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Urartu (Greek Ararat)

Urartu was an ancient country of southwest Asia centered in the mountainous region southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea in the Lake Van (Sevan) area. Today the region is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey and northwestern Iran (A).

For three centuries Urartu was a formidable rival to Assyria. Though twice defeated by the Assyrians the Urartians several times prevailed in this contest and indeed --- though only by a few decades --- outlasted their rivals. But posterity dealt harshly with the memory of Urartu. The name was preserved in the Old Testament in the corrupted form Ararat (1).

Genesis 8:4 And the ark rested in the seventh month on the seventeenth day
of the month upon the mountains of Ararat

Ararat: sacred land or high land; the name of a country on one of the mountains of which the ark rested after the Biblical Flood subsided. The mountains mentioned were probably the Kurdish range of South Armenia. The word is rendered Armenia in the Authorized Version but in the Revised Version Land of Ararat. In Jeremiah 51:27 the name denotes the central or southern portion of Armenia. It is however generally applied to a high and almost inaccessible mountain which rises majestically from the plain of the Araxes (Aras River). This part of Armenia was inhabited by a people who spoke a language unlike any other now known though it may have been related to the modern Georgian. About 900 BC they borrowed the cuneiform characters of Nineveh and from this time we have inscriptions of a line of kings who at times contended with Assyria. At the close of the seventh century BC the kingdom of Ararat came to an end and the country was occupied by a people who are ancestors of the present day Armenians (2).

Landscape Illustrations of the Bible --- Publisher : John Murray (1836)

(1) The Ancient Civilization of Urartu by Boris B. Piotrovsky (1969)

(2) Ararat in the Easton Illustrated Bible Dictionary (1897)

(A) Urartu ©2018 Encyclopędia Britannica

Urartu in WikiPedia

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium