The Pre-history of the Armenian People*
Predystoriia armianskogo naroda
We know little about the Armenian Highlands proper in the 3rd millennium B.C.; but, inasmuch as it entered into the area of the Kur-Araxes culture which has been well studied in Transcaucasia, we may judge of the society in the Highlands during that period to the extent that the nature of the archeological sources will allow (*13).
A primitive agricultural life still predominated here. The people dwelt in open settlements consisting of round or rectangular huts with clay walls, on a wicker frame and stone (cobblestone) foundation. They raised domestic animals--cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs; they harnessed oxen to carts. Along with stone they used copper with an arsenic alloy, a metal technologically much more perfect than pure copper, although later it had to give way to the better alloy bronze (copper plus tin).
The population of the three countries continued to practice agriculture and animal husbandry in the 2nd millennium B.C. Along with mountainstream and field farming there also existed horticulture and viticulture. Extensive development of animal husbandry had begun. In the early 2nd millennium B.C. horse breeding was introduced. The size of the herd changed; the number of sheep and goats (which could move about in mountainous terrain better) increased. This brought a changeover to the use of mountain pastures remote from the village settlements. The result, as far as we can judge from the archeological material, seems to have been a growth in the wealth of the individual tribes which possessed the best pastures. In connection with the frequent wars in the Highlands of Transcaucasia, Armenia, and Asia Minor, the former open settlements with round hut-homes gave way to fortress-refuges (towers) and fortress-settlements, sometimes with tower dwellings. The walls of these fortresses were made of unburnt brick erected over a raised foundation of huge stone blocks. Inside the walls the rectangular dwellings, also made of unburnt brick, were pressed tightly next to one another. The chiefs of the armed tribes, who led a clan aristocracy, had obviously accumulated riches. Military tribal confederacies were formed (as can be seen from Hittite and Assyrian texts). At the same time the clearing of the forests for sowing crops and to get logs for beams, as well as the destruction of the undergrowth by the sheep and goats, led to a thinning- out of the forest which at an earlier time had covered the slopes of the mountains of the Armenian and Cilician Taurus, the Caucasus Minor, and other mountain ranges.
Mining and metallurgy quickly developed along with animal husbandry and agriculture. Already in the 3rd millennium B.C. the Cilician Taurus Mountains were famed for their silver mines, and at the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C. the metallurgy of bronze (i.e., alloy of copper and tin) developed there and reached a high level. Along with arsenic copper, bronze was used in the manufacture of farming and hand tools, weapons, and vessels of highly artistic craftsmanship. Somewhat later, beginning in the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C., the copper mine deposits of Transcaucasia began to be exploited. At the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C. the export of tin from the Highlands of Iran may have been monopolized by the city of Assur on the Tigris; by the end of the 2nd or beginning of the 1st millennium, other tin deposits, probably those of Spain, became known and used widely.
 In spite of the quick growth of the productive forces (for instance, a change from the hoe to the plough with a metal plough- share had occurred by the end of the 2nd millennium B.C.), agriculture in the mountain valleys remained comparatively unproductive and could not guarantee a constant surplus product. Thus a changeover to a society based on real class structure could not take place (although the pre-urban social structure was in itself complex enough). The accumulation of wealth by the cattle-breeding tribes led, no doubt, to an increase in wealth for whole clans, but was not sufficient to destroy the collective character of production or the communal (clan) type of property. The patriarchal ties between the heads of the rich clans and the mass of their kinsmen were still too strong, and the property stratification within the tribe did not crystallize into class stratification.
Evidence for the importance of exchange in Asia Minor is found in the appearance of a network of trading colonies (49), in which the major role was played by the Assyrians (or, strictly speaking, the Assurians) and the inhabitants of northern Syria. The more prosperous representatives of the local population also took a notable part in the activity of these colonies. Many thousands of clay tablets from the archives of merchants --with documents written in cuneiform--have come down to us, mainly from the colony of Kanes (*15) at the modem site of Kultepe near Kayseri, but also from Amkuwa (modern Alisar), Hattusas (modem Bogazkoy), and others. Dozens of colonies and trading stations are mentioned in these documents. Unfortunately we do not know the exact location of many of these. (Note that all the  colonies existed on the outskirts of the local cities and did not constitute separate urban entities.) The majority were undoubtedly situated in Asia Minor--from Lake Tuz, south of which Purushanda was located, to the Lycus River (KeIkit), where the colony of Samuha apparently lay, and to a point north of the mouth of the Halys near the Black Sea coast, the site of the town of Zalpa. The base for the penetration of the merchants into Asia Minor was probably the colony at Ursu, apparently south of the outlet of the Euphrates from the mountains into the hilly plains of Syria (or according to another opinion, in Northern Mesopotamia). At least one colony may have been located near to the upper reaches of the Tigris, namely, the colony of Nahria (later Neheria).
