Armenian Mythology

by Mardiros H. Ananikian


[379] The complete titles and descriptions of the works cited in the Notes will be found in the Bibliography.


1. Herodotus, vii, 73. This view is confirmed by other evidence. The Armenian language, like Thracian, is a Satem language. The old Armenians were addicted to beer-drinking just like their Western brothers. The old Armenian ideal of human beauty was the large proportioned, bright (blue?) eyed, fair complexioned man. We shall later see that the Armenian religion also bears some important testimony to their original identity with the Thracians.

Chapter 1

1. It is barely possible that, as Jensen maintained in his Hittiter und Armenier, the Armenian word shand, "lightning," is a reminiscence of the Cicilian or Hittite sanda, sandan (see Frazer, GB I, part 4, Adonis, Attis, and Osiris, i.124 f.). Sanda, who was identified with Hercules, was a god of fertility, and may well have been a tribal variety of Tushup, the Hittite weather god.

2. We have now very clear evidence of the presence of Indo-Iranians among the Kassus of the lower part of the Zagros range, the Mittanis of Northern Mesopotamia, and the Hittites of Asia Minor, before and after the 15th century B.C.

3. ERE ix, 900.

4. American Indians had a similar rite according to Longfellow's Hiawatha, XIII. In the spring naked women rose on a certain night and walked around the fields, to make them fertile. The same thing is reported of some parts of Germany (Frazer, i. 138-139).

5. See L. R. Farnell, The Cults of the Greek States, Oxford, 1896-1909, vol. 5 ; artts. "Dionysos" and "Sabazios" in Roscher, Pauly-Wissowa, and Daremberg-Saglio; G. Davis, The Asiatic Dionysus, London, 1914.

6. The most unmistakable one of these is Hyagnis (see Chap. V and Appendix I). Hyas seems to be identical with Hayk, and [380] Marsyas-Masses with the name of the sacred mountain Massis (Ararat). The Dio of Dionysus is often explained as "god," and may be found in the Armenian word Di-kh, "gods."

7. Codex La Cava calls Istvo, "Ostius," "Hostius." See A. V. Rydberg, Teutonic Mythology, tr. R. B. Anderson, London, 1889. As for Astvads, Agathangelos (5th cent.) defines it as "one who brings about," an explanation which seems to have struck the philosophical fancy of the ancient Armenian Fathers. Others have related it to Hastvads, "creature" or "creation," from the Persian hast, "exists." Another old writer saw in it the Cimmerian word for "unction." The Persian yazd the Avestic astvat, "incarnate," the Hindu Asdvada (Brahma?), the Celtic Duez, and the Teutonic Tiwaz (Ziu) (both of which are in reality cognates of the Greek Zeus), were drawn into the task of shedding light on the mysterious Astvads. Patrubani, a Hungarian Armenian who teaches in the University of Budapest, undertakes to explain it from the Vedic vashtu, "habitation," Gk. astu, "city," which by the addition of "ç" Indo-Germanic "ig" (to honor), would mean "that which the city worships." Prof. Marr of Moscow identifies Astvads with Sabazios, a view which the present writer held for a while independently of Marr.

8. The loss of an initial p before r or l is not an uncommon phenomenon in Armenian (see C. Brugmann and D. Delbriich, Grundrt'ss der vergleichenden Grommatik der lndogerman. Sprachen, Strassburg, 1886-1900, i. 503, and A. Meillet, Grammaire armenienne. The intervening e presents no difficulty. The Latin periculum is probably represented in Armenian by erkiugh, "fear."

9. The Slavic character of things Thraco~Phrygian has lately been attracting some attention (see G. Calderon, "Slavonic Elements in Greek Religion," Classical Review [1913]. The Letto-Slavic character of the Armenian language has been known for the last four decades through the researches of Hubschmann. Here it may be noted that something of this had already been observed in the folk-lore of the Armenians (see Chalatianz, Intro.).

10. Die alten Thraker, Vienna, 1893-4 (SW AW), ii. 60.

11. Gladys M. N. Davis, in a recent work called The Asiatic Dionysos, London, 1914, has revived an older theory that would identify Dionysos with the Vedic Soma. This book has been very severely criticised, but its main contention is worthy of further investigation.

12. See also A. Meillet, "Sur les termes religieux iraniens en Armenien," in Revue des etudes armeniennes, i, fasc. 3, 1921; M. H. Ananikian, " Armenia," in ERE.

Chapter II.

[381] 1. Eghishe (5th cent.), speaking of the Sassanian Mihr, reports that the Persians considered him as the helper of "the seven gods," which means Auramazda with the six Amesha Spentas. Dolens and Khatch (pp. 201-203) maintain this view, and also aptly point to the Phoenician pantheon with seven Cabirs, and Eshmun the eighth. Even in India Aditi had seven, then with the addition of the sun, eight children.

2. Farther west, especially in Persianized Lydia, Anahita was represented with a crescent on her head.

3. Agathangelos, p. 34.

4. See detailed description in Sa1dalgian's Histoire documentaire, p.794.

5. A thorough comparative study of the Armenian church rites is still a desideratum. When we have eliminated what is Byzantine or Syrian, we may safely assume that the rest is native and may have preserved bits of the pagan worship. Among these rites may be mentioned the abjuration of the devil in Lent, the Easter celebrations, the Transfiguration roses and rose-water, the blessing of the grapes at the Assumption of the Virgin, the blessing of the four corners of the earth, etc.

