The Pre-history of the Armenian People
From this time on the Assyrians began a gradual conquest of all Syria and Palestine, ending with the capture of Carchemish (as punishment for its intrigues with Phrygia) under Sargon II in 717 B.C. By that time this city had long been an independent enclave surrounded by Assyrian provinces.
The history of the relations between the Urartian king Rusa I (c. 735-713 B.C.) and the Assyrian king Sargon II (Sharrukin, 722- 705 B.C.), the defeat of Rusa I in 714 in the battle on Mount Uaush to the east of Lake Urmia, the campaign of Sargon II through Urartu and the routing of Musasir by the Assyrians, with its consequences, have been worked out in detail in other monographs and special articles (241). Here we will note only that the frontier of Urartu along the Upper Euphrates, as well as the independence of Shubria, Hubushkia, and the mountain tribes around the upper reaches of the Upper Zab, remained inviolate (242).
The right shore of the Upper Euphrates valley also remained independent for a while. However Sargon II now tried to drive a wedge between Urartu and Phrygia (Western Mushki), whose king Midas (Mita) became an ally of Rusa I and later apparently of his successor, Argishti II. Assyria needed such a wedge in the Cilician Taurus Mountains and on the right shore of the Upper Euphrates  to safeguard the Assyrian possessions in Syria and the uninterrupted conveyance into Assyria of iron and other raw materials from Asia Minor. Therefore Sargon II decided to undertake a series of campaigns into this province. They began in 718 B.C.,243 and in 715 Sargon II collided in Que with the forces of Midas, the king of Phrygia (Mita, the king of Mushku), who obviously had undertaken a counteroffensive.
Sargon attempted to create a devoted ally for himself in Tabal; to do this he put on its throne his own man, Hulli (244). Hulli extended his territory at the expense of the neighboring mountain region of Cilicia Trachaea (Hilakku). Sargon also gave his own daughter to Hulli's son Ambaris in marriage. However shortly thereafter Ambaris, as well as most of the other neighboring rulers (245) entered into an alliance with Phrygia and Urartu and seceded from Sargon. As a result of the Assyrian campaign of 713, Ambaris was taken captive and Tabal was turned into an Assyrian province.
Sargon acted in the same manner in the neighboring areas. In 713 he deposed king Gunzinanu in Melid-Kammanu and put his son Tarhunasis on the throne. When Tarhunasis turned out to be unreliable, the Assyrian king sent his troops against him in 712; they captured the cities of Melid and Tilgarimmu and turned the kingdom of Melid into an Assyrian province (246). At the same time Sargon penetrated northward right up to the country of the Kasku and occupied a series of fortresses both along the border of Urartu and along that of Phrygia. In the next year, 711, the same fate befell Mutallu, the king of Gurgum (247). In 708 the king of Qummuh, another Mutallu, after killing his own father, an Assyrian supporter, was about to enter an alliance with Argishti II, the king of Urartu (248) but he too shared the fate of his namesake.
Sargon II made a peace with Midas of Phrygia in 709 B.C. However his conquests west of the Upper Euphrates turned out to be unstable--perhaps because in these and the following years all of Asia Minot lived in greater fear of raids by the Cimmerians (249) than of Assyrian conquests. So Sargon II's son Sennacherib (705- 681 B.C.) in 698 B.C. had to undertake a new campaign in this region. It was directed against the inhabitants of Cilicia Trachaea (Hilakku), who had managed to capture Ingira (Anchialae) and Tarsus and who threatened the Assyrian possessions near the Gulf of Alexandretta (250). A second campaign, in 685 B.C., was provoked by the fact that a certain person had made himself ruler in Til- garimmu (a town of the former kingdom of Melid, now Assyrian), by virtue of his having once already been installed here by Gurdi (251) i.e., by Gorthas I of Phrygia(?). The town was stormed by the Assyrians, and its inhabitants were recruited into the Assyrian army (252).
