Name of Armenia
The name Armenia enters English via Latin, from Ancient Greek Ἀρμενία. The Armenian endonym for the Armenian people and country is hayer and hayk’, respectively. The exact etymology of the name is unknown, and there are various speculative attempts to connect it to older toponyms or ethnonyms.
The earliest attestations of the exonym Armenia date around the 6th century BC. In his trilingual Behistun Inscription, Darius I the Great of Persia refers to Urashtu (in Babylonian) as Armina (in Old Persian) and Harminuya (in Elamite). In Greek, Αρμένιοι "Armenians" is attested from about the same time, perhaps the earliest reference being a fragment attributed to Hecataeus of Miletus (476 BC).Herodotus, in c. 440 BC, said "the Armenians were equipped like Phrygians, being Phrygian colonists" (7.73) (Ἀρμένιοι δὲ κατά περ Φρύγες ἐσεσάχατο, ἐόντες Φρυγῶν ἄποικοι.).
There are multiple theories about the origin of the term Armenia:
It has been suggested by early 20th century Armenologists that Old Persian Armina and the Greek Armenoi are continuations of an Assyrian toponym Armânum or Armanî. There are certain Bronze Age records identified with the toponym in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian sources. The earliest is from an inscription which mentions Armânum together with Ibla as territories conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad in c. 2250 BC identified with an Akkadian colony in the Diarbekr region. However, many historians, such as Wayne Horowitz, identify Armanî which was conquered by Naram-Sin of Akkad, with the Syrian city of Aleppo and not with the Armenian Highland.
Minni (מנּי) is also a Biblical name of the region, appearing in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51:27) alongside Ararat and Ashchenaz, probably the same as the Minnai of Assyrian inscriptions, corresponding to the Mannai. Armenia is interpreted by some as ḪARMinni, that is, "the mountainous region of the Minni".
From Hayasa-Azzi (native Armenian name Hayastan)
There have been further speculations as to the existence of a Bronze Age tribe of the Armens (Armans, Armani; Armenian: Արմեններ Armenner, Առամեններ Aṙamenner), either identical to or forming a subset of the Hayasa-Azzi. In this case, Armenia would be an ethnonym rather than a toponym.
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Armenian historiographic tradition
Armenian tradition has an eponymous ancestor, Aram, a lineal descendant of Hayk (Հայկ), son of Harma and father of Ara the Beautiful (according to classical Armenian historian Moses of Chorene). A much older Aram, the son of Shem, is also mentioned from the Book of Genesis, Historian Flavius Josephus, and the Dead Sea Scrolls, as being the sovereign over "all the land of Mesopotamia between the Tigris and the Euphrates to the north of the Chaldees to the border of the mountains of Asshur and the land of 'Arara." Aram is sometimes equated with Arame of Urartu, the earliest known king of Urartu. The endonym Hayk’ (from Classical Armenian) in the same tradition is traced to Hayk himself.
Modern terms for Armenians and Armenia in Armenian and neighboring languages:
|Armenian||հայեր (hayer)||Հայաստան (Hayastan), Հայք (Hayk’)|
|Arabic||أرمن (Arman)||أرمينيا (Armīniyā)|
|Aramaic||ܐܪܡܐܢܥ (Armānī)||ܐܪܡܝܢܝܐ (Armīniyā)|
|Persian||ارمنی (Armani)||ارمنستان (Armanestan)|
|Georgian||სომხები (Somkhebi)||სომხეთი (Somkhet'i)|
|Greek||Αρμένιοι (Arménios)||Αρμενία (Armenía)|
|Hebrew||ארמנים (Armenim)||ארמניה (Armeniya)|
|Russian||армяне (armyane)||Армения (Armeniya)|
- "Χαλύβοισι πρὸς νότον Ἀρμένιοι ὁμουρέουσι (The Armenians border on the Chalybes to the south)". Chahin, Mark (2001). The Kingdom of Armenia. London: Routledge. pp. fr. 203. ISBN 0-7007-1452-9.
- H. A. Rigg (1937).
- surviving in an early Babylonian copy, ca. 2200 BC, URI 275, lines I.7, 13; II.4; III.3, 30.
- Horace Abram Rigg, Jr., A Note on the Names Armânum and Urartu, Journal of the American Oriental Society (1937).
- Wayne Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography, Eisenbrauns 1998, ISBN 0-931464-99-4
- Vahan Kurkjian, History of Armenia, Michigan 1968 [unreliable source?]
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia s.v. Minni
- Easton's Bible Dictionary
- T. V. Gamkrelidze and V. V. Ivanov, The Early History of Indo-European (aka Aryan) Languages, Scientific American, March 1990;[page needed] James P. Mallory, "Kuro-Araxes Culture", Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.[page needed]
- Rafael Ishkhanyan, "Illustrated History of Armenia," Yerevan, 1989[unreliable source?]
- Elisabeth Bauer. Armenia: Past and Present (1981), p. 49
- Nicholas Adontz. "Histoire d'Arménie : les origines, du Xe siècle au VIe siècle av. J.C.", Paris 1946: "Armani has absolutely no relation to Armenia."
- Moses of Chorene,The History of Armenia, Book 1, Ch. 12 ‹See Tfd›(in Russian)
- History of Armenia by Father Michael Chamich from B.C. 2247 to the Year of Christ 1780, or 1229 of the Armenian era, Bishop's College Press, Calcutta, 1827, page 19: "[Aram] was the first to raise the Armenian name to any degree of renown; so that contemporary nations ... called them the Aramians, or followers of Aram, a name which has been corrupted into Armenians; and the country they inhabited, by universal consent, took the name of Armenia."
- Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews. Book 1, section 143.
- Charles, R.H. (1913). The Book of Jubilees 9:5 from The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament. Clarendon Press. http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/jubilees/9.htmhttps://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=papers
- "Արամ" in H. Ačaṙean (1926-35), Hayocʿ Anjnanunneri Baṙaran (Yerevan: Yerevan State University), 2nd ed., 1942-62
- Razmik Panossian, The Armenians: From Kings And Priests to Merchants And Commissars, Columbia University Press (2006), ISBN 978-0-231-13926-7, p. 106.
- Parsiana, Book of Iranian Names: a dweller of the Garden of Eden, a son of king Kobad
- Horace Abram Rigg, Jr., A Note on the Names Armânum and Urartu Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 57, No. 4 (Dec., 1937), pp. 416–418.