Chapter III

1. Agathangelos, p. 590.

2. Seeing that Anahit was in later times identified with Artemis and Nane, with Athene and Mihr and with Hephaistos, one may well ask whether this fathering of Aramazd upon them was not a bit of Hellenizing. Yet the Avesta does not leave us without a parallel in this matter.

3. Agathangelos, pp. 52, 61.

4. Ibid., pp. 52, 61, 106.

5. Ibid., p. 623.

6. It is noteworthy that his Christian successor is a hurler of the lightning.

7. See artts. "Calendar (Armenian)" and "Calendar (Persian)" in ERE iii. 70 f., 128 f.

8. Al-Biruni, Chron., pp. 202-203.

9. This is an important instance of the Adonis gardens in the East, overlooked by Frazer. Readers of his Adonis, Attis, and Osiris know how widely the custom had spread in the west.

10. See Chap. 8.

[382] 11. Gregory the Illuminator substituted the festival of St. John Baptist for that of the Navasard, but as that festival did not attain more than a local popularity (in Tarauntis) the later Fathers seem to have united it with the great festival of the Assumption of the Virgin, at which the blessing of the grapes takes place. These Christian associations gradually cost the old festival many of its original traits.

12. Al-Biruni, Chron., p. 199.

13. Moses, ii. 66; Agathangelos, p. 623. Gelzer and others have made of his title of Vanatur, " hospitable," a separate deity. However corrupt the text of Agathangelos may be, it certainly does not justify this inference. Further, Vanatur is used in the Book of Maccabees to translate Zeus Xenios. For a fuller discussion of this subject see art. "Armenia (Zoroastrian)" in ERE I. 795.

14. Al-Biruni, Chron., p. 200.

15. Quoted by Alishan, p. 260. It is perhaps on this basis that Gelzer gives her the title of "mother of gods." This title finds no support in ancient records.

16. Agathangelos, p. 590. This cannot be Zoroastrian.

17. Moses, ii. 12.

18. Ibid., ii. 53.

19. Agathangelos, p. 612.

20. Moses, i. 31.

21. Kund in Persian may mean "brave." But the word does not occur in Armenian in this sense.

22. The Iberians also had a chief deity called Armazi (a corruption of Aramazd), whose statue, described as "the thunderer" or "a hurler of lightning," was set up outside of their capital, Mdskhit. A mighty river flowed between the temple and the city. As the statue was visible from all parts of the city, in the morning everyone stood on his house-roof to worship it. But those who wished to sacrifice, had to cross the river in order to do so at the temple. (Alishan, p. 314)

23. Whenever she may have come to Persia, her patronage over the rivers and springs need not be regarded as a purely Iranian addition to her attributes. The original Ishtar is a water goddess, and therefore a goddesss of vegetation, as well as a goddess of love and maternity. Water and vegetation underlie and symbolize all life whether animal or human. cf. Mythology of all Races, Boston, 1917, vi. 278 f.

24. Agathangelos, p. 52.

25. Dio. Cass., 36, 48; Pliny, HN v. 83.

26. Strabo, xi. 532C. Cumont thinks that this was a modification of ancient exogamy (see art. "Anahita " in ERE i. 414, and his [383] Les religions orientales dans le paganisme romain, Paris, 1907, p. 287). Yet it is difficult to see wherein this sacred prostitution differs from the usual worship paid to Ishtar and Ma. As Ramsay explains it in his art. "Phrygians " (ERE ix. 900 f.) this is an act which is supposed to have a magical influence on the fertility of the land and perhaps also on the fecundity of these young women. Cf. artts. "Ashtart" (ERE ii. 115f.) and "Hierodouloi (Semitic and Egyptian)" (ERE vi. 672 f.).

27. Faustus, iii. 13.

28. Alishan, p. 263.

29. Moses, p. 294.

30. Justina was a Christian virgin of Antioch whom a certain magician called Cyprian tried to corrupt by magical arts, first in favor of a friend, then for himself. His utter failure led to his conversion, and both he and Justina were martyred together.

31. We have already seen (p. 11) that Ishtar as Sharis had secured a place in the Urartian pantheon.

32. Agathangelos, pp. 51, 61.

33. Moses, ii. 60.

34. Ibid, ii. 12.

35. Faustus, v. 25.

36. Agathangelos, p. 591.

37. Cicero, De imperio Pompaeii, p. 23.

38. Agathangelos, p. 59; Weber, p. 31.

39. Farther west Anahit required bulls, and was called Taurobolos.

40. HN xxxiii. 4; see Gelzer, p. 46.

41. Pliny, loc. cit.

42. Moses, ii. 16.

43. Eraz, "dream," is identical with the Persian word raz, "secret," ("occult," and perhaps also with the Slavic raj, "the other world," or "paradise." Muyn is now unintelligible and the monsos of the Greek is evidently a mere reproduction of the cryptic muyn.

