Nairi (Armenian: Նայիրի, Nayiri or Նաիրի, Nairi; Akkadian: 𒆳𒆳𒈾𒄿𒊑, romanized: mātāt [KUR.KUR] Na-i-ri, lit.'Nairi lands', also Na-'i-ru)[1] was the Akkadian name for a region inhabited by a particular group (possibly a confederation or league) of tribal principalities in the Armenian Highlands, approximately spanning the area between modern Diyabakır and Lake Van and the region west of Lake Urmia.[2][3] Nairi has sometimes been equated with Nihriya, known from Mesopotamian, Hittite, and Urartian sources.[4] However, its co-occurrence with Nihriya within a single text may argue against this.[1]

Prior to the Bronze Age collapse, the Nairi tribes were considered a force strong enough to contend with both Assyria and Hatti. If Nairi and Nihriya are to be identified, then the region was the site of the Battle of Nihriya (c. 1230 BCE), the culminating point of the hostilities between Hittites and Assyrians for control over the remnants of the former kingdom of Mitanni.

The first kings of Urartu referred to their kingdom as Nairi instead of the native self-appellation Bianili.[5] However, the exact relationship between Urartu and Nairi is unclear. Some scholars believe that Urartu was a part of Nairi until the former's consolidation as an independent kingdom, while others have suggested that Urartu and Nairi were separate polities.[6] The Assyrians seem have continued to refer to Nairi as a distinct entity for decades after the establishment of Urartu, until Nairi was totally absorbed by Assyria and Urartu in the 8th century BCE.[7]

Geography and historyEdit

According to Trevor Bryce, the Nairi lands were inhabited by "fierce tribal groups" divided into a number of small principalities.[3] They are first mentioned in the inscriptions of the Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta I (r. 1243–1207 BCE), who claimed to have defeated and exacted tribute from forty Nairi kings.[3] An early documented reference to Nairi from the 13th century BCE is a tablet which describes the purchase of 128 horses from the Nairi region.[8] According to Bryce, parts of Uruatri, a state of Nairi, corresponded to the Azzi of Hittite texts from the same period.[9][verification needed]

The names of twenty-three Nairi lands were recorded by Tiglath-Pileser I (r. 1114–1076 BCE). Their southernmost point was Tumme, known to have been south-west of Lake Urmia, and their northernmost point was Daiaeni.[2] These lands are known from the list of defeated kings: "the king of Tumme, the king of Tunube, the king of Tuali, the king of Kindari, the king of Uzula, the king of Unzamuni, the king of Andiabe, the king of Pilakinni, the king of Aturgini, the king of Kulibarzini, the king of Shinibirni, the king of Himua, the king of Paiteri, the king of Uiram, the king of Shururia, the king of Albaia, the king of Ugina, the king of Nazabia, the king of Abarsiuni, and the king of Daiaeni."[10] Other inscriptions describing Tiglath-Pileser's campaign number the defeated kings at thirty or sixty.[7] It is believed that Nairi extended from the Tur Abdin mountains in the south to the mountainous area southwest of Lake Van in the north.[11]

In 882 BCE, Assurnasirbal II invaded Nairi, which at the time comprised four polities: Bit-Zamani, Shubru, Nirdun, and Urumu/Nirbu.[12] These regions all had their own kings. In particular, Assurnasirbal conquered the fortified city of Madara, along with sixty other "cities" ruled by a certain Lapturi.[7]

Assurnasirbal's successor Shalmaneser III campaigned in the region in the fifteenth year of his reign (844 BCE), erecting a statue at the source of the Tigris. Shalmaneser had earlier campaigned against the land of Hubushkia in 858 BCE; his inscriptions report him washing his weapons in the "Sea of Nairi," which refers to either Lake Van or Lake Urmia.[13][14] Bryce states that some of his "royal inscriptions indicate that the term [Nairi] now also denoted a specific region to the southwest of Lake Urmia, centred on the land of Hubushkia."[13] The exact location of Hubushkia is uncertain. Shalmaneser pursued Kakia, king of Nairi and Hubushkia, into the mountains, subsequently slaughtering his army and forcing him to surrender.[15][14] He then marched on and destroyed Sugunia, the first capital of Arame, the first known king of Urartu (Shalmaneser campaigned against Urartu several more times throughout his reign).[14]

