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Encyclopedia >> Armenological Encyclopedia >> Armenia in the 2nd millennium BC


Armenia in the 2nd millennium BC

a. Armenian highland in XX-XVIII centuries BC. In XX-XVIII centuries BC there was a highway of metal trade in the northern part of Western Asia, which extended form Kanesh (a small town in eastern part of Asia Minor) up to Ashur. More than thirty residences of Armenian highland were connected with the highway, from where various metals, such as gold, silver, copper, tin, etc. were exported. In cuneiform inscriptions found in Kanesh Armenian ten princedoms are mentioned: Tsupana (Sophene), Tegarama (Togarma, Torgoma tun (house of Torgom)), Khakh(um), Tugrish, etc.

b. Kingdom of Mitanni. In XIV century Indo-European kingdom of Mitanni was formed with its capital Washukanni in south-west of Armenian highland and in north of Mesopotamia. This kingdom played an important role in Western Asia starting from the end of XVI century BC. Kings of Mitanni had the title <<Great king>> like Egyptian, Babylonian and Hittie kings.
The influence of the kings of Mitanni was spread in east up to river valleys of Bohtan and Great Zab, in west up to the Mediterranean and to the mountains of Taurus of Cilicia.
The kings of Mitanni were of Indo-European origin. Not only their names, but also the cults of Indo-European gods prove this.
Mitanni was destined to have a serious military collision with Egypt, as the latter making war with the Hyksos directed its aggression against Mitanni. Mitanni had long military collisions with Hittie state of Asia Minor. It fell in XIII century BC because of aggression of rising Assyria.

c. Kingdom of Hayasa. In Hittie cuneiform inscriptions land of Hayasa is mentioned connected with the events of XV-XIII centuries BC. The toponym was derived from the name of the Armenian nation. In Hittie language particle – (a)sa formed toponyms, that is to say <<Hayasa>> means <<Hayk, Hayastan>>. Hayasa was mentioned in the western part of the Armenian Highland. One of the important centers of Hayasa was Kumakha (Ani-Kamah of Upper Armenia), there was  the great mausoleum of the Armenian kings here.
 Hayasa had been mentioned for the last time in the end of XIII century BC. 
In science there are two viewpoints on the end of the history of Hayasa. According to the first one Hayasa might have been fallen in the end of XIII century BC. The supporters of the other viewpoint think that it existed, only it wasn’t mentioned as “Hayasa” (Hittie name), as ­in XII century BC the Hittie kingdom was fallen. 
Ha­ya­sa had its court, army and idolatrous centers. Hayasa had an army composed of 700 war chariots and 10 thousand infantry, which was an essential force for that period.
 It had its deities. Judging from Hittie sources Hayasa had royal secretary with its secretaries, who ran the state paperwork.

d. Nairi <<countries>>.  In Assyrian sources the region of Lake Van and large areas laid in the south and west were called <<Nairi>>. Here lived many tribal states united in the federal basis, which were called <<countries>> in the Assyrian sources. Toponym Nairi was first mentioned by the king of Assyria Salmanasar (first half of XIII century BC). In XIII centuries BC about the power of Nairi countries shows the fact, that Salmanasar I had to designate in several bordering towns special guards to prevent attacks of Nairi forces on the regions of Assyrian domination. 
Nairi <<countries>> and their 40 rulers (who in the sources are called  <<kings>>) are mentioned in the inscriptions of the successor of Salmanasar I Tukulti-Ninurta (XIII c. BC) and they are mentioned a half century later in the inscriptions of  Tiglath-Pileser  I (XII-XI c. BC). Though, his predecessors wrote that they had occupied and had enslaved Nairi <<countries>> Tiglath-Pileser  I called Nairi <<large and unknown country not recognizing obedience>>.
In the inscriptions of Assyrian kings <<big cities>>, <<wealth>>, <<numerous herds of horses, mules, heifers and their countless tiller properties>> of Nairi are mentioned, which show the power and wealth of the country in that period.
Two centuries later one of the inscriptions of the king of Assyria Ashurnasirpal II (IX c. BC) informs that he made four great invasions against Nairi, moreover it doesn’t mention the alliance or confederation of several <<countries>>, it mentions a united state-country. In Nairi 250 towns are mentioned with their huge walls, etc.
 Nairi as a united state is also mentioned in the inscriptions of king Shalmaneser III (IX c. BC). The rulers of Kingdom of Van (Biaynili, Urartu, Ararat) called their country <<Nairi>> in their inscriptions written in Assyrian. 


                                                                                                                        Movsisyan A.