Martiros Kavoukjian

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He passed away in 1988, and that is indeed a great loss for us. Interestingly, he has been all but ignored by the existing Armenology departments in American/Western and Soviet Academia - and by extension, Armenia between 1947-1988 (until Glaznost) - despite his status as a recognized and acknowledged professional researcher and expert on six ancient languages by his colleagues.

An architect by training, in the period between 1935-1947 he was the chief architect for the city of Musul, in Iraq, his country of birth. His interest in the excavation and research of nearby sites such as Nineveh sparked the beginning of his long and distinguished career as historian, specializing, of course, in oriental/mid-eastern history. From the beginning, his work focused around the histories of the four key regions in the area, Sumer, Akkad, Assyria, and Urartu; with special emphasis on Armenians and the problem of their origins. He has participated in translation projects of cuneiform tablets in sites such as Nuzi (one of the capitals of the Hurrian/Mittanni kingdom of the 2nd millennium b.c.)

A native Armenian speaker, he was fluent in Arabic, French, German, Italian, English, Russian and had working knowledge of probably half a dozen other European and Slavic languages, was intimately familiar with six dead languages including Akkadian/Assyro-Babylonian, Sumerian, and Hurrian; and was thoroughly familiar with the architecture, symbology, mythology, the lexicon, as well as the cuneiform symbology and logography of those cultures.

From 1947-1979, he had participated in the "Great Rebuilding Project" of Armenia, and was architect to numerous government, public, industrial, and residential buildings in Armenia. During this time period, he had established professional relations with members of the local academia, thoroughly familiarizing himself with work done particularly in the fields of linguistics, historiography, and archeology.

In the Diaspora, he has published numerous articles on architecture, Armenology, and Urartology (in Arm., "Urartagitutyun" - H.N.). He has participated in many international science conferences on architecture and historiography. In the 1970 edition of the "Garun" monthly periodical in Yerevan was first published his article entitled _Armen yev Hay anunneri tsagum@_, where for the first time in history it was suggested that Urartu was an Armenian kingdom, and in 1973 Beirut, the complete publication of his voluminous book _Armen yev Hay anunneri tzagum@ yev Urartun_; and in 1982 Montreal/Los Angeles his publication entitled _Hay Zhoghovurdi Tzagum@_.

His last 6 years were dedicated entirely to research on the Subari (and the Al Ubayid culture - i.e. the pre-Sumerian), using Soviet and Western scientific publications as well as new primary evidence constantly being found in that region in relation to the Subari. This project led him further back in history to find Armenian roots.

The acknowledgments at the end of this _Preface_ to his colleagues is a result of actual real life relations with these notable archeologists and historians, relations often resulting in friendships and collaborative research projects on this and many other problems related to the history of ancient Transcaucasia, Armenian Plateau, Mesopotamia and Anatolia/Asia Minor. In short, I have no knowledge of a more qualified expert in this specialty.

Armenia, Subartu, and Sumer

This book is a supplemental compilation of essays to the original thesis on the topic simply entitled _Hay Zhoghovurdi Tzagum@_.

Armenia, Subartu, and Sumer : the Indo-European homeland and ancient Mesopotamia; Martiros Kavoukjian; ISBN 0921885008


The hypothesis that the homeland of the parent Indo-European language was in Europe and that the Indo-European speaking peoples of Asia Minor and the Armenian Highland were migrants has become so widespread and has occupied such a firm position in scholarship, resulting in rigid thinking, that any proof or evidence that contradicts it is either rejected or ignored.

This is the reason why uncertainties and dead-end situations have been created in questions related to the origin and ethnic identity of the ancient Indo-European speaking peoples of Asia Minor and the Armenian Highland, and the history of their interrelations with the ancient peoples of the Near East, particularly those of Mesopotamia, has been distorted or left shrouded in darkness.

In our previous works we had invited the particular attention of our readers on Armani, mentioned by Naram-Sin, bringing forth the formation and the etymology of that name. In view of the importance this question bears upon the ancient history of the Armenian Highland and Mesopotamia, we have pursued our investigations further along this line and have discovered new and significant data that help to elucidate the problem of the location and ethnic identity of Armani. All these have been incorporated here along with certain other points discussed earlier.

We shall investigate here the problem of the identity of the Subarians, the Armani-Subari connections and the Armani-Subari-Sumer relations. We shall mention the evidences supplied by the famous Sumerian epic tale that speaks about the interrelations between Enmerkar, the king of the Sumerian city of Erech (Uruk), and the king of the still unknown city of Aratta, around the beginning of the third millennium B.C., and for the first time we shall draw the attention of the scholars to the fact that Aratta has been the oldest state in the Armenian Highland, particularly in the Ayrarat district.(1)

Again for the first time we shall bring forth in this study some very old data from cuneiform writings regarding the origin of the Ervanduni family and their name, stressing that the state of Armina of the Ervanduni dynasty has been the continuation of the Urartian kingdom.

As these problems were researched, it naturally became necessary to investigate also the questions related to the Hurrians, the time of their appearance in Mesopotamia and the Armenian Highland, the spreading of their language, as well as the origin of the name Hurri.

We shall also include our extended observations pertaining to the geographical, mythological and linguistico-cultural interrelations of the Indo-European, Subarian, Semitic, and Sumerian peoples of the Near East and to other related problems.

I would like, here, to express my thanks to Professors I. Gelb, S. Kramer, P. Matthiae, G. Pettinato, I. Diakonoff, M. Astour, S. Eremian, E. Khanzadian, G. Tiratsian, and to all the other scholars whom I have mentioned in this book for the valuable help their works have provided.