Armenian mythology

The mythology Armenian culture draws its sources from that of the kingdom of Urtatu which extended widely around Lake Van (present-day Turkey), Lake Sevan (present-day Armenia) and Lake Urmia (Iran current).

Few mythographers have taken an interest in the mythology of the Armenian people. However, Professor Minas TCHERAZ, (1852 - 1929) resuming some studies by Jean-Baptiste FIMIN (Armenian paganism research) set out to reconstruct the beliefs of this people by interviewing Armenians from Turkey and Russia. In 1892 he published " Notes on Armenian Mythology

So we find at the head of this pantheon Haldi Where Khaldi who is the husband ofUrabani, the goddess of fertility. He forms a triad with his sons:
Ardinis Where Shivini the sun god whose wife or daughter is Selardi, the moon goddess; and Teisheba Where Teispas the god of storms.

This mythology was influenced by the Zoroastrianism came from Persian during the Achaemenid Empire. Thus at the head of the pantheon we find Aramazd father of all the deities and assimilated to Ahura Mazda

Then after the conquest of the Persian Empire by Alexander the Great, Armenia was influenced Greek.

Armenia was the first kingdom to become officially Christian in 301 under the reign of Tiridates IV who was converted by Saint Gregory the Illuminator. ancient myths and legends were transformed and the biblical characters inherited the functions of the old deities. For example, Saint John the Baptist took on certain characteristics of Vahagn and Tire and the Archangel Gabriel those of Vahagn.

armenian mythology

Armenian mythology (texts)









Inscribed in 2012 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Armenian epic "Les enrrages de Sassoun" tells the story of David de Sassoun, a reckless and independent young man who, by the grace of God, defends his country against evil in an unequal duel. The epic is part of the tradition of heroic folk tales that relate the history of a nation and portray its deepest aspirations and feelings. The epic is recited in a lyrical tone, with rhythmic articulation, with a separate body of songs in a rhymed poetic style.

It is told every year on the first Saturday in October (Day of the epic poem in some villages), during weddings, birthdays, baptisms and major national cultural events. The epic storyteller, dressed in the national costume, is usually seated and is accompanied by the duduk, a wooden wind instrument. There are no restrictions on gender, age or profession in the art of storytelling. Its transmission within the family is considered a vocation, especially in rural communities which have close links with popular culture. There are 160 variations. The storytelling sessions can last today up to two hours where the epic is told in several episodes.

It is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Armenian folklore, encyclopedia and repository of all knowledge relating to the heritage of the Armenian people, their religion, mythology, philosophy, cosmology, customs and ethics. .

Childhood of David

Son of the king of Sassoun Mehèr the Great and of Armaghan, he was orphaned at birth. He was then raised by Ismil Khatoun, widow of Mélik (king) of Missir (Armenian name for Egypt and by extension of all Arab countries) then by his uncles Jean-la-Grosse-Voix and Thoros. David is endowed from birth with a superhuman strength that he inherits from his father. His childhood was already marked by the conflict between him and his adopted brother, Mélik du Missir.

Because of Melik's relentless attempts to get rid of him and despite his mother's benevolence, he is forced to leave the Missir and return to his native land, the Sassoun. There he meets his family and his people. He becomes a shepherd then a hunter but multiplies the blunders because of his strength which he cannot control.

David against the Melik of the Missir

He rebuilds his father's convent in a place called Dzovassar, with his bare hands and in one day. Through this episode, David acquires faith, having an apparition of the High Virgin of Marouthas. It is also by this achievement that David stirs the anger of Mélik du Missir and pushes him to intervene in Sassoun. The Melik therefore sends his men on several occasions to regain control of the situation and demand the tribute that David refuses to pay him.

David manages without difficulty to get rid of the soldiers of the Missir. So mad with rage, the Mélik summons his entire army and all his vassals and goes to war against the Sassoun. At that moment, ready to fight a gigantic army on his own, David obtains from his uncle his father's legendary equipment which includes full armor and the Searing Sword as well as the trusty and mighty colt Djalali. David begins to exterminate all this army when a man manages to make him understand that the soldiers have nothing to do with this war and that the only person responsible is the Melik of the Missir.

David will therefore fight the Melik in a duel. The two men engage in a combat in turn. The Melik gives three blows to David who does not feel anything, then it is David's turn to strike the Melik. Mélik's mother and sister manage to spare him the first two blows by various tricks, but the third is fatal.

Marriage and death of David

David therefore gains the independence of his country, Sassoun, and a great reputation throughout the world. He is therefore courted by all women. For convenience, he promises Sultana Tchemechkik to marry her. But he meets Khandouth, a very beautiful and brave woman like him. David therefore marries Khandouth, with whom he has a son, Mehèr le Petit.

But David had had a one-night stand with the Sultana Tchemechkik, who has a daughter by him; the latter, angry and jealous, summons him to fight with her to wash away the insult he has done her. Many years later, David remembers this promise and decides to honor it. So he goes to the land of the Sultana Tchemechkik. It was there that he was killed with an arrow shot by his own daughter, whom he did not know existed.

They were collected at the beginning of the 20th century by Sahag MOVSISSIAN, said ” Think " in the Mush region of Turkey, where a large Armenian community lived.

Thought (1867-1939), philologist, pedagogue, was especially interested in the dialect of this region, which he faithfully transcribed, going from village to village. Each village had its storyteller, around whom the peasants gathered on winter evenings, and on the occasion of all festivals and weddings.

About a hundred of these tales were lost during the genocide of 1915.

Books on Persian-Caucasian mythology