Urartu (/ʊˈrɑːrtuː/; Armenian: Ուրարտու), also known as
Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili; Assyrian: māt
Urarṭu; Babylonian: Urashtu; Armenian: Վանի
թագավորություն, translit. Vani
t′agavorut′yun) was an
Iron Age kingdom centred on
Lake Van in
the Armenian Highlands. It corresponds to the biblical Kingdom of
Urartu is the Assyrian term for a geographical
region, while "Kingdom of Urartu" or "Biainili lands" are terms used
in modern historiography for the Urartian-speaking
Iron Age state that
arose in that region. The language appears in cuneiform inscriptions.
It is argued on linguistic evidence that proto-Armenian came in
contact with Urartian at an early date (3rd-2nd millennium BC), before
the formation of
Urartu as a kingdom.
That a distinction should be made between the geographical and the
political entity was already pointed out by König (1955).
The landscape corresponds to the mountainous plateau between Anatolia,
Mesopotamia, the Iranian Plateau, and the
Caucasus Mountains, later
known as the Armenian Highlands. The kingdom rose to power in the
mid-ninth century BC, but went into gradual decline and was eventually
conquered by the
Medes in the early sixth century BC. The heirs of
Urartu are the
Armenians and their successive kingdoms.
4.3 Decline and recuperation
5 Economy and politics
6 Art and architecture
9 Armenian ethnogenesis
10 See also
12 External links
Urartu comes from Assyrian sources: Shalmaneser I
(1263–1234 BC) recorded a campaign in which he subdued the
entire territory of "Uruatri." The Shalmaneser text uses the
Urartu to refer to a geographical region, not a kingdom, and
names eight "lands" contained within
Urartu (which at the time of the
campaign were still disunited). "Urartu" is cognate with the Biblical
Akkadian "Urashtu" and Armenian "Ayrarat". The Urartian
toponym Biainili (or Biaineli) was adopted in the Old Armenian as Van,
Վան. Hence the names "Kingdom of Van" or "Vannic Kingdom".
Scholars such as
Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910)
believed that the people of
Urartu called themselves Khaldini after
the god Ḫaldi.
Boris Piotrovsky wrote that "the Urartians first
appear in history in the 13th century BC as a league of tribes or
countries which did not yet constitute a unitary state. In the
Assyrian annals the term Uruatri (Urartu) as a name for this league
was superseded during a considerable period of years by the term "land
of Nairi". Scholars believe that
Urartu is an Akkadian
variation of Ararat of the Old Testament. Indeed,
Mount Ararat is
located in ancient Urartian territory, approximately 120 kilometres
(75 mi) north of its former capital. In addition to referring to
the famous Biblical mountain, Ararat also appears as the name of a
Jeremiah 51:27, mentioned together with Minni and Ashkenaz.
In the early sixth century BC,
Urartu was replaced by the Armenian
Orontid Dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun Inscription, carved in 521
or 520 BC by the order of Darius I, the country referred to as
Urartu in Assyrian is called
Old Persian and Harminuia in
the Elamite language.
Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) was part
Urartu confederation. Later, there is reference to a district
in the area called Arme or Urme, which some scholars have linked to
the name of Armenia.
Urartu 715–713 BC
Urartu comprised an area of approximately 200,000 square miles
(520,000 km2), extending from the river Kura in the north, to the
northern foothills of the
Taurus Mountains in the south; and from the
Euphrates in the west to the
Caspian sea in the east.
At its apogee,
Urartu stretched from the borders of northern
Mesopotamia to the southern Caucasus, including present-day Armenia
and southern Georgia as far as the river Kura. Archaeological sites
within its boundaries include Altintepe, Toprakkale,
Urartu fortresses included Erebuni (present day Yerevan
city), Van Fortress, Argishtihinili, Anzaf, Haykaberd, and Başkale,
as well as
Teishebaini (Karmir Blur, Red Mound) and others.
A Urartian cauldron, in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara
Head of a Bull, Urartu, 8th century BC. This head was attached to the
rim of an enormous cauldron similar to the one shown above. Walters
Art Museum collections.
Inspired by the writings of the medieval Armenian historian Movses
Khorenatsi (who had described Urartian works in Van and attributed
them to the legendary
Ara the Beautiful
Ara the Beautiful and Queen Semiramis), the
French scholar Jean Saint-Martin suggested that his government send
Friedrich Eduard Schulz, a German professor, to the Van area in 1827
on behalf of the French Oriental Society. Schulz discovered and
copied numerous cuneiform inscriptions, partly in Assyrian and partly
in a hitherto unknown language. Schulz also discovered the Kelishin
stele, bearing an Assyrian-Urartian bilingual inscription, located on
Kelishin pass on the current Iraqi-Iranian border. A summary
account of his initial discoveries was published in 1828. Schulz and
four of his servants were murdered by Kurds in 1829 near Başkale. His
notes were later recovered and published in Paris in 1840. In 1828,
the British Assyriologist
Henry Creswicke Rawlinson
Henry Creswicke Rawlinson had attempted to
copy the inscription on the
Kelishin stele, but failed because of the
ice on the stele's front side. The German scholar R. Rosch made a
similar attempt a few years later, but he and his party were attacked
In the late 1840s Sir
Austen Henry Layard
Austen Henry Layard examined and described the
Urartian rock-cut tombs of Van Castle, including the Argishti chamber.
From the 1870s, local residents began to plunder the
selling its artefacts to European collections. In the 1880s this site
underwent a poorly executed excavation organised by
Hormuzd Rassam on
behalf of the British Museum. Almost nothing was properly documented.
The first systematic collection of Urartian inscriptions, and thus the
beginning of Urartology as a specialized field dates to the 1870s,
with the campaign of Sir Archibald Henry Sayce. The German engineer
Karl Sester, discoverer of Mount Nemrut, collected more inscriptions
Waldemar Belck visited the area in 1891, discovering the
Rusa stele. A further expedition planned for 1893 was prevented by
Turkish-Armenian hostilities. Belck together with Lehmann-Haupt
visited the area again in 1898/9, excavating Toprakkale. On this
expedition, Belck reached the
Kelishin stele, but he was attacked by
Kurds and barely escaped with his life. Belck and Lehmann-Haupt
reached the stele again in a second attempt, but were again prevented
from copying the inscription by weather conditions. After another
assault on Belck provoked the diplomatic intervention of Wilhelm II,
Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II agreed to pay Belck a sum of 80,000 gold marks
in reparation. During World War I, the
Lake Van region briefly fell
under Russian control. In 1916, the Russian scholars Nikolay
Yakovlevich Marr and Iosif Abgarovich Orbeli, excavating at the Van
fortress, uncovered a four-faced stele carrying the annals of Sarduri
II. In 1939
Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky
Boris Borisovich Piotrovsky excavated Karmir-Blur,
discovering Teišebai, the city of the god of war, Teišeba.
Excavations by the American scholars Kirsopp and Silva Lake during
1938-40 were cut short by World War II, and most of their finds and
field records were lost when a German submarine torpedoed their ship,
the SS Athenia. Their surviving documents were published by Manfred
Korfmann in 1977.
A new phase of excavations began after the war. Excavations were at
first restricted to Soviet Armenia. The fortress of Karmir Blur,
dating from the reign of Rusa II, was excavated by a team headed by
Boris Piotrovsky, and for the first time the excavators of a Urartian
site published their findings systematically. Beginning in 1956
Charles A. Burney identified and sketch-surveyed many Urartian sites
Lake Van area and, from 1959, a Turkish expedition under Tahsin
Altintepe and Arif Erzen.
In the late 1960s, Urartian sites in northwest
Iran were excavated. In
1976, an Italian team led by Mirjo Salvini finally reached the
Kelishin stele, accompanied by a heavy military escort. The Gulf War
then closed these sites to archaeological research. Oktay Belli
resumed excavation of Urartian sites on Turkish territory: in 1989
Ayanis, a 7th-century BC fortress built by Rusas II of Urartu, was
discovered 35 km north of Van. In spite of excavations, only a
third to a half of the 300 known Urartian sites in Turkey, Iran, Iraq,
Armenia have been examined by archaeologists (Wartke 1993).
Without protection, many sites have been plundered by local residents
searching for treasure and other saleable antiquities.
On 12 November 2017, it was announced that archaeologists in Turkey's
Van Province had discovered the ruins of a 3,000-year-old
Urartu castle during underwater excavations in
Lake Van led by Van
Yüzüncü Yıl University and the Governorship of Turkey's eastern
Bitlis Province, and that revealed these underwater ruins are from the
Urartu civilization and are thought to date back to the
eighth to seventh centuries BC.
