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Armenian Mythology

PANTHEON EPIC HEROES LEGENDS

 

- Reproduction in full or in part is prohibited

 

 

 Author: Smbat Minasyan - E-mail

Pantheon of Armenian pagan gods and goddess
 

Aramazd (Zeus) - Master of all Armenian gods, the father of all gods and goddess, the creator of heaven and earth. He called "Great and courage Aramazd". Aramazd was the source of earth’s fertility, making it fruitful and bountiful. The celebration in his honor was called Am'nor, or New Year, which was celebrated on March 21 in the old Armenian calendar (also the Spring equinox). Aramazd's main sanctuary was located in Ani Kamakhym, one of the cult centers of Ancient Armenia. The  treasures and tribal mausoleums of Armenian Arshaguni (Arshakuni) kings were there, too.

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Anahit (Artemis) - The daughter or wife of Aramazd. Anahit was the most loved and honored Armenian goddess. She was  mother-goddess. Anahit was sculptured with the child on her hands` with specific hair style of Armenians mothers or women and was called "Great Lady Anahit". Ancient Armenians believed that Armenian world was existing by Anahit's will. Anahit was the cult of maternity and fertility. Anahit-worships were established in Eriza avan (region) and in Armavir, Artashat and Ashtishat cities . A mountain in Sophene district was known as Anahit's throne (Athor Anahta).

According to Plutarch, the temple of Eriza was the wealthiest and the noblest in Armenia. During the expedition of Mark Antony into Armenia (34 B.C), the statue was crushed into pieces by the Roman soldiers. Pliny the Elder gives us the following story about it: The Emperor Augustus, being invited to dinner by one of his generals, asked him if it was true that the wreckers of Anahit's statue had been punished by the wrathful goddess. "No"! answered the general, "on the contrary, I have to‑day the good fortune of treating you with one part of the hip of that gold statue".

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Vahagn (Heracles) , - The third god of Armenian Pantheon. Vahagn was the god of thunder and lightning. Vahagn's main  sanctuary was located in Ashtishat city of Taron "world"  (region of Armenia). Also he was a god of war. Armenian kings and warlords before going to war asking him to support them.

 

 

Ancient Armenian origin of Vahagn's birth song

In travail were heaven and earth,

In travail, too, the purple sea!

The travail held in the sea the small red reed.

Through the hollow of the stalk came forth smoke,

Through the hollow of the stalk came forth flame,

And out of the flame a youth ran!

Fiery hair had he,

Ay, too, he had flaming beard,

And his eyes, they were as suns!

Vahagn-godՎահագնի ծննդյան երգի հին հայերեն բնագիրը. Armenian version

Երկնէր երկին, երկնէր երկիր,
Երկնէր եւ ծովն ծիրանի՜.
Երկն ի ծովուն ունէր եւ զկարմրիկն եղեգնկ.
Ընդ եղեգան փող ծուխ ելանէր,
Ընդ եղեգան փող բոց ելանէր.
Եվ ի բացոյն վազէր խարտեաշ պատանեկիկ.
Նա հուր հեր ուներ,
Բոց ունէր մօրուս,
Եվ աչկունքն էին արեգակունք:

 

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Astghik (Greek - Aphrodite, Mesopotamian - Ishtar) - The goddess of love, beauty and water. She was the wife or lover of Vahagn, the god of thunder and lightning. Her temple  in Astishat was called "the room of Vahagn", where Astghik met with his lover - Vahagn. She was sculptured without clothes, as beautiful young woman during swimming. The celebration in her honor occurred in mid June and was called Vardevar. It is still celebrated in Armenia by pouring water on each other.

 

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Nane  (Athena) - The daughter of Aramazd. The goddess of war. Her cult was closely connected with Anahit's cult. And it was not a randomness that her tample was located in Ekegyac region (gavar), near with Anahit's temple. Now Armenians usually call their grandmother "Nane" (Nan) which means that Nane was an influential goddess in Ancient Armenians spiritual life.

 

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Mihr - The god of sun and heaven light. He was the son of Aramazd, the brother of Anahit and Nane. His main worship was located in Bagaharich. The pagan temple of Garni was Mihr's worship.

 

 

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Tir-Apollo Armenian godTir (Apollo) - The god of wisdom, science and studies, also an interpreter of dreams. Tir was secretary of Aramazd. Tir's temple was located near Artashat and  was called "Aramazds grchi divan" or "Mehyan for studying sciences".

 

 

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Amanor and Vanatur (probably it was the same god with various names) -  Amanor was the god of Armenians new year and lord of the new yield. The celebration in his honor occurred in the end of Junly and was called Navasard (new year). His main worship was located in Bagavan city. If Amanor was the god of new year and new yield, Vanatur was the god of hospitality and bountiful hosts.

 

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Tsovinar (Tzovinar) - The goddess of water, sea and rain. She was a fire creature, who forced the rain and hail to fall from the heavens with her fury.

 

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Spandaramet or Sandaramet (Hades) - The god of underground. He was the god of dead people's kingdom or hell.

 

 

 

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Aralezs - The oldest gods in the Armenian pantheon, Aralezs were  gods in the form of dogs, whose powers included the ability to resurrect the dead by licking wounds clean.

 

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Barshamin or Barshimnia -  This was one of the idols transported by Tigran from Mesopotamia into Armenia, and housed in the village of Thordan, in Daranaghi. The brilliantly white idol was made of ivory and crystal, wrought with silver.  The name Barshamin is derived from the Phoenician Ba-ala-shamin, in Aramaic form, meaning "lord of heavens," like the Bel of the Babylonians.

 

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Gissaneh (Kissaneh) and Demeter-Demetr - Agathangelos ignores the existence of these two idols in Taron. On the other hand, there must have been some ground for the tale about the fierce struggle of paganism, as reported by Hovhan (John) Mamikonian who lived in the seventh century.

 

 

Similarity of Armenian pantheon with Iranian and Greek pantheons

Armenian Iranian Greek
 

Aramazd

Anahit

Vahagn

Astghik

Nane 

Mihr

Tir

Amanor and Vanatur

Tsovinar (Tzovinar)

Spandaramet or Sandaramet

Aralezs

Barshamin or Barshimnia

Gissaneh (Kissaneh) and Demeter-Demetr

 

 

Ahuramazda

Nahit

Verethragna

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Mithra

Ture-Tir

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Spenda-Aramaiti

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Zeus

Artemis

Heracles

Aphrodite

Athena

Hephaestus

Apollo

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Hades

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SOURCES

armenian-history.com

 

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