Shalmaneser's successor Shamshi-Adad V (r. 823–811 BCE) campaigned in Nairi at least three times; on the third campaign, he is said to have received tributes of horses from the rulers of Hubushkia, Sunbu, Mannaea, Parsua, and Taurla.[13] His successor Adad-nirari III claimed to have conquered the whole of Nairi.[13] Sargon II's (r. 722–705 BCE) inscriptions describe him receiving tribute from Yanzu, king of Nairi, in his fortified city of Hubushkia.[13][16]

In Mirjo Salvini's view, despite their identification in some sources, Urartu and Nairi referred to separate entities until the expansion of the former in the late 9th century BCE.[7] By that time, Urartu had probably conquered so much of the Nairi lands that the "early Urartian kings felt Nairi was a suitable name for the kingdom they ruled."[7] Caught between expanding Urartu and Assyria, Nairi's existence as an independent entity ended in the early 8th-century BCE.[7] In the mid-8th century BCE, part of Nairi is mentioned as an Assyrian province, while in the 7th century BCE, the term is occasionally used in Assyrian sources to refer to the province of Amedi (modern Diyabakır).[13][7]


Albrecht Goetze suggested that what he refers to as the Hurriland dissolved into a number of small states that the Assyrians called Nairi.[17] Others regard this hypothesis skeptically; for example, Warren C. Benedict points out that there is no evidence of the presence of Hurrians in the vicinity of Lake Van.[18]

The Nairi tribes may have been speakers of Proto-Armenian.[19][20][21][failed verification]

According to Lorenzo D'Alfonso, the Nairi tribe Tuali may have moved west and founded the Iron Age neo-Hittite kingdom of Tabal.[22]

In Armenian cultureEdit

The cover of Charents' Yerkir Nairi, 1926.[23]

Nairi (Armenian: Նայիրի, Nayiri or Նաիրի, Nairi) is a poetic name of Armenia.[24] It was notably used by the poets Vahan Terian and Yeghishe Charents as a synonym for Armenia.[25] Yerkir Nairi (Land of Nairi) was the title of both Terian's collection of 18 poems written in the mid-1910s and a satirical novel by Charents, published in a complete volume in 1926.[26] Terian wrote the poems while he was a student at the Saint Petersburg University's Department of Oriental Studies under Nicholas Marr, where he delved into ancient history. Terian successfully revived Nairi as an old name of Armenia.[27][28] For Charents, Nairi is a national illusion.[29] Critic Suren Aghababian described the novel as the cornerstone of Soviet Armenian prose.[26]

Another poet, born Hayastan Yeghiazarian, adopted Nairi Zarian as his pen name in the 1920s.[30] It has since become a unisex name among Armenians. It is sometimes spelled as Nayiri or Nyree, while Nairuhi (Nayiruhi) and Naira are exclusively female names.[a]

