Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

The Armenian origins of Swastika

Posted by Fredsvenn on December 8, 2014

A modern depiction of Vahagn Vishapakagh – Vahagn the Dragon-Slayer,

a hero of ancient Armenian legend and a god of the Armenian pantheon

TýrTuistoTvastarTiwazDivinity –  DeusdēváDaēvōZeus/Zisa

After careful examination of the Armenian alphabet, one would find that half a dozen of its letters are nothing more than modified versions of the famous swastika symbol. Armenian letters prounounced as -Ke-; -Kea-; -Xe-; -Pea-; -Fe-; and -Ea- have their origins in the ancient proto-Armenian petroglyphical writings found through out the Armenian Highland.

Symbol of swastika had fascinated people of all ages at all times by its complex meanings of mystical codes, conveyed to us through this symbol. Swastika has been widely used in various cultural symbolism of religious and astronomical nature through out the Armenian Highland, Mesopotamia, Africa, China, India and Mesoamerica.

The earliest depictions of swastika found in Armenia are dating back to the Neolithic Period of human cultural evolution, around 7000-5000BC. Very often, swastika is symbolized in the form of the Solar Disk, commonly found in the stone carvings of the Armenian Plato, Iranian Plato and ancient civilizations of Anatolia and Mesoamerica.

The Sanskrit root of the word swastika is -svar-, which means-brilliance, illumination or shining. The closest contemporary equivalent to the word is found in the Russian language, where word -svet- means light.

In Armenian language, the second portion of the word -swastika-, the ‘ast’ or also referred as ‘asd’ means power, which is also the root of the word ‘Astvats’ meaning God in Armenian. Thus, the word Astvats could be translated as “all powerful” or “giver of power/s” which in this context would refer to physical and spiritual health, clarity of mind or perhaps even salvation.

It is known that in ancient times, the only being/s referred to as ‘all powerful’ or ‘brilliant’ was/were the god/s of the past. Later these epithets got into the context of the current established religions as well in their references toward the creator God. Furthermore, in those days, when kings acquired their royal throne, they were also referred as the ‘shinning one’, claiming their right to rule over their dominions to be acquired from the god/s themselves.

Therral examination of the Sanskrit roots of the word swastika brings us to their two archaic meanings of the word: ‘svar’ meaning brilliant/shinning and ‘asti’ meaning powerful/god. Thus we get the meaning of the word swastika, which is: the all powerful/shining God.

Sun has been our only source of magnificent brilliance for millennia, itself being located deep in the space. As a result, the ancients considered the Sun to be their God that they were worshipping to. Therefore, sun has been always symbolized by the swastika for what it stands for.

People of the past, including the mighty Armenids of the Armenian Highland and Mesopotamia has been referred to as: “the children of the light”.

This concept is found within the essence of the word “Ar-men”, where “Ar” stood for the Armenian sun-god known as Ar (or Ra-Amon by Egyptians) and “men” theoretically would stand for the people or worshippers of the sun-god.

Thus we get “Ar-men” and “Ar-men-ia”, where the ending of the word Armenia, the ‘ia’ will theoretically stand for the location, thus we get Armenia, meaning “the land of the sun-worshippers” or “the land of the children of light.”

Written by Grigor Ariyatsi

Astuas

Language and alphabet are essential for the survival of a nation’s history and customs. Its identity and uniqueness. In the 4th century this was recognized by the royal court and the church.

The Armenian Alphabet was invented by Mesrob Mashdotz in 405 AD. The original purpose was to translate the Bible. The alphabet is composed as a prayer, beginning with A as Astvats (God) and ending with K’ as K’ristos (Christ). The original alphabet had only 36 letters. Later, three more characters were added.

Astuas (Astvats-arm.) is one of the most ancient deities of the Armenian people. This name is so old, that even though in later times, due to various circumstances such as the adoption of foreign dieties in Armenia, it ceased to be a proper name, rather than disappearing in oblivian, however, it was preserved in the Armenian language as a common noun, and is the most commonly used name for God in Armenian lexicon.

In the last century a number of scholars, under the influence of the false hypothesis that assumed Europe to be the homeland of the parent Indo-European(Caucasian)language, have tried to connect the Armenians with the Thraco-Phrygians. (In this effort they were swayed by certain cultural similarities that could have existed between the latter and the Armenians living in the neighboring Hyeasa-Tarhigama region in Eastern Asia minor.)

Lead by this “migration” theory and based on interpretations of certain old sources accomodated to it, they have made the Armenian word Astuas derive from the name of the Phrygian deity Savazios.

