Yervand H. Grekyan
Key words – cuneiform, palaeography, Urartian monumental script, Urartian cursive, scribal school, Assyro-Mitannian, Middle Assyrian, Neo-Assyrian, periphery.
The discovery of the first known Urartian school text in Ayanc‘ (Ayanis), near Van city stimulates to discuss again not only the hypothesis of the existence of schools in Urartu, but also the problem of the origins of Urartian scribal and literary culture in general. The results of the present study allow to find out formulae, which are typical for the Middle Assyrian annalistic texts of the 2nd half of the II millennium BC, as well as a number of cuneiform sign forms, which, in contrary to the contemporary Neo-Assyrian texts, occur only in the Urartian cuneiform inscriptions of the IX-VII centuries BC. These facts allow to develop again the theory, according to which Urartian scribal school had roots in the cuneiform culture of the 2nd millennium BC, perhaps, through the intermediary of a ‘peripheral center’ in the southern parts of the Armenian Highland, which continued to keep the traditions of the Middle Assyrian scribal school, at least, at the beginning of the I millennium BC.