Hayk, the Armenian Patriarch

Urartu is a geographical region commonly used as the exonym for the Iron Age kingdom also known by the modern rendition of its endonym, the Kingdom of Van, centered around Lake Van in the historic Armenian Highlands (present-day eastern Anatolia).

There is linguistic evidence of contact between the proto-Armenian language and the Urartian language at an early date (sometime between the 3rd—2nd millennium BC), occurring prior to the formation of Urartu as a kingdom. Being heirs to the Urartian realm, the earliest identifiable ancestors of the Armenians are the peoples of Urartu.

Ḫaldi (d,Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi) was one of the three chief deities of Urartu. He was a warrior god to whom the kings of Urartu would pray for victories in battle. Ḫaldi was portrayed as a man with or without wings, standing on a lion. His wife was the goddess Arubani and/or the goddess Bagvarti.

Some sources claim that the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenians, Hayk, is derived from Ḫaldi. Haldi could be etymologically related to the Hurrian word “heldi”, meaning “high”. An alternate theory postulates that the name could be of Indo-European (possibly Helleno-Armenian) or Old Armenian origin, meaning “sun god” (compare with Greek Helios and Latin Sol).

Hayk the Great or The Great Hayk, also known as Hayk Nahapet (Hayk the “head of family” or patriarch), is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His story is told in the History of Armenia attributed to the Armenian historian Moses of Chorene (or Movses Khorenatsi, c. 410 – c. 490).

Armen Petroyan believes that the name Hayk can “very plausibly” be derived from the Indo-European *poti- ‘master, lord, master of the house, husband’. Mayr and hayr are the formal words for “mother” and “father” in Armenian.

Çavuştepe (Armenian: Հայկաբերդ; Haykaberd, meaning “Fortress of Hayk”; Kurdish: Aspeşîn‎) or Sardurihinilli is an ancient fortified site in the Gürpınar district of Van Province in Turkey’s Eastern Anatolia region.

It is located approximately 25 kilometers southeast of Van along the road leading to the city of Hakkâri, in a valley once known as Hayots Dzor (Armenian: Հայոց Ձոր; “Valley of the Armenians”) in historic Armenia. It was used by the Urartian kings as a fortress during the 8th century BC.

Sarduri I (ruled: 834 BC – 828 BC), also known as Sarduris, was a king of Urartu in Asia Minor. He was the son of Lutipri, the second monarch of Urartu. The title Sarduri used was ‘King of the Four Quarters’. The name Sarduri has been connected to the Armenian name Zardur (“star-given”).

Sarduri I is most known for moving the capital of the Urartu kingdom to Tushpa (Van). This proved to be significant as Tushpa became the focal point of politics in the Near East. He was succeeded by his son, Ishpuini of Urartu, who then expanded the kingdom.

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