The pomegranate is native to Persia (modern day Iran). Pomegranates also thrive in the drier climates of California and Arizona … and has been cultivated in Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Russia, and the Mediterranean region for several millennia.
The pomegranate is one of the main fruits in Armenian culture, the others being the apricot and grapes. Pomegranate juice is famous with Armenians in food and heritage. 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 popular with Armenians in food and heritage.
According to a 1957 theory by Laroche, Indo-Iranian ar-ya- descends from Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *ar-yo-, a yo-adjective to a root *ar “to assemble skillfully”, present in Greek harma “chariot”, Greek aristos, (as in “aristocracy”), Latin ars “art”, etc. Thus, according to this theory, an Aryan is “one who skillfully assembles”. Proto-Indo-Iranian arta was a related concept of “properly joined” expressing a religious concept of cosmic order.
The Old Iranian term airyanəm vaējah (in Avestan) is formed from the plural genitive case of airya and the word vaējah (whose oft-used nominative case is vaējō). The meaning of vaējah is uncertain. It may be related to the old Indic vej/vij (in Vedic), suggesting the region of a fast-flowing river. it has also been interpreted by some as “seed” or “germ”. Avestan airya is etymologically related to the Old Persian ariya.
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.
The Hurrians (cuneiform Ḫu-ur-ri) 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.
Some theonyms, proper names and other terminology of the Mitanni exhibit an Indo-Aryan superstrate, suggesting that an Indo-Aryan elite imposed itself over the Hurrian population in the course of the Indo-Aryan expansion.
In a treaty between the Hittites and the Mitanni (between Suppiluliuma and Shattiwaza, ca. 1380 BC), the deities Mitra, Varuna, Indra, and Nasatya (Ashvins) are invoked.
Kikkuli’s horse training text (circa 1400 BC) includes technical terms such as aika (eka, one), tera (tri, three), panza (pancha, five), satta (sapta, seven), na (nava, nine), vartana (vartana, round). The numeral aika “one” is of particular importance because it places the superstrate in the vicinity of Indo-Aryan proper as opposed to Indo-Iranian or early Iranian (which has “aiva”) in general.
Another text has babru(-nnu) (babhru, brown), parita(-nnu) (palita, grey), and pinkara(-nnu) (pingala, red). Their chief festival was the celebration of the solstice (vishuva) which was common in most cultures in the ancient world. The Mitanni warriors were called marya (Hurrian: maria-nnu), the term for (young) warrior in Sanskrit as well; note mišta-nnu (= miẓḍha,~ Sanskrit mīḍha) “payment (for catching a fugitive)” (Mayrhofer II 358).
Sanskritic interpretations of Mitanni names render Artashumara (artaššumara) as Arta-smara “who thinks of Arta/Ṛta” (Mayrhofer II 780), Biridashva (biridašṷa, biriiašṷa) as Prītāśva “whose horse is dear” (Mayrhofer II 182), Priyamazda (priiamazda) as Priyamedha “whose wisdom is dear” (Mayrhofer II 189, II378), Citrarata as citraratha “whose chariot is shining” (Mayrhofer I 553), Indaruda/Endaruta as Indrota “helped by Indra” (Mayrhofer I 134), Shativaza (šattiṷaza) as Sātivāja “winning the race price” (Mayrhofer II 540, 696), Šubandhu as Subandhu ‘having good relatives” (a name in Palestine, Mayrhofer II 209, 735), Tushratta (tṷišeratta, tušratta, etc.) as *tṷaišaratha, Vedic Tveṣaratha “whose chariot is vehement” (Mayrhofer I 686, I 736).
Archaeologists have attested a striking parallel in the spread to Syria of a distinct pottery type associated with what they call the Kura-Araxes culture.
The Kura–Araxes culture or the early trans-Caucasian culture, was a civilization that existed from 3400 BC until about 2000 BC, which has traditionally been regarded as the date of its end, but it may have disappeared as early as 2600 or 2700 BC.
The earliest evidence for this culture is found on the Ararat plain; thence it spread to Georgia by 3000 BC (but never reaching Colchis), and during the next millennium it proceeded westward to the Erzurum plain, southwest to Cilicia, and to the southeast into an area below the Urmia basin and Lake Van, and finally down to the borders of present day Syria. Altogether, the early Trans-Caucasian culture, at its greatest spread, enveloped a vast area approximately 1,000 km by 500 km.
The name of the culture is derived from the Kura and Araxes river valleys. Its territory corresponds to parts of modern Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia. It may have given rise to the later Khirbet Kerak ware culture found in Syria and Canaan after the fall of the Akkadian Empire.
Hurrian and Urartian elements are quite probable, as are Northeast Caucasian ones. Some authors subsume Hurrians and Urartians under Northeast Caucasian as well as part of the Alarodian theory. The presence of Kartvelian languages was also highly probable. Influences of Semitic languages and Indo-European languages are also highly possible, though the presence of the languages on the lands of the Kura–Araxes culture is more controversial.
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.
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.
