The Info List - Urartu

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(/ʊˈrɑːrtuː/; Armenian: Ուրարտու), also known as Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili;[3] Assyrian: māt Urarṭu;[4] Babylonian: Urashtu; Armenian: Վանի թագավորություն, translit. Vani t′agavorut′yun)[5] was an Iron Age
Iron Age
kingdom centred on Lake Van
Lake Van
in the Armenian Highlands. It corresponds to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat. Strictly speaking, 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
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.[2][6][7][8][9] That a distinction should be made between the geographical and the political entity was already pointed out by König (1955).[10] 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.[8][11][12][13]


1 Name 2 Geography 3 Discovery 4 History

4.1 Origins 4.2 Growth 4.3 Decline and recuperation 4.4 Fall 4.5 Legacy

5 Economy and politics 6 Art and architecture 7 Religion 8 Language 9 Armenian ethnogenesis 10 See also 11 References

11.1 Footnotes 11.2 Literature

12 External links

Name The name Urartu
comes from Assyrian sources: Shalmaneser I (1263–1234 BC) recorded a campaign in which he subdued the entire territory of "Uruatri."[14][15] The Shalmaneser text uses the name 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 "Ararat", Akkadian
"Urashtu" and Armenian "Ayrarat". The Urartian toponym Biainili (or Biaineli) was adopted in the Old Armenian as Van, Վան.[16] 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.[17] Boris Piotrovsky
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".[18] Scholars[19][20] believe that Urartu
is an Akkadian variation of Ararat of the Old Testament. Indeed, Mount Ararat
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 kingdom in 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[21] by the order of Darius I, the country referred to as Urartu
in Assyrian is called Arminiya
in Old Persian
Old Persian
and Harminuia in the Elamite language. Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu from the 3rd millennium BC) 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 of Armenia.[19][20] Geography

715–713 BC

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
Taurus Mountains
in the south; and from the Euphrates
in the west to the Caspian sea
Caspian sea
in the east.[22] 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, Patnos
and Haykaberd. 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. Discovery

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.[23] 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 the 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 and killed. 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 Toprakkale
ruins, selling its artefacts to European collections. In the 1880s this site underwent a poorly executed excavation organised by Hormuzd Rassam
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 in 1890/1. 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, Sultan 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
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 in the Lake Van
Lake Van
area and, from 1959, a Turkish expedition under Tahsin Özgüç excavated 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, and 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 eastern Van Province
Van Province
had discovered the ruins of a 3,000-year-old Urartu
castle during underwater excavations in Lake Van
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 Iron Age
Iron Age
civilization and are thought to date back to the eighth to seventh centuries BC.[24] History Origins

under Aramu
860–840 BC

Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser I
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
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
Tukulti-Ninurta I
(c. 1240 BC), Tiglath-Pileser I
Tiglath-Pileser I
(c. 1100 BC), Ashur-bel-kala
(c. 1070 BC), Adad-nirari II
Adad-nirari II
(c. 900 BC), Tukulti-Ninurta II
Tukulti-Ninurta II
(c. 890 BC), and Ashurnasirpal II (883–859 BC). 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 at 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 Hittite sources. Growth

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).

The 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[25] 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 his son 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 son Argishti I
Argishti I
(c. 785–760 BC), becoming one of the most powerful kingdoms of ancient Near East. Argishti I
Argishti I
added more territories along the Araks River
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.[citation needed] 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 Assyria
conquered 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.[26] Decline and recuperation In 714 BC, the Urartu
kingdom suffered heavily from Cimmerian raids and the campaigns of Sargon II. The main temple at Mushashir
was sacked, and the Urartian king Rusa I
Rusa I
was crushingly defeated by Sargon II at Lake Urmia. He subsequently committed suicide in shame.[27] Rusa's son 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 Assyria
in 705 BC. This in turn helped Urartu
enter a long period of development and prosperity, which continued through the reign of Argishti's son Rusa II
Rusa II
(685–645 BC). After Rusa II, however, the Urartu
grew weaker under constant attacks from Cimmerian
and 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 "father."[28][29] Fall 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
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 together with Nabopolassar
of Babylon
and the Scythians
conquered Assyria
after it had been badly weakened by civil war. The Medes
then took over the Urartian capital of Van towards 585 BC, effectively ending the sovereignty of Urartu.[30] According to the Armenian tradition, the 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, or 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.[31] 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 ..."[32] Medieval Armenian chronicles corroborate the Greek and Hebrew sources. In particular, Movses Khorenatsi
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.[33] It is possible that the last Urartian king, Rusa IV, had connections to the future incoming Armenian Orontids dynasty.[citation needed] Urartu
was destroyed in either 590 BC[34] or 585 BC.[35] By the late 6th century, Urartu
had certainly been replaced by Armenia.[36] Legacy