Aramu 860–840 BC
Assyrian inscriptions of
Shalmaneser I (c. 1274 BC) first mention
Uruartri as one of the states of Nairi, a loose confederation of small
kingdoms and tribal states in the
Armenian Highland in the 13th to
11th centuries BC which he conquered. Uruartri itself was in the
region around Lake Van. The
Nairi states were repeatedly subjected to
further attacks and invasions by the Assyrians, especially under
Tukulti-Ninurta I (c. 1240 BC),
Tiglath-Pileser I (c.
Ashur-bel-kala (c. 1070 BC),
Adad-nirari II (c.
Tukulti-Ninurta II (c. 890 BC), and Ashurnasirpal II
Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a
powerful northern rival of Assyria, which lay to the south in northern
Mesopotamia and northeast Syria. The
Nairi states and tribes became a
unified kingdom under king
Aramu (c. 860–843 BC), whose capital
Arzashkun was captured by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser III.
Roughly contemporaries of the Uruartri, living just to the west along
the southern shore of the Black Sea, were the
Kaskas known from
Fragment of a bronze helmet from Argishti I's era. The "tree of life",
popular among the ancient societies, is depicted. The helmet was
discovered during the excavations of the fortress Of Teyshebaini on
Karmir-Blur (Red Hill).
Middle Assyrian Empire
Middle Assyrian Empire fell into a period of temporary stagnation
for decades during the first half of the 8th century BC, which had
aided Urartu's growth. Within a short time it became one of the
largest and most powerful states in the Near East
Sarduri I (c. 832–820 BC), son of king Aramu, successfully
resisted the Assyrian attacks from the south, led by Shalmaneser III,
consolidated the military power of the state and moved the capital to
Tushpa (modern Van, on the shore of Lake Van). His son, Ispuini (c.
820–800 BC) annexed the neighbouring state of
Musasir and made
Sarduri II viceroy;
Musasir later became an important
religious center of the Urartian Kingdom. Ispuini was in turn attacked
by Shamshi-Adad V. His successor
Menua (c. 800–785 BC) also
enlarged the kingdom greatly and left inscriptions over a wide area.
Urartu reached the highest point of its military might under Menua's
Argishti I (c. 785–760 BC), becoming one of the most
powerful kingdoms of ancient Near East.
Argishti I added more
territories along the
Araks River and Lake Sevan, and frustrated
Shalmaneser IV's campaigns against him. Argishti also founded several
new cities, most notably Erebuni in 782 BC. 6,600 captured slaves
worked on the construction of the new city.
At its height, the
Urartu kingdom stretched North beyond the Araks
River (Greek: Araxes) and Lake Sevan, encompassing present-day Armenia
and even the southern part of present-day Georgia almost to the shores
of the Black Sea; west to the sources of the Euphrates; east to
present-day Tabriz, Lake Urmia, and beyond; and south to the sources
of the Tigris.
Tiglath Pileser III
Tiglath Pileser III of
Urartu in the first year of
his reign (745 BC). There the Assyrians found horsemen and
horses, tamed as colts for riding, that were unequalled in the south,
where they were harnessed to Assyrian war-chariots.
Decline and recuperation
In 714 BC, the
Urartu kingdom suffered heavily from Cimmerian
raids and the campaigns of Sargon II. The main temple at
sacked, and the Urartian king
Rusa I was crushingly defeated by Sargon
II at Lake Urmia. He subsequently committed suicide in shame.
Argishti II (714–685 BC) restored Urartu's position
against the Cimmerians, however it was no longer a threat to Assyria
and peace was made with the new king of
705 BC. This in turn helped
Urartu enter a long period of
development and prosperity, which continued through the reign of
Rusa II (685–645 BC).
After Rusa II, however, the
Urartu grew weaker under constant attacks
Scythian invaders. As a result, it became dependent
on Assyria, as evidenced by Rusa II's son Sarduri III
(645–635 BC) referring to the Assyrian king
Ashurbanipal as his
According to Urartian epigraphy,
Sarduri III was followed by three
kings—Erimena (635–620 BC), his son Rusa III
(620–609 BC), and the latter's son
Rusa IV (609–590 or
585 BC). Late during the 7th century BC (during or after
Sarduri III's reign),
Urartu was invaded by
Scythians and their
allies—the Medes. In 612 BC, the Median king Cyaxares the Great
Babylon and the
Assyria after it had been badly weakened by civil war. The
took over the Urartian capital of Van towards 585 BC, effectively
ending the sovereignty of Urartu. According to the Armenian
Medes helped the
Armenians establish the Orontid
dynasty. Many Urartian ruins of the period show evidence of
destruction by fire. This would indicate two scenarios—either Media
subsequently conquered Urartu, bringing about its subsequent demise,
Urartu maintained its independence and power, going through a mere
dynastic change, as a local Armenian dynasty (later to be called the
Orontids) overthrew the ruling family with the help of the Median
army. Ancient sources support the latter version: Xenophon, for
example, states that Armenia, ruled by an
Orontid king, was not
conquered until the reign of Median king Astyages
(585–550 BC) – long after Median invasion of the late
7th century BC. Similarly,
Strabo (1st century BC – 1st century
AD) wrote that "[i]n ancient times Greater
Armenia ruled the whole of
Asia, after it broke up the empire of the Syrians, but later, in the
time of Astyages, it was deprived of that great authority ..."
Medieval Armenian chronicles corroborate the Greek and Hebrew sources.
Movses Khorenatsi writes that Armenian prince Paruyr
Skayordi helped Cyaxares and his allies conquer Assyria, for which
Cyaxares recognized him as the king of Armenia, while Media conquered
Armenia only much later—under Astyages. It is possible that the
last Urartian king, Rusa IV, had connections to the future incoming
Armenian Orontids dynasty.
Urartu was destroyed in either 590 BC or 585 BC. By
the late 6th century,
Urartu had certainly been replaced by
Niche and base for a destroyed Urartian stele, Van citadel. 1973
Urartian stone arch near Van. 1973
Urartian tomb complex, Van citadel. 1973
Urartian royal tomb. Van citadel, 1973
Little is known of what happened to the region of
Urartu under the
foreign rule following its fall. The most widely accepted theory is
that settlers related to Phrygians, or more specifically tribes
Proto-Armenian language conventionally named
Armeno-Phrygian who had already settled in the western parts of the
region prior to the establishment of Urartu, had become the ruling
elite under the Median Empire, followed by the Achaemenid Empire.
Phrygians would have mingled with the disparate peoples
of Urartu, resulting a fusion of languages and cultures. They
multiplied in numbers and spread their language throughout the
territory of Urartu. The Urartians, during its dominance, had
amalgamated disparate tribes, each of which had its own culture and
traditions. Thus, when the political structure was destroyed, little
remained that could be identified as one unified Urartian culture.
The region formerly known as
Urartu became the Satrapy of Armenia
under the Achaemenids, which later became an independent kingdom,
the Kingdom of Armenia. The Urartians who were in the satrapy were
then assimilated, becoming part of the Armenian ethnogenesis.
However, other Urartians might have kept their former identity.
According to Herodotus, the Alarodians (Alarodioi)—believed to be
Urartian remnants—were part of the 18th Satrapy of the Achaemenid
Empire and formed a special contingent in the grand army of Xerxes
I. Some Urartian traditions, such as architecture and dam
constructions, were absorbed in the following Persianate
societies, and most probably persisted in the Satrapy of Armina.
Urartu did not give birth to a direct successor, however, the Satrapy
of Armina, as an entity which emerged immediately after its fall,
inherited its cultural, traditional, geographical and some linguistic
aspects. Darius I, in his famous Behistun Inscription, calls the
Old Persian and Urashtu/
Urartu in Babylonian,
clearly equating the two, suggesting that both are somewhat part of a
same continuous entity. As the Armenian identity developed in the
region, the memory of
Urartu faded and finally disappeared.
The language spoken in
Urartu is now extinct. Little is known of what
was spoken in the geopolitical region from the time of Urartu's fall
in the sixth century BC to the creation of the
Armenian alphabet in
the 4th century AD. In ancient Persian inscriptions, references to
Armina (Armenia) indicate that Urartian was still spoken, or was in a
transitional period into being replaced with the Armenian language. In
fact, the ethnonym "Armina" itself and all other names attested with
reference to the rebellions against Darius in Armina (the proper names
Araxa, Haldita, and Dādṛšiš, the toponyms Zūzahya, Tigra, and
Uyamā, and the district name Autiyāra) are not connected with
Armenian linguistic and onomastic material attested later in native
Armenian sources. They are also not Iranian, but seem related to
The name of the province of
Ayrarat in the Kingdom of
believed to be a continuum of the
Urartu toponym (or biblical
Ararat). The modern name of
Mount Ararat is derived from the
Mountains of Ararat
Mountains of Ararat (or Mountains of Urartu), and the Ararat
Province of modern
Armenia is in turn named after the mountain.
