Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hayk Nahapet

Hayk Nahapet (Armenian: Հայկ; also known as Haig; transliterated as Haik) is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His story is told in the History of Armenia attributed to the Armenian historian Movses Khorenatsi (410 to 490 AD).

In Movses Khorenatsi's account, Hayk son of Torgom had a child named Armanak while he was living in Babylon. After the arrogant Titanid Bel made himself king over all, Hayk emigrated to the region near Mount Ararat with an extended household of at least 300 and settled there, founding a village he named Haykashen. On the way he had left a detachment in another settlement with his grandson Kadmos. Bel sent one of his sons to entreat him to return, but was refused. Bel decided to march against him with a massive force, but Hayk was warned ahead of time by Kadmos of his pending approach. He assembled his own army along the shore of Lake Van and told them that they must defeat and kill Bel, or die trying to do so, rather than become his slaves.

Hayk and his men soon discovered Bel's army positioned in a mountain pass (Moses of Chorene located the site as Dastakert), with the king in the vanguard.

At Dyutsaznamart (Armenian: Դյուցազնամարտ, "Battle of Giants"), near Julamerk southeast of Lake Van, on August 11, 2492 BC(according to the Armenian traditional chronology) or 2107 BC (according to "The Chronological table" of Mikael Chamchian), Hayk slew Bel with a nearly impossible shot using a long bow, sending the king's forces into disarray.

The hill where Bel with his warriors fell, Hayk named Gerezmank meaning "tombs". He embalmed the corpse of Bel and ordered it to be taken to Hark where it was to be buried in a high place in the view of the wives and sons of the king.

Soon after, Hayk established the fortress of Haykaberd at the battle site and the town of Haykashen in the Armenian province of Taron (modern-day Turkey). He named the region of the battle Hayk, and the site of the battle Hayots Dzor.

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. Some Armenians hold that the Greek stories of Hercules are based on Hayk.

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