Not mentioning for the moment a series of evidences that contradict this, the derivation of Astuas, from Savazios becomes immensely difficult even on phonetic grounds:to make the first syllable change from ‘sav’ to ‘astu’ is purely arbituary and baseless.

We believe that, as mentioned earlier, the divine name Savas(ios), like the Greek Zeus, is linked to the name Sibis(Siwini)-Sabas(In the Ugarit inscriptions we find, as already mentioned, Sapas (or Sabas) instead of the Eblaite or Sibis), whereas the Armenian Astuas, which comes from very remote antiquity, has no relationship at all with Savaz(ios).

The Astuas of the Armenian people was a deity of fire. This divine name (Astu-as) is a Nairian(Armenian) word and it is not unlikely that in the remote past it may have been connected to the Assyro-Babylonian word Isatu which meant ‘fire’. Astuas, as the principal national deity of the Armenians (Hayk-Haldi), was the greatest of all gods ans as the father of all was elevated to heaven.

In the Achaemenian period the Armenians adopted Ahura-Mazda,who replaced Astuas in the Armenian pantheon, but by changing the name Ahura to Ara, the name of their national god, they armenianized him and called him Ara-mazd(Aramazd), reserving the name Ormizd to the real Ahuramazda adopted from the Pahlavi forms Hormizd and Ormizd.

During the Hellenistic period, introduced in Armenia by the Artashessian dynasty, Astuas became identified with “Dios-Zeus,the father of gods,the creator of heaven and earth,” and when Christianity came, he was identified with Jehovah as the heavenly father and the creator of all things.

It seems natural that in Armenia, after the days of Urartu, when Astuas would cede his place successively to Aramazd, Dios-Zeus, and Jehovah, the name Astuas would cease to be a proper name and would be retained in the language merely as a common noun for God.

The name Astuas (Astu-as), as the name of native deity of fire is connected with the word -astu-(fire) which is commponent of Ur-astu(=Ur-Artu), the name of the country(Urartu/Hurartoon), and Asti-sat, the name of the city that was the greatest religious center of fire(sun)-worshipping Armenia.

This sanem name Astu-as is also encountered in the divine names Unag-astuas and Astupini(Astu-pinu), belonging to Hyeasa and Subarians, respectively. It is clear, therefore, that the attempt to derive the Armenian Astuas from the Phrygian Savazios, as well as the ‘migration’ hypothesis of the Armens, must be considered as outdated misconceptions.

The component -astu- of the name Astuas (or Astu-as) is a dialectal variant of the component -artu- of the name Ur-artu, with -r>s- transition. It follows, then, that Astuas is just a variant of the name Haldi-Aldi or Ardi(Artu>Astu) and is equivalent and synonymous to it.

The form -artu-(Ur-artu) as a variant of -astu- (Ur-astu)is not an uncommon occurence in Armenian. In some Armenian dialects -s- replaces -r- before dental plosives. For example, in the Hamshen dialect the word -mardik-(people) is pronounced as -masdik-, and -kertan- is pronounced as -geston-; in the Hadjen dialect, -kert’ayi>gasti(both meaning ‘to leave’); in the Nakhijevan dialect, -mard>mast- and -morti>mosti(both meaning ‘skin’), etc.

Evidently,in the Behistun inscriptions,writing Ur-astu, instead of Ur-artu, was not a scribal error; it existed in the speech of the people. A futher evidence is supplied by the name Tstuni(erstu-ni)which preserves the memory of Urastu(=Urartu). All these confirm that the name Ur-astu contains the divine name Astu(as).

It was already shown above, on different occasions, that the name Ardi (‘sun’) had a variant in the form of Arti (or Artu)which, with -rt The Armenian language has a number of words formed with -atr-,such as -atrasek-(‘atr-a-sek’=red as fire) and -atrasikanal-(‘atr-a-sikanal’=to turn red as fire) that have their parallel forms as -artasek-(art-a-sek) and -atrasikanal-(art-a-sikanal).

To write -art- instead of -atr- is not a scribal error either, since we know that, in reality, the name -Ura-atri- had also a variant in the form of -Ur-arti (or Ur-artu). The -astu-(fire) form of the word -artu- or -atr- should be compared not the Pahlavi -atur-(Avestan atars)but, as already stated, with the Accadian word -isatu-(fire).

In the times of Assyria and Urartu, Armenia was a land of active volcanoes with a number of peaks in the Lake Van region, such as the -Uruatri- mountain (Mt.Djuti), the Nemrut, the Varag and the Tondurak, erupting periodically.

