narratives from antiquity are not always clear
descriptions. Linguistic nuances further
complicate the evaluation of historical texts.
Armenians call themselvesHye
and their countryHayasdan.
The Greeks used the designation “Armenian” by
borrowing it from the Persians who had used the
term applied by the Arameans to name the people
of Arme or land of Nayiri, also known as
Urartu. Assyrians called Armenians Moushki
while the Bible makes references to the House
of Torgom (Beth Togarmah).
this background, for most historians the story
is rarely reconciled with the story ofArmenians.
monument is often used to attribute a
historical timeframe for the “birth” ofArmenia
not aware that the termArmenian
was borrowed by his predecessors from the
Persians, reports the Greek mythic tradition
that claims Armenia was named after Armenus,
one of Jason's Argonauts. Herodotus, writing in
the fifth century BC, also mentions that the
Armenians lived in Thrace and then moved into
Phrygia, from which they crossed into the
This mythic historical description led
linguists to assume that the Indo-European
elements of Armenian etymology were the
consequence of this migration. Yet,
writing in the first century BC, states that
the Armenians entered the territory from two
directions, one group coming from Phrygia in
the west, the other coming from Mesopotamia in
the south-east where Semitic languages
dominated the landscape. Both accounts lead to
the highly suspicious conclusion that
were not the original inhabitants of the
region. Not surprisingly,
who is aware of the Greek myths about Jason and
his Argonauts as the forefathers of the
Armenians, records in 400 BC that the
descendents of Jason seem to have absorbed most
of the local culture and way of life!
again, if an effort is not made to reconcile
the history of Hayasdan and Armenia, the
confusion and a lack of credible scholarship
will persist. Perhaps the wordArarat,
used in the Bible, is a good example of
historical and linguistic confusion. The
used in Assyrian clay tablets in
century BC, appeared in early Hebrew texts and
was transcribed aswrrt.
Ultimately, this corrupt transcription resulted
in the insertion of the vowelA
in subsequent texts and in Biblical stories.
Hence, the word
became a reference to the land and the mountain
where Noah’s Ark landed.
this designation was not always clear. Even in
7th century AD, there was no consensus on the
place of the mountain. The Qoran, the holy book
of Islam that originated in
century, makes reference to Mt. Judi as the
landing site for the ark. In addition to
linguistic corruptions, association of the
mountain with Noah’s Ark was further
complicated by the fact that Armenians called
their mountain Massis !
is no wonder, then, to learn that during 4th
century AD, St. James of Nisibis tried to
search for the Ark on the slopes of Mount
Sararad, located further South, in