Niche and base for a destroyed Urartian stele, Van citadel. 1973

Urartian stone arch near Van. 1973[citation needed]

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 speaking a Proto-Armenian language
Proto-Armenian language
conventionally named Armeno-Phrygian
who had already settled in the western parts of the region prior to the establishment of Urartu,[37] had become the ruling elite under the Median Empire, followed by the Achaemenid Empire.[38] These Armeno- 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.[39] The region formerly known as Urartu
became the Satrapy of Armenia under the Achaemenids,[40] 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.[41] 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.[42] Some Urartian traditions, such as architecture and dam constructions, were absorbed in the following Persianate societies,[43] 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 region Armina/ Armenia
in Old Persian
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.[44] 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
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 Urartian.[45] The name of the province of Ayrarat
in the Kingdom of Armenia
is believed to be a continuum of the Urartu
toponym (or biblical Ararat).[46] The modern name of Mount Ararat
Mount Ararat
is derived from the biblical 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.

in Urartu



Part of iron pitchfork, found near Lake Van
Lake Van
and Iron plowshare, found during excavations in Rusahinili
(Toprakkale). 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.[47] 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 and 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.[48] 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 quantities from Musasir
in 714 BC.[48] Religion

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
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.[49] The pantheon was headed by a triad made up of Ḫaldi
(the supreme god), 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:[50]

Ḫaldi Theispas Shivini Arubani Tushpuea Bagvarti Selardi

Language 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.[51] According to many researchers about Urartu
language, its link to North-East Caucasian languages is rather certain.[52][53][54]

Urartian cuneiform recording the foundation of Erebuni Fortress
Erebuni Fortress
by Argishti.

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 Urartu
kingdom. 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. Armenian ethnogenesis The Iron Age
Iron Age
state of Urartu
was the successor of the Late Bronze Age Mitanni
state of the Hurrians, and the Urartian language
Urartian language
spoken by the ruling class was the successor of the Hurrian language
Hurrian language
(see Hurro-Urartian languages).[55][56] Urartu
was in turn succeeded in the area in the sixth century BC by the Indo-European-speaking Orontid
Dynasty.[57] 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 Highlands.[58][59][60] 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 proto- Armenians
in the area during the entire lifetime of the Urartian state.[61] 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 French history. 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."[8] 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 domain.[8][11][62][13] While the Urartian language
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.[6] Under this theory, the Armenian-speaking population were the descendants of the proto- Armenians
who migrated to the Armenian Highlands
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.[58] 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.[58] This belief is compatible with the "Armenian hypothesis" suggested by Vyacheslav Ivanov and Gamkrelidze in 1984, postulating the Armenian language
Armenian language
as an in situ development of a 3rd millennium BC Proto-Indo-European language.[61] According to the Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture:

The Armenians
according to Diakonoff, are then an amalgam of the Hurrian (and Urartians), Luvians and the Proto-Armenian
who carried their IE [Indo European] language eastwards across Anatolia. 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.[63]

The discovery of Urartu
has come to play a significant role in 19th and 20th-century Armenian nationalism.[64] See also