44. Moses, ii. 12.

45. Tiur's name occurs also as Tre in the list of the Armenian months. In compound names and words it assumes the Persian form of Tir. We find a "Ti" in the old exclamation "(By) Ti or Tir, forward!" and it may be also in such compound forms as Ti-air, Ti-mann, a "lord," and Ti-kin, "a Ti-woman," i.e., "lady," "queen." Ti-air may be compared with Ti-rair, a proper name of uncertain derivation. However, owing to the absence of the "r" in Ti, one may well connect it with the older Tiv, a cognate of Indo-European Dyaus, Zeus, Tiwaz, etc., or one may consider it as a dialectical variety of the Armenian di, "god." See also p.13.

[384] 46. Eznik, pp. 150, 153, etc. Synonymous or parallel with this, we find also the word bakht, "fortuna."

47. Pshrank, p. 27 1. See for a fuller account Abeghian, p. 61 f .

48. Perhaps because, like the temple of Nabu in Borsippa, it contained a place symbolizing the heavenly archive in which the divine decrees were deposited.

49. Agathangelos.

50. "The Writer" was confused with the angel of death in Christian times. He is now called "the little brother of death." It is curious to note that the Teutonic Wotan, usually identified with Mercury, was also the conductor of souls to Hades.

51. Nabu, the city-god of Borsippa, once had precedence over Marduk himself in the Babylonian Pantheon. But when Marduk, the city god of Babylon, rose in importance with the political rise of his city, Nabu became the scribe of the gods and their messenger, as well as the patron of the priests. On the Babylonian New Year's Day (in the spring) he wrote on tablets, the destiny of men, when this was decided on the world mountain.

52. Farvardin Yasht, xxvii. 126.

53. Moulton, p. 435. Even the Arabs knew this deity under the name of 'Utarid, which also means Mercury, and has the epithet of "writer."

54. There lies before us no witness to the fact that the Armenians ever called the planet Mercury, Tiur, but it is probable. The Persians themselves say that Mercury was called Tir, "arrow," on account of its swiftness.

55. See G. Rawlinson's Herodotus, app. Bk. i, under Nebo.

56. Jensen derives Tir from the Babylonian Dpir = Dipsar, "scribe." However, he overlooks the fact that the East has known and used the word Dpir in an uncorrupted form to this day. Tir may even be regarded as one element in the mysterious Hermes Tresmegisthos, which is usually translated as "Thrice greatest." It seems to be much more natural to say: Hermes, the greatest Tir. However, we have here against us the great army of classical scholars and a hoary tradition.

57. Eznik, pp. 122, 138; also Eghishe, ii. 44. F. Cumont, in his Mysteries of Mithra, wrongly ascribes these myths to the Armenians themselves, whereas the Armenian authors are only reporting Zrvantian ideas.

58. Greek Agathangelos; Moses, ii. 18.

59. Agathangelos, p. 593. One of the gates of the city of Van is to this day called by Mihr's name (Meher).

60. These human sacrifices may also be explained by Mihr's [385] probable relation to Vahagn. Vahagn is the fierce storm god, who, as in and Teutonic religions, had supplanted the god of the bright heaven. Vahagn may have once required human sacrifices in Armenia; his Teutonic brother Wotan did.

61. Eznik, pp. 15, 16.

Chapter IV

1. Moses, ii. 14.

2. Ibid., ii. 14.

3. Ibid., i. 14.

4. Anania of Shirag, ed. St. Petersburg, p. 48.

5. Ibid., ii. 14. Greek Agathangelos. Josephus calls the Nana of Elam, Artemis.

6. Moses, ii. 14; Greek Agathangelos.

7. Apollodorus, iii. 14, 3.

Chapter V

1. Ibid., i. 31 : Agathangelos, pp. 106, 607.

2. Agathangelos, p. 106.

3. Ibid., p. 606.

4 The Armenian word for "reed" is egheg. The Phrygian cognate of egheg is probably at the root of the Greek elegeion "elegy," which originally had nothing to do with elegiac poetry, but a doleful melody accompanied by the flute. The relation of the reed to the flute is well known to those who are familiar with the myths of Pan. Armenian also possesses the word egher in the sense of "dirge" (see F. B. Jevons, History of Greek Literature, New York, 1886, p. 111), but egher has nothing to do with "elegy."

5. Alishan, p. 87.

6. The district of Goghthn seems to have clung to the old paganism more tenaciously than any other in Armenia.

7. All these facts are recognized and clearly expressed by Oldenberg, p. 105 f.; Lehmann, in P. D. Chantepie de la Saussaye, Lehrbuch ii. 27; Macdonell, at 35; Moore, i. 254 f.

8. There is a great temptation to connect Aravan, the son of (Moses, i, 31), with this Vedic priest, as some have already connected the Bhrgu of the Vedas with Brig = Phrygians. Atharvan could easily pass to Aravan through Ahrvan. However, the name is also Avestic.

9. Chhalatianz, p. xiii. Even in Egyptian mythology the Sun-god is sometimes born out of an egg, but he is born also out of the lotus-stalk or he is said to have spent his childhood in the lotus flower. Cf. Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1918, xii. 25, 50.

[386] 10. Macdonell, pp. 89, 98.

11. Abeghian, p. 83 f. It is a very strange and significant coincidence that in the Veda also the sea-born Agni is related to the lightning (Rig-veda-Sanhita: a collection of ancient Hindu Hymns, tr. H. H. Wilson, London, 1850-88, vi. 119, note), and that Agni gives rain (Ibid., p. 387). Cf. also Oldenberg, p. 167 f.; Macdonell, at 35, where the sea is identified with the heavenly sea.