Economy and politics
Main article: Economy of Urartu
The economic structure of
Urartu was similar to other states of the
ancient world, especially Assyria. The state was heavily dependent on
agriculture, which required centralized irrigation. These works were
managed by kings, but implemented by free inhabitants and possibly
slave labour provided by prisoners. Royal governors, influential
people and, perhaps, free peoples had their own allotments. Individual
territories within the state had to pay taxes the central government:
grain, horses, bulls, etc. In peacetime,
Urartu probably led an active
trade with Assyria, providing cattle, horses, iron and wine.
Agriculture in Urartu
Part of iron pitchfork, found near
Lake Van and Iron plowshare, found
during excavations in
Urartian saddle quern
According to archaeological data, farming on the territory of Urartu
developed from the Neolithic period, even in the 3rd millennium BC. In
the Urartian age, agriculture was well developed and closely related
to Assyrian methods on the selection of cultures and methods of
processing. From cuneiform sources, it is known that in Urartu
grew wheat, barley, sesame, millet, and emmer, and cultivated gardens
and vineyards. Many regions of the
Urartu state required artificial
irrigation, which has successfully been organized by the rulers of
Urartu in the heyday of the state. In several regions remain ancient
irrigation canals, constructed by Urartu, mainly during the Argishti I
Menua period, some of which are still used for irrigation.
Art and architecture
Bronze figurine of the winged goddess Tushpuea, with suspension hook
Main article: Art of Urartu
There is a number of remains of sturdy stone architecture, as well as
some mud brick, especially when it has been burnt, which helps
survival. Stone remains are mainly fortresses and walls, with temples
and mausolea, and many rock-cut tombs. The style, which developed
regional variations, shows a distinct character, partly because of the
greater use of stone compared to neighbouring cultures. The typical
temple was square, with stones walls as thick as the open internal
area but using mud brick for the higher part. These were placed at the
highest point of a citadel and from surviving depictions were high,
perhaps with gabled roofs; their emphasis on verticality has been
claimed as an influence of later Christian Armenian architecture.
The art of
Urartu is especially notable for fine lost-wax bronze
objects: weapons, figurines, vessels including grand cauldrons that
were used for sacrifices, fittings for furniture, and helmets. There
are also remains of ivory and bone carvings, frescos, cylinder seals
and of course pottery. In general their style is a somewhat less
sophisticated blend of influences from neighbouring cultures.
Archaeology has produced relatively few examples of the jewellery in
precious metals that the Assyrians boasted of carrying off in great
Musasir in 714 BC.
A modern depiction of the god
Ḫaldi based on Urartian originals
With the expansion of Urartian territory, many of the gods worshiped
by conquered peoples were incorporated into the Urartian pantheon, as
a means of confirming the annexation of territories and promoting
political stability. However, although the Urartians incorporated many
deities into their pantheon, they appeared to be selective in their
choices. Although many Urartian kings made conquests in the North,
such as the
Lake Sevan region, many of those peoples' gods remain
excluded. This was most likely the case because Urartians considered
the people in the North to be barbaric, and disliked their deities as
much as they did them. Good examples of incorporated deities however
are the goddesses
Bagvarti (Bagmashtu) and Selardi. On Mheri-Dur, or
Meher-Tur (the "Gate of Mehr"), overlooking modern Van, Turkey, an
inscription lists a total of 79 deities, and what type of sacrificial
offerings should be made to each; goats, sheep, cattle, and other
animals served as the sacrificial offerings. Urartians did not
practice human sacrifice.
The pantheon was headed by a triad made up of
Ḫaldi (the supreme
Theispas (Teisheba, god of thunder and storms, as well as
sometimes war), and
Shivini (a solar god). Their king was also the
chief-priest or envoy of Khaldi. Some temples to Khaldi were part of
the royal palace complex, while others were independent structures.
Some main gods and goddesses include:
Main article: Urartian language
Urartian, the language used in the cuneiform inscriptions of Urartu,
was an ergative-agglutinative language, which belongs to neither the
Semitic nor the Indo-European families but to the Hurro-Urartian
family. It survives in many inscriptions found in the area of the
Urartu kingdom, written in the Assyrian cuneiform script. There are
also claims of autochthonous Urartian hieroglyphs, but this remains
uncertain. According to many researchers about
its link to North-East Caucasian languages is rather
Urartian cuneiform recording the foundation of
Erebuni Fortress by
The Urartians originally would have used these locally developed
hieroglyphs (undeciphered and possibly not even true writing) but
later adapted the Assyrian cuneiform script for most purposes. After
the 8th century BC, the hieroglyphic script was restricted to
religious and accounting purposes.[clarification needed] Examples of
Urartian written language have survived in many inscriptions found
throughout the area of the
Urartian cuneiform inscriptions are divided into two groups. A
minority is written in
Akkadian (the official language of Assyria).
