Sargis G. Petrosyan

Key words – Armenian highland, king, epic hero, leopard, leopard skin, etymology, taboo, anagram, man, morning, the vernal equinox, New Year, offering, arrow, noose, chamois, pictography

The leopard’s mythological image is the famous zoomorphic symbol of the ancient Mideast legendary king which was associated with the leopard and was drawn primarily on the leopard, afterwards in the leopard’s skin. As informed by Movses Khorenatsi, the Midian king Azhdahak, the rival of the Armenian King TigranYervandian (VI c. B.C.), told that he had the following evil dream: in the country of Haykids (i.e. Armenia), on the top of a high mountain (mount Masis – Big Ararat is meant) a beautiful woman (Mother Goddess is meant) gave birth to three godlike heroes, the first of which headed towards the West, riding a lion, the second, on a leopard, headed for the North, and the third attacked Midia, bridling a dragon.

In the Indo-European poetic texts of mythological nature the ancient poets chose the words so as to reproduce the sounds of the heroes’ names or the epithets of the characters the poem (hymn) was dedicated to. In the ancient Armenian poem about the New-year death desire of the Armenian King ArtashesPartev (told by GrigorMagistros) the person of the hero-king as a male-leopard was coded via the anagram. On one of the rock drawings on mount Ukhtasar in Syunik (pic. 3) the hunter is standing on a leopard. He is armed with a bow, arrows and a lasso, that is to say as a neolithic foot hunter – the prototype of the hero-king. His figure/ body is drawn on the central part of the stone and is surrounded by wild she-goats (on the left stone) and he-goats (on the right stone). The drawing represents the motives of the ancient Armenian myth about the ritual new-year hunting of the King-Leopard.

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