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The Foundation of the Armenian Nation

Clay tablet showing a Babylonian map of the world. 6th century B.C. British Museum, London. The Babylonians have depicted the world in the form of a circle, washed by the Great Ocean (2), which contains seven land masses (1). The map shows Babylon (6) at the center of the world with Armenia (3) and Assyria (4) next to it. The river Euphrates (5) is clearly visible on the map. The seven largest cities known to the Babylonians, including Harran(7), are marked on the map with small circles.
HHayk with his people left Babylon when Bel seized the city.

The formation of the Armenian nation is generally dated to the 1st or 2nd millennia BCE, making it virtually impossible to clearly and systematically document its origins. However, it has been agreed that the formative processes took place in the Armenian plateau through the gradual merger of different tribes into Armenian territory.

The Armenian Highland was first inhabited as early as at the Stone Age. The Hayasa-Azzi, Isuva, Alishe, Uruatri, Dayaeni, and Diauekhi were the first tribal unions that lived in the Armenian Plateau, and offer the first signs of an emerging sense of statehood.

There are many legends regarding the formation of the Armenian people. The most prevalent figure in Armenian national folklore is Hayk. This legend dates to the prehistoric epoch when the first Armenians moved to the land of Urartu. The handsome and personable hero Hayk, appalled over the actions of the oppresive Bel of Babylon, departed for the North with his people. Bel, with a large army, pursued him. Hayk engaged him in battle, killed Bel with an arrow and freed the land; this is why the area is known as the country of Hay people, or Armenians.

Hayk with his people left Babylon when Bel seized the city.
HHayk with his people left Babylon when Bel seized the city.
Hayk Nahabed mortally wounds Bel, the giant of Babylon, with his bow and arrow.
Hayk Nahabed mortally wounds Bel, the giant of Babylon, with his bow and arrow.