The Evolution of the Armenian Alphabet - 2007

The Evolution of the Armenian Alphabet

The Art of Writing

Strange markings on a hillside curiously match the eloquent letters on parchment. The graceful arch of vowels and consonants devised in the 4th century CE are echoed in carvings showing the sun, moon, and the exact locations of constellations from the zodiac. Our guide smiles, and astonishingly covers 20,000 years of writing in a single sentence, "From stone to paper, you can find the curve of our people in a single path. Most people think the Armenian letters began with Mashtots in 406 CE.

But look here, and you will find a divine inspiration 19,000 years before then." Beginning from astral symbols found on the Geghama Lehr (Mountain Range) between Sevan and the Ararat Plain, including the signs of the Zodiac and star positions at Karahundj and Metsamor; to Vishaps, obelisks covered with cuneiform and pictograms, the Armenian language has its roots. From the heart of Noah to the furthest stretches of Mesopotamia, India and Europe, it spread to encompass most of the Old World. The guide points to controversy and historical fact, to scientific research and popular myth as he gathers energy with his argument. "The glories of manuscript art have their ancestors, just as we do and if you want to believe that the center of language and culture came from this part of the world, then you can’t also believe the Armenian’s were illiterate at the same time. There is a source, and it came before the Mashtots Script."

Beyond stone carvings (called "pictograms", since they represented ideas through pictures, as opposed to an alphabet, which captures sounds and is used to create words and sentences to express ideas), there is very little to suggest what a native language was like in Armenia between the Paleolithic and Urartian periods. Detailed maps showing ancient fortified towns and roads that exist to this day are scrawled on the sides of stone foundations, as are complex trigonometry and geometric formulas pointing to astral, solar and lunar phases. The inscriptions even include one of the first calendars and compasses ever created. The Metsamorians and their ancestors were the earliest known civilization to forge copper, bronze and iron, they created a pantheon of gods that foreshadow the Greek pantheon. Having one of the greatest cultures of the Bronze Age (the "Metsamor Kingdom"), Ancestral Armenians curiously left no written words behind.

Emma Khanzatian, director of excavations at Metsamor, and the Grande Dame of archeology in Armenia, does not find a missing language all that curious.

"It is impossible to have a culture this advanced with no written language," Ms. Khanzatian says. "Just impossible. They were among the leaders in the known world at that time in science, industry and trade. Metsamor era artifacts are found in Egypt, Syria, Persia, India and Central Asia. Their distinct black and geometric pottery made its way to Mycenae, they may even have created the wheel. They knew trigonometry, astronomy and geomtetry--you can have none of these sciences without notation, the forms of writing. How could they leave nothing in writing behind?"

Part of how is shown by several strata of excavations at Metsamor and other ancient cities. Black, charred earth, pottery and skeletons lie in heaps in several layers from the middle Bronze and early Iron Age. Sieges and burnt earth policy began far before recent memory. If anything like parchment was created along with spectacular bronze and gold objects uncovered at Metsamor, AdaBlur, Jerahovit and MokhraBlur, it was surely burned along with the population. More recent layers of excavation show continued sieges and burning in the common era, including a 4th century layer that was a result of struggle between Pagan and Christian armies. It is not until the Urartian period (ca. 1300-550 BC) that a written language has been found and that was borrowed from Sumerians and Assyrians. Stone was the preferred medium of expression, though there is some proof that wood and leather parchment were used along with clay tablets in Mesopotamia and Egypt. But other than signs of zodiac, maps and geometric equations, no signs of writing from the Metsamor period have been uncovered.

Khanzatian smiles and nods her head towards a central mound at Metsamor. "We haven’t begun to uncover what lies beneath this ground. And just think what must be under a city as old as Jerahovit or Aigeshat. Just because we haven’t found it doesn’t mean it isn’t there." A wizened face carved from years of excavating the windswept earth on the Ararat plain laughs and points to the central mound. "And somewhere under the main citadel lies a treasure as important as any gold artifact the archive."


Petroglyphs From Armenia, 9000-3000 BCE

Before hieroglyphic writing was developed, between 9000 and 7000 BCE, people of the Armenian region expressed themselves by carving and painting designs on rocks. These three pictographs (see source link) were executed between the 8th and 4th millenia BCE, (9000 to 3000 BCE). According to archaelogists, the drawings are associated with Neolithic cultures, especially in the higher mountain regions (Aragats and Aghmaghan and the basin of Lake Sevan). Around 3000 B.C.E., the Proto-Indo-European family of languages was probably closely unified, but by 2000 B.C.E., Greek and two extinct languages, Hittite and Sanskrit, were distinct languages. Though changes in grammar and meaning have taken place, analysis of vocabulary indicates that the people of the ancient Indo-European culture were metal-using farmers tending domestic animals. Recent discoveries suggest links to the Kurgan people, who lived on the steppes west of the Ural Mountains. In the Kingdom of Van, 810 BCE, inscriptions of economic and sacrificial nature were written in hieroglyphics. Specimens of Armenian hieroglyphics are also evident in Urartean excavations at Karmir-Blur, where pottery, bronze cups and cylinder seals were found. This type of writing was used by peoples living on the Ararat Plain, even before the penetration of the Urartian tribes, according to excavations at Cholagerd.



ultragabacho said...

Jews and Armenians are almost brothers. We probably have more in common than any two nations. We both have been oppressed and both are over-achieved in the arts and sciences. The Germans helped the Turks commit genocide against the Armenians and later used those lessons to do the same to the Jews. But at the end of your 'About Me' section, you denounce "American imperialism, globalism, Zionism, Islamic fundamentalism and pan-Turkism." I understand how all the "-isms" have hurt your country, but why would you be anti-Zionist? Do you know what Zionism is? It is a national liberation movement -- the belief that the Jews, exiled from their land just like the Armenians, should be allowed to re-establish their country in their ancient homeland ... just like you appear to believe the Armenians have a right to do. Why are you a hypocrite? Do you feel that kicking someone who is below you will make you feel superior? Are you angry at Israel for accepting Turkey's friendship? Israel is a little country like Armenia, trying to survive amidst enemies like Armenia and needs all the friends it can get. Look at yourself: you are sucking up to the Russians for the same reason. I like Russians; they are are good people, but the fact is their government has done dirt around the world. Yet you want to cuddle up to them. But what dirt have we Jews ever done around the world: Did we kidnap Ugandans at Entebbe? Did we slaughter athletes at Munich 1972? The Spanish Inquisition? The Russian pogroms? The Romanian tribulations? The wrath of the Mongels, Arabs, Germans ... Without a country of our own, that pattern of history would only continue -- why would you wish that on us? Why should Armenians have their homeland, but not the Jews who the Armenians so much resemble?

NeutralCorner said...


you ask why the author is being a hypocrite. cognitive dissonance has taken over your mind.

you write of turkey's genocidal acts against armenians. is this the same armenians that you claim are so similar to the jews? i only ask because you asked if the author was angry about israel's friendship with turkey. later in your paragraph you state that the author is sucking up to the russians. what did you mean by "for the same reason"? "but the fact is their government[russian] has done dirt around the world." yet, somehow you are comfortable with the 'dirt' of turkey? are you going to start weighing bloody mud against bloody mud? go ahead, justify being friends with one murderer because the other murderer is MORE of a murderer.

"But what dirt have we Jews ever done around the world"
ask wikileaks.
or them

people like you have been pointing fingers and stirring up vehemence to the point of violence for far too long. are you going to claim self defense? how close is that to a five year old claiming the other combatant started it? how many people do you think believed that plot of land to be theirs before you? How much dirt became bloody mud before your people, the ashkenazis, the khazars, the romans, the persians, the ottomans and countless others all the way back into the gray area where prehistory meets modern history? A lot. You sound like a fifth generation european-north american whining about indians "attacking" you as you move westward. it seems this pattern won't end until we do. what a waste.

"Why should Armenians have their homeland, but not the Jews who the Armenians so much resemble?"


but what do i know,,, i'm just another goyim?

Anonymous said...

ultragabacho, Jews and Armenians have nothing in common.

End of story

How disgusting for you to say such a thing.

Unknown said...

First of all Armenia had letters before Mestrop...that is a fact. Second, the church burned all our libraries and books after forcefully converting Armenians to a bogus Christian faith. Third, Jews have no relation to Armenians and Jews were not around when Armenians were. I am speaking a gap of 9000 years. Fourth, the sooner we get rid of this venom called Christianity and all its Abrahamic monotheistic poison out of our system, more enlightenment can surface. The Genesis story is a myth so stop putting Armenians in the same sentence as Noah. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus are all fictional characters.

Sasha said...

I must say im very proud of my Armenian heritage. I lived in Armenia in late 80s to early 90s in place call Argavand which was with in minute from bon gladesh area. Been on lake Sevan few times, its really something i cant describe in words what Armenia is like. Felt like you can smell history and see history, ancient history all around you, it was really something i never forget and at some point of my life i will return there, sometimes i feel like its calling me there. Ill never forget cold water fountains all over Yerevan with its fresh taste of mountains.

quadibloc said...

Without venturing too deeply into the politics of the Middle East, I think it would be informative to say this:

For reasons of realpolitik, the United States has been more closely allied with Turkey than with Greece, and more closely allied with Pakistan than with India, despite Greece and India being the more democratic nations of each pair.

Armenia, like Greece and India, has found itself to be in something of an awkward position with respect to the United States, and thus has been pushed to the left. Thus, it is not surprising that some Armenians might find the claim that the Middle East problem is about Israelis being mean to Palestinians persuasive.

Anonymous said...

thank you mangas you are so right.
In my opinion, Armenian people must remember who they were before recent christian acculturation. At first.
Origines could be a piece of information to understand, in a second time, the reasons of cut.
Finally, Armenians and Jews have nothing in common except that human beings under the sun.

Unknown said...

Maybe have same Serbian father Now?

Unknown said...

Serbia and Armenija have a lot thinking's together.First is that proto simbol is similar but svastika and cross is same same period.We have first alfabet cirilica,first calendar and civilisation Lepenski Vir and Vinca culture,same destiny.Sanskript is Serbian.Rg Vede also,18 Roman Empire,we are Iliria,Rasi,proto Sleoven before potop.Noe is from Serbia.Troja is old Serbia after Troja Rome,Paris, London but Greece and Vatikan distroy still Serbia .Serbia and Armenija brothers forever together