucasus, Sudan and the Horn of Africa.
North Africa received Semitic migrations, according to some studies it may have been diffused in recent time by Arabs who, mainly from the 7th century a.d., expanded to northern Africa. However the Canary islands is not known to have had any Semitic language. There J-M267 is dominated by J-P58, and dispersed in a very uneven manner according to studies so far, often but not always being lower among Berber and/or non-urban populations.
In Ethiopia there are signs of older movements of J-M267 into Africa across the Red Sea, not only in the J-P58 form. This also appears to be associated with Semitic languages. According to a study in 2011, in Tunisia, J-M267 is significantly more abundant in the urban (31.3%) than in the rural total population (2.5%).
According to the authors, these results could be explained by supposing that Arabization in Tunisia was a military enterprise, therefore, mainly driven by men that displaced native Berbers to geographically marginal areas but that frequently married Berber women.
Since the discovery of haplogroup J-P209 it has generally been recognized that it shows signs of having originated in or near West Asia. The frequency and diversity of both its major branches, J-M267 and J-M172, in that region makes them candidates as genetic markers of the spread of farming technology during the Neolithic, which is proposed to have had a major impact upon human populations.
In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521/0 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.
Shubria was part of the Urartu confederation. Later, there is reference to a district in the area called Arme or Urme, which some scholars have linked to the name Armenia.
Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was a Hurrian-speaking kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. The capital was called Ubbumu. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.
Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians.
Subartu may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians. There are various alternate theories associating the ancient Subartu with one or more modern cultures found in the region, including Armenian or Kurdish tribes.
It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. The earliest is from an inscription which mentions Armânum together with Ibla (Ebla) as territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in ca. 2250 BC.
Aleppo has scarcely been touched by archaeologists, since the modern city occupies its ancient site. The site has been occupied from around 5000 BC, as excavations in Tallet Alsauda show.
Aleppo appears in historical records as an important city much earlier than Damascus. The first record of Aleppo comes from the third millennium BC, when Aleppo was the capital of an independent kingdom closely related to Ebla, known as Armi to Ebla and Armani to the Akkadians.
Giovanni Pettinato describes Armi as Ebla’s alter ego. Naram-Sin of Akkad destroyed both Ebla and Armani in the 23rd century BC.
Another mention by pharaoh Thutmose III of Egypt in the 33rd year of his reign (1446 BC) as the people of Ermenen, and says in their land “heaven rests upon its four pillars”.

Anatolia Norsk På reise

Min dag i Istanbul

BILDER: Min dag i Istanbul

BILDER: Istanbul arkeologiske museum

BILDER: Istanbul arkeologiske museumKeramikk

Sitter her på flyet fra Istanbul, og legger ut de siste bildene jeg har tatt – fra Istanbul. En spennende og interessant by med både historie og nåtid, gode restauranter og bra hoteller. Istanbul skiller seg i stor grad ut fra de andre byene og stedene i Tyrkia, som jeg på denne turen har vært på,  slik som Antalya, Konya, Cappadocia, Ankara og Chanikkale.
Det arkeologiske museet i Istanbul var gigantisk, og fortjener en hel dags besøk i seg selv. Her var det gjenstander fra hele Anatolia og Mesopotamia.
Skal man først si Tyrkia, så kan man like så godt si Libanon, Syria og Irak også. Tyrkia er en ny stat og paragraf 301 (samme året som Armenia ble kristnet) gjør det ulovelig å kritisere den tyrkiske stat og den tyrkiske kultur. Andre kulturer, for det er mange andre kulturer i Tyrkia, er det tydeligvis fritt å kritisere.
Det ottomanske riket, som eksisterte fra 1452 med Istanbul som hovedstad, var et multietnisk samfunn, mens de tyrkisktalende slo seg sammen, gjennomførte ungtyrkernes revolusjon og tok over området som i dag utgjør Tyrkia via den tyrkiske nasjonalbevegelse ledet at Kemal Attaturk.
Gjennom folkemord og erobringer dannet man altså dagens tyrkiske stat. Dette mens historiske folk som armenere, assyrere og grekere ble desimert og mistet sine områder. Samtidig har det pågått en hardhendt og kynisk tyrkifisering med utrydding av minoritetskulturene, og da ikke minst den armenske, og navneendringer. Man kan derfor i dag si at tyrkerne i dag utgjør de som bor i Tyrkia uansett etnisk herkomst, noe man også ser på folkene som bor der. Det sies at kun 5 % kommer fra Sentral Asia eller Mongolia, hvor det tyrkiske språket opprinnelig stammer fra, mens hele 95 % har lokal opprinnelse.
Det arkeologiske museet kunne vise frem store mengder gjenstander fra tidlig neolittisk periode og frem til i dag. Og det er ikke snaut, for det var her, i det som tidligere var kjent som Vest Armenia, at man utviklet jordbruket, temmet de første husdyrene og oppfant de ulike metallene, slik som bronse og jern.
Sammen skapte de sør -og nord-kaukasiske, hattiere og hurrier e, en enorm kulturhorisont som kom til å strekke seg utover hele Eurasia, ikke minst i Europa, Sørvest og Sør Asia, og Nord Afrika, ikke minst i Egypt.
Men nok om det. Det var mye annet å se og oppleve i Istanbul, som i seg selv er en mektig by med en rik kulturhistorie. Ulike broer krysser Bospuros, som skiller Europa fra Asia. Det er ulike ferger som kan ta en fra Euopa til Asia og visa versa. Langs med sundet er det forskjellige gaterestauranter og ulike båter hvor det selges ulike typer fiskehamburgere. Deilig!
I tillegg kommer jo steder som Aya Sofia og Den blå moske, samt den store basaren med flere 100 små butikker hvor man selger alt en turist kan være interessert i å kjøpe, slik som tepper og bordduker, ringer og andre smykker.
Jeg var i Istanbul i kun to dager; kom om kvelden, fant meg et rimelig hotel, gikk ut på byen før jeg la meg, sto opp dagen etter og fylte dagen med innhold før natten på nytt senket seg over meg og jeg la meg til å sove før jeg neste morgen tok meg frem til Istanbul Bahia flyplassen og fløy tilbake til Norge.  En vellykket tur, men jeg vil allerede tilbake for det er så mange interessante steder å reise til i denne regionen!