Melikishvili believes (257) that the Urartian king Rusa II, who maintained friendly relations with his Assyrian neighbor (258) concluded an alliance with the Cimmerians in 676-675 B.C. At the head of the Cimmerians was one Lygdamis (Assyr. Tugdamme) (259). Together with them (as Melikishvili suggests) Rusa II conducted his large campaign into Asia Minor beyond the Euphrates--against "the Mushki, Hate and Halitu," (260) i.e., (1) against Phrygia, (2) probably against Melid, and (3) against the tribe of the Chalybes--the Chaldians of Byzantine sources, the Xalghtik' of the Armenian texts of the Middle Ages. It is a fact that Melid had regained its independence--this is definitely shown by the Assyrian texts, as, e.g., in Esarhaddon's inquiries to the oracle, where we find references to military activities against Cilicia, Tabal, Melid, and "Mitta," i.e., Midas I, king of Phrygia (261), It is not impossible that Assyria, too, was involved, along with the Cimmerians, in the Urartian campaign of 675(?) B.C. (262)
It seems to have been precisely this campaign that led to the downfall of the Phrygian Empire, an event which was remembered in Greece (263) and far-away Palestine (264) long afterwards. The arbitrary rule of the Cimmerians was now established in Asia Minor; but a generation later they were routed by the Scythians, and the survivors settled in the eastern part of the peninsula. The Phrygian kingdom continued its existence in some form, but the hegemony in Asia Minor was transferred to Lydia in the far west of Asia Minor.
From this time on Shubria was considered a possession of Assyria, but Assyrian control remained weak. In the Assyrian annals for the year 664 B.C. the inhabitants of Qullimeri appear in a rather independent role: being on their own, they warded off a raid by the Urartian military commander Andaria without any participation of the Assyrian administration or army, and apparently not under the direction of any local prince. Nevertheless after killing Andaria, they sent his head to Nineveh as a sign of formal submission to the Assyrian king (268).
The account of the history of the Armenian Highlands from the beginning of the Assyrian and Urartian offensive in the 9th century B.C., makes it evident that in spite of the great strength of both Assyria and Urartu, as well as that of Phrygia, independent buffer zones were maintained between them, which these empires could not subjugate at all or subjugated only for short periods and could not maintain stably under their dominion. These were Tabal in the mountains of the Cilician Taurus, Melid-Kammanu on the right shore of the Upper Euphrates, Shubria in the Sasun Mountains, and Hubushkia in the valley of the river Kentrites-Bohtan (275). These areas, and in particular Melid-Kammanu and Shubria, undoubtedly played a great role in the emergence of the later Armenian state and nation. To these should be added Arme, apparently the Urartian name for the Aramaic-Proto-Armenian border zone between Amed and the Upper Euphrates.
Between 616 and 605 B.C., as a result of the joint action of Nabopalasar, the king of Babylonia, and Cyaxares, the king of the new Empire of Media (about the participation of the Scythians here nothing positive is known) (282), the Assyrian Empire was destroyed (283). In the course of the war the Medes acquired supremacy over Mana and Urartu. The fate of the Urartian Empire in these last years of its existence is unclear. We know only that in 609 a campaign was carried out against Urartu (more likely by the Medes  than by the Babylonians), while in 608 another campaign was conducted in these regions, this time certainly by the Babylonians, against the country of the dynasty of Hanunia--"a province of Urartu" (probably modern Hinis on the road from Mush to Erzurum). The Urartian fortress of Teishebaini (modern Karmir-Blur in Erevan), the excavation of which by Piotrovsky yielded so much information about the culture of Urartu, fell, accorthng to this archeologist, in the 590s B.C. (284) The "Ararat" of the Book of Jeremiah (285) seems still to be Urartu, which, along with Mana and the Kingdom of the Scythians, thus still lingered on in 593 B.C. as vassals of Media. But in 590, when a war broke out between Media and Lydia for the control of Asia Minor (286) Urartu must have ceased to exist. Herodotus presents the destruction of the Scythians by the Medes as the pretext for the war between Media and Lydia (he obviously means the Scythian kingdom; other Scythians returned about that time to the steppes north of the Black Sea). The Medes could not have left Urartu in the rear while starting a major war to the west of it.
Some notion of the course of the war can be gleaned from the text of Ezekiel, the Jewish prophet living in Babylonia at the beginning of the 6th century B.C. (287) Accorthng to information reconstructed from his text (288) Lydia dominated over the territory of Phrygia (Moshech) and Tabal (Tubal); Egypt (289) the remainders of the Cimmerians (Gomer), and the "House of Togarmah," a state about which we will speak in more detail below, were allied to Lydia (290).
