In the light of the “North-South” antiunitary concepts


Sargis G. Petrosyan
The Indo-European tribes oriented themselves by facing the east, since for people who worshipped the sun, the East – the place of sunrise, was the sacred side of the world. Then, according to the system of binary mythological oppositions, the north – the dark side of the world, became the “left” side, and the south – the light side of the world, the “right” side.

Assyrian cuneiform sources from 722 BC mention the country of Gamirra and the people of Gamirra, Gamirrai, Gimirri, i.e. the Cimmerians. This country is located to the north of the Armenian Highlands, on the territory of present-day Georgia. In the ethnotoponym Gamirra <*gam-er, in our opinion, gam meant the North Star. In Armenian, “գամ” means “nail” and “բեւեռ” means “nail, pole”. It is known that in the mythological representations of different peoples, the Polar Star is a nail around which the firmament rotates. If this is the case, then gam-er should mean “northerner”. The ancient Armenians also called their northern neighbors “վիր-ք” – “Iberians”, and their northern country “Վիրք” – “Iberia”. This ethnotoponym is based on the Indo-European *seu-er <* seu – “left”, “north”, and -er suffix (compare gam-er). It is known that the kingdom of darkness was originally represented in the north. In ancient Armenian legends, it is said that Gushar Haykid inherited Mtin Mountain in northern Armenia. The oronym “Մթին” means “dark, gloomy” in Armenian.

As in the mythological ideas of the ancient Armenians, the mountains of the north, the left side of the world, were compared with the dark mountains of the kingdom of darkness, so the mountains of the south, the right side of the world, were compared with the clear, light mountains of the kingdom of the blessed.

Mount Savalan, located south of the ancient Armenian region of Parspatunik, is located in the north of ancient Atropatena (Iranian Azerbaijan). The oronym Saualan (<*Saual-an) is of Indo-European origin. In Indo-European *sauel “light > sun”. To the north of this mountain is the Salavat mountain pass. In Greek – pelasgus Σαλαβη “passage”. In Urartian inscriptions, the country of Puluadi is also mentioned here. The first component of this name is related both to the Armenian “փող” – “narrow passage, corridor”, etc., and to the Greek πύλη “gate” and the Greek pelasgus φύλαξ “guard, sentry, gatekeeper”. The second component of the name comes from the Indo-European *sadh – “right” > “south” (>Arm. աջ). The name of Puluadi country entirely means “Southern Passage”.

In the south of historical Armenia are the Sasun mountains, where the country of Šubria of Assyrian sources was located. This name is based on the satem reflex of the Indo-European *k՛ubh-ro. In Armenian “սուրբ” – “sacred, holy” (<*սուբր). From the same Indo-European word *k՛ubh- originates the Sumerian (borrowed) name of Northern Mesopotamia ŠUBUR (>Akkad. SUBIR, Šubari, Šubartu. etc.). Šubartu is later attested as a synonym of the name Aŝŝur//Assyria. In the north of Mesopotamia, south of Armenia, was ancient Adiabene (Greek: ’Aδιαβήνη). The name of this country consists of the components *Adi-au- (-ena/-ene toponymic suffix of the Greek language), where *adi- means “southern” (compare Pulu-adi), and *au- < in Indo-European *ai- “to spend the night, overnight”. In Armenian աւ-թ> օթ> օթեւան “lodging, dwelling, room, abode”.