Ancient Near East
Near East

Economy of Urartu Chaldia Nakh-Daghestanian Languages List of kings of Urartu

References Footnotes

^ Paul Zimansky, "Urartian material culture as state assemblage", Bulletin of the American Association of Oriental Research 299 (1995), 105. ^ 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 Publishers , p. p. 13, OCLC 44774992 CS1 maint: Extra text (link) ^ Eberhard Schrader, The Cuneiform inscriptions and the Old Testament (1885), p. 65. ^ A.Y.Movsisyan, "The hieroglyphic script of van kingdom (Biainili, Urartu, Ararat)", Publishing House «Gitutyun» of NAS RA, Yerevan 1998. ^ a b Róna-Tas, András.Hungarians and Europe in the Early Middle Ages: An Introduction to Early Hungarian History. Budapest: Central European University Press, 1999 p. 76 ISBN 963-9116-48-3. ^ Greppin, John A. C. (1991). "Some Effects of the Hurro-Urartian People and Their Languages upon the Earliest Armenians". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 3 (4): 720–730. doi:10.2307/603403. Even for now, however, it seems difficult to deny that the Armenians had contact, at an early date, with a Hurro-Urartian people.  ^ a b c d Chahin, M. (2001). The kingdom of Armenia: a history (2. rev. ed.). Richmond: Curzon. p. 182. ISBN 0700714529.  ^ Scarre, edited by Chris (2013). Human past : world prehistory and the development of human societies (3rd ed.). W W Norton. ISBN 0500290636. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ F. W. König, Handbuch der chaldischen Inschriften (1955). ^ a b Frye, Richard N. (1984). The History of Ancient Iran. Munich: C.H. Beck. p. 73. ISBN 3406093973. The real heirs of the Urartians, however, were neither the Scythians
nor Medes
but the Armenians.  ^ Redgate, A. E. (2000). The Armenians. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 5. ISBN 0631220372. However, the most easily identifiable ancestors of the later Armenian nation are the Urartians.  ^ a b Lang, David Marshall (1980). Armenia: Cradle of Civilization (3 ed.). London: Allen & Unwin. pp. 85–111. ISBN 0049560093.  ^ Abram Rigg Jr., Horace. "A Note on the Names Armânum and Urartu". Journal of the American Oriental Society, 57/4 (Dec., 1937), pp. 416–418. ^ Zimansky, Paul E. Ancient Ararat: A Handbook of Urartian Studies. Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1998, p. 28. ISBN 0-88206-091-0. ^ I. M. Diakonoff, "Hurro-Urartian Borrowings in Old Armenian". Journal of the American Oriental Society, 105/4 (Oct.–Dec. 1985), p. 601. ^ Lehmann-Haupt, C. F. Armenien. Berlin: B. Behr, 1910-31. ^ Piotrovsky, Boris B. The Ancient Civilization of Urartu. New York: Cowles Book
Co., Inc., 1969, 51. ^ a b Lang, David Marshall. Armenia: Cradle of Civilization. London: Allen and Unwin, 1970, p. 114. ISBN 0-04-956007-7. ^ a b Redgate, Anna Elizabeth. The Armenians. Cornwall: Blackwell, 1998, pp. 16–19, 23, 25, 26 (map), 30–32, 38, 43 ISBN 0-631-22037-2. ^ Skjaervo, Prods Oktor, "An Introduction to Old Persian", Harvard 2002 ^ Chahin. The Kingdom of Armenia, p. 105. ^ Lynch, H.F.B. Armenia, Travels and Studies, Volume 2. London: Longmans, 1901, p. 54. ^ "Underwater ruins of 3,000-year-old castle discovered in Turkey". Daily Sabah. Turkey. 12 November 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2017.  ^ Urartian Material Culture As State Assemblage: An Anomaly in the Archaeology of Empire, Paul Zimansky, Page 103 of 103-115 ^ D.D. Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria
and Babylonia, (1927, vol II:84), quoted in Robin Lane Fox, Travelling Heroes in the Epic Age of Homer (2008:17). ^ Georges Roux - Ancient Iraq
