Armenians, Anahit/Anahata and the pomegranate

Armenians

The earlier history of the Armenian 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.

The Armenians are an amalgam of the Hurrians (and Urartians) and Hattians, the Anatolian Luvians and Hettites, and the Mushki, or Armeno-Phrygians, who carried their IE language eastwards across Anatolia.

Two different groups are called Muški in the Assyrian sources, one from the 12th to 9th centuries, the Eastern Mushki, and the other in the 8th to 7th centuries, the Western Mushki. Assyrian sources identify the Western Mushki with the Phrygians, while Greek sources clearly distinguish between Phrygians and Moschoi.

It is believed that the Phrygians, an ancient Indo-European people, initially coming from the Indoeuropean Urheimat to the southern Balkans, migrated to Anatolia via the Hellespont. The state of Phrygia arose in the 8th century BC with its capital at Gordium. During this period, the Phrygians extended eastward and encroached upon the kingdom of Urartu, the descendants of the Hurrians, a former rival of the Hittites.

Hayasa-Azzi or Azzi-Hayasa was a Late Bronze Age confederation formed between two kingdoms of Anatolia, Hayasa and Azzi. The Hayasa-Azzi confederation were in conflict with the Hittite Empire in the 14th century BC, leading up to the collapse of Hatti around 1290 BC.

After the Phrygian invasion of Hittites the Armeno-Phrygians settled in Hayasa-Azzi, where they merged with the local people, who were possibly already spread within the western regions of Urartu. After the fall of the latter, and the rise of the Kingdom of Armenia under the Artaxiad dynasty, Hayasan nobility (the armenians) assumed control of the region and the people would have adopted their language to complete the amalgamation of the proto-Armenians, giving birth to the nation of Armenia as we know it today.

The similarity of the name Hayasa to the endonym of the Armenians, Hayk or Hay and the Armenian name for Armenia, Hayastan has prompted the suggestion that the Hayasa-Azzi confereration was involved in the Armenian ethnogenesis.

The Arme-Shupria people were local people who lived in the area at the time of the arrival of the Indo-European tribes. The name Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Sumerian: Shubur, Akkadian: Armani-Subartu) for the region is attested from the time of the earliest Mesopotamian records (mid 3rd millennium BC).

Arme-Shupria was a Proto-Armenian kingdom located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. The name Arme or Armani has been linked to the name Armenia. From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elem and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.

The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, one of a series of accounts describing the conflicts between Enmerkar, king of Unug-Kulaba (Uruk), and the unnamed king of Aratta (probably somewhere in modern Iran or Armenia, 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 in the earliest texts seem to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.

Eannatum of Lagash was said to have smitten Subartu or Shubur, and it was listed as a province of the empire of Lugal-Anne-Mundu; in a later era Sargon of Akkad campaigned against Subar, and his grandson Naram-Sin listed Subar along with Armani (Armenians) among the lands under his control. Ishbi-Erra of Isin and Hammurabi also claimed victories over Subar.

After the Proto-Armenian 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. Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other Indo-European populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Kingdom of Ararat rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians. The invading Indo-Europeans called themselves the Hayatsa people and came in time to dominate the Armenian highland and assimilate the Arme-Shuprias.

According to De Morgan: “These newly settled Armenians would live with an imperturbable will in their newly conquered country for centuries and defend it with their inborn courage, language and their customs up until the present day, while almost every other people, whom the Armenians came to make acquaintance with during their childhood, disappeared slowly in history.”

After arriving in its historical territory, Proto-Armenian would appear to have undergone massive influence on part the languages it eventually replaced. Armenian phonology, for instance, appears to have been greatly affected by Urartian, which may suggest a long period of bilingualism.

Anahit

Anahit

Anahita

Anahit (Armenian: Անահիտ) was the goddess of fertility and healing, wisdom and water in Armenian mythology. In early periods she was the goddess of war. By the 5th century BC she was the main deity in Armenia along with Aramazd.

 In Armenia, Anahit-worship was established in Erez, Armavir, Artashat and Ashtishat. A mountain in Sophene district was known as Anahit’s throne (Athor Anahta). The entire district of Erez, in the province of Akilisene (Ekeghiats), was called Anahtakan Gavar.

According to Agathangelos, King Trdat extolls the: great Lady Anahit, the glory of our nation and vivifier . . .; mother of all chastity, and issue of the great and valiant Aramazd. The historian Berossus identifies Anahit with Aphrodite, while medieval Armenian scribes identify her with Artemis. The name corresponds to Avestan Anahita (Aredvi Sura Anahita), a similar divine figure.

Aramazd is the principal deity in Armenia’s pre-Christian pantheon. He 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 Iranic Ahura Mazda. In 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. The temple had been ruined at the end of the 3rd c. AD, after the adoption of Christianity in Armenia as state religion.

Anahata

Anahata

Anahata (Sanskrit: अनाहत, Anāhata) is the fourth primary chakra according to the Hindu Yogic, Shakta) and Buddhist Tantric traditions.  In Sanskrit the word anahata – means unhurt, un-struck and unbeaten. Anahata Nad refers to the Vedic concept of unstruck sound, the sound of the celestial realm.

Anahata chakra symbolizes the consciousness of love, empathy, selflessness and devotion. On the psychic level, this center of force inspires the human being to love, be compassionate, altruistic, devoted and to accept the things that happen in a divine way.

The pomegranate

The Pomegranate: Symbol of an Entire Culture

Pomegranate – Wikipedia

Native to the area of modern day Iran and Iraq, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as well as the Himalayas in Northern India. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa and tropical Africa, Indian subcontinent and the drier parts of southeast Asia. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona.

The pomegranate is native to the region of Armenia, Persia (modern day Iran) and the western Himalayan range, and has been cultivated in Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Russia, and the Mediterranean region for several millennia.

Carbonized exocarp of the fruit has been identified in Early Bronze Age levels of Jericho in Israel, as well as Late Bronze Age levels of Hala Sultan Tekke on Cyprus and Tiryns. A large, dry pomegranate was found in the tomb of Djehuty, the butler of Queen Hatshepsut in Egypt; Mesopotamian cuneiform records mention pomegranates from the mid-Third millennium BC onwards.

It is also extensively grown in South China and in Southeast Asia, whether originally spread along the route of the Silk Road or brought by sea traders. Kandahar is famous in Afghanistan for its high quality pomegranates.

The pomegranate is the symbol of Armenia and represents fertility, abundance and marriage. One ancient custom widely accepted in ancient Armenia was performed at weddings. A bride was given a pomegranate fruit, which she threw against a wall, breaking it into pieces. Scattered pomegranate seeds ensured the bride future children.

In Artsakh it was accepted to put fruits next to the bridal couple during the first night of marriage. The pomegranate was among those fruits, and was said to also ensure happiness. It is believed the couple enjoyed a pomegranate wine as well.

The symbol of the pomegranate is connected with insemination. It protected a woman from infertility and protected a man’s virile strength. Currently, pomegranate juice is famous with Armenians in food and heritage.

The pomegranate gained a new symbolism after Armenian Genocide that left millions of Armenians spread all over the world; Armenians use the pomegranate and its many seeds to symbolize the Armenian people and their resilience. The pomegranate is also seen as the fruit of life for Armenians because during the genocide the only food they had came from fruits on trees. It is said that there are approximately 365 seeds in each pomegranate and the Armenians survived by eating one seed each day during their exile.

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