Mount Nemrut’s famous crater was active until the 1440s and Tondurak, still smoking, is not completely extinct. The entire are that surrounded it was called by the Assyrian kings -Uruatri-(later Urartu), which literally means ‘place of fire’.

The -astu-isatu- connection becomes more intelligible if we keep in mind that the series of names we considered, -Uruatri-Urardi-Urartu and Urastu, are merely different forms of the same name given to Armenia by the Semitic Assyro-Babylonian kings of the south, because for them, that land of active volcanoes was just a ‘land of fire’.

This is why the form -Ur-astu- in the Accadian text of the Behistun(arm.means ‘home of Behis’)inscription was more intelligible than the form -Ur-artu: the actual name of the country in question was derived from the name Ar(Ara) and was called Armani or Armeni, which meant, as was shown earlier, ‘sons of Ar’ or ‘the land of the sons of Ar’; hence, the name -Ur-astu utilized in the Akkadian version of Behistun inscription is the direct translation of the name Armina(Armenia) of the Persian original.

The only difference in the meanings of the names Armeni and Urartu was that while the former designated it as the land of the sons of the local god (‘the sons of Ar’), the second meant merely the land of the local god (‘land of fire’).

In the light of what has been said above about the Armenian divine name Astuas, it becomes obvious now that it could not have originated from the Phrygian Savazios, a name (Savaz-ios) which appears rather to be connected to Zeus The name Astuas is already encountered within the name Ur-astu(Ur-artu)and in the divine names Unag-astuas of Hyeasa and Astu-pinu of the Subarians. And since the Semitic world has preserved a synonymous and homophonous word, -isatu-, meaning ‘fire’, then the source of all these must be looked for in the land of Subartu, whose god Astupinu has already been referred to above.

In conclusion, refering to the divine names Hyek(Hayk=Haldi), Ara (=Ardi) and Astuas (=Astu-as), we can say that Hyek(Hayk), the national deity of the Armenians, having in the beginning powers over animal (hunting)and vegetal(agriculture)domains, has developed a fiery nature and evolved into a sun-god and war-god.

His powers as a god of vegetation and, later, as sun-god, were represented by Ara, whereas his powers on the animal world and on fire were symbolized by Astuas. These two, Ara and Astuas, have been combined in Haldi, who, because of the presense of Siwini, has preserved only his fiery (volcano) and vegetal (poplar tree) natures.

The following statements and equations summarize it all:
1)If the temple of Ardi-ni(of Musasir)is Haldi’s temple, then, Haldi(Aldi)=Ardi
2)If the goddess Nu-ard(the Nu of Ard) is Ara’s wife, then Ard(Ardi)=Ara
3)And if Ur-ardi=Ur-aru=Ur-astu, then Ara=Ardi(Artu)=Astu(Astu-as)

As we speak about the interrelationships between the names Armani(Armeni), Hyek/Hyeasatan and Urartu,we must have in view the following “divine” formula:
Haldi={Ardi-Ara(vegetation,sun)/Astuas(fire)}=Hyek

Source: “Armenia, Summer and Subartu” by Prof. Dr.Martiros Kavukjian

Interestingly, one word in Armenian for pagan deities is a grammatically-direct negation of the word for “God” – “Astvats” or “Asdvadz” becomes “chastvats” or “chasdvadz”, meaning, quite simply, “non-God”, certainly in the Christian context.

The names of the deities of the Armenian pantheon can still be heard today

Armenian mythology

Aramazd was the chief and creator god in pre-Christian Armenian mythology, cognate with Ahura Mazda. Aramazd was regarded as a generous god of fertility, rain, and abundance, as well as the father of the other gods, including Anahit, Mihr, and Nane.

Like Ahura Mazda, Aramazd was seen as the father of the other gods, rarely with a wife, though sometimes husband to Anahit or Spandaramet. Aramazd was readily identified with Zeus through interpretatio graeca, the two often sharing specific titles regarding greatness, bravery, or strength.

There was some disagreement in scholarship as to the relationship between Aramazd, Amanor, and Vanatur, but the evidence most strongly indicates that Vanatur (“Lord of the Van”) was a title for the chief deity (be it Ḫaldi or Ahura Mazda/Aramazd, though recorded uses are only as a title for Aramazd), and that Amanor was both a common noun referring the new year and a title for the deity whose celebration was held on the new year (Vanatur, whether Ḫaldi or Aramazd).

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