The Pre-history of the Armenian People*
Predystoriia armianskogo naroda
The History of the Armenian Highlands
in the Middle Bronze and Early Iron Ages
 In the meantime the period of weakness in the Hittite Empire came to an end, and it again consolidated in the central part of Asia Minor. From this time on we also have written data on that area of the Armenian Highlands which was involved in the stream of historical events determined by the actions of the great powers.
The tombs of the tribal chiefs in Lchashen near Lake Sevan, dating from the second half of the 2nd millennium B.C., with their ritual of cremation, wooden funeral chariots, and rich funerary gifts, are similar in type to the tombs of Trialeti and Kirovakan, but present new features which show the further development of society. Even greater numbers of slaves were buried with the tribal chiefs to accompany them to the other world. On the one hand this bears witness to a rise in the number of slaves, but on the other hand it means that the slavery was economically of a most primitive type; in the future slaves would represent a value which could not be squandered in the form of human sacrifices. We must not forget, however, that mass extermination of captives was still practiced in Assyria and Urartu as late as the 9th-8th centuries B.C. (4)
In Trialeti and Kirovakan we observe stylistic similarities between handicraft objects there and comparable objects from Asia Minor and the Hurrian territory. In Lchashen (14th or 13th centuries B.C.) there appear articles which were either imported directly from these countries or are exactly like the articles used among the Hurrians of the south (5). The chariots and arms of Lchashen (as, e.g., the characteristic combed helmet), were analogous to the  Hurrian. Seals of the Mitannian elaborate style have been found not only in Lchashen but also in one of the burial grounds of the Greater Caucasus (6). This inthcates that by the end of the 2nd millennium B.C. the Armenian Highlands and Transcaucasia were beginning to be involved in international exchange. As we have seen, such exchange played a very important role in accelerating the formation of class society in Asia Minor. For the Armenian Highlands the beginning of exploitation of copper and other metal deposits in Transcaucasia were also probably of vital importance.
We may imagine the society of the Armenian Highlands and Transcaucasia by the end of the 2nd millennium B.C. as being similar to that of the Hittites and the southern Hurrians some centuries earlier (as described in the preceding chapter). Patriarchal clans must have been divided into separate extended-family economies subject to the authority of the patriarch--ewri (this word is also preserved in Urartian) (7). There would be a technically inalienable and regularly reallotted land fund of the family commune, but the individual families must have begun to be economically differentiated. This latter development resulted in a need for credit, which inevitably led to the development of usury and debtor slavery.
This picture is not a mere supposition: however scant our information about the Urartian society of the Armenian Highlands of the first half of the lst millennium B.C. is, there do exist data which bear witness to the continued presence of large patriarchal families and familial or clan settlements, for instance, of settlements of the king's kinsmen (8).
We have seen that the Hurrian patriarchal families of the south were parts of territorial communities governed by a council of elders and a popular assembly. Some of them grew so large that they included several villages, organized either according to familial or territorial principles, and inhabited both by related and unrelated extended families. Judging by the data on the family settlements in the Urartian state, similar phenomena also existed in the Highlands. We know about councils of elders and popular assemblies among the population of the Armenian Highlands also from Hittite sources.
Among the Hurrians of the south the territorial communities constituted the backbone of an essentially new organization, that of the city-state, headed by a prince ruling conjointly with a council. Later the city-states were sometimes subordinated to a loose, larger unity which we term a kingdom. However in the Armenian Highlands in the 2nd millennium B.C. matters had not yet gone so far.
We have been accustomed to think about the social organization  of the Armenian and Iranian Highlands at the time preceding the creation of the great empires of Urartu, Media, Persia, etc., as being one of tribal organization. However we must not ignore the fact that the most ancient Oriental sources, particularly the Hittite and the Assyrian, only extremely rarely mention "tribes" in these territories. References to ethnic groups actually appear in these sources only when they deal with general appellations referring to areas not confined to one particular thstrict. Such terms are, e.g., Kaska in the Hittite sources, and Madai ("Medes") in the Assyrian sources. Sometimes the Assyrian inscriptions also speak about "the countries of the Subareans," about the "countries of Nairi," about the "countries of the Uruatri" (Urartians), or about the "countries (or country) of the Etio" (Etiuni). Only in two instances do they actually mean tribal units: the Hittite sources refer to the Kaska as a nonsettled population (Akk suti ) (9), and mention "twelve" of "nine tribes of the Kaska ," (10) and Herodotus informs us that the Medes constituted a federation of six tribes. Also in some other instances such appellations may stand for loose groups of independent tribes.
However in the overwhelming majority of cases, ethnic designations do not appear in the sources. Instead they mention the small, organizationally compact territories--so-called "countries" (Hitt. utne, Urart. ebane , Assyr. matu or nagu ). A "chief" of such a "country" is not designated by any specific title but is given the epithet "(the one) of this or that country" with the determinative of person (11).
