HaykFriday, October 29, 2021
Hayk is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation. His story is told in the History of Armenia attributed to the Armenian historian Moses of Chorene (or Movses Khorenatsi, c. 410 – c. 490).
The name of the patriarch, Հայկ Hayk, is not exactly homophonous with the name for "Armenia", Հայք Hayk’. Հայք Hayk’ is the nominative plural in Classical Armenian of հայ (hay), the Armenian term for "Armenian." Some claim that the etymology of Hayk' (Հայք) from Hayk (Հայկ) is impossible. and that the origin of the term Hay ("Armenian") is verifiable. Nevertheless, Hayk and Haig are usually connected to hay (հայ) and hayer (հայեր, the nominative plural in Modern Armenian), the self-designation of the Armenians. Armen Petrosyan believes that the name Hayk can "very plausibly" be derived from the Indo-European *poti- ‘master, lord, master of the house, husband’.
Hayk would then be an etiological founding figure, like e.g. Asshur for the Assyrians, etc. One of Hayk's most famous scions, Aram, settled in Eastern Armenia from the Mitanni kingdom (Western Armenia), when Sargon II mentions a king of part of Armenia who bore the (Armenian-Indo-Iranian) name Bagatadi (which, like the Greek-based "Theodore" and the Hebrew-based "Jonathan," means "god-given"). Some sources claim that Hayk is derived from the Urartian deity Ḫaldi.
Armenian historiography of the Soviet era connected Hayk with Hayasa, mentioned in Hittite inscriptions.
The Armenian word Haykakan or Haigagan (Armenian: հայկական, meaning "that which pertains to Armenians") finds its stem in this progenitor. Additionally, the poetic names for Armenians, Haykazun (հայկազուն) or Haykazn (հայկազն), also derives from Hayk.
"This is how the origination of the Armenian forefather is depicted in book of Movses Khorenatsi (Moses of Chorene): 'The first of the gods were dreadful and outstanding and they were the reasons of world’s blessings, they were reasons of the beginning of world and population. From these gods the giants were originated... One of them was Yapetostean Hayk ….' In Christian period the Armenian legend was changed due to the understandings of Bible, according to which after the Flood the whole mankind was originated from Noah’s three sons (Japheth, Ham and Shem). According to the new, Christianized version of the legend Hayk Nahapet (Hayk the Forefather) is considered to be the son of Torgom nahapet (the Forefather) who was one of the descendants of Japheth, in the medieval written sources the name given to Armenia 'Torgoma tun' (House of Torgom) and to the Armenians 'Torgomyan azg' (the people of Torgom) comes from there."
Moses of Chorene gave Hayk's genealogy as Japheth, Gomer and Tiras, Torgom. Hayk's descendants are given as Amasya, Ara, Aram, Aramais, Armanak, Gegham, and Harma. Hayk was also said to be the founder of the Haykazuni Dynasty. According to Juansher, Hayk "was prince of the seven brothers and stood in service to the giant Nimrod (Nebrovt') who first ruled the entire world as king."
According to Moses of Chorene, the Armenian noble family, the Haykazunis, which included a number of legendary kings (such as Aram, Ara, Skayordi, Paryur, and Vahe), descended from Hayk.