12. Oldenberg, p. 120.

13. We would suggest that this is the origin of the use of baresman both in India and in Iran at the worship of the fire and of the baresman at the Magian worship of the sun. The grass or stalk cushion upon which the sacrifice is laid and the bunch of green stalks or twigs held before the face were perhaps supposed to be an effective charm, meant to work favorably upon the sun and the fire.

14. Sandalgian's theory that Vahagn came to Armenia straight from Vedic India has no sound foundation.

15. See Appendix, I, Vahagn.

Chapter VI

1. Moses, ii. 19.

2. Ibid., ii. 77. The modern Armenian use of the word "sun" in the sense of "life," is due perhaps to the fact that the sun brings the day, and days make up the sum of human life.

3. Abeghian, p. 41.

4. Agathangelos, p. 125.

5. Xenophon, Anab., iv. 5. 35.

6. Discourses, Venice, 1860, p. 198-9.

7. Ed. Patkanean, p. 66.

8. Yasht, vii. 4; Al-Biruni, Chron., p. 219.

9. Eznik, p. 180.

10. Abeghian, p. 49.

11. Dadistan-i Dinik, lxix. 2; Sikand-Gumanik Vijar, iv. 46.

12. Eznik, p. 217. See also Appendix II, Witchcraft and Magic.

13. Abeghian, pp. 4-1-49; Tcheraz, in TICO ii. 823 f.

14. Alishan, in one of his popular poems, calls the Milky Way the manger from which the dragon may break loose. This is the echo of some myth which we have not been able to locate. A modern Armenian legend says that the Milky Way was formed by two brothers who worked together in the fields and then divided the crop on the threshing-floor. One of them was married and the other single. In the night the married one would rise and carry sheaves from his stack to his brother's, saying, "My brother is single and needs some [387] conolation." The other would do the same, saying, "My brother is narried and needs help." Thus going to and fro they scattered the straw.

15. Abeghian, pp. 41-45.

16. Pshrank, p. 198.

17. Alishan, p. 89.

18. Abeghian, p. 45; Pshrank, p. 198.

19. Quoted by Alishan, p. 98.

20. It is well known how later Zoroastrianism degraded the genii of all the planets in demoniac powers.

21. Eznik, p. 153 f.

22. Al-Biruni, Chron., p. 211.

Chapter VII

1. Here it is worth while to notice how Kuhn in his exhaustive tudy of fire-myths, called Die Herabkunft des Feuers, Gutersloh 886, summarizes his conclusion. He says (p.35): "The myths which have just been compared show the same belief among the Indians, Greeks, and Italians in regard to the fact that the earthly fire has been brought to mankind as a heavenly spark in (the form of) the lightning by a semi-divine being who was originally (and) generally imagined as a winged being, as a bird. The people must have thought that the spark is produced in the clouds by twirling, just in le same manner as they saw the fire gotten out of the primeval instrument, through a circling friction."

2. Possibly the fear with which iron is supposed to inspire evil spirits is also due to the fact of its containing and producing sparks like the flint. A curious passage of the 1st Book of Jalal ad-Din-ar-Rumi's Mathnavi makes much of the fire which iron and stone contain, and which may not be extinguished by water.

3. Aspirated "p" became "h" in Armenian, as "pater," Armen, hayr. The Phrygian word for fire is said by Plato to have resembled the Greek pur.

4. In many places these ancestral spirits have become just spirits, undefined and general.

5. There were in Armenia at least three towns of the gods: Bagayarij in Derzanes, Bagavan in Bagrevand, and Bagaran on the river Akhurean. See H. Hubschmann, Die Altarmen. Ortsnamen, pp. 410-11.

6. Alishan, Hayapatum, p. 79.

7. "Story of the Picture of the Holy Virgin," in Moses of Chorene.

8. Lazare of Pharpe (5th cent.), p. 203.

[388] 9. ARW xvii. [1914] 479. Similar customs are reported also of the Belgians. See Frazer, GB, part 7, Balder the Beautiful London, i. 194 f.

10. Many of the German sacred fire-festivals were also taken under the patronage of the church and started from a candle (Kuhn, Die Herabkunft des Feuers p. 41 f.).

11. See Frazer, GB, pt. 7, Balder the Beautiful, i. 131, for a very interesting and fuller account of the Armenian New Fires at Candlemas. In fact the whole Chapter V constitutes the richest material on new fires and the best treatment of this subject. Notice that securing fruitfulness, for the fields, trees, animals, etc., is the chief motive of the fires, but next comes the desire to prevent disease. These fires were intended to exert some favorable influence on the fire-god in general and on the lightning (rain) god in particular. The February fires in England, which were kindled on Candlemas, if productive of bad weather, heralded thereby the coming of the rainy season, i.e. the spring. For in this sense alone it is possible to understand the old English verses:

"If Candlemas be dry and fair
The half o' winter's to come and mair;
If Candlemas be wet and foul
The half o' winter's gane at Yule."
See also artt. "Feu" in La Grande Encyclopedie; "Fire" in EB; "Candlemas" in ERE iii. 189 f.

