Hayk ( _hy. Հայկ, also transliterated as "Haik") is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His story is told in the "History" attributed to Moses of Chorene (5th to 7th century).


It should be noted that the name of the patriarch, _hy. Հայկ "Hayk", is not exactly homophonous with the name for "Armenia", _hy. Հայք "Hayk‘". Nevertheless, both are usually connected to the "hay-" stem of the self-designation of the Armenians, _hy. Հայեր "Hayer". Hayk would then be an aitiological founding figure, like e.g. Dan for the Danes, Seaxnēat for the Saxons, etc.The standard etymology for "hay-", the self designation of the Armenians, is a derivation from Indo-European "*poti-s", meaning "lords". These tribes may have settled Armenia from the Mitanni kingdom, when Sargon II mentions a king of part of Armenia who bore the Indo-Iranian name "Bagadatti" ("Theodore"). [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; the ISBE uses the outdated terms "Aryan" for "Indo-European" and "Turanian" for "Urartian".]

A connection made in Armenian historiography of the Soviet era, with Hayasa mentioned in Hittite inscriptions, is not tenable on phonological grounds. [ Eduard L. Danielian, "The Historical Background to the Armenian State Political Doctrine," 279-286 in Nicholas Wade, Armenian Perspectives (Surrey, UK, 1997) 279, citing E. Forrer, "Hajassa-Azzi," Caucasia, 9 (1931), and P. Kretschmer, "Der nationale Name der Armenier Haik," Anzeiger der Acad. der Wiss. in Wien, phil.-his. Klasse (1932), n. 1-7]

In Moses of Chorene

In Moses' account, Hayk son of Torgoma gives birth to Armaneak while living in Babylon, but after the arrogant Titanid Bel makes himself king over all, Hayk emigrates to the Ararat region with an extended household of at least 300 and settles, founding a village he names "Haykashen". On the way he also leaves a detachment in another settlement with his grandson Kadmos. Bel sends one of his sons to entreat him to return, but he is refused. Bel then marches against him with a massive force, but Hayk is warned by Kadmos of his approach. He assembles his own army on the shore of Lake Van and tells them they must defeat and kill Bel, or die trying, rather than become his slaves.


Moses gives Hayk's genealogy as: Japhet, Gomer, Tiras, Torgom, and his descendants as Armaneak, Aramais, Gegham, Harma, Aram, Ara Keghetzig. ["History" 1.5 [http://www.vehi.net/istoriya/armenia/khorenaci/01.html#_ftnref30] ] Hayk was also the founder of the Haykazuni dynasty. Some other Armenian princely houses - Khorkhoruni, Bznuni, Syuni, Vahevuni, Manavazian, Arran etc. - trace their genealogy back to Hayk. According to Juansher Hayk "..was prince of the seven brothers and stood in service to the giant Nimrod (Nebrovt') who first ruled the entire world as king. [ [http://rbedrosian.com/gc2.htm The Georgian Chronicle"] ] "

Defeat of Bel

Hayk then discovers Bel's host in a mountain pass (that Moses locates at the site of Dastakert), with Bel himself in the vanguard.

In the "Battle of Dyutsaznamart", near Julamerk southeast of Lake Van, dated to August 11, 2492 BC by Mikayel Chamchian [Razmik Panossian, The Armenians: From Kings And Priests to Merchants And Commissars, Columbia University Press (2006), ISBN 978-0231139267, p. 106.] , Hayk slays Bel with a lucky arrow, sending his force into disarray.

He establishes the castle of "Haykaberd" at the battle site and the town of "Haykashen" in the Armenian province of Taron (modern-day Turkey). He names the region of the battle "Hayk‘" "Armenia", and the site of the battle "Hayoc’ Jor" Հայոց Ձոր "gorge of the Armenians". ["History" 1.11; a district to the southeast of Lake Van, see Hubschmann, AON, p.343] But the hill where Bel with his warriors fell Hayk called "Gerezmank". [Gerezmank: the nom. pl, Gerezmans being acc. pl., "tombs"] Hayk embalmed the corpse of Bel and ordered it to be taken to Hark and to be buried in a high place in the view of his wives and sons.

Comparative mythology

The figure slain by Hayk's arrow is variously given as Bel or Nimrod. "Hayk" is also the name of the Orion constellation in the Armenian translation of the Bible. Just as Hayk fled from Babylon because of Bel, whom he eventually killed, so Zeus had escaped to the mountains of the Caucasus, later to return to Sicily and hurl fatal arrows into the bodies of his titanic foes.


*P. Kretschmer. "Der nationale Name der Armenier Haik"
*Vahan Kurkjian, "History of Armenia," Michigan, 1968 [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/Asia/Armenia/_Texts/KURARM/8*.html]

ee also

*List of Armenian patriarchs
*Sisak (eponym)

External links

* [http://nobility.artsakhworld.com/Atabekian_Kings_List_Eng.html The rulers and kings of the Haykazuni dynasty in Armenia]

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