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Mysteries of Armenia

The Martial City

751

Unlike the states of adjoining Mesopotamia, Ancient Armenia was not a clay civilization. Their cuneiform was carved on rocks. Their fortresses, palaces and temples were not made of clay either. Founded by king Rusa II in the 7th century BC, the city of the god of warfare, Teyshebaini, is one of the rare exceptions. Being a typical ancient Asian city, this unique monument is situated on Karmir-Blur, in the administrative part of Yerevan. During archaeological excavations guided by the prominent orientalist Boris Piotrovski, scientists found whole storehouses. Grains of wheat, sesame, and barley for beer were kept in enormous clay containers (karas). In ancient times Armenia was called the land of barley-drink. At the very end of the 5th century BC, the Greek historian Xenophon wrote in his Anabasis about the wide popularity of beer on the territory of Armenia. One of the major administrative and military centers of Ararat Kingdom, Teyshebaini, existed for a rather short period of time. After the rule of Rusa II the state, which had once been so powerful, began declining little by little. Five other kings ruled the country in subsequent sixty years. However, scarcely any records can be found in verbose Araratian and Assyrian inscriptions. In the 7th – 6th centuries BC, under the attacks of third forces, including the growing Iranian tribal alliances, the two uncompromising great powers, Assyria and Ararat, having always contended for the palm of supremacy, finally sank into oblivion.

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