However, the bulk of the cuneiforms are written in an agglutinative
language, conventionally called Urartian, Khaldian, or neo-Hurrian,
which was related to Hurrian in the Hurro-Urartian family, and was
neither Semitic nor Indo-European.
Unlike the cuneiform inscriptions, Urartian hieroglyphic "texts" have
not been successfully deciphered. As a result, scholars disagree as to
what language is used in the "texts", or whether they even constitute
writing at all.
Iron Age state of
Urartu was the successor of the Late Bronze Age
Mitanni state of the Hurrians, and the
Urartian language spoken by the
ruling class was the successor of the
Hurrian language (see
Urartu was in turn succeeded in the area in the sixth century BC by
Orontid Dynasty. The presence of a
proto-Armenian-speaking population in the area already during Urartian
rule is subject to speculation.
It is generally assumed that proto-Armenian speakers entered Anatolia
from around 1200 BC, ultimately deriving from a Paleo-Balkans context,
and over the following centuries spread east to the Armenian
A competing theory suggested by
Tamaz V. Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav V.
Ivanov in 1984 places the Proto-Indo-European homeland in the Armenian
Highlands (see Armenian hypothesis) which would entail the presence of
Armenians in the area during the entire lifetime of the Urartian
state. According to historian M. Chahin, "Urartian history is part
of Armenian history, in the same sense that the history of the ancient
Britons is part of English history, and that of the Gauls is part of
Armenians can legitimately claim, through Urartu, an
historical continuity of some 4000 years; their history is among those
of the most ancient peoples in the world."
After the disappearance of
Urartu as a political entity at the hands
of Assyria, the
Armenians eventually came to dominate the highlands
after the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, absorbing portions of the
previous Urartian culture in the process. The
Armenians became, thus,
the direct successors of the kingdom of
Urartu and inherited their
Urartian language was spoken by the royal elite, the
population they ruled may have been multi-ethnic, and in late Urartian
times largely (pre-Proto-) Armenian-speaking. Under this theory,
the Armenian-speaking population were the descendants of the
Armenians who migrated to the
Armenian Highlands in 2nd
millennium BC, mixing with the local Hurrian-speaking population (i.e.
the "Phrygian theory," first suggested by Herodotus).
Another theory, advocated primarily by the official historiography of
Armenia, but also supported by experts in Assyrian and Urartian
studies such as Igor M. Diakonoff, Giorgi Melikishvili, Mikhail
Nikolsky, Ivan Mestchaninov, suggests that Urartian was solely the
formal written language of the state, while its inhabitants, including
the royal family, spoke Armenian. This theory primarily hinges on
the language the Urartian cuneiform inscriptions being very repetitive
and scant in vocabulary (having as little as 350–400 roots).
Furthermore, over 250 years of usage, it shows no development, which
is taken to indicate that the language had ceased to be spoken before
the time of the inscriptions or was used only for official
purposes. This belief is compatible with the "Armenian hypothesis"
suggested by Vyacheslav Ivanov and Gamkrelidze in 1984, postulating
Armenian language as an in situ development of a 3rd millennium BC
According to the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture:
Armenians according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the
Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians and the
carried their IE [Indo European] language eastwards across Anatolia.
After arriving in its historical territory,
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
The discovery of
Urartu has come to play a significant role in 19th
and 20th-century Armenian nationalism.
Near East portal
Economy of Urartu
List of kings of Urartu
^ Paul Zimansky, "Urartian material culture as state assemblage",
Bulletin of the American Association of Oriental Research 299 (1995),
^ a b Diakonoff, Igor M (1992). "First Evidence of the Proto-Armenian
Language in Eastern Anatolia". Annual of Armenian Linguistics. 13:
51–54. ISSN 0271-9800.
^ Hewsen, Robert H. (2000), "'Van in This World; Paradise in the
Next': The Historical Geography of Van/Vaspurakan", in Hovannisian,
Richard G., Armenian Van/Vaspurakan , Historic Armenian
Cities and Provinces , Costa Mesa, California: Mazda
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Urartu (Ararat) at its greatest expanse, ca. 743 BC
Cities and Fortresses
Historical states and regions of Armenia
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Kingdom of Vaspurakan (Artsrunis, 908–1021)
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Coordinates: 38°00′00″N 43°00′00″E / 38.0000°N