Chapter VIII

1. Annals vi. 37.

2. Lehmann, "Religionsgesch. aus Kaukasien und Armenien," in ARW, iii. [1900] 4 f.

3. There are those who have explained Vartavar from the Sanscrit as meaning "sprinkling with water," and it can possibly mean also "increasing the waters." However befitting, this Sanscrit etymology is far-fetched.

4. For the numerous references on this subject, see the General Index of Frazer's Golden Bough under "Fire," "Water," etc. It would be worth while to inquire also whether the Roman Rosalia (Rosales esces) and the Slavic and Macedonian Rousalia are in any way related to the Armenian Vartavar. See G. F. Abbott, Macedonian Folk-lore Cambridge, 1903, pp. 40 ff. These western festivals, however, come much earlier.

5. Al-Biruni, Chron., pp. 199, 203.

6. The Armenians had other methods of fire-making.

Chapter IX

1. [389] Abeghian, p. 59 f.; Lehmann, "Religionsgeschichte aus Kaukasien und Armenien," in ARW, iii. [1900] 10 f.

2. The name Massis for this snow-capped giant of Armenia seems to have been unknown to the old Urartians. It may be an Armenian importation, if not a later Northern echo of the Massios, which was in Assyrian times the name of the great mountain in the plain of Diarbekir. According to Nicholas of Damascus (see Josephus, Ant. I. iii. 6) this mountain was known also by the name of Baris, which Sandalgian compares with the Sacred mountain Hara-berezaiti of the Avesta.

Chapter X

1. Here, of course, the valuable tale of the epics has vanished before blical conception of the spread of mankind, but a dim memory of the events that led to the separation of the Armenians from their mighty brethren of Thrace or Phrygia, as well as something of the story of the conquest of Urartu by the Armenians, seems to be reflected in the biblicised form of the legend.

2. Moses, i. 10, 11.

3. Alishan, p. 126.

4. Dr. Chapman calls my attention to the passages in Sayce's and Sandalgian's works on the Urartian inscriptions, where they find the name Huas or 'Uas. Sandalgian also explains it as Hayk. (Inscriptions Cuneiformes Urartiques, 1900, p. 437.) See also the fix on Vahagn in this work.

5. A. H. Sayce, The Cuneiform Inscriptions of Van, p. 719.

6. This is the prevailing view among modern scholars. The word that was current in this sense in historical times was azat (from yazata?), "venerable." Patrubani sees in Hayk the Sanskrit pana and the Vedic payn, "keeper"; Armen. hay-im, "I look."

7. Republic, x. 134.

8. Patrubani explains Armenus as Arya-Manah, "Aryan (noble?)-minded." The Vedic Aryaman seems to mean "friend," "comrade."

9. This is not impossible in itself as we find a host of Arabic words and even broken plurals in pre-Muhammedan Armenian.

10. Nychar is perhaps the Assyrian Nakru, "enemy "or a thinned-down and very corrupt echo of the name of Hanaçiruka of Mata, mentioned in an inscription of Shamshi-Rammon of Assyria, 825-812 B.C. (Harper, Ass. and Bab. Liter., p. 48).

11. Moses, i. 15. See also additional note on Semiramis, Appendix III.

[390]12. Republic, x. 134.

13. Pamphylians were dressed up like the Phrygians, but they were a mixed race.

14. See art. "Gilgamesh" in EBr 11; also F. Jeremiah's account of the myth in Chantepie de la Saussaye, Lehrbuch, i. 331 f. Frazer in GB part iv, Adonis, Attis and Osiris, ch. 5, gives an interesting account of kings, who, through self-cremation on a funeral pyre, sought to become deified. He tells also of a person who, having died, was brought back to life through the plant of life shown by a serpent (as in the well-known myth of Polyidus and Glaucus, cf. Hyginus, Fab. 136, and for Folk-tale parallels, J. Bolte and G. Polivka, Anmerkungen zu den Kinder- und Haus-Marchen der Bruder Grimm, Leipzig, 1913, i. 126 f.). Further, we learn through Herodotus (iv. 95.) that Zalmoxis, the Sabazios of the Getae in Thrace, taught about the life beyond the grave, and demonstrated his teaching by disappearing and appearing again.

15. Sayce, Cuneiform Inscriptions of Van, p. 566. We may also point to the verbal resemblance between Er-Ara and the Bavarian Er, which seems to have been either a title of Tiu = Dyaus, or the name of an ancient god corresponding to Tiu.

16. For the real Tigranes of this time we may refer the reader to Xenophon, Cyropaedia, iii. I. Azdahak of Media is known to Greek authors as Astyages, the maternal grandfather of Cyrus the Great.

17. According to classical authors the historical Astyages was not killed by Tigranes, but dethroned and taken captive by Cyrus.

18. According to Herodotus (i. 74) the name of the first queen of Astyages was Aryenis. Anush is a Persian word which may be interpreted as "pleasant." But it may also be a shortened form from anushiya, "devoted." This latter sense is supported by such compound names in Armenian as connect anush with names of gods, e.g. Haykanush, Hranush, Vartanush, etc.

Chapter XI

1. See art. "Fairy" in ERE v. 678 f. See also Kirk, Secret Commonwealth of Elves, etc. Its analysis largely supports ours which was made independently on the basis of more extensive material.

2. Herodotus, iv. 9. The Greek view of the origin of the Scythians was that they were born from the union of Herakles with a woman who was human above the waist and serpent below.