It has also been used for various things, including institutions, localities, and products:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ As of 2022, Armenia's voter registry contains 1,151 individuals with the name Nairi (Նաիրի), 23 people named Nayiri (Նայիրի) and 382 people named Nairuhi (Նաիրուհի).[31]
  1. ^ a b Salvini, M. (1998). "Nairi, Na'iri". In Frantz-Szabó, Gabriella (ed.). Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie (in German). Vol. 9. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter. pp. 87–90. ISBN 3-11-0158809.
  2. ^ a b Redgate, Anne Elizabeth (2000). The Armenians. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 27. ISBN 978-0631220374.
  3. ^ a b c Bryce, Trevor (2012). The World of The Neo-Hittite Kingdoms: A Political and Military History. Oxford University Press. p. 199. ISBN 978-0199218721.
  4. ^ Trevor Bryce, The Kingdom of the Hittites 2005:316; Bryce locates Nairi north or northeast of modern Diyarbakir.
  5. ^ Zimansky, Paul (1995). "Urartian Material Culture As State Assemblage: An Anomaly in the Archaeology of Empire". Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 299–300 (299/300): 103–115. doi:10.2307/1357348. ISSN 0003-097X. JSTOR 1357348. S2CID 164079327.
  6. ^ Buccellati, Giorgio; Salvini, Mirjo (1972). "Nairi e Ir(u)aṭri. Contributo alla storia della Formazione del regno di Urartu [Review]". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 92 (2): 297. doi:10.2307/600663. ISSN 0003-0279. JSTOR 600663.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Zimansky, Paul (1985). Ecology and Empire: The Structure of the Urartian State (PDF). Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. pp. 49–50. ISBN 0-918986-41-9. OCLC 469553313.
  8. ^ "Schriftfunde" (in German). "Inscribed objects" (English translation)
  9. ^ Bryce, Trevor (2009). The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia. Routledge. p. 310. ISBN 9780415394857.
  10. ^ Luckenbill, Daniel David (1926). Breasted, James Henry (ed.). Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia (PDF). Vol. I. University of Chicago Press. p. 81.
  11. ^ Sevin, Veli (1999). "The Origins of the Urartians in the Light of the Van/Karagündüz Excavations". Anatolian Studies. 49: 159–164. doi:10.2307/3643071. ISSN 0066-1546. JSTOR 3643071. S2CID 192967672.
  12. ^ K. Lawson Younger Jr. Political History of the Arameans: From Their Origins To the End of Their Polities. (2016). p. 200. [1]
  13. ^ a b c d e f Bryce 2009, pp. 495–496.
  14. ^ a b c Boardman, John; Hammond, N. G. L.; Edwards, I. E. S.; Sollberger, E. (1982). The Cambridge Ancient History. Vol. III (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 334.
  15. ^ Smith, George (1976). Ancient History from the Monuments: Assyria. (1876). p. 46.
  16. ^ Robert William Rogers (1901). History of Babylonia and Assyria. p. 163.
  17. ^ Götze, Albrecht (1974). Kulturgeschichte Kleinasiens. C H Beck. p. 190. ISBN 978-3-406-01351-5.
  18. ^ Benedict 1960, pp. 102–103.
  19. ^ Armen Petrosyan (September 1, 2010). The Armenian Elements In The Language And Onomastics Of Urartu. Association For Near Eastern And Caucasian Studies. p. 137. Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  20. ^ Hrach Martirosyan (2014). "Origins and Historical Development of the Armenian Language". Leiden University: 9. Retrieved 9 October 2019.[2]