page 314 ^ Journal of Ancient History 1951, No 3. Pages. 243–244 ^ Letter of Ashubanipal to Sarduri III. HABL, № 1242. ^ Kurdoghlian, Mihran (1994). Badmoutioun Hayots, Volume I (in Armenian). Hradaragoutioun Azkayin Oussoumnagan Khorhourti. pp. 46–48.  ^ Xenophon.Cyropedia. 3.7. Translated by Henry Graham Dakyns. ^ Strabo. Geography. 11.3.5. ^ (in Armenian) Movses Khorenatsi. Հայոց Պատմություն, Ե Դար [History of Armenia, Fifth Century]. Annotated translation and commentary by Stepan Malkhasyants, ed. Gagik Sargsyan. Yerevan: Hayastan Publishing, 1997, I.21, pp. 100–101. ISBN 5-540-01192-9. ^ Urartu
– Lost Kingdom of Van ^ Urartu
civilization – All About Turkey ^ Van de Mieroop, Marc. A History of the Ancient Near East
Near East
c. 3000 – 323 BC. Cornwall: Blackwell, 2006, p. 205. ISBN 1-4051-4911-6. ^ Uchicago.edu ^ Redgate, Anne Elizabeth (2000). The Armenians. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-631-22037-4. , p. 50 ^ Armen Asher The Peoples of Ararat. 2009, p. 290-291. ISBN 978-1-4392-2567-7. ^ Livius.org ^ Diakonov, I. The Pre-history of the Armenian People. Delmar, NY: Caravan Books, 1984. ^ Lang, pp. 112, 117 ^ Kleiss, Wolfram. "URARTU IN IRAN". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2012-09-03.  ^ Armen Asher The Peoples of Ararat. 2009, p. 291. ISBN 978-1-4392-2567-7. ^ Schmitt, R. "ARMENIA and IRAN i. Armina, Achaemenid province". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2012-09-03.  ^ Hewsen, R. H. "AYRARAT". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2012-09-03.  ^ Piotrovskii, Boris, B. Ванское царство (Урарту), Moscow: Vostochnoy Literaturi Publishing, 1959. ^ a b C. A. Burney, "Urartian." Grove Art Online, Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press, accessed December 30, 2012, online, subscription required ^ Chahin, Mark (1987). The Kingdom of Armenia. Dorset Press. ISBN 0-88029-609-7.  ^ Piotrovsky, Boris B. (1969). The Ancient Civilization of Urartu: An Archaeological Adventure. Cowles Book
Co. ISBN 0-214-66793-6.  ^ Sayce, Archibald H. "The Kingdom of Van (Urartu)" in Cambridge Ancient History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982, vol. 3, p. 172. See also C. F. Lehman-Haupt, Armenien Einst und Jetzt, Berlin, 1931, vol. 2, p. 497. ^ Vyacheslav V. Ivanov. "Comparative Notes on Hurro-Urartian, Northern Caucasian and Indo-European" (PDF).  ^ Sergei A. Starostin: Igor M. Diakonoff, Hurro-Urartian as an Eastern Caucasian Language. Munich: R. Kitzinger, 1986. ^ Greppin, JAC, The Urartian Substratum in Armenian, http://www.science.org.ge/2-2/Grepin.pdf, 2008. ^ Diakonoff, Igor M.; Starostin, Sergei (1986). Hurro-Urartian as an Eastern Caucasian Language. R. Kitzinger. ISBN 978-3-920645-39-1.  ^ Piotrovskij, Boris Borisovich (1969). The ancient civilization of Urartu. Cowles Book
Co.  ^ Urartu
on Britannica ^ a b c (in Armenian) Katvalyan, M. and Karo Ghafadaryan. «Ուրարտու» [Urartu]. Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia. Yerevan: Armenian Academy of Sciences, 1986, vol. 12, pp. 276–283. ^ Dyakonov, I.M., V.D. Neronova, and I.S. Sventsitskaya. History of the Ancient World. vol. ii, Moscow, 1983. ^ Samuelian, Thomas J. (2000). Armenian origins: an overview of ancient and modern sources and theories. Iravunq Pub. House.  ^ a b Gamkrelidze, Tamaz V.; Ivanov, Vyacheslav (1995). Indo-European and the Indo-Europeans: A Reconstruction and Historical Analysis of a Proto-Language and Proto-Culture. Part I: The Text. Part II: Bibliography, Indexes. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-081503-0.  ^ Redgate, A. E. (2000). The Armenians. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 5. ISBN 0631220372. However, the most easily identifiable ancestors of the later Armenian nation are the Urartians.  ^ "Armenians" in Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-884964-98-5.  ^ Redgate, Anne Elizabeth (2000). The Armenians. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-631-22037-4. , p. 276.