3. Goldziher, "Wasser als Damonenabruhrendes Mittel," in ARW, xiii. [1910] 274 f. This may have reference to water in its relation to the birth of fire or to the lightning.

[391] 4. Agathangelos, p. 57. Cf. the cross of the archangel Michael in graveyards of Roman Catholic churches, e.g., French.

5. Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, Cambridge, 1903, p. 540.

6. This description is based on the account given by Alishan and in Pshrank. Some confusion has arisen in regard to the true nature of this old rite, owing to the fact that Shvod was thought to be Shuhat, the Syriac name of a month corresponding to February. But it is certain that originally Shvod was the name of a class of spirits.

7. For a comparative study of serpent-worship and serpent-lore see art. "Serpent" in ERE xi.

8. According to Frazer, GB, part 7, Balder the Beautiful, London, 1913, ix. 15, the serpent's stone is identical with the serpent's egg. This, however, is not quite certain. Nor should this egg be confused with that in which a fairy's or dragon's external soul is often hidden (ibid., ii. 106f.).

9. Later magical texts use the word "dragon "in the sense of evil spirit.

10. For parallels see J. A. MacCulloch, The Childhood of Fiction: A Study of Folk-Tales and Primitive Thought, London, 1905, chap. 14, "The Dragon Sacrifice," and E. S. Hartland, The Legend of Perseus, London, 1894-96.

11. Chalatianz (p. 12) speaking of modern Armenian folk-tales about the dragons' reciprocated love for highborn matrons and maids, mentions also the fact that there are many parallels in Slav, Rumanian, and Wallachian folktales, and that it is the sons or brothers of these infatuated women who persecute the monster, often against the enamoured woman's will.

12. See art. "Changeling" in ERE iii. 358f.

13. We know ihat the Persian Azhi Dahaka, a corporeal creature and helper of Ahriman, had a human representative or could personify himself as a man.

14. Quoted by Alishan, p. 194.

15. This pulling up of the dragon out of a lake by means of oxen appears also in Celtic (Welsh) folklore.

16. In England the Lambton Worm required nine cows' milk daily. Luther, in his Table-Talk, describes a diabolical child--a "Killcrop"-- which exhausted six nurses. The house-serpent also is often fed on milk, while in other instances the serpent is said to be disinclined to milk.

17. House-fairies (the Brownie of Scottish folk-lore) thrash as much grain in a night as twenty men can do. See Kirk, Secret Commonwealth, Introd. by A. Lang, p. 24. [392]18. There is a contradiction here. In the original Persian story the world-destroyer is the dragon himself, chained by the hero Thraetona.

19. These rocks were exposed in the morning to his eyes in order to neutralize their baleful influence during the day. The evil eye is blue. Before it, mountains, even the whole world may flame up. (Pshrank, p. 180.)

20. For whirlwinds in connection with jinn, fairies, demons, and witches see "Fairy" in ERE v. 688a.

21. Alishan, p. 66. In more recent collections of folklore, God, angels, and even the prophet Elijah, have taken the place of the ancient weather god and his helpers. The usual weapons are iron chains and the lightning. Sometimes it is a cloud-monster that is being driven hard and smitten with the lightning so that he shrieks. At other times it is the dragon hung in suspense in the sky that is trying to break his chains in order to reach and destroy the world. Angels pull him up and fasten his chains. The thunder-roll is the noise of the chains and of the affray in general. According to another and probably older account, the dragon that lives in the sea or on land, must not live beyond a thousand years. For then he would grow out of all proportion and swallow up everything. Therefore, just before he has reached that age, angels hasten to pull him up into the sky. There he is often represented as being consumed by the sun, while his tail drops down on earth to give birth to other dragons. A magical text of more recent date speaks of the Serpent who remains in hiding for one hundred years, then is taken into the skies, like a dragon, where he acquires twelve heads and four bridles (Lkam, Arabic). The lightning is often a sword, arrow or fiery whip which the Lord is hurling at the devil, who is fleeing, and who naturally and gradually has taken the place of the ancient dragon, as the Muhammedan Shaytan crowded out the eclipse dragon.

22. Abeghian, p. 78.

23. Here, however, the meteorological dragon seems to have become fused with the eschatological dragon. Whether these two were originally identical or can be traced to different sources is an important question which need not be discussed here. See Frazer, GB8 part 7, Balder the Beautiful, London, 1913, i. 105 f.

24. Abbott in his Macedonian Folk-lore (chap. xiv.) gives a very interesting account of the dragon beliefs there, which have a close affinity both with the Indian Vrtra and the Armenian Vishap. The Macedonian dragon is a giant and a monster, terrible, voracious and somewhat stupid, but not altogether detestable. He is invariably driven away by a bride who boldly asserts herself to be "the [393] Lightning's child, the Thunder's grandchild and a hurler of thunderbolts!" Here Indra and Vrtra are unmistakable.

25. The relation of such doctrines to the faith of the Yezidis is unmistakable (J. Menant, Les Yezidis, p. 83; Parry, Six Months in a Syrian Monastery, p. 358 f.

26. In Greek and Latin mythology the powers of Hades accept only black gifts and sacrifices, such as black sheep, heifers, beans, etc.