  21. ^ A.V. Dumikyan (2016). "Taik in The Assyrian and Biainian Cuneiform Inscriptions, Ancient Greek and Early Medieval Armenian Sources (the Interpretations of the 19th Century French Armenologists)" Fundamental Armenology No. 2 4.
  22. ^ Lorenzo D'Alfonso. "Tabal, an 'out-group' definition in the first Millennium BCE." 2012. p. 177.
  23. ^ Charents, Yeghishe (1926). Յերկիր Նայիրի [Yerkir Nairi] (PDF) (in Armenian). Yerevan: State Publishing. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 October 2022.
  24. ^ originally published in "The Bells: From Poe to Sardarapat," Journal of the Society for Armenian Studies 21 (2012), pp. 127-168; Russell, James R. (2020). "The Bells: From Poe to Sardarapat". Poets, Heroes, and their Dragons: Armenian and Iranian Studies II. Brill. p. 519. ISBN 978-1-949743-24-1.
  25. ^ Jaloyan, Vardan (2009). "Public Space: The City in Armenian Literature". In Harutyunyan, Angela; Hörschelmann, Kathrin; Miles, Malcolm (eds.). Public Spheres After Socialism. Translated by A. Harutyunyana. Intellect Books. p. 65. ISBN 9781841502120.
  26. ^ a b Aghababian, Suren (1982). "Չարենց Եղիշե [Charents Yeghishe]". Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 8 (in Armenian). Yerevan. p. 671. 1926-ին լույս է տեսել Չ–ի «Երկիր Նայիրի» վեպը, որի երեք մասերը («Քաղաքը և բնակիչները», «Դեպի Նայիրի», «Երկիր Նայիրի») նախապես 1922–25-ին հաջորդաբար լույս են տեսել «Նորք» հանդեսում։
  27. ^ Terian, Vahan (1985). Jrbashian, Edvard [in Armenian] (ed.). Բանաստեղծություններ. Լիակատար ժողովածու [Poems. Complete collection] (PDF) (in Armenian). Yerevan: Sovetakan grogh. pp. 16–17, 505–506. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2022-07-21.
  28. ^ Jrbashian, Edvard [in Armenian] (1985). "Տերյան Վահան [Terian Vahan]". Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 11. p. 681-682.
  29. ^ de Waal, Thomas (2015). Great Catastrophe: Armenians and Turks in the Shadow of Genocide. Oxford University Press. p. 109. ISBN 9780199350698.
  30. ^ What is, Who is (Ինչ է, ով է) Encyclopedia Volume II (in Armenian). Yerevan: Academy of Sciences of Armenian SSR. 1985. p. 41. Այդ բանաստեղծների մեջ էր նաև պատանի Հայաստանը, որն արդեն դարձել էր Նաիրի Զարյան։
  31. ^ "Նաիրի (Nairi)". (in Armenian). Archived from the original on 4 September 2022.
  32. ^ "Կինո "Նաիրի"' կենդանի պատմություն [Nairi Cinema: Living History]". (in Armenian). March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on 9 September 2022.
  33. ^ Bakhchinyan, A. H. (2016). "Hamo Beknazaryan's Pepo in the United States". Fundamental Armenology. 2 (4): 303. ISSN 1829-4618.
  34. ^ Drew, William M. (2010). The Last Silent Picture Show: Silent Films on American Screens in the 1930s. Scarecrow Press. p. 127. ISBN 9780810876811.
  35. ^ "Լիբանան [Lebanon]". Հայ սփյուռք հանրագիտարան [Armenian Diaspora Encyclopedia] (in Armenian). Armenian National Academy of Sciences. 2003. pp. 325–326.
  36. ^ Hakobian, T. Kh.; Melik-Bakhshian, St. T. [in Armenian]; Barseghian, H. Kh. [in Armenian] (1991). "Նաիրի [Nairi] and Նաիրիի շրջան [Nairi district]". Հայաստանի և հարակից շրջանների տեղանունների բառարան [Dictionary of Toponyms of Armenia and Surrounding Regions] Volume III (in Armenian). Yerevan University Press. pp. 947-948. 1963 թ.-ից-՝ Նաիրի [...] Նաիրիի շրջան - Կազմվել է 1972 թ.
  37. ^ Հայաստանի Հանրապետության բնակավայրերի բառարան [Dictionary of Settlements of the Republic of Armenia] (PDF) (in Armenian). Yerevan: Centre of Geodesy and Cartography, Cadastre Committee of the Republic of Armenia. 2008. p. 120. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-03-11. Հ. է վերանվանվել 1991թ.:
  38. ^ "Հայաստանի Հանրապետության վարչատարածքային բաժանման մասին օրենք[Republic of Armenia Law on Administrative-Territorial Division]". (in Armenian). 7 November 1995. Archived from the original on 26 July 2022. Կոտայքի մարզն ընդգրկում է Կոտայքի, Հրազդանի եւ Նաիրիի նախկին վարչական շրջանների տարածքները:
  39. ^ Musheghyan, Trdat (19 November 2021). "Նոր ձևավորվող Նաիրիում համայնքային իշխանության համար կպայքարի 6 կուսակցություն". Hetq (in Armenian). Archived from the original on 4 September 2022. 2021թ․ դեկտեմբերի 5-ին Կոտայքի մարզի Նաիրի խոշորացվող համայնքում տեղի են ունենալու ավագանու ընտրություններ։ Այս համայնքը ձևավորվում է 2021թ․ ընթացքում՝ համայնքների խոշորացման գործընթացի շրջանակում։
  40. ^ "Ենթակառուցվածք [Infrastructure]". (in Armenian). FC Alashkert. Archived from the original on 24 October 2013. Նշենք, որ «Նաիրի» մարզադաշտն անվանափոխվել է և կոչվում է «Ալաշկերտ»։
  41. ^ "Alashkert Stadion". – Database of Football Stadiums. Archived from the original on 4 September 2022.
  42. ^ Oganjanyan, Sergey; Silantiev, Sergey (2017). ""Nairi Computer Series" – Harbingers of the Personal Computer". 2017 Fourth International Conference on Computer Technology in Russia and in the Former Soviet Union (SORUCOM). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: 44–48. doi:10.1109/SoRuCom.2017.00012. ISBN 978-1-5386-4741-7. S2CID 49649210.
  43. ^ "Mathematical Machines of Armenia". Yerevan Computer Research Development Institute. Archived from the original on 4 September 2022.
  44. ^ "Քիմիական և քիմիադեղագործական արդյունաբերություն [Chemical and pharmaceutical industry]". Հայաստան հանրագիտարան [Armenia Encyclopedia] (in Armenian). National Academy of Sciences of Armenia. 2012. pp. 275-276.
  45. ^ "Երևանի «Նաիրիտ» արտադրական միավորում [Nairit Industrial Enterprise of Yerevan]". Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 3 (in Armenian). 1977. pp. 576. Մինչև 1976-ը կոչվել է Երևաևի Ս․ Մ․ Կիրովի անվ. քիմիական կոմբինատ
  46. ^ "Նաիրիտ [Nairit]". Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 8 (in Armenian). 1982. pp. 148-149. ՍՍՀՄ–ում արտադրվող քլորոպրենային կաուչուկների և լատեքսների առևտրական անվանումը։ [...] Ն–ի առաջին արտադրությունը ՍՍՀՄ–ում կազմակերպվել է ՀՍՍՀ–ում (այդտեղից էլ՝ անվանումը [...] Թողարկվում են մոտ 30 տեսակ Ն–ներ...
  47. ^ Sagers, Matthew J.; Shabad, Theodore [in Russian] (1990). The Chemical Industry in the USSR: An Economic Geography. Westview Press. p. 262. ISBN 9780841217607. ...neoprene ... The Soviet plant for this particular polymer was opened in 1940 in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, and the Soviet product is also known as nairit, for Nairi, an ancient name of Armenia.
  48. ^ "Նաիրի [Nairi]". Armenian Soviet Encyclopedia Volume 8 (in Armenian). 1982. p. 147.
  49. ^ "Nairi Medical Center: About Us". Archived from the original on 23 January 2022.
  50. ^ "Nayiri Library of Electronic Armenian Dictionaries". Archived from the original on 4 February 2022.
  51. ^ "Armenian Academy's 4 Volume Dictionary & Donigian's 2 Volume Western Armenian Dictionary Now Online". Hetq. 22 January 2013. Archived from the original on 10 June 2021.
  52. ^ "Nayiriboard releases Armenian spellchecker for iOS". The Armenian Weekly. September 25, 2020. Archived from the original on 5 September 2020.

Further readingEdit