The war between Media and Lydia ended with the peace treaty of 585 B.C. According to Herodotus, the mediators were the king of Babylonia and Syennesis, the king of Cilicia-Hilakku (his kingdom by this time had turned into a large state, which, judging from data from the time of the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenian Empires, finally included also the former territories of Tabal, Que, [Bab. Hume], etc.). The river Halys was recognized as the frontier of Media, so the eastern part of Asia Minor was subjected to it (291).
Let us sum up the history of this kingdom in brief. It is indisputable that the Mushki, as well as probably the Urumeans and the Apeshlaian Kaska tribe, must have crossed the territory of Melid into the valley of Arsanias after the destruction of the Hittite Empire at the beginning of the 12th century B.C. However shortly after this event, between the 12th and 11 th centuries B.C., we encounter in the texts the king of "Milide," or "Milidia," or "Melitia," as the "king of the Land of the Hittites." Thus in this period of general political collapse in Asia Minor, Melid became the center of an important state, claiming the continuance of the traditions of the Hittite Empire. At the same time, in spite of Melid preserving these trathtions, it is quite probable that some of the Mushki settled not only east of the Euphrates, but to the west of it as well, which means they must have also settled in the area of the so-called Old Phrygian culture, hence also in Melid. Perhaps it was precisely the settling of the Mushki here that gave an added vigor to the young Melidian kingdom.
Between the 11th and 9th centuries B.C. a whole series of small kingdoms emerged in the mountains of the Cilician Taurus--Qummuh, Gurgum, Tabal, and other even smaller ones. However Melid continued to maintain the traditions of the Hittite Empire, and when the Urartian sources speak of the "kingdom of Hate (Hittites)," they mean, as we saw above, Melid-Kammanu (sometimes also the Assyrian sources adopted this usage). The power of the "Tu(w)atian" dynasty, with which Melid was connected in the 8th century B.C., stretched as far as modern Kayseri and Nigde. Along with the kingdom of Daiene and Alzi (the "country" of the Mushki), the "new kingdom of Hatti" was one of the most important cultural and political, enters of the Highlands right up to the rise of Urartu. We know of a number of kings who reigned in Melid in the 9th and 8th centuries B.C. (Lalla, at least one Sulumel, Tuate, Hilaruandas, Gunzinanu, Tarhunasis, and others), and some of those who reigned there earlier. With the formation of the Northern Syrian alliance, Melid acquired hegemony in it. Only after the serious defeat brought upon Hilaruandas, the king of Melid, by Sarduri II the Urartian around 760, did the role of the leader in the alliance devolve upon Arpad and then upon Carchemish; the latter's kings also were named "kings of Hatti." Trade in metal brought wealth to Melid and also to the other kingdoms along the main road through the Upper Euphrates valley. At the same time there must have  existed some sort of very special social conditions in Melid which allowed this important and rich country to become later apparently the nucleus of an ethnically entirely new state organism, that of the Armenians, which we shall treat in more detail below. We have suggested that this might be explained by the presence in Melid of tribal masses new for this region, which tended to make the local society somewhat more democratic.
Melid was temporarily conquered in 712 B.C. by the Assyrian king Sargon II, who installed his governor there, but in 685 an attempt was undertaken to free at least the city of Tilgarimmu from the Assyrian Empire. The head of the rebellion was installed by a certain Hidi (or perhaps the better reading is Gurth, which, if correct, is the Phrygian name Gorthas). Although the fortress of Tilgarimmu was taken by Sennacherib, Melid nevertheless regained its independence, and around 675 we find Hate in an alliance with Phrygia and the Chaldians as the object of an attack by Rusi II the Urartian and probably the Cimmerians (possibly also the Assyrians). However while the Phrygian Empire suffered a decline as a result of this campaign, the "Hittite kingdom" of Melid did not perish. Thus although in the 670s the Assyrians scornfully call Mugallu, the hostile ruler of Melid, a "fugitive," between 669 and 652 Melid is again recognized by them as an independent kingdom. And in the 650s Melid extended its boundaries at Assyria's expense, since Mugallu (if it is the same man) had already become the king of Tabal (which had been an Assyrian province since 713) and conducted negotiations with Assyria--apparently on possible aid against the Cimmerians. The Cimmerian supremacy in Asia Minor was actually brought to an end with the help of Assyria's allies, the Scythians.