27. Among other things this would recall the arrows of Herakles which had been dipped in the bile of the Lemean Hydra.

28. Alishan, p. 191; Abeghian, p. 104 f.

29. Vahram Vartabed, quoted in Alishan, p. 194.

30. Perhaps the fairies' dart, which killed people and cattle in Scotland and elsewhere, is a dim reminiscence of this hunting habit of the fairies.

31. Modern Armenian folklore also knows of witches with a tail who fly to foreign lands astride upon such jars.

32. Cf. the Muslim "Brides of the Treasuries," fairy guardians of hidden treasure. Western fairies also are often imagined as mortal and as seeking to attain immortality through intermarriage with human beings. However in other instances it is they who try to free human children "from dying flesh and dull mortality" by immersing them in fairy wells. In Pshrank (p. 194), a man stumbles into a wedding of these fairies, near the ruins of a water-mill. After an oath upon the Holy Eucharist, he is allowed to taste of their wine of immortality and to take a wife from their number.

33. I owe this identification to Dr. J. W. Chapman. For the Telchins, see Blinkenberg, "Rhodische Urvolker," in Hermes, 1 [ 1915] pt. 2, pp. 271 ff. and the authors named by him. In an article in the Hushartzan (Memorial Volume) of the Mechitarists of Vienna, Nicolaos Adontz finds in Torch the Hittite god Tarqu.

34. Moses of Choren makes Torch the head of the noble house called "Angegh Tun," interpreting the word Angegh as "ugly." The expression means rather "The Vulture's House," and Torch's connection with that house is an unfounded conjecture of Moses' own or of his legendary sources.

35. See Appendix IV, The Cyclops.

36. Eznik, p. 191, Eghishe, p. 65.

37. An 11th cent. writer reports that a woman died leaving a husband and some children. While the man was perplexed as to how to take care of the orphans, a very beautiful woman appeared unexpectedly and lived with him, taking good care of him and the children. But after a while for some reason she disappeared. She was recognized as a female Dev. Modern Armenians are still catching [394] mermaids by sticking a needle into their clothes. These can be marred or held in servitude and they will stay as long as the needle remains.

38. Eznik, p. 178.

39. Faustus, v. 2. 40. Moses, iii. 55.

41. Eznik, p. 178 f.

42. Vendidad, xviii. 45-52.

43. Under the influence of later Persian romantic conceptions of the Peris or Houris, the modern Armenian Parik has also become a most charming fairy.

44. Eznik, p. 97 f.

45. See on the modern Armenian Devs, Chalatianz, p. xiii f.; Lalayantz, "Traditions et superstitions de l' Armenie," Revue des traditions populaires, x. [1895] 193f; F. Macler, art. "Armenia (Christian)," in ERE i. 802; Pshrank, p. 170. Macler's is a good summary of the two preceding studies. The present-day Armenian Dev is a very large being with an immense head on his shoulders, and with eyes as large as earthen bowls. Some of them have only one eye (Pshrank, p. 170 ).

46. Goldziher, ARW x. [1907] 44.

47. This "mother of the Als" resembles the Teutonic devil's grandmother.

48. Quoted by Alishan, p. 222.

49. To steal unborn children is a trait of the nocturnal demon Kikimora of the Slavs also, but rather a rare notion among other peoples. The tribute mentioned in the text resembles the Scottish tradition of the similar tribute paid by the fairies to the devil, usually a human victim (see J. A. MacCulloch, artt. "Changeling," "Fairy," in ERE, iii. 360, v. 678).

50. Modern Parsis burn a fire or light in the room, probably for the same purpose. (See J. J. Modi, art. "Birth (Parsi)" in ERE ii. 661, though the writer fails to give the reason underlying this practice.)

51. The spirits of Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday eve, of which Abeghian (p. 120 f.) and, following him, Lalayantz (Revue des traditions populaires, x. [1895] 3), speak, are Christian inventions. Wednesday and Friday, as fast days, and Sunday as a holy day, are supposed to avenge themselves on those who do not respect their sanctity.

52. The Als are known also to modern Armenian folklore (Abeghian, p. 108 f.). But sometimes the Devs assume their functions (see Pshrank, p. 170), and they not only steal the mother's liver, but [395] also bring the child, probably born, to their chief, substituting for him a changeling. See also Appendix V, The Al.

53. As this seems to be a self-contradiction, it is perhaps better to take it as a refutation by Eznik of those who said that the Nhang was a personal being.

54. In a similar manner the Teutonic Nixies showed themselves in the form of bulls and horses, and lured men maliciously into the abyss. (S. Reinach, Orpheus, Eng. trans., London, 1909, p. 133).

