4500th anniversary of Hayk's victory over Bell

The year 2008 marks the 4500th anniversary of the victory of the Armenian Patriarch Hayk against Bel at the battle of Hayots Dzor (south of Lake Van). Movses Khorenatsi (V century) depicted Bel as the head of the evil forces trying to conquer the world: Patriarch Hayk was engaged in peaceful work on the Armenian land, when Bel made an attempt to subjugate him. Hayk killed Bel with his trident (the triple spear) arrow shot from his wide bow in the battle of Hayots Dzor. Hayk’s victory symbolized the victory by the forces of Light over the forces of Darkness.

The struggle against foreign invadors forms the axis of the millenia-long history of Armenia. Hayk’s victory, standing at the very source of that struggle, became a token of future victories. The day of Hayk’s victory was marked as the starting point of the Armenian calendar and if calculations are correct, on August 11, 2008 marks the turn of 4500th anniversary of the Armenian calendar.

While the figure of 4500 is much smaller then the 5768th year of the Hebriew calendar, it is certainly much greater than the 1429th year of the Islamic calendar, or the 2008th of Gregorian or Julian calendars. Indeed, we have every reason to be proud.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. You are kidding, right? 4500 years of what? Of Armenian history? That’s nonsense. You should know better than that. What reasonable person will put a date on a myth? This is cheap. I have no idea of Hebrew calendar but I am suspecting that the number 5768 is as much of a balloney as 4500.

  2. Hope this calendar is more accurate than the one in the Book of Revelation!
    What struck me though (in the original post) was this:
    The struggle against foreign invadors forms the axis of the millenia-long history of Armenia. Hayk’s victory, standing at the very source of that struggle, became a token of future victories. To be a devotee of the Motherland, be in the service of her with creative diligence, and sacrifice one’s life for the sake of the Motherland’s freedom is the command of the Armenian spirit.
    But if it’s Russia that’s knocking at the door, well, I guess that’s a different story???…

  3. Artashes – I know it is silly, but it’s a nice round date even for a legend. I mean, not everybody can boast to have a 4500 year old legend, what’s wrong in celebrating it and putting in comparison with the Hebrew calendar for example? Why not?
    And Ani – what does all this have to do with Georgian attack on South Ossetia and Russia’s exaggerated/overreacted response? I wish that war would stop right now and the lost lives could be recovered, but what does it all have to do with the need for all nations to be prepared to protect themselves?

  4. Observer, It’s not so much the parts you selected, but the rest of that website is icky chest-thumping war-mongering. As Onnik highlighted a couple of days ago in one of his posts, there’s this intense pro-Russian anti-Georgian cheering section in Armenia, that’s not thinking about Russia’s intentions for the Caucasus as a whole.
    I’d like to see Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan treated like real countries that commanded real respect, by Russia, U.S., Europe, and everyone else. Unfortunately, the leaders of all three of these countries are sadly incompetent (I know, so is Bush, but there’s only a few more months of him, one hopes!)

  5. The whole story with Hayk was probably true to an extent. Maybe he did fight a war with Babylon and reunite Armenian factions. Of course after thousands of years they added myths to his story. Being that great great grandson of Noah. That might be true assuming Noah’s wasn’t special as far as the start of humanity. I think there was just a war back then and they created an exaggerated story.

  6. The story of Hayk might be true, of course. Who would have thought that Troy was true? But anyway, keeping the number of years is ridiculous especially since most western societies think of Armenians as a nation from 3-6 BC. Before that the nation was still being developed. We can of course be proud of our own history the way it is written by our own historians 5000 years after those events but quite honestly it is just being silly. What is even more sillier is when our own artists like Khzmalyan in his movie called opera make suggestions that our opera building has connections to the Tower of Babylon. This is ridiculous and a staving nation of 3 million should be a bit if not way more practical about the reality and leave the unjustified sentimentality to the nations who can afford it.

  7. It should be no surprise to anyone who knows something of Armenia’s history that astronomy is such an important part of the national character. Sun symbols, signs of the zodiac, and ancient calendars predominated in the region while the rest of the world was just coming alive, culturally speaking. Egypt and China were still untamed wilderness areas when the first cosmic symbols began appearing on the side of the Geghama Mountain Range around 7000 BC. At Metsamor (ca 5000 BC), one of the oldest observatories in the world can be found. It sits on the southern edge of the excavated city, a promontory of red volcanic rocks that juts out like the mast of a great ship into the heavens. Between 2800 and 2500 BCE at least three observatory platforms were carved from the rocks. The Metsamor observatory is an open book of ancient astronomy and sacred geometry.

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