By the time of the war of Babylonia and Media against the Assyrians (625-605 B.C.), which led to the destruction of Assyria and the subjection of Mana and Urartu by the Medes, the kingdom of Melid not only continued to exist but had grown still stronger. It is quite possible that the Babylonian raid into the Highlands as far as "the House of Hanunia" had the aim of checking a possible interference with their destruction of Assyrian forces by either the kingdom of Cilicia or Melid.
The population of the region of present-day Malatya had been a mixed one already at the time of the Hittite Empire; its main part at that time were the Luwians; however the Hurrian element must also have been quite strong (293). The official court culture in Melid, as in the other "Late Hittite" kingdoms of eastern Asia Minor and northern Syria, was Luwian; the royal names, such as Hilaruandas and Tarhunasis are also undoubtedly Luwian. Melid is one  of the places from which numerous Luwian hieroglyphic inscriptions have come down to us. But the earlier presence here of objects of the "Old Phrygian" archeological culture speak of the penetration of an ethnic element which may be identified as Proto-Armenian. We know next to nothing about what Proto-Armenian names were like; some certainly were Luwian, like Mushegh (Mursilis), a name which survived into the Middle Ages and is common to this day; others might have been Phrygian.
In the context of the history of Melid we must examine the testimony of Ezekiel about the "House (dynasty) of Togarmah," which seems to have been an important participant of the Lydio- Median War of 590-585 B.C. We can also compare some information of later writers.
Xenophon, the Greek writer of the end of the 5th--beginning of the 4th centuries B.C., mentions in his didactic novel Cyropaedia the existence in the 6th century B.C. of an Armenian kingdom, dependent on Media, but nevertheless relatively autonomous and self-sufficient (294). In spite of the untrustworthy nature of this source, it should be noted that Xenophon himself had been in Armenia and could have had access to some relatively trustworthy information on the history of the country. Of course it must be remembered that he did not know the Armenian language, that he passed through Armenia with a hostile armed military detachment, and that we do not know whether or not he made any notes referring to information not directly relevant for himself and his men. According to Xenophon's story, the Armenian king, whom he does not call by name, refused to pay tribute and to supply military contingents to Cyaxares, the king of Media (295). Cyrus the Persian, who at that time was in the service of the Median king, intended to force the Armenian king into submission. After penetrating Armenian territory on the pretext of a hunt, Cyrus sent an envoy to the Armenian king requesting submission. The Armenian king tried to hide in the mountains but meanwhile his family and property fell into the hands of Cyrus. Finally, after finding himself in a hopeless position, the Armenian king gave up and acknowledged that when he had been defeated by the father of the present Median king he did take on the obligation of paying tribute and supplying military contingents. But thanks to the protection of Tigranes (296), son of the Armenian king and friend of Cyrus, the matter ended in reconciliation, and Cyrus limited himself merely to occupying some of the strongholds in Armenia. Then Cyrus helped the Armenians in their war with the Chaldians, achieved a stable peace between them, and thanks to this was able to obtain from both peoples a greater number of military contingents for the needs of  the Median Empire than was thought possible originally.
Of course this story, which has a didactic purpose and is part of a work of fiction, should not be taken at face value as a historical narrative. However it deserves attention, since it has certain features in common with the information of Ezekiel about a "House of Togarmah" which had existed in the Median period, and also with the legendary narrative of Moses Xorenac'i.
The latter, an Armenian historian of the early Middle Ages, makes use of a Syrian writer, Mar Abas Qatina, whose work has not come down to us. Relating the ancient history of Armenia, Moses attempts to bring it into agreement with the legendary trathtion of the Bible, with the information of the early Byzantine historical sources, and with the Armenian and Zoroastrian trathtions current in the Sasanian period. The outline of his narrative is taken mainly from Byzantine authors. The existence of Urartu remained unknown to him, and he begins the ancient history of Armenia with legendary genealogies, artificially connected with the genealogies of the mythical patriarchs of the Bible, with legends about the heroes of Iranian mythology, and with certain apocryphal names of Assyrian and Median kings, mostly invented by Greek authors (297). Parallel to a spurious list of Median kings, traceable to the Byzantine historian Eusebius, Moses Xorenac'i (I, 22) introduces a list of the legendary kings of the ancient Armenian kingdom, which is absolutely untrustworthy: nearly all the names are of Parthian origin and hence much later than the period with which he deals.
