In Assyrian times, the region of Armenia was called "Urartu". A Hurrian people lived in the Armenian region by about 3000 BC. Under pressure from the Hittites and then the Assyrians, the people of the region eventually united. Aramu (Armenian Aram) was the first king of Urartu in 880 BC. His capital was at Arzashkun. By 824 BC, the capital had moved to Tushpa (modern Van). During the eighth century BC, the kingdom expanded until it reached from Colchis to Syria and as far north as the land of the Georgians. Urartu fell apart around 600 BC under the pressure of Cimmerians and Scythians from the north and from the Iranian Medes. Indo-European-speaking Armenians and other peoples now entered the region and absorbed the earlier Urartians, who survived for some time as the Chaldians or Alarodians. Armenia was a satrapy or provine of Persia during the times of the Achaemenids. An Armenian dynasty ruled independently after Persia was conquered by Alexander the Great. Hannibal of Carthage was a friend of one Armenian ruler, Artaxias or Artashes I (190 - 159 BC) and he reportedly retired to Armenia. Armenia became a major power under Artaxias' descendant, Tigranes II the Great, who ruled from 95 to 56 BC. Under Tigranes, Armenia's boundaries echoed those of Urartu at its height. The Romans later battled with the Armenians and the emperor Nero handed Armenia to a Parthian prince, known as Trdat or Tiridates. (2)
Armenian Male Names
Ara - Ancient Armenian name (2)
Aram - Ancient Armenian name (2)
Aramu, Arame - King of Urartu (2)
Argishti/Argistis - The name of several kings of Urartu (2, 3)
Arkha - Ancient Armenian name (1)
Artavazd - Ruler of Armenia (2)
Artaxias, Artashes - The name of several Armenian kings (2)
Haldita - Ancient Armenian name (1)
Ispuinis - A king of Urartu (3)
Menua/Menuas - King of Urartu (2, 3)
Rusa - The name of several kings of Urartu (2)
Sarduri - The name of several kings of Urartu (2)
Tigranes - The name of several kings of Armenia (2)
(2) The Penguin Encyclopedia of Ancient Civilizations, ed. Arthur Cotterell,
New York: Penguin Books, 1980, 1988.
(3) The Ancient Orient: An Introduction to the Study of the Ancient Near East, Wolfram von Soden, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994.
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Updated November 20, 2009