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The Formation Of Armenian Identity In The First Millenium

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Chapter Summary

In tracing answers to the question what the 'first millennium' might be for the Armenians, various layers of Armenian tradition constitutive of the formation of Armenian identity are presented. Three periods are distinguished: the Nairian-Urartian stretching from 1200 bce to the conquest of Armenian plateau by the Achaemenids; the Zoroastrian phase, in which political, religious and cultural institutions in Armenia were closely related to Iranian ones, lasting until the adoption of Christianity as state religion in Armenia. The third phase, concluding with the cornerstone of Armenian identity formation in the direction given to Armenia and its Church by Yovhannes Ojneci. The developments in each of the three periods are measured against the criteria Smith considered central for the presence of an ethnie, while attention is given to Iranian aspects of Armenian society, the presence of a Hellenistic strand in its culture, and its western turn upon the adoption of Christianity.

Keywords: Achaemenid; Armenian identity; Christianity; first millennium; Hellenistic strand; Iranian; Nairian-Urartian; Yovhannēs ŌjnecʽI; Zoroastrian phase



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