Are Armenians and Greeks related to Phrygians

Armenian language & writing

Unlike Georgian and other languages ​​in the region, the Armenian language is neither a South Caucasian nor a Turkic language, but represents a branch of its own in the family of Indo-European languages. It also has its own alphabet, developed in the 4th century.

The Armenian language (poor. Hayeren) one differentiates between the old Armenian (grabar) as well as the West and East Armenian. Under the influence of Hellenism under Alexander the Great and later also through Christianization, many Greek and Syrian loanwords found their way into Armenian usage. At the time of Persian rule in the 5th to 7th centuries, place names and administrative terms were also coined by Persian.

Where did the Armenians come from? In science and in the colorful world of legends of the region, there are very different theses about the origin of the Armenian people, whose original home is in Thrace, i.e. especially in the European part of today's Turkey. The first Armenians were probably a Phrygian tribe and settled on the Armenian highlands after a long migration. The traditional Armenian tradition (after the historian Moses von Choren) revolves around a giant named Hayk, who led his 300-member family from the south to the highlands after the tyrannical ruler Bel had proclaimed himself almighty king. The giant, whose ancestry goes back to the biblical person Noah and his son Japhet, is the legendary ancestor of the Armenians. That's why the Armenians still call themselves today Hayer.

The Armenian script. The Armenian alphabet also plays an important role in the Armenians' self-image and Christian identity. The Christianization of the country and the conversion of King Tiridates brought religious, cultural and social changes to Armenia, in the course of which the Bible was also translated into Armenian. At the same time, the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Sassanids fought for supremacy in the Middle East, which prompted the Armenians to form their own identity in order to maintain their independence. The establishment of a separate alphabet was fundamental, among other things because after the Persians banned the Greek language, a large part of the Christian texts had been lost. The simple rural population is also likely not able to speak the Greek language anyway, so that the Christian missionaries had to rely on an Armenian alphabet in order to be able to reach everyone in the region. At the same time, the Armenian Church was able to break away from the Greek and Syrian churches of the Middle East. A translation activity began, many Greek, Persian, Hebrew and other documents even survived only in their Armenian translation. A prominent figure in this phase of Armenian history is a monk named Mesrop Mashtotswho was born west of Lake Van (in present-day Turkey) in the 4th century. The Mesrop Mashtots Institute for Old Manuscripts, the Matenadaran in Yerevan, is named after him, where today you can admire many old manuscripts and learn more about the history of writing.

Mashtots had received both Greek and Persian education and encountered the difficulties mentioned above during the mission in his Armenian homeland: The local population did not understand the learned languages ​​of Christianity. He then set about developing an Armenian alphabet with 36 letters, which is based on the Greek in the arrangement of its letters, although its shape has Syrian influences. As in the Greek or Hebrew alphabet, the letters of the first Armenian alphabet also had a numeric value and were used as numerals. The oldest form of this script, the so-called "iron script", was in use until the 11th century when the lower case letters were finally introduced. Otherwise the Armenian script has remained almost unchanged to this day and was only supplemented by a few special letters, for example when Armenia was a Socialist Soviet Republic (1920s).