Armenian mythology


Armenian mythology

Very little is known about pre-Christian Armenian mythology, the oldest source being the legends of Xorenatsi's "History".

Armenian mythology was strongly influenced by Zoroastrianism, with deities such as Aramazd, Mihr or Anahit, as well as Assyrian traditions, such as Barsamin, but there are fragmentary traces of native traditions, such as Hayk or Vahagn and Astghik.

According to De Morgan there are signs which indicate that the Armenians were initially nature worshipers and that this faith in time was transformed to the worship of national gods, of which many were the equivalents of the gods in the Roman, Greek and Persian cultures.

Georg Brandes described the Armenian gods in his book: “When Armenia accepted Christianity, it was not only the temples which were destroyed, but also the songs and poems about the old gods and heroes that the people sang. We have only rare segments of these songs and poems, segments which bear witness of a great spiritual wealth and the power of creation of this people and these alone are sufficient reason enough for recreating the temples of the old Armenian gods. These gods were neither the Asian heavenly demons nor the precious and the delicate Greek gods, but something that reflected the characteristics of the Armenian people which they have been polishing through the ages, namely ambitious, wise and good-hearted.” [G. Bernadis, L'Arminie et l'Europe, Geninve, 1903, p. 17]

Pantheon

:"The Pantheon of pagan Armenia"
*Aramazd - The father of all the gods and goddesses, created the heavens and earth. Sometimes worshiped as a sun-god.
*Hayk - Legendary archer and forefather of the Armenian people , slew the titan Bel.
*Aray - A little-known war god.
*Vahagn - A herculean hero, noted for slaying many dragons, also worshiped as a sun-god and god of courage.
*Barsamin - God of sky and weather, probably derived from the semitic god Baal Shamin.
*Anahit - The goddess of fertility and birth, she is identified with Artemis and Aphrodite.
*Astghik - Goddess of love, beauty and water, still honored by the Vartavar festival.
*Tsovinar - Also called Nar, she was the goddess of rain, sea and water, though she was actually a fiery being who forced rain to fall.

Monsters and Spirits

Al

The Al is a dwarfish evil spirit that attacks pregnant women and steals newborn babies. Described as half-animal and half-man, the creature has teeth of iron and nails of brass or copper. It usually wears a pointed hat covered in bells, and can become invisible.http://bulfinch.englishatheist.org/armenian/chapter11.htm]

Dev

The Dev are air-composed spirit creatures originating from Zoroastrian mythology (the Daevas), and share many similarities to angels. They reside in stony places and ruins, and usually kept to themselves.

hahapet

The Shahapet were usually friendly guardian spirits who typically appeared in the form of a serpent. They inhabited houses, orchards, fields, forests, graveyards and other locations. The Shvaz type was more agriculturally oriented, while the Shvod was a house-guardian. A Shvod who is well-treated may reward the houses inhabitants with gold, but cause strife if it is mistreated and leave.

Nhang

The Nhang (from the Persian word for "crocodile") was a river-dwelling serpent-monster with shape shifting abilities, often connected to the more conventional Armenian dragons. The creature could lure a man in by transforming into a woman, or change into a seal and drag a person down, in order to drown the person and drink its blood. The word "Nhang" is sometimes used as a generic term for a sea-monster in ancient Armenian literature.

Piatek

The Piatek is a large mammalian creature similar to a wingless griffin.

Fairy Tales

* The Clever Weaver
* The Golden-Headed Fish
* He Wins Who Waits
* The Lady of Sparrow-Hawk
* The Steel Cane
* The Story of Zoulvisia
* The Wandering Jew

ee also

* Arpachshad
* List of Armenian patriarchs
* Proto-Armenian

References

* [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Asia/Armenia/_Texts/KURARM/34*.html] (Armenian Mythology ). A History of Armenia by Vahan M. Kurkjian. Published by the Armenian General Benevolent Union of America 1958/YR.


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