However into this artificial and completely misleading outline Moses also weaves data which he has drawn from some Armenian epic that has not come down to us (of course arbitrarily timing the events to coincide with real or imaginary periods of history). Here and there, although not necessarily belonging to the period in which it is placed by Moses, a grain of truth may have lingered (298). Thus his Tigran I, king of Armenia, is probably identical with the prince Tigranes of Xenophon (I, 24-30). Some details of Moses Xorenac'i's narrative allow us to assume that in his time the Armenians still preserved epic legends. One of them dealt with an alliance the Armenian kings had during the period of the first Armenian kingdom with certain foreigners, whom Moses more or less correctly identified with the Medes of the Greek sources. Another legend was about a battle of a hero with the monster Azhdahak (a purely imaginary figure, taken from Zoroastrian mythology) (299); and there was also a tradition about ancient Median settlements in the valley of the Araxes (300).
It seems probable that in Western Armenia of the 6th century B.C. there really did exist, not a Median satrapy, but an  autonomous kingdom, although one dependent upon Media (301). This is in complete agreement with what Herodotus tells us about the nature of the structure of the Median Empire (302). The creation of an Armenian kingdom in place of the Urartian one must have been connected with the activities of Cyaxares, king of the Medes (625- 585 B.C.). Xenophon speaks of an Armenian king who was now allied with Media, now in rebellion against it. Unfortunately the sources of his information are unknown, but the king is probably the same ruler whom Ezekiel has in mind when he speaks about the "House of Togarmah." This Armenian king may have participated in the destruction of Urartu. Piotrovsky , supposing the historical valithty of Moses Xorenac'i's Paruyr, son of Skayorth, thinks the first Armenian dynasty had a Scythian origin. But the term "House of Togarmah" and the historical role which the city of Melid played in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. makes us think rather about a historical succession between this hypothetical Armenian kingdom and the ancient kingdom of Melid-Kammanu. After the restoration of its independence at the beginning of the 7th century B.C. Melid, or "Togarmah" ("Torgom" in the terminology of Moses Xorenac'i), was surely ruled by a new dynasty, and it was not necessarily Luwian in its linguistic affiliation, but may have been descended from persons of another local population, viz., the Proto-Armenian. In any event the kingdom of Melid (Togarmah), as well as that of Hilakku (Cilicia), survived both Assyria and Urartu. When Urartu fell, this kingdom got an opportunity for expansion to the east, occupying first Alzi and Shubria, etc., then the other western Urartian provinces.
This kingdom probably ceased to exist under Cyrus, the first of the Achaemenian kings of the Persian Empire, which superseded the Median (553-529 B.C.) (303).
Darius I (525-485 B.C.) created two satrapies in what was called Armenia by the Greeks, Armina by the Persians, and Urashtu /Oralt/ by the Babylonians (304). The first (XIII satrapy of Herodotus, inhabited by people already speaking Armenian) was apparently called Melittene by the Greeks and certainly Melid by the Babylonians (305); the city Melid was probably its capital. The second (XVIII satrapy of Herodotus, on which see below, inhabited by Urartians, Hurrians, etc.) retained the name of Urartu (in its Babylonian form) (306).
Thus during the epoch of the downfall of the traditional great powers of the Near East--at the end of the 7th and in the 6th centuries B.C.--there apparently existed a state which was called Armenia (or Melittene), and of course the ancient Armenian nation had already come into existence (307). But from the sources which  we have used for our history of the precethng period it is not immediately apparent where and when it arose and became a clearcut ethnic unit. Obviously there are certain gaps in our information, or the forefathers of the Armenian people are disguised in our sources under some unidentified designation. The following chapter will be dedicated to an analysis of the available data, so that we may answer the question.