Ashkharbek Kalantar, Materials on Armenian and Urartian History (with a contribution by Mirjo Salvini), Civilisations du Proche-Orient: Series 4 – Hors Série, Neuchâtel, Paris, 2004;ISBN 978-2-940032-14-3 Boris B. Piotrovsky, The Ancient Civilization of Urartu
(translated from Russian by James Hogarth), New York:Cowles Book
Company, 1969. M. Salvini, Geschichte und Kultur der Urartäer, Darmstadt 1995. R. B. Wartke, Urartu — Das Reich am Ararat In: Kulturgeschichte der Antiken Welt, Bd. 59, Mainz 1993. P. E. Zimansky, Ecology and Empire: The Structure of the Urartian State, [Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization], Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1985. P. E. Zimansky, Ancient Ararat. A Handbook of Urartian Studies, New York 1998.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Urartu.

Livius History of Urartu/Armenia Historical Maps of Urartu
at WikiMedia Commons An Urartian Ozymandias – article by Paul Zimansky, Biblical Archaeologist Urartu
Civilization Urartu
(Greek Ararat) Capital and Periphery in the Kingdom of Urartu, Yehuda Dagan, Israel Antiquities Authority

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Proto-Armenian Hurro-Urartian languages Kelashin Stele Cuneiform script Anatolian Hieroglyphs

(Ararat) at its greatest expanse, ca. 743 BC


Aramu Lutipri Sarduri I Ishpuini Argishti I Sarduri II Rusa I Argishti II Rusa II Sarduri III Erimena Rusa III Sarduri IV Rusa IV

Cities and Fortresses

Argistinikhili Arzashkun1 Bastam Erebuni Haykaberd Horom Kelashin Musasir Rusahinili Sugunia Teishebaini Teyseba Tushpa2 Van


Artinis Bagvarti Khaldi Selardi Siwini Theispas

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Historical states and regions of Armenia

Independent Armenian states

Kingdom of Ararat (Urartian kings, 860 BC–590 BC) Kingdom of Armenia
(antiquity) (Orontids, Artaxiads and Arsacids, 553 BC–428 AD) Kingdom of Armenia
(middle ages) (Bagratunis, 884-1045) Armenian Principality of Cilicia
(Rubenids, 1080-1198) Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia
(Rubenids, Hethumids
and Lusignans, 1198-1375) Republic of Armenia
(1918-1920) Republic of Armenia

Minor or dependent Armenian states

Satrapy of Armenia
Satrapy of Armenia
(Orontids, 522-331 BC) Kingdom of Sophene
Kingdom of Sophene
(Hellenized Orontids, 3rd century–94 BC) Kingdom of Commagene
Kingdom of Commagene
(Hellenized Orontids, 163 BC–72 AD) Kingdom of Vaspurakan
Kingdom of Vaspurakan
(Artsrunis, 908–1021) Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget
Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget
(Kiurikians, 979–1118) Kingdom of Syunik
Kingdom of Syunik
(Siunis, 987–1170) Kingdom of Artsakh
Kingdom of Artsakh
(Khachen, 1000–1261) Zakarid Principality of Armenia
(Zakarians, 1201–1360) Melikdoms of Karabakh
Melikdoms of Karabakh
(Beglarians, Israelians, Hasan-Jalalians, Shanazarians and Avanians, 1603-1822) Republic of Mountainous Armenia
(unrecognized, 1921) Soviet Armenia

Provinces or Ashkhars of Armenia

Upper Armenia Sophene Arzanene Turuberan Moxoene Corduene Nor Shirakan Vaspurakan Syunik Artsakh Paytakaran Utik Gugark Tayk Ayrarat

Other Armenian regions

Lesser Armenia
(regions: First, Second and Third Armenia) Commagene Armenian Mesopotamia Cilicia
(regions: Mountainous, Plain and Rocky Cilicia)

Other provinces under Tigranes the Great

Syria Atropatene Adiabene Assyria Iberia Albania Cappadocia Judea Osroene

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Ancient Mesopotamia



Euphrates Upper Mesopotamia Mesopotamian Marshes Persian Gulf Syrian Desert Taurus Mountains Tigris Zagros Mountains


Akkad Assyria Babylonia Chaldea Elam Hittites Media Mitanni Sumer Urartu Cities


Pre- / Protohistory

Acheulean Mousterian Trialetian Zarzian Natufian Nemrikian Khiamian Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
(PPNA) Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
(PPNB) Hassuna/Samarra Halaf Ubaid Uruk Jemdet Nasr Kish civilization


Early Dynastic Akkadian Ur III Old Babylonian Kassite Neo-Assyrian Neo-Babylonian Achaemenid Seleucid Parthian Roman Sasanian Muslim conquest Timeline of the Assyrian Empire


Akkadian Amorite Aramaic Eblaite Elamite Gutian Hittite Hurrian Luwian Middle Persian Old Persian Parthian Proto-Armenian Sumerian Urartian

Culture / Society

Architecture Art Cuneiform script Akkadian
literature Sumerian literature Music Religion


Looting Destruction by ISIL Tell


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Ancient Kingdoms of Anatolia

Bronze Age

Ahhiyawa Arzawa Assuwa league Carchemish Colchis Hatti Hayasa-Azzi Hittite Empire Isuwa Kaskia Kizzuwatna Lukka Luwia Mitanni Pala Wilusa/Troy

Iron Age

Aeolia Caria Cimmerians Diauehi Doris Ionia Lycia Lydia Neo- Hittites
(Atuna, Carchemish, Gurgum, Hilakku, Kammanu, Kummuh, Quwê, Tabal) Phrygia Urartu

Classical Age

Antigonids Armenia Bithynia Cappadocia Cilicia Commagene Galatia Paphlagonia Pergamon Pontus

Coordinates: 38°00′00″N 43°00′00″E / 38.0000°N 43.0000°E