The area of colonization from Assur coincides with the regions where metallurgy developed; thus the Assyrians did not penetrate to the Armenian Highlands, where the metallurgy of real bronze did not develop fully until later.
The data from the trading archives show that already in the 20th century B.C. (50), in the territory where the Assyrian colonies were in operation, city-states with early class systems were arising everywhere, each of them governed by a chief ("prince") and a queen-priestess ("princess"), probably in coordination with a council of elders (*16). The center of such a state was a fortified town (51). Completely primitive tribes undoubtedly existed alongside of the city-states, especially in the mountain regions.
There has been much discussion about the political status of the colonies: whether they were a part of an Assyrian Empire J. Lewy) or a part of the polity of Assur (this is the most widely accepted theory), or a part of an independent union of trade colonies based on Kanes and bound by treaties with the local city-states Jankowska). The most plausible solution is the following. Living on and trading in the territory of the local city-states and paying duties on their merchandise to the local princes, the merchants, in accordance to a universal principle of international customary law of the period, remained citizens of their home city. This means that the colonists were a part of the home polity, but the colonies of the merchants were part of the territory which was under the sovereignty of the local city governments. Actually "colony" is perhaps not the best designation for these merchant organizations on foreign ground; we use the term following the established scholarly tradition, but "trading factory" may be a more apt name.
The local population of the city-states of Asia Minor lived in patriarchal family (clan) communes and apparently completely satisfied its needs by its own produce from cattle-breeding, grain (barley, wheat, and emmer), grapes, and handicraft articles. They  made some textiles, but they also bought wool and linen from the colonists. What they acquired first and foremost, though, was tin, which was necessary for the manufacture of bronze. For their part the colonists mainly imported textiles; the means of payment was silver. In addition to this they tried to seize some sort of precious local metal, whose export was forbidden--probably iron (52). It is characteristic that slave trade was practiced on a very small scale, although slaves are known to have been employed. Merchandise was imported and exported by caravans, the beast of burden being the donkey; the local rulers collected duty from these caravans and had the right of first choice from the commodities that were brought, which, of course, promoted the further accumulation of wealth by the local aristocracy.
Rapid property and class stratification took place among the inhabitants of Asia Minor, and debtor slavery developed. Toward the end of the "colonial" period (the beginning or middle of the 19th century B.C.) the more powerful rulers began to conquer the neighboring city-states, which in the end led to the creation of the Hittite Old Kingdom and to the cessation of the Assyrian trade activity. The Assyrians had been powerful precisely because the local rulers had not acted in concert.
To the east and northeast of the area of Assyrian colonization, the process of property and class differentiation also took place but, for the reasons given above, more slowly; however the magnificent tombs of the chiefs, found near Trialeti and Kirovakan, which seem to belong to a somewhat later period, point to the fact that property stratification among the leading tribes had also made marked advances here. These tombs contained highly artistic gold, silver, and bronze objects, as well as abundant cattle brought as sacrifices, and slaves who accompanied the chiefs to the grave. More humble burials of the same period have also been found in Transcaucasia alongside the tombs of the chiefs. The ritual of cremation and the clothing of the people depicted on one of the Trialeti silver goblets (short skirts and shoes with upturned toes) point to a connection between these Transcaucasian tribes and the Hittite-Hurrian culture.
The advance of the Hurrians to the south and west which began in the 3rd millennium continued intensively into the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C. Already in the 3rd millennium B.C. the Hurrians must have advanced to the Cilician Taurus Mountains (60). From here they later harassed the Hittite Old Kingdom. According to the data of the Hittite sources of the 14th-13th centuries we find in this region Hurrian proper names and solidly implanted cults of Hurrian gods. At the same time a strong Hurrian influence on the culture of the central part of the Hittite state can also be traced. It is evidenced in the language of the Hittites, and even the ruling dynasty of the Hittite New Kingdom (15th-12th centuries B.C.) was half Hurrian by descent (61).