The very nature of the Highlands required a certain territorial subdivision of the population. The Armenian Highlands, just like the Zagros Mountains in Western Iran, consists of enclosed valleys and segments of valleys (Arm. gawar' ). In antiquity the isolation of these valleys was even more pronounced because of dense thickets and forests which covered the mountain slopes and blocked up the ravines and the passes. Consequently a tribe which might have settled in two or three contiguous valleys would not have been able to maintain its organizational unity except in extraordinary circumstances, for example, during the formation of temporary military alliances (12).
Therefore, here, even before the original communal structure of society had broken down, territorial formations ("countries" in the terminology of the ancient sources) were being created. Each such "country" had its own council of elders, a popular assembly, and a chieftain (military commander and administrator). In case of military necessity it could join confederacies and enter alliances (which probably still had a tribal character), and act in concert with other "countries." Thus these were simultaneously both territorial and  tribal units, either coinciding with the tribe or constituting its subdivisions; in practice the "countries" had more real significance than the tribe itself.
Below we shall use the term "country" always in this specific sense, dropping the quotation marks.
The situation described makes it extremely hard for the historian to establish the moment of the changeover to class society and state, since the territorial division of society, which usually. may be regarded as a trustworthy criterion for the appearance of state structure, cannot be applied as such in this case.
Other signs of the presence of class civilization and state (the existence of taxes, armed forces separate from the populace, governmental officials, and, first of all, the very class structure of society itself) cannot be discovered on the strength of the existing sources. We have to turn to less reliable secondary features, such as the presence of writing; though its emergence is not necessarily synchronous with the emergence of state, it usually is (13). Moreover we cannot always be sure that further excavations will not uncover written texts in places where we may not have expected them.
It has often been suggested that Haiasa should be sought on the upper reaches of the Euphrates around modern Erzincan and Erzurum. This, however, does not fit very well with the fact that, according to the data of the annals of the Hittite king Mursilis II, one of the most important fortresses of Azzi, Aripsa, was situated on the shore of the sea. There is no ambiguity in the text. In locating Haiasa-Azzi we must also take into consideration the fact that the ancient "countries" were situated along the valleys and not across the mountain ranges. In all probability the dual name "Haiasa-Azzi" is explained by the fact that this country consisted of two parts, situated in two adjacent valleys. Moreover judging  by the sources, Azzi was located nearer to the original core of the Hittite kingdom, and Haiasa farther from it. If we do not assume along with G. A. Kapantsjan that the sea on which Aripsa was located was a little swampy lake near Erzurum (which seems barely likely), then we must acknowledge that Azzi was located in Pontus, extending to the Black Sea, lying probably in the valley of the river Harsit. In that case we can place Haiasa in the valley of the river Choroh, near modern Bayburt. From there its power could temporarily extend as far as the Euphrates (15).
Haiasa-Azzi should be viewed as a tribal confederation, even though the Hittite source calls its ruler a "king." At any rate the "king" of Haiasa appears, in the treaties with the Hittite king, on an equal footing with the "people of Haiasa" (in all probability the tribal assembly). The conditions of the treaty also extend to a certain person whose title is not specified, presumably the chief of Azzi. Later we will dwell on the data about the social structure of Haiasa in more detail. In Chapter Three we will examine the question of the ethnic affiliation of the Haiasans. For the time being we will only note that the small number of proper names of men and deities, as well as place names, which have come down to us from Azzi and Haiasa, cannot be assigned with complete certainty to any of the languages known to us. Attempts have been made to etymologize them from Hurrian (16) (Kapantsjan) (17) or from an unknown Indo-European language (G. B. Djahukyan) (18) but in view of the extreme scarcity of material, all of the proposed etymologies are very unreliable. If we place Azzi in Pontus, the most plausible vernacular which the Haiasans might have spoken would be a language of the Hat tic or Northwestern Caucasian group (19). Also the Hurrians are a not improbable source of Haiasan culture and possibly of their language. One way or another the problem of the Haiasans' linguistic affiliation has not been solved. Not a single scholar has been able to present any well-founded data in favor of their speaking any sort of Armenian, and, as we shall see, their having done so is highly unlikely. We will return to this question in more detail later.
South of Azzi, on the upper reaches of the Euphrates, were situated Pahhuwa on the right and Zuhma (or, in Akkadian, Suhmu) (20) on the left bank of the river. To the south of Zuhma, along the left bank of the Euphrates in the regions where the river Aratsani (Arsanias, Muratsu) flows into it, lay Isuwa (in Akkadian, Ishua), the most important country in this region. Further to the south, in the valley of the river Tohmasu, from modern Gurun to a certain point east of the Euphrates, lay Tegarama (21); the part of Tegarama on the right bank was considered subject to the Hittite Empire. Maldia  (Ass. Melid, Melidu, Melidia; Urart. Melitia, modem Malatya) (22) was considered a separate area. Somewhere to the west of this region we should probably seek the country of Armatana. Several small semi-independent areas, which played no great political role, were situated to the south of Maldia on both sides of the Euphrates between the mouth of the Arsanias and the place where the Euphrates flows into the plain (23). A little further south began the lands belonging directly to Mitanni. Until the 14th century B.C. the influence of Mitanni probably extended somewhat further to the north (24).