The pantheon of Armenian gods (ditsov) formed during the nucleation of the Proto-Armenian tribes that, at the initial stage of their existence, inherited the essential elements of paganism from the Proto-Indo-European tribes that inhabited the Armenian Plateau.
Historians distinguish a significant body of Indo-European language used by Armenian pagans as sacred. Original cult worship is a kind of unfathomable higher power or intelligence called Ara, called the physical embodiment of the sun (Arev) worshiped by the ancient Armenians, who called themselves “the children of the sun”. Since ancient times, the cult of sun worship occupied a special place in Armenian mythology. Also among the most ancient types of worship of Indo-European roots are the cults of eagles and lions, and the worship of heaven.
Şanlıurfa, often simply known as Urfa in daily language (Kurdish Riha, Arabic Ar-Ruhā, Syriac Urhoy, Armenian Or’ha), in ancient times Edessa, is a city with 482,323 inhabitants (2009 estimate) in south-eastern Turkey, and the capital of Şanlıurfa Province. It is a city with a mixed Kurdish, Turkish and Arab population. Urfa is situated on a plain about eighty kilometres east of the Euphrates River. Urfa’s climate features extremely hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters.
Urkesh or Urkish (modern Tell Mozan), is a tell or settlement mound, located in the foothills of the Taurus Mountains in Al-Hasakah Governorate, northeastern Syria. It was founded during the fourth millennium BC possibly by the Hurrians on a site which appears to have been inhabited previously for a few centuries.
Eridu, also transliterated as Eridug, could mean “mighty place” or “guidance place”. Eridu (Cuneiform: NUN.KI – Sumerian: eridu Akkadian: irîtu) is an ancient Sumerian city in what is now Tell Abu Shahrain, Dhi Qar Governorate, Iraq.
Eridu was long considered the earliest city in southern Mesopotamia. Located 12 km southwest of Ur, Eridu was the southernmost of a conglomeration of Sumerian cities that grew about temples, almost in sight of one another.
In Sumerian mythology, Eridu was originally the home of Enki, who was considered to have founded the city, later known by the Akkadians as Ea. His temple was called E-Abzu, as Enki was believed to live in Abzu (“Deep Ocean”), an aquifer from which all life was believed to stem.
The name Ea is allegedly Hurrian in origin while others claim that it is possibly of Semitic origin and may be a derivation from the West-Semitic root *hyy meaning “life” in this case used for “spring”, “running water.” In Sumerian E-A means “the house of water”, and it has been suggested that this was originally the name for the shrine to the God at Eridu.
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 term Hayastan bears resemblance to the ancient Mesopotamian god Haya (ha-ià) and another western deity called Ebla Hayya, related to the god Ea (Enki or Enkil in Sumerian, Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian).
Nanibgal (NANIBGAL, NÁNIBGAL), also Nisaba or Nidaba was the Sumerian goddess of writing, learning, and the harvest. Her sanctuaries were E-zagin at Eresh and at Umma. On a depiction found in Lagash, she appears with flowing hair, crowned with horned tiara bearing supporting ears of corn and a crescent moon. Her dense hair is evoked in comparison in the description of similarly hairy Enkidu in the Gilgamesh epic.
Shulaveri-Shomu culture is a Late Neolithic/Eneolithic culture that existed on the territory of present-day Georgia, Azerbaijan and the Armenian Highlands. It is thought to be a critical element in identifying the origins of both the Georgian and Armenian peoples. 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.
In around ca. 6000–4200 B.C the Shulaveri-Shomu and other Neolithic/Chalcolithic cultures of the Southern Caucasus use local obsidian for tools, raise animals such as cattle and pigs, and grow crops, including grapes. 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 emphasys on production of long prismatic blades) are believed to have their origin in the Near Eastern Neolithic (Hassuna, Halaf).
The Trialeti culture, named after Trialeti region of Georgia, is attributed to the first part of the 2nd millennium BC. In the late 3rd millennium BC. settlements of the Kura-Araxes culture began to be replaced by early Trialeti culture sites. The Trialeti culture was a second culture to appear in Georgia, after the Shulaveri-Shomu culture which existed from 6000 to 4000 BC. The Trialeti culture shows close ties with the highly-developed cultures of the ancient world, particularly with the Aegean, but also with cultures to the south, such as probably the Sumerians and their Akkadian conquerors.
The Trialeti culture was known for its particular form of burial. The elite were interred in large, very rich burials under earth and stone mounds, which sometimes contained four-wheeled carts. Also there were many gold objects found in the graves. These gold objects were similar to those found in Iran and Iraq. They also worked tin and arsenic. This form of burial in a tumulus or “kurgan”, along with wheeled vehicles, is the same as that of the Kurgan culture which has been associated with the speakers of the Caucasian language. In fact, the black burnished pottery of especially early Trialeti kurgans is similar to Kura-Araxes pottery.
In a historical context, their impressive accumulation of wealth in burial kurgans, like that of other associated and nearby cultures with similar burial practices, is particularly noteworthy. This practice was probably a result of influence from the older civilizations to the south in the Fertile Crescent.