A similar or perhaps even stronger advance of the Hurrians took place in the southwest, into Syria, and in the southeast, into the area beyond the Tigris. Judging by the documents, we find many Hurrians in the city of Alalakh on a tributary of the Syrian river, Orontes, already in the 18th century B.C., and in the 15th century B.C. we find there a Hurrian (or predominantly Hurrianized) population (62). Throughout the 2nd millennium B.C. the Hurrians definitely prevailed also in the regions east of the Tigris, although they constituted only a small percentage in the city of Assur and in a few other cities (63).
However in their general advance the Hurrians evidently had neither a sufficiently strong common center nor the means to control power. In the course of the first quarter of the 2nd millennium B.C. city-states continued to exist in Northern Syria and Mesopotamia which were Akkadian in culture although headed by dynasties of Western Semitic speakers. Later the situation changed, probably in connection with the introduction of horse-breeding on a grand scale.
In Europe as well the horse had already been known for a long time, but originally only as the object of hunting and of cults. However by the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C. the domestication of the horse had taken place there. No evidence seems to exist of the Indo-Europeans being charioteers in their eastern European homeland, and it is probable that they became acquainted with the Western Asian light chariot on their way into Iran and India. Moreover the Highlands of Iran and Armenia presented excellent possibilities for the development of horse-breeding, while not only in the 2nd but also in the beginning of the 1st millennium B.C. the breeding of horses was apparently barely successful in the hot flatland territories of Western Asia. Therefore, although horse-breeding developed there also, the basic sources for replenishing the contingent of horses for the Ancient Oriental armies were the mountain regions, especially of eastern Armenia, the basin of Lake Urmia, and the northern regions of Iran. It is possible that it was precisely here that the breeding of horses by the migrant Indo- Iranian tribes first took place on a grand scale, as far back as the first quarter of the 2nd millennium B.C.
This question remains unclear; the only thing that is indisputable is the fact that wherever the Indo-Iranians and other Indo-Europeans appeared in Asia and southern Europe in the 2nd millennium B.C., they brought with them the art of horse-breeding and brought roughly the same type of light chariots for horse harness (66). We may hypothetically presume that large-scale horse-breeding and tactics of war based on light, horse-drawn chariots were introduced by the Indo-Iranian tribes during their stay in the Highlands of Iran; from them horse-breeding and the tactics of chariot warfare were taken up by the Hurrians and the Kassites (67). It is characteristic that both the Hittites and the Assyrians (68) of the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C. learned horse-breeding with the help of the Hurrians, while the Hurrian terminology itself was full of Indo-Iranian terms (69). However the art of warfare using horse- drawn chariots could have come to Asia Minor even without the Hurrians, for example, by means of some mercenary soldiers such as the tribe of "Manda" or "the tribe of Sala." The burying of horses along with their masters is attested here already at the beginning of the 2nd millennium B.C.(70) A small Hittite chariot detachment is  referred to in the inscription of Anittas (19th century B.C.). It is possible that chariots and horse-breeding came also to Achaean Greece from Asia Minor.
Mitanni was a loose state formation, including many semi-independent tribes and small kingdoms (city-states), tied to the Mitannian king by yielding him a tribute and a fixed quota of warriors. The influence of Mitanni is traceable from the regions of present-day Kirkuk in the east (ancient Arrapkhe) to the valley of the river Orontes in Syria (Mukishe-Alalakh, Qatna), to the Mediterranean coast (Ugarit) and the Cilician Taurus (where the kingdom of Kizzuwadna was situated, with a Luwian and Hurrian population) (73). The kings Parrattarna (16th century?) and Saussadattar (first half of the 15th century B.C.) may be considered the founders of Mitannian power.
There is no doubt that if not the direct dominion, then at least  the influence of Mitanni extended for some distance upwards along the valley of the Upper (Western) Euphrates (to the north of the sources of the Tigris), as far as the point where the river Arsanias (Arm. Aratsani, Turk. Muratsu) flows into it or further. It is difficult to say how far the influence and power of Mitanni extended into the more eastern regions of the Armenian Highlands. It is quite possible that the entire territory to the south of the Armenian Taurus belonged to the area of Mitannian influence, including the valleys of the rivers Kentrites (Bohtansu) and the Upper Zab, although at present this cannot be proven. We can only make guesses as to whether Mitannian influence reached as far as Lake Van.
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