55. Alishan, p. 62 f.

56. Faustus, v. 36.

57. See p. 68. 58. Eznik, p. 98 f. It is difficult to tell whether these beneficent spirits belonged to the original stock of Armenian beliefs or whether they were a survival of the Urartian or even Babylonian spirit world. Plato does not mention them in his brief and philosophical "Er" myth, although how the dead hero's body was taken up whole (intact), without some process of healing, is hard to see. The myth about a slain hero's return to life is, however, rather foreign to Greek thought, and this trait may not have reached him at all. G. H. Basmajian, an Armenian Assyriologist, in his short Comparative Study of our Aralez and the Babylonian Marduk (Venice, 1898), points out that Marduk had four dogs, Ukkumu, "the snatcher," Akkulu, "the eater," Iksuda, "the snatcher," and Iltepu, "the satisfier," and that he himself is said in a cuneiform fragment from Koyunjuk, now in the British Museum (K. 8961), "to recall the dead to life," and (line 10) "to give life to the dead bodies." Yet this view, which had already been held by Emine and V. Langlois (Collection des historiens anciens et modernes de l'Armenie, Paris, 1867-9, i. 26, note 1), cannot be said to be the last word on this interesting but obscure point. Marduk's dogs do not lick wounds, nor is Marduk himself specially famous for restoring dead heroes to life. Licking wounds to heal them is the most important feature of these gods or dog spirits. (For a parallel see p.204 of the African section of this volume.) Prof. Sayce saw some connexion between the Arall mountain and the Armenian Aralez, while another scholar has suggested Aralu or Hades as a possible explanation. Basmajian comes perhaps nearer to the solution. Sandalgian (Histoire documentaire de l'Armenie, ii. 599) quotes the letter of Sargon speaking of golden keys found in the temple of Khaldis in Mutzatzir, in the form of goddesses wearing the tiara, carrying the dented harp and the circle and treading upon dogs which made faces. But the same author (pp. 754-759) says that arales meant for the ancient Armenians inhabitants of Arali (Summerian Hades), but later generations, having forgotten [396] the original sense of the word, developed the myth of the Aralezes, from the last syllable which conveyed to them the meaning of lapping.

59. Alishan, p. 177 f.

60. See also Isaiah, xxxiv. 13, Jeremiah, 1.39, in the old Armenian version.

61. Alishan, p. 185.

62. The sea-bull resembles the Celtic Water-bull, the Tarbh Uisge of the West Highlands, which had no ears and could assume other shapes. It dwelt in lochs and was friendly to man, occasionally emerging to mate with ordinary cows. The similar Tarroo Ushtey of the Isle of Man begets monsters. Both have a curious resemblance to the Bunyip, a mythical water monster of the Australian blacks. See J. A. MacCulloch, The Religion of the Ancient Celts, Edinburgh, 1911, p. 189; Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1916, ix. 280.

63. Besides many of the above mentioned spirits, modern Armenians know at least two others, the Hotots and the Old Hags of the Swamps. The Hotots are like devils, but they are not devils. In the winter and in the spring they live in rivers and swamps. When they appear they are all covered with mire. They do not deceive men as the devils do, but they allure them by all sorts of dances, jests, and grimaces. When the unsuspecting victim follows them for the sake of being amused,--and who can resist the temptation?--they pull and push him into their miry abode. The Old Hags of the marshes also live in pools and swamps. They are terrible to see. They are enormous, thick, and naked, with heads as big as bath-house domes, with breasts as large as lambs hanging down. Horses, oxen, buffaloes, men, children and other living beings are drawn into their watery abode and drowned by them. (Pshrank, pp. 171-172.). See also Appendix VI, "The Finger Cutters of Albania."

Chapter XII

1. See E. W. Lane, Arabian Nights, i., notes on the first chapter, or his Arabian Society in the Middle Ages, ed. by S. Lane-Poole, London, 1883, p. 106 f.; also the extravagant cosmogony in the first chapter of ath-Tha'labi's Qisas al-'anbiya.

2. See chap. iii., part 3, on Tyr; also Abeghian, p. 16 f., and Pshrank, p. 168.

3. Herodotus (iv. 127) tells us that the Scythians challenged Darius who was invading their country and anxiously seeking an encounter [397] vith the retreating barbarians, to violate the graves of their kings, if he wished to force them to fight.

4. The temptation is very great to read in this light the well-known report of Herodotus (v. 4) that the Thracians mourned at a birth but were very joyful at a death. The father of historians and folklorists, whose bias to see in everything Thracian some sign of belief in immortality was strong, may be describing a Thracian funeral only imperfectly, i.e., through the very noisy funeral-feast. The funeral-feast is and was a widely spread custom. See artt. "Death and Disposal of the Dead," ERE, iv. 411 ff., "Feasting," ibid., v. 801 ff.; and W. Caland, Die vorchristlichen haltischen Totengebrauche, ARW iii.

5. For more details on burial customs among the Armenians, see Abeghian, p. 16f; Pshrank, p. 256, and "Funeral Rites" in EBr, xi. 329.

6. A. V. W. Jackson, Die lranische Religion, in Geiger and Kuhn, Grundriss, ii. 685.

7. Vendidad, iii. 35. Darkness was also the distinguishing feature of the house of Lie.

8. Pshrank, p. 198.

9. For the more Avestic form of this myth, see A. V. W. Jackson, Die Iranische Religion, in Geiger and Kuhn, Grundriss, ii. 663f. see also Mythology of All Races, Boston, 1917, vi. 320. That a dread, alarming dragon, who flies above the entire realm of air, and terrifies Jove and the other gods, as well as the powers of Hades, will bring the world to an end, is known also to Apuleius. (Bk. iv. 33, 35.)

10. Pshrank, p. 234; Abeghian, p. 20.

11. J. A. Stewart, The Myths of Plato, London, 1905 (the myths of Er, Repub., 613E to 621D, with parallel trans., pp. 134-151; observations on the myth of Er, pp. 152-172).

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