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The permanent English-speaking group dedicated to research of the ancient Urartu kingdom, its origins and its successors.

Urartu (Biainili in Urartian) was an ancient kingdom of Armenia [1] located in the mountainous plateau between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and Caucasus mountains, later known as the Armenian Highland, and it centered around Lake Van (present-day eastern Turkey).

The kingdom existed from ca. 860 BC, emerging from Late Bronze Age Nairi polities, until 585 BC. The name corresponds to the Biblical Ararat.

The name Urartu comes from Assyrian (a dialect of Akkadian) sources, and was given to the kingdom by its chief rivals to the south. The kingdom's native name was Biainili. Scholars believe that "Urartu" is an Akkadian variation of Ararat of the Old Testament.

Indeed, Mount Ararat is located in ancient Urartian territory, approximately 120 km north of its former capital. In addition to referring to the famous Biblical mountain, "Ararat" was also used in the Old Testament to refer to an ancient kingdom north of Mesopotamia.

Similarly, early Armenian chronicles (5th - 7th cc. AD) state that the original name for Armenia was "country of Ararad." The variations possibly originate from the Armenian "Ayrarat," which in Armenian means "land of the brave" and "land of Armenians." [2]

Some scholars such as C. F. Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believe that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi, or that they were related to the Khaldi of the Black Sea coast [citation needed]. The Nairi, an Iron Age people of the Van area, are sometimes considered related or identical.

Urartu was often called the "Kingdom of Ararat" in many ancient manuscripts and holy writings of different nations. The reason for uncertainty in the names (i.e. Urartu and Ararat) is due to variations in sources.

Group Information

  • 21
  • Ancient History
  • Mar 3, 2007
  • English

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