To the southwest of these countries, in the Cilician Taurus, was located the important kingdom of Kizzuwadna (Cataonia), with its capital Kummanni (the Cataonian Comana). After the collapse of Mitanni, Kizzuwadna seems to have been enlarged by the Hittites at the expense of Mitanni (25). It is probable that all these tribes and countries were Hurrian-speaking (as for Kizzuwadna, its population was Hurro-Luwian) (26). However the Hittite sources usually do not refer to all these tribal units and countries as the "country of the Hurrians" (probably for the reason that to them the "country of the Hurrians" was a synonym for Mitanni) (27). Characteristic is the ending -(u)wa, -ua in the place names; we fmd it both in these and especially in the more eastern areas. In all probability we should regard it as the Hurrian suffix of the genitive case, -we (28). Thus Salua means "(land) of the men of Sala," Hemmuwa means "(land) of the (men of) Hemme," and Ishua may mean "(land) of those on the other side (of the river)," cf. Urart. isha-ne "on the other side " (29). Of the few proper names that have come down from this region, part are Hurrian and part are Luwian; we get the impression that there was a gradual penetration of the Luwian element into the valley of the Upper Euphrates (30) .
We know quite a few names of the countries which were situated to the east of the valley of the Upper Euphrates, but their location is uncertain. Apparently the most important of them were Hemmuwa (Hemme) and Salua (Sala), already mentioned above (we should also note that they were probably Hurrian by language), and also Mehri. The only important country of this region whose location is known precisely, is Alzi (in the texts it is also called A1se, Alzia (31), and possibly Assa). Alzi was located to the north of the sources of the Tigris, apparently in the valley of the Arsanias to the east of Isuwa.
The Assyrian annals of the 13th century mention the country or tribe (or, more likely, tribal league) of the Uruatri, or Uruatru. It is to be localized in the region of Lake Van. It included countries with names which correspond to some of the above-mentioned  tribal areas (Hemme, Salua). However, Melikisvili suggests that the text refers to tribes which were but namesakes of those mentioned above and that the league of the Uruatri was located not to the west but to the east of Lake Van (32). The question is sub judice.
The Assyrian sources name yet another important tribe in the valley of the Upper Zab: the Uqumanians, or Qumanians, whose center was the city Qumme (Urart. Qumenu), where the Thunder- god Tessub-Teiseba was worshipped (33). This tribe, as well as the Uruatrian tribal leagues, must have been Urartian-speaking.
In the cuneiform sources several terms of a more general nature are also often used: Pabhi, Haphi, and Nairi. The term pabhe (in the Urartian sources also babanabe) means simply "mountaineer" in both Hurrian and Urartian, and cannot be definitely localized. The term Haphi designates the inhabitants of all the mountain area in the Armenian Taurus and the Kurdistan mountains from the sources of the Tigris to the regions north of the Assyrian cities and indefinitely on to the north (34). The term Nairi designated the more remote mountain areas, including at times the eastern part of the Armenian Highlands and Transcaucasia, and at times all of the mountain areas of both the Armenian Highlands and of modern Iranian Azerbaijan and Kurdistan. Nairi in a more narrow sense was apparently the valley of the Bohtansu south of Lake Van.
We must picture the population of all of the above-mentioned areas as being in the last stage of the pre-class society , not unlike Homer's Greece, or even less developed. The Hittites negotiated in these "countries" not with kings, but directly with tribal elders or popular assemblies. The "kings" of these countries are first mentioned by the Assyrian annals at the end of the 13th century B.C., but even then we must suppose that in most cases the annals mean the tribal military chieftains. However, as we have seen, the social and economic stratification even in the regions far removed from the class civilization of Western Asia, such as Transcaucasia, had already in the 2nd millennium B.C. advanced quite far, and it is possible that in some places there had already been attempts on the part of these chieftains to appropriate royal power. For the sake of comparison we may introduce the case of another tribal confederacy, that of the Kaska: one of their chieftains, who in the 14th century B.C. had successfully seized several northern Hittite strongholds, did, as the Hittite sources inform us, for the first time assumed royal power among the Kaska , at a time when individual rule was as yet unknown to them (35). Probably the ruler of Azzi- Haiasa, who also was officially glorified as "king," had done the same.
Be that as it may, the degree to which the societies of  Transcaucasia and the Armenian Highlands had advanced toward the level of class civilization should not be underestimated. Thus we cannot assert that in the 14th-12nth centuries B.C. such a level of civilization had not yet been achieved anywhere in the Armenian Highlands.